KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The reaction from priest sex abuse victims following the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese announcement of a series of healing prayer services, was it’s all a publicity stunt dodging the real issues, which comes too little, too late.
The church says it’s just one thing they’re doing to change the way sex abuse allegations are handled.
Pope Francis asked Catholics worldwide to make the next year, a year of mercy.
And the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph says that’s part of the reason they wanted to start these healing prayer services.
Everyone is invited to the services, it’s for anyone affected by sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.
The church says it knows everyone suffers, from families of victims to community members surrounding the parishes and victims.
The first service was held at St. Thomas More on Wednesday night where Shawn Ratigan, who was sentenced to prison for child pornography crimes, once served as a priest.
The goal, according to diocese officials, is spiritual healing for those who are hurting.
“Just to show our doors are open, to show that the church cares for those that have been harmed. Sexual abuse not only affects that victim, but their family members and really whole communities,” said Carrie Cooper, the Director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection
Cooper was brought in, in December of 2011 to create a plan to prevent abuse in the church and deal with the effects of abuse that’s already happened.
She says the church is making progress in preventing abuse, by educating adults and children on how to recognize the signs of abuse.
However, victims of priest sexual abuse say they’re not satisfied with the healing services.
They say they haven’t healed, and for them the fight to end sexual abuse isn’t over.