The Rev. Gerard McGlone, senior research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, said the Catholic Church has made strides in terms of policies, trainings, screenings, background checks and being transparent when someone has been credibly accused of misconduct. The church still needs to confront the “distorted theological beliefs” that continue to enable abuse, he said, including theologies that treat women and children as objects.
But McGlone stresses that the Catholic Church is not alone in needing to change its culture. He calls for “a fundamental reshaping of Christology.”
“Christ always put children at the center of his preaching,” he said. “Name one church that puts children at the center of their preaching.”
Preliminary findings in a study McGlone has conducted showed that when participants saw and heard an abuse survivor’s story, their rates of moral injury were lowered. He believes that centering survivors’ stories in clergy and abuse prevention trainings could be key to changing the culture of the church writ large.
“If the church can understand placing survivors’ stories as part and parcel of their mission, that could change people’s lives,” said McGlone. “And the ripple effects could be enormous.”
This article originally appeared here.