Harm, hope and healing to examine the crisis and the way forward
Marquette University Law School will host an international conference on the clergy sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church over the last decade. “Harm, Hope, and Healing: International Dialogue on the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal,” sponsored by the Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative, will feature the stories of abuse victims, the impact of the scandal on other clergy, and panelists from Australia, Ireland and across the United States as it examines the path to healing from the scandal. It will take place Monday and Tuesday, April 4 and 5, 2011 at Marquette University Law School’s Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.
The Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, will give an address on his personal journey, “The Truth Will Set You Free,” Monday, April 4, at 9:30 a.m. In addition, a panel of abuse survivors; representatives from the Boston Archdiocese, where the scandal broke nearly one decade ago; and other speakers will make presentations. A complete conference schedule is available online.
“Restorative justice is a process that creates a safe environment for dialogue,” Janine Geske, distinguished professor of law and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, said. “At this year’s conference we want to hear the voices of and facilitate conversation among the many individuals and groups affected by clergy sexual abuse – victims and their families, church leaders, other priests and Catholic laity – so we can confront and heal from the pain.”
Geske coordinated the development of The Healing Circle, a moving film documentary used in parishes nationwide in which victims of clergy abuse share and dialogue with members of the community and clergy as a means of healing past and present wounds, based on the model of restorative justice. The film, which will be shown as part of the this year’s conference, shows a compelling restorative justice circle led by Geske, bringing viewers into the circle to hear first-hand the emotionally gripping stories of victims, an offender priest, other clergy and lay ministers, and members of the faith community.
The nationally acclaimed restorative justice program at Marquette educates law students as leaders who can bring together victims, offenders and other community members to address harm and conflict in communities. Previous RJI conferences have dealt with bullying, violence and gang activities, and political conflicts in Israel/Palestine, South Africa and Northern Ireland/United Kingdom.
The cost for members of the public to attend is $25 per person, per day, or $40 to attend for both days. Register online for the event.