The New Catholic Book Club Discusses 'The Patriarch'

Today marks the relaunch of the Catholic Book Club, a literary enterprise originally begun by the editors of America in 1928. In his introduction to the new club, Kevin Spinale, S.J., sketches the history and goals of the Catholic Book Club, and what it can offer to readers today.

On Friday March 22, Kevin lead a discussion of the first book chosen by the new CBC, The Patriarch by David Nasaw:

Advertisement

The life of Joseph P. Kennedy teaches us about the reality of urban and national politics in the U.S., the world wars, insights into the workings of American financial system, the personality and genius of FDR, the activity of a presidential campaign and the diminishment of a irrepressible man ground down by a string of personal tragedies. It is the history of a Catholic who dealt with prejudice and exclusion because of his Catholicism as well as a Catholic who was ultimately rejected by the institutional church in the United States. In short, it is the fascinating life of a man who embodies the complexities of human nature.

The Book Club exists to cultivate meaningful discussion about meaningful books. In order to facilitate discussion about the book, I offer some questions here for discussion. I welcome everyone to contribute answers to these questions, your own questions, or any reactions you have to Prof. Nasaw’s book.

1.  Having considered the entire life of Joseph Kennedy, from his days as “Honey Fitz’s son-in-law,” to his unrivaled financial success, to the death of his four eldest children and his own death, was Joseph Kennedy a happy man?

2.  Knowing both the affection he showed his children and the way he conducted his own personal life, was he a good father?

3.  Do you agree with Richard Cardinal Cushing’s assessment of the American Hierarchy’s rejection of John F. Kennedy as a presidential candidate in 1960? (Nasaw, p723-725)  How has the 1960 election affected Catholic candidates for political office in the United States today?

A podcast interview with David Nasaw will be posted online next week. In the meantime, we encourage you to pick up the book, read it all or just a few chapters, and join us for our discussion on March 22.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Nancy Walton-House
5 years 5 months ago
What time will the discussion be held on Friday 3/22? Will an archive of the discussion be posted on the website?

Advertisement

The latest from america

Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the "crime" of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability.
Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pa., speaks during a meeting in late January at the headquarters of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
“I think we need complete transparency if we’re going to get the trust of the people back,” said Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.
Mélanie Thierry as Marguerite Duras in “Memoir of War.” © Music Box Films
The film tells the story of a woman who worked for the German-controlled Vichy government but secretly joined the Resistance movement.
A. W. Richard Sipe (photo: Facebook)
Sipe's research into celibacy and priestly sexual behavior helped guide the work of church leaders and others responding to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
Catholic News ServiceAugust 17, 2018