Publishers Weekly

January 2, 2022

“If there is any light to be found in the darkness of the catholic clerical sexual abuse scandal, these authors point the way toward it by letting five recovering abusers tell their stories. Fleming and Lauber-Fleming, both psychotherapists, and Matousek, a chemical dependency counselor, say the abusers with whom they have worked professionally all have suffered some kind of trauma, often sexual abuse, that in turn affected their behavior as priests. These stories need to be told, the authors say, in the interest of breaking the cycle of abuse. Abusers whose stories appear in the book had to meet strict criteria, including taking full responsibility for their behavior. The book also includes narratives from three victims, one of whom is Lauber-Fleming, and makes a strong case that priests who abuse are sick, much like alcoholics. The authors insist that such priests can be helped, and they present a proposal for church-sponsored healing dialogues between victim and abuser as well as a model of residential recovery based on a facility directed by Matousek. Readers who are open to hearing the voices of abusers will find a very human portrayal, but one that also offers sound solutions.”

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