The Right Stuff for a Renovation

Click and read: “Go and Repair My House,” by Peggy Noonan for The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2013

Excerpt: “I viewed it all initially with hope, doubt and detachment. And then the white smoke, and the bells, and the people came running, and once again as many times before my eyes filled with tears, and my throat tightened. That in the end is how so many Catholics, whatever their level of engagement with the church, feel. ‘I was more loyal than I meant to be.'”

72 thoughts on “The Right Stuff for a Renovation

  1. Yes, our new Pope may not have acted as Jesus would have wanted during Argentina’s “dirty war.” Yes, he’s traditional and orthodox in bad ways as well as good. Yes, he has a long, long way to go before he can recognize the full humanity of gays and lesbians and champion their rights. Yes, he’s likely to toe the line on women’s role in the Church. Yes, he’s more than a little imperfect (just like us).

    With only a few notable exceptions, I’ve come to place very little confidence in the actions or pronouncements of the “princes of the church.” So I didn’t expect much out of this conclave. However. . . 

    I may be dreaming and will be awakened with a rude shock, or maybe I’m delusional, but I did cry when I learned that Francis I eschews limousines and instead walks or takes a bus. . . . when I heard that, when he because bishop of Buenos Aires, he moved out of the bishop’s mansion and into a simple, austere apartment. . . that he spent the day after his consecration working in a soup kitchen. . . . that he cooks his own meals. . . kissed the feet of AIDS patients. . . . is a regular visitor to the slums and an advocate for the poor. . . called fellow church officials hypocrites for forgetting that  Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

    Since it’s almost inconceivable that the members of this particular church hierarchy could, by themselves, elect such a man to be pope, I can only imagine that the Holy Spirit, once again, has been messing with them.

    Pace e bene,
    Dick Taylor

  2. I have received emails from regular commenters on this site, and I am aware of at least one person (Mona) who commented about my not posting in a while. I promised my psychiatrist that I wouldn’t spend so much time consumed in abuse-related news and blogs. I’m just starting to overcome some really severe depression I was suffering over the last several weeks which was accompanied by too many flashbacks and panic attacks that invaded most time during the days, along with some of the most severe nightmares and a most wildly insane night terror in which I became physically harmful to myself and destructive to objects around me. I am lucky to have a partner who cares and loves me and has always been the hero who rescues me now – from myself. I did not realize that I have made such an impact on people here that some were actually concerned for my wellbeing. I’ve never thought too much about being missed and it feels good that some people did miss me. Thank you for that. This is only part of the reason I haven’t commented here in a while.

    The other part is that I have no interest in several of the recent discussions, and two are a “trigger” for me. I have no interest in a Pope who resigns or the election of a new Pope. Obviously, Popes normally die and Ratzinger should have never resigned, or at least willingly. He should’ve been arrested, charged, and convicted with perpetrating crimes against humanity. He should have been placed beneath the prison for his continued discretion in allowing the cover-up of child sexual abuse and his persistent ignorance by refusing to protect the young and innocent, or defenseless children and those who cannot protect themselves. Ratzinger was no great leader. He was a despicable man who used a powerful religious position to snub victims from verdicts of justice, conceal known clergy child rapists from exposure and prosecution, and he was morally corrupt human garbage who still allowed already alleged child rapists to freely walk inside the buildings and along a community’s streets, unrestricted, in new parishes where their crimes were not known.

    I have no interest in the election of a new Pope. I can be accused of many things, I suppose, but “stupid” is not one of them. Pope Francis has become the third Pope in my lifetime and I’ve never known either of his two predecessors to take any position that could ultimately lead to accountability for already known clergy child rapists. No Pope has held accountable any of the nearly 5,000 Catholic bishops for their participation in the sexual abuse scandal, nor their own initiation of cover-ups and a worldwide conspiracy, protecting human scum instead of children, having allowed more innocents to be corrupted due to their immoral behavior and continuous inaction. Pope Francis is also a Jesuit priest, which I don’t think is helpful considering in recent years the discovery of so many Jesuit priests who raped children. No catholic priest, in my opinion, would ever fit the bill as a man honorable enough to expose his own institution for its long history of shielding child rapists from public exposure and legal repercussions. Perhaps former Catholic priest Bob Hoatson, who was fired and defrocked for speaking out for victims of clergy abuse may be the only possible candidate in my mind to lead the flock, but I think it’s likely that such an revelation of corruption may lead to the dismantlement of the entire institution. If the statistics are indeed factual and 85% of childhood sexual abuse victims never report their abuse to law enforcement, I think it’s obvious to conclude that numerous predator clergy still exist within the Catholic Church today.

    I don’t know how many people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to witness the election and inauguration of Pope Francis, but if only that many people cared about protecting innocent children from clergy child predators, and the likes of every person who commits sexual assault and rape upon an innocent child, I could most definitely conclude I would not have written these words today. Too many people have the ability to prevent what happened to me and so many others, and from it becoming a reality of future children, because they choose to accept their religious leaders’ dishonest rhetoric, or the many who don’t wish to rock the boat and instigate confrontation with their spouse, relative, coach, teacher, or neighbor, and the majority will not demand changes from their elected politicians.

    So I guess I’ve had some issues in the recent past and very difficult to handle. Some highs, but enormously more lows, with entirely too much frequency in the past couple of months for me. It’s the same old shit, but just a different day. Nothing ever changes and children don’t matter much. Catholics are only shocked when a Pope resigns but not when their ministers rape kids or when a monsignor has been proven to cover it up. The same evil that destroyed me from childhood produced the demons that haunt me in my dreams today, and I still wish I could protect every child on the planet from sharing their company. I only hope tomorrow is better.

