A Journey for Justice

October 27, 2010

[with video]

Clergy sex abuse victims from around the world are making a journey for justice.

They are headed for Saint Peter's Square in Rome to take part in Reformation Day events on Sunday.

Gary Bergeron and Bernie McDade are two of the people leaving for Rome.

Gary Bergeron packs for a trip to Rome. Sunday, the Salem, New Hampshire man will stand in the shadow of the Vatican -- shoulder to shoulder -- with hundreds -- he hopes -- thousands of other survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Click here for the full interview with Gary Bergeron

As the sexual abuse crisis sweeps through Europe, Bergeron and Bernie McDaid -- of Peabody, Massachusetts, will gather with survivors from 13 countries. What they're calling Reformation Day -- lighting candles and observing a 60 second moment of silence.

The men have been at the epicenter of the abuse crisis since it erupted in Boston in 2002. Both men say they were abused as children by Massachusetts priest Joseph Birmingham. He has since died, but stands accused of molesting 40 boys as church leaders allegedly shuffled him from parish to parish.

In a recent meeting with abuse victims in Malta, Pope Benedict promised them the church would do "all in its power" to bring offenders to justice and protect children, but despite an apology from the Pope, all some survivors see are empty promises.

The men say for real change to happen people need to put aside the power of the priesthood -- to not see the crisis as sexual abuse of children by clergymen, but simply sexual abuse of children by men.

A journey, the men say, which has been and will be long and arduous.

NECN has a crew in Rome and will bring you a report on Sunday.


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