Crisis Management: Working to make the church safe from sexual abuse
A religion educator explains the progams aimed at preventing and detecting sexual abuse in this article from 2006.
A mother's anguish
In an essay from 2005, one mother shares the lifetime of suffering beneath the clergy sex-abuse headlines.
I am a mother of a son who was sexually abused by our parish priest. Since the exposure of this grim period in our church, I have wondered where I went wrong. Why did I fail to protect my son from the horrifie abuse he suffered for more than four years?
How to build a better priest
The editors interview Father Robert Barron.
"For too long we've had a preferential option for mediocrity in the priesthood," laments Father Robert Barron, assistant professor of systematic theology at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. "Teilhard de Chardin said the priest calls down fire on the earth," says Barron. That's a far cry from "organizer of ministries," which is one of the dull-as-dishwater descriptions Barron remembers from his seminarian days. "Who's going to be lit on fire by a term like that?" he fumes.
Broken trust, broken lives: Survivors of priest sexual abuse speak out
For many, it is one of those assuring, evocative aromas, the kind that launches a cascade of warm and welcome childhood memories and recollections of sacred and peaceful moments. But for Christopher Dixon, it's the smell of burned candle, the blackened wax, that drives him away from Mass. It's a smell that never fails to remind him of "Father [John] Fischer with his finger pointing at me, 'Come here,' calling me back to the sacristy."
Whitewash or renewal?
In year two of the sex-abuse scandal, it it time for the laity to brush up on their leadership skills?
About 200 laypeople from some 50 Chicago-area parishes pack a hall one March evening at the Dominican Priory in River Forest, Illinois to hear Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) cofounder and ex-president James Muller make a pitch for their consciences and the future of the church.
Who's the boss?
The priest shortage is generating some creative solutions to parish staffing, but they require a little flexibility and a healthy sense of humor on the part of everyone involved.
Out of sight, out of mind
Once ubiquitous, the parish priest is disappearing into thin air, with troubling effects on young Catholic imaginations.
A few years ago while teaching, I realized that my students, mostly Catholic high school graduates, considered bishops to be distant administrators and not teachers. This attitude initially puzzled me, but I soon realized that, because of the decline in priestly vocations, most had been taught solely by laypeople and did not view clerics as teachers.
Vocational school: Sister Katarina Schuth on seminaries
Having taught in and studied seminaries for 20 years, Katarina Schuth sizes up the changes in today's seminaries and the men they are forming for the priesthood.
Karatina Schuth didn't set out to study seminaries. With a doctoral degree in cultural geography, she had researched literacy in rural India, taught at a Minnesota college, and studied moral theology. Her work on seminaries initially just fell into her lap, she says.
Let's enlist short-term priests as a long-term solution
Celibacy isn't the problem, argues Father Andrew Greeley. It's the lifelong service to the priesthood that scares away young men.
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