Sexual Abuse and Me, Excuses don’t Wash With God


While ministering to a man who is getting ready for his trip into eternity I said something to him that was not only exceedingly brilliant, (so obviously it was God and not me), it took my breath away. This man is having a lot of anger issues with his ex-wife, his current wife, his daughters, his current wife’s daughter, his granddaughter and a myriad of other people. I told him that it did not matter what they did or didn’t do because at his judgement he will be alone with God and excuses don’t wash. Lightbulb!!!! So I cannot wallow in the sexual abuse I experienced, (not that I do), at the hands, and other parts, of a priest.

Of course that hasn’t taken away bad reactions to triggers or anger caused by do nothing, lying, victim blaming bishops, priests and laity. But it did offer me a new perspective in my struggle into eternity. Excuses don’t wash with God.

The healing that I seek can only be brought about by God and my cooperation with his grace. Programs like Grief to Grace are a great jumping off point but even as I was going through it, (and it helped immensely), I knew that wasn’t the end. As I get further away from that immense help that Grief to Grace provided me I have come to realize, even though I knew it all the time, That not only was I not abandoned by God but only God can make me whole again. I will always be damaged but that’s not an excuse.

Now let me relate a little story from many years ago. I was celebrating the Lord’s Supper. In the congregation I saw a man who looked sort of, kind of, like the priest who molested me. I knew it wasn’t him. My intellect was quite clear on that point. But, and it’s a big but, seeing this man still triggered a panic attack in me. I didn’t suffer paralysis and I finished mass but it was a quite uncomfortable and a somewhat scary moment.

Ultimately it will be God who heals me. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak up when members of the Church are being bone heads in regards to the issue of abuse. Their eternal salvation might depend on it, and so might mine, so they need to be called out and corrected.

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I’ll continue to flatter myself and fantasize that I am above all this corruption in the Church…and I’ll continue to hope and pray for all of us.


Pondering my own abuse in the Church and pondering so many other’s abuse, and the fact that we are still seeing that nothing is really, truly, being done to address the pain and loss of faith that has overwhelmed so many people. I asked myself, what would I have done if I were a bishop? I like to flatter myself and say that I would have made sure that it would never have reached critical mass. I also like to flatter myself and think I would have listened with empathy and compassion to victims and their families who are also victims.

I am pretty sure I would not have been hateful, arrogant and aloof. Maybe a kneejerk reaction, at least with the first report, would have been horror and disbelief. The horror would NEVER go away. Any disbelief would move from victims to a disbelief that a priest could ever engage in this activity and yet has.

Again, I like to think that I would do the right thing and not be hateful to victims and their families. The operating of some in the Church out of hate belies their own distance from God, not a made up god of their creation, but the one true God. For the moment I’m not angry I’m sad. It is a sadness for everyone who is involved. It is a sadness that dwells in the very depth of me. And, of course I wait for the next time that betrayal comes to me from within the Church, (it has on numerous occasions, even as a priest), and I have to wonder will the anger come gushing back. I sincerely hope not. Dealing on a daily basis with the arrogance of some bishops, priests, deacons and lay-people is difficult. Right now it makes me sad but it’s better than overwhelming anger.

I’ll continue to flatter myself and fantasize that I am above all this corruption in the Church…and I’ll continue to hope and pray for all of us.

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We love God by doing what he says. That makes us a part of the flock that the Good Shepherd talks about


We have had many gospels lately, as well as other readings and commentaries in the life of the Church, on the Good Shepherd. This is what I get out of it based on my life experience and more in depth reading. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, out of LOVE has laid down His life for us, his sheep. Who are his sheep? The answer is NOT everyone but only those that love him, Jesus the Good Shepherd. How does one prove their love??? By doing what God says to do. So if you are bucking against God and his teachings/commandments by the definition of the love of God you are not part of the flock…you are not one of he sheep. (One has to love the true God and his teachings not a god of our own making.)

Okay, so far so good. Of course we are all sinners and all have the residual effects of original sin after baptism. That is why we sin. But we are still supposed to strive to love God and follow ALL of what he has left us. As Roman Catholics this is both scripture and tradition. (No matter what non-believers say tradition NEVER contradicts scripture.) We prove that we are one of God’s flock by loving God. We love God by doing what he says. Remember the transfiguration when God says that this is my son do what he says. We are commanded to do what he says…not make it up as some do.

Okay, we love God by doing what he says. We are a part of the flock that the Good Shepherd talks about. We pay attention to scripture and tradition and realize when we sin we need to get back with God. ( We have turned away from God when we sin but turn back to him when we repent.) The flock is world wide.

That leads us to the saints and most specifically the martyrs. The martyrs perfectly imitated the Good Shepherd. Remember, the flock is universal so even if a martyr dies alone, (Maria Goretti), or in a group, (Isaac Jogues & companions, [the North American Martyrs]), They died as part of the flock so they died for us also. Ergo, if we are a part of the flock and we die for Jesus Christ we have also died for the flock. The martyrs are our friends even if we never knew them in this life, even if they have died long ago. They laid down their lives for their friends, the flock, imitating the Good Shepheard.

How does this tie in with clergy sexual abuse? Abusers were never in the flock. They are the wolves talked about in scripture. Their abuse has more times than not scattered the sheep. Abusers are stealing from the flock. And yet the Church has done very little. They protect wolves and neglect the sheep. Again by definition if you protect wolves and neglect the sheep you are really not a part of the flock. Sad. We love God by doing what he says. That makes us a part of the flock that the Good Shepherd talks about.

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Money loving bishops are not the truth. Jesus is truth.


Let me start by saying that I have mulled this since the death of my sister. When that happened, of course, my brother-in-law was distraught. As families often do when we were gathered together planning the funeral we talked. My brother-in-law said something that I knew was important but since I too was morning I just filed it away in my mind. My brother-in-law said that whenever he was having a really bad day and would come home when he was hugged by my sister all the bad stuff, the bad day, just melted away.

That should be what happens in our relationship with God. So why hasn’t that happened to me surrounding my molestation and other trauma that has been inflicted on me, some of it by the Church herself? Pondering this and praying about this I have come to the conclusion that the issue is to great to be melted away…not the bad stuff mind you because God can do anything…but the issue itself. The issue of priest abuse needs to be confronted still.

Here is a little story, a true story, about non-sexual priest abuse, well bishop abuse. Once upon a time I was celebrant at a funeral mass. So far so good. I was told by a man who actually came into the sacristy that “they” were ready. The deacon witnessed this also. So we started. It turns out that person was from the family not the funeral home. Mass for the deceased still got said and all spiritually was well. Then, on the street in front of the deceased’s family and the deacon the funeral director yelled at me about starting. The fact we were in public apparently did not matter. Nor did the fact that I was directed to start. This particular funeral director is a blowhard and a bully. I sent him a very strongly worded letter saying as much.

Now remember my background of sexual abuse and all the baggage that goes with that. Needless to say I was set off. My letter to him was strongly worded and did point out that his behavior was inexcusable. (After the fact I wondered what happened to him to help shape his blowhard, abusive personality.) The letter did not threaten him, his family, his business or anything. I even passed it trough my therapist who agreed it was strongly worded but a good letter none-the-less.

What happened? Bishop Francis Malooly got ahold of it and sided with the funeral director and not me, one of his priests who got yelled at on the street. SPINELESS. I found out later That the funeral director was a large donor to the diocese. AHHHH, it now made sense. It turned out money was more important than the truth.

That is just like the sexual scandal, money is more important than the truth. I look around at the bishops and archbishops and what I see mostly is men that will let evil slide if money is involved. That makes them cooperators with evil. I am very aware that these feelings are colored by the sexual abuse I suffered but they are also colored by what I have experienced in the Church. Is it a wonder that laypeople are leaving in droves? The truth means nothing to the institution or the men who run it. Truth can be relativized when money is involved. But they, and we, need to remind ourselves that Jesus is truth.

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Mental illness does not disqualify you from sainthood


St. Augustine, St. Flora of Beaulieu, St. Ignatius of Loyola,  St. Jane Frances de Chantal,  St. Noel Chabanel, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), these are just some of the canonized saints who suffered depression, a common mental illness that can be persistent or intermittent. It is what they did with their particular difficulties brought on by their depression that has made them canonized saints in the Catholic Church. Yes they can be seen as mentally ill but they can also be looked on as inspirations to all of us as examples of what we can accomplish with God and in spite of mental illness. Sanctity is in the struggle. We are all called to be saints and we all have our own struggles. Why do I bring that up? If you are the victim of priest sexual abuse somewhere down the line you probably have had depression. Self medication with drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping/spending money or whatever you choose as your coping mechanism does not and will not help. Suicide also will not help nor will homicide. The saints did not choose either of these because they choose perseverance and to struggle against their natural, (or unnatural), inclinations. Sanctity is in the struggle.

How many people who were abused by priests chose suicide? How many chose homicide? How many chose to deaden their pain with drugs and alcohol? It is telling that the Church then turned around and pointed out that the individual coping mechanisms victims use to survive the trauma makes the Church discount the validity of the abuse. They seem to discount their own culpability. See that person is a drug addict or alcoholic so the problem is with them. See that person committed suicide so obviously they are crazy and we can dismiss what they have to say. I could go on… In our society today we here the term cancel culture a lot. Sadly the Church did that early on to victims of abuse. I guess the thought from the Church is if you can silence victims or cancel them then there isn’t really a problem. You can’t be believed if you are not heard. The trouble with that is once the problem reaches critical mass it explodes into the consciousness of the world. What was done in the darkness is brought into the light.

That is my theory as to why this scandal is still going on in the Catholic world. Pray!!!

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Naked in the locker room


I’ve done this once and poof it went away. So I’ll try again.

One of the things I do, not only as a Catholic Christian but more importantly as a priest, is pray. Sometimes God gives me an insight into present behavior based on my past. Recently that has happened. Some years ago I was at the gym and camped out in the locker room was a teenager. It disturbed my peace. I figured he was gay and scoping out naked men. Digging deeper as to why I was effected the way I was I came up with this; he was objectifying me. I had become an object. Certainly I did not want to be one of his masturbatory fantasies. I don’t even know if that is what it was about. All I do know is that his presence made me uncomfortable.

Fastbackward, as a teen I was once again naked in a locker room, (sometimes you encounter naked people in locker rooms), and I once again became an object. I did not know that I became an object. A naked object for a priest.

But of course this effected me in another way too. I was powerless. My molester had the power in the relationship. Subsequently I do not take well to people who have power especially if it is over me. There are trust issues too. And if you are deceitful or manipulative I trust you even less.

Since having this wonderful revelation about objectifying others even when I did not like it myself I am Patiently waiting for it to go from my intellect into my heart so I stop doing it also.

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Pope Francis, Vatican bureaucracy, McCarrick, and the Wales clergy sexual abuse report


How long has Pope Francis been in office? Pope Francis pledges to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report, so screamed one headline. Am I dreaming or have we heard about the pope’s concern before. I vaguely recollect him putting together a commission for this issue. Wasn’t it dissolved because it couldn’t get its changes implemented because Vatican bureaucracy blocked them. Am I remembering that correctly?

Nothing has been done for how long? It is very interesting to me that a report on clergy sexual abuse in Wales came out on the same day as the McCarrick report excoriating the Church, (and rightfully so), and naming the pope as an enabler by blocking investigations, stonewalling, and not doing anything of substance to punish perpetrators. It is also telling that the McCarrick report, put together by Pope Francis’s personal lawyer, exonerates Pope Francis from all wrong doing. (Of course it does.) It all smacks of that do nothing policy, Bishops policing themselves…bishop and personal attorney are interchangeable here

So it seems that nothing will ever get done amidst the lies, cover-up’s and whitewashing that the men in power hoist onto a cynical public.

How long has Pope Francis been in office? Pope Francis pledges to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report, so screamed one headline. Am I dreaming or have we heard about the pope’s concern before. I vaguely recollect him putting together a commission for this issue. Wasn’t it dissolved because it couldn’t get its changes implemented because Vatican bureaucracy blocked them. Am I remembering that correctly?

Nothing has been done for how long? It is very interesting to me that a report on clergy sexual abuse in Wales came out on the same day as the McCarrick report excoriating the Church, (and rightfully so), and naming the pope as an enabler by blocking investigations, stonewalling, and not doing anything of substance to punish perpetrators. It is also telling that the McCarrick report, put together by Pope Francis’s personal lawyer, exonerates Pope Francis from all wrong doing. (Of course it does.) It all smacks of that do nothing policy, Bishops policing themselves…bishop and personal attorney are interchangeable here

So it seems that nothing will ever get done amidst the lies, cover-up’s and whitewashing that the men in power hoist onto a cynical public.

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PTSD has chosen me


After all these years of thinking something was seriously wrong with me because I have great difficulty trusting people or wonder what there ulterior motives are when they are interacting with me I have an answer. Now I know that having trust in others is hard for abuse survivors but something that I recently learned gave me an aha moment. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is not chosen by the people who have it. PTSD chooses them.

I do not think I shared this yet. There was a man in the congregation of a mass that I was offering who kinda, sorta looked like the priest who molested me. I KNEW it was not him…my intellect said it was not him…yet I had a visceral reaction, (I’m having a reaction just recollecting it.), yes PTSD has chosen me. Why would anyone want that kind of thing to happen to them? It came upon me without warning, it came without my wanting it and it came in spite of my intellect knowing that I was safe.

