Sexual abuse in the Church: Heartbreaking letter from a victim read to priests and seminarians

“I try to survive, to feel joy, but in reality it is an incredibly difficult struggle…”, affirms the victim of sexual abuse in the Church.

A victim of sexual abuse in the Church wrote a letter of testimony to Pope Francis. The Sovereign Pontiff asked the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Cardinal O'Malley, to share it with all priests and seminarians.

The victim, whose anonymity has been preserved, wished to speak on her behalf, but "also on behalf of the other victims ... children who were deeply hurt, from whom their childhood, their purity and their respect were stolen. ".

She deplores the "scars" which "will remain on their soul".

“The Church is my Mother and it hurts me so much when she is hurt, when she is dirty. Adults who experienced this hypocrisy in their childhood will never be able to erase it from their lives. They may forget about it for a while, try to forgive, try to live a full life, but the scars will remain on their soul, they will not go away. "

The victim describes the consequences of this past abuse on her current life.

“I'm trying to survive, to feel joy, but in reality it's an incredibly difficult struggle… I have dissociative identity disorder, severe complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). depression, anxiety, fear of people, mistakes and, I don't sleep or, if I do manage to fall asleep, I still have nightmares. Sometimes when I'm 'outside' I don't see 'here' and 'now'. My body remembers every touch. "

She says she is “afraid of priests, of being around them”. These priests who robbed him of his “second home”, the Church.

“I have a great desire to feel safe in Church, to be able not to be afraid, but my body, my emotions react in completely different ways. "

Then she makes the plea of ​​"truth", because "to live in the truth is to live according to Jesus, to see things with his eyes".

"Please don't sweep things under the carpet, because then they will start to stink, to rot, and the carpet itself will decompose ... Realize that if we cover up these facts, if we keep them quiet, we cover up dirt and thus become a COMPLICE. If we want to live in the truth, we cannot close our eyes! "

The author of this letter ends by appealing to priests, asking them to identify with Christ.

“Realize that you have received a huge gift. The gift of being an 'alter Christus', of being the incarnation of Christ, here in the world. People, and especially children, do not see you as a person, but Christ, Jesus, in whom they have unlimited confidence. "

Cardinal O'Malley introduced the sharing of this letter by honoring the “courageous testimony offered to all priests by a survivor”. He then announced the Pope's desire to welcome “the voice of all those injured”.

“By sharing this testimony, which was offered to us by a victim whose name has not been disclosed for reasons of anonymity, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to welcome the voice of all those injured and show all priests who proclaim the Gospel the path that leads to an authentic service of God for the benefit of all vulnerable people. "


Article originally published in October 2021.

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