A Papal Request for Forgiveness Begs Clarification


by MICHAEL BAUMANN

from his blog “Off My Knees: Standing up for myself and other victims of sexual abuse by clergy,” April 14, 2014

“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” – Socrates

An article on the Vatican Radio’s Website  reported on  a request from Pope Francis for forgiveness for the priests who committed sexual crimes against children.  During his prepared remarks to members of BICE [International Catholic Child Bureau] whom he received on 11 April 2014 in an  in audience at the Vatican, he deviated from the prepared text.  That deviation for his text was captured in the  English translation of  the Pontiff’s prepared statement provided by Vatican Radio:


…. I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children. The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children…

Before I start this conversation I am being mindful of my fellow survivors and their families, some are no longer here because of the damage caused by predator priests. We have been subjected to endless promises of reform and lies about accountability. This is important to me as  survivor of rape by a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. At the risk of appearing to be hopeful enough that these questions will somehow come to the attention of Pope Francis, I will address my questions to him directly.

Your Holiness, I have some questions I must ask so that I can understand the meaning and intent in your words. Holy Father, from who are you asking forgiveness?  An honest question, I promise you. I am convinced of your sincerity when you say you “feel the compelled to personally take on all the evil.” If you do so, why do you qualify your statement by saying that the number of predator priests are “quite a few” in number but not when compared to the total number of priests? Your Holiness, you start off by marginalizing the depth of the crisis. Why should I trust what you go on to say next?

Are you asking survivors/victims for forgiveness? Are you asking your Church? Are you asking us to forgive those who committed such heinous acts of depravity that destroyed our trust, our faith and injured our beings? Or are you asking us to forgive those that hid and protected these monsters? Are you asking us to forgive those, both religious and laity who have expended the treasure of the church to support evil and attack us, as if we were the cause of the crimes committed against us. They  painted us as monsters or opportunists looking for an easy pay out. Are you asking for forgiveness for the marginalization of our suffering, the suffering of our families, the lost potential of our shattered lives?  Are you asking for forgiveness for the irreparable damage  and damnation of those who chose not to right a wrong but to isolate and vilify the survivors?  Are you asking forgiveness for those who put the comfort of the church ahead of the safety of children?

Holy Father, it does not matter if there are a relatively small number of predator priest relative to the total number priests in the church. It does matter that many of your Bishops chose to mitigate risk and protect predators instead of maximizing justice and protecting children. You say the church is aware of the damage and that you cannot take one step back. Until you take one step forward, your Church will remain aware but ineffective and uncaring. Until you take action to cut the cancer of protection for predators from the ranks of your bishops your Church will not be stronger.

You speak of sanctions. You want to take action to deal with the problem. Your Holiness, with great respect I ask you, what are you willing to do? My Catholic education instructs me that forgiveness is earned through acts of contrition. The words are hollow if they do not come with action, with change and with the will to live a life that is true to the values and faith that you profess.

Words are important.  Words have meaning. Holy Father, please show me that your words are sincere and that you will finally take the action necessary to protect children and vulnerable adults. Unless there is an accounting, unless the truth is more important than the comfort of those that have protected predator priests, your words will be lost on the wind.

Show me your commitment, your actions, the meaning in your words.

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57 Responses to “A Papal Request for Forgiveness Begs Clarification”

  1. Michael,you end with asking about 3 things; commitment, actions and words. I think in a short period of time, 1 year, Pope Francis has shown his commitment to stop the abuse and the end the policy of “cover up, his actions to address the many aspects of this crime will show positive results but it will take time for him to turn this giant ship around and his words have shown the meaning of God and love for the less fortunate.

    • Joe: Exactly what has Pope Francis done to stop the abuse and end the policy of “cover up? I have been sitting on the edge of my seat waiting and hoping that this would indeed be the case. I have seen no evidence of him dealing with this issue at all . Please enlighten us.

      • Jim, we are talking about hundreds of years of policy and culture – he can’t change it overnight – he has spoken out and he has established a commission to address the matter. I want to see reform and change as much as you but I also know it will not happen as fast as I desire but Francis will get it to happen!

