In mid-September, I ran into retired General Barry McCaffrey in the green room at the NBC studios in Washington. He was discussing the latest turn in the don’t-ask-don’t-tell wars; I was providing commentary on Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.K.
In between our appearances (known in the trade as “hits”), McCaffrey asked me about my new work on John Paul II, “The End and the Beginning,” and we discussed the late pope’s role in the Long Lent of scandal in 2002, which I describe at length in the book.
We then fell to talking about the reform of the U.S. military after the debacle of Vietnam, in which McCaffrey played a significant role. I mentioned that I had long had a hunch that there were lessons in that process of institutional self-renewal for the Church, and he promised to send me a book on the subject, “Prodigal Soldiers” by James Kitfield.
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