Sipe documentary prompts memories of early sex abuse activist

Richard Sipe Thomas Doyle

Title: Sipe documentary prompts memories of early sex abuse activist
Author: Thomas P. Doyle
Publisher: NCROnline
Date: 09MAR2021

I watched the documentary, “Sipe: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood,” with a mix of very powerful emotions: profound admiration and gratitude for all that A.W. Richard Sipe had done and all that he continues to do, and very painful sadness. Richard and I go back to the earliest years of the clergy abuse phenomenon. From the day we first met something clicked between us, and our collaboration grew into a deep and loving bond that the word “friendship” can’t really capture.

The documentary accurately showed Richard as a loving and gentle person who attracted people to him, especially people who were troubled, precisely because the empathy he shared was real, and because it was real it transcended the barriers of fear so many have when they seek help. He connected with people in a way I have never seen in anyone else.

The only people he didn’t seem to be able to connect with, at least on a deeply personal level, were the bishops. Had they been able to overcome their own barriers of narcissistic self-concern, they too would have been blessed to know this unique man and even more important, would have possibly learned from him.

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