The feeling, (not overwhelming), to acceptably cut by getting a tattoo is once again washing over me. I must ask myself why now? Why all of a sudden? Something must have triggered me. What though? I think I figured it out. Most of the bishops and a plethora of priests do not care one wit about what the Catholic Church believes, stands for or even give a wit about God.
It is apparent that the hierarchy doesn’t have any faith or belief in God or in the eschaton by the things they have said and done regarding the next presidential election. I came to the conclusion that anyone who was sexually abused by a priest is not even on the radar of things to care about. If they are homeless, jobless, or identify as a member of the LGBT(& other initials) community they might earn a little lip service. But once it is established that they have been victimized by a priest…poof…silence…& inaction.
Ugh! What is going on with the Theodor McCarrick case? I did wonder in this blog if his case signaled real change in the Church in dealing with homosexual acting out or if he was just the sacrificial lamb to make the Church look as if it is actually doing something about this issue. Sadly it turns out that he was just a sacrificial lamb…kind-of-an antichrist…one of many I fear. Rumer is that the investigation is done and the report complete. Will it see the light of day? It will if God wills it.
Are the men that think they are in charge of the Church on earth pushing the agenda of sodomy, trying to make it okay even though God says it is not okay? Are they pushing an agenda of ‘gay is okay’ even though the sterile sexual acts of gay men are seen by God and the Church as evil, (sin). Being gay is not evil, doing gay is evil. Would all of these thoughts somehow change or dismiss the egregious evil perpetrated on so many? (And less we forget, women and girls were also sexually abused, but in smaller numbers.)
Again I must ask what part of no sexual relations do abusers not understand? It has gone further than abusers and has spread to sex between grown men with no power differential. It wasn’t that long ago that President Clinton and an of age intern had multiple sexual liaisons in the White House. It was about the power differential between them that made it so wrong, (not to mention he was married), not the “consent” of the intern. Poor Makenzie Phillips thought wrongly that the incest she experienced with her father was partially her fault because of her consent. At first she dismissed the inappropriateness of her father’s behavior and dismissed the power differential of a parent and child. Age does not matter.
A priest has power. A bishop has power. An archbishop has power.
Cardinals have power. Alter boys, seminarians, CYO members and youth
in awe of their priests have NO power. Because of this paradigm they
are vulnerable. I believe they qualify as vulnerable even if they are
adults. they qualify as vulnerable adults.
The Church is a political machine. I do not have any idea how it operates. Even the people that seem to be in charge seem to be controlled by evil cabals, cliques and groups. We have to remind ourselves that God can not and is not controlled or impressed with money or worldly power. That is our salvation…God
The most significant thing that happened to me on my third attempt at priesthood was the Boston Archdiocese clerical sex abuse scandal. I was a transitional deacon at that time. Being in the seminary at that time was surreal. With my history of abuse it was cataclysmic for my mental health. It felt as if evil wisps of dark smoke wrapped me in a robe of darkness.
Unbeknownst to me this had become an issue in my proceeding to priesthood. I was never asked directly what was going on with me or ever told that there was a problem that could keep me from ordination. (I would not have told them about my abuse because I was not ready to deal with it yet.) Then my hand was forced.
Finding out I was not being ordained to the priesthood forced me to tell the rector and vice-rector what had happened to me. Finally saying it out loud was not cathartic in any way. It was no longer a dirty little secret but a real event that I had tried to suppress but could suppress no longer.
I drove home to tell my parents everything. They had no idea. Now they knew and the secret was not a secret any longer. It would be another four years or so before I could confront the abuse head on in therapy.
I did get ordained the following year. After three assignments in three years I bottomed out and asked for a leave of absence to deal with the molestation and all of its fallout. It was granted but I was now seen as a problem in my diocese.
After a lot of hard, painful work on my part, a plethora of tears and a very helpful Grief to Grace retreat I was ready to rejoin the world and ministry. Even though I was still pissed-off and untrusting of others I was also in a place, (still am), where I will not take any crap or burry my feelings. Working for the entity that belittled victims, shirked responsibility for the evil that it is and tried their damnedest to cover-up and lie my life is constantly triggered. (Studying for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a perfect example.)
Sixteen years after ordination I keep plugging away. The Catholic Church has done nothing or almost nothing to confront and/or fix the problem of clergy sexual abuse not to mention all the other kinds of abuse. The bishops all over the world are either tone deaf, uncaring or non-believers, (A scary thought.), so nothing gets done.
Round two of this mess has finally woken a lot of the laity up to the corruption that is in the Church but should not be. Where is God? God is here, cling to Him.
After leaving the seminary a second time I wound up at what was called at the time, “St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children”. It struck, “for Crippled Children”, from the name while I was there. It is a residential facility for, (How to put this delicately?), children with the primary medical diagnosis of some measure of mental retardation. Mental Retardation is a medical diagnosis that is all and in and of itself is a neutral term. I am aware that it has become a slur used against another in heated exchanges. (That’s not cool.)
