USCCB,When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women. (USCCB: Washington DC,revised 2002)

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Domestic Violence


“As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women,inside or outside the home, is never justifiedViolence in any form”—physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal”—is sinful;often, it is a crime as well.”

“As bishops,we condemn the use of the Bible to support abusive behavior in any form. A correct reading of Scripture leads people to an understanding of the equal dignity of men and women and to relationships based on mutuality and love.”

“When violence occurs within a sacramental marriage,the abused spouse may question,”How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?” The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises.”

“Finally, we emphasize that no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage. Some abused women believe that church teaching on the permanence of marriage requires them to stay in an abusive relationship.They may hesitate to seek a separation or divorce. They may fear that they cannot re-marry in the Church. Violence and abuse, not divorce, breakup a marriage.”

“We also encourage church ministers to see themselves as “first responders” who

❖Listen to and believe the victim’s story,

❖Help her to assess the danger to herself and her children, and

❖Refer her to counseling and other specialized services.”

   If you are a victim or survivor of domestic abuse seeking help:

       National Hotline:1-800-799-SAFE (7233);1-800-787-3224(TDD)

       State of Illinois Helpline:1-877-863-6338 (1-877–TOE-NDDV)