Vie of the front cover of Bless Me Father

One Australian’s expose of the Catholic Church

Bless me, Father” traces the life of a young Italian migrant to Australia, through his early days in the southern Sydney suburb of Cronulla, where he was faced with racism and worse, sexual abuse by the very authority he had grown to trust, believing he would emulate them as a priest later in life. The death of a close friend sees the protagonist, Anthony Fabrizzi, leave Australia in search of his brother who was then posted in Vietnam during the war of the 60’s and 70’s.

The atrocities of the Roman Catholic Church

Returning from Nam, he again embraces the Roman Catholic Church because of the influence of a close family friend, but this time he would complete his theological studies in Rome. At the Vatican he discovers atrocities of unspeakable nature. Those involved know he has evidence, so now he must escape, not only to save himself, but also the life of the only woman he has ever loved. Their relationship is interwoven through the book becoming a pivotal point for many of Fabrizzi’s actions.

You’ll be left with many questions about the Catholic Church

At the end, the reader is left wondering: “how much of this is true?” Classified as historical fiction, many chronicled events make it difficult to separate fact from fiction; read it and you decide what is real; but suffice to say that Cardinal Pell, former Archbishop of Sydney and now controller of Vatican finances in Rome is not happy the book is available.

What have people said about ‘Bless me, Father’?

Katia Kathia
This novel gripped my attention from the very beginning. I can't help but feel there is fact woven into the fiction. This thought made it all the more compelling".
"Sometimes you start a book and wade through pages to get started With "Bless me, Father" I was caught up from the start. It is a great story ...very thought provoking.
"This is a great book, with a well told and gripping story and a very authentic feel to it. It really got me in. It is also very relevant considering what is happening to the Catholic Church at the moment and its years of hidden child abuse.

I loved the descriptions of the Sydney beach scenes, they bring back memories of a childhood with similar lazy days at the beach. Also as a visitor to Rome and other parts of Italy the descriptors of these places ring true.

I am hoping this is the first of a succession of books by this author”.
That Bless Me, Father is a rollicking good yarn, thriller, and ‘boy’s own adventure’ cannot be denied. But much more importantly, what drives it is the need to expose the mis-use and abuse of power in the Catholic Church - in the public sphere as well as in the lives of the innocent. The story is told from the perspective of someone whose life is torn apart by that power. Bless Me, Father is also an historical novel, with a well researched basis in fact.

To begin Zammit paints a compelling picture of life in the Southern Shire of Sydney in the fifties. The landscape, family, the beach ethos, are all there. It was a gentler time, we sometimes say. But in making his way as the son of immigrants, life for the novel's protagonist , Anthony Fabrizzi, is far from easy – or gentle. The idyllic surroundings are often a refuge and inspiration for Anthony and his friends, but often too they provide a heartbreaking contrast to the story he tells.

Fabrizzi looks back at his life from a moment of crisis, and although his is a mature voice and perspective, recounting the horrors perpetrated by the Church on innocent children -and the devastation wrecked in his life and those of his friends- the narrator lets us feel the all shame, confusion and betrayal children feel. He shows us the damage - with silences and few words. Indeed the silence and confusion of children abused by those who are supposed to care for and nurture them, is deftly handled. No sensationalism here, the facts alone are truly devastating. All the while - life, the good times, the music, the girls, the surf, continue as they do - alongside and shadowed by horrific childhood and adolescent secrets.

Physical and sexual abuse, a manifestation of the misuse of power in the Church, is replaced for the adult Fabrizzi by the awareness of a different sort of abuse – political, economic and social. The perpetrators are the same; the crimes different.

Where there is great power there is great evil, and Fabrizzi is destined to “seek out the evil and expose it.” His quest to expose the machinations of the Church power-brokers makes for a page turning thriller. I feel Bless Me, Father is just the beginning of Fabrizzi’s adventures as he unmasks the dark face of Rome. There is more to know, and I want to read more from Zammit. Sequel please.”

Explore the world of the Catholic Church today when you pick up a copy of this thought provoking piece of historical fiction.

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