Was my mother the child of a Catholic priest?

Vivien Prior’s mother had long suspected she was the secret child of a Catholic priest but her daughter had no proof.

It was not until the 1990s that Vivien first saw a photo of the man she thinks is her grandfather.

“I was quite shocked to see the likeness – to see the photograph and think, ‘of course mum was right – of course he’s her father’,” Vivien says.

Her grandmother Georgina was housekeeper to Father Joseph Brough, a Catholic priest who served in Carnoustie and Dundee for almost 40 years after being ordained in 1909.

She believes her mother Josephine was born in secret in 1928, before being put into foster care in Suffolk, hundreds of miles away in the south-east of England.

Vivien says: “Of course, mum was suspicious, because she was named after him, wasn’t she? Her name was Josephine.”

Children of clergy

Coping International is an organisation which advocates for children of clergy and it believes there are thousands of people around the world who are children of priests.

Its founder Vincent Doyle set up the organisation in 2011 after discovering his own father was a priest.

“I thought to myself there is no way that I am the only one,” he says.


God only knows how many priests have fathered children – even after celibacy was made obligatory?

Common Irish surnames give a clue:

Mc Entaggart the son of the priest.

Mc Anespie the son of the bishop.

Mc Nabb the son of the abbot.


The Church, the bishops and the clergy ALWAYS blamed the woman.

“How dare that trollop steal a man from God’s holy altar“.

Echoes of earlier Church teaching that the vagina was the gateway to Hell.

Normally the priest was transferred to another part of the world for a few years.

The woman and child were treated like dirt, told to stay away from the priest and to move to a new area.

If the woman was lucky the bishop gave her a paltry sum to help her on her way.

And the Church, bishop and priest washed their hands of the poor woman and child like Pontius Pilate 🤢

So much for “Let the little children come on to me”.

How many thousands of children have been deprived of their fathers by the RCC?

How many priests have turned the backs on their sons and daughters?

How many Irish missionary priests have left children behind in Africa, South America and Asia?

How many bishops and religious superiors have covered all this up?