The recent global clergy sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church have shocked the world. Many questions linger, but only now is the truth finally coming out.
Most disturbing of all are persistent suspicions concerning the role of the Vatican. Did it actually manage a world-wide cover-up? What does the pope know, and what does the papacy have to do with the scandal? Download an excerpt from the book, Ratzinger’s Responsibility for the Sex Scandals, to learn the surprising answers.
Other grave questions also still demand a response:
- How and why did the scandals come about?
- Have the sacraments been used to hide the crimes of priests?
- What became of clergy who were caught?
- And perhaps most important of all, is it really over?
- Has the Catholic Church finally taken effective steps to truly protect the children in its care?
The answers will startle, surprise and even confound many. I’m Jay Nelson, the author, and to my amazement, I found many of them in my own backyard – in the “Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico.
As expert and victims advocate Tom Doyle put it, “New Mexico was the epicenter of the first major epidemics of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and hierarchical cover-ups.”
In this ancient, religious, but impoverished land, the Church found an ideal dumping ground for the monsters in their midst. Here, where the Conquistadors imposed the faith with fire and steel on reluctant natives, where Jews and even witches fled to hide from the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church embarked on a bold experiment.
Across the mountains from where the atom bomb was born, another secret project began in 1947. There, in a town called Jemez Springs, a religious order called the Servants of the Paraclete began to quietly take in and minister to priests suffering from alcoholism and worse problems, including rapists and accused murderers. From there, they would be sent back out into ministry without alerting anyone, to continue their predation across the state, the country, and even the world.
It’s an incredible story, but it could not have happened without direction from Rome. Deciphering the codes in Church documents from the Middle Ages to Vatican II, I have shown that the cover-up started even before the discovery of America. They illuminate how it was run by the Inquisition, and most startlingly of all, how the current pontiff, Pope Benedict XIV, bears unsuspected personal responsibility for the scandals happening in the first place, and their ending.
Written by a clergy abuse survivor as well as a former cleric, Sons of Perdition also tells the story how the clergy abuse crisis first blossomed in New Mexico. I detail how the Church’s strategy was tested early on here to limit disclosure by avoiding trials, and how that successful technique has been used elsewhere.
Fr. Doyle also wrote: “The author thoroughly combed through a tangled array of data from divergent sources and pieced together this sordid story. Those who want to close their eyes to this sorry chapter in Catholic history will be shocked but Jay Nelson comes up with the facts and not more myth.”
This is, as Doyle said, “a chapter of Catholic history that must be told.” The sobering and thoughtful conclusions for the future of the Church, drawn from recent developments, shows why there is good reason to doubt that it can ever truly change.
I truly believe Sons of Perdition presents a challenge to believers, former members, and public citizens that anyone concerned with the fate of Catholic Church or its most vulnerable members must consider.
(Sons of Perdition: New Mexico in the Secret History of the Catholic Sex Scandals, first edition.
231 pages, including footnotes, bibliography, index, and map. ISBN 978-1-4392-3482-2)
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Table of Contents:
- Preface: By Way of an Apology
- An Ecclesiastical Chart of New Mexico
- Chapter I: A Church Exposed
- Chapter II: From Chastity to Celibacy
- Chapter III: Sex and the Single Priest
- Chapter IV: Solicitation and the Confessional
- Chapter V: The Edict of Faith
- Chapter VI: Harsh Measures
- Chapter VII: Crime and Punishment
- Chapter VIII: Revolution at the Council
- Chapter IX: A Refuge in the Outlands
- Chapter X: Ministers to the Fallen
- Chapter XI: The Operation of Error
- Chapter XII: Thunder in the Desert
- Chapter XIII: Doom Comes for the Archbishop
- Chapter XIV: After the Fall
- Chapter XV: The Money Game
- Chapter XVI: Dark Shadows
- Chapter XVII: Sin, Secrecy, and the Vatican
- Chapter XVIII: Beyond the Purple Curtain
- Conclusion: The Return of the Inquisition