Everyman Today Call Rome
Publication Date: September 15, 2011
This is the book that put Charles Coulombe on the map, as a force to be reckoned with! It is comprised of three sections. The first and largest section outlines the history of world events which have shaped our world and have ultimately led to the current crisis in the Church. The second part discusses changes in the approach to the Mass, the Sacraments, and Christian life as a whole. Mr. Coulombe closes the book by explaining how a person can safeguard the integrity of his faith amidst all the challenges of today's world. Everyman Today Call Rome is a historical narrative that is loaded with wit and insights in typical Coulombe fashion that you will not want to miss.
Many priests, in these new age days, would prefer to relinquish their mystic power. They would rather be presidents of the assembly than offerers of the altar; initiators than baptisers; counselors than confessors. So be it. But let them give up also their salaries and sinecures, their cooks and Cadillacs. If we laymen forced them to consider, the question not in terms of theology, but in terms of revenue, orthodoxy would bloom.
The time is coming when we young people will hold the Church in our hands. If we are to do our duty to Christ the King, we must accept the challenge of Catholic reconstruction. To do that, we must each of us acquire the education denied us. We could not help being robbed; we can blame only ourselves if we remain poor.
This bebop “rebel without a cause” attitude affected every sector of Catholic practice in the 1960s and 70s, and is with us yet. But by trivialising the Church in their care, our predecessors did more than gratify their own egos. They made the Church appear to be less than worth dying for, and thus less than worth living for. And in doing so they lost the greater part of our generation.
There is to our generation a nihilism: that is, a nothingism. For us, there are no absolutes, no morals, no vices, and no virtues. We have been raised to believe that our own desires are the only goals we need. But it is not so. We have been taught that all desires can come true. But that is a lie. Our unachievable quest for constant gratification becomes a mere flight from pain that is as unrealistic as it is useless. That flight can go only into a dead end. Contrary to what our mentors, either at home or on the boob tube, have said, there is no happiness without responsibility, and there is no responsibility without pain.
It follows, then, that before we can do anything constructive, we must rid ourselves of certain mental preconditioning bequeathed to us by the factors mentioned above. Of all the generations ever spawned in this land of the free and home of the brave, ours has been the most nourished by lies. Falsehood throbs, pumps, and flows through our thought. Getting everything we want will make us happy. Sex will make us happy. Drugs will make us happy. We alone can determine what is right for us. If only we push hard enough, total freedom and total indulgence will bring total joy. We have been sold a bill of spoiled goods, and for lack of learning, wisdom, or age, we have bought them.
But we can only get so close to another person, and no further. As we were created for loving union with our Creator, it follows that union is the unconscious model for all of our relationships. In the Eucharist, that real and total union we hunger for occurs, and fills us with life. The lack of that union is eternal death.
If we, the youth of today, can congratulate ourselves on our superior intelligence, we may also think about our greater indifference. If a hostile government persecuted the Church in America, would we drop all our hopes of career, family, and rush off to the barricades? Would an American counterpart of the Mexican Cristero or the Austrian Heimwehr spring up, vowed to save Catholicism or die in the attempt? Would we be like the brave Knights of Gondor, who rode against Sauron’s legions to defend Minas Tirith, despite certain defeat? Prudence and insight often conceal a tepid, weak heart.
If we wish to free our Church and our country from the evil ideas and the evil men who enslave them, we must first become people of prayer. Otherwise, it would merely be a case of substituting one set of scoundrels for another, of corrupt young fools for corrupt old fools. Are not most (if not all) political revolutions like that? The only method of avoiding becoming the mirror images of the enemy is that of prayer, penance, and humility.
Beware, however, of theologians who try to “interpret, nuance, or rethink,” infallible statements. Had Pope or Council meant something different from what they clearly said, they would have said something else. Often this “nuancing” is done to remove uncomfortable doctrine. But if the doctrine is uncomfortable, it is the theologian who must be “nuanced.”
I really enjoyed seeing how Mr. Coulombe wrote as a young man. His writing is filled with such passion, energy, and spunk. As a young man myself, I find it to be an exhilarating read. There's a lot of zingers and one liners in here that really resounded within me in a special way. One of my favorites was "you're going to be dead a lot long than you're going to be alive." That is a brutal perspective on reality that really shakes one out of apathy, and pushes one to search for answers and truth.
As a young man born well after this book was originally written, I certainly don't think I was audience Charles had in mind when he wrote Every Man Today Call Rome. Nevertheless, I can say with the upmost certainty that the book has provided me with an outlook on history from a Catholic perspective that twelve years of Catholic school education did not even come close to.
I personally love Mr. Coulombe's writing style; the sarcastic, passive-aggressive jabs are right up my alley. Non-fiction history books can be monotonous, but not when Charles pens them. Having listened to every Off the Menu episode, I can tell that Charles has not changed a bit in terms of his humor in the past 40 years (which is a good thing!).
Every Catholic must read this book in order to know what they are up against. Society has slowly been reaching the point it is currently at by the gradual adoption of liberalism and modernism. We must arm ourselves with knowledge to "fight the good fight."
A great portion of the book is on the history of Catholicism. The book explains how Catholicism in the United States became what it was in the 80s (and still is now). It's a fun read and has humor all throughout the pages. Don't be put off by the book's initial target audience, it's still worth reading today.
I recently read Mr. Charles Coulombe's book's and found it to be an excellent, easy and enjoyable read so typical of Charles' writing style. If every Catholic High School were to assign this book as a book report we may be able to turn the tide yet! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a concise Catholic perspective on where Catholics stand in America, how we got here, what has been lost - and make no mistake, much has been lost as I have been learning over the past several years - and what do.
Bona Tempora Volvant!
There has not been a book I've read by Mr. Coulombe that has not surprised. A tiny little book with an ambiguous title - despite my respect for the author, I was not expecting much. Again, how wrong I was. With few words and a biting tongue, Mr. Coulombe takes us on a detailed, yet concise whirlwind through Catholic history, showing how the problems of the Church extend centuries back, and arguing forcefully why we must recollect what was lost. Written when he was in his mid 20s, this book has the energy of youth but the knowledge of an aged scholar. This work builds a historical and theological backbone with which we can use to further study and contemplate where we went wrong, and what we must do to fix it. The extensive Suggested Reading List at the end is worth the price of the book alone.
Was a good read. I learned more about how certain events led to Vatican 2.
Every Man today calls Rome provides a good overview of the current crisis in the church, both in regards to it's origins and the situation as it lay when the book was written in the late 1980s. The book helps shed light on a lot of things that the average person, especially among Catholics, would not pick up in high school or collegiate history courses. The only fault I can think of is that the book could be much longer, especially in it's explanation of the catholic faith. (The view of history herein outlined could and probably should fill tomes) But Charles instead keeps focus and succeeds in his goal of explaining the current situation in the church. For this reason I feel it deserves five stars, unless you are an expert I think everyone could glean something from the pages of Coulombe's work.
Very informative book on the history of the Church and why we as Catholics are where we are today. Still holds up after 35 years.
Entertaining and insightful. Mr. Coulombe challenges historical and cultural myths, failed societal bromides, and false interpretations of faith and history with good cheer.
Charles Coulombe’s first book sheds light on the path of fallen dominoes that led us to where we are today. Punctual and full of wit.