Milwaukee Archdiocese holds 'Mass of Atonement' for abuse victims

CREATED Apr 8, 2014

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MEQUON - It may have been the most powerful moment during mass - Archbishop Jerome Listecki laying prostrate before the alter, a public gesture he says shows humility as he acknowledges the sins of sexual abuse by clergy in his diocese before the church, community, and God.

"You think I like to live in the shadow of somebody that did anything to children? Absolutely not," says Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

But for many that have been sexually abused by priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the symbolism is not enough.

"The hierarchy of the this diocese have proven again again they can not be trusted and should not be trusted period." says Peter Isley, a survivor of sexual abuse.

Outside the sanctuary, Isley surround by other survivors and supporters protest the Mass of Atonement - especially on the heels of the Archdiocese's recent bankruptcy plan. A plan that only sets aside only $4 million dollars in restitution for victims of priest abuse.

"Is atonement written into that bankruptcy plan? ...atonement means compensation, if it is not in the plan then all of the words today are hollow."

Archbishop Listecki knows it will take time and prayer to heal those abused by former clergy.

"What can help us to go forward is our reliance on faith and understand there is a god and that god can heal."