Speaker at Conference on Clergy Sex Abuse Shares Her Hopes for the Church
PROMOTING A CHURCH CULTURE OF SUPPORT FOR ABUSE VICTIMS
VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2012 (VIS) – An international symposium entitled “Towards Healing and Renewal” began yesterday evening in Rome’s GregorianUniversity. The event, which will run until 9 February and brings together bishops and religious superiors from all over the world, aims to relaunch the Church’s commitment to protecting minors and vulnerable people from child abuse. During the opening session a message was read out, sent in the Holy Father’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier S.J., rector of the Gregorian.
In his English-language message, Cardinal Bertone notes that, “as His Holiness has often observed, healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community, and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level. … The Holy Father therefore supports and encourages every effort to respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and spiritual growth. He urges the participants in the symposium to continue drawing on a wide range of expertise in order to promote throughout the Church a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support”.
The Pope also prays to the Lord that the symposium may help the Church “to respond in a truly Christ-like manner to the tragedy of child abuse”.
Marie Collins, who was abused by a hospital chaplain when she was just 13 years old, is one of the key speakers at the symposium. She spoke with ZENIT about the suffering she has endured over the decades since being abused, and her hope that this symposium will bring about real change.
Read and interview with Mary at A Victim in Search of Healing.