First allow me to preface this with a true story. When I was a seminarian studying for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I reported a priest for inappropriate behavior towards myself and another seminarian. When I took this back to the powers that be at the seminary it was suggested that this was a good time for me to keep my mouth shut. This episode happened before the Attorney General’s Grand Jury Report had been released. Meanwhile the priest that I turned in was outed as the first sexual predator in the archdiocese. He was eventually defrocked, and latter passed away. Was I protected? No. Did anything happen to him after my stepping forward? No. How about me? Well I’m not a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Men and women who keep their heads in the sand like ostriches concerning this issue…well…I can’t think of a nice way to put it. Those men and women are a huge part of the problem, not admitting that presently there is a problem in the Church caused by homosexual predator priests and other priests and bishops covering up for them. I will never forget the words spoken to me that it would be a good time for me to keep my mouth shut. (It was a threat that came to fruition.)
I thank God, (literally), for the ability to keep my faith and pursue my vocation to the priesthood despite numerous setbacks. (I was untouchable to other diocese in the immediate aftermath, even this one.) Five years later Wilmington did accept me.
I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for a person to come forward after they have been sexually abused by a priest. It doesn’t matter that the priest may be dead. What does matter is the havoc that abusive priests caused in the lives of their victims. What matters is that children and post-pubescent boys who were abused meant nothing to most bishops. Alas, a majority of children and young adults who survived these demon priests have left the Church. A lot of other people have also left because of the hypocrisy of this scandal.
It is lucky that we are blessed by God with the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. That is what we need to cling to. That is what will get us through this.