Shrouded in Secrecy

'Pentagon Papers' of Catholic Church Reveal Clerical Sexual Abuse Has Been Shrouded in Secrecy for Centuries

LOS ANGELES, April 21, 2006 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As moviegoers await the release of the fictional thriller The DaVinci Code, the authentic existence of secrecy within the Catholic Church is exposed in Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse (Volt Press, $29.95).

Authors Thomas P. Doyle, A.W.R. Sipe and Patrick J. Wall provide extensive documentation -- much of which has never before been published -- indicating that sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy not only spans the Church's history, but has in fact, been well-known and protected by its hierarchy for centuries. It illustrates the depth of the Church's awareness of this issue; its concerns, failures and tactics for addressing the problem; and its methods of keeping it secret.

The authors begin their survey in 60 CE, concluding with the contemporary scandal. Since this issue first ignited public concern in the 1980s, exponential reports of abuse continue to surface around the world. Church officials have long maintained they were not previously aware of such misconduct, but Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes shows even a cursory examination of Church documents proves they had a constant knowledge, and used various tactics to protect their image.

Having collectively spent over 70 years of official service within the Church, and served as experts and consultants in over 1,000 cases of clerical sexual abuse, the authors spent two years researching the book with the conviction that secrecy and accountability cannot coexist.

"The absolute core of this scandal is secrecy," says Sipe. "It has provided an atmosphere where abuse could fester as a systemic infection. In the process, the lives of children, priests, bishops-and indeed, the credibility of the Catholic Church itself-have been shattered."

The book also examines the moral questions related to the celibate practice of all Catholic clergy, and how it relates to why sexual abuse has been such an inflammatory issue for the hierarchy-now forcing the Church to re-examine itself in terms of its ideology of sexuality, its responsibility to its members, and its role in today's society.

Available in bookstores and major online retailers.


Father Thomas P. Doyle, once a canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy, is well-known for his report to U.S. bishops in 1985 warning of an impending crisis involving pedophile priests. David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has called him "an absolute hero." Doyle resides in Vienna, Va.

A.W.R. Sipe, a psychotherapist and former Benedictine monk, has written several renowned works on religious celibacy and the priesthood. Sipe is now married with one son and resides in La Jolla, Calif.

Patrick J. Wall, a former Benedictine monk and priest, has served as a senior legal consultant on hundreds of clerical sexual abuse cases in the U.S. Married with one daughter, Wall resides in Costa Mesa, Calif..