March 29, 2005

Don't miss message of hope



On Wednesday night, I participated in a extraordinary event at St. Raphael Catholic Church. At the invitation of Father Pat Berquist, I recounted the difficult story of my long recovery from sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, before an audience of about 80 parishioners and priests from around Fairbanks.

My appearance was the subject of an article that appeared in the News-Miner on Thursday. And I was saddened to read that the reporter, intent on recounting every prurient detail of my life before recovery, missed my points entirely.

I did not shed the armor of discretion to titillate readers or to seek pity for victims but to open a discussion with Catholics about the path to healing and recovery, both for victims of sexual abuse and for the Catholic church.

Clergy sexual abuse leaves a unique mark on the minds of children because it brings into question all their religious training and suppositions set against a criminal act. The years of self-abuse I engaged in were a direct result of an unconscious decision I made as a 10-year old child, the only decision a devoutly Catholic 10-year-old boy raped by a priest could possibly make given my prior indoctrination that I was a sinner and that priests were good and holy men.

Posted by kshaw at March 29, 2005 07:48 AM