Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal” as Want to Read:
Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  282 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of 2013

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013

An Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime Nominee

An explosive, sweeping account of the scandal that has sent the Catholic Church into a tailspin -- and the brave few who fought for justice

In the mid-1980s a dynamic young monsignor assigned to the Vatican's embassy in Washington set out to investigat
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 9th 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mortal Sins, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mortal Sins

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Tiffany Reisz
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book to better understand the "clerical culture" as it's referred to in the book. Anyone who has read my Original Sinners series will know why. I thought I knew the scope of the abuse of children and the cover up in the Catholic Church before reading this. I was, quite frankly, shocked by how worldwide, pervasive, and epidemic the problem is. My ultimate conclusion after reading the book is that celibacy is a failed experiment. The priests with healthy sexualities will find appropria ...more
Carah Helwig
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly written and well-documented, this is by far a chilling account of the coverups that existed during the greatest scandal ever to occur in the Catholic Church. I'll be honest - if I didn't have a core group of friends who are committed to progressive Catholicism, whom I know I can depend on for spiritual support, I might be tempted to leave the Church. A must read regardless of your politics or your views of religion and power.
Aaron Baker
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well-researched book that reads like a courtroom drama. Unfortunately it's non-fiction. It should be required reading in every Catholic church worldwide, but then if it was, there might not be very many of them left.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. Mesmerizing.
Quinn da Matta
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Almost encyclopedic in its breadth of information and detail, this book is powerful. Elevated by its gripping writing and style, this book becomes unforgettable.
Christopher Fox
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A worthy recipient of the Pulitzer Prize this solid, extensive reportorial investigation of the on-going sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church reads like a detective story, populated with very human characters on all sides. It pulls the reader along inexorably with its captivating, richly coloured narrative. D'Antonio explores all aspects of this complicated problem: ecclesiastical, social, legal, psychological, historic, theological, philosophical, political, economic and moral. Many of the ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't read this if you have high blood pressure. It could cause a stroke. The arrogant and cruel treatment by the Roman Catholic Church towards so many young innocents is truly heartbreaking..
Jim Cullison
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally excellent. Enthralling and educational. If you read only one book on this topic, make it this one.
victor harris
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review at my blog at
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting read on the sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church. Michael D'Antonio interweaves the outbreak of the crisis along with details from the lawyers that fought for the victims against the Catholic Church. It is shocking to see the lengths of the abuse as well as the lengths by the church itself to cover it up. A shocking reminder of what can happen when an organization ignores checks and balances in order to defend it's own members.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
While I've been following the Catholic child abuse and coverup scandal for years in the papers, I wanted a book that would present it in an organized fashion. This book does a good job of that.
John Purcell
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Full disclosure: I was adopted into and raised by a Catholic family. I'm what I call a "recovering Catholic" having rejected Catholicism when I was a teenager. I was never abused by a priest; never having any hint of abusive priests, so I have no personal axe to grind.

This book is about the Catholic Church, more than it is about abusive priests. What I came away with, in terms of horror, and disgust, and condemnation, is not so much that grown men were raping children, as bad as that is on a per
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to take this book in sections because I was so bothered by the response by law enforcement and the church. I was raised as a Catholic, went to an all girls Catholic high school and dropped away from the church once I graduated high school. As a 5th grader I was slapped out of my seat by a nun for supposedly talking when we were told to be quiet; the reality was that the boy next to me was trying to get me to talk and be in trouble and all I was doing was shaking my head trying to get him t ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I had heard of pedophile priests at some point in the last couple decades, who hasn't? But I had no idea the scope of the problem. I thought it was comparable to the occasional Protestant minister who has an affair with the organist - which happens, but most don't and those who are do are exposed quickly and forced to resign.

I had no idea that at any given time 45-50% of the priesthood is not celibate. And that priests count themselves as celibate if they have a sexual experience a couple times/
Michele Weiner
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very comprehensive look at the sex abuse scandals of the Catholic Church. D'Antonio describes the behavior broadly - he does not dwell overly much on specific sex acts except when necessary to illustrate the extreme depravity of the pedophile priests and the awful damage done to the children victimized. There are extensive character studies of the lawyers who pursued the cases, the volunteer activists and experts, the worst of the serial predator priest-monsters, and the most egregiously negli ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, the reason this one got 3 stars and not two is because I feel like I learned a lot about this topic. And, much like other big stories that happened in 2002, I missed a lot of it. I mean, I vaguely remember something on CNN about the Boston Diocese, but this goes back and lays out how the whole thing just started building and building on itself.

One thing that really baffled me is that most of the priests didn't think that there was anything wrong with this. Literally. They would do it so ofte
Jeffrey Cavanaugh

Being an atheist nonbeliever from a young age, I'm neither a fan of the Catholic Church nor religion in general. Moreover, I've been aware of the pedophile priest problem for some time. Yet, to see the whole thing laid out from the beginning of the scandal in the 1980s in one volume that discusses it from both a national and international perspective is still breathtaking. There is absolutely no doubt: none, that the Church for decades, if not longer, systematically and knowingly covered up the
Todd Wilhelm
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of this book when Boz Tchividjian mentioned it while being interviewed by Janet Mefferd. He mentioned that the similarities between the Catholic church sex abuse scandal and the Sovereign Grace Ministries sex abuse scandal are erie. As someone who has closely followed the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal this piqued my interest. After reading the book I concur with Mr. Tchividjian's opinion. If you would like to listen to his interview it can be found at the link below and starts ...more
David Bird
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-extremis
D'Antonio's account seems to cover the ground fairly. He takes great pains to humanize those who have striven for the rights of the victims. He engages vivid writing about personal failings for them rather than the clergy. If the hierarchy appears cold, remote, and self-absorbed, that is hardly the author's fault, but an accurate portrait from life.

