Chicago Tribune

Despite a history of sexual abuse, here's why some catholic parents choose to stay with the church

Michael Hoffman is what some call a "cradle Catholic." Born and raised into the faith, he and his family were extremely involved in their Forest Park, Ill., parish throughout his childhood. As a kid, he was an altar server. As an adult, he considers the Catholic community the "fabric" of his life.

From 12 to 16, it was also the source of his sexual abuse.

Hoffman, now 53, kept that to himself for a long time. It wasn't until 2006 - a decade into his marriage - that he decided to tell his wife. The second person he told? His pastor at St. Mary of the Woods Parish in Chicago.

"I was that active at our parish that I felt compelled to tell him. My kids were going to school there. I was on the athletic board," Hoffman said. "If that experience went poorly - and there's a 50-50 chance that it could go either way - he might have thought that I was attacking his ministry or attacking his character, which I wasn't doing. If he didn't handle it the way he handled it, which was a very good and gracious way, that could have changed my path. But he didn't. I was just at a moment in my life where I was

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