Lay men and women of Osorno

The Church still doesn’t grasp the depth to which the clergy sexual scandal has infiltrated the souls of the people of faith.

A bishop, and sadly it does not matter if he is innocent or not, the perception in this case is the reality. The perception is that the bishop was involved in covering-up a sexually abusive priest. Of course I am referring to  Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros of the diocese of Osorno in the country of Chile.

How is it that I conclude that the Church still doesn’t grasp the depth of the pain of the people? The Holy Father, Pope Francis says incendiary things like, “foolishness”, and the Church in Chile has, “lost its head” in discussing the protests that have taken place several times in the cathedral in Osorno.

Pope Francis also blames the, “leftists”,  in the current socialist government for stirring up the controversy and that may be true.  The key issue that the Church always seems to forget is that if there was never a clergy sexual, some say homosexual, scandal, then there could never be anything; leftist, news papers, movies, reporters, (and bloggers for that mater),  could say against the Church or the hierarchy.

If I was accused I do not know how I would react. If cleared of the charges and still protested against I am sure it would make me very angry. Hopefully I would also understand that my presence among the people could be a disruptive one, as it is in Osorno.  Since the goal of all of us should be heaven and my presence, whether or not I have been exonerated, is causing strife then the humble thing to do would be to  resign and quietly take another position. Of course that is easier said than done. A page needs to be taken from St. Pius of Pietrelcina, and St. Mary Helen MacKillop.

Name calling and speculation on the reasons for the protests do in no way heal the still opened wounds of the people in Chile.

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Rape is never the right thing to do, and yet our government is supporting it. Where are all the voices that claim to support children. Support these children who are being sexually abused in Pakistan.

American soldiers are told by the federal government to ignore sexual assaults on children by our allies in foreign countries.  Excuse me. That is warped, morally bankrupt and another signal that the crime of sexual abuse does not matter when children are victims.  Well guess what? I matter!  As a victim and survivor of sexual abuse I am outraged at the U.S. Government just as I was and am outraged at the Catholic Church for their allowing it to go on for so long even when they knew about it, and then trying to cover it up.

“It’s a cultural thing.”  No it is not!  And you know, the Aztecs’ practiced human sacrifice as a ‘cultural thing’, smacks of the diabolical and was warped and morally bankrupt too.  How can anyone say that the rape of anyone is okay?  How can our government support this, and they are supporting it by not stopping it or trying to stop it.

The American Press was up in arms about Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse, and well they should have been.  God makes things done in the dark eventually see the light and in that light see how glaring an evil something is.  Narre a word on this evil of ignoring the rape of Pakistani boys.

Where is the outrage? It is sick to allow this to go on and our government is sick to condone it by looking the other way.  Where is the outrage? Where are the reporters and editors of our major newspapers?  This smacks of a human rights issue and violation and it is being backed by the U.S. Government.  It is not a partisan issue so everyone, (Democrat, Republican, Independent), should be writing and screaming about this issue. Rape is never the right thing to do, and yet our government is supporting it. Where are all the voices that claim to support children. Support these children who are being sexually abused in Pakistan.

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Molestation, tattoos and radical surgery

Since I couldn’t sleep last night I was pondering an e-mail I received from a non-priest friend of mine.  The e-mail was in reference to my latest tattoo, (I have seven, number four and number six combine to be one large tattoo on my back.) Why? I pondered that question.

Often times, when someone survives sexual abuse, they shut down in every way possible. this includes their, “feelings”.  In order to feel something many people who have been abused will, “cut”.  Cutting is a persons very unhealthy way to feel something. Getting tattooed is the marginally socially acceptable way to cut.

But tattooing oneself has another purpose, some would go as far as to say benefit, it is a way to render yourself unattractive or untouchable to your abuser and any would-be abusers.  I would lay odds that a lot of the women you see that have radically changed their appearance through tattooing and body modification have been victimized by abuse.  There is a power that is reclaimed by rendering yourself untouchable to those who are like/in the same class as, the person who first perpetrated the abuse.

In my own case the tattoos that I have gotten are on my; butt (a spade), chest (angel), back/including lower back (The crucified Christ & the universe, and a heart with the phrase LOVE IS THE MEANING OF LIFE), bicep (fleur-de-lis representing the Virgin Mary),  and calf (a carpenters square and three Easter Lilies representing St. Joseph the Worker) .  All but the one on my butt have some connection with religion.  Since my abuser was a priest one would hope that the tattoos would render me verboten. (Of course his being a priest should have done that.)  None of this is conscious.

One more thing that I think may have been influenced by my own abuse is my ileostomy.  After suffering with Crone’s Disease for 29 years and having pre-cancerous cells in my colon diagnosed twice in a three month span I was given three options.  Option one was to do nothing.  Option two was to have a bowel resection taking out the section of bowel with the pre-cancerous cells. Option three was the removal of my colon, rectum and anus.  I didn’t even have to think about it, I chose option number three.

