July 15, 2009
'Healing Circle' video examines pain caused by clergy sexual abuse
Features introductory comments from New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan
The chair of a board established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to address and prevent clergy sexual abuse has endorsed a first-of-its-kind video about the pain caused to victims and the greater church community by the abuse scandal.
Diane Knight, chair of the National Review Board
of the USCCB, said, "I highly recommend ‘The Healing Circle
’ to anyone who has an interest in gaining a greater understanding of the depth and breadth of the impact of the clergy abuse crisis. The compelling individual stories can be used to train bishops and other leadership and to create a powerful springboard for meaningful discussion. Our Church leaders can use this documentary in a variety of settings to address the healing process that must still go on in our parish communities.”
Knight also said that the USCCB is considering ways to use the video in training new bishops and other Catholic clergy and lay leadership. “The Healing Circle” documentary, produced by the Marquette University Law School
’s Restorative Justice Initiative
, received positive response at the National Review Board after its screening at their San Antonio meeting last month.
To view a video preview of “The Healing Circle” documentary, visit: http://law.marquette.edu/jw/healing
“The Healing Circle” documents a compelling restorative justice circle conducted at Marquette Law School in by Janine Geske
, distinguished professor of law and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. The video brings viewers into the circle to hear first-hand the emotionally gripping stories of victims, an offender priest, other clergy and lay ministers, and members of the faith community. It is intended to facilitate conversation among parishes, victims’ organizations, seminaries and other faith- or community-based organizations about confronting and healing from the pain caused by clergy abuse, for people within the Catholic Church or for any group dealing with issues of sexual abuse. Archbishop Timothy Dolan
of New York, in his former role as head of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, participated in the circle and supported the creation of the video as a means to provide a forum for discussion about an issue that is still on the minds and hearts of many in the Catholic Church. In a letter to all pastors in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about the video, Dolan wrote, “We know the pain and agony this has caused and we continue to work hard to restore trust. The tape provides us with a thoughtful and moving discussion of the issues we must confront in order to renew the Church and move forward in faith. While we sometimes want to put the scandal behind us, we must be vigilant in the discussion of on-going issues, especially the needs of the victims amongst us.”
“The Healing Circle” is a professionally produced DVD that is edited into three segments and runs one hour. Ultimately, it helps viewers examine the ways the sexual abuse scandal has created a crisis of faith and helps them begin to address the complexity of the healing process. It is available in two formats, one with a taped introduction by Archbishop Timothy Dolan and one without. The DVD may be ordered at www.healingcirclegroup.com
The Restorative Justice Initiative at Marquette University Law School is one of the nation’s leading resources for the restorative justice process. Led by Distinguished Professor Geske, it is at the forefront of promoting scholarship and research on restorative justice. The Initiative is committed to supporting victims and communities in the healing process by providing information and training resources, and by facilitating communication.