Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis

Article excerpt

A. W. RICHARD SIPE: Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis. Brunner/Mazel, New York, 1995, 192 pp., $24.95.

This book presents disturbing and necessary reading for those unaware of the corruption intrinsic to what Sipe calls the Celibate/Sexual System. I had hoped that celibacy-although formulated by Reformed Christianity as a gift given to only afew individuals-had somehow been required and obtained of the many in Roman Catholic religious orders. I could hardly have been more mistaken and naive.

Sipe provides compelling evidence that thousands of boys, girls, men, and women are sexually, emotionally, and spiritually abused and exploited by selfish men who continue to claim to be celibate! It is not the minority of priests who are so fallen, either, according to Sipe. "At any one time, 2% of vowed celibate clergy can be said to have achieved celibacy," says Sipe (p. 67). He maintains that only recently has this centuries-old scandal been even acknowledged, mainly as the result of court action, not out of ecclesiastical concern for the many and tragic victims (some of whom have been forced to have abortions against their conscience [p. 124]). Sipe repeatedly argues throughout his book that the celibate system of power, control, and secrecy encourages and perpetuates these abuses, which he places squarely and properly within "the category of evil."

However, in claiming that "no Christian Church has developed an adequate theory of sexuality," (and while implicitly offering one which I find highly problematic), Sipe ignores the rich and well-integrated views of sexuality articulated by the Reformers, particularly the Puritans. …

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