Recommended Reading – An Irish Tragedy: How Sex Abuse By Irish Priests Helped Cripple The Catholic Church


The story of how Irish immigrants helped to build the American Catholic Church is well-known. But the sad tale of how Irish priests later undermined the Church has gone untold, until now. Investigative reporter Joe Rigert’s search for the roots of the Catholic sex-abuse scandals led him to Ireland, where he found that rigid sexual repression in both society and the priesthood has had the opposite of its intended effect, fostering bizarre and criminal sexual expression. Though a tiny country, Ireland has been a chief exporter of abusers to America, making the Catholic Church’s darkest crisis a true Irish tragedy. Catholic historian Terrance Dosh calls this book “a riveting read with many remarkable insights.” 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.



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Tony Flannery

A Book worth Reading 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…

Thomas M. Loarie

How the Irish Did Not Save the World 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…

Paul Lennon

Sad but True 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…

Sex abuse is present in all churches across the world throughout time. Thank goodness for social media of the 20th century that gave us the ability to see whats been going on for hundreds of years. Think how many lives that have been ruined thanks to parents forcing their unwitting children into a sexual abuse situation. Shame.