Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources"

L'Osservatore Romano/AP Pool Photo, BXVI's 65th anniversary of ordination, 28 June 2016
Pope Francis (i) with Pope Emeritus Benedict (ii)

All of us seeking to understand and deal with the abuse of vulnerable people within religious communities owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ruth Krall. In one powerful essay after another, she has unpacked years of her research in this field, making insights and titles available to a wider community. Over the course of several years, Ruth has been producing extensive annotated bibliographies reflecting her years of study in this field. What follows is Ruth's latest contribution to the documentation of abuse in religious communities, of studies of this abuse and its roots, and of resources for combating such abuse. The essay below is Ruth's preface to the study bibliography of resources she is providing with this new document. The bibliography itself will follow in a subsequent posting:

In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity

A Study Bibliography of Resources 

Prepared by 
Ruth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhD

It is easier to build strong children
than to repair broken men

Frederick Douglas

Introductory Comments

This bibliography has been gleaned from a list of books which I have consulted during the past thirty-five years of reading and writing about various forms of affinity (physical and sexual) abuse and violation. In creating it, my intended audience is individuals who read in order to understand — academics and their students. In other recently published bibliographies, I have focused on the internet and electronic publications.(iii) These resources are both important and timely; they are also extraordinarily ephemeral and evanescent. They move onto the center stage of our awareness for a few moments only to be replaced by newer items. Rarely, it seems to me now, do these electronic resources change our foundational cultural understanding of complex and multi-faceted issues. Almost never do they create a profound cognitive or behavioral shift in our understanding of complex systemic and cultural issues.  

In my personal study and reading and in my attempts to understand the contemporary Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal, I was, by analogy, seeking to understand similar scandals inside my Anabaptist-Mennonite ethnic religious tradition. I paid attention to emerging trends of interpretation in both worlds: the Anabaptist-Mennonite one and the Roman Catholic one. I was seeking to understand the phenomenon of religious leader sexual abuse in Western religious traditions much as I had earlier sought to understand spiritual guru abusiveness in Eastern ones. More importantly, perhaps, I was seeking to understand perpetrator-protective institutional responses to sexual violence done by employees of religiously-oriented organizations and institutions. 

Hypothesis: It is much more difficult to unearth systemic issues in one's own immediate culture and life space.Every multi-lingual individual understands this principle. Some languages do not have words for complex realities. Without language it is next-to-impossible to comprehend the culture and personal experiences of the self or of another person. When one grows up inside a particular culture, its assumptions and its culturally-shaped language become part of one's own self. We often — but not always — see social problems in a second culture with less nostalgia and less denial.  

Given that understanding, my question remains unanswered at its deepest roots. That question still remains: what malignant cultural cell resides inside the institutional structures of patriarchal societies as they collectively embolden and enable religious and spiritual leaders (priests, ministers, gurus, imams, rabbis, swamis, etc.) to sexually, physically, spiritually and/or emotionally abuse their followers? What poisonous belief system(s) promote both kinds of corruption: (1) personal abusiveness by identifiable perpetrators and (2) mostly invisible collective institutional corruption by administrators, managers, mid-level supervisors, secretaries, corporate lawyers, insurance providers, the public, and most importantly, by consumers of their religious teaching)? 

For example, I have long been aware of issues of sexual abusiveness complicated by institutional corruption in various locations where I have lived or where I have been employed. The first example erupted into Mennonite cultural awareness in my mid-adolescence. My parents talked openly about this situation at the family dinner table.(iv) Another type of example occurred when I was in my very early thirties.(v) Somewhat later, in my late thirties, I encountered the institutionally protected story of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder's sexual abusiveness with adult women.(vi)  

In graduate school in my forties, I focused on the clinical dimensions of rape's aftermath in adult women's lives. I joined a feminist rape crisis line and served as one of its clinical experts. A women's network was in place and we actively consulted with one other. There was a continuum of care: newly raped women were met and accompanied to emergency examination rooms. Most of us carried a small suitcase that contained clothing the woman could wear to go home after her ER examination. (vii) Group therapy and individualized support services were provided. We collectively saw part of our task as changing institutional cultures and practices as these institutions interfaced with rape survivors.(viii)   

Consequent to my dissertation's study process, I became even more aware of systemic abusiveness and institutionalized cover-up behaviors inside my childhood religious faith tradition. In my early fifties I began to speak out in a series of conferences across the United States. I began to teach sexual violence content in the classroom. 

