Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just outrageous

 I keep thinking that the response of the Roman Catholic Church to the sex abuse crisis can't shock me any longer, but, unfortunately, it still does.  The latest outrage was Pope Benedict XVI's  Palm Sunday missive to the faithful.  One line sums up everything that is wrong with the Church.

In a not-so-subtle reference to the recent investigations into further sexual abuse, the pontiff said faith in God helps lead one “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.”

Okay.  A few points here.

1. The sexual abuse of thousands of children is not "petty gossip."  It is real and painful.  It could have been stopped.  It has left lasting scars on its victims.  Petty gossip?  You insult every victim of clergy abuse with these two outrageous words.

2. The sexual abuse of children in the church is not "dominant opinion."  As I used to teach my middle schoolers, opinion is what we conclude after weighing all the facts.  The sexual abuse of children is the fact!  This is not an opinion.  Opinions aren't proven.  Facts are reality.  That the Roman Catholic Church closed its eyes (or worse, abetted the perpetrators of sexual abuse) is as much a fact as the sky is blue.  Given that much of the struggle of sexual abuse victims entails doubting one's own reality, this statement is, in itself, further abuse.

3. Courage?  You dare use the word courage to describe the Church in the face of the sexual abuse scandal?  Here's what courage is.  It's a middle aged man or woman still in therapy, still hoping to have a healthy intimate relationship with another human being, despite being sexually assaulted by a person they trusted.  That's courage.  The Church has shown nothing but cowardice.

4. Intimidation?  You dare say that the church should not allow itself to be intimidated by gossip?  I can't think of anything more intimidating than a person in a position of religious authority taking a vulnerable child and forcing himself on that child sexually.  If you have a better example of intimidation, I'd sure like to know.

For shame.


  1. Thanks Ken, I couldn't have said it better. I am thoroughly insulted by the pope's homily. But then, he's just digging himself a deeper hole. The world is finally watching and reacting.

    Ann Hagan Webb
    New England SNAP Co-coordinator
    Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

  2. Thanks for your comment. As I told a friend, this was the angriest blog entry I think I've ever written. I'm glad it spoke to you. Many thanks.

  3. Ken, You said exactly what I have been thinking and feeling all day. Your outrage is justified, and appreciated by this survivor of rape by a priest. Good news, finally the shame is being lifted from some victims. (Though I doubt it's being felt by those who should feel shame.) Reminds me of a line from an Annie Lenox song: "Take this overcoat of shame. It never did belong to me." Thank you, my friend.


  4. Wisconsin "Ground Zero" for 200 abused deaf children & the Pope

    Clergy sexual abuse by Fr. Lawrence Murphy of deaf children in Milwaukee and Boulder Junction, Wisconsin was known by the Archbishops' of Milwaukee and the Bishops of Superior and Joseph Ratzinder who is now Pope Benedict XVI. These videos are about March 25, 2010 press conferences in "Ground Zero" locations in Superior and Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.

    Abused deaf children, the Pope & Superior Diocese

    Abused deaf children, the Pope & Boulder Junction, Wisconsin

  5. You focus on one line and then assume that one line was referring to what you say it does. Did anyone read his whole speech. I think not. I see a pattern here. I have been told It takes people years to report abuse. That to me means the vast majority of complaints were not in any bishops file. If something has not been reported how was any bishop to know he had problems in his diocese.? Snap is always on hand to make a negative comment. Sister Maureen Paul Turlish is there with an email to a story even though her comments have nothing to do with the story. Thomas Doyle is always there with something negative. I could go on . You just have someone saying I was raped by a priest. Well I have met space aliens.

  6. I know what you mean, Teresa. Don't you just hate it when people make negative comments about the rape of children? So annoying. And the ones who actually say they were raped by a priest, they are the worst complainers! We all know that would never happen.


  7. Teresa, take a good look at this picture.

    This is a picture of the grave marker of my only son. He wasn't lucky enough to have survived the effects of abuse by a priest. But I'll throw you a curve. His priest perp. was married, a het. and obviously not Roman Catholic. You said: 'I could go on '. Please don't. Your willful ignorance and un-Christ-like callousness amply illustrate why a gullible, adoring laity continually enabled the pervs. while kissed the rings of their haughty enablers. That goes for your church, as well as my late son's.

    John Iliff
    Bloomington, IL

  8. When 2.6 billion and counting is involved and adults are the ones making the complaints I see an enormous potential for fraud. Sorry if I come across as callous but I wouldn't believe them either if they told me they had seen the Virgin Mary.

  9. Just curious, teresa, are you and Anonymous, March 29, 2010 8:31 PM riding in the same limo to the Nobel Prize ceremony?

  10. Well I have met space aliens.

    Teresa, as I read your comment, I wondered if you had been on another planet for the last 15 or so years. Now I know.

    When all other defenses fail, attack the media.

    Excellent post, Ken.

  11. I offer you my sympathy on the devastating loss of your son, Eric, Mr. Iliff. Please know that for every Teresa out there, there are an overwhelming number of loving people who are outraged and heartbroken by your experience. We believe you; we understand the grief; we hold you in our hearts; and we will keep working to protect children and expose the truth.