On August 20th 2018, Pope Francis released an open letter to the "people of God".
My name is John Swales. I have written an open letter in response to the Pope to request actions and to encourage other survivors to add their voices.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest. It happened over a period of 5 years, starting when I was 10 years old. The course of my life was changed completely, with many lost years of untreated trauma. In 2004 my family won a very public court case against the Catholic Church. Since then I have continued to advocate for social justice for survivors and institutional reform of the Church.
I believe in the power of many voices being raised. My friends and I have created this site to provide a place for other survivors, their family members and friends to call for meaningful action from the Pope. We cannot wait any longer for the Catholic Church to take full responsibility and to do everything possible to provide support for all those they have hurt.
If you write your own letter, we will post it here. You can support the actions I have proposed and/or propose your own. Ask yourself, what would the Pope have to do for you to accept his apology?
I am in Canada but I hope that people from all over the world will join us. We will publish letters in all languages.
UPDATE: We have added a French translation of my letter for our Francophone sisters and brothers. Unfortunately we do not have funds to offer a bilingual website. If you write to us in French we will post your letter.
We would love to hear from you. If you have been impacted directly as a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, and/or indirectly as a family member, friend, ally or citizen - you are welcome to add your voice.
What would the Pope have to do for you to believe his apology?