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.