My brother was abused by a priest. So why am I still Catholic?

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

When I was 16 years old, my parents told me one night at the dinner table that my eldest brother was sexually abused by a Catholic priest. It happened some 25 years earlier, when he was a teenager. I had grown up singing in the children’s choir, serving as an altar server and attending Catholic school, completely oblivious of his abuse. The revelation hit me like a sucker punch.

My dad quietly recounted how this priest had abused my brother for two years before being re-assigned to another parish in the archdiocese, where he went on to abuse a little girl. Years later, after the statute of limitations had passed and the first abuse suit in our archdiocese had been made public, my brother likewise sued the archdiocese and won a nice fat check.

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He bought a Porsche and crashed it.

I have always thought a wrecked Porsche is a perfect metaphor for how useless money is in the face of such trauma. It is a pile of twisted metal, both enormously expensive and utterly worthless.

My brother sued the archdiocese and won a nice fat check. He bought a Porsche and crashed it.

This sort of revelation does not just weigh on your mind for a few days, muddling your thoughts and quieting your laughter. It seeps into your bones. It is with you in every breath, piercing your lungs with each inhale, clambering to escape with each exhale. And yet, for years, I hardly told a soul. A handful of times it would come up—when a friend defended an archbishop who had been accused of covering up abuse or when another questioned my strained relationship with my brother—but mostly I kept it locked away, close to my heart, this maddening unspeakable weight I brought with me everywhere I went.

The thing about trauma is it doesn’t always have a rosy afterglow. I would love to be able to say that this horrific event brought my family closer together, that it united us in love and together we faced a brighter tomorrow. But it didn’t. It tore us apart.

My brother suffered greatly from his abuse. I am not a psychologist, but it doesn’t take one to see how it tainted his entire life. For a long time he struggled with addictions and holding a steady job. When my dad not only began practicing his Catholic faith again but had his younger children baptized, it drove a deep wedge between father and son. And my brother, for his part, intentionally caused us a lot of suffering. How terrible it is to admit that someone who has lived through such immense pain has turned and inflicted a lesser pain on his family. Working through decades of hurt, toward forgiveness and love, is an ongoing struggle for all of us.

I have every reason to hate the Catholic Church. My brother does, and I would never dream of criticizing him for it.

I have every reason to hate the Catholic Church. My brother does, and I would never dream of criticizing him for it. And yet, next Sunday you could undoubtedly find me in my usual pew.

This new horrific wave of the abuse crisis has Catholics around the world confronting a question my family and other families affected by clergy abuse have been struggling with for years: Why, exactly, are you Catholic?

Frankly, I, too, hate a lot of what most people hate about the Catholic Church. I hate the corruption, the abuse of power, the hypocrisy, the lies and the pain it has caused innumerable people. I hate that so many men of the hierarchy have fallen that I do not know whom I can trust anymore. I hate the infighting among Catholics that this scandal has caused or perhaps simply brought to the surface. But these are all sickening symptoms of a deep-seated disease; they are not intrinsic to the organism itself.

To be a Catholic is to accept the teachings of Jesus Christ and to believe that this is his church. It means trying to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. It means believing that same God is truly present in the Eucharist. It means knowing you are a sinner while striving to be a saint. In the words of Simon Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

In the wake of this scandal, I do not blame people for leaving their Catholic faith. We cannot pretend to be a field hospital when we are crippled by malpractice. But I am committed to helping rebuild the church in whatever way I can. I support gutting all that is rotten with exhaustive, independent investigations and concretely showing that systemic violence and corruption is not what Catholicism is about. The church does not belong to these heinous men. It is the church of Christ. And it is our church, too.

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J Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

Same question asked in other articles. It is irrelevant.

Catholicism is either true or it isn't. That is the question, not whether bad people claim they believe in the Church but used their authority to take advantage of others. It comes down to the belief in God and Christ should overcome the emotional reaction to the horrendous actions of others. The important question is how to ensure rhese very bad Catholics are removed at every level so it doesn’t happen to others.

Daniel Montiel
1 month 1 week ago

And if people were emotionless machines, that might be sufficient. But, back in the real world, humans are hurt and angry and scared and worried about their Church and whether they should still want to call it “theirs”.

J Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

If your commitment is rational (based on belief e.g. Believe in God and Christ is God and set a path for salvation "I am the Way, the Truth and Light") and not emotional it will hold up. If emotional (e.g. inspires a lot of good people) then it may last but subject to negative emotional events such as this crisis. Best if both. (Posted on similar article)

We are emotional beings but emotions often lead to impulsive bad decisions.

