Along with an admonition for the Church today, Blessed Fulton Sheen also presents an important challenge for Catholics who mistake the wounds of abuse by clergy for solely psychological. They are something greater, involving real-life, practical impact but also the full person, the full human creation of God in His image.
One wise cautionary note from Sheen is that psychology, including therapy for child sexual abuse from clergy, can become “basically a couch-mysticism in the sense that it believes life should be free from crosses. Christianity is, on the contrary, a cross religion.”
While therapy is often critical for recovering from abuse and its lasting impact, the fact that survivors carry a cross from abuse is also true – adding to the real view of abuse by priest-predators who pervert even that human call to a stumbling block for those who must, to heal, reject the reality the abuser offers. Don’t underestimate the added quandary in healing when the abuser was seen as a representative of Church and the Savior.
How can each Catholic make this real to him- or herself? To another? Without understanding the language that can speak into trauma, the evangelical effort can simply re-wound survivors and family members. Learn more about trauma-informed ministries. Learn more about how survivors are speaking to the wound among us. Learn more about the endless graces that reach into every darkness.