The Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture was honored to welcome Joseph P. Chinnici, OFM, Professor of Church History, Franciscan School of Theology, Graduate Theological union, Berkeley, California to our campus. This event, “When Values Collide: the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church and Lessons for Leadership,” explored where the church goes from this point onwards in the aftermath of the sexual abuse crisis by bringing the unresolved issues to the table in an attempt to discern lessons for the future. Chinnici analyzed the church’s relationship to our age and culture and the ways in which leaders misused their power to shore up an institutional vision that ultimately has little to do with the essence of Christianity.
The speaker was introduced by Msgr. Dillabough, Vice President of Mission and Ministry, a co-sponsoring department of this event along with the Center for Christian Spirituality. Father Chinnici addressed an audience of students, faculty and staff as well as members from several parishes within the Diocese of San Diego. After his talk, the audience gathered in small groups to discuss their reactions and opinions. Then, Father Chinnici answered the questions put forth by each discussion group. The goal of this event was to foster discussion and encourage open dialogue.
Father Chinnici has published a book,When Values Collide, which blends his own personal experience of trying to do the right thing in a fraught atmosphere, the best social-scientific and psychological research, and serious reflection by a follower of St. Francis on the way the church’s leaders can re-establish confidence and trust. His study is a searching, balanced, and convincing look at the sexual abuse scandal in the American Catholic Church and its lessons for the future. His book is available for purchase through Orbis Books.