        • Joe: I believe that it is best if we agree to disagree. You have something that I lost a very long time ago. That is the ability to trust that priests, bishops and popes will do the right thing eventually. Actually after I was molested in the sacristy of the Church as a twelve year old altar boy I learned to trust nobody. You also appear to have faith. You believe that Francis will eventually do the right thing with regard to the sexual abuse of children. After he has cleaned up the Vatican Bank and all those other more important matters, then he will get around to the abusive clergy and Bishops who covered up that abuse. I have no such faith. That too was destroyed in the sacristy of the Church when I was twelve.

    • With respect, I think you missed the important questions I asked before I got to the end.

      “Show me your commitment, your actions, the meaning in your words.” was not a question, it was a call for for something more than words.

      • Give me the head of one bishop just to show you’re serious. Why is Finn still in power? He’s been convicted!

        I believe that once the first bishop is openly taken down by the Pope; the camel has its nose under the tent. That would undermine the Bishops’ Club, therefore it can’t be done. As far as they’re concerned, they rule; we follow (I no longer buy what these huckster are selling).

        “…the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.”- Pius X 1906 encyclical Vehementer Nos.

        • drwho..just like with the removal of the Bishop of Bling,the Archbishop of Atlanta is now selling his mansion…human beings need consequences ..period.

          • Yes Kathy agree 100 percent. In many ways its better they get consequences here and repent and make amends then end up in hell. I know some in the church no longer believe in hell but I do and in many ways it motivates me to change what I need to change and keep me on track and it also is on my mind when I interact with people. Some how the leadership seem to forget this world is not an end in itself……..its all rather ironic because without the existence of hell there would be no need for the church on earth……….

        • And this new idea of allowing married ex-priest’s who are in ‘good standing’ if agreeable by bishops is only peace meal and deflection, but many will catch onto it as a partial victory, imagine the shoe licking……..

  2. Joe , I agree that one man can not turn things around overnight but he did remove the “Bishop of Bling” while Bishop Finn who has an actual conviction remains in power…when he starts removing people like Finn and others known in the cover ups I will be a believer

  3. Katherine FitzGerald Reply April 15, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Socrates

    Socrates argued that the main reason people cannot think clearly is that they do not even know what they are talking about. People use terms that they barely or only superficially understand. For example, how well do we understand the terms: friendship, piety, generosity, justice, “FORGIVENESS”…? If we barely understand these terms, how can we expect to DO them? Ancient Greeks were able to superficially “yack” about them but they could not DO them. So, Socrates’ first order to business was to define terms. Socrates was convinced that, if a person understood a term, he would naturally DO it. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    Socrates employed a unique method called the Socratic Method which entailed a series of questions. Each question to his opponent was intended to provoke clearer and more precise definitions of terms. His skillful questions guided his opponent closer to the truth by allowing the opponent to experience the logical inconsistencies in his own stated positions. The Socratic Method drew the truth out of ancient Greeks. In the end, the opponent educated himself rather than Socrates acting as a teacher “filling an empty vessel.” Socrates believed that the truth of terms was somehow in each of us. Once the truth is revealed, the DOING necessarily follows.

  4. Wasn’t Socrates a pederast? He may have been a great thinker but he preferred making love to boys.

    • Someone in history probably used his method to come to the realization that pedophilia was morally wrong. By the time of Jesus, that was clear and should be today.

      • Katherine FitzGerald Reply April 16, 2014 at 3:00 am

        Yes, Susan! You are correct!

        It was Aurelius Augustine (354-430 A.D.), better known as St. Augustine, who imposed on Western civilization sexual standards. Prior to Augustine, essentially there were no standards… “anything goes.” The Catholic Church adapted Augustine’s standards, enforcing them throughout the thousand year period called the Middle Ages. Naturally, as all “good” Catholics know, the standards were anchored in sin and guilt. The standards, along with the sin and guilt, are alive and well today. For example, if, when I say the word “sex,” it makes you blush, or you must have the room dark to remove your clothes, or you experience anxiety when you speak to your teen about the birds and the bees, you can thank Augustine!

        While Augustine set the sexual standards for Western civilization, he, himself, prior to his conversion to Christianity at the age of 33, was addicted to sex! Lust seethed within him! Wow on his antics! Your basic “bad, BAD, boy.”

        I have always found it humorous that Western civilization permitted, and continues to permit, a one-time (if you believe that) sex addict to articulate its sexual standards.

        • Ms. Fitzgerald, it is a pleasure to read your post, you make my old brain churn for knowledge. Thanks and keep them coming.

