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Graceful remedies: understanding grace in the Catholic Church's treatment of clerical child sexual abuse

Gleeson, K. and Zanghellini, A. (2015) Graceful remedies: understanding grace in the Catholic Church's treatment of clerical child sexual abuse. Australian Feminist Law Journal, 41 (2). pp. 219-235. ISSN 1320-0968

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13200968.2015.1077551

Abstract/Summary

This article examines advocacy of Catholic restorative justice for clerical child sexual abuse from the standpoint of feminist criminological critiques of the use of restorative mediation in sexual offence cases. In particular, it questions the Catholic invocation of grace and forgiveness of survivors of abuse in light of critical feminist concerns about the exploitation of emotions in restorative practices, especially in regard to sexual and other gender-based offences. In the context of sexual abuse, the Catholic appeal to grace has the potential for turning into an extraordinary demand made of victims not only to rehabilitate offenders and the church in the eyes of the community, but also to work towards the spiritual absolution of the abuser. This unique feature of Catholic-oriented restorative justice raises important concerns in terms of feminist critiques of the risk of abuses of power within mediation, and is also incompatible with orthodox restorative justice theory, which, although it advocates a ‘spiritual’ response to crime, is concerned foremost with the rights, needs and experiences of victims.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:42077
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

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