Waiting for the Apocalypse
A Memoir of Faith and Family
By Veronica Chater
W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393066036, 336pp.
Publication Date: February 2009
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It is 1972, and Veronica Chater's parents believe that Vatican II's liberalization has corrupted the Catholic Church, inviting the Holy Chastisement an apocalypse prophesied by three shepherds in Fatima, Portugal. To spare his family this horror, Veronica's father quits the highway patrol, sells everything, and moves the family of eight from California to an isolated village near Fatima.
But Portugal is no Catholic utopia, and the family schleps home penniless to join the nascent Catholic counterrevolution: attending the Latin Mass in truck garages and abandoned buildings, serving meals to religious soldiers, breeding a new member of the faithful every year. As Veronica comes of age on the fringes of the American Dream, she rebels against a fanaticism that forbids anything modern clothes, movies, or music. This is the story, both sad and funny, of a family torn apart by religion and brought back together in spite of the injuries it inflicted on itself.