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VINE VOICEon 22 October 2012
This work is so full of commonsense and compassion that one can only wonder how it is that so few of the world's religious leaders continue to appear deaf to its altruistic reasoning. Matthew Fox's readily assimilated writing style is packed with all kinds of stimulating facts that combine to cause the reader to think deeply about a variety of matters that he/she may well have hitherto taken for granted.

Not content to simply explain what is wrong with the way in which Roman Catholicism is currently being administered, Mr. Fox sets out, clearly step by step, how it can be reformed, enabling it to work alongside other Christians, and indeed other religions, as equals in a combined effort for the good of all. In relation to this, one of the things he does is to champion the role of women in the Church as he, at the same time, exposes the myth that God is exclusively male. The nonsense of not allowing women to be ordained as priests is also exposed.

Matthew Fox is also clear regarding the damage done to Christian belief by adopting the doctrines perpetrated by Augustine of Hippo (354-430) such as original sin and the inferiority of women, both of which have no basis in the teaching of early Christianity. In relation to this he sets out his evidence in succinct and readily assimilated fashion.

The danger to ecumenical Christianity postured by current organisations such as Opus Die and The Legion of Christ are clearly explained as is also the RC Church's inability to deal effectively with such crimes as the sexual abuse crisis amongst its clergy and the financial misdemeanours of the Vatican Bank.

The way in which good, caring and learned clergy such as Father Bernard Haring, Father Leonardo Boff and Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga were persecuted and silenced by the Vatican is exposed and explained. These and many others are caring personalities seeking to present a compassionate Christianity geared to the needs of every day folk struggling to lead worthwhile lives within the trials and tribulations of the modern world.

Matthew Fox doesn't just expose the corruption; he spends more time in setting out what can be done to rid Christianity of it and, in the process, present a truly caring and compassionate religion that is properly in touch with the everyday needs of ordinary people. This is a truly great work, beautifully written and very readable, in which Matthew Fox lifts us into the rewarding realm of true religion untrammelled by 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.'
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on 22 September 2011
Does Matthew Fox hate the Roman Church? My unequivocal answer to that question is `NO!' In fact he had to write this book for the precisely the opposite reason. Fox loves the Church of Rome with such a passion that there was no other option. Like Jesus in the Temple this book is Fox's attempt to take a metaphorical whip and crack it loudly over the heads of the oft silenced faithful and shout `enough - look at what's happening!' This modern day prophet symbolically overturns table after table and sends out a challenge to an institution that he sees as equally (or even more) in need of reform than the politicized temple structures of Jesus' day.

Here Fox lifts the ecclesiastical curtains and exposes the truth - a truth that will shock, horrify and disturb - all tied up with the hidden secrets and inner workings of the Vatican and last two Popes. The revelations involving everything from systematic priestly pedophilia cover-ups to the disturbing workings of the anti Vatican II "lay" organizations like Opus Dei and the Legion of Christ made it, for me, the most uncomfortable to read of all Fox's books.

YET it is out of love and not hatred that he does this, for the book does not end in negativity. It ends with a prophetic vision - a calling backward, and yet forward, to a Christianity which can be a blessing rather than a curse to the suffering peoples of our religion battered world. After exposing the darkness and death, Fox points to the possibility of resurrection and I can say that I for one closed the final page not in despair, but with a sense of expectant hope and joy.

