Are you concerned about:
- The Priest Child Sex Abuse Scandal
- Church Accountability to Laity
- Empty Pews
- A Lack of Moral Leadership
“Have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.”
Catholics4Change.com was created following the 2011 Philadelphia Grand Jury report revealed clergy sex abuse had been covered up by the Philadelphia Archdiocese for decades. It serves as a forum for Catholics who want to share their concerns and questions regarding Church accountability to laity on a variety of issues relating to the protection of children. Catholics4Change LLC offers news, links and commentary from a variety of perspectives.
SUSAN MATTHEWS, Founder & Editor
Susan Matthews, was a sections editor of The Catholic Standard & Times, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1990 to 1996. She went on to contribute to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Living Religion section. She received several Catholic Press Awards and a Philadelphia Press Award for Best Coverage in the Public Interest. Currently, she is a freelance writer, Realtor, wife of 27 years and mother of two young adult children.
KATHY KANE, Editor
After discovering the C4C site, Kathy Kane quickly became a driving force behind the site’s growth. Kane received a B.S.W. in Social Work from Cabrini College and a Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She has been advocating for improved child safety practices within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Her background in advocacy and policy has been instrumental in having a child protection policy enacted within the CYO program. Kane is married and has two young adult children.
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68 thoughts on “About”
Thank you for this website. I hope venting is replaced by the laity actually demanding accountability and change from Church leaders.
Thank you for taking the initiative and starting a forum for all of us Catholics who are hurt, angry and frustrated by the prevailing philosophy of our church that puts the survival of the “corporation” above the protection of our most vulnerable members. We are the Church, the Body of Christ and some of the parts, many of which are in the head, are cancerous and must be excised in order for us to return to full health. I am so happy that you are providing me with a place to share my views and suggestions about solutions to the problems we now, and have been facing as Catholics. I have been very active in the church as an adult because I really believe that I have to stay on the inside in order to effect any change. As a woman, I have been consistently challenged by that belief. It is time for a housecleaning, like the one begun by Pope John XXIII. Open the windows and doors, let in the fresh air and the Light. Only then can we truly call ourselves followers of that Light, Jesus. I am grateful and sympathetic to the many many good and faithful priests who have been bearing the brunt of the reactions of the faithful catholics to the dismissive attitude of the hierarchy and who are now questioning the institutional church. Our Pastor has scheduled an Open Meeting at which we are invited to express our opinions, fears and thoughts about the church. he is an enlightened leader who appreciates the vital role of the Laity in the church. Would that we had that as the norm. I know that doubt and questioning lead to growth. I trust that we are in a growing spurt and that we will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to persevere.
Elisa..You have said so many things I totally agree with. But…..All priests( clergy) know what is going on and what has been going on! If you knew, what they absolutely know, what was happening and knew about the cover up, could you be silent ? I could not. When children are sexually abused by a person of (religious.) authority, there is a responsibility of those knowing , to go to the police to report the crime! If they do not they are complicit in the crime. . The RCC is being sued( the old pope included) in the INTERNATIONAL Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, by many people who have been abused. This is not a new thing going on in the RCC. Thank you for not being complicit , by “speaking out against evil” in ( supposed) HOLY places. There is no clergy not complicit..They knew & said nothing. Shame on them!
Absolutely! We have no way of removing these Bishops,Unless the criminal court system gets involved more and puts these perverted sick men in prison. The Pope needs to step up.
What do u think they should do? Get rid of every clergy that are still active and excommunicate all prior clergy from ? Point, what about new seminarians?
I’m not being sarcastic, I truly baffled as to the proper way this should be handled, not an opinion, what CAN b done?
Dear Susan, thank you for your wonderful effort to get some kind of action out of the senior leadership team of the archdiocese.
I have had a long-running e-mail campaign with them since the grand jury report surfaced which (hopefully) indirectly resulted in the suspensions which ultimately took place.
I have been critical, but have also sent recommendations on additional actions that they should take as well.
Keep up the good work.
Susan: I am so grateful to find this forum and to connect with other life long faithful catholics who are beyond enraged at the negligence of our ordained leaders to protect all children as priority #1. The more I research and learn about the depth of abuse and cover up – which has continued long beyond the time we thought changes had been made – the more my faith in the Catholic church is tested. NOT my faith- but my faith in the church as we know it. Drastic change is needed.
