selling them and leading us to where we are now in talking about the great power of wall street and their business levels and so forth and so on. i think if anybody wants to know what's going on in america today, you don't understand wall street, you don't understand the incredible power that they have economically and politically. and this book actually does a good job of getting into that. so those are some of what i have read. : an hour. [applause] >> thank you.
is the mic on her? okay. everybody can hear. it is always a pleasure to be at garden district ooks. i am t >> it is always a pleasure to bc garden district books. as i am a client as well as an occasionally stand up her former. and i also want to say how wonderful it is to be back int new orleans after three weeks co out on theu proverbial literaryd whistle-stop in foreignd countries like new york, bostonk chicago, cleveland, st. louis ue and t elsewhere money in the catholic church, and it follows a line of transactions that largely deal with the closure of churches and the disposition of churches as property, as assets. and by focus on the four major parts of the country. new orleans, boston, the longest
sections, cleveland and los angeles, and there are intervening chapters in rome where much to my surprise i got much more information than i ever imagined that we live of course in the age of miracle and wonder and the internet manages to get information to people with such speed that i felt myself literally up to my neck in material as i was finishing the book and my wife actually said -- i finished it in the marchant at what point you could have pulled me off the floor but it's true in october, november, and excuse me, i finished books in november, anticipating eight march publishing date and the book was published in june because sometimes we are late. the mantra in our household in the fall, which i have vague
memories of they did not bring the championship this year i do at test to that, a quota every morning at breakfast as i drink my coffee and tried to get centered on the times picayune are we out of cleveland get? i did get out of cleveland. it was a fascinating piece of this work. so the story of this book really begins in boston and i going to lay out several key sections of it in a sort of abbreviated vernacular way. but i do want to say in my own mind of self-defense that i have about 40 pages of footnotes. it's a documented book from the latin, italian and spanish even the light of a fairly good job of some of the spanish. when i was a student in high school in the 1960's here and
new orleans and i see a couple of my old classmates here, we would talk about the fees and reason who need not collide that can be a catholic and have a solid a spiritual life and that there is no reason to fear that the church will do the wrong thing because as the wheel exists three turns the church eventually does catch up to the changes in society certainly with respect to science. ..
who are clamoring if you will for their own rights as parishioners, and as the bishops have begun to close churches, these churches become forms of property. the story of how the vatican oversees the liquidation of these assets is something i had utterly no idea about until i began to research. so let me give you one overview of the book with a little shorthand. first, two sets of numbers. every year at the end of june, there is a collection called peter's pence. peter's pence goes for the charitable uses of the pope. pope benedict rebuilt the school or provided $250,000 to rebuild the school in haiti just last year. this is the kind of cause that one would like to see papal philanthropy but do.
alternatively, as they learned in doing the research of the $82.5 million that peter's pence took in 2009, only about 8.5 million of it was documented now it all went to very good causes, much of it interestingly to environment to work, erosion in the sub-saharan things of that nature and yet almost 80% of this massive donation did not have any documented outlay of where it went and i tried very hard without much success to get answers. so you ask yourself, if you are taking up his huge collection, why do you tell people where the money goes? secrecy is so layered into the dynamics of ecclesiastical governing that it has created a kind of mythology of power where men at the high levels of the church are afraid to be forthright out of some concern
that the church is an institution will be hurt. and one of the great narratives of our era is how the world is opening up to all kinds of information and with so many people now using the internet, it is very hard to hide secrets. the other figure i wanted to give you is that, in the last 46 years, according to an eminent researcher i have interviewed and quoted in the book, the catholic parishes and dioceses in the united states have lost about $2.3 billion of embezzlement, theft from the sunday collection plate or more accurately after the funds are collected. think about this. why is it that the money that is counted on sunday is not the same amount that goes into the bank on monday? this could be readily changed by
the institute of a policy across the board so that every donation is suitably counted and if the pastor needs any funds, he can write a check to cash. but as i was told by michael ryan, the authority of this issue and i have a very long foot out with his data, to do that would throw a wrench at the tradition known as a little walking around money. [laughter] the number of priests and lay workers who have gone to prison in the last 10 years for a little walking around money, sometimes exceeding six and even seven figures, is really breathtaking. i chose to use most of this material in the beginning of the book and then in this section cleveland went into some of these cases and depth. here is how the story begins. in the fall of 2004, man named
