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Crimes of the father / Tom Keneally.

By: Keneally, Thomas, 1935-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: North Sydney, NSW : Vintage Books, 2016Copyright date: ©2016Description: 382 pages ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780857987112 (paperback).Subject(s): Catholic Church -- Clergy -- Sexual behavior -- Fiction | Sexual misconduct by clergy -- Australia -- Fiction | Sex crimes -- Australia -- Fiction | Clergy -- Sexual behavior -- Australia -- Fiction | Celibacy -- Catholic Church -- Fiction | Australian fictionDDC classification: A823.4 Summary: 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 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 from two different people who claim to have been sexually abused by an eminent Sydney monsignor. As a man of character and conscience, Docherty knows he must fo all he can to bring the matter to the attention of the Church itself, and to secular authorities, no matter ar what personal cost. This riveting, courageous and profound novel is 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.
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Default Sydenham Library (DIY)
Fiction KENE Issued 18/11/2019 IA1119967
Default Sunshine Library (DIY)
Fiction KENE Available IA1119959
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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 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 from two different people who claim to have been sexually abused by an eminent Sydney monsignor. As a man of character and conscience, Docherty knows he must fo all he can to bring the matter to the attention of the Church itself, and to secular authorities, no matter ar what personal cost. This riveting, courageous and profound novel is 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.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Crimes of the Father 1 Docherty Comes to Australia July 1, 1996 SARAH FAGAN was driving a cab. Some might think her cab-driving a pathetic attempt to meet men. In fact, it was a genuine attempt to allow a recovery of her brain, which was depleted, and a revival of her spirit, which had been rendered numb from all that had happened to her. Driving was an art, but it also allowed intellectual vacuity, plain rituals of conversation. And if Sarah did not want to converse on the issue of why a woman like her was driving a cab, she would say, "We're all filling in for my husband, who has cancer." The "we're all" implied a tough family hanging together in a crisis; that she was not, therefore, in favor of being messed around by passengers. She suspected that a decision about whether she would stay in neutral gear for the rest of her life, or might pull herself out of it, would most probably arise not from conscious thought or frantic self-analysis, but with her brain muted by routine. Listening to and exchanging banalities with her passengers, she hoped she would hear some healing neutral words. She might then learn to live in the same room as the tiger, the flesh-tearing fury. A Friday morning at Sydney Airport provided taxi drivers with lots of fares. The line of cabs was prodigious by seven o'clock, with a dozen ahead of her. But the stream of morning arrivals kept it moving, and as Sarah was a cabdriver more for the therapy of it than for sustenance she was unfazed by the wait. When eventually the last cab in front of her had cleared off, ­Sarah's fare proved to be a tall, lean man, studious-looking, in his late fifties or early sixties--you couldn't tell in an age when even the old went to gymnasia and sweated themselves thin. This fellow hauled a modern suitcase on wheels and in his other hand carried a briefcase. The suitcase was not massively packed, nor the briefcase of the latest design. A sensible traveler, but neither a conventional businessman nor tourist. A chiropractor, she thought, or a health-shop owner. "Good morning," he said as she got out and came around the cab to watch him putting his bags briskly into the boot, whose lid she had released. When he was finished, he set out walking around the car to take the other front seat, as was the custom with Australian men of his age, a residual gesture of egalitarianism. It was only then he noticed she was a woman and was struck by doubt. "What should I do?" he asked her in a level, earnest voice. "Would you like me to sit in the back?" She told him it was his choice, he was the passenger. So, after weighing the matter, he took the front seat. She asked him where to, and he said Gladesville--he believed he knew the way, he said, since he used to live in the area. He mentioned a street. "We'll work it out as we go," he said. She pulled out and asked him if it had been a good flight, and he said it had been passable--given the time change, he preferred to fly by day than by night. But he hadn't had a choice this time. Where had he come from? "Vancouver," he told her. "Oh," she said vaguely, because all points of departure were equal to her. She liked these conversations, but did not want to take on any of their weight. "They say it's a little like Sydney," she remembered to contribute. "Yes," he said, "it is like Sydney, and yet they're both their own places. They're like siblings, very much the same and very much different." It was what she wanted to hear. Something unchallenging, which still transcended plainness. "So you're pleased to be home." "Proud Australian boy," he said. "Though I live in Canada." She asked when he was going back and he said in three weeks' time. His mother had a few mobility problems, he said. She was old enough to warrant his coming to see her. Did he live in Vancouver? No, he said. Ontario, over in the east. Flat country but very pleasant. She asked him what the winters were like and he laughed. "Unspeakable. Sometimes I think it's amazing that any Canadian survived before 1900." He shook his head. "And yet, when you live there you just take it as it comes. Pretty much the way Australians accept their summers." Apart from such superficial