If I'd been an editor on this book, I would have changed the title to True Confessions of a Young Catholic: Take this Bread and take this Whine.
Matthew Lickona has the blind faith that is the luxury of those who benefit from the system. He admits that he doesn't "understand the Church's teaching on birth control," but then goes on to say, "But what's it matter if I understand it? I don't have to understand it, I only have to follow it." But you don't have to get pregnant, do you?
As for my proposed subtitle: Matthew whines. He whines a lot. He whines about wanting to have sex with his wife while she's ovulating (and he tries to goad her into it, despite the fact that they've agreed to practice natural family planning). When they cut it too close and she ends up with an unplanned pregnancy, he prays for a miscarriage (how pro-life of him). He whines about what a hypocritical sinner he is for praying for such a thing. He doesn't get his wish, which means he gets to whine about how his oldest son doesn't properly love the Church. He whines about how modern church music is too "upbeat." He whines when a priest adapts the text of the Eucharistic prayer. He whines BIG TIME when a lesbian couple comes into Church and by their mere presence distract him from the Mass. He whines when the majority of his congregation are Latino or Vietnamese. He whines because his brother is holier than him. He whines because he and his wife don't have time to make fancy meals when they entertain because they've got too many kids (4, two boys, and two girls, the latter of which are NEVER given much screen-time in his memoir). He whines because his mother-in-law is pagan and thinks the Church is unjust for not ordaining women (Matthew puts up a feeble defense of the Church patriarchy here). And finally, he whines because he doesn't have very many friends (I can't figure out why).
He flagellates himself for the sins of lust and wrath, but what his character really smacks of is pride. "It's hard to be a good Catholic, but LOOK HOW HARD I TRY!!!!" Even when he attempts to make himself vulnerable by expressing some very deep faults (including his short temper with his kids, which comes across as borderline abusive), the tone remains prideful: "I'm so humble that I can admit my terrible sins." A direct quote from Matthew while talking about his pagan mother-in-law: "I want Mom to see something attractive in the faith, something she wants and does not have. I want her to see in our lives evidence that OURS is a living God, one who acts in the human heart in a way the goddess does not."
My God is better than your God, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
I can appreciate Matthew's spiritual seeking, I just wish it would take him a little further than the Pope's back yard.