Boys of the Cloth: The Accidental Role of Church Reforms in Causing and Curbing Abuse by Priests

Boys of the Cloth: The Accidental Role of Church Reforms in Causing and Curbing Abuse by Priests

by Vincent J. Miles


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761859741
Publisher: Hamilton Books
Publication date: 12/16/2012
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 5.96(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

After spending much of his youth in Liverpool’s Catholic seminary training for the priesthood, Vincent J. Miles embarked on a very different career path as a molecular biologist and biotechnology executive. He holds B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from University College London and is currently a venture capitalist in the Boston area.

Table of Contents

1. The Call of God—or My Mother? “Vocation,” 1961-62
2. Schools for Scandal: The Role of Seminaries in the Abuse Crisis
3. A World Apart: Upholland College, 1962-63
4. Boys (and Men) of the Cloth: Four Centuries of the Seminary System
5. Tranquility, then Turmoil: Upholland College, 1963-65
6. Descent into Evil: How Priests Became Abusers
7. Changing Times: Upholland College, 1965-69
8. Swung by the Sixties? Understanding the Abuse Epidemic

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Boys of the Cloth: The Accidental Role of Church Reforms in Causing and Curbing Abuse by Priests 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ellarogue More than 1 year ago
In June of 2001 an article ran in an alternative Boston newspaper, the Boston Phoenix, describing allegations of sexual abuse of multiple children by a Boston area priest.  Even worse, the victims alleged that Boston’s archbishop knew of the abuses and did nothing to stop it.   In Boys of the Cloth, Vincent J. Miles builds his theory for the causes of the abuse scandal using the available data from previous reports and his experiences as young pupil at a minor seminary near his hometown of Liverpool, England.  His background as a minor seminarian provides a unique viewpoint for understanding the rigors and strict discipline of seminary life, and the effect this had on its students, particularly the youngest ones.  His research is organized into three major topics: an extensive background of the seminary system as well as his experiences within that system; an overview of what causes adults to become child abusers, and why the seminary system may have predisposed some of its students to becoming abusers; and finally, a detailed review of the available data on the abuse epidemic, explaining why previous theories are faulty, and explaining his alternative theory on the causes of the epidemic and the seminary system’s roll in such. It is important to note that in no way does the author shift blame away from the priests who committed these horrible crimes, nor away from the Church’s deplorable cover-up of the crimes and treatment of the victims.  In multiple passages in the book, he states that there is never any excuse for the abuse of a child, and he makes no excuses for the priests who committed these offenses.  Rather, his goal in the book is to look at the factors that led to the high number of cases between 1950 and the early 1980s in the hopes that, by understanding the circumstances that led to the epidemic, it can be prevented from happening again. The data that the author uses most extensively comes from three reports: The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 and The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons 1950 – 2002, both by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; as well as a report by the National Review Board, commissioned in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to investigate the crisis.  Assuming that the author’s use of the data is complete and forthright, he has researched and written a compelling book on the potential causes of the abuse epidemic with a theory that is persuasive and well-supported by the data he presents.  However, this book also holds much value for the average reader; Miles does an excellent job of including enough background knowledge to clarify every aspect of his theories.  In fact, Miles is also a gifted writer with an inviting style of prose, and as such this a very readable (and if it weren’t for the topic I would even say enjoyable) book.  In his final paragraph, the author writes, “My sincere hope is that the insights provided by these experiences [as a seminarian] have indeed thrown light on abusive behavior by priests, and will help in some small way to prevent such behavior in the future.”  I, too, hope that this book receives its due attention from those who are in a position to influence Church policy, who are of an open mind and can objectively evaluate the author’s well-supported theories, and who can take action to prevent such wrongs from happening ever again.