The Purple Culture
First Edition
by: Stephen L. Boehrer

Available at bookstores
and through
Oceanview Publishing

The mystery surrounding the clerical abuse scandal is not that a priest could be a pedophile. The mystery lies with the bishops.

What motivated politically adept, often outgoing and personable men who claim moral leadership to knowingly place predatory, pedophile priests among innocent children?

What moved them to present deaf ears to victims and parents of victims, and then engage in stone-walling and cover-up activities?

The mystery is solved in the impartial process of a courtroom where three of these men are on trial under those specific charges.

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Readers' Guide

To fully appreciate the novel, begin by acquiring a sense of the magnitude of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and the bishops' complicity. Browse the following websites:

Questions for Discussion
I hope the following questions will stimulate discussion for your reader group and provide a deeper understanding of The Purple Culture.

  1. If any of the victims in the novel seem overdrawn, or their stories too gross, the above browsing will demonstrate the reserve shown by the author. Why do you think the author felt compelled to describe characters who were abused and the nature of the abuse?
  2. Many people think the sexual abuse crisis is just another instance of media sensationalism. Discuss why this is so, and whether you agree.
  3. A seeming majority of Catholic lay people avoid a direct look at the enormity of this scandal and its implications. Do you think it is because they feel helpless before their church leadership? Or are there other reasons?
  4. If you browsed the above web sites, you know that the charges leveled against the three bishops in the novel do not exaggerate episcopal behaviors in this scandal. Do you agree that bishops so charged should be prosecuted?
  5. Discuss the absence of a sense of guilt in the bishops for their complicity. What components of the purple culture would explain this?
  6. What components of the purple culture would explain why clerical sexual abuse scandals have been repeated century after century? What changes are necessary to prevent future occurrences?
  7. Do you find any willingness/ability for members of the purple culture to allow the wisdom of the laity (e.g. parents) to enter their considerations? What components of the purple culture would dictate this behavior?
  8. Discuss the change of plea on the part of the defendant bishops. Did you find the progressive revelation of cultural components by the defense attorney, Kobs, to be compelling enough for the decision reached by the jury?
  9. The prosecutor, Goulding, concludes that the jury decision was, in fact, the result of a prosecution of its own kind, and the punishment appropriate. Do you agree, and why?
  10. Discuss how the jury's decision might be implemented.
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