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Catholic News

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

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 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Full Article

post a comment

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz MuthBy Zita Ballinger FletcherWASHINGTON(CNS) -- Sexual assault victims say they were hurt not only by individualpriests, but by church officials and ordinary Catholics who treated them withintolerance and indifference.Foursurvivors of sexual assaults by priests shared their stories with Catholic NewsService. They are: Jim VanSickle and Mike McDonnell of Pennsylvania, MichaelNorris of Houston and Judy Larson of Utah.Manyof them have not been to a Catholic church in years. They say the hardhearted attitudes of diocesan officials, staff and ordinary churchgoers and an atmosphere at their parishes allowed the abuse."Beingraised Catholic, I remember -- you don't speak out against your own church,"said VanSickle. "Nobody's going to listen to you."Mostof them belonged to what they described as extremely traditional parishes and said they were attacked asvulnerable children. Their view of Catholicism changed when fellow believersshowed them no compassion and acted to ...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By Zita Ballinger Fletcher

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sexual assault victims say they were hurt not only by individual priests, but by church officials and ordinary Catholics who treated them with intolerance and indifference.

Four survivors of sexual assaults by priests shared their stories with Catholic News Service. They are: Jim VanSickle and Mike McDonnell of Pennsylvania, Michael Norris of Houston and Judy Larson of Utah.

Many of them have not been to a Catholic church in years. They say the hardhearted attitudes of diocesan officials, staff and ordinary churchgoers and an atmosphere at their parishes allowed the abuse.

"Being raised Catholic, I remember -- you don't speak out against your own church," said VanSickle. "Nobody's going to listen to you."

Most of them belonged to what they described as extremely traditional parishes and said they were attacked as vulnerable children. Their view of Catholicism changed when fellow believers showed them no compassion and acted to protect selfish interests.

"I've known others that came forward. They were ridiculed and ostracized -- even by their own family members," said VanSickle, 55. He stood next to Attorney General Josh Shapiro when grand jury findings were released to the public Aug. 14. He had suffered silently for 37 years after being sexually abused by a priest at age 16.

"We lived in a neighborhood where most of the people in the subdivision were Catholic. Everything in our lives revolved around the church," said Larson, who is now retired and in her 70s. "To be in that kind of environment and try to say something horrible happened to you, by a person everybody thinks is a god on earth, you're all alone."

The abuses these survivors suffered at the hands of priests were not crimes of passion, they said, but cold exploitations of control. Most victims were not aware that their attackers were serial abusers. Each felt alone when he or she was victimized.

"I think it's opportunistic," said VanSickle. "I feel like I was targeted."

"It's a lifelong impact. I deal with it every single day," said Norris, a chemical engineer. He said he was abused by a priest in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 10. After many years of struggle, he revealed the truth to his devout parents at a point when he "couldn't take it anymore."

When he acted to report the abuse, he and his family members were mistreated by fellow Catholics in the archdiocese.

"They discredited me," he said. "Probably the biggest disappointment in my life was how the church responded to my accusations. Maybe I was naive, but I expected them to believe my story and take action. When they didn't do what I saw as morally right, I became more disillusioned with their teachings."

Survivors also faced a stigma caused by sexual assault. The victims were molested at an age when they did not know about sex. Confused, they realized what happened when they grew up. Feeling disgust, anger and shame, they feared hostile reactions from their traditional communities.

"When I was growing up, we were told, 'It would be better for you to die than lose your virtue.' This was told to me in fourth grade," said Larson. "I didn't know what 'lose your virtue' meant."

She was raped by a priest one year later at age 10. After realizing the truth as an adult, she did not tell her parents. She knew they would not listen, since it was taboo to speak ill of a priest or nun in their presence.

Some Catholics viewed sex as scandalous and treated victims as if they were contaminated.

"People say, 'You're a bad person,' or 'You must have wanted it,'" said VanSickle. "It's amazing that they attack their own people. They attack their own faithful."

The survivors are disillusioned with the way church officials handle abuse cases. This disillusionment has affected their personal beliefs.

