On May 11 th , 2012, the University of Santa Clara, California, sponsored a conference called " Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church- A Decade of Crisis, 2002 -- 2012."
This is also the name of a new book, which was hosted by Thomas Plante, PhD, and Kathleen McChesney, PhD. The book features chapters of literary contributions by 20 experts on clergy sexual abuse: psychologists, professors of law, priests, judges, sociologists, judges, etc.
Among the speakers of the conference were: Thomas Plante-PhD, Kathleen McChesney-PhD, Thomas Reese-SJ priest, Karen Terry-PhD-(John Jay College Report), Barbara Blaine-founder of SNAP, Judge Terrence Carroll-Seattle School of Law, Rev. Gerald Coleman-PhD, Rev. Thomas Doyle-J.C.D-canon lawyer-expert witness, Rev. Paul Macke-SJ, Gerard McGlone-PhD-St. John Vianney treatment center, Judge Michael Merz-USCCB review board, Anson Shupe-PhD-Professor of Sociology, A.W. Sipe-author and expert on Catholic priest issues, and Rev. Richard Vega-Pres. National Fed of Presb Councils-priest.
The conference was open to the public (for a $100 ticket,) and there were approximately about 150 people in attendance. The conference began at 9 A.M. and lasted until 4:30 P.M.
I was an attendee; and I am a clergy abuse victim. I am arguably a "biased" writer, and a controversial and vocal victim's advocate, and a successful jury trial plaintiff against the church. I have fought clergy abuse in the Roman catholic church for a decade.
The following account is my rendition of the conference, the authors, and the speakers of the event; who are also the contributors to the new book.
The title of my article already establishes my preliminary opinion-that the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church is at least 1000 years old, and the " Decade of Crisis ", mentioned at the conference, and on the book cover- is implausible at best. Ten years of crisis is a gross understatement.
The first speaker at the conference, Fr. Thomas Reese, was right on target. Reese intellectually, factually and without reservation- exposed the crisis in the church as un-credible, unaccountable, and and scandalous.
Among Fr. Reese's' quotes:
" The investigative process(in the church) appears suspect because it is under control of the bishop. Episcopal credibility is nil."
" We do not have a system for bringing bishops to account."
" The church would be in a much better place today if 30 or more bishops had stood up, acknowledged their mistakes,taken full responsibility, and resigned."
" The Vatican also needs to do its job. It appears to have no problem investigating nuns and theologians, but investigating mismanagement by a bishop is not a priority."
" Creative theologians are attacked, sisters are investigated, Catholic publications are censored and loyalty is the most important virtue. These actions are defended by the hierarchy because of fears of 'scandalizing the faithful', when in fact it is the hierarchy who have scandalized the faithful."
" Speaking truth to power is not welcomed in the Catholic Church."
Fr. Reese's speech is available online, and was a very commendable and candid rendition of the conduct of the Catholic Church, by a clergy member. My speculation is that he will be reprimanded for his honesty, integrity, and " speaking truth to power. "