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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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Gerard Mannion An Acute Symptom of a Much Deeper Malaise


: The Abuse Crisis in its Wider Ecclesiological Context On Embracing Critique There are moments in the history of the Church when it becomes necessary for those who love the Church to scrutinise and critique some of the insti- tutional policies and activities being adopted within the Church, includ- ing on the part of those charged with ecclesial leadership. History judges those faithful critics well; they are not considered to have been disloyal or motivated by anything other than the virtues inspired by the gospel. In the future, history will record the abuse crisis, which emerged into the daylight in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as a period of its long story when the Church faced one of its darkest moments and greatest chal- lenges. What is said and done by those throughout the Church in response to this crisis and on behalf of survivors will be carefully weighed and judged. Whatever presentational spin is placed on responses to the crisis, history and, of course, a much greater power still, will discern the truth and virtue of what was really said and done, whether in private or public. Indeed, now is the time for all believers to have the courage to scru- tinise and critique what has been done and what continues to be done in response to the crisis at local, national and universal levels. Here and now, the sensus fidelium in communion around the globe is called to serve the Church in a period of darkness. The...

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