Identifying and Reforming Institutions in Jesuit Schools and Universities That Foster Sexual Abuse and Its Concealment
This project is based on Pope Leo the Great’s understanding that the church is a visible, organic society on Earth. Without losing its sacramental dimension, the church runs by the same rules as other visible, organic societies. Our research begins with what has been learned about implementing sustainable reforms in the public and private sectors and applying it to the sexual abuse crisis as it has manifested itself in Jesuit schools and universities. The Nobel Prize-winning work of Douglas North, whose economic study of institutional reform has been used successfully in international development and corporate reform, is the focal point for the research. North defined institutions as “the rules of the game in society or, more formally, [they] are the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction.” Institutional reform seeks to change the underlying norms and incentives that shape behavior in social, political, and economic organizations. Insofar as North also considered the role of beliefs in his work, the research will consider matters related to theology, church history, and pastoral care. The team will develop tools to identify institutions that have impeded reform as well as models for implementing sustainable, institutional reforms.