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The thing that stands out to me when certain (arch)dioceses is NOT what's said.
But what's NOT said.
The problem with too many (arch)dioceses responses to survivors is that nearly, or even completely ignore survivors, their plight, and their needs.
While it's commendable that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is doing a lot to protect children via its Promise to Protect, I can't help but ask.
What about survivors?
If you read the page carefully, and drill down to resources for survivors, you will find two items...
While I'm sure Catholics will be encouraged to find those there, ask a mental health professional and they will be shocked.
Sexual abuse of a child is a traumatic act that requires more than just masses and prayers to recover from. And Sandra Price admitted to me during my March 26, 2019 meeting with Archbishop Robert Carlson and her, the limits of what the Archdiocese of St. Louis offers survivors.
CO: I was never offered the services or told of the existence of an Assistance Coordinator. And this kinds of gets into our (Price and my) stuff. I don’t know what Hengen has told people, but…
The other day I came across a piece entitled Belleville Diocese responds to lawsuit alleging child sex abuse by senior priest in ’80s that contains a passage that perfectly encapsulates the problem with abuse crisis, at least in St. Louis and the surrounding region.
The diocese’s spokesman, Monsignor John Myler, declined to comment on the ongoing litigation in a submitted statement. But he said the diocese has taken steps over nearly two decades “to protect children,” including yearly training for adults to recognize the behavior of offenders and to report it.
“Since 2003, over 36,184 individuals in the diocese have been part of this training,” he wrote.
Children also receive training to learn “skills to help protect themselves from abuse,” according to Myler.
“While the Diocese of Belleville cannot respond to aspects of the specific legal case, we can state that there have been no allegations of childhood sexual abuse occurring during the past 25 years against one of our own diocesan clerics,” Myler wrote. “Cases and allegations, even recent ones, involve episodes of 30, 40, or 50 or more years ago.”
But what about survivors?
I didn't crop that quote conveniently. That's where the monsignor's comments ended. He didn't say anything about what the Diocese of Belleville is doing to help survivors.
I assume because, like the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Diocese of Belleville does nothing to help survivors.