I will do a review of Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion, but I am certain the man is acute, perceptive, and discerning, because he said this:
As Leon Podles put it in Sacrilege (2007), his magisterial [yes!] and sickening [all too true] history of clerical sexual abuse, both “new errors” and “old errors” were at work in the Church’s scandal – relativism and clericalism, permissiveness and authoritarianism, the worst impulses of liberalizers and traditionalists intertwining in an awful tangle of corruption.
Some people told me that they began the book but couldn’t read it – what I was describing was too awful even to think about.
Father Richard Neuhaus hated the book.
George Weigel was sure I was grossly exaggerating – but it turned out it was even worse than I thought.
Archbishop Dolan was introduced to me at a reception; the name clicked, because as he turned away he said “I am familiar with your writings.” The tone, although I wouldn’t characterize it as hostile, was not exactly the friendly tone he had assumed with everyone else.
But at least Ross Douthat saw what I was trying to do.