St. Rita Ministry (Domestic Violence Outreach Ministry at Holy Family Catholic Church) at 5125 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando, FL 32819 US - Domestic ViolenceDomestic Violence
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"The Catholic Church holds that taking a life, or any act of violence against humans along the entire spectrum of human existence, gradually diminishes our perception of life as sacred and creates a disregard for human life in society as a whole."
~Respect Life Office of Orlando
When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women
As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form"—physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal"—is sinful; often, it is a crime as well. We have called for a moral revolution to replace a culture of violence. We acknowledge that violence has many forms, many causes, and many victims—men as well as women.
The Catholic Church teaches that violence against another person in any form fails to treat that person as someone worthy of love. Instead, it treats the person as an object to be used. When violence occurs within a sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, "How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?" The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises. While violence can be directed towards men, it tends to harm women and children more.
In 1992 we spoke out against domestic violence. We called on the Christian community to work vigorously against it. Since then, many dioceses, parishes, and organizations have made domestic violence a priority issue. We commend and encourage these efforts. In this update of our 1992 statement, we again express our desire to offer the Church's resources to both the women who are abused and the men who abuse. Both groups need Jesus' strength and healing.
The Church can help break this cycle. Many abused women seek help first from the Church because they see it as a safe place. Even if their abusers isolate them from other social contacts, they may still allow them to go to church. Recognizing the critical role that the Church can play, we address this statement to several audiences:
To women who are victims of violence and who may need the Church's help to break out of their pain and isolation;
To pastors, parish personnel, and educators, who are often the first responders for abused women;
To men who abuse and may not know how to break out of the cycle of violence; and
To society, which has made some strides towards recognizing the extent of domestic violence against women.
To read the entire statement: “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women” -Issued by USCCB, November 12, 2002; This statement recognizes that victims of abuse may ask, 'How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?'
Reprinted from The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops "When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women" (tenth anniversary edition) available in print editions in English and Spanish and may be ordered by calling toll-free 800-235-8722. Ask for publication number 5-509 (English) 5-888 (Spanish).
For printable information on domestic violence go to "Downloadable Documents & Fact Sheets"
For a list of Counseling Services and Hotline Numbers, click here.