Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Abandoned by the Vatican: My Clandestine Journey to Support Secret Priests Behind the Iron Curtain Paperback – September 1, 2016
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
The author, Jack Doherty, has served as a Catholic priest in parishes in the United States, Germany, and with the United States Armed Forces, ending in service to the sick as a Healthcare Operations Director/Administrator in hospitals and post-acute care facilities. He has a Doctorate in Theology from the Catholic Theology Faculty of the University of Freiburg, Germany.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle Edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
With that comment aside, this book is quite an excellent work. It's excellence is derived from several viewpoints; adventure, business endeavors, and history. The first half of the book is an adventure with a slight flavor of espionage, another as a screwed business man, an lastly as an historian. In search of fellow Redemptorists (catholic religious order of missionary priests) under Communist control, the author crosses the border to Czechoslovakia after traveling through the Black Forest in Germany. He is able to pass the Communist border patrol with false identity. Once through the border, he works his way into residential areas looking for churches hoping to eventually find some Redemptorist members. What he found was quite different and unbelievable to us who were raised in America. This incredible history can only be appreciated by reading the story.
One of the most important items that these abandoned priests needed were current theology books. How do you get books for all these priests when you are a student. And if you get some
books, how do you get them into Communist controlled countries. The espionage agent must change his image to a crafty business man. You will love this section of the book and the authors’s accomplishments.
This book makes a claim or argument indicting the Vatican for its lack of recognition of these priests serving under Communism and questioning the validity of their priesthood. They ignored the years of suffering these priests endured in prison cells barely large enough to lie down; the diseases and malnutrition they suffered. Almost all of them spending no less than 10 years in
these cells. When they were released these brave priest returned to bring God and hope the people of Czechoslovakia who had been made slaves under Communist rule.
The book revealed a history that I am sure very few of us were ever aware of. My first impression was that I was ashamed by the realization that I did not think my faith would not stand up to these Redemptorists and all the other priests under Communism. These men like all the priests under Communism were left with nothing but God.
The information related in this book is not hearsay or rumor. It is supported with 29 pages of footnotes and 8 pages of bibliography. These items substantiate the historicity of the times as well as the authors claim against the Vatican moving his claim to a more probable or factual state. Like a good ex-redemptorist, the author is a “probiliorist” as he was trained to be. He does not deal in possibility, nor probability. His measure of judgement begins with the “more probable” evidence.
The book will encourage you to reflect positively on your faith in Jesus.
There is a good deal of history detailed in the book. However, the author’s style is smooth and easily readable. It reads more closely to an adventure novel.
For those readers who are unfamiliar Jack’s previous book (and it IS recommended reading!) be prepared for a writer whose ability to inform with a writing style in the format of the finest reportage while keep the information shared personal and practical and real. The book is in two parts – Part I is the Secret Priests and Their Underground Churches while Part II is Searching for Facts after 40 Years of Secrecy. The aspect of Jack’s book that fascinates his investigation of the irreconcilable presence of Catholicism under Communist regime is the fact that this is his memoir or daily diary of events witnessed and endured. ‘Crossing over the Iron Curtain March 1969. We were parked at the German-Czechoslovakian border control station. We had tourist visas to visit Czechoslovakia and we were smuggling books into the country for the bishop of Prague. I had an additional agenda… “The whole country is a jail. People can’t get out.”
But to condense this major work and cover the points included, best to rely on the summary Jack has provided: ‘Accompany the author as he crosses over the Iron Curtain, the dead man’s land of mine fields, electrified fences and shooting fields. He prowls through the back alleys of Prague dodging the communist security police to meet secret priests waiting to tell the story of their years in prison and concentration camps, their interrogation and torture, hunger, hard labor, and now a life sentence as ex-convicts. In their atheistic police state the secret priests and their underground churches try to preserve basic human values and morals by their example. The 1968 Prague Spring reaction to Russian oppressive rule over its satellite countries brings a few years of limited freedom. Asked what they need? “News, information, books about our Catholic faith,” they reply. On another trip behind the Iron Curtain the author meets more secret priests in dilapidated huts, state-built cold-water flats, university back rooms, cars, alleyways and crowded restaurants. He is shadowed by communist security police. When he reaches the border to leave the country, he is detained, questioned and strip-searched. Months later on another trip he is refused entry behind the Iron Curtain, declared a persona non grata, and placed on Communism’s black list. Regardless, the author with the help of United States military parishioners stationed in Germany establishes an information and book network that ships thousands of books to communist countries. Pope Saint John Paul II, then Cardinal of Krakow, Poland, wrote to the author to express “my thankfulness and appreciation for the great undertaking of the book project.” But Pope John Paul II would not appreciate the author’s condemnation of his and the Vatican’s treatment of the secret priests, when Communism fails, the Cold War ends, and the secret priests can function publically. Now judged as a threat to the structure of the institutional church, they become the other innocent victims of clerical abuse at the hands of Vatican bureaucrats, the Czechoslovakian bishops, and the state-licensed priests who collaborated with communist governments. The author is singularly able through personal experience, research, and letters from secret bishops and priests to tell the true story, largely unknown in the English-language world.’
This is not only a very fine treatise on the history of the Catholicism behind the Iron Curtain; it is also so beautifully written that it feels like a film in the making! Excellent reportage and research, and a shocker of a book that deserves a very wide audience. Grady Harp, September 16
It’s a first person account of Father John, mostly known to his grateful fellow priests as a “Book Priest,” who helped smuggling religious (and strictly prohibited at that time) writings to the Catholic priests in Czechoslovakia and some other countries under the Soviet rule. Not only it tells a heartbreaking story of all the persecution and hardships that the priests in exile had to endure, it also accurately and poignantly portrays a life in the so-called communist block: poverty, propaganda, secret police, total government control and an atmosphere of fear and mistrust.
The personal stories of the priests that John met in his trips were difficult to read; I bet that only very few people know that those men had to endure unfathomable suffering and torture at the hands of the communist secret police just because of their faith. But it was their faithfulness to their ideals, their hope for tomorrow that made this story such an inspiring read.
I couldn’t help but admire both John for his decision to help his fellow brothers in faith even when the higher Vatican officials gave up on them, and those incredibly strong men who still fought for what they knew was right. It’s a book that needs to be read and a story which needs to be remembered.
Most recent customer reviews
ies with the 'underground' church behind the Iron Curtain.Read more