Deliver Us From (CCR)

We humans are a very mixed bag. Two of my sons have expressed a belief that, over-all, the human race is more disposed to ugliness than to civil discourse, compassion, and a genuine search for truth.

Pockets, they say. Pockets. Good people are simply pockets tucked in amidst the preponderance of ignorance and the disregard for justice.

The Kansas City Star has printed many letters regarding the Ratigan/Finn/Murphy situation in the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph. Most of my recent blogs have focused of the physical and sexual abuse of children by ordained men of the Catholic Church and the overwhelming evidence of an institutional cover-up.

I have tried to read with an open mind, an understanding of the perspective of every letter writer. For many years I shared the concept that the Church knew best, could do no wrong and had the Jesus Philosophy dialed.

Obviously, that belief, and the required blind and silent obedience, is no longer a part of my life.

A letter to the editor, Kansas City Star, Thursday, June 30, 2011 taxes my ability to maintain an open-mind. In the letter, Laura Long of Pleasant Hill writes:

“All I see from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is a bunch of money-hungry, publicity-hungry folks jumping up and down creating havoc for the sake of havoc.”

Excuse me, but how does a mean-spirited remark like that fit into the Jesus philosophy? “…jumping up and down creating havoc for the sake of havoc.”

Really, Laura Long? Victims of abuse should quietly go away, perhaps being sheep to a flawed Shepard?

Men and women seeking justice following molestation by trusted priests are simply jumping up and down? Priests given honor, prestige and trust violated the victims, their families and the trust of their ordination.

Ordained men who professed the Jesus Philosophy fondled, raped, violated, tortured children and now the children are “…creating havoc for the sake of havoc”?

If the survivors manage to create some havoc in the name of justice I honor that havoc, not unlike chasing those money changers from the temple.

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Eccentricity In Purple (CCR)

By accident, by my pilot error, one of my three decks is now purple. Caught up in one of my manic moments I brushed at dusk, finishing at dark, too tired to pay much attention to detail…like color.

I admit to early warning. Mark made one of his wonderful weekend runs from Colorado. He drives nine hours to do things like clean decks, drive when we look for a house and—-and make me feel both normal and young. He is my first-born son and he brings safety when he comes here.

Mark said the third deck was different wood and the stain would not look as it did on the other two decks. So even if I had a dusk-glimmer of curiosity as I painted, I just blew it off counting down to quitting time.

Maybe the stain label calls it Plum Island, but the eye knows purple. The other two decks are beautiful redwood stain that bead rain like champions. Under the deep shade, tucked back from the Sycamore, eccentricity has arrived. I love the color and I love the sense that something is different, that a threshold opened, that the purple isn’t a color to be worn but an attitude to be cherished.

No longer will there be a twinge of sadness when I write about the Catholic Church. No longer will I balance excuses with this new purple awareness.

For about two weeks, this blog faltered. I gave up facing the truth about the church I once called ‘my church’. Excuses are easy. My words have no power. Some members of my family push farther away with every blog. A drop in the ocean cannot ripple. I don’t have all the facts. Bob’s death has made me vulnerable to wrong thinking.

Weightless air puffs of excuses but they served my purpose, a need for time to grieve, to rage in anger. I have. And my anger is righteous and my church is wrong.

Since October I have grieved a physical death that ended a long chapter of my life. Today I walked into his space, a shed of memories, and it was October again. I wonder at my weakness. Grieving that loss will never end.

With the Ratigan/Finn/Murphy the grieving for ‘my church’ is over.

On Sunday, June 19 2011, the Kansas City Star had a front page photo of 75 Catholics marching in support of Bishop Robert Finn. At least ten of those in the photograph were children. The diocese has 134,000 families and 65 adults declared their support. My guess is that if a man named Jesus had seen the demonstration he might have said that the number supporting Bishop Finn was just about perfect.

On Friday, June 24, 2011 Kansas City Star front page headline:
Ex-monk admits sexual misconduct

Bede Parry is a former Benedictine from a northwest Missouri abbey. He has admitted sexual misconduct while leading the boys choir in the 1980s.

And the beat goes on…

When Anybody Is Working….

When anybody works, everybody works: Mostly unspoken but never ignored rule from a 1940’s/1950’s family life. Probably Mom’s rule as Dad was great with a dedicated elbow on the fireplace, bourbon and ice in hand, and focused on a radio news report. Those ingrained rules of life shadow well into retirement insuring that down-time nags like a pounce of righteous lurking nearby.

Last evening as I shuffled the stack of bills, envelopes and stamps I heard the sound–the sound of approaching work. Everyone knows that desk work is not real work, the physical labor kind of work that fills Mom’s requirement. As ridiculous as it sounds, the rule is alive and nagging so I left the kitchen table to find physical work.

