Notre Dame News | September 25, 2019
In opening remarks for the inaugural event of the 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum, “‘Rebuild My Church’: Crisis and Response,” Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, welcomed a near-capacity crowd in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center to hear an expert panel report on “The Church Crisis: Where Are We Now?”
“We will try to take an honest and informed look at the clergy sex abuse scandal and responses to it as we attempt to discern how we might best respond,” said Father Jenkins. “Our reflections will be informed, of course, by the facts, but also by faith in God who brings life out of death — who shines light in darkness.”
Father Jenkins called for this year’s forum to examine the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and explore possible reforms. This year’s theme echoes God’s summons to St. Francis of Assisi during a time of Church corruption in the late Middle Ages.
Moderated by John Allen, veteran Vatican journalist and editor-in-chief of Crux, Wednesday’s panel included perspectives from Juan Carlos Cruz, a sex abuse survivors’ advocate; Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, who has been heavily involved in sex-abuse-related Church reforms; Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI executive assistant director who helped establish the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”; and Peter Steinfels, a lifelong religion journalist and educator whose prolific writings include a thorough examination of the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clerical sex abuse in six dioceses.
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