The Theology of Fear is the title of a new book by Father Emmett Coyne, a Jesuit Roman Catholic priest.

Having grown up as a Roman Catholic and graduating from a Jesuit college, I’m familiar with the issues Father Coyne raises in his excellent, well-written book.

Here are some of Father Coyne’s concerns:

  • He’s disturbed that Jesus’ love for humans has taken a back seat to the Vatican’s desire to preserve its political power at all costs.
  • He rightly points out the Vatican is the only religious-political entity on the planet.
  • The Church instills fear by talking more about going to hell than to heaven.
  • The sacraments were established primarily to control church members through fear. Jesus never talked about the sacraments.
  • Jesus always talked about the law of love, never the law of judgement and punishment.
  • Candidates for the priesthood are judged by their willingness to blindly follow church doctrine.
  • Outspoken activist priests are discouraged and viewed as a threat to Vatican power.

Father Coyne expects church authorities will be displeased with his book (which he published himself). But he doesn’t seem to care, especially now that he’s retired from the active priesthood.

I know many, including me, applaud and support him. It’s refreshing to see someone within the church hierarchy with the courage to speak plainly about the abuses of power in the highest echelons of the Vatican.

I think Jesus would have done the same.

P.S. All the profits from Father Coyne’s book will go to support Partners in Health, a non-profit organization helping to provide health care for poor people.


I know many of you, our readers, are or were Roman Catholic. But whether you were/are or not, I’d love to hear your ideas. After all, other religions are having problems too. Please share your thoughts with us below.

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