New Mexico was the epicenter of the first major
epidemic of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and hierarchical cover-up.
Today most people recall the tsunami in Boston of January 2002 as
the event that blew the lid off the Catholic barrel of toxic waste.
Not so! Sons of Perdition is the first credible account of
the wave of revelations of sex abuse and betrayal of trust by the
Catholic clergy of New Mexico that started in the late eighties.
The author thoroughly combed through a tangled array of data from
divergent sources and pieced together this sordid story. Those who
want to close their eyes to this pathetic chapter of Catholic
history will be shocked. However Jay Nelson comes up with the facts
and not more myth. His inserts on the history of the Church in the
southwest provide a context and cultural backdrop that frames the
church’s betrayal and makes it even more outrageous. Of necessity
the author had to include the story, as best as it can be known, of
the Servants of the Paraclete, the tiny religious community of men
dedicated to finding a way to cure or at least control priests
suffering from substance abuse or worse, from destructive sexual
dysfunction. Given the fact that some or even much of the accurate
information about the Church’s antics remains hidden in archives
somewhere, Jay Nelson did an outstanding job finding just about
everything that is out there and not buried under a blanket of
denial and lies, and using it all, putting together a chapter of
Catholic history that must be told. No story of clergy abuse can be
told without including the “eminence grise” in Rome, namely, the
Vatican. Jay does a very credible job tying the top of the Church
governing structure to the nightmares unfolding in the southwestern
All in all Sons of Perdition is a valuable contribution to
the body of written history about the worst disaster to hit the
church in a thousand years....a disaster of the self righteous
hierarchy’s own making.