I have so many thoughts and replies and opinions swirling in my head about the latest round of news of priest sexually abusing children.
I have thoughts and opinions about all of it, including the conversation that we, as an entire Church, need to have about homosexuality.
But today I want to recognize the heroes I read about in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report: the victims who spoke up and the parents who fought for their children.
To the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, I thank you. I thank you for speaking up, for saying something, for fighting until everything you went through was heard and seen by everyone in the world. Thank you for being my hero as someone who was sexually abused as a child. Thank you for giving me the courage to keep on talking. Thank you for being a witness of what true strength and perseverance look like. A million thank yous from me to you. All of you. I hope that my prayers for you and your healing will somehow, by the Grace of God, help you in some way to carry your cross.
To the parents who made noise, who showed up at Bishop offices, who would not go away and who fought for their kids: thank you. I hope that I can follow in your example as a parent and fight for my own children and grandchildren the way that you did. Thank you for being an example of what loving parents look like. You are heroes and I wish there was some way for the world to hold you as the example of how parents should respond to their child telling them someone violated them because that is exactly what you are.
Bishops, you would do well to thank these people as well, rather than try to scapegoat this issue into all of the excuses and “this is the one thing that happened” or acting as if you are not a Bishop who is in charge of a system that helped create this culture of secrecy and avoidance of liability. You, your Excellencies, have the power to change this and us as the laity are going to be here to demand that you do.
If you are someone who has not told your story, thank you too because you matter as well and what happened to you was wrong. From one abuse survivor to you, I love you and pray for you. Please pray for me.