Mary Jo McConahay with Susan Grant - Playing God (Corte Madera Store)

Mary Jo McConahay
in conversation with Susan Grant

Playing God

Corte Madera Store

Sat., April 1, 2023 • 1:00pm PT

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera Store. Please contact with questions regarding events.

The definitive account of how a group of American Catholic bishops are using “dark money” and allying with ultra-right evangelicals in an attempt to remake America . . .

Seasoned Catholic journalist and former war correspondent Mary Jo McConahay tells the story of how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have become one of the most formidable and reactionary forces in America — by campaigning to alter democratic institutions under the guise of religious liberty, and allying with major right-wing contributors such as the Kochs.

In fact, many of the bishops — two-hundred and twenty-nine men, almost all white and beyond middle age — are such staunch opponents of Pope Francis that some US Catholics fear a schism with Rome.

The influence of these bishops can be traced in recent news stories — such was when they maneuvered to deny the Eucharist to pro-abortion politicians like President Biden. With their lay partners, the bishops also help shepherd cases into the Supreme Court that change the law of the land, as with Roe v. Wade.

But as McConahay details, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In an investigation reminiscent of Jane Mayer’s Dark Money, she uncovers an ominous and long-term political strategy of attacking secular, liberal democracy by waging war on democratic norms and institutions.

Mary Jo McConahay is one of the most prominent Catholic journalists in America. In the 1980s she was a legendary war correspondent covering the Central American insurgencies. She is the author of three books, including The Tango War, The Struggle for the Hearts, Minds and Riches of Latin America During World War II, (starred reviews Kirkus, Publishers’ Weekly, Library Journal), and Maya Roads, One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest (Northern California Book Awards Best Creative Nonfiction Book, National Geographic Traveler Book of the Month, Independent Publishers Award Best Travel Memoir).

Susan Grant is a Catholic businesswoman who has founded two successful service companies. She is also very active at her Catholic parish, which she has attended for over 40 years. She is a Eucharistic Minister and has been part of the leadership team for Women in Conversation, a group which meets bimonthly for a morning of listening to speakers and sharing our faith — issues, spirituality, challenges — to support one another as women in the Church. Susan and her husband live in Berkeley.


Mary Jo McConahay photo courtesy of Nancy McGirr; Susan Grant photo courtesy of the publisher



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Playing God: American Catholic Bishops and The Far Right By Mary Jo McConahay Cover Image
ISBN: 9781685890285
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House - March 28th, 2023