I’m still reading the book, which will be vilified – with its author – by papalotrous libs who will not have read it. The New catholic Red Guards don’t permit questions. They don’t have to read, either. They react.
Lawler presents a heartfelt cri de coeur.
Lawler was once very positive Pope Francis. He describes how, eventually, something in him “snapped”. He came to the view that the Pope was trying to change unchangeable teaching, which is a contradiction. Confusion is growing and the one who is given to the Church to resolve confusion is bringing it about.
So far, what I’ve read in this new book is fair and balanced. He remains supportive and respectful and hopeful.
For example, Lawler looks at the Pope’s encyclicals praising what is praiseworthy and pointing to what is confusing. When looking at Laudato si’ he first underscores what is solid and then points out that
A spiritual leader weighing in on a scientific debate, Francis is obviously out of his element. Man-made climate change either is or is not a scientific reality. A pronouncement by the pope—who has no special authority on scientific issues—will not affect that reality one way or another. In Laudato Si’, the pontiff sides with the majority opinion, and he does so unnecessarily, because the question of climate change is not central to the moral argument that he is exploring. (Kindle Locations 524-528).
In any event, I’m still working through the book.
The title is really provocative, but I have found him to be respectful while making his concerns known. The analogy that he uses is that of a concerned child who, seeing that his father has put his foot wrong, speaks up out of love.
Having read as much as I have read, I have every reason to believe that Lawler is sincere.
On EWTN, Raymond Arroyo interviewed Phil Lawler.
Go to 23:00 for Lawler. You can tell that Lawler is not a bomb thrower. You make the call.
BTW… his comment on the weird new stamp for Easter issued by the Vatican Post is DEAD ON.
In addition to this interview, you might also have a look at a piece penned by Sam Gregg about Lawler’s book at Catholic World Report.
The power of Lawler’s narrative was derived from its calm tone, a meticulous attention to facts, a refusal to overstate or downplay how bad things were, a comprehensive knowledge of Catholic teaching and history, and an obvious love for the Church. … As in his previous work, Lawler doesn’t embellish facts. Indeed there’s nothing by way of fact in Lawler’s text which isn’t already known. Lawler’s focus is upon helping his readers understand Francis’s papacy and what it might mean for the Catholic Church in the long-term.
But one of his book’s strengths is that it tries, at every point, to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. In addition to avoiding the hyperbole, polemics, and more bizarre theories about Francis which populate some of the internet’s weirder outposts, Lawler prudently distinguishes between the pope’s words and actions, and the more flagrantly outrageous statements of some of the garrulous characters surrounding him.
This judicious approach won’t save Lawler from the barrage of insults, frenetic name-calling, splenetic tweets, conspiracy theories, and limp non sequiturs which, alas, we’re come to expect from some of Francis’s defenders. [And we know whose non sequiturs he means!] That, it seems, is how they roll. But just as Lawler’s The Faithful Departed made its case carefully and without exaggeration, so too does Lost Shepherd neatly and charitably summarize many faithful Catholics’ reservations about Francis’s pontificate.
To which, I think it is appropriate to add: