An open letter to bishops and priests;
Over and over and over again I have been subject to your ignorance and the total lack of understanding that you have displayed about the issue of priest sexual abuse and in reality all abuse. I’m trying hard to understand why it is that you don’t understand.
Two thoughts about that have crossed my mind: As someone who has been sexually abused and has worked with many people who have been sexually abused I can state with authority that the abuse affects absolutely every aspect of our lives…personality…actions…reactions…thoughts…interpersonal dynamics…EVERY aspect. That is a lot to digest let alone to understand. We cannot fathom an infinite God because we are finite. You cannot understand all of the ways abuse affects the abused because it is too much to comprehend. My alternate theory is that you just really don’t care. That is too painful to ponder.
When you complain about how sad it is that a diocese has to sell property, close parishes, liquidate assets because of the sexual abuse problem and subsequent settlements it absolutely tears me apart inside. Those are things. Property and other assets are things. I am a person. Other victims are people. People matter more than things. People matter more! What is really ‘sad’ is that priests abused others at all.
Was the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, who is supposed to guide the Church asleep during all of this? The answer is a big fat NO!!! The Holy Spirit was ignored. I won’t be ignored. And you cannot ignore all of us who have suffered abuse, we will not let you. And we will not go away. It is your moral obligation to help us as we strive for healing because it is you, (the collective you), who injured us in the first place so that we need to seek healing.
I also have to ask, “Why is everything a secret?” Even inconsequential things are kept as secrets. Secrets, and keeping them, only contribute to the culture that heaps shame upon victims of all kinds of abuse. It is counterproductive to the claim that the Church is willing to correct the evil that was done in her name, and is counterproductive for those abused outside of the Church. Secrecy is the abusers best weapon so secrecy should not be tolerated.
This issue is bigger than the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church should lead the world in trying to stop all abuse and to rip the shame felt by abuse victims, and worn like some sort of diabolical armor, away.