Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, May 5, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Pope Francis/Vatican
7/29/2014 9:20:00 AM
Like good shepherd, church must seek out, help abused, says abuse survivor
Cathoilc News Service photo
Mark Vincent Healy shakes hands with Pope Francis at the Vatican July 7. Healy, one of six abuse survivors who met the pope during a private meeting, said victims of abuse should be the focus of a new pastoral ministry since they are isolated, hurting, vulnerable to self-harm and suicide, and in need of Christ's true healing.
Cathoilc News Service photo
Mark Vincent Healy shakes hands with Pope Francis at the Vatican July 7. Healy, one of six abuse survivors who met the pope during a private meeting, said victims of abuse should be the focus of a new pastoral ministry since they are isolated, hurting, vulnerable to self-harm and suicide, and in need of Christ's true healing.
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Just as Jesus commanded pastors to leave their flock to find the lost sheep, the church must set out in search of all those who have been abused by clergy and offer them help, says one abuse survivor.

Victims of abuse should be the focus of a new pastoral ministry since they are isolated, hurting, vulnerable to self-harm and suicide, and in need of Christ's true healing, said Mark Vincent Healy, one of the six abuse survivors who met Pope Francis at the Vatican July 7.

In his private meeting with the pope, Healy said, "I needed to tell His Holiness just how awful it is when there is no justice, no one listening on a humanitarian level," and how all that isolation and guilt push people to suicide or self-harm and addictions.

He also told the pope how much spiritual help both survivors and the church need. Healy spoke with Catholic News Service by telephone from Ireland July 25.

The church needs a new evangelization "and a new mission based on Matthew 18, verse 12," -- the Parable of the Lost Sheep, in which Jesus tells his disciples to seek those who are lost, he said.

The church is "to be a light and is supposed to shine this light" where there is darkness, not passively expect those in need to "come into the light" and seek help, Healy said.

It is even more imperative for the church to apply the "lost sheep" ministry to abuse victims, he said, since that passage of St. Matthew's Gospel follows Jesus saying children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and his strongest condemnation is held for those who harm them.

"That's what the church's response should be to this scandal," he said.

Healy said he told the pope about the scale of the problem of clerical sex abuse and why people won't come forward.

"The judicial process is hazardous," he said, often with "poor outcomes." Criticism of the victim or a lack of support also represents "a grave danger to a very fragile person."

He said he presented the pope with research showing that those who are abused are six times more likely than the general population to complete suicide.

While he has been waiting for Ireland's minster of mental health to follow through on promises to fund such research, he said he asked the pope if the Vatican would be prepared to do its own studies on the link between survivors of clerical abuse and suicide. Healy said such research is important for discovering the right kind of conditions and help that can "alleviate the distress."

Healy said the pope definitely "gets it" when it comes to recognizing and understanding the "unrelenting wounds" and pain survivors experience.

This was evident not just in Healy's 45-minute private talk with the pope, he said, it was also clear in the pope's homily that morning at a special Mass for the six survivors.

The homily was "a huge seismic shift," he said, since the pope "admitted to so many of the dysfunctions" and hurt caused by abuse.

Pope Francis underlining the vast, severe and lasting effects of abuse runs counter to decades of defensive church legal arguments that sought to "deny and diminish" the real suffering abuse caused, Healy said.

The need to help survivors didn't get much attention when the crisis erupted, Healy said, because the church "went into survival mode," responding to the allegations and lawsuits "like an international corporation or business" instead of like "the body of Christ."

Perhaps because lawyers took the driver's seat when it came to navigating the crisis, the church's initial responses centered on litigation insurance and juridical and legal processes, he said.

The message of Christ being on the side of the marginalized and the Holy Spirit being present to help people in this world was "utterly corrupted. The first response should have been: Who has been abused? What are their needs? What should we do to help them?" Healy said.

While the church's approach has improved in some places, abuse victims still need direct outreach, he said, because it's often not easy for them to recognize, communicate or come forward because of the trauma and its fallout.

He said a child who gets abused is like an unsuspecting new homeowner: "You buy a new home. I give you the keys, but before that, I had it smashed up a bit inside," Healy said.

While it's damaged inside, "to you it's not; you're happy thinking, 'I've got my own home.' And you don't realize it's a very broken place. It's only later on in life that you start finding out," he said.

"The gift God gave them has been smashed up" and then that burden is so often carried alone by the survivor without the protection or support of family or the community, he said.

Healy told CNS that the church needs to set up "a rescue service and place for respite," where survivors can hear others say: "We're here now. Talk to us now. Don't stay with these things on your own.' This is the compassionate response."

"Protecting" people by hiding them is not the right approach, he said.

In fact, Healy said he was very angry to find there was no organized press event for survivors after their meeting with Pope Francis. While in Ireland, Healy understood an opportunity to talk to the press would be set up, though one organizer told CNS that while people were free to contact the press, nothing organized by the Vatican had ever been considered.

Although at least two survivors wanted full anonymity, Healy said it was "important to be seen with His Holiness and not anonymously spoken of as nameless and faceless."

He said healing comes with becoming visible again, by being listened to.

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved