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The Silence We Keep: A Nun's View of the Catholic Priest Scandal Hardcover – March 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1st edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400050553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400050550
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,452,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Inspired by an article the author was asked to write for Rosie magazine, this book is a first effort at a more serious work for Jackowski, whose previous books have been lighter in tone (Sister Karol's Book of Spells and Blessings and Ten Fun Things to Do Before You Die). Here, she presents some cogent ideas about why the Catholic Church faces a sex-abuse scandal of mammoth proportions, but unfortunately, her threads of truth get tangled up in the presentation. Jackowski's evidence to support her claims is often anecdotal, or based on anonymous or secondary sources. For example, she backs her claim that few priests practice celibacy by citing a study showing 30 percent of priests to be sexually active, adding, "Some critics and seminarians, and most sisters I asked, felt the numbers should be doubled." Although she sees celibacy as a culprit, Jackowski acknowledges its inherent value and long tradition in many religions. She suggests it should not be required, noting that even St. Paul did not impose it on the early church. Forced celibacy, she writes, has been especially oppressive to men, causing them to act out their sexuality inappropriately. By contrast, she paints female religious celibates bound by the same constraints as liberated. Thus, Jackowski sees an opening of the priesthood to women on the horizon along with a renewal of "sisterhood" and a "New Pentecost" for her church. Readers will sense her passion even if they do not agree with her conclusions or methodology.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Although much has been recently written about the sexual abuse scandals that have plagued the contemporary Roman Catholic Church, one significant constituency has remained conspicuously mum. Breaking the code of silence that has been bred into nuns over the course of centuries, Sister Karol Jackowski speaks out, condemning the "culture of privilege and sexual permissiveness" that has culminated in such widespread clerical abuse. Tracing the historical roots of the spiritual hypocrisy that has paved the way for generations of self-serving priests, she also admonishes, in gentler terms, both the nuns and the laypersons whose unquestioning submissiveness to the "superior" male clergy contributed to the conspiracy of silence that initially shrouded and protected a large cadre of sexual predators. After tracing the evolution of both the priesthood and the sisterhood, she also makes a tremendous leap of faith by arguing that the overdue acknowledgment of these physical and spiritual crimes will eventually revitalize believers, foreshadowing a rebirth of Catholicism. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I thought that the hard work and thought given to this "expose" made it an honest interpretation of the present crisis in the Catholic Church. One certainly knows how this nun feels about it, and that is very refreshing. It is also a "good read".
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Cruz on April 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Karol Jackowski has been an ordained nun since 1964. The topic is pedophilia in the Priesthood, ONE book written by ONE nun. This is why I picked up the book, but I kept on reading because its REFRESHING & MODERN.

If you think you're not part of the problem read on:

A company found out several Employees represented the company, went out and had sex with children/minors on company grounds and off-site. Do you think the company would a: WAIT FOR PUBLIC OUTRAGE TO REACH DEAFENING PROPORTIONS b: STAY SILENT EVEN THOUGH THE PARENTS ALONG WITH THE CHILDREN ARE FILING PUBLIC CLAIMS c: DEFEND THE EMPLOYEES WITH A COMPANY ATTORNEY AT NO CHARGE TO THE EMPLOYEES BY CLOSING THEIR DAYCARE/YOUTH PROGRAMS d: TAKE THE CASE TO THE NEXT STOCK-HOLDERS MEETING e: NONE OF THE ABOVE.

All may be plausible, but any business executive would know "e" is the best choice because the company is at risk through no fault of their own. It would contend these employees acted on their own behalf, put their own needs above the welfare of the company and did something that was not company approved nor part of the company's policy to conduct business. It was a personal matter. A personal matter that is morally wrong and a crime. So the action would have to be swift and immediate to limit company damage and to avoid liability. Every single one would be handed over on a silver platter to the proper authorities: arrested, charged and a trial date set.

To have these Employees represented by a company attorney would be INSANITY, to close facilities that benefit the community for the sake of these few individuals that acted on their own behalf would be FATAL for the business.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By al rotundo on September 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
A GREAT book. And the author is no apologist. She traces the Church's troubles back to St. Augustine, and his fear and vilification of women, she adresses sex in the Church openly and straightforwardly, and she points to a hopeful future, wherein the laity takes back the Church from the clergy. The history of religion is a long line of splits and divisions; if the American Catholic Church broke off from Rome, sanctioning birth control, and allowing priests to marry, where would your loyalties lie? This book also contains what might be the most powerful single line I have ever read: "The only problem in the world today is we have lost the ability to look upon our fellow human beings, and see the face of God." 5 bright shining stars, not to be missed.
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By Toni on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is very well written and researched. The points made obviously come from one who has lived the experience of both old and renewed religious life. Although the Church is presently going through very tough times, the author rejoices in the hope that we are at the crossroads of a new reformation and that we will all grow from these experiences brought about by an unfortunate display of clerical deviency. I wish I had discovered this author previously.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Karol Jackowski has been a nun since 1964, and is a member of the Sisters for Christian Community in New York City; she has also written books such as Forever and Ever, Amen, Divine Madness: Why I Am Still a Nun, Good Cooking Habits: Food for Your Body, Your Soul, and Your Funnybone by Nun Other Than Fr. Karol Jackowski, Ten Fun Things to Do Before You Die, etc.

She wrote in the Preface to this 2004 book, "I didn't want to get involved in the mess we see unfolding before us now, and given the noticeable silence of sisters of the subject, I am certainly not alone... The priesthood alone created this scandal and the responsibility of explaining how it continues is theirs alone. Because only priests know the whole truth, I felt as if there was nothing for me to say. I was wrong... Never before have I been asked as I am now to say what I'm thinking. Nearly everyone I meet asks what I know about the sex scandals in the priesthood and wonder is something similar is going on in the sisterhood. Al question the future of Catholicism. My response is this book... This was not an enjoyable book to write... In writing this book, I rediscovered as new the sacred truths and traditions that still make me love being a Catholic... My greatest hope in writing this book is that we all look seriously at the silences we keep and begin to speak to one another about what we're thinking.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rednun on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this nonfiction piece disappointing, ultrafeminist, very yellow, and slanted. Males are the enemy, and only females can save the church. She concluded her book with a greeting commonly used only by witches. Some Catholic, eh?
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