Archbishop Carlson’s Deposition Reveals a Painful Truth: He’s Just Like Us

Archbishop carlson cassock

It’s a bitter pill for Catholics, watching the videos of Archbishop Carlson’s testimony.

I understand and share the emotions it raises.

But we do not serve ourselves or our Church by pretending that it ain’t so. We’ve got to face this because it is reality. It doesn’t change in any way the simple fact that Jesus said “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

What it changes is the blind notion that many Catholics have — that we all want to have — that our religious leaders are sinless Christ figures themselves.

They’re just people, just like us. They are conduits of the graces of the sacraments. God can and does reach through them and into us when we go to them for support and help in our troubles.

But the miracle in that is all on God, not on them. They don’t create the miracle, they don’t control the grace. I know from personal experience that God can reach out and touch anyone, anytime. I believe that all that’s needed on our parts is a willing heart. All we have to do to receive God’s healing grace is say yes to it.

Why, then, a priesthood? If God can reach directly into us Himself then why do we need priests who are conduits of grace?

Because the priesthood is God’s instrument for bestowing this grace in an understandable, predictable and accessible way. I think that the emotionalism that is sometimes exhibited in some churches is an attempt to re-create that first transforming moment of grace when they originally said yes. It is an attempt to touch God and feel it again by using our own emotions to elevate ourselves to that level.

Priest distributes Holy Communion large

The Eucharist gives us that healing moment of grace, that experience of touching God, of feeling Christ, without any effort on our part. All we have to do is say yes and partake. It is the same with confession. Confession bestows healing grace. So much so that there have been times, including long periods when I was feeling especially challenged, that I went to confession every week, even though my sins were not so grave, because I needed that encounter with Christ, that healing grace that confession gives.

Sacramental confession strengthens us in an almost unfelt way. The more often we go to confession, the stronger we are in resisting evil. In fact, my experience has been that if I confess something on a regular basis, I stop wanting to do it. It takes a bit of time, but that’s what happens.

These graces, as well as the graces of the other sacraments, flow through the priest in a way that is simple for those of us who receive it. We don’t have to understand theology. We don’t have to work ourselves into an emotional high. All we have to do is say yes and accept the grace that is freely given to us.

The crowning moment of grace is always the Eucharist, which is direct contact with Christ. So far as I’m concerned — and I’m not a theologian, so this applies only to me and my understanding — the Church is the Eucharist. And we are the eucharist. Because the Eucharist is Christ. The priesthood exists to bestow grace. Priests are conduits of grace, and it does not matter what kind of hooligan they are personally, the graces of the sacraments flow through them to us, regardless.

Which brings me back to Archbishop Carlson. I wouldn’t call him a hooligan. In fact, I’m not sure how to label him. I don’t want to label him and his faults. It is enough for me that this is the situation in which we find ourselves, him and us. Because at this point, that’s what it’s about: Him and us.

Not, Jesus and us, or even the Church and us. But poor, messed up Archbishop Carlson and us. We don’t have to decide what to do about Archbishop Carlson. What we are tasked with is determining how we are going to relate to our dear Church in the light of the obvious fact that our leaders are ordinary people.

They can be cowards. Just like us.

They can be craven. Just like us.

They can lie, cheat, steal and run away when they get in trouble. Just like us.

They can gossip and betray confidences, hold grudges and be spiteful. Just like us.

They are not Christ.

What they are is men who have consented to be the conduits of grace to Christ’s Church, which is us. There is a moment when heaven comes to earth and the Eucharist becomes His Body, His blood, in which the divine flows through them.

The fact that a few of them become callous about this and begin to devalue it and even start thinking that it is all about them and not Jesus, does not change the impact it has on us. The Eucharist is still real, even if the priest is a messed-up welter of confusion and sin.

Archbishop Carlson reveals himself to be a lawyered-up citizen who ducks and covers under oath in an act of self defense. I have no idea why he didn’t do the obvious thing and exercise his right to take the Fifth Amendment. It would have been far less damaging to his credibility than this performance.

You can find the full text of his deposition here. Many of the salient comments are highlighted to make them easy to find.

