Publishers Weekly Best Seller List

WHAT GOD HATH JOINED is, indeed, a labor of love.  After our marriage, Terry and I took a few years to adjust to our life together.  The extremely difficult challenges leading to our wedding day had taken a toll, and we needed time to regroup.  But after some time had passed, we realized that we needed to share our journey.

There are still so many priests and women in love living with a pain we know all too deeply.  For them, we decided to tell our story.  We share our questions, our desires, our fears, our failures, our love and our faith.  We hope that, in some small way, the difficulties we faced and the conclusions we reached may make their paths easier.

For the rest, I like to say that our book is like “THE THORN BIRDS”…but with a happy ending!  It’s a love story…what could be better than that!


WHAT GOD HATH JOINED is a true story…a story of sacrifice, of courage, of the power of love.  A Roman Catholic priest, Terrance Sweeney, had been a Jesuit for twenty-three years when he met actress Pamela Susan Shoop.  A love story set against the backdrop of church discipline, their book takes the reader on a very personal spiritual and emotional journey.  Written in alternating chapters, it is an honest, and often painful description of what takes place in the heart of a priest who falls in love, and in the heart of a woman living in the shadow of a “forbidden” love.  Terry and Pam confront their personal crises of conscience and faith, as well as difficulties with family members and parishioners.

The rule of mandatory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests has caused pain, suffering, and suicide for over sixteen hundred years.  It is one of the most divisive and crippling problems threatening the survival of the priesthood today.  After eight years of research into the history of the law of celibacy, Terry was told to gather the research together and destroy it, or he would be dismissed from the Jesuit Order.  After great deliberation, he refused to destroy his research.

WHAT GOD HATH JOINED is the story of two people who know the pain of loving with a divided heart, of struggling to discern whether priestly intimacy and love are a sin or a blessing.  It is the story of two people who know what it costs to move from fears that love is wrong to a consciousness that love, of all life's graces, is the most sacred.


“It’s a passionate book.  Sweeney threatens to precipitate one of the biggest confrontations with the church since martin Luther led the Reformation.”
                                                                                      IVOR DAVIS
                                                                                      New York Times Syndicate

“…a personal and often moving account of their love.”

                                                            LARRY B. STAMMER
                                                     Los Angeles Times

“Theologians like Matthew Fox, Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry have long called for a recognition of the divine nature of the earth and all it represents.  In the same spirit, Sweeney...hopes that a priesthood that opens itself to marriage and women will heal that psychic split and remedy at last its sorry legacy.”
                                                                                      JOAN SMITH

                                                            San Francisco Examiner

“I cried from beginning to end with sadness and joy.  This book is a beautiful love story…a must read.”
                                                                                      SUE CAMERON
                                                                                      Beverly Hills 310 Magazine

“God bless you common life, dear Terrance and Pamela. I shall fight against the law of celibacy always.”
                                                                                       HANS KUNG
                                                                                       Theologian, Author:
                                                                                       Global Responsibility

“Congratulations for the publication of this brave and moving book.”
                                                                                       MATTHEW FOX
                                                                                       Author:  Cosmic Christ

“The book truly represented spiritual sensitivity, courage, deep love for one another and for God, and a desire to do what you know is right.”
                                                                                       PROF.  KIM CAMERON

                                                                   Business School, University
                                                            University of Michigan

“The Sweeneys write in alternating chapters, capturing the reader by sharing the depth and conviction of their love for one another, while at the same time struggling with the Catholic Church’s mandatory celibacy tradition.”
                                                                                       PATRICIA B. MCFERRAN
                                                                                       DEBORAH ROSENBERGER
                                                                                       Women’s News Journal

“I think What God Hath Joined is the most beautiful book I’ve ever read.”
                                                                                       ROBERT P. HASTINGS, Founder
                                                                                       Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker

"You are true and precious gifts to the Church of our age.”
                                                                                       DR. & MRS. EUGENE TRESTER
                                                                                       Adult Biblical Independent Learning

“What a wonderful story you both have.”
                                                                                       RUTH FITZPATIRCK
                                                                                       U. S.  National Co-ordinator,
                                                                                       Women’s Ordination Conference

“Your book touched me deeply and helped me to see all the more clearly something that I’ve always known as a Christian but that gets overlaid so easily in the events of everyday life:  that ultimately all that really matters is love.”
                                                                                       REV. JOSEPH A. GRENIER
                                                                                       Co-Director, Good Tidings

At the press conference just before our wedding ceremony, Terry said,
"I love God;  I love the church;  and I love this woman.  They are not incompatible."





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