Click here to read: “I Was Once a Victim,” by John Salveson, class of ’77, ’78 M.A., Notre Dame Magazine, Summer 2013
Slowly, eventually, I figured out the reason for the lack of progress within the Church. It really was simple. I had long believed the Roman Catholic Church considered the child sex-abuse crisis to be a moral issue. So I expected clergy to care about the victims and to do the right thing.
But the simple truth I had learned over time was this: Much of the Catholic leadership does not view this as a moral issue. They view it as a risk-management issue. The focus is on managing settlements, keeping the topic out of the media, telling the faithful everything is taken care of and, most of all, doing everything humanly possible to ensure none of these cases ever make it into a court of law.
29 thoughts on “Hope for the Future”
Reblogged this on From Hurt to Healing and commented:
John’s passage describing his “revelation” succinctly explains the perspective of the Church and the reason why things have been so slow to change.
When a person measures the strength and fortitude of John Salveson over the decades against the despicable and unconscionable modus operandi of Catholic hierarchs, the distance defines “cruel and inhumane.”
I heaaaaaaartily agree with his article, The whole thing is like having a “rug pulled out” from under us and the closer you have been to the church the more upsetting it has become to us-it has strayed so very far from Jesus message and mission for the disciples and has become a hi power buracracy wityh “pay-pray and obey| as their mission to keep us in line and not question anything that comes out of the Vatican or the prsiding ordinary in each diocese around the world.
as a child who had been violated by a neighbor, this has blown me away from the chcurch…and when I told people in the church, I was told that I have to forgive and move on and then..unbelievably I was told twice that children who have been violated became pedophiles – this was the end for me and I screamed and said, YOU ARE MAKING THESE CHILDREN VICTIMS AGAIN BY SPREADING THAT DOCTRINE. THE ROMAN CHURCH IS IN UTTER DISGRACE AND EVERY MEMBER OF THE HIERARCHY FROM THE POPES DOWN TO THE”RULERS” IN EVERY DICOESE SHOULD BE WEARING SACKCLOTH AND ASHES AND NOT TRYING TO PROTECT THEIR VAST AMOUNT OF ASSETS-AND COVER UP OF HOW THEY HANDLE ALL THE FUNDS,BVUILDING UP A TREMENDOUS ASSET AND NOT ALLOWING IT TO BE SPENT ON GOD’S POOR AND THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD IN EACH AND EVERY PARISH. THEY EVIDENTALLY DO NOT BELIEVE jESUS ADMONITION TO TAKE NOTHING WITH THEM, AS HE INSTRUCTED HIS DISCIPLES. GOD WOULD PROVIDE.
WHEN ONE SEES THE VAST RICHES IN THE VATICAN MUSEUM AND AROUND THE WORLD, WHEN DID THEY LOSE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE SO THAT IT COMES TO PEOPLE LOSING FAITH IN THE ROMAN CHURCH….ESKPECIALLY THOSE OF US WHO WERE EDUCATED IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS….AND THE ONES WHO INSTILLED THAT FAITH AND LAOVE FOR GOD, WERE THE NUNS, WHO HAVE BEEN KEPT IN| SLAVERY TO THEIR DIOCESE ORDINARIES. THE NUNS ARE TRULY THE ONES WHO GAVE US OUR FAITH AND NOW ARE AGAIN PUT BACK IN THEIR NARROW BOXES BY THIS HIGH LIVING AND DEFINITELY LACKING POPE, CARDINALS, THE CURIA AND ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS AOO 9VER THE W9ORLD DTHIS IS NOT JESUS CHURCH, BUT A DISGRACEFUL TRAVESTY OF PWER MAD MANIPULATIVE MEN IN CLERICS GARB, WHO HAVE LIVED” H IGH ON THE HOG” WHILE PROFESSING NO RESEMBLANCE OF JESUS AND HIS MESSAGE.
SO MANY CATHOLICS HAVE LEFT THE FAITH AND WILL NOT RETURN..HOW SAD THAT SO MANY OF DEEP FAITH FEEL BETRAYED AND THE SADNESS FOR THEIR CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN VIOLATED….AND NOW THESE KIDS ARE BEING ACCUSED OF BECOMING PEDOPHILES LATER IN LIFE….THE CHURCH KEEPS HIRING THE SAME PSYCHIATRIST TO GO FROM DIOCESE TO DIOCESE TO PROCLAIM HIS FALSE DOCTRINE WHICH OTHER PROFESSIONSALS HAVE DENIIED IS CORRECT.
HOW LONG, HOW LONG , DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER IS THIS TO CONTINUE??
