“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.
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).
"Since you are here...
…we'd like to have one more word with you. More and more of you are reading Aleteia, and we are excited to be a part of your life! Our team proves its mission every day by working to encourage and inspire Christian life. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge — but quality journalism has a cost...more than ads can cover. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable.