Bishop Accountability


This list includes many perspectives on the crisis: traditional Catholic, progressive Catholic, and analysis by scholars and journalists unaffiliated with the church. Listing does not constitute endorsement. Please email us with suggestions for adding to the list.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these books, may we suggest that you click on the Powells icon below and do your buying at that wonderful independent bookstore in Portland OR? We will shortly introduce clickable pictures of each book, which will bring you directly to the appropriate Powells Web page for the book that interests you.

cover  The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church (Boston MA: Little, Brown, 2002). Amazon Hardcover Price: $16.77

An account of the crisis from a Boston perspective, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the story so aggressively for the Boston Globe in 2002. With 40 pages of documents in facsimile.

"The only reason that some of the truth has been revealed is because the Boston Globe got a judge to open documents that the Boston archdiocese fought to keep closed." - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal
cover  Catechism of the Catholic Church (2d ed., Washington DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2000) with glossary and analytical index. Amazon Paperback Price: $10.47

The official compendium of Catholic doctrine sets out church teaching on such relevant matters as homosexuality, the role of bishops, and the status of the laity.

"A sure norm for teaching the faith" and an "authentic reference text." - Pope John Paul II
cover  Donald B. Cozzens, The Changing Face of the Priesthood  (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2000). Amazon Paperback Price: $10.47

Cozzens draws on his experience as a seminary rector to examine the problems and promise of the contemporary priesthood. Includes a frank discussion of seminary formation and homosexuality among priests.

"The reading and discussion of this work by priests and parishioners alike will provide insight, argumentation, challenge and hope." - Bishop Robert Morneau
cover  Cardinal John Henry Newman, Conscience, Consensus, and the Development of Doctrine (New York: Doubleday Image, 1992). Amazon Paperback Price: $22.95

Gathers four works by Newman that pertain to current discussions of doctrine, dissent, papal authority, and the role of the laity: The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine," and "Letter Addressed to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk."
cover  George Weigel, The Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church (New York: Basic, 2002). Amazon Hardcover Price: $15.40

Offers fidelity as a solution to the crisis, against the claims of the "Light Brigade," whose dissenting Catholicism, Weigel argues, is responsible for the mess.

"Anybody ... will find here a short, masterful, information-packed examination, a book that is thoroughly trustworthy, and spot-on." - National Review Online
cover  Robert McClory, Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church (New York: Orbis, 2001). Amazon Paperback Price: $11.20

Tells the stories of Catherine of Siena, Thomas Aquinas, Mary Ward, Yves Congar, and others who were viewed as dissenters by some of their contemporaries, but who helped the church change and are no longer seen as dissenting.

"Makes fascinating and instructive reading for all those who are convinced that faith is not an immovable set of propositions, but rather an organic and growing treasure." - William J. La Due
cover  Benedict J. Groeschel, From Scandal to Hope (with a preface by Timothy M. Dolan, Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2002). Amazon Paperback Price $9.95

Groeschel examines the roots of the current troubles, both within and without the Catholic church. Calling upon the example of St. Francis, the founder of the rule he and his fellow Franciscans observe, Fr. Benedict encourages Catholics "to rebuild the Church, which is falling into ruin."
cover  Michael S. Rose, Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church (Washington DC: Regnery, 2002). Amazon Hardcover Price: $19.57

An orthodox analysis of the crisis that traces the problem to seminary formation which, in Rose's view, prefers dissenting and homosexual candidates to orthodox and heterosexual ones.

"A devastating account of what has been going on in Catholic seminaries. It will unnerve readers of all philosophical bents and is certain to provoke a very spirited debate." - William A. Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
cover  Frank Bruni and Elinor Burkett, A Gospel of Shame: Children, Sexual Abuse, and the Catholic Church (New York: Harper Perennial, 2002, with a new introduction and afterword by the authors; originally published by Viking, 1993). Amazon Paperback Price: $11.16

An early study that analyzes the cooperation between church and government to keep clergy abuse secret. One focus of the book is Frank Fitzpatrick's successful pursuit of James Porter.

"What makes the book noteworthy is its attempt to show the hesitation by the media, the mental health community, and law enforcement agencies to treat priests like other sexual offenders." - Library Journal
cover  Thomas J. Reese, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1996). Amazon Paperback Price: $12.57

A firsthand look at the people, the politics, and the organization of the Vatican, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, now so important in the church's handling of abuse cases.

"This even-handed and meticulously researched study of Vatican City and the papal bureaucracy couldn't come at a better time." - San Francisco Chronicle
cover  Jason Berry, Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children (Urbana IL: University of Illinois Press, 2000; originally published by Doubleday, 1992). Amazon Paperback Price: $13.97

Jason Berry's groundbreaking story of the Gauthe sexual abuse case in Louisiana and its continuing implications.

