The following blog is in response to the article dated Saturday, July 28th, in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, by Nicole Winfield and Rodney Muhumuza of the Associated Press entitled “Abuse of nuns a church secret“.
I was deeply saddened to read of yet another group of the faith who have been preyed upon by predator priests. What shocked me was how widespread the harassments and assaults have been, and the disregard and disrespect that is shown everywhere towards those that heed the call of service to God. It seems that nuns are seen as second-class in the church, and the church has failed to value them as Godly women when society already recognizes women for their unique abilities and worth.
What is it about the positions of power in our institutions that draw those who lust for that power and control over all beneath them? Even the children find their worth to the body of Christ negated by priests not-so-celibate desires. Of course, what can be done when you are a woman or child, isolated in a house of God, and a priest seeing himself as an agent of God decides you are to serve his needs? Who do you turn to? In confession you are told that what you say is in confidence, so where can you have confidence in your ability to expose what you have been exposed to?
Wolves wrapped in robes of righteousness, preying on the vulnerable, and who is it that they claim to serve? I applaud the brave nuns who have witnessed women come forward in the #METOO movement, seen society rise in support, and believe that they have a worth in Christ that far exceeds the treatment measured out to them. These women, who have given their lives to God’s service, have been taken advantage of and used by men that can’t claim to be acting under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is like the choir boys that find priests seeking to check their development, use them for sexual release, and then finding sympathy in the eyes of all their friends.
What inspired me the most was a growing acknowledgment and recognition that even adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. It is one of the messages we have tried to communicate to the courts, Boy Scouts, and church ourselves, because of the failures that enabled Charles “Jack” Walls resulted in the molestation of hundreds and the deaths of more than a few.
As a prisoner, I face the same judgment these women face, as a second-class and second-rate human being; defined as such by the labels I’ve been given. The Church leaders that knew Jack Walls was abusing kept those secrets because the church was liable as a sponsor of the troop, and it benefited them more to hide the truth than face it.
As I read the account of one nun, assaulted in the process of confessing, it made me shudder to recall the disdain Jack had for the sacrament. Jack thought it funny to offer boys wine on Sunday, and then have them become “his bread” in his rejection of Christ’s offering gift. Is there any question who one serves when the holiest of spiritual acts is manipulated into a sacrilegious seduction?
What must we do to rid our institutions of these predators that use their positions to gather information on the hurt, use it for their own gain and, after grooming them, assault the trusting with sensual lusts?
Please don’t turn away, read every story that comes out, and see in it what we need to prepare and protect. I pray for a day when the Church will be led by leaders devoted to the Word and Christ, and not predators wrapped in pretty robes violating the masses so that they flee our houses of healing, no longer trusting in God.
This isn’t a condemnation of the Catholic church, but a call for society to see the danger and recognize the signs of those that seek such positions to hurt, not help. Jesus told those who would follow that if they couldn’t control their lusts to marry, and there share with a wife those needs that threaten to overcome their walk. Sadly, we see that many in the church are in denial, and want to appear to be celibate while using all that serve beneath them to appease their sensual nature. Pride keeps them from admitting their weakness and, in that weak, arrogant state, the devil uses them with as much love as his fallen angels.
I am thankful that society is seeing clearly the power these men and women wield as abusers, and in that understanding can recognize the damage such abuse and manipulation does to heart, mind, spirit, and soul. The prisons are filled with the lost, many abused at home, church, Scouts, sporting clubs, or simply neglected in a way that the void calls to any voice rather than silence. It is my hope and prayer that the purging of institutional pedophiles will become the rally cry of the masses, before the abused masses give birth to other abusers in an unending cycle. We operate only as well as the scripting that goes into our development, and its time we pay attention who is holding the paper, guiding the pen, and dipping into the inkwell of our innocent.