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#76670 - 01/20/03 05:01 PM Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Mark Crawford Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 73
Loc: New Jersey
I don't know where to begin here but I feel I must vent a little. I am a practicing Catholic, former seminarian and survivor of Clergy sexual abuse. I am very active in my parish and my children attend Catholic schools. My faith IS very important to me, I don't see that changing but my staunch support for the Church and what it stands for, which has been such an important and influential part of my life...well I am not so sure anymore. \:\(

I have just learned that Archbishop Lennon, the prelate who replaced Cardinal Law of Boston has instructed the diocesian attorneys to begin deposing the clinicians who have been counseling the victims of clergy abuse. I AM OUTRAGED!!!

This past June in Dallas Bishop Wilton Gregory, expressed remorse for what has been done to clergy abuse victims, he called upon all victims to come forward and to report thier abuse to the authorities. In many of these cases the church offered counseling to these victims as a gesture of compassion and in an attempt to restore their TRUST which was so violated. Now Bishops are moving to depose therapists who have worked with these victims. It appears that the Church was not seeking to help one heal but rather trying to root out all those who will come forward either sooner or later, and send a message that they will scrutinize, pick apart all the work and or progress any therapist might have made. What a violation of TRUST and further abuse! Besides the re-victimization of these individuals they also send a message to professionals....if you choose to work with victims of clergy abuse...you may be subponed and hassled in the legal system, taking up very precious time that could be used to counsel others.

THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! I have not been very public about many of the details of my own abuse, but I cannot and will not be quite any longer!

This makes me think about our thread on ADVOCACY and how we MUST come forward and be counted if REAL change is to occur.

It is painfully clear...this is just another LEGAL response, lacking real pastoral care. I am begining to think much of the Hierarchy is just not capable of comprehending the damage and pain they have caused these victims...beyond the initial abuse.

What must happen for our Church to "GET IT"?

I do know there are those in the Church and Hierarchy seeking change...but they are too few and effective change is not occuring!

I will continue to pray that one day these men will be granted true wisdom and act more like the SHEPARDS they were called to be, and less like CEO's of a fortune 500 company seeking to protect it's ass...ets.


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#76671 - 01/20/03 09:33 PM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hi Sparky,

Surely the therapists can tell the lawyers precisely where to put their desires for depositions. As a client, I take it for granted that my therapist cannot be made to divulge any material I talk over wiith him, unless I am threatening to harm myself or someone else, or know of the harm of a minor.

If it is true that 4 out of five abusers have themselves been abused, then there are priests and bishops who have been victims as well as perps. Perhaps they do not speak about their own abuse for some fear of not being believed--just like the rest of us.

I was abused by a friend of my scoutmaster--other guys here were abused by their mother, father, sister, or brother. Some by an older kid, some by teachers, some by coaches. I think that our church will play dumb until priests and bishops own up to their own abuse.

The horror of priests as predators does not seem to have taught them a thing--maybe, the testimony of their our, our own, will open their eyes and ears to the fact that this stuff really happens.

This afternoon I watched the DVD, THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS. It was not what I feared it would be. But at a moment of great personal suffering a boy tells his best friend: "Don't ever tell me I don't know what real is again!"

Some powerful people in the church need to get real. So far, they act like they are devoted to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy--it is time for Bishops and Archbishops to get real--perhaps for the very first time in their frickin lives! Amen!

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#76672 - 01/21/03 12:16 AM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
Surely the therapists can tell the lawyers precisely where to put their desires for depositions.
Absolutely, and I hope they will! This is outrageous!

Quote:
If it is true that 4 out of five abusers have themselves been abused, then there are priests and bishops who have been victims as well as perps. Perhaps they do not speak about their own abuse for some fear of not being believed--just like the rest of us.
That's a good point Bob.

Quote:
I think that our church will play dumb until priests and bishops own up to their own abuse.
I'm praying that they will begin to break the silence...

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#76673 - 01/21/03 08:43 AM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Sparky,

It's amazing to me that you've kept any kind of faith through all this. What's the trick to that? I too was abused by a 'man' of the cloth.

