LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN

Berry, a New Orleans journalist, tips over a religious rock and finds a nest of corruption, deceit, and despair. Despite a hyperventilating foreword by Andrew Greeley (``perhaps the most serious crisis Catholicism has faced since the Reformation''), this proves to be a temperate, detailed investigation of a religious tragedy: pedophilia among Roman Catholic priests. According to the statistics given here, perhaps two percent of them lust after children; what shocks is that any man devoted to pastoral care would act on such impulses, and that local Church authorities sometimes covered up the evidence. Berry (a Catholic) discovered the scandal in 1984, when rumors began to spread about Gilbert Gauthe, a priest in Cajun country, Louisiana. In gritty, novelistic fashion (``A dread feeling lodged in Roy's intestines. `What the hell. Did he suck people off?' ''), Berry tracks the Gauthe case and his own sense of outrage. An angry attorney confronts Catholic bishops, who turn turtle; media outlets run away from the story; Berry hunts down experts on sexual deviation; more pedophilia cases emerge. One encouraging note sounds as Berry meets Michael Peterson, a benign, street-wise priest who runs a center for dysfunctional priests; sadly, Peterson later dies of AIDS. As the investigation proceeds, broader sexual issues emerge. Why are there so many homosexual priests? Where does priestly celibacy fit in? Here, Berry switches from reporter to crusader, launching an attack against Church views on sexuality that becomes a blast against Catholic traditionalism (``a medieval church turning its back on the church of the space age''). Looking at floundering seminaries, depressed parishes, and corruption in Newfoundland, Chicago, and N.Y.C. (where one priest, a tenured professor at CUNY, makes amateur porno films), Berry concludes that the Church is a ``dysfunctional family'' and argues for optional priestly celibacy. Despite the ``old church vs. new church'' political brief: superb investigative reporting.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-385-42436-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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