A journal of academic theology

Volume 80 Number 4

The Sexual Abuse Scandal and a New Ethical Horizon: A Perspective from India

This article offers theological reflection on the sexual abuse crisis in the Latin American
church, focusing on the child victim. Beginning with a summary of the scandal as it has
hit the Latin American church, the author shows how the clerical sexual abuse crisis
engages with the particular sociopolitical contexts of children in Latin America. The
article then contextualizes a theology of childhood in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s
care for the young and vulnerable children. Finally, the author offers some fundamental
theological reflections for an ecclesial response to the crisis, focusing on a theology
of the child.

Sexual Abuse, a Royal Commission, and the Australian Church

Despite recent signs of change, the Indian church was rather reluctant to acknowledge
the clerical sexual abuse scandal as its own problem. In the Indian context, the scandal
entails not only the abuse of minors, but also the abuse of women and other vulnerable
adults by church personnel. The hierarchical structure of Indian society, gender
relations based on patriarchy, and postcolonial attitudes provide a fertile ground for
abuse. Clericalism, centralization of power in the church, and continuing negative
attitudes to sexuality are further contributing factors. The clerical sexual abuse scandal
calls for developing new ethical horizons based on a theology of a participatory church,
and a reconsideration of the church’s attitude to sexuality and gender relations.

Poverty and Interiority in Mother Teresa

The sexual abuse crisis and subsequent Royal Commission investigation raised
important ecclesiological and ecclesial issues for the Australian Catholic Church. This
article provides background to the work of the Commission and explores four issues:
the seal of the confessional; the notion of ontological change in ordination; the place
of women in the church; and the authority of bishops. While no direct theological
resolution of these is possible, these issues have been raised with pressing urgency.

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