What's the point of getting outraged over statements made in whatever arena? Keep the focus local. By this I mean, look at your church, the people you know, the good things in your life, and to 'heck' with the politicians/clerical leadership fools.

jer


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#76674 - 01/21/03 10:23 AM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Jer, while that of course is not always easy to do, this is a very good point, and it's pretty much the way I keep going what faith I have--of course, I wasn't abused by clergy, or anyone in the church, at least not sexually.

For me, the true Church is not the institution, the bureaucracy, the buildings, the programs, not even all the people. It is all of the people who truly try to believe in Jesus & to live like Him,
warts and all! The worship, service & lives of these people is where the action of Jesus is.

That doesn't mean I don't detest the abuses & cover ups by those in church structures. It simply
means I refuse to acknowledge them as my church.
To me, that is all the more reason to fight to expose them & bring them down!

But as I do, I will acknowledge & stand with the true church as I understand it.

I will also acknowledge & stand with those who, for whatever reasons, are unable or unwilling to do so. Been there, done that.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#76675 - 01/22/03 03:56 PM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
This from the Boston Globe today. It's in response to a letter to the editor that Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea wrote and was signed by a number of therapists around the country regarding depositions of therapists treating "alleged" victims of clergy abuse.

We found the request to be an outrageous betrayal of therapist-client confidentiality and let it be known. Remember that Mary Gail was allowed to testify at the Bishop's convention in Texas last year (the text of her testimony is somewhere in the MS site).

Here it is: (or you can go to the Globe's website for the original at: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/022/metro/Abuse_specialists_challenge_church_defense_tactic+.shtml

Abuse specialists challenge church defense tactic

Assert depositions will betray victims

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 1/22/2003

alling the deposition of therapists ''an act of reabuse,'' 83 mental health professionals from around the nation are denouncing Bishop Richard G. Lennon's decision to allow church lawyers to question counselors treating alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.



The direct challenge to Lennon, led by a New York psychoanalyst who had been hand-picked by US bishops as an expert on sexual abuse, comes as plaintiffs' attorneys and victims increasingly are complaining that Lennon has not made significant changes since assuming the post of administrator of the Archdiocese of Boston upon the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law. The church has taken a series of tough legal steps, including resisting a subpoena from the state attorney general and pressing an argument that the First Amendment protects it from litigation by victims, as Lennon pushes to resolve abuse-related claims by more than 500 people.

Attorneys for alleged victims say settlement talks, which Lennon promised to intensify, have all but broken down. And some victims say the sense of hope they felt with Lennon's appointment has swiftly ebbed.

''The church's priorities have been very evident - reaching out to parishes, reaching out to its law firms - but there has yet to be any effort to reach out to the victims as a whole,'' said Olan Horne of Lowell, who said he and other members of a victims' group called Survivors of Joseph Birmingham had placed nearly a dozen phone calls before finally hearing yesterday that Lennon would meet with them.

The archdiocese has justified its decision to depose therapists by saying that it is standard legal practice and that the church is entitled to defend against parties who choose to press litigation that claims emotional harm. Yesterday, a Lennon spokesman continued to defend the church's legal strategy, but acknowledged that it sometimes conflicts with the church's effort to reach out to victims.

''There is a tension between the pastoral work of the Office of Healing and Assistance Ministry and the litigation that's involved,'' said Rev. Christopher J. Coyne. ''You have people that the archdiocese is trying to help on a pastoral level, but these same people are bringing lawsuits against priests, bishops, and the archdiocese, and as long as we remain in litigation, that tension is going to remain.''

Coyne said Lennon has been meeting with victims and their families, but has not had time during his first five weeks as administrator to meet with everyone who is seeking time with him.

He said he does not expect the church to rethink the deposition of therapists, which lawyers acknowledge is common when a victim alleges psychological damage.

''There hasn't been any reconsideration of whether we should be doing this - it's part of the legal process the archdiocese and other defendants must go through in order to bring forward a defense against people who are bringing suit,'' he said. ''The archdiocese is committed to mediation and does not want to go through litigation, but if forced to do so, the defendants and the archdiocese will mount the defense anybody else would.''

Therapists, including faculty members from Boston College, Boston University, Simmons College, and the University of Massachusetts, and a variety of clinicians who work with trauma survivors denounced the move, saying that even if legally permissible it is morally unacceptable. Clinicians, authors, and researchers made up the overwhelming majority of those who signed the letter to Lennon, which was also signed by a handful of abuse victims and non-Catholic clergy.

''While the Archdiocese of Boston has a legal right to pursue the depositions of therapists treating abuse survivors in litigation with the Church, it is crucial for Church officials to remember that these suits have emerged from the sexual abuse of minors by priests and, often, only after years of stonewalling efforts by the hierarchy,'' the letter said. ''We hope that you will reconsider your decision to retraumatize the already broken members of your flock and will choose to pursue a pastoral rather than corporate and counter-litigious path.''

The letter was spearheaded by Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, the executive director of the Trauma Treatment Center at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, who was the only therapist invited by the bishops to testify at the June meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Dallas.

''I am not a hysteric; I don't think suing is the best way for survivors to go. I have a lot of empathy for the bishops who are trying to make things right, and I don't consider the church my enemy,'' said Frawley-O'Dea, a Chelmsford native who attended Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsborough and Emmanuel College in Boston. ''But I think that this is very despicable and deceitful. To say `the church loves you' and `we want to help you' and then to invade your treatment is really just wrong. It may be legally OK, but it's wrong.''

Lawyers handling abuse cases say the therapist depositions are part of a pattern of toughening legal strategy by the archdiocese.

Yesterday, victims' attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. said he and lawyers for the church are not currently discussing settlement. ''Right now, there is no opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue,'' he said.

And plaintiffs' attorney Robert A. Sherman said that despite Lennon's public comments, there has been ''zero change'' since Lennon replaced Law. Lennon's statements, Sherman said, ''have certainly not been translated into any action by the archdiocesan lawyers.''

The archdiocese also continues to wage a fierce legal battle out of public view. The church's lawyers have sought to quash a subpoena issued by a criminal grand jury convened by Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, according to lawyers who are familiar with the issue. The subpoena demanded that the church produce any correspondence between the archdiocese and the Vatican regarding the sexual misbehavior of priests.

Victims are increasingly upset. Ann Hagan Webb, a psychologist who signed the letter and who also serves as coordinator of the local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the depositions have damaged the credibility of the church's outreach to victims.

''The whole survivor community is upset about the deposing of therapists, and certainly the therapist community is upset about it,'' Webb said. ''By deposing a therapist they have quickly destroyed a lot of people's trust in the process and have frightened people about whether they should continue to be in therapy.''

Other therapists who signed the letter expressed similar sentiments.

''This might be legally OK, but it's ethically wrong, and that's what the archdiocese has continued to do - they always put form ahead of substance and policy ahead of people,'' said Linda T. Sanford, who teaches at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. ''People should not have to sacrifice their privacy just because they are looking to be compensated for the pain and suffering they've endured.''

Marcie A. Mitler, a Cambridge counselor who specializes in child sexual abuse, called deposing therapists ''a way of revictimizing someone who has probably taken years and years to tell anybody.''

Kathleen Burge, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Walter V. Robinson of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.Michael Paulson can be reached at mpaulson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 1/22/2003.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


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#76676 - 01/22/03 04:33 PM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 404
Loc: New York, NY, USA
FYI the Globe also ran the letter and its 83 signees, including a number of people from MS/NOMSV

_________________________
www.richardgartner.com

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#76677 - 01/22/03 09:35 PM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Ross Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/02
Posts: 34
Loc: Vancouver, BC Canada
Dear Guys:

As a victim of Catholic clergy( same group of clergy that abused victims at Mt Cashel in Canada, [Boys of St Vincent movie]), it is heart breaking to see the conflicts arising.

I also am a Catholic but the archdiocese I am in has a strong policy on sexual abuse, policies that are in line with our child protection system. The Archbishop and his number two man seem very aggressive regarding abuse and have been proactive in their policies. Some day the upper Catholic leadership is going to have to do what is right or they will lose millions of Catholics to a splinter group. Many of the younger priests and influental lay people are super pissed off and biding their time to make change. Most honest Catholics and priests are totally appalled by what is happening.

- As with our case, (hundreds of victims), the church went the legal route at first. It eventually went to a reconciliation model that was an OK effort but was flawed and needed more strength in key areas. In addition, the Christian Brothers declared bankruptcy to sever the link legally and economically between the order and the larger church entity. That is something to watch out for and one reason why I feel a reconciliation model is a better route.

