Symbolic image telephone hotline © Gajus (shutterstock)
A Polish counseling hotline for victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has received 289 calls in the first two years of operation. In the recent past, the number of callers increased more and more.
As the lay initiative "Wounded in the Church" in Warsaw further announced, more people turned to it in the second year than in the first year. Psychotherapists have been offering legal, psychological and pastoral help at the number every Tuesday evening from 7 to 10 p.m. since March 2019.
The initiative "Wounded in the Church" was launched by the "Club of Catholic intelligentsia", an association founded in 1956 around the magazine "Wiez", and a foundation for psychological help. Poland's Primate Archbishop Wojciech Polak had asked all parishes in the country to advertise the counseling hotline with appropriate posters.
Supported by the bishops' conference
The printing and mailing of the posters was paid for by the Saint Joseph Foundation, which the bishops' conference had founded to support victims of sexualized violence.
The initiative now presented recommendations for priests on how to speak to victims of sexual violence in the confessional. The confessional is often the first place where they seek help, it said. "When a person sexually abused in the Church goes to the confessional, that is the heroism of faith," said Father Grzegorz Michalczyk at the press conference. Priests should show sensitivity, listen and accompany.