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Books

Book review

‘Mortal Sins’ by Michael D’Antonio

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis last month, nearly every Vatican insider, observer, and commentator remarked that he had inherited leadership of a church that was troubled and in upheaval. For nearly three decades, the Catholic hierarchy had struggled with the challenges of a catastrophic sexual abuse scandal, a profound crisis of faith, and a lingering public-relations disaster.

Michael D’Antonio’s “Mortal Sins,’’ perhaps the most comprehensive history of the wrongdoing to date, will only fuel those dilemmas. This is a devastating chronicle not only of sexual abuse but also of abuse of power — or, rather, of the inclination of those in power to avert their eyes from abuse.

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