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Dark secrets of childhoodMedia power, child abuse and public scandals$
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Fred Powell and Margaret Scanlon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447317845

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447317845.001.0001

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The Catholic Church, scandal and media

The Catholic Church, scandal and media

(p.85) Three The Catholic Church, scandal and media
Dark secrets of childhood

Fred Powell

Margaret Scanlon

Policy Press

This chapter explores the role of the media in exposing clerical child abuse in Ireland, focusing in particular on how a series of television documentaries paved the way for two major inquiries (Ferns and Dublin), and the media’s subsequent coverage of the inquiry reports. The chapter looks at how the controversy surrounding the clerical child abuse inquiries embodied key features of an ‘institutional scandal’: social norms were transgressed leading to moral outrage; the actions of individuals brought the Catholic Church as a whole into disrepute; and allegations of institutional ‘cover-ups’ proved to be as damaging as the acts they sought to conceal.

Keywords:   clerical child abuse, institutional scandals, child abuse inquiries

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