Picking up this book at a religious conference, I found the title and the subject matter interesting. Essentially, Fr. Rausch's book tries to find a common ground to unite conservative and liberal Catholics as the Church moves forward in the modern world. While nicely written and easy to read, Fr. Rausch more often than not tends to side with the liberal side (though I think he understands himself as a moderate).
In so doing, he tends to use deconstructionists re-interpretations of many scriptural texts (something he caustions the liberal about doing) on subjects such as homosexuality. He is much faster, in my opinion to critizes the conservatives than the liberals in this position as he asserts many of the modern pyschological positions taught in the liberal colleges. This deconstruction is the problem many conservative Catholics have with the American Catholic Church.
While he is early in the book harsh on the post Vatican II failure in teaching young Catholics the essentials of the faith, he doesn't develop this much further and largely devotes an un-balanced amount of effort on the neo-conservatives.
The book is only 120 so pages and is cleverly written. I think Fr Rausch is trying to find a unity for his church that is very fragmented in North America. The book fails, however, because it often relies (like in the case of homosexuality) to rely on theories that are specualtive at best. Although he is hard on liberal Catholic scholars who seek to complety modernize or feminize the faith, he has develoed a work that is ultimately imbalanced in its presentation. The book should have been another 100 pages or so with more exaimation on the liturgy, liberal movements, and sexual morality.
At present the rancorous debate between liberals and conservatives is tearing apart the Catholic Church. The conservatives would like to ex-communicate the liberals; and the liberals dismiss the concerns of the conservatives as reactionary. In such a climate, a book which facilitates civilized discourse between the two sides would be most welcome. Fr. Rausch has written just such a book.
In Reconciling Faith and Reason, Fr. Rausch sternly criticizes the excesses of liberal theologians who eschew any and all deference that might be owing to the Magisterium of the Church. At the same time, he points out the excesses of the conservative New Apologists, who offer an overly simplified view of what it means to be a Catholic. By pointing out the excesses on both sides, Fr. Rausch opens up room for reasoned consideration of the issues that threaten to divide the Church.
His book is well written, and touches on central topics of debate (sexual morality; the role of liturgy). Whether one is to the left or to the right of Fr. Rausch, one has to appreciate his effort to craft a bridge which might enable reasonable Catholics to dialogue with those with whom they disagree. His conclusion alone is worth the price of admission.