Updating My Catholic God: A Quest by
Updating My Catholic God is a daring look at the faith that challenged me over my 70 years. I wrestled with longing to respect my Dutch ancestors’ pagan beliefs, rejecting the pretensions of our Church and rethinking the magic in the Bible.
In this review of my spiritual life, I explore my doubts about doctrine that was not to be questioned, but which I struggled to accept. My views were honed by the loneliness of years in the seminary, the apparent lack of fulfillment among the clergy and stubbornness in trying to have my faith traditions make sense.
This book takes the reader on my inner journey through childhood religion lessons, teen years on the path to priesthood, role as a Catholic parent and rebelliousness during retirement. Despite my uncertainties about the faith – or, perhaps, because of them — I remain a fervent Catholic.
Reviews of Updating My Catholic God: A Quest
Reading some parts, I smiled inwardly with recognition. At other times I had a lump in my throat.
I was very interested reading about the church, pre-Vatican Council II. I had heard murky rumours about the way things used to be done when I was a child and this always made me thoughtful and curious as to what had gone on.
As a non-Catholic, I found your writing both informative and readable. Your ‘daring exploration’ resonated with me without being threatening. I hope Catholics will also respect the deep feeling and lengthy consideration behind your words.
(Clare Christie is co-author of My Dear Alice: War Letters 1937–1950.)
The facts of your upbringing in a large Dutch Catholic family and your feelings as a young conscientious, pious Catholic adolescent boy are eerily similar to my own. We both came to resent deeply the ridiculous rules of our Church and the mysteries of our faith as pushed down our throat from birth and well beyond those cruel teen years.
Questions for book clubs
- How does the story give you new insights into the spread of Christianity?
- How did Joseph’s experiences in the Catholic faith change him?
- Which of the details about the early Church are believable? Which ones are not?
- What conclusions about the Catholic Faith do you reach at the end of the book?