    I’m still here.

    Peace out!

    1. Rich : Glad to have you back, like you I have very little interest in the new pope unless he is ready to expose and remove all the enablers and abusers. I have great concern that Victims will be given the chance for Justice. The new pope must stop the catholic conference of bishops from stalling legislation, also he must name the politicians that are clandestinely linked to the Catholic Church, right now to me he is just a company man going to do company business.

    2. Rich, I am going to live up to the gay stereotype… everything has been said in a number from Broadway

      “Good times and bum times,
      I’ve seen them all and, my dear,
      I’m still here.

      Plush velvet sometimes,
      Sometimes just pretzels and beer,
      But I’m here..”

      A bunch of us are glad you are here. Good that you know this.


      1. That was too good, Martin. 🙂

        However, I don’t exactly conform to the gay stereotype, and I’m sure you know that most gay people don’t act like “Jack!” 🙂 99% of people I meet never even suspect I’m gay, but after I tell them I have a boyfriend, I think that’s a pretty good indication that I play for the other, and better, team.

        I actually like showtunes and I won’t apologize to anyone for it, but I grew up with a father who was in the music business and was once considered the best banjo player on the east coast and I developed a taste for music consisting of ragtime, big band, jazz, and some dixieland – similar to Louis Armstrong and Glenn Miller.

        So this is my response song:

        Thanks Martin!
        Peace out!

        1. Rich,
          What is your Father’s name. I have been in swing and jazz for many, many years and may know of him. I played trombone in Chi, D.C. Annapolis MD, Central FL, VA, Germany, Bangkok, etc. etc.

    3. Rich: I also miss seeing your comments here but also understand the need to step away once in awhile. As someone who was molested by a Catholic priest some fifty two years ago this June, I wish I could tell you that it gets better with age. Although the abuse I suffered was much less horrible in terms of degree and frequency, I still go through periods of depression,suicidal thoughts and sleepless nights. Most nights I awake at two or three o”clock in the morning and my mind goes into overdrive. Occasionally, I think about work or family affairs but always end up thinking about the sexual abuse and the mess it has made of my life. It almost seems like I am obsessed with the subject. I have tried taking sleeping pills but that makes me so groggy in the morning,I can barely function. I recently read on another site about how five former altar boys in Davenport Iowa, committed suicide while in their twenties and thirties. The only common thread was that each one had been molested by the same Catholic priest. When the families brought this up in a lawsuit they had filed against the Church, the lawyer for the Church argued there was no way they could prove that the abuse had anything to do with the suicides.This is the mindset that we are up against with the Church.I would hope that a new pope would change things, but I know better.As far as the number of victims out there,suffering from the effects of abuse by priests, like you, I belive the numbers could be staggering.Hang in there. You are importantant to a lot of people, more than you will ever know.

    4. Rich, Glad to hear from you. Life is not fair nor easy and no one prepared us for things we must go thru but its medicine for the soul there are people that still care and try to make a difference like u and vicky and so many others.

    5. Glad you are ok. I understand the need to pull back. Your personal safety and health is the #1 priority. I am still waiting on something substantial from Francis. Changing dress codes is easy; changing how the church has treated victims and criminal priests and bishops is what counts. I’m not holding my breath.
      I hope the nightmares have receded. I hate those periods so much, when sleeping is more scary than being awake.

    6. Dear Rich, I have read your post and believe that you are healing. I think your shrink is right about spending too much time blogging, but this post is really a good one and says it all. There is no way that we can get the RCC except to take their money away. That will not happen quickly. Please consider becoming a supporter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. There is no reason why the RCC or any church or religious organization should enjoy special status in this country. Progress will be slow, but believe me, you will be doing something good for yourself by looking into this organization. All of us who read this blog know your pain and know the difficulty you are having staying on the path of recovery. When one reads your posts, one feels your pain and anguish. One also feels your helplessness. I will not wallow in feeling helpless against those rats. I will not give them free rent in my head. God bless you, Rich. May you find the peace you deserve.

      1. Thanks, Elizabeth. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sounds like a pretty good organization. Our Founding Fathers didn’t want religion to be within 10-square miles of government, but when every important document in our nation’s history was written and signed “under God,” it’s difficult to explain to the religious to stay out of our courts.

        Still, I would join the cause, but I’m not going to. Not for awhile anyway. I’m taking care of myself, because I never really have before. I’ve been at many press conferences, hundreds of protests, so many days of alerting communities of child predators in the area, testimony in front of the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee, support groups, responding to phone calls and emails for victim outreach, listening to so-called “experts” in buildings talking about clergy sexual abuse, or on church properties with men who try confusing parishioners about clergy sexual abuse. I spent over four years specifically fighting for everybody else and in that time, since I came forward and reported my abuse to the District Attorney, I haven’t taken any time to fight for me. I need to figure out who I am and where I want to be in the next 4 years.

        Awhile back I decided that I can’t keep up trying to prevent others from experiencing that great big gaping empty hole right in the middle of them until I figure out a way to fill my emptiness with something other than sadness. For whatever reason, I care about myself more today that I used to at any other point in my life. I feel like I do have some value and something important to offer the world. I had never considered that before.

