Beyond Belief by Colm O’Gorman

‘I was living in a world where a priest who spoke the words of God used me for sex, and there was no-one to tell. The world where this horror happened didn’t exist for anyone else.’

As a boy in Ireland where everyone — from among his own neighbours to the powers of church and state — chose to deny that a priest could sexually assault a child, Colm O’Gorman felt only shame, guilt and fear at the regular rape and abuse he suffered. But Colm would go on to make history, successfully suing the Roman Catholic Church, asking questions of the Pope himself and creating a watershed in history as hundreds more victims found the courage to report their abuse.

Beyond Belief is a powerful story of a young man’s shame turning to outrage, and demonstrates that — whatever our past hurts — there is hope for the future if we are prepared to stand for truth.


This book has been around for a few years, but I hadn’t read it. With the forthcoming visit of the Pope to Ireland, I felt that it was particularly topical, especially after reading Colm O’Gorman’s recent letter to the Irish Times.

This is a powerful and poignant memoir. It’s obviously very shocking and moving, even if you are aware of the facts surrounding the story, it’s difficult to read the personal story.

It’s very well written and brutally honest. The effect of the abuse on his life is heart-breaking, and you have to admire how he went on to build a life for himself, and help so many others.

It’s a very telling depiction of how life was in the eighties and nineties in Ireland, and the relationship with the Church and the people of Ireland. The Church was all powerful and priests were very much revered. There were many people, particularly of the older generation, who simply refused to believe it when all the abuses in the Church were revealed.

This is a very well written book, harrowing and sad, but so important at this time.


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