Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Conway, B
2014
August
International Journal of Comparative Sociology
Religious institutions and sexual scandals: A comparative study of Catholicism in Ireland, South Africa, and the United States
Published
5 ()
Optional Fields
MEMORY
55
318
341
Using a comparative-historical framework, this article examines how religious organizational responses to a shared stigmatizing scandal, arising from the sexual abuse of children by church personnel, differ across diverse locales - Ireland, South Africa, and the United States - of a single religious tradition, in this case the Roman Catholic Church. Drawing on previous literature, I identify three perspectives related to responses to sexual scandal in organized religious institutions: strategic self-presentation, lay activism, and church-media relations. Focusing on the Catholic episcopal conferences in the three settings and relying on an analysis of national-level bishops' discourses and practices in the 1988-2013 time span, I find that Catholic legitimations predominate, but appeals to Catholic discourses are more frequent in South Africa than in Ireland and the United States; lay mobilization exerts a partial influence on scandal responses even in contexts providing sociopolitical space for activism from below; and external accountability is influenced by media organizations, but differently so, in all three contexts. Implications for religion and society in general are discussed.
THOUSAND OAKS
0020-7152
10.1177/0020715214551472
Grant Details