        I wish I could be like you or others who don’t let their abusers rent space in your heads, but I struggle with that, because of so much hatred, sadness, memory, pain, and the uncontrollable and much too frequent panic attacks, flashbacks, and nightmares I experience. I didn’t repress my memory, but I wish like hell I did and would never have discovered them either. Having these memories have caused so much disfuction throughout my entire life. My body has horrible memories too as I don’t like being touched by people, especially in certain places that aren’t even private areas for most people. My senses have memories too, and sometimes I am floored by a certain smell or someone who looks similar to my abuser, shares his last name, or those who wear the priest’s collar. I rarely let anyone in because I’m afraid they’re realize how empty I really am. I don’t trust people, because I don’t want to get hurt. You can consult my ex-friends who I’ve walked away from in the past because they lied to me, with one most recently being another victim, who I developed a strong friendship (or at least I thought is was strong) with over the last four years and he spent an entire weekend at my house lying to my partner and I. When I discovered his dishonesty by chance, I walked away, ignored his phone calls and emails, and I haven’t spoken to him since last May and I will never speak to him again. “Trust” is the single most important word and [behavior] I know, and I won’t give many people a chance because most are not worthy of trust.

        I’ve had to change my t-shirt almost every night within the last two weeks, because of the soaking cold sweat I wake up in, usually because of a nightmare. I am a broken and vacant person, and I know it too. I worry that I’ll never be able to fix myself either. My “takers” weren’t just physically sexual with me as a child, they confused me back then and the confusion lasts. I just feel like those “takers” took everything from me and just left an empty shell behind.

        I just can’t get caught up into much activism right now. I need to fight for myself and figure things out so I can be King.

        Peace out!
        Rich Green

  3. Rich, glad to ave you back, Like you I have no interest in the new pope, however I have great interest in Justice for Victims. Unless the new pope Is ready to disclose and remove all the enablers and abusers and stop the catholic conference of bishops from stalling legislation for Victims to me he is just another company man attending to company business.

  4. “Go and repair my house, which you see is falling into ruin.”

    Prior to and during the conclave, I extensively researched Cardinal Scola because he was considered a frontrunner and a reformer. I was shocked to learn that Scola is a member of the Catholic group and movement called Communion and Liberation (CL). People who study Catholic groups and movements like Opus Dei and the Legionnaires eventually land on CL (and a host of others).

    Today, an article by Jamie Manson at NCR addresses Pope Francis’s long and deep association with CL.

    Yikes! Red flag! Heads up!

    Francis, in choosing his name, presumably intends to repair the Church in ruin. We all melt over his announcement. We get hopeful. Our spirits are rekindled But how? HOW will he repair it? Must we wait to see? No. His long and deep association with CL provides a sickening window into the mind, beliefs, intentions, and theological ideology of Pope Francis.

    Folks, please move beyond the hope and get informed. CL could literally steer and drive the manner in which Francis “repairs” the Church.

    1. Kate, I do feel hopeful and so I pray hard for change. It all depends on God. I also worry, for reasons you point to, so I assume nothing will change unless I continue to make that change happen. I continue to act as if change depends on me. Martin

    2. Kate.thank you for your diligence in finding information about the new pope and more stuff associated with the Catholic church. We need all the info’ we can get on the secrets that lie beneath the surface.

  5. I am happy that Pope Francis models the humility of Jesus. If he does nothing more, I think that setting such an example is valuable as many of those under him (Cardinals, Bishops, priests) desperately need it.

  6. I prayed hard during this conclave. Prayed for the election of Bergoglio. He seemed the best of all the Wojtyla-Ratzinger picked cardinals, and if not a good choice, the best available among that lot. He is a pastor, committed to social justice (Matthew 25), and a religious not a diocesan priest (thus took a vow of poverty and made a commitment to live life in a community). His stepping onto the stage was flawless, refreshingly human, and could not have been choreographed any better. It was perfect. I too thought he looked stunned while he looked out on the crowd.

    At the last conclave, he was Ratzinger’s competition. Someone said he got up and begged the cardinals not to elect him. So, maybe, unlike Timmy Dolan and many others, he really did not want to be pope.

    Yet, he is reportedly as conservative as his two predecessors, of unhappy memory, when it comes to matters where the hierarchy and the majority of the Church are at odds – abortion, contraception, women’s ordination, understanding of homosexuality, same sex marriage, the place for divorced and remarried Catholics, and the primacy of conscience.

    But it looks like he lives the Gospel. It also seems like he might continue rather than continue undoing the work of Vatican II. Note he calls himself a bishop not pope. His interactions with the cardinals following election have been interactions with peers. He asked for the Church’s (People of God) blessing before he gave one. I suspect he might actually listen to others. There is enough that is promising that I trust the Holy Spirit can work with him. I pray that She gets into action. Quickly. I hope so. I am tired of being homeless.

