Book Review: The Unhealed Wound


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I have been reading The Unhealed Wound: The Church and Human Sexuality by Eugene Kennedy over the last couple of weeks and have found it quite fascinating. Speaking about the Catholic Church and it’s stance on birth control, priestly celibacy and women ordination, Kennedy, a former priest, effectively and quite ingeniously relates the situation to the myth of “Tristan’s Wound” or the “Grail King” who is wounded in the genitals and awaits someone to come and offer a word of healing. Kennedy uses this imagery to refer to the church, making the comment that it has been wounded sexually and needs to be healed.

Kennedy’s discussion is interesting and I learned a lot about Catholicism and its recent history. However, I continually found myself relating what I was reading to the wound that exists in the Evangelical Church. We, too, have often avoided sexuality, seeing it as something confusing, if not evil, and something to protect ourselves from. We have avoided this subject and not engaged many important issues related to sexuality in our lives and culture. In many ways, we still exist with the sexual wound that is uncomfortable because we refuse to look at it and pursue healing. I believe many of the sexual issues of today are more common place than we would like to believe and we, ironically, never really talk about them. This wound has not healed and we have, to our detriment, avoided the pursuit of its healing. Consequently, this avoidance has lead to continued discomfort of our woundedness. I am not quite sure of the answers, but at least we have begun to ask the questions.

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