This conversation features two leading experts on Catholic ethics, both of whom specialize in considering childhood and children’s moral agency, in dialogue on how changing understandings of childhood shape our analysis of the abuse crisis — and how what we have learned about sexual abuse in the church should shape our thinking on childhood.
Cristina L.H. Traina, Ph.D., is the Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. Professor of Catholic Theology at Fordham University. Some of her research foci include the ethics of sexuality, touch and abuse, and children’s moral agency. She is the author of Feminist Ethics and Natural Law, Erotic Attunement: Parenthood and the Ethics of Sensuality, and numerous essays and articles. She joined Fordham in 2020 from Northwestern University, where she taught for nearly 30 years in the Department of Religious Studies.
Jennifer Beste, Ph.D., is the College of Saint Benedict Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture and Professor of Theology at the College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University. She is author of College Hookup Culture and Christian Ethics: The Lives and Longings of Emerging Adults (Oxford University Press, 2018) and God and the Victim: Traumatic Intrusions on Grace and Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2007). Her recent published articles: “Envisioning a Just Response to the Catholic Clergy Abuse Crisis.” Theological Studies (2021) and “Justice for Children: New Directions for Responding to the Catholic Clergy Abuse Crisis,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics (2021).