WOE TO THEM ALL ON JUDGEMENT DAY FOR THEIR WILL BE THOUSANDS OF “MILLSTONES HUNG AROUND THEIR NECKS BEFORE THEY ARE TOSSED INTO THE DEPTHS OF HELL= ALL TO PROTECT THEIR NAMES AND ASSETS!!! PAY=PRAY= AND OBEY!!!”
Patchy.. it has not” become this way”…it has” been this way” since Jesus started HIS little home groups to remember HIM in the way HIS FATHER asked HIM to have it. When something goes”high and mighty” you know it is not” of the FATHER in HEAVEN”. We have been decieved, they gave us just enough to keep us blindfolded from their evil way. Jesus knew and came to us anyway, because HE knew our hearts. I was 60 yrs. in the church as a convert and have been out for 12 yrs and blogging against this evil. I know how you feel believe me.
It will take an act of GOD TO RID THE WORLD OF THIS EVIL.
John, I’m a life-long Philadelphia Catholic and have been involved in the advocacy since the release of the first GJR in the fall of 2005. We have communicated on occasion in the past and your strength and that of your supportive family is beyond measure. It is clear that these concerns are not of a pastoral or moral nature for the Catholic Church leadership and if, as you state, it is a risk-management concern for them, I submit that they have done a horrific job in that area as well. Quite frankly, I see them more like immature children, scurrying around with each new, legitimate and documented challenge from outside and within the Catholic Church, to find some creative, deceitful, specious and hypocritical approach or philosophy that attempts to save their own kingdoms. They don’t know forthrightness, candor, honesty, genuineness, sincerity NOW and, quite frankly, many of our Church leaders are incapable of these human qualities.
As an example, John, what do we see happening right now in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?Archbishop Chaput, momentarily suspending his crusade for the red chapeau, as he works to secure as much as possible the assets, holdings, investments, trusts, etc. of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as the onslaught of clergy abuse civil suits are approaching the front door. Another reckless, immature, knee-jerk, and desperate set of actions by another Catholic Church official that does not indicate any professionalism or skill in the area of risk-management.
Finally, shortly after the first GJR, a senior Stradley attorney, C. Clark Hodgson, told the Philadelphia Northeast Times that the reason the archdiocese did not contact public authorities re sexual abuse allegations was because the reports to the archdiocese were made by a third person, not the victim. Since this was the case, the archdiocese was not obligated to report the allegations of sexual abuse to police. Not to worry, the local St. Thomas More Society saw fit later that year to award the St. Thomas More Society Medal to Mr. Hodgson, which award honors St. Thomas More, an attorney who was martyred since he followed the “spirit of the law” and not the “letter of the law.”
I wonder if the Catholic Church has a patron saint of “risk management.”
Someone recently wrote that when Karol Wojtyla (JPII) is canonized he should be named the patron saint of looking the other way.
Whether the church has a patron saint of “risk management” or not, many are finding they are “having their day”, including those who have stood up against the tide, albeit many years later.
Past Victorian police officer *Denis Ryan, who was squashed out of the force is at least one.
What he had to deal with was beyond comprehension, his interview [July 5th] with *Richard Fidler ABC Conversations* is example of the travesties he had to deal.
The next one will be *Hunter Valley Detective Sergeant Peter Fox* whose whisleblowing forced the NSW Premier to call for an inquiry into the handling of abuse by police.
Martin, that brought a smile to this Polak’s face…….at the expense of another of my countrymen?
It’s risk-management without question! The RCC deals with the child sex-abuse crisis in the same manner that BP deals with an oil spill. That’s because the RCC is also a corporation.
“A rose by any other name…”
When the church acts like a business its time to throw the moneychangers out of the temple…….I have heard our survivors stories and heard how cold and callous the RRC has responded to them….Its made me cry many times and thats why I have gotten involved with the this issue..I also know there is a better way…….when my husband went to a Bible church to report his abuse to the pastor from many years ago the pastor was very kind to me and my husband, He had a church meeting and made everything public right away. Ironicially the pastor said we have to learn from the catholic church…….its not that abuse happens but how you handle it when it does occur….in this case the police were brought in and his offender was put in jail and now has life parole………I know there is a better more compassionate way because I lived it.
I have met John he is a good man …..a compassionate and determinded man…….the sad thing I have found is that many of our survivors once loved the church and all our church continues to do is hurt our survivors……. by their lack of concern and callousness…….
I just reread this and want to clarify the point the pastor was trying to get across is that we might not be able to save every child from sexual abuse but we need to correct the situation not cover it up. This church has since done education workshops and made sure better background checks are done etc. Prevention, education and confronting sexual abuse are all very important.
