Clergy Abuse Survivors Share Stories At Emotional First Listening Session

Clergy Abuse Survivors Share Stories At Emotional First Listening Session

November 29, 2018 at 11:42 pm

Filed Under:Bishop David Zubik, Local TV, Pam Surano, Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, St. Paul Cathedral

Survivors and parishioners came out to St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland on Thursday night for the first of four listening sessions since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse.

Similar sessions are already being held in in the Greensburg Catholic Diocese.

But organizers in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese are hoping to create a safe space so everyone can work through the healing process together.

Bishop David Zubik sat at the altar listening as one-by-one the faithful stood before him to share their pain and anger over the scandal.

“I was overcome with emotion. I spoke all across the state and didn’t have this problem until tonight, but I felt a sense of community that I haven’t felt for a long time,” said Jim VanSickle, a survivor of clergy abuse.

Nancy Pieffer, another survivor who became a social worker and advocate for rape victims, spoke for the first time publicly at the session. There was not a dry eye as she recounted the horror of her abuse as a child at the hands of a priest.

“I’m sure as I hold this experience, I will just feel the depth and the breadth of people standing for me,” said Pieffer.

 

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