Book on Vatican Finances honored by investigative journalists

by Dennis Coday

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Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, by Jason Berry has been honored for outstanding investigative work in the book category for 2011 by the Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc.

Investigative Reporters and Editors, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting, announced winners of the organization’s contest of the best investigative journalism published or broadcast in 2011 in a press release April 2.

The contest covers 15 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes. This year’s winners were selected from among more than 430 entries.

Writing about Berry’s Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, the IRE judges said, “Author Jason Berry delves deeply into a topic few have examined – the secretive finances of the Roman Catholic Church. Using voluminous background research that takes the reader back centuries, Berry uncovers abuses of the trust of church members by influential bishops who diverted funds intended for philanthropic purposes into accounts used for plugging Vatican operating deficits or defending priests accused of pedophilia. Berry details how the modern church is systematically closing churches in poorer parishes while at the same time opening churches in affluent suburbs where the weekly “take” is greater. The author makes extensive use of public documents, leaked parish records, trial transcripts, interviews and a wide range of published reporting to paint a complete picture of a heretofore secret network of church financial dealings. For shining a bright light on the shenanigans and inner workings of the Catholic Church, IRE honors Jason Berry and Render Unto Rome.”

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