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#77380 - 10/19/04 03:17 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
As I said before, Fast Forward, don't read my posts if you don't like them.

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77381 - 10/19/04 12:14 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Sean - Thank you. I am aware that I have a choice in these matters. I am glad I read them because I did not miss AK's post. Best wishes to you.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77382 - 10/19/04 08:53 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
estuardo Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 45
Loc: ohio
The underlying issue is not how many priests abused, but how many really knew about their abusive behavior. The far reaching issue is the collusion, and conspiracy behind these heinous acts.

For every abusive priest, there are at least 2-3 others within their circle, or leadership who knew about it and did nothing, or worse, helped cover it up.

I've been involved up close with this scandal, because of my own SA by a priest. The stuff you never get in the news, will make your blood boil!! To me the only thing worse than an abuser, is one who conspired to conceal their abusing!!!

estuardo

_________________________
"I'm entitled to my opinion...even if it's wrong."

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#77383 - 10/22/04 03:05 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Thanks Estuardo,

You have been very supportive. I am greatful for your PM's and have sent one to you today.

Sean

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77384 - 10/29/04 10:37 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Bernard Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Illinois
Hi Sean,

I am late to this string of messages but I wanted to say that I understand your anger and rage against the Catholic Church. I was also sexually molestated by a Catholic priest, and, despite years of attempting get past my rage and forgive him, I still feel it. Perhaps I will never get past it? It is a huge wound to heal from and I know from personal experience how you feel.

I have been able to recognize that there are "good Catholics", and good priests. I just cannot be around them because it still triggers me to remember my own abuse and that is still more pain than I want to experience if I can avoid it.

Beneath my rage I am sure there is a deep sadness and loss. I hope someday that I can get to those feelings, and even get past them. Meanwhile, I feel as you do, and am not able to feel much compassion for the Catholic Church as a whole or good priests specifically. You and I and many others were violated intimately, sexually and spiritually. Those are three incredibly important core aspects of our lives, and after 40 years I still struggle with intimacy, sexuality and spirituality because of the actions of one priest. It is an outrage that this has happened to so many boys and men. Regardless of all of the good people who are Catholics, it is still an outrage.


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#77385 - 10/31/04 12:47 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Thanks Bernard

Sean

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77386 - 11/08/04 04:56 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
bda Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 26
Loc: North Carolina
Sean,

Surely your rage is sacred! It is a crying out in the desert wilderness.

I can speak only to my own journey and the pain and hope I've known along the way. I'm not Catholic. I am the survivor of abuse by a church leader in a United Methodist Church. I felt abandoned by the system and smothered by the silence.

What is unique about the Catholic tragedies around abuse is the level of systemic sin in institutional cover-up. I grieve for those whose hurts are only deepend by this ongoing violence.

I am thankful that silence is being broken in Catholic communities, but regret that the larger religious community seems to have assumed that sexual violence in church is just a Catholic thing. It's happening in all traditions.

I left church for eight or nine years. I explored all kinds of ways of connecting with God during that time -- and I did find God in the midst of my desert wanderings. I also found that I longed for the church, but was way angry and way scared of going back.

So, I clung to the stories. From where I stand, the central image of a God who knows about suffering and death at the hands of a violent alliance between religious and community leaders, the emptiness and darkness of entombment, and then is still audacious enough to find life beyond it, is important for me. It's a survivor story -- and I'm not going to let it be taken from me. Dammit, this is mine and I claim it!

I eventually ended up in seminary and am now a youth minister (an openly gay, survivor of church abuse, ordained Baptist minister in North Carolina...how's that for some irony?). Though my theology is not highly sacramental, I deeply value embodied ritual. The Communion meal has been an integral part of my healing, and I carry it with me each time I participate in that tradition. It draws me into the story of a Christ who was broken and found new life.

Baptism awakens that in me, too. Now as one who stands with and supports folks as they enter in the waters of chaos and come out somehow changed, I think of what it is to walk through healing along side other survivors.

I left my Methodist roots because the hierarchy seemed violent and I needed a more radically egalitarian way of doing church (there's more than one way to be Baptist...my kind don't make it into the news much). It was heart-wrenching to walk away from the church in which I was raised. I can't imagine how much deeper that struggle must feel in Catholic community.

All I can say is that I'll keep you in my prayers, and hope that redmeption is to be found somewhere along the journey. I pray that the metaphors of liberation may someday shine brightly enough to do away with the dark coners of so many church silences and secrets.

In the eleventh chapter of John (generally my least favorite of the many versions of the Jesus story), Jesus learns that one of his best friends has died. He visits the tomb and weeps, then calls on those gathered around to roll away the stone. Jesus calls, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man, bound up and blinded by a veil, stumbles out of the cave. Jesus turns to the others and says, "Unbind him. Let him go."

What strikes me as interesting is that Jesus doesn't do much in the story but call on others to do the work -- to roll away the stone, to make it out of the tomb despite the bindings, and to unbind and set free. That all sounds a little familiar to me. We are Lazarus -- the call is to those gathered to do the unbinding.

And perhaps we're the ones gathered, too. Perhaps the unbinding happens beyond the walls of the church...in the company of those who witness our rise into new life.

In the next chapter, the religious establishment goes after Lazarus and plots to have him killed. Turns out they got scared that this finding new life thing might catch on and they might loose some of their power. Wouldn't that be a shame?

Peace on the journey, Sean.
Brian

_________________________
Unbind him, and let him go.

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#77387 - 11/18/04 06:27 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
TeeJayUU Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 262
Loc: MidWest
Sean,

I was born, Batized and had First Communion and Confession, and so on. My family were the Easter, Christmas Catholics and every now and then.

My SA was from a family memeber. I knew then that what was happening over and over and over was wrong ans that God "was gonna get me".

I NEVER knew God or a real church. Now, at the tender age of 38 (two years ago) I finally met God through a Christian Church. I am very Blessed and fortunate to have been rebaptized by MY choice and to get to KNOW and understand Jesus and the words in the Bible.

I can not complai about the Catholic Church, I never knew it. People have tried to make me feel like a sinner for joining a non-Catholic Church, but why? I was not a Catholic, did not agree with the rules and requirements and was I even welcome there due to my past and choices?

I have found acceptance, support, love, guidance and so much more. HOWEVER, this is what has worked for ME! I would NEVER push this on someone else, encourage it, support it, reccomend it...YES! But so many people have been hurt in so many ways. We each need to be able to vent and complain and find our own ways of healing and dealing with the pain. For some of us that is with our Heavenly Father holding us, for others it is not.

I wish you well on your healing journey and I hope you find Peace and Love! I will say a Prayer for you!

Take care and God Bless!

_________________________
"There is a plan for me, God has a Purpose, I know there is a reason that I'm ALIVE!" Cherish Grace
PEACE HOPE LOVE

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