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There really isn’t any point in trying to find an “out” for Archbishop Carlson in this. The deposition speaks for itself. Besides, it’s not our job to judge Archbishop Carlson. Our job is the much tougher one of working out how to be a faithful Catholic in a world of fallen leaders, including our leaders in the Church.

How do we follow these men when they are so nothing special as this deposition reveals them to be? Not, mind you, worse than us. Most of us would duck and cover in a deposition like this one, just like the Archbishop. Any of us who have brains would get the best legal counsel we could and do exactly what that attorney told us to do.

Archbishop Carlson doesn’t reveal himself to be a fiend in this deposition. He reveals himself to be no better than the rest of us.

Which brings us back to the task that faces us. We are fallen people, served by a priesthood that is composed entirely of fallen people, living in a fallen world.

Yet we serve a risen Savior, Who is God Incarnate. We are called to be “perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

But we can’t do it. We. Can. Not. Do. It. We don’t get through a single day without at least one and usually many sins of one sort or another.

We want heroes who will give us the illusion of the possibility of human perfection. But human perfection is always just that; an illusion.

To put it bluntly, we are all — priest and parishioner alike — down here in the pits together. As Jesus said, “There is none good except God.”

So how do we solve this conundrum of answering a call to be “perfect” while we are certain that there is “none good” among humankind?

We solve it by getting up every morning and giving our day to Jesus and His Mother. We solve it by availing ourselves of the certain graces of the sacraments. We solve it by forgiving each other and sustaining one another in our weakness.

How does this apply to the Archbishop Carlsons in our clerical leadership? More to the point, how does it apply to us and our response to the Archbishop Carlsons in our leadership?

My answer — and this is just me, talking about me — is that we need to cherish these men and help them as we can. At the same time, we need to stop pretending that they are anything other than fallen human beings. When they stand behind that altar and lift up the host, they are conduits of God’s grace. When they come down from behind the altar and scald us with a fit of rage or lie in a deposition, they are just people, wallowing around in the pit of failed good intentions along with the rest of us.

This is difficult for Catholics. It’s difficult for me. I am still working out how to deal with wounds inflicted by clergy. Some days I don’t do so well with it. Protestants can just dismiss their clergy as fallen people and be done with it. But Catholics are part of a hierarchical Church whose entire governance is built on the administration of these fallen men.

How do we, as Catholics, remain faithful when we see by their actions that we must be judicious about how and when we follow our clergy?

This is a tough one. It’s not always or even mostly about big public dilemmas like Archbishop Carlson’s dipping and dodging deposition. It is usually more personal, and because of that, far more damaging to us as Christians and Catholics.

How do we, say, disregard things a priest or spiritual director says to us in a fit of rage? How do we decide what to believe and what not to believe about the things they say to us? How do we overcome the sense of betrayal when a priest gossips about our deepest hurts? These are more the kinds of things that most Catholics must overcome in their walk of faith. The big public falls from grace seem easy to me compared to those much deeper personal dilemmas. How do we live together as Catholics in this fallen world?

These are hard questions with no easy answers. I’m going to leave it open for discussion and see what the rest of you think. In the meantime, take a look at Archbishop Carlson’s deposition. It’s clearly not a case of dementia or anything like it. He’s dipping and dodging and doing it quite well. Just like us.

  • pagansister

    In other words, those men are just men with all that implies. No one is perfect—-the problem here is that some of those men took advantage of their positions and their superiors did nothing about it in order to protect the reputation of the “boss” which in this case was the Church. How do those parishioners know who to trust with the children anymore? Hopefully they never leave their child (children) alone with any priest—I would be hard pressed to do so now if my kids were still children. How does the archbishop live with his lies? I personally cannot believe he had no clue that child molestation wasn’t a crime (back then!). Wasn’t taught morals in is training and by the Church? It just makes me angry.

    • hamiltonr

      I never left my children alone with anyone. Period. Except my parents, their father (who was also my husband) and on a few occasions, a family member or friend who babysat for a few hours. But this latter was rare in the extreme. People toss their kids around too much. I don’t consider priests any more likely to be sexual predators than anyone else.

