Skip to main content
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Clergy Sexual Abuse

Michael Duran, a plaintiff in a sex abuse settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, holds up pictures of himself when he was a child (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file).

Michael Duran, a plaintiff in a sex abuse settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, holds up pictures of himself when he was a child (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file).

Michael Duran, a plaintiff in a sex abuse settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, holds up pictures of himself when he was a child (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file).

Michael Duran, a plaintiff in a sex abuse settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, holds up pictures of himself when he was a child (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file).

Appalled by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and other allegations of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Ethics Center staff and scholars offer their reflections on how ethics may provide a way forward in this dark time.

Women’s Leadership and the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church
By Jesuit School of Theology Professor of Moral Theology Lisa Fullam

#ChurchToo
Confronting the darkness in the ordinary. 
By Jesuit School of Theology Professor of Social Ethics Julie H. Rubio

The Risks and Rewards of Radical Disclosure
To restore trust, each diocese must publish its own report.
By Senior Fellow Kirk Hanson

A Spoke in the Wheel
What health care institutions can learn from the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
By Bioethics Director Margaret R. McLean

Agency for the Laity
Can lay Catholics discern what we should do, if we don’t know what we can do?
By Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California Jessica Coblentz

Christus Victor, Christus Victima
Clergy sex abuse and the moral integrity of the Eucharist
By SCU Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Paul J. Schutz

Clergy Sexual Abuse 
A challenge to the idea of ethics
by Campus Ethics Director David DeCosse

A Culture Crisis
What Catholic Church leadership should do now to address sexual abuse by clergy
by Senior Director of Leadership Ethics Ann Skeet

Outrage Before Ethics
Anger should be the first response to the Pennsylvania Report on clergy sexual abuse
by Center Scholar Karen Peterson-Iyer

Extend the Statute of Limitations
What government can do in response to the child sexual abuse crisis
by Government Ethics Director Hana Callaghan

The Catastrophe of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Panel discussion on the crisis and what the Church should do about it
Featuring Kevin O'Brien, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology; Thomas Plante, SCU professor of psychology; Sally Vance-Trembath, SCU lecturer in religious studies; and Fr. Brendan McGuire, vicar general for special projects, Diocese of San Jose, and paster of Holy Spirit Parish

Other Useful Resources

Let's Transform Our Present Church Crisis Into an Opportunity
By Deacon John Kerrigan, Chief Investment Office of Santa Clara University, and Brother Sean Sammon, former Superior General, Marist Brothers

Letter to the Jesuit School of Theology Community
by JST Dean Kevin O'Brien, S.J.

Letter to the Catholic Community
by Provincial of Jesuits West Scott Santarosa, SJ

Enough: We Need Accountability video
Homily by Fr. Brendan McGuire, Holy Spirit Parish

Tom Reese, S.J., senior analyst for Religion News Service and Center distinguished visiting fellow, gave a talk August 22 for the  Center, The Catholic Church and the Moral Catastrophe of Sexual Abuse.  Reese has written several articles for RNS on the crisis:

Pennsylvania grand jury report is a new low for Catholic Church

Four things the Church must do to respond to Sex Abuse

Thomas Plante, Center scholar and the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., University Professor of Psychology at SCU, has written extensively on clergy sexual abuse.  His recent articles and appearances include:

Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse is a Solvable Problem

Separating Facts About Clergy Abuse From Fiction

What’s New in the Grand Jury Report on Priest Abuse?

Pope Francis Condemns Priest Sexual Abuse (KQED Form)

Paul Crowley,S.J., Jesuit Community Professor in the SCU Religious Studies Department Department and editor in chief of Theological Studies, writes, "The institution may have been defiled from within, but the faith itself has not been." Crowley is a Center Scholar:

Where Is the Hope?

Jason Berry, author of Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children (edited by Campus Ethics Director David DeCosse), writes in the Washington Post:

Pope Francis is facing a crisis of justice. Here are three steps he can take.

Sep 5, 2018