John Mack
1 month ago

True in what sense? As the only way to salvation? Does anyone really believe that? That belief appears to be emotionally based, and then propped up with rationalizations.

neil allen
1 month ago

Catholicism isn't true.

"God's church" wouldn't be America's #1 child rape syndicate, since Jesus said that wasn't forgivable (Matt 18:6-14)

"God's church" wouldn't be filthy rich, while 24,000 peolpe die of hunger every day (Matt 19:21-25)

Trent Shannon
1 month ago

Well guess what? Belief can and does mean absolutely nothing to abuse survivors, same as trust in many other authorities in my life.

To be a survivor is to be PUSHED onto a very dark path, where whats wrong can seem to be right - addictions, acting out, lifelong mental health problems worse than a bout of depression.

people abused cant come back to the church, because the hierarchy and institution is seen as one and the same - a place of lies, deceit, and depravity that extinguishes the spark of faith. And no amount of relating the path of survival to the Gethsemanal journey -
child abuse is literal betrayal in the Garden, scourging, crowning, bearing the cross, even crucifixion ( i struggled as an abuse survivor, feeling my 36 years was worse than Jesus' 36 hours, especially as he got to come back to life)

Some wounds faith, let alone church attendance, cannot heal, especially as those wounds are subjective, and subject to where the wounding occurred

A whole gamut of therapy, psychiatry, support groups, medication, exercise, etc is needed to heal child abuse. And even then, faith may not be an answer

gerald nichols
1 month 1 week ago

The parts of this sad story of a family victimized several ways by evil Catholic clergy that raises questions I think need answers is:
1. The silence of Jane's parents all those years of her brother's abuse by a priest.
2. Sending younger siblings to the same place the abuse happened.
3. What "deep-seated disease" is meant, and why is it "not intrinsic?"
3. What determines if one is "Catholic", their indoctrination of "One True Church, Peter the Pope etc"
or loving God and neighbor?

Daniel Montiel
1 month 1 week ago

It’s a lil adorable, watching you try soooo hard to make all the points without ever actually using the word “gay”.
I mean, as adorable as homophobes get, of course.

Ellen B
1 month ago

"Gay" isn't what you call a priest who abuses children, boys & girls. You call him a pedaphile.

Brendan Callaghan SJ
1 month 1 week ago

Thanks for this, "Jane". It's full of honesty and integrity, and the hurt that goes with honesty and integrity, and that makes it utterly relevant. The invitation to faith is ultimately an invitation to trust in God, and that is relational rather than simply intellectual. Abuse doesn't so much damage the intellectual as strike at the heart of trust and the relational: thank you for spelling this out in real terms as it has played out in the lives of your father and your brother and yourself.
Do I believe that God is graciously and gracefully at work in the lives of those who have come to hate the church as much as God is at work in the lives of those who can still love the church? Without doubt, because the God revealed in Jesus chooses to be closest to those who have been hurt by the establishment and by the powerful - religious or secular.
Thanks again: I hope your article brings a touch of hope and grace to those who love people who have been abused.
Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ

Jeanne Linconnue
1 month 1 week ago

Both the author and you, imply that "the church" includes only the Roman Catholic church. It does not. That is why the author and you and many others simply cannot understand that many who leave the Roman Catholic church have not lost faith in God, strive to follow Jesus' teachings, and experience deep faith in "the church" - but not as Roman Catholics.

For many, staying in a church whose teachings have created a structure that causes so much harm - harm that is more than the protection of those who sexually abused children and teens - would be to go against conscience. They believe that to stay is to support a corrupted institution. Perhaps if it was dramatically reformed they would return But, so far there is no sign of that happening. The widespread harm done by the Roman Catholic church is the result of structural corruption that is the result of centuries of distorted understandings and teachings.

Fred Keyes
1 month ago

"Teachings have created a structure that causes so much harm..."

What particular teachings are you referring to? And how do those teachings create the "structure that causes so much harm?"

I keep hearing this criticism from my Protestant friends, as though their own organizations haven't had equally difficult problems. I really don't believe you can point to any Christian teaching as such in the RCC or any of the other Christian churches that creates what is an individual human failing. No matter how many individual failures happen—including cover-ups—the Body still stands. Bloodied and beaten but ultimately triumphant.