In my personal scholarship, I follow a principle I first encountered in the writings and public lectures of philosopher-theologian Mary Daly: follow every word and every synonym and antonym until you understand the complex symbolic and narrative universe of that word. This principle can be further elaborated: follow every concept and its own universe of meaning until its internal and external worldviews reveal themselves. This is explained in anthropological research literature as a practice of deep or thick description.(ix) 

In my retirement years I have sought to follow this principle — reading widely divergent books in even more widely divergent academic arenas of knowledge and discourse. I follow a principle I call intuitive reading — finding a book or hearing a lecture, I allowed my intuition to know what was/is important and what was/is peripheral.(x) Mystical reading and knowing soon followed. Books magically appeared and they opened new inner questions. I began to celebrate the principle that when the student is ready to learn, a teacher will appear (when the reader is ready, the proper book arrives). The new age version of this aphorism applies: life will continually present us with important lessons we need to learn. If we ignore, resist, or refuse the learning, life will repeatedly provide us with new experiences and encounters designed to teach us this needed lesson.  

Eventually, by paying attention, I soon discovered that when the teacher is ready, a student will appear. The corollary is that that this student will often become the teacher's guide to his or her additional learning and understanding. The student's unanswered questions in this way become the questions of the teacher. When the book appears, in a similar way, it will lead to new questions and to new insights.

While I am not exactly a Jungian, this is a very Jungian principle: the student archetype has its co-constellating (equivalent) archetype in the teacher archetype. The best teachers have an actively constellating inner student and the best students have an actively constellating inner teacher. In each encounter, the student and the teacher are conterminously learners and teachers. The same kind of working epistemology is true for clinician and client; for helper and helpee. These mutually constellating archetypes allow us to intuitively understand situations which we might otherwise fail to identify and comprehend.(xi) They open, therefore, the doorways that lead to new spaces in our awareness. In mystical language, they become part of our own awakening and our own growth in understanding.  

Parenthetically, rape survivors and their advocacy movements need to be understood by all of us as exemplifying and providing needed information about sexual violence. Those individuals who have survived sexual assault are its inchoate experts. They know the inner and outer terrains they must traverse on a daily basis. These issues of rape's actual and symbolic narratives present us with ancient archetypal wisdom inside patriarchal cultures.(xii) We need, therefore, to listen closely to their personal language and their often hesitant yet demanding search to understand what sexual violence has done to them — in the moment and across the life journey.  

A contemporary rape narrative — as experienced and described by its victim/survivor — has deep cultural roots in ancient rape narratives. Rape is not a new cultural phenomenon. Its cultural roots dig deep into our inherited stories, mythologies and sacred texts about the gods and mythic heroes. When the gods rape, murder, abduct, and plunder, their human followers have implicit permission to do the same. When a culture's gods proclaim the necessity of violence and violation for human salvation, the victims of that violence become the model for human action and life in real time.  

Mostly I understand these systemic-individual issues by means of social psychology literature regarding authoritarianism, crimes of obedience, and simple human hypocrisy. Over time I came to understand the human trauma response in terms of the physical body-mind connection. Informed clinical intuition was also a form of knowing that I came to value. Inside some professional and personal relationships I began to hear echoes of the sexual violence narrative story even before it was spoken. 

Roman Catholic authors such as Coyne, Cozzens, Doyle, Sipe, and Wall provided me with a richer and better vocabulary: the alternative Roman Catholic vocabulary of clericalism — a particular form of authoritarianism and religious hypocrisy found inside Catholic systems of ordained clergy and religious leaders. Authors such as Anderson, Martel, and Milligan provided me with contemporary examples of clericalism and institutional hypocrisy in action.  

