Survivors of clerical paedophilia related their traumatic experiences to the world’s top bishops on Thursday at a landmark summit at the Vatican on the protection of minors.
Here are some extracts from their video testimonies, the transcripts of which were provided by the Vatican, without identifying the speakers.
– Victim from South America –
“The first thing they did was to treat me as a liar, turn their backs and tell me that I, and others, were enemies of the Church.
“You are the physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed — in some cases — into murderers of the soul, into murderers of the faith.
“The only thing I ask of you — and I ask the Holy Spirit — to help restore that trust in the Church, so that those who do not want to listen to the Holy Spirit and who want to continue to cover-up, leave the Church to give way to those who want to create a new Church, a renewed Church and a Church absolutely free from sexual abuse.”
– Victim from Africa –
“From the age of 15, I had sexual relations with a priest. This lasted for 13 years. I got pregnant three times and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives.
“At first I trusted him so much that I did not know he could abuse me. I was afraid of him, and every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me.
“And since I was completely dependent on him economically, I suffered all the humiliations he inflicted on me.”
– Victim from Eastern Europe –
“An encounter with a priest hurt me. As a teenager, after my conversion, I went to the priest so he could teach me how to read the Scriptures during Mass; and he touched my private parts. I spent a night in his bed. This hurt me deeply.
“The other thing that hurt me was the bishop to whom, after many years, as an adult, I talked about the incident… I met the bishop and he attacked me without trying to understand me, and this hurt me.”
– Victim from the United States –
“I still carry pain. My parents still carry pain at the dysfunction, the betrayal, the manipulation that this bad man — who was our Catholic priest at the time — wrought upon my family and myself.
“I would ask the bishops for leadership. Leadership and vision and courage.”
– Victim from Asia –
“I have been sexually molested for a long time, over a hundred times, and this sexual molestation has created traumas and flashbacks all across my life. It’s difficult to live life, it’s difficult to be with people, to get connected with people.
“They have all practically covered (up) every issue, covered (up for) the perpetrators and that kills me.
“I’ll request the Bishops get their act clear because this is one of the time bombs happening in the church of Asia.”