  7. I have not blogged for a very long time, but haven’t missed a day following the discussion. For what it is worth, here are my thoughts.
    Pope Benedict 16th resigned, the cardinals assembled, the conclave is over and we have a new pope, Pope Francis. I won’t lie, all of these events of the last few weeks have filled me with anxiety, apprehension, and anticipation – dare I say, hope?
    It made me realize the source of my frustration. Each of us only has one voice. Each of us has a need to be heard. Jesus is listening, but it is hard to recognize His answers. Jesus is the way, truth and life. I want to avoid cynicism, skepticism, and lose of trust but it is difficult. Habits that I thought were holy like Sunday Mass, confession, teaching in a Catholic School are now in question because I turned my prayers over to Rome to deliver them to Our Lord. Rome has corrupted Jesus’ answers.
    All of these terrible tragedies in our Church have made me take back my conversation with Jesus. My prayers should only be a two-way conversation anyway. It is hard now to know how to contribute – whether it is time, talent or tithe – where it is free from corruption. Defining solutions to those problems are critical to my family. They need some kind of example, but they must find their own way. Answers are not so easy to hear.
    The College of Cardinals uses their voice to only address and listen to each other. They take care of each other. Their community is their church. It does not belong to us, because we have not been invited to join. But I would suggest that we follow their example and take care of each other.
    The rest of us, the Church, Jesus’ Church, have been cast adrift by Rome. It does not seem that the cardinals have been listening to us. That is why we have to lend our voices to the weak, the poor, the marginalized, the children, the victims and survivors of abuse, the women, the laity so that we really hear and listen to each other. We need each other. We need to take care of each other, because our love for each other is the way Jesus will give His answers to our prayers. This is not to say that the Catholic Church doesn’t do wonderfully charitable things for those who are in need. But we don’t need to do our corporal and spiritual works of mercy under the Church of Rome’s umbrella, and we can certainly do without corrupt leaders funneling our efforts to benefit their agenda of protecting criminal church leaders.
    It remains to be seen whether or not our new Pope Francis will recognize Jesus’ invitation to join His Church, our Church, or if he will align with the College of Cardinals who elected him. Many of his brothers have had a difficult time being members of both. We can only guess which ones they are, because the Cardinals’ church keeps all of that information secret. Those harboring the truth are threatened and expelled. It is written down somewhere, but only a few of their number have the key. I’d really like to see our new Pope open the door to those archives for all of us.
    As has already been stated, actions will speak louder than words. We will know soon enough if Pope Francis will accept Jesus’ invitation. His early gestures are promising. We have been called to live all eight beatitudes. We are called to be peacemakers, poor in Spirit, meek, merciful and clean of heart. Let’s not forget that we are also called to recognize those who grieve, who thirst for justice, and who suffer persecution. The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs too.
    In the mean time, please know that The Holy Spirit is the leader of our Church. He hears our prayers. Let us be an answer to our prayers for each other.

    1. Although it seems we cannot understand much about what God is doing, I can tell anyone whom will listen; you can with God’s help understand much more that you realize when you obey a scripture few know exists:
      2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
      No single verse of scripture can or should be used alone to make a point, but this verse fits with all the other verses to make an unequivacable point— God does have everything figured out and He gave us His Word so that we will know what He wants for us. I found
      the post by “Child Guardian” quite inspiring!

  8. Sometimes you are better off tearing the old house down and starting over than you are renovating.

    The main difference between Francis and Benedict is that Francis is new and shiny. I still see the excesses of Rome. I still see the likes of Mahoney and Law walking the the cobblestones of Rome looking holier than thou. I see no change in this church. I cannot understand why Catholics (I used to be one) are so trusting and hopeful at an awkward change of leadership. Benedict didn’t have the good sense to die to leave office and create a vacancy in the Papal Apartments.

    My Jesuit education tells me that just because something is new does not mean it will bring improvement. It usually means that we don’t know what will happen. That is why we should be working to change the laws of our states and our country to protect children and vulnerable adults. The previous 5 Popes of my lifetime did not make this a priority. I do not see that trend changing.

    If the “Holy Spirit” was really moving in the Sistine Chapel, he/she should have brought Michelangelo’s masterpiece down upon their heads and given the church a real chance for renovation.

  9. As cardinal of a predominantly catholic country, Pope Francis knew of the abuse of catholic children and vulnerable adults, of the systemic and endemic corruption of the RCC hierarchy, of the cover-ups. How can anyone rise to the position of cardinal without being a ‘corporate-boy?’ I believe the ‘whole resignation thing’ as well as this election was orchestrated to make the gullible forgive and forget and regain trust in church-leadership while the hierarchy continue their ‘business as usual.’ Why would the cardinals elect someone who would tarnish their reputation by making them accountable? This pope will have to toe the line as have all the others before him. Interesting that he is from Italian-lineage. I see no change in sight. Wake-Up Catholics! This is not about starting a fresh page with a new face. We cannot hide from our past … sweep things under the rug … bury our heads in the sand. No real change can take place unless there is ownership and accountability on the part of the church and justice for the victims. I was stunned by the hysterical reactions at St. Peter’s Square after the appearance of white smoke and the sound of bells. Are these people all conditioned to bells and whistles as in the Pavlov Experiments? I was at St. Peter’s Square in 2011 for the Pope’s Christmas Address and discovered that this was a major tourist-attraction on everyone’s ‘to-do list’ and that the thousands present at the time were not all devout believers, as the church would have us believe. Others referred to the environment at the Vatican as one of museums, lacking in spirituality. ‘Black smoke, white smoke, smoke-screens, smoke getting into our eyes’. This institution will go down in the annals of history as having more psychological-control on the masses than any before it. An empire that lived-on through organized religion and to-date influences modern-day corporations, institutions, organizations, and governments etc. A two-thousand year old study and written-history of the social, economical, political, psychological, and religious aspects of catholics ‘under the influence of … ‘

      1. About your visit to Rome in 2011: [As I get older (80) I tend to tell stories a lot] I and 2 army buddies took a leave from our station in Bavaria in ’58 to visit Rome for John XXIII “coronation” as it was called then. The 3 of us were the kind of Catholic soldiers that hung around the chapel and the priest a lot— different than most soldiers! When we arrived in Rome and started “sight-seeing” I was taken aback and had a crisis of faith in my religion. All we saw was commercialization— for blocks around St. Peter’s were store after store with what seemed like millions upon millions of religious articles and trappings. And when we approached St. Peter’s we were accosted by several men selling rosaries on the steps of the basilica. In Bavaria , near our station, I had visited ancient churches [seven hundred or more years old] that had extreme art and decor, but Rome “took the cake.” It took me a few days to get over this shock and return to the “faith” before we left to return to our station in Bavaria. There was no Catholic chaplain at the station so the army hired a German priest to come on Sundays to perform mass for us. Father “Frank” was able to lead this “stray sheep” back into the “fold.” However, some 24 years later, I believed the gospel of grace and left the Church.

