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From Isolation to Action: Sex Abuse in London, Ontario

David Naglieri

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bishop Fabbro & VictimOn Sunday September 30th, at 8:00 pm ET, Salt + Light Television offers an important contribution to the Church's efforts to bring healing admidst a sex abuse scandal that rocked an Ontario Diocese. Eye on the Church explores the lessons learned from the horrible, four decade long, sexual abuse of little girls by Fr. Charles Sylvestre, in the Diocese of London.
Dozens of young girls were abused, their innocence stolen from them, and their lives forever altered. For decades the Church failed them as well, choosing to shuttle Fr. Sylvestre from parish to parish where he left a trail of destruction in his wake. Despite the failings of Church leaders the story of Fr. Sylvestre's abuse need not end without hope. Hope inspired by a crusading crown attorney, an honest and compassionate bishop, but above all by victims and their families who came together to say "Never Again."
The Diocese of London is home to a newfound spirit of rebirth and optimism and can serve as a model for the universal Church which is still dealing with the aftermath of its failures and transgressions.
The Diocese has an excellent website with more information about sex abuse and its handling of the abuse of Fr. Sylvestre. You can check it by clicking HERE.
As an aside I was a graduate student at Boston University in 2002 when the sex abuse allegations began to pour in, eventually leading to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and 85 million dollars paid out to more than 500 victims. It was a difficult time to be a Catholic and very easy to acquire a spirit of cynicism and anger with the Church. I remember reading one very insightful sermon by a Boston area priest, Fr. Roger Landry. His words helped soothe my spirit, redirect my anger and allow me to envision a church free of this horribe stain of sex abuse. Read this excellent sermon by clicking HERE.

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