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Books & Chapters by Sipe

SMELL THE ROSES, feel the soil, reach the sky completes his trilogy of nearly two hundred poems. He had more poems to share but ran out of time on August 8th, 2018.

Now available from FriesenPress

A.W. Richard Sipe—mentor and champion for victims of clergy sexual abuse—records here, as he did in his prior volume I Confess, his wrestling with personal demons and angels, ones that occur behind the veil of the man we all see.

Courage at Three AM says, simply, I am human, a man. I have lived life’s paradoxes, its arrows of broken integrity and its abuses of soul and meaning which, over time, demand a hearing by haunting the 3AMs of our waking dreams. Like Judas we all face the challenge of transformation, resolution and reintegration of our paradoxical parts.

The courage needed to dance with the 3AM muses, is the same required for the realization and acceptance that we need someone to tell us “one more time” that we are loved and were born to be loved…. not abused, forgotten or caste aside.

Courage at Three AM teaches us that our scars of inner conflict are not to be feared, covered up, lied about or air-brushed away. Rather, our collective and individual scars need to be embraced because they are our own essential life-marks that identify who we are, collectively and individually.

STEPHEN de WEGER, Queensland University of Technology

Available from FriesenPress 

I Confess
How a Very Religious Catholic Boy Learned Dirty Words Sex and Celibacy Avoided Suicide Embraced Death Found Love God & Himself Not Necessarily in That Order by A.W. Richard Sipe

Throughout his remarkable life, Richard Sipe has followed one simple yet demanding dictum: Tell the truth. He has done so as a priest, a mental health clinician, and a writer exploring the trials of celibacy and the tragedy of child sexual abuse. Today, Sipe is best known for his work with clergy who molest children. His research guided the Boston Globe Spotlight Team in its Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. And he is an oracular presence in "Spotlight," the hit movie about the Globe's groundbreaking work. But in "I Confess" Sipe takes an unexpected turn, yielding to an inner muse to find a separate truth that is at once deeply personal and profoundly universal. In poems of love, loss, grief and renewal, Sipe assesses his life and his struggle with Catholicism. With an open heart and a keen intellect, he reveals the isolation and loneliness that come with priestly celibacy and a life of contemplation. He explores the cost of rebellion, and the joy of love and personal awakening. And he confronts the religious teachings of his youth, taking readers on a searing quest for identity - through bondage, struggle, liberation, and finally to the hard-earned peace that can only come with knowledge of the self.
-Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe

Available from FriesenPress

Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis, 2002-2012 

A thoughtful, multidisciplinary commentary. Beginning when the scandal first broke in Boston in 2002, this first-of-its-kind work offers a wide range of opinion, both positive and negative, on what has been done in the ensuing ten years to stop and prevent such abuse.

Through the contributions here, readers can delve into the world of the church hierarchy and into the minds of abusive priests and their victims. The book presents the views of leading academics and psychologists, but also allows the church to speak. First-person insights from victims are shared, as in a chapter written by a woman abused by a clergy member as an adolescent. She explains what happened, the resulting trauma, how she healed, and what she thinks needs to be done to prevent future abuse - a subject that still makes headlines and stirs debate.

Sipe's Chapter:  Mother Church and the Rape of Her Children

Available from



Celibacy in Literature And Life

The Serpent and the Dove was written in the hope of exciting honest analysis of the essence of religious celibacy and to foster a recrudescence of authentic sexual vigor with all of its evolutionary potential. "Human sexuality is not going away; nor is it irrelevant to the well-being, progress and happiness of the human community," says Sipe. "And the practice of genuine celibacy is not going to disappear either. No question, the Catholic Church needs profound reformation. But in all my work I have chosen not to throw any babies out with the horrendously dirty 'holy water' the church continues to treasure and disseminate. Here, as in all my work, I try to foster dialogue between religion and science, such as literary criticism. The Catholic Church (and religion) is at a Copernican Moment when it has to cede to science the nature of sexuality." The Serpent and the Dove is one more work among Sipe's many books and articles making the need for that clear.

