If Christ turned the moneylenders out of the temple in rage that they would pollute ‘his Father’s House’ with their worship of money and conducting of commerce in the holiest of places, what would he say and do about a Church built in his name, which stockpiles and glories in its wealth, withholding it from the poor, the damaged, the needy? If and when He said ‘suffer the little children’ He didn’t mean, make the children suffer, He didn’t mean break their hearts and spirits, destroy their lives and souls with your deviant need for sexual release. He never said don’t love a woman, He didn’t say don’t engage in human love. This potentate Church which has done so much damage through so much of history, this Roman Catholic monstrosity, with its gilt and gloss covering its depravities and dislocation from the lives of its believers, must be brought down.
The cracks are showing. The edifice is revealing its flaws. What we are witnessing in Australia & now Rome as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual abuse continues its fantastic work (thank you, Julia Gillard!) is the tip of the iceberg. Sexual abuse of children is a silent crime for many reasons – the shame and fear instilled into its victims by the perpetrator, the inability for the chlld to speak out, the intrinsic lack of proof in what is invariably a private act, the unwillingness of adults around the child to believe allegations, the position of power the paedophile undoubtedly holds over the child and its carers due to careful grooming of both, and the fact that many, if not most, children suppress the memories of their abuse, locking them away in some dark recess of the mind and soul where they may not ever come to light, but will insidiously cause mayhem throughout a disturbed life – depression, addiction, self hatred, shame, suicidal thoughts and, tragically, often suicide itself.
We now know that the Roman Catholic Church has not only protected paedophile priests but enabled them – giving them positions which increased their contact with children. Moving them from diocese to diocese so they can start a new campaign of predation. Protecting them from accusations, heedless of the harm their ceaseless denial has achieved. Because sexual abuse of a child does not just harm the child. The entire family becomes a victim, whether they are aware of the cause or not. The child’s behaviour changes – the once innocent angel becomes a rage filled, hate filled tornado in the home, seeking to let out these terrible feelings of shame and self loathing that have been visited upon it. The school suffers as the once keen student seeks to destroy and harm him or herself, any environment of peace or calm. The angel child becomes the dark destroyer. Ultimately he or she will likely turn all that hate, rage and need for destruction against his or herself.
And those who love that child have to watch and wonder where it all went wrong, what they did wrong. The parents, if they know of the abuse, never ever forgive themselves for having ‘allowed’ the abuse to happen. No matter that we now know of the complex grooming techniques, the parent rails at his or herself, why they didn’t ‘know’, why they couldn’t ‘see’, how they could have protected their child from this monster in their midst. And they devote their lives to trying every avenue available to try and heal their child of this blight on his or her life. Now we know so much more than we did about childhood sexual abuse. We have moved past the 1980’s fabrications of ‘false memory’ and we know how deeply and darkly lodged these instances of childhood loss of innocence can be. But then, parents didn’t have the tools or the knowledge to help their child through the dark halls of self destruction and many lost their way and their lives. Innocent people have committed the ultimate ‘sin’ of suicide (according to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church) because of the actions of the priests and prelates ordained to administer these ‘laws’ and the souls of their parishioners.
I know the damage wreaked by childhood sexual abuse personally. After 47 years of battling the demons visited upon me by the perpetrator, I have finally found inner peace and happiness. But the road has been long and dark and there are many days and nights when the oblivion of death was preferable to another minute of their insidious voices in my head ‘nobody loves you, everyone would be better off without you, you are unlovable, no one could ever love you.’ I feel such pain for the parents of these children – to watch your child being eaten alive by these demons is hell itself. I feel such rage for the survivors, that a man purported to be God’s representative on earth can commit such heinous crimes against the innocent child. And that the almighty church continues to obfuscate, defend, deny, allow is intolerable to me and so many others, Catholic or not.
Like Jesus in the temple, if the Catholic Church is to have any future, the Pope must excommunicate all and any supposed servants of the Church who have preyed on innocent children or enabled predation in any form. It is appalling that Pell has not been forced to come home to face the Royal Commission and answer his own accusers. It is time for the victims and survivors to see justice at play, it is time for us all to realise how insidious and prevalent this crime is in our society. 1 in 5 children are abused. I hope it’s not you, I hope it’s not yours.