Longford man Gerard Rodgers' book 'Resisting the Power of Mea Culpa: A Story of Twentieth-Century Ireland' is both a memoir of childhood trauma and a searing work of social criticism.
Through his own experience of clerical abuse and his struggle with the system that allowed it to happen, the author documents an important period of social change in Ireland.
'Resisting the Power of Mea Culpa' is Rodgers' second book. The first, 'Being Gay in Ireland: Resisting the Stigma in the Evolving Present' was published as hardback and digital by Lexington Books in July 2018.
This first book was an outgrowth of Rodgers' doctoral dissertation. He was conferred in 2016 with a doctorate in psychotherapy from Dublin City University.
The second book, 'Resisting the Power of Mea Culpa', was released in January by Peter Lang.
“While still classified as academic writing, Mea Culpa is certainly more personal than the first book,” Rodgers told the Longford Leader.
“Yet I still think the word 'personal' lessens what can be learned from this past. Thinking these experiences are merely 'personal' brings up themes of shame, nearly guaranteeing silence - a corrosive thread that is all too familiar.”
The book is an extraordinary telling of a story of trauma, abuse and the stigmatisation by the Catholic Church that follows in the wake of such horrors.
Rodgers tells the story in such a way that evokes an emotional response as he brings the reader through his journey of suffering and out the other side.
It's admirable that, after such a difficult upbringing, Rodgers did not submit to the shame and the stigma that took over for so many others in his position.
By telling his story and challenging the stigma, Rodgers offers hope to readers who have suffered in the same way.
“The themes I cover are so located in my younger years of growing up in Longford. That said, the book is about more than me or me being a gay adult living in Ireland,” he said.
'Resisting the Power of Mea Culpa' is available now on Amazon. It will be of interest to historians, social commentators, psychologists and critical theorists, as well as those in the field of trauma, addiction and psychiatry, or those who have had similar experiences in their lives.