    1. I’m afraid I feel the same in many respects, I believe there has been such a vacuum since all the abuse came to light, the faithful have taken hold with two hands and their feet.
      I only hope for their sakes, they are not going to become disillusioned when the bubble bursts, as it surely will eventually.
      The same indivduals at the bottom of the rung will raise their heads again.

  10. No flys on you guy’s and you can’t even see where they’ve been, I’m with you on this.
    Mail Online was forwarded to me yesterday [ Pope accused of turning his back on family….]
    He didn’t even mention his mother, giving her thanks for his life or the nurturing his faith at the knee.
    Bringing the connection to St Francis ………..who has enough to deal with his own friars.

  11. It is Saturday morning at 9:30 AM. At 6:00AM, I was watching Pope Francis adressing the media coverage people at the Vatican. What a wondeful face he has put on the role of “Peter”. He spoke simpy and even left his printed text to speak openly why he chose the name “Francis” after a friend of his who was a cardinal said to him “remember the poor”. He then chose Francis for the Poor, Francis was a peace person, against war, and Francis loved nature.
    When the talk was completed, he greeted multiple people many laymen and women and most embraced him and even kissed, not just his ring but his cheeks. Even a service dog with a person of impaired sight came up on the stage to greet him. Also, I thought the best part was when he told the media people that he loved them and blessed them in his heart, knowing that many were not catholic and some even secularists, but without the “sign of the Cross, he blessed them in his heart. Fantastic!!!

    Truly, we can expect no serious doctrinal nor moral teaching changes at this moment. But this papacy has set a tone of caring for the people and responsibility for the earth.
    Pope Francis has challenged the curia and the cardinals to see the poor and live the life of simplicity.

    We are on anew adventure for the Church. The pressing issues will be addressed, I am sure, when Pope Francis gets a handle on this insane structure which has controlled the institutional church for so many years.
    I remain a skeptic that things will change rapidly, but such an atmospheric change will truly help in reorganizing what has to be radically changed.

    1. An equally important reminder would have been remember the children.
      Those who have had their lives devasted and those who have father’s clergy, unable to maintain their vows.

  12. Good article out of Really bothers me how there were a group of cardinals that should not have been in Rome voting on a new pope. I wish the other cardinals protested to point of boycotting the conclave themselves if that group of cardinals were not removed from the process. That would have really showed Catholics around the world that the church is committed to real change.

  13. In response to nichols1:
    In response to nichols1:
    ‘Same ole … same ole’ at St. Peter’s Square. Near the museums are the stores selling relics and sacramentals, often bought by tourists as sight-seeing momentos. The person I was with (neither a catholic or a christian) bought a rosary as a souvenir. Most of the shrines have similar set-ups. We need a Jesus-Figure to clean-up the temple of merchants and money-lenders. There was a time, not too long ago, when I was very religious, in a spiritual sense as well. I would react to comments on catholic-commercialism as being ‘anti-catholic-church bashing’ and would turn-away, hoping that those persons would one day see the Light through their Darkness. We were the Privileged Few! What Arrogance! What Ignorance! How Humiliating, in hind-sight! I could never have imagined that one day I would be speaking in this way. Today, I have burst out of the bubble of Darkness into the Light. What irony! I am still anchored in the values of my catholic-upbringing but I am now a better person, more open and accepting of differences and apposing views. I am better able to discern Godly, spiritual elements from man-made ones … the wheat from the chaff. Great Timing for a new Pope. How many catholics are going to speak-up at the Hague when they have been conditioned for centuries to forgive past injustices and hold onto their ‘Faith, Hope, Charity and Dark Secrets’. Will the Pope, Ex-Pope, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests and Nuns testify on behalf of victims? I think not.

    The new Pope is Christ-Like. He is humble, lives in a simple dwelling, cooks his own food, loves the poor, feeds the hungry, kisses the feet of persons with aids etc.

    The question is: Will he also love and protect children and vulnerable adults, as Jesus did? In his life-time, will he help the church clean-up its act, make perpetrators accountable and allow victims justice?
    Will his cleansing begin from the top-down or will it be a smoke-screen of doctrinal-addresses with some scape-goats thrown in for good measure and for the ‘greater-good’? We’ll See.

    1. Speaking-up, your last 2 posts were so good! I feel that sense of humililiation as well, when I remember how blinded by cath. arrogance i once was, as I excused and defended the wrongdoings of the RCC. The shadow of it still lingers…It’s still hard for me to speak honestly to the loyal catholics in my life.

      The only thing I might differ about would be all the credit this new pope is getting for being so humble ….What’s so praiseworthy about this trait in a bishop? Look at the mess of a church he leads…Why the heck SHOULDN’T he be humble?! Shouldn’t we all cook for ourselves and take public transportation when possible…and who DOESN’T feel concern for the poor? What’s he planning to do about them now that he’s one of the most powerful men on earth. And why exactly does a man take to kissing AIDS’ patients’ feet – or anybody’s feet? Such hollow nonsense. Kate’s article above about CL is very telling about him.

      I think this time around, the cardinals simply “repackaged” the last several popes, hoping to distract us from caring about the fact that nothing about the RCC is going to change.

      1. Crystal, I am on the same page why is this pope being praised for things that all the other popes should have been doing in the first place basically living simply and loving like Jesus. My mom had a private audience with pope Benedict she gave him a letter from me it simply said the priests in philly need to be the face of Christ to our survivors and to encourage them to do so along with all other catholics. Every other letter that was recieved that day was answered except mine.

