When I was growing up, there was a saying I heard often, which was "silence is Golden". As a mom, we wish for silence from time to time, in fact, we search it out. As teachers, we want our students to be quiet and focus on what we are teaching them. Having lived in the hotel in Italy for almost three weeks, I am craving the peace and quiet of a craft room, in a villa, by the beach, AND a Catholic Church family to call my own... so far away from home.
When things get bad, I get quiet. It's who I am. I have to think it out, process it. I have a fear of sounding like a lunatic whiner.... and I don't like pity, because pity fades, and we want to be strong and show love and be loved... you know?
And then I read, Psalms 83:
You can find the rest of Psalms 83 by clicking on the link above. I believe the Devil is after MY CHURCH and that crafty fallen angel has infiltrated it in an evil way. And we must call one one another and Our Lord, Our God to slay this enemy and rid our church of it.
TODAY, I can no longer be quiet.... I have been silenced long enough.
When I was in my early 20's, sitting across from an older relative, I listened to this person say to my father, what a great job he'd done with us kids (he had custody because our mother was an abusive alcoholic). In their conversation, I also heard this person say that they knew she was abusing us and that terrible things had gone on in our home, but they "didn't know what to do about it". Um, may I remind you these were adults - well into their 40's or so when I was born.
What in the absolute hell do you mean that you KNEW and did nothing about it? is what I said, as I stood up. I said, "dad, we are leaving!" He was stunned. The whole room was quiet. I was shaking. I had to go. The enormity that someone could have helped us or "saved us" and didn't... was too much for me while I was still in college. It's really too much for me now, if I'm being honest.
So you will understand without my having to describe it... I will only say this once... my mother used me as bait for her boyfriends, mostly older married men, as young as the age of 8/9, that I can remember. I thankfully have gotten a lot of counseling, and have a strong faith. She was sick. Truly mentally ill. I forgave her, but I never went around her because in her mind, she blamed me. SICK! It turns out, for the record, that no one knew things were THAT bad. They just knew she was abusive. But to me, it never excused their silence.
And then there are times when we are called to raise our voices. Fast forward to recent headlines in the Catholic Church, and my heart breaks as I cringe in solidarity - a messed up solidarity - with these victims. I never persecuted my mother and her boyfriends, though I did know all their names. Back then, it would not have been appropriate and I didn't want to hurt my grandmother and people who didn't know... especially my siblings.
This current abuse is NOT about me. I know this. But my questions are the same...
- How could anyone who purports to love God and children take advantage of and abuse them mentally, physically, sexually? WHY?!!! I will never, ever understand it.
- How could ANYONE who knew these people were hurting children and others, and NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?
To me, both are equally wrong. But let's say the person doing these bad things is mentally ill, because honestly, not me - it's a disgusting illness that no right-minded person would partake in. The other people, the ones who cover it up - they are almost WORSE!
These accused Priests were shepherds of a flock. They are supposed to guide us and look for the lost 1 of 99... and show us the ways of God and be our example. May God have mercy on their souls.
I want to go to these victims in our church and hug them, cry with them, tell them they did nothing wrong, that I understand why they didn't speak up until now... and that I love them all. They should not be embarrassed. They should not be shamed to silence. They should be applauded for standing up for themselves. If you are a victim and you are reading this - I stand with you. I am praying for you. I am so sorry....and I understand... maybe not fully, my abuser was my mother, not my Priest. I think no less of you. I love you. I really do. Reach out. Please... reach out.
Having said all that - I would love for you to join Catholic Bloggers and many Priests, and laypeople all over our country and world, who are praying and fasting for the victims, and for our Church, and yes, even for the perpetrators, for they are our brothers... we don't have to like what they did to know God calls us to pray for them.
Protect one-another. Pray for each other. Show love and kindness. And please, don't leave our Faith. As imperfect as leadership may be. Let's take our responsibility and no longer be complacent, but reticent and watchful.
I'm going to stop talking now and upload pics.
Please join us in prayer. Share the pics, use the hashtag #sackclothandashes
I will add the hashtag #silenceisnotalwaysgolden.
Please join in.
Hugs, Love and Many Blessings,