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Redeeming Power

Updated: Aug 31, 2021


The International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology (INSeCT) is undertaking a 3-year, global research project on ‘the nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to the power of theology to overcome power abuse in Church and Society’.

As its response, the European Society of Catholic Theology (ESCT) launched Redeeming Power: Overcoming Abuse in Church and Society, an interdisciplinary, collaborative research initiative, directed by InSpiRe’s Dr Stephen Bullivant.

Other institutions involved:

  1. Heythrop College (UK)

  2. University College Dublin (Ireland)

  3. KU Leuven (Belgium)

  4. University of Trnava (Slovakia)

  5. University of Opole (Poland)

  6. Durham University (UK)

We are exploring, in a constructive manner, ways in which abuses of power – whether individual or collective – may be overcome and prevented in the future. While the scope of the project is intentionally broad (eg including abuse in families, the media, and politics), the sexual abuse crisis in the Church naturally forms a major focus.


Redeeming Power Conferencem, held on 4th-5th September 2012

A two-day conference was held at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, to launch Redeeming Power. Organized in conjunction with Heythrop College (University of London) and the Centre for Catholic Studies (Durham University) and an interdisciplinary, collaborative initiative of the European Society of Catholic Theology.


  1. Anna Arco (freelance journalist)

  2. Rt Revd John Arnold (Auxiliary Bishop, Westminster)

  3. Revd Prof. John Bell (Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, UK)

  4. Prof Annemie Dillen (Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, KU Leuven, Belgium)

  5. Sr Nuala Kenny SC (Professor Emerita of Bioethics, Dalhousie University, Canada)

  6. Revd Dr Dariusz Krok (Assistant Professor of Psychology, Opole University, Poland)

  7. Mgr Charles Scicluna (Promotor of Justice, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Holy See)

  8. Madeleine Teahan (Assistant Editor, Catholic Herald)

PLUS short papers from researchers and practitioners in the fields of theology, psychology, bioethics, social work, canon law, and safeguarding, from Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, the UK, and the USA.

Conference Aims

  1. The aim of the event was to bring together researchers from a wide range of disciplines, interested in: a) examining the nature, scope, and context of abuses of power, both in the Church and beyond; and b) investigating the means by which they may be overcome.

  2. While the sexual abuse crisis naturally formed a major focus of the conference (and project), this could not be understood within a vacuum. We were therefore keen to explore all other issues relating to the topic of theology, power, and abuse.

  3. The conference identified a number of key themes that will guide and inform the Redeeming Power project, leading to a number of events, projects and publications across Europe.

Press Coverage


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