- I believe the adversarial legal system is not the appropriate venue to settle. Victims are fragile and it is too easy for aggressive lawyers to discredit or reduce what is essentially truthful testimony. Some victims have been so damaged by this process it has lead to self destruction and suicide.

- In my opinion, a fair and just reconciliation model with uniform settlements, clear vindication for victims and an authoritive third party dispute arbitration panel would be a more effective and caring approach. I have a 400 page official history of our case and the reconcilation model and it makes interesting, although painful, reading in light of current abuse issues facing the American church.

- I think Therapists giving testimony is not all negative( apart from the sharing of information and the confidentiality issue). Ask yourself this, what therapist who has worked correctly and ethically with an abuse victim is going to negate, minimize or play down the impact of the abuse on a genuine victim? Personally I have not meet one yet but I live in Canada, (America's sibling), a country with a slightly different legal and social service system.

- In my work in the child protection system I have seen therapeutic testimony virtually blow the opposing lawyer's strategy out of the water. A lawyer on the opposing side attempting to discount or minimize the viability and extent of the victim's claims through therapeutic disposition may discover they have activated a bouncing betty mine and end up limping out of court with their ass severely shredded and wrapped up around their shoulders.

In one particular case a child's therapist, psychiatrist and myself were called to testify. The therapist's testimony was so clear and powerful it virtually carried the case on victim presenting issues and impact statements alone.( As a witness I did not see other's testimonies live but reviewed them afterwards. It was great to see the level of vindication that occured as a result of our combined testimony. The lawyer for the victims side was quite impressed with the usefulness of this area of testimony.

Sincerely

Ross


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#76678 - 01/22/03 11:46 PM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
The part about re-victimization is what concerns me. I don't know what i would do if my THERAPIST were called on to testify and re-disclose, in a therapist's language, what happened to me and the results. Perhaps in cases where the Church is paying for therapy for the Survivors, they receive carbon copy reports anyways? Where would they keep such files? Separate from those provided to the Authorities?

To me, this is like calling in the Coroner to testify that the corpse is dead.

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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#76679 - 01/23/03 04:04 PM Re: Will the Catholic Church EVER "get it" !
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Sparky
Thanks for starting this thread.
Quote:
I am begining to think much of the Hierarchy is just not capable of comprehending the damage and pain they have caused these victims...beyond the initial abuse.
What must happen for our Church to "GET IT"?
We must educate the lay people. Once they hear our storys and learn of the life long effects of the abuse the lay people will demand action. TRUTH & JUSTICE is what my recovery is about. Today in the history of sexual abuse in the church I believe that we are in the TRUTH stage. Hundered of victims are coming forward and ending thier silence about Clergy sexual abuse.The Justice stage is begining slowly but it will grow very fast in this next year.
Victor
Quote:
It is all of the people who truly try to believe in Jesus & to live like Him, warts and all
These are the people we must reach out to with our storys and let them know of our pain.

Ross This is what gives me such great hope in our quest for Justice.
Quote:
some day the upper Catholic leadership is going to have to do what is right or they will lose millions of Catholics to a splinter group. Many of the younger priests and influental lay people are super pissed off and biding their time to make change. Most honest Catholics and priests are totally appalled by what is happening.
Yes as the Truth comes out the more pissed the lay people will get and then demand Justice.
Orodo
Quote:
Perhaps in cases where the Church is paying for therapy for the Survivors, they receive carbon copy reports anyways?
The church is paying for my therapy but I didn't use either of thier Therapist. I found my T through the NOMSV website. They are slow at paying my T but he has nolthing to with the church.
To All who have been abused by Clergy I feel it is most important to get your story told. The church trustees are the people who can make the biggest change. Most churchs have two or three lay people who are part of the church board. Find out who the trustees are and ask them to hear you.
I told my story to the trutees in August, and it moved them deeply . My T was there at my side as I told them about the evil that was done to me. Trish one of the Trustees had know Father Ryan as a Staint who was loved by all .Father was the most important person in Trish's life for the frist 19 years of her life until he died in 1965. Trish did a lot of crying that day as I killed her staint . When she said those words to me ,"WE BELEIVE YOUR STORY TOM" it set me so free, finnaly the thruth was known. Yes the lay people can force the church to change.
THE TIME FOR JUSTICE IS NEAR. Muldoon

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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