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Posted February 1, 2011

Book: The Lost Art of Walking on Water: Reimaging the Priesthood
Author: Michael Heher
Paulist Press. New York. 2004, pp. 178

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

With bursting congregations, shrinking ranks, and a preist sexual abuse scandal in the headlines, no group seems more beleaguered of late than Roman Catholic priests. But even these turbulent times are graced, Father Heher believes. His book of essays is candid, thoughtful, honest, often funny, and filled with hope and practical suggestions for parish priests today. Priests can do more than survive this difficult time, they have the capacity to grow more resilient, relaxed, and loving toward their God, their parishioners, and their fellow clerics. Facing such challenges as prayer, obedience, chaste celibacy, depression, and leadership, Father Heher offers a call to greater transparency and trusting faith.

An Excerpt from the book:

Just as a spouse draws the line against other intimacies to protect the union of marriage, the boundary of celibacy preserves in me a freedom for a particular kind of loving, a no that belongs to a larger yes in my life. I discipline my actions and chastise my compulsions not to escape or eliminate my desires but in an attempt to purify them of their grasping. I want to see more accurately, to feel more deeply, and to act out of a more radical freedom.

Everyone should resist turning another into an object for oneīs pleasure or advancement, but celibates pledge this with a specific dedication. In a world where people are moe and more thought of as commodities, talent, and market share, our celibate love is a definite countercultural act. With other objectors, we provide the needed protection of a refuge. Individuals are welcomed without an expectation of something in return, they can be who they are, even at times when they arenīt sure who that is. I think people are so shocked by the revelation that some priests preyed upon children because the only thing they absolutely expected of a priest is that he is, or was supposed to be, safe. A priest does not take advantage, and his celibacy is the sign of that pledge.

Table of Contents:


A life, not an example

Never, not ever



The truth that will set you free

The near enemies

What old dogs learn