Mama Bear and Archbishop Myers

Mother 1

Threaten my kids and you’ll meet a she-bear on the attack.

I feel much the same way about my Church. 

Disparage Jesus and see how I respond.

There are just certain things that get my attack-defend side moving. 

Archbishop Myers has managed to step on just about every attack-defend nerve I’ve got. He put a confessed, convicted child sex abuser back with kids. Then he defended the action by claiming he didn’t violate the rules that the bishops have for handling these things.

Bah.

Mama bear and the babies

I am the mother of sons. The thought of someone endangering one of them like this has me ready to charge out and do battle. 

I love the Catholic Church with all my heart. I am so grateful to the bishops for standing up against the destruction of traditional Christian morality in our society. I would follow them anywhere in this fight. 

But with friends like Archbishop Myers, who needs enemies? Actions like his cut the moral ground out from under his brother bishops and make it difficult for any of us to defend the Church in the public square. 

As for disparaging Jesus, when a shepherd of the flock opens the gate and allows the wolf in with the lambs and then claims he didn’t do anything wrong … what do you call it? 

Me

I am also a public official. I am responsible for other people’s lives. That doesn’t make me more sympathetic with the Archbishop. It makes me less so. 

This wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t something where he didn’t know or the “experts” told him it would be ok. It didn’t happen back in some long ago past when people supposedly didn’t know that molesting children was wrong. (When was the time, anyway? I’m no kid, but I don’t remember it.)

This is now, after more than 10 years of constant talk about the “problem” of bishops putting child abusers with children. It comes after the apologies, after the reforms, after the promises of never again. The priest in question isn’t someone that was newly discovered to be a child abuser. He’s a confessed, convicted child abuser who was, essentially, remanded to the archbishop’s custody.

Is there some fact here I’ve got wrong? Is there some exculpatory bit of evidence I don’t know about? 

If there’s not, then what the tom fool was Archbishop Myers playing at? Why, why, why did he do this incredibly stupid, destructive and potentially catastrophic thing to the children that God has entrusted to his care? 

Why did he place his Church on the chopping block again? Why did he pull the rug out from under his brother bishops’ feet with actions he knew would get them all tarred with the same ugly brush? 

Sending a confessed, convicted child molester back to ministry with children makes as much sense as giving an embezzler a job in a bank or sending an alcoholic to work in a liquor store. If his goal to was help Father Fugee, he should have done everything he could to keep him away from young people. Surely there was a back room job counting beans somewhere he could have found for him. 

I could go on. 

And on.

But there’s no point. We’ve all got the weary task of once again trying to clean up the mess this Archbishop has made. It’s hard work, reminding people over and over again that Jesus condemns this, and that the Church is still true, even if her ministers sometimes trip and fall. 

One bishop who does something like this does so much harm. The damage — to individuals, to the Church’s witness to Christ — is incalculable.  

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com: neenergyobserver

    Yes, not my church, but it’s our problem as well. There is just know room for idiocy like this in our hierarchies, the task is large enough without or so-called leadership making it worse, This Archbishop needs to resign, retire, or be fired, whatever you guys do with such folk, let him give his excuses to God, although I doubt he’ll understand either.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    This seems utter,y inexplicable. The guy doesn’t get it.

  • Judy Jones

    Agree with Mama Bear…
    Would the Archdiocese of Newark church officials please make up their minds which story they are going to go with? It is no wonder that Bishop Myers can not be trusted by victims, parents, and parishioners to tell the truth or to care one bit about the safety of innocent children He still thinks he can get away with being above the law.

    Something to keep in mind:
    Child predators are very cunning and manipulative. They know every trick on how to groom, threaten, lie, and put the fear of god into their victims, yet they can also be charming and generous, While they are grooming the child, they devote lots of time and energy, building trust with them by giving them money and gifts. They tend to make the child feel that they are special and loved.
    They appear to do a lot of goods things, they can be very charismatic and you may think they would never harm a child. They have to be this way, in order to not get caught and to continue to abuse

    It is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever, and “the church officials know this”.
    So let’s hope that every person who saw, suspects or may has been harmed by Michael Fugee, will find the courage and strength to speak up and contact police, no matter how long ago it happened.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    “SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  • Steve Daily

    thank you for the passion and gentle rebuke. l have often wondered why this keeps happening myself but couldn’t find the words except “GRRRRR” (which is Papa Bear translation of your words!)

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I feel the same way about the Church. Unwarrented attacks jab me in the side and turn me very unChristian in my response. Perhaps God is putting me to the test when I come across it, and I most undoubtedly fail the test. The people who most attack the Church that I’ve noticed come in one of two groups. Either they are secularists who have an opposition with Church sexual and/or abortion mandates or Evangelical Protestants who think they are still fighting the wars of the reformation. I can understand the secularists; that’s essentially a political fight. The Protestants who say some of the most aweful things about Catholicism are just out right prejudice. I’m not sure I really understand them, what makes them tick, what motivates them. It seems like they have to build themselves up by tearing someone down. It seems like they come to their theology by doing whatever the Catholic Church doesn’t. They define themselves by what they are not.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      Sorry Rebecca, I went off your topic of Archbishop Myers. I focused on your lead in, which stirred a lot of thoughts from experience. I agree with you on Myers. What was he thinking? What he did was inexcusable, which does give credence to those that say the problem has not been solved.

