Karen Becker of the office of victim assistance for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia responded to my last letter to Justin Cardinal Rigali. In her letter to me she says that he shared that letter with her. According to Ms. Becker one of the steps taken by the archdiocese has been a support group. She goes on to say that the support group, “was widely publicized in parishes and secular newspapers”. That very well could be true but I, in one of the abutting dioceses, did not hear a word about this. Not that I would go to one. There is still a huge level of distrust on my part, (and on the part of many victims), and I love the Church.
I go back to the story of the man I met on retreat who said to me in a painfully honest expression of anger, that he wanted to bash my head in. This because I was dressed as a priest so symbolized to him all that violated him and has caused him ongoing pain. He probably wouldn’t know of anything publicized in parishes. And I would venture to guess has an even bigger distrust of the Church than I do.
What is the answer? I do not know. Obviously Philadelphia thinks that they are doing enough. I disagree but what needs to be done? Grass roots door knocking and pursuing victims continuously, down and dirty outreach that also goes outside of the box that is parish centered. I wonder how many individual letters offering help, offering Grief to Grace or some other therapeutic entity, were sent out to the individuals who are known victims of the priests named in the Attorney General’s Gran Jury Report? The obvious next step is wondering if individual letters, (and I’m not talking about sterile form-esq letters), were sent in other diocese to the known victims of abuse?
Will what they do, (they being the hierarchy), ever be enough? I fear not because what has been lost by so many victims and their families can never be properly replaced. We can not be made whole again. The Potter made us out of clay. We were broken by the Potters trusted servants. Put us back together and we can become pots again but we will always show signs that we have been broken. It’s like the resurrected Jesus still bearing the wounds of crucifixion.