Telling it on a mountain: nunsfortheabused.com

Friend of the blog Rod Dreher has a fine story today in the Wall Street Journal, digging behind a national Godbeat story (studies on Catholic clergy abuse) to find a small story that illuminates the big one. Dreher is a national-level writer on this issue and many others who is hidden inside the editorial pages of the Dallas Morning News.

In this case, two nuns in the mountains of East Tennessee are getting in trouble for their work as advocates of the victims. They are also attempting to wrest additional repentance out of the local Catholic establishment.

At this point, the story has moved beyond the mere numbers in this hellish scandal. Notes Dreher:

The numbers are no abstraction for the victims and their families, but many Catholics whose lives have only been touched indirectly by the scandal are confused over how to respond. Clarity is not at issue for two Cistercian nuns living alone together in a cloister on an Appalachian peak in rural southeast Tennessee. … They run a Web site, through which they invite victims and their families to contact them for intercession. Four days after their Web address was featured recently on a couple of Catholic Web sites, the nuns found themselves swamped by desperate e-mails from all over the country.

“Some of these people are on the verge of suicide,” Mother Veronica says. “Some of these stories are beyond imagining.”

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.


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