This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to understand and analyze child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in its individual and systemic dimensions, and to offer a perspective that combines both. It is based on over a decade of research. Another important aim of this work is to try to understand the “logic” of the Church hierarchy in their responses to abuse complaints, and to set this understanding in its systemic context. The chapter then discusses the rationale behind this book, and the sources and methodology used. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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