Click here to read: “Phila. priest dies while appealing sex-abuse conviction,” by Joe Dolinsky, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 18, 2014
Excerpt: A former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy at a Northeast Philadelphia parish in 1998 and 1999 died Sunday, just weeks after an appeal of his conviction was heard before the state Supreme Court.
46 thoughts on “Father Charles Engelhardt Dies While Appealing Sex-Abuse Conviction”
I always thought that Fr Engelhardt had the best chance for acquittal or at least a hung jury. From the cast of characters that emerged from the 2011 GJ report with Lynn and his paper trail, Brennan and Shero with their odd personalities and prior complaints, Avery already bounced from the Church…Fr Engelhardt was the one you rarely heard about in all this. I did not attend his trial but followed it in the news and was always waiting for something more..something more than what was in the 2011GJ report .
Very unexpected news.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
How very, very sad that Fr. Engelhardt passed away before a new retrial could be granted!
We always believed in his innocence. I worked at my rectory during the years that Fr. Engelhardt was stationed here & never once was there a complaint from an altar server or
parent! He was in charge of the altar servers & also the CCD Program. Since I was the housekeeper/laundress at the rectory, I had access to his bedroom & office & never did I
see anything inappropriate & neither was his behavior! He was alway kind & respectful!
We were all very stunned to hear of his passing. May he rest in peace. We feel so badly
for his entire family! God bless them. We will continue to pray for them & Fr. Engelhardt.
Anne, Fr. Engelhardt was convicted of child sexual abuse. We will never know whether his new trial would have overturned his conviction or not. We will never know. It seems that forever you will reflect on the matter in a thinking-box that is limited in scope to your belief in his innocence, your experiences having worked in the rectory, the experiences of altar servers and parents, and the dilemma of Fr. Engelhardt’s surviving family members, all of which merit inclusion in your thinking-box but which, alone, result in insular, exclusionary, and myopic thinking. A person with a sensitive heart, an understanding of the complexity of the human condition, an open mind, a lover of truth, a sturdy emotional constitution, a mature conscience, a lack of fear in the face not knowing, and good critical thinking skills would not exclude the victim from her thinking-box. As painful and disturbing as the victim may be to the other elements in your thinking-box, the entire integrity of your thinking depends on your inclusion of the victim. The truth is that there is a victim with allegations. To think in a box that omits a truth because the truth hurts and/or is counter to your beliefs and experiences, is to compromise the entire integrity of your thinking.
It would seem, then, that among the people you should pray for, is the victim.
Why do you think we will never know if his new trial would have overturned his conviction? Just because he has passed does not mean that the fight to clear his name at the hands of a known drug addict, cops son, and politically motivated DA ends.From what i am reading his appeal is still going to proceed so i would stay tuned.
BL, thank you. I did not know that Fr. Engelhardt’s appeal will likely proceed. I have read nothing to that effect, maybe because I’m in NY and distanced from what you read and hear locally, assuming you are local. If Fr.’s conviction should be overturned and his name cleared– if he was wrongly accused and convicted– I hope his appeal rectifies the matter. While I am a victims advocate, I am not a truth-denier.
At the time of Fr.’s funeral, I read a piece written by Ralph Cipriano and posted on his Big Trial blog. In it, he said that the oblates of St. Francis de Sales (including Fr. Engelhardt) “pray to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.” The oblates’ prayer intention made me think. What if it were the intention of everyone’s prayers? And what if we were to impose on it an inclusive nature (as I believe the oblates do already), whereby a person prays for his or her own conformity as well as the conformity of all others? After all, who among us, good or evil, does not need the prayer-grace inclining him or her to conform to Christ’s image? And, after all, is it not the fundamental will of Christ that all people, good or evil, conform? In the end, when we judge people and categorize them as prayer worthy or not, the effect, I believe, is that we obstruct the fundamental and inclusive will of Christ. I’m just saying that when I read the oblates’ prayer intention in Cipriano’s piece, it led me to think about prayer and people differently.
‘bl’ I hope you have enough venom for those who enable and protect abusers. I await your opinion on what the VICTIMS must do for Justice as you seem to be a force for Justice, pray tell how do VICTIMS level the playing field ?
i was at st jeromes today at the 11 am mass and they read out engelhardts namd as if nothing happened at the place it happened.they said to pray for the “Reverand Father Engelhardt”.i know he is dead but to give him the same billing and respect that you would give to the good priests is rediculous,i guess i still hold a grudge
Nothing did happen at St. Jerome’s. Father was an innocent priest who was accused by Dan Gallagher of being raped for 5 hours in the sacristy, wait, that wasn’t it, he then changed it to only being oral sexm wait it wasn’t 5 hours….which lie is it? The parishioners at St Jerome’s should be upset at the reputation this kid gave to that church and school.
Per you quote from Matthew, “I am telling it in light”
I find it ironic that a blog that promotes openness in the Catholic Church; has been eerily silent over the misprosecution of Fr Engelhardt, who now has died due to poor medical treatment in our prison system.
Yes, there are those in the Catholic Church who have made serious mistakes and those who have suffered need to be tended to. But in the same vain, DA Seth Williams, his office, and Judges such as Hughes, Sarmina, and Ceisler have NO RIGHT to punish innocent men for the sins of others. The circus that was allowed to occur during Fr Englehardts trial cannot be allowed to happen. What happened to Fr Engelhardt is a TRAVESTY to our criminal justice system
While we strive to take care of those abused and make sure those doings never happen again, byh no way can we allow a witch hunt to occur and persecute the many good Priests, like Fr Englehardt, we have been blessed with
Eternal rest grant unto you Fr Englehardt
kjw: Can you imagine how many Victims are out there are living in MISERY B/C they have been denied access to the Courts, englehardt had his day in court which also provides for a remedy through the appeals process. When do the VICTIMS get their day in Court and what is their REMEDY ?
The Roman Catholic Church is a political entity headquartered in Rome and controlled in Rome. Its teachings and policies are set in Rome. All of its employees work for and represent the interests of the headquarters in Rome. It has awesome political power in the U.S. and the world over. It has inviolable territory, diplomatic representation to governments around the world and its minions sit on international bodies of a purely secular nature. It has political interests, including security-survival interests which are in direct conflict with those of the United States Government and its people. But the image of the Catholic Church presented by the American press does not reflect these realities. We are led to believe that this institution is primarily religious in nature. On the contrary; numerous observers over the years, including scholar Paul Blanchard, have correctly described the Catholic Church as a political institution cloaked in religion. Little has changed. The Church and its Vatican are firstly a political institution, now desperately trying to survive.
KJW ,The trial played out in the court system and we posted blogs and articles along the way. I am not sure what you mean when say “we strive to take care of those abused.”.who does the archdiocese? If you remember at the Healing Mass for victims there were guards present to protect those in attendance from the victims and families that gathered out front. I have been to vigils outside of the Archdiocese where clergy and employees literally walk right past the people who have been harmed..it is like witnessing a present day Bible story..so who is it that you refer to when you say “we strive to take care of those abused? Who is we?
What amazed me about the Lynn trial was the number of abusive priests who were never prosecuted and no one was arguing that these men were not indeed child rapists and abusers and they are out there until this day..not prosecuted..free to harm more children. You may feel that some were wrongly tried and imprisoned..what about all those who walk free with access to children? If there is injustice the courts will rectify those wrongly charged..no one is looking out for the kids at risk from predators still out there because the Archdiocese did not turn them in and protect children.
I agree with you when you say some should not be wrongly blamed for the sins of others..but it wasn’t sins..it was crimes..another travesty of justice that puts innocent children at risk.It would be travesty of justice to imprison the wrong people, just as it is a travesty of justice to not protect innocent children from predators who alluded being charged.
I am still trying to figure out who you are referencing when you feel that victims are being cared for because that is a whole other travesty. I guess it is a triad of travesty..I don’t see many people caring for or about the victims or innocent children who make up a large part of the triad.
A few years ago, one of my best friends through grade school and high school passed away from heart disease. I very much wanted to go to his funeral but his funeral was held at St. John of the Cross in Roslyn. That was the Church where I was molested by a Catholic priest, back in 1961. I was afraid to go. I was afraid of my reaction back at that place. Mostly, I wanted to go to give condolences to Joe’s mother. She was a very kind person, and I had spent quite a bit of time at her house growing up. She had a beautiful voice and sang all the time. Her first love was Broadway musicals and to this day whenever I hear a song from “Oklahoma”, I think of her. This fine lady also worked at St. Johns’ in the rectory.She worked there at the time I was molested. Never once have I ever considered the fact that she knew what the priests there were doing to children. Not only was the priest who molested me there but also residing there was Father Albert Kostelnick, who was one of the worst serial molesters in the history of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia .It would be so much easier if child molesters had horns and pointed ears. But they don’t. Some of the priests that have been charged have stashes of pornography. Most do not. To most people, these priests are fine role models. .The priest who molested me gave my mother money to feed her seven children when there was no food in the house. He took myself and my fellow altar boys on trips to Washington, Gettysburg and West Point.He also molested me and probably many others I am sorry that Father Englehart died before his retrial .Perhaps he was innocent To those who worked with him at the rectory you saw a good person. For the young man who says he was molested by Father Englehart, he saw something completely different. Perhaps both are true..
