06Sep Why people fail to confront sexual abuse

In the riveting 2008 film Doubt, Meryl Streep plays Sister Aloysius, who is convinced — but without proof — that a local priest is molesting a young boy. She seeks the aid of her fellow sisters in her attempt to build a case against the priest. One of the younger sisters confesses that she doesn’t like to harbour suspicions about people as it makes her feel distant from God.

“When you take a step to address wrongdoing, you are taking a step away from God, but in His service,” Sister Aloysius replies.

That’s not right. To confront evil, to address wrongdoing, is not to step away from God at all. It requires the virtues of wisdom and courage, strengthened by grace. To confront evil is a holy thing. Yet Sister Aloysius was on to something, for even though confronting evil is a holy thing, it frequently does not feel the same as doing other holy things, such as worshipping God, visiting the imprisoned or delivering hampers to the hungry.

All of which is relevant to the sexual abuse scandal that broke at Pennsylvania State University last November. A grand jury report alleged that in 2002 Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach (he retired in 1998 but still had access to the football facilities), was seen sexually abusing a young boy in the football team’s showers. The graduate assistant who saw the incident reported it to Joe Paterno, the head coach, who in turn reported it to his superiors in the athletic department. They did not report it to the police and simply told Sandusky not to come around the football facility anymore. The scandal shook one of college football’s most storied programs, and Coach Paterno, the greatest coach in the history of American college football, was fired. Though he was compliant with the law, Paterno admitted that he wished he had done more to stop Sandusky. Paterno died on January 22, 2012, after a battle with lung cancer.

College football occupies a unique and powerful place in American culture. So the eruption of a sexual abuse scandal in the midst of its most noble program — “success with honor” is the football motto at Penn State — under its most widely respected and winningest coach, brought the matter of child sexual abuse to the fore, posing the dramatic question again: Why didn’t those who knew do more to stop it?

There was much commentary about how powerful men don’t hold each other to account. Jonathan Kay in the National Post wrote that whether it is Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s reputation for taking sexual liberties or Catholic bishops shifting abusive priests or Penn State, the failures stem from “an inhuman mentality that privileges an institution’s prestige over the sanctity of young lives.”

We have seen that institutional behaviour often enough. Other great pillars of American culture will soon be awash in their own scandals. In the same month as the Penn State affair, news reports drew attention to the “rape epidemic” in the American military and widespread pedophilia in Hollywood. Yet it is not only an institutional problem, even if institutions are often at fault. Sexual abuse usually takes place much closer to home.

“According to a 1998 study on child sexual abuse by Boston University Medical School, one in six boys in America will be abused by age 16. For girls, it’s one in four by the age of 14,” writes ESPN’s Rick Reilly, one of America’s leading sportswriters. “Those ‘If you see something, say something’ billboards shouldn’t just be about terrorism. They may apply to sex abuse, too. Doesn’t matter if it’s your uncle, your longtime assistant coach or your buddy. You HAVE to say something. And yet, precious few people have the guts to say anything at all.” Doesn’t matter if it’s your uncle, your longtime assistant coach or your buddy. You HAVE to say something.  And yet, precious few people have the guts to say anything at all.”

Here we arrive at the heart of the crisis of failed response to sexual abuse, whether in the family, schools, sports, the church, the military, prisons or any other sphere of society. Why is it so difficult to speak up, and why do so many prefer to keep quiet?  There is a false idea that reporting sexual abuse to the authorities — usually the police or child welfare agencies — is something of a magic bullet. A call is made, and the monster is slayed. That is not the case. In the Sandusky case at Penn State, a mother had complained about him in 1998 when he was still an assistant coach. There was a police investigation but no charges were brought. Law enforcement was alerted to Sandusky in 1998, and charges were laid in 2011. Given the complexity and lack of evidence in many sexual abuse cases, law enforcement fails to stop predators. Yet even if law enforcement were always successful, the decision to say something, to report the matter, to call in the authorities, is never the end of the issue. For many it is the beginning, as the circle of those involved expands beyond the abuser and the victims to include relatives, colleagues and friends.

