Resources for Parishioners

Resources in Response to the
Sex Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church
Annotated Bibliography

Articles about Responding to the Sex Abuse Crisis

Information about Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: This webpage from Waterloo Catholics Faith Formation website contains many helpful resources about responding to the sex abuse crisis.

Is the Church Capable of Fixing Itself?: Author Kevin Clarke writes, “A relentless examination of institutional conscience is required, one that includes the ordained and religious of the church but that must extend to laypeople who have worked for the church and those in the Catholic press — people who have heard the stories or looked the other way.”

RE Programs Help Students Spot Abuse: The idea is not that children are responsible for their own safety, said Mary Jane Doerr, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for the Protection of Children and Youth. The goal is to empower them to speak up when a situation or being around a certain person makes them uncomfortable.

Eight Lessons to Help Us Move Forward from the Sex Abuse Crisis: A version of these remarks by John Carr was presented on Sept. 25, 2018, at a panel discussion called "Confronting a Moral Catastrophe: Lay Leadership, Catholic Social Teaching and the Sexual Abuse Crisis," which was co-sponsored by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

In the Midst of Sex Abuse Allegations, What is a Catholic Layperson to do?: For the laity to be effective agents of change, it is not enough to shout in righteous anger — there has to be recognition that Church leaders cannot do this on their own.

Sex Abuse Panel: Young Catholics are Angry — But They Aren't Going Anywhere: Young adults filled an auditorium on Sept. 17 for a panel titled “Crisis of Faith? Scandal, Pope Francis, the Synod, and Young People” organized by Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

Should One Despair of the Church: The ecclesial community cannot be the place where secrets are stifled, where responsibility is shirked, where guilt is rejected.

What can I say to my Kids When They Ask Why We Keep Faith in this Church?: In a broken and hurting church, it is good to remember that the church as an institution is not why we are here or what we are here for. Yet we are responsible for it, and that means holding it accountable and working to make it more truly reflect the kingdom of God.

Why Do We Stay in the Church?: One might ask, however, how the church can be a sacrament and holy when its members do such evil things. That is also a fair question. I find my answer by remembering that what is holy in a sacrament is not ultimately what I bring to it, but what God brings to it.

Why I Can't Blame the Ones Who Walk Away: I will not judge or condemn those who cannot stay. And we should learn from them not to tolerate or accept a beautiful vision if the price is the abuse of innocents. We must not be silent or complicit. And maybe we need to make the choice to end the bargain — even if it means the loss of beautiful images we have clung to. Even we who stay may not be able to describe, yet, where we are going.

Dear Fellow Catholics: The Church Needs You Now More than Ever: What do we do now? What happens next? We stay Catholic. We are not Catholic because of men in collars who do or do not do the right thing. We, all sinners united in the pursuit of a relationship with Jesus, are the church. We stay Catholic because we need one another now more than ever.

Websites That Can Be Helpful  Diocese of Joliet Office of Child and Youth Protection. This page includes a list of clerics with credible allegations of abuse of minors, Q&A regarding the canonical process and how to make a report.  USCCB Child and Youth Protection page has several recent articles regarding the response to recent events. This page also provides a wealth of information including Q&A and several videos that are quite informative.  Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Information about what actions are being taken through the Vatican.  This is a Catholic newsletter written by survivors of clergy abuse for survivors.  Spirit Fire is a Christian restorative justice resource for survivors of abuse.

Lay Groups who speak out against Church Sex Abuse Crisis

Call to Action:   Call to Action educates, inspires and activates Catholics to act for justice and build inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles. They believe that: The people of God are called to live lives rooted in the Gospel. The church is the people of God and the people of God are accountable to the Creator and each other. Faith communities have the responsibility to foster inclusivity and justice. Every individual has the right to act according to an informed conscience and the responsibility to promote the equality and dignity of all people.

FutureChurch:   FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. FutureChurch works for: Just, open and collaborative structures for Catholic worship, organization and governance. A return to the Church's early tradition of both married and celibate priests. A return to the Church's earliest tradition, modeled on the inclusive practice of Jesus, of recognizing both female and male leaders of faith communities. Regular access to the Eucharist, the center of Catholic life and worship, for all Catholics.

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests):   SNAP is an independent, peer network of survivors of institutional sexual abuse and their supporters. We support survivors through conversations, email and general support with our hotline. We host support groups for survivors nationwide. We have over a hundred volunteer local SNAP leaders who provide day to day and one on one support for those in need. We help provide references and links to resources to enable survivors to thrive. We advocate for stronger laws to protect children and the vulnerable.

National Council of Catholic Women:   The National Council of Catholic Women acts through its members to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership, and service. NCCW programs respond with Gospel values to the needs of the Church and society in the modern world.

Voice of the Faithful:   To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. Goals: To support survivors of clergy sexual abuse; To support priests of integrity; To shape structural change within the Catholic Church

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