Confronting abuse

The New York Times reports on a seemingly counterintuitive theater collaboration in Boston, where a one-man play about clergy sexual abuse is being staged at the Paulist Center in the heart of the city:

 “Conversations With My Molester: A Journey of Faith,” chronicles the abuse of Michael Mack, the play’s writer, at the hands of a priest when he was 11. He covers the shame he felt, the feelings of powerlessness, his near-brush with inflicting abuse himself, and the healing that the play has brought him.

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Fr. Rick Walsh, CSP, a priest at the Paulist Center, stood on stage with Mack and said the play was a kind of ministry in itself:

Father Walsh, on stage with Mr. Mack for the post-play discussion, told him that he nonetheless was doing something “very priestly.”

“You are offering a sense of forgiveness. You’re helping people to see,” Father Walsh said. “You can reach people through this medium that I can’t reach.”

Just a couple of years after the Boston Globe highlighted the abuse there, I attended a one-man play chronicling the testimony of Cardinal Bernard Law. The actor simply read the testimony verbatim from the transcript, and yet the effect was powerful. The sexual abuse story is one that is still not understood fully by those whose lives were not affected directly and productions like these might help explore the immense human failings that allowed for such evil to go on unabated for decades.

The New York Times article is here and an earlier Boston Globe story on the play here.

Michael J. O’Loughlin

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