The emphasis on reporting, on training, on creating safe environments is laudable. Yet it can make sexual abuse seem like another health and safety issue, or a matter of employment screening. That’s the wrong category, and because it is the wrong category it does not explain why there has been such widespread failure to deal with sexual abuse. It is not principally a failure of policies and procedures. It is a matter of evil in our midst. Our cultural capacity to speak of good and evil has been attenuated, so the reality of the latter, and its paralyzing effect upon people who face it, has been largely missing from the various iterations of this crisis.

Evil is destructive. Philosophically speaking, it is the absence of a good that ought to exist. We experience it somewhat differently though, not so much as an absence of good but as a seemingly substantive reality that destroys the good that does exist. Natural evils, like disease, destroy the balance and harmony of a healthy body. Moral evils destroy that which they oppose, as lies destroy truthfulness and integrity. Lust destroys the love, reducing the other from a subject of care to an object of use. Sexual abuse is a grave evil that has great destructive power — it destroys innocence, the ability to trust, the capacity to love, and the simple peace and tranquillity that we otherwise take for granted.

Confronting a great destructive power is dangerous, like fighting a fire or attempting to contain a flood. There is a real danger that the evil, once acknowledged and engaged, may wreak more destruction. And so many choose not to confront it, but somehow to seek an uneasy accommodation with it, even to ignore it altogether.

I don’t know what Joe Paterno thought in 2002, but it surely would have occurred to him that if Jerry Sandusky was fully confronted, many things would be destroyed — friendships, reputations, confidence in the football program. The ongoing destruction of the abuse itself remains hidden, and thus overlooked. The pattern is repeated in families. Confronting the evil of abuse will usually mean an estrangement of family relationships, even a permanent sundering of the family itself.

None of which excuses leaving evil alone; it does not justify turning away from the plight of the vulnerable ones who need help. It simply helps to understand why the problem is so widespread, and why a profound change in culture is required to enable people — both victims and observers — to summon forth the courage to confront evil.

None of which excuses leaving evil alone; it does not justify turning away from the plight of the vulnerable ones who need help. It simply helps to understand why the problem is so widespread, and why a profound change in culture is required to enable people — both victims and observers — to summon forth the courage to confront evil.

The most unforgettable scene in Doubt — with two superlative actresses delivering performances of rare power — portrays a meeting between Sister Aloysius and Mrs. Miller, played by Viola Davis. Mrs. Miller’s son is the one Sister Aloysius suspects the priest of molesting, and she is seeking Mrs. Miller’s support in moving against the priest. She is astonished when Mrs. Miller, even granting that something untoward may be happening, wants nothing to do with it. Mrs. Miller knows her son’s future is fragile, and if he can just graduate and get into a good high school, something better might be in store for him. All of that might be destroyed by a messy scandal. Her judgment is that suffering for a little while now is better than destroying the possibility of a better future forever. Sister Aloysius is horrified, but Mrs. Miller is quietly determined. She knows the great destructive power of the evil that Sister Aloysius suspects might be going on, and wants nothing to do with it.

“What kind of mother are you?” demands Sister Aloysius. The audience knows that Mrs. Miller is a mother caught between many forces, including an abusive husband, and is simply trying to find a way forward that leaves her son’s future intact. Confronting sexual abuse in the family, on a team, in a parish, leaves nothing intact. That is the point after all, for what was prevailing needs to be challenged, stopped and punished. Yet the innocent suffer along with the guilty, as what was once whole now lies shattered. Is it not plausible for someone, amidst the shattered pieces of lives exposed, to conclude that he has stepped away from what is good, what is noble, what is right? Even from God Himself ?

In the Catholic sexual abuse scandals, no one has been a louder voice than David Clohessy, national director of the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). He has blasted clergy for more than 20 years for not reporting what they knew. His is a tragic case, as he and his brothers were victims of a priest predator while growing up in St. Louis, Mo. One of Clohessy’s brothers became a priest himself and, in time, an abuser, too. Clohessy knew about it and did nothing, even after he was an activist on other similar cases. It was his brother after all, and if he turned his own brother in, what would be destroyed? Many blast Clohessy as a hypocrite. Fair enough, but his own case demonstrates that confronting evil — even for those professionally engaged in doing so — exacts a price, and a price sometimes too steep for most to pay.

