Priesthood Imprisoned: A Crisis For the Church
Initial responses to the Sexual Abuse crisis in the Catholic Church suggested that the explanation lay in the fact that certain 'rotten apples' had found their way into the ranks of priests. Later, the response was to infer that those...
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Initial responses to the Sexual Abuse crisis in the Catholic Church suggested that the explanation lay in the fact that certain 'rotten apples' had found their way into the ranks of priests. Later, the response was to infer that those in authority - bishops and religious superiors - had handled the crisis in ways that were insensitive and inappropriate. The author of A Priesthood Imprisoned considers these responses inadequate because they do not acknowledge a deeper problem affecting clergy that results from a system that is both toxic and dysfunctional; nor do they reflect worldwide research to show that many priests in the Catholic Church are immature and incapable of forming healthy relationships without help. He suggests that the cause of this immaturity lies within seminary formation where the institutional processes become frozen at immature stages, relying on fear, law and control; and depriving too many of the basic experience of Christianity as love. The sad result is that if priests are unable to form healthy relationships, they may engage in unhealthy ones - and even engage in relationships of an abusive nature, unfortunately including the abuse of children. Noting that there are two ways of leaving priesthood - one is to leave and move out; the other is to leave and stay in, he suggests that the only way forward for a healthy life for those who wish to remain in the priesthood is to leave the old and create the new - and he offers wise guidance on how this may happen.