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

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Maddi Sojourner
An excellent reporting job of further problems within the Catholic Church. While fallout from the abuse scandals still continues, here Jason Berry (who has already written two books on the abuse scandals) follows the money. Or at least he tries to follow the money, because Mother Church is just as determined to keep how the money flows in or out private from their own members. The same problems that led to the sexual abuse of minors leads to fiscal abuse: discouraging questions, hiding problems ...more
Susan Olesen
There is so much information here, I don't know what to say. It is a difficult read, partly because of the repetition of subject matter, year after year, time after time, location after location, and partly because of the author's circuitous, overly detailed narrative style, but the information is sound. I am not Catholic, but I truly feel sorry for anyone who is, because they are being betrayed by a system who sees them as nothing but peasantry, a cash cow for the 80% graft rate of a cash-based ...more
Aug 14, 2011 Wanda rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
This was OK. Just OK. I had higher expectations. First (and a petty point) it is no secret that there is a secret life of money in the CC. Others have written about this issue in the past. So the title is a misnomer. I am not sure that there was anything particularly revelatory about this book. I knew about the mess that Law left in Boston, although I did not know about the mess that his successor continued in Boston and then perpetuated in Cleaveland.
Incompetence is rewarded in the CC by promot
I suppose I should expect it to be dry and loaded with fact - after all it is a book that intends to document the handling of money in the church I was raised to attend.

And... I suppose that since so many of this documentary/history genre are so poorly written I should give Jason at least a 3 - OK, after this saves I will give him a three.

The problem with this book is the problem that Jason himself describes. There is a vast realm of activities under the umbrella of Rome that is not documented o
Jason Berry has delved into the corruption of the R.C. church from the Pope down to the local parish priest. He blames the corruption on the unnatural life of celibacy which essentially denies priests an outlet for their sexual inclinations and tends to encourage a gay subculture and opportunities for molestation of the young. This situation resulted in the prosecution of many malefactors among the clergy since 1980 and the loss of millions in civil cases. Special attention is given to Pope John ...more
Jeff Gillenkirk
I call this book "ALL THE POPE'S MEN" -- an inside account of the corruption, blindness and insensitivity of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. Investigative writer Jason Berry takes us where few people have gone, inside the gilded halls of Vatican, and details the impact of the ongoing pederast priest scandal on the finances of the worldwide church. Told through the eyes of courageous activists trying to save parishes in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Boston and other U.S. locales, there are fa ...more
This story is not for the faint of heart (or faith). The games by the hierarchy of the Church are ugly, but for those who want reform this is a must-read.
Some parts of the book get a little choppy with all the characters, but otherwise a good read.
Before reading this book, I thought it was going to be about the way money moves around the Catholic Church in general. Getting into the book, I realized that unfortunately the great majority of this focused on the priest abuse scandal. A lot has been said about this and it's no surprise that the church has spent lots of money on the scandal and the repercussions of it, such as closing of parishes. I feel like this topic has been reported many times and isn't all that secret.
The book contained
Aug 14, 2011 Donna rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: plaintiff's attorneys
Shelves: nonfiction
I know a lot about this topic and still it was hard for me to follow in this book. When you are dealing with such a huge topic as priest child abuse, litigation and settlements for the victims, and finding the money to pay those settlements, you need to find a strong narrative line. This book jumps across time periods and continents until often you cannot figure out who is promising what to whom. I THINK the major thesis of the book is the exposition of lousy (sometimes criminal) financial habit ...more
Harry Allagree
Upon finishing this book, I feel as though I ought to take a shower! As a former Roman Catholic priest, I had some idea that things in the Church were rarely as squeaky clean as they appeared to be or as they have been reported to be. Mirroring the state of the U.S. Congress, unfortunately, the leadership structure of the RC Church, it appears, has become so corrupt, greedy, untruthful, hypocritical, and actually destructive of the very purpose for which it exists that it will inevitably implode ...more
Darcy Conroy
I'd have liked to give a book on such an important topic as many stars as possible, but, like many other readers, I found the structure jumbled and the details given often tedious and irrelevant. It's a huge topic to tackle, and I'm sure it was difficult to find a through-line, and to choose how much detail to use, but, for me, the contextual details about what inspired someone to be a priest, or what bound a lay person to a particular church did not require leaping back to their birth, or traci ...more
What does Rome (i.e., the Catholic church) do with their money? How do they get it? What about their priceless treasures? Boy, was this an eye-opening, thought-provoking book.
Every five years the bishop sends a secret statement to the Vatican, which has scant interest in "transparenty." The culture of passivity by which most Catholics receive the sacraments and give their dollars is a bedrock. As long as the people ask no questions about their money, the bishop can ban reformers from church grounds. The issue is not faith but fear that people might see where the money goes.

