Below are some books on the subject of Roman Catholic abuse of children.
When titles are available for purchase online we have included a link to Amazon or some other online seller simply for your convenience.
Haunting Cries chronicles 11 stories of institutional child abuse in the survivors’ own words. It brings the tragic tale of abuse up to date to include the publication and fall-out from the Ryan Commission Report and the Redress Board.
The book also adds a fresh — post-Ryan — perspective on why the religious orders engaged in such systemic abuse. Up until the Ryan Report, most of them were reluctant to admit to the scale of abuse that their orders meted out to the children in their care. Haunting Cries investigates how they dealt with the damning indictments against them.
The stories of the survivors take into account that new perspective. We hear their views on whether the Ryan Commission and the Redress Board have adequately given them the compensation, vindication and justice they feel they deserve.
Haunting Cries is an important book. It gives these survivors a voice, allowing us to hear the testimonies of those who for so long were silenced.
Betrayal of Trust The Father Brendan Smyth Affair and the Catholic Church
Author: Chris Moore
At the end of 1994, the Father Brendan Smyth affair brought shame on the Catholic Church in Ireland, and led directly to the fall of the Labour-Fianna Fail Government led by Albert Reynolds. The Irish public grew used to the face of the paedophile priest who was sentenced in Belfast on several counts of sexual abuse of children. This book is the inside story of the Brendan Smyth affair, written by the person most responsible for breaking the story. It follows the trail of the paedophile priest throughout Ireland, in Italy and in America. It reveals new information about the extent of the abuses carried out by Brendan Smyth, and the depth of the lack of intervention by the Catholic Church. Most of all, this book gives voice to those who were abused and betrayed by a priest and by the religious leaders who shielded him. The affair has caused a crisis of credibility for the Catholic Church in Ireland. It has damaged relationships between priests and people. This book evalutes the mishandling of the affair by the hierarchy, and explores how trust can be restored.
Freedom of Angels
Childhood in Goldenbridge Orphanage
by Bernadette Fahy
‘I entered Goldenbridge orphanage in my Communion outfit. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing there.’
At age seven, Bernadette Fahy was delivered with her three brothers to Goldenbridge Orphanage. She was to stay there until she was sixteen.
Goldenbridge has come to represent some of the worst aspects of childrearing practices in Ireland of the 1950s and 1960s. Seen as the offspring of people who had strayed from social respectability and religious standards, these children were made to pay for the ‘sins’ of their parents. Bernadette tells of the pain, fear, hunger, hard labour and isolation experienced in the orphanage.
Can a person recover from such a childhood? How does the spirit ever take flight — and gain the ‘freedom of angels’?
This is Bernadette Fahy’s concern. Now trained and working as a counsellor, she has had to dig deeply into her past to understand the patterns laid down by her upbringing. She has had to rebuild her life, and now she helps others to do the same.
This book is a story of triumph over the harshest of circumstances.
Beaking the silence
by Martin Ridge
Martin Ridge was approaching retirement after a long career with An Garda Siochana. Posted to a quiet corner of Co. Donegal, he found himself investigating one of the most horrific series of child sex abuse cases in Ireland. At Christmas 1997, a local priest Fr Eugene Greene reported to the Gardai that a man had tried to blackmail him. His hubris set in motion a Garda investigation which revealed him as a serial child sex abuser for decades. As word of the investigation spread, 26 men came forward. Most were from the tiny Gaeltacht parish of Gort an Choirce.All had been abused by Greene as children. Soon after, another man came forward to say that he had been sexually abused by local schoolteacher Denis McGinley. As Ridge dug deeper, he discovered that McGinley had been systematically abusing children in his classroom for decades. He had at least 50 victims. The Greene and McGinley cases both involved the Catholic Church. Greene was a priest, and McGinley a teacher in a Catholic school answerable to religious managers. As Ridge investigated, he discovered that the Church knew about the abuse, but ignored the problem. “Breaking the Silence” is a brilliantly written account of the Garda investigation that brought two serial and unrepentant abusers to justice.
Fear of the collar
by Patrick Touher
Sent to an Industrial School in Dublin at the age of seven, Patrick Touher was forced into a tough regime of education and training, prayer and punishment, strict discipline and fearful nights. No allowances were made for emotion, sentiment or boyhood worries, and anyone who disturbed the routine was severely punished. Artane demanded absolute obedience, absolute submission; Patrick’s was an education in cruelty and fear.
Patrick Touher spent eight long years in Artane Industrial School. Run by the Christian Brothers, the school has become synonymous with the widespread abuse of children in Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s which is currently the subject of a Commission inquiry. This is the inside story of a childhood lived in the most horrific of circumstances. A moving and powerful true account, “Fear of the Collar” bears testament to the courage and determination of the children that society forgot.
