The Priestly Sins
By Andrew M. Greeley
(Forge Books, Hardcover, 9780765310521, 304pp.)
Publication Date: April 2004
Categories: Christian - General
Not since his runaway bestseller, The Cardinal Sins, has Father Andrew M. Greeley written such a searing and topical novel about the state of the Catholic Church.
The Priestly Sins tells the story of Father Herman Hoffman, a gifted and innocent young man from the distant prairies of the Great Plains. In the first summer of his first parish appointment, Hoffman is swept up in The Crisis after witnessing child abuse in the parish rectory. He tells the pastor, the father of the victim, and the local police but is rebuffed by the archbishop. Soon he is vilified for denouncing a priest who has been "cleared" by the police and learns the harsh fate of the whistle-blower in the contemporary Catholic church: He is locked up in a mental-health center and then sent into exile to do graduate study.
In Chicago to study immigrant history, he encounters the local "Vicar for Extern Priests," the legendary Monsignor Blackie Ryan, who helps him regain his confidence. Hoffman returns home to demand a parish of his own from the archbishop. Reluctantly, the church hierarchy assigns him to a dying parish, but by his zeal and charm Hoffman revives the local church. His brief idyll is shattered by a subpoena to testify in a court hearing. If he speaks, he will have to take on the "downtown" establishment that is determined to destroy him and many of his fellow priests who want to be rid of this painful reminder of a sinful past. Hoffman faces exile not only from his parish, but from the priesthood itself.
Writing from the author's fifty years of experience as a priest, The Priestly Sins will be criticized by some but embraced by most as an all-too-candid story of all-too-human priests. The Priestly Sins is Father Greeley's most electrifying novel in three decades, a novel sure to rise up the bestseller lists.
A native of Chicago, Reverend Andrew M. Greeley, is a priest, distinguished sociologist and bestselling author. He is professor of social sciences at the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona, as well as Research Associate at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. His current sociological research focuses on current issues facing the Catholic Church-including celibacy of priests, ordination of women, religious imagination, and sexual behavior of Catholics.
Father Greeley received the S.T.L. in 1954 from St. Mary of Lake Seminary. His graduate work was done at the University of Chicago, where he received the M.A. Degree in 1961 and the Ph.D. in 1962.
Father Greeley has written scores of books and hundreds of popular and scholarly articles on a variety of issues in sociology, education and religion. His column on political, church and social issues is carried by the carried by the Chicago Sun Times and may other newspapers. He stimulates discussion of neglected issues and often anticipates sociological trends. He is the author of more than thirty bestselling novels and an autobiography, Furthermore!: Confessions of a Parish Priest.