John Mack
1 month ago

A system that replaces moral reasoning with blind obedience, nationalistic loyalty to the church as a kind of nation, harmful teachings on sex, relationships, the role of women and gays. As for gays, their role in civil society, not the church. Why are Catholics intent on treating gays as lesser citizens of the state?

Phillip Stone
1 month ago

please name the Protestant, Reformed, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Methodist or other separated congregations within which no child sexual abuse has occurred. More to the point, name a group of people on earth today who live in sinless perfection.

If you want to be where Jesus is, you must keep company with terrible sinners because that is where He is.

Laurence Ringo
1 month ago

While it is true that Our Saviour is indeed "with sinners", as you put it Phillip, I would remind you that He emphatically called sinners OUT OF SIN; He didn't allow them to continue wallowing in sin and make excuses for continually sinning. The call on EVERY CHRISTIAN'S LIFE IS HOLINESS. Frankly, I find it odd that given all the claims Roman Catholics make about the so- called "eucharist", why is it so ineffective in delivering your baby-raping priests from the power of sin? If Christ is supposed to be in the eucharist, why are your priests raping these children? I await your reply (Or any presumably knowledgeable Roman Catholic. 🤨

Laurence Ringo
1 month ago

While it is true that Our Saviour is indeed "with sinners", as you put it Phillip, I would remind you that He emphatically called sinners OUT OF SIN; He didn't allow them to continue wallowing in sin and make excuses for continually sinning. The call on EVERY CHRISTIAN'S LIFE IS HOLINESS. Frankly, I find it odd that given all the claims Roman Catholics make about the so- called "eucharist", why is so ineffective in delivering your baby-raping priests from the power of sin? If Christ is supposed to be in the eucharist, why are your priests raping these children? I await your reply (Or any presumably knowledgeable Roman Catholic. 🤨

John Mack
1 month ago

Irrelevant. People can lead perfectly good lives without any religion at all. And they do.. Meanwhile you have church that keeps saying that the hierarchy and the clergy are not the church in fact they are, or are in a position rule without any obligation to answer for their behavior (except by the intervention of the secular government).

Carol Goodson
1 month ago

I agree completely with Fr. Callaghan. I wish everyone could see it as clearly as you have, because the hate unleashed toward gay priests by these revelations reveals an underbelly of the Catholic faithful that I find disturbing and sickening. Jesus loves EVERYONE. A gay person can be chaste just as easily (or not so easily) as a heterosexual one!

J Brookbank
1 month 1 week ago

"Jane", I am grateful to you. As a longtime trauma worker, I recognize your truth-telling and I am so sorry for all of the pain your family has experienced. And I respect what should be inviolability of the integrity of YOUR relationship with YOUR church, just as you respect the inviolability of the integrity of your brother's relationship with HIS healing and HIS Church. May you both find peace.

I am equally sorry that someone responded with criticism of your experience of your faith.

Jesus was a conversationalist, from everything I have seen. I can't imagine he has an issue with your truth-telling or your questions or your support for your brother's departure from the institution the local leader of which destroyed his life and faith for years.

In Gesthsemane, as I see it, Jesus talked back to God.

He cried out to God, an expression of human pain, anger, disillusionmemt and desire to be spared human suffering. I always heard that as a complaint and a request that God get a grip on the violence and persecution of the innocent perpetrated by God's people.

I know I was supposed to stay focused on the submission of will.

And I still heard Jesus' backtalk loud and clear. And I figure if Jesus can call God on the carpet, then God is going to cope just fine when we talk back when the RCC crucifies its chidren.

(It also seems worth pondering whether Jesus AND God might support some table-tossing here....)

I am sorry for the criticism of your parents and a family full of the Church's victims.

I am grateful for Fr Brendan's participation with you and with me, as a reader.

Peace to all your family, including you

Dominic Deus
1 month 1 week ago

Dominic Deus here,

No. The question is not irrelevant and the Church is neither true nor untrue. It might, however, be irrelevant.

The Church is a human institution, founded at the direction of Christ and every bit as fallible and flawed as the humans who make it, guide it, and nourish or starve it. It is not defined by its best or its worst but by the character and virtue of its faithful, laity and clergy combined.

Divine Truth, the kind some people insist is the exclusive property of the Church, is entirely beyond us merely mortal beings. The pursuit of truth and the virtue of truthfulness is our province. We have all failed in that and do so on a regular basis but that does not in anyway mitigate the recent catastrophic failure of the Magisterial, Episcopal, and clerical castes.

