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Broken Trust: Stories of Pain, Hope, and Healing from Clerical Abuse Survivors and Abusers [Hardcover]

By Patrick Fleming (Author), Sue Lauber-Fleming (Author) & Mark T. Matousek (Author)
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Item description for Broken Trust: Stories of Pain, Hope, and Healing from Clerical Abuse Survivors and Abusers by Patrick Fleming, Sue Lauber-Fleming & Mark T. Matousek...

Fleming tells the stories of sexual abuse by priests and what brought them to abuse the boys and girls in their trust. Counselors offer their own expert perspectives on the stories, then introduce readers to stories from abuse survivors and how they have coped.

Publishers Description
From Boston to Los Angeles, Catholic sexual abuse scandals have been widely coverd in the media. Here for the first time the personal stories of those involved, both abusers and survivors, are presented with profound psychological insight. Five priest abusers reveal the personal tragedy behind the terrible betrayals they committed. Told in their own words--words of anger, repentance, and even self-delusion--they share their struggles with the dark forces that led them to abuse those in their care. And they give us insight into their difficult road to recovery. Silent no more, the survivors reveal the pain, trauma, shame, and devastation they have experienced at the hands of those they trusted most. We witness their courage as they go on to seek healing and peace with the past. Anyone serious about understanding the clergy abuse scandals, and everyone dedicated to building a world where such atrocities can never happen again, must read this book.

From Publishers Weekly
If there is any light to be found in the darkness of the Catholic clerical sexual abuse scandal, these authors point the way toward it by letting five recovering abusers tell their stories. Fleming and Lauber-Fleming, both psychotherapists, and Matousek, a chemical dependency counselor, say the abusers with whom they have worked professionally all have suffered some kind of trauma, often sexual abuse, that in turn affected their behavior as priests. These stories need to be told, the authors say, in the interest of breaking the cycle of abuse. Abusers whose stories appear in the book had to meet strict criteria, including taking full responsibility for their behavior. The book also includes narratives from three victims, one of whom is Lauber-Fleming, and makes a strong case that priests who abuse are sick, much like alcoholics. The authors insist that such priests can be helped, and they present a proposal for church-sponsored healing dialogues between victim and abuser as well as a model of residential recovery based on a facility directed by Matousek. Readers who are open to hearing the voices of abusers will find a very human portrayal, but one that also offers sound solutions.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Broken Trust: Stories of Pain, Hope, and Healing from Clerical Abuse Survivors and Abusers by Patrick Fleming, Sue Lauber-Fleming & Mark T. Matousek has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 02/26/2007 page 80

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Item Specifications...

Studio: The Crossroad Publishing Company
Pages   239
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.44" Width: 6.94" Height: 0.91"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   The Crossroad Publishing Company
ISBN  0824524101  
ISBN13  9780824524104  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Family Relationships > Child Abuse
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Religion
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Broken Trust: Stories of Pain, Hope, and Healing from Clerical Abuse Survivors and Abusers?

U-Turn View of Religious Abusers  Apr 9, 2008
Broken Trust is a u-turn in the plethora of literature spawned by the multitude of clergy abuse cases published in recent years. The glaring magnified light under which these eight cases are exposed reveals poignant details, indeed the very humanity under which the abuse occurs. This is not an emotional revelation meant to capture sympathy. reveal salacious detais or glean accolades of any kind.

Contrarily, it exposes the humanness, the sorrow, the life-changing forces that created the situation and the gut-wrenching depths to which an individual much reach to reclaim his or her life.

The first five cases are written by Catholic priests who have sexually abused minors. The personal narratives strike a chord with the reader that reveals an honest humility and the struggle to change one's life. The touching quality of each story resonates with an honesty, an openness, and a desperate day-to-day struggle to grow spiritually while facing the devastation caused by their behavior. The book does not purport to see them in any other light than souls who are committed to working diligently, with guidance and supervision, to become redeemed.

The last three stories are those of victims. Again, the purpose is not to castigate the perpetrators, but to show that life does not end, nor does it have to be permanently crippled the by abuse. Quite the contrary, through counseling, prayer and the tenacity of the human spirit, these three former victims have become strong, productive, spiritual energies who have created positive changes not only for themselves but in the work they care called to do. The abuse they suffered no long shackles them but indeed has created roots from which new life has emerged.

Broken Trust can re-formulate in the mind a different framework or lens through which to view this crisis in the Catholic Church. It certainly does not condone the actions of the perpetrators but opens a vista where one can see both sides of the picture with new eyes.

Every Catholic who has been aware of the abuse crisis in the Church within the last twenty years as revealed primarily in the media would benefit from this book. It may well be the only book that challenges us to understand the woundedness on both sides of the issue. The authors, Patrick Fleming, Sue Lauber-Fleming and Mark Matousek make a profound statement to the church that, "The new story needs to include the victims' voices and minister to their needs. It needs also to incorporate the story of the priest abusers and their own history of being abused and vicimiszed, allowing greater ministry to their needs as well. It needs to include a re-humanizing dialogue between victims, victim-abusers and Church leaders. It requires accountabiliy and forgiveness, truth, and reconciliation. Most of all, it must provide hope for healing for all parties and transformation of their common suffering into new life and purpose. what Jesus achieved in his narrative, the story of the gospel."
Tea and Sympathy for Abusers  May 23, 2007
This is a bad book, a very bad book. It is not so much the Hallmark card prose of the authors (which perfectly suits the shallow moral and spiritual attitudes of the authors), as both the stated and the hidden purpose of the book, that makes the book pernicious.

