The sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church compels a reassessment of topics within both pastoral theology and Christology. The possible connection between the Passion narratives and the reality of sexual abuse is an obvious, but so far neglected, resource for this work. The research project ‘When Did We See You Naked?’ at the University of Otago (2018-20) investigates three related areas.

1. The historical question: ‘Did the torture and crucifixion of Jesus involve some form of sexual abuse?’

2. The pastoral question: ‘What difference should this make for the Church today?’

3. The theological question: ‘What consequences does this have for a theological understanding of God’s gracious and healing presence in the world?’

The voices of survivors should take a central role in exploring these questions. This report offers a brief discussion of theologians and biblical scholars who have identified Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse, and presents initial findings from pilot interviews with a small group of survivors on their responses to this, and their thoughts on its significance.

Read the Spanish version here

When Did We See You Naked?’ Project website



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