The Catholic church is mightily broken. Covering the abuse of thousands of children was the top
Fredrick Danysh
The author addresses a history of the finances of the Vatican and the Catholic with a side trip into sex scandals. There is some antidotal information. Very little positive information is given about Church hierarchy and finance, leaving me the impression that the author is out to tar the leadership and priests of the Church with the human flaws of a few. It appears to be well documented and gives some history of the institution. Also has misinformation about some Church fraternal organizations ...more
A fascinating read, chalk full of details that benefit from a familiarity with church hierarchy and structure. The subtitle is a tad misleading as this book's primary focus is the monetary impact of the clergy sex abuse scandal on the Catholic Church in America (with specific attention to the archdioceses of Boston, Cleveland and Los Angeles), but the narrative does extend beyond the U.S. I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in the issues facing the modern church and the need for grea ...more
The self-inflicted Catholic Church scandal is like watching a train wreck - you just can't turn away. It would be just another story of a too-big, too-arrogant, too-powerful institution finally getting its due, except that it's also a very not entertaining human tragedy. That fact also makes it important that this story be communicated far and wide - both to force the church to deal with this tragedy with more than arrogance, lip service and lawyers, as well as to help prevent something like thi ...more
Nicole Braden Lewis
This topic is fascinating, critically important, and expertly treated here. I thank the author for his courage and conviction. The book was not an easy read, particularly because I myself am not familiar with all the structure and terminology of the Catholic Church. But it has important lessons for all of us about human frailty and the need for financial accountability.
Lauren Albert
I found the book confusing with a tendency to jump from person to person and from time to time. I gave it three stars instead of two because it contained a lot of interesting information about the problems with church government and finance. I was also glad to see that the author managed to be highly critical of the Church without seeming anti-Catholic.
As others have noted, this book needs some serious editing, and I'm only at page 9. I find the topic so interesting, however, that I'm compelled to charge on even though it requires a lot of effort from a reader. Now that I'm 50 pages in, I must say the editing makes this nearly excruciating, although still interesting. Weeks later: I gave up!
Tom Guise
Excellent read and compilation of many, many people who are and have been close to the inner workings of the vatican. It is not a callous book of condemnation, but rather one of facts and insights as provided by many who lived life to it's fullest in one of the last remaining bastons of a monarchy that remains in the world.
Edward Branley
This is one of those books that, if you were raised Catholic, will set you on edge. The documented crimes of the Church hierarchy are just incredible. Berry's work on clergy sex abuse was excellent, and this follow-up into the money scandals surrounding how to pay for the's just incredible.
It would be a mistake to let this book's occasional stylistic challenges stand in the way of its important substantial witness to the layers of secrecy and abuse present in the Catholic Church. This book demands the attention of all serious, responsible Catholics.
A very serious thought provoking book which took quite awhile to get through. Not a fast read since it makes you stop and think. This book explores the recent sex scandals and money scandals in the Catholic Church and shows how they are not new issues.
Mary Gail O'Dea
writing is terrible, material is gripping. The multinational corporation that is the Catholic Church is beyond financially corrupt. Worth reading, especially for anyone still donating to the Church.
Interesting subject. Basically it boils down to the Vatican expecting the faithful to just pray, pay and obey. Book seemed to ramble in many places. Would rec.
Obviously the author adds a little bit of drama to the book... but... it does open your eyes to some big issues within the catholic church...
Interesting. Good information on the manipulation church uses to raise money and how it is spent. Not sure if the book is not biased.
Amazingly well investigated. One cannot read it without feeling disgust and anger.
I'm buying this book so I can use it as a reference!!! Loved it
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