  • Linda_LaScola

    I believe I understand your position on the Archbishop and wonder what sorts of negative things a priest could do that, in your opinion, would no longer allow him to be a conduit of God’s grace?

    • hamiltonr

      I suppose that would be up to God, not me.

      • jflcroft

        What a shocking abdication of moral responsibility. Sometimes it *is* for us to judge – and in this case isn’t the judgment totally obvious?

        • hamiltonr

          I’m going to all this as a matter of clarification for readers who may be honestly interested in discussion rather than hectoring.

          I can judge what my response will be. For instance, I might move to another parish, or even, if things were bad enough with a bishop, drive to another diocese, although in Oklahoma that is quite a drive.

          But as to whether or not God allows the graces of the sacraments to flow through a priest and into the parishioner, that would be up to Him. The Church teaches that so long as the priest intends to do what the Church does with the sacraments, i.e. be a conduit of God’s grace, then that is what happens.

          It doesn’t matter about the priest. He is a conduit; not the source.

          • neil allen

            Jesus said child rape was unforgivable in Matt 18:6. This is not debatable, although Catholic priests have used every excuse conceivable to get away with their organized child rape program.

  • hamiltonr

    I’ve written several articles saying that this kind of behavior should not be tolerated. However, this one is about how Catholics — me in particular — can deal with it.

    As for the many allegations you’ve made, I’m not buying all of them, at least not based on what little I know. You are making the mistake of accepting every accusation against Archbishop Carlton as accurate and true. There may be supporting evidence for these things. I don’t know.

    But I do know that it is usual in these things for a good bit of what is said to be a kind of pile-on mishmash.

    Don’t rush to decide these things, would be my advice. Let the truth sift itself to the top.

    • Danno

      why will you not post my reply?

      • hamiltonr

        No idea whatsoever what you are referring to.

    • Danno

      Could you please post my reply

      • hamiltonr

        Danno, I have no idea what you are talking about. I have not deleted your reply. I have not SEEN your reply.

    • Danno

      This Catholic clergy abuse victim has done his homework. I
      would expect that a concerned Catholic like you would make some effort to search out the truth. This information can be found by reading the depositions of all concerned including Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn and Pedophile priest Tom Adamson. Court documents are also available online at bishop accountability.

      Your advice to “let the truth sift itself to the top” is an example of why clergy sexual assault victims feel so alienated. You tell me
      that I am “making the mistake that every accusation of Archbishop Carslon is true. “Then state that there may be supporting evidence for these things, You Don’t Know”.

      I do know, as I have read every bit of information about this case and I want our children to be protected. I also want the leaders to be held accountable for their actions that have caused so much pain and continue to do so by acting such as Carlson with his almost 200 “I do not remembers”.
      This can never happen again.

      It seems that some of my fellow Catholics choose to be willfully blind to the actions of church leaders when it comes to clergy abuse.

      We are severely wounded from the sick things that happened to us as children. Instead of reaching out to us with loving concern to aid in our healing we were treated horribly by church leaders who were intent on covering up what happened to us.

      What makes it worse is when fellow Catholics make it clear to us like your comment “Let the truth sift itself to the top” makes it clear to me, that we are unimportant.. We need you to help us heal by searching out the truth not waiting for it to come to you. Please read your reply again. Is that really what you meant? You write so beautifully, you are much smarter than your response.

      • hamiltonr

        I did not intend what I said the way you are interpreting it. I merely meant that the truth has a way of coming out and that until/unless we know the truth, we shouldn’t rush to judgement. If you know the truth, or you are satisfied that you do, that’s fine with me. I don’t have enough data to feel that I am in the same situation.

        Also, your reaction is not, or it should not be predicated on mine. If you feel strongly about something, you don’t need either my permission or my agreement. The same is true of everyone else.

  • hamiltonr

    I think it’s dangerous to entrust your children to anyone. FWIW — and I’m NOT defending priests who abuse children — everyone I know who was sexually abused by an adult as a child, and I know quite a few, btw, was either abused by a family member or a “friend” of the family or a neighbor.

