Many individuals and the Catholic community at large continue to suffer the devastating consequences of the sexual abuse of minors by priests and other church personnel.
We continue to grieve and to pray for the victims of this abuse, for their families, and for all who have been injured or hurt by the scandal. As Pope John Paul II said, the sexual abuse of children and young people "is rightly considered a crime by society [and] an appalling sin in the eyes of God."
The pastors and pastoral staff members of the Waterloo parishes are available to visit with anyone, including victims and family members, who wish to discuss any aspect of the abuse scandal in a private and confidential way.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuseby a priest, deacon, or another person representing the Catholic Church you may visit with your pastor or a member of the pastoral staff in your parish. Pastors and parish staff are required to report current or recent abuse to the appropriate legal authorities. Cases in which the statute of limitations has expired or in which the abuser has died are normally reported to the appropriate Archdiocesan authorities but do not necessarily have to be reported to legal authorities unless the victim wishes to do so.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuseby a priest, deacon, or another person representing the Catholic Church you may also take one of the following actions:
• Contact the Archdiocese of Dubuque's Office of Child Protection
• Contact a professional Victim Assistance Coordinator who is under
contract to provide services to the Archdiocese but is not an employee
of the Church.
• Contact the Iowa Child Abuse Reporting Hotline at 800-362-2178, a local
child protection agency, or a private attorney.
• Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction
where the abuse occurred.
In the Archdiocese of Dubuque, professional Victim Assistance Coordi-nators receive reports of abuse, help victims contact civil authorities, and provide referrals for spiritual care, mental health services, social services, and support groups.
Archdiocese of Dubuque Victims Assistance Coordinators
Dr. Thomas Anderegg (phone 563-556-1225)
Joan Hoffmann (phone 866-319-4636)
If the abuse occurred in another archdiocese or diocese, contact the Victims Assistance Coordinator(s) in that diocese. A list of Victims Assistance Coordinators in other dioceses is available here.
More Resources for Victims
• U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection
• Archdiocese of Dubuque/Office for the Protection of Children
• Hope and Healing Ministries
• Committed to Freedom Ministries
• Mary's Hope Workshops
• Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Many Catholics are confused, troubled, angry or disillusioned by the sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church. For many it has caused a crisis of faith; for others, a crisis of confidence in the Church or Church leaders.
Here is a list of suggestions to help individuals cope with the personal or spiritual concerns raised by the sexual abuse problem in the Church:
• Be honest about your own feelings. Denying your feelings will only
prolong the pain and delay healing.
• Pray and/or fast for healing for victims of sexual abuse and their
• If you personally know a victim, reach out to them with loving kindness
so that they will experience God's loving kindness through you.
• Remind yourself that faith is based on Jesus Christ, not the credibility or
deeds of fallible human beings. No human person or scandal should be
able to separate us from the love of God encountered in the Eucharist.
• Take time to reflect more carefully on the teachings of the Catholic faith,
using the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults or other good resources.
This will help you remember that our faith is based on something --
actually, Someone -- deeper than imperfect human beings.
• Make an effort to become a more authentic and holy person. Greater
holiness is always the foundation for renewal in the Church.
• Schedule a renewal or retreat day for yourself, and listen more closely
to God's message of encouragement and consolation.
• Pray for the ability to forgive anyone connected to the sexual abuse
• Pray for the grace to have an increasingly forgiving heart.
• Make an effort to improve attitudes, enhance relationships and build
community among lay people, religious, priests and bishops.
• Be more attentive and loving to family, friends, and your local
community of faith.
• Turn to the forms of prayer which are most beneficial to you, and make
a concrete commitment to a time for daily prayer.
• Reflect on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
• Reflect regularly on Matthew 16:13-30, and your personal answer to
Jesus' question: "Who do you say that I am?"