I have repeatedly watched the 2015 movie “Spotlight’ and read much concerning the epidemic of abusive priests in the Catholic Church. My emotions have run the gamut of anger to tears as I recall my own personal experiences of being sexually abused at the hands of my father, and the enabling of a mother who turned her eyes away to the obvious.
I have seen my own siblings keep the family secret from their kids somehow believing it is for the best.
In the meantime, I have struggled to find my place in this world with a plethora of injuries that have remained open and uncured. I have struggled with addiction, relationships, authority, faith and my own self-worth. In the last few months and years I have entertained thoughts of suicide, as living has become less and less worthwhile.
Nothing has changed that.
There is a rift of considerable proportions in the family; secrets and lies, justifications and rationalizations that have spilled over into all area’s of living.
As I openly question and process my life I am accused of things that should be reserved for the one who started this whole ball rolling. I am the bad guy.
The “church” has in some instances rebuked me, and in others turned away. In either case it has been much like the Catholic Church and its attempts to minimize and sweep the story of abusive priests into obscurity. My questions and indeed accusations are labeled as negative, divisive and filled with self-serving motives.
The revelation of abuse was mis-handled by the church and there was little to no help for the abused, physically or emotionally.
The anger is growing…the frustration deepening…and the ability to live with it all is becoming a burden I am less willing to endure.
But go ahead, excuse the actions of the abuser with forgiveness and grace and heap upon them mercy and compassion yet continue to fight the abused and the reality of life-long harm that has been undeniably administered to the innocent; withhold from them the justice you demand for much lesser debts which are due to you.
If the church isn’t aggressively and purposefully pursuing truth in all areas of life they are seeking no truth at all. If, for their reputation, they are secretive and protective of information that will prevent further damage to the lives of people, they are no better than any common criminal.
Stop protecting the abusers. Yes, grace should always be extended to the repentant, but you cannot also expect the harmed to be restored to complete and perfect wholeness without a significant investment of time and resources.
It is a lifelong process, and I guess that’s where the church struggles. They want you to forgive, be healed and move on. It will never be that simple.