The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A Reflection on the Priest's Crisis of Soul

Overview

Few today would contest that the priesthood is in a state of crisis. The nature and implications of that crisis, however, remain the subject of considerable discussion and debate. In The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Fr. Donald Cozzens offers insight into the crisis by reflecting on the issues, challenges, concerns, and realities of the priesthood today.

The same year that Pope John XXIII surprised the Catholic world with his call for an ecumenical council, Cozzens began his ...

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Overview

Few today would contest that the priesthood is in a state of crisis. The nature and implications of that crisis, however, remain the subject of considerable discussion and debate. In The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Fr. Donald Cozzens offers insight into the crisis by reflecting on the issues, challenges, concerns, and realities of the priesthood today.

The same year that Pope John XXIII surprised the Catholic world with his call for an ecumenical council, Cozzens began his formal study of theology. As a seminarian he felt the shaking of the priesthood’s foundations. The very face of the priesthood was evolving even as he arrived at his first parish assignment. A generation later, the face of the priesthood continues to reveal new contours, fascinating features, and sadly, some tragic blemishes.

In The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Cozzens takes a long, honest look at the present state of the priesthood. He provides this examination not merely from an empirical, scientific perspective but also from a personal, pastoral perspective. Drawing on clinical data, church documents, and his nearly forty years of pastoral experience, Cozzens gives shape and form to the changing face of the priesthood. Through his reflections he leads readers to both concern and hope for the priesthood of the twenty-first century.

Chapters are “Discovering an Identity,” “Guarding One’s Integrity,” “Loving as a Celibate,” “Facing the Unconscious,” “Becoming a Man,” “Tending the Word,” “Considering Orientation,” “Betraying Our Young,” and “The Changing Face of the Priesthood.”

About the Author: Reverend Donald Cozzens is currently a resident scholar at the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He will be joining the religious studies department at John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio, in the fall of 2002. He is editor of the best-selling and award-winning book The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest, also published by The Liturgical Press.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

With boldness and wisdom, with enormous sensitivity and unflinching honesty, Fr. Donald Cozzens skillfully analyzes the issues and challenges that throw both shadow and light upon today's Roman Catholic priesthood. An enlightened study that draws on empirical data as well as pastoral experience. Should be a must read for all bishops, priests, seminarians.
William H. Shannon, Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies, Nazareth College of Rochester

. . . speaks with deep reverence and raw honesty about issues, challenges, concerns and realities impacting on priests and the Church in today's world. . . . The reading and discussion of this work by priests and parishioners alike will provide insight, argumentation, challenge and hope. The author demonstrates great courage in facing the agonies and ecstasies of the priesthood today.
Bishop Robert Morneau

It is full of wisdom and insights, success and failure, hope buttressed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

This is the most honest assessment of the American priesthood I have read in years. I found myself continuously underlining passages, and putting 'yes!' in the margins.
Paul Wilkes, Author of The Good Enough Catholic: A Guide for the Perplexed and In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest

. . . what Father Cozzens . . . has embarked upon is as comprehensive and honest an examination of conscience of the American priesthood as we have seen.
America

Drawing from years of experience and study, Fr. Don Cozzens artistically paints the very soul of the priesthood. The result is a masterpiece which captures its triumphs and tribulations, hopes and doubts, loves and disillusions, and the mysterious powers that sustain it. The Changing Face of the Priesthood could not be more timely as we enter the new millennium in hopes of a renewed priesthood.
Rev. Eugene F. Hemrick, Syndicated Columnist, Catholic News Service, Research Associate, The Catholic University of America, Research Director, The Washington Theological Union

This is the most important book on the priesthood I have read for many years. It is a breath of fresh air in that it is authentic, helpful, and open.
Dean R. Hoge, Life Cycle Institute, The Catholic University of America

It is Cozzens' love for the priesthood that motivates the book. He speaks warmly of the majority of priests in whom he finds great hope.
National Catholic Reporter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814627549
  • Publisher: Glazier, Michael, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2000
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Donald Cozzens--priest, writer, and lecturer--teaches in the religious studies department at John Carroll University. He is the award-winning and best-selling author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood and Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2003

    thought provoking

    Cozzens speaks the truth in this work. One cannot but feel for the contemporary Catholic priest and his predicament. One would hope that Church leaders will read this and take its message to heart. The Church could only benefit from Cozzens' analysis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2000

    This is a book that helps the reader examine the contemporary spirtitual challenges and experience of the Priesthood.

    Donald R. Cozzens reveals the thoughts and fears of the contemporary Roman Catholic Priest (and Religious). Despite public statements to the contrary, there is a melt-down taking place in the contemporary living and the spiritual life of men and women engaged in the life and ministry of the Church, especially the priest. The problem emmanates from the conflict between aurthority/obedience and conscience/authenticity. Cozzens compares the 'man of the Church' with his 'own man'(page 58). Using comtemporary studies on the subject of the oepdiphal complex, he examines a major flaw in the present day clerical culture of the Church. A similar flaw exists in contemporary business and political culture of any other contemporary non-religious organization. In this writing Cozzens is attempting to help us acknowledge and cope with this cause for melt-down in the Church and in many of society's structures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2000

    COURAGEOUS, TO A POINT

    This book, by a respected priest and formator of future priests, is filled with the courage of a man who loves the Church so much that he must speak the truth that he knows. He tackles a subject that has always been spoken of in hushed tones and behind closed doors: the sexuality of the Catholic priest.He is not afraid of confronting the phenomenon of homosexuality among priests and his fears of how this will eventually affect the Church's mission. He draws on his background as a psychologist to suggest ways of helping priests and seminarians to deal in healthy and creative ways with their sexuality...and being celibate at the same time. My only criticism is that the author, although he shows such courage and love, seems reluctant (1) to admit that a priest resigning to marry is actually making a healthy decision, and (2) to admit that the Church needs to make celibacy optional for its priests.His stopping short at this issue, for me, is a mediocre conclusion to a boldly truthful call for honesty among the leadership of the Church. I recommend the book to anyone who is interested or has a stake in the future of the Catholic priesthood.

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