Paulist Center

Semester: 2007 Fall

Students: Becky Jaffe & Dave Baron

The Paulist Center Community offers members and all who gather a warm, spiritual home for progressive Catholics.

In May 2006, the Paulist Center established the Paulist North American Office for Reconciliation “To develop a wide pastoral process to address the needs for dialogue and reconciliation in the Church today.”  The center seeks to address the needs of a church community traumatized by the sexual abuse scandal and conflict over numerous Church teachings and positions. The idea of this project was to evaluate one proposed method for promoting reconciliation within the Catholic community. The proposed idea, called a “safe space,” would provide alienated Catholics with a low-risk, facilitated space where they can engage in dialogue and active listening with other Catholics and members of the Catholic hierarchy.

HNMCP helped develop this model by convening and facilitating two groups of participants, following and analyzing their experiences to create a set of recommendations on how to craft the program moving forward.

Our work

Evaluate the “safe space” model

Step 1: Research and understand the issues involved in internal Catholic Church conflicts and similar dispute resolution efforts in the field.

Step 2: Work with Bob Bowers, Consultant for Outreach and Reconciliation at the Paulist Center in Boston, for orientation, planning and the construction of the two groups.

Step 3: Develop and run the “safe space” model, including the interview process for potential participants.

Step 4: Conduct exit interviews with each participant, focusing on whether their expectations for the effort were met.

Step 5: Reconvene the group and present the project’s findings to the group for review and for their comments.

Final Product

Finalized facilitation manual for the ‘safe space model.

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