Catholic Priest Confronts the Church’s Sexual Abuse Scandal with his New Novel,
“The Black Wall of Silence.”
In his new novel, Fr. Paul Morrissey, O.S.A., a prison chaplain in Philadelphia, confronts the struggle between loyalty and honesty in the Church during the crisis of sexual abuse and the cover-up by some of its bishops.
The priest on the book cover is rendered mute by his collar, both literally and figuratively. As Fr. Morrissey says, “We need to be able to speak honestly in the Church as Pope Francis has encouraged us. My hope is that this book will foster a discussion about sexuality, gender and power in the Church so that we can heal.” His book is dedicated to Pope Francis.
In the midst of the sexual abuse crisis that is tearing the Church apart, a Catholic priest is caught between fighting for the victims of sexual abuse and his bond of loyalty to the Church. What makes this conflict unique is the internal struggle of the priest who is gay, in a Church that is ashamed of his orientation and rewards him for his silence.
While working as a chaplain in Riker’s Island Jail, Father Zach learns from an inmate’s confession, that the priest whom the inmate is accused of murdering, sexually abused him when he was a teenager. Father Zach discovers that his friend, who is now a bishop, was the one who reassigned this priest after his first abuse. The battle of the priest, determined to defend the inmate, and the bishop, intent on defending the Church, drives the plot to its courtroom climax. Which will prevail – honesty or loyalty?
Author Paul Morrissey, a priest who lives with his Augustinian community in Philadelphia, has served the church for 47 years. He has been a chaplain in the Philadelphia prison system since 2006. Morrissey taught theology, been spiritual care coordinator for the home hospice program of the Visiting Nurse Service in New York City, founded a pastoral counseling center in New York and the Adeodatus Prison Ministry Program in Philadelphia. His memoir, Let Someone Hold You: The Journey of a Hospice Priest, won the Christopher Award and the Catholic Press Award.
For additional information, please visit www.blackwallofsilence.com
The Black Wall of Silence
Fr. Paul Morrissey, OSA
ISBN: 978-1-4575-3250-4 228 pages $14.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.
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