February 03, 2005

Hurt, angered by abuse scandal, Catholics gather to seek healing

Naples Daily News

By JANINE A. ZEITLIN, jazeitlin@naplesnews.com
February 3, 2005

Catholics burdened by how their church leaders tucked decades of sexual abuse by priests into shadows left a North Naples mass Wednesday feeling lighter.

Nearly 500 attendees packed pews at the spacious St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church for the noon mass pulled together by the Southwest Florida chapter of Voice of the Faithful.

The group with 40,000 members nationwide was formed by lay people to respond to unraveling scandals and to support sexual abuse victims and innocent priests.

Devout Catholics compared the church response's to sexual abuse to familial deception.

"It was just like being viscerally hurt by your family. There was a lot of anger," said Peg Clark of East Naples, president of the local chapter.

Of Wednesday's mass, Clark said: "I could feel the embrace. Everything today clicked . . . There was definitely community there."

Posted by kshaw at February 3, 2005 07:30 AM