Thanks to Anson Shupe's extensive body of work, I learned the language and world view of criminal malfeasance inside religious institutions. Thanks to Thomas Doyle's work, I began to gain a much more accurate historical understanding of Christianity's accommodationism with clerical sexual deviance, sexual pathology and sexual violence in many different forms. 

Slowly I reached the conclusion that institutional issues were the critical issues to understand and needed, therefore, to be more thoroughly interrogated. Individual perpetrators will probably remain a relatively permanent feature of patriarchal religious cultures. Therefore the critical issue is how the commons — most particularly the institutional religious commons — respond to the presence of these sexual abuse perpetrators inside the religious organization, the religious community, i.e., the people of God.   

This is — largely — an unexamined sociological, theological or hermeneutical-exegetical question. It very well may be, I hypothesize, that the toxic swamps that produce the hydra-headed affinity dragons of rape, incest, physical abuse, emotional abuse and spiritual abuse should become the focus of our study. Uncovering the central generative metaphors of sexual violence as cultural realities is now essential work remaining to be done. Rather than only focusing our efforts on cutting off the dragon's multiple heads, we should instead focus on draining and cleaning up the toxic ideological swamp which breeds these dragons.  

Thus, users of this bibliography can follow these sources to find additional resources — some of them electronic and some of them in books. I would encourage the practice of mystical reading. Pre-determined ideas about how to solve "the problem" may, indeed, be a participating reality in maintaining "the problem." 

Literature about human creativity suggests an intense time of study/work followed by times of rest and play facilitate creativity. Eureka moments cannot be coerced but they can be prepared for. For example, I have heard it said that the diagram structure of the human genome first appeared in a dream; I have heard it said that Einstein's principle of relativity appeared complete to him as he stepped off a bus. I do not know if these are true examples or not, but they do illustrate the principle that intense study followed by deep relaxation and or play enables the deep mind to process data and to provide insight about how to proceed. The mind, in such situations, often speaks to us in dreams, metaphors, and even musical forms of communication. These rare moments when we know what we know can provide us with maps to uncover and explore what we do not yet know. 

Human synergy is another example — here we bear witness to the power of the collective to generate important wisdom. This only happens, in my experience, as individuals decide to trust, to befriend each other and to work together cooperatively and collectively. The group mind is a powerful reality and it can work for negative ends or for positive ones. One aspect of these end results can be found inside the quality of the human relationships. Another can be found in the quality of the work produced. Many years ago, I read that Nobel Prize winners in science frequently trained and were mentored inside the laboratories of previous prize winners. Again, I do not know this to be true, but it makes intuitive sense to me. Where there is a common and competent quest for knowledge and wisdom inside collegial relationships, incredible things can happen — for good or for evil. Synergy is a powerful human reality and, while it cannot be commanded, it can be deliberately courted. 

There are, in my opinion, significant questions inside our current awareness and work — questions which, while asked, have not been well-formulated, well-studied, well-interrogated and well-answered to date. The roadway cairns and markers to our collective understanding are incomplete and ill-marked. To speak metaphorically, the genome of Christianity's sexual abuse crisis has not yet been seen, thus it is not well understood.   

What is the underlying metaphorical or ideological or theological worldview which must shift and change in order for child abuse, in all of its many forms, to end?  The same question applies to institutional malfeasance and corruption.

What commonly proclaimed and lived cosmologies and theologies must die in order for a safer religious or spiritual culture to emerge?

What liturgical changes and doctrinal changes must be made to protect vulnerable individuals of all ages?

What changes in seminary education programs must develop in order to abuse-proof the future church and provide an emotionally, spiritually, and physically safe environment to each of its participants?

What changes in religious formation programs are needed to protect vulnerable individuals; to produce spiritually and ethically mature individuals; to produce psychologically mature consumers of these programs?

For genuine institutional accountability to occur, what ideologies and practices must change in the complex triangulation of church institutions, church lawyers, and church insurance lawyers?

What hermeneutical and exegetical changes must be made as religious institutions utilize and translate ancient scripture and religious traditions inside the community of faith as well as outside the community's walls?