Well said, Jim Tucker. I like your ending statement: ” To those who worked with him at the rectory you saw a good person. For the young man who says he was molested by Father Englehardt, he saw something completely different. Perhaps both are true..”
Also, to KJW: This is an honest, true to the heart question because I know people that were abused years ago who are still in a horrible shape mentally, as well as having young children at home. What is being done, as you indicated in this statement? “While we strive to take care of those abused and make sure those doings never happen again.” Please enlighten me on the safeguards in place so that this will never happen again, and how are the abused being taken care of. If you could answer those questions, it may ease my mind a little. Many thanks in advance.
To KJW or any other person in the know: What is the Church striving to do to help former victims? These victims need help desperately and every time a new accuser comes forward, they are thrashed for their stories that happened to them during and after the abuse. I can’t believe that this is not a priority in the Churches’ eyes. And please share in a very public place the safeguards that been put in place to avoid this from ever happening again. If these 2 points that you allude to have been put in place and that’s a wonderful start!! Now, how can you spread
word to the many others, please share openly! Do you have any idea how easily people will rest now knowing that they matter to the Church
You won’t find a public answer to that question of how victims are being taken care of, because it ISN’T HAPPENING! Any healing that takes place on the part of the victim with ANY church involvement has to be begged for, pleaded for, or threatened with lawsuit for….
The Church does not seek to find victims…despite the fact that they could walk directly to the files that would tell them! They wait, and hope and pray, more don’t come forward so their image isn’t tarnished further. God help the victims that do…my husband will tell you…”worse than the abuse was the treatment once the Church couldn’t deny my abuse any longer.” I wish my husband’s experience was the exception, but it isn’t.
The people in the pews have no idea.
I believe the victims.
LLW very good points and about the safeguards for children..there are holes that you could drive a truck through in regards the the oversight and accountability of those Charters for Protection. When I hear people say that at least ‘it could never happen again” it send chills up my spine. They literally think abuse could not happen in the Archdiocese? Victims and children are both poorly served. When you read closely many of the policies literally seem to protect the Archdiocese more than either the accused or the victim..or the future child exposed to harm.
Jim, your comment is so fair to all involved. While there are many adults in these abuse situations who saw things and looked the other way, I agree that there are others who were completely fooled. The former pastor at my parish was an abuser and there was not one word or action that would have made me think that we was capable of such a thing. In his case he actually came forward and admitted the past abuse…I believe possibly the only case in the archdiocese of actually coming forward on his own..If he hadn’t and had just been accused I may have been one to say that I believed him. I don’t know. I sat across the table from him one day in the rectory at lunch and had a long talk about children … he seemed like one of the most normal and reasoned people you could speak to..when I found out only a few years later that he confessed to abusing a teen at a former parish, I almost dropped the phone I was holding.
This is certainly off the subject, but something that I have been thinking about the last few days .Not a day passes without another woman coming forward to state that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby. I have been a big fan of Bill Cosby for a very long time. I can remember back in the seventies buying his albums, which always had me in stiches. He was a Philly guy and certainly a role model in the Black community .I even have a copy of his book on parenthood. The denials and push back against the victims seem to be taken from the book written by the Catholic Church and its’ lawyers throughout the course of the Sex abuse crisis. The first line of defense is denial. Deny that any of these assaults took place. It becomes a he said/she said scenario. And of course, Cosby is a well known respected member of society and certainly more believable. Kind of like Catholic Priests. The second line of defense is that Cosbys’ accusers are after his money .Does that sound familiar? The third line of defense is to attack the victims lifestyle, their drug use or their supposed loose morals. The Catholic Church and its lawyers have used this tactic in every case that manages to reach a court house. And then of course is the statute of limitations. Bill Cosby will probably never face his accusers in criminal court. The statute of limitations has passed in virtually every case. Now that certainly sounds very familiar. Justice for all?
