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An Irish Tragedy: How Sex Abuse By Irish Priests Helped Cripple The Catholic Church Paperback – April 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Crossland Press (April 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979027985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979027987
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JOE RIGERT is a veteran investigative journalist, retired from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He served as president of the international organization Investigative Reporters & Editors, and is the author of two books, "Europe on Eight Kids a Day" and "All Together: An Unusual American Family." He and his wife, Jan, raised a multi-racial family of eight children, seven adopted. They live in Minneapolis.

Customer Reviews

So much for the theory that the hierarchy was unaware of what was going on!
Geoffrey E. Hart
Joe Rigert is a journalist, and this book has both the thoroughness of research and an easy flowing style that are characteristic of the best in his profession.
Tony Flannery
Joe Rigert has done a great job at reserching & bringing out a different aspect to this large miscarriage of justice in the Catholic church.
Mary B. Ballantyne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Tony Flannery on July 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Joe Rigert's book, An Irish Tragedy, is a significant contibution to the history of clerical sex abuse both in the U.S. and here in Ireland. Some people might say that it has come too late. I cannot speak for the U.S., but certainly here in Ireland there is some weariness with the topic, a sense that it has all been said many times and that the bones of the scandal have been sufficiently raked over. But this is not the full story because it is of crucial importance that both Church and society learn the lessons of these revelations, lessons about the abuse of power both by individuals and institutions. And it is in this area that Joe Rigert's book makes an invaluable contribution. It attempts to delve into the background of some of the major characters involved and try to analyse what was it that made them do what they did. Had it to do with their social or religious background, or maybe their seminary training? He makes a potentially controversial suggestion that there was something about the background and training of Irish priests that made them more prone to become abusers. Many will argue this with him, but he assembles some impressive data to back it up.
Joe Rigert is a journalist, and this book has both the thoroughness of research and an easy flowing style that are characteristic of the best in his profession. I recommend it highly.

Tony Flannery
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Joe Rigert, retired investigative journalist form the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, prompted by his brother's comments about his experience as the Catholic sex-abuse scandal unfolded, began a personal investigation into `the truth" about what role US bishops played in the scandal. He was concerned the American priests were taking the brunt of the blame for the sex-abuse problem, while their superiors, the bishops, remained above it all.

The Boston scandal erupted when Rigert was well into his investigation. He had collected the names of every bishop publicly accused of sexual abuse; traveled from courthouse to courthouse across the US and Canada to read every document relating to the errant bishops; spoken with attorneys and advocates for the victims as well as victims themselves; met with to a few abusers; and had traveled to the Vatican to inquire on sexual activity among clerics of the Vatican itself.

With the exploding crisis in Boston, Rigert put his initial investigation on hold and began to dig into the events surrounding the sex-abuse scandal there. His investigative trail took him to Ireland. There he learned about why it was that Irish priests became central players in many of the sex scandals here and offers profiles of several of the worst offenders. He also learned about sex abuse, sexual involvements, and unique conditions in Ireland that contributed to this scandal. Ireland was a seedbed of abuse.

"An Irish Tragedy" is built on Rigert's investigative foundation providing: a prism through which we can view the crimes; answers to the question "why"; and linkage between US and Ireland relating to culture and the Catholic church.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lennon on October 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Take note of how this book was written, pp.1-2:"I didn't set out to write a book on Irish priests. Rather, I started my journey with a broad inquiry into the sexual involvements of Catholic bishops in North American and Europe..." Read how he changed direction. The author's wife influenced focus and perspective: "Write a narrative, she said, that would include my personal experiences, opinions and reflections as a birth Catholic."(p.149). I went back to this book after finishing it. It is well written. Not strident, poignant.

"Sad but True", was my conclusion after reading this book which examines a bevy of Irish pedophile bishops and priests in their American and Irish milieus. You might have suspected all along that the Irish were involved in this sordid mess. Irish clergy are an integral part of American Catholic clergy. So it stands to reason that if pedophilia was rampant in the American clergy the Irish had something to do with it; like they manned those parishes, prepared the sermons, counted the money in the basement, and built those parochial schools. They also turned out generations of damned good professionals, some of whom ended up criticizing their old alma mater. Like Joe Rigert, an investigative reporter, who goes a little further and contends the Irish did more than their share of abuse.

My memoir, "Our Father, who art in bed, a Naïve and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ", at Amazon.com, tells how I grew up in a traditional Catholic household with a lot of sexual taboo, secrecy and fear of the clergy; an atmosphere that, paradoxically, sets the stage for all kinds of abuse. Pedophilia is still a taboo subject to the American public, particularly Catholics, who may feel their priests are being unfairly set upon by the "secular press".
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Patrick Doyle on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
An Irish Tragedy is an apt title for this book because it describes precisely the end result of the continuum of excessive and superstitious piety, toxic clerical control and a twisted sexual morality which has all converged into a flood of cases of sexual abuse of minors and deceitful cover-up by bishops. The Catholic Church managed to develop more social and cultural control in Ireland than perhaps any other country in the post-medieval era. The dark underside of the Church's role in Ireland has been the legacy of sexual and spiritual abuse by clergy. This is the first book to look honestly at a horrendous blight in the irish Catholic culture that many deny or are afraid to confront because it rocks their childish, church-imposed dependence on the clergy for spiritual security.
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