peter poirier, a retired oilman in boston, learns that his parishes being closed and figures out that it will soon be put on the real estate market. he is the most unlikely reformer, the last person in the world you would think of to lead a charge for truth and justice in the church. we have got chairs over here if you all want to just sneak around. i think the good people at c-span will allow you to come right in front of this and i will insist -- good to see you. >> thank you very much. >> you are quite welcome and i will insist they edited out this part. hopefully we are not on all life all the time. anyway, so this guy gets angry because his parishes closing. he starts sniffing around and he starts getting financial documents, and eventually he
goes to rome and decides that he is going to file protests over these parish closings and use the vatican court system as a way to prevent these parishes from being closed. people are sleeping in pews in boston as of 2004. those of you who remember the cases here in new orleans, and i see mike valentino of saint augustine parish with us today, will recall that in at least three of the churches, saint augustine, our lady of counsel in saint henry, people occupied those churches because they did not want their sacred spaces reduced to real estate. this is happening in many parts of the country, and it is a sort of shadow story to the larger media narrative about the failure of bishops in the abuse crisis. so, while he is going back and
forth to rome filing these protests in a legal system that requires that everything be done in latin -- [laughter] i happened to get information about something else that was going on at that time. here is how it against. june of 2003, this is a year before the parishes have closed. the summer of 2003, the incoming archbishop of boston, sean o'malley, a franciscan, previously the bishop of palm beach, florida, writes in boston after called mel -- cardinal law has resigned and realizes he has an enormous crisis on his hands. yes to resolve 552 cases by his victims that are in the court and he realizes that cardinal law has equates to him a financial sinkhole. so he goes to rome, and he meets
with -- there are two seats right over here if you guys are interested. or you could stand. i never tell my daughter what to do. i only gently suggest. [laughter] so, here he is. he goes to rome and he meets with two of the most powerful men in the rue roman quarry in. the secretary of state and cardinal hoyos whose elaborate extravagant name comes from colombia. the cardinal at that time was the head of the congregation for clergy which is a pivotal office in this book, because the third office of the congregation for the clergy has the oversight on giving approval or not to the liquidation of property, any use
of assets, selling, churches property over a certain threshold. and ironically one of the reasons this office takes that work so seriously is to safeguard the rights of the beloved dead so that people who have left land, buildings, commercial or residential real estate, paintings, artwork, cash, jewelry, his states, anything that people in their wills have left to the catholic church should be safeguarded under canon law. so this office, the third office of the congregation for clergy, has to give approval for anything that a bishop does over a threshold of $5 million if it is a small dioceses or $11.3 million if it is a large diocese or archdiocese. so here is all malley from
boston, one of the largest archdiocese and he is fancying on agile desperation. the "boston globe" has done an article suggesting they may then file chapter 11 bankruptcy, which at that point in time had never happened. there have since been a chapter 11 filings by dioceses and religious orders. so he meets with them and what they say to him in as many words is look, we can't give you money, but we will give you heart launch to sell whatever you need to sell, and in fact there was a document that surfaced from one of these legal processes that i have translated to latin and it is very clear he got this explicit permission to sell property, whatever he needed to do. he goes back to boston and he starts following the blueprint, the plan called reconfiguration, which was drafted, more than drafted -- it was put together
by an assistant bishop named richard lenin. i'm trying to set up these characters for you because all of these people play through the book. richard lenin has the distinction of being a self-taught canon lawyer. now, even the bar association of the great state of louisiana would probably have problems letting someone be admitted to court if he didn't really go to law school. the church in its wisdom, or i should say cardinal law and his wisdom, decided richard lenin would be as health -- the reason he was in dire straits was not so much because of the abuse cases they were facing but it does from 1986 to 2002, every year they take an appeal for the clergy pension so that when preiss retired there would be enough money to take care of them. well, every year for 16 years,
instead of investing the 4.5 million at a time when the market was yielding at about 5%, they spend it. every year they spent much of it for the cause, the upkeep, the therapeutic expenses of the clerics who had abused and much of it for what were you at consider hush money where clients assigned. they received a settlement but then they can't talk about it. it was only in 2001 that a judge ruled that the "boston globe" had the right to see the documents, and that is why the scandal began in 2002 and frankly were it not for the globe reporting, it probably wouldn't have done this book. in any event, this is out of the sequel to boston and i everything is a sequel to i've been working on all these years. o'malley goes back to sell property that lenin scoped out for him. jump cut back to rome.
