Awake’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2021

As Awake Milwaukee reflects at the close of the year, it’s rewarding to see which blog posts were read the most over the last 12 months. This collection of posts gives us hints about the information that resonated most for you, our community, this year. You wanted information about Catholic composer David Haas who was accused of sexual abuse by dozens of women. You were interested in the Wisconsin attorney general’s investigation of sexual abuse cases by church leaders. And clearly you appreciate personal stories about the impact of the clergy abuse crisis on victims, their loved ones, and the wider community. Here’s the countdown of our top 10 posts this year.

10. When Michigan Investigated Clergy Sexual Abuse, My Former Pastor Was Arrested

After Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul announced this spring that he would investigate sexual abuse by church leaders, Elizabeth Brick, a member of Awake Milwaukee’s leadership team, offered powerful insights about what happened in her home parish in Michigan when a similar investigation was launched in that state.

9. Survivor Story: My Husband Was a Victim of Clergy Abuse. I’ve Had to Work Hard for My Own Healing.

Wendy Liedtke’s husband Ken was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest. He didn’t tell his wife about these painful experiences until the couple had been married for more than 30 years. Wendy describes how, after Ken’s death, she worked to make sense of what happened to him.

8. Yes, The Pennsylvania Attorney General Investigation of Clergy Abuse Was Hard. But It Helped My Mom and Her Fellow Abuse Survivors.

Jerri von den Bosch, member of the Awake Milwaukee Leadership Team, is the daughter of a woman who was sexually abused by Catholic priests as a teenager. Jerri reveals what it meant to her family when the Pennsylvania attorney general released the grand jury report about clergy sexual abuse.

7. Understanding the Wounds Caused by Clergy Sexual Abuse

Catholic moral theologian Marcus Mescher of Xavier University in Cincinnati explains his research and writing around how sexual abuse by Church leaders affects the hearts and souls of their victims and others in the community.

6. Attorney General Starts Statewide Investigation

When Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul launched his statewide investigation of sexual abuse by church leaders in April, Awake Milwaukee attended the press conference and encouraged fellow Catholics to support this effort for transparency. Our blog post includes a link to the moving remarks made that day by Awake Milwaukee’s Executive Director, Sara Larson.

5. Checking the List of Abusive Priests Gave Me A Shock—And A Wake-Up Call

Patty Ingrilli, then a member of Awake Milwaukee’s Leadership Team, shares what it was like to discover that her deceased great uncle, a priest, was credibly accused of sexual abuse. She explains how this prompted her to get involved with Awake Milwaukee.

4. Update: The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Will Not Issue a Statement on Music By Catholic Composer David Haas

This post continued Awake’s coverage of reports of abuse by Catholic composer, David Haas, revealing that in June 2021 he reached out to a 21-year-old woman who attended his music ministry camp as a teenager. The letter he sent her showed hallmarks of grooming. Our post includes official comment from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which said it would not advise parishes to stop playing Haas’s compositions.

3. 10 Things Never to Say to Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Another top post written by Jerri von den Bosch of the Awake Leadership Team describes the unintentionally hurtful things people say when they learn that Jerri’s mother experienced abuse by Catholic priests. She offers ideas of what to say instead. It’s an important read for Catholics who want to respond to victim-survivors with compassion.

2. Courageous Conversations: Awake Welcomes Three Women Who Spoke Out About David Haas

Last January, Awake hosted a Courageous Conversation featuring three women who helped to make public the abuse by composer David Haas. This post includes a summary of that compelling event and a link to the recording.

1. Publisher GIA Contacts All U.S. Dioceses About Catholic Composer David Haas

GIA, one of the largest publishers of Catholic hymnals and sacred music in the United States, sent a letter to all Catholic dioceses in the country, explaining why it is no longer publishing music by composer David Haas. In July, Awake spoke with Kate Williams of GIA, who shared insights about the company’s decision.

Readers, comment below and tell us which of Awake’s blog posts in 2021 were the most useful or meaningful to you. And as we turn the page on a new year, please keep reading! We have more important content planned for 2022. You won’t want to miss it.

—Erin O’Donnell, Editor, Awake Blog

If you appreciate the Awake blog and want to support more great content like this in the new year, please consider making a donation to Awake’s year-end appeal! Your gift here will make a real difference.

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