Closer to home, there is the case of Theoren Fleury. In the days and weeks after Penn State, much was heard from the former NHL star. In junior hockey, Fleury had been sexually abused by Graham James, his coach. Fleury detailed in his autobiography the destructive power of that evil, leading him to a life of tormented rage, alcoholism and promiscuity. Yet the charge of hypocrite was levelled at Fleury by Montreal Gazette columnist Pat Hickey. When the first allegations were made about James in 1996 by another NHL player, Sheldon Kennedy, Fleury said nothing.

To contend means at times to confront, to fight. It is not easy. What could be more difficult to do than that in the cause of justice and right?

“Nobody should question Fleury’s decision to remain silent,” wrote Hickey. “What should be questioned is Fleury’s continuing role in James’ life. At the time of Kennedy’s revelations, James was the coach of the Calgary Hitmen. He was one of the coowners of the junior team in the Western Hockey League. One of the other owners was Theoren Fleury. Here was someone who had suffered abuse at the hands of Graham James. Here was someone who knew that James had abused other players. Here was someone who was exposing other children to the same sexual predator. Fleury has been through enough counselling to know there’s a word for someone who acts in this fashion — enabler.”

Considerable outrage followed, not least from Fleury, that Hickey would accuse him, a victim, of being an enabler. It was an indelicate point, but Hickey’s question is an obvious one: How could a player who suffered sexual abuse co-own a team with the same man who abused him?

It’s the same question asked in thousands upon thousands of families. How could a mother allow her daughter to be abused by her new husband and not say anything about it? How could a father turn a blind eye to his own children being abused by their uncle, his brother? It is not a defence of inaction in one case to point out that others also fail to act. Yet the enormity of the failures to act — which appears to be the more common response — should lead to a deeper appreciation of the perversity of the evil in our midst. We should be humbled by how easily we adjust to that evil, so that confronting it seems to be an act of disruption and discord.

It is possible that the horror at Penn State will lead to a culture change that makes it easier to confront evil, as ten years of sorrow and pain have done in the Catholic Church. A culture change is not so much a matter of policies being updated and reforms being implemented. It is a matter of a new vision and of greater courage. It is a matter of the spirit, and of grace. We know that our culture is in need of a renewal in regard of sexual morality, and perhaps the widespread scourge of sexual abuse may prompt movement in that direction. It is not to be taken for granted though, for evil remains destructive, and powerfully destructive at that. It may simply be that more of what is good and innocent and pure will simply be destroyed. In this we were warned from ancient times: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

To contend means at times to confront, to fight. It is not easy. What could be more difficult to do than that in the cause of justice and right? We can feel that we are stepping away from God. But we are not.

 

 

 

16 Responses

  1. mary casey

    LETS HAVE ONLY ONE GOAL. A helpful question to ask ourselves,what am I tolerating here.Then we must act and leave the consequences in the hands of the Lord.A good shepherd nature lays down ones own life unto the Father as Jesus did for others.It is a life lived not before men but unto Him Who is Love, a love that found genuine expression not counting the cost.

  2. Kevin Walters

    To contend means at times to confront, to fight. It is not easy. What could be more difficult to do than that in the cause of justice and right? We can feel that we are stepping away from God. But we are not.
    ————————————————————

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword (Truth)”.

    In life all of us encounter evil with all its different faces. We do not always act with integrity we are impaired through our own weakness and sinfulness, we turn a blind eye, we justify what we have done or didn’t do we hide (run away) from the Truth all of mankind does this.
    When we first truly commit ourselves to the light of Christ we start on an inner journey of discovery. We are continually put to the test as we have to confront our own sinfulness and frailty and we often fall as we follow our master home. As more is asked of us, integrity, virtue (like a lamp) in time should become manifest.
    TRUTH and LOVE are one and the same as Truth (the Will of our Father) sets the heart (love) aflame.

    “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he had mercy on you”(me).

    For over thirty years I have carried a small yellow book (Thoughts of Jesus Christ) it reveals him as God-man, the risen Lord, whose message is truly radial because it is supernatural. The cover has long gone, like much of my old self, the remaining pages are yellowing and torn, some words can no longer be read but it is of no importance there is no vacuum in my heart as His Word now lives.