cardinal sodano takes a look at this and decides to assist his nephew, andrea sodano who is a building engineer, who is in business with roughly a loaf foley airey who was in new york city in a business to find shuttered church properties, to buy low and sell high. cardinal card also going to does more than that. he installs in the congregation for the clergy one might see your giovanni carew whose job is undersecretary to do a number of things. one of them we now know from the fbi was to provide property information before it got on the open market. this is sort of like insider trading you might say. so, here you have got people in boston sleeping in pews because they don't want their parishes sold and here you have got my
senior carew -- gossip is people in office to see things, they see faxes, they don't like it. years later, this guy writing a book shows up not quite sure what he is doing and they start talking. so, there was a third guy involved in this profiteering scheme and his name was men arrow. b. has a very important job. he works in the congregation for the causes of the saints. he helps make saints and he got $387 wired directly to him in the vatican bank from new york, and andrea sodano got over $800,000 wired to him on invoices that the fbi agent who built this case told me were utterly worthless.
and the scam only collapsed because -- and i try not to laugh. foreign investigative reporter when you get someone like him, you really know that god is smiling on you. [laughter] i mean this guy came out of central casting. a tassler brown hair and he is only 27 years old, cherubic cheeks, black piercing eye in the sauve of an italian gentleman and they were living together in an apartment that only cost $37 a month. anti-god is one as one of its biggest investors ron buerkle, who is was a major real estate mogul, friend of bill clinton and he is a pretty smart fellow. he began to realize this guy spending was off the charge. when you pay $62,000 to charter
a plane and you have to go from los angeles to las vegas, you know expedia maybe five or 600, i don't know. so buerkle sued him and after buerkle sudan than "the wall street journal" did a story and then the fbi closed and because they realize something was seriously wrong. folieri now holds an endowed chair in a federal penitentiary. [laughter] it is funny. it is like a comic opera honest certain level but the one i want to focus on right now is cardinal saddam out. let's go a little deeper on him. who is this man? this is the secretary of state of the holy see who goes to new york for the launch party for the business, helps is that the get set up, puts the monsignor in there to feed him the property. can you imagine what would happen even with congress if hillary clinton were to attempt something like that with some
international realtor boris condoleezza rice before her had done something like that? they would be fired, prosecuted and it would be a major crisis for the indymac, for the administration of obama or job u. jody bush before him. the vatican needs a justice system. it needs a coherent system of courts, not these ancients tribunals that date back to the renaissance of not before. that is the fundamental root of this crisis, whether it is money or the coverups in the abuse cases. cardinal saddam out was the papal -- to chile and in the 1970s, when pinochet was the dictator. one of the grizzly is, levy is dictatorships of latin america in recent memory, and he even appeared on television at a rally. this is a papal ambassador with
