OUR CATHOLIC STORY
Building a Family Narrative Across Generations & Viewpoints
John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America, offers his memories and reflections as we piece together,
one person at a time, a collective memory and understanding in OUR CATHOLIC STORY.
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Building a Family Narrative Across Generations & Viewpoints
Remembering for OUR CATHOLIC STORY continues today, whereas next week we will shift onto the world scene, and look at how children live around the world.
Today, we continue to emphasize storytelling as a pathway toward healing. As individuals and as families, we piece together a story to be known and to learn about who we are. We need each other to do so. We need each other to listen without judgment or debate. We need each other to take the courageous step to speak. Stories, told and heard, connect us. Connection breaks the alienation caused by abuse.
John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America, is our second guest for The Spirit Fire Global Broadcast Series on Abuse and Faith.
President Garvey is a nationally acclaimed expert in constitutional law, religious liberty, and the first amendment. He has served as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States, arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court. He has taught law at the Universities of Kentucky, Michigan, and Notre Dame, after which he became dean of Boston College Law School. As of 2010, Garvey has served as President of Catholic University. He and his wife, Jeanne Walter Garvey, have five children, 22 grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Gus. For those of us who make an exercise of self-care, his interests include golf, swimming, gardening, and piano.
During President Garvey's tenure, the McCarrick revelations and related news stories (2018) brought the crisis of the continuing scandal back into the spotlight. The Catholic University of America hosted a talks for lay people to consider their role in addressing the crisis, including Healing the Breach of Trust, which was the second of four conferences. President Garvey's comments set the tone for Catholic University's developing sense of purpose in this regard.
Under President Garvey's leadership, in March 2019 Catholic University launched The Catholic Project, which describes its purpose as serving the Catholic Church, which "is in crisis. Its inability to address clergy sexual abuse has caused a crisis of faith, a breach of trust. The Catholic University of America has an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help restore what has been broken. That is the work of The Catholic Project." The Catholic Project also partners with other universities, such as Harvard University in the Faith and Flourishing Program.
The Catholic Project has hosted Spirit Fire, in our work for restorative justice, as co-sponsor of Pushing Back Against the Darkness, a private event on campus during which Spirit Fire survivors met with 20+ bishops and archbishops to share dialogue. The unprecedented program included comments by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Bishop Edward Burns, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, Bishop Edward S. Scharfenberger, and Bishop Chad Zielinski. The event was attended by victim assistance coordinators, clergy, and professors.
In September 2020, the Catholic Project released a series about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church: its origins, characters, causes, and reforms. Entitled "Crisis: Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church," Host Karna Lozoya interviewed bishops, survivors, reporters, lawyers, social workers, and others to help navigate a systemic problem that has plagued the modern church for at least 70 years. The Atlantic Magazine listed the podcast at #34 on its 2020 list of the 50 best podcasts in the nation.
Akin to the certificate program offered in Europe by the Pontifical Gregorian University by the Centre for Child Program (whose President will be interviewed for this broadcast on March 7, 2021), Catholic University now offers, through the Catholic Project, a fully online Child Protection and Safe Environments certificate program, which has been designed for students who wish to study best practices in child protection from a Catholic perspective.
Mike Hoffman is a child protection advocate, an author and national speaker, and the co-founder and chair of a multitude of programs to promote child safety and healing within the Church. Don't miss this 2nd Feature in today's broadcast!
Combating child abuse and human trafficking in our current day takes a cross disciplinary collaboration. That's why The Spirit Fire Broadcast Series on Abuse and Faith is the first-ever, multidisciplinary program to review the scandal of abuse in the Church in a comprehensive, public way.
Are your students ready to confront the evils that riddle the contemporary world?
Here's one way high schools and colleges are creating student teams, who are working with professors to blend disciplines to problem-solve based on research, learning, and informed dialogue across many ideas and points of view on any campus.
The Chronicle of Higher Education featured this program, whose graduate-level equivalent has provided support for child protection and anti-human trafficking regional initiatives.
Is there a way for you to create a student-learning pod in your educational setting which is both age-appropriate and learning-focused to ensure a trauma-informed civic contribution can be made? Spirit Fire has a great resource list and can help quickly enrich your planning with our experience planning as well.
CONSIDER GATHERING TWO OR MORE
We encourage you to keep a journal in the coming months of this conference and write your responses to weekly questions. Can you take it one step further and set up a discussion group online, or at your university or college? Some people plan to discuss the weekly broadcasts, sharing memories and reflections with a group of friends or others at their parishes. Who might you share with?
While we encourage listening to the voices of fellow survivors of abuse by clergy and others in authority, we discourage hosts from doing so with having studied and accepted the fundamental ideas behind trauma-informed dialogue. One way to do so is to participate in these broadcasts. Please don't "wing it" and just ask survivors to speak without a surround of support and real knowledge of the topic.
KEEP REMEMBERING & WRITING
Let's build on last week.
What is your first memory of feeling betrayed? (This does not refer to abuse necessarily, although for some sadly it will.) Recall the most lasting image you associate with that betrayal, either when it happened, or during a walk afterwards, or when safely home in your room. Remember where the emotional impact hit.
Think of someone whom you admire, and ask them about their experience of the child sexual abuse crisis in the Church. They do not need to be Catholic. Try to listen without asking for more detail or challenging their ideas.
Matt Daniels, creator and producer of The Human Rights Network (HRN) which is a global academic network that promotes human rights education through digital media, will explain the watershed impact of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and will walk us around the globe looking at hot spots in the advance of child dignity and protection today.
Did you know our whole agenda is posted right here for you?