disaster. that was due to the pirates pna because they thought u.s. for his bogeyman to attack her. so i don't think it's a stretch to say that commando missions would involved in that, not because a logical person would say okay because the bus. they are coming. let's surrender and go to a cushy prison somewhere. ..
>> guest: they are probably french or american forces really, british forces maybe who can plan a rescue operation; right? south koreans, they don't -- they don't care about foreign citizens. they carry out the missions if their own ships or citizens are involve the, otherwise they defer to the witches of ship owners who say back off, we'll pay the ransom. you have the people owning the ship not wanting to get involved generally. there's a number of reasons -- >> host: down to the last couple minutes i'm afraid, but there's difficulty z as you arrest the pilots, arrest them on shore, but if you brought them back to say the u.k., unless you had good evidence because it's a civilian court,
you couldn't convict them, and if you did and you wanted to deport them, they say, well, they can be executed for that. they are less likely once in the u.k. to end up hanged than they are on public housing and welfare. >> guest: correct. there's more complexes to it than that. basically, to the end of this is it's probably is not going to be possible to eradicate piracy, but it can be mitigated. spend the last minute talking about a few of the policies you recommend which i think myself is not the entire solution, but could be the start of a serious policy discussion which i don't think we've had with this issue yet. >> guest: yeah, i mean, the usual response that op-ed writers insert in their piece at the end is it needs to be solved on land. it's a line repeated everywhere. what's that mean? it does have to be solved on
ground, clearly. some treat the idea of rebuilding somalia and building a coherent state as a possible solution to pie piracy. people have been trying to do that for 20 years. i talk about mitigation in the book, and i think what you need to do -- i mentioned there's no coastal roads for example. one easy thing is to install coastal police and build short roads along the coast leading to a hand full of pirate launching and holding sites. have a pirate hotline. i told you the local people hate the pirates. you need to act on that resource. if they see a pirate about to launch into the indian ocean, you want them to call up for $50-$100, give that tip and arrest them before they push into the sea. those are a few specific suggestions. in general, i think what you need to do is give direct aid
and direct assistance to the many states we talked about. to the south where two prominent bases are located. that's not what's happening right now. >> host: make that con ting gent on them cooperates with real guards and work on the problem for you and with you? >> guest: i think the coast guard now is too big a step. they require more training, lo gist ticks, and it's more expensive. i think right now, well spaced out coastal garrisons equipped with radar stations, high frequency radio, that would be enough to really tackle quite a lot of the problem. >> host: it probably should be said that president is absolutely unequivocally against piracy although he's made that clear to you that he opposes it and think it's bad for somalia. >> guest: the international
aid racket is a much more luck crative -- lucrative opportunity than taking pirate ransom which senior officials are accused of doing in the past. i think it's committed. he sent a coastal garrison there and there was a bed truck with weapons on the back, and the pirates now moved south. it's like a game of whack-a-mole. you have to make is uncomfortable for any pirate trying to launch a mission. >> host: jay bahadur, thank you for the interview. it's well worth reading and for policymakers to look at to think about it. you deserve praise for your courage and getting this done. thanks very much. >> guest: thank you.
>> that was "after words" booktv's signature program where authors are interviewed by others familiar with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv. >> up next, jason berry looks into the financial practices of the catholic church which brings in billions of dollars annually through donations and various business deals. this is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you. is the mic on? therefore i can move this so it's not in front of me.
