Fordham abuse report rues heterosexism, praises Jesuit model of formation
January 26, 2023
Fordham University, a Jesuit institution, has published a 68-page report, Taking Responsibility: Jesuit Educational Institutions Confront the Causes and Legacy of Clerical Sexual Abuse.
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The report, while faulting the Jesuits for stressing discretion in handling abuse cases, states that sexual abuse “is rooted not in individual pathologies but in systemic problems related to sex, gender, and power. Jesuit institutions generally appear to be ahead of diocesan seminaries and can provide healthier models for formation and ministry” (p. 46).
The report also states:
The only way to adequately address the causes and legacies of clergy sexual abuse is through deep and sustained structural and theological reform. This reform must reach down to the very roots of Catholic church order and the Catholic theological imagination.
It must honestly reckon with how the life and mission of the church, which ought to be rooted in the ministry of a Jewish prophet executed by the Roman state for drawing on God’s conventual love to resist the death-dealing logics of the Roman imperial order, have been distorted by intersecting systems of clericalism, patriarchy, misogyny, heterosexism, settler-colonialism, white racist supremacy, supersessionism, and Christian supremacy, to the point that the church has become an instrument of what M. Shawn Copeland calls the new imperial disorder.
The type of structural and theological reform needed in the church will be possible only when the insights of feminist, decolonial, and other liberationist theologians drive the church’s agenda for a renewal. (p. 31)
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