        • Well he could certainly speak from experience. Hah. And, the idea of children’s rights is very new. Formal standards weren’t even adopted until the 1920s. Thankfully, humanity evolves. I’ve never understood why the institutional Church so readily (and rightly) protects the unborn, but not those born into its care? What would happen to a Bishop who performed abortions? Child sex abuse is soul murder.

          • When did women get the right to vote? Has it been 100 years yet? Also, remember the young girls who are victims, remember Frumanski at my parish – sick. Women and children as property is still an international problem leading to exploitation. Maybe the men saw the writing on the wall when women had the right to vote, they may start to fight for children’s rights especially when so many were dying because of working conditions – breaker boys in coal mines girls in factories.

          • There were organizations for prevention of animal abuse in some states before the formation of organizations for children. In New York one of the first cases of child abuse was brought to the attention of the ASPCA in the 1870’s..the man who founded the ASPSCA then went on to form an organization to prevent cruelty to children.

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply April 16, 2014 at 2:06 am

      Name an ancient Greek man who was NOT a pederast!

      • Kate, I can’t think of one! I will likely be censured for this, but I couldn’t resist.

        How did they separate the men from the boys in ancient Greece? – (with a crowbar).

    • Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.

      https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CCL1961R.HTM

      from 30. Those To Be Excluded; Practical Directives(#5)

      pederast ? Are Chaput and Francis ready to face the anger and pain caused by ignoring the pederast so they could have a larger quantity of priests. Look at yearbooks and ordination lists in the 70’s and 80’s and see how so many are in the same class or taught in the same school. Facebook was so nice to offer free reviews of different years and so many pics and names were in those books. Doyle and Harvey were too late as many had left the priesthood because both did not recognize the real problems in 82. Only by the strength of the victims did Doyle realize the damage caused by the Church ignoring the epidemic and spoke out in 1985. I pray that Francis gets it, but he ignored those tortured in Latin America in the 80’s while he and JPII told the people to accept their cross, and he has a poor record in Argentina with abusive priests, so hopefully he realizes that the pain and suffering caused by his church and other “catholic” groups make reconciliation a long term marathon with a need for true ministry to those the church has harmed so deeply. No healing mass, Lenten ideal or a few prayers will do, but the church needs to accept the fact that they allowed this to happen and spend time hearing the yelling and cursing and other ways the survivors may need to express the rage that is so deep inside them. Thanks to all those who have listen to the accounts including the detectives mentioned above

  5. I’ve known both of these gentlemen, Joe Walsh and James Dougherty, for many years while a member of the Philadelphia Police Department. Both are extremely conscientious, professional and thorough when it comes to investigations and they are mature and responsible in their professional endeavors. Also, they are truly genuine and compassionate and their contributions over these many years of investigating clergy sexual abuse have paid great dividends for the victims and their families.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

  6. What an opportunist is this pope Francis, right on Easter when we renew our Bapsism vows…he certainly knows how to press the right buttons…
    If we were Jesuits, as his is, we would be obliged to out of Obedience, recalling all the Jesuit damage he did as superior during his time in Argentina, even one surviving missionary who with his brother priest were subjected to barbaric, brutal and inhuman actions….embraced him offering mass together, the other went to his grave never rescinding his claims.
    With his elevation to pope, with a new name and a clean moral slate God automatically forgave him [so the church tells us], so by the compelling need to personally take on the sins of all the evil committed by his clergy, he believes we are compelled to forgive them by proxy.
    Work it out for yourselves
    .

    • L. Newington: In a post further down the page, Gerry Slevin talks about creating a presidential commission, much like the Royal Commission in Australia to hold hearings on the sexual abuse of children. If I remember correctly from some of your earlier posts, you were not too keen on the works of said commission. What have your observations been?

  7. I am sorry but if :
    Matthew 18:6 is true

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a large millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned at the bottom of the sea.

    There is NO FORGIVENESS for those who harm a Child !

  8. “Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CCL1961R.HTM

    This is so wrong! Homosexuality is an evil tendency as much as having blue eyes. It does not make one a pedophile! I was molested by 2 heterosexual monsters.

