From time to time I find a person of faith that truly effects my heart and soul when it comes to their position on domestic violence and the church. Fr. Charles W. Dahm I have to say just warmed my heart completely.
When I started this blog many years ago – I had no voice. It was hard to find anything besides stats, and some surface statements about emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse within the Christian home. So I would find articles from time to time, and cut and paste them on my blog. It was just my own personal collection, because HELP in this area was so truly hard to find. To be more direct within the Faith realm that is!
In 2006, I posted an article I found called: Marriage Annulment Grounds in the Catholic Church. To date this maybe one of the most popular articles on this blog, and has been almost since I posted it. I have tried in the past to get Priest's attention to it, because some the responses there are honestly over my head. I’m not Catholic, and I feel unqualified to answer the requests on questions. I pray one day to find someone within the Catholic community to help in that area.
I honestly feel helpless when it come to that article, but I can’t remove it because it seems to bring such solace to people. So it stands, and I have found posters themselves have discussions about the piece.
Recently, I saw a video on PBS about churches and domestic violence, and I uploaded it youtube. I wanted to be sure it didn’t disappear. The video itself featured, Father Charles Dahm of Chicago.
Fr. Charles W. Dahm, O.P., heads up the domestic violence outreach ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago. This video below is of a sermon delivered by Fr. Dahm titled: "Let's Reach Out to Victims of Domestic Violence as Jesus Would."
He nails it! He pulls no punches, and he does not have the fear that way to many other men or women of faith have when it comes to speaking about abuse within the Christian home. There is fear and stigma it seems when it comes to this subject of domestic violence within the church.
I think part of it is the divorce stats, and some honestly have a hard time dealing with this issue because they feel they may add to the stats. So – sadly – they do nothing.
At times they do make it worse by using all these ‘spiritual pixie dust’ approaches, and refuse to acknowledge the habitual dangerous pattern within marriages. They will NOT acknowledge the cycle of abuse within AT ALL.
Sadly, you see to often this avoidance approach by dealing with the last episode while ignoring the overall danger to every member of this family. Fr. Charles W. Dahm has the courage to face all aspects of this, and yes that includes the ugly underbelly that others have yet to find the courage to even acknowledge with any substance.
His words and message were awesome, and you don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate them.
St. Pius V is a Catholic parish in the Pilsen neighborhood on Chicago's near southwest side. His Parish has programs for both the abused, and the perpetrators – the gender doesn’t matter.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) awarded St. Pius V Parish a $15,000 grant to increase its capacity for outreach, and for the establishment of parish-based volunteer training programs that have already been established in 15 parishes in the archdiocese since 2007 through the efforts of Father Chuck and the St. Pius V counseling team.
Here is a video of an interview with Fr. Charles W. Dahm about the program that includes men, women and children. Its about 2.5 minutes long, and he tells you briefly how he approaches this with love, compassion…and most remarkably understanding, and the pitfalls of abuse.
Here are some additional resources:
Thank you Fr. Charles W. Dahm for speaking about domestic violence within the Christian Home! Your sermon – message on domestic violence within the church touched my heart.
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