Newly re-published as an e-book: Fallen Order: Intrigue, Heresy and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio.
“As racy and full of machinations as The Name of the Rose… meticulously researched and beautifully written”, Guardian
In 1643, after a failure by the Church hierarchy to deal with child abuse scandals (paedophile priests) amongst their members, a group of priests took control of the Order of the Clerics Regular of the Pious Schools.
It would be anachronistic to call this group a paedophile ring, but it is nevertheless true that a man accused of abusing the boys in his care was promoted to universal superior of a Catholic teaching order, supported by a small group of like-minded priests, and with the full complicity of the Inquisition and the pope himself.
This is the world that Karen Liebreich uncovers; one of ancient, deeply disturbing and intensely secretive shames that was endorsed by Joseph Calasanz, the founder of The Order of the Pious Schools, patron saint of Catholic education.
It was at these private schools, run by the Piarist order of priests, that some of the most famous children in history were educated and vast contributions to science, art and culture were also overseen by heads of the Church.
Yet investigations into child-molestation and the relentless brutality of priests were frequently quashed – countless children who were the recipients of abuse and psychological violence were silenced.
Great lengths were taken to protect the reputation of the Church as rivalry, bribes, conspiracy, evil and pressure from the Vatican continued to mount amongst the priests.
Liebreich brilliantly depicts the dangerous politics of the Church in seventeenth-century Rome, revealing previously hidden and immensely sobering information she uncovered during her intense historical research.