okay, everybody can hear? it's a pleasure to be at garden district books. i'm a client as well as a stand-up performer, and i also want to say how wonderful it is to be back in new orleans after three weeks out on the proverbial literary whistle stop in foreign countries like new york, boston, chicago, cleveland, st. louis, and elsewhere. this book is called "render untoe rome, the secret life of 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 of property as assets, and i focus on four major parts of the country, new orleans, boston are 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 imagined, but we lave in the age of miracle and wonder, and the internet gets information to people with such speed that i found myself literally up in my neck in material as i was finishing the book, and my wife actually said, oh -- i finished it in march at which point you really could have peeled me off the floor, but towards the end of october or november, and -- excuse me, i finished in november, anticipating a march publication date, and the book was published in june because sometimes we're late. the montra in our household in the fall which i have vague memory of, the saints didn't win
the championship this year, i attest to that, quote every morning at breakfast and tried to get centered -- are we out of cleveland yet? i did get out of cleveland. it was a fascinating piece of this work, so the story of this book really begins in boston. i'm going to lay out several key sections of it in a sort of an abbreviated vernacular way, but i have 40 pages of footnotes. it's an extensively documented book. i had help translating documents from the latin, highallian, and -- italian, and spanish, although i did a fairly good job with the spanish. when i was a student in high school in the 1960s here in new orleans, and i see a couple of my old classmates here, we were
taught that faith and reason need not collide, that you can be a catholic and have a solid spiritual life and there's no reason to fear that the church will do the wrong thing because as the wheel of history turns. the church does catch up to the changes in society, certainly with respect to science. this has been the history of catholic prison. i hesitate to make a sweeps pronouncement of any kind, but this is third book i've done on the church, and sadly, i think it's an era of profound di sin gracious internally because of the failure of leadership. this is really is story about the power structure, and i follow a constellation of people in different parts of the country who are clam moriing, if you will, for their own rights as per rigs nears, and as the
bishops have begun to close churches, these churches become forms of property, and the story of how the vatican oversees the liquid dation of these assets is something i had utterly no idea about until i began the 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 is a collection called peters pence. peter's pence goes for the charitable uses of the pope. pope benedict rebuilt a school or provided $250,000 to rebuild a school in haiti last year. this is the kind of cause that one would like to see, people philanthropy, put to. ultimately what i learned in the research of the $82.5 million that peter's pence took in in
2009, only about $8.5 million of it was documented. it all went to good causes, much of it interestingly to environmental work, erosion, 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. you ask yourself, well, if you take up this huge collection, why not tell people where the money goes? secrecy is so layered into the dynamics of the governing that it created a pathology 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 kind of information, and with so many people using the internet, it's very hard to hide secrets. the other figure i wanted to give you is that in the last 46 years according to an imminent researcher i interviewed and quoted in the book, the catholic parrishs in the united states lost $2.3 billion from embezzlements, theft from the collection plate, or more effectively after the funds are collected. think about this -- why is it that the money that is counted, if it is counted, on sunday is not the same amount that goes into the bank on monday? this could be readily changed by instituting 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 on this issue and i have a long footnote with his data, to do that would throw a wrench at the tradition known as a little walking around money. the number of people going to prison over the years for walking around money, sometimes exceeding six and seven figures, is really breathtaking, and i chose to use most material in the beginning of the book and then in the section in cleveland went into the cases in some depth. here's how the story begins, and in the fall of 2004, a man named peter bojey, learns his parrish is closing and figures out it
will 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've got chairs over here if you just want to sneak around. i think the c-span people will allow you to come right in front of this -- good to see you. dpl thank you very much. >> you are welcome. >> i insist they edit out this part. [laughter] hopefully we're not on all live all the time. anyway, this guy gets angry because his parrish is closing, and he starts snooping around and gets financial documents and eventually he goes to rome and decides to file protests and use
the vatican court system as a way to prevent these parrishs from being closed. people are sleeping in pews in boston as in 2004. now, those of you who remember the cases here in new orleans, and i see mike valentino with us today, will recall in at least three of the churches 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, i --
[laughter] happened to get information about something else that was going on in that time. here's how it begins. june of 2003, a year before the parrishs are closed, the incoming archbishop of boston, shawn o'malley, arrives in boston after cardinal law resigned and realizes there's an enormous crisis on his hands. heses to resolve 552 cases by abused victims that are in the court and he realizes that cardinal law has a financial sink hole. he goes to rome and meets with -- there are two seats right over here if you guys are interested.
