I’ll never forget back in 2004, typing “clergy sexual abuse” in the internet search box and being blown away by how many books were already available on the subject.
The sheer number of books was not what floored me but the fact that there seemed to be a whole world out there of which I, as a practicing Catholic, was totally unaware.
It has been a well-known fact throughout history that the Roman Catholic Church practices censorship and believes in hiding certain tomes that contain information it wishes to keep secret. The many works on clergy sexual abuse are no different. You will not find these books in any Catholic parish library but each one of them ought to be read by every single practicing and donating Catholic and American taxpayer.
Make no mistake about it, some of the pages in these books are very difficult to read. The entire subject matter of childhood sexual abuse is not one that most people gravitate to willingly. I have had to put books down after only a few pages because I just couldn’t read anymore at the same sitting. The following day – or week – I’d plug away, little bits at a time, as much as I could stomach.
Many of the books were written by survivors. Although telling their story can be a vital component of their recovery process, it can be extremely painful for them to relive the trauma their younger selves were forced to endure and be reminded of all the negative effects that trauma had on their lives, as if they needed any reminding.
Reading true accounts of childhood sexual assault by religious figures is, in a way, experiencing the assault along with the child. It is painful. It is ugly. It is a burden. But, isn’t that the least we can do for innocent victims and survivors of such heinous crimes?
There is a saying, “A smile shared is doubled; a burden shared is halved”. For so long, many survivors of childhood sexual assault were voiceless. Many survivors of sex crimes in the Catholic Church were forced to sign confidentiality agreements which silenced them even further. For those who have mustered the courage to share their stories with the public, the rest of humanity owes it to them – if nothing else – to listen, to hear.
Please browse through the Books, Films, VideoLinks, Commentary, and Directory pages and begin – or continue – to journey with the many good people who have been most cruelly treated by the Church that many of them once loved.
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