Aside from law, retired Superior Court Judge Lawrence “Larry” Waddington also counts spirituality and Catholicism among his passions. Which led to “Deliver Us from Evil,” a self-published novel by the former prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who says he is sometimes puzzled by criticism of the Catholic Church and its priests.“This is my way of saying there are plenty of decent priests,” the Chicago-born Waddington smiles, “who like the protagonist finds himself in a dilemma sparked by a need of the people to find a hero in the priest and his self-image as a man of and for the people.”“Deliver Us from Evil” is the story of a young American “intellectually gifted” priest who exchanges his position as the Los Angeles cardinal’s secretary for missionary work in a Central American country oppressed by a furious dictator who has the Catholic Church “on the spyhole.”Within days of arriving in San Carlos, Father Frank Morello ends up in jail as a result of his compassion for the poor mixed with bits of naiveté; he is tried and found guilty and sent to an obscure jail where he is supposed to spend the rest of his life.But events take a different turn, when a committed and compassionate nun, the priest’s diocesan bishop and the laity all play a key role.Judge Waddington, a specialist in arbitration and co-founder of the Thomas More Society of Los Angeles, explained that the plot could take place today in any Middle Eastern country plagued with violence and dictatorships.He said he was inspired in part by the story of Msgr. Oscar Romero, who paid the ultimate price for advocating for the poor in the middle of a civil war in El Salvador.“The bishop in the novel was not regarded as Romero,” the author explains, “but the dictator had to get rid of him because he made him uncomfortable.”In writing “Deliver Us from Evil,” Waddington drew from his experience as a prosecutor.“It’s terrible what people do to each other,” he reflected. “But on the other hand, there are those [offenders] who are misunderstood, not privileged and possibly redeemable.” A former Episcopalian altar boy who converted to Catholicism at age 27, Waddington at one point wanted to become a Trappist monk and even visited several monasteries on the West Coast. But then he discerned he wanted to have his own family and become involved in the life of a parish as a layman. “Most converts are very zealous and practice their new religion very actively,” he says. Already in law school, he married Jane — “my life and my love” — and together they raised five children. “None of them wanted to follow in my footsteps as lawyers,” he smiles.Active at St. Monica Church in Santa Monica, he is already working on his next project, a thriller based in L.A. that he also plans to self-publish. For many years, Waddington has authored numerous publications on arbitration and mediation, including articles analyzing appellate cases for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and other legal newsletters. An advocate for adapting litigation skills to arbitration and mediation, he notes that, at times, judges have to accept the law whether they agree with it or not — something that Waddington sees in common with practicing his faith.“You have two sides arguing, but one side prevails. If there’s a disagreement you appeal and somebody has to decide closure and that person — in the Catholic Church — is the pope,” he said.“The pope makes a decision whether others agree or not, and sometimes that decision becomes doctrine. It’s the same with the law.”“Deliver Us from Evil” is available through online bookstores.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0706/waddington/{/gallery}