With the Pope’s visit all over the news this week, there has been a lot of air time given to those who have survived clerical abuse in Ireland. The many women who were in Magdalene laundries, the children who were illegally adopted, those who were beaten and mistreated within schools and institutions and those who were sexually abused by priests.
As someone who has been abused, but not by anyone within the church, it’s been difficult to hear so many painful stories. Survivors who bared their souls, speaking of the horror they went through and in most cases the cover ups which compounded the hurt. Small children forced to sign agreements never again to discuss what happened to them, while the abuser was moved on to abuse elsewhere.
Because I no longer believe in a religion of any sort I was not overly interested in the visit of the Pope. However, I do know of many extraordinary good people who have a Catholic faith who have struggled with it.
How could they justify going to see their churches leader, when so many of their fellow Irishmen and women are struggling? So many who still carry the child who was hurt within them and the anger for the way the church has covered up it’s crimes. Continuously brushing their hurt under the carpet, with words not actions.
Today, before the Pope’s speech, I listened to a discussion on the radio between some who had been abused. There was hope in their words. Maybe today the Pope would embrace their hurt and make it very clear that he would root out all those who had hurt children and banish those who had covered it up?
With their hope in my heart I listened, knowing how much it would mean to so many if he sent a clear, strong message around the world that not only was he sorry, but he was angry and determined to root out evil.
But I heard no such words.
The effects of abuse last a lifetime, but the ongoing hurt for those survivors must make life very difficult. I too know what it’s like not to get justice. Once upon a time the swimming organisation did all they could to deny us a voice and by doing so supported my abuser.
It’s so sad that a visit by someone who has within his grasp the power to help heal so many, has instead added to their pain. After decades of tribunals what will it take for the church to do what is needed? When will the Pope demand all countries open their files and those who were involved in cover ups are removed permanently and tried where necessary?
I know after his speech the Pope spent time meeting survivors of abuse. Perhaps their stories will resonate with him? Perhaps tomorrow he’ll say what he failed to say today?
I’m not sure he will, but I do hope, that if I’ve backed the wrong horse and there is a God, that his idea of justice is a lot clearer and fairer than those who speak in his name here on earth.
14 thoughts on “Words without actions are no use to anyone.”
i was hoping for that as well. no reason to tiptoe softly into this pain and this history at this point. his strong words and stronger actions would mean so much to so many. i hope that he has the courage to do so.
This is a wonderfully powerful post Tric, you are right the Church seems content to step around the issues of child abuse. In Australia recently an archbishop was found guilty of covering up a child abuse case from the 1970s. The archbishop who is a few years older than me, has claimed he is suffering dementia, refuses to say sorry and is appealing his sentence, a years home detention. I have lost so much faith in the church even though I know there are good people involved but the wholesale neglect and refusal to acknowledge what happened frustrates me so much. As a friend once said to me and I agree, the church in order to exist needs to undo itself and start again.
I think what you just posted is critical in these times. Calling out officials when they fail to serve their congregation is not discrediting the church. It’s respecting its congregation enough to say what needs to be said.
totally agree….really good to read.
So well written Tric. Sadly, so well written.
The stories this week were heartbreaking. They live with their memories every day.
I cannot imagine Tric. I really can’t. How does this remain such a global nightmare?
because the church continues to stand behind the abuser by moving them to other parishes and church for him to continue the same old thing all the time. it really needs to be addressed better.
Yes, that I understand. The ‘humanity’ behind it, I do not.
I agree with you on this issue I was raised Catholic went to Mass, school but could never understand how they could sweep this issue under the rug and send the Priest off to another parish for him to continue his rein of terror. It is still to this day a real big issue with the Church. Have a wonderful day Chatter Master it was awesome hearing from you .
Thank you Mlblogsredsoxlady. I was raised Catholic as well, 13 years of parochial school. I was very lucky in that I did not even know of such things with the church at that time. I do know of people who did, horribly, know. Not in our parish, but family. It is such an issue. I am with you and cannot comprehend the way it was handled.
wonderful blog Tric I was so hoping the Pope would talk about this but again it subject without being addressed. ❤ ❤
And then there was the mental and physical torture dished out by “christian” brothers and “holy” nuns.
Yes. Unbelievable. So many living with very difficult memories.