Matthew 18

by Carrie Bucalo


Matthew 18 is a heartfelt conversation between Bishop Bill Muhm and Carrie Bucalo, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Their mutual concern for the health and well-being of the Church led to an honest dialogue about the deep wounds victims experience, emerging in a fresh, relevant, and hopeful commentary. 

Each chapter begins with a selected text from Matthew 18. Bishop Muhm offers theological insights, and Carrie responds with her experiences as a survivor. Together, they reveal that Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 are a direct source of healing and guidance for the whole Church during this time of scandal. 

Enhanced with Carrie’s emotive artwork, this little book shows that the present time of crisis and sadness is also a time of extraordinary grace. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (Romans 5:20).

The Author:

Carrie Bucalo is an Army wife, mother, artist, and writer. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After being sexually abused for eighteen years by her biological father, an active lay minister in the Catholic Church, she ran away from home and joined the Carmelite Monastery of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There she studied Carmelite prayer and mysticism. For three years, she lived in silence and solitude and learned to navigate through “the dark night of the soul,” ultimately finding a way to communicate her faith wounds to others. Her father was arrested in 2002, and Carrie became involved in an unbearable court battle that has spanned over two decades and is still ongoing. 

In 2005 Carrie married Justin Bucalo, a Catholic youth minister from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Justin joined the United States Army in 2010 and continues to serve with Carrie and their six children.

In 2010, Carrie founded the website,, to share her essays, The Spiritual Journey of Healing, and to promote faith-healing for abuse survivors and their families. For the past two decades, Carrie has advocated for the spiritual needs of abuse survivors in the Catholic Church, and she writes for the bestselling Magnificat.


ISBN: 978-1-957013-81-7
Publication date: June 26th, 2023
Page count: 86
List price: $15.95
Formats available: paperback and eBook

Possibly the toughest passages for survivors and those who love them are those dealing with forgiveness. Because sexual abuse of children is considered so heinous, and because Jesus Himself used such strong language regarding it as an abomination, finding forgiveness is difficult. Love “means willing the good of another … [and] to hold people accountable for their actions … for the moral development of the wrongdoer and for the protection of society … .” The authors quote the incident where Saint John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin, while acknowledging the man could not be released early from prison. Praying for abusers and enablers is an enormous challenge, but as they point out, “no sin is so bad that I cannot be forgiven through the death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ” but reconciliation between survivors, abusers, and enablers of those abusers – including the Catholic hierarchy – “can only happen in the Cross” where Jesus Himself, through His sacred wounds, offers and becomes “ a source of new life.” It is a tough read, but one that is sorely needed in the Church after decades of sordid revelations, and one that can be used by any survivor, their loved ones, and those who want to see the Church become healthier and holier. That similar revelations are appearing in other national Churches is a tragic sign that too many in the upper levels of the Catholic Church allowed such sin to take root, and the experience of Bucalo’s father shows how the rotting horror of such sin spread its tentacles beyond the offending clergy. May this work be a source of healing, and also a challenge to every bishop who wants to see the Church experience recovery and become a beacon to the nations for change and service through the cross and resurrection of Christ.


A good book for survivors and those who love them

I have known Carrie for many years. Her kindness and compassion are woven into every word. I was deeply touched by her forgiveness and unwavering love for our Lord. Very inspirational and a lesson for us all!

Gayle McGuiness

Definitely worth the read!

Surviving such a heartbreaking situation and triumphing through a solid, loving relationship with God. The author's journey of forgiveness is absolutely beautiful.
Such a outstanding example of overcoming.



This raw and honest conversation is essential to healing in the Church. Carrie's testimony gave me hope for my own loved ones who are estranged from the church as a result of faith wounds. Bishop Muhm's tender response is such a beautiful reflection of the God the Father's heart. The message may be intended for abuse victims, but it applies to all who have been wounded by members of the church.

Amazon Customer

Hopeful and encouraging

Carrie’s voice in this conversation, as well as her striking artwork, conveys an immense vulnerability and an incredible strength. It is clear that her life and story was and continues to be a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Carrie, for your openness to being the voice and face of Christ’s presence in all things.



Carrie and Bishop Muhm have done a great service to survivors and their families in publishing Matthew 18. This book should be offered by all church leaders, therapists and spiritual directors to those who have lived with the pain of child sex abuse. It will contribute immensely to their healing and that of their family members.


Wonderful book!

Carrie and Bishop uncover revelation upon revelation in this book. As we reach to see the gospel new thru the eyes of a Christ-follower and survivor-- Carrie illuminates the power to the gospel to save, to redeem and renew. I hope many survivors find the truth and the way to freedom in this book.

D Brae

Revelation upon revelation

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