Cruel Irony

motmcd

Registrant
I testified before the grand jury that investigated the dioceses that comprise the Catholic Church here in Pennsylvania. Leading up to my testimony, I had finally become angry and disgusted with the Catholic Church's handling of my reports to three, different bishops of sexual abuse by a priest when I was a teenager. For 25 years I tried to get the bishops of the Allentown Diocese to do the right thing and release the name of the priest who sexually assaulted me on multiple occasions, as well as other priests removed from ministry for credible allegations of childhood sexual abuse, but whose names were being kept secret by the bishops.

I chose to annul the self-imposed contract of secrecy with my diocese by contacting Pennsylvania's State Attorney General. I was not aware at that time that a grand jury investigation was already underway, but I offered nonetheless to tell my story to anyone who wanted to hear it. I was interviewed, subpoenaed, and testified. What I learned during my testimony, as well as subsequent to the release of the grand jury report, has devastated my faith and crippled my spirituality. I knew it was going to be bad, but the depth and breadth of depravity -- the deviancies -- demonstrated by these predator priests and the bishops and select clergy who are complicit in the coverup of these deviant priests' behaviors have caused me more pain than I could ever have imagined. The harm is far more onerous -- far more painful -- than the pain caused to me by the physical, emotional, psychological pains, and more, caused to me by the sexual abuse.

I wrote this following reflection shortly after reading the grand jury report. It's not a literary masterpiece nor was it intended to be. It's merely a peek into the mind of adults who, as children, were sexually molested by priests and later betrayed by the very institution who was supposed to be their spiritual home.

Cruel Irony
By: Tom McDevitt

I was molested in my uncle's church rectory. It has been difficult at times, in the intervening years since the period of my sexual abuse, to sit in those church pews. It's easy to understand why I'd sit there some Sundays and think about what was done to me merely yards away in the rectory next door. How paradoxical it is that in one house of God, that church, I'm told to conform and follow while in another house of God, that rectory, my innocence was obliterated.


In recent years I've come to understand the greater damage that was done to my church and my ability to invest further in my faith. In the past year or two, I no longer go to mass regularly. But the catch is, my church teaches I must go to church in order to gain salvation, however, I can no longer sit in church without feeling marginalized, dismissed, misrepresented, devalued, and other not so welcoming feelings.

So now I just marvel at the cruel irony that the institution that failed to protect me as a boy is the same institution who, dogmatically speaking, taunts me with the threat of eternal damnation. Simply put, my church is no longer for me a source of renewal and peace.
 
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manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
I am waiting for the RICO prosecutions of the Church hierarchy (of all faiths it seems,) and the scouts. Surely what they have done to promote, facilitate and cover up crime is as bad as the mafia. RICO brought down the crime families when will it weaken the pedophile rings?
 
So painful to read. It is almost impossible to take in the magnitude of the Catholic church's betrayal of its members. The resistance of members to accept what is happening, thereby failing those who have been harmed, is shocking. I've no idea what will bring peace to victims and closure to the wider community, but it simply can't be allowed to fester forever. There needs to be a full accounting even if there can be no real justice for those who lost their innocence and their faith. Recovering from such trauma can take a lifetime.
 

motmcd

Registrant
I agree with you 100%, Visitor. It cannot be allowed to fester.

Thanks for your encouraging words.

Tom
 

Sawyer49

Registrant
Tom,

New to this site, but have followed news reports and applaud you standing up in testimony against this organization. Praying for your continued healing on this journey. This world is a dark place the evil knows no bounds. I can imagine what this would do to your faith. Prayers for continued healing on the path you are on.
 

motmcd

Registrant
Thanks for your kind words, Sawyer. I appreciate it. I appreciate your prayers as well.

Cheers,
Tom
 

motmcd

Registrant
Thanks, Mitch. A belated welcome to MS. It's a great community here. I hope you find it helpful in your journey.

Tom
 

MACH123

Registrant
I hate them anyway since I'm a Protestant. I thought they'd all bail out after the first round in Boston but no. They all go still. It happens in other churches yes, but it's endemic with these bastards.
I don't understand how anyone can be a Catholic still.
 

motmcd

Registrant
I don't hate my church -- the Catholic Church -- nor do I condemn the entirety of the Catholic Church because of the behavior of a minority few. And it's the same for Boy Scouts, little league coaches, teachers, ministers, pastors, doctors, politicians, dads, moms, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, neighbors, nurses, military, police, firemen, and every other social grouping where the minority-few members behave immorally -- behave illegally -- casting shadows on the good of the group they represent either by birth, choice, election, employment, association, or in any other way. Yes, the Catholic Church failed miserably in their role of moral leadership. I struggle with that. But I do not give up hope of finding a renewed spirituality that'll allow me to once again have peace in my soul. From my lips to God's ears, please.