      2. Crystal,
        You said, “what’s so praiseworthy about this trait in a bishop?”

        Scraps. Pew Catholics are so used to abuse and a pat on the head they will settle for anything. They will take ANY indication of something that may or may not be something positive and extrapolate it to the grandest of visions. Why? Because, as abused women have said, “this guy really is a good man…he doesn’t punch me in the head like all the other men, he just watches others do it.”

        They have to hang on to anything. Denial is a powerful thing and it saves people from the crushing reality that they can’t seem to handle yet. Crystal, just be grateful you aren’t in that denial any longer. Similarly, when helping abused women, an outsider will say, “why don’t they just….?” Or, “How can they tolerate….?”

        Scraps. Whatever the hierarchs let fall from their table…the laity scarf up because they’ve been starved!

        1. Wow! The intrinsic quality of posts here has gone up noticeably since the new pope was elected IMO. Lots of truth being brought forth.

          1. Sent that to early so disgusted I would rather starve then eat the scraps. I just want the truth and geniune concern for others.

          2. Beth,
            Hugs to you!

            I learned there was a feast waiting for my family…but, I was so conditioned to believe that the only true source of nourishment must be from the the scraps rationed to me. I had people begging to feed me and my family and I couldn’t accept it. Certainly, if I helped them (hierarchs) see the error of their ways, they would understand how hungry we were. Not so. So we searched for how we were going to eat and feed our children. I learned there were people who would give us their last bite of food. They have loved us so well. They aren’t perfect, but we have learned to trust again.

            It wont matter if the Pope is a Jesuit or spanish speaking or doing what any other Christian on the planet should be doing…it is all scraps. Don’t throw the world a bone and call it steak.

    2. Remembering the Argentinian mothers and grandmothers who used their bodies and identities to affect political change when their children were abducted never to be seen or heard of again, shows the power within the realm of motherhood.
      Nothing less than what God would expect of us.
      The majority of us here are mothers, and have fought the good fight.
      As I’ve previously mentioned elsewhere, there has been no mention of his, who gave him life, nurturing his faith at the knee to bring him to this point in his life in the service of God and God’s children.
      The hand that rocked the cradle in this instance, doesn’t rule the world, but rules Christendom.
      I wonder why he doesn’t make the connection.

  14. Is the SEXUAL ABUSE to be pushed aside again. What must happen to make this Church understand what it did to so many people?

    1. That is the “indictment” against “this church” — it doesn’t “understand” and it cannot right the wrongs.
      As to the “humble new pope” discussed above— We have seen and heard that song before — have we not?

  15. On Saturday,Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier of South Africa,made the claim on the BBC that “pedophilia is an illness and not a crime”. This is still the mindset with many in the Catholic Hierarchy.They continue to believe that their priests maybe sick but they have committed no crimes. If they suffer from an illness, then they are not responsible for their actions,would logically follow. What absolute hogwash. And if pedophilia is not a crime, how about covering it up? Is that also not a crime? The Catholic Church will go to the ends of the earth to avoid taking responsibility for the sex abuse crisis that they have fostered and encouraged. Individuals must take responsibility for their actions. So must instituions.

    1. “…pedophilia is an illness and not a crime,” so is alcoholism!

      If the alcoholic stays out of a car, and the pedophile stays out of the child, Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier is correct. However, it’s just that type of statement that makes the Catholic Hierarchy so despicable. I’ve come to the point of really hating these guys.

      If this pope doesn’t cause heads to roll, I’M OUT! And, I don’t care if my wife is happy with me or not, time to get some brass!

      1. Excellent analogy dr who. The child who is harmed (crime) by the illness of pedophelia is totally taken out of the equation.

        1. Kathy that was my thought exactly upon reading the cardinal Napier’s words. When he said that pedophilia is not a crime, he said enough. The “ailing” abusing priests are his priority, and abused children are merely symptoms of their illness.
          He should be fired and his career investigated. This was disgusting, and so is the institution which holds him up as an ecclesiasitcal “prince”.

          Lets face it, most priests and heirarchy feel as Napier does, only they’re not dumb enough to actually say so publicly.

        2. Kathy,
          I would guess that this Napier statement should/would be a game changer if it is followed up— no? What an indictment of the church hierarchy.

      2. Good for you. ” The Lord has not given you a spirit of fear but of Power, Love and

        a Sound Mind” Amen?

    2. “The Catholic Church will go to the ends of the earth to avoid taking responsibility for the sex abuse crisis that they have fostered and encouraged” Jim Tucker

      What is their excuse or is the RCC sick and not responsible and therefore not committing a crime? Are they claiming a habit(sending so many people with pedophilia tendencies to parishes with children that they actually believe it is morally correct?) and the RCC has such a habit that it is not as responsible? What is the difference between a crime and a sin? I can’t remember my last confession, but I know I was told to avoid sin. Ordain a woman, marry gays you are sinning, but rape a child well give me a break, even with a 60’s public education I know better.

      Guess Pope Francis and the other 114 need to attend a support group headed by Susan and Kathy with the victims. They need to be confronted with the pain they have allowed to fester in a church I supported for so many years.

      Are they redefining the argument? That is too many(abusers) are being protected by the church while the innocents are still being victimized, but they want to argue “pedophilia is an illness and not a crime”.,Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier of South Africa

      As Dr. Who stated “If the alcoholic stays out of a car, and the pedophile stays out of the child, Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier is correct. However, it’s just that type of statement that makes the Catholic Hierarchy so despicable. I’ve come to the point of really hating these guys”

      I agree Dr. Who.

      Glad to read that you are back Rich.

