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Broken Faith

Why Hope Matters


Edited By Patrick Claffey, Joe Egan and Marie Keenan

This book is a theological reflection on the broken state of faith within the Catholic Church in Ireland following more than two decades of revelations about institutional and child sexual abuse and the Church’s now acknowledged failure to respond to the abuse in an appropriate way. The result has been broken lives, broken faith and a broken church.
While the book has a theological purpose, it employs a see–judge–act methodology in attempting to come to terms with a very complex problem. Following a broad introduction, the first section sets out to listen to the voices of the victims. The second section consists of an interdisciplinary academic analysis, with significant input from psychology and also from history and social studies. The final section of the book engages in theology, seeking to place us in a Kairos moment that might allow us to look beyond our broken faith. This, however, requires an analysis of the theological misunderstandings that led to the aberration of clericalism, the resulting abuse of power and the wider malaise within the Church. St Paul is suggested as a «mentor», as we seek to restore trust and rebuild the Church in a radically new way. The book ultimately seeks a renewal of our broken faith, searching for trajectories towards healing and wholeness, truth and reconciliation.


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Acknowledgements vii Documents and Abbreviations ix Patrick Claffey Broken Faith and the Search for Hope 1 Patrick McCafferty “A Cry from the Depths”: Entering into the Mystery of Christ Forsaken 25 Bernadette Fahy “Suf fer Little Children”: The Indelible Memory of Institutional Abuse 31 Dáire Keogh Between Hagiography and Horror: The Challenge for the Historian 43 John L. Allen Jr Between Reform and Realism: How the Sexual Abuse Crisis Is (and Isn’t) Changing the Church 65 Marie Keenan Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: A Multi-Layered Perspective 83 vi Michael Cronin Fear and Loathing in the Republic: Why Hope Matters 107 Lynn M. Levo Revising Our Understanding of Being Sexual 123 Geraldine Smyth OP What Lies Beneath: From Purity and Power to Crisis and Kairos 145 Thomas R. Whelan Culture of Clericalism: Towards a Theological Deconstruction 175 Kieran O’Mahony St Paul, Mentor for a Recovering Church? Gender, Ethics and Ministry in Radical Perspective 213 Gerard Mannion An Acute Symptom of a Much Deeper Malaise: The Abuse Crisis in its Wider Ecclesiological Context 231 Gerry O’Hanlon Re-Building Trust: The Role of the Catholic Church in Ireland 259 Joe Egan Renewing a Faith that Is Broken: Trajectories towards Healing and Wholeness, Truth and Reconciliation 277 Notes on Contributors 307 Index 311

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