Title: Catholic Church response to sexual abuse must centre on survivor well-being, not defensiveness
In light of the recent discovery of 215 Indigenous children in unmarked graves at a former Catholic-run residential school in British Columbia and investigations at other former residential schools, there have been renewed calls for the Pope to apologize for residential schools and for the Catholic Church to release its records.The story has also turned public scrutiny on how the Catholic Church has responded to other calls to apologize and be accountable to victims in cases of sexual abuse both in residential schools and throughout the church.
In 2020, I received a federal grant to study the Catholic Church as an organization that can be engaged in potentially contradictory practices to their principles, mission and values. This includes examining the content of websites and electronic documents — including safe and responsible ministry policies, protocols and codes of conduct — of the 18 Catholic archdioceses across Canada. Chiedza Chigumba, a doctoral student at Saint Mary’s University, is working with me as a research assistant on the project.