Norris is no longer Christian. "I personally can't set foot in another church because of what's happened and the way I was treated," he said.

Larson hasn't been inside a church in over 50 years. "For a lot of us, going to church is a triggering experience. It's re-traumatizing to victims," she said.

VanSickle said he has strong belief in Jesus and has become a Christian. His family members are Catholic. He welcomes interactions with Catholics and wishes to be reconciled with the church, but wants the institution to change first.

"To be away from the Eucharist in my life is a hard thing to deal with because of my belief as a Catholic," he said. "But I can't reconcile myself with the church until I see change."

They feel sorry for Catholics who are struggling with their beliefs in light of the recent grand jury report. Norris and VanSickle say they do not wish for Catholics to lose their faith.

Despite the pain caused by recent revelations, they hope change will result.

"It reopens a wound from the past for me as a survivor. But I'm also extremely happy that this information is coming to light," said McDonnell, a specialist at a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Philadelphia, regarding the recent grand jury report. "It is vindication and validation for many survivors and victims."

He believes the church needs to stop withholding information about abuse and be honest with the public. "It will invite people back to the Catholic Church once they see that the church is not just publicly making a statement that 'we're sorry,'" he said.

As the church hierarchy considers change, Catholics can make simple changes in their homes and parishes. According to Larson, the average age for a clergy sexual abuse victim to come forward is 42. As child victims grow into adults, they begin to realize what happened to them -- and fall silent due to religious and social pressures. Ordinary Catholics can solve this problem, she said, by treating others around them with openheartedness instead of moral superiority.

"Be compassionate," said Larson, sharing her advice to families coping with revelations of abuse. "Believe your family member. They're in pain. And they've held this terrible secret for many, many years because of their fear of your reaction when they tell you."

One of the hardest things Norris experienced in his life was the shattering effect of the abuse on his parents. They did not find out about it until they were much older. One of the last things his father expressed on his deathbed was sorrow for what happened.

VanSickle said a family's first responsibility is to love and believe a child who speaks out about sexual abuse by clergy.

"They need to wrap their arms around that kid and make them feel safe. That never happened for me," he said. "You need to hug and protect your child first. Deal with the church after."

McDonnell said victims recover with support from others, including fellow survivors.

"Part of the healing process is coming forward. I'm only as sick as my secrets," he added. "Talk to somebody."

- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Full Article

post a comment

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, ReutersBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "No effort must be spared"to prevent future cases of clerical sexual abuse and "to prevent thepossibility of their being covered up," Pope Francis said in a letteraddressed "to the people of God.""I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by manyminors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscienceperpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons,"the pope wrote in the letter dated and released Aug. 20.The letter was published less than a week after the releaseof a Pennsylvania grand jury report on decades of clerical sexual abuse andcoverups in six dioceses. The report spoke of credible allegations against 301priests in cases involving more than 1,000 children."The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which criesout to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced," Pope Francissaid. "But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant tosi...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "No effort must be spared" to prevent future cases of clerical sexual abuse and "to prevent the possibility of their being covered up," Pope Francis said in a letter addressed "to the people of God."

"I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons," the pope wrote in the letter dated and released Aug. 20.

The letter was published less than a week after the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on decades of clerical sexual abuse and coverups in six dioceses. The report spoke of credible allegations against 301 priests in cases involving more than 1,000 children.

"The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced," Pope Francis said. "But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence them."

"The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain," he said, "and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults."

In his letter, Pope Francis insisted all Catholics must be involved in the effort to accompany victims, to strengthen safeguarding measures and to end a culture where abuse is covered up.

While the letter called all Catholics to prayer and fasting, it does not change any current policies or offer specific new norms.

It did, however, insist that "clericalism" has been a key part of the problem and said the involvement of the laity will be crucial to addressing the crime and scandal.

Change, he said, will require "the active participation of all the members of God's people."

"Many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred," he said, are groups where there has been an effort to "reduce the people of God to small elites."

"Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to a split in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today," Pope Francis said. "To say 'no' to abuse is to say an emphatic 'no' to all forms of clericalism."

In his letter, Pope Francis acknowledged the church's failure.

"With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives," he wrote.

"We showed no care for the little ones," Pope Francis said. "We abandoned them."

"Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient," he said. "Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated."

Recognizing the safeguarding policies that have been adopted in various parts of the world as well as pledges of "zero tolerance" for abusive clerics, Pope Francis also acknowledged that "we have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future."

As members of the church, he said, all Catholics should "beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others."

Pope Francis also asked Catholics to pray and to fast so that they would be able to hear "the hushed pain" of abuse survivors.

He called for "a fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary. A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combating all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience."

- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlos Barria, ReutersBy Zita Ballinger FletcherWASHINGTON(CNS) -- Sexual assault victims say they were hurt not only by individualpriests, but by church officials and ordinary Catholics who treated them withintolerance and indifference.Foursurvivors of sexual assaults by priests shared their stories with Catholic NewsService. They are: Jim VanSickle and Mike McDonnell of Pennsylvania, MichaelNorris of Houston and Judy Larson of Utah.Manyof them have not been to a Catholic church in years. They say the atmosphere oftheir former parishes created breeding grounds for abuse due to the hardheartedattitudes of diocesan officials, staff and ordinary churchgoers."Beingraised Catholic, I remember -- you don't speak out against your own church,"said VanSickle. "Nobody's going to listen to you."Mostof them belonged to extremely traditional parishes and were attacked asvulnerable children. Their view of Catholicism changed when fellow believersshowed them no compassion and act...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters

By Zita Ballinger Fletcher

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sexual assault victims say they were hurt not only by individual priests, but by church officials and ordinary Catholics who treated them with intolerance and indifference.

Four survivors of sexual assaults by priests shared their stories with Catholic News Service. They are: Jim VanSickle and Mike McDonnell of Pennsylvania, Michael Norris of Houston and Judy Larson of Utah.

Many of them have not been to a Catholic church in years. They say the atmosphere of their former parishes created breeding grounds for abuse due to the hardhearted attitudes of diocesan officials, staff and ordinary churchgoers.

"Being raised Catholic, I remember -- you don't speak out against your own church," said VanSickle. "Nobody's going to listen to you."

Most of them belonged to extremely traditional parishes and were attacked as vulnerable children. Their view of Catholicism changed when fellow believers showed them no compassion and acted to protect selfish interests.

"I've known others that came forward. They were ridiculed and ostracized -- even by their own family members," said VanSickle, 55. He stood next to Attorney General Josh Shapiro when grand jury findings were released to the public Aug. 14. He had suffered silently for 37 years after being sexually abused by a priest at age 16.

"We lived in a neighborhood where most of the people in the subdivision were Catholic. Everything in our lives revolved around the church," said Larson, who is now retired and in her 70s. "To be in that kind of environment and try to say something horrible happened to you, by a person everybody thinks is a god on earth, you're all alone."

The abuses these survivors suffered at the hands of priests were not crimes of passion, they said, but cold exploitations of control. Most victims were not aware that their attackers were serial abusers. Each felt alone when he or she was victimized.

"I think it's opportunistic," said VanSickle. "I feel like I was targeted."

"It's a lifelong impact. I deal with it every single day," said Norris, a chemical engineer. He said he was abused by a priest in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 10. After many years of struggle, he revealed the truth to his devout parents at a point when he "couldn't take it anymore."

When he acted to report the abuse, he and his family members were mistreated by fellow Catholics in the archdiocese.

"They discredited me," he said. "Probably the biggest disappointment in my life was how the church responded to my accusations. Maybe I was naive, but I expected them to believe my story and take action. When they didn't do what I saw as morally right, I became more disillusioned with their teachings."

Survivors also faced a stigma caused by sexual assault. The victims were molested at an age when they did not know about sex. Confused, they realized what happened when they grew up. Feeling disgust, anger and shame, they feared hostile reactions from their traditional communities.

