St. Bonaventure's Franciscan Institute hosting conference on abuse crises in Catholic Church

Sat, Mar 30th 2019 04:00 pm

 The Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University is hosting a conference on "Franciscan Reform and the Abuse Crises in the Catholic Church" on April 12-13 in the Robert R. Jones Trustees Room in Doyle Hall.

The conference will be live streamed here.

Franciscan scholars from across the country will look at the dynamics of the Church's response to the sexual abuse of minors since 2002 through the unique lens of the Franciscan tradition and its 800-year history of reform and renewal.

The keynote address will be given by Church historian Fr. Joseph Chinnici, O.F.M., from the Franciscan School of Theology in Oceanside, California. His groundbreaking 2010 study, "When Values Collide: The Catholic Church, Sexual Abuse and the Challenges of Leadership," set new standards for leadership responses consonant with Franciscan values of respect, justice, compassion and integrity.

The topic of the keynote and Ignatius Brady Lecture is titled, "Faith, Reform, and Mission When the Church Becomes An Obstacle."

Mary Anne Wirth, a 1975 graduate of St. Bonaventure University and a practicing lawyer with the firm of Bleakley, Platt and Schmidtt, LLIP, out of White Plains, New York, will deliver thoughts on "American Law, Sexual Abuse and the Requirements for Accountability, Transparency and Responsibility." 

Florence Deacon, O.S.F., congregation justice coordinator for the Sisters of the Holy Cross, will speak about new models of reconciliation, truth-telling and mediation that can be used in ministering to hurting families and communities.

Dr. Joshua Benson, chair of the Theological and Franciscan Studies Department at St. Bonaventure University, will speak from his perspective as a Franciscan theologian, a husband and a father, with thoughts on a "Prophetic Demand for Justice."

Organized by Fr. David B. Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., executive director of the Franciscan Institute, the event will be live streamed Friday, April 12, from 7:30-9 p.m. and Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. The stream is available at

Attendance at the event is free; the conference has been generously sponsored by the St. John the Baptist Province of Franciscans.

The Franciscan Institute is an educational unit of the university that provides research, publications, conferences and seminars on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition in the United States and across the world (



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