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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Women religious respond to the abuse crisis

The sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States, Ireland, Australia, Chile and elsewhere has led to calls for change. Catholic women religious are weighing in on Global Sisters Report with thoughtful columns and reflections.
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Sr. Nancy Sylvester writes about her anger, the danger of clericalism in the church and her use of contemplation to work through ire and toward change: 

"I breathed out the images of chains falling away that have bound this worldview to them; Pentecost fire opening minds and hearts to see in new ways; a humility that invites a profound prostration asking forgiveness and signaling transformation; and a courage to let go of all the privileged trappings. Breathe in the pain. Breathe out the gifts." 
Sr. Nicole Trahan, one of GSR's Horizons columnists, conveys how the crisis in the church has been in her mind and heart and how the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which details abuse of 1,000 victims by more than 300 priests and a cover-up by church authorities, rocked her world. 

She cites Ezekiel 34, which warns of destruction against shepherds who put their interests before their flocks, and writes about a root cause: clericalism.
Sr. Ilia Delio warns that the church has "a deep structural problem ... that at this point requires either a radical decision towards a new ecclesial structure or the acceptance of the possibility of a major schism." 

She draws on her deep knowledge of history and philosophy to explain how the church has strayed so far from its roots and points to principles that can help bring about a new future for the church.
Sr. Virginia Herbers writes how the crisis has prompted her to explore a topic wedded deep in the charism of her congregation: reparation. 

"Reparation is an aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that focuses on this heartbrokenness of Christ. A common prayer intention spoken aloud in my religious community is: 'in reparation for all the ways we break Christ's heart.' ... Right here and right now, the broken heart of Christ is evident in the wounded members of his Body, most especially the victims of sexual abuse and the victims of abuse of ecclesial power." 
Thanks for reading, 
Gail DeGeorge
Editor, Global Sisters Report

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