1. Inside the "Secret World"
2. Sexual Orientation and Celibacy
3. The Morale Question
4. Why They Leave
5. Priests and the Catholic Revolution
6. Clergy, Hierarchy, and Laity
7. Priests Under Pressure
9. Policy Implications
Appendix from the Los Angeles Times
Priests: A Calling in Crisis / Edition 2by Andrew M. Greeley
Pub. Date: 03/28/2004
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
For several years now, the Roman Catholic Church and the institution of the priesthood itself have been at the center of a firestorm of controversy. While many of the criticisms lodged against the recent actions of the Churchand a small number of its priestsare justified, the conventional wisdom that has gained currency as an explanation for these actions is, according to Andrew Greeley, often flat-out wrong.
Neither liberal nor conservative, Greeley's Priests offers nothing less than a portrait of the priesthood today. No stranger to controversy himself, Greeley challenges those analysts and the media who parrot them in placing the blame for recent Church scandals on the mandate of celibacy or a clerical culture that supports homosexuality. Drawing upon reliable national survey samples of priests, Greeley demolishes current stereotypes about the percentage of homosexual priests, the level of personal and professional happiness among priests, the role of celibacy in their lives, and many other issues.
While the picture Greeley paints should radically reorient the public perception of priests, he does not hesitate to criticize the Church's significant shortcomings. Most priests, for example, do not think the sexual abuse problems are serious, and they do not think that poor preaching or liturgy is a problem, though the laity give them very low marks on their ministerial skills. Priests do not listen to the laity, bishops do not listen to priests, and the Vatican does not listen to any of them. With Greeley's statistical evidence and provocative recommendations for change, Priests offers a new vision for American Catholics, one based on real problems and solutions rather than on images of a depraved, immature, and frustrated priesthood.
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