"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, February 10, 2020

Murdering the Souls of Children

Leonard Shengold, who has died just last week at the age of 94, was a pioneer in helping us understand the utter devastation caused by child sexual abuse. A psychoanalyst and clinician, he was author of numerous books, but none so well known (and rightly so) as Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation, originally published in 1991.

It is a searing and powerful book and it very much should be required reading of all those--including this idiot priest in Rhode Island--who want to downplay, diminish, and dismiss the effects of abuse, as far too many Catholic clergy today continue to do. Shengold's title was not hyperbolic in the least: abuse murders the soul of victims, and often leads them to end their own life via suicide.

If reading an entire book is too much to ask of these ignorant fools, then perhaps they might at least skim some of the myriad studies in the clinical literature on the connection between suicide and child sex abuse. But narrowed down to considering such cases just within a Catholic context alone, and just within what is available in mainstream newspapers in IrelandKansas, the rest of America, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere, there is plenty of evidence and no excuse for so heinous and hurtful a claim.

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