Jim, I do not feel that your post was off the subject at all. With the Cosby accusations growing almost daily, I have heard and read the same old comments that have been made about the many victims coming forward about Clergy abuse: “Here comes another one jumping on the bandwagon, pretending to be a victim to get a piece of the pie.” To some, they immediately jump to the conclusion that the accused is innocent. I, of course, have no way of knowing for sure if Cosby or the extremely high number of the clergy that are accused of this most heinous, despicable crime are guilty or not. However, when there are that many accusations of a particular person, my first thought is that “where there is smoke, there is usually fire.” The sheer volume of accusations certainly merits a very thorough investigation, and if legally applicable, a court case. (Then, of course, we have seen examples when a person is found guilty in court, the victim bashing continues.) Sorry this is so lengthy, but I just don’t understand how people jump to conclusions so quickly ( which can pertain to either the accused or the accuser.) My last thought on this topic is the extreme sadness and empathy for those victimized, who gather all their strength to come forward and then are victimized again by the vicious slandering of their character, etc. that we see so often. How heartbreaking and unfair.
What should be good is evil and what is evil appears good. Something I learned when dealing with a predator. This is the crazy making part. The part that makes you question everything…..good, evil, God, people,purpose. Evil disguised as good creates doubt and denial………That’s when you learn to cling to God for me Christ, Truth, Life, Justice all things you can not see but with the soul just as evil needs to be discerned with an awake soul. That’s why I love the St MIchael prayer the devil is looking in the end to devour souls and behind every evil act is the devil.
As long as we perceive the Devil as a living creature, or fallen angel, or supernatural entity, or “cosmic criminal,” looking to tempt us in order to devour our souls, we will never fully own our individual acts of evil which, in itself, disempowers us, making us more susceptible to evil.
The Devil is a metaphor for a facet of human nature. The facet entails our weakness of will, our inclination to give into our lower urges and needs, our capacity to choose evil while being cognizant of the good, our propensity to serve ourselves at the expense of others, our proclivity to defy our innate moral compasses, and so on…
Behind every evil act, then, is our “devilish” nature. If there is a “cosmic criminal,” WE are it.
I agree we are responsible for our own actions and many times the devil does not need to make his presence known we do enough harm without him doing so. But I do believe in the devil because I have met him and he followed me around a few days and it was scary. I was in a room confronting a predator with my newborn baby and there was a 4th person present and it was the devil. It has never happened to me before or since but it was a sinister evil presence I never want to feel again. The only thing that made it go away was the Eucharist and the St. Michael’s prayer. This predator said he wrestled with Satan and I believe him. It was a very eery experience. I believe and love Jesus even more because I know the devil definitely exists.
Francis’s “To Do List”:
1. Cuba *DONE
3. Justice for victims
5. Finn, Law, and the like
7. Remarried Catholics
9. American bishops
10. Vatican, Vatican Bank
11. Seminary education
12. Laity rights
15. Theology of sex, marriage, and the family
16. Democracy not monarchy
17. Corruption and scandal
21. Roman Curia (the cardinals)
It has been a really tough week for my daughter. Both her and my grandson came down with the flu in the beginning of the week, despite the fact that both had flu shots. It seems that the strain of flu both contacted[Type A] is not covered by this years flu shot. While at home sick with the flu, the town my daughter lives in [Pennsburg] became the center of a police man hunt for an ex marine who killed his ex wife and most of her extended family. My granddaughters elementary school was locked down one day and closed the next. The entire area was consumed with fear. The two daughters ages five and eight lost both their mother and father in a span of twenty four hours .Imagine the fear that these two kids will live with the rest of their lives .For those of us who attended Catholic Schools back in the day, we were taught to fear God .For myself fear became one of the basic emotions that I lived with every day.I feared my father who could become extremely violent when he drank. I feared my mother who seemed to go crazy when my father drank .I was afraid of many of the nuns in school ,who seemed to enjoy inflicting pain on little kids .After the priest abused me back in 1961, I came to fear almost everyone .When you fear everyone, you trust no one .I lived in fear for most of my life.I realized something this week while thinking about fear. I am no longer afraid. I really can’t pinpoint when the fear left or what caused it to leave but I no longer fear. I would suppose that death is mans greatest fear but even that no longer scares me. Today I am fearless. . .
And today you are free, Jim. What a wonderful thing for you! Praying that all victims and their families get to that spot like you did. Great to hear, and the Best of the Holidays to all.