Questions, unlike answers, are always relevant. Likewise, Jane's response to the mortal sins against her brother is perfectly and exquisitely relevant because implicit in it is the assertion that she and others like her live in the pursuit of truthfulness. They are the Church. We are the Church and if, if in the course of pursuing truth and virtue, we decide to dismiss the priesthood and episcopate entirely and return to a Church of believers meeting in homes and upper rooms, then so be it. Personally, I hope we can save the best of our institutions but more important is that faithful like Jane endure and either re-form the current Church or make another.

Dominic

Dominic Deus
1 month 1 week ago

d

Dominic Deus
1 month 1 week ago

d

A Fielder
1 month 1 week ago

Thanks again to the editors for their coverage of this issue. I respect not only the generous reporting and calls for justice, but also contributions like this one offering a spiritual resource during this difficult time. I wish that everyone who commented on this platform could be as sensitive to the variety of pastoral needs presenting themselves today in our church. I also wonder, does this one woman’s story suggest that people who were directly traumatized might need different resources than those who experienced the same events by some degree of separation?

Phillip Stone
1 month ago

If you have actually taken in the teaching by God of the human race first through the Jews and then directly through His Son and since then through His disciples then you would never, ever, demand justice.
Justice mandates the death penalty - blood must be spilled and the sacrifice slain.

You would realise that if your evildoing neighbour deserves the dreadful punishment, then you do too.
It is mercy we need and it is mercy which was announced as available after Jesus was crucified while innocent.
His atoning sacrifice obtained the possibility of being forgiven and in gratitude for that, power to grant forgiveness in your turn. Say the Lord's Prayer slowly to yourself, ... as we forgive those who ...

A Fielder
1 month ago

"You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)

Phillip, justice is not the same as punishment, and has nothing to do with spilling blood. As for the teaching of God received from the Jewish people, please consider the above. Justice is about helping our neighbors, including those called to ordination, live more healthy and happy lives.

Thy kingdom come...

A Fielder
1 month ago

"An unprincipled witness scoffs at justice, and the mouth of the wicked pours out iniquity." (Prov 19:28)

"learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow" (Is 1:17)

"Thus says the LORD: Each morning dispense justice, rescue the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor..." (Jer 21:12)

Crystal Watson
1 month 1 week ago

As someone not raised a Catholic, I'm dismayed by the belief that conflates Catholicism and Christianity. People stay in the church, no matter how damaging it is to them and others, because they have been taught since they were born that it is the only access to Jesus/God. That's not so.

J Brookbank
1 month 1 week ago

Crystal, I believe a lot of us stay --- I know I do --- because the Catholic Church is where we, as individuals, are best able to find and access God.

I am completely open to attending different churches. I believe God IS accessible in most churches (And mosques, synagogues, temples, etc.,

And I never feel ***I*** have connected with God in churches unless I am in my own church, the Roman Catholic Church.

Some part of that --- maybe a large part of that, maybe a small part of that --- is due to my upbringing in the RCC, the effect of the familiar, the effect of having heard and spoken and enacted these rituals and prayers since I was a kid.

And I stay because I find God here.

For me, it doesn't really matter how much of my experience of *me* being present to God in the RCC is because I was raised to believe *God* is present to me in the RCC.

A nun once told me God speaks to us in the language we can hear.

