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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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Kieran O’Mahony St Paul, Mentor for a Recovering Church?


Gender, Ethics and Ministry in Radical Perspective 1. Introduction i. Returning to the Word of God Critical times evoke contrasting responses. The present crisis in the Catholic Church is as critical a crisis as it has ever undergone, even in its long history. The symptoms have already been marked: withdrawal of trust and faith; decline in numbers of adherents; a future without regular Eucharist because of the collapse of ordained personnel; a deficient theology of sexuality and unbalanced sexual morality. At this moment, believers are looking to the present and the future: where to from here? A first kind of response is to carry on “as if not.” While not without its courageous side, it is very dif ficult to sustain denial in the long term. The hunger for a frozen liturgy in a dead language may serve as an illustration. A second type of response is restorationism – illustrated by the recent Apostolic Visitation and perhaps by the new Roman Missal. The term is pejorative, taken as it is from nineteenth-century responses to political revolution. But what is required here is much more radical: a re- foundation, a taking stock of the whole project, for which reformation is not too strong a term. The Economist once referred to the Catholic Church as the world’s largest NGO. It is not a bad way to think about it because it makes it clear that the Church is larger than the central of fice or even the world-wide hierarchical infrastructure. Radical change in...

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