Clerical Error: A True Story   -     By: Robert Blair Kaiser
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Clerical Error: A True Story

Bloomsbury Academic / 2002 / Hardcover

$95.63 (CBD Price)
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Product Description

This is a tale of an intrepid reporter who is so intent on covering the Vatican beat better than anyone else that eh doesn't notice that one of his best informants is playing around with his wife. When Kaiser blows the whistle on the man, a charming Irish Jesuit named Malachy Martin, Martin persuades Kaiser's clerical friends to send him to a psychiatric clinic. The story is at once hilarious, and sobering. The "clerical error"-the refusal to see what Martin was up to-was as much Kaiser's as that of his clerical friends, who defended their fellow priest simply because he was a member of the club. This is a growing-up tale, one that will force people of faith to grow up themselves and start demanding necessary changes in a church that is, after all, theirs.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication Date: 2002
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0826413846
ISBN-13: 9780826413840

Publisher's Description

Twenty-nine years old, newly married, and fresh from the Society of Jesus, where he had spent ten years as a novice and scholastic, Bob Kaiser was picked for one of the most exciting jobs in journalism of his era: Time's reporter at the Second Vatican Council. In the words of Michael Novak: "No reporter knew more about the Council; had talked with more of the personalities, prominent or minor; had more sources of information to tap. Sunday evening dinner parties at his apartment became a rendezvous of stimulating and informed persons. In the English-speaking world, at least, perhaps no source was to have quite the catalytic effect as Time on opinion outside the Council and even to an extent within it." Much of inner story of the Council-its personalities, machinations, maneuverings between progressive forces and the old guard-was told in Bob Kaiser's bestseller of the early sixties Pope, Council, and World. This is a different story, one so raw and personal that it could only be told some forty years later in a very different church and by a much matured Bob Kaiser. The heart of the story is how Bob's wife was seduced by his friend, the Jesuit priest Malachy Martin, and how Martin ("a man who could make people laugh in seven languages)" persuaded Kaiser's other clerical friends (including notable bishops and prominent theologians) to send him to a sanitorium. The story is at once hilarious (Martin was one of the great clerical con men of all time) and sobering. The "clerical error"--the refusal to see what Martin was up to--was as much Kaiser's as that of his older clerical friends who defended their fellow priest simply because he was a member of the club. Their naivete and their blindness only mirrors the church's inability to deal realistically with any issue touched by sex: birth control, remarriage after divorce, priestly celibacy, clerical child abuse, or the ordination of women. Bob Kaiser did eventually grow up. He knows the official church has a long way to go.

Publisher's Weekly

Against the backdrop of the Catholic Church's historic Second Vatican Council, Kaiser, a former reporter for Time magazine, recounts the remarkable story of how his first marriage was destroyed by his wife's affair with the Jesuit priest Malachy Martin. Kaiser's life in the 1960s was inextricably caught up with the Council, and he relates as much about the assembly's inner workings as he does his personal crisis. To learn what was going on in the closed Council sessions, Kaiser cultivated its key players, primarily those promoting a liberal agenda, and invited them into his home, which became known as "a center of the Council's progressive wing." One of his frequent guests was Martin, who offered Kaiser help with research for his book on the Council and also managed to charm his wife, Mary. By the time Kaiser began to suspect a liaison between Martin and his wife, it was too far gone to stop. When he tried to expose it, he discovered that, at least by this account, Martin had conspired to have him admitted to a mental hospital. Kaiser, who spent 10 years with the Jesuits but left before he was ordained, paints himself as a victim of Martin, but also acknowledges his own failure to "grow up," an attitude he says was fostered by the church and the Jesuits. Although this memoir is based on a true story, it reads in many places like a novel, and a few elements strain credulity. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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