Dear Reader: History, Repeated

In 2003, I attended a gathering of clergy sex-abuse survivors in Lexington, Kentucky, for St. Anthony Messenger‘s June special issue on the crisis. It was our attempt to address the topic after the Boston Globe‘s reporting of rampant sexual abuses in the Church.

To say it was a difficult assignment is an understatement. I interviewed a dozen survivors—all of whom were at varying stages of the healing journey. Some could talk about it openly; for others, the pain was still too close to the surface. I left for home depleted, angry, but hopeful.

That hope was in vain. Exactly 16 years later, the editors are devoting extensive coverage to the sex-abuse crisis yet again—in response to the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting 301 priests and religious who abused more than 1,000 minors. Boston was only the beginning.

In this issue you’ll find Janice Lane Palko’s interview with a Pennsylvania priest whose anger will surely resonate. Author Sarah Babbs was not abused by a priest, but the pain she writes of is all too real. Managing Editor Daniel Imwalle interviews a man who endured clergy abuse but whose faith remains unblemished. And Susan Hines-Brigger editorializes on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s April letter on the crisis.

We hope this issue provides some hope. We hope it’s not in vain this time.

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