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Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church

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Overview

AN INVESTIGATION OF EPIC FINANCIAL INTRIGUE, RENDER UNTO ROME EXPOSES THE SECRECY AND DECEIT THAT RUN COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

The Sunday collection in every Catholic church throughout the world is as familiar a part of the Mass as the homily and even Communion. There is no doubt that historically the Catholic Church has been one of the great engines of charity in history. But once a dollar is dropped in that basket, where...
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Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church

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Overview

AN INVESTIGATION OF EPIC FINANCIAL INTRIGUE, RENDER UNTO ROME EXPOSES THE SECRECY AND DECEIT THAT RUN COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

The Sunday collection in every Catholic church throughout the world is as familiar a part of the Mass as the homily and even Communion. There is no doubt that historically the Catholic Church has been one of the great engines of charity in history. But once a dollar is dropped in that basket, where does it go? How are weekly cash contributions that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars accounted for? Where does the money go when a diocese sells a church property for tens of millions of dollars? And what happens when hundreds of millions of dollars are turned over to officials at the highest ranks, no questions asked, for their discretionary use? The Roman Catholic Church is the largest organization in the world. The Vatican has never revealed its net worth, but the value of its works of art, great churches, property in Rome, and stocks held through its bank easily run into the tens of billions. Yet the Holy See as a sovereign state covers a mere 108 acres and has a small annual budget of about $280 million.

No major book has examined the church’s financial underpinnings and practices with such journalistic force. Today the church bears scrutiny by virtue of the vast amounts of money (nearly $2 billion in the United States alone) paid out to victims of clergy abuse. Amid mounting diocesan bankruptcies, bishops have been selling off whole pieces of the infrastructure—churches, schools, commercial properties—while the nephew of one of the Vatican’s most powerful cardinals engaged in a lucrative scheme to profiteer off the enormous downsizing of American church wealth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Money dominates the third of Jason Berry’s important books about the Catholic Church. Render Unto Rome probes deeply into the culture of the church. To painful questions about money and sex, Berry finds, the response of the church is always the same – secrecy and silence." --Thomas Powers

"The Catholic Church wants us to believe that it can reform itself from within. This book shows that it simply can’t. If you are an entrenched member of the hierarchy, you are not going to like this book. If you are a Catholic who believes that truth will lead to change – and that the Vatican needs to change, and change fast – Render unto Rome is your catechism." --James Carville

"A captivating read, Render to Rome is an astounding revelation of the church's financial system, and required reading for those who donate to the church or are interested in the ongoing effort to restore the credibility of the church and its hierarchy." --Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

"Once again Jason Berry is ahead of the curve when it comes to writing about the Catholic Church. Nothing about this book is superficial. This is a prodigiously researched work that looks at the church with both breadth and depth, and it is fascinating." --John M. Barry, author of Rising Tide and The Great Influenza

"As a writer, Jason Berry has the jeweler’s eye for significant detail that combines with the novelist’s art in telling a story; as a reporter and researcher, Berry is thorough, compelling, and complete." --George Fish

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
The money changers aren't just running the temple, they're planning to sell it off to cover molestation lawsuits, according to this scattershot exposé. Investigative journalist Berry (Vows of Silence) surveys a grab bag of financial irregularities in the Catholic Church: collection plate offerings siphoned into archdiocese slush funds, lavish bishops' mansions, and petty embezzlement; unfunded clergy pension funds; hush money paid to a bishop's gay lover; a scheme to flip underpriced Church properties for profit involving a Vatican cardinal and the then-boyfriend of movie star Anne Hathaway. He links it all to the American Church's sexual abuse crisis; huge legal settlements, he notes, have been followed by the closure of parishes and sale of churches, leading to vigils pitting defiant parishioners against bottom-line–obsessed bishops. The author sets his muckraking within a larger moral indictment of the Church that makes it hard to follow the money; details of financial shenanigans are dispensed in meandering, disorganized driblets amid anguished rehashes of pedophile-priest scandals and extraneous backstories of Catholic dissidents. Berry's revelations are dispiriting; he gives us a troubling if blurry portrait of a corrupt, worldly Church hierarchy that's callously out of touch with a flock that expected something holier. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385531344
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/12/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 409,949
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

"Jason Berry is the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion, and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance" — Phyllis Theroux, USA TODAY

Jason Berry achieved prominence for his reporting on the Catholic Church crisis in Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992), a book used in many newsrooms. He has been widely interviewed in the national media, with many appearances on Nightline, Oprah, ABC and CNN. USA Today called Berry “the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance.”   Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, written with Gerald Renner (2004) has Spanish, Australian and Italian editions. The film he produced based on the book won Best TV Documentary Award at 2008 Docs D.F. -- Mexico City International Festival of Documentary Film.