Susan, my congratulations to you for oepning this site. Hopefully many Catholics will be encouraged to really voice their opinions and take an active role in really being the Church. I learned of your site through the Inquirer article on Sunday. Having lived in several dioceses throughout the country this one is certainly unique. Being labeled as the “most conservative in the country” is no exageration and thus it does not surprise me that the general response of lay Catholics to the recent grand jury report has been generally mute. No doubt many are angry, very angry, but do not feel confortable challenging their ordained leadership. This just simply has never been the norm in this diocese. What you have begun is very good. Our church is in crises and hopefully we can begin to do something about it.
Just finished reading the article from the Inquirer. I have been searching for how I feel about my faith and the faith I am raising my children in, and the “battered box” comparison completely hit home. I am angry, confused and saddened. I hope there is transformation in our Church, but I wonder if people are willing to speak up. I just wish that priests would stop towing the line and speak out and stand up. The silence is deafening as well as disturbing. I am glad to see others who have similar feelings.
Dear Susan, I am reading all of the posts with great interest, and am so grateful that this site is garnering such active participation. Can we keep our faith, and save our church? I truly believe that Jesus is crying along with the rest of us. Perhaps He is hopeful that the corruption within the church, that I had remained active and loyal to for sixty years, will be exposed. Everyone involved (either actively or passively) from the top down must be permanently removed and punished to the full letter of the law. Everyone in authority had to know, or at the very least suspect. I have been privileged to meet and know truly dedicated and faith-filled religious in various orders throughout my life’s journey as a Catholic woman. As a child who went through twelve years of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, it was not always easy to stay true to the teachings of our church while enduring some of the most cruel physical and emotional treatment at the hands of the priests and nuns who taught us. Everyone of my generation has his or her own story to tell, and many renounced Catholicism because of it. Throughout it all, I could not leave what had become a source of personal fulfillment, and I, of course, was taught and believed that we are the one true church. I have never read anything about the physical abuse that was practically an everyday occurrence throughout my years in school, and the boys always had a much more difficult time. It comes as no surprise to me, although still horrified, that the terrible sexual abuse was, and is, still going on. The separation of church and state made entering any religious order a safe haven, not only for sexual predators, but for everyone who participated in any form of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Our parents never questioned the authority of the church, and so it was. Regardless of how I knew it was wrong, I still chose to only see what was right. How could something that was the center of my world be wrong? I now can no longer in conscience, support what is currently in my opinion an institution run more like a corrupt business than an instrument of love that was the essence of Jesus. I believe as I was taught that I was born with free will. What I choose determines who I am. My conscience is screaming at me: “What are you doing? How can you continue to blindly follow something so wrong?” My faith is too strong to allow it. I know better, but this is like a terrible divorce after many years of marriage when you learn that your spouse has been unfaithful. The sadness, anger, fear, and grief are unbearable. My daughter no longer wants to have my grandson baptized in the Catholic Church. For the first time in my life I cannot challenge her decision. Because Lent has been such a devotional time for me, I have continued to attend Mass; but I find myself wanting scream out at the blatant indifference from the pulpit. After reading the Grand Jury findings in some of the cases where priests abused altar boys after mass in the sacristy, I know with every fiber of my being that those priests were incapable of transforming bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Little by little, the trust is gone. While many Catholics believe that our church is being unfairly targeted, they must also remember that we put ourselves above everyone else for centuries. It is only recently that we acknowledge the goodness present around the world within different religions. I was always taught that there are only two types of people: Catholics and Non-Catholics. One was right, and all of the others were wrong. I am forced to remember the line “How the mighty shall fall”. The church may not be able to sustain the financial implications of the massive lawsuits that will surely be filed. The Wilmington Archdiocese is bankrupt, and we may be close behind. Philadelphia is by no means alone. I for one am not going to fund their legal defense even though I know that many churches may close. Unfortunately, I think that the only way to affect real change is by cutting the funding. There are many worthwhile charities that will benefit from my financial support. In the meantime, I am praying more than ever. I want to believe that this will all go away, and that tomorrow will be different. The structure of the church has been changed throughout history to meet the needs of the hierarchy; perhaps it is time to meet the needs of the people without whom there is no church. That must begin with protecting our children.
sUPER LETTER Donna Marie!