Anyway that is where I ended up. The 40 children who lived there were also medically fragile and most were in wheelchairs. The staff was not supposed to have favorite children but we all did. Mine was Neil. I could not have loved him anymore if he was my own son. I got too comfortable there and pondered it as my life’s work. Neil passed away at the age of 14. Puberty was not kind to the boys of St. Edmond’s Home.
I freely admit that I was in a fog at that time but through the fog God started in on me again. Emotionally I was happy, sad and more than a little angry. NOT AGAIN, I thought. But again it indeed was. Since Neil’s death I did not want to stay at St. Edmond’s Home or to continue working with children. God used that.
I have to stop. I’ll continue soon.
Lately I have been focusing on my woeful relationship with God. It should be better. Thinking about it in the now I have tried to examine my past. Then the thought came to me that when I was in high school before I was molested my relationship with God was constant. I talked with him all the time. I kept a journal that started with, ‘Dear God’, at every entry. I am not saying that in any way I really had a deep understanding of the Catholic faith or a deep understanding of the love of God but there was a longing for God. That went away.
Fast forward to my entering the seminary a second time. Before that happened the longing returned. At that point I did not want to go into the seminary again, I did not want to be a priest. God, he gets the credit or the blame, had other ideas. So I went into the seminary again. This was post-molestation. It was a unmitigated disaster. I asked God why He called me to something that would bring me such pain and would scar me for life. The only thing I can think of is, “The wounded healer.” This is when I had a run in with a molester, who acted predatorily, who was my supervisor one day a week at a high school assignment. It was then that another priest in charge told me to keep my mouth shut in reference to the situation. The priest who was my mentor, (not chosen but thrust upon me), lied to me and about me and also said some very hurtful things to me. The only saving grace was the Spirituality Year that we went on as a class. At that time its greatness was lost on me. The longing for interaction with God rekindled. I let circumstances and evil people quash it once more.
I can’t write anymore. I’ll finish some other time.
This is from Friday’ Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours. It is taken from the second letter of the apostle John.
“Anyone who is so progressive that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possess both the Father and the Son.”
It goes on. This is illustrated in many issues today; euthanasia, abortion, immigration, LGBT issues, a myriad of priests and bishops and of course the abuse issue, especially in the Church. God should be at the core of our actions and sadly is not.
Many people who still come to reconciliation mention that they do not love God enough. Join the club…isn’t that what sin is, not loving God enough to trust him and trusting in ourselves. As difficult as life can get we should never forget that some how, some way God has a plan for our lives. With our cooperation it will come to fruition. God can do an end-around when the freewill of others interferes.
This blog seems to be in opposition to that reality. Yes there are a lot of people who consider themselves progressives. And yes they don’t have God at the center of their social warrior activities. We have witnessed some people in the Church who do not have God as the center of their activities. There are things that are anathema to God. That is why we have experienced the sexual abuse crises. This is why we still have a diobolical cover-up. It is also why some in the Church support things like sodomy, gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, womens ordination, open boarders. There are things that are anathema to God. I not only see the splinters in their eyes I also see the log in my own.
So what is the answer? It is not keeping silent that is for sure. Rioting and burning down buildings is not the answer. We have to keep praying. We have to keep speaking up. We have to constantly remind ourselves that God has got this. In the worst of our anguish and turmoil God has got this.
Hmmm, I think I’m a little depressed. It’s not that I feel depressed because I don’t. But I have observed one of the signs. In the past two days I have spent money pretty much indiscriminately. I did pick up some gifts for birthdays and for Christmas but I clearly see that is a rationalization. Spending is my M.O.
So what is up? It could be the death of Artemus. It could be that the mother of a friend of mine is dying of cancer. It could be that a friend in Wisconsin has had an unresolved issue with abuse by a priest, (not sexual), that happened 10 years ago. The issue could easily be remedied. It could be that her experience with the church reminds me of the whole sex abuse nightmare that has engulphed us all. Inertia is the Church’s M.O. And then, of course, there is all of the above.
My strategy is to ride it out. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t relied 100% on God, I have done significantly better than I have in the past but it hasn’t been 100%. It needs to be 100%. I pray that I rely on God 100%. We all need to rely on God 100%.
Artemus, my dog, is no longer. How is he germane to the clergy sexual abuse scandal? When I first started to go to therapy I cried a lot while talking about all of the abuse I experienced at the hands of priests. (Only one was sexual abuse.) About three years into therapy a priest friend of mine was on an extended “educational” stay in Portugal. When people came to visit him in Lisbon he would take then to Fatima. I never visited. When a mutual friend and her sister went a stray dog attached himself to them in Fatima. Since all the vets in Portugal said he would be destroyed Regina paid to have him brought back to the USA. Many hysterical e-mails catalogued the dog’s trip. I responded to them by saying that I would take the dog just for the stories. I was not really serious. Bing. bang, boom I now had a dog.
