When one denomination of Christianity suffers, all the body of Christ suffers. The secular world does not know who to trust or what to believe when various Christians fail to live according to the basic Ten Commandments.
I hear many stories as a massage therapist who is studying to be a Catholic chaplain. I hear of a young 8 year old girl, who over 50 years ago, was raped by a family member. This 8 year old girl sought help from her parish priest. The parish priest was not helpful, he also raped her. He was never charged or condemned as a “bad” priest.
I knew a young man who committed suicide after serving as an altar boy for several years in a small northern town. Only after he killed himself did anyone hear rumors of the molestation he may have suffered from his priest. This priest was never considered a criminal either.
I hear of a 12 year old girl whose mother adored their parish priest. The priest would come for dinner at their home. When the mother was not around, the priest would partially undress and demanded a backrub from the 12 year old girl. The mother could see nothing wrong with such behavior. This priest was never considered a criminal.
I hear of middle aged women who do not have the self-esteem to be able to enjoy a real relationship with a spouse and instead accept the scraps of affection given by busy priests through emotional and sexual liaisons which bring along the spiritual shame of adultery.
I observe women between 40 and 80 years old adoring a priest like a 14 year old girl at a concert for Justin Bieber.
If our Catholic Community is going to heal, the “New Evangelization” efforts need to be rooted in reality instead of idealism. Catholics need to be taught to listen to the victims, hear their stories, acknowledge their pain, and guide the wounded towards peace. Many Catholics attempt to bury their head in the sand while refusing to see that there is not a small minority of “bad” priests. In reality there is a very wounded church with many wounded sheep. We are the body of Christ, all of us, no matter what we have done or not done. We are united in Christ. As Catholic Christians we are called to fear God alone, not our priest, bishop, Pope, or other people’s opinions.
In my own life experiences, I have found homosexual priests to be very supportive of my efforts to serve others. I have found married Eastern Orthodox priests and black priests from Africa to respect me much like I was respected by other professional men as a scientist and engineer. I have not had many positive experiences with white, American, heterosexual priests. All I can say is that when interacting with these priests, in my own mind I often think, “Houston to Apollo 13, I think we have left reality and entered the land of projection again….” My opinion is that priests would do well to have the freedom to choose marriage if they desire while being free to keep their vocation of priesthood. I think it is very good to have intimate relationships with other people where each person keeps the other person accountable by providing healthy reality checks.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my thoughts. I suspect this will be my last posting on this issue. It’s time for me to return to writing fiction. I feel like I have spoken my truth and that brings me peace. Love and Prayers to all.