Boston Victims Lead Reformation Day in Rome

October 31, 2010

[with video]

(NECN: Steve Aveson) - Clerical sex abuse survivors from at least 12 countries were in Rome today to mark "Reformation Day."

They hope to focus the world's attention on sexual abuse in the church. The event is led by abuse victims from Boston.

The child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church made international headlines when victims came forward in Boston ten years ago. It turns out it was not just a small problem restricted to New England, and those international headlines became painfully local in countries around the world.

In many cases the church has apologized for the horror and made promises of change for the future. Today, victims pressed the Vatican to keep those promises.

They've protested in Boston since the beginning of the scandal, and this week Gary Bergeron and Bernie McDade left from Logan Airport to join with victims from around the world to lift their voice together at the Vatican.

"I'm here to ask the world to help survivors of this problem now to stand up for the problem which is child sexual abuse," said McDade. "World wide. It's not just in the church. The cover-up in the hierarchy of the church specifically is larger than in any other institution in the world and it needs to be addressed and stopped now."

McDade joined marchers from Italy, Germany, and other countries this morning on the path from Castel St. Angelo to the Vatican to push for the delivery of promises made.

Not just apologizing and cleaning up the problems of the past, but according to McDade and co organizer Gery Bergeron, they're working to make sure this problem is recognized as a crime and action is taken to ensure its not allowed to happen again.

Our cameras were not allowed into the Vatican today but letters were delivered from 75 victims and a Vatican spokesman did allow those to be brought inside.

Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.