Mt 18: 15-20…was God serious?


Gospel Mt 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that ‘every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

That is the gospel for Sunday, September 10 2017.  I have a problem with it. Not the gospel itself that was given to us be Christ but by the way it is implemented, or not really implemented, by the Church.

Since this is a blog about priest abuse, sexual abuse being primary, the Church’s lack of implementation of this gospel…words and ideals from Jesus Christ…God… is a smack in the face to all Catholics and is especially heinous to those of us that have been abused by clergy.

Here is an old tune that I keep singing, when people went to the hierarchy about their child being molested by a priest they were ignored, offered blood money to keep silent, threatened by bishops, or told it would be handled and the priest was moved to a different parish or another diocese, (bishops helping bishops, is what they called it).  When the number of those who were abused hit critical mass and lawyers were asked to step in, then and only then was something done.  That’s probably because money was involved.  The slander, manipulation and lies of the men in charge ramped up considerably.  (For the record I made no money off of my own tragedy and molestation.)

This current pope, Pope Francis, has at least acknowledged the monstrous evil that has been the molestation of minors and the cover-ups that has reached its evil tentacles world wide.  But talk is cheap…cheaper than law suits.

The correct things were said. The founding of a committee to address the scandal was lauded as a giant step. Two abuse survivors were named to the committee.  Peter Saunders had been highly critical of the Vatican’s slow progress in taking measures to protect children and to punish all of the bishops who covered up for priests. He has been asked to take a leave of absence from the committee. Another abuse survivor, Marie Collins, resigned out right from the committee because of the resistance of Vatican Officials to implement changes.  Pope Francis himself reinstated an Italian priest who had been defrocked in 2012 after being convicted of child sex abuse, only to again remove him from ministry.

If everyone did what God has said then priests would not abuse and if they did abuse the hierarchy would address it immediately. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”  What happens when the Church won’t listen???   This.

 

 

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Cocaine fueled gay orgy at Vatican apartment


 

High-ranking priest caught in cocaine-fueled gay orgy in Vatican apartment. Really. My first thought is how can he afford cocaine? My next thought is; Does he not know that as a priest he promised celibacy, (no marriage), which implies chastity, (no sex). Then I thought; where does he get the energy? The answer to that may be the cocaine.

How does all of this play into the sexual scandal of minors in the Church?  It’s an attitude.  Sad to say that the prevailing attitude of the a lot of men in the Church is, ‘do as I say not as I do’.  Wasn’t that the standard operating principle of the Pharisees?  If the moral authority that comes from God alone is not the operating principle in the Church by her own churchmen then its no wonder that there was and is an ongoing sexual abuse crises in the Church.  It also explains the attitude, “Who are they to preach to me about morality.” Remember that moral authority comes from God and not sinful man.  Doesn’t anybody take God’s word seriously any more?  When did God become subservient to man and mans desires? Isn’t anyone afraid of eternal damnation and hell?

It is reasonable to think that if people do not follow God in the small things, like chastity, they are not going to follow him in the bigger things.  The use of cocaine and a gay orgy are personal sins  by sinful men, (Never forget we are all sinful), and the participants had a choice.  The sexual abuse that was thrust upon so many children starts as a personal sin but crosses the line of “personal” when unwilling, underage kids were/are brought into the mix. Where was their choice to not be manipulated and sexually used?

It is also reasonable to think that if the commands of God are being ignored and as a result kids are being molested, (used sexually), it is perfectly reasonable to expect churchmen to lie about it and to try to cover it up.  Is God happy about that? I do not think so, yet he allows it. I don’t understand that but then again I am not God.

Except none of that is reasonable, it is irrational and demonic. And it is not ever something that in any way, shape or form pleases God. The devastating aftermath on the lives of those abused and on their families is permanent even if we allow God into the pain and brokenness to write straight with those horribly crooked lines.  Trusting others seems to be the sacrificial lamb universally effecting all of those who suffer all kinds of abuse from anyone. We trusted and look what it got us. It is hard to trust again.

Yes, the shift from the mystical life of God in the Church and our belief in all that is mystical has been replaced by a hedonism for the here and now.  Eternal life is not thought about, doing what feels good seems to be all that matters. That, of course, is at the sacrifice of the mystical Body of Christ and nary a thought is given to our eternal life yet to come. Eternal…forever…

The personal sin of the monsignor who threw the cocaine driven gay orgy can be easily forgiven if he asks God for forgiveness and changes his life. The corporate sin of the Church has crept into so many corners and crevasses of the Church, in so many dioceses and archdioceses of the Church and seems to be the mindset of so many clergy, men and women who work for the Church.   A request from God for the forgiveness for the sin of abuse will have to come from all of those corners and crevasses of the Church, from all those dioceses and archdioceses and from the many clergy, men and women who work for the Church.  (That is not to mention the lay people who refused to step in and step up.) It is that wide-spread.  It has become that invasive.  Only God can fix the mess that has become his Church.

