Judge Janine P. Geske, former Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, is calling on the Roman Catholic Church to use restorative justice practices to address the many harms caused by the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
Reported in a lengthy article in the August issue of the Saint Anthony Messenger, on AmericanCatholic.org, the proposal to employ the methods of restorative justice is nothing new for the longtime jurist, now a distinguished professor of law at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. The law school supports a Restorative Justice Initiative.
Judge Geske envisions using a restorative justice approach in relationships beyond the offending priests and their victims. Parishoners in congregations where the sexual abuse occurred are also in need of healing, she asserts.
“The whole approach here is: Who was harmed and what is the ripple effect of that harm?” explains Judge Geske. In much the same way victims of sexual abuse are told, “Just let go of it and move on,” congregations whose priests and young parishioners were involved in the scandal are also expected to act as if the harms already have been healed.
The effort is to promote understanding and healing,
to whatever degree possible, to both victims and criminals. It can be applied in any situation, including the Church.