Abuse survivors move forward with plans at Vatican Oct. 31

The organizers of a campaign to bring survivors of clergy sexual abuse around the world to the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square Oct. 31 say the event will open what they are calling a “Year of the Survivor.”

Abuse survivors Bernie McDaid and Gary Bergeron of greater Boston told Catholic News Service that the year is meant to focus on survivors and their spiritual, physical and psychological needs.

“It’s never been done before. There’s never been a time when survivors have come together,” Bergeron said.

To help spread the word, McDaid and Bergeron have launched a website, www.SurvivorsVoice.org.

The site offers information about the planned Vatican gathering, statistics on the impact of abuse on survivors and opportunities to support survivors.

The men are hoping enough survivors and supporters make the trip to Rome to ring St. Peter’s Square for a candlelight vigil at nightfall.

They also have settled on a simple message to spread: “Enough.”

“I think the one universal term everyone around the world can agree to is ‘enough,’” Bergeron told CNS. “It’s time we got together and said, ‘This is enough.’”

Since first announcing the gathering in April, McDaid has been working with survivors globally. He said he recently returned from Ireland to gain support from abuse survivor organizations. He said German abuse survivors have been in touch.

Survivors also plan to leave a basket of letters at the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica seeking the support of church officials, McDaid said.

He compared the planned offering to the action of Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk who nailed his 95 Theses to the doors of All Saints’ Church  (Castle Church) in Wittenberg, Germany, Oct. 31, 1517, marking the start of the Reformation. The monk’s document criticized elements of Catholic belief and practice, particularly the selling of indulgences.

Bergeron hopes the effort will focus worldwide attention on all abuse survivors, not those who were victims of Catholic clergy.

“It’s not just a Catholic issue,” he said. “But we really need to change the way the world views the issue.”

5 Responses

  1. being a survivor of abuse myself, i hope & pray that they all will be respectful and remember all the faithful who were Not abusers

  2. “Enough” seems an ambiguous word leaving open the possible implication that some was okay but that was enough. . .I think “No More” would get the message across better. . .just my opinion, of course…

  3. I pray for the victims of abuse, and I believe that demonstrating that they are survivors is a good and positive step toward their healing process. It will and does raise awareness, and it promotes healthy discussion; however, the motto of “Enough” implies that reconciliation and forgiveness are not possible. If that is the case, how sad!

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone had sacrificed for the good of mankind and finally produced the proof necessary to stop the Vatican’s evil? The Pope is not the biggest problem. The lies they use to profit and maintain power are the true enemy.

    Finishing the Mysteries of Gods and Symbols

    I am the proverbial horse’s mouth and I am now gifting you with the Vatican’s worst nightmare, now realized. Christian Rome oppressed and massacred myriad souls over the previous age to prevent you from ever understanding what I have just made available to everyone.

    There are big new troubles on the horizon for Rome. A new day is about to dawn…

    Peace and Wisdom,

    Seven

  5. stop the abuse, is more concrete. it asks for actions.
    i be there. any details of it like time, etc? pls send.
    thanks.

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