Sins of the Fathers
ChrisOLeary.com > Sins of the Fathers > Courage?

I learned that courage wasn't the absence of fear,
but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid,
but he who conquers that fear.

- Nelson Mandela

In 2015, Pope Francis visited the United States. As part of that visit, he addressed the U.S. bishops and said the following with respect to the priest sex abuse scandal.

I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.

Given the ordeal the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Catholic Church have put me through, and that I give an overview of in The Sins of the Fathers, I was stunned.

When I think of "courage," I think of Jesus Christ entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a known and certain death. I think of Martin Luther King Jr. leading his people despite knowing what he could be -- and ultimately was -- in for. I think of Jackie Robinson 1947 season, in which he pioneered the integration of major league baseball and withstood months of the worst kinds of abuse -- verbal and physical -- with super-human grace.

To use the word "courage" to describe the actions of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States is both offensive and clueless.

How much courage is required to repeatedly tell a survivor that nothing happened? To then Gaslight a survivor and try to drive them crazy? To play Hardball with them and fight to deny them even the slightest amount of assistance?

Simply put, using the word "courage" to describe the actions of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States debases the word and the actions of those who truly embody it.

If you're smart, you'll do like I am and stop looking to the Church for examples of courage and instead focus on the words, life, and example of Jesus Christ.

I can't afford to see my therapist any more.

I haven't seen her for therapy in years.

As a result, I've struggled, again for years, with the feelings and emotions -- what I call Feelbacks -- that I experience when Triggered.

One thing that I've come up with that kind of works -- it works when the problem is fearful thoughts, but not when I start to get woozy and pass out -- is a mantra that was inspired by the courage of Jesus Christ.

Is this as scary as what Jesus Christ faced when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a known and certain death?

Sometimes the answer is "Yes," but it's usually "No."

I never understood what people meant when they would talk about Christ being our strength and our rock, but I think that mantra gets to the essence of what people are talking about and why Christ died for us.

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