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Sons of Perdition: New Mexico in the Secret History of the Catholic Sex Scandals Paperback – July 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439234825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439234822
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,534,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jay Nelson is a writer, artist, and modern mystic – but also a clergy abuse survivor, activist, and former Independent Catholic priest. He has spent many years working with survivors and victims of clergy sexual abuse, seeking out the origins and implications of the crisis. For over a decade, he edited the journal for the leading national advocacy group, while continuing research necessary for this book. Most of his working career, however, has been spent as a professional graphic designer, though he remains an enthusiastic painter, as well as a carver of petroglyphs. Like a desert hermit of old, he still lives, studies, and meditates in the beautiful Southwest, with mainly cats for company.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kay Ebeling on September 5, 2009
On a recent train ride I read Jay Nelson's book. It's incredibly well written, lots of nuance. It's storytelling with a little humor thrown in, which we need on this wretched topic. Plus Jay's perspective on what happened in the Catholic Church with its coverup of priests who are sexual predators is unique and revealing.

Sons of Perdition is a damn good book, better than most that have been written so far on this topic, because of Jay's talent and also in his years of research he totally absorbed the topic, as editor of the Linkup quarterly for several years. He has knowledge about the sex abuse issue in the Catholic Church going back to the beginning of the story when Linkup first organized in the early 90s. Who else has a better total grasp on this whole issue than Jay Nelson? He's an ex-priest, one of the victims, and a journalist who knows how to tell a story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Goertz on March 21, 2010
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The most important part of the book, Sons of Perdition, by Jay Nelson, is the fact that it is a first hand account of the abuse in the Roman Catholic System in North America. This book details how pedophile, pederast, homosexual priests are shifted from place to place to protect the IMAGE of the Curia, pope, priesthood and above all else "holy mother the church". Adolescents, children and heterosexual men are never given the proper protection or compensation for their grief and pain, but instead the victims are actually labeled the offenders for telling the truth.

I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Patrick Doyle on October 17, 2009
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New Mexico was the epicenter of the first major epidemic of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and hierarchical cover-up. Today most people recall the tsunami in Boston of January 2002 as the event that blew the lid off the Catholic barrel of toxic waste. Not so! Sons of Perdition is the first credible account of the wave of revelations of sex abuse and betrayal of trust by the Catholic clergy of New Mexico. 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. His historical inserts on the Church in the southwest provide a context and cultural backdrop that frames the church's betrayal and makes it even more outrageous. Of necessity the author had to include the story, as best as it can be known, of the Servants of the Paraclete, the tiny religious community of men dedicated to finding a way to cure or at least control priests suffering from substance abuse or worse, from destructive sexual dysfunction. Given the fact that some or even much of the accurate information about the church's antics remains hidden in archives somewhere, Jay Nelson did an outstanding job finding just about everything that is out there and not buried under a blanket of denial and lies, and using it all, putting together a chapter of Catholic history that must be told. No story of clergy abuse is complete unless there is a study of the "eminence grise" in Rome, the Vatican. Jay does a very credible job tying the top of the Church governing structure to the nightmares unfolding in the southwestern desert.
All in all Sons of Perdition is a valuable contribution to the body of written history about the worst disaster to hit the church in a thousand years....a disaster of the church's own making.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Katherine L. Goodnow on August 18, 2009
This book has been carefully documented by the author, Jay Nelson. Jay's writing style is more analytical than exciting, but "Sons of Perdition" reveals the absolute truth about how the sexual abuse scandals began. A reader seeking information will be fully satisfied. As a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest in 1952, this book answered all of my questions about why the scandal was a conspiracy of silence that lasted far too long.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous Subscriber on October 26, 2009
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There is a persistent ray of light shining throughout Sons of Perdition. At the start, one feels a sense of the sleuth, poring through archaic documents, examining clues once leaked from locked vaults, and even probing into the psychological underpinnings of Roman Catholic policies such as total secrecy. One can't help but feel that one is onto something big.

What emerges is a rather complex and troubling portrait of an ancient Church fiercely concealing and enabling the sexual derangements of its clergy, allowing them to prey unencumbered upon its flocks as wolves in sheep's clothing. (The photograph of a southwestern-style retablo depicting this theme is a good choice for the book's cover, especially as a sizeable portion of the latest-known drama enfolds in New Mexico.)

Though author Jay Nelson, himself a theological scholar, has taken a relatively didactic approach to piecing together this compendium of Church sex crimes, he is adroit enough as a writer to keep the pages turning, and his occasional, unexpected humor glimmers with a fine sense of subtlety. What Nelson does not do with these truly shocking disclosures is sensationalize them, and this, as well as a detectable strain of lingering compassion for his once-beloved Church, makes his book all the more damning. Culled from over a hundred highly-credible sources spanning two millennia, one can't help but understand that these disclosures are nonetheless the tip of a truly massive iceberg.

This is a book that very much needed to be written. For those within the Church who can bear the truth of it, one can only hope it will spark a fervent and healthy global cleansing so that healing can begin to take place.
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