“You know that’s abuse, right?”
The power in words is such that they can set you free. They can enslave you, from a lying tongue.
Decades ago, after spending years immersed in studies and spending summers reading through the Bible, I was exposed unwillingly to a sexual affair between two adults much older than myself. I had just turned eighteen.
More worldly kids may have taken it in stride and moved quickly.
But I came under the dark shadow of deeply manipulative human beings, spending years trying to figure out what was going on, and blaming myself for not understanding. Dumbly naive, not realizing that when there are unspoken rules and codes of silence, deceit and manipulation are much more effective, I was troubled in that world, and didn’t fare well.
I slowly retreated into a bubble of contemplation given over to music and fitness. Although I played piano I was never much of a pianist because I spent my hours learning the organ, which is a very different technique. Music became a therapy and a passion. Life revolved around it.
But I never spoke about my troubles, worries, and confusion. Not to a single soul. Life went on. I moved on. Slowly my life came back together again.
Fast forwarding to seminary, I mentioned the situation in passing during confession to my spiritual director who abruptly stopped me, asked me to repeat myself and then expressed his utter disgust at “those filthy pigs.” It was the first inkling I had that I had not been at fault, that the situation was horribly dysfunctional, abnormal and cruel. It was the first time I had ever spoken about it.
It also gave rise to a new confusion as old memories surfaced and something new bubbled to the surface – anger. Anger was always tempered through music, and through physical exertion, though I had never named it for what it was.
Through regular, weekly confessions, and through my regular penances of reading through parts of the Epistles (more often than not those were my penances,) my life completely changed. It changed because I was given the grace by the Lord to consider practicing virtue. And through practicing virtue I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ in a very profound way. Shackles were released, chains were broken. I occasionally, and very spontaneously, spoke in tongues.
A few years later I was speaking with a therapist and I had been explaining to someone who had experienced abuse that those who had abused him were pigs, and not his friends. Later, she asked me how I had come to such wisdom and, after explaining a bit of my own experience she said, “You know that’s abuse, right?”
Words can set us free.
From there my eyes were truly opened. From there I recognized the deceit and manipulation I had lived through, and began to realize how deeply it had affected me.
I never talk about the situation, and if anyone asks I won’t speak about it. Not every area of my life is open for public viewing. But – as we read in Revelations 12:10-11, “the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of the testimony…”
Our testimony, our witness to Jesus Christ helps others; by it we help to pass on the Faith. Through it we find healing and the grace of perseverance, fortitude. So I don’t mind sharing it here. (And given my website issues, it will probably disappear without a trace soon enough, say when Gutenburg is fully armed and functional.)
While my story pales in comparison to victims of abuse that I’ve spoken to, I nonetheless have an appreciation for their pain and their struggles.
I can also see, because of my years of living in the shadow of the valley of death as it were, in the darkness of deception and untruth, how the clergy and the hierarchy of the Church who are engaging or who have engaged in abuse and coverups, contribute to the troubles of the world by creating a huge system of dysfunction which has consequences for millions of souls. I get angry. I don’t blame anyone else for being angry.
@real_estate_fox I know the feeling, and apologize on behalf of the Church. Every day I want to stand up and scream “YOU DIRTY ROTTEN BASTARDS!!!” to all abusers and coverups and abettors. But I’m far too prudent to do such a thing. I pray, work and mutter. https://t.co/wpJYEXbtyh
So, what to do about anger?
The Church needs healing. We can joke about dysfunction or deny it exists, but observable phenomena happen in a family, or a system, that’s dysfunctional. Here are a few from a simple google search, from just one site amongst many:
Rules of a Dysfunctional Family
- Do what “looks good”, even if it is dishonest
- Don’t be a bother and don’t rock the boat
- Deny things you don’t want to see, and they will go away
- Do what I say, even when I do the opposite
- Express only happy positive feelings
- It is wrong to be angry or sad
- You must never question our behavior, but go along with it
- You must conform to what we expect of you, no matter what
- Your needs are not as important as our needs
We can see this in the Body of Christ today. Just look at the list and look at what happened at the Bishop’s Conference this past week. Look at what’s happened since the Charter in 2002, and good Lord look what happened in the years prior to that.
I’m just gonna toss it in here whilst we’re sharing, this abuse crisis – which is laughingly being blamed on clericalism – is for the most part from the generation that tore out altars, made up things out of thin air for the Mass, tossed out almost anything and everything of value and replaced it with the common, the banal, and items from the Dollar Store. Clergy and religious left en masse, catechesis disappeared, and abuse skyrocketed.
And not just abuse, but satanic sexual abuse. Reading through some of the things described in the Philadelphia report leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind about that.
And after doing almost everything possible to destroy the Faith, people are wondering why there’s a crisis. The Vatican doesn’t even realize there’s a crisis and are blithely going on their way to whatever their next insidious goal might be. Cardinal Tobin pondered aloud, quite stupidly, “What was our credibility built on, that it could be so swept away?’”
Seriously. He doesn’t even know what the credibility of a Cardinal should be based on.
That’s pretty bad.
After all, what’s the first sin of man? It’s easy to look at Eve. But it’s Adam who essentially said, “It’s not my fault, man.”
Express your anger to your Priests, write your Bishops. Let it out. Confess it and seek healing.
So many people are praying for the clergy. But it’s the clergy who need to be praying for all of you. Demand that your clergy to pray for you, demand that your clergy make sacrifice and reparation for you the Faithful, and demand that they help hold accountable the institutional aspect of the Church which needs to be holy and perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect.
After years of destroying the Church and letting us walk amidst the smoldering ruins, we’re left with “Clericalism is the cause of the rampant sexual abuse which has shaken the Church to its core worldwide the last several decades! Now shut up and let us handle things.”
That’s just not going to cut it.