I can hear God in Catholic masses, in Catholic prayers, in the Catholic Worker, in our Sacraments, in the examples of people like Sr Thea Bowman, FSPA and Saint Oscar Romero and Blessed Dorothy Day and the Berrigan Brothers (a Josephite and a Jesuit), Sr Anne Montgomery RSCJ and the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the Josephites and Henriette DeLille's Sisters of the Holy Family and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and the black Catholic parishes I love. I stay because I find people like "Jane" and Fr Brendan and you with your determined questions and Fr Des Rossi and Fr Michael Ryan in Seattle and Fr Joe Campion SSJ in Breaux Bridge Louisiana and the Jesuits at St Leo's in Tacoma and Fr Thomas Reese and Marie Collins and Richard Sipe and SNAP and all the victims who have stood up to the RCC and JD Long-Garcia and the Benedictine Sisters in Erie and the L'Arche communities and Catholic Worker communities and the Gonzales family of Santos painters in Albuquerque and Fr Roy Borgeois with his work against the School of the Americas and peace activitists like the St Patrick's Four in Ithaca NY and the writings of people like Fr John Dear SJ and Marie Dennis of Pax Christi and her retreat books and Fr Thomas Dubay SM and Sr Mary Lou Kowanacki OB and Jean Vanier and Fr Henri Nouwen and Edward Schillebeeckx OP and his gorgeous "Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God" and Sr Mary Catherine Hilkert OP and her writing and Gustavo Gutierrez OP and icon maker William Hart McNichols SJ and Fritz Eichenburg's "Jesus in the Breadlines" and the lives of Sr Dorothy Stang SND and Mother Katherine Drexel SBS and Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini MSC and Ignacio Ellacurua SJ and the magnificent, humbling, larger-than-life figures of Jesus in the Stations of the Cross at the Santa Fe Cathedral and the Triduum at St Leo's in Tacoma and Maryknoll's Orbis publishing house and the writings of Wes Howard-Brooks and Timothy Radcliffe OP and Jeff Dietrich and the Zwicks in Texas and Sr Jeanine Gramick of the Loretto Sisters and Sr Simone Campbell SSS and Sr Joan Chittester OB and the young sisters in LaCrosse with the Franciscsns Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and the Catholic Workers at Karen House who are so engaged in anti-racism work and the Catholic Workers at St. Lydia's House in Cincinatti and Fr Ted Broussard at Cursillo in Prairie Ronde and Fr Hudgin's singing Mass in Fredericksburg and the Adrian Dominicans singing Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare, through the welcome of a Christlike homeless teen sitting on a sidewalk on Christmas Eve in a huge city and who invited me to sit and snuggle together against the cold, under her blankets, for just a few minutes as we shared the coffee I brought her because I thought she needed me but, in truth, I desperately needed her and Christ-within-her because I was so lonely for God in the midst of the glitzy night my friends and I had planned.

Through these Catholics and that homeless teen I recognized because of my Catholic roots, Jesus speaks to me. I stay to be one person among dozens and dozens, row after row of strangers, standing and praying the Confiteor together, confessing to Almighty God AND one to the Other and asking for the Other's prayers to the Lord our God.

Through the birds that awoke (at leastvto my awareness), singing at midnight, in the bushes surrounding a Cajun Stations of the Cross, when I was overwhelmed and wanting to jump a flight home rather than stay and setve in the chaos of a hurricane shelter; through birds, plain common sparrows whose midnight waking song among the Stations of Christ's walk, I heard God's answer when I, in tears, whispered, against any previous habit, "oh please, please, I need some help here".l

*I* stay because *I* find God and Jesus here. I stay because THIS is the language *I* can hear God in.

I am horrified by what some of us do to each other with the house of God and the gift of encounter God offers us. Very often, I am dismayed and want to leave because I hear Catholics battering people who find God elsewhere or battering people who have been hurt here and speak aloud that pain and the inability to be here any longer because they have been and are battered here.

And, yet, this is still where I can find God and I need God to help me stand against that battery of others. I have had enough of the crimes of this pseudoroyalty and, yet, I can hear God here.

That is why I stay. I know this isn't the only church where people find God. It is where I find God.

Crystal Watson
1 month 1 week ago

I guess I don't understand this because I wasn't raised into it. The Catholic church seems more like a womb to tomb cultural experience that's so pervasive that it would be very hard for a person to separate God from the human institution and hard to imagine oneself outside it. To me, from the outside, it looks dangerous because people accept all the badness of the human organization in order to get a certain religious comfort. I don't think Jesus would recognize what the church has become.

J Brookbank
1 month 1 week ago

Crystal -- I agree. The RCC has been on a crash course with history for at least a century. The world just doesn't work this way anymore --- this way being a pseudoroyalty that perpetuates itself and its authority, power and privilege by anointing a comparative handful of men worldwide who are obedient to their anointers while insisting that God ---- and not they themselves ---- gave them the key to the castle.

The castle has been rotting from the inside while, in the rest of the world, "the arc of the universe [is bending] toward justice" and leaving this old-world institution's pseudoroyalty.

It is a great and tragic irony that one of history's greatest centers and sources of learning should be so determined to remain ensconced in the corrosive power structures of the past.

Some gun rights guy said "you will only take my gun from my cold dead hands." Substitute "authority, power and privilege" for "gun", and the reigning men of the RCC and we their willing-until-recently self-nominared subjects have engaged in similar thinking.....