An afterthought: Go on your computer and “google” Church History.” Keep in mind that “history is written by the ‘winners’.” Investigate how before Constantine many Roman emperors thought they were “Gods” and were indeed worshipped as “gods” by Roman citizens. Then, learn how the Roman Empire used the name of “Christian” and made it a part of the power of Rome. Rome hates the bible and tries to replace it for its own ends.Then learn how Augustine and other so-called “Church fathers” never agreed on all questions about Rome’s edicts and held opposing views. Learn that council’s edicts were political victories. On and on. And on.
It’s as if you read my mind and heart. Thank you for your openness and honesty, but, more importantly, your courage!
Those who have teenagers may have heard about GTL (Gym, Tan & Laundry) which has its roots in the MTV show “Jersey Shore” (I know bad stuff). Well guess what, how about PPO – Pray, Pay, and Obey for us Catholics… This whole ordeal speaks volumes about our church and us “the mindless followers”. Ask yourself, why do I go to church on Sundays and be truthful with your answer. My guess is you fall into the “Pray” and “Obey” category. The “Pay” piece is just a given.
I am a divorced Catholic and my second wife and I have six kids, all of whom have or are attending Catholic grade and high school and or college. Thus we have some “skin in the game” (no pun intended) like many. Some would say we are the “new Catholics” others who rather shun us away from the church. Enough of our families moral issues lets cut right to the chase… Some significant changes must take place not only in Philadelphia but also in Rome. First of all, there needs to be a complete change of leadership in Philadelphia, we can no longer trust Rigali and or his lieutenants. That being said the only way to facilitate this change is to cut off the cash. That’s right stop contributing. Do you want your money used to pay lawyers and or legal settlements? The church, as a whole, has more assets and cash when compared to a number of large industrialized countries. Cancel your pledges; you can always reinstate them once the matter has been corrected. Stop putting money the basket each Sunday. Instead, give the rectory a gift card (Visa, Master card, Amex, etc.). Gift cards will not go downtown… Recognize those priests who have or are making a difference in your community. Invite into your home. They should not be punished for those who have violated our trust. Finally, let your voices be heard, write, call, send pictures etc. do whatever it takes to have your voice heard.
So, you can continue with your PPO or you can take back what the Lord has given you and is yours no matter what. One final thought, would Jesus wear a Rolex on his tv show or live in a palatial home after retiring on the grounds of St Charles Seminary?
Not much makes me laugh in all this, but your GTL and PPO comment did. So much truth in it.
I agree completely with Donna Marie and Sr. Maureen Turlish. We have to stop funding this disgrace. Clut the church off where it hurts: the collection basket
I was baptised Eastern Rite/Byzantine/Greek Catholic which still believes in the Pope, still is the Church but is NOT Roman Catholic and DOES allow married men to be priests but locally only had/could find Roman Catholic Church/School available. In fact, the Eastern Rite priest who I found to baptise my daughter helped officiate at his own Daughter’s wedding. How beautiful is that? Tbh I find myself becoming completely ill even attempting to go into an RC church anymore. I cannot bring myself to take communion because anymore I don’t know and don’t want a dirty paedo blaspheming at the altar nor am I going to give them a Dime of my money to buy off victims – it is blood money imo. People deserve better and angry & betrayed doesn’t begin to cover my feelings. The priests are still human and those who didn’t participate most assuredly had others around them who darn well know/knew what was going on but didn’t do anything. It’s illegal and imo the church is not above the law – give unto Caesar what is his and give to God what is Gods. Priests should have to stand for and PAY for PUBLICALLY what they’ve done to the public. Go to another rite of catholic if you believe but please don’t give up. In fact I highly suggest switching to a different Type of Catholic to get away from these filthy charlatans and to send a message that it will not be tolerated. – Remember a building or human being is not the same as Faith which is far above & beyond. Blessings & Peace.
Today members of VOTF and Catholics4Change met outside the office building of the Archdiocese and strongly expressed their opinions with signs and statements.
Check out VOTF, we have been supporting survivors, good priests and seeking change in the governance of the Church since 2001. The scandal in Boston started VOTF. Our motto is Keep the Faith, Change the Church.
