BishopAccountability.org describes itself as “an archive of archives” that seeks to document the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. It publishes online the records of church administration and abuse for hundreds of dioceses across the United States dating back to the mid-twentieth century. In addition to diocesan and religious order documents, it holds criminal investigation records, accounts from survivors, and media coverage of the crisis. This essay takes up BishopAccountability.org as a queer archive, demonstrating both its effort to liberate victims from the clerical closet and its insistence on the political act of making stories about sex public. Queering this archive also challenges the normative politics of queer history, prompting historians to ask what it would mean to take up the conjunction of these two sites, sexual abuse and Catholicism, as queer—to account not only for sexual practices we value politically but also those we contest.
1 May 2015