And I agree: I don't believe for a minute that this pseudoroyalty with its domination and crucifixion of its subjects is what Jesus had in mind.

(I disagree with the broadstroke of "religious comfort". Google the names I listed above; with a few exceptions, their lives were/are the opposite of religiously comfortable and a lot of us stay because, ironically enough, dissent from the institution is a time-honored Catholic tradition, though it is rarely rewarded contemporaneously.)

J Brookbank
1 month 1 week ago

Crystal, I think you raise an interesting dilemma.

Either the RCC sells a story in RCIA that supports the current corrosive structure (absolute power, authority and privilege for the group of people who teach that their authority, power and privilege are absolute and God-given because one guy gave it to one guy and that guy gave it to the next guy and you can believe me, that baton-passing was legit the directive of the Holy Spirit) so that the whole thing is a directive from Jesus via the succession of guys who have told you it is a directive straight from Jesus via the succession of guys....

OR they sell a story in RCIA in which the RCC is like every other church: we go to the church we know and the one that suits our invidividual personality, intellectual, emotional and spiritual lives, our taste in ritual, our level of interest in tradition, etc.

Again, the world doesn't work the first way anymore.

If RCIA introduced to people to "the culture" --- and in the RCC there IS more than one (ignatian retreats vs cursillo vs vs vs vs vs) as you summed up my answer to why I stay, well, I think we might have some more takers....

John Mack
1 month ago

It's not as hard as you think for people to separate from the womb to the tomb Catholic nation/culture. It happens a lot when people experience other cultures and find that other cultures are better at helping people be good neighbors and at providing spiritual/psychological/cultural resources to make life better. It is also liberating to get away from how Catholics seem to hate each other and produce beehives of inquisitors ready to scream anathema. The second largest "religious" group in the US is made up of ex-Catholics. The cultural attachment to Catholicism has weakened and I think most who stay simply find that the Catholic church provides better spiritual resources for them than they can find elsewhere.

Al Cannistraro
1 month ago

J Brookbank re why you stay: Nice!

Ann Reid
1 month 1 week ago

I was born into the marriage of a 100% Irish Catholic, and a Methodist/Episcopal/Lutheran, so by the time I received First Eucharist, I knew that some of us WERE, and some of us WEREN’T. I also knew that the Protestant side of my family had the same love of God, foibles, generosity, idiosyncrasies, and devotion as the Catholic side.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve felt the Love of God in many “places” and am grateful for all of them. I see the Eucharist as central to my own personal faith life, and would not feel the same about any other worship experience.
With that said, the “trappings” of the present Church, oriented to money, power, largely male hierarchy, secrecy, all those things and more? How can the cleansing start? Will those of us who are looking for faith based, affirming, welcoming, transparent, loving worship ever be able to “come home?”
For me, God is still fully Present, but Men? No, I don’t mean “mankind” because, although I know dozens or more of Faithful women of prayer, are we still expected to believe that in OUR Church, women can never be anything but “the handmaidens”? Waiting.....

Patti Steigmeyer
1 month 1 week ago

Amen.
Gospels written by men, interpreted by men with rules written and enforced (not enforced) by men.
In my heart, I don't for one second believe that Jesus intended to place women as a lesser disciple in "The Church"

chiajoe gm
1 month ago

Remember Jesus message of salvation and eternal life. Do not let the smoke of Satan that has entered the church derail your journey to eternal life.
These clerics who are involved should be removed. Parents and victims should report to the police when such abuses occur.
One goes to church not because of the priest, bishop , cardinal etc, but because of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Victims should report to the police if the church local heirarchy did not take action to remove the priest concern. Clerics are not god and should not be treated as one. They are sinners like everyone of us.

Gerard Ahrens
1 month ago

I was EXACTLY where this person is and for the same reason until the recent revelations of complicity all the way up to the Papacy. In spite of being the victim of a Jesuit at age 12, I even worked for the Church as a teacher for 45 years, but now seeing such duplicity and outright LYING I can't stay because I realize now that I don't have the mind of a Thomas Aquinas and cannot really even comprehend or conceptualize things like the Blessed Trinity or Transubstantiation. I believed in those things because I believed in the PEOPLE who taught me those things. NOW I know them to be LIARS. How then can belief survive?

