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While You Were Gone: A Handbook for Returning Catholics, and Those Thinking About It

by William J. Bausch

Buy the book: William J. Bausch. While You Were Gone: A Handbook for Returning Catholics, and Those Thinking About It

Release Date: December, 1994

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: William J. Bausch. While You Were Gone: A Handbook for Returning Catholics, and Those Thinking About It

Off the mark...

Bausch has written a book that invites non-practicing Catholics back to the Church, an admirable reason to write, but it is full of opinion and dissent.

Bausch basically steers clear of the "controversial" subjects by merely introducing them as controversial and then leaves for the reader to make up their own mind on the matter. There is no attempt to explain the doctrines (unless it is to explain them away) and while some may view this as a "compassionate" thing to do, allowing someone to live in error is never compassionate when we just put blinders on.

Bausch also fails to make proper distinctions. He talks about "women's issues" as if the Church despises women. He calls the Church dysfunctional and says that to come back into the Church you merely need to heal your negative perceptions. Note: there is no discussion on personal repentance.

After giving a long explanation about how authority in the Church really doesn't mean much anymore and how it is all continuing to change anyway he writes, "you can dissent and remain a faithful Catholic". (page 65)

Of course his authority for such a statement is himself and he fails to back it up or explain it. He gives reasons why contraception can be used by Catholics (rather statistics why it can be used), he supports female priests, active homosexuality and calls the Church's teachings on the matter "the tradition is ambivalent and often hurtful" (page 91).

Steer clear of this book unless you want to try and whitewash the Church's teachings and ignore that we are called to obedience in any sense of the word. Grausch's book isn't for those wishing to return to the Church, it is for those who want to change it into their own image and likeness.

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Great resource for returning Catholics

As a parish lay minister involved in Adult Faith Formation, I have found this book without equal in "reintroducing" Catholic faith to people who have been away from active practice, or who have never been properly catechized in Catholic teaching. Fr. Bausch writes with honesty, humor and compassion. It is particulaly helpful to Catholics raised in the church before Vatican II, but I have found that younger Catholics also enjoy reading it and benefit from a view of the church that is both accurate and contemporary. This book makes it easier for people to return to an active practice of their faith. I give a copy of this book to anyone who expresses a desire to return to the church, or (as the title says) is thinking about it.

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