My neighbors are amazing…generous, kind hearts and often pretending that they are charging me the going rate for the help that is always just across the north field. Last night’s call to work was Steve’s uni-loader with clam shell coming to move several years of accumulated storm debris stacked in various wood piles. These piles have morphed into condos for invading wildlife: mice, snakes, ground hogs, raccoons and creatures unnamed. (I just spent close to $400.00 to have a mouse apartment removed from the engine compartment of my six month old car.) Wildlife is not my friend when it comes to renovation of unwelcome living space.

I digress.
Steve was working. It was early evening, long after his scheduled work day. What would have been really great would be to just watch like a pedestrian at a construction site. sigh. When anybody is working, everybody works. Right, Mom? So I did.

Granted Steve worked with finesse and I just smeared the streaks on the patio room windows. Granted he raked and cleaned as he went and I just wrapped the paint brush in a wet cloth rather than do a thorough cleaning. Granted, he amazingly improved the look of the place and I sort of added to this mornings to-do list.

Funny how that all works out. This place is greatly improved by Steve’s work. Mom’s rule obeyed and honored, though a bit on the shoddy side from my end. And not wanting to forget Dad’s contribution, the ice hitting the glass made the closing sound as I locked down for the night.

Out Of The Woodwork (CCR)

“You have become a Johnny One-Note. Are there no other topics? Move on. These people come out of the woodwork.”
That one got to me, salted the moral ache that festers. The meaning was clear. “These people come out of the woodwork.” Mistrust of motivation. Blaming the victims. Protecting the abusers by saying that the woodwork people worm out to join the bandwagon.

In defense of this person, there are no TVs, newspapers or news magazines in the home. Current events are the day-to-day drama of over fifty seniors, age 62 plus, living in an apartment building. The outside world is too filled with bad news to allow in–so ignore and pretend it doesn’t exist.

It does exist. It is real. The abuse tolerated, perhaps allowed in the belief that the church required that depth of protection. The cover-up hid the truth and gave permission for abuse to continue.

Mike Hunter of Kansas City is the volunteer director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. David Clohessy of St. Louis is the executive director of SNAPNetwork.org, the same organization. Hunter and Clohessy co-authored As I See It, an opinion piece for the Kansas city Star Newspaper. The final paragraph of their piece offers the only solution that holds promise.
“That’s why we’re desperately hoping police and prosecutors will step up. While our justice system isn’t perfect, it can often unearth the truth in such situations and punish the guilty, thus deterring recklessness, callousness and deceit in the future.”

The Swill Thickens (CCR)

Kansas City Star, Thursday, June 9, 2011 Front page headline:
Once-accused priest now leads church inquiries
Opening sentence: “The Catholic official who oversees sex abuse complaints against priests in Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese has himself been accused of past sexual improprieties.”

With any due respect, with awareness that an accusation is not a conviction, with further awareness that I am not privy to the workings of the Catholic Church protocols when dealing with priests who sexually or physically abuse children I submit that an accused fox guarding the chicken house is not a good strategy for garnering credibility.

Opinion Page, A 17 Headline: ROME FIDDLES WHILE CHURCH BURNS, commentary by Maureen Dowd

Tell me again, please, that the Catholic Church believes their own propaganda that the incidents of abuse are isolated and definitely not handled through deceit and cover-up. In Dowd’s piece she recounts Ireland’s Archbishop Martin’s tearful account of an abusing Irish priest who built a swimming pool, allowing only boys of certain looks and age to enter the garden. Depraved…”and Dickensian treatment of children in the care of the Irish Catholic Church–a fifth circle of hell hidden for decades by church and police officials–the Irish are still angry and appalled.”

Martin, according to Dowd, has been ostracized by fellow bishops and snubbed by the Holy See. Martin’s crime? Speaking out against pedophiles, publishing his findings and begging forgiveness from God and from the victims while praising the victims for the courage to come forward. In Martin’s words: “Nobody could have read what I have read and not did what I did. If I didn’t react to the stories I heard, there would be something wrong.”

There is something so terribly wrong that the mind cannot comprehend the depth of this wrong. How can a church, spewing out its belief in the Jesus philosophy go so deep into the bowels of hell?

The Catholic Church is burning by its own actions, by the depravity of believing in the preservation of the institution, the safety and structure as created by the men of Rome, over any of the teachings of Jesus. It is a Jesus quote about vomiting that comes to mind..

Soul Weary, Heart Sick and Justifiably Angered (CCR)

Theresa, a Gentle Reader,  took me to task over whether the first or second in command, Bishop Finn or Robert Murphy,  actually read the letter regarding Ratigan.  Now the information about communication referencing Ratigan dates back to  2006.

So what, Theresa?   Does is matter if Finn or Murphy continued the orchestrated cover-up?  Read the Kansas City Star, Friday, June 3, 2011, Front Page.

Soul weary, heart-sick and justifiably angered.

Two articles, Gentle Readers, on the structured and sanctioned cover-up for and by Catholic priests, protecting other Catholic priests and the corruption within the institution are on the front page of The Kansas City Star, June 3, 2001.

Soul weary, heart-sick and justifiably angered.

Perhaps there will be more to say later, but today?  I hope Archbishop Dolan is revisiting the physical reactions to abuse scandals.