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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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Gerry O’Hanlon Re-Building Trust


: The Role of the Catholic Church in Ireland Introduction: A Crisis of Trust There is a strong critique of a significant failure of many of Ireland’s insti- tutions in a document from the Council of Justice and Peace of the Irish Episcopal Conference. The document speaks of a “loss of trust in the banks, the regulatory agencies and many other state agencies, including even Government itself.”1 It goes on to say that “in addressing this issue, we are acutely aware that the Catholic Church is one of those core institutions in which there has been a breakdown in trust in recent years.”2 This breakdown in trust in the Catholic Church and the crisis which has accompanied it are due, in the first place, to the scandal of clerical child sexual abuse and then to its even more scandalous mishandling by Church authorities. The latter is a major crisis in and of itself and requires to be dealt with comprehensively on its own terms. However, as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has stated on so many occasions, the abuse issue has also opened people’s eyes “to a much deeper crisis.”3 This includes, at a personal 1 The Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Episcopal Conference, From Crisis to Hope: Working to Achieve the Common Good (Dublin: 2011) part 4, 11. 2 The Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Episcopal Conference, From Crisis to Hope, part 4, 12. 3 The Irish Times (Monday, 22 November 2010). The...

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