I urge everyone to check out the Voice of the Faithful at http://www.votf.gp.org.
God for bid! They have been condemned by the Church!!!
Ironically, this site was the first to come up on a Google search for The Catholic Standard and Times. What a blessing to stumble upon this forum for expression, which is now in my “favorites” and will be shared widely. Thank you Susan!
Please add my name to the list of people in catholics4change. I’m less and less a person of faith and hope, but would otherwise qualify as a member.
Thanks for doing this. Keep me posted on any activities I could be a part of to help bring about change.
Please visit us at our ex-Catholic forum:
The link to our Forum/Bulletin Board Site:
“Ex-Catholic And Saved By Grace Forums”
I agree with what mummy said. My father was raised in the Greek Byzantine church where priests were able to marry. I was raised in the Roman Catholic church because it’s all we had near us. Some people are fine with a life of abstinence, but most aren’t. We have a major problem here and I agree also that change must start in Rome.
I am so saddened by the scandal in Philadelphia now. Priests from my area and my home church are said to be pedophiles now. I am saddened for all their innocent victims who’s lives were forever changed by people they were told to trust. I am also saddened for all the wonderful priests out there who have been hurt by this too. I pray for healing and for change.
The horrors committed by some priests are beyond my capability to understand and like you I am saddened by the scandal. However, the Roman Catholic vow of celibacy is not at the root of the scandal
Pedophilia is not a natural sexual appetite and does not spring from abstinence. Throughout society we can easily find examples of married men who are not abstinent yet still commit heinous acts of pedophilia. These sinful priests were sinful of their own accord and not because they lacked a wife.
I completely agree.
There is no connection between celebacy and sexual abuse.. actually most abuse occurs within families….
Oh, thanks so much JV for that info. We can all go home now, C4C bloggers. JV says priests’ victims are a small minority, so apparently not worth our time.
What is your point, JV?
Will you stop insulting survivors with your annoying and insulting attempts to downplay priest abuse??
Dear Susan,as an anglo-german survivor of sexual abuse by catholic clergy, I applaud your efforts, not only to scratch the surface but to get to the bottom of issues.Your success, will be all our success.
You give hope to the many survivors, who have been robbed of their religion, their faith , well, their spirituality, by the ‘Servants of God’.
Thanks for such a refreshing Blog.
Andy Bialek, London
Shatter our Silence
My husband and I were both raised Catholic. We did baptize our first child in 2003. But by 2005, as story after story came out about pedophile priests who were protected for years, we decided we had no choice but to leave the church. Our younger daughter is not baptized. I feel a terrible sense of loss on Sundays and religious holidays, and I have just started seeking out other Christian churches. I truly admire laypeople who wish to change the church, and I wish them good luck. But I firmly believe that church leaders still have no desire to make real changes, and they just wish this will all go away. Think what a great message everyone could send by at least sitting out Mass on Easter. I know everyone has their reasons for continuing to worship–I just can’t do it anymore and I certainly can’t raise children in a church that has shown it DOES NOT CARE ABOUT CHILDREN. I sat in Catholic school classrooms led by priests who are now known pedophiles. I was taught (and bought into) a strict moral code at the same time my church was protecting men committing a heinous crime. It’s over!
I just found this catholics4change site and after reading your post, I feel your sense of loss. I too was a very active Catholic and had to leave the Church because of the non-caring attitude of the heirarchy toward children. My own children attended Catholic School but my grandchildren do not. I feel a great sense of loss because of not practicing my Catholic faith but I have also receive a great sense of peace, knowing that I no longer have to sit in a pew and listen to someone tell me these accusations are made up for reasons of financial gain. Anyone with a mind, heart and soul, even the most doubting of us, only need read through the grand-jury report to feel their heart torn. Unless and until the Church’s attidute toward child abuse I cannot return to this church. By the way, is there any update on the 21 suspended prienst? Or when the new Bishops takes office will they be back in service?
Thank you, KC, for your honesty.
The Gospels don’t use the word “Church” because Jesus was not about forming a Church. He wanted to give us hope in a trying world with his new message, his “good news”.He has given that to us. Don’t let sinful men deny you and your family this unique message. Your apparent angst may yet be rewarding these evil hierarchs. Many C4C bloggers have had similar feelings at times, but realize Jesus’ presence is not confined to a cathedral.