issues as geography and weather, she generally left her passengers free of inquiry. It was astonishing, however, how many would offer particulars without her asking. Humans were natural confessors, and she was sure it was this, rather than the sophistication of police forces, that landed many people in the criminal dock. He said, "Things have certainly changed in Australia." "In what way?" she asked. She wondered if it was wise to ask. "Well, it was all freckle-faced Celts and Anglo-Saxons when I was a kid. Now the faces are Asian, Middle Eastern. And women driving cabs. The old crustaceans around me when I was a kid wouldn't have considered them safe enough drivers!" "You haven't seen it in Canada?" "Not particularly. Well, yes. There's an Ojibwe woman in Waterloo who drives for her husband because he's got diabetes. You see, I live in a sort of big country town. But also . . . well, I always thought the Canadians a bit more progressive." And then he laughed. "In a backwards sort of way." She said nothing. "Are you driving for your husband?" he asked. She did laugh at that, and was aware it wasn't an entirely kindly laugh. She said, "Why would I need a taxi owner for a husband to make it all right for me to drive a cab?" He held up a hand. "You're quite right; forgive me. I'm a sexist brute. Women in Canada tell me I am all the time." "You can get cured of that, you know!" she said, a little tersely. In the silence that followed she wondered idly if he was married. She was not going to ask. He asked her about the present Australian government, but he was treading water and she gave a simple answer, discontented with politicians in the Australian way that expects no prophets ever to emerge from the desert. She went left beside Hyde Park, reached Chinatown, and crossed the Glebe Island Bridge. It was only when she turned into Rozelle that he recognized familiar landmarks on Victoria Road. "My father and uncle owned that pub," he told her. "If I called it an old stamping ground, you'd asked me what I stamped on it. But at least I'm familiar with it." He had a weird sense of humor, she thought. She said, "We're close now." For some reason she said it for her own comfort. This one was just a notch too subtle for conversation. Whereas she could live with "my old stamping ground," she found "I don't know what I stamped on it" harder. She wanted clichés, not a smart-aleck expatriate who turned them on their head. "Not far," she said, but again to reassure herself. She had an opening to ask him what he did for a living, for she still couldn't guess and she was certain he didn't own pubs. She had a feeling the answer would be at least mildly interesting, but she resisted saying anything because it would allow him the right of a question in return. The morning beamed down on her windscreen and she put on her sunglasses. "Ah," he said, "Sydney light." "Isn't it just like Canadian light?" she asked. "The light there on a bright cold day, twenty below freezing--it's big honest light, too. The rays doubled up by reflections off the snow. So it's like Sydney light but without the inconvenience of snow." She said, "The Canadians must appreciate you telling them that. I don't think." He laughed. A low, short laugh. He was looking out of the window and drinking in what he could see of the suburbs and their shops and pubs, just like a returned, easily satisfied patriot. She took an exit and he was on familiar ground and could guide her. "I don't know what number it is," he told her. "It's a big sandstone place." They rolled along suburban streets and he watched schoolboys in cricket-style hats, brown shirts and shorts, and the little girls in their checked uniforms. At last he pointed to a nineteenth-century mansion that stood behind a reclusive, high-shrubbed, high-treed garden. She could see the Celtic cross at the apex of the facade and a smaller metal version above the front door. Convents sported such icons. So did monasteries. She felt a pulse of revulsion. The poisoned cross still boasting of its triumph over the suburb. Atop a smug garden and a smug antipodean sandstone mansion. She punched the meter off and jabbed the button that released the boot. "That's fine. Father, Brother, whichever you are. The trip's on me. Don't forget your bag." It would have been good to end it there and maintain functional, cold politeness. But she couldn't. "Just get out, will you?" she told him. He was mystified. "No," he said earnestly, "the freeloading days for priests are gone. And they gave me taxi money especially for the airport." He pushed a fifty-dollar note towards her but she would not take it. She sat stiffly and clung to the wheel. He tucked the note into a recess between the two seats. "I insist," he murmured. Eyes fixed ahead, she said, with a deliberately chosen profanity, "Just fuck off, will you? Just get your bag and go." She could see out of the corner of her eye that he was examining her face, as she fixed her gaze blankly on a couple of young mothers and their children across the street. She knew he was skimming through a number of options in his head--the job of a supposed general practitioner of the soul. Meanwhile, she both wanted him to react to her so she could unleash truer insults and passionately wanted him to vanish to save her the grief. He said simply as he opened the door, "Just let me get my bag. And . . . I'm sorry I made you angry." * * * IT HAPPENED that Docherty knew well how ambiguous the Celtic cross, once the symbol of one of the most oppressed peoples in Europe, could be for the damaged. One of the purposes of his journey was to warn Australian clergy of this enlarging rage now loose in the world. If nobody listened, he believed such rage would grow to fill the sky. This woman was clearly one of those damaged in the shadow of that sign. And no Southern Baptist, no Marxist, hated the sight of the Celtic cross with the intimate hostility that he could tell was in her. For he had encountered this before. Symptoms of unutterable harm. She had achieved equilibrium, he understood, driving her cab, but perhaps to her own