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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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Geraldine Smyth OP What Lies Beneath


: From Purity and Power to Crisis and Kairos “What Lies Beneath” is a teasing title. It includes the invitation to probe the surface, beyond settled opinion whether in regard to Church, society, culture or public policy. Theologically, it challenges us to examine fixed doctrinal formulations and their possible connection with non-doctrinal factors and power relations in the Church’s life and in its various orders and agents. Indicative can turn interrogative: what lies beneath what seems? What passes for truth and loyalty? What lies beneath the current order? But also, what lies beneath any of our world views, our assumptions about perfection or the need for change? From a theological perspective, what lies beneath our easy dichotomies of sin and grace, clerical and lay, sacred and profane, Church and society? What lies beneath evokes the spirit, motifs and thought structure of the gospel about the perennial disjunction between conformity and hypoc- risy, between claims to purity of identity and purity of heart. How do we correlate any of these questions with faith in the Holy Spirit who renews and makes all one? This paper of fers a ref lection on the reality of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, drawing on insights from what is being learned now about dealing with the past in respect of the violent conf lict in and about Northern Ireland and the legacy of unhealed suf fering. Here are two legacies of loss and brokenness: from our so-called “Troubles” with its untold personal and collective...

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