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More lies, this time from the top, about the ‘SO-CALLED CARE’ of sexual abuse victims by the Catholic Church


If you care about something don’t you make it a priority in your life?  If you care about your relationship with God don’t you prioritize your time and actions to pray daily and follow God’s teachings especially in a world that teaches that what is clearly wrong, and against God, is right? The Church, from Pope Francis on down, seem to not give a hoot about the victims of sexual abuse.  Why do I say that? How do I say that?

A new article sent to me, from God-Know-Where, highlights that the pope is quietly lessoning sanctions for sex abusers, both sanctions already levied and new sanctions imposed.  The article states that it is the spirit of mercy.  What?  That is insane. Mercy has nothing to do with sanctions imposed on someone who both broke the law and went against God’s teachings.

For instance; what if I took a rubber hose with me to a penance service and started beating the pennatents with that hose. Would I be removed from my priestly duties by my bishop? Probably. Would I be accused of being unfit for the priesthood. Yes, and rightfully so.  Would those consequences be removed out of some misplaced sense of mercy? The people that I struck and physically injured not to mention psychologically and spiritually injured would be incensed that what happened to them was dismissed and they had no say in what happened to me after the rampage. Yes get me help because I need it, that is merciful, but don’t put me back in a position where I could injure people once again, that is not mercy  it is insanity.

Where is the mercy for the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy? Yes get the abusers help because they truly need it, but to not do anything and then have the gall to call it mercy.  It is far from mercy it is cowardess. Worse than cowardess, it is re-traumatizing to victims…and not even the pope cares.  But if you are a young cleric in traditional clerical clothing you are excoriated in a homily. The application seems like a demonic application of mercy. It certainly isn’t a consistent one.

 

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More inaction by the Catholic Church on abuse


The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors says Marie Collins quit Wednesday, voicing her “frustration” at the lack of cooperation from other Vatican offices.”

Really?  When did this whole sexual abuse issue within the Catholic first come to light? In 2003 when I was a transitional deacon that’s when.  Billions of dollars later, Pope Francis’s approval of his own commissions implementations and still nothing.  Frustrating? Yes!

More and more people have left the Church or refused to return to the Church because this scandal has never really been understood by so many priests.  Obviously, “other Vatican offices”,  who are not cooperating with The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors still, after all of these years, do not understand the devastating impact of the priest sex scandal on both individuals and on the Church…the Bride of Christ.  People forget or deny that the moral authority of the Church comes from God.

The Republicans in the current administration in the USA talk of draining the swamp. Voting can help with that.  How come it is so difficult to drain the swamp that plagues the Church?  Is it because we do not vote?  I do not have a clue how Vatican offices function or are run but I know that in the real world if your office is slow to, or refuses to, implement the wishes of the CEO you are warned to do so asap or you are fired.

God would not agree that children, or anyone for that matter, should be abused.  So why is God being ignored?  I guess it becomes easier to ignore God on this issue when you ignore God on so many other issues, adultery, gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia.  And it seems to me that the Church is abandoning many of her teachings to be better ‘liked’ by the culture, the world wide culture of death. (Included in the culture of death is the promotion and disregard of sin.) Even most of the world wide culture of death frowns on child molestation and other abuses of power…most…

The continual cry for social justice is nothing but a red herring designed to take everyones’ minds off of the real issues that the Church cannot or should not support.  I have to ask, wouldn’t it be social justice to immpliment plans and strategies to aid those who already have been sexually abused and to prevent further abuse? Immigration is no were near as important as ignoring the Church’s beliefs especially on child molestation and abuse.

On reflection it really shouldn’t matter how Vatican offices function or who runs them.  They need to do what is right in the eyes of God.  That is not happening.

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Pope Francis and his abusive faux pas


I have let this ruminate for several days, making connections, searching for reasons based on my own story, telling myself over and over that EVERYONE has a back story and basically wrestling with what seems to be a hateful, hate filled homily given by our Holy Father regarding a young cleric that he knows nothing about, even if he thinks he does, basing a judgement on an outward fondness for traditional clerical clothing.

The first question that comes to my mind is what happened to, and when did it happen to, Pope Francis to make him so hostile to the outward appearance of a, “young”, cleric.  Who is it who dressed like that and hurt Pope Francis so deeply?  There has to be something bad in the history of the pontiff that caused his over-the-top reaction and subsequent homily. Merciful? No. Loving? Not really.  What is it that made Jorge Mario Bergoglio react that way, because it wasn’t a normal reaction?

And how does that effect the wider question of the Church and abuse?  Honestly if my abuser were more into clerical clothing and less into getting his rocks off I would have been safe. He was not and I was not.  When I look at what I call an over reaction on the pope’s part and what I would deem as a less than nice lashing out at some unfortunate cleric I see abuse.