Revd. Mark Townsend, author of Path of the Blue Raven - From Religion to Re-Enchantment
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on 27 December 2012
I have just finished reading Matthew Fox The Pope's War: Why Ratzinger's Secret Crusade has imperilled the Church and how it can be saved (2011 Sterling Ethos, NY). It is depressing reading to start with in terms of what Ratzinger has with his despicable associates done to hamper a true Christianity to flourish in the Roman Church. The corruption of power is exposed by Matthew and those who have risked their reputation to stand up for virtues, whilst their superiors have pursued a malignant course in pursuit of power and conniving with gross abuse by those they decided to defend. This is almost inexplicable if I was writing about Christians. But I am writing about wolves in sheep's clothing. Jesus clearly taught that children should be protected against hurt and yet Ratzinger has consistently failed to act to prevent pedophilia and his colleagues have consistently enabled it. This happened when Ratzinger held the prime position in the Roman Church for dealing with such matters. What did he do instead? He chose to attack on spurious grounds those who recognised the Church's responsibility towards the poor and successfully silenced them in favour of prelates who curried favour with right wing politicians.
We are not yet clear of this situation. Ratzinger is still in power as Pope Benedict XVI. Matthew Fox writes about the organisations that the pope has used and continues to use for his nefarious misdeeds. Fox highlights some of those who have suffered including himself. But then he goes on to spell out some of the principles that need to guide the Church in the future so that the church really serves the people rather than the machinations of the hierarchy. Fox originally came to the notice of many as the author of Original Blessing. It was a healthy corrective to Original Sin, an unhealthy introduction to Christian Theology by Augustine in the fourth century. Ratzinger succeeded in removing Fox from and then closing the faculty that he was co-directing in Chicago. Fortunately he was supported in continuing his work at a replacement college created by friends and has been able to continue his work which I had not followed. But I experienced him at a conference at Easter 2012 and have tried to catch up a little. His work is certainly worth learning from.
This is not an attack on the Roman Catholic Church. Matthew Fox demonstrates how many of his contemporaries are in the forefront of living exemplary lives and leading in what the Church of Jesus Christ should be, examples to us all. Sadly he has found it necessary to expose those who have been, and sadly seem to be able to be, malignant influences in the Roman Church. I hope that its members will rise up and cleanse their Augean stables.
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on 29 July 2015
Matthew Fox has spat his dummy and clearly shows his ire in this book in which he rails against anyone and everyone he crossed-swords with during his time as a member of the Dominican Order especially saving his vitriol for three people, the first being Jose Maria Escriver de Balaguer the founder of Opus Dei, which incidentally is NOT a 'sect' as referred to somewhat sarcastically by Michael Walsh one of Fox's most devoted acolytes but is recognised as an institution of the Roman Catholic Church. Fox calls the former Monsignor, now a Saint, 'sordid'? Secondly he shows his obvious contempt for Saint John Paul ll but he appears to absolutely hate previous Pope Benedict XV1, Joseph Ratzinger with a vengeance.Unlike other reviewers of this book I do NOT find it so interesting, mainly because it is so biased. How or why Fox remained with the Order for so long simply beggars belief considering his dislike for so many people?
I had difficulty in accepting many of the claims made by Fox and others, most of which were cleverly and I think deliberately ambiguous thus preventing the reader from being able to 'check' much of the information and facts stated although SOME were outrageously incorrect BUT included nonetheless.After all, who wants the truth to spoil a good story? For one of the best examples of this, I quote from an Italian Jewess who alleged in 1995 'I came back from Auschwitz on my own.I lost my mother,two sisters,a niece, and one brother. Pius Xll could have warned us what was going to happen.We might have escaped from Rome and joined the partisans.He played right into the Germans' hands. It all happened right under his nose.But he was an anti-semitic Pope, a pro-German Pope.He didn't take a single risk. And when they say the Pope is like Jesus Christ, it is not true.He did not save a single child.Nothing'.I disagree completely! Pope Pius Xll directed that the Catholic Church MUST provide discreet assistance to Jews and others, hiding them in monasteries, churches, schools, convents - even in the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo and as a result hundreds of thousands of lives were saved. He personally maintained links with the 'Anti-Nazi' German Resistance, also sharing intelligence with the allies, who actually believed his condemnation of the 'genocide' was weak although the Nazis saw him as a sympathiser of the allies and castigated him for NOT remaining neutral.Pius Xll received MANY plaudits from Jewish leaders both during and after the war. Both Ratzinger and his predecessor saw that the 'Liberation Theology' that Fox wanted to practice within the Roman Catholic Church had Marxist leanings and forbade it. Too much unnecessary bile.
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on 28 April 2013
This book is by way of a kind of 'J'accuse' and it is passionate in its denunciation of the behaviour of the official Catholic Church in the time of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's ascendancy. For those who are ignorant of this history it is sobering in the extreme, especially in its account of official treatment of the heroic Liberation Theology movement in Latin America and of the furtive and systematic cover-up of the sexual abuse scandals. Fox goes into detail about the human suffering brought about by this official Vatican policy, in particular about the silencing of critical and creative theologians and about the neglect of those who were the victims of the abuse. Very occasionally the tone is shrill, but one forgives this in the light of what is being brought into the light. There are occasionally strong claims that are not backed up by the evidence that would make them plausible, thus almost as an aside it is remarked that John Paul I was probably murdered and that the election of his successor was aided by the CIA. There is unexpected material about the secret ordination of women priests in Czechoslovakia after the Soviet take-over and the typical Vatican anxiety to see that knowledge of this is suppressed.
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on 25 December 2012
Matthew Fox lays out his argument clearly, and he has very positive alternatives; it’s very clear he has thought deeply on the subject.
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on 23 March 2015
very much a polemic,but I enjoyed it all the same.Pity Fr Fox went over to the Episcopalians,our loss, their gain.
I'd need more than the authority of the so-called Jesus Seminar to reject the famous Petrine text,and have reservations about the author's
enthusiasm for New Age solutions. All in all it is an accurate indictment of Benedict xvi/Ratzinger and his treatment of many fine scholars.
But for a more balanced account of just one of these cases ,read Fr. Gerald O'Connor's ON THE LEFT BANK OF THE TIBER.
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on 10 December 2014
Excellent assessment of a pope I've always found rather difficult. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was known as the rottweiler. Catholic friends said when he was elected they hoped he'd prove to be a German Shepherd. Sadly I don't think he made the transition, and this book is an excellent assessment of why and how.
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on 21 September 2015
Not yet finished it, but so far, its very good.
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on 30 August 2014
Insightful if a bit heavy going
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