Judging clerical abuse: regulatory responses to sex abuse and the prospect of institutional change

Liturgical scene

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 29 March 2016


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Meredith Edelman


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

The PhD midterm review seminar provides an opportunity for PhD scholars to give an update on the progress of their doctoral research and to receive feedback from beyond their supervisory panel. In this PhD midterm review seminar, Meredith Edelman will discuss her thesis, Justice gap: an examination of responses to the Catholic abuse scandal.

A significant number of Catholic priests have seriously and serially sexually abused children all over the world—and for years, little was done to stop it. Church leaders allowed known and suspected abusers to have access to children and moved abusers from parish to parish. Each of the most recent Popes and many cardinals and bishops have admitted failures and issued apologies.

The Vatican, individual dioceses and archdioceses, and other Catholic organisations have instituted programs to prevent future abuse, made changes to canon law, and developed systems and programs to help survivors. However, survivor advocacy groups, governments, and international bodies remain sharply critical of the Church’s response.

The purpose of this doctoral project is to seek an understanding of:

(1) how Catholic organisations and states have responded to the scandal and their reasons for doing so,

(2) the extent to which those responses have actually stimulated changes in how the organisations respond to allegations of abuse or act to prevent abuse, and

(3) what responses have proved most useful in bridging the gap between the sense of injustice identified by so many observers and survivor advocates and the efforts to do justice taken by civil society and the Church itself.

About the Speaker

Meredith Edelman studied law at the University of Southern California and then clerked for the Honorable Philip R. Martinez of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (El Paso).

After her clerkship, Meredith worked as a bankruptcy and corporate restructuring lawyer for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP and DLA Piper LLP (US), where her work included representing companies effecting transactions involving distressed assets in jurisdictions around the world, as well as representing creditors, debtors, and other interested parties with respect to bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings in the United States.

Meredith has also worked for a legal services organization providing foreclosure and other legal assistance to low income persons in Reno, Nevada. For more information, visit her RegNet profile.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet