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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acceptably cut


The feeling, (not overwhelming), to acceptably cut by getting a tattoo is once again washing over me. I must ask myself why now? Why all of a sudden? Something must have triggered me. What though? I think I figured it out. Most of the bishops and a plethora of priests do not care one wit about what the Catholic Church believes, stands for or even give a wit about God.

It is apparent that the hierarchy doesn’t have any faith or belief in God or in the eschaton by the things they have said and done regarding the next presidential election. I came to the conclusion that anyone who was sexually abused by a priest is not even on the radar of things to care about. If they are homeless, jobless, or identify as a member of the LGBT(& other initials) community they might earn a little lip service. But once it is established that they have been victimized by a priest…poof…silence…& inaction.

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What is going on with the Theodor McCarrick case?


Ugh! What is going on with the Theodor McCarrick case? I did wonder in this blog if his case signaled real change in the Church in dealing with homosexual acting out or if he was just the sacrificial lamb to make the Church look as if it is actually doing something about this issue. Sadly it turns out that he was just a sacrificial lamb…kind-of-an antichrist…one of many I fear. Rumer is that the investigation is done and the report complete. Will it see the light of day? It will if God wills it.

Are the men that think they are in charge of the Church on earth pushing the agenda of sodomy, trying to make it okay even though God says it is not okay? Are they pushing an agenda of ‘gay is okay’ even though the sterile sexual acts of gay men are seen by God and the Church as evil, (sin). Being gay is not evil, doing gay is evil. Would all of these thoughts somehow change or dismiss the egregious evil perpetrated on so many? (And less we forget, women and girls were also sexually abused, but in smaller numbers.)

Again I must ask what part of no sexual relations do abusers not understand? It has gone further than abusers and has spread to sex between grown men with no power differential. It wasn’t that long ago that President Clinton and an of age intern had multiple sexual liaisons in the White House. It was about the power differential between them that made it so wrong, (not to mention he was married), not the “consent” of the intern. Poor Makenzie Phillips thought wrongly that the incest she experienced with her father was partially her fault because of her consent. At first she dismissed the inappropriateness of her father’s behavior and dismissed the power differential of a parent and child. Age does not matter.

A priest has power. A bishop has power. An archbishop has power. 
Cardinals have power. Alter boys, seminarians, CYO members and youth
in awe of their priests have NO power. Because of this paradigm they
are vulnerable.
I believe they qualify as vulnerable even if they are
adults. they qualify as vulnerable adults.

The Church is a political machine. I do not have any idea how it operates. Even the people that seem to be in charge seem to be controlled by evil cabals, cliques and groups. We have to remind ourselves that God can not and is not controlled or impressed with money or worldly power. That is our salvation…God

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Insight: part III


The most significant thing that happened to me on my third attempt at priesthood was the Boston Archdiocese clerical sex abuse scandal. I was a transitional deacon at that time. Being in the seminary at that time was surreal. With my history of abuse it was cataclysmic for my mental health. It felt as if evil wisps of dark smoke wrapped me in a robe of darkness.

Unbeknownst to me this had become an issue in my proceeding to priesthood. I was never asked directly what was going on with me or ever told that there was a problem that could keep me from ordination. (I would not have told them about my abuse because I was not ready to deal with it yet.) Then my hand was forced.

Finding out I was not being ordained to the priesthood forced me to tell the rector and vice-rector what had happened to me. Finally saying it out loud was not cathartic in any way. It was no longer a dirty little secret but a real event that I had tried to suppress but could suppress no longer.

I drove home to tell my parents everything. They had no idea. Now they knew and the secret was not a secret any longer. It would be another four years or so before I could confront the abuse head on in therapy.

I did get ordained the following year. After three assignments in three years I bottomed out and asked for a leave of absence to deal with the molestation and all of its fallout. It was granted but I was now seen as a problem in my diocese.

After a lot of hard, painful work on my part, a plethora of tears and a very helpful Grief to Grace retreat I was ready to rejoin the world and ministry. Even though I was still pissed-off and untrusting of others I was also in a place, (still am), where I will not take any crap or burry my feelings. Working for the entity that belittled victims, shirked responsibility for the evil that it is and tried their damnedest to cover-up and lie my life is constantly triggered. (Studying for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a perfect example.)

Sixteen years after ordination I keep plugging away. The Catholic Church has done nothing or almost nothing to confront and/or fix the problem of clergy sexual abuse not to mention all the other kinds of abuse. The bishops all over the world are either tone deaf, uncaring or non-believers, (A scary thought.), so nothing gets done.

Round two of this mess has finally woken a lot of the laity up to the corruption that is in the Church but should not be. Where is God? God is here, cling to Him.

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Insight; part II


After leaving the seminary a second time I wound up at what was called at the time, “St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children”. It struck, “for Crippled Children”, from the name while I was there. It is a residential facility for, (How to put this delicately?), children with the primary medical diagnosis of some measure of mental retardation. Mental Retardation is a medical diagnosis that is all and in and of itself is a neutral term. I am aware that it has become a slur used against another in heated exchanges. (That’s not cool.)

Anyway that is where I ended up. The 40 children who lived there were also medically fragile and most were in wheelchairs. The staff was not supposed to have favorite children but we all did. Mine was Neil. I could not have loved him anymore if he was my own son. I got too comfortable there and pondered it as my life’s work. Neil passed away at the age of 14. Puberty was not kind to the boys of St. Edmond’s Home.

I freely admit that I was in a fog at that time but through the fog God started in on me again. Emotionally I was happy, sad and more than a little angry. NOT AGAIN, I thought. But again it indeed was. Since Neil’s death I did not want to stay at St. Edmond’s Home or to continue working with children. God used that.

I have to stop. I’ll continue soon.

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