Monday 21 December 2009

Commentaries on "The Bishop's Man": Reviews & Blogs

I will be looking at the reviews and the blogs of the book. They have different takes on the book. However, there is a general overall tendency that will be the subject of the last blog on the book.

"Lord Almighty, this has got to be a comforting book for a lot of people."

What I want to do in the next few blogs is do a running commentary on whatever strikes me as relevant, important, angering or downright idiotic.

Last night, I finally had the emotional reaction to the book that was bound to come. Does it affect everything that I analyze? Of course. But nobody can accusing me of hiding my specific point of view!

Where the book (and so far, just about everything that I have read other people say) fails, is in not giving true voice to the real devastation that religious sexual abuse causes over a lifetime. Certainly, the Bishop's Man and the Bishop don't get it. My reaction last night was just to everything that was lost over the years - two marriages that didn't really have a chance at working; an educational choice driven by the need to know; the relationships with male and female friends; the relationships within my family; the loss of a place to belong; the loss of the security that faith in a benevolent deity can bring. It wasn't a major crisis (I don't really have those anymore), but it did include new flashbacks that will integrate themselves over time.

I have been avoiding writing for the last week or so. The one thing the flashbacks and the emotions do, is get me writing.

The book didn't have to be from the victim's point of view - but somehow, I do believe it fails because the victims are just a hinge for story telling. There will more on this in future blogs. Suicide may be the ultimate sin for a Roman Catholic, but living life after the complete loss of everything that ever mattered is very difficult and at times unbearable. Without support, we don't get thought it, just as Danny (the victim "hinge" in the book) didn't. I wish everyone would go and see Deliver Us From Evil, and then read The Bishop's Man. It might give them a slightly different perspective on just how much the Bishop's Man has to answer for.


Anonymous said...


You (and it seems from their comments) the folks at the Giller have completely missed what this book is all about. It is about the Catholic Church and its hypocrisy in covering up its sins and the sins of its priests. Abuse, sexual or otherwise, by people in postions of power is to be condemned but MacIntyre's story is not about that. It is about the duplicity and mendacity of an institution and the people who run it...the Dannys, Brendans, Willies (and eventually Duncan who was abused in a very different way) are all collateral damage and as we have learned from recent history - Iraq and Afghanistan - collateral damage can be significant.

Sheila Redmond said...

Dear Anonymous,

I wish it were so. I started to write a response but it got so long, it is now its own blog post.


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