A Voice for Survivors

For the first time, an international meeting of bishops’ representatives heard testimony from a survivor of sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic clergy. The testimony was part of an effort to help clerics be more aware of the impact of abuse and how the church can better help victims. The Anglophone Conference on the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults has been meeting since 1996, and this year organizers invited an Irish survivor of abuse, Colm O’Gordon, to speak before the conference. Teresa Kettelkamp [pictured], head of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, said it was critical for church representatives from countries where the abuse problem has not yet been fully addressed to hear directly from a victim. She said, “We can always learn more of how we can better help victims-survivors heal and find reconciliation, but actually hearing directly from them and the impact the abuse had on them is always very powerful.” The conference met in Rome from May 30 to June 3.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Pope Francis’ statements...were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement released Jan. 20.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 20, 2018
 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
The U.S. bishops had an unusually busy year issuing positive and negative statements about the new president, but some hoped for more decisive action against his policies.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018
Transgender patients “need to know they are welcome and they will not be looked down upon” if they come to Catholic institutions seeking treatment, says Sister Carol Keehan.
Kevin ClarkeJanuary 19, 2018