Married to the Church

Married to the Church

Raymond Hedin and Raymond Hedin
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/22/1995
ISBN: 978-0-253-11455-6
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Praise for the first edition:
"A poignant and powerful truth works its way through Mr. Hedin’s stories.... These were men of high ideals, of moral passion, and many of them continue to struggle mightily to live honorable and generous lives." —Robert Coles, New York Times Book Review

A fascinating portrait of the priesthood today." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Originally published in 1995, this book about a group of Roman Catholic seminarians has been updated in the wake of the recent sexual abuse scandal in the church. In the 1950s, Raymond Hedin was one of a group of adolescents entering seminary during a time of dramatic change. When they emerged as young men, they found that their sense of themselves as special, chosen by God, afforded them no special protection from the turmoil they encountered—from without and within. Married to the Church tells the story of those men, the changes they have undergone, and the strategies they employ to live their lives well. For this new edition, Hedin re-interviewed many of these men to learn their reaction to the recent scandal and its impact upon their lives.

Author Bio

Raymond Hedin is Professor of American Literature at Indiana University. He spent his high school and college years at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee.


““ . . . a poignant and powerful truth works its way through Mr. Hedin’s stories about his life and those of his former fellow seminarians. These were men of high ideals, or moral passion, and many of them continue to struggle mightily to live honorable and generous lives.” —Robert Coles, New York Times Book Review “A provocative portrait of a generation of Catholics and its agenda for liberal change in the Church.” —Kirkus Reviews “ . . . a fascinating study. . . . the men here share the most intimate, painful and sometimes secret parts of their lives. They share as well the ways in which the Church as an institution seems to have set up an unhealthy environment that encourages isolation and distrust among its own clergy. This is an important piece of work not only in the Roman Catholic world, but for all Christendom . . . ” —Publishers Weekly “ . . . the group portrait which emerges [is] accurate, surprising, heartening and sad.” —Christian Century “ . . . a fascinating portrait of the priesthood today. . . . one of the most candid pictures of Roman Catholic priests in America.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “What a wonderful book! And how very important it is, too. I believe Hedin has everything right—priests, resigned priests, ex-seminarians. . . . The analysis of those who left the priesthood is the most penetrating I’ve ever seen on the subject.” —Fr. Andrew M. Greeley “In 1985 [Hedin] became intrigued with the similarities in the midlife struggles of his former classmates [at St. Francis Seminary] and their relationship to the churuch. . . . Hedin’s book is a good insider’s look at the priesthood from the turbulent 1960s, when the radical changes of Vatican II were being introduced.” —Library Journal “Startling, methodologically important, and quite moving. . . . This is a first-rate work of religious and cultural analysis.” —Robert Orsi, author of The Madonna of 115th Street “. . . poignantly reflects the mentality of the 1960s and pointedly raises many issues confronting Catholic clergy today, such as celibacy, collegiality, and compensation.” —Religious Studies Review Men who entered the seminary in the 1950s and experienced the dramatic changes within the Catholic Church in the 1960s faced profound personal and professional changes. Raymond Hedin, himself a former seminarian, offers a compelling look at a generation of priests, former priests, and ex-seminarians who embody many of the central issues that currently besiege believers and ex-believers.”

“Precisely because Hedin aims at the larger picture, this book provides a usefulcontext for understanding this crucial issue (the Catholic sex abuse scandal”
 — National Catholic Reporter

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Table of Contents

1. An Unfinished Story
2. From Permanence to Change: St. Francis Seminary 1957–69
3. Once a Seminarian
4. Return
5. The Personal Plight
6. The Social Plight: The Laity (Up), the Hierarchy (Distant), the Priests (Down)
7. Former Priests
8. A Livable Priesthood
9. A Sense of Story