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Loyola faculty receive grant for research into sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church

A group of Loyola faculty members have received a grant from Fordham University’s Taking Responsibility Initiative to conduct research into the impact of sexual abuse within the Church.

The grant was awarded to Gina Magyar-Russell, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Rev. Dr. Jill Snodgrass, associate professor of theology, and Rev. Joseph Stewart-Sicking, Ed.D., professor of counseling and department chair of education specialties, along with Rev. Rodney Parker, Ph.D., interim chief equity and inclusion officer, and Rev. Martin Burnham, Ph.D., ’19, Sulpician priest from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“Our project within the larger Taking Responsibility Initiative is important because we need to hear directly from Catholics and former Catholics living in the Archdiocese of Baltimore about how sexual abuse by leaders in the Church has impacted their religious and spiritual lives,” said Magyar-Russell. “Upon analysis of the study findings, the grant funding received for this project will make it possible for our research team to implement mental health and spiritual resources in Archdiocesan parishes and the Baltimore community to help individuals coping with spiritual struggles connected to the sexual abuse crisis.”

The grant—which is given to Jesuit education institutions—aims to conduct research and find methods to repair harm caused by sexual abuse and its concealment in the Catholic Church. Seven Jesuit institutions—including Loyola—have received this grant. Other institutions include Marquette University, Creighton University, Xavier University, Santa Clara University, Gonzaga University, and Georgetown University.

The research project at Loyola explores the religious and spiritual struggles experienced by Catholics and former Catholics within the Archdiocese of Baltimore as a consequence of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. In addition, this research aims to examine closely how Black Catholics are experiencing the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

If you are a Catholic or former Catholic in the Baltimore area, 18 years of age or older, and willing to provide information about your religious and spiritual beliefs, practices, and experiences—particularly considering the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, visit

“In research, marginalized voices are typically not the focus, but these voices are critical for understanding fully phenomena which occur in our society and even in the church,” said Parker. “This research seeks to unearth the silent, suffering voices of the faithful and those separated from the Catholic Church, and hopefully its outcome will be able to help those who struggle spiritually or emotionally to make meaning of life and find God through adversity.”

This research has been approved by the Loyola Institutional Research Board. The Archdiocese of Baltimore is aware of this research study but is not affiliated with the project.

For more information, contact Gina Magyar-Russell,