A Still and Quiet Conscience

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Pope Francis has spoken of his desire for pastoral bishops--shepherds who have “the smell of the sheep.” Raymond G. Hunthausen, archbishop of Seattle from 1975-1991, was a bishop who epitomized this style, embracing the Vatican II spirit of renewal, reaching out to the laity, women, and those on the margins.

Hunthausen was also a courageous witness for peace, gaining national attention when he became the first American bishop to urge tax resistance as a protest against preparations for nuclear war—no small gesture for a pastor with a U.S. naval base in his diocese. As John McCoy shows, in doing so, Hunthausen ran up against the Cold War policies of the Reagan administration—and also came into conflict with Pope John Paul II’s desire to reshape the America episcopacy.

A Still and Quiet Conscience is an absorbing account of one man’s prophetic stance –and the steep price he paid—rekindling the vision of a more inclusive, prophetic, and compassionate church as “people of God.”

Reporter, editor, and journalism professor, John A. McCoy first covered the story of Archbishop Hunthausen as a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. McCoy has headed the communications departments of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and World Vision International. Currently, he teaches writing at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

Book Details

A Still and Quiet Conscience
The Archbishop Who Challenged a Pope, a President, and a Church
John A. McCoy
index, b/w photos
McCoy's biography of the extraordinary man stands as a testament to what could have been if the Catholic church had fully embraced Vatican II, and is a must read for fans of Pope Francis.
McCoy is an able guide through the intricacies of Hunthausen's struggles.
The book is a real page-turner! It is a worthy tribute to Archbishop Hunthausen and a fascinating account of the twentieth-century American Catholic Church.
No Catholic collection should be without this powerful account of not only the archbishop's life and times, but the methods he used to defend and maintain his beliefs against all odds and systems.
A fitting tribute to a brave, faithful man of the church who suffered the familiar lot of the prophets....A story of a church that can heal your soul and break your heart.
This stellar biography shows a truly courageous and holy man but also deeply unjust and humiliating actions by some church officials.
My brother recommended this book. It is amazing. I have several thoughts: It's unusual for me to go straight through a non-fiction book. I like stories - this was an incredible story! It put the goings-on of the Church in the 1980's in perspective. I was deep into kids at that point & missed just about everything described in this book. It underlined the authoritarian and very successful effort of the post-John 23 popes and their minions to destroy Vatican II.
It shed light on the differences between the Pacific Northwest & the East Coast - an ongoing conversation I have with myself.
If Vatican II had been implemented the world would be a different place - thinking mainly of the place of women, gays, and the poor - really, anyone not male-with-power - in the eyes of the Church. The focus on sex & sexuality has really tripped up the hierarchy - they not only don't know what the majority of people in the world know, they've blocked it out of their comprehension completely. The book is an indictment of the leaders of the Church from the mid-70's to today.
One irony is that the hierarchy is still confronting the same issues. Read anything on Francis's latest meeting of the bishops on the family - the authoritarians are still trying to control the world while the pastoral-types have figured out that real, adult life is never black/white.
I was intrigued to learn about the Vatican's coordination with the Reagan administration. Interesting re the Soviet Union, fascinating re Latin America.
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