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The Unhealed Wound: The Church and Human Sexuality [Paperback]

By Eugene Kennedy (Author)
Our Price $ 11.01  
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Item Number 158912  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.24" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2002
Publisher   St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN  031228358X  
EAN  9780312283582  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewThe Catholic Church has not yet learned to speak gracefully and truthfully about sexuality, according to Eugene Kennedy's The Unhealed Wound. Kennedy's book blends history, psychology, theology, and journalistic storytelling in a sophisticated and humane analysis of where and how Catholic teaching about human sexuality has gone wrong. Teaching that flesh and spirit are locked in a battle with each other, the Catholic Church has treated human sexuality as a bane of human existence, not a gift from God. The Unhealed Wound argues that Catholicism will have a hard time righting its teachings because so much of its power as an institution depends on keeping its members in "a frightened and dependent state" regarding their own sexual impulses: "This emphasis on power diminishes [Catholicism's] true authority to help ordinary men and women put away childish things and grow up even by small steps.... the way, imperfect but tolerant of failings, we become human." --Michael Joseph Gross

Product Description
Kennedy, a psychologist, former priest, and a leading Catholic author and scholar, addresses one of the most compelling yet undiscussed issues in the Church: human sexuality. The Unhealed Wound is a penetrating and insightful study of the unresolved conflicts Catholics face regarding both their sexuality and spirituality, deep conflicts which grow more and more serious as they remain unaddressed within the Church.

He astutely yet respectfully takes to task a faith that---despite the reality of erotic love as a natural and human aspect of life itself---condemns birth control, marriage for priests, and sex outside of marriage. The Unhealed Wound also examines the Church's formidable hierarchy, challenging those clerics who uphold papal edicts unthinkingly. Articulately postulating our need not only to understand but celebrate our own sexuality, this book will engender both controversy and heated dialogue among today's scholars, students, and believers of Catholicism.

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More About Eugene Kennedy

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Eugene Kennedy is an award-winning author, a psychologist, a syndicated columnist, and professor emeritus at Loyola University of America. Once a priest, he and his wife, Sara Charles, M.D. live in Chicago.

Eugene Kennedy currently resides in Chicago, in the state of Illinois.

Eugene Kennedy has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Collected Works of Joseph Campbell

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General   [5549  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Catholic   [1161  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Psychology   [391  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Dipping into the altar whine  Oct 5, 2004
As a Roman Catholic in the Archdiocese of Boston, epicenter of the recent priest molestation scandals, I am well aware that my Church has more than its share of problems. I am at least as critical of its faults as the next person, but this was a book, purporting to pinpoint the Church's fundamental fault, that I just could not bring myself to like.

In "The Unhealed Wound," Eugene Kennedy has written a tiresomely repetitive book in which he lays all the faults of the Catholic Church on its "unhealed wound" concerning human sexuality. Kennedy discerns this wound in the Percival legend (he of the genital wound that would not heal) through the tragic story of Heloise and Abelard and into our day of pedophilic priests. The Church, as Kennedy sees it, pits Flesh against Spirit, forcing human beings to split themselves so that their heaven-tending souls may subdue their sin-prone flesh.

It's not a bad premise, except that it doesn't fully align with the Church's positive teachings about sexuality and embodiment. The Church has taught from the beginning (as in the Resurrection of Christ) that we are not souls trapped in disposable bodies, but are unified beings - embodied spirits. If the anthropology of a body-soul split has more than its share of representatives, its because the Church fails to counter this mistaken view, not because the Church embraces it.

Kennedy makes much of the existence of celibacy being a sign and symptom of the unhealed wound. But celibacy does not have to be read as life-denying, as legions of priests and saints throughout the ages can testify. The most fruitful celibate life is not accomplished by denying sexuality, but by using its power and drive for purposes other than "mere" genitality. True, some Catholics over the centuries have demonized bodiliness and feared sex. But those outlooks have not prevailed. Anyway, the recent abuses in Boston (as well as elsewhere) have nothing to do with poor, desexed priests trying to heal their sexual wounds. It's about an institution that saw itself above and apart from the rest of sinful creation, refused to police itself, and used its power to hide the criminals in its midst.

I am sympathetic to writers who wish to shed light on the problems of the Church -- if only to help us to right the Barque of Peter. Yet I found "The Unhealed Wound" to be tedious, whiny, off the mark and utterly unhelpful in its attempts to fix what ails Catholicism. The mere repetition of the words "wound" and "unhealed wound" was enough to make me dread turning every page. A less doctrinaire approach to the delicate and tangled subject of the Church and sexuality might have been more helpful in this time of change and crisis.
Revealing a Deep Problem  Jun 8, 2003
Kennedy discusses a problem in the Catholic Church which has been evident for centuries. How does a religion based on love involve itself with extreme violence toward women (witch hunts), control of men and women through terrorism (the Inquisition), and the mutilation of children (the castration of boys)? Yet according to official church policy there is no problem at all. If there is no problem then are serial murder, mutilation and torture are acceptable religious practices?
Every church official should have to study this book!  May 19, 2003
The Unhealed Wound is not just about human sexuality and the church. It gets deep into the sexism of the church. It is a much-needed book! Kennedy shows that the Catholic Church has historically practiced extreme sexism and continues to do so. This church desires to exercise total institutional control of women. It accomplishes this through a number of tactics. He quotes researcher A. W. Richard Sipe that this control is expressed "in the restriction or subjugation of the inferior group at the pleasure or for the use of the group in power..." He points out that this denomination prefers to ordain openly professed homosexuals as priests than to ordain a woman, primarily because the priest is supposed to be representative of Jesus and female differ so much physiologically from Jesus.

The author begins the book by examining the way the public opinion of priests has changed over the past century. They were once regarded as clean and pure. They were highly respected. They exercised great power and control over people, even nonbelievers. But in the last century, they have fallen from this high standing within society. Today, they are most often disregarded. Often, they are met with disdain. The Catholic Church has lost the primary source of its power.

Kennedy has utilized his investigative journalism skills to dig up lots of dirt on the church. Things such as the church changing death certificates of priests that have died with AIDS to cover their sexual problems. He exposes numerous cover-ups and immoral activity by the church.

This is a must read! Every church official, regardless of denomination, should be required to study it. Every woman should own a copy and read it aloud to the men in her life: father, husband, boyfriend, boss, and so forth. It is high time for the world to hear this message and force the officials to deal with the issues presented. I recommend this book to everyone.

Eugene Kennedy is a professor emeritus of psychology at Loyola University of America, a syndicated columnist, and an award-winning author.

Author says much that needs to be said but needs an editor  Oct 29, 2002
Kennedy, of course, is faulted by fundamentalists (both Catholic and non-Catholic), for saying up is up and down is down. But their criticism is foolish, and when examined, really unchristian. In this book Kennedy says what is so obvious it should be written in neon: the institutional church (not the real church, the people) has a hang up on sex. It cannot heal this sexual wound because it will not admit it exists. Amen. He is right, absolutely. My only objection is with his writing style. Run-on sentences are the norm. Parenthetical thoughts abound. But read through them. The message is worth the effort.
Diocesan Priest for over 40 years  Aug 6, 2002
I am a parish priest and I have taught in seminaries .
This book is so needed. It's brave and solid as it addresses the RC theological poverty in the area of sexuality. Kennedy goes for the jugular - ie power and control motivation at the heart of the church's official position , dysfuction and immaturity in the clerical world. John

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