Review: The Broken Path

Over 20 years ago, author Judie Brown co-founded the American Life League – a grassroots, Catholic, pro-life education organization. She was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life by Pope John Paul II (twice) and Pope Benedict XVI. She is solidly and faithfully Catholic.

Judie’s new book The Broken Path: How Catholic Bishops Got Lost in the Weeds of American Politics is not for everybody. Those who are not yet mature in their faith, who are poorly catechized or who are exploring the faith might not be ready for it.

For those who know that Jesus founded one, visible Church – the Catholic Church; for those who know that Christ and his Church are inseparable; for those who love our Lord and His Church; for those who place the genuine teaching of that Church above all else; for those whose faith is unshakable by individual failures of our shepherds — this book IS for you and I strongly recommend it. In fact, I am adding it to my very discriminating Great Books list.

The back cover describes the book as “a work of love for the Church: a must read for every Catholic with a desire to return our nation to a righteous path and our society to a culture of life.” It also notes however, that the truth is not “always flattering: contemporary Catholic leaders in the Church, worthy of praise, are singled out as are others warranting greater scrutiny.” The book delivers mightily on that, detailing events and naming names of bold individual successes, missed opportunities and some sad failures. It is not conjecture or an event log, but a coherent, connected and compelling study of events, both good and (far too often) bad.

This is the backstory that led to Obama’s war on religion. Failures to lead, failures to correct and sometimes tacit support emboldened the president to take unprecedented, immoral and even illegal actions against life, family and religious freedom. To truly understand “how we got here”, read this book. From the first chapter:

The history is evident. What is not clear is why so many priests, bishops, and theologians have opted to dissent from Catholic teaching and have not been chastised. These individuals remain entrenched in the Church without correction of any kind. What is equally mysterious is how we got to this stage when the Church has such a vivid history of fighting against all odds to maintain and defend truth, even at the cost of lives. I cannot think of one martyr, for example, who would have preferred to agree to discard a little bit of truth for the sake of popularity, financial support, or political entrée. The true heroes of the faith would rather die before turning their backs on Christ — and many of them did.

The book is organized into chapters as follows:

  1. How It All Began
  2. A Diseased Body
  3. The Catholic Priesthood in Chaos
  4. Kingpins
  5. Bureaucrats Speaking for Bishops?
  6. Catholic School Daze
  7. The Politics of Catholicism
  8. Holy Souls or Sacred Cows – The Canon 915 Dilemma
  9. Obama Plays Catholics for Fools
  10. Perverse Health Care Ethics
  11. Contraceptive Cowardice
  12. Why Do Bishops Reject Personhood?
  13. Holy Priests Are The Cure

This book could not be more timely, yet was published just before the recent HHS mandate and Obama’s war on religion. The 269 page book includes a table of contents, a foreward by Bishop Rene Gracida, acknowledgments, introduction, an appendix, extensive footnotes (30 pages), and an index. It is available in both inexpensive paperback and Kindle formats. Every bishop should read it.

The book ends quoting A Prayer for Priests and Bishops from the Roman Missal:

O God, who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the eternal High Priest for the glory of Thy Majesty and the salvation of mankind; grant that they whom He hath chosen to be His ministers and the stewards of His mysteries, may be found faithful in the fulfillment of the ministry which they have received. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.


Full Disclosure: This book was provided to me at no charge by American Life League in exchange for this review. They seek only my honest, real opinion and that is what I give!

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