On The Father, Joseph Matt (CCR)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 The Kansas City Star, page 1
Headline: Lawsuit alleges priest’s paternity

Granted abusing children is infinitely more debased than having sex with a consenting adult. Granted the consenting adult was vulnerable in the therapy session, transference known to every 101 Psychology student. Granted the woman/mother gave birth to the priest’s child, hiding paternity for many years. Granted the priest may not have presented himself as a trained therapist but simply offered his position as priest and friend. Granted the sexual relationship continued over a period of time, consensual sex.

Many years ago, my grandfather scorned the church because the local priest ‘had a woman’. To my grandfather the “sanctimonious position of the church regarding women and sex was disgusting, especially in light of what Pop believed to be common practice–a priest ‘having a woman’. Pop was born in Missouri in the late 1800s.

John Doe reports (page 9, Kansas City Star, September 27, 2011) that “My lawyer asked Bishop Finn what they were going to do about Joe Matt…And his answer was, well, Joe Matt’s done all these great things, he’s been a good guy, he takes care of his brother. All he did was compliment how good a guy Matt was.” Joe Matt returned to parish work after acknowledging paternity.

Many of my blogs reference the Catholic Church stated position: One True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic…the one true church built on the rock called Peter and based on the Jesus philosophy. Many of my blogs reference my Catholic baptism and my years of sincere and loyal participation. Many of my blogs reference the beauty of hundreds of wonderful people true to the liturgy, tradition and dogma of the church.

I have written on sexual abuse of children by ordained priests, men of position and power entrusted with the welfare of those children. I acknowledge that many other organizations have dealt with abuse issues.

I have challenged the Catholic Church position that women are lesser than–unworthy to function in the roles assigned to men.
I have challenged the Catholic Church position on gay marriage, on homosexual persons created in that ‘image and likeness of God’ part of the creation story. I have supported the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. I have supported gay marriage and the rights of gay couples to parent children.

A whitened sepulcher is the image that refuses to leave. A magnificent edifice created on the beautiful teachings of a man named Jesus. This man named Jesus taught social justice, integrity, truth, adherence to stated principles. The building is a singular masterpiece until the doors open and the extent of corruption spills out.

Remember the parable of the widow’s mite, the pittance given (and praised). In her great need, the widow gave her money to the propagation of the so-called faith and her story became a part of the yearly calendar of readings. That widow’s mite helps to support a splendid city of pomp and wealth. Maybe Jesus would be shaking the dirt from his rope sandals.

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I Believe

Alan Stark wrote I Believe.

On page 128, Stark wrote:
“I believe the definition of a friend is someone you call when you have really great news or really sad news.”

On page 111, Stark wrote: “I believe couples should hold hands at least three minutes every day.”

On page 156, Stark wrote: “I believe that memories are treasures worth more than gold.”

Three is that good number, the one that can mesh the unrelated and find a new truth. So I have an addendum to Alan’s beliefs, my big three for today.

I check myself off the definition of a friend. Today has been one of the saddest days of the last 11 months. There is no one I will phone to share the sadness. There is no one with whom I have that kind of comfort. There is no one to whom I could even begin that conversation, share that deep and penetrating loss.

Holding hands is vital, an intimacy to be cherished. Going out alone today, I did a virtual hand holding via four area wide garage sale events. Bob loved them. We trudged up the driveways as he searched for his bargain of the day and until he was too worn to continue. I bought three things just so the experience would be true, a book, a light switch, a leather purse. Three dollars ventured and a memory gained.

That brings me to those memories worth more than gold. My brain is odd. My memories are rarely specific in detail but definitely specific in feelings. Bob and I had two love stories, one in youth and the second in middle age and onto his last years. Between those chapters, I had another love story with a good man, the father of my children.

Today is not really an empty day. It is a day of far too many memories, far too much emotion, far too heavy with a sadness I cannot shake. I feel ashamed, weak, to be as I am today. Wonder why the amazing goodness that is so much a part of my life cannot handle the overflow of memories?

I believe that time as healer is a ruse. What really happens is that we get really good at covering over, pretending and doing make-believe. Today is my birthday and I want what I cannot have. I miss him.

Price Tag On A Soul

Rudimentary to a price tag, of course, is that fundamental belief in the immortal soul, a soul that registers consequences backed up against a belief system.

Identifying the belief system is a balance of the famous walk and talk comparison. Stumble along with that murky bit for a while. Then try to sort those quietly held truths vs. so-called doctrines or universal truths. The stumble decreases to stalemate.

“This Great Country of the United States of American…The American People have spoken…The greater good demands…Mama Grizzly.”

