Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 61(4) November 2011, p38
New CTS pamphlets on the catholic church and the Sex abuse crisis - Dr Pravin Thevathasan
Reviewed by Fr Timothy Finigan
Continuing with the latest pamphlets added to the CTS’s list, two in the CTS Explanations series deal with controversial topics concerning which the Church continues to be attacked both from within and without.
Dr Pravin Thevathasan’s “The Catholic Church & the Sex Abuse Crisis” has attracted attention already. It is notoriously difficult to write anything on this highly-charged subject without being attacked in one way or another, so it is not surprising that he should be misquoted and misrepresented. In fact, the pamphlet is a fair and balanced presentation of various aspects of this gross evil and the Church’s response to it.
As a psychiatrist, Dr Thevathasan competently assesses research on the harm caused, the profile of the offender and what actually happened in the USA, Ireland and Europe. He looks at the causes, and in one chapter singles out, rightly in my view, the “therapeutic culture” which led to a climate of permissiveness in some seminaries, and an inadequate response on the part of the Church. He quotes one of the most glaring examples of this: when the serial molester Fr John Geoghan was told by his Archbishop, “Yours has been an effective ministry impaired by illness.” The more recent measures taken by the Church are set out, and the conclusion looks soberly at some of the statements of Pope Benedict, and the Irish Bishops commitment to prayer, fasting and reparation.
For anyone confused by media reports and wondering how to get information that would help them to answer some of the now routine slanders and sneers against the Church and all her priests, this pamphlet summarises an unpleasant subject with competence and fairness.
First published on the “Hermeneutic of Continuity” blog