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.

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