The McGurk is a novel about the many cultural facets of Catholicism within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. We read about a small aspect of that very large story as it plays out primarily in the lives of bishops, priests and nuns who are struggling with their Faith, their loyalties and their sense of 'church'. Many aspects of historical Jesus research are integral to the storyline. The Irish in Philadelphia and Irish Catholicism as it existed there are the nucleus of the story.
The McGurk can be purchased at Amazon.com .
The novel also portrays the effect of the differing points of view and agendas of powerful Catholics in the lives of the average Philadelphian with whom they come in contact. A large part of the story takes place in Glenside and Ardsley, Pennsylvania and its surrounding area as well as Philadelphia.
Topics portrayed include clerical sexual abuse of children, Satanism within the Church, the loss of Faith and its eventual return and the overall influence of Irish Catholicism and its paradigms on the formation of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The characters in the novel are often flawed, weak, unsure of themselves and their Faith and struggling to do the right thing as they see it in their lives. They are in turn strong and weak, good and bad, honest and dishonest with themselves and others. In other words, they are fully human just like you and me. This is not a fairy tale. It is an honest attempt to deal with these issues as they really are, not as propagandists want them to be seen. Catholics are first and foremost people. Try and read the story that way.
It is to be understood that this is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the fictional characters in the book and real people is coincidental and unintended. There are no secret messages encoded within the novel. It is a fictional story concerning very real issues within the Catholic Church in Philadelphia yesterday and today. I hope you enjoy the story and that it serves as a vehicle for reflection on Faith for all that read it.
Other books by Tom Barnes can be found at the following websites and are also available at Amazon.com .