Crimes of the Father

Crimes of the Father A timely courageous and powerful novel about faith the church conscience and celibacy Tom Keneally ex seminarian pulls no punches as he interrogates the terrible damage done to innocents as the C

  • Title: Crimes of the Father
  • Author: Thomas Keneally Tom Keneally
  • ISBN: 9780857987112
  • Page: 484
  • Format: Paperback
  • A timely, courageous and powerful novel about faith, the church, conscience and celibacy.Tom Keneally, ex seminarian, pulls no punches as he interrogates the terrible damage done to innocents as the Catholic Church has prevaricated around language and points of law, covering up for its own.Ex communicated to Canada due to his radical preaching on the Vietnam War and otherA timely, courageous and powerful novel about faith, the church, conscience and celibacy.Tom Keneally, ex seminarian, pulls no punches as he interrogates the terrible damage done to innocents as the Catholic Church has prevaricated around language and points of law, covering up for its own.Ex communicated to Canada due to his radical preaching on the Vietnam War and other human rights causes, Father Frank Docherty is now a psychologist and monk He returns to Australia to speak on abuse in the Church, and unwittingly is soon listening to stories from two different people a young man, via his suicide note, and an ex nun who both claim to have been sexually abused by an eminent Sydney cardinal This senior churchman is himself currently empannelled in a commission investigating sex abuse within the Church.As a man of character and conscience, Father Docherty finds he must confront each party involved in the abuse and cover up to try to bring the matter to the attention of the Church itself, and to secular authorities.This riveting, profoundly thoughtful novel is both an exploration of faith as well as an examination of marriage, of conscience and celibacy, and of what has become one of the most controversial institutions, the Catholic Church.

    304 Comment

    • MaryG2E says:

      This is an important book which tackles a serious social problem, and does it with great distinction. It is also very timely for Australians, as the latest findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are released to the community (February 2017).As a person brought up completely immersed in the Catholic faith, I could read this book with a good depth of background knowledge, particularly about the power of priests in the daily lives of Catholics. Tom Kenea [...]

    • Deborah Ideiosepius says:

      This unexpectedly exceptional book tackles the complicated issue of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic church. This has been a massive ongoing scandal and battle since the 90's in Australia and even now new issues surrounding it come out or are addressed often. Pedophilia has such a horrible ring to it, it is I think with great bravery one would choose to write a work of fiction about it. In this book, at least, the bravery is well worth it. Our moderator of the story is Father Frank Doche [...]

    • Roman Clodia says:

      I love Keneally's writing and given his own background as a seminarian was excited to read his take on the scandals of abuse within the Catholic church: well, it's balanced and insightful but I was left feeling a little disappointed overall.As usual, Keneally's writing is clean and clear but there are some huge coincidences here that are necessary to make the plot work, something that I've never felt about Keneally's previous books. That said, he tackles a difficult subject with a clear-sighted [...]

    • Sid Nuncius says:

      Thomas Keneally is a very fine writer and I was expecting this to be excellent. It was good in many ways, but as a novel I had my reservations about it.Keneally is from a Catholic family and this is his take on priestly abuse of children (which he states clearly that he never suffered personally, by the way) and the Church's response to it. Set in 1996, we meet Father Frank Docherty who is returning to Sydney after being sent away by a previous Cardinal for his political views and his refusal to [...]

    • Fiona says:

      Frank Docherty returns from his posting in Canada to visit his aging mother and to ask the archdiocese if he can return to work in Sydney to be closer to her. He was exiled to Canada in the 1970s because his views on global and church politics were causing embarrassment to the church. As a psychologist, he has been counselling victims of child abuse in Canada and is trying to raise awareness of the opprobrium the church in Australia will face if it doesn't publicly acknowledge the problem instea [...]

    • Marjorie says:

      Father Frank Docherty seems to attract controversy. He’s a good man and a good priest but his beliefs are sometimes at odds with the Catholic Church. He was banished from the Australian church in the sixties due to his religious beliefs and he truly wants to return to Australia and their church so he can be near his aging mother. But events come about that bring him into direct confrontation with the same Cardinal he’s trying to win favor with. He’s become aware of several incidents of chi [...]

    • Robert Bland says:

      Crimes of the FatherTom KeneallyRandom House Penguin2016First the disclaimer - I’m not a Catholic. I have, however, been deeply involved in various ways in the response of various churches to the sexual abuse of children in their care. I’m a member of my local Anglican Diocesan Professional Standards Committee. I chaired a National Round Table for the Salvation Army that tried to understand the reasons for abuse of boys in institutional care. As a university student I had lived and worked fo [...]

    • Annette Chidzey says:

      This latest Keneally offering is couched in a timely setting as the Catholic Church and other organisations are held to account for any abuse to those who have placed trust in them. Though it may be a work of fiction as Keneally attests in his acknowledgements, there are inevitable parallels and comparisons that I found myself making to both real world individuals and situations that have been reported and investigated in Australia and other parts of the world while I read this account.The effec [...]