My best to all,
Tom
 

Sawyer49

Registrant
Tom,

Well said, there are very good people in these organizations. I am sure there are those who feel a burden within these organizations for the evil that was done by the few. Praying for you and for the good people part of these organizations that may be reading Tom's testimony, he did his part to change the dynamic please be inspired by him as I am and stand up within your organization to change things for the good and protect the boys who are there now and in the future.



God bless you

Sawyer
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Cruel Irony
By: Tom McDevitt

I was molested in my uncle's church rectory. It has been difficult at times, in the intervening years since the period of my sexual abuse, to sit in those church pews. It's easy to understand why I'd sit there some Sundays and think about what was done to me merely yards away in the rectory next door. How paradoxical it is that in one house of God, that church, I'm told to conform and follow while in another house of God, that rectory, my innocence was obliterated.


In recent years I've come to understand the greater damage that was done to my church and my ability to invest further in my faith. In the past year or two, I no longer go to mass regularly. But the catch is, my church teaches I must go to church in order to gain salvation, however, I can no longer sit in church without feeling marginalized, dismissed, misrepresented, devalued, and other not so welcoming feelings.

So now I just marvel at the cruel irony that the institution that failed to protect me as a boy is the same institution who, dogmatically speaking, taunts me with the threat of eternal damnation. Simply put, my church is no longer for me a source of renewal and peace.
I read this and I began to cry. I could feel much of his pain as a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest. I too no longer go to church regularly. I do when my friend is here, she gives me comfort and creates a safe environment for me. At times I will venture in and find myself listening to the homily and if they go off on the injustices in the world and fail to mention the injustices in their church, I leave because I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I look around and see many in awe and others going through the motions. I hear people in the outside the church mocking people, laughing at people and then I hear words that are compassionate and loving. I remember one day seeing this family of 5, the father and mother mocking people and the children joining in--I said what a horrible lesson to teach the children. I believe the institution is flawed, as are many in the institution--priest, nuns, and the parishioners while others truly live the message of compassion, love and giving to those in need. It is a dichotomy within the institution. I have learned the eternal damnation are the abusers, those that support abusers and those that fail to live a life of love, compassion and understanding because they believe their actions hide their flaws, instead their actions so their lack of character. We are all flawed.

The Church is a place I would like to return to on a regular basis but I struggle when alone. For the Church should be a refuge if you attend with others or alone. Sometimes when alone it becomes my prison.

Kevin
 

motmcd

Registrant
I read this and I began to cry. I could feel much of his pain as a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest. I too no longer go to church regularly. I do when my friend is here, she gives me comfort and creates a safe environment for me. At times I will venture in and find myself listening to the homily and if they go off on the injustices in the world and fail to mention the injustices in their church, I leave because I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I look around and see many in awe and others going through the motions. I hear people in the outside the church mocking people, laughing at people and then I hear words that are compassionate and loving. I remember one day seeing this family of 5, the father and mother mocking people and the children joining in--I said what a horrible lesson to teach the children. I believe the institution is flawed, as are many in the institution--priest, nuns, and the parishioners while others truly live the message of compassion, love and giving to those in need. It is a dichotomy within the institution. I have learned the eternal damnation are the abusers, those that support abusers and those that fail to live a life of love, compassion and understanding because they believe their actions hide their flaws, instead their actions so their lack of character. We are all flawed.

The Church is a place I would like to return to on a regular basis but I struggle when alone. For the Church should be a refuge if you attend with others or alone. Sometimes when alone it becomes my prison.

Kevin
Kevin,
I'm so sorry my post made you cry. What you say resonates with me and I agree with you when you speak about the contradictions both internal and external to the church and its members. There have been plenty of times when I fantasized about throwing the People Mass Book at the priest giving the homily. And yeah, the church parking lot oftentimes doesn't reflect the messages expressed within the church walls. Hang in there and keep up your good work of healing and inspiring other men.

Cheers,
Tom
 
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