Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9⅛
978-0-7425-9956-7 • Hardback • April 2010 • $82.00 • (£63.00)
978-0-7425-9957-4 • Paperback • April 2010 • $30.00 • (£22.99)
978-0-7425-9958-1 • eBook • March 2010 • $28.50 • (£21.99)
James F. Keenan, S.J., holds the Founders Professorship in Theology at Boston College. He is the author of a number of books, including Moral Wisdom and The Works of Mercy. He writes periodically for Church, America, The Tablet, and The Boston Globe.
Chapter 1 Acknowledgments
Chapter 2 Introduction: As I See and Hear It
Chapter 3 Part 1: A Church in Need of Living the Truth in Love
Chapter 4 Chapter 1: Ethics Inside the Church: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Chapter 5 Chapter 2: Proposing an Ethics of the Word
Chapter 6 Chapter 3: Learning an Ethics of the Word
Chapter 7 Chapter 4: Silence in the Ethics of the Word
Chapter 8 Part 2: The Humanity of our Discourse
Chapter 9 Chapter 5: The Human Voice
Chapter 10 Chapter 6: Memory
Chapter 11 Chapter 7: Conscience
Chapter 12 Chapter 8: A Critical Challenge: Recovering Christian Dialogue
Chapter 13 Chapter 9: Modeling Christian Dialogue: The First International Cross-Cultural Discourse on Theological Ethics (Padova, Italy, July 2006)
Chapter 14 Part 3: Forms of Christian Discourse
Chapter 15 Chapter 10: Teaching
Chapter 16 Chapter 11: Conversations
Chapter 17 Chapter 12: Civil Discourse
Chapter 18 Chapter 13: Being Called
Chapter 19 Chapter 14: Taking Vows
Chapter 20 Chapter 15: Apologizing
Chapter 21 Chapter 16: Appreciating the Limits of Language
Chapter 22 Chapter 17: Reporting the Truth to Hurt Another
Chapter 23 Chapter 18: Lying and the Obligation to Get the Story Right
Chapter 24 Part 4: Words
Chapter 25 Chapter 19: Beautiful Words, Good Words
Chapter 26 Chapter 20: Words of Death and Gratitude
Chapter 27 Chapter 21: Challenging Words
Chapter 28 Chapter 22: Words of Life
Chapter 29 Chapter 23: Words of Greeting and Farewell
Chapter 30 Part 5: Faith, Hope, and Love
Chapter 31 Chapter 24: The Language of Faith
Chapter 32 Chapter 25: The Language of Hope
Chapter 33 Chapter 26: The Language of Love
James Keenan's latest book is more than worthy of high praise for its deep learning lightly worn; its pastoral heart that manifestly inspires; its self revelation that never becomes mawkish; and, blessedly, for its lucid prose.
— Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
In this book James Keenan gently but effectively articulates a new call for us to take our words seriously. Profound human experiences of suffering, scandal, loss, misunderstanding, and healing evoke theological-imperatives to truthfulness, respect, and reconciliation. The book will inspire its readers to find and understand languages of vocation, faith, and hope. The language of love ultimately takes center stage in this thoughtful proposal for an ethic of the word.
— Margaret A. Farley, Gilbert L. Stark Emerita Professor of Christian Ethics, Yale Divinity School
Keenan, S.J. (theology, Boston Coll.) has written a splendid book examining the how and why of human discourse within Catholicism today. Keenan masterfully incorporates the complexities of the recent sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church from the perspective of what was said and what remained unspoken. His goal is not to place blame but to seek an avenue of dialog that can facilitate both healing and reconciliation. While using the recent moral crisis as a springboard to effect a more honest conversation, the whole book could best be summed up as a theology of communication or a spirituality of the spoken word. Keenan posits a Christian model of sharing words with one another that is fundamentally based on the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. His writing style is fresh, while the narrative is peppered with an abundance of pastoral anecdotes that truly manifest the ethical principles of the text. VERDICT Recommended for public and church libraries collecting in the area of ethics and pastoral theology; a fine title for private reflective reading or small group discussion.
— Library Journal, April 2010
Keenan breathes life into his thoughts by illustrating them with examples from his personal history and relationships. . . . 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.'
— Publishers Weekly, April 2010
Written in narrative style, each short chapter contributes to the ultimate goal of increasing understanding and transparency in our interactions. Integrating both memoir and moral instruction, the book draws the reader into profound reflection on appropriate words related to everyday experiences like absorbing the meaning of family relationships, learning to live with loneliness and grieving for the deaths of parents....Threaded into the engaging personal narrative of each chapter are powerful moral challenges....Ethics of the Word is a helpful and instructive book, given the many experiences of loss and suffering, misunderstanding and scandal that characterize much of our everyday lives. Whether among family and friends or church and civic community, Keenan enables the reader to see the impact of his or her words—both comforting and cutting words, the positive and the negative. Our choice of words affects everyone we encounter. Choosing them conscientiously, consonant with the word of God, the author demonstrates, makes for a world that is whole, sacred and intact.
— America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture, August 2010
Despite church scandals and controversies, Keenan shows that God's word can still inspire, renew and guide Catholics in the 21st century. Hearing and proclaiming the word is the vocation of every Christian, lay and clerical.
— Thomas Reese, S.J., Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University