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Renner, Gerald 1932-2007 (G.A. Renner, Gerald A. Renner, Gerald Anthony Renner)

Renner, Gerald 1932-2007 (G.A. Renner, Gerald A. Renner, Gerald Anthony Renner)

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born June 5, 1932, in Philadelphia, PA; died of abdominal cancer, October 24, 2007, in Norwalk, CT. Manager, executive, journalist, editor, and author. Renner spent his early career working in support of religious or church-based organizations. He was successively an information director for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, a public relations director and later regional executive director for the National Conference of Catholics and Jews, and a managing editor, editor, and director for the Religion News Service in New York City. From 1985 to 2000 Renner was a religion writer in Connecticut for the Hartford Courant. During that time he began hearing disturbing stories about a secretive, ultraconservative Roman Catholic religious order with a U.S. hub in Connecticut. The Legion of Christ (sometimes referred to as the Legionaries of Christ) was founded in Mexico in 1941; by 1990 the order had grown powerful enough for its founder and leader, Father Marcial Maciel, to move his headquarters to Rome. The stories that Renner was hearing suggested a long history of sexual abuse of seminarians by Maciel and a deliberate church cover-up aided by Maciel's supporter, Pope John Paul II. Renner and a colleague, Jason Berry, began to investigate the rumors as early as 1997. The stories seemed not only credible, but also abundant, yet documentation proved very hard to uncover. Seven years later Renner and Berry published Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II. The book led, finally (after the death of John Paul II), to the removal of Maciel from the active priesthood in 2006, at the age of eighty-six, decades after the abuses began. Renner was credited as a groundbreaker in an ongoing crusade to purge the Roman Catholic church of pedophiles and other sexual miscreants and to provide closure to the survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2007, p. B9.

New York Times, October 26, 2007, p. A25.

Washington Post, October 25, 2007, p. B7.

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