The Black Wall of Silence: A Novel
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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 he 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?
Paul Francis Morrissey is an ordained Roman Catholic priest, spiritual director and prison chaplain. The second oldest of fourteen children, his memoir, Let Someone Hold You: The Journey of a Hospice Priest, won the Christopher Award and the Catholic Press Award in 1994. From 1977-90, he was the editor of an international newsletter for gay priests and religious. He currently edits “Voices From Prison and the Edge,” a newsletter in which prisoners, their family members, and others affected by crime share confessional stories in the manner of St. Augustine. His pamphlet, “Together To God: Praying the Augustinian Way,” was published in 2013. It is Fr. Morrissey’s sincerest hope that his novel will create a much-needed dialogue on sexuality, gender and power in the Catholic Church and far beyond. The website, www.Blackwallofsilence.com hosts a blog to foster this conversation.