I completely understand where you’re coming from. As a former Catholic myself, there are lots of things I disagree with the Church about. But this partnership isn’t about those things.
This partnership was formed because the leaders of that parish noticed signs of trafficking within their own congregation. They noticed that people in their care were being victimized, and they reached out for help. They wanted to help the kids who were being trafficked under their noses. We weren’t about to say no to that.
Granted, we disagree on lots of things. But we’ve talked about it. Courtney’s House is not going to distribute any sort of religious material to the survivors we serve, and the parish isn’t asking us to. Courtney’s House hands out condoms and welcomes LGBTQ survivors, and we’re not asking the parish to do the same. We’re willing to work with lots of faith-based groups and organizations on anti-trafficking efforts. We aren't sacrificing our ideals and we’re not asking them to, either.
This is about meeting on common ground. This is about getting the kids the help they need, and both parties are on board with that.
Sure, the Catholic Church on the whole has failed at that before. Sure, it wasn't very good about the molestation scandal, and it still has a lot to answer for. But this time, these people at this church in our area noticed that something was wrong and asked for help. Isn’t that exactly how we hope the Church will behave in the future? Isn't that exactly the right thing to do?
If we refused to help these kids because we disagreed with the Church’s teachings or past behavior, would that help anyone? I don’t think it would.
And golly, wouldn't it be great if this could serve as an example to other Catholic parishes in other places? Wouldn't it be great if this model could help other church personnel all over the world notice and report the victimization they see? How far could that reach? I dare to dream.
So there you go. I respect your opinion, and I’m sorry if we’ve offended you. We chose to create this partnership in order to help kids who are being trafficked. That’s our mission, and we’re sticking to it.
Director of Operations