The May 28 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers.

In this edition, Richard J. Mammana tells the story of The Innocent Curate, a roman à clef (and now a collector’s item) that cut too close to the bone for some readers:

The novel’s plot — if it can be called a plot — consists entirely in the interactions of these individuals and their interests during an undefined period of time described in 203 easy pages that can be consumed in a morning with three strong coffees or an afternoon with many weak lemonades. The parish, with its constellation of competing interests and characters, is unable to manage an experience of the miraculous. The curate in his innocence receives the stigmata while delivering a tray of drinks to friends at the country club, and things fall apart: “But why?” asks Sonny. “I didn’t do anything wrong.” The rector insists that the curate has been praying too much, and asks him to go to the library.

The secret of scarce copies is a perfect combination of just one edition with a relatively limited print run, cover art by a major graphic artist, and a large enough group of persons who were offended by their portrayal in the book and keen to limit its circle of readers. There were credible stories as recently as the late 1990s about admirers of Father Kirby stealing The Innocent Curate from public libraries to remove it from circulation, or hoarding triplicates and quadruplicates of the book when it came up for sale.

News

  • Spiritual Disarmament
  • Risk it All in Mission 

Features

  • Pay for a Priest or a Building | By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
  • Step Out of the Chaos | By Jon Davis
  • My Schnorrer Is Calling Again! | By Steve Schlossberg

Cultures

  • The Innocent Curate | By Richard J. Mammana
  • Church and State | By Retta Blaney

Books

  • When Anything Goes | Review by Andrew Petiprin
  • One Love | Review by Mark Michael
  • Being Disciples | Review by Paul Nesta
  • Preaching the Luminous Word | Review by Anthony Petrotta

Other Departments

  • Cæli enarrant
  • People & Places
  • Sunday’s Readings

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