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Celeste McNamara

Celeste McNamara

Celeste McNamara, History Department, recently gave an invited lecture at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, titled “Priests Behaving Badly: The Problem of Scandal in Renaissance Italy.” The talk examined the history of how the Catholic Church has handled sinful priests, arguing that the Church’s contemporary strategies for suppressing scandal are built on a long theological and practical history. Due to the challenges of the Protestant Reformation, the 16th and 17th centuries were particularly important for the development of these strategies. By understanding this longstanding trajectory, we can see how the strategy of hiding clerical crimes and repressing information about bad priests has been centuries in the making.