Jason Berry produces documentaries and writes on culture and politics for many publications. Up From the Cradle of Jazz. a history of New Orleans music, reissued in fall 2009 has new sections on the cultural impact of Hurricane Katrina. His other books include Amazing Grace: With Charles Evers in Mississippi, The Spirit of Black Hawk and Louisiana Faces: Images from A Renaissance with photographs of Philip Gould. He received a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship for research on jazz funerals and a 1992 Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship for reporting on Louisiana demagogues. His play, Earl Long in Purgatory, won a 2002 Big Easy award for Best Original Work in Theatre.

He is also the author of Last of the Red Hot Poppas, a comic novel about Louisiana politics.

Jason Berry lives in New Orleans.

www.jasonberryauthor.com

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Princes of the realm 1

1 Boston In The Fault Lines 19

2 Origins of the Vatican Financial System 36

3 Seeds of Revolt 69

4 The Vatican, The Vigils, and the Real Estate 95

5 Italian Interventions 119

6 The Case of the Missing Millions 133

7 Father Maciel, Lord of Prosperity 156

8 Borré In Rome 197

9 Secrecy and Lamentations 203

10 Prosecution and Suppression 240

11 The Debts of Apostolic Succession 277

12 Another California 287

13 America and the Vatican 325

Epilogue: Benedict XVI: Pope of Ironies' 352

Notes 361

Acknowledgments 401

Index 407

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2012

    very good, shocking well documented

    I have been a practicing catholic all my life and that over the past couple of years, I have had problem with the way our local bishop was destroying our diocese, church and local pastor. It has become such a problem that me and my adult children have become lax in attending mass. I heard this author on a radio show interview and found him very interesting. You will be shocked at the amount money that is flowing through the church with no one watching how it is spent, how the leaders of the church have zero tolerance for dissent, or even for any questions to be asked. After reading about 30 pages I said to my wife it will be a miracle if I’m still a catholic after reading this book. It’s not that bad, I will not allow these criminal to rob me of my religion, but I will be vigilant on my contributions to the church, and send my donation to different causes. There is so much information here it is almost drowning, the author lasers in a specific group and after their story is told he brings you back out to see the whole picture then moves you in another direction and lasers you in on another group then back out again. Very good work.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    I haven't read it, but...

    I have not read this book and because of that I can't give it a fair review, but I would advise anyone who does read it to "keep their minds' open, but not so open that their brains' fall out." I don't deny the possibility that there could be corruption within The Church, but I also believe that some people like to twist the truth and exagerate the actual facts. Of course I don't know if this author is one of those people, but I ask you to keep in mind that possibility. Lastly, if you find that you cannot trust The Church because of what you read, try going to the website Catholicanswers . Com to talk to an apologist or another knowledgable person. They could help you figure it out if there is a misunderstanding, or you could give them the push they need to start fixing the problem if there is one.
    In short, if you discover the ship is damaged, rather than try to swim, try to fix it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 21, 2012

    Hughly recommended especially for Catholics over the age of 50.

    Well researched and written. Gives real insight into the the chuirch hierarchy who are human beings just like us who make mistakes. What a shame it is that their mistakes effect so many of the faithful. And even more sad that they cannot see their mistakes and hide behind authorityh and power. So UnChristlike!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Good information, bad entertainment

    Jason Berry’s books detail the financial practices of the Catholic Church and how they bring in billions of dollars annually through donations in various business deals. The book plays on the themes of authority and legitimacy, the persuasion that the Church uses, corruption, and substantive justice. It illustrates a modern connection between church and state that has been in place in any and all religious cultures, making it an interesting topic to read about. However, I thought that the way Berry organized his information drew away from the simple facts. He included INSANE amounts of numbers. I think any reader would be surprised at the amount of research Berry did. It is a good book to read for a research paper or political science coursework, but I wouldn't pick it up for pure enjoyment.

