N.O. Author to Discuss Abuse Crisis, Book

By Chuck Hustmyre
The Advocate [Baton Rouge LA]
Downloaded February 7, 2004

New Orleans-based writer Jason Berry will be one of the panelists at a Feb. 16 discussion presented by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Berry has written about the Catholic sexual abuse scandal for almost 20 years. His second book, "Vows of Silence," contrasts the careers of two priests, the Revs. Thomas Doyle and Marcial Maciel, and exposes the battle being waged for the soul of the Roman Catholic Church, a battle between orthodoxy and reform.

The book is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster in March.

Maciel is the leader of the Legion of Christ, an ultra-conservative religious order and a favored cleric of Pope John Paul II. Maciel also stands accused of sexual abuse by at least nine former seminarians.

Doyle, was on the fast track within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church as canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., Berry said. But when Doyle found out about the widespread child sexual abuse within the church, he became an outspoken critic of the way the church was handling the problem.

"This is a guy who would have been a cardinal if he'd kept his mouth shut," Berry said.

Berry also co-authored the 1992 book "Lead Us Not Into Temptation," which centered on the case of former Lafayette priest Gilbert Gauthe.

Gauthe was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing children. Berry's book was one of the first to expose widespread abuse and to what lengths the Catholic bishops went to cover it up.

Along with the other panelists, Berry will discuss and answer questions about the abuse crisis and the coverup.

Berry, a practicing Catholic, will also discuss how he thinks the crisis can be resolved and how faith in the church can be restored.

"There are many good priests," Berry said, "but there is a sexual underground in the Catholic clergy and it has to be confronted."

Like Doyle, Berry also says that a radical change in the Catholic clergy is necessary to save the church.


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