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The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses$
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James T. O'Reilly and Margaret S.P. Chalmers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 April 2021

How Episcopal Culture Contributed to Administrative Failure

How Episcopal Culture Contributed to Administrative Failure

(p.215) Chapter 20 How Episcopal Culture Contributed to Administrative Failure
The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses

James T. O’Reilly

Margaret S. P. Chalmers

Oxford University Press

Inside the Church, the powerful tradition of bishop autonomy led to isolation and a sense of control exceeding the civil expectations of other employers. This affected decisions to conceal or resist the disclosure of sexual abuse by clergy. This chapter provides an overview of the culture, including diocesan independence and bishop accountability. It describes the ambivalence regarding laypersons and their role, and the defenses used by the Church to counter what it perceives as anti-Catholicism. It details how the culture‘s desire for secrecy and avoidance of scandal covered the Church‘s response to sexual abuse claims, but how the culture is now changing.

Keywords:   governance, Vatican, culture of autonomy, accountability, diocesan independence

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