Doing Theology in the Face of Abuse
In March the CCP is inviting theologians to an event: “Doing Theology in the Face of Abuse.” This international gathering does not fall neatly into the established academic categories of conference, congress, colloquium, symposium, or workshop. We have called it a laboratory to accent the involvement of the participants in examining the questions that arise when seeking to do theology in the context of a suffering Church.
In a series of blog posts leading up to the event in March, we are asking theologians for their reflections, and above all, the theological questions that the context of the sexual abuse crisis provokes in them. We reached out to one of the theologians attending the event, Dr. Rocio Figueroa Alvear, who experienced sexual abuse by a church leader as an adolescent.
Dr. Rocio shared her story at the event Overcoming Silence – Women’s Voices in the Catholic Abuse Crisis. She was abused at the hands of her spiritual director, German Doig, who was the second in command of Sodalitium, when she was 15. Despite the shame it caused her she continued in the community and became superior of the feminine branch. It took many years before she understood the deep emotional, psychological, and spiritual manipulation she had experienced and could begin to evaluate the behavior of the leadership from a perspective independent of its control. She then learned she was not the only victim and discovered that not only her spiritual director but also the founder and two other men were sexually abusing community members. She denounced the abuse to the authorities and helped other victims to speak out.