A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Trauma in the Church – Naming the Symptoms


In recent years our work has brought us into regular contact with many religious congregations and dioceses. While Kevin’s work has been with diocesan clergy, Cora’s work has been with religious congregations involving facilitation of pre-chapter and chapter meetings. Both of us work from a systemic perspective which led us to be attentive to rganizational or group symptoms rather than individual symptoms. Instead of asking ourselves is this individual displaying diminished loyalty, cynicism or lack of involvement, we asked ourselves the question: might his or her congregation / diocese be displaying such symptoms? We have been observing the ‘symptoms’ but failing to name what they indicate. In this article we propose to do so.