Ethics of the Word: Voices in the Catholic Church Today

James F. Keenan, Author . Rowman & Littlefield $49.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-74259-956-7 ISBN 978-0-74259-957-4

In a religion that calls its central figure “the Word made flesh,” words clearly matter. Keenan (Moral Wisdom ) explores their use in hopes of promoting among Catholics a respectful and honest way of speaking. The author, a priest and ethicist who teaches at Boston College, began to record his ideas about how church members talk in a series of essays published in Church magazine. Here, he develops them further, revisiting such topics as lying, promise keeping, civil discourse, challenging words, and apologies. Keenan breathes life into his thoughts by illustrating them with examples from his personal history and relationships. For instance, in a chapter on the value of silence in the face of certain events, he tells of the loss his parents suffered when their home was destroyed by fire and how “respectful silence”—not the spoken word—was what they most needed as they coped with the tragedy. Keenan has given readers much to consider and makes a convincing case that all of us, regardless of faith tradition, could benefit from an “ethics of the word.” (May)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Hardcover - 186 pages - 978-0-7425-9956-7
Open Ebook - 198 pages - 978-0-7425-9958-1
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