[laughter] i never tell me daughter what to do, i only suggest. [laughter] so here he is. he goes to rome and meets with two of the powerful men in rome, would be who is the secretary of state and one who is elaborate extrave gaunt name comes from colombia. at that time, he was the head of the congregation forclergy which is a pivotal office in this book because the third office of the congregation for the clergy has the oversight on for the liquid dation of property, any use of assets of selling churches, property over a certain
threshold, and ironically one of the reasons this office takes the 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, art works, cash, jewelry, estates, anything that people in their wills left to the catholic church should be safeguarded under cannon law, so this office, the third office congregation for clergy, has to give approval for anything that a bishop does over a threshold of $5 million or $11.3 if it's a large diocese. here's o'malley facing financial desperation. the "boston globe" suggested
they would file chapter 11 bankruptcy which in that point in time never happened. there's now been eight. he meets with them, and what they say to him in as many words is look, we can't give you money to sell what you need to sell. there was a document that surfaced from one of these legal processes that i had translated from the lat tip, and it's very clear he got this explicit permission to sell property, whatever he needed to do. he goes back to boston, he starts -- 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 lemon. i'm trying to set up these characters for you because all of these people play throughout
the book. he is the distinction of being a self-taught cannon 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 in his wisdom decided richard lennon would be the adviser. the reason they were in dire straits was not so much because of the abuse cases they were facing, but because from 1986 1986-2002, every year they took an appear for the clergy pension so when priests retired, there would be enough money to take care of them. well, every year for 16 years instead of investing of $4.5 million at a time when the market was yielding at about 5%, they spent it.
every year, they spent it. much of it for the costs, the upkeep, the expenses of the clerics who abused, and much of it for what we would consider hush money where clients sign, they receive 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's why the scandal began in 2002, and if not for the globe reporting, i probably would not have done this book. in any event, this is a sequel to everything i've been working on for 25 years, so o'malley goes back to boston to sell property that lennon scoped out for him.
he decides to assist his nephew who is a building engineer in business with ralpelo who is in a business in new york city to find shuttered church properties to buy low and sell high. he does more than that. he installs in the congregation for the clergy one month whose job as undersecretary was to do a number of things, one of them we now know from the fbi was to property information before it got on the open market. this is sort of like insider trading you might say. here's there's people in boston sleeping in pews because they don't want their parrishs sold and you have mother's gossip is the people in office see things, see faxes, don't like it --
years later, you know, this guy writing a book shows up not knowing what he's doing, and they start talking, so there was a third guy involved in this period of profiteering scheme, and he, although he's a layman, has a very important job. he works in the congregation for the causes of the saints. he helps makes saintings, and -- saints, and he got $387,000 directly wired to him from the vatican bank to new york, and another 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 every time at every speech i give, i pause and try not to
laugh for an investigative reporter, when you have somebody, you know that god is smiling on you. [laughter] this guy came out of central casting, a tas l of brown hair, 27 years old, cheeks, dark piercing eyes, the italian gentleman, and fell for him hard, lived together in an apartment in new york that just cost $37,000 a month, and he got one of his biggest up vesters, ron burkle, a major real estate mogul, friend of bill clinton, and he's a pretty smart fellow. he realized this guy's spending was off the charts. when you pay $62,000 to charter a plane because you have to go from los angeles to las vegas, you know, expedia, $500.
