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Seitz writes: “Her focus is on seminary culture and education (in the period before the 1990s) and the kind of living it enabled and disabled. In these spaces priests learned to fear sexuality, disavow their bodies and emotions, bury non-priestly components of themselves, and adapt to emotionally isolated and lonely lives.”Seitz indicates there is another theme that Keenan takes up that grows an environment for an abuser. The reviewer then describes what Keenan found out about the education and formation of these men.
"The other most compelling theme concerns moral education. The church, Keenan argues, has offered poor tools for making judgments. Instead of judging out of a context of relationships with particular others and dynamic processes of introspection and empathy, seminarians were instructed in the technical and intellectual application of fixed, universal and external rules. Impersonal and abstract, this moral theology enabled abusers to treat their behavior as a matter of sin against God and purity and not as a matter of harm for others. Moreover, the confessional, with its seal of secrecy, further enabled the abuse by providing a context for expiation of this sin. Regular confession helped convince the priests that they were at least trying to meet God’s standards. All of the nine priests confessed their abuse in confession -- according to their reports, only once did a confessor alert the abuser to the criminal nature of the offense. The system advanced a purity ethic at the expense of a relational ethic."
"The stunning conclusion of this work is that for those who embraced the idealized model of perfect celibate clerical masculinity, seminary and priestly life were in themselves abusive contexts"They still are.
|Coat of Arms of the Archdiocese of Chicago|