Philip F. Lawler
Phil is the editor of, which brings you daily news headlines from a Catholic perspective. He is the author of The Faithful Departed, a history of the Church in Boston and the scandal of the abuse of children by priests.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The bishops can't take it.

Yesterday's Washington Times carries a story about how some Catholic bookstores have banned Phil's book.

In particular, the National Shrine bookstore had invited Phil to a book signing -- then they reneged and pulled the books off the shelves! Someone thought the book was important enough to warrant a visit by the author. Then, someone higher up thought this would cause a problem.

It's so odd, because first, Phil's book is written from an orthodox Catholic point of view. Second, most readers agree that although it's painful to read, in the end it gives the hope that only really understanding a problem can bestow. Third, it's not as if Catholic bookstores refrain from carrying books that could be described as controversial, a point made on the NRO blog by Mike Potemra.

"Contradict our theology if you want to, but don't you dare criticize the hierarchy," writes Potemra. protecting bishops from any criticism such a high priority that those in authority are willing to risk the embarrassment of such a blatantly self-serving move? Um, yes, that's what it looks like! Pathetic and ridiculous.


Anonymous said...

And south of the border:

Saturday, September 27, 2008
[T]wo books sale blocked
Saturday, September 27, 2008

Journalist and author Sanjuana Martínez Montemayor has said
that the Samborns bookstore chain, which is owned by powerful businessman Carlos Slim and is one of the most popular bookstores in Mexico, has blocked the sale of two books in which she documented cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Mexico. Martínez Montemayor has had a long career as a journalist for Mexican mediaoutlets. In 2006, she won Mexico's National Award for Journalism, and sheis the author of several books, including "Manto Púrpura" ("Purple Cloak")and "Prueba de Fe" ("Test of Faith"). "Manto Púrpura" was published in November 2006 by the Grijalbo publishinghouse. Eight thousand copies of the book were printed, recounting thetestimonies of individuals who have accused Catholic priests of sexualabuse. In the book, Martínez Montemayor alleges that Cardinal NorbertoRivera, the archbishop of Mexico City, protected priest Nicolás Aguilar,who has been accused of sexually abusing 26 boys in the United States in1987. Rivera approved Aguilar's transfer to the United States, even thoughhe presumably knew of alleged sexual abuses committed by the priest inMexico.The second book, "Prueba de Fe", was published in 2007 by the Planetapublishing house. Twenty thousand copies of the book were printed, ofwhich, according to Martínez Montemayor, half are in storage as they werereturned without having been unpacked by the stores they were sent to. In"Prueba de Fe", the author documents allegations of a pederasty networkwith links to Catholic cardinals and bishops."These are not fictitious novels, they are the result of seriousjournalistic investigations," Martínez Montemayor said. In the past, theauthor has received threatening e-mail messages and telephone callsconnected to the information contained in her books.Martínez Montemayor told CEPET that, when faced with the possibility ofhaving a complaint filed against the store on freedom of expressiongrounds, a Samborns representative, Martín Ambriz, said that the storewould put the books in its self help and esoteric subjects section.According to Martínez Montemayor, however, the books do not belong in thissection. As such, she said, the store only put 200 copies of the books upfor sale instead of the 3,000 that the publishing houses had intended.Martínez Montemayor also noted that after Samborns restricted the sale ofthe books, other bookstores followed suit saying that they wereCatholic-based businesses.A Samborns manager, Maribel Pérez, said that she was not aware of the issueinvolving the books and suggested that CEPET speak to another person,however that individual has not responded to the organisation's calls.

For further information on the prior targeting of Martínez Montemayorbecause of her research into Catholic Church abuses, see: further information, contact Leonarda Reyes, Director, CEPET, Oficina"C", Calle del Puente No. 222, col. Ejidos de Huipulco, Delegación Tlalpan,México, D.F., México, C.P. 14380, tel: +52 55 5483 2020, ext. 2373,e-mail:,, Internet: http://www.cepet.orgThe information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility ofCEPET. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please creditCEPET.

Gabriel Austin said...

Harry Truman took responsibility for things happening on his watch: the sign of his desk read "The buck stops here".

On the same principle, a headline should read Abp. Wuerl "Prohibits Sale of Book on Church Sex Scandal".