Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

I am having trouble even starting this blog.  My thoughts and feelings, (yes feelings), are all a jumble. I received an invitation, (to the incorrect address I might add), I’ve been invited to join Archbishop Chaput O.F.M. Cap. to a mass for Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse to take place on March 22, 2014 at 5:15 p.m. at the cathedral in Philadelphia.  Too little too late.  

First of all going on a Grief to Grace retreat would and could do more for victims of abuse yet getting a third party, like the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, to sponsor retreats is difficult because they don’t want to part with their money, but I digress, than a healing mass.  A healing mass alone is just so much babble.  I don’t doubt for one second God’s ability to heal but that has not been my experience with healing masses alone.  And healing masses are incorporated into Grief to Grace retreats. 

For people like me who never hated or blamed God for my abuse what is the point of a mass?  The most damaging thing to me were the people in power who did nothing but try to cover up.  Being told, “Sorry”, does not put my shattered plate back together.

When I was in the seminary in Philadelphia and brought forth a priest who supervised another seminarian and myself on what was called an apostolate, (a practicum), for his wildly inappropriate behavior towards us, including but not limited to, a tour of a boy’s locker-room during school hours, I was told By Rev. Tom Owens that this was a good opportunity to keep my mouth shut. Later the priest I reported was laicized for molesting a teenage boy and has since passed away.

The incident had nothing to do with my molestation except to act as a trigger for me and to show how priests covered for one another at the expense of the innocent. (Just typing the event is triggering anxiety within me.)   

Grab a plate and throw it on the ground.

– Okay, done

Did it break?


Now say sorry to it.

– Sorry.

Did it go back together the way it was before?


Do you understand?

My plate is broken and, “sorry”, just doesn’t cut it.  Now, more than ever I am realizing that all of the horrible things said and done for the sake of covering all of this up has been more destructive, at least to me, than my own sexual molestation.

Saint Francis of Assisi was famously in love with Christ and not mere Christianity, to paraphrase G. K. Chesterton.  It really makes you wonder who all of these bishops and all of their underlings are in love with…it certainly doesn’t seem to be Christ judging from their actions and the amount of time they are taking to right wrongs.



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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1 Response to Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

  1. smpturlish says:


    Memo from Sister Maureen Paul Turlish regarding the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s “Healing Mass” on Saturday, 03/22/2014.

    Please send this around to everyone you know who realizes the need for better statutes in Pennsylvania regarding the sexual abuse of children:

    Prayer alone will not bring healing. Acknowledgment of the crimes committed against innocent children, acknowledgment of the institutional cover-up by church hierarchy and justice are necessary. These are crimes and mortal sins committed against the very humanity of children and they cry out to heaven for justice.

    About the Mass scheduled by the ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA for Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 at 5:15 p.m. to which so many victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse have received invitations —

    I will be somewhere out in front of the Basilica Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul with a sign urging support for all victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, past, present and future – BY ANYONE by supporting PA legislator Mark Rozzi’s recently proposed legislation covering the sexual abuse of children. Legislation similar to HB 2067 has been previously proposed but the chairman of the judiciary committee has blocked any discussion on those bills. Strong efforts by the Insurance Lobby, the PA Catholic Conference and others helped in that effort.

    Bill numbers may change. Therefore suggestions for signs include the following:

    Support Rozzi SOL Reforms
    Protect Children
    CSA Predators Don’t Stop
    DO the Right Thing
    CSA = Epidemic
    CSA = $1.5 Billion to PA Taxpayers
    Where’s the Outrage?
    Justice Denied for Thousands
    Stop Perps – Pass Reform Bills
    When is enough – ENOUGH!
    Hold CSA Predators Accountable
    Legislators – DO something Now!
    Could you tell when you were 10?
    Don’t Protect immoral, godless acts
    Allow victims to expose criminals
    Forget the Powerbrokers…help the People
    Stop Endangering Children

    There will be a film crew asking passersby whether they believe legislation like HB 2067 is necessary in Pennsylvania.

    If you support victims of childhood sexual abuse, past, present and future, join me. Bring your own signs and don’t forget to call your Representatives in Harrisburg urging their Support for Rozzi’s SOL Reforms.

    Going to the Mass ITSELF on the 22nd?

    I would never, ever recommend attendance on the part of survivors or their families. That would be something each would have to decide individually. The survivors and/or families that I have heard from, directly or indirectly, are outraged at having received the archdiocese’s invitation.

    Remember the public relations disaster that was Remember the Sorrow created by Justin Rigali? Would you believe it is still available in its entirety on the AOP website?

    Well, it is.

    Other concerned individuals including advocates, etc., well that’s another story.

    The only way I would consider going in would be before the service began, empty handed, sitting some place in the front third of the pews, by myself just inside the pew to the right or left of the center aisle to say my own prayer to the Lord. Sometime after the service began and at an appropriate moment I would simply get up, by myself, and exit by way of the center aisle, slowly walking back the way I came in. If anyone would care to perform a similar action, you are welcome.

    Please forward this to anyone you think would be interested in supporting such legislation and I’ll see you on the 22nd in front of the Cathedral. I plan to be there between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

    Sister Maureen

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