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Broken Faith

Why Hope Matters

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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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Joe Egan Renewing a Faith that Is Broken

Extract

: Trajectories towards Healing and Wholeness, Truth and Reconciliation The chapters in this volume forcefully demonstrate the gravity of the cleri- cal child sexual abuse scandals now af f licting the Church. They present in quite stark terms how those scandals have undermined the faith of believ- ers, whose anger is palpable and who are no longer reticent about calling into question the competence of Church authorities and pointing to the inadequacy of their response to all that has taken place. In so doing, these contributions bring numerous insights from a variety of perspectives to bear on the series of shocking and extremely divisive issues that have seri- ously damaged the credibility of the Church, while also challenging it to undertake serious renewal in every facet of its life. A good place to begin that process of renewal is with the experience of ordinary believers at this point in time. The Grassroots Experience: A Locus Theologicus Ref lecting during the 1980s about the Church’s development of faith as expressed by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum § 8, Joseph Ratzinger identified three key factors in the process and indicated their importance: … contemplation and study of the sacred texts; insight from spiritual experience; and the proclamation of teaching by bishops. To this extent there is not in any way to be found in the tradition of the Church that monopolizing of doctrine and life 278 Joe Egan by the episcopal ministry that is so often claimed. When...

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