Public officials have the research. Pick a word, pick a pair, pick a hot button of most compelling, most able to incite action, most conservative, most liberal, most blah. Name a prejudice and the handbook of electability will furnish the words to exploit. Identify a pork and you can bet a politician is slipping it under the radar.

Our shoulders should ache from carrying that burden. We elected them. We read the history and we turn the page allowing a rewrite; same ideas different names.

Part of the reason that this blog stayed quiet for some time is my inability to process the cover up of the abuse of children. The Church, that was my life anchor for well over six decades, covered for and protected the abusers. The abusing priests were more important that the anguish of the abused.

When recently asked why I thought that the Catholic Church got more press than other organizations who have abusers in their ranks, I didn’t hesitate to answer.

The Catholic Church set itself above all others, named itself as the one true, holy, catholic and apostolic church. From earliest memory, the Catholic Church set itself apart and above, the single pathway to God, the true keeper of the words of Jesus. No other denominations need apply.

Right there on top of the flag pole, waving the flag of a Pope speaking directly from God, unable to err on doctrines of faith or morals. Catholics first, all others diminished, setting a bar that demanded a higher standard. Sow and reap.

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.”

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.

Troubled? The Bishop Was Troubled? (CCR)

If you, Gentle Reader, have children or grandchildren the abuse scandal is that bull’s-eye painted on the essence of those children.   Look at the beauty of your young ones and decide if the reaction to abuse would be a horrible bastardized-Jesus-forgiveness or a rage to remove.

Playing the scripture card to justify a plea for forgiveness is ignoring the fact that the story says the temple was  off-limits to the money changers.  Even your Jesus, a man of peace and justice, had limits of acceptance.  If you believe in the hell created for sinners, do you remotely harbor a belief that Jesus/God forgives those in hell?  Loves the sinner, hates the sin kind of rhetoric…loves those in eternal flames?

The Kansas City Star, Saturday, May 21, 2011, front page article by Laura Bauer and Glenn Rice

“One day after prosecutors charged a Roman Catholic priest with possession of child pornography, Bishop Robert Finn said he knew about the ‘very troubling’ images months ago but was told they weren’t pornography.”

Bishop Finn contacted a police officer and described one or more of the images.  Remember, the Bishop was very troubled by the images but decided to describe one or more to a police officer so that the officer could make the judgment as to just how troubling, how close to pornography, how much the diocese would have to reveal and justify.

Bishop Finn also admits that Ratigan was not honoring the restrictions put on him by the bishop.  Ratigan continued to ignore the restrictions.  The bishop continued to admonish him not to ignore the restrictions.  The bishop put Ratigan in a private priest residence and Ratigan continued to celebrate Mass.   Mass.  The Bishop allowed Ratigan to celebrate Mass.

On Wednesday, May 18, the Star reported on the study commissioned by Roman Catholic bishops citing reasons why priests physically and sexually abused children.  One of those reasons was priests were poorly monitored.

The Bishop confesses to being troubled but made the decision to keep his concerns in-house, to ignore the need to contact civil authorities.  The Bishop placed restrictions and Ratigan ignored the restrictions.

Again, I know that Ratigan is legally innocent until proven guilty.  Ratigan, trained and monitored by the church (that church which covered his actions) was allowed to continue under the presumption of innocence?

Maybe there are those who would go so far as to say that the church is innocent until proven guilty.  The burden of proof weighs heavily, to the breaking point.

There are those who would take the guilt off the church (where it belongs) and use the comedic line “The devil made me do it.”

Self-protection, denial, justification and dishonor continue to allow this obscene scandal.

Throwing Stones

The question asked was:  “Did I want to throw stones or build bridges?”

A seemingly sincere and legitimate Catholic publication was soliciting subscriptions and donations using the glass house image.  If I admitted that my house is glass, which indeed it is, then I could be expected to protect my own sins,  heft the stones and build the bridges.  If memory serves, one of the target bridges was to sort the clergy abuse scandal and construct a pathway leading to reconciliation.

Hand me a stone and stand back.

My answer is that I will continue to throw stones until the walls come down.  In my small and insignificant way I will hammer at the cover-up, the obscenity of abuse by clergy, holy men consecrated to serving their God sexually abusing children.

Don’t ask, don’t even suggest that I build a bridge between bishops who covered-up by reassignment, between perpetrators who abused without consequence or conscience and young Catholics who will live damaged lives because stones were not thrown.

Rather than thinking bridge, come–stand beside whatever mountain of stones will be required.   The walls that protected must be destroyed.  Justice is demanded, else the whole church thing is a joke, a sad and sick joke using God to mask the evil.