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.
Patrick Claffey is a member of the Society of the Divine Word and worked for many years as a missionary in West Africa. His academic interest is in the study of religions, in which he lectures at University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and All Hallows College, Dublin.
Joe Egan lectures at the Milltown Institute in Dublin, where his research focuses on the interaction between faith and culture in contemporary society. He is the author of The Dawkins Delusion (2009) and From Misery to Hope: Encountering God in the Abyss of Suffering (2010), and co-editor, with Patrick Claffey, of Movement or Moment? Assessing Liberation Theology Forty Years after Medellín (2009).
Marie Keenan is a registered psychotherapist and social scientist who is employed at the School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin. She is the author of Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: Gender, Power and Organizational Culture (2012). She is currently researching in the area of restorative justice, sexual trauma and abuse.