      Yes, The Right Stuff for a Renovation

  16. In response to Chrystal:
    Nothing has changed … nothing ever will during this Pope’s Reign. His connections to CL say a lot about him. In my opinion, one of the pillars of the RCC hierarchy is P.R. The other pillars being: intimation through vows and promises of obedience to the City of Gods, legal-cover-ups using our money to persecute the victims, promise of salvation through the Eucharist. Then there’s the ‘Seven Cardinal Sins’ that stare us in the eye. We need look no further for examples of lust, greed, gluttony, envy, anger, pride, sloth among the upper echelons of the church. I was able to withdraw my ‘Time, Talents, and Treasure’ when I told myself that they all end-up in dollar-amounts, part of which are used on legal-defenses. Sorry about not being clear in my last post about the Pope’s humility etc. That was my ‘tongue in cheek’ comment. I am in full agreement with what you said on this issue. As you so aptly put it ‘the cardinals simply repackaged the last several popes.’ I would like to add ‘making sure they do not choose someone who would bring them to justice and bring peace to the victims.’ They can’t even follow the beatitudes on these issues. Sadly, this drama is being played on the world-stage. Depending on how it plays out, that is if the criminal-elements are not brought to justice, this may set a global precedent on legal-defenses for criminal responsibility and may encourage like-minded corporations, institutions, organizations, governments etc. In relation to pedophilia, if it is an illness and not a crime, then why are lay-people in prison for such-like actions? Open the doors, let them loose, give them day-passes to roam around school-grounds! Double standards … immunity … legally untouchable. Using a line from a movie: “Be afraid, be very, very afraid.” We cannot afford to let our moral-guards down. Irony again. Our spiritual-leaders are considered our moral-barometers.

  17. Dear Archbishop Chaput,

    Presumably, you are watching and reflecting on the decisions, words and actions of Pope Francis… as the world is. I ask that you pay special attention to one, simple, yet humane and sensitive, decision he made immediately after his election. After the cardinals vowed their obedience to him and offered their congratulatory words, a separate group of hierarchs gathered to congratulate him. Pope Francis was aware of the time such a greeting would take; he was also aware of the enormous crowd standing outside in the rain, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the new pope and his appearance on the balcony. He decided to forego greeting the hierarchs, instead moving immediately and efficiently to the balcony and to the faithful in the rain. Why? Because he’s had the common, human experience of standing in the rain. Because he has, and because it made an impression on him, and because he has not forgotten it, he identified with the plight of the faithful well-wishers. He was able to step into their shoes. He met them on a fundamentally human level. He acted the way anyone who has stood in the rain would react to anyone standing in the rain.

    You’ve stood in the rain, Your Excellency, but so many of the faithful wonder why you cannot transfer your experience to them. Their are people standing in the rain, wondering why you have taken an inordinate amount of time to act on priests you have removed from ministry. Their are people standing in the rain, wondering why you are obstructing SOL reform on behalf of a Church that says it intends to end the crisis of sexual abuse. Their are people standing in the rain, wondering how you can greet the parents of victims yet walk away and support the defense of offending clerics. The feelings of these people are common, human feelings. While their experiences may not be yours, their feelings are. Surely, from your own rain-experiences, you have felt the same or similar feelings, hoping that someone recognizes and reacts to them on a fundamentally, human level.

    In your past, did someone did not recognize and react to your feelings in the rain? Did the two, former papacies prohibit you from recognizing and reacting to the feelings of people in the rain?

    Will you meet us in the rain as Pope Francis did?

    1. Kate like that visual imagery…many times I not only feel like I am waiting in the rain but in the valley of tears.

    2. Great imagery Kate. I liked your questions to Chaput: “In your past, did someone not recognize and react to your feelings in the rain? Did the two, former papacies prohibit you from recognizing and reacting to the feelings of people in the rain?”

      Why not send the letter to Chaput after collecting some signatures? I hope I am wrong but I do believe all actions are predetermined after P.R. Consults. It’s taken me decades to reach this conclsion. We’ll See … Hope for the Best.

  18. I know many of you are products of Jesuit educations. I graduated from Boston College.

    Francis is a Jesuit. But his history and associations with the Jesuit order, with its leanings and philosophy, and with its members, are distant, vague, incongruent, and penitential in at least one scenario. The coolness is to such an extent that it should make us wonder. Francis is a Jesuit but clearly hardly a favorite among the Jesuits. Indeed, many of the Jesuits interviewed by media sources since Francis’ election have elected to speak anonymously. Many have spoken unfavorably of him. Name a Jesuit who named himself, and who has spoken genuinely and with high regard for Francis, with substantive and meaningful reasons to support his favorable opinion, making links between the Jesuit Pope and the Jesuits, and who is not speaking some sort of standard, generic, and obligatory positive confirmation of Francis? Jesuits are brothers. They love each other. Why don’t the Jesuits love Francis???

    If you are a graduate of a Jesuit institution, watch, listen to, and read closely how that institution responds to the election of Francis. Naturally, public responses will be positive ones, but will they be obligatory positive ones or will they be substantive ones? How well can your Jesuit institution substantively explain why it is enlivened and made hopeful by the election of Francis? Can it explain how the Jesuit Pope will be Jesuit? Will it say why or why not it loves Francis?

    Will the Jesuits tell us the truth?

    Presently, the silence is disconcerting.

    1. And let us not forget that the Jesuit order, itself, has a long history of covering up child sexual abuse.

    2. Graduate of the University of Scranton! The President of the University was very quick to send out a very glowing email to the Alumni about Francis.

      I am not going to judge the man, I am reading all kinds of things, but I am not sure any of it will stick or if any of it has merit. There are detractors anywhere.

      As a survivor of abuse and a person that left the church, and religion for that matter, I am only interested in his actions or inactions as they affect the safety of children and vulnerable adults.

