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Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse Hardcover – March 29, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Drawing on their skills as canonists and researchers, the authors construct a compelling forensic account to support their thesis." -- The National Catholic Reporter

A great, very important book...the bishops DON'T want you to read. -- Eugene Kennedy, author of

A hard-hitting exposé ... -- David Yonke, Toledo Blade, July 1, 2006

A much-needed read. -- Online Catholics

Gold Medal, Religion -- 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards

They discuss...the failure of the hierarchy to manage priest perpetrators or provide succor to the children. -- Reference & Research Book News in Reference & Research Book News on August 2006

This is a page-turner that reads like The DaVinci Code, except that this well-documented book is NOT fiction. -- Kenneth E. Lasch, JCD in FatherLasch.com

From the Publisher

2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Gold Medal, Religion
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing; Second edition (March 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566252652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566252652
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a most useful one - to say the least - for those of us, within the Church, grieved by these scandals and the utterly appalling manner in which they have been/are being handled. This excellent book should be required reading for bishops and priests everywhere.

Sadly, it would appear that there is not much enthusiasm among many clergy for being educated about the nature and extent of the evil that has devastated so many lives. That in itself is a terrible indictment of many in the institutional Church.

There are many false shepherds and - in Jesus' words - "hired hands", who DO NOT CARE about those wounded and torn by "wolves within the fold". They have sympathy for - and affinity with - their "brother priests" who are, in fact, sexual predators; and no love or compassion for their victims whose lives are so deeply scarred.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first learned of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal, I asked "how could this have happened?" This book answers that question.

On just one page, I learned that

Cardinals take an oath to never divulge anything confided to them that "might bring harm or dishonor to Holy Church."

and

In May 2002 a judge of the Holy Roman Rota, the highest court in the Church, wrote in a Vatican-approved article, that bishops should not report sexual violations of priests to civil authorities.

This scandal is NOT history. Thinking people must get informed and act.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If this review seems harsh, it's because the lives of kids are at stake and the problem is NOT being addressed openly by the Catholic Church.

When I read a non-fiction book and come across a fact that startles me, I put a dot in the margin next to the sentence and, at the back of the book, list the page number. This helps me research and/or discuss matters of import while preserving their context.

Here are a few of the items I marked of Father Doyle's (et al) objective history of clerical celibacy and child abuse in the Catholic Church:

4- Solicitation in the confessional

21- Pope Leo IX decided to exclude "only those who had offended repeatedly and over a long period of time."

28 - Pope Benedict commanded that no two monks were to sleep in the same bed.

44 - Pope Benedict XIV condemned the practice of priests granting absolution to the very persons with whom they had engaged in solicitation.

60 - The John Jay College Survey review commissioned by the bishops found the 5,450 complaints of clerical sexual abuse included sixteen U.S. bishops.

To determine for yourself if this is a NEW problem, read pages 5,6,7,11,13,17,20,21,22,26,30,33,35,36,37,40,44,46,52,68,104,

170,211,214,215,223,225,226 and 235.

Oh, on page 258, we learn the Los Angeles dioceses uses the same PR firm earlier hired by Enron and Charles Keating.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who thinks that sex abuse by Catholic priests is a recent problem should read this book. As the title tells us, it's a 2,000-year paper trail of abuse. And most or all of that time, Catholic authorities condoned and covered up the scandalous activity to protect the image of the church. I found this book most useful in my research for a book on Irish priests, "An Irish Tragedy: How Sex Abuse by Irish Priests Helped Cripple the Catholic Church." Many of these abusive priests were exported to America, undermining the church their predecessors had helped to build.--Joe Rigert, author.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book a fascinating and courageous examination of the clergy sex abuse issue.The historical perspective shed much needed light on contemporary atttitudes of Church authorities to the problem. The insights into the nature of the spiritual damage done to survivors are particularly welcome and valuable.

However the book was seriously flawed in several respects.There was significant amount of discussion about the widespread lack of observance of the mandatory celibacy rule for clergy, but the connection between breaches of celibacy and sex abuse was assumed rather than convincingly argued. Yet clergy sex abuse is perpetrated by clergy, including married clergy, in other religions and religous denominations which do not make clergy celibacy mandatory. The authors also failed to take cognisance of the fundamental nature of sex abuse as acts of violence and not merely as breaches of chastity or celibacy.

However, in spite of these lacunae,the book makes an important contribution to the literature about the issue.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an enlightening look at the issues behind the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church and the failure of leadership to adequately deal with the problem, both decades ago and today. Doyle presents a candid view of the motives behind the decisions that have taken place behind the cloak of secrecy that surrounds the clerical culture. The book is well written, easy to read and easily understand. I highly recommend it to all Catholics.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think all practicing Catholics should read this book, but many won't. Why? The truth is too painful and it is easier to bury one's head in the sand and pretend that sexual abuse by clergy is really about "Catholic bashing" as one priest I know put it.

It's a tough read for Catholics, for sure.

Catholic people are a forgiving people 'cause churches are filled every Sunday. I am glad to see this because there are many, many, good and holy priests who have been and continue to be hurt by the sins of some very sick priests, and bishops.

The truth is very painful to swallow, but we cannot ignore it. If you want to face the truth, then read this book. I felt like I was being disloyal when reading about the scandal (Catholic guilt). I also feel like the Evil wants to destroy the Cahtholic Church so I must remember that I go to Church for Jesus who is present in the Eucharist and I will not stop receiving Jesus because of the sins of those who represent the church, they are human beings.
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