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Reader Reviews

Father Gavin Vaverek

JCLCo-Founder and VP, Maria Goretti Network



“Abuse of Trust offers readers a perspective on the interplay between abuse and Faith along with Hope for the Church doing better in offering meaningful help on the healing journey. As a Catholic priest, who has been very involved in helping victims of abuse and fostering a safe environment, I found the book both positive and helpful. The recognition that individual bishops and priests are not the Church is essential to open the door for Faith as the true path to healing. Abuse of Trust covers a lot of ground and covers it very well. Those sharing the experience of abuse and the not infrequent failure of leaders to respond effectively, provide a moving account of their journey. The sections on trauma and the Theology of the Body are both well done and provide practical insights.”

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Gerry Ken Crete, PhD, LPC, LMFT

President, Catholic Psychotherapy Association

Founder, Transfiguration Counseling (

Co-Founder, Souls and Hearts (

“Abuse of Trust by Allen Hébert is more than one man’s story of confronting and working through clerical abuse. It is an honest and forthright exploration into the many ways that men, women, couples, families, and parishes have been impacted by the epidemic of clerical abuse within the Catholic Church. Mr. Hébert invites multiple survivors to share their stories in heroic vulnerability. It is honest, sincere, and moving. The contributors are wounded but faithful Catholics whose goals is restoration, healing, renewal, and accountability for the Church they love. A unique feature of this book is the multiple perspectives that it explores. The stories of direct victims are shared, but so are the stories of spouses and parents. The story of a wife of a survivor provides a rare window into the pain and suffering of profoundly affected indirect victims. It is heart wrenching to read about involved and faithful Catholic parents who discover their son was abused and how they were treated by church leaders and other parishioners. In Abuse of Trust we learn that the whole family, in fact the whole Church, is harmed in multiple ways by clerical abuse. Another unique aspect of this book is that it provides insight and important education from a professional counselor, a physician, a spiritual director, and a theologian. Although the subject matter is painful and difficult, it never digresses into negativism. The message is about hope and change and renewal of the Church. The author is a compassionate voice for survivors, and he helps the reader truly understand their perspective and their needs. I loved that he recognized that making excuses insults victims. The author includes a brilliant call to action and offers a model for both the clergy and the family that focuses on holiness, sanctification, and accountability. The author also provides helpful resources for those who are struggling spiritually, and he provides practical resources for handling a crisis and finding help and healing within the Church.” 

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Dr. Janet Smith


“This book is a real contribution to the literature on the sex abuse crisis. Unlike most, it is more about the present than the past. It shows the long term effects of sex abuse on the survivors and their families.  You will weep when you hear their stories and understand better the dynamics of sexual abuse, why those being abused stay in abusive relationships and why they don't report until years later. You will be astounded to learn how many remain in the Church whose 'official' representatives have been so cruel and callous to them.  You will learn from therapists what their approach must be and you will read some proposals for healing the wounded Church, wounded in so many ways.  Anyone wanting to get a glimpse of the full picture will want to read this book. And, except for getting a fresh kleenex, you will not want to put it down.”

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Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse


“This collection of essays marks a new beginning in the public discussion of clergy sexual abuse. The contributors continue to be devoted members of the Catholic Church, in spite of the evil and injustice they experienced at the hands of some of her representatives. Unlike the assortment of lapsed and dissenting Catholics who so often dominated earlier discussions of clerical sexual abuse, these authors do not want the Church to change her teaching or be destroyed. Instead, they want the Church to become more of whom she ought to be, what she should have been from the beginning.

In today’s climate, that message is more likely to get a hearing than it might have in 2002. Back then, Pope John Paul II reigned. Catholics who embrace Humanae Vitae and Theology of the Body loved and revered him and wanted to shield his reputation along with his teaching. I know. I was one who just wanted the whole clergy sex abuse issue to go away. Like a lot of people, I was relieved when the bishops enacted the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. I told myself the problem was handled, and we could move on.

I speak for myself when I say: I was wrong then to avert my eyes so quickly. I plan not to make that mistake again. Reading Abuse of Trust is a good place to start. Please buy this book. Read it and share it.”

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Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo


“This book strikes me as very significant and timely in terms of all that we are hearing about in these very hours and days in States such as New York. In front of the scourge of child sex abuse, the concrete and shocking testimonies in Allen Hebert’s book show the real possibility of seeking all necessary justice while remaining in the Church and even growing in the faith as a Roman Catholic. This is so remarkably refreshing, consoling and encouraging for laity and clergy alike. “Abuse of Trust” offers such moving life testimonies of untold suffering, touched by healing through God’s grace in the Church that put flesh on the words of Saint Paul: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12.21)”"

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Bob Schuchts
JP II Healing Center


“Courageously vulnerable and bold, Abuse of Trust, is a much needed voice in today’s Church in response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis. It provides a unique perspective in that it is written by those who love the Church and desire her continued thriving. The testimonies from victims/survivors/overcomers and their family members are raw and honest. They painfully reveal the far reaching impact of clerical sexual abuse and betrayal upon their personal lives, families, and faith communities. Additional chapters from professionals who work with abuse and proponents of the Church’s beautiful teaching on human sexuality and family life augment the testimonies. Taken together, the contributors provide much needed vision and direction for healing in the Church and for the victims and their families for years to come. Overall, this book is a call to live our Catholic faith authentically as an expression of our love for Jesus Christ and for his Bride, the Church.”

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Fr. Andre Metrejean
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Erath, Louisiana 


“I thank all the authors who contributed to this book for their courage and faith. As a Catholic Priest and Parish Pastor, it is hard to read these stories. It boggles the mind how these priests could commit such demonic acts, such sacrilege. The darkness of the accounts however, is countered by the faith of these abuse survivors, who still practice and love their Catholic Faith. The reader walks away with hope. It is hard for us who have not experienced abuse to be sensitive to just how deep the wounds caused by clerical sexual abuse go. The personal testimonies in this book are a must read for every seminarian, priest, and parish volunteer.”"

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Christopher Bartlett
Founder and Vice President of Next Level Ministry

Director of Youth Ministry at St. William


“Abuse of Trust is not an easy book to read. It shares real stories of clergy abuse with details that can haunt the reader. However, it doesn't stop there. Abuse of Trust is a call to action, for the abused, the abusers, and the Catholic Church as a whole. This book takes a refreshing approach to this subject and invites all involved to the healing power of Christ. Each survivor that shares, does so from a perspective that the Church is still a place where they can encounter God's love, hope, and healing. Chapters include various perspectives from survivors of abuse, to siblings and spouses of survivors. The book then shifts to experts sharing about abuse, signs of abuse, and the theology behind the dignity of the human person. Abuse of Trust is not simply a collection of stories or reflections. It is a handbook for faithfully navigating the clergy abuse crisis. A must read for those in church leadership at any level.”

Anchor 8
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