2020 is the 100th anniversary of the The Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). The CWL’s national convention/AGM was to be held in August. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 virus restrictions, all conventions/AGMs were cancelled. The National Council of the CWL were proactive in using technology to engage several of the guest speakers for the National Convention to give their presentations as webinars. The webinars are called the Summer Speaker Series. Well over 1,500 people from across Canada and from several other countries tuned in to the webinars. Today, I share with you some of my notes from the third session.
August 12 - Sr. Nuala Kenny, O.C., M.D., F.R.C.P.(C) speaking on "Women and Healing Our Wounded Church" "All elements of the crisis of clergy sexual abuse of children and the vulnerable are in stark contradiction to Jesus’ mission, words and witness. Jesus Himself demonstrated a profoundly counter-cultural approach to children and to women. Together, we will review the harms to victims, survivors and the entire Body of Christ from the history of abuse. All are called to healing the Church from this scandal. This reflection brings specific insights from women’s experience and research on vulnerability, abuse of power, care and relational moral thinking.” (Introduction to Sr. Kenny’s webinar, Summer Speaker Series, 2020)
Sr. Kenny’s goals for this session are:
Pope Francis said, “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful ... I see the church as a field hospital after battle.” (Oct 27, 2015) Dr. Kenny challenged each of us to enter into a topic that we may be afraid to approach.
In the past 100 years during which the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) has served God and Canada, we have dealt with and/or are dealing with global crises:
Dr. Kenny asks:
Prophetic Possibilities for the Church (2014) a book by Dr. Nuala Kenney. “The recognition of the importance of underlying systemic and cultural factors is not new. In 1989, following devastating revelations of child sexual abuse by Irish Christian brothers and diocesan clergy in St. John's, N.L., I (Dr. Kenny) participated in the lay-led Archdiocesan Commission of Inquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy. Its 1990 report summarized the available literature on the sexual abuse of children. In assessing why and how the abuse had occurred, the Commission concluded that no single cause accounts for the abuse but that a number of factors coincided to allow the abuse to occur. It identified six factors in urgent need of further exploration by Church leaders for their role: power, education, sexuality, support for priests, a management approach and avoidance of scandal.
Twenty-five years after Newfoundland and despite compelling research and experience, the hierarchy, with notable exceptions, is still unable or unwilling to acknowledge the systemic and cultural factors that have shaped and, at times, fostered the sexual abuse crisis. Why the moral blindness in failing to recognize the deeper issues of ecclesial sin and the denial of the pain and suffering inflicted on the whole Church? Agere sequitur esse is an old moral maxim. Action does indeed follow being, and Church leadership has responded to the global crisis with the same denial, minimization of harm and protection of image as in individual cases because of deeply enculturated attitudes and practices. Deep within a culture, a moral blindness can infect so that it becomes impossible to see and assess its dark side. This is when it is crucial to learn from others.”
Hi! My name is Fr. Doug Jeffrey, OMI and I am the pastor of the Meadow Lake Cluster. I serve the faith communities of Our Lady of the Smile, Waterhen, St. Jude's, Green Lake and Our Lady of Peace, Meadow Lake. I arrived in the cluster on August 15th, 2019. You can see more information about me on the home page!