    Whatever happened to The Little Yellow Book?
    Catholic Truth Society London
    Thoughts of Jesus Christ. Allows Christ to speak for himself, it presents no shallow fashionable image of him It expresses his unique authority his clear ethic and good news of the kingdom.
    Jesus Christ thought is the only message for an era in which human beings find themselves alone and purposeless. It is the most powerful ideological weapon for opposing oppression, misery, and inhumanity. Jesus Christ’s thought is the guiding principle for all of those who would follow him to perfect manhood. Therefore, the most fundamental task in our social, political and ideological work is at all times to hold high the sign of the Cross, to arm the minds of the people throughout the world with it and PERSIST in using it to command every field of activity.

    Thank you
    Catholic Truth Society London
    Laurence Soper O.S.B. London
    Peter J.Elliott M.A. Melbourne

    kevin
    In Christ

  3. Mary Cunningham

    On reading and reflecting on this article by Fr. Raymond de Souza, I had an uneasy sense that it was a not so subtle attempt to diffuse and deflect clerical sexual abuse. This has been a tactic employed by strong forces who attempt to enmesh such abuse with that perpetrated in wider society. Their overarching aim is to protect and defend the monarchical institution that has become the Roman Catholic Church.

    What such defenders fail or do not wish to understand, is that clerical sexual abuse is different. It has the added trauma of spiritual abuse. Fr. Thomas Doyle OP named this as ‘soul murder’. He also asked the question;

    ‘What can be said of those so-called church leaders who relativized the good or evil of disclosing a child rape by a priest against the good or evil of protecting the institutional church from a serious blight on its image?

    Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, in an address to the Knights of Columbanus in May 2010, spoke prophetically in light of this week’s revelations:

    ‘ There are still strong forces which would prefer that the truth did not emerge. The truth will make us free, even when that truth is uncomfortable. There are signs of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse which occurred within the Church of Jesus Christ in Ireland and how it was covered up. There are other signs of rejection of a sense of responsibility for what had happened. There are worrying signs that despite solid regulations and norms these are not being followed with the rigour required.’

    Anyone who wants an honest, Jesus Christ centered approach to this devastating topic, please take the time to consider the video link below.

    http://thelip.tv/losing-faith-abuse-cover-up-and-the-catholic-church-with-fr-thomas-doyle/

    Mary Cunningham

  4. Gene Carr

    This is an interesting essay.

    It seems to me to illustrate the invasion of a subtle ‘secularizing’ tendency within the church from the 1960s onwards in dealing with the abuse of minors and children. In the first phase bishops, instead of categorizing the abuse as primarily a grave spiritual/moral evil that it was, capitulated too easliy to the prevailing psychotherapeutic fashion of ‘medicalizing’ the problem–with disastrous results. The reasons may well be an example of bishops and others reaching for an alibi not to “confront the evil” in their midst. It should at least have been suspected that the evil encountered operated from that part of the soul that is beyond the reach of psychotechnique. While some reports (eg Ferns)have faulted bishops for sometimes ignoring therapists warnings, in the US–and correct me if I am wrong–the vast majority of cases whether erring priests had been allowed back into a parish had been ‘cleared’ by therapists.

    In the second phase of response, it seems to me that we once again manifested the same ‘secularizing’ tendencies. We are setting up ‘managerial’ bureacracies–an officialdum of checks, balances and procedures–once again relying on what one writer has called the ’empire of technique’. Perhaps realizing the insufficiency of these what I believe are essentiallly ‘securalist’ approachs (I have no issues with the ‘secular’ as such), we now propose a third phase of such responses–the secularist ‘magic bullet’ so beloved by contemporary organization theorists–‘cultural’ transformation. Are we once again latching onto another alibi to avoid confronting evil for what it is? I can well imagine those ‘principlaities and powers’ being only too delighted to fill out a ‘cultural web’ questionaire.

