The Burden of the Gospel – Papal Homily in Philadelphia on September 27, 2015

It is an odd coincidence – I would call it a grace – that the gospel reading for this Saturday and Sunday, as the World Meeting of Families concludes in Philadelphia, is the passage we have just heard from the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” I have written about the joy of the gospel, but today I will talk about the burden of this gospel, Read More …

Why the Trauma of Sexual Assault Can Cause Victims to Freeze, by Chelsea Levinson

I have a recurring nightmare where I am being hunted. It looks like a chase scene from an action movie, except that whenever I try to fight back, my body becomes paralyzed. If I attempt to scream, my throat only releases breathy gasps. Running away? Forget about it. I am weighed down with inaction, and left completely vulnerable to my attackers. It’s no mystery to me why this nightmare haunts me: On September 11th, 2004, I was raped. I said “no,” but he didn’t listen. I always thought I’d be prepared for such a situation, and imagined myself as somebody Read More …

CFFP Update: Working With Faith Communities to Stop Religious Child Maltreatment

One thing that has long confounded me is how cultures will fiercely hold on to traditional practices even when they’re extremely abusive to children. We see that in the United States and around the world. But here’s the good news: Child advocates can reverse harmful trends. They just have to be willing to educate people from those cultures and work behind the scenes. This task might seem daunting, but I can give you an example of when such an approach worked to end one of longest and most abusive childrearing practices of all time—the binding of girls’ feet in China. Read More …

SNAP Update, Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is Off to an Impressive Start

A half a billion dollars. That’s how much Australian government officials will spend. Five years (through 2017). That’s how long they’ll work. Toward what end? Investigating, exposing – and hopefully preventing – future child sex crimes and cover ups in institutions. A number of governmental bodies across the globe have done probes somewhat like this one. (Most notable, perhaps, is the work of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which found that the Vatican “still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be Read More …

BishopAccountability.Org Update, Bishops Accused of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Global Accounting

The latest research by BishopAccountability.org gives a global accounting of Catholic bishops who have been accused of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. Our list includes 78 bishops worldwide who have been accused publicly of sexual wrongdoing – 53 allegedly abused minors, and 25 are publicly accused of sexual abuse/sexual misconduct with adults only. In the Catholic abuse crisis, this problem has received little scrutiny. Yet a sexually abusive bishop is exceptionally dangerous.  He is not only a perpetrator but, inevitably, an enabler of other sexual criminals. He inflicts harm on both his own victims and the victims of the abusive Read More …

The Women’s World Cup and the LGBT Community in Women’s Sport, by Alysa Auriemma

In some ways, it is more plausible for the national culture if a woman plays sports and is gay, than a man to do so. It is more acceptable for a woman to dabble in “masculine” things and then announce her orientation, than for a man to play sports and announce himself as something other than completely heterosexual. Sports are, after all, a male-dominated world. Read More …