Theologians to examine Church response to abuse

Professor James Keenan SJ (left) and Fr Hans Zollner SJ (Boston College and ACBC)

International theologians and ethicists, including four Australians, will gather in Rome in March for a meeting on understanding and responding to the Church’s sexual abuse crisis. Source: Catholic Outlook.

The Centre for Child Protection at the Gregorian University in Rome and Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, an international network of moral theologians, will host the March 11-14 theological “laboratory”.

The organisers, including professors James Keenan SJ from Boston College and Hans Zollner SJ from the Centre for Child Protection, have invited more than 70 ecclesiologists and ethicists.

The meeting has been called a “laboratory” to emphasise active engagement of all participants in advancing theological thought, reflection and leadership in response to the crisis, with a view to supporting the global Church in its response.

The laboratory will consider five areas for discussion:

  1. Sin and crimes: punishment and reconciliation: Doing justice for victims, perpetrators, and the entire Church
  2. The image of the Church that conveys and betrays Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus in ecclesiology
  3. Priesthood – ministry of service vs. clericalism: Rethinking the sacrament of orders
  4. Sexuality and vulnerability: Re-examining sexual ethics and inhibiting abuse
  5. Church and world: The Church’s mission as guiding our reform.

Australian theologians will be well represented by Fr Richard Lennan (currently in Boston College); Fr James McEvoy (Australian Catholic University, Adelaide), Dr Dan Fleming (St Vincent’s Health Australia); and Dr Neil Ormerod (Sydney College of Divinity).

Fr Lennan, Fr McEvoy and Dr Ormerod have already contributed essays on the topic of abuse in special issues of the prestigious Catholic journal Theological Studies: Fr Lennan on the ecclesiological impact of the scandal; Fr McEvoy on the theology of the child; and Dr Ormerod on the impact of the child abuse royal commission on the Church.

Dr Fleming and Professor Keenan will work together to publish the outcomes of the process, with a view to providing a theological resource for the Church.


Australian theologians joining theological ‘laboratory’ on sexual abuse crisis to be held in Rome (Catholic Outlook

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