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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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Documents and Abbreviations


Cloyne Report Commission of Investigation: Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne. Chairperson, Justice Yvonne Murphy. Dublin: Government Publications, 2010. Dublin Report Commission of Investigation: Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. Chairperson, Justice Yvonne Murphy. 3 vols. Dublin: Government Publications, 2009. Ferns Report The Ferns Report. Chairperson, Justice Francis D. Murphy. Dublin: Government Publications, 2005. Framework Document Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response. Report of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Advisory Committee on Child Sexual Abuse by Priests and Religious. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1996. Also available at . Pastoral Letter Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland. Rome: March, 2010. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2010. Also available at . Ryan Report Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report. Chairperson, Justice Sean Ryan. 5 vols. Print and CD-ROM. Dublin: Government Publications, 2009. Internet edition: Executive Summary available at ; Commission Report, available at . Visitation Report Summary of the Findings of the Apostolic Visitation in Ireland, 20 March 2012. Also available at . x Documents and Abbreviations CDF Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. CIC Code of Canon Law. CL Christifideles Laici, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II on the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (1988). GS Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World (1965). LG Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (1964). PO Presbyterorum Ordinis, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on...

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