burkle sued him, and then the "wall street journal" did a story and the fbi closed in because they realized something was wrong. he now holds an endowed chair in a federal pent ri. it is funny. the one i want to focus on is cardinal sedano. who is this? the secretary of state of the holy sea going new york for the launch party of the business, helps his nephew set up, feeds him the property. can you imagine what would happen even without a bipolar congress if hillary hillary clinton were to attempt something with an international
lawyer? they would be fired, prosecuted, and it would be a major problem of the administration. the vatican needs a justice system. it needs a coherent system of courts, not these ancient tribunals that date back to the renaissance, if not before. that's the root of the crisis whether it's money or the cover ups in the abuse cases. cardinal was the -- he was in chile in the 1970s and one of the bloodiest dictatorships of latin america in recent memory, and he even appeared on television at a rally. this is an ambassador with the dictator. it was there he became friends. with father, the founder of the
legions of christ. he founded this group, the great eases fundraiser of the modern church, trailed of the accusations for years, but cemented a friendship with sedano that proved to be one of the great booms of his career because in 1998 when sedano by this time is the secretary of state, and the secretary of state of the vatican is an office that is more analogous to a congregation of a prime minister in the parliamentary to the staff. he oversees the bureaucracy, and he is the guy who is in charge of -- well, as effective prime minister, he meets with
dignitaries, not all of whom got a long meeting with the pope. he manages the daily operations of the government, very powerful position. in 1998, father was accused by a group of men from spain and mexico of having abused them years ago in rome when they were young seminarians. they filed this case with cardinal ratinger. se -- sedano intervened, and the case hung for six years. it's 2004, the final months of john paul's life, and ratinger whether he knew he would become pope, we don't know, but he had the foresight to realize 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. a symbol of global peace,
someone who argues the case of peace. how can he assume that position with such a discredited notorious figure not being prosecuted? you know, martin luther king said true peace is the presence of justice. paul vi, the pope in the 1960s said if you want peace, work for justice. well, how can we have these ideals surrounding the very image of the supreme pontiff if they are not prosecuting someone who clearly should be prosecuted. nonaccuseers. thanks a lot. ratinger at that point orders a cannon lawyer on his staff to up vest gait, and as the investigation is nearly done benedict is pope, office states there is no investigation, the process is over at which very
moment people from the united states were flying to rome to provide information. the vatican press office issued a statement saying it's over, and yet it wasn't over. one of the problems in the church is structural man -- institutionalized lying. it's there at every corner of the conflicts whether it's abuse, money, or property, and so benedict becomes pope, and in 2006, he banishes father maceo from ministry, not the expulsion that the accusers wanted, but more than john paul ever did. he begins defrocking many of the clerics. cardinal se sedano is the face of corruption in the catholic church today. he's now the dean of the college
of cardinals having retiredded as secretary of state. he's a born justice in the case, and he meddled shamefully, disgracefully making real estate of these churches in the united states, and one of the points i make in every speech i give, every forum i have, is that i think this man must go, and i do not think pope ben.com, god -- pope benedict, god bless him, has not gone as far as he should, but has gone further than anyone before him. he cannot preach the values of the greener planet or exspouse the sanctity of human life if he's saddled by a man like sedano, and if they see the vatican justice system is really a ritual of half measure. the last point i want to make has to do with the figure of the pope himself, and i think most
people here are probably aware that when he was a cardinal, joseph prosecuted theologians. that may be too a legal term, but they were summoned to his office as the chief thee theologian and lost their licenses to teach theology. hans coon, charles konon in this country, that people showch the freedom to make the decisions whether or not to take birth control, theology scholars who were arguing for an alliance between the church and the poor, the language of jesus in the gospels is clear on this. hans at one point struck back verbally and called him the
grand inqis tore. well, if you read this, it's one the most famous scenes in western literature where the grand inquiz tore in this prison cell in seville during the spanish inacquisition asks christs, and what he basically says to him, i would never paraphrase, but i think this is pretty close. what he says to him is we don't need you. the people are happy if we give them these mysteries and these supernatural bromides. you don't have to be here. we can take care of t. the message implicit here and russian orthodox, he was no fan
of the roman church, but the message was the questioner had no faith, and in that memorable scene, jesus crosses the cell, embraces him, kisses him on the face, and then departs without saying a word letting his silence trail behind him as a moral indictment in and of itself. well, i don't believe cardinal lost his faith and certainly as pope, i don't think he's faithless, but ironically what he needs now is a real inquisitor. he needs a probation report, someone -- he needs a prosecutor, someone to clean up the system where cardinals and bishops because of the logic of succession enjoy a de facto immunity from punishment. some of you may not know succession, but it is a rather