The author has the sense not to spend too much effort on his own outrage, or in repeated descriptions of what the victims suffered. As is noted, the
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael D'Antonio certainly did his research. This book is a comprehensive account of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic church starting in the mid-1980s and continuining in conversation even today. As of 2012, the worldwide church had paid $3 billion to settle civil lawsuits, and yet many more claims went unresolved. The accusations, denials, cover-ups and lawsuits rocked the church to its core. As a lifelong Catholic myself, I knew about the scandal and the many victims, b ...more
Uwe Hook
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly compelling read. The first comprehensive, gut wrenchingly honest and authentic work chronicling the clergy abuse crisis. D'Antonio puts faces and human stories to the crisis, and it is in these intimate portraits that we learn how these individuals, the survivors and survivors' advocates, the lawyer, the church insider, slowly but surely exposed the ugly truths to the nation and the world. The real people who worked to expose the cover up, concealment and conspiracy within the Catholic C ...more
Jennifer Rikkers
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I have a very personal connection to this book as my uncle is Jeff Anderson, one of the primary lawyers who for years has fought for victims and who offers his story both personally and professionally as a major part of Mortal Sins. With that being said, from my perspective this book is powerfully honest account of a tragicly painful situation. The author, Michael D'Antonio has really done a fantastic job of sharing all the many, many complexities & "the truths" uncovered throughout t ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sexual abuse of children by clergy in the catholic church is a world wide scandal. MORTAL SINS tells the story of the courageous fighters who exposed this corruption. A church canon lawyer and priest who exposes the corruption to the church is turned away and takes the fight to protect children outside the church. A lawyer who takes on the largest organization in the world and wins. Newspaper reporters who dig into the scandal and the corruption of not only priest child molesters but bishops ...more
What I liked most about Mortal Sins is how very accessible it is. It focuses primarily on the lawyers and victims’ rights advocates who used the legal system to take on the Catholic Church and turn the sexual predation of children and adolescents into one of the largest scandals the Church has faced in centuries. Beginning in 1983, when the first case was filed in America, up to the time of publication (2013), the book traces the triumphs and setbacks as the scandal leaped from diocese to dioces ...more
Karen Christensen
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
After reading all the bits and pieces of the Catholic sex scandal over the years, it's nice to have a comprehensive picture laid is the case with this book. I was concerned that the author would dwell too much on the details of the actual abuse, making it too repulsive to read, but he doesn't. D'Antionio treats it with a good balance, giving enough information to appreciate the horrific nature of what these men were (are?) doing, while not crossing that line. The author also spends some ...more
Charles Reimler
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Previously I Read Book Title "Sex, Priests, And Secret Codes"
Year 309 On-Going Forward Crimes Of Priest Explains Reformation
Monk Martin Luther "Correct" Allowing Clergy To Marry!
Scott Peck Spiritual Psychiatrist Book: "People Of The Lie" Is Insightful Pertaining Reality Of EVIL!
"Mortal Sins" A 2013 Book Is A Sadness Of Evil Within A Christian Institution, And The Reality Of Destructive Sinful Behavior! Author Michael D'Antonio Did An Excellent Task Too "Present The TRUTH" Of
EVIL Coverup Abuse O
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our book club read Mortal Sins this month, and while the book was a fantastic conversation starter, the book itself doesn't have much to offer. Using the angle of the lawyers and church insiders who have been advocates for the victims of the church's pedophilia scandal, D'Antonio's book reads like a laundry list of cases against the church (focusing on the American cases) but sheds little new insight into the tragedy. He touches on questions of faith, homosexuality, and the church structure, but ...more
Kathy Taylor
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Hate to give it the rating "I really liked it" because it actually made me sick to read about all of the lying, cover-ups, etc. - shameful! It reinforces my long-standing opinion that the Pope is infallible and I have no respect for him and those down the line. They are human men, just as capable as being destructive as anyone else. But in their case it is even more evil because they are in the position of authority and misplaced adoration. No more!
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catholic Church and Pedophile Priests. This book breaks down 30 years of litigation against the church by victims of the church's boys club in the US. The damage is horrendous to those who put their trust in the church and how they were maligned at every step. The church needs to get its priorities straight; their boys club and dollars is not the church

Have they learned anything? Probably not

A well researched and document. It will break your heart
Robert Davidson
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devastating indictment of the utter failure of the Catholic Church to protect children from Priests on a Worldwide basis. The Author leads us through the various Court cases mainly in the United States and i am sure everyone who reads this book cannot believe how common child abuse was and is. The Catholic Church is just another Multinational Corporation whose only interest is Money, Power and Control. This is very compelling read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party
  • The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present (Modern Library Chronicles)
  • In the Name of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide
  • Midnight's Descendants
  • Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
  • The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations
  • The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008
  • Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements
  • The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865-1925
  • Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
  • Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917
  • Pardon My President: Ready-To-Mail Apologies for 8 Years of George W. Bush
  • 1916: A Global History
  • The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails
  • Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea
  • Like
  • The Search for Order, 1877-1920
A Pulitzer Prize winning writer of books, articles, and original stories for film, Michael D’Antonio has published more than a dozen books, including Never Enough, a 2015 biography of presidential candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Described variously as “luminous,” “captivating,” “momentous” and “meticulous” Michael’s work is renowned for its clarity, balance, and thoroughness.

More about Michael D'Antonio

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays
    $17.99 $2.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99