Book Description A searching, balanced, and convincing look at the sexual abuse scandal
in the American Catholic Church and its lessons for the future.
Church historian Joseph Chinnici served as provincial superior of the Franciscan Friars in California when the clergy sex abuse scandal touched his order—several years before it became a national issue. This book blends his own personal experience of trying to do the right thing in a fraught atmosphere, the best social-scientific and psychological research, and serious reflection by a follower of St. Francis on the way the church’s leaders can re-establish confidence and trust.
Chinnici analyzes the church’s relationship to our age and culture and the ways in which leaders misused their power to shore up an institutional vision that ultimately has little to do with the essence of Christianity. In the example of St. Francis of Assisi, Chinnici finds a path to a humble spirit of non-acquisitive ownership, evangelical freedom, and institutional transparency.
Joseph P. Chinnici, a Franciscan Friar, is professor of church history at the Franciscan School of Theology in the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, California. He is author of Living Stones: The History and Structure of Catholic Spiritual Life in the United States, and editor of the Franciscan Heritage Series.