Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition
Viking, $29.99 hb, 312 pp, 9780670024872
Garry Wills is a distinguished American historian whose writings over the past twenty years or so on the frailties of the Catholic Church, notably in such books as Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (2000) and Why I Am a Catholic (2002), have provided stinging critiques of the institution to which he still steadfastly belongs. His new book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition, continues the theme by rejecting the validity of the very idea of the Catholic priesthood. And if this is not sufficiently radical, Wills’s subversion of the priesthood also involves a critique of the doctrine of the Real Presenceof Christ in the Eucharist, the status of the sacraments, of mainstream accounts of the Atonement, and of the standing of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.