Paranoia Is ‘hampering’ Priests’ Engagement – Claim
By Cathal Barry
April 7, 2016
Paranoia as a result of the clerical sex abuse scandals is “hampering” priests from engaging fully with society, a prominent psychotherapist has warned.
Kevin Egan, who has lectured in All Hallows College in psychology and pastoral theology, told The Irish Catholic that “the main thing that blocks mission in the Church today is paranoia or fear”.
“That is why the Church has difficulty now in engaging with groups in society, with statutory bodies, in the area of education and in others. The Church in its relationship with all these bodies acts in a quite a paranoid way.
“One of the functions of the Church in society is to engage for the good of society with all the other groups in society and so its ability to do that is hampered in Ireland particularly. You can’t go and reach out to people if you fear them,” he said.
Mr Egan, who regularly delivers presentations on priestly identity, noted that many priests are “very paranoid around the media” in particular.
“They are right that the media is out to get a story but they exaggerate their fear of them and so they are reluctant to engage.
“The Church needs to work through the paranoia that came out of the whole sexual abuse crisis in order to be less fearful in their engagement with society,” he said.
Writing in The Furrow, Mr Egan said before he could invite priests to imagine a priesthood of the future he first had to “encourage them to acknowledge the losses connected with the past”.
“The loss of status, numbers, credibility and certitude features prominently.