Our Dominican Family gathered for a meaningful
discussion on Clericalism and the Spiritual Response to the Crisis in
the Church Hierarchy on March 2. The evening started with
distinguished panel of Dominicans, including Sr. Maureen O’Connell,
former Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Archdiocese, Dwight Wolf,
Therapist, who ministered and worked with victims, and Fr. John Rooney,
spiritual director at St. Mary’s Seminary.
Sr. Maureen reviewed the issuance of the Charter
for the Protection of Children and Young People by the US
Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 for addressing allegations of
sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, and described the process of
receiving reports of abuse of minors and investigating them. Sr.
Maureen shared that in her experience, she felt that the Archdiocese
was trying to be transparent. She further noted that Pope Francis
realized that what was missing in the process was to hold bishops
responsible, and that he has been and is implementing improvements in
Next, Dwight Wolf turned the discussion to the core
wounds that human beings experience, which he defined as abandonment,
betrayal, and shame. In response to these wounds, there are principles
for healthy way forward:
1.When you experience a wound, tell the truth,
recognizing that it is not your fault. This means not dismissing it, as
if you were not important, and don't embellish it.
2.Do not get attached to a particular outcome. Let
Christ handle outcomes.
3.Attach to a Healthy Herd – which can be any community
that helps to thrive and move forward (like Dominican Family, or a
4.Respond to the wound, rather than react. Act
based upon integrity, after discernment.
Finally, Fr. Rooney described his experiences as a
priest during this time period, and how good priests necessarily
navigate “between prudence and paranoia” so that their actions can be
viewed transparently, and without succumbing to fear that well intended
actions will be misinterpreted.
The speakers inspired lively table talk on this issue,
including considerations of being proactive and responding with