Lamentation Wall

Since 2002, Catholics have been engulfed in ongoing revelations about the horrid sex abuse of children by clergy. The range of emotional responses included revulsion, confusion, fear, anger and distress. Victims/survivors and their families were faced with revisiting deep wounds and traumatic memories. Evidence of the abuse mounted coast to coast and then country to country, and year after year.

Hierarchical responses to the revelations reflected more of a corporate defense pattern than a model of Gospel teaching. And little was done to address healing and reform.

At the VOTF 10th Year Conference in 2012, we introduced a Lamentation Wall where attendees could post personal lamentations in response to the irrevocable harm, unhealed wounds, and resistance to Church reform that have evolved from the sexual abuse crisis.

Lamentations are a traditional response in both Christian and Hebrew scriptures, evoked by the prophets who call the community to “prayers of lamentation” in the face of immeasurable suffering and loss. At the Conference, lamentations poured from people’s hearts, expressing sorrow over the lives that have been permanently scarred or taken as a result of childhood sexual abuse. And they wrote of their personal wounds from the revelations of abuse and malfeasance, as well as the wounds suffered as a result of the culture of clericalism that enables such deep harm to continue.

We are continuing the Lamentation Wall here, as a space where you may post your own personal lament.

Please use the Post a Message boxes below to submit your lamentation.


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  1. Karen Beargie says:

    I just finished reading “Betrayal” on which the movie “Spotlight” is based. I cried, am angry and glad all at once. I am not the only one. I was not sexually abused by a priest, but mentally, spiritually and morally abused by many. You see, I was being sadistically sexually abused by an “upstanding man in the Church” and at age 13 (he was 36) it was all blamed on ME. I must have said, I must have done, I must have been dressed yada yada yada. When the scandal brokin in 2002, I did not include myself as a survivor. I now know I am a survivor of the priest scandal and that all the priests and nuns who told me it was my fault were wrong. The book talks about things being done, but I haven’t heard anything. Are things being done? I am still reeling from the book as I truly had not been aware of how deep the systemic abuse was and there were things said that truly relate to at a very deep level. I am a certified Lay Ecclesial Minister in the RCC, but my voice means absolutely nothing since I am not ordained and I am angry and frustrated. Enough that I am contemplating leaving the Church.

  2. Marilyn Palmer says:

    I am the mother of four sons, two of which were sexually abused by the chaplain of their school, a catholic priest who befriended them and our family. I struggle as I watch them unable to have a lasting relationship and who have no trust in anyone in positions of authority. I also carry the guilt that had I not raised them in the Catholic faith they would be living entirely different lives. I know that I cannot live in the past and keep blaming myself, but it is devastating to watch them self destruct. Oh how I wish Jesus would come again and turf out those “in the temple” who betray his teachings.
    A Mother