"The church itself could not have asked for a more fair-minded instrument of its own indictment." -USA Today
cover  Paul Lakeland, The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church (New York: Continuum, 2002). Amazon Hardcover Price: $20.27

Lakeland, professor of religious studies at Fairfield University, surveys the development of a theology of the laity between the first and second Vatican Councils, culminating in the work of Yves Congar. He describes how the church can recover from what he sees as the missed opportunities of the post-conciliar years and bring accountability to the bishops through lay involvement in ministry and governing structures.

"Nothing less than a blueprint for the future of the church.... His theology of the laity is indeed liberating--and timely." - Donald Cozzens
cover  John P. Beal, James A. Coriden, and Thomas J. Green, eds., New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (New York: Paulist Press, 2000). Amazon Hardcover Price: $62.97

An entirely new and comprehensive commentary by canonists from North America and Europe, with a revised English translation of the Code, this book was commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America. It is an essential tool for researching the church law of tribunals, pastoral and finance councils, and lay associations.

"Its historical depth and interpretive balance render the meaning of the canons accessible not only to canon lawyers but to all those in the church and beyond it who want to understand canon law." - Margaret A. Farley, Yale University Divinity School
cover  Paul E. Dinter, The Other Side of the Altar: One Man's Life in the Catholic Priesthood (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003). Amazon Hardcover Price: $16.10

Dinter describes his life as a priest ordained in the sixties, his struggle with celibacy, and his departure from the priesthood in 1994, disillusioned by what he sees as a church culture of denial and duplicity.

"Paul Dinter emerges as a significant truth teller . . . honest, informative, and riveting . . . His honesty is moving and at times wrenching." - Bill Cozzens, Commonweal
cover Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996; preface to paperback edition, 2000). Amazon Paperback Price: $4.49.

A challenging and revisionist analysis published after the Porter scandal. "Describes the different connstituencies active in recognizing and delineating the emerging problem," including the media, therapists, traditionalists and progressives, feminists, and lawyers.

"A fine cautionary tale that should give all parties to the pedophile-priest crisis something to think about." - New York Times Book Review
cover  Peter Steinfels, A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003). Amazon Hardcover Price: $18.20

American Catholicism "is on the verge of either an irreversible decline or a thoroughgoing transformation," according to Steinfels, veteran religion reporter and writer of the "Beliefs" column for the New York Times.

"If you want to know what is happening in the American Catholic Church, you must read this book. It is provocative. You may find yourself arguing with the author's diagnoses or his prescriptions for the future, but you will not be able to ignore him." - Monika Hellwig, President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
cover  Donald Cozzens, Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2002). Amazon $13.97

Cozzens probes the conscious and unconscious dynamics that sustain the Church’s culture of silence and points the Church in the direction of candor and honest dialogue.

"at once readable and insightful ... [a] lucid, accessible, and sensitive consideration of issues both deeply troubling and intensely important." - Margaret Susan Thompson, Syracuse University
cover  A.W. Richard Sipe, Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis (New York: Brunner-Routledge, 1995). Amazon Hardcover Price: $18.20

Sipe's second book on the crisis analyzes sexual abuse, AIDS in the priesthood, and other problems, and their source, as he sees it, in seminary formation and a fundamental tension between church structures and doctrine and the biology of sexuality.

"ambitious and intellectually distinguished" - Andrea Dworkin
cover  Paul Thigpen, ed., Shaken by Scandals: Catholics Speak Out about Priests' Sexual Abuse (Ann Arbor MI: Servant Publications). Amazon Paperback Price: $8.79.

An anthology of essays by Philip Lawler, Michael Novak, Rod Dreher, Mark Shea, and others. Sections on understanding and responding to the crisis are supplemented by scripture readings, reflections, prayers, and a small collection of responses from church officials.
cover  Mark D. Jordan, The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism (Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002). Amazon Paperback Price: $17.48

"Jordan investigates the ambiguous nature of the historical and the contemporary relationship between Catholicism and male homosexuality. Arguing that the Catholic Church is paradoxically both homophobic and homoerotic, he analyzes the established, and essentially hypocritical, church rhetoric concerning sexual morality." - Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
cover  Eugene Kennedy, The Unhealed Wound: The Church, the Priesthood, and the Question of Sexuality (New York: St. Martin's, 2001). Amazon Paperback Price $10.36

A study of human sexuality and the institutional church.

"Kennedy is a long-time observer of a church he clearly loves.... The Unhealed Wound will be a source of healing and liberation." - National Catholic Reporter

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