Priest and ex-Jesuit, Terrance Sweeny explores in great detail the issues of Church authority and the priesthood. Is the Roman Catholic Church heading toward an irrevocable schism? Two factors that have been traditionally regarded as signs of unity and inspiration now threaten the very life of the Church: papal authority and eligibility requirements for the priesthood. Many American Catholics today are seriously questioning the authority of the Church, whose leaders claim absolute power over their faith and morals. Priests are leaving the Church and marrying publicly without dispensation from Rome; in fact, since 1965, more than 19,000 priests in the United States and 100,000 priests world-wide have married. Catholics in increasing numbers are supporting the idea of female clergy and rejecting celibacy as a requirement of the priestly office.In the maelstrom of demands and complaints surrounding the current exercise of authority in the Church, Sweeney asserts that fundamental questions must be answered: what is authority? Who has it? How is it verified?
This book offers a compelling critique of current Vatican policies, and issues an urgently needed call for the Church to enter into a greater dialogue with the millions of sincere Catholics who are feeling increasingly disenfranchised and alienated by a Church they see as out of touch with the real world.