Clerical Error by Robert Blair Kaiser
A True Story (Handbooks of Catholic Theology)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



Twenty-nine years old, newly married, and fresh from the Society of Jesus, where he had spent ten years as a novice and scholastic, Bob Kaiser was picked for one of the most exciting jobs in journalism of his era: Time's reporter at the Second Vatican Council. In the words of Michael Novak: "No reporter knew more about the Council; had talked with more of the personalities, prominent or minor; had more sources of information to tap. Sunday evening dinner parties at his apartment became a rendezvous of stimulating and informed persons. In the English-speaking world, at least, perhaps no source was to have quite the catalytic effect as Time on opinion outside the Council and even to an extent within it." Much of inner story of the Council-its personalities, machinations, maneuverings between progressive forces and the old guard-was told in Bob Kaiser's bestseller of the early sixties Pope, Council, and World. This is a different story, one so raw and personal that it could only be told some forty years later in a very different church and by a much matured Bob Kaiser. The heart of the story is how Bob's wife was seduced by his friend, the Jesuit priest Malachy Martin, and how Martin ("a man who could make people laugh in seven languages)" persuaded Kaiser's other clerical friends (including notable bishops and prominent theologians) to send him to a sanitorium. The story is at once hilarious (Martin was one of the great clerical con men of all time) and sobering. The "clerical error"--the refusal to see what Martin was up to--was as much Kaiser's as that of his older clerical friends who defended their fellow priest simply because he was a member of the club. Their naivete and their blindness only mirrors the church's inability to deal realistically with any issue touched by sex: birth control, remarriage after divorce, priestly celibacy, clerical child abuse, or the ordination of women. Bob Kaiser did eventually grow up. He knows the official church has a long way to go.

About Robert Blair Kaiser

See more books from this Author
Robert Blair Kaiser is the author of 8 books. His articles have appeared in a score of magazines from Life to Look to Rolling Stone, Saturday Review, Ladies Home Journal, and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. He currently writes for Newsweek from Rome, where he also pens his periodical e-mail letters on the Vatican, which are enjoyed by thousands of persons around the world.
Published March 11, 2002 by Bloomsbury Academic. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Clerical Error

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Against the backdrop of the Catholic Church's historic Second Vatican Council, Kaiser, a former reporter for Time magazine, recounts the remarkable story of how his first marriage was destroyed by his wife's affair with the Jesuit priest Malachy Martin.

| Read Full Review of Clerical Error: A True Story ...

Reader Rating for Clerical Error

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review