Finding Each Other

By Kathy Kane

So where to begin. A year ago at this time, I sat in my house furious and betrayed.  I had so many emotions but no where to channel the anger. Where would my voice be heard? Shortly after the Grand Jury report, an apology was issued in the Catholic Standard and Times. It was my tipping point. It was an apology with a “But” – the worst kind of apology. More children had been harmed by priests left in ministry. Children had been put at risk. Please no more apologies. No more “praying for the evil that has occurred.” No more empty words.  That might placate some people – not me. I had read the “apology” a few days before and for some reason googled it to read one more time. But this time the first thing that popped up on the search was catholics4change. Susan had included the “apology” in her links in her post titled,  “Don’t Apologize for Me.” I read her few posts that were on the site at that time including, “My Lost Saints” and knew I had found my home.

“People find each other. They just do.” These words were spoken to me by a pediatrician when my children were young and just starting school. I had the typical worries all Moms have about their children making friends and finding a comfortable group to fit in. “People find each other.” So true about my experiences over the past year. I found Susan and then over the course of a few weeks found so many more local people sharing the same outrage. Then as the site grew, found so many more people from all over the US and other countries sharing the same anger, betrayal and profound sadness about what had happened to children.

We have had so many experiences over the past year. So much of our involvement taking place off site. Attending meetings, vigils, communicating with people in private emails. So many people – so much pain.

We have been called just about every name in the book. Priest haters, anti catholic. We have seen it all. Some in online comments in newspaper articles in which we were featured. My children have read some of those comments. Go ahead – it won’t stop me. If being anti catholic is standing up for children and refusing to be silent -then guilty as charged.

I think of all the people we have met – so many people’s life experience bringing them together. Even in the midst of tragedy and pain, I’ve experienced the gift of meeting so many good people.  Last March I attended my first vigil. I went as an angry, betrayed Catholic and left an advocate for victims and children.

I recently attended a Mass where the priest spoke to the kids about their Mothers. He said in scriptures, Jesus was the authority simply because of who he was. He said the same is true of their Mothers. He told the children, “She does what she does, and says what she says, because she is who she is.” That is all that Susan and I have ever claimed to be, two mothers who said  “enough ” “no more.” No more children harmed. No more children put at risk.

In the beginning we tried to engage the Archdiocese. Maybe we could help bring about change. No seat at the table for us – no input wanted . Somehow for all the efforts we have made for child protection and our work with victims, we remain persona non grata. At this point I would rather be on the outside because that is where truth, justice, mercy and compassion still has a chance.

22 thoughts on “Finding Each Other

  1. Kathy –

    Keep being a mom. Keep being a Catholic, a real Catholic, not one who worships an institution, one who is faithful to Jesus, particularily in His love for children.

  2. Thanks again, Kathy and Susan, for all you are and all you do.

    You are not “persona non grata” to Jesus and you certainly are not “church outsiders”.

    The early Christians formed small groups, ecclesiae, and that was the “church”. They sincerely discussed together their concerns and tried to help each other. No coercive hierarchy, no cathedrals, just charity and love for all.

    Thanks to you and Susan and the Internet, you have recovered our church–the true one.

    So Kathy and Susan, you are becoming our new leaders, our bishops. Time to buy yourselves a big ring!

    Chaput and Bevil’s Devils are the outsiders. Don’t let them into our church unless they first repent.

  3. When I was growing up, we used to spend our summers with my grandparents and cousins at their summer home on Cape Cod. We spent weeks with my mother, aunt and grandmother, who led our family and were collectively referred to as “The Mothers”.
    Years later, my husband and I chose to be married in that summer church of my childhood. We selected “The Feast of Cana” for our Gospel reading. Our priest friend who married us, a Jesuit, had stayed with our extended family for the week leading up to our wedding. During his homily, he noted the strong mothers in our family and observed how appropriate our selection had been. Jesus performed his first miracle at the Feast of Cana, at his mother Mary’s command. It wasn’t a discussion… she told others to do what her son told them to do.

    I find it appropriate today that two strong mothers are telling our hierarchy that enough is enough, and it is time to do what Jesus tells us to do. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of heacen.” Matthew 19:14

    1. When I was growing up, I tried day after day to wash off the priest’s ejaculate. My first wash was when I was seven.

      Where’s feelings and emotions about being a Good Samaritan, stopping on your journeys, and picking up the wounded souls left bleeding by the church.

