The Handling of Abuse Complaints

Marie Keenan

in Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199895670
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919604 | DOI:
The Handling of Abuse Complaints

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This chapter revisits some of the questions raised in relation to the response of the Catholic hierarchy to child sexual abuse since the 1960s. To facilitate this discussion, it draws on a number of Irish reports and sources, such as three government-commissioned reports into the handling of sexual abuse by the Church hierarchy in Ireland; a number of official reports from the United States; two studies that involved first-person interviews with bishops in relation to their handling of abuse complaints, one in the United States and one in Ireland; the work of the Boston Globe investigative journalists into the handling of abuse complaints in the Archdiocese of Boston; and the work of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who was appointed in 1994 by the Australian bishops to a position of leadership in responding to revelations of abuse in the Australian Catholic Church, a position he held for nine years. The chapter suggests that the decision-making processes used in the Catholic Church in relation to handling the abuse problem are more complex than the published accounts or media representations suggest. In isolating individuals from their systemic context as the objects of blame, further injustices may be perpetrated in the name of justice.

Keywords: Catholic Church; child sexual abuse; clergy; Ireland; United States

Chapter.  31694 words. 

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