Social Interest: A Healing Agent for those Sexually Abused by Roman Catholic Priests

The Roman Catholic Church has a history of nearly two millennia of internal conflict regarding the attitude toward and role of sexuality within the Church. Just as longstanding and continuing today is the Church‘s and states‘ confusion and turmoil regarding the proper handling of sexual abuse by clergy. This paper explores the definitions and context of sexual abuse as well as the pervasive effects of sexual abuse on victims. Specific attention is placed on the unique characteristics of sexual abuse perpetrated by Roman Catholic priests, with details relayed through stories of several cases of such abuse, including the author‘s own story of childhood sexual abuse by her priest. Adlerian concepts of social interest are explored in a way that provides healing opportunities for those with a history of clergy abuse. Details of one such project, The New Reformation Day held in Rome on October 31, 2010, are provided, including discussions regarding the social interest event as an effective healing agent.

Michelle Marie Winemiller
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