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Fallen Order: Intrigue, Heresy, and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio

de Karen Liebreich

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For hundreds of years the Piarist Order of priests has been known for its history of important contributions to education, science, and culture. Throughout Italy, Spain, and central Europe, the order's schools evolved from shelters created to educate poor children into exclusive private academies. Thousands of children were educated at Piarist schools, including Mozart, Goya, Schubert, Victor Hugo, Johann Mendel, and a host of astronomers, kings, emperors, presidents, even a pope. Yet in 1646, the Piarist Order was abruptly abolished by Pope Innocent X, an unprecedented step not seen since the Knights of Templar were suppressed for heresy in the fourteenth century. Fallen Order is the stunning story of how the sexual abuse of children, practiced by some of the leading priests in the order, led to the Piarists' collapse. Karen Leibreich spent several years researching in the order's archives and in the Vatican Secret Archive, and discovered how the founder of the Piarist Order, Father Jose de Calasanz (later honored as the patron saint of Catholic schools) knew of the scandal and tried to keep it a secret. Cardinals and bishops actively participated in the cover-up in an effort to protect the reputation of an important cleric with influential family connections. The complicity of abuse went as far as the pontiff himself, when Pope Innocent X appointed a man known to be a prolific child abuser in charge of an order dedicated to the education of children. Although the Piarist Order was suppressed when the scandal eventually became public, it was later revived and is still in existence today, its turbulent past ignored. A brilliant portrait of seventeenth-century Rome, and the politics, personal rivalries, and Byzantine workings of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, Fallen Order is an explosive account of a history of cover-ups, deception, and shuttling known abuser priests from school to school that is frighteningly similar to the Catholic Church's response to child abuse in the priesthood today. - Publisher.… (mais)
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Exibindo 4 de 4
As an Irish Catholic I was vastly curious to read this and learn about Liebrech’s take on what has happened in the church. She was able to discover from YEARS of research which group of priests more than likely could be considered responsible for the downfall by immoral sexual conduct of the Church. These men were given the duty and trust to educate future generations and they betrayed their calling and the innocence of an untold number of children but what is worse is knowing this scandal is not something that just hit the church from a few decades of looking the other way but it is allegedly been an issue for centuries.
Liebreich thankfully offers an extremely logical, well-thought out look at this group from their rise, through its history, growth and spread across the world. By examining how they grew she was able to discover a fundamental flaw in that not everyone that can teach should particularly when they only get the position via misconduct of other church members. Unfortunately she is able to show the church is not immune to greed and that old adage “money talks” which allowed those with wealthy connections essentially sanctioned access to a never ending group of innocents from which to choose.
In the Catholic Church the practice of bestowing ‘sainthood’ is well known as is the idea that these saints are assigned jobs for a lack of better word. Some are the patron saints of countries, places or ideas to whom we are given have a more unique access or insight to God to help with particular areas. It is without a doubt heartbreaking to learn that the man who is the patron saint of Catholic schools, a man who should take his job most seriously and be of the purest heart, was a man with intimate knowledge of the severe trauma students at these schools were suffering to which he did nothing about.
The average reader may have difficulty with this book though, not because of the material which we all have unfortunately become accustomed to, but the way in which it was written as it seems to be intended for a historian than the layman.

Although the subtitle leads one to believe that art and science will play a significant part of this book which was another reason I chose to read it, the arts and sciences are hardly mentioned, more as an afterthought. I felt the subtitle was quite misleading but to the publisher’s credit including it will probably get more sales until the word is out that the book actually does not include much.
All in all, misleading subtitle aside, I felt the author did a great job bringing together verifiable facts about a heart wrenching part of the Church’s history.

Thank you to Netgalley and Endeavor Press for allowing me to review this book. ( )
  ttsheehan | Feb 9, 2017 |
Apparently Catholic pedophile scandals are hardly of recent vintage. More like 1643? Anyway, I'm off and running with this book I happened to see at the library. (I have got to stop going there.)
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

A fascinating look at a problem the Catholic church has been covering up for centuries! This account of the Piarist order founded in the 15th century, and its subsequent demise, due to the behavior of those involved, up to, and including, the pope, in covering up clerical abuse of male children is astonishingly contemporary in scope.

For anyone who believes that the current state of affairs of the Catholic church is fairly recent....this is a must-read! That this kind of behaviour has been occurring since at least the 15th century and that the "church" is still here (covering up the same type of scandal) is truly unbelievable!

Kudos to Karen Liebreich for digging deep enough to find and then print, the truth!!! ( )
  ClifSven | Mar 31, 2011 |
A fine example of there being nothing new under the sun.

Karen Liebreich is one of those people who finds something interesting and decides that it really needs further digging, rather like many historians I know. In this she doccuments her finding of a Renaisance Child-Abuse Scandal involving a teaching order., the Piarists. It shows how trying to keep appearances caused the information to be suppressed and the people who did evil to prosper due to connections and low cunning. The order did eventually find their way out from under the scandal and prospered but it was hard work.

It's the last chapter that really strikes home the lesson, when she ennumerates some of the child-abuse scandals that have errupted, and where the response to these abuses have been to cover things up and move the priests out of "harms way" or to promote them in order to try to try to keep them away from temptation.

It's a sad indictement of the system and the problem, that it's been going on for years is a sad truth, that it hasn't been deal with is a sadder truth. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 29, 2009 |
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For hundreds of years the Piarist Order of priests has been known for its history of important contributions to education, science, and culture. Throughout Italy, Spain, and central Europe, the order's schools evolved from shelters created to educate poor children into exclusive private academies. Thousands of children were educated at Piarist schools, including Mozart, Goya, Schubert, Victor Hugo, Johann Mendel, and a host of astronomers, kings, emperors, presidents, even a pope. Yet in 1646, the Piarist Order was abruptly abolished by Pope Innocent X, an unprecedented step not seen since the Knights of Templar were suppressed for heresy in the fourteenth century. Fallen Order is the stunning story of how the sexual abuse of children, practiced by some of the leading priests in the order, led to the Piarists' collapse. Karen Leibreich spent several years researching in the order's archives and in the Vatican Secret Archive, and discovered how the founder of the Piarist Order, Father Jose de Calasanz (later honored as the patron saint of Catholic schools) knew of the scandal and tried to keep it a secret. Cardinals and bishops actively participated in the cover-up in an effort to protect the reputation of an important cleric with influential family connections. The complicity of abuse went as far as the pontiff himself, when Pope Innocent X appointed a man known to be a prolific child abuser in charge of an order dedicated to the education of children. Although the Piarist Order was suppressed when the scandal eventually became public, it was later revived and is still in existence today, its turbulent past ignored. A brilliant portrait of seventeenth-century Rome, and the politics, personal rivalries, and Byzantine workings of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, Fallen Order is an explosive account of a history of cover-ups, deception, and shuttling known abuser priests from school to school that is frighteningly similar to the Catholic Church's response to child abuse in the priesthood today. - Publisher.

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