    If a gay priest wants to have a relationship with another gay adult or a hetero priest has a relationship with a woman that is not my business and has nothing to do with children being molested. Maybe one day we will accept that like my Episcopalian friends do that celebrate their own Bishop Robinson? (Unfortunately not in my life time as first they have to get rid of the celibacy requirement which is ludicrous)

    Yes there are more gay priests than gays in the general population. It was a good occupations for the Catholic kid that otherwise would have been expected to marry in years past, but that does not put them in the same category as these monsters.

    BTW I have a child, cousin and aunt who are gay. I celebrate their courage to be who God made them as society has not been kind.

    • Suzpt. that was the problem I faced in the 70’s. The difference between pederasty & pedophilia as opposed to gay. The churches still confuse the issues. Big difference between the love between two men and the forcing of a young boy (or girl)into a closet after mass in a brutal attack or in a classroom or an office at school. Thinking of the brutality of the Passion and that may have been nothing compared to what some kids went through for years. At least Jesus decided to accept the unjust punishment. These kids were helpless at the hands of those who were to act as the person of Christ but instead betrayed our trust in God.

  9. Katherine FitzGerald Reply April 17, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Michael Baumann,

    Thank you for your excellent piece and advocacy.

    The following is an important Bilgrimage post. It speaks to all of us who occupy the “bottom” or lowest level in a hierarchical Church, especially, it speaks to advocates and victims. Note how the piece puts the power of change in our hands. After you read a piece like this, you have to ask yourself, why go at Francis? Indeed, why go at anyone not at the “bottom”? ( A few days ago on C4C, MC wanted to go at Chaput.) At the “bottom” are the mover and shakers, the visionaries, the critical thinkers, the doers, and the powerhouses of hope and change. At the top are the ineffectual losers. They are hardly worth our time.

    What are your thoughts on the Bilgrimage piece, Michael? Does the piece incline you to move away from trying to reach Francis’ sensibilities or no? Also, what do you think about us… we who occupy the “bottom”?

    Thank you.

    bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2014/04/seeing-visions-and-dreaming-dreams.html#more

    • “The playing field has been leveled to the point where ever growing numbers of Catholics are encountering and confronting bishops as adults and not as compliant and docile children. This has irrevocably altered the definition of the Church promulgated by Pius X in his 1906 encyclical Vehementer Nos.” (Fr. Thomas Doyle)
      :
      “It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these
      categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.” (Pius X)

    • Let me preface this with the fact that I no longer consider myself to be Catholic. Whatever faith was developing when I was 13 was destroyed in the rectory of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Brodheadsville, PA. My experience coupled with the consistent lies and attacks from the hierarchy of the Catholic church and their apologists against survivors who have spoken out lead me to see that there is nothing in the doctrine professed by those people that rings true with me. I do not believe that I have a “soul”.

      I read the post you referred to me and while I understand the points being made but I don’t see the theory becoming reality. Despite the overwhelming evidence of a worldwide crisis of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, the vast majority of Catholics remain silent, tithing like obedient little lambs. Change coming from below? I don’t see it.

      My position for years has been that change in the Catholic Church is not possible. It is an immovable object. Until the church has to bear an obscene price for the damage it has committed it will go on in the havoc it has wreaked, the parishioners will not rise up and send the bishops, cardinals and the Pontiff packing.

      I do not understand how Catholics dutifully file into pews for the Sunday morning magic show knowing what has been done for centuries to children. Do you really think those sections of Canon law on sexual misconduct with children were written centuries ago because some deep thinking Canon Scholar anticipating a problem? No, the problem existed then as it does now.

      I have no illusions that what I write will fall under the gaze of the Pope. I have no illusions that anything will happen as long as the nature of the crisis is minimalized by the hierarcy. I have no illusions that Catholics will take serious action, ever.

      I have applied for defection from the church, no reply! I would love to be excommunicated. I would hang that notification in a frame next to my diplomas! Which is why it will never come. I am keeping that spot on the wall open, however. (see,I do have some hope)

      I am a survivor, I am no longer a victim. I have a question for you, Katherine. If most of the victims of sexual crimes by priests are culled from the most faithful familes, why are you still there? Are you waiting for it to be your child or grandchild that is taken next before you will get serious about removing the princes from their diocesan palaces? How is your faith intact when you see the leaders of your faith behaving as they do? If you can compartmentalize your faith away from your church hierarchy, they have already won. Where are the movers and shakers, visionaries, critical thinkers, the doers and the powerhouses of hope and change? Were they in your cathedral for the healing mass? You know the event where they had security guards to keep the survivors away from the organizers of the “healing” mass?