Enjoy Jesus’ message in whatever way works best for you and your family. He surely understands. Jesus will deal with these false prophets in His own way and in His time.
His message is there for you and your family in the Gospels and no one can take that from you.
I just wondered if you attend any Church at all. The reason I ask is that I too felt like living the Catholic Church but ended up staying because none of the protestant churches are any better.
I’m very happy to discover your Catholics4Change blog. I think of you as blood donors – an infusion of life in our wounded Church. I encourage you to keep it up. I write as much as a concerned parent as Chair of Boston Area Council, Voice Of The Faithful.
Any society or religion that does not protect its’ children speaks from the bottom of a barrel in jeopardy. Throw it over the falls and it will sink. Even if you’ve been handed pamphlets on Rediscovering Catholicism, trust me: you are the good Catholics who are willing to step up. If you believe in your right and the responsibility to do it, you will be able to make change. You spring from the best place in answering a call. You’ve rediscovered Christianity.
Now comes the caveat: “I never promised you a Rose Garden.” If your diocese is defensive and secretive, it won’t be easy. But, it has been rewarding. I admire people in my own parish as they emerge from denial into the realization of what needs to be done.
VOTF speakers in the Boston area have been reminding us of the need to keep on seeking truth. The Catholic chaplain at Wellesley College said in a recent speech that if we do not speak truthfully to young people, we may as well not bother. I just returned from an energizing talk by a priest who has been supportive of VOTF since 2002, responding to our shocked realization of the loss of “Church” as it should be. He is now Chaplain at a major University. He thinks young people are open and searching. Issues, controversy, and response are a sign of life to him.
I suggest going to hear VOTF president Dan Bartley on April 15 for supportive ideas. He will speak after the arraignment.
In the meantime, talk and I’ll listen.
Because of what I call “the continued silence at the top,” I thought you’d be interested in a request I made early in Lent of the Cardinal that he dispatch his entire senior management team to spend two days of each Lenten weekend with parishioners across the diocese to increase the visibilty of the hierarchy, to allow for a more frequent dialogue and to re-build everyone’s confidence in the archdiocesan organization.
As these individuals returned home each Sunday night, I asked that they reflect on a piece written some time ago by John Hall, called “At Day’s End” and ask themselves:
Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over and the toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Did the person whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God will say:
“You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today” ?
If I was Archbishop…….I would go to every parish and every place possible where there were victims and meet with them, listen to them, cry with them and beg for forgiveness and then hand over all the records I had involving predators…….and immediately stop the lobbyists from blocking the statues of limitations and trust in God whatever happens ,happens because that is the consequences of my actions despite what I thought in the past…I would waive all my rights…..and say I was guilty so the victims don’t have to go thru a painful court process……if I go to jail….I go to jail and while I am waiting to go to jail……I would continue to meet with the victims and do whatever was necessary to make amends………this is what Jesus would do and we all know it…….Archbishop Rigali this is what true repentance is……..do you even know you need to repent and ask for forgiveness and make AMENDS………you got the first part but if it was genuine…….it would be followed by the latter(we are not just talking money, money will never truly heal the survivors justice and compassion will)……..St. Francis of Assisi always went to the suffering and embraced them that is how he got leprosy……..he took Jesus seriously no matter the cost……..do you? Don’t be so proud to think you can singlehandly save the Philadelphia catholic church it will survive because Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit and he will guide us.
I’m glad I came across your site- I’m an abuse survivor and it often seems the Catholic people don’t care about what’s going on in their church (I left many years ago and joined the Lutheran church.) It does my heart good to see that’s not completely true- that some folks do care and are taking action. Thanks for all you do.
We do care and I am so sorry for what you went thru alone. Alot of us did not know what to do and it was hard to get connected but now that we are we will fight for you and all survivors. God Bless .
Wondering if anyone knows why the last three priests returned to ministry were removed from community in the first place. After a long period of time, they are back. Is that public knowledge and are we sure it is safe for them to be back in the Archdiocese?
Thanks for all you do for the greater good.
