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Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic ChurchGender, Power, and Organizational Culture$
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Marie Keenan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199895670

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199895670.001.0001

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Organized Irresponsibility (II)

Organized Irresponsibility (II)

Clerical Elites, Rules, Obedience, and Loneliness

(p.154) 8 Organized Irresponsibility (II)
Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church

Marie Keenan

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the social, emotional, and institutional context of the men's offending, paying particular attention to rules, obedience, loneliness, power, and opportunity. The clerical men who went on to become perpetrators of child sexual abuse and who participated in the study constructed their priestly or religious vocation on fear: fear of breaking a celibate commitment and fear of displeasing others. The accompanying way of “doing” priesthood involved strategies for their attempts to live a chaste and obedient life, such as adopting a submissive way of relating to others, avoiding relationships with women, and avoiding particular friendships with men. Such strategies produced poor adult attachments, a fear of emotional and physical intimacy, and prolonged emotional loneliness.

Keywords:   sexual offenders, child sexual abuse, Catholic clergy, fear

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