cover image Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal

Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal

Michael D'Antonio. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-59489-3

Pulitzer Prize–winning journo D’Antonio (Atomic Harvest) pens what will be widely regarded as the definitive history of the Catholic Church’s “most severe crisis since the Reformation”: the revelations of endemic sexual abuse of minors by priests in the United States and Europe. Employing his considerable gift for sifting through mountains of facts, the author carves out a coherent and enthralling narrative, and brings the long-running tragedy to life by focusing on the handful of individuals responsible for bravely exposing the pain and horror of the abused children. In 1984, American priest Thomas Doyle learned of a lawsuit brought by parents of a victim, and was deeply troubled by his superiors’ callous nonchalance toward the suit, and more alarmingly, toward the suffering child. (When Doyle asked a monsignor, “What are you doing for the boys?,” he responded, “As far as I know, nothing.”) Along with plaintiffs’ attorney Jeffrey Anderson, Doyle and a few others worked tirelessly to get the church, the media, and the public to pay attention; their persistence eventually paid off. D’Antonio peoples his reportage with fully realized individuals, and their plight—not to mention the stakes—makes for feverish reading. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr. 23)