A friend posted of his disillusionment in the wake of the report on sexual abuse in five Pennsylvania Dioceses. 300 priests, molesting or raping a known 1,000 children, over 70 years. Likely much more, unreported. All covered up by the Church.
Hard to read about this, eh? Part of me empathizes. As a former Catholic Seminarian who left the Church, found the reason systematically withheld from me through my childhood, and had to rebuild an identity from the crumbled blocks of my Catholic foundation, I understand that confronting truth can be devastatingly upsetting. It’s shocking to a child who has had only to parrot Church assurances that all is well, in the One True Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Being forced to confront the shattered forms of heroes fallen from their pedestals, well, that’s a part of growing up. Disillusionment of childhood myths, violations of trust, role models exposed.
It’s hard to read that your Church, your team, your idol has crashed to Earth.
But you know what’s really hard? What really hurts? Being raped in a hospital at age 9 after you’ve had your tonsils out, like one of the Pennsylvania girls. Living with the shameful belief that the Priest’s horrid actions are your fault, because you are sinful. Being told by your parents that they don’t believe you, and if they did you have to keep quiet, because it would tarnish the good Father’s reputation — that hurts forever.
It hurts to raise the alarm and have all your comfortable peers look at you like you’re insane. Ask Sinead O’Connor how much it hurt her when she spoke out on Saturday Night Live about Church child abuse in 1992, ending her set by tearing a picture of the Pope in half while shouting, “Fight the real enemy!” I’m sure she’s comforted by the Church being willing to repent and pray over their errors… yet again.
But I know… it hurts you to read about it.
You know who else the Church — not individuals, not bad apples –the Church hurt, in covering up, sanctioning this behavior in order to preserve it’s precious image. Do you know what else hurts? Ask any of the 800 babies found disposed of in a cistern on the grounds of a convent near Tuam, Ireland. Ask the Magdalene Laundry captives, held in slavery for years for being “wayward” while their children were sold, adopted, or disposed of in a well… ask them what hurts.
It may hurt to read these things, but the hurt won’t go away by ignoring the truth. The Catholic Church is a human, political organization — a government — taxing you through donations and covering up heinous behavior with your money. Apparently $3 Billion U.S. Dollars to this point.
There is a time to own the pain. Face the pain. Refuse to participate in perpetuating the pain for others. Stop whining about how much it hurts you to read about it, and get out or at least stop funding this criminal enterprise.