February 28, 2006

Author says McGivney bio could help restore respect for priests

Catholic News Service

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- Supporters of the sainthood cause of Father Michael McGivney are hoping that he will become the first American-born parish priest to be canonized.

A new biography is introducing a wider audience to the 19th-century priest -- and may also help restore respect for the many good priests in the United States, said one of the book's authors.

Julie M. Fenster, a historian who co-wrote "Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism," spoke about the book to U.S. priests and seminarians Feb. 27 at Rome's Pontifical North American College.

At a time when the image of the U.S. priest has been damaged by sexual abuse committed by a small minority of clergy, the book chronicles the good work of a priest who, after founding the Knights of Columbus, worked as a simple pastor until his death at age 38.

"I'm hoping this book might act as a gyroscope to reset some of the balance for people whose only exposure to parish priests is out of those headlines" on sexual abuse, Fenster said in an interview.

Posted by kshaw at February 28, 2006 01:07 PM