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The Catholic Historical Review 87.4 (2001) 780-781

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The Trouble with Priests (Their Trials and Triumphs): An Historical Study of the Priests of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio

Lyons, John F. The Trouble with Priests (Their Trials and Triumphs): An Historical Study of the Priests of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. (Cleveland, Ohio: Bishop's Press. 2001. Pp. iv, 101. $15.00 paperback.)

This work discusses the lives of fourteen Cleveland priests and contains, in addition, two chapters dealing with Cleveland's second bishop, Richard Gilmour. Most of the fourteen priests ministered mainly in the nineteenth century with only two spending the majority of their priesthood in the twentieth century. The unifying theme of the book is the notion of "trouble"--either the "trouble" the priest experienced in his ministry, the "trouble" he caused (usually to his bishop), or the "trouble" (in the sense of effort) he took to minister effectively. The book is really a compilation of passages taken verbatim from other works, most notably from the second volume of a work published in 1903 by the Reverend George F. Houck and Michael W. Carr entitled History of Catholicity in Northern Ohio and the Diocese of Cleveland, 1749 to 1900. Other sources include parish histories, a doctoral dissertation, an article from a published work, and an obituary from Cleveland's diocesan newspaper. The author has added an [End Page 780] introduction and foreword as well as short introductions to most of the chapters that seek to relate that particular chapter to the theme of "trouble." Originally there was no reference or notice that the chapters were taken directly from other sources. Later Father Lyons clarified the matter by putting a notice in all the unsold copies listing the sources that he used. In this notice he referred to himself as "compiler" rather than as "author." The stories told about the priests in this book are for the most part inspiring and positive although at times incomplete. Negative or more controversial aspects of their lives are passed over or mentioned briefly. The book has several grammatical errors, and the bibliography is incomplete, failing to include works from which large sections of chapters of the book were taken.


Thomas W. Tifft
(Saint Mary Seminary, Wickliffe, Ohio)



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