Compass on ABC – When Brendan Watkins was a teenager he kept his adoption secret because he didn’t want to be targeted by bullies.

Later, when he was about to start his own family he was blocked from finding out about his own genetic heritage by an almost impenetrable wall of secrecy from the Catholic Church and the State, before discovering the identities of his own biological parents, a priest and a former nun.

He also discovered that globally there are thousands of children of priests, just like him, who as adults found their biological parents through DNA testing and social media groups. And that while there are often no consequences for the priests, the church often treated these children and their mothers with cruelty and a lack of compassion.

In Australia one such mother tells of being pressured to have an abortion by three priests, and then pushed to have the child adopted after its birth. In Germany, a senior academic from the University of Frankfurt, and former nun Dr. Doris Reisinger, reveals her latest research which reveals hundreds of priests have been involved in forced adoptions or procuring abortions in the last 20 years.

Australia’s peak adoption body calls for a public and independent inquiry, and Brendan and another child of a priest, Linda Kelly Lawless, pursue fresh evidence of the scandal that church and state are trying to keep hidden.

Compass – Sunday 13 August, 2023 at 6:30pm on ABC and ABC iview

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Compass on ABC
Compass with Indira Naidoo (image – ABC)