    • pagansister

      I know someone who was molested by not only her biological father but her step father! The woman who gave birth to her, and IMO should not be considered a mother in any form of that definition, knew what was happening and sometimes took part. Horrible woman, who unfortunately is still on this planet—as is the step father. Obviously you didn’t want to entrust your children to others since you home-schooled them but not all are able to do that or want to do that. All the schools I taught in (all public until the last 10 in the Catholic school) had strict rules of not allowing any child alone with an adult in a room without the door(s) open at all times. If a door needed to be shut, then another adult had to be in the room.

      • hamiltonr

        Pagansister, I edited this comment to obscure who the person you are referring to might be. If you want me to delete the comment altogether, I will. I just don’t want to expose anyone to the internet about something this sensitive. Blessings to you.

        • pagansister

          Thank you, Rebecca for the edit. Appreciate it. It is fine the way you have it now.

          • hamiltonr

            Pagansister, I had to edit it again. For some reason Disqus removed my earlier edits and put your original wording back in. Hope it’s still ok.

            • pagansister

              It’s OK. Obviously Disqus wasn’t cooperating with you so we will “move on”. :-)

    • pagansister

      I have never thought you were defending the priests that abused the children—meant to mention that and forgot.

      • hamiltonr

        I knew that, mi amiga.

        • pagansister

          :-)

  • hamiltonr

    I think you’re talking about removing a priest from his assignment and not giving him another. Any bishop can do that, anytime.

  • hamiltonr

    The Catholic Church ordains him, and Jesus commissioned the Church through St Peter. However, the grace comes from God.

    That’s a fine point, and really more personal with me than anything else.

    As to your question Linda, I have ideas, but I don’t know specifically. I know that a priest receives his authority through his local bishop. He can not perform any of his priestly functions (except in times of life and death emergency) without that. So, removing a priest from his assignment in a parish and not giving him another one would be a simple matter for a bishop. As to the process of removing him from the priesthood altogether, I don’t know the specifics.

    Welcome to Public Catholic, btw. How do you like blogging at the Patheos Atheist channel?

    • Linda_LaScola

      Thanks for the welcome and the response — I figured the bishop – or some earthly higher-up would have some authority to remove privileges.

      I like blogging at the atheist channel. There’s a post up right now by a Catholic seminary grad. take a look at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/clergyproject/2014/06/myths-from-the-past-hope-for-the-future/

      • hamiltonr

        I read it this morning Linda. I’ve been reading most of your posts.

        • Linda_LaScola

          I think we could. Also, I haven’t seen the back-and-forth hate off you mention on the Rational Doubt blog. I’m pleased with the discussion there.

      • FW Ken

        Sorry, Linda. I didn’t realize you are an atheist. I wrote from a Catholic perspective, of course, but I meant to be replying to capncrisis.

        Yes, it’s been one of those days.

  • TapestryGarden

    I get incredibly disgusted by the revisionist history, the Monday morning quarterbacking and the theory that although we didn’t know then what we know now that we should have….

    Here’s the reality. In 1970 the idea of predatory homosexuals preying upon young men via their opportunities as priests would have been very difficult to believe. Homosexuality, the prevalence of this activity, the predatory nature, the conspiracy of silence allowing the abuse were all a function of the culture and knowledge as it was in those days. I was molested by my dentist. When confiding this to my sister I found that she was also molested. We contacted a friend who had the same dentist…same story. We confronted our parents who pooh poohed the entire concept as being ridiculous.

    It was a different day and time. To expect the Archbishop to have the kind of sophistication, understanding of his obligation to report to the police, and to defy the thought at the time that counseling would “cure” the predatory priests is to expect a lot.

    There probably were some evildoers who deliberately looked the other way or perhaps participated themselves. But my relatively extensive review of this and other cases indicates to me that these priests “know not what they did” and are now paying the price.

    I am a convert who came into the Church just as this issue was wending its way through the courts. I did not have the slightest concern that the CHURCH was responsible for the acts of a few depraved, ignorant or cowardly individuals.

