My heart truly goes out to the countless goodhearted, wise, godly, Catholics … angry and saddened … for fellow-Catholics who have been sexually abused by Catholic priests / nuns. Another story in the news: victims of sexual abuse, perpetrated upon by Catholic priests, get a settlement (Seattle).
*”The Archdiocese of Seattle … to pay about $12.125 million to 30 men who alleged they were sexually abused as children and teens at two Seattle-area schools from the 1950s until 1984, their attorney said.” http://news.msn.com/us/seattle-archdiocese-to-pay-dollar12-million-to-settle-child-sex-abuse-claims-lawyer
“The agreement comes weeks after Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church had to take a stronger stand on a sexual abuse crisis that has disgraced it for more than two decades.” (Same article: http://news.msn.com/us/seattle-archdiocese-to-pay-dollar12-million-to-settle-child-sex-abuse-claims-lawyer
Those words from Pope Francis stir up many questions:
“(The Catholic Church should) … take a stronger stand on a sexual abuse crisis that has disgraced it for more than two decades.”
Pope Francis’ words came, according to the article, within the last several weeks. And sexual abuse has been happening since … the 1950’s (?) … but they have made a profound observation that there needs to be more action taken regarding the priests and nuns who are sex offenders. Pope Francis’ words refer to the Catholic Church being “disgraced”. Surely this does not suggest that the Catholic leadership is more concerned about how the Catholic Church is viewed, than the hearts / minds / souls of their victims of sexual abuse? I wonder: if the sexual abuse was not exposed, would the Catholic Church still have been disgraced?
And if the Catholic Church had not been disgraced, then would their really be a problem in their eyes? The words “Hush Money” have been used in articles / news referring to funds for victims of sexual abuse to be quiet about their abuse. “Hush Money”, therefore, is for keeping the Catholic Church from disgrace. Did the sexual abuse victims feel “disgraced” after they had been abused? I think anyone would feel disgrace after being violated in a sexually abusive way. Many victims kept silent for a long time. Why? Shame? Fear of reprisal? Concern that no one would believe them? “Disgrace”? And yet, the Catholic Church communicates their concern, more about the Catholic Church’s disgrace, than with the victims of the sexual abuse from Catholic priests. For the cases that have been exposed, it was no longer “Hush Money” … but instead a pitiful rationalization, my paraphrase: “If we pay you this money, then its all settled. You go your way, and we will continue to do what we do.”
The Church (globally) in America calls people to live with integrity, to be safe, to be honorable, to be virtuous. At least, there is some good news: the “Hush Money” is exposed; the sex offender priests are being exposed; the numbers (settlements and victims) are being made known. All of this as opposed to the secrets continuing.
- Secrecy …
- Is a predominant theme …
- In the depravity / violence of …
- Sex offenders …
- And the fear / shame of …
When the secrets are told, the secrets lose power.
Here are some numbers, some of many, that are staggering.
*Roman Catholics spent $615 million on sex abuse cases in 2007, alone.
*$85 million in September of 2003 (just that month).
*$100 million in 2005, January.
“According to Donald Cozzens, ‘by the end of the mid 1990s, it was estimated that… more than half a billion dollars had been paid in jury awards, settlements and legal fees.’ This figure grew to about one billion dollars by 2002.” http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Settlements_and_bankruptcies_in_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases
Between 1994 & 2009,there have been over 1,835 victims of sexual abuse.
Settlements / legal fees between 1994 & 2009? $1.269 billion.
Here is the last piece in the story that brings about great disruption and immeasurable sadness from the link, http://news.msn.com/us/seattle-archdiocese-to-pay-dollar12-million-to-settle-child-sex-abuse-claims-lawyer:
Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said in a statement on Tuesday (6/24/14), according to the Seattle Times newspaper,
“Our hope is that this settlement will bring them closure and allow them to continue the process of healing.”
REALITY CHECK, people. Let’s not be so naive as to think that there is going to be significant healing with all of these men and women who have been victimized. For some, yes. For some, no … for some there will be no healing. And its possible that some individuals are hearing Sartain say (my paraphrase) …
“Hey, here’s the money; and its a lot of money; so, since we are paying out a lot of money, then we expect for there to be a lot of healing, and then we won’t feel so bad. And we don’t want to hear anymore about this. Now, get out of here.”
Now, I know; I know, I know, I know … that those were not the words from the archbishop from Seattle … but if I was a victim of sexual abuse from the Catholic Church, I might just think that way about what Sartain is saying.
The money …
d o e s n o t c h a n g e …
The money …
d o e s n o t g u a r a n t e e …
Last question, maybe irrelevant:
Is there any correlation between victims of sexual abuse and suicide?
Those are just a few links to go to if you are interested. All links are unanimous in their research: yes, there is a correlation between childhood sexual abuse and suicide. So, healing? No, not for everyone.