Recommended Reading
Sons of Perdition
New Mexico in Secret History of Catholic Sex Scandal
by Jay Nelson
ISBN: 1-4392-3482-5
Review by Kay Ebeling

The new book Sons of Perdition tracks the history of the pedophile priest problem in the Catholic Church, from the Vatican to New Mexico. Early chapters describe the transition from the Inquisition to current policies for priests who are sexual predators. We find out the Confessional had a unique perverse role in development of the problem.

Then in the 1950s, Servants of the Paraclete start a recovery center in New Mexico for priests with "psycho-sexual problems," and reverends in early recovery go out and serve in nearby parishes, creating an inordinately large number of priest-rape victims in that one remote state.

Growing up in New Mexico author Jay Nelson had personal experience with "out-patients" from Servants of the Paraclete. So when as an adult, Jay found himself part of a population of adult victims of pedophile priests, he realized, "God, fate, or chance put me in a unique position to recover a far larger story than just my own." In the 1990s Jay edited The Missing Link, quarterly journal of The Linkup, one of the early recovery organizations for victims. Linkup broke up when founder Tom Economus died of cancer. Jay began writing books.

Review by Tom Doyle, Oct 12, 2009

            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 desert.

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.

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