  • hamiltonr

    I’m not going to dialogue on the atheist channel. No time. No interest. I am only considering writing a post discussing some of the issues raised on a post by one of my Patheos colleagues who blogs on the atheist channel. I haven’t decided to do that yet. Just considering.

  • hamiltonr

    Go for it.

  • FixtheLaw

    As a survivor of clergy abuse, a lifelong catholic who attended daily mass, whose children have attended and continue to attend Catholic school. What I find incredibly hurtful is the fact that Archbishop Carlson…lied about his knowledge…very recently, not 30 years ago when many claim people didn’t know better. Which I do not buy either. These bishops were confronted with countless opportunities to do the right thing. Protecting the institution instead of our children from KNOWN predators was and continues to be the overriding concern for our church. Even after the bishops made all kinds of promises in Dallas we still have church leadership trying to silence victims. In a recent case here in New Jersey a young boy molested at his prestigious school run by Benedictine monks was bound by a confidentiality agreement the monks refused to allow him out of because they didn’t want others to know about the offending priest and the money they paid this young man. The monk was accused of molesting several other boys and was convicted for his crimes. Yet even after that fact they refused to allow the victim to speak publicly, threatening him. He was released from most of the agreement only weeks ago after he returned to court to ask a judge to release him and only in the middle of the court proceeding did the monks finally agree to let him speak…except he cannot mention how much they paid him…read the story below.

    As a catholic I too once believed in the grace one obtained from practicing my faith in many ways, but I simply cannot believe those who can distort the truth and cause such harm to families and abuse victims, or those that have protected them, can convey any grace. I often wonder “do they even believe in GOD”? How can they live so contrary to the Gospel and yet be a source of grace and inspiration? How does one heal from such a betrayal of trust and continue to believe these men can lead you closer to God? I tried for many, many years, but I will do it no longer.

    It sort of encouraging bad behavior, I truly believe these guys think…well I will just go to confession, all will be forgiven and go right back to doing what I did before. How can THEY be in any state of grace?

    http://pix11.com/2014/06/10/silent-no-more-priest-sex-abuse-victim-gets-confidentiality-clause-in-case-thrown-out/

    • hamiltonr

      I’ve wondered the same thing.

      “I often wonder “do they even believe in GOD”? “

    • FW Ken

      Spending my days, or parts of them, with really bad guys, I’m more prone to wonder if I really believe in God, or, more precisely, whether I can live faithfully. I see so much jailhouse religion, sincerely meant, but these folks are broken human beings. I have known true pedophiles who want do desperately to do good, but the only place for them is jail.

      There but for the grace of God…

  • hamiltonr

    I’m saying that we’re all fallen people living in a fallen world. Every single one of us is weak, cowardly, craven from time to time. We all lie, steal, cheat and run away now and again. Not just Catholics, but all human beings. That’s why Jesus had to die on the cross.

  • FW Ken

    What do you know about the new charge against Fr. Jiang?

    • davidclohessy

      It’s a pending criminal case. We applaud the victim’s family for reporting promptly and for cooperating with the police and the prosecutors.

  • FW Ken

    peggy-o, you rock.

    It’s worth remembering, though, that the Church is getting a long-overdue cleaning out. We’ve had too much money and the wrong kind of power (social privilege) for too long.

  • Jeanne Schmelzer

    My daughter worked for Bishop Carlson in the diocese of Sioux Falls in ferreting out the molestation cases and in no way was he responsible with a criminal intent. So here are a
    couple of comments from CatholicCulture. org to shed some light on what
    is going on.

    “Abp. Carlson has written to the archdiocese of St. Louis: “In the deposition
    last month, ‘I misunderstood a series of questions that were presented to me. I
    wish to clarify that situation now. I fully understand, and have understood for
    my entire adult life, as I stated in other sections of this same deposition,
    sexual abuse is a grave evil and a criminal offense… I support mandatory child
    abuse reporting laws, to which the Archdiocese strictly adheres.” See also the
    St. Louis Review article.”