a dictator. it was there that he became friends with father, the founder of the legionnaires of christ. my reviews book bows of science that i did with my late friend gerald renner to whom this book is jointly dedicated, he founded this group. he was the greatest fund-raiser of the modern church and trailed by accusations for years but he cemented a friendship with the bono that proved to be one of the great booms -- moons of his career. because in 1998, when saddam out by this time is the secretary of state, the secretary of state of the vatican is an office that is more analogous to a combination of the prime minister in a parliamentary sense and the chief of staff, so he is the pope second-in-command literally. he oversees the roman korea, the bureaucracy and he is the guy who was in charge well, as
effective prime minister he meets with visiting dictate -- dignitaries. he is the guy who really manages the daily operations of the government. a very powerful position. in 1998, he was accused by a group of men from spain and mexico of having abused them years ago in rome and they were young seminarians. they filed this case with cardinal rustenburg and sodano intervened, put pressure on him and the case simply hung there for six years. finally it is 2004. the final months of john paul's life and resting here whether he knew that he would become pope, we don't know, but certainly had the foresight to realize that whoever would become pope could not effectively take this
position which is in effect a symbol of world peace. that is what the pope is in our time, symbol of opal piece, someone who argues the case for peace, for nonviolence. how can he assume that position with such a discredited notorious figures not being prosecuted? martin luther king said the troop pieces the presence of justice. paul the sixth, a pope in the 1960s that if you want peace work for justice. how can we have these ideals surrounding the very image of the supreme pontiff if they are not executing someone who clearly should be prosecuted? non-accusers, that is a lot. ratzinger at that point orders a canon lawyer on his staff to investigate, and as the investigation is nearly done benedict has -- the pope once
again and sodano intervened in his office put out a statement saying there is no investigation of the process is over. at which the very moment people from the united states were flying to rome to provide information. the vatican press office issued a statement saying it is over and yet it was not over. one of the problems in the church is structural mendacity, it's up to -- institutionalized lying and it is in every corner of these complex whether it involves abuse or money or property. and so, benedict becomes pope and in 2006 he banishes father moseil from active ministry, not the expulsion that the accusers wanted but at least more than john paul ever did and he begins defrocking many of these clerics.
cardinal saddam out is the face of corruption in the catholic church today. this is a man who is now the dean of the college of cardinals, having retired as secretary of state. he meddles shamefully, disgracefully, making real estate with these churches and the united states and one of the points i am making in every form i haven't every speech i give is that i think this man must go, and i do not think pope benedict, god bless them, who has been something of a reformer on the abuse issue -- hasn't gone as far as he showed that has gone far more than anyone before him -- he cannot preach the values of of a greener planet or espouse the sanctity of human life if he is saddled by a man like saddam out and if people see that the vatican justice system is really a ritual of half measures.
the last point i want to make has to do with the figure of the pope himself. i think most people here are probably aware that when he was a cardinal joseph ratzinger prosecuted theologians. that may be too legally term, but quite a lineage of theologians were summoned to his office as the chief theologian, and lost their licenses to teach theology. hans, the greatest arguably theologian in his day for taking the position that people should have the freedom to make their own decisions on birth control. leonardo bof in brazil and many of the liberation theology scholars who were arguing for an alliance between the church and the poor.
