If we as members of society and the Catholic Church don’t demand scrutiny and solutions, we feed the failure here in the U.S. Let’s learn from the aftermath of the Irish clergy sex abuse coverup.
“Abuse was ‘human rights failure,'” by Patsy McGarry, IrishTimes.com, Sept. 26, 2011
38 thoughts on “Let’s Learn From the Irish – No More Denial”
Thanks, Susan, for keeping the spotlight on defending otherwise defenseless children. While the Church’ s bishops, lawyers and publicists get richer with their destructive and expensive “take no prisoners” legal strategy, children are still being abused, victims are still being maligned, churches and schools are still being closed, etc. Our political leaders genuflect to the Church’s power and continuously fail to take action to protect non-voting children. Instead, our political leaders will once again join in the predictable election year dance of “protecting marriage”. Bishops would rather bash non-clerical gays than protect kids. How about just “protecting kids”? Adults are quite capable of protecting marriage without help from purported celibate bishops who are trying to change the subject from their own reckless behavior.
Chat Room support Meeting on http://www.Victims4Justice.org
7pm – 9pm tonight, Monday Sep. 26
Log-in using Facebook, WordPress, Chatroll, ot Guest. “For Guest sign-in, just erased the Guest and number and type in a nickname more to your liking.)
Hope to see you there!
Peace out bean sprouts!
Here is the full statement from Amnesty International Ireland, and the link to the report “In Plain Sight”. http://www.amnesty.ie/news/abuse-children-irish-institutions-amounted-torture
Page One of the report: ““All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.”
Page One of the Catechism: By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humans. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin.
We won’t learn from the Irish…we’re busy making a 10 part series documentary on PBS about all the wonderful things about being Catholic…complete with no talk of scandal, of course.
Really? On PBS? Hard to believe. PBS is rather anti-Catholic and they had a special on the sex abuse a while back.
I monitor EWTN, “Divine Mercy” radio and they have no clue whatsoever of the crisis/scandal and threats of prosecuting the Vatican etc.
People call-in to the “Open Line” and other “apologetic” programs with their problems, questions, confusions etc. When the “apologist” gives his answer they just “melt” — it reminds me of the old time caricatures of blacks: “Yassuh Mister Boss man! Yassuh! Pitiful.
I saw one of the Catholic shows. It is remarkable to me how GOOD the RCC is at managing Catholics and the public in general with well-placed features like this one. Their public realations people are great!!
Let’s hope the Irish have learned from the Irish! As an Irish American, first generation, I’m not all that sure. I hope they have. It is extremely sad to know that Ireland is a country that does not (did not!!!) value its children. I think that the best thing that happened to my parents is that they left Ireland. However, they brought many of their ways with them–it was not easy growing up Irish. But one thing is true, they were secretly anti-clerical; they kept out of the way of the clergy. So did their kids, thank God.
This may sound absurd to some but I really believe it is so: Growing up Catholic, I came to regard an Irish accent to “holiness.” If the character in a play, movie whatever- spoke with a thick Irish “brogue” he/she had to be a living saint. Remember Barry Fitzgerald in “Going My Way” or other Hollywood “Irish Catholic” movies? Bing Crosby set the style for the “joking, shmoozing, all round good guy priest.”
But God is not an Irishman, and He is not a Catholic, a Jew, nor a Protestant. Want to know what He is? Study His Words in the Bible.
I never wanted to be the poster child for an anti-sexual abuse campaign. When this site first started, I loathed it and whatever I read usually sent chills down my spine and anger in my heart. In fact, in the beginning I remember several posts of mine being deleted by the site’s administartors. So I stopped posting anything for awhile and I decided to just read, and it only proved even more to myself who I was and what I didn’t want to become. I certainly didn’t want to become the person who accepts organized and secular religion over what I thought was a much more important subject – the innocence of a child.
Then one day, after the 2011 Grand Jury Report was published on this website and people were sickened by its contents and claimed it was too explicit to be read, I wondered how these people might feel if they had to live with the similarities of that Grand Jury Report everyday in their minds. It became a mission of mine to slowly, piece-by-piece, write my story on this site. I hoped that I could draw enough “sickened” remarks that people would start to change how they felt about the victims and more importantly, what they would do to support us and convince the Catholic Church that things need to change and we victims were entitled to a good childhood and are now entitled to justice as a result of the Catholic Church’s knowledge that we were being abused as they continued to place predators around us.
