• A Priesthood Imprisoned

Initial responses to the Sexual Abuse crisis in the Catholic Church suggested that the explanation lay in the fact that certain ‘rotten apples’ had found their way into the ranks of priests. Later, the response was to infer that those in authority – bishops and religious superiors – had handled the crisis in ways that were insensitive and inappropriate.

In A Priesthood Imprisoned John E Ryan considers these responses inadequate because they do not acknowledge a deeper problem affecting clergy that results from a system that is both toxic and dysfunctional; nor do they reflect worldwide research to show that many priests in the Catholic Church are immature and incapable of forming healthy relationships without help.

He suggests that the cause of this immaturity lies within seminary formation where the institutional processes become frozen at immature stages, relying on fear, law and control; and depriving too many of the basic experience of Christianity as love.

The sad result is that if priests are unable to form healthy relationships, they may engage in unhealthy ones – and even engage in relationships of an abusive nature, unfortunately including the abuse of children.

Noting that there are two ways of leaving priesthood – one is to leave and move out; the other is to leave and stay in, he suggests that the only way forward for a healthy life for those who wish to remain in the priesthood is to leave the old and create the new - and he offers wise guidance on how this may happen.


John Ryan is a priest of the Diocese of Sandhurst.  He pursued post graduate studies in Pastoral Theology in Rome from 1970 to 1972 and in Spirituality in St Louis, USA from 1972 to 1974.  

In 1977 he helped establish the Educational Centre for Christian Spirituality an din 1982 he founded the St Peter Centre for Clergy Education which led to the introduction inAustralia of the ministry to Priests and Ministry to Religious Programs and later the Catholic Institute for Ministry.

In 1995 he worked as a counsellor in the Archdiocesan Office of Centacare and in 1999 helped establish the Humanita Foundation, an Australian Foundation for Integrated Christian Living whose aim was to stimulate renewal in the Church's understanding of human development and sexuality.  Since retirement, John now lives in Canberra.
Detail
Author John E Ryan
Pages 128
Publication Date 27 Novemer 2017
Imprint Coventry Press
ISBN 9780648145714

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A Priesthood Imprisoned

  • Authors Ryan, John E
  • Product Code: 9780648145714
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $24.95

  • Ex Tax: $22.68

Tags: Priesthood, Catholic Church