grand term. what is basically mean is every bishop and cardinal, each one of them is in a spiritual lineage descending from the original apostles. i'm prepared to accept that with one exception -- we cannot erase the historical memory of judas who betrayed christ. so many of these bishops and cardinals betrayed us nos just at believers, but people who expect the church to hold itself to highing the, and if cardinals and bishops cannot be punished or appropriately removed, which they are not, then we do not have a justice system. in cleveland, there has been a wave of closings the last two years. 15 of these now have appeals in romes, and the reason i focused on cleveland is because that was
where bishop lennon was sent as his reward after he and card nare o'malley ceased to have much dialogue. o'malley woke up one day in a letter to boston saying reconfiguration was his worst nightmare, and he wished the lord would take him. it's a stunning letter, and lennon read about it in the "boston globe," and he's now exerting this on cleveland. if you believe that churches are property that should be owned by the bishop as in the little town of, you know, kansas, ohio, where the his shop seized the church, took the parrish funds, used it to pay the lawyer, and then demolished it, you may not want to read this book. if all of that is okay, go to
danielle steele. no disrespect to her, but in a tweet yesterday, anne rice has endorsed this book. [laughter] if you want to know how money moves on the other hand in this church, i think in modesty 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 we can open the floor for institution. the reason i focused on los angeles is because mahoney was involved in a massive 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 bank turned up everywhere. the allied irish bank does tremendous business in the united states with various catholic diocese, bond issues, loans for building schools. why lend $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 passthrough by which the vatican was assisting. i don't know that to be a fact. i quoted these men on the record, but it's one of the mysteries that sort of hangs like the mystery of where peter's pence goes, like the mystery of why in church, the leaders of the church, have become so lost in the foggy hubris of the succession, and so i thank you for your attention, and i'll be happy to take your
questions. [applause] >> thanks, jason, that was great. people with questions, stand up, wait a second, get a mic to you, and your question can be recorded. we appreciate it, thanks. ali,? >> thank you, that was a remarkable summary. what's the fbi's angle? what are the federal laws imp kateed here? >> he went to prison for money laundering and fraud -- >> whose money and? >> burkle's money in the beginning sending it overseas for work that was not done, and they used the vatican bank for at least $387,000.
they did not file suit against the vatican bank. digress for just a moment, the vatican bank is separate from another scandal, but there was $30 million impounded last fall, but by the financial regulatory body of italy that deals with banking transactions, and the big fear beside what international banking has become to those of us who, you know, are ordinary folk, but no, the big fear is how terrorists move money whether it's followers of al-qaeda or what have you, so the pope then established an oversight board to, in some sense, govern the bank, and the financial times reported from italy that citing an unnamed
official that the vatican bank is basically an offshore haven for privileged, you know,ing the holders. the -- you know, account holders. the main base is 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 am assuming they would have tried to extradite them, but the state department was unable to get them to, you know, participate in pretrial interviews or even depositions. someone else? yes. >> lennon, for a minute. number one, what is his motivation? his personal motivation, what was it? boston two, why has the
hierarchy of the church allowed him to continue to march in cleveland? >> well, first of all, a number of priests in cleveland wrote to the vatican ambassador in washington, and at the end of the book, near the end of the book, peter meets with him and says to borey, "lennon is protected," and then he says to him, do you mean by cardinal law, and he shrugs with an expression that telegraphs the message, yes. cardinal law went back to rome after a hiatus of a year and a half. he went to rome and was named basically the pastor of santa
maria earning $12,000 a month with that role and sits on the board of vatican congregations. there's nine of them functioning like cabinet levels, and they are trying to get rid of lennon now, and he has refused to leave. i tried to interview everybody, i think lennon because of his -- because he was involved with law so deeply in the 1990s leading up to the 2002 scandal, saw what was happening in boston. i think he genuinely wanted to forge the settlement, which they eventually did, but i think he has this idea that you can sell
them and people will move on and forget about it. one of the parrishs in boston, our lady star of the sea, was closed, suppressed, and they sold it for $800,000 with len non's approval and barely a month later, they flipped it for $2.2 million. this is sloppy management, you know? it's ignorance and why send to cleveland? they had to send him somewhere. once you become a bishop, you're in the fraternity, and they deal with one another with just overweaning respect. that's why we need a justice system in the church. yes, sir, did you have a question? >> [inaudible] >> uh-huh. >> i'd like to know what your estimation of is reform in the church?
