Confronting Rhetorical Violence in Response to the Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis
Turnbloom, David Farina
Seddon, Kate Tyschper
In response to the Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis, many Catholics have disaffiliated from the church. To stop members from leaving, Catholic bishops have utilized language that is rhetorically similar to the language used by perpetrators of domestic violence. This essay highlights some prevalent rhetorical devices used by Catholic leaders (i.e., ambiguity, bracketing, justification, and excuse) and shows how they are similar to the language domestic abusers will use to gaslight and control their victims. Then, four principles of a trauma-informed rhetoric are offered to combat the existing abusive rhetoric and to facilitate the cultural shifts needed if the Roman Catholic Church is going to heal.
Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University
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