In my personal experience as a victim of catholic church enabled child sexual abuse, as a child protection activist, and as a member of a victim support self help group, I have always known that I was not abused solely by the cunning predator who went to such lengths to regularly torture me and at least 49 other little girls. I, in common with every other catholic victim/survivor, was abused, abandoned, blamed, bullied and victimised by the entire catholic hierarchy from the pope on down.
Every day, the catholic hierarchy and their unthinking apologists go out of their way to try to add to the mountain of harm already heaped on my shoulders.
My experience demolishes their protective facade of sanctity and moral superiority, and since they are unable to face the truth bravely and compassionately, they instead deflect their church imposed self hatred onto the defenceless, the already damaged, the innocent victims – those most deserving of compassion. Their twisted belief being that if they can drag us down to their level with their lies, they will seem less loathsome by comparison, and will thus feel better about themselves.
They cannot make my experience, which makes them so very uncomfortable, not exist, so instead they settle for attempts to make me not exist, to make me appear to be other than who I truly am, or to drive me to suicide.
A friend sent me an article by Tom Doyle, written more than a year ago, which expertly expresses this.
The Vatican spokesman keeps telling us the pope is deeply concerned about the clergy abuse “crisis,” There is little doubt that he is, but not because of the massive harm done to countless victims and their families and to the disappointed faithful who are tired of waiting for the “church” to do something meaningful.
He and the cardinals are deeply concerned, but they’re concerned for the wrong reasons. They see their credibility, their power and their relevance eroding at an ever increasing rate. They see a rapidly growing number of Catholics who refuse to be treated as children by the bishops and who pose a very serious threat to the crumbling myth that the pope and the bishops know what’s best for all. They see the growing chasm between the moral code the hierarchy is trying to persuade everyone, even non-Catholics, to accept and the reality of what is really happening out there in the world they are so afraid of.
The pope, the Vatican and the rest of the world’s hierarchy will not bring about the needed change because they are unable and not simply unwilling to do so. Their personal interests are far too deeply ingrained to allow them to make the sacrifices needed to step down from their thrones and be for the suffering and marginalized rather than for themselves.
The pope and the cardinals have betrayed the real church. They have perpetrated the sexual and spiritual violence just as much as the priests who physically violated the victims. They need to be willing to say “I hurt you” and not hide behind Vatican mumbo jumbo and double-speak.
They need to acknowledge that the formalities and legalities they have relied on to protect their own interests have been secondary and equally vicious acts of violence against the victims.
They need to admit that restitution is essential and deserved by the men and women abused by the immediate perpetrators but also by the church.
They need to acknowledge that they have intentionally tried to shift the responsibility for this worldwide debacle to other persons, to societal forces and even to the victims themselves and they need to admit without qualification that they, the hierarchs of the church, are solely responsible for the horrific damage to the victims and to the Body of Christ.
See the full article by Tom Doyle in NCR.