Fatherless - By Brian Gail

Has anyone read the Catholic novel, Fatherless by Brian Gail. Great novel. Gail is a fellow Knight of the Immaculate and Malvern retreatant.

From the reviews:

"Gail’s book takes place in the 1980’s, and is centered around a priest and three families in his parish. Fr. John Sweeney is not the brightest priest, but he is sincere, devout and does not lack in charity. The families that come to him for advice and direction are concerned with moral issues that time has proven lead America to the crux of her moral quandary in the current decades.

One man, a marketing exec, is troubled by the opportunity for a new job which would involve relocating to New York City and pioneering a network similar to HBO. Does the career opportunity outweigh contributing to the moral decline of televised entertainment?

Another, a financial officer at a pharmaceutical company, confronts the reality of the biological damage of the birth control pill and balances his family’s stability with delivering the truth to thousands of American woman.

A third struggles with migraines, a bipolar daughter, an absent husband, and the morality of taking birth control to ease tensions in her family.

All of these situations are imminently real, and imminently related to moral theology. When confronted with giving guidance, the well-meaning but poorly trained Fr. John often settles for telling people what they want to hear. He finds the works of Pope John Paul II hard to understand, but at the same time, he is losing parishioners who are willing to drive a half hour to hear the truth, and the teachings of JPII, boldly proclaimed at another parish.

All of this leads to a crisis of fatherhood. What does it mean to be a father? The crisis of each of the main characters asks the question in a different way. Can a father compromise his beliefs and morals for the sake of a job that provides for his family? Can a father risk losing his job and being unable to provide for his family by standing up the immorality of his company? Ought a father do what’s right over making those in his care feel happy? When does the value of the truth outweigh the value of domestic happiness? When does the moral severity of a situation demand uncomfortable action?"

I read it a while ago, and also enjoyed it. Good Catholic fiction is a rare find!

I was first put off by the size of the book. (Yeah, I’m like that. I selected college courses by avoiding any professor who required me to write a paper. Sad, I know.) I probably would have avoided the novel but for the fact that I’m familiar with the author. Whenever Brian would give his thoughts at retreat, I wanted to get a recorder in front of him. (We did it a few times, but the audio was difficult to hear clearly) He is always uplifting and inspiring when he speaks.

I read it. I enjoyed it. I found it good though the 1st 80% of the book but it didn’t seem to really be getting anywhere. Although there were turns of events that kept you glued.

The last 20%, or around the time Father Sweeney made his visit to Rome was very good indeed.

I recommened it to anyone. Although the people in my life I’d like most to read it, probably will not. Isn’t it always the way?

Amen to that. Never hurts to ask, though.

I’m reading it right now. It’s good – a good topic, that NEEDS to be written about – but I’m finding all the financial (and sports) details a bit daunting. These terms are just assumed to be understood by all. It’s what my friends in my book club would definitely call a “guy book.”

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