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Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0252068126
ISBN-10: 0252068122
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a shocking, graphic expose, New Orleans journalist Berry documents scores of cases of sexual abuse of boys by Roman Catholic priests across the U.S. Tracking this tragic story from Louisiana to Washington, D.C., and then to New York, Berry reports that most child-molesting priests are simply reassigned to a different parish. He accuses the Catholic bishops of evasion and cover-up, compounded by moral myopia and an appalling indifference to the victims of pedophilia. He also cites cases of women seduced and discarded by their pastors. Further, Berry probes the homophobia within a clerical culture which, he maintains, allows ample freedom to gay clergy provided they keep their sexual orientation a secret. He describes the organized movements of women and men within the Church who are challenging the bishops' silence. Berry ends with a plea to abolish mandatory celibacy for priests. Greeley, in his foreword, notes that sexual abuse "may be the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America."
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Berry, a New Orleans journalist, tips over a religious rock and finds a nest of corruption, deceit, and despair. Despite a hyperventilating foreword by Andrew Greeley (``perhaps the most serious crisis Catholicism has faced since the Reformation''), this proves to be a temperate, detailed investigation of a religious tragedy: pedophilia among Roman Catholic priests. According to the statistics given here, perhaps two percent of them lust after children; what shocks is that any man devoted to pastoral care would act on such impulses, and that local Church authorities sometimes covered up the evidence. Berry (a Catholic) discovered the scandal in 1984, when rumors began to spread about Gilbert Gauthe, a priest in Cajun country, Louisiana. In gritty, novelistic fashion (``A dread feeling lodged in Roy's intestines. `What the hell. Did he suck people off?' ''), Berry tracks the Gauthe case and his own sense of outrage. An angry attorney confronts Catholic bishops, who turn turtle; media outlets run away from the story; Berry hunts down experts on sexual deviation; more pedophilia cases emerge. One encouraging note sounds as Berry meets Michael Peterson, a benign, street-wise priest who runs a center for dysfunctional priests; sadly, Peterson later dies of AIDS. As the investigation proceeds, broader sexual issues emerge. Why are there so many homosexual priests? Where does priestly celibacy fit in? Here, Berry switches from reporter to crusader, launching an attack against Church views on sexuality that becomes a blast against Catholic traditionalism (``a medieval church turning its back on the church of the space age''). Looking at floundering seminaries, depressed parishes, and corruption in Newfoundland, Chicago, and N.Y.C. (where one priest, a tenured professor at CUNY, makes amateur porno films), Berry concludes that the Church is a ``dysfunctional family'' and argues for optional priestly celibacy. Despite the ``old church vs. new church'' political brief: superb investigative reporting. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (March 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252068122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252068126
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,120,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on August 6, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing, tempered, and extremely credible. Jason Berry has taken a very difficult, emotional subject and made it readable, discernable, and a powerful statement about what happens when we fail to question authority.

Of particular interest to me was his reference to the House of Affirmation in Worcester, Mass., a self-proclaimed "treatment center" created and defined of the church, by the church, and for the church...an institution that self-destructed from its own corruption. The church determined whether or not a priest was "sick", what the "sickness" was, and whether or not they were "cured" and, therefore, "trustworthy". The "church" then decided when they were to be released to work again - to Catholic elementary schools, colleges and universties, Catholic Charities and surrounding parishes and Catholic camps.

When I originally wrote this review, information on The House was hard to find on the net. It's not now. Google it. And then hold them accountable! Our entire population continues to suffer from the ramifications of decisions made by the Catholic Church in the 1960s - children who grew up to become parents and others who acted out their trauma on others for generations. Not all did. Some were able to find credible treatment of their own and are speaking out. There are many, many more who passed their traumatization on, and/or became addicted to drugs and alcohol, lies, secrets and denial and/or self-destructed entirely. We cannot address this problem until it has been acknowledged in its entirety. Jason Berry opens the door. May it remain open until all the cobwebs have been cleared.
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Format: Paperback
My family was from Lafayette and we often visited the area during the years that this book talks of. I even met one priest who was involved. Not only does this book give a clear picture of how community values ( which in any other situation would have been good ones) worked to protect the perpetrators of abuse, but it also shows how the self protective rules of the catholic church came down hard on the side of secrecy and evasiveness. I recall one of the more frightening passages talked about how canon law put the well being of the church above any incident. Unfortuneately the incident(s) was the rape of numerous children.
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Jason Berry proves to be a true defender of the faith, an upstanding Catholic, unafraid to confront the moral decay running rampant in the Church today. Every statement is documented, proving its truth. This book is not an attempt to discredit the Church, but a compassionate understanding of the troubled Church and a serious attempt to make the Church confront its problems. Berry is not an author with a bone to pick. He is a sincere Catholic interested in seeing his Church live up to its full potential, eliminating views which lead "into temptation".
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This is truly a can't-put-down book about the current crisis in the Catholic Church--priest abuse of children. Jason's book was written before the present crisis that erupted in 2002, but it gives solid background of other priest-pedophile cases dating back 30 years or so.
Jason is not content to just quote other sources--books, newspapers, magazines--as others have done concerning this scandal. He actually went and interviewed the priests, bishops, parents, and most importantly, the victims. He doesn't just state the facts, which could become boring, but he has the gift of writing that made me feel that I was actually there, seeing and hearing what he was seeing and hearing.
Nothing else got done in my house for over a week because I was so wrapped up in his true characters and his gritty, gutsy reporting style. This is not a book for the faint of heart, and Jason does not pull any punches in his investigative reporting. He proves himself vulnerable, however, as he revealed that he cried with victims and became angry with the system that let this abuse be a continual event. He remains a Catholic as I am because he feels that there is still hope that the Catholic Church can correct itself and become what Jesus meant it to be. I feel the same way.
The Catholic hierarchy is shown as more caring about the male buddy system than they are about our children who need our protection. The guilty priests, who should have been defrocked and turned over to the authorities, were nonchalantly transferred to other parishes with no warning to other parishes about the new priest in their midst and his dangerous, dark side.
Jason's writing is powerful and real.
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This book kept me up so many nights - I would find myself awake at 3 AM, forcing myself to put it down. The first third reads like a novel. A thriller, a mystery, a horror novel. All the more painful because it is true.
It became a more difficult read for me after the first third- because the names keep coming - becoming one long horrible blur of awful abuses of faith and spirit.
I wish this book could be required reading for Catholic parents- so that they don't miss the signs.
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