2017-02-22 Gerard Webster Resources

22 February 2017

We thank Gerard Webster, Psychoanalyst, Forensic & Counselling Psychologist and Honorary Fellow of Australian Catholic University, for telling us about a useful resource, which we have added to the SAR links page. The resource is:

Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

This Australian commission's website has links to many useful research reports, including: Analysis of claims of child sexual abuse made with respect to Catholic Church institutions; Safe and sound: Exploring the safety of young people in residential care; Principles of trauma-informed approaches to child sexual abuse: A discussion paper.

Gerard also recommended a book on the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church: Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: Gender, Power, and Organizational Culture. Marie Keenan. Amazon.com says about this book:

A meticulously researched inside look at child sexual abuse by clergy, this exhaustive, hard-hitting analysis weaves together interviews with abusive priests and church historical and administrative details to propose a new way of thinking about clerical sexual offenders. Linking the personal and the institutional, researcher and therapist Marie Keenan locates the problem of child sexual abuse not exclusively in individual pathology, but also within larger systemic factors, such as the very institution of priesthood itself, the Catholic take on sexuality, clerical culture, power relations, governance structures of the Catholic Church, the process of formation for priesthood and religious life, and the complex manner in which these factors coalesce to create serious institutional risks for boundary violations, including child sexual abuse. Keenan draws on the priests' own words not to excuse their horrific crimes, but to offer the first in-depth account of a tragic, multi-faceted phenomenon.

What emerges is a troubling portrait of a Church in crisis and a series of recommendations that call for nothing less than a new ecclesiology and a new, more critical theology. Only through radical institutional reform, Keenan argues, can a more representative and accountable Church emerge.

Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church is a unique reference for scholars of the Church and therapists who work with both victims and offenders, as well as a forward-thinking blueprint for reform.

Feel free to tell us about other useful resources pertinent to child sexual abuse in religious contexts. At some point we may be able to put together a collection of resources on this important subject.