It’s true, official, and confirmed that the Vatican bureaucracy, cardinals and bishops, and the priestly culture, are detestable. Francis’ scathing critique said they stink. They are beyond abominable, especially considering what they were meant to be and do in the name of Christ. Nothing short of sacrilegious. And we’re supposed to walk into our parish churches during the Advent/Christmas season and experience the sacred? Our patriarchal faith is dependent on and delivered by clerics. They are either personally detestable or they live by a detestable culture. Will we present ourselves to the detestable?
Thank you everyone for your truthfulness and wanting to speak with your truth. There is genuineness here and everyone appears to be authentic. Truly everyone just being themselves is something very human. This creates a profound connection with everyone and it makes truth precious. I feel able to be myself deeply and completely on this site and nothing is more satisfying.
With that said, my personal disillusionment about the catholic church still makes my nervous system tuned to a high pitch. I realize my beliefs are shattered, which is part of my disillusionment, and yet on a deeper level, I have to watch myself or I get moody and temperamental. The pressure in my consciousness will break into these elaborate monologues and my thoughts become complex and convoluted. There is no sense of certitude, speculation is final, and everything remains hanging in the air. Then my disillusionment makes me feel confused and unanchored to anything permanent within myself.
The real difficulty I feel about disillusionment is it makes me feel nothing true or valuable in which I can believe in. There is nothing left to which I can attach myself. It is difficult to identify and resolve this feeling, even unsettling, yet it appears the Supreme Being wants me to step into this nothingness. It feels like walking off the edge of the world, my end or my death. There appears to be a Source of life in this void, empty and full of potentiality, which faith enters this place.
My faith communicates there is a center in this emptiness and the preoccupations of my egoic personality drops away. Only I do not feel my faith is a private manner. My faith does need to be realistic and beyond beliefs or learned producers. My faith has even became this shocking awareness, the direct experience of nothingness. But just living by ordinary faith, like God and I, makes my faith seem haywire, insane and crazy. I also do not think I am the only person feeling this edgy faith. So what is this Divine awareness here, because I am tired of feeling on the edge?
May you all know your presence is significant. I appreciate gift of your presence and powerful healing force you are for me and the world. Thank you!
A few weeks ago I was at adoration and I was thinking how merciful God is that he could forgive me a sinner as I realized I had to change some things in my life. A week earlier I had attended a talk and the speaker talked a lot of John Paul 2 and all the” great things” he did . I was reflecting on the prayer service in Assisi which he allowed and the way in which he ignored the sexual abuse of children in order to protect the priesthood. I said to myself ok he did some good things but he failed to protect children. How could such a supposed “good man” allow crimes against children ? I also thought of his death and how he slowly lost control over his body and became pretty powerless and it really got me thinking about my dad and how his suffering for 10 yrs led him back to a child like faith. I believe if people are truly sorry all sins and /or crimes can be forgiven. I also believe Gods mercy is for everyone(because Jesus said so) if they are truly sorry and repent and try to make amends and I wonder as Pope John Paul 2 slowly lost control of his body while his mind was still intact did he even have an inkling of the suffering of children that had been sexually abused by priests. Did he have an inkling of the hoplessness and helplessness? I think too much and apparently today I talked too much but these are some of the questions I want to ask God if I ever get to heaven………
I enjoyed reading what you wrote and John Paul II, in my opinion, is expression of the catholic church. This is to say the church takes pride in their ability to endure whatever happens and they know they can get through problems by tuning them out, just as John Paul II did. The disconnect is also shown by splitting people into two major groups: those who are for the church and those against the church. It is like the second group is essentially unreal and a little more than abstraction. This denial has made the church leadership callous and indifferent to certain people.
The trouble is now getting the catholic church to do anything and is now like running into a stone wall. Even Pope Francis is inadequate and underdeveloped as a person because of his age, now nearing 80. To exert himself at the level the church needs would fatigue him physically and he could not cope with the tension or the pressure. At his age he is virtually helpless about doing anything on his own. He lacks staying power and if he is forced to act he will think he has done enough with the little effort he can make.
Because the catholic church is blanking out with old men and is unwilling to make contact with life, I highly suspect life will make contact with them. This infantile denial cannot keep going on, numbing out with old men with a affectless condition like amnesia, because the world governments will come down on the catholic church. It is literally a matter of life and death, as it is now within governments power to bring a avalanche of retaliation onto the church. I mean we are playing for very high stakes —- literally children’s lives and their families. The catholic church is no saint and is bringing the terror of vengeance on it. This horror is a beast pounding on the door and now there is no keeping it out.
