Abuse in women’s congregations exposed

Abuse in women’s congregations is rife, according to Giovanni Cucci SJ.

Through research, pastoral experience and interviews with F Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cucci has formed a picture of the abuse.

For the most part the abuse does not take the form of sexual violence and does not involve minors. Instead, it is mostly an abuse of power and conscience.

Abuse in women’s congregations “includes multiple cases of different severity” and which all need to be addressed if the voice of the Catholic Church is to be credible, Cucci says.

At the same time, Cucci notes such abuse does not negate the importance of the work carried out by so many women religious in the service of the least. Nor does it reflect all the leadership and styles of authority in women’s congregations.

Cucci, who is a professor of psychology and philosophy at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, explains his purpose in speaking out about the abuse.

“It’s not only a question of dealing with such painful cases – although this remains a priority and indispensable task,” he says.

“It’s also about preparing effective interventions to verify and supervise the manner in which government is exercised, so that such abuses will not be repeated.”

“This way, those who wish to consecrate themselves to the Lord may be offered a more evangelical style of living authority and communal life.”

Cucci says “the great attention rightly paid to the abuse of children should not prevent a proper response to these situations, even if they will not receive the same media clamor. It is a matter of giving a voice to those who have no voice.”


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,