My therapist enthusiastically endorsed what seemed like folly to everyone else. He said taking care of a pet would force me to go outside of myself. So my murderous feelings towards a number of priests were now transferred to the dog. (Not really.) The first year was a power struggle between us. I won some, he won some. But I loved him and taking care of him. I even called him my baby. I was defiantly outside of myself. I had him for nine years, eight months and 11 days. It was estimated by the veterinarian that he was about five when I got him so he was about 14.
I loved him, I’ll miss him and my heart hurts. (I hope it is not a pending heart attack.) He most definitely took me outside myself. In reality Artemus helped save me.
No more dogs. My three cats must suffice.
I have said and I freely admit that there are times that I am slow on the up-take. Then God, I hope it is God, gifts me with clarity. This will all come together. I have had some experiences with other priests and one bishop, (not mine), where it comes across, at lest to me, that the salvation of souls is not their priority. Let me explain the latest manifestation of what has led me to that conclusion. A letter had been sent about a priest and I was one of 34 people cc:’d. The letter was seven pages long. I only looked at the first page. The writer started out with an incorrect and diabolical statement. Immediately my reaction was, ‘You need to be corrected because you are endangering your immortal soul.’ I did respond. I didn’t write a letter, maybe I should do that, I did take the Catechism of the Catholic Church and copied the abortion section. I did this because the letter stated that this particular priest needs to become, “aware”, of the teaching of morality in the Catholic Church. The letter went on to sing the praises of the Democratic Party and condemn the Republican Party. (For the record I’m neither.) WOW!
It started me thinking, are there going to be other responses from any of the 34? I know of one priest who got a copy and is not going to respond. I wondered how many others are going to keep silent. Then it dawned on me that this is what happened and is still happening with respect to the clergy sex abuse crises. No one says anything because there is zero care about the state of anyone’s immortal souls. WOW!
Shouldn’t we care about others as well as ourselves getting into heaven? Shouldn’t we care that someone is in grave error? Isn’t it the job of all baptized Catholics to get to heaven and to try to help others to get to heaven?
The person who wrote this letter could not be any wronger about the moral teaching of the Church and infanticide and abortion pushed by the Party of Death. The men of the Church couldn’t be any wronger about how they are dealing with the clergy sexual abuse crises.
As the disco song sung by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer proclaims: Enough is enough. First let’s start with a truth of the Catholic Church; NOT EVERYONE IS SAVED. I do not think for one second I am automatically going to heaven. But I won’t be going to hell over this dreadful clergy sexual abuse crises. (Maybe something else.) Who will????? Not to sit in judgement of others but I really do think that all the clerics and laypeople who have had a hand in prolonging this terrible and unjust scandal are on the fast track to eternal suffering.
I also believe it is worse to say something will be done and then nothing is done. (One example would be Rome.) This could have and should have been dealt with even before it became public. You don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to know that a person, in this case priests, sexually acting out is bad. And yet there are prelates who pretend, and it is pretending, that they had no idea that this was unacceptable behavior. I put therapists who colluded with bishops on the same fast train to damnation.
One of the things that I have heard said or has been actually said to me is the fact that the Boy Scouts of America, for example, have a worse % of molestations than the priesthood. Apples and oranges. Priests are supposed to be held to the highest standard in light of what they purport to believe so even if the % for the Boy Scout molestations is higher ours seem more toxic. I would have to consult a therapist about that…victimization is destructive no matter who does it.
How is anyone supposed to trust a hierarchy that lies at every turn? And they have lied, remember Mr. McCarrick formerly Theodore Cardinal McCarrick and Donald Cardinal Wuerl just to name two. They are legion. Luckily it isn’t about them it is about God. Then you have the unwashed masses who come out in support of priest molesters because they cannot believe such a good and holy priest did such a thing. My answer to that is you obviously did not know the man so…shut up.
Let me be the first to acknowledge that there are some false accusations but they are miniscule and I will, and have, supported both priests and laity who have emerged from this scandal after being found not guiltily.
I am very aware that I am not the brightest bulb in the marque nor am I the dimmest. I will say that I managed to get ordained in spite of the millstone around my neck that is being molested by a priest, not that it was without struggle. I also have managed to stay in the priesthood in spite of working for my abuser. (That would be the Church.)
Enough is enough! Maybe we as a Church are supposed to give up our assets as justice dictates. Maybe we are to be a smaller yet more faithful Church. And here is a thought that is really out there, (sarcasm). Let’s let God lead. Man has just mucked it up.