the language of jesus gospels is quite clear on this. so hans at one point struck back for bully and called him the grand inquisitor. well, if you have read the book, there is -- is one of the most famous scenes in western literature where the grand inquisitor in his prison cell in seville during the spanish inquisition confronts christ. there is jesus and the inquisitor has been out torturing heretics and here is jesus standing before him. what he basically says to him, i would never paraphrase him but i think this is pretty close. what he basically says to him as we don't need you. the people are happy if we give them these mysteries and the supernatural bromides. so, you don't have to be here. we can take care of it and of course the message implicit
here, and as a russian orthodox dostoyevsky was no fan of the roman church but the message was that the inquisitor himself had no faith. and in that memorable scene, jesus crosses the sale, embraces him and kisses them on the face and then depart without saying a word, letting his silence trail behind them as a moral indictment in and of itself. well, i don't believe cardinal ratzinger of her lost his faith and certainly has pope i don't think he is fatalist but ironically what he needs now is a real inquisitor. he needs a prosecutor. he needs someone who can go in and clean up the system whereby cardinals and bishops, because of the logic of apostolic succession, enjoy a de facto
immunity from punishment. some of you may not know apostolic succession. it is a rather grand term. what it basically means is that every bishop and cardinal, each one of them is in a spiritual lineage descending from the original apostles. as a catholic i am perfectly prepared to accept that with one exception. we cannot even raise the historical memory of judas, who betrayed christ. so many of these bishops and cardinals have betrayed us. not just us as believers but so many people who expect the church to hold itself to high accounts. and, if cardinals and bishops cannot be punished and cannot be appropriately removed, which they are not, then we do not have a justice system. in cleveland, there has been a wave of parish closings in the last two years. 15 of these parishes now have
appeals in rome and the reason i focus on cleveland is because that is where bishop lenin was sent as his reward after he and cardinal o'malley cease to have much dialogue. o'malley woke up one day and said in a letter published in boston that reconfiguration was his worst nightmare, and he wished the lord would take him. it was a stunning letter and leningrad about it in the "boston globe." lenin is now exerting this same ruthless blueprint of social darwinism on many parishes and cleveland. so, if you believe that churches are property that should be owned by the bishop as in the little town of kansas, ohio where the bishop bishop seized the church, took the parish funds, used it to pay his lawyer and then demolished it, then you
may not want to read this book. if all that is okay, go to danielle steel. [laughter] no disrespect to her, and i'm pleased to say that in a tweet yesterday ann rice has endorsed this book. [laughter] on the other hand if you want to know how money moves in this church, i think in modesty that i've done a pretty good job. this is not the full financial anatomy of the church. it would take years to do that, but in this church, the movement of money is inherently a story of personality, how different bishops govern. one final point and then we can open the floor to discussion. the reason i focused on los angeles is because cardinal roger mahony was involved in a massive fundraising effort to resolve the abuse cases there and he got a loan of $200 million, a third of the
settlement level from the allied irish bank. and as i kept looking and interviewing people the allied irish banks turned up everywhere. the allied irish bank does tremendous business and the united states with various catholic diocese, bond issues, loans for building schools. why would you win $200 million for something like that, for a settlement in a legal case? several of the attorneys i interviewed in this book say that it was their understanding that this was sort of a passerby which the vatican was assisting. i don't know that to be a fact. i have quoted these men on the record but it is one of the ministries mysteries that sort of hangs, just like the mystery of where peter's pence goes, just like the mystery of why this church, the leaders of this church, have become so lost in
the foggy hubris of the apostolic succession. and so, i thank you for your attention and i will be happy to take your questions. [applause] >> thanks. that was great. if people have questions if you don't mind standing up and waiting one second while we let them might get to you so your question can be recorded, we would appreciate it. thanks. >> thank you jason. that was an absolutely remarkable summary. what is the fbi's angle? what are the federal laws here? >> folieri went to prison for money laundering and fraud. >> whose money? >> well, he took. 's money at least in the beginning and he was sending it overseas or work that was not
done. and they use the vatican bank for at least $387,000. now interestingly they did not file suit against the vatican bank. if i can digress for just a moment. the vatican bank completely separate from the folieri scandal, had $30 million in pounded last fall by the financial regulatory body of italy that deals with banking transactions. the big fear -- well, the big fear besides what international banking has become to those of us who are ordinary folks, no but the big fear is how terrorists move money whether it is narcoterrorism or followers of al qaeda or what have you. so, the pope then established an oversight lord to, in some
sense, govern the vatican bank. the financial times reported from italy that citing an unnamed official, that the vatican bank is basically an offshore haven even though it is in the small city state, for a privileged account holders. the vatican bank mainly -- its main bases all the religious orders who keep their money there. the fbi's angle on the three unindicted co-conspirators, they wanted to get them to testify and i'm assuming they would have tried to extradite them. but, the state department was unable to get them to participate in pretrial interviews or even depositions. someone else? yes. >> jason, lenin for a minute. number one, what is his motivation, his personal
