Scholars seek to establish ‘truth and reconciliation’ structures for clerical abuse


July 28, 2020

By Inés San Martín

ROSARIO, Argentina—Even though the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has seemingly put most of the world on hold, many scholars have continued with their research projects and are already planning ahead, thinking about the 2021 calendar to reschedule events postponed this year.

One such event is a day-long consultation at the University of Notre Dame, set to bring together some 30 participants from the United States and Germany to look into the lessons of national truth and reconciliation processes, and apply them to the Church on matters of clerical sexual abuse.

The organizers believe that major festering wounds continue to exist in the Church, including a lack of healing for victims of clerical abuse, a reticence to speak the truth about the abuse, and a lack of accountability. They believe that the many national processes in the political realm of the past generation may provide insights for how the Church as a whole might confront decades of abuse and cover-up.

Behind the project are German Dr. Katharina Westerhorstmann, Professor of Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Dr. Daniel Philpott, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. The project is being funded by a grant from the University of Notre Dame.

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