Cross-posted from The Dawn Patrol:
Fr. David Meconi, S.J., editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review—the foremost U.S. publication for priests and pastoral caregivers—has published an editorial endorsing My Peace I Give You, my book on healing from childhood sexual abuse. He recommends it as an example of how the Church under Francis is moving forward to help the wounded.
In the editorial, “Abuse and Scandal,” Fr. Meconi writes:
Perhaps, God allowed us Catholics to become the opprobrium of the nations in order to show the world how best to put into place guidelines and policies that would protect his children.
Dawn Eden is one of these courageous children of God. She is a fervent student of theology, a public speaker, a Catholic convert, writer, evangelist … and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. In her recent book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints (Ave Maria Press, 2012), Ms. Eden painfully and purgatively recalls her being abused as a young Jewish girl. At the age of five, she was manipulated by a 70-year-old janitor into lewd acts at the temple where her family worshiped. As terrible and (what used to be) unimaginable as this might be, Dawn reveals a new layer of hurt as she writes about the day she finally told her mother, who responded: “How could you let him do that? … If you knew it was wrong, how could you let it happen?” It has taken Dawn decades to begin to recover; and in imitation of the resurrected, yet still pierced, Christ, she has allowed these wounds to speak to our world of God’s power to heal and to transform each of us. …
These efforts of hers serve as a microcosm of a greater story—the wounds of Christ’s body being healed by the grace of God—enabling a broken creature to stand up and announce that she is the daughter of an incessantly loving and ever-protective Father.
This ugly chapter of the Church’s life has not been fully chronicled, but there is always the hope of Easter, and Christ’s promises of new life. Perhaps, we should all pray and work for that next chapter. Each of us should surely offer some sort of penance and sacrifice for the sins of our fathers. What special sacrifices could each of us make on, say, Fridays during Ordinary Time? Leaders like Pope Francis and Ms. Eden give me the verve to do so
Read the full editorial on the Homiletic & Pastoral Review website.