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Confessions of a Lapsed Catholic

By Sheila Cassidy,
Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd., London, 2010,
RRP $34.95

Reviewed by Marian Zauchenbrecher, Queensland Synod Associate General Secretary.

I HAVE been a fan of Sheila Cassidy since I read her first book, Audacity to Believe.

Ms Cassidy is a Roman Catholic laywoman, who was raised in Australia, trained and worked as a doctor in the UK and was in Chile during the time of the coup d’etat backed by the CIA when the democratically elected leader was replaced by
the dictator Pinochet.

Ms Cassidy was imprisoned and tortured in Chile for providing medical assistance to a political opponent of the regime.

The Catholic faith that had been her inspiration, strength and guide maintained her through this time and through her subsequent detour into a convent and then to being Medical Director of a hospice.

In reading her latest book
Confessions of a Lapsed Catholic I realised how much her journey had its counterpart in my own life.

Again I connected with her through my own ageing process and experiences of the church.

Now retired, she questions not her faith, but the way the Catholic Church has mediated the worship of the Divine.

While once she had found God in the Church’s liturgies, worship, music and the Host, she now experiences God in people, Scripture, poetry, music and the natural world.

She concludes by outlining how she wants to respond to the God so revealed by caring for the planet, others, and ourselves.

I loved her confessions of being a shopaholic, loving her dogs, her contradictions and watching the illuminating documentaries that can be seen on evening television.

This book is an undemanding read that may yet demand our response and challenge our preconceptions.