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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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Dáire Keogh Between Hagiography and Horror


: The Challenge for the Historian In Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral stands an imposing monument to Paul Cullen (1803–1878), Ireland’s first Cardinal. Sculpted by Thomas Farrell, the life-sized figure is formal and severe, but the carved drum on which it stands presents poignant portraits of the faithful in a celebration of the archbishop as “pater pauperum,” father of the poor and shepherd of the f lock.1 Thinking of Cullen over his long career, one is struck by the scope and success of his pastoral project, the foundation of churches, the erec- tion of seminaries, schools and colleges, but especially by the creation of an elaborate system of welfare with the Mater Hospital, Dublin’s “palace of the sick poor,” at its heart. Centred on a female allegorical figure rep- resenting religion, the Cullen monument illustrates the varied aspects of his ministry: priesthood, education and charity. On the opposite side of the pedestal, a group of nuns is depicted, compassionately ministering to the sick and the dying, while another panel portrays a penitent Magdalene receiving solace and succour from a group of sisters. Cullen created patterns of devotion and charity which endured for a century, but the revelations of recent years, which have shattered the reputation of a caring Church, make it dif ficult to study memorials such as his without a sense of scepti- cism, if not sadness or shame. Historians of the Irish Church now face a similar dilemma. 1 Fintan Cullen, “Visualising Ireland’s First Cardinal’, in Dáire Keogh and Albert...

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