    Posted by: loumiamo7154 – Jun. 13, 2014 11:22
    AM ET USA

    “Having read the apt parts of the transcript, and referring to Anderson’s
    previous work in trying to destroy the Church, I’m with Bill Donahue on this one.
    Anderson didn’t ask his questions haphazardly. He set up a heads he wins, tails
    the Abp loses scenario. Sure, the Abp could have done better, but what unfolded
    did not mean what Anderson claims. and in no way was he responsible with a criminal intent. So here are a couple of comments from CatholicCulture. org to shed some light on what is going on.”

    • Danno

      My Lord, there is no way that you have read or watched the deposition or looked at any of the documents. Carlson knowingly put children in harms way in Minneapolis.

      • hamiltonr

        I’m assuming your reference to Our Lord was prayerful. :-)

    • pagansister

      However did he call the authorities or did he “reassign” them etc.?

  • Danno

    There would be no SNAP if church leaders would have reached out with loving concern to victims instead of throwing us away like garbage to cover up what was done to us and to protect the church instead of children.

  • hamiltonr

    Danno, it’s ok to ask people if they have links or similar that they can share. But remember this is a discussion, not a courtroom. Tread gently.

  • davidclohessy

    This is simply not true. There’s a pending civil suit based on the crimes this girl and her family suffered. Noone of Fr. Jiang’s accusers have recanted anything.

    • Danno

      Thank you David, keep up the good work.

  • davidclohessy

    “a family. . .filed another lawsuit against Father Joseph with SNAP’s help.”

    Both parts of this are wrong. There is no second lawsuit against Fr. Jiang.

    “After interviewing the child and all involved, absolutely nobody, including the St. Louis police, believes there is any credibility whatsoever to the allegations.”

    Wrong again. These criminal charges are pending right now. So obviously police and prosecutors DO believe they are credible.

  • neil allen

    It’s the comfort of satan, which Catholics always use – “We’re all sinners. I’t cool. Don’t worry about it. Come to Catholic confession and we’ll make it disappear in 15 minutes. Don’t worry about the innocent children that were raped. We’ll give you dozens of reasons why that is ok”.

    • hamiltonr

      That is not what I said Neil.

      I deleted your other comment because it was viciously anti-Catholic. I’m allowing this one, but only by a hair.

      • neil allen

        “I’m allowing this one”?

        Everything I said was true. You don’t like the brutal honesty, just like I don’t like the brutal child rape committed, concealed and condoned by the Catholic church, which Jesus did not forgive (Matt 18:6-14)

        Jesus said “I am the way, the truth…”

        not “I am the comfortable truths, but not the ones that expose evil committed using the power of God”

        Children’s lives were destroyed, and you are stopping the brutal truth from getting them justice.

        God isn’t stupid – you have chosen to protect organized child rape instead of children. As Jesus said, you will not be forgiven.

        • hamiltonr

          I repeat: That is not what I said.

          Try talking about the issues Neil.

  • hamiltonr

    Neil, of course the rape of children is condemned by Christ. And yes, the Church has committed egregious sins concerning this very matter. However, to say that the whole Church and all its 2 billion people have done this is not true.

    As for “seeing how rich the Catholic Church is,” the Church’s wealth is primarily in art, which is certainly an unrealized — and unspendable — asset. Be that as it may, the Catholics of this world are not rich. A few of us, yes. But most of us, not at all. Many of us are among the poor and marginalized of the world.

    Stop doing the wind-milling and going off in a froth Neil. There are legitimate comments in what you’re saying, but you are hiding it behind the rageful carrying on.

  • FW Ken

    You know, ya’ll need to quit obsessing about calling the police. In the first place,  they aren’t even the mandatory reporting agency in my state, and I suspect others.  That would be Child Protective Services.  In the second place,  half the time the police do nothing but take a report,  if that. The other half of the time,  the mess up the case.  In the third place,  by the time it gets to the bishop,  two or three other people should have already notified the proper authority. Like the parents.

