A Priest Forever?


A Memoir

N. John Hall

Frederic C. Beil, $24.95, 256 pp.


The Spiritual Journey of
Fr. Virgil Cordano

Mario T. García

Capra Press, $17.95, 287 pp.

The public reactions to Mother Teresa’s letters, which disclose her long experience of doubt and spiritual aridity, underscore that many of us find only incomprehension where others discover something richer. What makes the reactions so intriguing is what they tell us about ourselves.

These two memoirs present the stories of two men who were trained, ordained, and assigned as priests before Vatican II. From there they took divergent paths and arrived at strikingly different destinations-one growing deeper in faith, the other abandoning the priesthood and publicly espousing disbelief.

The older of the two men by fifteen years, Virgil Cordano (b. 1918), a Franciscan priest from California, tells his story to the historian Mario T. García. Cordano recounts his upbringing, the early death of his father, the close bonds among his mother and siblings, and his departure for the Franciscan seminary, hundreds of miles away in Santa Barbara. What follows for Cordano are...

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About the Author

Patrick Jordan is a former managing editor of Commonweal.