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Pope Francis’ challenging visit

Kevin O’Rourke SJ, assistant director of Jesuit novices, speaks to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications on Pope Francis’ pending visit to Ireland and the shadow that the recent report on clerical sexual abuse in the United States has cast on the Catholic Church. In the podcast, Fr O’Rourke likens the current crisis to the Reformation in the 16th century, commenting that it is a worldwide problem for the Church.

He welcomes the pope’s response to the widespread abuse in his letter issued on Monday, 20 August 2018, and says that the culture of clericalism needs to change. Fr O’Rourke expresses his own distress on reading the Pennsylvania report, and notes that it triggers the memory of similar reports in Ireland for many people.

He believes that the trauma of the clerical sexual abuse in the country has, like the famine, become embedded in the psyche of the Irish people. Nowadays, Irish Catholics are addressed by the challenges that the scandals have given rise to. “As has been said, we may not have built the house but we do live in it.”

He hopes that his own work over the last 20 years assisting in the psycho-sexual formation of male and female religious is a small contribution to creating a healthy and safe Church. He says it has been recognised that it is not enough to simply educate religious in theology and philosophy as part of an intellectual formation.

Rather a holistic approach to the person is absolutely vital. This places a particular emphasis on intimacy, relationships and boundaries in order that they might live healthy celibate lives. Listen to the podcast for the full story.