Examining Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

Steve Adubato sits down with Jo-Renee Formicola, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Seton Hall University and Author, "Papal Policies on Clerical Sexual Abuse: God Weeps," to discuss sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

5/25/19 #103






"Welcome to Think Tank. I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV studio in beautiful Newark New Jersey. It is my honor on Think Tank to welcome Doctor Jo-Renee Formicola, Professor of Political Science at Seton Hall University, author... you'll see the cover of that book, author of the book, Papal Policies on Clerical Sexual Abuse: God Weeps. Doctor, good to see you. Thank you for having me. By the way, I want to make it clear that Doctor Formicola is speaking for herself and not for any particular University. Right. To be clear. Why did you get interested in this topic? I... my main area of concern and interest is church-state relations. And when the first big case broke in Boston, my concern was, "Well, what is this going to mean now in Boston?" The most Irish, Catholic city in America? How is it going to impact the way the church and the City of Boston and the state of Massachusetts are going to interact with each other?" How did it? It was really critical, because for the first time, you had civil investigations of the Archdiocese of Boston. Which included things like deposing the Cardinal Archbishop. I mean, this is unbelievable that you would... Right. ...bring the Cardinal in and ask him questions, and then the answers would be made public. That there would be questions about his leadership. You bring in his entire team and ask them you know, "Why have you hid records? Why have you covered up things?" So this was the first time that the church was really put on the defensive about the way clerical sexual abuse was being treated in their diocese. I'm curious about this. As a Catholic... and we're actually taping this program Easter week, it'll air after. For those of us who have struggled with this... and we ask the question, "Why?" Not just, "Why did it happen?" Bad enough. Why does it seem that the church hierarchy has not been more responsive? And in some ways has made it worse by saying, "We'll handle it ourselves." Is that an oversimplification? I don't think so. That's what I look at in my new book. And I look at the three popes who have dealt with this question. So when it first became public and the word reached the Vatican, John Paul was the person who was the Pope and he was... Right. ...he was truly flummoxed by the entire situation. He was never able to grasp either the gravity or the scope of the problem. For a variety of reasons. He was a man of a different time, a different culture. And you know, as he looked..."