      There is nothing I can do or say that will change the Catholic church at any level.

      • “There is nothing I can do or say that will change the Catholic church at any level” (Michael).

        I agree with you, and Gerry Slevin who believes that the Federal government is needed to crush these bishops like the cockroaches they are.

        “…there is no change because the clerics have a good deal, especially bishops, and they really answer to no one–so why should they change. Only the Federal government is in a position to get them to change” (Gerald Slevin).

      • Katherine FitzGerald Reply April 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm

        Michael, I’m not there. I haven’t been there since 2005. I altogether exited the Church and the faith. My sentiments are exactly yours.

        I do, however, think that the “bottom,” advocates, survivors, and people who have exited the Church can affect Church hierarchy in the form of using secular resources. In other words, it can change laws (SOL), incarcerate offending priests, et al.

        • The church has a very powerful lobby and will resort to whatever means necessary to be successful. They have deep pockets and they will expend the treasure of the church to keep from being held accountable. While there have been limited SOL changes nationwide, the Church has been successful in keeping ahead of the movement to force cases into the light.

          My experience has been that survivors are as wary of each other as they are of the institution that has victimized them. Trust is not in abundance in the survivor population. We are not organized, we are not networked. Frankly, we have been villified by the Church with great success.

          On the national level, I have not seen a successful organization that has the interest of survivors at heart that can effectively advocate for the changes needed at the state level on SOL reform. Efforts to change laws must be presented in terms that address any institution that has a poor record of protecting children not just the Catholic Church.

          The conviction of Bishop Finn proves the point that even with a conviction, the church holds the lot of survivors/victims in such disdain, that they leave this criminal in charge of a diocese. I am sure that American Conference of Bishops have a good laugh when discussing the conviction.

          • Katherine FitzGerald April 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

            Michael, what would Slevin’s federal inquiry accomplish or not accomplish in your opinion?

          • Michael: You write about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart: TRUST. As a young boy I learned very early on that I could not trust my alcoholic father. His erratic behavior combined with the physical, verbal and emotional abuse convinced me that he was not someone I could trust. My mother was much more trustworthy despite her erratic behavior. And there were always the nuns and priests at school and church .I could certainly trust them. And then I was abused by the priest who was in charge of the altar boys at our church. For me, that was the end of my ability to trust others. Every victim deals with their abuse in their own way, I believe depending on the support that surrounds them. Far too many of us have to handle it on our own. For me, I built solid concrete walls and let nobody come inside .The only person that I felt I could trust was myself .Many years later when I was in therapy, my therapist tried an exercise where you fall backwards and he catches you before you hit the floor .I simply could not do the exercise.I believe I couldn’t do that exercise today. I never learned how to swim, despite taking lessons when my kids were young. Why? I never trusted the person, who was trained to teach swimming enough to learn. The ability to trust affects every relationship in our lives. From those closest to us, to friends and those we work with every day. I can’t tell you how many jobs, I have left because I couldn’t trust my boss. It is often stated in the news media that victims are robbed of their innocence .For me, the biggest loss was the loss of my ability to trust others. So when you state that victims don’t even trust on another, that comes as no great surprise to me.What is the solution? I really don’t have any idea. As you state, the Church uses that inability to trust even each other to divide and conquer.

      • I am not sure if I am welcome to contribute to this site, as I nor my children have ever been victimized by a member of the clergy. I was raised in a strict Catholic home and tried to bring up my children in the faith. It became apparent to me, wherever I turned, that my children were surrounded by priests that were later proven to be abusers. With that knowledge I left the church, and my children have nothing to do with it. I know I should do more, but I tell as many who will listen about what has is happening. I believe that is important, as well as calling those in government positions who can have a say in SOL’s, etc. As I have said before, my 90 year old parents have listened and believe!

        • You are more than welcome here. I wasn’t abused and no one in my family was abused. But I began this web site because – just like you – I found some priests in our lives were abusers. Worse, I found out that many I worked with at the Archdiocese had covered it up. The betrayal and knowledge runs counter to all I had been taught as a Catholic. What you are doing is important and needed. Keep spreading the word.

  10. Steven B. Souder Reply April 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Like the old saying goes….Talk is CHEAP!

