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Sex, Priests, And Power: Anatomy Of A Crisis Hardcover – April 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0876307694 ISBN-10: 0876307691 Edition: 1st
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Sex, Priests, And Power: Anatomy Of A Crisis + A Secret World: Sexuality And The Search For Celibacy + Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For more than 30 years, psychotherapist Sipe has been engaged in research on the institution and practice of priestly celibacy. He has reported and interpreted that research before, but this book takes it as background for a more thorough examination of the entanglement of sexuality and power in the historical development of the Roman Catholic Church. Given the pervasiveness of the entanglement, the book becomes a case study of sorts, with implications beyond the boundaries of Roman Catholicism and beyond the practice of celibacy. Among the most interesting and important aspects of the book is its systematic application of sociobiology to a concrete moral--and political--problem. That sociobiology shares with Roman Catholic theology a profound appreciation for the "natural" as an ethical category makes this a promising venture--and it carries it beyond the potential trivialities of expose{‚} or polemic. This is a thoughtful book, informed not only by the headlines but also by a deep respect for celibacy and for the Roman Catholic tradition as well as the "systemic" insights of sociobiology. Steve Schroeder
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876307691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876307694
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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56 of 71 people found the following review helpful By M KIRK-DUGGAN on August 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Sipe offers the first quantatative and qualatative look at the cancer on the American Latin Rite Catholic Church. He offers convincing evidence that 50% of the Latin Rite Priests and Bishops are sexually active, despite the Church's teaching that any and all sexual activity outside of marriage is mortally sinful. Anyone who has been affected by a sexually active priest or bishop needs to read this book to learn that they are not alone. Sipe's careful research is not an attack on celibacy: instead he reinforces the correct theological opinion that celibacy is a divine gift; not a command that must be followed at all times and in all circumstances. Unfortunately, the blurbs on the dust jacket of this book would lead one to conclude that this is a "Maria Monk" exposing lurid secret details of the priesthood for the prurient. Instead it is patient and kind to those seeking an understanding as to why a bishop would publicly defend his homoerotic liason with an embezzeling priest, as a "consensual arrangement between adults!" (Santa Rosa, 8/99) One would hope that either or both of his books would be mandatory reading for those enrolled in Latin Rite seminaries, as well as their mentors. This book deserves as much seminary attention as that presently given to penitentials. Sipe notes the failure of the Rite of Reconcilliation (Confession) for troubled priests and their victims. Perhaps this is because the Confessional as practiced today is inherently Manichean: it separates the sinful acts from the human creature's entire being. Many current 12th Step programs remedy this defect of ordinary practice, by requiring complete inventories, assets as well as liabilities.Read more ›
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's not about sex. It's about power according to this author. He backs up his claim with historical evidence: the Church's mistreatment of women, and Jews, for example. Included are chilling quotes from the Malleus Malificarum used as a training book in seminaries for two centuries. The Malleus, used to train priests, sounds like the ravings of a madman, and it no doubt was...
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Format: Hardcover
A. W. Richard Sipe (born 1932) is a former Benedictine monk-priest of 18 years (he resigned his priesthood, and is now married), a sociologist and author/coauthor of books such as A Secret World: Sexuality And The Search For Celibacy and Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1995 book, "In 1960 when I began studying the practice, process, and achievement of priestly celibacy, I had no sense of any crisis or any idea that my explorations would lead me inexorably to the vortex of a critical contest that engages moral doctrine and religious discipline." (Pg. xv) "This book is not an attack on an important religious practice---celibacy---much less on a church or religion. It is an invitation to dialogue about issues that have profound effects on people. It is an effort to analyze the function and structure of a system that exerts real power in an area of existence vital to human service, happiness, and productivity: sexuality as it is understood by the celibate/sexual teaching and practice of the Catholic Church." (Pg. xvi) He adds, "In this present study, two questions led me... Why does celibacy persist as a personal and cultural entity...? And how are celibacy and sexuality connected to the power system of the Catholic Church?" (Pg.
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Format: Hardcover
Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis.

"The power of love is a curious thing. Make a one man weep, make another man sing."
-Huey Lewis.

What's it like to be a priest sexually? What's it like to try to help others with their internal conflicts here while dealing honestly your own sex?

Sipe gets your attention with hard numbers: 50% of priests and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church are sexually active. I learned today also that oversees and in combat, the US Military requires all US soldiers to refrain from any sex with self or others and from viewing pornography. That's the law. Does not matter if you are assigned in Iraq or Afghanistan for a decade or more. Seems the military code makes as much sense as the Roman Catholic Church on celibacy. Sipe gets to the core of this.

I watched a ball game with a priest friend a couple days back; had another priest friend coming to dinner the same week. We spoke of such things; sort of. No matter what our role in church we put our erotic pants on one leg at a time here, no? Not easily, however. Whether we are celibate or married or just trying to make up our minds, we don't want to think about these things much out loud, as they are messy. Either wonderfully or horribly. Sipe explains here what happens when we don't look and talk about this.

Thinking back, I've almost forgotten my 12 years as a practicing and soon to be Orthodox priest yet with a career cut short by divorce. I was and still am asking a lot of Sipe like questions, then and now. About love, sex and God. About power. Younger and married at the time, now divorced and remarried, the same questions about this Eros loom big. Very big.
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