  • pagansister

    Go Get-um Rebecca! :-) I couldn’t agree with you more on your Mama Bear comments. The man (Myers) IMO just needs to be relieved of his job and sent away to nice quiet monastery. OR is he eligible for jail?

  • Hilarious Results

    ” It didn’t happen back in some long ago past when people supposedly didn’t know that molesting children was wrong. (When was the time, anyway? I’m no kid, but I don’t remember it.)”

    On this … It’s not that they didn’t know it was wrong. It was that they wouldn’t report when it happened. I have often wondered why parents “back then” would participate in cover-ups for criminal priests, even when their own children were victimized. My mother-in-law has tried to explain to me that back then, one “just didn’t” talk about such things. Not to the civil authorities, not to the bishop, not to anyone. It “just wasn’t” done. She doesn’t explain further; I have wondered whether it was part of that misplaced clericalism that Vatican II was supposed to eliminate; or perhaps it was related to the “she asked for it” attitude toward rape victims. Or what? I have never been able to get my mind around that idea. Perhaps it is a generational culture thing that people our age (I think we’re close in age, Ms. Hamilton) will never quite get. Yet I still wonder about it; it repulses me.

  • Sus

    Thank you for your recent posts on such an ugly situation. I think that these men think they are above all. Maybe they even think they are above Jesus and God. It seems like they excuse their actions and behaviors because they answer to God. They don’t want anyone in their business because mere mortals like moms and dads couldn’t understand. Because there is nothing but silence from the Vatican, it goes on. It’s really disgusting. It’s a shame because every time something like this comes out, the Church loses more credibility.

  • SteveP

    Rebecca: I agree with what you have written. While the situation is disgusting, it also demonstrates that the Church exists solely by the Holy Spirit as that was Christ’s Will: it would be a historical curiosity if it depended on men keeping their pants on or their hands to themselves.
    .
    By all means let us remain vigilant, apply lawful punishment under due process and, most importantly, intercede that the Father may heal the victims and be merciful to the perpetrators.
    .
    May the Peace that is Christ rest upon you these days as well as those who read here and those involved.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Wonderful points Steve! Thank you. Blessings.

  • pagansister

    Many of my Catholic friends (I’m in my late 60′s) have told me stories about when they attended Catholic school and got into trouble, the parents always sided with the nuns or the priests. They were taught NOT to question what they were being taught. Some of my friends said that due to their experiences in Catholic school they would never send their kids to one. Guess my point here is that priests and nuns were held in such high esteem that either no one believed the children IF they had the courage to tell their parents of molestation OR they were afraid to even mention it to their parents. None of my friends mentioned being molested—fortunately. My experience teaching in the Catholic school was pleasant, and I didn’t find the teachers (all lay except 2) to be strict and harsh. Did find interesting the stories Sister D. (in her late 70′s) about how the nuns could have a classroom of 40-50 children who were totally quiet, walked in straight lines quietly in the halls, etc. She was a tiny 5’2″ tall woman and I loved her. She didn’t mention the measures taken to keep those children under that control—and I never asked! :-) .

  • FW Ken

    If anyone is interested in understanding thus issue beyond just pontificating on the internet, Phillip Jenkins’ book Pedophiles and Priests is required reading.

    In part, for several decades, it was thought that talking about it publicly was damaging to the victims. Families (where most abuse occurs) routinely do this, leading to bitterness and broken relationships. Virtually any group of any size will experience chips abuse.

  • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

    The Church is the body of Christ; people like Myers are the bleeding wounds, inflicted and infected by sin.

  • FW Ken

    the parents always sided with the nuns or the priests.

    That was true of my family in public schools, as well. It was the culture of the times.

    Remembering that kids are at least as likely to be molested in public schools, it’s either connected in both in obth or connected in neither. We walked around in straight lines, too.

  • pagansister

    KWKen: I was that generation, and always attended public schools too. I do understand that abuse happens in public schools also. It may have been the culture of the times, but I never remember being afraid of my teachers, but then I was a kid that never wanted to be noticed or wanted to stand out any way. When my kids were in public schools, (they are in their 40′s) and only one had a problem a couple of times, we didn’t immediately take the teacher’s side—but got both sides. At one point, it WAS the teacher and not our child who had a problem! Being a teacher didn’t automatically make me immune to misjudging a child at times or automatically make me “right”. The impression I got from my Catholic friends was that their parents actually thought that the nun or priest was just about infallible—–rightly or wrongly.

  • FW Ken

    Sexual abuse occurs at about the same rate among all those who work around kids: clergy, teachers, Scouting leaders, and so on. In fact, those rates are lower than for men in general.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/04/07/mean-men.html

    Hence, associating the Catholic abuse with any factor specific to Catholic life is problematic.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      Thank you Ken. That needs to be repeated over and over.


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