JPII…my husband spent a semester in Europe for school. He was in a crowd of thousands and the Pope made his way through the crowd…a rare experience. My husband held up rosaries in his hands and as luck would have it, JPII placed his hands on husband’s hands. We have the pictures to prove it.
As husband was going through his stuff with the rcc…those rosaries were flung off a bridge and into a river.
My mil asked what happened to those rosaries and when my husband told her, she was sick, almost to the point of tears. “They were touched by the Pope!!”
Better the rosaries than your son going over that bridge!
If JPII is canonized…that will be such a black mark on the rcc.
John you are still and will always be a VICTIM. I admire your tenacity , keep strong !
Because the cannonazation there will be a” black mark on the rcc? My dear Jesus, I think that is the tip of the iceburg. So much has gone over the bridge and under the bridge that it will take God Almighty to do what is needed to extricate the rcc. from the minds of the” dumb sheep” who continue to walk with the devil.
I just finished reading John Salvesons’ complete article. He seems very knowledgeable and articulates his views courageously. I often wonder what the course of history of sex abuse in the clergy would have been if the Catholic Bishops in the United States had accepted the conclusions of Doyle, Sipe and Berry back in 1992. It is very difficult for me, even being a long ago victim of clergy sex abuse to believe that the Catholic Church is only interested in risk management. Even as I have seen people like Chaput engage in manipulation of the media, control over the priests who serve under him, and carrying forth propaganda that asserts that the Church is now caring for its’ victims.The same week that I went public with my story of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic Priest back in 1961, Cardinal Bevilaqua was telling the news media and anyone who would listen that there were only fifty cases of child abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in its history in Philadelphia. Bevilaqua knew very well at the time that this was not true. The Grand Juries hesitated, when it didn’t accuse him of lying. I have no such qualms. He was a liar. Unfortunately, he was not the only one. It appears that they all will lie to protect their own reputations and the reputation of the Church.I believe that if the Church had dealt with victims in an honest, truthful, compassionate manner, much of what has occurred could have been avoided. Victims want different things from the Church. But I am sure the one thing in common victims want, is a sincere apology. Not an apology, forced upon it like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Maybe John Salveson is right. The catholic Church is simply not capable of looking at this from a moral viewpoint. Perhaps this is all about the risk. Very sad ,if it is the case.
None of this is a particular surprise to me. After I was abused, I took a little excursion into the history of the Church’s creation, with a newly critical eye toward the activities after the death of Christ. I know that this is not an original idea, but I actually found comfort in the concept that the actual establishment of the RCC was a distortion of the true message of Jesus. It is my belief that the philosophy of the RCC is a creation of Saul of Tarsus, who was highly upset that he couldn’t manage to convince people that he was the Messiah. He began as a persecutor of Christians, had his “conversion” on the road to Damascus (“if you can’t beat them, join them and corrupt them”). In short, the entire concept of a celibate and semi-deified priesthood came from the teachings and political ideas of Saul, and not from Jesus’ teachings. I personally believe that if you were to delete all of the writings of Saul (Paul) from the Bible, and correct the one Gospel (I forget which one has the divergent “thou art Peter and upon this rock…” version). the religion that would have been founded on the basis of that document would have been far more Christian, and not only would have had a far different history, but would have had a radically different reaction to any instance of child abuse committed by anyone representing them IMHO.
Anon, you say “after I was abused”. I also have been “abused.” That fact doesn’t allow me or you to make absolutely ridiculous, unfounded, and unsupportable suggestions about St. Paul, without being challenged! You first made a statement I can agree with:
” the actual establishment of the RCC was a distortion of the true message of Jesus.”
Then, you go crazy in my estimation by attacking the canonical writings of apostle Paul. Interestingly, when one takes a clear look at Paul’s writings, it is he that has been either ignored, opposed or abandoned by many from the very day he wrote his letters. God put those letters in the bible for us and we need to study them to be obedient to God’s Word.
Dear John, How are my friend? You are a gallant crusader for the safety of our children. I have known you since the early 90’s. I had great respect for you then and have the same respect for you now. I am proud to have been in your company.
I would like to address Patchy, Michael. To Patchy. I am a sexual abuse survivor raped by 3 catholic priests at the age of 14. I have been in therapy for over 23 years. I am a work in
progress. I am very fortunate to have found an extremely gifted therapist who has been my enlightened witness to my journey. I am slowly finding peace inside myself. I know that the Divine God is taking care of this institution, just read the articles about money laundering and boys for rent going on in the Vatican. I leave it in His most capable hands. I also believe in a God of justice, I may never find justice for what these so called holy men did to me, I do know all their confessions and their distorted belief that God forgives them will not mesh with God on judgement day. Never once have I ever heard an apology from these priests. I hope this helps ease your rage. They are not worth your energy. Instead, do as you are doing, blog which is what I do, I also pray to the Divine and go several times to therapy. They may have stripped God from me and taken away my only hope but I refuse to give them satisfaction in taking my spirit.. give them sat satsatisfaction in toextremely ss to my journey.
