In her role at the Women's Center at a Catholic university, Annie Selak sees sexual assault as a tragic part of the college experience for women.
The rates of sexual assault at Catholic colleges and universities are just as alarmingly high as at secular institutions, writes Selak, adding that many students at Catholic colleges participate in hookup culture and have sex, similar to their peers at secular colleges.
"What is amplified on a Catholic campus, however, is the culture of silence around sex," Selak says. "At the four Catholic colleges I've worked at, I found that students often don't talk about having sex. This silence extends to sexual assault. Many victims, afraid to reveal to university administrators that they are having sex, often do not report sexual assaults."
In a commentary, Constance Phelps says that parish priests often pray for just about any other type of suffering except domestic violence, sending a message that these situations should remain a secret.
In the wake of a large scale study on the extent of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Germany, the country's bishops, led by the ebullient Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, launched the so-called Synodal Path.
Since January 2020, its participants have been discussing the future of the German Catholic Church through four themes: distribution of power, the place of women, priesthood today and sexual morality.
But the Synodal Path has aroused concern among Catholics outside of Germany and particularly at the Vatican as after the release of the study, one German archdiocese recorded a 50% increase in religious disaffiliation.
The second Synodal Assembly of German Catholics ended with overwhelming support for a range of proposals that, if adopted, would bring widespread reform to the church.
The role of women in the church is among the top issues of the Synodal Path, but the decision on the ordination of women is ultimately up to Rome.
At EarthBeat, check out an unprecedented joint appeal by the world's major religions sent to government leaders ahead of the upcoming United Nations climate summit. The appeal calls for "urgent, radical and responsible action" to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions and for the world's wealthiest countries to lead in healing the planet.
At Global Sisters Report, read a Q&A with Our Lady of Sorrows Sr. Lipy Gloria Rozario, a psychological counselor whose videos help thousands with their mental health.
ICYMI: Defense lawyers are questioning the legitimacy of the Vatican tribunal where 10 people are on trial on finance-related charges, arguing their clients can't get a fair trial in an absolute monarchy where the pope has already intervened in the case and where prosecutors have failed to turn over key evidence. The trial resumes today.