Kathleen, The archdiocese has declined to reveal the allegations placed against these (or any) priests. During the press conference, Archbishop Chaput said he would leave it up to the individual priests to discuss (or not discuss) the circumstances of their removals. They have been cleared by the Archdiocesan review board and the independent investigator hired by the Archdiocese. Therein lies the problem. In the past, the review board has not been given “complete” information on cases – according to a former review board member cited in several news outlets. Now, we have a new Archbishop who may be sincere in his efforts, but we only have the past on which to base our trust. Fool me once, shame on you – 2005 Grand Jury Report. Fool me twice, shame on me – 2011 Grand Jury Report.
Nancy M. O’Brien, I so agree with you > stop giving money to the church … your money is going to fund the clergy sex abuse atrocity.
Hi, my name is Steven. I found this site while searching for folks that may help guide me in the right direction. My story is very similar to those abused by clergy. I suffered at the hands of my mother first. Horrible verbal/emotional, then physical abuse as a child. At the same time, my mother was infatuated with the coach of my big brother’s baseball team and he also coached at the junior high across the street. She allowed him into our home. My twin brother and I fell victim to his abuses. I’ve struggled a lifetime with this. I am now 50 yrs old. My twin brother became so angry with life, he died at the age of 30. This is another story within a story, but the short of it, he died because of what had happened to he and I during our childhood.
Here is the dovetail, I beg your patience. Because of the abuse, physical, emotional and sexual, my life from early on took a downward spiral. Drug/alcohol abuse, relationship issues, mistrust, fornication, adultery, pornography, serial divorce and the like. Just a messed up period in my life.
I’ve since healed, I lead a men’s sexual abuse recovery bible study to aid guys in their struggle with the demons within. I am blessed that the Lord would use me in this manner. I too found myself in this dungeon of darkness for many years.
I am a practicing Anglican, seeking to enter into the Catholic church. The church of my grandfather whom I loved so much. I’ve always been Catholic in my heart, but knew I could never celebrate the sacraments due to my past. I hunger for this, my soul yearns deeply to attend mass within the Catholic church.
I have consulted a priest, but unfortunately our communications are few and far between. I’ve shared my story with him, he seems to be compassionate and caring, but offers no real provision through the chuch for those of us who were abused as children.
It is pretty hurtful to realize that our abusers can and have been offered absolution from their sins against children and are restored, but in so many cases, those who were abused carry the burden. I am not allowed to participate in the sacraments unless I am at the hour of my death. The church appears to have no provision for those of us in this situation. I’m not looking for an easy way out or an easy way in. I just want someone in the church to realize that our lives were altered by those who chose to victimize children. I am convinced that satan uses people, whether coaches, teachers, clergy or whomever to alter peoples lives and skew their relationship with the Almighty God.
Ok, so, does anyone on this forum know of any church leader, catholic church resource, anyone that may help with this? I’d sure appreciate any info.
Steven, to date, the Catholic Church has denied and concealed clerical sexual abuse. It has obstructed justice for victims and the protection of children. While in your heart you yearn to be a fully participating Catholic, you have a mind and a conscience as well. You have a moral duty to use them. How do you reconcile the conflicting content of your heart, mind, and conscience?
I’m sorry for the abuse you suffered. I will pray for you and your continued recovery.
Steven…if you wish to become a catholic, why not find a more pastoral priest?
I agree with Kate that the church has behaved dreadfully, but I do think it is a matter between you and God.
I appreciate everyone’s kind words. It’s unfortunate that church leadership chose to coverup and deny. It just adds to the suffering of the victims. I guess for me, it would help the healing if the church would recognize that sexual abuse of children alters development in all areas for a kid. I made bad choices based on my perception of reality, which really wasn’t reality at all.
I’ve been involved in a sexual abuse recovery bible study for quite sometime (Acts of grace ministry). I work with adult men who have been in chains for decades. The holy spirit has brought them to a place where they are ready to reveal their secrets and begin a healing journey. I so thank God that it has pleased him to serve in this capacity.
Most men who have been abused, deal with anger, mistrust, forgiveness issues, sexual / relational dysfunction. We have difficulty even having a relationship with God. The most common question is, “why would God allow this to happen”.
I have dealt with my burden and pain. The journey is not over though. It is very painful for me to realize that I am denied communion in the church.
Steven, thank you for sharing and I am sorry for the abuse you suffered. I am going to be very honest … people giving advice on the internet to someone who has suffered a trauma makes me more than uncomfortable. I hope that in addition to your ministry you are in contact with a good therapist who can assist you with many of your questions and thoughts.