Why? The two conscious reasons I made the choice that I did were; I would kick myself if I got colon cancer at a later date and not being married  the two possible side effects, (incontinence & impotency), did not matter to me.  The possible unconscious reason is/was if I don’t have an anus I can’t be anally raped and impotency would mean I could not be betrayed by my body.


Forget that at 51 I really don’t need to worry about this kind of thing anymore and even if the very slim possibility of rape and/or molestation happened to me I am now well equipped to fight back. That is my rational and conscious thought process.  Unconsciously there is obviously still some fear hence socially acceptable cutting, (tattoos), and no hesitation at all for the most radical colon surgery for pre-cancer.

Molestation really does effect every aspect of the lives of survivors and apparently for a very long time.

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Okay, this will be brief. The Supreme Court has given the go-ahead for so-called gay marriage.  In the Catholic Church there is no possibility for such a thing…ZERO possibility…(Look up the criteria for marriage in the Catholic Church)…ZERO possibility.  Did the hierarchy come out, (pardon the pun), in force to denounce such a thing.  No. And was the tepid cry that was made by Church against this movement to gay marriage listened to? No.  Why not?

There are a number of reasons.  The faith has not been catechized in generations. All this talk and hoopla about the new catechization is guff because people have not been catechized in the faith for years.  The other reason, and it is our own fault, has been the clergy sexual abuse issue and the fact that we can still talk about it because very little has been done or even said, about how destructive it has been and continues to be in the Church.

Because of the cover-ups and the inaction and/or very slow action when and if the bishops do try to teach or come out against something that is against the Church people think to themselves, ‘Who the hell are you to tell me anything?’  Forgotten is the faith and the Triune God’s teaching.  The current mess falls directly at the feet of clergy.

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Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piché resign

“Archbishop John Nienstedt announced that Pope Francis has accepted his resignation as archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piché after Minnesota prosecutors charged the archdiocese with the “mishandling of repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest.”

The reason for the resignation is listed as the miss-management of sexual abuse issues. It’s about time that a bishop resigns.  I have too wonder is it because of the newly formed tribunal set to rule on punishment or exoneration of the handling of sexual abuse issues.

How long has this taken??? Three popes, 12 years since the Archdiocese of Boston scandal first hit the press, the nation and then the world. Scandal around the world and then finally something public to address the issue.  Was stuff done in private to address the problem of sexually abusive clergy in diocese and archdiocese, or was the issue ignored???  Because this has been such a public scandal public measures to address it should not have taken 12 years to manifest. The perception has been that the Church just does not care.  Because of that perception many people left the Church. True a lot of those people where just looking for an excuse to leave.  The moral authority of the Church, which comes from God, also took a hit. The bishops have been seen by some, wrongly so, to be the moral authority and they have been anything less than moral on this  issue. All men are sinners, even bishops, GOD IS INCAPEBLE OF SIN.  But it seems that it has been God who has taken the brunt of the blame.

Monsignor Bill Lynn is in prison for failing to protect children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bishop Finn was convicted of harboring a sexual predator among his clergy and he has since been removed, an archbishop and an auxiliary have resigned due to their miss-management of clergy sexual abuse accusations, a special tribunal to investigate the bishops handling of sexual abuse cases has been formed by Pope Francis.  The cynical me would say too little too late but it’s never to late to right a long standing wrong especially when children are involved.

And still more needs to be done.

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Reap what is sewn

As I was straightening up one of my bookshelves in the office I came across this, a letter sent to a standing bishops dated May 13, 2010;

Here are some things you may want to consider regarding the current unpleasantness surrounding the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Church. Taking this entire situation to prayer, to spiritual direction and to therapy I have some conclusions and connection that I believe are inspired by God.

When individuals first approached the members of the Church hierarchy, and those in their employ, with allegations of abuse, (or at the very least unseemly behavior), they were ignored, not believed, disparaged, threatened, some combination of those things and ultimately silenced.  Therefore some victims of abuse retained lawyers in an attempt to be heard by Church hierarchy.  Sadly it seems when there are assets are involved then the weak are listened too.  Would lawyers have become involved if the problems were dealt with as they arose? I think a case could be made that lawyers would not have been involved.

The reaction and inaction seems puzzling because it is the antithesis of what the Church really stands for, that is, the Gospel of Christ.

Ugly things have been said by both sides on this issue.  Unfortunately even more negative things have been added by third parties who have a negative agenda that is not congruent with the moral authority given to us by God.  That said, here are perceptions of what Catholic mouthpieces have put forth, from a victim/survivor of clergy sexual abuse, one who has worked extensively with an array of abuse victims.

