Jesus is the victim

Cleaning up files while preparing to move I came across something I wrote a few years ago.

“In all that I have done and all that I have read in the course of my own journey toward healing I have been struck by how prevalent sexual abuse is in our society.  It is not a monopoly of the Catholic Church and in fact a person, female or male is less safe from sexual abuse within their own families.”

“Hateful, hurtful things have been said about Catholicism due to the clergy sexual abuse scandal.  Some of it, sadly enough, has been deserved.  Some of it has really only amounted to some people or organizations trying to advance their own agenda.  And some of it has just been old fashioned Catholic bashing.”

“My journey has been about me and God and nothing else.  I have known since I was seven years old that God wanted me to be his priest.  There is a really dumb game, at least I think it’s dumb, that seminarians are forced to play while they are in the seminary pursuing ordination.  It amounts to a type of false modesty.  Tacked onto the end of any talk of your future ordination is the phrase, “God willing”.  I knew that it was God’s will for me I just couldn’t figure out why it took so long for others to get on the same page.  Sometimes the men that run the Church, the bishops and other members of the hierarchy need to be reminded that the seed of this scandal germinated because of their love for money and their fear of the truth.  Since God is truth there should not have been any fear.”

“Along the way, as a priest trying desperately to get this issue taken seriously by other members of the clergy and members of the faithful, I have run into a wall of hostility and anger that I have found frightening.  Much, if not most of the venom spewed out has been directed toward the victims.  One older gentleman actually said to me that if said such a thing to his mother he would have been slapped.  This was his attempt to let me know that this subject was not to be broached.  I replied that was part of the problem.  There are no longer any sacred cows and truth be told there never should have been any sacred cows in the first place.”

“On a ‘Grief to Grace’ retreat, a retreat for those who have suffered abuse, one woman stood in front of the group and with great humility and humiliation told everyone of her mother’s reaction immediately after she revealed her sexual molestation.  Mimicking the way that she perceived her own mother’s reaction she sneered, “Who would molest you?”  My heart broke. After 50 years the duel abuses of her sexual molestation and her mother’s negative reaction still showed in her life, trauma heaped upon trauma.”

“Everyone is broken to some degree, I am keenly aware of that.  Tragedy and trauma mar us all.  Sin is alive and well in all of us too, but the sin of one, (the abuser), effects countless others, not just in the theological way.  Because I was so affected by the trauma of my own abuse every person that I came in contact with afterwards was affected too.  When interacting with others it was not me genuinely interacting but was me pretending…pretending what I thought was normal, genuine and socially acceptable interaction.  Abuse victims will understand what it is I’m talking about.”

“The thing is that you cannot pretend with God.  God knows who we really are.  God sees through our pain and trauma.  God knows our hearts even when it feels like they have been blown to pieces by awful, evil things that we have suffered and continue to suffer.  Aren’t they reasons that Jesus died on the cross for us all?”

“It seems that those who have been sexually abused by clergy members have a mine field to traverse every day for the rest of their lives.  There are so many, ‘triggers’, that can set us off.  I have experienced that trauma recovery is multi layered like an onion, and we will spend a good part of our lives peeling away the layers.  Each layer exposes a new and different level of woundedness.  And that new level must be dealt with and healed.  That is one of the reasons I prefer the term, ‘victim’, to the term, ‘survivor’.  With each new level I reach, with each new level of my woundedness that I peel away there is a new and different issue to deal with.  It is a continuous reminder that I am a victim.  We have fear, pain, regret, anger, (anger is part of every layer), mistrust, mistrust and mistrust…  It is so difficult to live life when mistrust is your default personality trait.  That is what abuse does.  Sadly all abused persons can say the same thing and it is an ugly reality with Church abuse. The institutional Church, or more accurately the men who run it do not seem to comprehend that the victims of this heinous abuse are trying to move on in their lives.  They, (we), are getting little help in receding from the darkness from the very people who should be providing us with light.  They are the ones who caused our darkness in the first place.  They are the ones who caused this cancer and in fact have been instrumental it its metastasis by their words, actions and inactions.”

There is more but I’m tired of typing.   

About follow1in3

I am a Roman Catholic priest ordained for the Diocese of Wilmington, DE who is also a victim of clergy sexual abuse. I am often angered by the insensitiviy and hostility of other clergy, the hierarchy and the so-called people-of-God. If clergy, bishops included, really and truly understood abuse, (any kind of abuse), I would not feel the need to blog on occasion. It is very frustraing.
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