surprise her effort of calm had been disrupted by getting too close to the gate of a suburban monastery. Quickly, he took one of his professional cards from his pocket, wrote his Sydney contacts on it, and dropped it through the window onto the passenger seat. Then he fetched his bags from the angrily sprung trunk and made for the gate without looking back. Excerpted from Crimes of the Father by Thomas Keneally All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Perhaps best known for the Booker Prize-winning Schindler's Ark, released here as Schindler's List and later adapted into an Academy Award-winning film, Australian novelist Keneally's literary career spans six prolific decades and more than 30 novels. This book harkens back to both a theme in his first novel, The Place at Whitton, and to his career path before becoming a writer: the Catholic priesthood. The novel opens with Father Frank -Docherty in a cab, returning to his hometown of Sydney, Australia, to visit his elderly mother after being sent to Canada for his outspoken views. A terse and confrontational conversation with the cab driver uncovers a sexual abuse scandal centered on the church's revered defender, Monsignor Leo Shannon. As -Docherty identifies the victims and reveals the truth, he begins challenging a hierarchy and power structure that has sanctified and defined his own existence. VERDICT Through the mind of his aggrieved and conflicted protagonist, Keneally pens an unflinching meditation on the ways in which canonical scripture, sacred tradition, and human conscience often coalesce to distort basic moral truths. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/17.]-Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., -Hamilton, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

The scandal involving the sexual abuse of children by the clergy of the Catholic Church in Australia fuels this well-intentioned if oddly passive novel by the author of Schindler's List. Set in 1996, the story follows likeable and intelligent Father Frank Docherty, exiled to Canada decades earlier for his liberal political views, who returns briefly to Sydney to see his aging mother and deliver a speech on the relationship between celibacy and child abuse. Coincidentally, the woman who drives his cab from the airport was abused as a girl by "smarmy" Monsignor Leo Shannon (the brother of a woman, Maureen, with whom Docherty was once tempted to break his vows of chastity). So was another young man who recently committed suicide, Docherty discovers. The novel moves awkwardly among scenes from Docherty's earlier life, a case history of the cab driver, the memories of Maureen, and the present building of a case against Monsignor Shannon. While the subject matter is timely and relevant, and Keneally makes a clear distinction between the virtues of the "misrepresented and abused" Jesus and the "apparatchiks of the Church," the novel comes across as closer to essay than effective narrative. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Father Frank Docherty is no stranger to controversy. As a young Australian priest, he was banished to Canada because of his political views on apartheid and Vietnam. But when he returns to visit Australia in the late 1990s, he finds his research into how the Catholic Church has handled cases of sexual abuse leading him to the victims of a priest he knows, and into a dispute that gets to the very heart of morality and faith. The celebrated author of novels including Schindler's List (1982) and The Daughters of Mars (2013) has crafted a nuanced exploration of the people victims, clergy, and laity at the heart of the scandal that has rocked the church and its followers. Keneally, who as a young man had studied for the priesthood, ventures deep into ecclesiastical territory, such as the 1968 letter from the pope on birth control, while building a comprehensive portrait of the different experiences his various characters have had with the church. The result is stunning and heartrending, a work of fiction that has the terrible ring of truth.--Thoreson, Bridget Copyright 2017 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

The sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in Australia gets a sensitive but uneven treatment by the author of Schindler's List.From the moment Father Frank Docherty returns to Australia in 1996 after a long absence, he is embroiled in controversy. The woman driving his cab angrily refuses money when she learns he is a cleric. Docherty, a psychologist studying abusive priests, thinks she is part of the "enlarging rage now loose in the world" as cases have begun to emerge publicly. He finds out that she is a former victim and an ex-nun. When a suicide note in another case names a local monsignor, Docherty must confront the priest's sister, with whom he nearly strayed from his vow of celibacy when he was younger. Australian writer Keneally (Napoleon's Last Stand, 2016 etc.) portrays the older Docherty as a man who favors caution over outrage. Even as he advises families struck by abuse, he's also trying to resume priestly work in Australia after having been banished in the 1960s for his political beliefs and doesn't want to ruffle his cardinal's feathers. Weaving through the novel is the ongoing case of a victim who refuses the church's current cash settlement and its demand of silence, thus bringing the issue to court and the press. The scenes with the church panel seeking settlementwhich includes the predatory monsignorpoint up the oily eloquence and spiritual clout brought to bear against any further undermining of an edifice already weakened by skepticism and secularism. Most painful are passages in which victims are wooed in the confessional box, a particularly cynical manipulation of youthful guilt and an awful perversion of the Catholic sacrament. Keneally's earnest effort to encompass the many legal and religious facets of this issue unfortunately results in more of an agenda than a novel. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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