  5. Sean O'Conaill

    What I take from Fr De Souza’s article is that one cannot expect any institution to have complete moral integrity. So what happens then to an institution that claims (unlike any sporting organisation) to be ‘holy’, a moral exemplar above all others? The drying-up of priestly vocations suggests that the idealism of young men can no longer be captured by the institution’s ‘sales pitch’.
    .
    It was the fact that the parents of victims in the church in the USA could eventually go to independent secular agencies (non-Catholic lawyers, police, courts) that led to the exposure of abuse within the US church in the 1980s. In Ireland the NBSCCC has won a measure of trust because, although it is a church body, its current CEO is not only a vastly experienced childcare professional but a Presbyterian who has had the courage to confront Catholic institutional cover-up at the highest level.
    .
    But the RCC hierarchy still has not taken on board the implications of this for the structure of the church. The NBSCCC is merely a temporary ‘bolt-on’ introduced in near panic by the Irish hierarchy, with no guaranteed permanent independence. There is no separation of executive, judicial and legislative power in the church, and this is why there is no real accountability either. The Canon Law system, having no truly independent judiciary or body of advocates, is a risible nullity. The institution is therefore inherently untrustworthy and unjust – and this is devastating for any institution whose basic raison d’être is to give moral and spiritual leadership.
    .
    It would seem from Fr de Souza’s article that, if Catholics are to be true to the Gospel, they cannot give total allegiance to any institution that does not incorporate a separation of powers, not even their own church. So what happens then to, for example, Catholic oaths of obedience to Catholic orders and individuals, including the papacy?
    .
    Are we heading for ‘post-institutional Catholicism’, the dying of the hierarchical clerical institution wherever independent secular institutions reveal its inevitable hypocrisy? That’s certainly what’s going on now – and there is no sign of a ‘great reformer’ among the currently touted ‘papabile’.

  6. Eddie Finnegan

    @Kevin Walters and “The Little Yellow Book”:

    Kevin, the question is not “Whatever happened to the Little Yellow Book” so much as Whatever happened to its main author/compiler, Fr Laurence Soper? London’s Metropolitan Police as well as Interpol, the Italian Police and, presumably, the Vatican’s detectives (who may be better at nabbing papal butlers than former Abbots of Ealing) would like to have the answer to that question too. Do you think the Little Yellow Book would provide any clues to his whereabouts? In 1971, when he published “The Little Yellow Book of the Thoughts of Jesus Christ” as a sort of spiritual spoof on Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, Soper was living and studying in Rome. Is he being sheltered there in some of his old haunts? The Benedictines of Ealing say that he has been dismissed from the monastery, suspended from priestly ministry and his case is with the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life & Societies of Apostolic Life. Does this Congregation know where he is? Does the London Met’s “European Arrest Warrant” have validity in the Vatican City State? Will the Congregation’s Cardinal Prefect hand Soper over to the Civil Power any time soon?
    .
    Kevin, St Benedict’s School in Ealing, West London, is a prestigious private Benedictine establishment, alongside the Benedictine Abbey. While the school is now ‘lay led’ the links remain. For Dublin comparison, one could think of Blackrock in terms of its origin and its ‘products’.
    Laurence Soper was a teacher there in the ?1970s & 1980s. He was also Head of Middle School (age 11-13), later bursar and prior. In the late 1980s he was chaplain at Feltham Young Offenders Institute. In 1991 the Benedictines elected him Abbot of Ealing, a post he held till 2000.
    Mid-way through his time as abbot, he was investigated by the police on foot of complaints about “inappropriate behaviour” while he was chaplain at Feltham. In September 2010 he was arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse during his time at the school in the 1980s. Five former pupils had complained. Two other teachers (monks or former monks) had been arrested earlier – one still under strict supervision at the Abbey. There have certainly been suggestions of a paedophile ring at St Benedict’s in the ’80s/’90s. Soper was bailed but failed to report back to the police and by March 2011 he had disappeared and is still missing – thought to be in Rome. Hence the European Arrest Warrant.
    .
    Kevin, I have no doubt you gained a lot from that Little Yellow Book. But there’s a real irony in your recommending it in response to a post on “Why we fail to confront sexual abuse.” The Benedictines who elected Soper as Abbot in 1991 must have wondered about that too in recent times.