Most importantly, every religious individual must ask himself or herself in light of this sexual abuse crisis inside many religious traditions, what do I need to do to make my church and its religious institutions a safe place for all children, adolescents, and adults?

One of the exciting things in today's medical research is the work on using our knowledge of the genome to fix (i.e. cure) genetically caused pathology in infants and very small children — thus allowing normal development to proceed in unheard of ways.  

I would suggest that the search for the sexual abuse crisis "genome" is now urgently needed.  

The bibliography which follows is a road map of sorts. It provides entrée resources for our personal and communal understanding. It presupposes, however, that as we continue to read and search, additional resources will emerge and make themselves manifest to us as we are able or ready to receive them. We may even become part of the research team to open the pathway to understanding the "genetic" sexual violence and clericalism pathologies inside the Christian community at large. 

The photo at the head of the posting, which Ruth chose to head her essay, is from Inés San Martin, "Benedict XVI breaks silence to thank Pope Francis for his goodness."


(i) Pope Francis' Papacy: March 23, 2013 — the present.

(ii) Pope Benedict's Papacy: April 19, 2005 — February 28, 2013.

(iii) For an example, see Ruth Krall, "A Resources Bibliography: History, Context, Analysis."   

(iv) My parents understood and believed that Howard Hammer (missionary to Brazil) died in the arms of a young native woman, which, for my mother, raised the question of adultery, murder or of murder-suicide. The discussion between my parents about this affair was open and wide-ranging. I was allowed to listen in and to raise questions. In the years since then, I have read a variety of interpretations about what actually happened in Brazil.  For me now, historical facticity has been largely obscured and compromised by institutional self-protectiveness. For a bare bones account, see: "Hammer, Howard (d. 1957)." 

(v) During my early thirties, a mainline protestant congregation in my home town nearly self-destructed when it became clear that its minister had been sexually involved with multiple and newly divorced women from the congregation whom he was "counseling." I was not a member of the congregation, but good friends of mine were on its board of elders. During many conversations, I had a ringside seat to the dissolution of ministry and congregational unity.

(vii) Semen-stained clothing was/is kept and bundled as evidence meaning a woman would not have suitable clothing for her drive home from the ER. I kept various sized underwear and inexpensive loose-fitting cotton shifts in my car trunk for more than two years of doing this work. 

(viii) The Mennonite Central Committee Women's Concerns Desk formed in the late 1980s and it sponsored consciousness-raising activities throughout the denomination. It also published a survivors' only newsletter as well as the purple packets of information about issues of abuse and management of abusers. This was also the era in which Goshen College offered its first women's studies courses and human sexuality courses for its students. In both sets of courses, sexual violence content was taught. 

(ix) Geertz, C.  (1973). Interpretation of Culture: Selected Essays. New York, NY: Basic Books;  Geertz, C. (1983). Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology. New York, NY: Basic Books; Geertz, C. (1971). Myth, Symbol and Culture. New York, NY: Norton.

(x) For example: Sometime in 2006, I saw a newspaper announcement of a lecture by Dominican priest Thomas Doyle regarding his church's issues of clergy sexual abuse. I decided to attend. I already had some knowledge of Boston (Cardinal Law's departure) in 2002 because I had a faculty friend from Boston College. At the conclusion of Doyle's lecture, I visited the book table and "randomly" picked Jason Berry's 1992 book about the crisis in Lafayette, LA. This book became my roadmap. I began to get interlibrary loan books representing names he mentioned. This led me to Richard Sipe's web-page and that led me to an intense process of learning to use the World Wide Web as a research tool. Eventually, I began reading Bishop Accountability's Abuse Tracker. That led me, inevitably, back to Father Doyle as a central figure in the Roman Catholic narrative. 

(xi) Guggenbuhl-Craig, A.  (1991). (J. R. Haule, trans.). Power in the Helping Professions.  Woodstock, CT: Spring Publications. 

(xii) Zeus raped Callisto; Hades abducted Persephone; Demeter was raped by Poseidon; Amnon raped Tamar; David claimed Bathsheba as his own: the Sabine women were gang-raped by the founders of Rome, and so forth.

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