  • Wanting to be heard and acknowledged by the hierarchy of the Church is not in and of itself anti-Catholic. Please don’t go there.
  • Citing diocesan need to hold onto money for charitable works is an insult. It suggests that helping victims of abuse is not a charitable work.
  • Putting forth the viability of Catholic Schools is as important in the mission of the Church as helping to heal the psychological wreckage imposed by clergy is also insulting and hurtful
  • Shifting the blame of the scope of the scandal onto the media and disparaging lawyers who have been retained by victims is a red herring and takes the focus off of what the real problem has been. This tactic also encourages the faithful in the pews to attack victims.

Many, if not most, of the victims are or were active baptized members of the Church therefore they are part of the body of Christ.  There are some members of the body of Christ who now hate God, (wrongly), for what was done to them and the uncaring, (sometimes vicious), reaction of the hierarchy.  As you are aware God is all too often blamed for bad things and the sins of man.

Because of this fracture in the Body of Christ it behooves us to actively seek out those members of the body who can be considered lost sheep.  It is vital that we seek them out, minister to them and if possible to bring them back to our glorious Church…or at least to the point where they don’t hate God any longer.  Causing someone so much pain that they now hate God is a sin I cannot fathom.

The ministry of seeking the lost sheep and reconciling them with the Church should be the number one, most important thing that we do as a Church at this time in history.  In the gospel Jesus seeks out the lost sheep. He heals them as our loving, compassionate, merciful brother and God.  That is the outreach work that is mandated by love.  That is the outreach work that is mandated by the example we have in Christ.  Abandoning lost sheep is anathema to Jesus.

For now this needs to be the only charitable work of the Church.  Everything else is chaff.  Taking responsibility for driving some people out of the Church and taking responsibility to reconcile them teaches people more about the love of God, love that should be reflected by the Church, than any school ever could.

There are no other diocesan considerations as vital and as essential as this.  God will provide for the Church. Things, assets, money are not important…people and the salvation of souls is what is important.

In Our Merciful Savior

Reverend John Lunness

That letter was written in 2010.  What has happened with the curse of sexual abuse?  Or more importantly what is the perception of what has been done?  The perception is that nothing has happened.  Ahhh, but the devil has been at work.  Ireland had the same, (probably worse), clergy sexual scandal and NOTHING was done, at least nothing of significance.

Now, the Catholic Church in Ireland is in a shambles.  How can we ask people to believe that the Church is morally right on any issue when the Church, at least the men at her helm, have been immoral on a global stage when it comes to the clergy sexual abuse situation?  (Forget for a moment the fact that the faith has been disregarded by some prelates.)  The truly faithful are left asking, what’s going on?     You reap what you sew, what has been sewn is deceit, immorality and evil by men in the Church who should know better. What is being reaped is sodomy as an acceptable life style, abortion as a ‘choice’, and euthanasia as a brave and noble endeavor.  What has been denied is that sodomy cannot and is not life giving, and abortion and euthanasia actually destroy life.

Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

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Bishop Juan Barros, the Catholic Church, sexual abuse and cover-up

Where to begin, where to begin??? Pope Francis appoints Bishop Juan Barros the bishop of Osorno, in Chile. There are allegations that he covered-up for a priest in the sexual abuse of a minor.  Is it true? The people of the diocese think it is true.  They disrupted the ceremony installing him as bishop. His miter was pulled off his head by rioters. How can a bishop lead a flock, (the people of Osorno), if the flock does not like him, trust him or respect him? At this point, maybe sadly, it does not matter if he did or didn’t cover up sexual abuse Bishop Barros’ reputation for supporting the commandments of God, based on the allegations of a cover-up, has shattered his reputation.

As unpopular as it is to say in this incredibly screwed up culture that we live in there are many things in the Church teachings that are black and white.  There is no gray area in such issues as abortion, procuring an abortion is always a sin, or sex before or outside of marriage is a sin, (heterosexual or homosexual),  or disbelief in the true presence of God in the Eucharist, (Protestant belief),  these are all issues without gray areas even if society tries to push sin as tolerance. They are issues that are black and white.

The issue of a priest going against the teachings of the Church by engaging in sexual behavior with others is anathema. Weakness and sin will always be part of the state of human beings.  Repentance for that sin goes a long way with God, after all we are all sinners.  However if that sexual sin also happens to be with a minor and also breaks the law being repentant  and forgiven by God is not enough.  Just ask anyone who has been sexually abused or ask the people of Osorno. They seem to ‘get it’ and do not want someone to shepherd them who does not seem to ‘get it’ (How many present and past bishops do not understand the gravity of abuse?)

I am discouraged that the men of the Church still do not understand the harm of abuse and the subsequent cover-up.

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