  7. Kevin Walters

    Hello Eddie
    Thank you for making a comment regarding my post I have been on the site now for just over nine months and you have delivered the first baby, many of your posts are knowledgeable, full of wit and humour, been uneducated some of it is above me (Latin etc.) you will be very popular on the site I was hoping to introduce myself with humour and wit also I will have to wait for another opening (hopefully not nine months) as on this occasion I have the unenviable task (no one wants to be the spoilsport or OUTSIDER )to act with integrity, which is what my post is about.
    Eddie
    “The Little Yellow Book of the Thoughts of Jesus Christ” is far more than a sort of spiritual spoof on Chairman Mao’s Little Red book. Quote we believe that the Thoughts of Jesus Christ contain an infinitely more powerful message which will last for all time, the message of the Son of God.
    WE have compiled Thoughts of Jesus Christ in order to let Christ speak for himself. Therefore, whilst aware of the problems of biblical scholarship, we have treated the Gospel records with complete impartiality. (Note over 95% of the contents of the book are direct quotes from the gospels divided into sections, Prayer, (The spirit of man responds to God John4:23-24) The Mass, (Preparing the meal Luke22; 17-20) Relations between people, etc. The only information given is direction under different headings with Gospel reference.
    The way the book is written in simplicity with minimal information impels the reader to contemplate the words of Christ in different life situations this can be and is illuminating and encourages further study.
    In your gusto to inform me about the alleged crimes of Fr Laurence Soper you have failed to mention his co-writer Peter.J.Elliott.M.A. Have you anything positive to say about him or is his work to be damaged also.
    I am saddened that you have (unintentionally I am sure) managed to damage and cheapen something as beautiful as “The Thoughts of Jesus Christ” and put an obstacle in the way for others who may have read it, with satire (Do you think the Little Yellow Book would provide any clues to his whereabouts? etc ) to satisfy your own ego. If you manage to read the Little Yellow Book I am confident that you will be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.
    Teaching from the “Little Yellow Book” God’s Word must not be cheapened.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  8. Eddie Finnegan

    Kevin, I’m sorry if one or two of my words or sentences seem to you some sort of mockery of The Little Yellow Book or indeed of the obvious spiritual benefit you have derived from it across the decades. Not my intention at all. ‘Spiritual spoof’ may have been unsuitable; “spiritual parody” may have been nearer what I had in mind – Catholic or other Christian hymn writers have always parodied secular originals. Why indeed should the devil have all the best tunes? Chapter by chapter, and of course in the title, Laurence Soper & Peter Elliott quite cleverly parodied Mao’s Little Red Book. The young Benedictine Soper was living and studying in Rome when he and Elliott submitted their idea to a publisher in 1970-71. There seems to be good evidence, both from the Benedictines and from the police, that Laurence Soper is in hiding, or being hidden, in Rome or Italy since he skipped police bail eighteen months ago. I know nothing about his co-author, Peter Elliott. I never knew anything about him. How could I say anything positive or negative about him?
    .
    By their fruits you shall know them, of course. Kevin, what you have gained from something Laurence Soper helped compile when he was 27/28 is one of his fruits. I’m a little more perturbed by the apparent fruits of his almost 20 years in a London Benedictine school I know, his 10 years as Abbot of Ealing on the same site, the ten years following that until his arrest two years ago, and his flight from justice within a few months of that arrest.
    .
    In the mid-1970s my wife and I were tenants and friends of an Italian family in Ealing, West London. Their son was proud to be a pupil at St Benedict’s Middle and Senior School and his mother was full of praise for the Benedictine ethos. Laurence Soper was a teacher and Middle School Head there at the time. Some of the allegations against him stem from those same years. For nearly thirty years after that, while I taught in another Catholic school in Westminster, I heard nothing but praise for St Benedict’s. Particularly so in the late 1980s-early 1990s when our own new headteacher recalled his years as student and teacher at Benedict’s. It is only in recent years since I retired that I’ve become aware of the rumours and allegations of a darker side to the school and some of its teaching monks. The Soper case places him at the centre of all that.
    .
    Kevin, if you want to attribute to ego or satire my more robust style of dealing with well-founded allegations of abuse of the vulnerable in prestigious Catholic schools, or among young offenders failed by less prestigious London schools, then so be it. If anyone wants to gain sustenance from The Little Yellow Book, I’m sure it’s still available from all sorts of online booksellers. God’s Word is hardly likely to be cheapened by my opinions on Soper and whoever is sheltering him from the law. In the Church we live in, Kevin, there’s a place for being innocent as doves. The wiliness of serpents is also handy to fall back upon at times.

