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Liturgical Press

Sacred Silence

Denial and the Crisis in the Church

Donald Cozzens

Sacred Silence
Sacred Silence

ISBN: 9780814627310, 2731

Details: 208 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 02/01/2004
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Sacred Silence is a book about failed leadership in the Catholic Church. Donald Cozzens looks at various challenges and the scandal gripping the Church and offers an historical overview of our church leadership. He explains how the misplaced loyalties of those in leadership positions created the current crisis.

Cozzens clarifies why bishops and church authorities think the way they do and why the ecclesiastical system might be the real villain in the abuse scandal. With compassion and understanding Cozzens answers the why of the present and past leadership failures and proposes a new direction.

Chapters in Part One: Masks of Denial are "Sacred Silence," and "Forms of Denial." Chapters in Part Two: Faces of Denial are "Sacred Oaths, Sacred Promises," "Voices of Women," "Religious Life and the Priesthood," "Abuse of Our Children," "Clerical Culture," "Gay Men in the Priesthood," and "Ministry and Leadership." The chapter in Part Three: Beyond Denial is "Sacred Silence, Sacred Speech."

Donald Cozzens, PhD, (1939–2021) a priest and an award-winning writer, was author of a number of best-selling books published by Liturgical Press including The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church, Faith That Dares to Speak, Freeing Celibacy, and The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest. He was writer in residence at John Carroll University where he taught in the religious studies department.

ISBN: 9780814627310, 2731

Details: 208 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 02/01/2004


Donald Cozzens' Sacred Silence is a courageous, prophetic book: prophetic in the biblical sense of penetrating present reality to see and to speak the truth of where God is at work. . . . The messenger is clearly a man of God, his priesthood, and his church. The prose is gentle, even elegant in places; the criticism pointed but compassionate; the message challenging but empowering. The reader feels enlightened and guided but not pummeled by the discussion. For some, this book will also bring relief that denial has been removed, truth told, honest emotions faced, and the possibility of a way forward in truth and love envisioned.
Pastoral Music

Donald Cozzens thoughtfully and courageously explores the underpinnings of the current and continuing crisis of the abuse of power riddling the Catholic Church. His explanation of insidious silence and the forms and faces of denial—personal and institutional—generate a kind of intervention whereby the reader is confronted with what can no longer be denied. The issues are explored with stark clarity and genuine sensitivity. His book paves a path to authentic honest dialogue, which is the only way that will lead to personal, social, and ecclesial transformation.
The Catholic Journalist

Father Cozzens' earlier book The Changing Face of the Priesthood evoked criticism from many persons that he had violated the secrets of the Church. Now Cozzens responds. He demonstrates that the Church has too much secrecy for the sake of its own credibility and moral authority. The culture of the Church has long honored loyalty, deference, and silence, and the result has been disastrous. We need a brave ‘redemptive honesty’ if we are to move toward a healthier, holier Church. Cozzens is a man of faith who dares to say what needs to be said. This book is the next step in a debate which the Catholic community urgently needs.
Dean R. Hoge, Professor, The Catholic University of America

I recommend this book to anyone who loves the church and can stomach a close look at its ugly, gaping wounds.
Review for Religious