Rock me gently
by Judith Kelly
In the 1950s, shortly after her father’s death, Judith Kelly was left in the care of nuns at a Catholic orphanage while her mother searched for a place for them to live. She was eight years old. Far from being cared for, Judith found herself in a savage and terrifying institution where physical, emotional and sexual abuse was the daily norm and the children’s lives were reduced to stark survival. As the months became years and no word came from her mother, she sought comfort instead from the girls around her, and especially the bright, angel-voiced Frances, who seemed miraculously untouched by the nuns’ persecution and the abject misery surrounding her. When a tragic accident robbed Judith of her dearest friend, the traumatic memories of the event were to trouble her deeply, long into her adult life. Years later, at a kibbutz in Israel, Judith met and befriended an elderly Holocaust survivor. It was a friendship that began with an instinctive recognition of the fear and suffering each had experienced, and one that would begin an emotional journey culminating in Judith’s return to the Nazareth House orphanage to confront her memories and to achieve some measure of peace. Rock Me Gently is an astonishing, moving and deeply shocking memoir, and a story that resonates in the mind long after the final page.
The truth set us free
Twenty former nuns tell their story.
An excerpt…”I came under Catholic authority in 1948 when I was re-baptized and converted to Catholicism. I was born in 1930 to Finnish immigrant parents of a Lutheran persuasion. Our neighbors, who were immigrants from Yugoslavia and Italy, had a strong influence on my formative years. As exemplary Catholics, who witnessed to us about their faith, and who lived lives of good works and good deeds, of which we often were the recipients, they were committed to bringing the neighborhood under the headship of Rome. They reached out to us with what they thought was the truth. They were sincere, but sincerely wrong. It is important to remember that individual Catholics are not our enemies; rather, they are precious souls whom God loves and for whom He commands us to reach with the Gospel of His Grace. Salvation is by grace. Grace is unmerited favor. We cannot earn grace, nor do we deserve grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).”
Founded on fear
by Peter Tyrell
I warn society against the child who has been hurt – Peter Tyrrell.
A tormented childhood in Letterfrack industrial school with the Christian Brothers left an enduring mark on Peter Tyrrell. Ignored by the authorities and distressed by his memories, he later burned himself to death on Hampstead Heath in London. His story of horrific abuse is told with childlike simplicity, penned in a series of letters to Senator Owen Sheehy Skeffington. Bringing to life, with touching sincerity, a shocking reality where beatings of children as young as five were commonplace, this startling account may have gone unpublished if not for its chance discovery amongst Skeffington’s papers.
At last, Peter Tyrrell has been given a voice. Tyrrell never recovered from the abuse that he suffered, yet was determined that his story should be heard.
His memoir makes for harrowing yet extraordinarily compelling reading. It is impossible not to be touched.
Scars that run deep
by Patrick Touher
Leaving his abusive Irish boarding school after eight long years, Patrick Touher thought his troubles were over. But the adult world was a dangerous place for a naïve adolescent. From the Dublin Catholic boys’ home to arriving alone in London, again Patrick is seen as easy prey.
Yet Patrick’s strength, honesty and sense of humour never left him. The boy they couldn’t break fought back and eventually found love and a family. But the shadow of his early years was always with him. With the encouragement of his wife – a constant witness to his traumatic nightmares – Patrick set about taking the Christian Brother to task.
The eagerly awaited sequel to bestseller Fear of the Collar that doesn’t disappoint, Scars that Run Deep is a deeply moving and ultimately triumphant true story.
Suffer little children
by Frances Reilly
Clutching her eight-week-old sister in her arms, Frances Reilly was abandoned by her mother outside the gates of The Poor Sisters of Nazareth Convent.
It was Christmas morning 1956 and Frances was 2 years old. For the next 13 years Frances experienced institutionalized cruelty under the care of her new guardians: she was beaten, raped, and molested on numerous occasions. The nuns stripped her of everything—her best friend, her innocence, even her name—but they could not suppress her spirit and her never-ending hope of a better life.
Written with great honesty and integrity, this moving account of childhood suffering is a tragic yet inspiring story. Through it all Frances refused to be broken. This is her account of her resolution to survive and defy the evil that stole her childhood.
The pigeon house
by James Plaskitt
With the end of his life approaching, an old man has only one regret. He has not been able to tell the full story of his childhood. The memories were painful. They had been buried for decades. But he could not reach the end of his life without the truth being told. ‘The Pigeon House’ is a moving story of a boy’s triumph against the odds. It recounts his struggle with poverty, neglect, exploitation, disease and abuse. Through this vivid account, we meet his drunk and abusive mother, his remote father, the sadistic teacher, the uncaring doctor, the exploitative priest and the abusing nun. A conspiracy of silence within a Catholic institution sustains the regime of abuse. One brave figure tries to confront it – only to be banished. After that, it is a battle between abusive authority and a young boy’s inner will to survive. The painful truth of what happened in the Pigeon House, and how one boy overcame it, brings compelling reaffirmation of the triumph of the human will.