Boys of the Cloth is invaluable for many reasons. It provides the clearest, most concise and most accurate analysis and explanation of the relationship between seminary formation and priests who sexually abuse minors that I have seen.”– Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D., canon lawyer, advocate for victims of abuse by priests, and co-author of Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse.

“A provocative contribution to the discussion about sexual abuse of children by priests, which raises many important points.”– David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and author of Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse.

“A strong addition to social issues and religious studies collections, highly recommended.”–Midwest Book Review

Drawing on the author’s unusual background as a seminarian turned scientist and business executive, Boys of the Cloth presents a unique analysis of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The book combines a first-hand account of seminary life during the 1960s—a period that turns out to be crucial for understanding the crisis—with explorations of the history of the seminary system, current scientific knowledge about abusive behavior, and the Church’s own investigations into the “epidemic” of abuse by priests during the latter half of the twentieth century. Through the interplay between these topics, two paradoxical conclusions emerge. First, that the epidemic was caused by an ancient reform intended to eradicate rather than encourage clerical corruption. Second, that it was reversed by modern Church policies with no obvious connection to sexual abuse. Boys of the Cloth will transform your understanding of predatory behavior by priests, and of measures that will be crucial to prevent it. 

The image on the right is a view of St. Joseph’s College, Upholland, former seminary for the Archdiocese of Liverpool, which Miles entered in 1962 at the age of eleven and attended for seven years—an experience he recounts in Boys of the Cloth. It was taken by another former student at Upholland, renowned photographer Michael Kenna.

St. Joseph's College, Upholland. © Michael Kenna.