Due to current court proceedings, Trapped in a Closed World: Catholic Culture and Sexual Abuse, is not available for sale or distribution in Victoria.
Trapped in a Closed World is a lived exposé of the poisonous clerical culture dominating life in a typical Catholic seminary in Australia in the 1960s. This endemic culture still exists in some seminaries today.
Told with the tenderness and humour of a memoir, it nonetheless rigorously investigates the extreme beliefs and practices that paved the way for many Catholic priests to sexually abuse those in their care and for the bishops to protect their clergy before victims.
The Catholic beliefs taught in the seminaries date back to medieval times, and have made the Church hierarchical, misogynistic, and exclusive. For the young men training to be Catholic priests, this meant being special, being chosen directly by God to serve the institution of the Holy Mother Church.
The God Kevin Peoples met as a seminarian was not the God he knew and loved and wanted to serve. This is his tale, as he struggles with expectation, faith and common sense. Ignorant and innocent at the time of the sexual abuse affecting the community outside the closed gates of Saint Columba’s, Springwood, and especially in his home diocese, Ballarat, Victoria, Kevin makes up for lost time with this tour de force. It is an insightful memoir of one young man’s personal struggle to break free from a closed world.
Kevin Peoples lives in Melbourne. He is a retired Technical and Further Education (TAFE) teacher and has a Master of Arts Degree in Australian History from the University of Melbourne. As a late vocation to the Catholic priesthood, he returned to complete his secondary education at Chevalier College, Bowral, NSW in 1962. He entered Saint Columba’s Seminary, Springwood in 1964 and left in 1966. He is the author of Santamaria’s Salesman (2012) and From the Top of the Hill (2016).