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Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church Paperback – June 12, 2012
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"Money dominates the third of Jason Berry’s important books about the Catholic Church. Render Unto Rome probes deeply into the culture of the church. To painful questions about money and sex, Berry finds, the response of the church is always the same – secrecy and silence." --Thomas Powers
"The Catholic Church wants us to believe that it can reform itself from within. This book shows that it simply can’t. If you are an entrenched member of the hierarchy, you are not going to like this book. If you are a Catholic who believes that truth will lead to change – and that the Vatican needs to change, and change fast – Render unto Rome is your catechism." --James Carville
"A captivating read, Render to Rome is an astounding revelation of the church's financial system, and required reading for those who donate to the church or are interested in the ongoing effort to restore the credibility of the church and its hierarchy." --Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
"Once again Jason Berry is ahead of the curve when it comes to writing about the Catholic Church. Nothing about this book is superficial. This is a prodigiously researched work that looks at the church with both breadth and depth, and it is fascinating." --John M. Barry, author of Rising Tide and The Great Influenza
"As a writer, Jason Berry has the jeweler’s eye for significant detail that combines with the novelist’s art in telling a story; as a reporter and researcher, Berry is thorough, compelling, and complete." --George Fish
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
"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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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"The Church is our Mother. But she can also be a whore," said Dorothy Day, the saintly founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Jason Berry, author of Render Unto Rome, is well aware of this dual nature of the church but he remains a practicing Catholic, despite the seamy facts he has uncovered investigating the Catholic Church's sex and money scandals.
Berry carefully details these scandals on the local, national and global scale, yet his narrative flows well, aided by an intriguing cast of characters. Some are villains. Others are sincere believers, both priests and laity--bogged down in the swamp of clerical sex abuse, the most profound crisis the church has faced since the Protestant Reformation.
Indeed, Reformation is an apt term, since some practices Martin Luther condemned are still flourishing at the Vatican, such as paying cash for a chance to attend a private Mass with the pope, or purchasing the influence and / or silence of key congregations in the curia, the governing body of the church.
Berry includes endless examples of this. In fact, he gives us a guided tour of the hot spots, from local dioceses to the secretive halls and congregations of the Vatican. On this excursion, you don't gaze at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or enjoy the rapture of the Vatican choir.
Instead, you come face to face with the weak and cowardly men who play shell games with the lives, money and faith of millions of Catholics: Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, the late Father Marcial Maciel, disgraced founder of the Legionnaires of Christ; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican prelate who took money from Maciel, then blocked inquires into his sexual abuse of seminarians.
Berry is an excellent writer and indefatigable researcher. Render Unto Rome should be required reading in seminaries and chancery offices. The truth about the leadership of the Catholic Church needs to be told, and he has told it well.
How we long to experience our church, along with Dorothy Day, not as angry, vindictive patriarch, but as a merciful mother, the divine feminine. Berry ends his book on a note of hope: Pope Benedict XVI punished Father Maciel, cleaned up the Vatican Bank, and wept with clerical abuse victims. "Questions hang," he writes. "A hungry people wait."
Mark Day is a film maker and journalist. He can be contacted at: email@example.com