Book Chapter


Marie Keenan



catholic church perpetrator catholic clergy sexual abuse child abuse united states complex system systemic

Systemic Practice in a Complex System: Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church (2015)

Abstract Despite the occasional mutterings in the public press and the rare suggestion in the empirical literature, there is no evidence to suggest that Catholic clergy enter clerical and religious life with the purpose of gaining access to children to abuse them. In fact, the most comprehensive research ever carried out on sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, conducted by researchers in the United States (John Jay Study, 2011), reports that whatever else formed the men’s motivation for joining, there is no evidence to suggest that gaining access to children to abuse them was part of it. My own experience confirmed this. The more I met with the clerical men who had abused, the more intrigued I became. Put simply, I was not in the presence of "monsters", nor was I in the presence of individuals who had an "illness". I began to think there must be more to this problem - situational, organizational and institutional - that must also be considered.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> College of Social Sciences and Law
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice Research Collection

Full list of authors on original publication

Marie Keenan

Experts in our system

Marie M Keenan
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 26