Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies recently published a report called,‘The Cross of the Moment’.  The report was compiled from a 4-year study that listened to survivors of child sexual abuse and others affected by this across the Catholic community.  It identifies aspects of Catholic culture that were implicated in how abuse happened and how the responses to reports of abuse often lacked compassion.  Themes include silence, clericalism and accountability.

Here are several quotes from survivors that are included in the report:

-“I think if you’re already part of the church, you want a response that makes you feel as though you’re kind of being, well, listened to would be the minimum and looked after would be the next step really.  I didn’t experience either of those.”

-“The Church, it needs to stand kind of face to face with survivors, as Church…to put survivors first, not the church…..As a survivor, you never had your permission asked when you were abused….We’re told how we’re going to do this, or we’re told we won’t be capable of doing it and we’d just like to be asked for once.  And then we can say no, if we want to.  So just please ask.…Give the voice back that was taken.”

-“I felt so angry, I felt so betrayed, I thought how could you, on the one hand, as priests, be talking about spirituality and love and on the other hand there is this dirty secret going on that you have been hiding all the time.”

-“We’re the body of Christ and if one part of that body is injured or is broken, we’re all broken a bit and injured a bit.”

-“For me personally, healing would look like, we’re really going to change structures, and systems and processes.  We’re really going to commit to a kind of formation that enables a parish community to feel it shares responsibility.”

Please click HERE to read a PDF copy of the report.