A Memorial in Oakland

Here is something new.  Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe notes that the new Catholic cathedral in Oakland, California includes a memorial to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

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Here is Paulson: "The new lakeside cathedral here commands attention with its oval shape and glass and steel sheath, but the small garden on its lush lawn catches the eye in a quieter way - two curving rows of privet hedges and mahogany benches embracing a 1,760-pound basalt boulder that has been broken into three pieces, then put back together.

At each entrance to the garden, a plaque spells out its purpose: "This healing garden, planned by survivors, is dedicated to those innocents sexually abused by members of the clergy. We remember, and we affirm: never again."

The garden at the Cathedral of Christ the Light is the nation’s first permanent memorial to abuse victims at a Catholic cathedral, and it appears to mark a new stage in the abuse crisis, as survivors and church officials debate whether and how to commemorate the victimization of more than 10,000 youngsters by more than 4,000 priests. Two Catholic parishes, in Iowa and New Jersey, already have memorials; a religious order in Chicago agreed to build one as part of a legal settlement, but that project stalled when the order asked survivors to suggest the design."

James Martin, SJ

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9 years 10 months ago
The memorial garden is low-key and powerful in its simplicity. While it has been tucked around to the backside of the cathedral building itself, this also lends the area a sense of privacy and intimacy for those who might want solitude in their time there. Anyone who is in the Bay Area will find a trip to the cathedral and this garden well worth their time. There are guided tours each weekday at 1:00 PM.

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