Crisis, change and 'the continuous art of individual interpretation and negotiation': The aftermath of clerical sexual abuse in Newfoundland

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Bowman, Marion
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ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork
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At the core of this article is a significant but generally neglected incident, the clerical sexual abuse scandals that came to light in Newfoundland, Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The focus of this piece is what happened after the abuse was uncovered, so often the untold story following the flurry of attention surrounding initial revelation. In order to understand this aftermath, the religio-cultural context of the abuse, reactions to the revelations and the many ways in which change occurred in their wake are examined through the lens of vernacular religion. This case study prompts reflection on what can be learned about the ways in which a range of people are forced to negotiate and interpret their relationship with institutional religion in times of crisis and change, and how a vernacular religious approach helps us to understand and contextualise this.
Clerical sexual abuse , Catholic church , Newfoundland , Clericalism , Folk religion , Vernacular religion , Lived religion , Faith , Practice
BOWMAN, M. 2016. Crisis, change and 'the continuous art of individual interpretation and negotiation': the aftermath of clerical sexual abuse in Newfoundland. Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 3(1), 140-170.
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(c)2016, The Author(s).