there seems to be two groups, one a group of catholics who want reform, and another who sort of say whatever the bishop's do has to be okay. i'm thinking of going to kansas city now where the solution was a latin mat to provide unity to the diocese. what's your sense the prospect for reform? >> well, prospect for reform -- that's a very tough question -- there are a number of reform groups that are getting more and more visibility in the national media understandably so, the survivor's network is one, voice of the faithful is another that is trying to have dialogue with bishops, and they are stiff arming them, and many are folks who have historically given, some generously. they are alienating the donor
base of being resist tent to having conversations to heal the wounds and rebuild structures. interimly, 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 sea. the perpetrator went from ireland to -- with a previous record -- to oregon where he reoffended. all documents have come out in discovery. the supreme court refused to intervene and throw out the case so here are vatican officials now facing an american subpoena with very specific demands for documents, and just within the last few weeks there's a class action suit in belgium naming the pope as a defendant. i have no understanding of belgium law, so i can't give an
intelligent comment on that, but it is clear from the extent of the crisis in western europe that the holy sea cannot simply call for conferences and put out these directives that are not nearly as strict as the youth protective charts adopted in this country. you referenced 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 him to live with a group of nones. terrible insult to the good sisters. you know, i hesitate to say this. i don't like to act like jeremiah with a horn, but we are
seeing a continued erosion of stable governance within the church and more and more people clammoring for changes and the wild card is the attrition rate of catholics leaving the church. the pugh research center study a few years ago says 35% of -- excuse me, 25% of people in this country are catholic. the second largest religious grouping at 10% is ex-catholics. within the last generation, a church that was once roughly one-third of 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 gays as stigmatized sinners by virtue of their sexual orientation, and when bishops try to preach
against gay rights or something like that, it is just something that continues to alienate young people, so they've got to figure out a way to start getting young people back into the church, and i tend to look at this -- it's interesting what has gone on in egypt in the last year, tunisia and the other countries in the middle east. i mean, this is an earthquake, and the most erroneous piece of reporting in all the newspapers is where they keep saying "prodemocracy movement" we don't know they want democracy. what they want is freedom. what they want is jobs. what they want is a role for young men in societies where these, you know, greedy dictators shunted them to the side. the vatican is undergoing its own earthquake. the center does not hold, and ultimately, things are falling
apart. i have no idea. i would never guess, but i would say this. in 1988 when george bush the first, the elder, was running against ducaucus, who among us would have dreamed within a year we would be watching the soviet empire crumble on television at night, and i suspect that when the thunder clap of change comes to the church, it will happen in one of two ways. there's a truly visionary pope who in the spirit of john the 23rd recognizes 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 rewill see even worse scandals and a continued disiintegration.
