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The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago launched a counseling initiative yesterday for loved ones of those abused by Catholic priests.

The Chicago Tribune ran the report, stating that victims’ families are often overlooked in the healing process and need treatment to overcome feelings of guilt, anger, and shame. Now, those loved ones will have the chance to receive counseling via four sessions led by a licensed clinical social worker.

According to the article,

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, offered faint praise, reiterating a call for measures that will guard against future abuse, such as publicizing offenders’ current whereabouts and the names of religious order priests accused of abuse.”Any help for those wounded by pedophile priests and complicit bishops is welcome,” Blaine said. “At the same time, however, victims and their loved ones can heal even without the church’s help.”But Matthew Hunnicutt, director of the archdiocese’s office of assistance ministry, said that although many agencies offer support groups and therapy, the church has an obligation to reach out to victims and their family members. Many professional therapists leave spirituality out of the recovery process. This initiative puts emphasis on it, he said.

What do you think? Is the Church doing a good thing? Is it enough? Is it necessary?

Click here for more background and information about the Catholic Church and sexual abuse by priests.

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