Pope Francis abolishes pontifical

RMIT University: Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: an interpretive review of literature and public inquiry reports

Author: Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson
Publication: Centre for Global Research School of Global, Urban and Social Studies RMIT UNIVERSITY, MELBOURNE

Date: Aug2017

The investigations of several government inquiries, such as the Dublin Murphy Inquiry in Ireland and the Australian Senate’s Lost Innocents inquiry into the child migration scheme, were forced to confront ‘the culture of secrecy’ and ‘the culture of silence’ in the Catholic Church. Keenan (2012), on the basis of her data, gives a good explanation of the mechanisms of denial in a hierarchical institution: 141 It reads: ‘As often as, in the prudent judgement of the Ordinary, it seems necessary either for the amendment of the delinquent, the removal of a near occasion (of sin) or the prevention or repair of scandal, there is to be added an order to live in a certain place or a prohibition from the same (Canon 2302)’. (Crimen Sollicitationis 1962 par. 64 (d) Available from the website of the Holy See www.vatican.va. page 274 To gain approval and remain in good standing, inferiors on the hierarchical ladder will strive to exemplify the institution’s values and deny or repress their own realities when they are in conflict with institutional values. In subtle ways, “deviance” begins to occur, usually with lasting and devastating institutional effect (Keenan 2012: 39). Within the constraints of structural secrecy, enhancement of the institution, and reinforcement of the organisation’s authority (Cozzens 2002), openness and honesty become submerged. It was not in the clericalist interests of a diocesan bishop aspiring to an archbishopric, or an archbishop aspiring to a cardinal’s hat, to bring clerical sexual abuse out into the open. It was and is not in the careerist’s interests to be open and honest. Keeping clerical abuse under wraps was and is a career enhancer. It became an exercise in denial and disavowal.

For more information visit: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2017_09_12_Cahill_and_Wilkinson_RMIT_Child_Sexual_Abuse.pdf

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