A 350 Year Cover-Up

Posted by Censor Librorum on Nov 15, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Skimming titles in the latest Daedalus Books catalog, I clipped out “Fallen Order: Intrigue, Heresy, and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio.” My first reaction to the book was: Even Then! The book documents a 350 year old cover-up of sex abuse and sex scandals by Piarist priests in charge of schools.

The book was written by Dr. Karen Liebreich, a Cambridge educated historian. She’s a writer, researcher and has produced several documentaries for BBC.

“Fallen Order is the stunning story of how the sexual abuse of children, practiced by some of the leading priests in the order, led to the Piarists’ collapse. Karen Leibreich spent several years researching in the order’s archives and in the Vatican Secret Archive, and discovered how the founder of the Piarist Order, Father Jose de Calasanz (later honored as the patron saint of Catholic schools) knew of the scandal and tried to keep it a secret.”

“Cardinals and bishops actively participated in the cover-up in an effort to protect the reputation of an important cleric with influential family connections. The complicity of abuse went as far as the pontiff himself, when Pope Innocent X appointed a man known to be a prolific child abuser in charge of an order dedicated to the education of children. Although the Piarist Order was suppressed in 1646 when the scandal eventually became public, it was later revived and is still in existence today, its turbulent past ignored.”

“A brilliant portrait of seventeenth-century Rome, and the politics, personal rivalries, and Byzantine workings of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, Fallen Order is an explosive account of a history of cover-ups, deception, and shuttling known abuser priests from school to school that is frighteningly similar to the Catholic Church’s response to child abuse in the priesthood today.”


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