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So that “no one is left out”, victims of abuse want the Church to campaign on television with compensation

The association that brings together victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests suggests that ecclesiastical structures move forward with a television campaign informing, “in a simple and clear way”, that the Catholic Church is ready to financial compensation, indicating, for example, “central email address and telephone numbers”, so that “no one who wants to be compensated is left out”. In this way, according to the Silenced Heart Association, the Church would speak “with one voice”, instead of making different assessments diocese by diocese on cases of compensation to victims.

This was one of the conclusions of the leaders of this association, one day after the meeting in Coimbra with the presidency of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP).

Coração Silenciado recognized that, after a year and a half, since the release of the report on sexual abuse by the Independent Commission (IC), which was led by pedopsychiatrist Pedro Strecht, the structures of Church “progressed” in addressing the problem. “In effect, the issue of prescription is already out of consideration”, assuming the Church that “it is not dealing with a legal process, but recognizing guilt and harm caused.”

An “evolution” was also noted with regard to financial compensation. “Contrary to what Dom Clemente said in February 2023, when he stated that ‘talking about compensation will even be insulting to the victims’, today we are discussing those compensations.”

But the association highlights the greatest divergence that separates them from the approach of Grupo Vita, led by psychologist Rute Agulhas. “We openly contest case-by-case assessment. It is, for us, a question of humanization and not a question of bureaucracy or professional calculations of ‘quality ‘ of trauma. It is necessary to avoid, once and for all, the revictimization of survivors, the ‘rummaging through memories’, because the process, as it is currently established, determines that each survivor must write a letter succinctly indicating the abuse they suffered, when this is already included in the reporting process. When we have to justify ourselves to the new commission, created to evaluate the impact that abuse has had on our lives, we will then be another faceless number, subject to a ‘price list’ of suffering.”

And they criticize: “If the principle were ‘love one another’ instead of ‘love one another, but some more than others’, this would determine equal treatment for all victims . It would then be a more humanizing process and, certainly from the point of view of the Church itself, more Christian.”

Personal data destroyed

The association confided that CEP confirmed to them that “all personal data was extracted and destroyed” from the Independent Commission Report. “So it will not be possible for someone to say: ‘I gave my testimony to the CI, my name is so-and-so, I authorize them to collect what I said from the CI Report’.” Something they regret: “It is frustrating to know that all of CI’s work was not aimed at helping and accompanying the victims, but only at collecting data/testimonies to understand the past reality and for statistics..”

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Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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