I have dealt with someone who is involved in the prison system. For your own information, almost all say they are not guilty ! He was convicted and he is dead. Should we now just move on to the rest of the so many victims to assist them as best we can. The issue is clear – they were sexually abused if a jury convicts or not. How can we best help them ?
Thanks for your reply you say “playing for very high stakes-literally children’s lives and their familiies” and I would like to add and their souls. All I know is everytime I am on the wrong path God humbles me and I see God starting to do that to the “leaders” in the church. There is a “diabolical disorientation” going on right now and what should be good is evil.
I also have to add God works thru people just as the devil can work thru people. Faith conquers this world but faith works thru love. Augustine of Hippo stated”faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing.The devils confessed Christ, but lacking charity it availed nothing.They said, What have we to do with you (Mark 1:24)They confessed a sort of faith but without love. Hence they were devils”
TOPIC = For” reference information “ purposes I offer the following.
1] You may want to go to the Oblate website for what they had to post on it in the settlement of just one  clergy abuse case. But they did “ not “ abide by the full settlement.
2] So the prosecuting attorney Thomas S. Neuberger wrote a 2012 book so the stories of those abused could be told.
“ When Priests Become Predators – Profiles of Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors “
3] On a “ global “ level –
“ Mortal Sins – Sex, Crime, and The Era of Catholic Scandal, “ 2013,
By Michael D’Antonio – well published and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize
There are sections in this book on the Oblates also.
4] Obviously there are many “ official court documents “ posted on the internet that you can search for. Likewise an internet search will give you sources for the above two  books, if your local library does not have them.
5] Probably the best and most comprehensive website on “ global “ clergy sexual abuse, not just the Catholic clergy, I have found is by Kathy Shaw Blog
“ Abuse Tracker,” on http://www.BishopAccountability.org
5] Another Oblate recently in the news on the Shaw blog and the internet for clergy sexual abuse is “ Fr. James F. Rapp “ [still an Oblate priest ? ] who pleaded no contest and is now serving 40 years in prison. It made the news again recently since the insurance company has refused to pay the settlement since it was “ intentional “ – it was expected, not “ accidental. “
Maybe these references may assist the many other victims in deciding what they feel they should best do. To those others dealing with such criminal activities, it may help them also. Hopefully they will also assist those who post on this and similar sites.
But perhaps some of you are already aware of these references, but from the posts so far, it does not appear so.
More to post of course, but you have a lot to seriously with just the above. But ask if want me to post more. But you really need to do “ your own research “ to convince yourself as to the above matters.
Christmas came and went. I got Chinese food on Christmas Eve and ate the left overs Christnas day. 2 years before I observed Advent reading devotionals, actively engaged in my faith, an active member of my parish and my secular order. It has all dissolved. Before I was remorseful if I had to miss a holy day. Haven’t been to church since Easter. There is no fear just a vacuum. People have said how good I look lately. Actually it’s quite ironic as the part of my body that was most violated was recently amputated due to cancer. I had a double mastectomy in December.
I guess the reason I look good to others as I’m finally at peace about the schizo position I’ve had all these years with one foot in a church that I was supposed to love and the other foot perpetually trying to run away from being violated.
Wonder if I have any place on this forum anymore. I’m for change just no longer catholic the way the church is now or unfortunately as I expect it will continue to be in my lifetime
I am very sorry to hear about your surgery and the first thing I thought when I read “wonder if I have any place on this forum anymore” was of course you do. A war(in the physical and spiritual levels) was and is continuing to rage in the church leaving many hurt and wounded on a spiritually, emotional, social , mental and spiritual level………
I thank you deeply suzpt for your truthfulness. It appears, from your writing, you are changing your value of faith not based on a role or based on beliefs on what you need to play to be acceptable. Your faith appears to becoming from the depths of your heart, simply and genuinely, rather than church beliefs. Your faith appears to be this value based on preciousness of truth and is offering you the preciousness of your true identity. It is hard to express, but there is nothing more satisfying than to experience your faith from your heart.
I also do not think it is wrong if you ask the question if you have a place on this forum anymore. I personally feel this is your faith speaking and she wants you to be completely truthful. I just experience you faith/trust not needing accomplish anything with the catholic church or here on this forum. It feels like you are realizing your value is no longer based on a particular achievement, such as attending church obligations.
