Survey for RC Priests’ Children



What is the purpose of the study?

This research will focus on the children of Roman Catholic priests (CORCPs) (though of course you may no longer be a child). My aim is to investigate links between CORCP’s use of social media and any emerging group identity. I would like to assess whether there are differences in individual and collective identities between those who do and do not use social media. I would also like to see how the experiences of CORCP fit in with our current knowledge of organized religion, feminist discussions of silencing and oppression, identity formation among vulnerable groups and the impact of social media.

This is research being carried out in partial completion of the requirements for a PhD at the Open University. All information which is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Personal details will be completely de-identified.

Should you have any further questions about this study please don’t hesitate to contact me.

All enquiries: 01908 652744 or 07901 515891


10 thoughts on “Survey for RC Priests’ Children”

  1. Dear Sarah,
    I am sorry to learn all that you have experienced. I have a similar experience, in that my biological father has been aloof and insistent that I maintain his secret, and that his career is ironically in the caring profession of nursing. If there is anything I can do to assist your research, please contact me at


  2. Having read your story on the BBC website it just goes to prove how the RC church continues to delude themselves and the people that they think that they are “serving”. They are nothing but bigots, liars and in cases paedophiles. Their secrecy and cover-ups make the mafia look like amateurs. Their lies and corruption make politicians look like saints and the vile rubbish that they proport in the name of religion is laughable. They just corrupt the minds of the the weak and needy by scare tactics and tales of eternal damnation & hellfire.
    The RC church is an utter disgrace.


  3. Dear Sarah, I was living in Dublin when the Eamon Casey case broke and the Irish media filled with women telling their stories of children abandoned, long term, live-in mistresses referred to euphemistically as housekeepers etc. As a very lapsed CofE it was interesting the watch the way that society crumbled in parallel with the church’s authority. The money-centrism of the Celtic Tiger probably wouldn’t have happened without this collapse of authority. I wish you luck with your research.


  4. Dear Sarah, I am a former RC junior seminarian but left the RC Church in my teens. I have been married to my wife for almost 50 years and I am a retired CofE priest. I salute your courage and honour the great sadness you have known. Being a real father is far more important than being a Fr. You can stop being a Fr; but you can never stop being a real father. I do not think the RC church should allow priests to continue as priests if they do not acknowledge and care for the children they have fathered. Even better, they should allow priests to marry. I wish you well in your research and in your life.


  5. Hi Sarah, I have just read your story on the BBC website. I think you are a beacon of light in a very dark place. Unfortunately it is stories like this that alienate Catholics from the church. The sad thing about this story is if you research the catholic church in history, priests were actually able to marry at one time. The church changed this when it realised that priests who died had to leave property to the wife and family. This meant that the church was loosing money, something the church would not contemplate. Therefore our church banned marriage for priests for a financial reason, not for the any religious belief. Several hundred years later we find ourselves in our current predicament, no young people go to mass, we never addressed the paedophile issue that broke the heart of every true catholic and we now have a faith that will be dead in 50 years, check the article on the BBC website from Fr Brian Darcy, someone I know very well.
    I wish you the best with your endeavours but do not hold out much hope. I will pray for you and your family tonight, there still is a God and I love him dearly
    Regards Brendan


  6. Sarah – Your story is tragic and uplifting. You are clearly a strong, positive person; you must be proud of the life you have lived. Thank you for sharing via BBC.
    In addition to your life as the estranged child of a RC priest, your near-death experience is fascinating. I wish I knew how to objectively study this phenomenon.
    Thanks again and all best wishes for your research.


  7. Hi Sarah,
    You know not having a father or a mother is not that important. I had both along with three brothers. Today I have my wife and two children. I think you learned as did I, that to do the opposite to how you were treated will only make your own children better and more rounded for when they have kids. My parents were hopeless drunks who were loved by most but forgotten by all. I used my miserable existence to become a good dad. When I profess love it’s with actions not words slobbered from a bottom of a glass.
    Do not feel sad, you’re stronger without this person and make your own perfect family and leave that excuse of a dad to die lonely and with regret, alas if he’s anything like my parents he won’t even realise.


  8. I read your article with some sadness. I view it as another example of the Roman Catholic Church protecting and abetting those whose actions abuse children. The sanctioning from his peers in the church is no excuse for your father though; his actions are those of a selfish man putting his desires before his duties. I hope, since you seem to want it, he will see that one day, apologise and that you will be reconciled. You have my respect for highlighting your experience which will surely help others in the same position by reminding them that their own hurt is not unique. Good luck with your project


  9. Hi sarah. I read your article with interest. It is time the Roman Catholic church put its house in order, faced up to its responsibilities and stopped being dishonest. Nevertheless I would recommend that you watch three things, a) the bollywood film Zindagi na Milegi Dobara. This includes a character who eventually manages to meet the long lost father who rejected him so many years ago only to get the response “I was not ready for that responsibility then and I am not ready for it now”. The father concerned is not actually an evil man, he just did not want to have children. You cannot force love though you can and should enforce things like maintenance payments. Secondly consider watching the film saturday night fever paying particular attention to the character of Annette who spends the whole film chasing after a guy who is not interested in her. Thirdly see if you can dig up the tv programme “Having children ruined my life” and remember the fourth couple in it when simply could not relate to their little boy, it was just tragic to watch. I think the fact has to be faced that some people are cold and just don’t want children and it is not a good idea to let this sort of thing mar a teenage life or an adult life. What sort of life might you have had if your father had done his reluctant duty. There would have been a lot of resentful tension in the household and that could have done just as much harm as the feelings of rejection you feel you have had from your father. By all means campaign to get the catholic church to put its house in order. If its priests could marry like normal human beings then a lot less of the stuff you have gone through would happen. But don’t try to force love that is not there and don’t try to force parenthood on those who are just not suited to it, you will do well if you can get such people to comply with their financial responsibilities, don’t expect love from them as well. Also bear in mind that most sex before marriage is done in the expectation that it is not going to lead to having children. I hope your research might help lead to the catholic church allowing its priests to marry like normal human beings and I wish you all the best. Lesley


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