Friday, June 10, 2011

Reviewing Breakfast With the Pope by Susan Vigilante

Meanwhile, at the same time we are going through all this, the whole in vitro revolution is happening. In vitro fertilization. IVF. The baby maker, the magic petri dish, the source of happy young families all over the country.


The Big Hope.

Forbidden by the Catholic Church.

Ok, go ahead. I know you're dying to say it. So come on, gimme your best shot.

"A bunch of celibate priess have no business telling married people how to run their lives.

Whoa! You thought that up all by yourself. Well, aren't you the quick one.

"The Catholic Church is always standing in the way of scientific progress. Galileo! Galileo!"

Please. Do we really have to go through the whole story of the world's original scientific publicity hound again. Because I hear the real problem was the telescopes weren't selling too well until he backed some clueless cardinals into a corner and forced them to put him on trial.

Any others?

Ah, yes, how could I forget.

"You Catholics have to learn to think for yourselves. You can't just go through life being blindly obedient to Rome."

Sorry. Three strikes and you're out. Call me when you've got one I haven't heard.
There in a nutshell is Susan Vigilante's struggle. She is suffering the heartbreak of childlessness and searching for God, wondering why her prayers never seem to be answered. Oh yes, and she is a writer who suffers from such writer's block that she hasn't written a book. Add in the fact that loved ones are stricken by devastating illness. As if that weren't enough, there is betrayal to deal with too.

That would make a sad and despairing memoir, except that just when the reader is ready to sink into a decline over the weight of Vigilante's struggles, she throws a curve ball of refreshing, funny, direct, straight-talk.

We follow Vigilante as she meets the friends who help sustain her through this time of trial. They are inspirational, funny, and integral to her spiritual journey. We become invested in the friendships as we read. Along the way, they open doors that Vigilante never could have expected, including one that leads to breakfast with the pope.

The end is surprising and I won't reveal it so that it may unfold for each person. However, I will say that I was shocked to the point of having several email conversations with another friend who had just finished the book.

This book reveals a woman who sticks by the Catholic Church when it isn't convenient. A woman who values truth above all and clings to it despite times when feelings, advice, and circumstances make her want to do what is easy. Which is to say that Susan Vigilante is a woman who values God above all. And straight-talk. Which is just what we need as we too examine where is God in our lives, are our prayers answered, and can we make tough decisions.

Dig in.

1 comment:

  1. I'll add this one to my wishlist, partly because the bit on IVF is really... timely. One of the biggest things I hear right now, as an infertile person who has just converted to Catholicism, is -- "But, but... why would you give up that option?" Sometimes I wonder myself, but not for very long.