Vows of Silence by Jason Berry
The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II

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Going deep behind the headlines about scandals in the Catholic Church, Jason Berry and Gerald Renner's Vows of Silence follows the staggering trail of evasions and deceit that leads directly to the Vatican -- and taints the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Based on more than six years of investigative reporting and hundreds of interviews, this book is a riveting account of Vatican cover-ups and the tumult they have caused in the church worldwide. Both a profound criticism and a wake-up call to reform by two Catholic writers, Vows of Silence reveals an agenda of top-down control under John Paul II and a hierarchy so obsessed with secrecy as to spawn disinformation. Vows of Silence is not a book about sexual abuse; it is a book about abuse of power, throughout the Vatican.
The book cuts between the life story of Father Tom Doyle, who sacrificed a diplomatic career with the Vatican to seek justice for sex-abuse victims, and Father Marcial Maciel, an accused pedophile and founder of the militaristic religious order, the Legion of Christ. One of the most mysterious and powerful men in the Catholic Church, Maciel has built a network of priests, lay people, and elite prep schools in more than twenty countries, using the Legion as a fundraising machine to position himself as a favored figure of John Paul II.
In addition to accusations against Maciel of sexual abuse and of using Legion money for his own extravagant lifestyle, many ex-Legionaries claim that the order uses mind-control techniques to isolate seminarians and even priests from their families. And yet, because he enjoyed the protection of Pope John Paul II and members of the Roman Curia, charges against Maciel for sexual misconduct -- all of which he denies -- were blocked in the Vatican court system.
Drawing on in-depth interviews with Father Doyle and with ex-Legionaries who filed a canonical suit against Maciel, as well as interviews with Vatican insiders and an array of sources in Mexico, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, the authors provide a penetrating account of a hierarchy directly in conflict with its followers. With keen insight and scrupulous reporting, Vows of Silence is a powerful narrative that chronicles the church's struggle between orthodoxy and reform -- going straight to the heart of one of the world's largest power structures.

About Jason Berry

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"Jason Berry is the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion, and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance" - Phyllis Theroux, USA TODAY Jason Berry achieved prominence for his reporting on the Catholic Church crisis in Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992), a book used in many newsrooms. He has been widely interviewed in the national media, with many appearances on Nightline, Oprah, ABC and CNN. USA Today called Berry "the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance." Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, written with Gerald Renner (2004) has Spanish, Australian and Italian editions. The film he produced based on the book won Best TV Documentary Award at 2008 Docs D.F.-Mexico City International Festival of Documentary Film. Jason Berry produces documentaries and writes on culture and politics for many publications. Up From the Cradle of Jazz. a history of New Orleans music, reissued in fall 2009 has new sections on the cultural impact of Hurricane Katrina. His other books include Amazing Grace: With Charles Evers in Mississippi, The Spirit of Black Hawk and Louisiana Faces: Images from A Renaissance with photographs of Philip Gould. He received a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship for research on jazz funerals and a 1992 Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship for reporting on Louisiana demagogues. His play, Earl Long in Purgatory, won a 2002 Big Easy award for Best Original Work in Theatre. He is also the author of Last of the Red Hot Poppas, a comic novel about Louisiana politics. Jason Berry lives in New Orleans. www.jasonberryauthor.com
Published March 4, 2004 by Free Press. 368 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

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But, reporters Berry (Lead Us Not Into Temptation, 1992) and Renner show, widespread reports of priestly misconduct have been circulating since the late 1970s, when straight priests left the Church in droves in order to marry while “the proportion of homosexuals among men remaining in the ministr...

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This impassioned expose explores the history of priestly pedophilia scandals, and their roots in what the authors portray as the Church's blinkered sexual mores and arrogant hierarchy, through profiles of two emblematic Church figures.

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