WNYC File - Author Lori Duquin.
Returning to the Catholic faith has been a hot topic lately. There have been websites, books, television commercials and entire ad campaigns urging former Catholics to rethink their reasons for leaving the faith. In “Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home,” author Lorene Hanley Duquin profiles 18 men and women who struggled with, but ultimately returned to their Catholic roots.
“I did have people tell me that they bought the book and they left it on their coffee table or on the kitchen counter and they noticed that their children who are away from the Church were coming home and picking it up and reading it,” Duquin said in an interview.
Each chapter of the book is dedicated to the reversion story of a famous or influential Catholic. Some of the individuals profiled include actor Martin Sheen, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, radio host Teresa Tomeo, novelist Dean Koontz, blogger Barbara Curtis, psychologist Dr. Kevin Vost and producer Leo Severino. Three of the profiled Catholics, Veronica Cavan, Amy Betros and Father John Fletcher, CC, are natives of Western New York.
“I just thought that they were really kind of compelling, compelling stories, so I slipped those in with some of the others that we had on the list,” said Duquin, a Western New York resident.
Each profile is radically different, which makes it easy for readers to find at least one or two stories similar to their own. The Catholics featured in the book fell away from their faith for a variety of reasons and each has a unique story of how and why they chose to return. Some of the individuals had upsetting experiences within the Church, chose to practice a different religion, pursued fame and personal wealth, or simply drifted away gradually. The profiles are concise and straightforward, while still making for satisfying and informative reading.
While the profiles are thought-provoking, the most helpful feature of the book is the frequent sidebars.
Scattered throughout each chapter, they address issues that may arise for Catholics who are returning to the Church. Topics range from “The Power of Prayer” and “Secular vs. Spiritual” to “The Sin of Racism” and “Post-Abortion Syndrome.”
Duquin doesn’t shy away from addressing the hard questions that may delve into sensitive areas for some Catholics. “When People Disagree with the Church,” “Changes in the Church,” “When People Get Angry at God,” and “When Someone is Hurt by the Church” all tackle difficult subjects with clarity and compassion, while still encouraging the reader to keep an open mind.
“Recovering Faith” would be an inspiring first step for anyone hoping to return to the Catholic Church after an absence of any kind. Rather than overwhelming the reader, the format of the book allows those who have come back to the Church to speak for themselves. It just might be the gentle nudge that encourages some Catholics to return home.
“Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home,” by Lorene Hanley Duquin, published by Our Sunday Visitor, is available at the Catholic Union Store, 795 Main St., in downtown Buffalo.
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