“If you want to go to Heaven with me, you must ask forgiveness.”
I offered him chocolate, handed him an album about Freiburg and said: “If you want to go to Heaven with me, you must ask forgiveness.” This is what Daniel Pittet, author of the book Father, I Forgive You (not yet available in English), says about a meeting with his rapist.
As a small boy, Daniel Pittet fell victim to a pedophile priest. The rapes lasted four years and there were about 200 of them. Despite this cruelty, he forgave his rapist already as an 11-year-old boy. Pope Francis himself wrote a preface to the book.
READ: The Pope’s preface to new book by sexual abuse victim
Marta Brzezińska-Waleszczyk: You live with the burden of being raped as a child.
Daniel Pittet: It’s very hard. The problem is that if you want or have the opportunity to talk about it (with friends or a therapist), you simply cannot bring yourself to do so.
If I started to talk about it, it was only because I met an 8-year-old boy who admitted that he had been raped. When I asked him who had done it, he replied: Father Joel Allaz. This was the same priest who had abused me, too! I saw that I was not his only victim.
I am a believer, I have good contacts with the bishop’s palace, so I contacted an attorney specializing in Canon Law. I said that I’d been raped many years before and that this person continues to victimize others. Had it not been for this boy, I probably would never have done it. There is no one in the world who would like to talk about it.
Why did you decide to talk about it in a book that has been translated into several languages? Were you not afraid?
I would never have written this book; no one was really interested. I had a family and had six children. But Providence decided otherwise.
I met Pope Francis. I wanted him to write a preface to my book about monks. This was a small publication, nothing fancy, but I thought that if the pope wrote a foreword, it would reach a larger readership (laughter). Pope Francis made 2015 the year of consecrated life, and as a result, the book was translated into 15 languages, with 5 million copies printed (1.5 million of which made it to Poland during the World Youth Day).