PRIESTS IN THE UNITED STATES: Reflections on a Survey by Andrew H. Greeley

PRIESTS IN THE UNITED STATES: Reflections on a Survey

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Greeley's 24th book is a record of his reflections on a recent study of the American Catholic priesthood undertaken by the National Opinion Research Center for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report itself, in which Greeley, a sociologist, had a hand, presents a number of facts that, while not necessarily vital, are interesting enough. Priests, for example, are no more unhappy, or emotionally frustrated, or incapable of ""meaningful relationships"" than any other men in comparable brackets; and most priests feel that seminary education prepared them adequately for the ministry. Greeley's own feelings, however, based upon his personal interpretation of that report, are rather less than optimistic: the old ecclesiastical structures of organization and belief have collapsed utterly because they did not evolve into new ones and nothing has arisen to take their place; there is a ""serious, and perhaps fatal"" lack of leaders and scholars in the Church, and in their place there are ""careerists, faddists and cliche-mongers."" There are grounds for hope, too, but hardly for the immediate future. ""I would very much like to be wrong,"" Greeley says, ""but if the Holy Spirit is going to prove me wrong, he has his work cut out for hint."" Greeley wears Jeremiah's cloak becomingly, and it is to his credit that he is able to infuse life, and even charm, into what is an informed sociological monograph. Perhaps that quality will take the book beyond its primary, priestly market.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday