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Father Ralph Pfau was one of AA's four most-published and most-formative authors (along with Bill Wilson, Richmond Walker, and Ed Webster) during the new movement's earliest thirty years, during which it grew from only 100 members to almost 300,000. In the first ten years Pfau spent working to spread AA, he said "I have traveled nearly 750,000 miles .... I have spoken before nearly two hundred thousand members of AA at retreats, meetings and conventions, and personally discussed problems with more than ten thousand alcoholics." He produced fourteen extremely popular books, called the Golden Books, under the pen name "Father John Doe," along with other books and recordings. When he joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1943, he became the first Roman Catholic priest to get sober in the newly formed movement. An alcoholic and drug addict, he had spent the previous ten years being removed from parish after parish, as his drinking and addiction to "downers" got out of control over and over again. He taught the spirituality of imperfection, drawing from St. ThErEse of Lisieux's Little Way and St. Augustine's teaching of God as Truth Itself -- the forgiving God who touches us in our fallenness, in acts of sudden psychological insight in which our whole perspective on life undergoes sweeping positive quantum changes. Over and over he calmed people's fear of God by reminding them that perfection was a myth, and that no human being could do it all. He was one of the most creative and interesting American Catholic theologians of his era.
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