  19. For the first couple months of 2013, I spent a great deal of time, energy and correspondence trying to solicit the support of my alma mater, St. Joseph’s University, its management and Board of Trustees, to encourage the student body to contact the legislators in Harrisburg for the pending legislative proposals to enhance child abuse laws and protection. Since the current Jesuit motto there is “magis”, i.e., to live greater, I suggested that Jesuit principles and philosophy, in light of the social injustice of child sexual abuse and the lack of legal redress for the victims and their families,should be utilized to help Commonwealth children to “live greater.”
    And what was the response for my efforts? What was the President’s and Chairman of the Board of Trustees response on behalf of the children of Pennsylvania? Nothing, only SILENCE in response to my advocacy and request for Hawk student support for our children.

    By the way, a similar request was sent to the President of the Student Union and, tragically but not unexpectedly, there was no direct response to this request for our children. The only response directed this writer to a Non-Violence Project at SJU and they too failed to respond to the request for student support in contacting our state legislators re the needed child sexual abuse legislation.

    1. I wonder if Dean Curran is still there he was orginally my sociology professor he would be a great person to contact.

  20. I get so angry with the news media for their coverage of childhood sex abuse. NBC and the Today show on Monday will show parts of an interview with Jerry Sandusky. This man is a convicted sex offender. His story should have ended with his coviction. He craves media attention and the media willingly gives him this attention. Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed this same network conduct a love affair with Cardinal Dolan of New York, while totally ignoring his role in the scandal and coverup. It seems to me that people like Matt Lauer and others in the national news media have a duty and moral obligation to ask tough questions of Catholic Church leaders. Instead they lob softball questions and accept weak answers with no followup. They seem in awe of people like Dolan. And they call themselves journalists.It is no wonder NBC news is falling in the ratings. They will continue to do so until they show some integrity.

    1. Good old investigative reporting is virtually a thing of the past.

      By simply watching the news most people would have no idea that Dolan had ever been in Milwaukee, much less what he did while he was there.

    2. “

      Thanks, I am sure your article will spur a much needed discussion.”


      “”S.J. teen charged in major porn sweep” –

      but your title is “Cherry Hill teen among 25 nabbed in kid-porn sweep”

      Great article and all parents need to read this, but does not mention now or in the earlier article child-porn. A person would need to click the link to know that this article refers to child porn. Earlier article link

      Thank you for the continuing coverage of this epidemic affecting our kids.”


      Who needs to contact the nedia and educate and be the eyes and ears for our children? The media doesn’t have the resources to do the reporting necessary.

      Are we writing to the media so they know what we believe is important?

      1. Ed: I write so many letters to the newspaper media trying to get them to do an article on the long term effects of childhood sex abuse. I offer my own story as an example. I get no responses.My reasoning is that if more people know what sex abuse does not only to innocent children but to those same children as they go through their lives, maybe people would get up in arms. Newspapers,on the whole really don’t want to deal with this issue on any kind of emotional level. Why that is totally escapes me.Some individual writers are willing to deal with this issue but I get the fealing that some of them have editors that hold them back. I aso wonder how much fear of the Catholic hierarchy figures in this reluctance. During the Sandusky trial, the Patriot News in Harrisburg covered this issue in great detail.But they have been disheartenly silent when it comes to the Catholic Church. I can’t figure it out.

        1. Jim and many are writing and yes we don’t get responses, but I’ll keep writing for you and all the victims of CSA and the RCC.

          Jim, just letting you know that even when I am not blogging, I am writing. Didn’t mean you were not writing, I am from Central Penna. and still remember being told that Harrisburg doesn’t have the problems with RCC sexual abuse like Philly – I know differently as I am sure you know Don’t think I ever got a response from the Patriot, but do occasionally get one from the Philly newspapers and they know I am not in Philly.

          .I also remember many other victims that blog on this site writing thousands of letters along with family and friends.

          Just gets us angry that we get little response to such an important issue, as you (Jim), expressed in your first sentence.

  21. To Ed in relation to the link:

    How long will the global unholy allegiance continue between state and church? Based on a biblical-reference, which one is the ‘prostitute’? Is it cash, kind, or ‘legislative-bills’ that are the mode of payment?

    More on satanic-priests:

  22. I know this is off subject but I have been reading Mathew Fox, who was a very respected theologian in the catholic church, years ago ,(Dominican order)that was thrown out of the church by the Pope for not going along with . the” fall/ redemption theory “,of the rcc. I am now reading his book on “Original Blessing” I can
    truly see how he backs up everything he says, in scripture, on his ideas of ” creation spirituality” instead of ” fall/ redemption ” theory. it is a magnificent piece of biblical thoughts and readings that our world needs. today.. It is so uplifting. I wish RICH could read his writings.I’m sure it would give him great peace…It did me.

  23. When’s the next trial scheduled in Philadelphia? “It’s too quiet Kemosabe.” (Tonto)

    For you young folks, that comes from the Lone Ranger TV/radio show.

    1. drwho13,
      I notice that this blog is set up so that Susan and Kathy instigate discussion on topics by introducing them [by some means they have.]
      It is not so much like the forums where anyone can start a thread by simply posting. I also have noticed that sometimes it is quiet here; so don’t feel like “the Lone Ranger.” 😀

  24. I want to re-visit the above discussion on CSA is “a disease”. IMO that idea needs to be put up to ridicule and totally destroyed. CSA is Sin and Crime!
    By the poor logic used by those wanting to label the horrific sin/crime of child sex abuse ALL crimes could be labeled “disease.” This wrong-headed idea must be firmly opposed IMO.

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