"When I was growing up, we were told, 'It would be better for you to die than lose your virtue.' This was told to me in fourth grade," said Larson. "I didn't know what 'lose your virtue' meant."

She was raped by a priest one year later at age 10. After realizing the truth as an adult, she did not tell her parents. She knew they would not listen, since it was taboo to speak ill of a priest or nun in their presence.

Some Catholics viewed sex as scandalous and treated victims as if they were contaminated.

"People say, 'You're a bad person,' or 'You must have wanted it,'" said VanSickle. "It's amazing that they attack their own people. They attack their own faithful."

The survivors are disillusioned with the way church officials handle abuse cases. This disillusionment has affected their personal beliefs.

Norris is no longer Christian. "I personally can't set foot in another church because of what's happened and the way I was treated," he said.

Larson hasn't been inside a church in over 50 years. "For a lot of us, going to church is a triggering experience. It's re-traumatizing to victims," she said.

VanSickle said he has strong belief in Jesus and has become a Christian. His family members are Catholic. He welcomes interactions with Catholics and wishes to be reconciled with the church, but wants the institution to change first.

"To be away from the Eucharist in my life is a hard thing to deal with because of my belief as a Catholic," he said. "But I can't reconcile myself with the church until I see change."

They feel sorry for Catholics who are struggling with their beliefs in light of the recent grand jury report. Norris and VanSickle say they do not wish for Catholics to lose their faith.

Despite the pain caused by recent revelations, they hope change will result.

"It reopens a wound from the past for me as a survivor. But I'm also extremely happy that this information is coming to light," said McDonnell, a specialist at a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Philadelphia, regarding the recent grand jury report. "It is vindication and validation for many survivors and victims."

He believes the church needs to stop withholding information about abuse and be honest with the public. "It will invite people back to the Catholic Church once they see that the church is not just publicly making a statement that 'we're sorry,'" he said.

As the church hierarchy considers change, Catholics can make simple changes in their homes and parishes. According to Larson, the average age for a clergy sexual abuse victim to come forward is 42. As child victims grow into adults, they begin to realize what happened to them -- and fall silent due to religious and social pressures. Ordinary Catholics can solve this problem, she said, by treating others around them with openheartedness instead of moral superiority.

"Be compassionate," said Larson, sharing her advice to families coping with revelations of abuse. "Believe your family member. They're in pain. And they've held this terrible secret for many, many years because of their fear of your reaction when they tell you."

One of the hardest things McDonnell experienced in his life was the shattering effect of the abuse on his parents. They did not find out about it until they were much older. One of the last things his father expressed on his deathbed was sorrow for what happened.

VanSickle said a family's first responsibility is to love and believe a child who speaks out about sexual abuse by clergy.

"They need to wrap their arms around that kid and make them feel safe. That never happened for me," he said. "You need to hug and protect your child first. Deal with the church after."

McDonnell said victims recover with support from others, including fellow survivors.

"Part of the healing process is coming forward. I'm only as sick as my secrets," he added. "Talk to somebody."

- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Full Article

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 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, ArchbishopTimothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee onInternational Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveyingthe Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work forpeace and justice in Nicaragua. In his statement, ArchbishopBroglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of yourbishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops ofNicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."Archbishop Broglio's fullstatement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm---Keywords: United States Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace###Media Contact: Judy Keane202-541-3200

 WASHINGTON— Following a visit to Nicaragua last week, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today conveying the Church in America's support for the Nicaraguan bishops' efforts to work for peace and justice in Nicaragua.

In his statement, Archbishop Broglio of the Military Services, USA said, "I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God's love" and that the U.S. bishops with the bishops of Nicaragua "walk in the service of truth, of the poor, and of peace."

Archbishop Broglio's full statement follows: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/nicaragua/statement-by-archbishop-broglio-on-visit-to-nicaragua-2018-08-17.cfm

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Broglio, Nicaragua, justice, peace

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Full Article

post a comment

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