That last sentence is, I refuse to give them the satisfaction in taking my spirit. The “Good News” of the gospels has often been disregarded by the catholic hierarchy where a renaissance culture of opulence & celebate incomprehension of Children still predominate today!
I realize that I am a voice of one here, but perhaps the issue is religion – any religion. In Norway regular church attendance is down to 2% and 73% claim not to believe in any god. Other Western European nations have dwindling church attendance and belief records. The magnificant cathedrals are more museums than places of worship these days. From social support systems of people who are disadvantaged, living in poverty, unemployed, disabled these countries are light years ahead of America (WWJD?).
Christians and suppose most religiious adherents have been unkind for centuries to those they view as “heathens”, who do not toe the line of a particular dogma, to Native Americans, to slaves of any sort, keep women in “their” place……………. All religions were founded, controlled, and forced by men.
Nichols1, Paul was a tax collector, it is known he disliked women and he never walked with Christ. I believe this institution is really the church of paul!
FYI, Paul supported himself as a tent maker, not a “tax collector.” He didn’t “dislike women.” He wrote corrections to his churches when they needed correction. Paul knew and learned his gospel of us Gentiles from the resurrected Christ Who appeared to him several times. The RCC has always claimed it is founded by Christ appointing Peter as the “first pope” and it has opposed Paul’s doctrine at every turn—
the council of Trent froze the RCC in opposition to salvation by free grace alone, through faith alone, as preached by Paul as Christ’s chosen messenger in this age of grace. By claiming “infallibility” and that it is irreformable, the RCC has once for all set itself against the truth of Christ.
Nichols1, I was merely using “after I was abused” as a bookmark for a specific time period in my life; no deeper meaning. And I have no problem with anyone that seeks to support their own personal vision of their belief system. I do have a problem wrapping my mind around the logic of describing my position as “going crazy” and then supporting your statement by citing “visions from Christ” for which there is no evidence other than that of Saul himself. If this makes you feel more comfortable with your life, then I support your right to your beliefs. However, I was just stating my belief that it was a mistake to include him as part of the scriptures, and that it was done more as a product of the politics of the time in question (specifically, the Council in Jerusalem circa 67AD) than it was of divine inspiration. I wish you well in your path.
Thank you Anon for your gentle and kind reply. One thing I now believe I overlooked when reading your original post is that you don’t say whether you are a believer in Christ as savior or not.
Another thing I have to say is that to believe in Christ is to believe the bible is all inspired by God; that is the only basis there is for believing in Christ. Now, if one believes the bible is God’s Word, then Paul’s letters are inspired of God. Paul had, and has, many enemies. Mainly, this is because he is an unlikely candidate for being chosen apostle of the Gentiles, since he opposed Jesus and His followers so savagely before his miraculous conversion in Acts 9. Much of his time and his writing were necessarily taken up with insisting on his authority from Christ which many rejected. Actually, the entire Christian world has rejected Paul’s authority clearly claimed when Paul wrote: “Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”
Nichols1, I was raised in the RCC, but no longer follow any of the Christian organized religions. I do believe in the sanctity of any belief that enables individuals to live lives that benefit others as well as themselves. Having said that, I read much of the New Testament as having been written as an ex post facto document to cultivate and maintain power within the political structure that was established after the passing of Christ. It distracts from the message that I get from the actual words of Christ, and tends, in my eyes, to justify the current power structure within the RCC. I can also understand those that can accept the scriptures as divinely inspired, as long as the end result is a person living a Christ-like life. But I feel we all need to recognize that, either by commission or omission, the majority of the current “representatives of Christ” are only maintaining a corrupt organization that preys on its membership. I believe that Christ would be clearing out the “moneychangers” if he were to return to today’s RCC.
I believe Christ would be cleaning house also.
” I read much of the New Testament as having been written as an ex post facto document to cultivate and maintain power within the political structure that was established after the passing of Christ. It distracts from the message that I get from the actual words of Christ, and tends, in my eyes, to justify the current power structure within the RCC.”
Look again Anon, men have attempted to corrupt and distort the NT for
their own ends, but God has given us the gift of His Word and we can
read it for ourselves and be saved by it. Do you only “listen” to the words spoken by Jesus before He went up to heaven, and turn away from what He spoke from heaven after? As sinners we can never be like Jesus, it’s impossible; however, from heaven He gave us the way to be saved by grace through faith. That is the gospel of the cross found in the letters of apostle Paul.