What does that say to members of the hierarchy and the rest of the members of the Body of Christ?  Nothing good I’m afraid. Abusive language and behavior have been enshrined in the Church by the pope himself.  I really do not believe that was his intention but that is what I see.  As an individual who was abused physically by a cleric I take my backstory with me always. My own backstory of abuse is the filter I am using to measure the reaction of Pope Francis.

There are many people in the Church who have abuse as a backstory.  Some of us have the physical abuse that colors our perception of things. And there are people who have verbal abuse by a cleric or someone connected to the Church as their filter.  Both kinds of those abuses are also spiritual abuses…some categorize it as soul murder.

So I wonder if the young cleric in traditional clothing knows that it was him who was excoriated unjustly by the pope who does not know him from Adam in an over-the-top homily that got world wide attention?  That would be abuse that is soul murdering.   Is there any hope for those who have been abused by representatives of the Church when the leader of the Church adds to the deposit of hate?  I’m sad for all of us who have experienced abuse in the Church, it never seems that it will get any better.

 

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Getting tattooed is the marginally socially acceptable way to cut.


Since I couldn’t sleep last night I was pondering an e-mail I received from a non-priest friend of mine.  The e-mail was in reference to my latest tattoo, (I have seven, number four and number six combine to be one large tattoo on my back.) Why? I pondered that question.

Often times, when someone survives sexual abuse, they shut down in every way possible. This includes their, “feelings”.  In order to feel something many people who have been abused will, “cut”.  Cutting is a person’s very unhealthy way to feel something. Getting tattooed is the marginally socially acceptable way to cut.

But tattooing oneself has another purpose, some would go as far as to say benefit, it is a way to render yourself unattractive or untouchable to your abuser and any would-be abusers.  I would lay odds that a lot of the women you see that have radically changed their appearance through tattooing and body modification have been victimized by abuse.  There is a power that is reclaimed by rendering yourself untouchable to those who are like/in the same class as, the person who first perpetrated the abuse.

In my own case the tattoos that I have gotten are on my; butt (a spade), chest (angel), back/including lower back (The crucified Christ & the universe, and a heart with the phrase LOVE IS THE MEANING OF LIFE), bicep (fleur-de-lis representing the Virgin Mary),  and calf (a carpenters square and three Easter Lilies representing St. Joseph the Worker) .  All but the one on my butt have some connection with religion.  Since my abuser was a priest one would hope that the tattoos would render me verboten. (Of course his being a priest should have done that.)  None of this is conscious.  

One more thing that I think may have been influenced by my own abuse is my ileostomy.  After suffering with Crone’s Disease for 29 years and having pre-cancerous cells in my colon diagnosed twice in a three month span I was given three options.  Option one was to do nothing.  Option two was to have a bowel resection taking out the section of bowel with the pre-cancerous cells. Option three was the removal of my colon, rectum and anus.  I didn’t even have to think about it, I chose option number three.

Why? The two conscious reasons I made the choice that I did were; I would kick myself if I got colon cancer at a later date and not being married the two possible side effects, (incontinence & impotency), did not matter to me.  The possible unconscious reason is/was if I don’t have an anus I can’t be anally raped and impotency would mean I could not be betrayed by my body. 

HEAVY STUFF!

Forget that at 51 I really don’t need to worry about this kind of thing anymore and even if the very slim possibility of rape and/or molestation happened to me I am now well equipped to fight back. That is my rational and conscious thought process.  Unconsciously there is obviously still some fear hence socially acceptable cutting, (tattoos), and no hesitation at all for the most radical colon surgery for pre-cancer. 

Molestation really does effect every aspect of the lives of survivors and apparently for a very long time.   

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Sad day in PA for sexual abuse survivors


Once again the Church, at least the church in Pennsylvania, has won in its ongoing fight against taking any responsibility for sexual abuse.  And once again they used lies and scare tactics to achieve their goal. The Pennsylvania State Senate successfully killed the bill that would allow for a change in the statute of limitations for sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church is not the only entity in the world guilty of harboring sexual abusers, they are, however, the only entity in the world who has God, (or should have God), as their moral center and the teachings of God as their moral compass.  And yet they lie, something God is incapable of doing, something that is anathema to God.

When trying to defend the indefensible the Church’s mantra has been; we have done a lot for the victims of sexual abuse.  Really…  What?  A healing mass performed by priests of the entity that first victimized and abused? Or perhaps paying for talk therapy for victims at the churches own mandated sites, (Still attempting to control a horrible situation that they gave birth to and nurtured for years.), ignoring all of the psychiatric studies that have stated that talk therapy is not effective in the attempt to heal/help trauma victims.  And lest you be confused, sexual abuse is traumatic.

After all of this the Church wonders why there are so many people that have left their ranks and ponder how to get them back.  The answer that the powers that be have come-up with is a new evangelization of the people. Here’s a news flash; that will not work. What will work? Taking responsibility for what you the Church has done, not just give it lip services, (the Church is good at that), THAT WOULD BE THE NEW EVANGILIZATION.

 

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