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
4 years 9 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

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017
Why not tax individuals for what they take out of society instead of what they contribute?
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.December 15, 2017
Pope Francis will renew the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for another three years, informed sources told America this week.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 15, 2017
Worshippers recite the Lord's Prayer during Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Mineola, N.Y., on Oct. 13. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)
Making ancient Scripture sensible in contemporary languages will always prove a hazard-heavy challenge.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 15, 2017