Click here to watch Bill Casey’s lecture on Broken Vessels™ circles at Boston College C21
** Read a commentary on Healing Circles in National Catholic Reporter **
The Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal has wounded many individuals, faith communities, and the Body of Christ itself. The most obviously wounded are the victims/survivors of sexual abuse and their families. Also harmed are those whose faith life has been tarnished, some having left the pews and others having remained and struggled to repair the damages. Clergy, church employees, and volunteers have likewise been harmed because of their response to the scandal. Hierarchical malfeasance only deepened the wounds for all.
Healing is a core Gospel value, and it is vital to spiritual, psychological and physical recovery. Yet healing opportunities have been largely overlooked in the life of the Church in the struggle to redress the wounds of the scandal.
To fill that void, Voice of the Faithful offers a healing circle called Broken Vessels™, based on Restorative Justice principles and practices and on Biblical teachings. A professional facilitator provides a safe and trusting space in which to invite deep speaking and deep listening. The facilitator invites participants to share their own stories of suffering, broken trust, or struggles, as well as the ripple effects on their lives and faith communities. The conversation draws participants into a shared search to address their healing needs.
The circle does not seek to achieve closure, forget the harm, or forgive those who caused it, although any of these outcomes might occur for some participants. A circle also is not a substitute for therapy or for pursuits of criminal or civil justice. Broken Vessels™ is intended for those who are ready, willing, and able to share their personal experiences in a way that does not cause them or others further harm. It is intended for those who are seeking or interested in contributing to a healing opportunity.
Voice of the Faithful practitioners have offered multiple sessions of Broken Vessels™ and are available to facilitate them for those whose experiences from the abuse scandal call them to participate.
For more information, contact Voice of the Faithful at 781-559-3360.
How Does a Healing Circle Work?
Ripples — a graphic representation of how acts of abuse ripple through our communities
Testimony from Healing Circle Participants
References and Other Resources
Article on Healing Circles in The Boston Globe
Background: Truth & Reconciliation Projects
Casey lecture on “Broken Vessels” circles, Dec. 3, 2015, at Boston College C21
A Response from a Healing Circle Participant
Response from a Priest Participant