Nichols I think you need to share with Steven that you run a site for ex catholics. I certainly hope you do not plan on putting your own beliefs on Steven as he searches for some peace in his spiritual life. it is simply not our business and we should not interfere with a path of healing that any victim has decided to journey..period.
Sw ok i didnt think about that.what about annullments? After that they could get communion and get their marriage blessed
I know this is much mire common now.
Annullments…hmmm. “What God has joined, let no man put asunder.” …unless, of course, you pay a fee to the bishop for a speedy annullment. Then, and only then, can you have access to Jesus?
Annullments…what a joke. All to be in good standing with who? God?
Annulments are subjective nonsense. A person unable to get one in a given diocese can easily get one in another.
I tend to think that it’s not so much about money, but control. The Church’s control over an individual is directly related to the extent that they can meddle with personal choices. They damn sure don’t want to give that up, for therein lies their power!
Drwho, I so agree about control being the RCC’s real objective when it comes to doling out annulments. While playing God, these arrogant creeps take full advantage of the situation by gathering signed, written, sensitive information from family and friends, about the ups and downs of the private lives of the couple seeking the annulment. Who knows what “secret AD file” this personal information ends up in.
I am confused how is your past keeping you from the sacraments?You dont have to necessarily answer that. The catholic church recognizes your baptism if done in the name of the father son and holy spirit. Anyone can become catholic if they wish to do so. This is your personal decision and should be freely chosen……..it is a very difficult time to be catholic and live your faith like Christ……..we need alot of Saints right now and I dont see any at this moment……Peace
I’m sitting in a Lutheran church today that is filled with former Catholics that have divorced and been remarried, OR they married someone who is divorced, so they can’t receive Communion. You know…just like Jesus would do…exclude and deny them access to the Him.
S-wife is correct. Because of my warped perception of life and relationships, mistrust, inner anger, self esteem issues, guilt, shame, unforgiveness, hyper-sexuality, drugs/alcohol….shall I go on 🙂
I made bad choices not made with the Lord’s blessing. In fact, God really didn’t play into the picture….I just knew God would never love someone like me.
I honestly feel, now that I can see clearly, satan did everything he could to keep me from a relationship with God. Also, used things in my life to keep me “unworthy” of God’s love.
So, you see, this is about the churches recognition that men and woman victimized as children do not grow to become logical healthy developed adults. Time and again while working with adult male victims of childhood sexual abuse I see the same dysfunction in nearly every aspect of development, some of which I mentioned above.
The church should set us free by providing some sort of special provision or absolution of sins for abused children and adults who were victimized as children. By the church forgiving abusers, but not the vicitms and failing to recognize that victims spiral out of control for decades in many cases, heaps what feels like condemnation thereby inhibiting the healing journey.
Some may not understand. Some may balk at this sort of special provision.
God knows my heart, He knows what happened and the nightmare that followed. I stand as a forgiven man. A child of the Most High. Bought and paid for through the bloody sweat of my Savior, Christ Jesus.
When I wept, Jesus wept. The Holy Spirit grieved over my captivity. I am where I am today, solely by the grace of God. I am healed, physically, emotionally and spriritually….I give HIM all the glory.
Now, the church has made grave errors. It’s time to begin healing the church by doing whats right. Holding the abusers accountable and giving back some of the innocense that was stolen from us so long ago.
Good night y’all.
Given your specific wounds, I would caution against diving into a church that is in serious denial of the rape of their own children.
If you are led to proceed, then I would guess your best chance of going about that would be to find a parish priest that can speak openly, honestly, compassionately about your experiences and how the Church has handled people in your situation thus far.
God bless and may your search lead you down a healing path.
I agree in general with the responses you received here. Please contact me at:
email@example.com (my email)
I would like to know more about the ministry you head up. Also, I may have some encuragement and helpfor you.
Nichols I think you need to share with Steven that you run a site for ex catholics. I certainly hope you do not plan on putting your own beliefs on Steven as he searches for some peace in his spiritual life. it is simply not our business and we should not interfere with a path of healing that any victim has decided to journey..period.
