Mental illness does not disqualify you from sainthood

St. Augustine, St. Flora of Beaulieu, St. Ignatius of Loyola,  St. Jane Frances de Chantal,  St. Noel Chabanel, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), these are just some of the canonized saints who suffered depression, a common mental illness that can be persistent or intermittent. It is what they did with their particular difficulties brought on by their depression that has made them canonized saints in the Catholic Church. Yes they can be seen as mentally ill but they can also be looked on as inspirations to all of us as examples of what we can accomplish with God and in spite of mental illness. Sanctity is in the struggle. We are all called to be saints and we all have our own struggles. Why do I bring that up? If you are the victim of priest sexual abuse somewhere down the line you probably have had depression. Self medication with drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping/spending money or whatever you choose as your coping mechanism does not and will not help. Suicide also will not help nor will homicide. The saints did not choose either of these because they choose perseverance and to struggle against their natural, (or unnatural), inclinations. Sanctity is in the struggle.

How many people who were abused by priests chose suicide? How many chose homicide? How many chose to deaden their pain with drugs and alcohol? It is telling that the Church then turned around and pointed out that the individual coping mechanisms victims use to survive the trauma makes the Church discount the validity of the abuse. They seem to discount their own culpability. See that person is a drug addict or alcoholic so the problem is with them. See that person committed suicide so obviously they are crazy and we can dismiss what they have to say. I could go on… In our society today we here the term cancel culture a lot. Sadly the Church did that early on to victims of abuse. I guess the thought from the Church is if you can silence victims or cancel them then there isn’t really a problem. You can’t be believed if you are not heard. The trouble with that is once the problem reaches critical mass it explodes into the consciousness of the world. What was done in the darkness is brought into the light.

That is my theory as to why this scandal is still going on in the Catholic world. Pray!!!

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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