Let’s forget for a moment that the following has been a major trigger for me and has left me agitated and in fact caused a panick attack, (my 1st in 5 years), last night. A friend of mine sent me a link via e-mail that she thought I may be interested in. Tom Neuberger will be signing copies of his self published book, When Priests Become Predators, Profiles of Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors. It is self published because, “No literary agent, publishing house or university press would touch this controversial topic. One agent said, who wants to read about child rape over breakfast? So I had to publish it myself to fulfill a promise that I made to my clients to not let their story be forgotten.”
Because of this book and because he has already been demonized by many members of the clergy and laity the bashing will start a new. I sincerely hope that I am wrong about that.
If we look at this from the perspective of history we have the evil of the Nazi’s in WWII. There were rumors about what was happening in the concentration camps. There were rumors about the gassing and other means of mass extermination of the Jews. Time and again people refused to believe the rumors which turned out to be warnings. Even many of the Jews did not believe that such atrocities could really be being perpetrated. The result was the destruction of 6 million Jews.
There were children who came forward with their tales of sexual abuse at the hands of trusted members of the clergy. I’ve worked with many people who said that one or both of their parents did not believe them and punished them for saying a priest of all people would do such a thing. A rather silly man from a parish that I was part of said something incredibly stupid but sadly true. He said his mother would have slapped him if he said such a thing. (Do you smell gas?) It was/is totally lost on this man the people like his own mother and her supposed reaction are a huge part of the problem.
Then there are the people who did believe their children and ran into a very solid and very unhelpful wall of clergy and administration. So unhelpful in fact that they covered it up…or tried to. As Germany began to realize it was losing the war it too tried to cover-up its own atrocities.
We see in the Old Testament that many of the profits sent by God did not have things to say that the people wanted to hear. The solution of the people was to silence the profits…usually by death, (although a few slipped through). Tom Neuberger is a new profit and since he has a lot to say that people do not want to hear, (thus the need to self-publish a book), and people in the Church especially don’t want to hear him so he is excoriated. I say God Bless Tom Neuberger!!!!!