Thank you Ken for sending me this....

Copies of this speech are being printed up to be presented to the members and leadership of Voice of the Fearful....(ooops!.......Faithful!....Faithful!......I MUST do better with that locution)..........at their meeting this week, at which they will DEBATE whether or not to call for Bernard Law's dismissal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Speech Not Delivered at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross
Sunday, December 8, 2002

I was nearly talked out of making this speech public in any way, because friends told me it was unfair to address you this way; that you had been betrayed by the church as much as those sexually abused by priests. I do not believe it. However you have been abused, you have not been raped by a priest until you bled; you have not had a priest forcefully ejaculate in your mouth. You do not still wake years later in night terrors from these transgressions against your body and soul. You bear none of the emotional and psychic scar tissue that comes from such violence; and I heard far too many of you in the crowd murmurming that you "had no idea", that you had "never heard a victim speak before." Ladies and gentlemen, that is unconscionable; and so I find that I must deliver, by whatever means, the speech I intended originally to give this morning. It follows.

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So....... You are upset. At long last, you are upset. Let us ask: why? Why are you here? What did it take to get you here? What is so different this week from all the other weeks in the last ten months? An additional 11,000 documents?

The 6,000 Shanley documents were not enough for you? The knowledge of 6 year old Greg Ford being raped repeatedly by Paul Shanley was not enough for you? The knowledge of Bill O'Toole, saying agonized rosary after rosary, as he died of AIDS, in a place beyond spiritual hope; rosaries offered to be delivered from the hell to which Paul Shanley had told him he would be consigned for eternity if he broke the secret; and he did----this was not enough for you? The documented horrors of the Geoghan victims, the publicly confessed defilements and rapes by James Porter; the staggering nightmare of Fr. Gauthe in Louisiana, known since the mid-80's; the voice of John Harris; the voice of Anne Hagen Webb; the voice of Steve Lynch; the voice of Susan Renehan; the voice of Steve Lewis; the voice of Bill Gately; my voice. All this pain endured and continuing, spoken to you in our halting, breaking voices, in your presence, on television, in newspaper, in national magazines. All this was not enough for you?

And yet, now, this week, you are here in moral outrage, righteous wrath, demanding JUSTICE! May God have mercy on you; which is more than you have demanded of your Church for the unanswered and unsolaced victims of its, and your, priests.

WHAT in the name of God did you imagine we had been telling you all this time? HOW was it even possible for you NOT to hear OUR cry for justice? I believe that many of you are here today in your numbers because you feel personally insulted by the past week's revelations, not because you have, even now, heard us, or because our suffering was enough to move you to action.

You have danced with the devil, and every victim of a sexually abusive priest has paid the price of your admission to the dance. You have danced with the devil, smug in the satisfaction that you were part of the special club, the elect, the Roman Catholic Church.

You have shut your eyes and danced with the devil in his alb and his cope, the Belgian lace of his surplices; leaning back in his strong arms in a waltz of comfortable and willful ignorance; happy in the embrace of your commanding partner, whom you never questioned, whose real name you never even took the time to ask.

Lucifer was the most beautiful of all the angels. The Morning Star. The glory of the creations. God's favorite. Did you think he would come to you in hideousness, fangs drawn, fiery-eyed, announcing his presence? Christ himself warned you of the predator in sheep's clothing. You cannnot say no one ever told you. But you did not beware. You gave gold to the predator; you gave it your neighbor's children; and in too many cases you scorned and ridiculed those among you who dared to cry "Danger!"

I cannot and will not applaud you for being here today, where, I believe, you should have been all along, where it was your God-given duty to be, comforting, healing and loving the victims of this Church, your Church. Even today, far too many of you are here because of your own sense of offended dignity and privilege-----"How DARED the church lie to US!"----and not out of any sense of identification with or empathy for victims.

I will say only this. To the extent that each one of us, the victims, suffered rape, defilement and their attendant, lasting horrors, one of you did not. Carry that knowledge in your hearts when you leave here.

Well, better late than never, no matter what the reason, I suppose; but do not in your righteous indignation make the mistake of thinking you have reason to be proud of yourselves. We have not quite come to THAT point yet; there is a great deal for you to atone for, first.

With particularly pointed irony I would like to remind you at this season that "God so loved the world that He" did not send a committee. Ponder this as you wade through your endless by-laws and points-of-order, your plenary sessions. The lived and exemplified love of Christ in the world are not, and certainly should not, be a matter of Parliamentary procedure for witnessing Christians.

You will go home from here. You will go home to your Advent Candles, your holly and your ivy, your twinkling lights, your Christmas trees, your cozy mangers and pretty little baby Jesuses. You will celebrate Christmas, or Solstice, or Yule, or whichever of any number of names by which people identify the coming of the light. You will celebrate.

Take this message, too, with you: Christmas is not a holiday, to victims of sexual abuse by priests; it is a day of mourning. It is the commemoration of the birth of yet one more child who will grow up to be abused, defiled, and lied about, by the Catholic Church.

At this Advent time, I ask Almighty God to bless each of you in a special way, with the understanding of what has been done to children and young men and women by an arrogant and ungodly Roman Catholic hierarchy; and understanding of what your inertia of mind and heart allowed to be done.

Bend down over your exquisite creches and whisper to each one of us, the victims of your priests; whisper to the Christ Child who is the emblem of all we are or could have been, and say "I am sorry. I am sorry. I am so sorry." And weep when you speak.

Better late than never. I am reminded of the biting comment in the biting Irish temper of my father as he snapped at one or another of us who were too slow in responding to what were our duties. "What were you waiting for? Christmas?"

----Arthur Austin
copyright December 2002

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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"