Faith: A Novel
by Jennifer Haigh
Hardcover- $1.89

It is the spring of 2002 and a perfect storm has hit Boston. Across the city's archdiocese, trusted priests have been accused of the worst ...

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  "Faith is beautifully written in the first person and captures the reader from the very beginning." by Scoop (see profile) 01/14/12

Jennifer Haigh provides the voice for many family members involved in the "real life" scandal that plagued many churches. This story, while fictional, addressed the pain and heart ache that engulfed many and changed the way we look at people we once trusted implicitly. Her characters ranged from soft and warm to tough and terrible. It is also a study of family dynamics which adds to the mix in a way we can all understand. Bravo to Jennifer Haigh!

  "Faith: A Novel" by mkrupiak (see profile) 03/06/12

This is definitely the best book I have read so far this year, and I read a lot. I am a Catholic. Grew up in a Catholic family, went to Catholic school, continue to observe the traditions and practice the faith. This book was truly something different. It made no excuses for the sins of those who have committed attrocities to children, and yet, it presented something of a different view, from the family of a priest who was accused. Not only did it shed a light on what they must go through, but it also gave light on how the accusers react. This was a truly wonderful read.

  "The message is powerful!" by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/12/14

I had not wanted to read this book, thinking it could not add to the narrative already out there about the scandal in the Church involving pedophile priests. Was I ever wrong! I was deeply affected by this novel. This is a magnificent exposé of that moment in time, of the condemned and the wrongly condemned, of the dogma and the crises affecting the churches, everywhere, because of the vows a priest must make. It is a book that shines a spotlight on the fact that although they are the conduit to G-d, they are also humans, humans subject to all the frailties and possible commissions of sin they are heir to, humans that G-d, in his infinite wisdom will forgive (if you believe), as G-d forgives the sinner.
I couldn’t stop listening to the audio; I was so taken by Father Art and the way in which he handled the abuse he faced, the anger exhibited toward him, the spewed vitriol. He contended with his sudden discharge from the only life he had known since boyhood, with such a quiet grace, with such a forgiving outlook and compassionate demeanor, always faithful to his beliefs. His behavior contrasted sharply with the harsh judgment passed upon him by the people who jumped to conclusions, friends and worshipers who condemned him and the entire Catholic Church, for the sins of a few, without even investigating the facts.
Were the accused priests guilty? Certainly many were, but the innocent were judged to be guilty right along with them, because suddenly, there was zero tolerance once the crime was publicized and knowledge of it became widespread; the issue went from being ignored, hidden in a closet for years, to appearing on the front page of all major and minor newspapers, and it became the main topic of discussion for all the talking heads on television and radio, as well.
As I read the book, I kept thinking, let he who is without sin throw the first stone! It was an appalling crime and it horrified everyone as it should have, but it should not have taken down the unblemished priest simply because an accusation was made. A mistake in judgment should not have, therefore, been compounded by a rush to judgment. Of course, ultimately, it was the cover-up by the church, adding to the crimes already committed, that led to the over-reactions. The world watched the confessions of troubled adults who were shaped by their haunted childhoods, haunted because they were corrupted by men of G-d. Was their mistreatment the precursor of their own abusive behavior toward others? How pervasive was this pedophilia issue? I was stunned by the betrayals of family members, their lack of trust because of the shame they faced, stunned by the judgments that were made condemning those accused as guilty when those that judged them were sometimes just as guilty of committing great sins. They seemed heartless, and blind to the truth, in their single-minded attempt to wipe out the scourge of the errant priest. Would the Church ever regain its power, its reputation? Would a priest ever again be respected by the parishioners in the same unquestioning manner?
The author has crafted a tale which neither forgives nor ignores the ignominy of the shamed priest, but she also paints a beautiful image of the humanity and benevolence of other priests, those priests who truly connected with their G-d and their calling. She also explored the challenges their vows forced them to face, as well as some of the reasons that a priest might choose that wayward path.
After reading this, the reader will wonder, were some priests wrongly accused in the mania and hysteria that erupted when the world learned of the conspiracy to conceal the wrongdoing of some men of the cloth? How widespread and pervasive was the crime? This is a story about the failure of the Church and some of its priests, certainly only a minority; it is a heartbreaking story of abuse, a tragic tale of dysfunction, injustice, lies and greed, but it is also a story of hope. There is a beauty and sincerity within the dedicated men of the cloth that shines through. Haigh brings a human touch to the scandal of the Catholic Church, a scandal that rocked the nation and forced formerly devout people to question their religion and their places of worship, their relatives and their friends. Liars and scammers, those who were seeking undeserved financial reward were bound to mix themselves into the fury for their own personal gain, regardless of the innocents they hurt in the process. The moral is this: all priests should not have to dwell under the same umbrella as those that violated the very code of decency demanded by their vows!

  "" by phoebe.terry (see profile) 02/02/16

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