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Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church Hardcover – November 1, 2002


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Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church + Freeing Celibacy + The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A Reflection on the Priest's Crisis of Soul
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Pr; 1ST edition (November 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081462779X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814627792
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,746,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I believe Cozzens will be recognized in retrospect as one of the forerunners of Vatican III." -- Patrick Henry, Executive Director, Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN

... a wise, well-informed, insightful, truth-telling observer of the Catholic priesthood, seminary life, and broader pastoral activities of church. -- Rev. Richard P. McBrien, Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

This book is the next step in a debate which the Catholic community urgently needs. -- Dean R. Hoge, Life Cycle Institute, The Catholic University of America

About the Author

Donald Cozzens is visiting associate professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He is the author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood (The Liturgical Press, 2000) and Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church (The Liturgical Press, Fall, 2002).

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Trojcak on November 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a Roman Catholic priest, ordained 40 years, and I am more grateful than I can say, for Donald Cozzen's latest book. It is the most plain-spoken, insightful, exhaustive, profound, and above all, honest book on the Church and its current parlous state, than any of the many I've read. I hesitate to call it courageous, though it surely is that. For this book followed his earlier book on the priesthood, and he was pilloried by many for that. But, fatuously, I'm afraid, I would like to think that anyone, cleric or lay, would have been, if not able, at least willing to say what Cozzens has said here. Unhappily, this is far from the truth. Now, if a bishop would be willing.......
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Robert William DeMarco on August 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Beautifully written, this book is remarkable for its candor, its clarity, and its precision. Something terribly sad and completely unnecessary has fallen over the life of the Catholic community in the United States. It shows itself in many different ways. But its most characteristic feature is inhibited speech and an empty silence where a prayerful, well informed, discerning, and passionate conversation should be going on. For all concerned about the future of the Catholic Church this deeply thoughtful and humane book will explain the attitudes, decisions, and practices that are threatening it. If opening a way for God's Spirit to move freely in the desires and imaginations of human beings is part of what is meant by "prophecy," Donald Cozzens is a clear-eyed, soft-spoken prophet for Catholicism's present situation.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gary C. Marfin on December 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sacred Silence has much to say. The body as "playground" was a metaphor used by one priest in justifying his sexual interest in a young male. It is, he went on to say, the "soul" that counts. This is a chilling line of reasoning. Cozzens' thesis is the Church's first challenge is to breakthrough the "wall of denial and silence" that has surrounded the issue of sexual abuse. Sacred Silence, to use President Reagan's phrase, is trying to "tear down that wall." The first part of the book identifies the factors that have motivated "denial" on the part of the clergy (institutional dynamics play a key role here) and the ways that silence has manifested itself, including a brief, but fascinating discussion of the failed efforts of African nuns to generate a dialogue on abuse when they first raised it in 1995. The remainder of the book focuses on potential reforms. Much of the problem stems, in Cozzens' view, from the tradition of celibacy itself. This tradition, he thinks, merits serious re-examination, as do other factors, including an expanded role for women and a revised, more representative process for selecting Bishops.
What disturbed me about Cozzens was not his substantive thesis, but his timid style. Here he runs the risk of sending the wrong signal to church authorities. He recognizes that there is a systemic problem here; that priests, insofar as they have been involved in the abuse of minors, have overwhelmingly selected teenage boys as opposed to girls and; that, more often than not, far too little was done to protect the children themselves (as opposed to the offending priest, as William F. Buckley has observed). With all this, it would seem incumbent on the Church to study carefully the mental rationalizations used by abusing priests, and flat-out irresponsible not to do so.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By The Rev. Dr. Daniel J. G. G. Block on November 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Father Cozzens writes with brutal honesty about the religious denomination that he loves and faithfully serves. Without flinching, he describes the dysfunctional system that has resulted in denial, avoidance, minimization, anger and a self-destructive religious culture.
Sadly, Father Cozzens' concerns are applicable to other religious denominations as well. All of the problems that he describes as existing among Latin Rite Roman Catholics exist, also, within the so-called Protestant denominations.
Father Cozzens' remedy is as appropriate for the rest of the Church catholic as it is for the Roman Catholic church. If the Church is to be saved from its own bureaucracy and episcopacy, the time has come for honest, direct, open, challenging, and painful dialogue. If the laity are to escape the heavy hand of the clergy, so that they too may minister, then the time has come to end clerical privilege.
Father Cozzens prescribes a painful remedy for that which currently ails Christ's Church. Nevertheless, it is a remedy.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Deftly written by Donald Cozzens (a Catholic priest and teacher of religious studies at John Carroll University), Sacred Silence: Denial And The Crisis In The Church is an unflinching examination of the Catholic Church and its current troubles that even as this review is written has resulted in the removal of the American Archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law from his post. Addressing not only issues of sexual abuse allegations, Sacred Silence expands into the question of why the church is so controlling, and how it needs to change to become more responsive to the people it serves worldwide. Sacred Silence is very strongly recommended reading for both Catholic clergy and laity, as well as non-Catholics with an interest the administrative and public relations problems of clerical misconduct to wreak upon their own religious communities and institutions.
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