I was hoping that readers could delve into my life a little bit and realize that I am one of a long list of clergy childhood sexual abuse victims in Pennsylvania, in the United States, and around the world. If we were all lying about what happened to us then the Catholic Church wouldn’t mind giving us all our day in court. If the Catholic Church cared about the innocence of a child, they wouldn’t constantly lobby in our State’s legislatures against passing laws that would protect all children, religious and nonreligious. If the Catholic Church cared about many of us, while we were still children, they would’ve expelled the predators and allowed civil law enforcement to prosecute these men (and woman) so they would never be able to hurt another child.
It was always my intent to give you the raw information. I wanted you to know that those kids mentioned in the Grand Jury Report are two of so many victims. What happened to them was terrible, and much of what they suffered, many of us also suffered. I thought if I gave you my truth that it would count for something. I thought if I could show you proof, it would count for more. And I thought that if I could somehow take you back to that lonely place with me, you’re sympathy would turn into empathy, and you would finally realize why we continue to fight so hard, not for vengence, but for a reckoning.
I never had an ounce of hate for the Catholic Church or any clergy members, nor did I despise the work they do to educate children and provide peace in the world. I was taught to believe in these men of God and to abide by their rules and believe that their decisions were paramount to my own. I was taught that priests knew what was best. So you can imagine the dismay and confusion I had when one of these wise men started sexually abusing me. Everything I was taught seemed to be the exact opposite of what I was experiencing. It was engrained in our beliefs that we must wait for marriage to have sex, yet, of all people, it was a priest who was forcing me to have sex with him. I was taught that homosexuality was wrong, even though I knew I was gay at the time of the abuse, and this priest told me it was okay to be gay and even wanted to give me some “pointers.” I was taught that God answered prayers, but He never came to help me.
Through most of my childhood and up until just a few years ago, my life is pretty blank. I haven’t done anything important and I haven’t contributed much to the world. I’ve been like a zombie wondering around the world looking for my place, rather than a member of society in his place. I never knew where I belonged and I was always afriad of other people. The idea of a small dark room seemed like a vacation and it would ensure that nobody could get me there and hurt me anymore.
Since I’ve been participating on this site, I have seen a change in people’s attitudes. Some, who had once been questioning my sincerity of the abuse, and my motives for seeking out justice from within the Catholic Church, I know feel a sense of understanding from the majority and many here seem to accept why it is very important for me, and other victims, to hold those responsible and accountable for their actions, or rather “inactions.” The time has finally come when I feel like I have a pretty strong army and some leverage in my journey to heal from the abuse I went through and to protect other children from ever experiencing the horrors of my own life.
This is a New Testament of the King Richard Bible.
Thank you Rich. I can’t really put into words what it means to here you say “you have some leverage in your journey to heal from the abuse…”
In spite of the church, in spite of the ignorance, lies, deception, complacency, and corruption…you shine.
Keep on keeping on Rich.
One of the words you use in your post strikes a nerve in me: complacency.
It is not enough to no longer deny the crisis of sexual abuse in our Church. Because it is criminal and an injustice, we are morally called to react, to DO something about it.
In my opinion, it is the complacency exhibited by far too many Catholics that is so disturbing, today. The reason that Catholics are complacent is because to react will necessarily disturb and unsettle their comfort zones.
We all possess personal, Catholic patterns of living. We have traditions and modes of operating that we cling to. We don’t mind upsetting the boat as long as it’s not our boat.
I wish Catholics would come to perceive the sexual abuse crisis as a real and tangible opportunity to see the face of Christ in the victims, in the paralyzed priests, in the sheep in the pews, and in the activists. Where there is suffering, there is Christ.
What kind of Catholic would deny himself the opportunity to engage with Christ?
Yes… one who’s comfort zone is more important.
hear, not here…I feel like I need to go back to 1st grade.
hadit…complacency is what has hurt our family the most…and it wasn’t by the hierarchy, hell, they just came right out with how pathetic and criminal they are..it was/is the laity. It’s difficult to see the laity (even the ones fighting for victims) as Christ-like…because on some level I still see them aligned with a corrupt, deceptive entity, putting their children into the hands of those unfit to manage or influence anything, let alone, their most precious.
