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PHILIP F. LAWLER is editor of Catholic World News, the first English language Catholic news service operating on the internet, which he founded in 1995. Born and raised in the Boston area, he attended Harvard College, graduating with honors in Government in 1972. He did graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Chicago before entering a career in journalism. Mr. Lawler has served as Director of Studies for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank based in Washington; as founder and president of a national organization of Catholic laity; and as editor of Crisis magazine. In 1986 he became the first layman to edit The Pilot, the Boston archdiocesan newspaper. From 1993 through 2005 he was editor of the international monthly magazine Catholic World Report. Philip Lawler has been active in political campaigns, as a speechwriter and organizer, on the local, state, and national levels. He was an honorary member of the Inauguration Committees for President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and for President George Bush in 1988. In 2000 he himself was a candidate for the US Senate, running against Sen. Edward Kennedy. Mr. Lawler is the author of a dozen books on political and religious topics; the most recent include A Call to Serve, a biography of the newly elected Pope Francis; and The Faithful Departed, on the decline of Catholic influence in Boston. He is now completing work on a new book, The Counterculture Catholic. His essays, book reviews, and editorial columns have appeared in over 100 newspapers around the United States and abroad, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe.
Philip is married to Leila Marie Lawler, the popular blogger (Like Mother Like Daughter) and coauthor of The Little Oratory: a Beginner’s Guide to Praying at Home. They have seven children and nine (and counting) grandchildren. The Lawlers now live in central Massachusetts.
The Faithful Departed traces the rise and fall of the Catholic Church as a cultural dynamo in Boston, showing how the Massachusetts experience set a pattern that has echoed throughout the United States as religious institutions have lost social influence in the face of rising secularization.