It appears you have lived in a deep dark night of the soul, where you felt wounded and maybe even bleeding to death, and now it appears you have found your faith in this unfolding process for you. You have been to hell and back many times and I cannot even fully grasp how you may have felt so desolate and alienated. There may have even been a time you felt gripped by negative thoughts, maybe even delusional thinking where you felt no ray of hope. You may have even felt convinced you were an outcast in life, maybe even God’s sacrificial victim, and this endless suffering. The chasm of inner darkness may have felt like it was opening this black hole inside, draining life out of you. Yet my Lady, your faith and your heart is what touches me and appears your faith has walking you through your dark night.
It is time to rest now and may you know you offer such hope. The experience of you is everything. Your hope offers this profound connection with me/us and that to me is simply church. I want you to know I believe in you and I deeply appreciate your interiority, your feelings and your identity. My heart feels so real with your special qualities, your faith, and may you recognize your preciousness and your value as a person. So let your faith speak as you are because there is truly something special about you, a Presence that shines like a star. Wow, truly something special about you, dynamic, and is your light to humanity.
I’m praying for your continued recovery. I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through (on all counts). I’m so happy to read that you’ve found some peace. You have a place on this forum as long as you’d like. Your perspective is valued. I think many of us can relate to your views on change and the Church.
Suzpt: Good luck on your recovery. I have three sisters. The third one will have a radical mastectomy in February .My youngest sister had the surgery this past summer. My sister who lives in Texas as well as her daughter have had breast cancer surgery. My niece was in her thirties .My mother had breast cancer surgery when I was fourteen. That was back in 1963. She lived til she was seventy five .It turns out that there is a gene that has been passed down, from generation to generation .Again I wish you the best. As far as you not feeling as though you can post here because you don’t feel as connected as you once were, please don’t stop posting. I truly enjoy reading the posts of all who post here, but none more than those of fellow victims. I truly feel a connection to you and other victims.IN Peace and Love
What you have to say has value whether you are catholic or not.
I wrote this poem on December 24th, 2014 and much of it is my black night of the soul. Much of it is negative and I am doing everything I can to move around this negativity into being courageous. To be honest I am tired of life feeling complex and exhausting. I now feel on edge, like walking off the the world, yet there is something about my faith that is countering the terror and despair. Faith is turning into being courageous and is finally beginning to turn things around, even in my emptiness. This place where everything is turning around there is no accomplishment or achievement, just stepping around the despair and hopelessness and allowing it to be a place to begin. It feels like my emptiness is everything and faith can do no other. So I share hidden depths because I believe everyone here can understand my unconscious impulses and maybe this bad can be turned into more good by touching your faith. And simply thank you everyone for the support your faith, as your inner Essence of your faith is felt by everyone.
Just a Place to Begin
In my ever shifting tides,
struggling higher and slipping lower,
my emotional chaos broke into this
feeling inadequate and defective,
feeling unimportant and undesirable,
self-hatred and self-contempt,
hopelessness and despair.
My anger just burned,
turning this aggression against myself.
My sabotaging thoughts
needed to dwell on the past to prolong my feelings.
I felt so misunderstood and shameful,
feeling people always letting me down,
feeling self-doubt and emotional vulnerability.
Depressed and alienated from myself and others,
and going from bad to worse,
my depression intensified into this
I felt powerlessness and hopelessness,
overwhelmed, violated, misfit.
My agitation and my restless mind
avoid life by escaping into my mind.
I believed no one could be depended on.
My fear of involvement with others became threatening.
My intense mind was overheated and erupting aggressively.
I needed to hold people back,
like an intense stream of water from a fire hose,
holding back a crowd.
Everything became complex and exhausting,
burying myself in my work and in my ideas.
Isolating, so I was not influenced by anyone,
I rant and I raved,
withdrawing into a glowing, hateful silence.
My chaos created this self-indulgence in my emotions and in my behavior.
I embraced this chaos as myself and I defended it.
My mental connections went haywire,
and the madman attacked.
My thoughts seem to have a life of there own,
scaring me when I did not want to be scared.
I was terrified by my fears, after all, those fears originate in myself.
When I released this fear of powerlessness and hopelessness,
when I let go of all claims of needing to be treated differently,
releasing my specialness, my ego saint,
I felt an escape from the grip of my personality.
I felt this escape from my crushing negative self-consciousness.
