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The clergy sex abuse scandal and its ongoing fallout have created the greatest crisis in the history of the American Catholic Church. Yet for well over a thousand years, the Church has recognized the problem of clerical abuse of children and has maintained strict canonical punishments for perpetrators, including expulsion from the clerical state. So why did Church leaders favor therapeutic solutions over the provisions of canon law in dealing with decades of abuse? This groundbreaking analysis of the Church's response to the abuse crisis addresses that very question and engages in a vigorous assessment of the Church's failures in the light of its own canon law. The author, a civil and canon lawyer, summarizes the history of clerical sexual abuse, from the New Testament era to modern times. He describes the major cases that brought the problem to the forefront in the United States. He goes on to explain why most bishops decided to take the "therapeutic option" when dealing with abusive priests, rather than subjecting abusers to proper canonical punishments that might have brought the cases to light and resulted in greater sensitivity to the victims themselves. Finally, the author explains what the Church must learn from the abuse crisis. Insightfully written and thoroughly annotated, Before Dallas will become the accepted reference work on the Church's legal response to clerical sexual abuse, and an indispensable guide for preventing the tragedy from happening again. It will be essential reading for church historians, canonists, clergy, and all those interested in the future welfare of the Church and her faithful.
A Church-sensitive, well-documented description of the missed opportunities that the American bishops had, in the period 1985-1993, when the clergy child abuse crisis was first breaking, to take effective steps to stop the crisis dead in its tracks.
Buy Before Dallas: The U.s. Bishops' Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children by Nicholas P. Cafardi from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780809105809 & 0809105802
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