Readers respond to Register stories.
Fight for the Faith
A letter to those struggling with the scandal: Several years ago, when I first heard the abuse stories reported by the media, I wrestled with leaving the Church.
You see, I was sexually abused as a child, by my stepfather, from the time I was 3 until I was 14 years old. I kept asking myself, “How can I be a part of a Church that supports, hides and protects men like the one who had hurt me for so many years?”
I felt as though I was supporting my abuser, or, worse, saying that what happened to me was wrong while condoning priests hurting other people.
I felt betrayed by the Church. It seemed to me that the Church was more interested in protecting men like my abuser than protecting children who suffer from this evil act.
I have always heard that you should never make a major life decision during a crisis, so I stayed and I prayed, and I waited for an answer.
My abuser has taken enough from me. I refuse to let him take my faith. I refuse to let him steal my eternal salvation. I refuse to give up my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
To those of you who now stand where I stood, I share this with you. Fight. Fight your urge to run; fight your urge to scatter.
“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.”
Pray the Rosary. Call on St. Michael. Read St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy (to remind you that “God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and self-control”). Write to the leaders of our Church demanding that they defend the innocence of children and that the abusers be held accountable.
But I implore you: Don’t give up. Fight and persevere to the end.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. Do not let the wicked and weak take your faith. Do not let them steal your eternal salvation.
Do not give up your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Because, as St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” This was a difficult letter for me to write, but I believe that things happen for a reason.
Carrie (last name withheld)
Kansas City, Missouri
‘Fool Me Once ...’
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” My grandmother, who lived back when most priests took their priesthood very seriously, used to say this.
Holy priests are in a horrible situation. Maybe God will relieve their suffering soon.
With these loyal priests, we laity are ignored by hypocritical bishops, who express their shock, their bleeding-heart apologies and their dismay at the fact that they have lost our trust.
Few have spoken of the plight of laypeople. We need bishops and priests to speak out for us.
We and they must unequivocally demand change and forcefully proclaim that what has happened is not of God and that we will not stand for any of it.
We have been duped and robbed. For decades, we have in good faith collectively contributed huge amounts of money to the Church.
Instead of being used for good, as our donations were intended to be used, however, for decades we unknowingly have been funding the educations, hedonistic lifestyles, lawsuits and hush money for many men who apparently went through ordination primarily to attain entrance into the diabolical life of pleasure that the priesthood now provides.
They take our children, our trust, our provision of home and food, and laugh at us.
Truly holy priests, men of strong faith, personal integrity and good character, men who have learned self-discipline and virtue, are hard to find. Considering how much money has gone into funding the priesthood, this should not be the case. Furthermore, it appears that such men are not welcome in some seminaries. Such men, from what I hear from friends who have been involved, are often demeaned, disregarded or worse. Think of the good that has not been done because our money has been ill-used by the immoral subculture that has infiltrated Christ’s Church.
In Christ’s day, the Temple had become a den of thieves. Today we deal not only with dens of thieves, we deal with brothels. I believe I stand with many other Catholics when I say: “Fool me twice, shame on me.” God help us.
Pertinent to Patrick Lee’s “Revised Wording From the Vatican Is Important Reaffirmation of a Central Tenet of Gospel” (In Depth, Sept. 2 issue): We know God cannot sin — “What he hates he does not do” (Sirach 15:11). In light of the “personal dignity” of the human person argument, how are we to understand the Holy Spirit striking dead Ananias and Sapphira?
(And with Sapphira, Peter had a few hours to reflect on what had occurred with Ananias and change his stance.) Surely both people had “personal dignity.” Yet that didn’t stand in the way of their demise by God through Peter’s in-strumentality — God who does not sin.
So, in the vein of “always, sometimes and never,” it seems St. John Paul II left the teaching at “sometimes,” whereas Francis now opts for “never.”
How can we reconcile this, with regard to Peter’s confronting of that couple and the consequent action of God — which seems a capital punishment-like action, yet, however, certainly not sinful? “Personal dignity” does not seem a correct basis in itself for the adjustment of the Catechism. And how is “never” a reaffirmation of “sometimes”?
Newton, New Jersey
In response to the Register’s Sept. 2 edition, specifically the article “Bishop Morlino: ‘Homosexual Subculture’ Source of Church Crisis” (Nation):
It begins to look like the current scandal is going to mostly be blamed on the homosexual culture.
That would be a mistake, because it doesn’t delve deeply enough and only includes a small minority of the population.
I came into the Church in 1955, when I married a Catholic. We pretty much ignored that for the next 20 years.
In the mid-1970s, it all began to unravel: personal lives, marriage and family.
At a friend’s urging, I went on retreat and heard for the first time that Christianity was a life to be lived. Trying to break into the Church in 1980 was like being on a merry-go-round.
I could have easily slipped into the pattern of “the spirit of Vatican II,” which was rapidly being accepted in my parish and diocese.
But I had gotten involved in the Charismatic Renewal; and, through that, was introduced to the conferences at Franciscan University of Steubenville; and, through that, to Alan Schreck, Karl Keating and Helen Hitchcock; and, through them, to the “word of Vatican II.”
I learned that the reason God inspired Pope John XXIII to call the Council was mainly because he saw a culture shift developing for which there was one protectant: growth in personal holiness through ongoing spiritual renewal.
I believe I’m now in the minority in the Church in the U.S., which in many ways has broken off from the Roman Catholic Church.
And I believe that this “church” is built on the disobedience of the “spirit of Vatican II,” which pretty much makes it up as they go along.
Regarding “Distractions and Deflections” (Publisher’s Note, Sept. 16 issue): I’m afraid you give too much power to those listed in your bullet points.
I recall Jesus tells us: Better a millstone around the neck for those who cause a little one to sin. We are not talking little ones, but young ones. It is we who cause ourselves to sin; our hearts defile — nothing else. Yes, I can blame one party for tempting, but I must be willing and able to blame the other party also, who gave into blackmail, power, impulse, peer pressure, etc. The old jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, too.
Why weren’t we able to teach them better the virtues of chastity and courage? Satan came to understand torture is not so effective; better to use sex, a primal trick — the one our Blessed Mother at Fatima reminded is the cause of many, too many, going to hell.
It’s time to teach our children and grandchildren to be wary of the tiny threads of silk strewn by the Evil One and not trip on them on the way to hell.
Most of the “Greatest Generation” and their offspring, the baby boomers, fell way too often — hence the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
- letters to the editor