"(They) understand that the Church needs bishops, and they understand that if the Church is going to heal from this, and move forward from this, that the bishops need to understand the survivor's perspective and that survivors have something to give to heal the Church, even though they are the ones who are least responsible for where we are," White said.
The project will also be promoting research into sociological questions surrounding the crisis, White said, such as: "What was it that made the abuse spike like it did in the middle of the 20th century? Why did that happen? Was this unique to the Catholic Church or were there other institutions who saw similar spikes? Has the Dallas Charter (the bishop's previous abuse prevention plan) worked? And if it has worked, what parts of it have worked? Are there parts that have been implemented but that didn't really make much of a difference, or parts that worked, and what are those parts?"
Another part of the project will work with the business school to come up with ways to help priests and bishops be better managers of their parishes and dioceses.
"When you have an organization that's run transparently and efficiently and well, you're less likely to have parts of the organization where bad things can fester," White said.
"So there's lots of different components to (the project)," he added.
White also recognized that academic work and research are not going to solve completely the problem.
"But it's important, and the work that's going to have to be done in chanceries, and parishes, and bishop's conferences, is work that can be helped by the things that we're going to be doing at CUA," he said.
Other Catholic universities and colleges are responding in similarly strong and broad ways.
Fordham University in New York recently announced a lecture titled "Reckoning and Reform: New Horizons on the Clergy Abuse Crisis" as a part of their ongoing response to the abuse crisis.
David Gibson, director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, told CNA that the event will be a two-part presentation aimed at helping people understand the crisis and what can be done moving forward.
"People are upset and understandably just aghast at what is going on, but in order to find some solutions we have to figure out what has happened," Gibson told CNA.
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Gibson said that by hosting the event in the late afternoon and evening, he hoped to catch some "Catholic regular working folks who are vitally interested in this kind of thing and they can attend," he said.
"Academic conferences are good and a lot of people are doing those kinds of things, but I think it's also really important that we do things that can get regular Catholics coming to attend them and to get informed on these kind of things so it's not just 'professional Catholics'," he said.
Gibson added that Catholic universities and colleges will be "indispensable" in the response to the sex abuse reform, for several reasons: because of their vast array of resources, because, as lay institutions, they now have more credibility with many Catholics than the bishops, and because they are positioned all throughout the country, where they can reach many people.
Another prominent Catholic institution of higher education, the University of Notre Dame, recently published a statement outlining the ways that university has and will continue to address the abuse crisis.
Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame, noted in the statement that in October 2018 the university created two task forces to begin the work of reform: a Campus Engagement Task Force, which "was charged with facilitating dialogue and listening to the observations and recommendations of our campus community," and the Research and Scholarship Task Force, which "considered ways in which Notre Dame might respond and assist the Church in this crisis through its research and scholarship."
He then outlined both the immediate and ongoing steps the university will take to address the crisis, as informed by the task forces.