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Rev. Thomas Patrick Doyle is the leading authority in the world on the subject of the clergy abuse crisis and scandal.  A renowned expert in canon law and one of the authors of the redacted 1983 code of Church law, Fr. Doyle has been involved on behalf of victims as an expert witness in more than 1,500 civil cases against the Catholic Church in the United States, Ireland, Australia, Canada and other countries, and he has been involved in government investigations of criminal activity by the hierarchy of the Church.  A Catholic priest in the Dominican Order for over forty years, Doyle has been honored repeatedly for his courageous work and has also been dealt with severely by the Church that has meted out punitive measures to Doyle as he continues to this day to give truthful, damaging testimony under oath in cases against the Church, for he has never left the side of the children and the truth. Doyle holds five master’s degrees and a doctorate in Canon Law.  He has authored or co-authored three books and over 60 articles on the subject of the clergy abuse crisis.  He has delivered lectures and conducted seminars around the world, been interviewed by every major media organization in every country impacted by the crisis. Fr. Doyle served as a canon lawyer at the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C. between 1981 and 1986.  It was while serving in this key inside position that he first became involved with the clergy sex abuse problem which quickly led to his association with attorney Ray Mouton with whom he worked daily in 1985-1986.


The clergy sex abuse “crisis” has turned out to be far more than a momentary crisis. It is the on-going discovery of a very destructive and sordid aspect of the institutional Catholic Church, an aspect that is the very antithesis of what the “church” purports to be.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been deeply wounded and even destroyed. This dimension of the Church had remained deeply buried under a thick blanket of secrecy and supported by the unquestioning deference of the secular spheres of power. This plague of destruction would have continued unchecked had there been no Ray Mouton. 

It all started with a single case of predatory sexual molestation by a perverted priest in Louisiana.  Without knowing what he was really up against or where he was going, Ray Mouton quickly saw what others either did not see or refused to believe. From the outset Ray was at the center and on the edges of this rapidly developing storm. His brilliance enabled him to see through the church’s smokescreen to the harsh reality of a massive cover-up. 

Ray’s incredible courage pushed him to go where no other person had been . . . to the foot of the massive behemoth of the Roman Catholic Church . . . to challenge it and ultimately to win. The reality of Ray against the world-wide institutional Church makes the image of David and Goliath pale by comparison.

No committee could possibly have done what Ray did.  It took one man to start a movement that would mean freedom from pain for countless victims, accountability from an organization that has always held itself above the law and most important, assurance of safety for countless children who may never know Ray’s name but whose childhood will bear the result of his courage, his insight, his determination and his faith.

I met Ray in January, 1985.  He had been secured by the Catholic bishop to defend Fr. Gilbert Gauthe, a serial child rapist, against multiple criminal charges.  Ray brought with him his legal brilliance. But he brought something else that would be the undoing of the cabal of bishops who thought they were safe from ever answering for their behavior. He brought true integrity and an intense love of children. Ray came to me because he was intensely concerned about what he knew to be a widespread cover-up in the diocese, a cover-up that the local bishop had somehow forgotten to share with Ray.

In 1985-1986, Ray and I were in daily contact when I worked as a canon lawyer in the Papal Nunciature/Vatican Embassy. We worked across the United States. Together we were discovering a subterranean clerical culture involving thousands of priests who habitually subjected countless children and minors to all forms of unspeakable sexual, physical and emotional abuse. He brought a sense of urgency because he knew close up of the great damage being done to victims. His urgency was contagious. 

I believed him and believed in him because I could not imagine anyone taking the risks he took unless there was a profoundly grave reason. As the reality before us unfolded we believed that this would erupt into the greatest crisis in the Church since the Protestant Reformation five hundred years ago.  From the first day of his involvement, Ray fought fiercely to save children from the church. 

In the beginning, both Ray and I naively believed that when confronted with the truth that the Church would do the right thing and act in accord with its teachings, at a minimum have the common decency and common sense to do all in its power to heal the wounds of innocent victims, and in the process remove criminal clerics from the ministry, reporting them to police authorities. How wrong we were. 

Rather than retreat Ray looked the massive beast straight in the eye and forged ahead.  The local diocese and indeed the U. S. Catholic Church had never encountered a force like Ray Mouton. 

The Church didn’t know what to do to control Ray and they didn’t have the integrity to confront their own nightmare. In truth nothing they tried and nothing they could have done would have stopped Ray.

No one is better positioned to write a gripping narrative in a novel that represents the truth of this time than Ray Mouton. This was the beginning. What happened between summer of 1984 and the fall of 1985 changed the Catholic Church worldwide. Not only was Ray in the middle but in truth, he alone can communicate what was really happening because he alone understood it all. He alone perceived the complex, labyrinthine drama.

Ray’s novel is much more than a novel.  It is a close look at the beginning of an historical phenomenon. It is, above all, an answer to the painful “why?”  Why did this happen? Why did bishops put image above innocent children?

I think Ray views his many years of work in writing this novel as if he were presenting a gift 
to the victims of clergy abuse, some who have no voice of their own, but I think his book may be a gift to the world.

My memories of the time I worked side by side with Ray are among the most powerful recollections of my life. I remember all he gave of himself, how he fearlessly spoke truth to power. I remember how he was never intimidated by the formidable opposition he encountered, and in the end burned himself up. 

The searing time on the front lines were not buried in the backwaters of Ray’s memories. He has never forgotten. In the passing years he has seen the results of what he started. These years have given him the opportunity to watch and reflect. This is the perfect time for his novel.


A novel about one of the great scandals of our time

by Ray Mouton

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