Church needs to do more than provide financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse

St. Catharines Standard [St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada]

January 17, 2022

By Brenda Coleman, Catherine M. Pead, and RJ McCabe

Concerned Lay Catholics organization working with Recovery Speaking Initiative to amplify voices of clergy abuse victims

Church must address wounded souls

Re: Victim awarded $1 million in lawsuit against ex-priest Donald Grecco and diocese, Jan. 5

Concerned Lay Catholics is pleased to hear of the recent settlement of $1 million awarded to a survivor by the Diocese of St. Catharines. Settlements are very important. They provide survivors with resources to deal with the lifelong impact of the trauma that results from sexual abuse.

Settlements, however, are only one component of a comprehensive pastoral response needed by the church. The abuse of an individual is not an isolated event but always happens within the context of a community.

In addition to financial settlements, as a church we need to address the wounded souls and broken relationships individuals suffer along with their families, parishes and spiritual communities.

Recently Pope Francis announced an initiative for the whole church called ‘synodality’ in which he calls all of us to become a ‘listening church.’ Concerned Lay Catholics, an organization formed in response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, is working with Bob McCabe, founder of Recovery Speaking Initiative, a victims support organization, to amplify the voices of clergy abuse victims and to bring those voices into the synodal process so we can start to heal together.

Brenda Coleman, Concerned Lay Catholics, Niagara/Haldimand; Catherine M. Pead, Concerned Lay Catholics in Canada; and RJ McCabe, Recovery Speaking Initiative