They’re not ‘victims,’ they’re God’s children

Thoughts and comments on the latest Church sex abuse scandals can be found throughout this week’s edition of The Anchor and beyond.

Our priests, our good and faithful priests who are taking the brunt of the hatred, disappointment, disillusionment, and scorn of a weary public. It’s not right that they should suffer and be looked upon as guilty by the simple fact they wear a Roman Catholic collar.

Those of us in the pews know this. But what many of us also know is that with each new wave of atrocities it feels as though a stake is driven deeper and deeper into our hearts.

I’ve seen folks get up and walk out of Mass when something is said that hits them the wrong way. That, too, I understand.

Speaking for myself, it hurts that this is happening again, and on such a large scale — larger, it seems, than the last tsunami.

I’m not going to leave the Church. I’m not one of those “rats leaving a sinking ship.” And truthfully there are myriad other Catholics who are remaining steadfast in their faith, however shaken that faith may get sometimes.

It hurts to know that there are those out there who knowingly used the guise of a Spiritual leader to defile and degrade others — and didn’t care in the least.

But despite these hurts, and they are deep, what bothers me most are the real sufferers in this Spiritual holocaust.

They’re known as “victims.” Oftentimes they don’t have faces or names. Sometimes they’re even thought of as people out to make a buck off the Church. These are not “victims.” They are human beings, God’s children.

While they’re all lumped together as a number and called “victims” by the media, what is forgotten, by everyone at times, is that they are suffering. They are suffering the loss of innocence. They are suffering with memories that will haunt them for a lifetime, physically and mentally.

They have been and will continue to be unable to maintain a close relationship with anyone.

They live in shame through no fault of their own.

I know people who have been sexually abused, not by clergy, but the scars never completely heal. And I can’t even begin to imagine the open wounds of those who have been abused by a so-called person of God.

Some will never recover. Some will turn to drugs, alcohol or other addictions to shut out the pain. And instead, their lives become worse, more confusing, more discouraging, much more hopeless. 

Some will give up the fight and put an end to their misery.

These are the “victims” we hear about once in a while in the media.

We all know changes must occur, and we all know that doesn’t come through spoken words, but action.

As Catholics, we’re all hurting, clergy and laity alike. We need each other’s support, but we can never, ever forget our sisters and brothers who had life snatched from them. We can never forget our brothers and sisters who will never live as we get to live. They must remain in our daily prayers until each of us draws our last breath. 

It’s the least we can do.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts