Leave The Children Alone … Men, Be Good Men

Top secret


 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 …
  • Victims

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 …
what happened.
The money …
d o e s   n o t    g u a r a n t e e  …
full healing.

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.



My Heart Goes Out To You

For so many parents: my heart goes out to you.  Not much needs to be said.  At times like these, an excess of words can be maddening . . .  for parents who are grieving . . .  to hear.  Unexplainable heaviness threw me into this post.  Yesterday one innocent young lady in high school was shot, in Denver, by a school shooter.  Claire Davis is in critical condition.  If you do pray, please send one up for her, and her parents.

Today, parents mourned the loss of their kiddos at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.  It is believed that at least 24 school shootings have claimed at least 17 lives since what happened in the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Grieving, and hope.  My heart goes out to all of you who have lost children, regardless of what the circumstances were.





Remembrance of 11, September, 2001

The grief, the thankfulness, both happening in a place where the choices are made … to NOT forget the attack on the U.S., September 11, 2001.

That morning I walked into the men’s shelter I worked at, the chapel, and stood with a group of guys I worked with, looking up at the huge screen on the wall.  We were quiet, and stunned, watching footage of two different buildings spewing smoke; and the harsh footage replayed of the two planes flying directly into those buildings.  At some point, the news commentator communicated a report that had just come in, about a third plane that had crashed into the Pentagon.  Then John, standing next to me, his eyes expressionless, said in a low voice “Its still going on.”

I cannot fathom the courage, the thoughts of those who faced death, the first responders.  Remembering is a sacred piece of who we are. 



Men, An August Audibility About Autism Awareness

Audibility?  WOW!  Such vocabulary . . .  I want to be audible about the giftedness with

Map of Colorado
Map of Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

fatherhood of an autistic child.  And I am all over the map, incidentally.  Driving my old Subaru, traveling with my family, putting miles on the car, it is a small map.  Negotiating the routes, the directions, the turns and the straightaways of autism is a different map: definitely not a small map.  

What an amazing opportunity to be a father it is; and I sometimes forget that.  My son is brilliant, a good looking kid (I could be jealous, but I’m not), and quite stout.  And me?  I am a man who is scared to death of failure, terrified (at times) of being a dad.  I don’t want to let my son down.  I don’t have what it takes to walk in these shoes (people tell me that this a non-truth).

“Having a child with Autism can mess with your head: You feel like you can move mountains for them yet you're powerless at the same time.”
by Stuart Duncan

To walk this walk means being intentional about support (giving and receiving); moving toward my son and not away; living with authenticity, not being a poser.  My desire for  authenticity, redemptive intimacy, the support I need, and to walk the walk means I need to be plugged in . . . with a good community of people. 

I am giving a “thumbs up” to the Autism Society of Colorado.  http://www.autismcolorado.org/  This is a great resource (for those living in Colorado) that may or may not pertain to any of the good folks following this blog.  But, there might be a dad out there who is walking a similar path that I am. Maybe you are at the beginning of the journey: trying to de-escalate your son when he is screaming, posturing, destroying your walls and furniture, and your phone.  Maybe you are at that place where you spend a fair amount of time sitting in the emergency room, waiting to find out . . . what?  Oh, how I remember those days, not too long ago.

Here is one small example of what The Autism Society of Colorado is about.  They are offering some parent training / family support courses, specifically on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).  I won’t go into that, now.  I’ll just say that if you have a kiddo with autism / aspergers, then you will benefit by learning more about Applied Behavioral Analysis.  If you want more information, go to their website.

Regardless of what kind of winner you have for a son or a daughter, thank you, men . . .  those of you who are fighting the good fight of fatherhood.  And those brave souls who battle for their children, and love for their children . . .   Thank you, too.  Until next time.


Writers: Ever Heard of Lou Blonger?

Not referring to spectacles, as I am wearing now, to see clearly, as in “I can see clearly now the rain has gone …” (Credence Clearwater Revival / John Fogerty).   No, I am referring to readers: books, articles, blogs.  Not only writers, but readers.  Stephen King, in his book on writing, said:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Most of us are reading different things, these days.  I am oddly reminded of the importance of reading today.  I am visiting a little town two hours west of Denver, an hour outside Rocky Mountain National Park.  And I’ve always … always … always … been intrigued by the legends and stories of Mountain Men, Mountain Men Outlaws, and Mountain Men eccentrics. Front Cover One particular volume I’d like to throw out on the small table to the side of your infamous reading chair (maybe you have more than one reading chair): Outlaw Tales of Colorado by Jan Elizabeth Murphy.   Murphy covers one character in particular, who intrigues me: Lou Blonger, who came to Colorado in 1879.  

