Pope releases shocking letter from Church sex abuse victim

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors publishes a "letter to seminarians" written by a woman who, as a little girl, was sexually abused by a priest

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors released a letter from a victim abused sexually by a priest, on Monday, October 18. 
By Loup Besmond de Senneville | Vatican City
At the insistence of Pope Francis, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has published a "letter to seminarians" written by a woman who was sexually abused by a priest when she was a little girl."I am also here on behalf of the other victims... children who were deeply hurt, whose childhood, purity and respect were stolen... who were betrayed and had their unlimited trust taken advantage of… They were killed once (twice, many times)... their souls were torn into little bloody pieces," says the unidentified author in a letter in Italian that she sent to the pope. Francis then instructed the pontifical commission to publish the text on its website."For years I was abused by a priest," writes the woman. "I try to survive, to feel joy, but in fact, it is an incredibly difficult struggle," she continues. My body "remembers every touch""I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, severe complex post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, fear of others," she writes, emphasizing that her body still "remembers every touch"."I don't sleep and if I can fall asleep, I still have nightmares," the abuse survivor says."I am afraid of priests, of being around them," she adds, saying she can no longer go to Mass. The woman then makes a poignant appeal to seminarians and priests. "Please do not allow these wounds to be even deeper and new ones to occur! ... God has called you to be his instrument among humanity. You have a GREAT RESPONSIBILITY! A responsibility that is not a burden, but a GIFT!" she writes. She urges the men not to "sweep things under the rug", because "otherwise, the rug itself will fall apart"."Realize that when we hide these facts when we remain silent about them, we hide the dirt and thus become a COMPLICIT," the abuse survivor warns the clerics and seminarians. She ends her letter with this appeal: "PLEASE BE A GOOD PRIEST!" 
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which posted the letter on Monday, included a short introduction from its president, Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston."In this time of renewal and pastoral conversion, when the Church faces the scandal and wounds of sexual abuse inflicted on so many of God's children everywhere, our Holy Father has received a courageous testimony offered to all priests by a survivor," the cardinal states.Although intended for clerics and seminarians throughout the world, the woman's letter and the cardinal introduction are currently available on the commission's website only in Italian.

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