July 22, 2005

Call hearings on abuse, Senator

Philadelphia Inquirer

John Salveson
is the local spokesman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

By now, you're probably familar with U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's comments about the Roman Catholic clergy sex-abuse scandal:

"Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

Santorum's remarks reflect a profound misunderstanding of this scandal. Those of us who were abused by a trusted, often loved, clergy member could describe in exacting detail the first time we were violated - but few of us knew or cared whether the assailant was a liberal or a conservative.

We weren't considering the societal currents that led priests to force us into oral sex. We were terrified, violated and abandoned. And then, if we went to the church for help, we were lied to, berated and abandoned. Our church leaders chose, and mostly still choose, to protect the child rapists in their midst rather than helping the child victims.

Two reasons prompt this response to Santorum's comments. The first is a sincere desire to educate the senator and his colleagues about the truly important points of this issue. Toward that end, we invite him to attend a meeting of clergy sex-abuse survivors to learn about their experiences.

Posted by kshaw at July 22, 2005 08:06 AM