Very enlightening! This book was written with compassion and understantding. It helped to give me perspective. Also, now I think I understand better what is going on in the Catholic Church that I embraced five years ago. In order for me to convert to the Catholic Church from devout Protestantism I had to come to a realization of the necessity of submission to the authority of the Church and the successor of St. Peter. Once I was convinced intellectually of this authority, I was dismayed to find so many Catholics in open rebellion against it. I didn't get it. Philip Trower's book has helped me get a perspective on the turmoil in the Church I love and respect.
Philip Trower has studied the 19th and 20th-century efforts of the Catholic Church and her intellectuals to deal with the challenges of advancing secularism and its impact on Christians. In doing so, he has sought to explain the crisis of faith which emerged in the Church after Vatican II, and which has not yet been resolved.
Trower's approach transcends the usual conservative and progressive viewpoints and their oversimplifications. His book manifests the fruit of very wide reading. So far as I can judge, he is a careful and sound scholar--a journalist who does a better job of reporting and interpreting Church history than most theologians and historians have been doing.
To get the most out of this work, readers will need to be familiar with the documents of Vatican II.
Potential readers also should know that, although Trower's work is useful, it is limited. He does not begin to consider the deeper roots of the present crisis, which extend back to the middle ages--for instance, the persisting influence of neo-Platonism, pervasive clericalism, and the ongoing involvement of popes and bishops in this-worldly, especially political, affairs. Nor does he discuss the widely recognized problems with the functioning of the supreme authority of the Catholic Church, namely, the disfunctional Roman curia and the need, acknowledged by Pope John Paul II himself, to develop a new and better way of exercising the papal office.