SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Clerical child-abuse;
  • structural sin;
  • Catholic social teaching;
  • Hiberno-Christendom;
  • political theology

Abstract

This article explores the crisis in the Catholic Church in Ireland in light of the child-abuse scandals exposed in recent reports and outlines some of the theological responses to that crisis. It suggests that it is necessary to examine not just the crimes of the perpetrators of abuse and the inadequate response of individual church leaders but also the structural sin within the Church that is at the root of the crisis. It is argued that the collusion between Church and State in modern Ireland that emerges from these reports can be defined in terms of Hiberno-Christendom, drawing from Charles Taylor definition of “Christendom”. In the midst of the crisis, the ongoing revelations of clerical abuse and the accompanying analysis, there is still pastoral vibrancy and people are trying to cultivate hope. The Catholic Church in Ireland may need to learn how to become what Juan Luis Segundo calls a “creative minority”, re-imagining the parameters of its power and developing a new political theology.