THE CHALLENGE BEFORE CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
Clergy sexual abuse and the inappropriate ways of handling the crisis have led the Church to grave crisis of credibility and integrity. The situation is like a sickness that afflicts the health and wellbeing of the body that we call the Church. This pathological condition poses a challenge to the ecclesiastical system, to unmask itself in a manner that will help diagnose the deeper roots this disease and, in the process uncover the integrity of ecclesiastical life and mission. In this paper the issue is addressed taking the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy. The basic problematic underlying this issue is identified as the unresolved gender question and the consequent power equations that exist between clergy and nuns within the gendered hierarchical structure of the ecclesiastical setting.
The privileged positions that priests and bishops enjoy as the ‘head’ with spiritual leadership and decision-making powers and the gendered spaces that nuns occupy and the roles they play in the Church make them highly susceptible to abuse. This crisis calls for a critical revisiting of ecclesial life in its theology, structural settings, and practices so that in the process of unmasking, the Church could recapture its relevance in keeping with the Christian vision and praxis.
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