As you can read, I still struggle with resentment toward the laity…my problem, I know…it’s why I keep coming here (not hear) because I have to read that someone in that God forsaken place gives a hoot about justice for victims and safety for children.
survivor’s wife, You bring up an excellent point and one that I have thought about almost 24/7 in the past few months. The silence,apathy,complacency of the laity. I think child sex abuse is one of the last remaining taboos in society. It is not talked about openly,it is still a whispered conversation. Last year I went to a public meeting that was held in a local community. A long time baseball coach was arrested and charged with raping a 4 year old child. A meeting was held and about 20 people showed up. The first question someone asked was “where is everyone?”
I know that very few people in my personal life even acknowledge the work we are doing on behalf of children. I thought the “catholic angle” was maybe pushing them away but now that we are involved with justice4pakids, there is still an overwhelming silence.I even asked this question the other day on my Facebook. What makes child sex abuse such a taboo subject? Why are people not standing up for children? Three friends responded – only 3. One shared that an abuse issue in her own family had torn her family apart.The other 2 who responded have always been supportive of my work. Silence from the other 100 people who read my question.
I was in a meeting a few months ago and asked the other advocates the same question. The person who responded was a victim of clergy sex abuse. She said people in Phila. right now who are Catholic, are walking on stilts ,trying to process what has happened, trying to balance themselves. She said to approach them full force would be like kicking away their stilts. Interesting,and I have used her advice quite often. For people I know that feel they cannot read the Grand Jury reports because it is too graphic,I have shared articles that focus on the cover up. I have been in conversations where I wanted to scream,but somehow found the patience to calmly talk about this subject and answer questions.
I think that to have an issue that is still a taboo in many ways, and then add on top of that it happened in what is supposed to be a religious institution representing all that is good, is a powder keg – too much for some to handle. Many have left the Church,many people retreat when things are too controversial. While I completely understand why people would leave,that means that those who had the strongest feelings/opinions are gone. I have said that if I leave I will not leave quietly – I will make as much noise as possible while i am still here.
Kathy I agree I think the people most upset have left and I can understand why. I think we are left with the “denial “people. I think very few have stayed that acknowledge what is going on and have something to say about it and do something to work toward changing it. Even in families that is how it continues people are in denial very few people put family members or other trusted friends etc. who abuse children in jail ( they dont want the stigma ………that is why they don’t want to talk about it). I also think since these priests have so many vicitms if you really go underneath………I believe every catholic probably knows one victim or victims family members and they ( victims and families of victims)have all left. I spoke to the mother of a victim and 3 generations of a big family all left the church and I can understand that. I can only go to church because I am trying to change things in my small area of influence the best I can otherwise I could not do it.
I don’t mean for my explanantion to be interpreted as the only reason that many laity remain silent. There is a large portion that actually believe the line that the Church feeds them. So they aren’t speaking up because they don’t feel the victims are being wronged – they feel the Church is being attacked.
Yes. I know a few. A few goodhearted people that can’t imagine the evil that has been done. I was one of them til I read the reports and reflected on my experinces as a kid and the creepy priests that are now on the list that were at my parish and high school. Alot makes sense now …….I guess mostly that they gave me the creeps and now I know why.
Rich, It’s an honor to offer you and others a place to share your story. And you have certainly generously contributed to my life and my understanding. Thank you.
Are people in the pews hiding behind “cliches?” Just a thought.
What do you mean, gerald?
haditCatholicReplySeptember 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm
What do you mean, gerald?”
Have you ever noticed that Catholics often will be found “dismissing” critique, or challenge etc. by use of a cliche?
I still don’t get what you are saying…give examples and be clear…I need the dots very close together to make sense of what you are saying about cliches.
SW said:still don’t get what you are saying…give examples and be clear…I need the dots very close together to make sense of what you are saying about clichés.
I asked my original question “Are people in the pews hiding behind clichéss?” after reading hundreds of posts here,including this thread particularly. It’s all about the DENIAL that is discussed here continuously. Maybe what I should have said is that the “denial” is supported/enabled byclichéss, or maybe “shibboleths” is a better word.[?]
1 a: catchword, slogan
1 c: commonplace idea or saClichéCliche
1: a trite phrase or expression
3: overly familiar or commonplace
I asked if it might be possible that the denial is due to the use of these.
I will give one example, for I am certain you know several:
“ABUSE LIKE THAT HAPPENS EVERYWHERE, NOT JUST IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!”
1 c: commonplace idea or sayin
I don’t think a whole group of people can be summed up in any one way. I think many have left the Church because of their disgust with the abuse. I think some have stayed and now are realizing how deep the problem runs,how long it has gone on,how much damage has been done. I think others completely believe what the Church tells them.
