Silence won't end scourge of sexual abuse

It is unfortunate that the Rev. Mark White of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has fallen from grace with his superior, Bishop Barry Knestout. White’s innate charisma to shepherd attracts parishioners of both the Martinsville and Rocky Mount parishes. While the church gives lip service to transparency in revealing names of sexual abusers and their accomplices, White’s blog offers validation, support and hope.

Sexual abuse affects one to his or her very core. It changes what one thinks of oneself and others, usually culminating in problems with interpersonal relationships. It isn’t like having a bad day. The aftermath lurks over one’s shoulder, exhibiting itself as negativity, fear, anxiety, isolation, anger, depression and — without help — addiction and sometimes suicide. For some, it rears its ugly head on a daily basis. Others are especially affected during times when life stressors are out of their control.

White’s blog offers understanding of the heartache and devastation brought to lives of those who have been abused. Once someone is abused, the wound to one’s personhood during remains the rest of his or her life. The offering of compassion in White’s blog is solace to those who might otherwise remain alone in the aftermath of their plight, often misunderstood by family and friends. In his way, White is righting the wrong of the Catholic Church.

To those who have found safety and honesty in another church, White’s blog might be as a voice in the wind. But in the end, the scourge of the Catholic Church will not go away until it is honestly and completely addressed. The crumbs of compensation offered by the church do not compensate for the names of perpetrators who remain under lock and key.

Dottie Klammer.

Coordinator for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

North Chesterfield

See the original letter here.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant