ALCOHOLIC PRIESTS: A Sociological Study by Andrew A. Sorensen

ALCOHOLIC PRIESTS: A Sociological Study

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The first full social scientific study of alcoholism among Catholic and Episcopal priests, this reads like the doctoral dissertation it originally was. Using formal sociological methods and language, Sorensen (a medical sociologist teaching at Rochester Medical School) details the differences between alcoholic and nonalcoholic priests from childhood on up through their careers. A composite portrait of alcoholic priests emerges: they tend to be from families in which one parent is of Irish ancestry and the adult males drink heavily; they are often better educated and more arrogant than their fellows; they are usually more rigid, orthodox, and extrinsic in their religious attitudes; they drink to counteract feelings of low esteem and powerlessness and in response to stress; and though their fellow clergy and parishioners are generally tolerant to a fault, they experience ""much more downward mobility in their careers than the non-alcoholics."" Such findings may be of some general interest, but in itself this laborious research report is almost exclusively for churchmen and professionals in the field--and perhaps some clerical tipplers wanting to know themselves as science sees them.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1977
Publisher: Seabury