It’s been a long, long time.
I hope that you still know me,
I’ve been hiding quite awhile.
I know that you know all things
Still, I think I should explain,
The reason I’ve been hiding
Is because of all the shame.
I know that I don’t look so great
For meeting up with you
But I hope you understand
I’ve been alone since I was eight.
You probably see the dirt marks
And smudges on my face
But it seems no matter how I try
Some things cannot be erased.
They say that eyes are windows
That peer into the soul.
I’m afraid that if you look there,
You’ll find it’s very dark and cold.
I’m not sure why it is, Lord,
But you won’t see any tears.
I guess they’ve just been locked up
Inside me all these years.
I know that limp and lifeless
Is my unruly hair.
I guess that’s just what happens
When no one really cares.
And if you ask a question
I won’t have much to say.
I’ve found that no one really wants
To hear me anyway.
And if you care to listen,
Sit quiet and you’ll hear
How hard my heart is pounding.
That’s because of all the fear.
You’ll notice that I wrap my arms
Around me all the time.
I do that for protection
Of the things that should be mine.
See, not so very long ago,
Without an ounce of care,
Someone took away from me
Things I never meant to share.
And if you find I tremble
When you come close to me,
It’s because of all the dreadful things
That someone did to me.
Jesus, I’m so sorry
If these things have saddened you.
But when I cried out to you
You never told me what to do.
I know that in my mother’s womb
You created me
And I can’t help but wonder
Is this what I was meant to be?
They say that you are everywhere,
With each and every one,
But it seems that on those painful days
You left me all alone.
They tell me that you love me
And I suppose it’s true,
But Jesus, please remember
That “he” said he loved me too.
Rich, Heartbreaking. Did you write this? I want to pass this along and post it on some other forums.
Who wrote this, Rich? It’s powerful.
Rich I think you know by now I wear my heart on my sleeve but that made me cry. People cry for different reasons happy, sad etc. or when they see the truth and beauty that exists in a soul………things that raise you above the human and into the spiritual realm……….thanks Rich for doing that……….
Rich you have been and are in my prayers. I am also praying for your mom.Peace
Very powerful, I think that all the Pa Legislators should be compelled to read this !
I think every church should read it during the homily too.
I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day.
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely show the way.
The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example always clear;
And the best of all the preachers,
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action,
is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it,
if you’ll let me see it done,
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver
may be wise and true;
But I’d rather get my lesson
by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you,
and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live!
“For to see the good in action is what everyone needs”. Yes yes so true. I speak for myself but when things have been the worse it is the small acts of kindness that mean more than people will ever know.
I belong to a short story email list in which stories are sent out every Wednesday. I’ve written about 300+ stories for this website over the passed 2+ years, and I have received stories from other members. It’s been a good place for me to just dump everything in a format that is completely anonymous, but allows the readers to contact you through the website’s profile address to comment on your stories.
The “Dear Jesus” poem was written by a 16 year-old girl, Kate. (Even though I mixed around some of the words.) She wrote the poem when she was still a child and she was being abused, and much like me, kept journals throughout her life. As I normally publish the author’s name on anything I haven’t written, I copied and pasted this poem from an old email and did not realize that it wasn’t signed. I apologize for that. I am glad it stirred up some emotions within the forum, because for me it goes right to the heart of just about everything in my life. I find that when I read other victim’s stories, I can’t helped but find their similarities in my own story. I think there’s a relationship between sexual abuse survivors that non-abuse survivors can never understand, and in that thought, we just relate very well with each other without giving away too much information.
Sometimes when I write on forums like this one, I feel like I have to draw a picture, in Crayon no less, to describe my abuse. You just can’t understand, I don’t think, unless you’ve been there. The “Dear Jesus” poem is very real for me and it takes me back to a place that wasn’t a good time, but makes me believe it wasn’t my fault either. I guess that’s the trade-off.
Hmmm… why is my comment awaiting moderation? What did I do now? LOL
Rich – I want to share these. Are you the author ?
Kathy? Not exactly. I changed some of the words in the poem “Dear Jesus,” but it is not entirely my own creation. I tried to post an explanation but it is “awaiting moderation,” for whatever reason.
“I Rather See A Sermon” was written by an unknown author.
If you’re wondering, I do write poems, but too graphic to post here. 😉
I create the artwork and I am the author. “FFJ” found on all of my artwork means something very special to me and I keep it a secret.