you can't just plug a hole in the dike. i realize i mixed metaphors. yes? >> you have not fallen into hatred or anger and sometimes in the tradition, you know, people fall away because of that, and i wondered if some of that was how you were able to the no fall into that, and i'm wondering if that's american because you have a pragmatic approach and what you last said, and i'm thinking as you talk of someone who kind of reminds us we -- [inaudible] one of the things is you point out the flaws, and so what i'm partially trying to ask is you must wrestle with it all the time it's easy to do an approach
that's bang, but you didn't, and you still have that examination of conscious. i'm asking you basically how you were able to do that. >> well, thank you for the question. why didn't i lose my faith? one neat sound bite. well, this is my microphone, i'll use it. [laughter] i grew up in an environment quite in harmony with faith. my great grandmother who came from veracruse, and my grandmother, her daughter, who was half mexican and creole, as a child, i would go to their home saturday morning and stay there until sunday evening sometimes. my mother would take us over
there often, cousins went through the house and so forth, and those ladies had such a festive latin idea of faith. i remember the lighting of candles that was so meaningful for them at st. stephen's church where i was baptized, and then i went to high school, and you can't leave the high school without garage waiting from the catholic church. i'm kidding, but we were taught faith and reason need not collide. i guess if any single -- if any -- if there were two writers who really sort of infliewpsed my idea of faith, one would be a true evolutionary philosopher and the other was dante because i read the define comedy enough times now with enough
interpretations to realize that he was writing about the corruption of the church, stuck that pope in the up -- infern know. i'm not a poet, but i have a tradition to say i'm following. that may be a little grand, but the other reason i guess is more deeply personal. i have spoken about it before. i had a little girl, my younger daughter who had down syndrome, and it was a very deep part of the lives of every one in our family and friends, and she adored going to mass at the church, and, in fact, one time we were at mass, and a former district attorney of new orleans whose name i'll pass over, came in, he's now retired, and i had, you know, hammered him pretty good back in the day in a certain article, and at the hand
shake of peace, she turned around and said hello, this is my father, and introduced us. [laughter] innocence, innocence reigns. anyway, when ariel died at the age of 17 in the end of 2008 after a long illness, she'd beaten the odds for years, and i prayed for years for her to live and for many of those years my prayer was answered, and so i didn't want to sort of storm out of the cay -- cay need drail, and, you know, i go to the church today, and i think of her and i feel a proximity to her, and i know this is a sentimental answer, and it would not pass muster with the people who are making a fortune proving god does not
exist. i've also had a great many priests and nuns who have given information to me, and at every turn along this long road three books and a documentary film now, you know, i've had people there. it's hard to leave. i don't want bishops who act like gangsters to take something away from me that's important to me. anybody else? yes. >> do you look into the finances of other religious organizations the way you focused on the catholic church? >> this one took awhile to do, and i don't think i'm setting myself up as a financial reporter of other faiths. no, i have not. >> in your research -- >> well, embezzlement, embezzlements beesment is a --
embezzlements are a problem across the board for many religions. it's unique because of it's the largest organization in the world, and its historic wealth, and now it's going through the largest downsizing of the infrastructure, at least in american history, and these issues are affecting european countries as well, but, if those countries take a longer view of history like the judge in springfield who said you can't tear down the church because it's a historic monument, but, no, i haven't. yeah, john? >> i just like to commend you on the fact -- i don't know if you realize you're doing this, but i think what you've done in these books is in each -- i've read all three, by the way, is you separated faith, the actual belief and a core beliefs of what catholics stand for and the
somewhat -- the somewhat? very flawed evil people are sometimes engaged in this. this is nothing new in the church as you know. go back to the renaissance and so it's all over and over again. i'd like to commend you on that for spratting the core beliefs. you can believe and not condemn the folks. >> thank you very much for saying. >> i'm united methodist, but i think all the churches now have the same problem of you're not getting the younger people in, and that's one thing said earlier in your talk, but we also have the same problem i'm sure, maybe it's not as talked about as the priests. i know in our church it's a safe sanctuary, and if you're working with youth, you have togo