Sunday, 26 July 2009

SIPE, A.W.R: Sex, Priests and Power

Anatomy of a Crisis

From every corner of this country and from countires around the world, reports of sexual abuse, exploitation, and ongoing sexual misconduct by Catholic priests have appeared in every major newspaper, magazine, and TV and Radio talk show. What was first denied by church officials finally turned into a deluge of overwhelming evidence played out in legal settlements and courtrooms. Richard Sipe startled the world in 1990 with his controversial book,A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy, which presented evidence of sexual activity by almost 50% of the Roman Catholic priesthood. In this book, Richard Sipe examines the continuing sexual crisis facing the Catholicm Church today. Has the storm of publicity and controvery caused the church to acknowledge any of the accusations? Will the church accept statistical evidence or alter the way in which it trains its clergy? How has it come to grips with reforming or retraining abusers? Has it acknowledged the spread of AIDS among its ranks?Why does the church oppress women and react with hostility and fear towards them?Sex, Priests, andPower: Anatomy of a Crisisaddresses these and other questions. The book substantiates its conclusions with many vivid and chilling stories of sexual abuse by clergy against children, women, and members of its own ranks... * Father James Porter victimized 200 children between 1960-1972 while an active parish priest. * A 52-year-old priest, under the guise of family friend and tutor, sexually abused two sisters for two years. They were ages six and eight at the start of the abuse. * A priest who teaches high school seeks out a sophomore student for a homosexual liaison. After two years he ends the relationship in favor of a new sophomore love interest. The priest has honed this continuing pattern of sexual exploitation to perfection. Not simply satisified with exposing the epic crisis, Richard Sipe analyzes the structure underlying the church's celibate/sexual system andpoiints out unsolved problems with the current teachings. He calls for an honest, open discussion of sexuality and celibacy within the church and offers a refined description of the practice. Sex, Priests, and Poweris an invitation to exorcise the demons that threaten to engulf a mighty institution. Richard Sipe argues convincingly for an honest examination of the power structure of the Catholic Church and a thorough search for the factors that diminish and distort religion.

by Anson Shupe, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

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