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The Truth at the Heart of the Lie

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I am a Catholic. I was crushed to learn about priests sexually abusing childern, and bishops protecting predators instead of victims. As a former priest, and longtime commentator on Catholic issues, I grasped that the problem involved basic systems of Church governance, tied to an unapologetic culture of male supremacy. But this crisis of faith prompted my fresh examination of historic turning points, when the Church chose power over service, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, to recent years. But I was also forced into a deep personal examination of conscience, confronting ways in which my own life invlved me in the structures of male supremacy, personal deceit, and distorted notions of God.

Yet in the writing of this book, I realized that I am still Catholic to the core, resolved to advance Church reform, with an anti-clericalism from within. Even in my place of internal exile, the faith remains my permanent connection to the living presence of Jesus Christ.

INTERVIEWS AND REVIEWS FOR The Truth at the Heart of the Lie


A deeply personal exploration of what has broken the modern Catholic Church...detailed, honest, and brutal...consistently captivating...[a] moving, forthright autobiography and searing critique…an urgent call to action. (Read full review)

James Carroll’s latest book is grounded in deep familiarity with the history of the Catholic Church, his experience as a faithful Catholic, and his own ever-perceptive mind. Though a wrenching and honest confrontation with the dismaying recent history of the Church, the book can and should be read also as a cautious, wise and real word of hope. A disturbing, moving, and important book from one of the keenest interpreters of contemporary Catholicism.

This persuasive, provocative book will be a must read. (Read full review)

James Carroll has been extending his life story and his critique of the Catholic Church in tandem for a generation. The Truth at the Heart of the Lie brings that turbulent dialogue to a moving and gripping conclusion, a repentant Catholic’s manifesto and culminating apologia pro vita sua. Prepare to race through it at one sitting -- and then live with it.

Amanpour & Company

James Carroll's new book, The Truth at the Heart of the Lie, is an amazing account of the author's life-long adventure of faith, full of candor and pain about one man's encounter with the peculiar blessings and severe limitations of Catholic Christianity. Here the reader will come to know a man of such intellectual breadth and astonishing self-honesty as one almost never encounters in contemporary literature.

In The Truth at the Heart of the Lie James Carroll bares his Catholic soul - and the soul of his Church…Carroll peers, with undaunted courage, into the shadows of deceit and corruption that have shaken his soul's confidence. In that darkness, he discovers the truth hidden in the human failings, sins, and betrayals of his Church’s bishops and priests. The Catholic priesthood and the Catholic Church are at a tipping point. This gripping memoir of faith, bringing us to our knees, might well move us over the edge.

Atlanta History Center Virtual Author Talks

James Carroll has written a courageous and inspiring account of his original commitment to and subsequent disillusion with the Catholic Church...Our only hope is to have the courage to imagine a future that returns to the spirit of equity, love and compassion that is fundamental to the true teaching not only of the Catholic Church but which lies at the heart of all the great world religions.