Kathy, I am really disappointed to see you post such a one-sided (others right here have offered “advice”) slam at the fact I offer biblical help, even though there is a strong anti-biblical emphasis in many posts here. Just below you in my opinion!
nichols, with all due repsect you have been agenda focused since first coming to this site. My name is on this blog and I am a professional, with that comes a responsibility. If Steven is interested in Catholicism it is his right and his business. You bet I am going to give a heads up that the person asking him to email runs a website about ex catholics. Not even a question in my mind for a second. We have all sorts of people who come to this site,practicing Catholics,on the fence Catholics and those who have left either recently or long ago. You however seem to have a whole other agenda that is completely seperate from the stated purpose of this blog. You accused us of being leftist,now today we are anti bible. A victim commented the other day to you about his thoughts about your comments..still it seems to be all about what you want. So yes ,I will give Steven that heads up.
My comments however were directed at anyone giving advice to a victim on the internet..it is not appropriate..period. We can point people in a direction they are interested,we can support them,listen to them,offer simple suggestions…but advice about life altering or life changing decisions..NO.
It’s all good y’all. I came to this site seeking possible info on who I might contact within the Catholic church that has dealt with situations such as mine.
I so thank you guys for all the kind words and prayers. My abuse happened many years ago. I have spent a lifetime healing. My Lord has brought me to a place where I can see clearly.
Now I mentor a young man with the permission of his mother that was sexually abused recently and I lead/co-lead in the Acts of Grace sexual abuse recovery ministry.
Wanna hear a God story? Before the Lord revealed this ministry to me, I was attending an Anglican parish forty miles away. I remember praying one evening at the church and I heard the Holy Spririt whisper…..”Your sufferings will not be in vain” , “by your testimony, many will be healed”.
It wasn’t until two years or so later, my wife and I had completed the construction of our new home outside the lil town of Montgomery, Texas and we decided to visit the Cowboy church. I was very uneasy about this place only because it was not Catholic or Anglo catholic. It is affiliated with AOG…not to be confused with Acts of Grace.
We attended a few times by then, still driving forty miles to the Anglican church every other Sunday. At this time, I was still battling demons from my abuse. My wife came to me and said, “there is a fella that told me about this ministry for men and woman who were victims of childhood sexual abuse”.
I waffled and waffled and waffled. Finally filled out an intake form and spoke to the guy leading the study at that time. Told him, no one knows about this cept you and my wife. When you get done reading the details i’ve disclosed on the intake form, I would like to have it back so I can destroy it. Did not trust him. I went into this thing about as cynical as I could be. Besides, the Lord had spoken his word to me that my suffering would not be in vain….. I took this to mean, I would somehow, someway, sometime lead an effort in the Anglican church to help victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Well, guess what? The Lord led me to a lil ol town, to a lil ol county church filled with country folk, ranchers, cowboys and rodeo men and woman. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined leading sexual abuse recovery bible studys for men at a place so rough and tumble.
So you see y’all, I’m ok. The Lord has seen my suffering and has chosen to intervene in powerful, supernatural ways. I give HIM all the glory for this.
Hope you enjoy the share,
Sorry for the long post guys
Beautiful Steven,thank you for sharing.
This just happened to pop up on my kindle and Kathy you are so nit picky with Nichols. He really knows SCRIPTURE and most catholics are numb to any thing other than hearing a gospel read at mass. . IMO!
Keep on truckin’ . . . and hoping for the Holy Catholic Church
Following the recent reports (summer 2018) on systematic child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Philadelphia and the reports from around the world over the years, I decided to go online. My quest was to find the names of groups formed by members of the Catholic Church who have been working from within to bring about changes, preventions and accountability, so desperately needed. I found this website and was disappointed to see how old the postings were. I found Catholics for Renewal, an organization formed in Australia, following the horrendous cases of systematic sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy. But that was it! Where is the outrage from people who consider themselves to be Catholics; who attend the church services or not; who continue to financially support the church. Where are the grass roots organizations of people in each community who are demanding change and making sure change happens; question and challenge the church not only of Rome but of each and every church in every community. Does this even get talked about when Catholics come together every Sunday?
I live in a Catholic family (the exception being myself) and with all their attendance at Masses, meetings, etc. I see no sign anything is ever said about the “crisis at the Vatican” OR child abuse by clergy.