By Sooz Jeson, Founder
Many people, including Catholics, mistakenly believe survivors of clergy abuse have rejected the Catholic faith–and the Church. Many of us did. Many still do. But many of us remain Catholic, active Catholics. We may sometimes need to adjust how we relate to the Church in order to be responsible for caring for the wounds we bear, but we are still here. This newsletter issue focuses on ways we have remained active in our faith and in our Church.
What prompted me to suggest this Special Edition to my fellow founders was a letter from Archbishop Blase Cupich to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Entitled “An Invitation to Join Archbishop Cupich in Renewing the Archdiocese of Chicago” and launching the Renew My Church initiative, his letter invited all Catholics to participate in the renewal of the Church. He wrote, “We should not be afraid to face these realities, but rather see this moment as a graced opportunity to chart new ways to live out our mission more fully.” The Archbishop’s newsletter fueled my idea for reminding the Church that many survivors of child abuse by clergy or any other adult in authority have found in their healing a call to share from our deep well of resilience and from the wisdom we have gained from our suffering.
This explains why mercy, for me, plays such a central role in my faith and in my relationship with the Church. As you will read, each of my fellow survivors in this rich issue of our newsletter has found their own unique footing for a renewed relationship with the Church and for serving others. We have also included links to other reports of how survivors of abuse have fostered their own separate peace with the Church to then contribute of their own experiences.
I hope that you are edified by reading this, and that you are inspired to reach out and deepen bonds between survivors and all other Catholics. God has not abandoned us. In experiencing His faithfulness, we have much to teach and to share.