James McVeigh, STOLEN FAITH. Brandon, Dublin (2022)
IN 1944, Catholic West Belfast, much like the rest of Ireland was caught in the grasp of a patriarchal Catholic Church where women were viewed as homemakers and anyone who dare stray from the teachings of the Church is ostracised.
James McCann, an American GI, arrives in Belfast and after taking a trip up the Falls Road immediately falls in love with a young Rose Rafferty in what begins this tragic love story. Rose is soon shipped off to Tuam's mother and baby home in Galway on the orders of the local parish priest.
What later transpires is a tale of events which will take readers from the chilling corridors of the Catholic Church’s cruel female institutions to the streets of Boston where thousands of children were trafficked, many of whom illegally, by the Church and placed into families where they were subjected to sexual, physical and mental torture.
There is no doubt that this book is a definite page-turner. Jim McVeigh writes in a way that leaves the reader with a series of questions and cliff-hangers which makes it is quite possible to read the whole book in one sitting.
As James McCann’s children, Maggie and Conor begin a quest to find out what went on at the hands of the Church, you cannot help but feel anger at the atrocities they uncover.
While this is a work of fiction, it is one of historical fiction and the brutality of the treatment of the women who were confined to the likes of Tuam and condemned as sinners while their male partners where allowed to continue with their lives, is laid bare.
The Boston clerical sex abuse scandal is also well documented. Coupled with the atrocious events in Tuam, this makes for a book which leaves the reader questioning the mindset of the Church authorities who knew of the events going on within their own institutions and yet did little to stop it.
Stolen Faith by Jim McVeigh is released on 28 February and is bound to be a best-seller. If readers are anything like myself, it will leave a lot of people wanting to find justice for those who suffered evil deeds at the hands of a Church who to this day preach the word of God while according to the UN, continue to obstruct justice for clerical child abuse victims.