Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- in the Midst of His People: The Authorized Biography of Bishop Maurice J. Dingman by Shirley Crisler

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- in the Midst of His People: The Authorized Biography of Bishop Maurice J. Dingman by Shirley Crisler

Article excerpt

In the Midst of His People. The Authorized Biography of Bishop Maurice J. Dingman. By Shirley Crisler, SFCC, and Mira Mosle, BVM. (Iowa City: Rudi Publishing. 1995. Pp. xv, 283. $14.95 paperback.)

To borrow George Will's comment about David McCullough's Truman, this book is a 300-page "valentine" to Maurice J. Dingman. Not that the sixth bishop of Des Moines does not deserve such. He was a most gracious, holy, inspirational gentleman, whose name is still revered in his home Diocese of Davenport, and the Diocese of Des Moines, where he served as bishop from 1968 until his debilitating stroke forced his resignation in 1986. Nor does the quasi-hagiographical style make it less than informative reading. Particularly will those who knew the man find this collection of memories and anecdotes about this effective shepherd interesting and moving. The work also provides a human portrait of a typical "pastoral bishop," a term used to describe some bishops appointed after the close of the Second Vatican Council who exercised a collegial, informal, collaborative style and who were aggressive in promoting what they understood to be the mandated reforms of the council. The sections on the papal visit to Iowa masterminded by Dingman, his struggle over the question of womens' ordination, and the effects of his crippling stroke, are particularly well done.

Where the book disappoints is in its lack of depth. …

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