motivation? what was said in boston? what is it in cleveland. two, why has the hierarchy of the church allowed allow them to continue to march in cleveland? >> well, first of all, a number of priests in cleveland have written to archbishop vatican ambassador in washington and at the end of the book, near the end of the book, peterborough raid needs with him and dinunzio says to beret, quote lenin is protected, and then beret says to him do you mean by cardinal law? any sort of shrugs with an expression that telegraph the message, yes. cardinal law went back to rome after a hiatus of maybe a year and a half and living in a
convent in maryland and then went to rome and was named basically the pastor of santa maria which is one of the great basilica is. he is now earning $12,000 a month in that role, and he sits on the wards of several of the vatican congregations. there are nine of them that function sort of like cabinet levels. so they are trying to get rid of him now, and he has refused to leave. what was his motivation? i try to interview lenin. i tried to interview o'malley and i tried to interview everybody. i think lenin, because of his, because he was involved with law so deeply in beating up to the 2002 scandal, saw what was happening in boston. i think he generally wanted to forge the settlement, which he
eventually did with the -- but i think he has this idea that you can simply close parishes and sell them and people will move on and they will forget about it. one of the parishes in boston -- i think it was our lady star of the sea, was closed, suppressed and they sold it for $800,000 with lemon's approval and barely a month later the commercial photographer who bought it afflicted for $2.6 million. so this is just sloppy management, you know. it is ignorance, incompetence. why was he sent to cleveland? because they had to send them somewhere. wants to become a bishop, you are in the fraternity and they deal with one another with just over leaning respect. that is why we need a justice system in the church. yes, sir. did you have a question? >> yes. from this book and others, i
would like to know what your affirmation is of any chance for actual reform in the church. there seemed to be two groups, one a group of catholics who desperately would like reform and another who sort of say whatever they are the bishops do has to be okay. i think of what is going on in kansas city right now whether the solution would be to have a latin high mass to provide immunity to the diocese. [inaudible] what is your sense of the prospect for reform? >> the prospects for reform, that is a very tough question. there are a number of reform groups that are getting more and more visibility in the national media, understandably so. snap, the survivors network is one. voice of the faceless another that is trying to have dialogue with bishops that the bishops are largely stiff arming them and many of these people are folks who have historically
given, some very generously. what they are doing is alienating the donor base by being so resistant to having the kinds of conversations to heal the wounds and rebuild the structures. internally, the church is governed by chaos. think about the pope. he has now been served with a subpoena from oregon, which has been received in the holy city. the perpetrator went from ireland with a previous record to records to oregon where he three offended. all of these documents have come out in discovery. the supreme court has refused to intervene and throw out the case, it and so here are vatican officials who are now facing an american subpoena with very specific demands for documents. just within the last few weeks there has been a class-action suit in belgium that names the
pope as a defendant. i have no understanding of belgium law so i can't really give you an intelligent comment on that, but it is clear from the extent of the crisis in western europe that the holy city cannot simply call for conferences and put out these directives that are not nearly as strict as the youth protection charter the bishops adopted in this country. you reference kansas city. it is certainly an example of a place where the bishop did not follow the protection charter. he had a priest who had child pornography on his computer and instead of reporting him to law enforcement he sent them to live with a group of nuns. a terrible insults to the good sisters. so, you know, i hesitate to say this. i don't like to act like
jeremiah with the horn but i think what we are looking at is a continued erosion of stable governance within the church and more and more people clamoring for structural changes and the real wild card is the attrition rate of catholics, people leaving the church. the pew research center study a couple of years ago says that 35% -- excuse me, 25% of people in this country are catholic. the second largest religious grouping at 10% are ex-catholics. so, within the last generation, church that was once roughly one third the population of america has now declined to about 25%. the real challenge is keeping young people. young people have grown up in a world where they do not see as
stigmatized centers by virtue of their sexual orientation. and when bishops try to preach against or something like that, it is just something that continues to alienate young people. so they have got to figure out a way to start getting young people back into the church, and you know, i tend to look at this -- it is interesting what has gone on in egypt in the last year and tunisia and these other countries in the middle east. i mean this is an earthquake and the most erroneous piece of reporting and all the newspapers is where they keep saying pro-democracy movements. we don't know if they want democracy. what they want is freedom. what they want is jobs. what they want is a role for young men and societies where these greedy autocrats and dictators have simply shunted them to the side.