Gerard Ahrens
1 month ago

I was EXACTLY where this person is and for the same reason until the recent revelations of complicity all the way up to the Papacy. In spite of being the victim of a Jesuit at age 12, I even worked for the Church as a teacher for 45 years, but now seeing such duplicity and outright LYING I can't stay because I realize now that I don't have the mind of a Thomas Aquinas and cannot really even comprehend or conceptualize things like the Blessed Trinity or Transubstantiation. I believed in those things because I believed in the PEOPLE who taught me those things. NOW I know them to be LIARS. How then can belief survive?

Gerard Ahrens
1 month ago

I was EXACTLY where this person is and for the same reason until the recent revelations of complicity all the way up to the Papacy. In spite of being the victim of a Jesuit at age 12, I even worked for the Church as a teacher for 45 years, but now seeing such duplicity and outright LYING I can't stay because I realize now that I don't have the mind of a Thomas Aquinas and cannot really even comprehend or conceptualize things like the Blessed Trinity or Transubstantiation. I believed in those things because I believed in the PEOPLE who taught me those things. NOW I know them to be LIARS. How then can belief survive?

Abu Tom
1 month ago

I AM FIRST GENERATION AMERICAN. I SUPPORT GOOD CATHOLICS AND ALL GOOD PEOPLE. MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN TO ME BY GENERATIONS BEFORE. I WAS A CHOIR BOY AND NEVER MOLESTED. I GREW UP WITH GOOD NUNS ,PRIESTS AND BROTHERS. ALL HAD MY BEST INTEREST IN THEIR HEARTS. DANTE SAYS THE LOWEST LEVEL OF HELL IS RESERVED FOR THOSE WHO BETRAY A TRUST. NOT EVERYONE WHO PRETENDS OUTRAGE IS SEEKING GOD'S JUSTICE. SOME ARE SEEKING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GREATER GOOD THAT EXISTS IN THE CHURCH. ANTONIO GRAMSCHI THE ITALIAN COMMUNIST SAID TO DESTROY THE CHURCH YOU MUST FIRST JOIN IT. ANYWAY THE GREATEST CATHEDRAL WAS BUIT BY THE POOREST HANDS. GOD SEES WHAT WE DO AND HE IS TRUTH. THAT IS BETWEEN ME AND HIM. VIVA CHRISTO REY.

Ellen B
1 month ago

Thank you Jane. I wouldn't describe it as leaving the church however, I would say the church (or rather the church hierarchy) has left us. It was shocking when I found out that the pastor & assistant pastors in my parish all had abused children in other parishes. Which means that they likely abused some of my classmates as well, I would be shocked if one of my neighbors wasn't included in that number because of the amount of time he spent alone with one of the pedaphile priests. That level of betrayal requires a drastic act of repentance on the part of the bishop & cardinals who were responsible for the continuous reassignment of the priests & for the taking of church resources for payoffs to the victims.

If the church wants to show repentance by releasing the victims from their non-disclosure agreements which only serve to protect the criminals, that's when I'll believe that a corner has been turned.

As for your brother, he strikes out because he believes his parents betrayed him by continuing their relationship with the church. Can't blame him.

Phillip Stone
1 month ago

A teacher assaults you, stop going to school.
A sports coach is mean to you, stop exercising.
A Greek kid punches your sister, avoid Greeks for life.

This propaganda piece is hard to credit as being without hidden agenda.

The facts are - Pentecostal pastors have committed sexual sins against minors, Protestant vicars have committed sexual sins against minors, Jewish rabbis have committed sexual sins against minors and so the list goes on.

When evidence is produced that it is an official teaching to either neglect or abuse children and a duty of governance to deny it has happened, keep it secret and protect the offender then it is prudent to have nothing to do with a group like that, otherwise ... "to whom shall we go, You have the words of eternal life!"

John Mack
1 month ago

Reduction ad absurdum. Too typical. it reveals a callousness, and a spiritual vacuity, that is all to prevalent in "loyal" Catholic apologists.

A Fielder
1 month ago

Philip, Cardinals to make promises of secrecy to the pope.

