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BBL Management Speaker Series

Date: Friday, February 14, 2020


BBL Management Speaker Series  |  Friday February 14, 12:00 SB153

Cathy Driscoll

Recycled Rhetoric and Rationalizations: Exploring Moral Disengagement Discourse in Church Leader Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse and its Cover-up

Using content and discourse analysis, I explore moral disengagement in leader response to clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church. I specifically explore the current and historic use of rhetoric and rationalizations in Church leader discourse. Preliminary findings suggest that most rationalizations used by Church leaders continue to fall under the category of displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, and distortion of impacts. “Shifting of blame” is most often to an external locus of control, both secular and spiritual. The discourse has also shifted in some ways. I conclude with a discussion and some implications for research and practice.

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