the vatican is undergoing its own earthquake. the center does not hold. and too many things are falling apart. i have no idea and i would never hazard a guess, but i would say this. in 1988, when bush, george bush the first, the elder, was running against dukakis, who among us would have dreamed that within a year we would be watching the soviet empire crumble on television at night? and i suspect that when the thunderclap of change comes to the church it will happen in one of two ways. we will either get a truly visionary pope who in the spirit will recognize that we not only have to open the windows of the church to the modern world, we need to open up the brass doors and let the current of justice come in, or we will see even
worse scandals and a continued disintegration. is going to be either way. you can't just put in a bureaucrat to keep plugging holes in the dyke. i realize i'm mixing metaphors, but -- yes. >> you have not fallen into hatred or anger and sometimes in that tradition people fall away because of that. and i wonder if some of that was how you were able not to and i wonder if part of that is being an american because you are living that very pragmatic approach and even what you said is it is hierarchical, but i'm just thinking as you talk, you kind of remind us we are all flawed in one of the things you have done your research to keep pointing out the flaws.
i guess what i am trying to ask is you must have wrestled all the time with that it would be easy to do an approach that is -- and he didn't do that and you are able to have that examination. i really am asking you how you did that? >> thank you for the question. why didn't i lose my faith in one neat sound bite? well, this is my microphone and i will use it. i grew up in an environment quite in harmony with faith. my great-grandmother, who came from veracruz, and my grandmother, her daughter, who was half mexican creole and the daughter of an engineer from georgia -- as a child i would go to their home on saturday
morning and stay there until sunday evening sometimes. my mother would take us over there often and the cousins went through the house and so forth. those ladies had such a festive latin idea of faith. i remember the lighting of candles that was so meaningful to them at saint stephen's church where i was actually baptized. and then later i went to high school, you can graduate from jazz with high school and leave the catholic church. [laughter] i am kidding, but i see mike valentino smiling. you know we were taught that faith and reason need not collide and i guess if any single, if any -- i guess if there were two writers who really sort of influence my idea of faith, one would be shared and who was a true evolutionary
philosopher and the other was dante because i read the divine comedy enough times now with enough interpretations to realize that he was writing about the corruption of the church. he stepped up open the inferno. so, i am not a poet, but i do have a tradition that i can say i am following. it may be a little grand. but, the other reason i guess is more deeply personal. but i have spoken about it before. i have a little girl, my younger daughter, who had down syndrome. mary was to depart of the lives of everyone in our family and friends. she adored going to mass at montebello rosa church. in fact, one time we were at mass and the former district attorney of new orleans, whose name i shall pass over, came in and he is now retired.
i had hammered him pretty good back in the day in a certain article. and, at the handshake of peace he turned around and said hello, i am ariel very. [laughter] innocence reigns. anyway, when ariel died at the age of 17, in the end of 2008 after a long illness, she had beaten the odds for many years and they prayed for years for her to live. and for many of those years my prayer was answered. and so i didn't want to just sort of storm out of the cathedral. and, you know i go to that church today and i think of her and i feel that proximity to her. i know this is a sentimental answer. it would never pass muster with
hitchens or dawkins or people who are making a fortune proving that god does not exist. i have also had a great many priests and nuns who had given information to me, and at every turn along this road three books in a documentary film now, you know i have had people there. so, it is kind of hard to leave. i don't want bishops to act like gangsters. it takes something away or made that is important. anybody else? yes. >> do you look into the finances of other religious organizations the way you have focused on the catholic church? >> the this one took a lot to do, and i don't think i am setting myself up as a financial reporter of other faith. no, it's not.