Being a diocesan priest, in a way working for my abuser, (lies and the cover-up and all), also keeps me from total healing. During my journey to priesthood I had many encounters with lying, conniving priests. It just reinforced not trusting people. As a priest I have run into the same thing, especially with the bishop. So is it any wonder when priests, bishops, cardinals and even the pope say erroneous things having nothing to do with the Catholic faith it pisses me off? If you don’t believe then GET OUT and stop promoting things that are contrary to the faith. This entire clergy sex scandal did not have to happen. If all involved; priests, bishops, cardinals et. al. had done the Catholic thing it never would have happened. And still it drags on…

Until total healing comes to me, and I pray it can and does, I get to live my life not knowing where or when the next thing is going to ‘trigger’ me. It is akin to emotional Russian Roulette…good times…

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Fratelli Tutti remember St. Paul; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”


Fratelli Tutti, (Brothers All), talks about everyone getting along in this world despite our differences, a sort of man made Shangri-La. Lets forget for a moment about the division in our country, the riots, the looting the property destruction. Those who do that don’t play by the rules or see themselves as humanities brother act out. Islam, besides wanting to kill all non-Muslims, also has the death penalty for apostates. (If we had that I estimate about 2/3 of the hierarchy would qualify for death.) We see irreconcilable differences with the pope here. There are so many beliefs and so much that is culturally diverse around the world that some people just don’t want to get along they just want their way. The idea that we should all get along is a nice one, it is just not a reality this side of heaven.

Further stoking the flames of dissent is the Catholic Church herself, (at least the men who run her). Can Pope Francis be taken seriously when he personally has contributed to the clergy sexual scandal? Are those who have been sexually abused, (mostly males), somehow not brothers? Are they less important than say an Islamic Imam or a Baptist preacher? Feminists are also in an uproar over the title because they feel excluded too.

What is clear is that any moral authority that the pope wielded, (moral authority comes from God not man), he let dissipate. The first and most important thing in getting it back is cleaning up your own house. That of course would be the Church, and that would include the clergy sex scandal and subsequent cover-up. Until that happens his words and thoughts mean nothing. They are just the hollow, meaningless platitudes of an old man. No disrespect is meant…leading by example is what the Church needs. That is what the world needs.

The Bride of Christ has been battered from her beginnings as the Catholic Church. She has been battered both from the outside and also from the inside. We all have to remember the words of St. Paul; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”

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I love the Church, not so much the men in love with money who run it, not so much the weak bishops and weak priests who seem to have abandoned her, not so much the faithless but the Church


Doing soul searching during the Wuhan Virus many things have come to the forefront of my thoughts. I am not a soldier, (actually I am for God), and have never fought in an armed conflict or in a war yet I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD wasn’t diagnosed until after my horrendous experience at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and my horrendous experiences with the priests, both faculty and administration, there.

The horrendousness started because I had the audacity to turn in a priest for his inappropriate behavior toward me and my partner during an apostolate, (like an internship), to a high school. All hell broke loose. In my naiveté I thought priests would care about the safety of seminarians and…I don’t know…the teaching of the Church. Silly me. Notice I’m not a priest of Philadelphia…just sayin.

Of course the initial trauma came from my own molestation at the hands of a priest. All of this other crap just served to reiterate the feelings of not being safe in the Church. Almost all people who have been traumatized have a problem with trust and a dislike for authority especially when they are non-supportive and retraumatize us. My first tattoo is on my butt and it really is a middle finger to the powers that be in the Church. The first tattoo is a spade ♠, acceptable cutting.

After experiencing zero support as a priest, (because the bishop chose money over me), from my own diocese, and seeing zero support for individuals who have been molested by; priests, by the hierarchy, by other priests and by the laity it’s easy to leap to cynicism. Lip service is not enough. Where is the report on Mr. McCarrick? Where are the reports on the others who have treated their priesthood as their own private Sodom & Gamora?

I am well aware that I am not perfect, not even close, and I will have to answer for my own sins at my judgement. And it is not an excuse that some of them, most of them, stem from the abuse. I need to constantly work at it. Healing does not happen with re-traumatization.

I love the Church, not so much the men in love with money who run it, not so much the weak bishops and weak priests who seem to have abandoned her, not so much the faithless but the Church that believes in Devine truth, in scripture and tradition. To hell with the pc crowd going against TRUTH for money or political favor…literally. Feeling good about yourself will not get you to heaven. The hard work of belief has to happen. God save us all, me especially.

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