Lou Blonger was raising a great deal of hell, running con-rackets, a saloon, a gambling house.   What Murphy tells you about this ruffian is really wild.  Another “player” in the con-games in Denver, Soapy Smith, ” …was running the underworld (at the time) …  and his brother Bascomb were charged with the attempted murder of a saloon manager. Realizing he had lost control of the situation, Soapy left for the mining boomtown of Skagway, Alaska in 1897, relinquishing control of Denver’s underworld to Lou Blonger.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Blonger

From that point on, when Soapy Smith left Denver (1897) Blonger ran the underworld in Denver.  Lou Blonger was known as: “The Fixer“; “The King of the Con Artists“; “The Overlord of the Underworld“.  All of that came to an end in 1923, when he went on trial, was found guilty, sentenced for 7 years, but died in 1924 at the age of 74.

See what you miss out on if you are not a reader? Be a better writer.  Be a reader.

Hopers, Long “O”

A “HOPER” is one who fights with hope.  Hope is part of who a hoper is.  Hope can be followed by disappointment.  COURAGE happens when one hopes.  From a book entitled Keeping Hope Alive, by Lewis Smedes, I read something that I  decided was worth quoting in a blog:

 “People who have the habit of hope … respond more effectively to crises … stricken, but not crushed by tragedy. When everything good about life shakes at the foundations and they cannot be sure of what will happen next, they turn their eyes to the possibility that something good can still come of it.”

I am a metaphorical thinker / writer.  The sword, in the hand of an honorable warrior, gives me hope, and reminds of strength that we need, and strength that we have, but … sometimes … strength that we forget about.  I found this picture on a blog of another WordPress-guy, Tobiasmastgrave@Wordpress.com.  I really like it. 


Another place I’ve visited on the web is a site called http://getbusylivingblog.com, referring to John Grisham: ” … a lawyer …  first book A Time to Kill took three years to write … rejected 28 times until he got one yes for a 5,000 copy print. He’s sold over 250 million total copies of his books.”  I always appreciate the stories, the wisdom, the examples from hopers.  Tell your story, because I want to hear it.  I want to hear about your hope.  I think a good way to sign off is with a quote from Thomas Edison:

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”


Exiled Men

EXILE: what a bummer!  Removed from your country, because of political issues? Or, something you said?   You may have seen this quote before.

“No exile … at the South Pole or on the summit of Mont Blanc … separates us more effectively from others … than the practice of a hidden vice.”  Marcel Proust  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/exile.html

People have been exiled for something they said, or attempting to gain power.  In America, people say bad things about others ALL the time; and power is a big deal for many folks.  So, where would everyone go, in exile?

Interesting that you would ask that question.  There were islands for exiles.  Patmos was one of the more famous ones.  commons.wikipedia.org / http://www.sportschaplain.org   John was at Patmos …He made a few enemies because of his connection with Jesus.  OOOPS ! 

Voltaire was an exiled fella.   He really knew how to get under the skin of certain folks in France, criticizing the church in France; talking smack about the royals.  “Oh, Wow … Was it something I said?”  Off to the Bastille: a fairly intense fortress in France.  Thus, Voltaire – Despair.

English: Marseille, Château d'If, as seen from...
English: Marseille, Château d’If, as seen from ferry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edmond Dante’s was another fella who ticked off the wrong people.  Dante’s was the mainFile:Edmond Dantès.JPG guy in The Count of Monte Christo, (some say the story was named after a sandwich).  Dante’s exiled at the Château d’If, a small island in the Bay of Marseille (southeastern France).

EXILED MEN … I think of men who live their lives in subtle, “flying-below-the-radar” isolation as men who are, figuratively, in exile.   It’s not a realm of clear-cut categories.  Men hide: both good and bad.  Men are targeted by others in the workplace, for quite a few reasons.  Betrayal cuts deep, and the scar still has pain beneath the surface. Some men never heal from it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Edmond_Dantès.JPG

I remember a quote from many years ago, and I liked it for a time.  But now I know that the quote is not true:  “The world cannot hide a good man.”   Good men do isolate; good men do hide; and good men do … exile themselves.  And to get away from unsafe people, one can become acclimated with exile.  It is a sad reality.  But it does not have to be that way.  Sometimes it takes courage for a man to surrender his exile, and “show up” with life.