The therapist-authors have abusers and victims tell their stories. We are invited to feel sympathy for the wounded humanity of the abusers, who suffer from pedophilia and young-woman-a-philia and blue-eyed-blond-hair-young-man-a-philia. That is, the priests like to have sex with people that they shouldn't have sex with. The abusers suffer from "sex addiction," that is, they really like having sex (who doesn't?).

The stated purpose of the book is to get everyone beyond anger so that abusers and victims can meet and reconcile. The therapist-authors admit that some money must be paid (for therapy of course), but there is no mention of paying damages for lost income, disrupted family relationships, and general pain and suffering. This approach saves the bishops money. It also saves them having to open their files to a jury or to the public, since donations might drop or some bishops might have to go to jail if the full truth were known. As Timothy Lytton's new book, "Holding Bishops Accountable: How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse," only the tort system brought about reform in the Church.

The abusers are after all "wounded healers" (Henri Nouwen has a lot to answer for), and why can't they be returned to ministry once they are "cured"? The priests in this book are also whiners. What they did would have gotten them burned at the stake in the past; they whine about not being able to say mass publicly. The abusers may have had traumas (such as being chosen last for team sports), but no one has had a perfect life, and our problems do not excuse our crimes.

The authors were sloppy to the point of incompetence or perhaps just decided to misrepresent facts that didn't fit their purposes. The book has a 2007 copyright date. The authors estimate that "approximately one to three thousand priests in the United States have abused." But the John Jay Report, commissioned by the bishops, was published in February 2004; it counted 4,392 priest abusers, and hundreds more have been added since then.

Bishop Gettlelfinger wrote the Preface. This is how Gettelfinger handled victims (from my forthcoming book):

"David Prunty, a high school sophomore, was in a psychiatric hospital when the Rev. Michael Allen came to visit him. They struck up a friendship, which progressed to sex. Prunty had lost a father, and Allen filled that gap - and more: "He was a needed presence in my life and I came to almost idolize the man," The relationship tapered off after Prunty entered the seminary. Prunty wrote to Evansville bishop Francis Shea, who did not respond. Later he wrote to the new bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger, who arranged a meeting between Prunty and the vicar-general, but they did not resolve the situation. Through an attorney Prunty then demanded $150,000 damages. The diocese claimed that Prunty had not suffered any harm because of his relationship with Allen: Prunty was already damaged goods when Allen started using him. The attorney for the Evansville diocese, David V. Miller, wrote "Prunty had already been having `psychological and emotional struggles' before he met Allen at the age of 15, citing the death of his father, a family history of depression and Prunty's ongoing confusion about his sexual identity." Miller also wrote that the diocese would offer a "vigorous defense." "Moreover, David should be aware that if that defense is successful, he will then be in harm's way, again by his own conduct, because he will have maliciously ended the career of a very fine man" - a fine man who preys upon depressed teenagers. Prunty was intimidated by the "in harm's way." This Mafia-like threat dissuaded him from going public for several more years. In April 2002 Gettelfinger again tried to keep Prunty silent, but Prunty went to the press."

The blurbs for Broken Trust come from the Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, who gives nude retreats, and from Bishop John Gaydos, who writes of his "wounded brothers) i.e., child-rapists. Of Gaydos the Dallas Morning News reported:

"He was one of the bishops who remained silent in 1999 as Anthony O'Connell was promoted from bishop of the Knoxville, Tenn., Diocese to the much larger one in Palm Beach, Fla. The Diocese of Jefferson City had paid a $125,000 out-of-court settlement in 1996 to a seminarian who Bishop O'Connell abused during the 1970s. Bishop Gaydos also let the Rev. Manus Daly stay on duty until this spring, even though the diocese was told in 1996 that he had also abused Bishop O'Connell's victim. Bishop O'Connell - who took over in Florida for another admitted molester, Bishop J. Keith Symons - has resigned. The Jefferson City Diocese's failure to speak up about Bishop O'Connell was "a travesty," said Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Gaydos recently closed the Missouri seminary where Bishop O'Connell and Father Daly abused the student. He also suspended another priest, the Rev. Don Wallace, whom he'd kept on the job since four altar boys complained in 1997 about inappropriate touching. Bishop Gaydos serves on the abuse committee of the bishops conference."

Ronald Rolheiser, an Oblate priest, also finds the book "helpful," because he wants to get beyond the legal approach to the "Biblical" approach. In a talk he said "Biblically, you admit guilt, are declared innocent, and there is no punishment."

What the abusers, the bishops who tolerated them, and the therapists who try to excuse them all need is a salutary fear of hell. Despite their blather in this book, the abusers and therapists and bishops have no real concept of the irreparable harm that the abuse has done, and they have not a clue as to what repentance entails: acknowledging the full truth and accepting the just punishment for the crime. Otherwise they may expect, not simply bad reviews, but the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched.

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