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The service of a different kingdom: child sexual abuse and the response of the church
Conway, Eamonn
This paper sets out to explore theologically some aspects of the recent Irish experience of child sexual abuse by priests and religious and to assess the implications for the life and ministry of the church. The insights of psychologists, of lawyers and of other professionals are indispensable to the church at this time. But the church is not like any other body in society. The church has a unique mandate to proclaim God's unconditional love, to embody it and to model this love for all of humankind. When church personnel abuse children, something has gone drastically wrong, and it strikes at the very nature of the church. It is my contention that only a theological reflection, in dialogue with the work of psychologists and the experience of counsellors, can unpack fully the significance of recent events for the mission of the church. This paper attempts such a theological reflection. The first part will take up comments by people who have worked with victims and offenders and suggest some implications for the church's self-understanding and for society as a whole. The second part will re-visit the core message of Christianity and in that light suggest that the experience both of victims of sexual abuse and sexual offenders needs to be listened to by the church if it is to fulfil its mission at this challenging time.
Keyword(s): Child sexual abuse; Response; Church
Publication Date:
1999
Type: Book chapter
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: Mary Immaculate College
Citation(s): Conway, E.(1999). ‘The Service of a Different Kingdom: Child Sexual Abuse and the Responses of the Church’,in Conway,E.,Duffy,E and Shields,A. (eds.), The Church and Child Sexual Abuse: Towards a Past
Publisher(s): The Columba Press
First Indexed: 2013-05-29 17:02:34 Last Updated: 2018-12-08 06:45:28