    It was interesting and I learned a lot about the Catholic Church but found myself struggling to keep reading. I would suggest purchasing the book if you want to know about the scandals through extensive data and research, not straightforward facts.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2014

    Ho<_>rny?

    Go to dewdrop result two (search it as one word, not dew drop) for some ero<_>tic fun

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2014

    Queen of &hearts s

    Good beginning. Its obvious that the mom belived the legend

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2014

    This is amazing

    Write more pls. Ps can u post ur nook email so we can be nook freds, lend each other books and chat?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2014

    *^_^*

    Wonderful!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2014

    Nice start...

    Could use some spelling/ typo work though. Keep it up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    Good

    Everyone is asuming that her name is Whitekit automatically but she hasn't been named. 3 and a half stars. <p> Shadow of Light/Shadowlight/Shadow/Lightshadow: (choose whichever name. The first is for a tribe, second for an evil Clan, third for rogue, and forth for a different Clan.) <br> Gender: t&male<_>m. <br> Looks: the majority of him is black. He has dark brown eyes with flecks of silver. A streak, like a flashlight beam, runs across him and ends on a bizzare redish birthmark. <br> Note: i want him in a different Clan. I want him to kitnap the kit, but you can do whatever you want with him.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    Teagan

    Very good!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2014

    Walker

    My application is

    Name: lightstorm

    Gender: &male

    Rank: warrior

    Bio: black and white desert tabby with brown underbelly and green eyes

    Part: lead warrior in the clan. He dies in a snow storm while sheltering whitekit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    Kewl

    Cats dont know what crystals are. Application:
    Dapplekit (feather)
    She-cat
    3 moons
    Brave, playful
    Tortoishell with green eyes, white paws, white belly, and white tail tip
    Extra: Only kit in the litter

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    Anderson, Author of 'Scorchfire's Beggining'

    I love it!!!!! :-) <p> Owlblizzard: <br> Looks-Brown and white she-cat with green eyes! <br> Rank-Deputy, maybe? :3 <br> Apprentince-Your choice! <p> I really enjoyed it; keep it up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    QueenDare

    Loved it! <p>
    Dirtkit\paw\flight. Dark brown tabby tom with white, cream, and tannish splotches. Very deep amber eyes and a hiddeous and jagged scar on his flank as Dirtpaw. You can make him fall in love with Whitekit or not. Mother is Coldfoot, dad is Longer. <p>
    Hazelkit\paw\heart. Very pale ginger tabby with deeper ginger stripes. Her tailtip is white and she has violt eyes. Mother is Daisyfur and dad is Sulfureyes. <p>
    Note- Do NOT make the parents.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    Bird 筹

    WONDERFUL detail! Quite sincerely, this is the best Warrior's fanfic on NOOK that l have read. :) Five stars (two stars is my signature thing; l don't use them to rate fanfics). I personally am a huge fan of realistic-ness. Keep it up! <br>
    <p>
    JaySong <br>
    Grey she-cat with blue eyes. A fluffy white tailtip, fluffy white underelly, and (fluffy) white throat. <br>
    Maybe mentors Winterkit/paw/Berry? Or is somehow associated with her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    Great start!Hint-IIGNORE JEWEL

    Make this book clean.I hope Whitekit grows up well!This might end up having a magical element! Application-Harepaw(spirit),a shecat who is friends with White,greyish brown like a hare,a little nervous. This deserves 5 stars! IGNORE Jewel and foxkit please!-Yay.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    I Love It!

    Best prologue l've ever read! I can't wait until you start for real! I have an application, too. <br>
    <p>
    Name : Lilykit <br>
    Age : Three moons <br>
    Gender : &female (She-cat) <br>
    Looks : Dusky blue-gray fur, gray muzzle and paws, brown eyes. <br>
    Purpose in the Story : Winterkit's friend. Sticks with her. <br>
    -Portal &#10023

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    LOVED IT

    &hearts my plication is below <p> Name-Foxkit <p> Apearance-Dark russet ginger tom with deep amber eyes. Befreinds Whitekit and falls in live with her. He finally gets h o r n y and lter on in the book has s e x with her. ~Jewel

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    App

    Jumpflarem shem whitd pelt . Hdyj

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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