Editorial Review - Library Journal vol. 133 iss. 1 p. 76 (c) 01/15/2008

The modern Catholic church has no more careful observer than Richard Sipe, author of Sex, Priests, and Power and Celibacy in Crisis. This book continues to deepen Sipe's thoughtful and at times angry engagement with the Catholic church's policy on clerical celibacy, this time dwelling principally on writers Andrew Greeley, Graham Greene, and J.F. Powers, to name a few. Sipe's book moves somewhat uneasily between life (the dubious examples of Coughlin and Sheen) and literature (the fictions of Joyce, Silone, and the others), and his writing is inelegant in the academic matter. However, his work as a kind of prophet for a revised, renovated understanding of celibacy is important. (Recommended) For most collections 

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Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes : The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse
Sex, Priests & Secret Codes:
The Catholic Church's 2000 year paper trail of sexual abuse
by: Thomas P. Doyle, A.W. Richard Sipe, & Patrick J. Wall -
Excerpt from the book:  "The Catholic Church and sexuality is the subject of countless volumes.  Therefore only a very brief synopsis is possible here in hopes of shedding clearer light on the confusing and mysterious manner with which official churchdom has reacted to the sexual misdeeds, crimes and abuse of its clergy through the centuries"
Available from  See inside book
Read more......
Living the Celibate Life:
A Search for Models and Ministry
In LIVING THE CELIBATE LIFE Richard Sipe continues his lifelong search for the meaning, the process, and the practice of religious celibacy. Here he approaches the subject as it has never been treated before—from the perspective of human nature. He does not deny the charism of celibacy. He respect-fully avoids it in order to provide consideration of human nature - a solid base - upon which the grace of celibacy can build. He does not enter the debate of mandatory celibacy for priests. Rather, he provides more material for a reasonable and thoughtful dialogue on the important and timely subject of celibacy.               
Available from
CELIBACY in CRISIS A Secret World Revisited
Sipe reveals in the latest book the sobering results of his comprehensive and objective landmark study on celibacy within the Catholic Church.  Sipe reexamines the Roman Catholic Church's policy of mandatory clerical celibacy in light of the recently exposed sexual misconduct scandals. Placing the evolution of the celibacy concept firmly in historical context, the author provides the background information necessary for a contemporary analysis. Using hundreds of candid interviews conducted with priests, their sexual partners, and victims of clerical sexual abuse, he provides overwhelming evidence of the physical and spiritual failure of the celibacy ideal.    
Available from

Sex, Priests and Power

Before today's headlines of pedophile priests, Sipe wrote the book exposing the sexual crisis facing the Catholic Church. How can the church prevent sexual abuse? How can we reform abusers? Sipe discusses these issues and shows the pitfalls of the church's current teachings on celibacy and sex. Recounts vivid and chilling stories of sexual abuse—of priests abusing children, priest abusing women, and priests abusing other priests. 

Available from   see inside book

Celibacy :
A Way of Loving, Living, and Serving

This book invites you to "think of sex and celibacy-and your own sexuality - in new and creative ways."   Sipe examines the evolutionary, biological, and cultural roots of celibacy to advance our knowledge of the mysteries of human sexuality.

Available from   see inside book


A Secret World:
Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy

Sipe examines the role of celibacy in the priesthood. Based on interviews with 1,500 people over 25 years.

Likely to become a classic, sure to be controversial and sensationalized, this is a pioneering, landmark study of the vow of celibacy as actually lived by a group of Roman Catholic priests. Click here for a  review on this book .......
Available through   see inside book
Sin Against the Innocents

Experts from a variety of fields join forces to show us what fuels a most horrific violation of trust--sexual abuse by priests--and how the church and church structure play a role in this abuse.

Chapter 6 of this book was written by Sipe.

Available from


Psychiatry, Ministry, and Pastoral Counseling

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Liturgical Pr; 2 Sub edition (March 1984)

Available from Amazon


How to Be Celibate

Recording of Sipe talking to seminarians about celibacy. 

2 Cassette Tapes

Formerly available through Credence Cassettes


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