Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts


By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 20, 2012

Image Books, which once published so many Catholic classics, has put out a new volume: Vatican II: The Essential Texts. That’s odd. With so many compilations of the Vatican II documents already on the bookshelves, why would we need a new one? From the publisher’s perspective, what is the “added ingredient” that could spark sales?

Image touts the book’s two introductory essays: one by Pope Benedict XVI, the other by James Carroll. What an astonishing mismatch!

James Carroll walked away from his priestly ministry almost 40 years ago, and has spent most of the intervening years writing a column for the Boston Globe, in which he continually attacks the history, teaching, and integrity of the Catholic Church. A shamelessly partisan writer, Carroll has been frequently caught massaging the facts to suit his ideology.

What in the world gave Image editors the idea of pairing this author—a paragon of the “anti-Catholic Catholic”—with Pope Benedict? And who at the Vatican consented to the pairing? Why bother including the Pope’s appeal for a “hermeneutic of continuity,” if it will be cancelled out by another essay claiming that Vatican II reversed traditional teachings?

Not recommended.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: impossible - Aug. 29, 2018 10:26 AM ET USA

    Phil, I think Francis should resign. If any case he should demote his evil cadre of sycophant Cardinals and Bishops he has created, and he should clear up the many confusions he has caused. He should be forthright in supporting the sound doctrines in place about family, sexual morality, divorce, etc. If he doesn't do these things he should promptly resign. His resignation should be coupled with a statement of Pope Benedict XVI giving the reason(s) for his resignation.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 29, 2018 12:30 AM ET USA

    The words and deeds of Pope Francis have been conflicted to the point that no one knows for certain where he actually stands on issues. It appears that he may be personally conflicted to the point where one may speculate if he has a personality disorder, a sickness needing psychiatric attention.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Aug. 28, 2018 7:29 PM ET USA

    It is Bishops like Reed that will lead us out of the current debacle.

  • Posted by: margaretinvirginia - Aug. 28, 2018 7:05 PM ET USA

    I have been waiting for another bishop to publicly do penance. My heart needs it. Thank you.

  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 28, 2018 5:49 PM ET USA

    Thank God for priests like Bishop Robert Reed. Thank you for reporting this.

  • Posted by: Eric - Aug. 28, 2018 4:27 PM ET USA

    As always Phil, very well put.