      Talk is cheap if the wounded are left to bleed. Bob Schwiderski

      1. Bob,
        I now know your experience could have easily been anyone of us. It was not your fault and yet you under went such suffering and humiliation at the hands of a priest. You were a child and he was an adult that abused his authority and power. We in Pa are working hard to stop this from happening to other children and to bring some justice and healing to survivors. I never communicated with any clergy sexual abuse surivors before this site. I would read the papers of horrible survivors stories and wonder how I could reach out to them. I was angery, horrified, disgusted and hearbroken children had endured such things. I knew no victims in my church …….maybe they were ashamed to say anything maybe they had all left the church…….I honestly did not know how to help. .Because of an article about one victim who committed suicide I started reading and reading and reading.I read the 2 grand jury reports, Archbishop Bev’s testamony………the more I read the more the horror of the evil and the the coverup overwhelmed me. I went on the SNAP website and read what I could . I even made a few phone calls. It was not til I heard from Vicky and Rich that I really had an understanding how cold and calculated the survivors had been treated. That moved me to attend a few vigil and get involved with lobbying.Bob I asked this before of our survivors how can we be Good Samaritans to you and other survivors? What do you need from us to heal?

  4. Kathy…thank God you went to that first Vigil, (although I don’t think any of this is happening by accident).

    I value many things about you, especially your ability to relate to commenters personally and respectfully, make your own very cogent points and rein in goofiness.

    Your kids are blest to have you as a mom. Victims and survivors are blest to have you as an advocate. And we are blest to have your wisdom and moderation on C4C.

  5. Kathy,

    Thank God for your passion and courage. Your two beautiful children are very blessed to have you.


  6. Sounds a lot like ‘No Room at the Inn” don’t you think.
    For mother and child.
    The same stands for children who have been abandoned by their clerical father’s, to preserve the priesthood and inheritance rights.

  7. Again I ask, how can we really effect change in our religion–not in our churches, but in our religion! Do we have to wait until bishops–or better–go to JAIL! It looks like it.

    Listen to the pain in Bob Schwiderski’s blog. Who can stand it…apologies are not enough…

  8. No apologies are certainly not enough. I agree with Bob the Church as a whole,clergy and laity have left victims abandoned for so long. When I first started attending the vigils some survivors thanked us because usually it is victims,family members,those directly affected that attend.It is pathetic that they have stood alone for so many years. And Bob’s example of the Good Samaritan -probably the first story we all were taught as children because of its simplicity but somehow so difficult for people to actually fulfill.

  9. Kathy, wonderful story…about “people find each other”, how true it is. I have no doubt more people will find each other because of the truth you have written and the work you now do. Maybe, just maybe when enough people have found each other, and discover the truth about the sexual abuse of our children by those in the church. The extent to which church leaders went to cover for the most egregious of abusers, how, in just about every case…it was NEVER about protecting God’s children but about protecting church assets. Then perhaps, just perhaps our church may be forced to change.

    But I no longer trust that it can or has the desire to change. For it still see itself as the victim here. I too never felt welcomed to the table, no they don’t want to hear from us (SURVIVORS OF CLERGY ABUSE).

    The church’s continued actions speak much louder than words, oppose just legislation, deny any responsibility, blame the victims, the media, lawyers, gay people, anybody else but not the bishops. Sadly, it will take Bishops on trial (like Philadelphia and Kansas City) before truths hidden in darkness will be revealed in great light. It is the truth of this whole matter that would set our church free, but much like Simeon the Cyrenean, they too (our bishops) are NOT willing to bear this cross!

    1. From what I recall, Simon was originally an innocent bystander, when the centurion spotted him and to solve the problem of ‘religious observance’s’, ordered his legionnaires to forced him to carry cross of the weary Jesus.
      Maybe that’s what will end up happening to the bishops, they will be forced to pay their spiritual dues to God, to the faithful and by the faithful.
      We’re taught only fools believe God will not be mocked.

    2. Mark…. the cross….they don’t seem too anxious to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus.To do so they must first be humble and honest…it reminds me of the cardinals red which is suppose to symbolize love and blood of the martyr. Is their love for their neighbor so great they would be willing martyrs? Which among them is willing to sacrifice themselves in order to save souls and repair the church?Which among them is ready……. to take responsiblity for their actions or lack of action? Which of them will fight for better laws, help to end clericalism and reach out in concrete actions to our survivors? Blood of martyrs? Which Bishops would be willingly red martyrs or the very least white martyrs? Very few.

  10. Kathy,

    Thank you for your wonderful piece and, especially, for finding me.

    When you say you had to go outside of the Church to find peace, justice, mercy and compassion, the truth of it is baffling. Yet, while the hierarchy betrayed us, it did not skew our compulsion to be moral and rational. Our minds and consciences brought us out of the darkness and into the light.

    Thank you for illuminating the way.

  11. Thank you, Kathy, for all you do. I am happy that I met you along the way of vigils, meetings, etc. Through you and Susan, a wonderful family of bloggers has developed. We get together daily to read, comment, inspire, and learn from one another. We are the church.

  12. Thank you Kathy and thanks to Susan too for all of your efforts with this blog and the fight to change the laws to protect children. This blog has helped me so much this year since the blinders came off after reading the 2nd grand jury report. I had planned on attending the vigil tomorrow but a family health emergency arose today and I will not be with all of you at 222 but you can be assured of my prayers. I will be thinking of all of you and praying for you between 12 and 1, especially for Vicky. Hope with these new revelations this week about the order to shred the memo you might have some additional people join you tomorrow.

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