I’ve never been ashamed to be Catholic before.
Not until now.
Given the nauseating information coming to light about the atrocities of sexual abuse in the Church, I am filled with so much disgust, and anger, and yes…shame.
I feel like, you tell someone that you’re Catholic, and it’s like you’re admitting to worshiping at an altar of pedophilia or child molesters. I feel embarrassed. Ashamed. But more than that, I am enraged.
I want to start out by addressing the victims. Thank you for having the courage to come forward and share your story. I am so incredibly sorry that you had to endure that, and live with the aftermath of what those sick men did to you. And I know an “I’m sorry” is laughable in response to the life altering wounds you’ve carried as a result. But you need to know that you did not deserve to be violated, especially by a man that was supposed to be in persona Christi to you and the world. I pray that God’s healing grace wrap around you, as your wounds are reopened with each and every new allegation that comes to light.
These allegations and disgusting truths that are coming to light are going to change Catholicism forever, I fear. People are calling for the resignation of Pope Francis. And frankly, I am one of those.
It pains me not to be able to throw my support behind the leader of our Church, but if the allegations are correct that he knew of the culture of homosexuality and abuse that was rampant among Cardinals and Bishops, and knowingly looked the other way…he needs to be removed.
The body of Christ – the people of the Church – are grieving right now. They are reeling. And angry and confused. And to hear that they need to fast and pray in reparation for the sins of sick, sick men, though coming from a well meaning place, is doing nothing but drive a wedge further between the lay people and the ordained. A clear message needs to be sent that this abuse and systematic allowance of such creeps to continue to abuse is coming to an end. The pedophiles and child molesters will be brought to justice: put in jail, and given the mental health treatment that they clearly, so desperately need. And that those who allowed such sick behavior to continue will be rooted out completely — up to and including the Pope.
As a Catholic, that is not a fun thing to admit, but in order for the Church to truly heal, in addition to prayer and fasting, what we need is the confidence in our leaders that they truly do have our best interest at heart, and are on our team, protecting the Institution of the Faith granted them by Jesus.
There are so many issues that are being spotlighted in all of this. So forgive me if my thoughts are a bit sporadic.
First of all, I’m so glad that the Pennsylvania Report came to light with the degree of gut wrenching detail that it did. Although reading the report and hearing about the specific, graphic detail of the abuse made me want to vomit, it needed to be shared. All of this language used to down play the gravity of the actions — “grooming,” “inappropriate touching,” “sexual misconduct,” — no. I’m sorry. A grown man made a child bleed from the anus after raping him. That is not “grooming.” That is a sick child molester that used his position of power to violently assault a child and then got away with it. He should be in jail and exposed for the creep that he is. Not slapped with a “grooming” charge and then shipped off to the next unsuspecting parish across the country.
Oh it just makes my blood boil.
And I want to pause to just say that there are good priests. Men who dedicate their lives to serving Jesus and live a chaste, holy life in devotion to the Church and her people. And it is such a damn shame that there are these bad apples that “ruin the bunch” in society’s perception. And to that end, those good priests are also hurting right now. And now, more than ever, they need our support. They need community and loved ones around them, as they too, carry society’s mark of shame around their necks in black and white. Invite them to have dinner with your family. Write them a letter of support. Because the vast majority of those in service to the Church are good priests.
But to that point, especially back in the seventies, there was/is a small, hidden culture of active homosexuality among some priests. Look at McCarrick. Homosexual orgies taking place, beach house vacations among priests where the Good Lords knows what took place. That is not okay.
And this is such a tricky issue, because homosexuality is such a hot button issue, especially among the Church.
But whether they are a heterosexual or homosexual priest, they are called to live a life of celibacy. Drug fueled orgies and pedophilia of any kind are just fundamentally wrong, particularly so for an individual placed in a position of high regard and trust.
Lastly – being gay or being celibate does not make one a child molester or a pedophile! Hell, I live a celibate life, as I’m saving my virginity until marriage. But just because I’m chaste doesn’t mean I have all this pent up sexual energy that makes me want to harm children! The men who did those things were sick, sick men, and need professional help, received from the inside of a correction facility.
It takes a strong gut to be Catholic right now.
Hearing these allegations ignites in us one of two options: fight. Or flight.
This is a defining moment in the church. Are we going to walk away and go join another church? Because believe me, they’re gladly welcoming “refugee” Catholics with big, open arms right now.
Or are we going to fight? Are we going to stand up and say, “This is wrong. This is not the Church that Jesus founded. We need to eradicate the corruption.”
And friends, I pray that we do the later. And here’s why:
We have a faith that is worth fighting for.
I don’t place my faith in fallible men who are running the religious organization, known as Catholicism.
My faith is in Jesus.
Jesus is worth fighting for. His Body and Blood are worth fighting for.
And sure, walking away would be the easy thing to do. But that would be a victory for the evil one.
I just want to close quickly with this:
Reading and hearing about the abuse scandal, part of my heart was reminded of an oddly different-yet-similar season in my own life.
During my anorexia, I lied, manipulated, deceived, controlled, and dishonored my parents. I completely and utterly shattered any trust they could have in me, through my actions. Lying about what I was or wasn’t eating, about my exercise habits, the pain from my Ulcerative Colitis, my whereabouts, my weight, my medications. I manipulated the love and concern they had for me, for my own sick and twisted ED gain.
But even though they were so deeply hurt, they knew that it was my anorexia that was making me do all those despicable things, up to and including starving myself down to 78 pounds, nearly destroying the life I was given by God, through them.
And through their pain and disappointment, they chose to love me through it. They chose to forgive me, and rebuild the trust that I had so grossly broken.
And sitting here ten years later, that relationship and bond that we have, is stronger than ever. And truly, stronger than it would have been, had we not had to walk through that valley of darkness.
I’m not saying that we as a church, need to just offer blanket forgiveness and forget this ever happened.
My parents and family and I learned so much from that period of pain. Lessons that will resonate for the rest of our lives. As well as new lessons that we still are learning today.
This is an opportunity for renewal and a potential strengthening of the Body of Christ. An opportunity to come together as broken, hurting, brothers and sisters in Christ, and creatively work in unison, for a solution to this heart wrenching situation in which we find ourselves.
I am choosing to fight.
Fight for the relationship with Jesus that has rescued me and set me free from the grip of anorexia so many years ago. Fight for my Savior who forgives me and all my shortcomings.
Fight for the Church, who though broken and bleeding now, can be made new through shining a big spotlight on all the dark and decrepit crevices of darkness.
Jesus is the Light of the World.
Darkness will never win. Not now. Not ever.
See ya tomorrow morning on the Podcast!
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