I felt this “gap” between what I was and what I was not,
between the inner-observer and my alcoholic mind.
I could only glimpse a deeper and more essential self.
My alcoholic mind kept communicating
there is nothing in the world I can identify with,
nothing true or valuable I could believe in.
Just this “gap” between the inner-observer and the ego personality.
My human nature abhorred this vacuum from within.
God, this dirty-rat and buck-hole, was this enormous stumbling block.
What is there to believe in besides horror and uncertainty.
Then the serenity candle began to burn,
and allowing me to work with the conditions I was working with.
The story I had been telling myself no longer mattered.
Serenity was communicating to leave the familiarity of my egoic mind,
step into nothing, walk off the edge of the world,
because it is your end and it is your death.
There is no achievement or accomplishment here,
Faith of some kind is all there is to counteract
the terror and the despair.
Serenity is now consenting I am nothing
and at the same time there is this potentiality.
The “nothingness” feels completely empty
and beginning to reveal itself as everything.
The emptiness seems to be a guide to Divine awareness.
My mind is quieter and stillness is beginning to set from within.
There is no need to change this sense of emptiness.
This serenity within, silence, is a new consciousness,
transcendence and a returning to my Source.
Life is dissolving into death,
like ice melting into water.
This faith is dissolving into this inner Essence.
This faith is falling into my Origin.
This faith is leaping into the unknown,
This faith is courage falling into this “shinning Void,”
completely empty and yet full of potentiality.
Emptiness is just a place to begin and is courageous.
You have a truly beautiful soul. I have been blessed to see so many beautiful souls in this effort to keep kids safe. A few years ago I was talking to a young priest and he had gone to a conference and had brought up the topic of child sexual abuse in the church and had said that there is definitely an us against them attitude in the church and there is fear in the clergy and leadership of false charges and also loss of material wealth etc but that he reminded his fellow priests that many survivors were once catholics and why weren’t the priests not reaching out to them.
Everyday God seems to want to humble me and it seems many in leadership are afraid of being humble and being humbled but this is the only way souls are going to be reached. Gods not going to ask how many assets of the church did you protect but how many souls did you bring to Christ and how many did you turn away by your actions or lack of actions.God Bless you Syd and so many other beautiful souls your humility leads to your truth and your truth to your humility and that’s not weakness that is your strength something so many so called “powerful” leaders in the church fear. When I am humbled I learn to trust in God and when I trust I no longer fear and when I no longer fear I can have hope……..
Thanks Beth. I appreciate your faith and the support it offers you. Your faith/trust appears to give you this unshakable confidence and a confidence to rest in hope. This is profound and I appreciate the depths of your heart where your faith is felt like the sun.
Syd my hope and prayer is that everyone may know faith that “is felt like the sun”
Someone called from the church to see if I warned to be anointed. Thoughtful gesture but the last thugs I need is a guy in roman collar leaning over me. 2 years ago I would have been so grateful before I vine tend the dots shout my PTSD
TOPIC = “ New Type “ of Catholic church run total and owned by parishioners !
Simply and briefly, on one of my ethnic internet radio stations the following church is now advertising.
It is “ totally operated and owned “ by the parishioners, “ not “ the Vatican or the clergy of this church.
The contact information is –
Resurrection Parish of the Polish National Catholic Church
1835 West Temperance Road
Temperance, MI 48182 – 9441
Phone = 734 – 847 – 5052
You may want to check it out. It may be for you.
Perhaps they will broadcast their services on line in the future, plus the usual Facebook, email, etc. methods of participating.
All are welcome !
They seem to be on the “ right track “ for the worshipers, “ not “ like what a present church that calls itself “ Catholic. “ Simply, it is not !
Perhaps others will also establish such churches to “ take them back to the people. “
Your thoughts ?
As the old saying goes, if you do not speak up, then many may think that what is going on is ok.
And the popular current saying – “ We do not have to see eye to eye to go down the same path ! “
Note – I try to only post “ properly validated factual information “ especially to assist those abused to realize “ times are changing, “ but ever so slowly, with so many innocents continuing to suffer, while those in the clergy continue to be criminals and not properly prosecuted by the system and also the church.
Note there is ” both “ civil and church law ! Both are required to “ stop, prevent and deter “ criminal activity.
Personal issues are fine, but I feel concentration should be on those “ abused “ to help them as best we can under the present circumstances. They are the real “heroes “ in all of this and need our support to let them know “ they are not alone ! “
Cheers and enjoy !