Amidst the torturous decline of the public Church since the 1960s, the sexual abuse scandal, which erupted anew in 2018, poses one of the greatest challenges of this darkest period Catholics have faced since the Reformation. In The Smoke of Satan, veteran Catholic journalist Philip Lawler explains why the crisis is even more severe than when it first commanded headlines in 2002 and how the failure of Church leaders involves many in the highest echelons.
In this unflinching look at the crisis threatening the Church and her members, Lawler:
- Shows how the sexual abuse scandal is not a question only of pedophilia, but also of homosexual activity within the clergy
- Explains how Catholic bishops developed a habit of covering up serious problems to avoid the serious divisions that have developed within the faith since Vatican II
- Exposes a catastrophic rupture in Church unity that caused a breakdown in morale and discipline among priests, bishops, and laity, paving the way for the current crisis
- Reveals the growth of a faction within the Vatican that is ready to make peace with secularism
- Details the charges in the explosive “Vigano testimony” and the efforts by Vatican officials to ward off a thorough investigation
- Concludes with a program for reform, led by faithful lay Catholics, demanding a new policy of candor and a forthright proclamation of Church teaching
This crisis, brought about by the failures of bishops and clerics, has been allowed to fester long enough. It is well past time for serious action to be taken at every level before more lives are ruined, more souls are lost, and more fractures divide the Church.
In these pages, Lawler details the problems besetting the Church and lays out a clear plan to overcome them in order that the Church and her members may once again thrive and bring souls to Christ.
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