Customer Reviews for

The Priestly Sins

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2004

    AN ARTICULATE, COMPELLING READING

    Those of you who have had the privilege of attending one of Rev. Greeley's lectures as he travels about the country know that his voice is both distinctive and compelling. In all probability, as a novice priest his training in the reading of scripture has added a timber, a luster, if you will to his speaking. From wherever this ability comes he possesses a voice that commands attention, which makes this audio edition of 'The Priestly Sins' a particularly fine listening experience. Using fiction as his pulpit Rev. Greeley addresses the sad story of sexual abuse by priests and the coverups perpetrated by church officials. He tellingly imagines the story of a young priest, Herman Hoffman, and his experiences after seeing a fellow priest abuse a child. One needs look no further than Rev. Greeley's website to find his stance on the subject of abuse within the church. He writes: 'I have, for the record, been warning Church leadership since 1985 that it was 'sitting on an atom bomb' created by the reassignment of abusing priests. One victim of a priest is one too many. One reassigned abuser is one too many. The number of abusing priests (1205) and victims (4268), is horrific.' As in the past whether the subject was the celibacy of priests, the infallibility of the Pope, or the ordination of women, Rev. Greeley speaks with refreshing candor and intelligence. It would do us all well to listen.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    A Timely Read

    The recent sexual assault conviction of Reverend .Paul Shanley lends new relevancy to this novel about the attempted cover-up of a homosexual rape perpetrated in a parish somewhere in one of the Plains states. But this is not just a novel about sexual abuse. Listen to these dramatic opening lines from the transcript of the abuse hearing: 'Judge: Just what kind of priest are you, Mr. Hoffman? Rev. Hoffman: One that tries to be a good priest, Your Honor, not always successfully. I suppose I would say I'm a sinful priest like all the others.' Here we plunge directly into the heart of this novel, in which Greeley tells the story of a priest--one very like himself, despite the differences in age and ethnicity. Herman Hugh Hoffman was a newly-ordained associate pastor assigned under pastor Leonard Lyons, when he witnessed the pastor raping a young man. In the course of the hearing, we learn that, as in the Shanley case, Hoffman's pastor ordered him and the victim to tell no one, threatened them, and claimed that no one would believe them even if they did tell. Hoffman, taking his chances, went to the diocese of Plains City only to find that he, not the offending pastor, was seen as the villain. The Archbishop had him admitted to a treatment center, ordering that he be drugged and brainwashed. 'Counseling' would indicate that he was himself homosexual and a victim of his own suppressed desires. Hoffman cleverly refused the drugs and managed to keep his sanity. Upon his release, the Diocese bribed him with an offer to fund his study for a doctorate at the University [of Chicago]. In the course of the hearing, Cardinal Cronin (familiar to readers of Greeley's Bishop mysteries) sends his well-known side-kick, the sympathetic Bishop Blackwood Ryan, down to check on the situation. The two men had met during Hoffman's stint at The University, but have not been in touch since that time. Blackwood professes much more interest in Hoffman himself than in the trial, and the young priest-witness gives him a journal he began keeping in high school. From this point on, the novel answers the judge's question: What kind of priest are you? Greeley depicts the son of German-Russian wheat farmers living somewhere in the Plains--in Plains State, to be exact. According to Greeley's own delineation, this could be South Dakota, Nebraska or Kansas, if this were God's world and not Greeley's own. Greeley has created his own world, which, like Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone, exists in a kind of parallel plane with the real world. (This is a change from the days of The Cardinal Sins, published in the early Eighties, which situated its story so close to the Diocese of Chicago that the national news reported rumors of threatened law suits.) Despite the fictitious state name, Greeley has created a vivid sense of place, bringing to life the German-Russian community, the families, the wheat fields. In this Greeley illustrates one of his own tenets about the Catholic novel, in which the location would play an almost character role in the story. It is difficult to imagine this story outside its setting. In the course of the journal account, Herman emerges as a believable young man, albeit more serious and intellectually inclined than the average teenager growing up in the 1980s. Still, he participates in basketball, parties, falls in love. It's hard to imagine a Greeley story without an Irish character or two, and we get that in the lovely red-headed Kathleen, who is Herman's true love into his college years, when he finally has to confront the fact that God is calling him to the celibate Catholic priesthood. In the person of Herman, we see Greeley's own vision of priesthood in today's world. Priests are normal men, sinful men, but men who are striving to serve God and the Church in a particular way. Like all normal men, some are better than others. Perhaps Hoffman--intellectual but personable, pastoral but organized, a doer who can delega

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    Andrew Greely gem

    The format is interesting. It starts as a transcript of a trial of priest. The principal character is a priest testifying at the trail. Father Hoffman is puzzled how he came to be the hero or villian. It is a timely book. Fiction has a close cousin, truth,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2006

    Compelling & poignant tale

    Never off-point that sexual-abuse of children is unacceptable, as are those elements within the church that shield and protect the abusers, Greeley offers a pager-turner that is both a sensitive biography and a sweet love story. And then he hammers the point. Worth every minute of reading time.

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    Posted March 23, 2010

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