  11. Michael, you are exactly on point with your assessment that Victims are not organized. This continues to work to the rcc’s advantage and I do agree that changes must hold any and all institutions accountable. Hopefully the deep pockets of the rcc will begin to shrink as those pew warmers die off. I will continue to do what I can and could care less if the rcc ‘vilifies’ me as in my opinion it would be a distinct honor.

  12. I am not familiar with what Mr. Slevin is proposing.

    • Michael I agree with you about Finn remaining even after a conviction and what that shows..to me it says it all

    • The proposal is for a presidential commission, like Australia’s current Royal Commission, to investigate and hold public televised hearings in a sample of US cities covering selective cases of child sexual abuse within institutional organizations like the Catholic Church. The purpose would be to identify what new laws are needed. It would have independent commissioners, including judges, child abuse experts, etc., and a professional support staff. It has been successful in Australia. Fr. Tom Doyle has indicated he also favors a US national commission.

  13. Things aren’t always one or the other, black or white. There are many shades of grey. I was talking to a friend who at first glacé would be considered a pew warmer. She participates in church activities. Her parish has many social justice projects. Her pastor is a kind selfless individual that prepares inspiring homilies. Her faith has been her rock in times of illness and tragedy. BUT she doesn’t pay a penny to the bishop. Never supports the Lenten appeal etc. ONLY financially supports things that stay in the parish. Does not want to be considered part of a mindless flock..
    I don’t know that I could ever walk that thin line with my PTSD and anger at the institution, but am happy to see she experiences the joy of her faith

    • Suzpt, I am similar in that I only contribute to parish never to envelopes where all or a portion (parish assessment) goes downtown. My faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church are important to me – the Mass is a spiritual up-lifting that I get something out of to help in my daily life. I speak up and write up to the Church hierarchy with one on one (when I can catch up with the individual I want to direct my thoughts and comments to) or letters and phone calls about issues that I see them doing and not following Christ teachings. But they and their arrogance cannot and will not drive me out, I am a proud Catholic because of my faith. Just as I will never leave America because of a hierarchy (elected officials) that ignores American standards. I will not walk away from my country or faith because of individuals.

      • Joe what you are doing by speaking up,writing letters, phone calls is EXACTLY what people in the pews need to do..they could care less about the ones who left..when people in the pews make noise it shows that the culture is changing
        I understand why people leave and I am not passing judgement at all….just that when people in the Church show that they are not blind sheep following men it is only good.

  14. Suzpt speaks of PTSD and anger at the church institution which I appreciate her truthfulness. I notice with my PTSD of being violated and overwhelmed it destroyed all my beliefs. My beliefs were like an inner light, yet were constantly going out and there was this fear the light could not be rekindled. Everything always seemed futile and dying. The emotional torment became deep depression and alienation, going from bad to worse. Being caught in the grip of these crushingly negative thoughts created this delusional thinking there was no ray of hope.

    After 16 years working the twelve steps on my consuming self-hatred I took a year to just let go of my depression and despair. The letting go took me home and help me to embrace life without being storm tossed. Gradually, I realized I had to leave my home of peace and I needed to become aware of the Supreme Being as my source and origin. Upon finding this serenity I felt deeply relaxed and allowed the energies of life to flow. It created this trust or faith that whatever wisdom I needed will arise when I need it. Upon this I realized I could return home.

    This home I am returning to is completely empty and is a symbol of my own interior emptiness. Yet I have gradually realized I am returning home is to faith from within. This faith from within is unshakable confidence and is given. This faith is an act of self-confidence without reference to anyone. This faith recognizes support and recognizes what is true from within cannot be harmed or lost. It feels like even if things go wrong this faith is support. This faith feels like the sun.

    From my experience my beliefs are destroyed: belief in the Catholic Church, belief in my own humanity, belief in my ability to accept my own powerlessness, and even my belief in God. Yet from this darkness my faith has grown beyond beliefs, doubts and learned procedures. This empty house has made me feel edgy, yet there seems to be a point where there is a leap of faith into the unknown and it begins to reveal itself as everything. This faith is like a profound communion with the natural world: sincere, direct and heartfelt. This faith is real support and has nothing to do with beliefs. This faith is like the rich contact with the Supreme Being as the source of everything. This faith from within is home and is the heart of faith.

