A Church In Peril: Watching Catholicism Collapse (2019)
Nonfiction, 158 pages, $14.95
By Richard Sonnichsen
Dick Sonnichsen is watching what was once one of the foundation blocks of his life disintegrate before his very eyes — as well as the eyes of a watching world. The Catholic Church, in which he grew up and attended faithfully for decades, is indeed a church in peril.
After 60-plus years as a practicing Roman Catholic, Sonnichsen began to apply life lessons to his faith, lessons learned from raising a family, military service and a career as an FBI Special Agent and organizational consultant. He found he had serious questions about faith in general and Christian Catholicism specifically. In the end, he left the Church, and has written two books about that decision: All Fish Have Bones: A Recovering Catholic’s Advice on Living a Good Life Without Religion and A Leaf in a Stream: Surviving Childhood, Catholicism, Conscription, Career and Cancer. Now, he adds A Church In Peril: Watching Catholicism Collapse.He writes, “We are watching a gigantic, rogue ocean wave of evil and moral decay crash on the shores of the Catholic Church and the powerful, ensuing, immoral undertow is sucking the sanctity out of the house of God.”
Sonnichsen believes, “The Catholic Church has become exasperatingly out of touch with its constituents and the world. The feeble outreach offered by the Church to victims of priestly molestation is a feigned and pathetic gesture. The inattention to catastrophic evil in the ranks of Catholic prelates and an outrageous betrayal of the trust of devout followers has fragmented and collapsed a functioning institution.”
A Church In Peril: Watching Catholicism Collapse is a well-researched and comprehensive study of the crumbling moral authority of the Catholic Church; its current state and the history behind it. Writing this indictment was a difficult endeavor for Sonnichsen, who laments not seeing the problems of blind faith much earlier in his life. He also acknowledges that the book is incomplete nearly by default, as more of the crimes of the priesthood — and other faith institutions as well — are being revealed almost daily.