    • Lia says:

      I am a bit numb after reading this. Keneally brought his seminary upbringing and his prodigious intellect to this tale of betrayal and redemption. There was no sugar coating of the scenario, one unfortunately playing out in Sydney (and churches across the world) today. I grew up in a catholic family in the times depicted in the novel. So much rang true. The modern and objective look at the tenants of the faith were refreshing. The demons were deservedly in the spotlight, and thankfully the good [...]

    • Jillwilson says:

      “If they were a corporation, they would be out of business.” This is what a friend texted me after watching the recent 4 Corners program Dark Secrets which explored the cover-ups of paedophilia in Philadelphia. The investigation within that TV program began with a question: Why, in 50 years, had only one Catholic priest been officially investigated for child abuse? The program found both disturbing levels of child abuse and extraordinary measures taken by the church to hide the abuse. “If [...]

    • Christina McLain says:

      There are two groups of people who will read this book: Catholics and those who are not. For the latter group, unless you have been worked over by Isis or some other group of fundamentalist hooligans, there will be shock and horror. For Catholics, and I am one, there will be other, more complicated reactions. I know this story of a priest's efforts to expose pedophiles who masquerade as priests is a timely one and makes for a compelling novel. It certainly made me realize now how lucky I was to [...]

    • Andrew Doohan says:

      I didn't want to read this book and, in fact, had no real intention to do so, until I was asked to provide an opinion on it. Having said that, I have to confess that I found Keneally's book a strange combination of challenging, disappointing, and frustrating. Let me address those in reverse order.As a priest, I found some of the 'errors' depicted by Keneally on supposedly current liturgical and canonical discipline very frustrating. They were, in some cases, trivial 'errors', once which any othe [...]

    • Lisa says:

      If issues raised in this review cause personal distress, help is available from Lifeline and Beyond Blue.Crimes of the Father is a book that was crying out to be written, and Tom Keneally has created an exceptional novel out of a momentous issue of our times. With the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about to resume its hearings, this time about the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, this issue is well and truly out of the shadows in Australia as it is elsewhere, b [...]

    • Claire says:

      I received Crimes of the Father as part of a giveaway.In 1996, Father Frank Docherty, a Catholic priest and psychology professor working with pedophile priests in Ontario, makes a rare trip to his native Australia, ostensibly for a speaking engagement but, more broadly, to seek permission to return to Sydney, from whose archdiocese he was ousted from for his liberal political views decades earlier. During his brief trip, he comes face to face with the devastation wrought by the sexual abuse sca [...]

    • Nancy says:

      "'Why didn't that omnipotent God intervene when we were at the mercy of the abuser?' I ask it myself. All I can say is, Christ be with you. He is also a sort of victim of the (Roman Catholic) Church.'" As Keneally writes in the author's note, he went to seminary and left just a few months before his ordination. So, he definitely has a lot of inside information on the Catholic church, and this is clearly reflected in Crimes of the Father. The protagonist, Fr. Docherty, is flawed in many ways, but [...]

    • Pgchuis says:

      Frank Docherty is exiled by his order to Canada (from his native Australia) after speaking openly on topics such as the Vietnam War. In Ontario he studies and works as a psychologist specializing in sexual abuse by priests. He returns to Australia to give a lecture and visit his mother, and receives information suggesting that the brother of a very close friend has in the past abused both teenage boys and girls. This brother is (on behalf of the church) currently seeking to make small monetary p [...]

    • Tien says:

      Truth to tell, I wasn't that keen on reading this. I was shying away from the thought of child abuse and/or pedophilia. Thankfully, it wasn't as graphic as I feared so I managed to enjoy it a little only a little because I found it hard not to argue and/or concur with the different thought presented in this book. In light of the current trial of George Pell (who, by the by, has plead not guilty), I thought this was a good reminder that there were many horrific things committed by the Church and/ [...]

    • Mandy says:

      Thomas Keneally is a very uneven writer. A master storyteller, admittedly, but his novels vary quite a bit in quality and disappointingly, in view of the serious subject matter, this one is one of his less successful ones. It focuses on Father Frank Docherty who is determined to highlight and improve the way the Catholic Church responds to allegations and convictions of sexual abuse of children by priests. In this heartfelt and serious exploration of the subject we meet a number of characters wh [...]

    • Chris Demer says:

      This is a novel, but considering the situations involving predatory behavior and pedophilia by priests on several continents, and its widespread cover-up by those in positions of authority, it might as well be true.It is a story of an Australian priest who belongs to a religious order but has been "banished" to Canada due to his anti-Vietnam War sentiments as well as his emphasis on personal conscience as a guide to behavior. He studies psychology with a particular interest in abuse by clergy. H [...]