  9. Eddie Finnegan

    Kevin, as a postscript, it seems Peter J. Elliott is now an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne. A “leading liturgical expert”, very much a champion of the “usus antiquior”, rather fond of latinate English and of the new liturgical translation. What more positive can I say about a man I’d never heard of till you mentioned him? Maybe he knows where Laurence is, who knows?

  10. Ger Gleeson.

    Mary Cunnigham, thank you sincerely for providing us with Fr Thomas Doyle’s link. It runs for about 35 minutes, and states clearly some of those in high positions, who have both destroyed lives and also our church. I am sure some, if not all of these MEN continue to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ on a daily basis. Do they still not understand that by their SILENCE in relation to the sex abuse of our brothers and sisters, that they have committed the most serious sin. Jesus still weeps.

    Is there any hope? Is there any God?

  11. Kevin Walters

    Thank you Eddie for your courtesy and conciliatory reply;
    You are a south paw for sure. Give Katie a nudge” the fights off darling but he was only a light weight”
    God bless
    Kevin

  12. Kevin Walters

    To anyone who may consider reading The Little Yellow Book note it is a tool for contemplation as it contains the living word of God which is supernatural and radial it cannot be misunderstood by anyone approaching his Word (Will) with honesty, it’s beauty (Truth) cannot help but inspire integrity no matter of what religion, race, creed, state of being you are or belong to.
    —————————–
    Sadly I have been informed that one of the co-writers (compilers of this book) is under investigation by the police and a warrant is out for his arrest for despicable crimes against children on the surface it looks as if he is guilty (and probably is).
    Peter if you happen to read this I would ask you to look into the little yellow book you contributed to so long ago and read your own words with your co-writer.
    ”It is our hope that the words of Christ will bring about a creative revolution in the lives of all those who read them, and all my respond to his challenge”.
    It has been said on this site that The Little Yellow Book was one of your fruits, it might be the only one I do not know, but what I do know is that you have an opportunity (challenge) to fulfil the work you started so long ago, within in yourself. It is your moment to respond to and be an example of humility to all those who may encounter your contribution to The Little Yellow Book.
    You will not be alone there is nothing to be afraid of you will be in the company of the Tax collector in the temple, Mary Magdalene a prostitute, St. Paul a zealot a murderer of Christians, St Peter a deny of Christ even after all he had been given it was still necessary for him to know further his human frailty and bow his head in Humility ((St. Bernard- Humility a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.
    Peter do not be afraid, I know it is difficult, take heart have courage, my prayers will be with you, Christ will walk with you, return home embrace the shame and consequences of your sinfulness, we all have to do this, acknowledge our own sins, if not publicly (as you will have to) at least within our hearts, as they burn and purify us.
    You will be embracing Christ on the cross you will not be turned away and I can say with confidence if you will commit yourself to this act of courage and humility that all lovers of Christ in their humility will willingly bow down before you. Christ himself will wash your feet as the angels rejoice in heaven.

    kevin
    In Christ

  13. Kevin Walters

    (Peter) if you happen to read this
    I have made an error on my post above and should read Laurence not Peter.

    kevin
    In Christ

  14. Con Carroll

    one doesn’t need rocket science intellectual education. phd jesuitical theological degrees to know that peadophilia is not a sexualty. it is evil and criminal which people involved have been involve in the murder of children.

    so lets cut out the nonsense in our schools we had people who were celibates in religious life. who were terrified, embarrased to talk, discuss about sexuality. let us no forget that those who made sure when there was social events in scools had eyes upon us when we were dancing with the person of the opposite sex. that there would be no intimate contact.

    sexuality, feelings thoughts. was a no no. impure bad. God was watching. keep pure in the image of Mary.
    Masturbation was evil, sinful. a youth who was gay, resident in school was out of salvation damnation. forbidden sinful thoughts. abnormal. God made man in his image for woman. how boring

    with this type of mind set, how can one have a positive image of the human body? how can one see, experience spirituality in sexuality

  15. Kevin

    I have wondered what justice meant – more punishment. God makes all things new. May justice prevail and mercy see renewal of all in all. God please help us trust again and bring to being the beginnings of all in all – to make all things new as You will.

  16. Joe O'Leary

    Con Carroll, pedophilia is “a sexuality”, as the word “philia” denotes, and has nothing to do with murder. Please do not confuse the issues.