Profiles in Catholicism (blog)
February 16, 2021
By Michael Hoffman
The VIRTUS Programs recognizes the great importance of listening to survivors of sexual abuse. Because people who have been abused have courageously come forward to share their stories, we now have a better understanding of how to help prevent sexual abuse from occurring as well as how to address it appropriately. We offer our sincere appreciation for all survivors who have come forward to share their stories and recognize their role in helping to foster healing and prevention in our church. This article was written by a survivor about his own experience and how caring adults can work together to prevent abuse.
My name is Michael Hoffman. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a member of the clergy. I am 55 years old and I remain an active Catholic, despite the abuse I endured when I was a young boy. My wife and I are active within our parish. We raised our children Catholic and we sent our kids to Catholic schools.
Given the sexual abuse imposed upon me from the ages of 12-16 years old by a Catholic priest at the time, it is possible you may not understand my decisions. Typically, it is easier for many people to understand or expect a clergy abuse survivor to walk away from the Church. My efforts to find healing and hope from underneath devastating pain and sadness involves many people. It is also intertwined with the same Church who allowed my abuser to remain in ministry at the time.