Sins of the Fathers > Sins > TOC > What About Survivors?

When people — the press, (arch)dioceses, and laypeople — talk about the Catholic sex abuse crisis, they always talk about kids.

And prevention.

Which is great.

But what about survivors?

What about those of us who — already — were sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted as children?

And worse as adults?

As a survivor, in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I ask you — I BEG you — to not assume that survivors are being helped.

And the sex abuse crisis portion of the web site of my own Archdiocese of St. Louis makes it clear why that is necessary.

Promise to Protect

Promise to protect.


So important.

But what about those of use who weren't protected?

Those of us who were harmed as children? And worse when we went to our (arch)dioceses for help as adults?

What about survivors?

What About Survivors?

There are two elements to the Catholic sex abuse crisis...

  • Kids
  • Survivors

...and two, one would hope, equally important sets of obligations...

  • Protecting
  • Healing

The recognition of that fact — of that dual responsibility — is embedded in the graphic the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) produced.

Promise to Protect Pledge to Heal

Both responsibilities are there, as they should be...

  • Promise to Protect. Kids.
  • Promise to Heal. Survivors.


Thank you.

The Problem

But there's a problem.

In too many cases, including my own, the second part of that promise isn't being honored.

The Pledge to Heal part, and survivors, are — literally — being cropped out of the picture.

Promise to Protect

The (cropped) version of the USCCB Promise & Pledge graphic, which omits the pledge — and the recognition of the Catholic Church's obligation to survivors — cuts us out of the picture, is from the Diocese of Scranton.

And my own Archdiocese of St. Louis has done the same thing.

Which is why I must ask it again.

What about survivors?


Sure the Catholic Church did some terrible things in the past. But, at least, those were the mistakes of the past.

As the movie SPOTLIGHT made clear, while it took too long, the Catholic Church is finally doing the right thing.

It's helping survivors.



While SPOTLIGHT goaded certain (arch)dioceses into helping survivors, the response to survivors is inconsistent.

At best.

Assistance Coordinators

The Assistance Coordinator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis does nothing more than give survivors the name of a therapist if they don't already have one.

That's it.

The thing is, getting the name of a psychologist isn't the hard part.

Rather, the hard part is paying for therapy.

But the Archdiocese of St. Louis does NOT pay for therapy, as I was told during my meeting with my Archbishop.

ChrisOLeary: I was never offered the services or told of the existence of an Assistance Coordinator. And this kinds into kind of our (Price and my) stuff. I don’t know what Hengen has told people, but…
SandraPriceArchStL: What is your understanding of what an Assistance Coordinator does?
CO: Well, that they are supposed to, you know, help set up, arrange for treatment and help pay for treatment.
SP: OK. So, typically, what Carol (Brescia) does… And you’ve talked to Carol… What Carol does is… Anybody in the diocese is free to call her. And what she does is link people to therapists if they do not have one. So that’s kind of her role for us. She’s not necessarily
somebody who’s going to make the determination if the therapy would to be paid for. That all happens through the review board. So I can’t again comment on what happened up to this point but certainly you have…you can call Carol.


When is the march for survivors?

When will bishops protest the treatment of survivors by the Catholic Church?

What national-level Jesuit will declare himself the champion of survivors?

Justice for Survivors

n case you think survivors are being taking care of, I suggest you read my pieces on the subject of the treatment of survivors...