    • Danielle Routh says:

      Even though I'm a Protestant, I do sympathize for those in Catholicism who must juxtapose their faith with the corruption within their institutional church. (I'm not saying Protestantism is exempt from corruption, but our pastors answer to fewer people and are not as interconnected.) Because of this, I appreciate how Keneally approached the matter: indictment for those who contribute to corruption, sensitivity for corruption's victims, and gentleness for those who have to pick up the pieces. One [...]

    • Lynn Pribus says:

      Somehow this book started clumsily -- as if the editor only picked up her blue pencil after the first couple chapters. Long sentences -- next to impossible to diagram, if you remember that annoyance from your 8th-grade English teacher. Rather as if it was poorly translated from German.But once the characters and their relationships became clear and there was more dialogue, it moved along very well with a female character in first person and all else in third, mostly present tense.The ever deeper [...]

    • Laura Newsholme says:

      This is not an easy subject to read about, but it is a very important one that has become more and more visible over the past 20 years. This tells the tale of one priest's fight to highlight the abuse suffered by young girls and boys in his former diocese. What I found really compelling here, was the tone of the prose. Keneally writes in a very pared back fashion that lends the material a documentary or reportage feel. He outlines the 'facts' and doesn't spend too much time dealing with the emot [...]

    • Joodith says:

      t has taken me an unusually long time to get through this novel, not simply because of the subject matter which, sadly is familiar territory, but the writing style. This feels more like a work of non-fiction, than a novel, and I felt myself being lectured to rather than involved.The main thrust of the novel is Father Frank Docherty, an outspoken priest who attends a conference in Australia, the subject of which is paedophilia within the Catholic church; the extent of it, the hypocrisy and the co [...]

    • Stephanie says:

      In this rather 'close to reality' story Keneally, ex-seminarian, pulls no punches as he interrogates the terrible damage done to innocents by the Catholic Church with its relentless covering up for its own.Exiled to Canada due to his radical preaching on human rights, Father Frank Docherty is now a psychologist and monk. He returns to Australia to speak at a conference, and unwittingly is drawn into the stories of two people who claim to have been sexually abused by an eminent Sydney monsignor.A [...]

    • Linda Epach says:

      "Crimes of the Father" by Thomas Keneally has Father Frank Docherty, a priest/psychologist serving in Canada returning home to Australia to visit his elderly mother. He is hoping to be allowed to receive a posting back in Sydney. Back in the 1960's his outspoken opp0sition to the church's views on the Vietnam war and other social issues had gotten him banished to Canadian academia.Father Docherty however finds himself involved in a scandal regarding the church and charges of sexual abuse and at [...]

    • Maggie Kiely says:

      Gripping read. The author demonstrates detailed knowledge of the back story and working of the priesthood within the Catholic church in Sydney Australia in the 1990’s. Story is told wonderfully. This book does not contain high drama and there is no complete resolution, which mirrors real life with these cases. This narrative felt honest and realistic as to how the situation could develop, both within the minds of the victims and the accused clergy. It appeared insightful to present a humane an [...]

    • Cathy says:

      This is a book where you need to read the author's note before you read the book. It explains how he decided the focus for his book. That focus is on Father Frank Docherty, a priest who is also a teaching/practicing psychologist who had been studying clerical child abusers. That clinical approach is felt throughout the book. There is not enough emotional context in the book. Frank never gets angry or upset or sad about what he learns. That takes away from the impact of the book.I applaud Mr. Ken [...]

    • Theediscerning says:

      DNF - I wanted to give this a good go, and I admire the author, but it fell into the 'dump' pile like one or two others he's done recently. The writing featured too much summary and not enough scenes-as-seen, and seemed to be going nowhere, which the settings - recent but yet still historical - didn't help. It quickly lost the characters I was interested in, in favour of a lengthy and uninteresting series of flashbacks regarding religious procedure, for want of a better word, which meant as much [...]

    • Matthew Leroe says:

      "At an immature age, I chose to study for the priesthood, and I would like to put on record my thanks for the more generous and openhanded aspects of that training. It was not, however, an education designed to encourage a callow young man to achieve full maturity as a sentient and generous male adult. I was too innocent to understand that the education to make me a celibate strayed easily into stereotyping half of my species -- women -- as a perilous massed threat to priestly purity; or that th [...]

    • Lynn says:

      I approached his novel with some trepidation. Over 350 pages seemed daunting. But I was immediately drawn in to the story of Frank Docherty, a priest formerly of Sydney, Australia, sent to Canada in 1972 for certain views on the Vietnam War. Now, years have passed, his mother is aging, and he wants to return home. He's in Sydney for a short visit, and, like moths to the flame, certain people and ideas and accusations come to his attention and he cannot ignore them. This is a difficult novel, abo [...]

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