The Inner Life of Priests
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The Inner Life of Priests is a landmark exploration of how the categories and practices of psychology are contributing to a new health and vitality in the priesthood. Authors McGlone and Sperry (both nationally-recognized experts on the integration of psychology and spirituality in priestly life), investigate issues and answer questions that concern those invested in the healthy ministry of priests everyone from the people in the pews to those in Church leadership. They include: How has psychology helped us understand both mental and spiritual health of those applying to Catholic seminaries and then serving in priestly ministry? How has it shaped understanding of key issues like affective maturity, cultural competency and even the discipline of celibacy? How has it helped Church leaders better understanding and positively influence clerical culture in seminaries, dioceses, and religious orders?
Catholic laity, priests, seminarians, vocation directors, those considering religious and priestly vocations everyone interested in how men serving in this critical ministerial role are identified, formed and supported will welcome this authoritative and positive book.
Gerard J. McGlone, SJ, PhD, is Executive Director at Saint John Vianney Treatment Center in Downingtown, PA. A nationally known expert and presenter, he has authored many articles, chapters and books including Creating Safe and Sacred Places, and two nationally-acclaimed prevention programs: "The Instruments of Hope and Healing" and "Critical Conversations."
Len Sperry, MD, PhD, is a professor at Florida Atlantic University and at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He consults to dioceses and religious orders and is on 10 editorial boards including Psychology of Religion & Spirituality. Among his 600+ publications are the award winning Transforming Self and Community: Revisioning Pastoral Counseling & Spiritual Direction; Sex, Priestly Ministry & the Church, and Spirituality in Clinical Practice (2ed).
With honesty, insight and respect, this book offers a long, loving look at the priesthood of Jesus Christ. This is a must read for those engaged in formation and anyone engaged in work within the life of the Catholic Church.
Rev. Thomas M. Dragga, DMin, president-rector, Borromeo, Seminary, Cleveland
The Inner Life of Priests offers all of us-priests, seminarians and the laity-a comprehensive look at the life of the priest in our day from theological and psychological perspectives. It opens the reader's eyes to viewpoints not seen too often in other publications. Those who are involved in the formation and on-going education of the clergy will find this book very helpful for their work.
The Most Reverend Gerald T. Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, Rector, Saint Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York
Just what the doctor ordered, a clear-eyed, warts-and-all, yet ultimately loving look at the promise and peril of the contemporary priesthood.
John L. Allen Jr., Senior correspondent, National Catholic Reporter, Author of The Future Church (Random House, 2009)
This volume brings theological, multicultural, psychological, and psychospiritual insights to bear on the multifaceted and intriguing question, What does it take to become and remain a happy, healthy, and holy priest? Probing the inner life of the priest in search of those dimensions of `affective maturity`-the sine qua non of priestly ministry today-McGlone and Sperry offer no facile, one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter answers. I encourage seminarians, priests, and all who are entrusted with seminary formation and the ongoing formation of priests to take to heart the wisdom found in these pages.
The Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes, bishop of San Bernardino, California
McGlone and Sperry are both clinical professionals with many years of experience in priestly formation. Their book explores the ways that good clinical practice and good formation work together to produce and support happy, healthy, holy priests. Every formation director, seminary rector, vocation director, and vicar for clergy should have The Inner Life of Priests on his reference shelf.
Mary L. Gautier, PhD, senior research associate, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Georgetown University
In The Inner Life of Priests Jesuit father and psychologist Jerry McGlone and Catholic psychiatrist Len Sperry offer a thoughtful, articulate, and evidence-based reflection on the multifaceted inner life of Catholic priests today. During a time when priestly life has come into question and sometimes scandalized, this much-needed book provides an insightful and reasoned discussion that cuts through the myths and misinformation about this important and still noble vocation. It is a must read for everyone who wears a Roman collar, for the layperson in the pews, and anyone interested in the inner life of Catholic priests today."
Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, professor of psychology and director of Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University
Not since the bygone days of Kennedy and Greeley has there been a serious attempt to contextualize the psychological and spiritual landscape of American priests. This attempt is not rosy or sugarcoated, but it does present a comprehensive portrait and offers a great deal to think about. A welcome addition to the literature.
Rev. John Allan Loftus, SJ, PhD, former executive director of the Southdown Treatment Center in Ontario; former president of Regis College at the University of Toronto
At last a book about American priests, neither anecdotal nor "a priori" but data-based and well analyzed.
Rev. Robert Curry, SJ, chaplain, Saint John Vianney Center; former pastor and superior in the Maryland Province of the Jesuits
The Inner Life of Priests is a timely and important review of issues confronting the selection, formation, and ministry of those called to the priesthood. It provides a comprehensive review along with the developing issues that need to be considered and confronted for improving the life and mission of priests.
Ronald J. Karney, PhD, senior psychologist, Catholic Clinical Consultants,
A much-needed appeal to seminaries, religious communities, and dioceses to be true spaces of ongoing human formation. This book not only calls attention to the proper role of psychology, it provides a road map to wholeness and holiness for those called to ministry in the church.
Rev. Alejandro Crosthwaite, OP, faculty of Social Sciences, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Rome)
This study on the inner life of priests marries richly researched knowledge with encouraging yet hard-won insights about how priesthood in the Roman Catholic communion of faith might be lived healthfully and integrally in the increasingly multicultural reality of North American life. The text contributes immensely to essential information for all those seeking to foster and develop vocations to the priesthood in wholesome ways.
Rev. John Pavlik, OFM Cap, executive director, Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM)
The Inner Life of Priests is a practical presentation, grounded in research and clinical pastoral experience that serves as a helpful resource for those who are involved in the work of formation for priestly ministry in the church. The use of data and case studies provides meaningful insights into the joys and challenges of living authentically and faithfully the call to holiness, and to following Christ in serving the people of God as a priest.
Rev. John P. McGarry, SJ, rector, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University; former provincial, California Province of the Society of Jesus
Father McGlone and Dr. Sperry have explored and described the complex psychologies of men called to the celibate priesthood with an eye for accuracy and depth. This timely book serves as an excellent and necessary resource for those providing psychological services to priests, as well as spiritual directors and those in the work of formation of priests.
Jeffrey Feathergill, PsyD, psychological consultant to dioceses and religious orders
Few times have I read a book that both impressed and encouraged me. This book by Fr. McGlone and Dr. Sperry was impressive in its use of research and hopeful in providing us with solutions to our problems.
The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, DD, JCL, bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania
This book is the necessary conversation by psychologists and those in seminary formation. It will be a great resource for seminary admission committees, vocation directors, and bishops as it provides a contemporary portrait of priestly life from the perspective of psychological and sociological research that is grounded in the theological anthropology of the Roman Catholic tradition.
Rev. Mark A. Latcovich, PhD, vice-rector and academic dean, Saint Mary Seminary & Graduate School of Theology
Father McGlone, SJ, Len Sperry, and others address the inner life of the priest in a very insightful and helpful way. They use spirituality and psychology in a way that enables the priest to come to a deeper understanding of himself and his vocation.
The Most Reverend Gregory Aymond, archbishop of New Orleans