    I just write this because I believe we are not dealing with belief in the Catholic Church, as it is more to finding this realistic faith from within that offers this serenity, stillness and Divine Presence. A faith where nothing is true or valuable in which to believe in, yet the emptiness becomes everything, a Being who is Supreme Presence.

  15. I see the present day leadership as the Pharisees during Jesus time. Jesus still went to the temple to worship in His Father’s house despite the ungodly men that taught there. For me God is not in question the Pharisees are………the leadership is questionable not God……..if I was raped by a ” representative of God” I can not even imagine the pain and confusion that would result…….I go to church to worship God not man……….I try to do the right thing not to gain the approval of man but for God………so I can sit in the pew and worship God and at the same time support the lobbyists in Harrisburg fighting to change the laws in PA to keep kids safer………..compartmentalize no if you believe in God and worship and love him than the only logically conclusion is to love your neighbor as yourself and one thing I have learned is love always protects……if it doesn’t its not real love ……..its shallow and lacks depth and understanding…….as for excommunication many a Saint has been excommunicated only for it to be reversed in the future……really the only thing to fear is meeting your Maker and realizing all that you have done and failed to do for yourself and others………I think also from my experiences I believe prayer with action and following Gods will can be one of the most powerful forces for change……. the leadership may think they somehow have a monopoly on that…….but if they are praying and not following Gods will…..they might as well not be praying at all………….

  16. Michael,
    I think that was an excellent blog with excellent points.

  17. My daughter’s questions to her very Catholic grandmother today:

    Noni, in the Catholic faith, you have saints, can you tell me a little bit about how that works and why they are so important?

    Noni answered about their lives and martyrdom and sainthood and how they are like “family” who have gone before us…and she really did a great job.

    Daughter sincerely asked, “but, isn’t that kind of like having false idols before God? Why would you be praying through someone, this saint, if you could just go directly to God?”

    And daughter definitely couldn’t understand why people would bury statues in their yard to sell their home or pray to St. Anthony if they’ve lost something. Her question, “Wouldn’t that be considered superstition?”

    It was entertaining watching my mother in law try to explain this.

  18. Perhaps rather than planting pinwheels or having Healing masses – maybe do something of substance – such as aiming for a change in the Statute of Limitations?

    http://archphila.org/press%20releases/pr002352.php

    April 16, 2014

    OFFICE FOR CHILD AND YOUTH PROTECTION PLANTS PINWHEEL GARDEN FOR NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Child and Youth Protection (OCYP) planted approximately 180 pinwheels in front of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center as part of a national effort to commemorate National Child Abuse Prevention month. The pinwheels will remain in place through the end of April. The nationwide Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign was conceived by Prevent Child Abuse America in 2008.

    The pinwheel is intended as a symbol of the happy and carefree childhood every child deserves as well as a call to the community-at-large to play a role in protecting and nurturing our youngest citizens. Each pinwheel planted represents about 1,000 children receiving support, protection, and personal safety lessons throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    “National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to recognize the important role that communities play in protecting children,” said Leslie Davila, Director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection. “During April and throughout the year, OCYP encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making the Archdiocese of Philadelphia community a better place for children and families.”

    OCYP works throughout the year to create and maintain an atmosphere of prevention and protection in the Archdiocese through various educational and training programs in parishes, schools and offices.

    Through their efforts over 30,000 employees, clergy members and volunteers have participated in Mandatory Reporter training. Additionally, between 6,000-9,000 individuals participate in Safe Environment Training Programs yearly. Also, all employees, volunteers and clergy must obtain background checks and child abuse clearances. The Archdiocese goes above and beyond what is required by state law to create the safest possible environment for children and young people entrusted in its care. The eradication of child abuse begins with educating everyone working with young people on how to recognize signs of problems early on and empower them to speak up and make a report.

    • Extending the Statute of Limitations will become a reality only if the RCC is FORCED to do so by civil authorities. The prelates will never do anything to harm the institution, and a SOL extension will certainly do that. The prelates just told us where to go; “go blow your pinwheels!”

      • drwhop13, I hope you put as much effort into communicating the need for this change in legislation as I have and many others by sending letters, phone calls, e-mails and attending the “town hall” meetings of state elected officials. Posting to us is fine but people who desire elected officials to take action must communicate often to them or they will do nothing

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