     

    The bishop’s real job – at which they have a history of failure – is to restrict a priest accused of any wrongdoing from ministry, cooperate with whatever official investigation is being done,  and conduct an internal investigation.  Of primary concern should be pastoral care for the victim,  seeking additional victims,  and maximizing the security of all concerned.  Again,   there has been too little care given to the sheep and too much to the shepherds That will not be redressed by obsessing over called the police.

    • pagansister

      AT least the police could suggest, when called by a Church official, that the State or city child protective agency should be called first. But first they have to be called! It could be investigated from there and perhaps ultimately end up with an arrest of the priest. Of course there should be care for the injured party, along with the punishment of the wrong doer.

  • Danno

    Thank you Peggy.
    Peace to you as well.

  • FixtheLaw

    I thank God every day for SNAP, I do realize the truth the many survivors and their supporters expose is too much for some to bare. Some refuse to see the truth of what countless Catholic leaders have done to protect the institution instead of our children. Attacking SNAP deflects attention from real crimes, known predators molesting children and our church officials who looked the other way. SNAP, by the grace of God, has affected some change within our church, but far more remains to be done. and Emily, please don’t speak for me or many other good Catholics who support SNAP and it’s mission of truth and healing. It is clear you disagree, even hate this organization, and that’s your right, but why do you attack David for speaking his mind here? Would Christ respond in such a manner? .

    The “coat of arms” or the shield the late Cardinal O’Conner of NY read. “There can be no love without Justice”.
    Is it wrong for these victims to seek justice? As a survivor of clergy abuse myself I can tell you the clergy who molested me were most certainly protected by those that had the power to stop them. They did no such thing, lying to me and protecting the institution. I sought and repeatedly asked for a pastoral response but was given a legal one. The church had lawyers working for them against me long before I ever talked to one. If you only knew the whole truth of how countless Bishops and Cardinals have responded to victims, it is NOT the loving, compassionate response any catholic would expect. No and all too often they outright lied to us, it is well documented. You don’t have to accept the medias version, just read the documents bishops and Cardinals have written only uncovered when victims in rare cases, get to court.

    When Jesus himself said that “to anyone who cause a little one to stumble, better a millstone be tied around his neck and he be cast into the sea”. This was not one of those time Jesus stated “take the log out of your own eye before trying to remove the speck from your brothers”, no I do not believe He will be so understanding re: the actions of the Archbishop Carlson…”Jesus also said “to those who have been given more, more will be expected”.

    • pagansister

      I can’t imagine what you went through from a priest. I sincerely hope that you have been able to get some sort of help outside the Church and that those in the Church who concealed and lied through everything have paid for their “sins”.

  • pagansister

    I am by no means giving a pass to family, friends, teachers and anyone else who might have knowledge. Since most of the conversation on this site is about the Church and the misconduct of priests and their superiors, I focused on that. Anyone who thinks something is wrong has an obligation to call either the police (who could refer to an agency who handles such things) or the agency who handles mistreatment of children. Perhaps I am assuming that the police would do something (as I have never had to call about such things) but if you know they do not do anything but take reports and file them, then I now know who to call if I have suspicions about the mistreatment of a child. When teaching it was made clear to us that we were to be observant of the possibility of a problem with a child. (in case we couldn’t figure that our for ourselves).

  • peggy-o

    Neil, Jesus’ reference to not hurting any of his little ones replies to all of us including those new to the faith or not yet robust in faith. That would also apply to you if anything you’ve said here angrily or done causes one to leave the church…God’s church.. The one Jesus died for and promised eternal life. You must find them and bring them back too. All of Mathew 18 shows Jesus giving authority to his Church as well as showing leaders and us how to behave.
    With true repentance all sins can be forgiven except the one Jesus cites on Mark 3:28 and that is against the Holy Spirit. Here his miracles were being labelled as of the devil. Fight abuse always and everywhere but don’t call his church with the remedy of healing graces and sacraments evil and chase people away. An unrepentant abusive priest may very we’ll end up in hell. You don’t want to join him there. Let’s all try to work together with and through Christ.

  • pagansister

    Apparently you left the seminary instead of becoming a priest? Or did you just work in a seminary? How do you have knowledge of all the orders you mentioned above if you were only in one seminary? Just curious.


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