The Pyjama Parade Steve Gilhooley

ISBN: 9781842040355

Published: October 11th 2001


256 pages


The Pyjama Parade  by  Steve Gilhooley

The Pyjama Parade by Steve Gilhooley
October 11th 2001 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 256 pages | ISBN: 9781842040355 | 4.32 Mb

A difficult book to review really for a number of reasons. Firstly it is difficult to give it a star rating of I liked it or I really liked it because of the subject matter. It is a catholic priests account of the abuse he underwent as a young lad at junior seminary in the 1970s. it is very sad and harrowing and as a catholic myself this appalling abuse of trust and decency is always one which makes me so angry.When i first began to read it the writing style was really amateur and uninspiring but, having been given this book by another friend, i felt honour bound to complete it.

Interestingly either I grew accustomed to the really bad writing or perhaps Steve Gilhooley drew strength and inspiration from the courageous thing he was doing.Though there was, quite evidently, sexual abuse involved it was the appalling vicious uncaring nature of these priests into whose care young impressionable lads of 11 or 12 had been delivered which was the most dreadful simply because, at his first training college, it appeared to be universal. At one point he compared the boys behaviour in terms of their almost feral nature to the collapse into violence of the lads in Lord of the flies.

The fact that the violence done to them was being perpetuated by their violence to each other. He did speak of friendship and alliances but much more of the silent sobbing and pain of the corporal punishment.He tried to explain to us his readers who might be neither religious nor sufferers of abuse how he could have carried on and not called out to his parents or other trusted adults.

Whether he fully succeeded in explaining, if explanation is possible or indeed necessary, is not something I would be qualified to say but i did find his genuine struggle and attempts to move forward really impressive. He tells of one heartbreaking moment of betrayal when a man, in whom he had begun to find safety and security after so much horror, made him take down his trousers and fondled him. At that point I felt so angry, so devastated but then it struck me that my feelings would only have been one millionth of the feelings of the poor lad himself.His writing technique is undoubtedly poor but he was not a journalist or a writer but a victim of abuse.

I feel ridiculously picky but i felt he covered too many side issues of other Church and social justice questions which just involved him throwing them into the mix but not really dealing with them and that served only to confuse or obfuscate which I think was the very last thing he wanted to do.He has been criticized by others for betraying the Church in speaking out on what should have been dealt in house .

Little needs to be said in that regard other than the obvious that anyone who still feels the abuse whether sexual, physical or mental should be dealt with secretly should read this book properly and not with blinkered eyes. The evident suffering and damage done not only to Gilhooley but to the countless others some of whom committed suicide or ended in prison or were unable to trust or form mature relationships is a hideous scar which needs to be in the open if it is to properly heal.Gilhooley very clearly praises priests and others in whom he re-found hope and a future.

He says at one point some of the best men i have ever met have been priests, sadly some of the worst too . The tragedy being that three of those best priests who began to help him recover and heal died very unexpectedly and before their time. One at 41 and another in his early 50s. Gilhooley admits that he certainly does carry heavy chips on his shoulders but having read his account i cannot find any way of being suprised.The abuse of individual priests is not the fault of the Church- the dreadful turning a blind eye to monstrous rending apart of peoples sense of trust and hope is.

I remain a catholic because my experience in the Church has been, in the main a positive one. Had i experienced just an infinitesimally small amount of the terror or betrayal or undeserved guilt or shame of this man I wonder if i could be so noble and compassionate as he seems to be.

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