The Common Good
May 2004

Raising Lazarus in South Dakota

by Rose Marie Berger, Brian Bolton | May 2004

In the diocese of Rapid City,

In the diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, a group of Catholic priests decided to take action on behalf of both the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse in the church. About 30 active and retired priests created an independent nonprofit called the Lazarus Fund, to which they are donating 5 percent of their monthly salaries. The money helps pay for therapy costs for victims of sexual abuse and for abusers.

Sue Archibald, president of The Linkup, a national support group for survivors of clergy abuse, said she was encouraged by the Lazarus Fund. "Number one, it recognizes that it is a problem," said Archibald, "and it’s a real demonstration of compassion." The fund is independent of the diocese and carefully audited. In addition to monetary contributions, the priests fast one day a week and hold weekly Masses to pray for healing the pain that sexual abuse has caused.

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