embezzlement. embezzlement is a problem across the board from many denominations. the catholic church i would say is unique by virtue of its enormous size. it is the largest organization in the world. and, its historic wealth and now it is going through the largest downsizing of the infrastructure, at least in american history in these issuers -- issues are affecting european countries as well. but those countries take a much longer view of history like the judge in springfield he said you can't tear down the church. it is a historic monument. but no, i haven't. yeah, john. >> i would just like to comment, commend you on the fact, i don't know few realized you were doing this but i think what you have done in these books and i have read all three of them by the
way, is that you have separated faith and the actual core beliefs of what catholics stand for and somewhat, somewhat, very flawed evil people that are sometimes engaged in this. this is nothing new in the church as you know. we go back to the renaissance and that brought about the reformation because of the domenici's. it is all over and over again and i would like to commend you for that, for separating the core belief. you can believe in not believe in the folks that are supposed to be leading a. >> thank you. i appreciate that very much. thank you. yes. >> imax are not catholic. i'm united methodist but i think all the churches now have the same problem. you are not getting these younger people and and that is something you said earlier in your top. we also have the same problem. i'm sure maybe it is not as talked about as the priest.
the church is a safe sanctuary and to have to go through that program to work with children in the church. in some denominations they recognize it and do something about it. some don't, but i think in any religion you are you are going to find some of that. the catholic religion like you said is such a corporation is a global power. >> indeed. yes, allen? >> the church obviously has -- of your prior writings and usa writer. did you have any sense of duplicity on their part or did you feel access to everything that you wanted? everybody here the question? he said, did you ever have a sense that the church looked at you as a pariah in some way?
the sad answer is yes. i had trouble getting credentials after the 2002 bishops conference in dallas and i think only because i was doing you know, consulting work for abc were they willing to admit me. you know a strange thing is happened over the years. in 92 when the first book lead us not into temptation was published, i was sort of out there saying things before a lot of other people were willing to acknowledge them. and, by 2002, because i had the research, when the globe did their epic series, think the work that i did was quite borne out or vindicated if you will. so i have sort have been ahead of the mainstream media on this, but that is not to take anything away from the globe or you know,
their papers or stations that it done good work. i don't have many friends in the hierarchy. i do have that channel dialogues with a few bishops, but i'm not really worried about that. they have not been able to impugn the accuracy what i have written, and that is the gold standard to me. how are we doing on time? wrap it up he says. two more questions? okay. yes? >> does the pope have the authority and the power to get rid of somebody like is that sedano no? >> sedano out. the pope has more power than the arguably just about any head of state certainly in europe.
he is the supreme arbiter of canon law. he can reverse or hault or dismiss or change any canon law proceeding. and he can fire whoever he wants. the problem is that an addict is not using that power. the part of an addict that is a moral absolutist -- you know he made his famous statement that the dictatorship of relativism. he needs a moral absolutist to be a prosecutor to get rid of some of these people, and to drive forward a rewriting of the criminal procedures of the vatican so it can function in a reasonably democratic way. it doesn't mean you have to change the election of the pope. doesn't mean you have to change the celibacy law even though i think it is a problem.
but, that is a place where they could reasonably start. and he could do that because he has that power, yeah. anybody [applause] >> is a nonfiction author a book you would like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us at twitter.com/booktv. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. here's our primetime lineup for tonight.
>> what are you reading this summer, booktv wants to know. >> the first book on my reading list this spring and summer was transfixed by stacy schiff. what a great insight in recounting her life. is a book that was recommended to me, and so i decided to pick it up and read it and then continued with a strong woman fema, if you will, with "elizabeth i," by margaret george. that's on my ipad. i'm reading both of these as e-books. i have gone back, doing these, "cleopatra" and "elizabeth i," it got me onto the historical and older novels type approach. and with my bible study group i am rereading "pilgrim's progress," which is delightful, to get back into that. it