Let me start by saying that I have mulled this since the death of my sister. When that happened, of course, my brother-in-law was distraught. As families often do when we were gathered together planning the funeral we talked. My brother-in-law said something that I knew was important but since I too was morning I just filed it away in my mind. My brother-in-law said that whenever he was having a really bad day and would come home when he was hugged by my sister all the bad stuff, the bad day, just melted away.
That should be what happens in our relationship with God. So why hasn’t that happened to me surrounding my molestation and other trauma that has been inflicted on me, some of it by the Church herself? Pondering this and praying about this I have come to the conclusion that the issue is to great to be melted away…not the bad stuff mind you because God can do anything…but the issue itself. The issue of priest abuse needs to be confronted still.
Here is a little story, a true story, about non-sexual priest abuse, well bishop abuse. Once upon a time I was celebrant at a funeral mass. So far so good. I was told by a man who actually came into the sacristy that “they” were ready. The deacon witnessed this also. So we started. It turns out that person was from the family not the funeral home. Mass for the deceased still got said and all spiritually was well. Then, on the street in front of the deceased’s family and the deacon the funeral director yelled at me about starting. The fact we were in public apparently did not matter. Nor did the fact that I was directed to start. This particular funeral director is a blowhard and a bully. I sent him a very strongly worded letter saying as much.
Now remember my background of sexual abuse and all the baggage that goes with that. Needless to say I was set off. My letter to him was strongly worded and did point out that his behavior was inexcusable. (After the fact I wondered what happened to him to help shape his blowhard, abusive personality.) The letter did not threaten him, his family, his business or anything. I even passed it trough my therapist who agreed it was strongly worded but a good letter none-the-less.
What happened? Bishop Francis Malooly got ahold of it and sided with the funeral director and not me, one of his priests who got yelled at on the street. SPINELESS. I found out later That the funeral director was a large donor to the diocese. AHHHH, it now made sense. It turned out money was more important than the truth.
That is just like the sexual scandal, money is more important than the truth. I look around at the bishops and archbishops and what I see mostly is men that will let evil slide if money is involved. That makes them cooperators with evil. I am very aware that these feelings are colored by the sexual abuse I suffered but they are also colored by what I have experienced in the Church. Is it a wonder that laypeople are leaving in droves? The truth means nothing to the institution or the men who run it. Truth can be relativized when money is involved. But they, and we, need to remind ourselves that Jesus is truth.