In Every Saint a Sinner by Pearl Solas, Veronica Matthews suffers the unthinkable. Her son Shaun is abused by Catholic priest, Father Paul Peña. Paul is subsequently arrested and imprisoned. Not satisfied that justice has been fully done, Veronica, herself a lawyer, takes on the Catholic Church and experiences first-hand its obfuscation, self-justification and lack of real change. In prison, Paul meets not only one of his victims, but another priest, Father Frank Muncy, who is convicted of paedophilia. What follows is a miraculous, divine intervention that ultimately leads to true repentance, reconciliation and, unbelievably, a proposal of canonization.
Every Saint a Sinner moves expertly through a range of areas. Legal arguments used by the Catholic Church; psychological differences between hebephilia, ephebophilia, paedophilia and paraphilia; and the Christian theology of empathetic reconciliation. Although Solas spends more time on the perpetrators than she does on the victims, she in no way undermines the terrible consequences brought to bear on sufferers of abuse. Her text is balanced. Credibly, Solas shows how the media portray child sex offenders as the lowest form of criminal, beyond correction; how God can forgive and restore these criminals; how a meeting of victim and perpetrator can lead to true healing and forgiveness; and what a Catholic Church’s genuine apology could look like. Although it is likely to be contentious, Every Saint a Sinner is one of the best books I have read. It is brave, bold and brilliantly written. I highly recommend it.
I in fact did not read Every Saint a Sinner. I listened to the audio version. Like the writing, the narration is clear and careful. It contains just the right amount of expression in a voice that in no way calls attention to itself. I was able to listen without distraction. An excellent experience.
I originally read Every Saint a Sinner as a reviewer for Readers’ Favorite. The book is available on Amazon.