February 26, 2010

Gone to Hell: true crimes of America’s clergy

By Br. Benet S. Exton *

By Br. Benet S. Exton *

Randall Radic. Toronto, Canada: ECW Press, 2009.  261 pages.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-1-55022897-7. $17.95.

In an interesting take on stories about real-life crime, Randall Radic’s book presents the stories of six Roman Catholic priests who have been convicted of crimes.

Radic, a former Old Catholic (not Roman Catholic) priest is an ex-felon himself. He based the stories in this book on public records, news accounts, and other sources in the public domain. 

The stories themselves address crimes such as embezzlement, drunk driving and evasion of the law, theft, extortion, and even murder committed by priests. While some of the crimes were immediately persecuted, others went undetected for long periods of time.

At first, this book may seem to be anti-Catholic. And unfortunately, these are true stories and the crimes are the main focus of the book. However, the book could be praised for its attention to detail and its factualness instead of a bias. The stories can also serve as a wake up call to all to prevent such crimes from happening.  Ultimately, these crimes have made it more difficult for those who are truly doing the work of God to continue with their mission.
 
Fr. Radic does admit that clergy and leaders of other denominations and religions commit similar crimes. The crimes he covers are not purely Catholic crimes.  The author has hinted that he may plan on writing a book on the crimes committed within other denominations as well.

This book is highly recommended to those interested in true-life crime.

Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.

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