Jeannette Mulherin
1 month ago

I can't imagine how your brother must have felt watching his parents send his younger siblings into the same environment in which he experienced such suffering. Their actions--remaining loyal to the institution that facilitated his abuse--is a demonstration of indifference that could only have compounded the trauma he experienced. And that comment about the worthlessness of money paid to a victim? Did the Jesuits put you up to that? Money can buy a Porsche, it can also pay for professional counseling, drug rehab, housing, and education. But maybe the clerics hope that by dismissing financial settlements as "worthless" they'll convince victims not to seek compensation. Clerics care about money, you see. They do not care about you, your brother, or your family. So, maybe next Sunday, plop yourself down in a protestant pew instead of a Catholic one, make some effort to examine your irrational loyalty to an organization that irreparably harmed your family, and finally stand in solidarity with your brother--who deserves an apology from both you and your parents.

Zoe Virgil
1 month ago

Hi Jeannette. I think you may have made multiple presumptions about the victim, Jane, and Jane's family. You do not know the full story, or her parent's full story. You don't know whether or not they've apologized to her brother. While I agree with you, and Jane, who clearly states that that it must have been difficult for her brother to watch his family continue to going to church, Jane says that she and her family "remain loyal" to the original teachings of Catholicism, Jesus Christ, and of love. Yes, as we, and Jane, are well aware, there are multiple priests and clergymen who need to be removed from the Catholic Church, whether they were abusive or whether they perpetuated abuse. Jane's point, which she clearly states, is that her family remains with the Catholicism because of its original teachings, and what is meant to be Christian on a fundamental level. According to Jane, her family does NOT belong to the Catholic church because her family are advocates for abusive priests - they don't remain loyal to people who are abusive. They remain loyal to God, Christianity, and love. While there are many corrupt men who are involved in the Catholic Church, which Jane acknowledges, she and her family believe in the fundamental teachings of Christianity - just as protestants do. To make a long story short, Catholicism has not harmed Jane's family. A few corrupt men, who happen to be members of the Catholic Church, have greatly harmed Jane's family.

Finally, with regards to your issue with the "worthlessness of money," you seem to have misunderstood Jane's metaphor. No matter what her brother had decided to spend the money on, whether on therapy or housing, nothing will ever bring him back to who he was before the abuse. That is why money is worthless. Money may help soften the blow, but it will never take away the abuse.

Will Niermeyer
1 month ago

First and foremost our faith is in Christ not His Church. We as Roman Catholics believe that we can best realise our faith within the Catholic Church not in the priesthood or hierarchy that helps in directing the Roman Catholic Church. They are only there to direct our worship and nothing more.

A Judy
1 month ago

The reason the Catholic church is failing is only partly issues like priestly abuse. A larger failure is its inability to admit that no institution is inherently good, true, just, a channel for god, etc. If only it could admit that it is a collection of people who don't have ultimate answers, but nonetheless are trying to live their lives lovingly and authentically. Then perhaps it would find the humility to admit its fallibility and mistakes and become a beacon for others. But its going to have to learn to identify and empower those in its midst who live their lives well and anoint them as leaders, be they laity, women, etc. By the same token, individuals need to be released when they cease to be right for the job. Of course, bishops, who abuse their position by choosing to promote the institution instead of the people, need to be released from their burden of leadership. Even prosecuted it their abuse is criminal.

Mbosowo Udotai
3 weeks 4 days ago

Thank you very much "Jane" for your sincerity and simplicity. I am in prayers for your family and many other families that may be going through such traumas from men, whom we ought to have trusted and looked upon for guidance. Let me say I am a Catholic, a convinced Catholic and a PRIEST! (Hold it, Don't be biased!) There are every reason for everyone, including me, to be angry at the Church, and perhaps walk away and the defrock from the priesthood. But I know the Church is human, with all expected and unexpected weaknesses that have already manifested themselves in these shameful cases; yet I know the Church is also divine, with the promise of Christ (Matthew 16: 18) sustaining her in this period of darkness, the power of the Holy Spirit guiding the members, in spite of themselves, and God the Father constantly renewing her sinful Church. I am still a Catholic because of these facts and because I see this as a process of renewal and restoration. It is my prayer that the Church goes through this in sincere remorse and repentance. And come out stronger and holier. I hold nothing against anyone for saying all the terrible things against the Church at this time, perhaps she deserves them all and more. But we should remember that we cannot condemn a sin by committing another; the Catholic Church may be at the forefront, but are all other institutions (religious/secular) really innocent of the same or similar sins/crimes? Are some of those who speak out with damning venom sincerely free of these and other sins/crimes themselves? My African people of Ibibio extraction (Nigeria) have a saying that "It is the thief that is caught that the entire community mocks." Let's hope there is no other thief out there. (Fr. Patrick Udotai)

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