Sex Abuse Crisis in the Indian Catholic Church

  • Jaisy A. Joseph Seattle University
Keywords: Clerical Sex Abuse, Indian Catholic Church, Kerala, Shame, Solidarity, Syro-Malabar


By analysing the clerical sex abuse crisis through the lens of shame, the Indian Catholic Church will be better equipped to identify unhealthy patterns of internalization and deflection that prevent healing in the aftermath of these traumatic wounds. In this article, I first explore the issue of gendered violence in the Indian context and how the pervasiveness of shame transforms survivors into scapegoats. I then consider the relational nature of shame and its connection to the institutional church’s temptation towards insularity. Finally, I explore how solidarity through a preferential option for survivors mitigates the internalization of shame by survivors and challenges the irresponsible deflection of shame by the institutional church so that both may journey together toward healing.

Author Biography

Jaisy A. Joseph, Seattle University

Jaisy A. Joseph is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University and a Fellow at the Louisville Institute (2018-2020). She completed her M.Div. at Harvard Divinity School and received her doctorate from Boston College. With interests primarily in ecclesiology and theological anthropology, her main areas of research involve understandings of unity and difference in the Catholic church, how these definitions have shifted over the centuries, and how erroneous expressions have wounded the bonds of communion between different peoples. She is also committed to understanding how globalization and migration have brought these differences to the United States in the past fifty years and how these diasporas influence understandings of catholicity for the church of the third millennium.


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How to Cite
Joseph, J. A. (2020). RESPONDING TO SHAME WITH SOLIDARITY. Asian Horizons, 14(2), 381-392. Retrieved from

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