|ChrisOLeary.com > Sins of the Fathers > TOC > Just Move On|
Everybody tells me to (just) move on.
But nobody can tell me how.
When so many questions about what happened to me and us — starting with why and how and WHY — remain unanswered.
And so many people — starting with survivors and children — remain at risk.
How to (just) move on from here.
I've always REMEMBERED it.
I'm hit with
No, not all of it.
As I open the inner door.
Not the worst of it.
It looks like the sky.
But the stuff right before and after.
I'm looking at the latch
I just didn't UNDERSTAND it.
How to (just) move on from something — someWHERE — I'm drawn back to like it's yesterday.
Whether I want to or not.
Notwithstanding the Catholics who like to tell me, and everyone, how LONG ago it was.
How to (just) move on when the 11 year-old version of me is very real?
And very scared?
And, too often, in control?
An 11 year-old who at least has the power to veto things — the things that scare him — even if he's not in charge.
And who, on his worst days, is still INCREDIBLY — terrifyingly, disturbingly — angry?
Abuse of the Abused
How to (just) move on despite what happened to me when I went to my archdiocese for help.
The failure to help me.
The Smear Campaign.
The Abuse of the Abused.
How to (just) move on when priests of my archdiocese know that supporting — or even just talking to — survivors is socially unacceptable.
A career-limiting move.
And the response of priests, when simply asked to continue a parish's work accompanying us, is to block survivors.
Of course, those priests are likely just following the lead of the bishops, who also block survivors who reach out to them for help.
What About About Survivors?
How to (just) move on given the problem the Dallas Charter neglected to solve and the people they refused to help.
As its formal name belies.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
But what about survivors?
Victim Assistance Coordinator
But he won't enforce Vos Estis.
At least when it comes to survivors whose stories involve and implicate the wrong, still very powerful men?
A man on the short list of future Popes.
In Good Standing
How to (just) move on when bishops and cardinals who covered up child sexual abuse — who "fixed" things in 2002 and since — remain in good standing with the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops?
And continue to be the face of the Catholic Church in the U.S.
While it's survivors who are ostracized.
And smeared and intimidated when we have the temerity — the gall — to speak up and out for ourselves.
Knowledge > Responsibility
How to (just) move on when I'll be damned if I allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else?
How do I leave others — innocent children and my fellow survivors — to suffer the same fate?
Then and now?
How do I suppress the obligation I feel as a result of the knowledge I possess?
With knowledge comes responsibility.
And, even if (just) moving on was possible, how do I ignore the fact that so many people are, at best, focused on seeing the Catholic Church as they WANT it to be?
Not as it is.
And, because of all the Enabling that's being done by the Catholic press and the church's lay boosters — the podcasts that say they are going to take on the crisis but instead pull their punches, I assume because they don't want to offend the hierarchy of the church — I'm not sure (just) moving on is a good idea.
The right thing to do.
When my Archdiocese is acting like — because I fear they think — they got away with it?
How to (just) move on when the two groups we count on to hold the powerful accountable — law enforcement and the press — have failed the SPOTLIGHT test, in my archdiocese, at least.
When asked to play ball — to get on the same page — they didn't respond with indignation as the Boston Globe reporters did.
Instead, they agreed.
That led to cover-ups by the prior Attorney General, and now Senator, and worse by the current Attorney General.
And indifference by the FBI.
A refusal to investigate violations of the Mann Act, for example.
And the press, when they capture those cover-ups and worse on video, refuse to air them.
I assume to protect the archdiocese?
And city itself?
Because they assume their readers wouldn't want to know?
Even the New York Times is involved.
I twice told the two authors of their 2002 piece about my involvement in the case and the involvement of my friend the cardinal.
They never investigated.
What I've Been Told
How to (just) move on given what I've been told about two now Catholic bishops who sexually abused as diocesan priests.
And one is now paying off at least one of his victims.
And I've told my archdiocese and the USCCB and they seem uninterested or unwilling to act.
My Friend The Cardinal
Most of all, how do I (just) move on from here?
The place where, 40 years ago, I ended up after being sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted by a priest.
How do I (just) move on given the knowledge that my abuse was witnessed, at least in part, by another priest who lived in the same rectory.
My friend, the cardinal.
A man who now has hundreds of priests under his charge. And is responsible for investigating claims of abuse against them. And his fellow Catholic bishops.
And protecting children.
And he turned a blind eye to my and our sexual abuse in 1977. And then lied to and Gaslighted me in 2002.
I assume to prove his loyalty?
And to earn his present station.
And he did this despite the fact that at least two other survivors came forward, at the same time, forcing him to remove my abuser.
But he never helped me.
Instead, he told me nothing happened.
And never circled back to me.
And sent me on a wild goose chase.
Chasing one diagnosis after another, trying to understand what was wrong with me.
All the while my friend the cardinal positioned himself for his run for Pope.
Not the Only Cardinal
My friend the cardinal and the other cardinal who hand-delivered my letter to the Pope aren't the only potential Popes who my story involves and implicates.
There are also the two others who, rather than protecting the world from my abuser, instead cut him loose, leaving him to live, unsupervised and unsecured, in a private residence, for God knows how many years.
Which begs the question.
Who do these men — these four cardinals of the Catholic Church and future Popes, and the current Pope, Francis — think they are responsible for protecting?
The people? The laity?
And innocent children?
Or the church?
At the risk of repeating myself.
That's what people say when they're in the position I am, right now. Knowing they're repeating themself. But afraid to get out the red, editing pen. But the better, more honest way to say it is...
As the price of being a survivor.
Because that fate is to be flooded with, and constantly reminded of, and to be unable to escape, questions.
And how do I (just) move on when I have so many questions?
Questions that echo in my head, over and over and over and over...
Questions I NEED answered.
And, that the 11 year-old needs answered.
And I hope to do so in this podcast.
So what's it like to be a survivor?
To be tormented by questions — big questions — that nobody seems interested in asking, much less answering.
So I will.
First, and fundamentally, what happened?
WHY were we sacrificed?
And not just why by WHY?
And why were our abusers IDENTIFIED but not EXPELLED?
And not REMOVED.
Second, I've done everything in my power to make people aware of what my friend the cardinal did. And did NOT do. So, does the Catholic Church not care? Or was he doing his job?
Just following orders?
Is that why he was rewarded and not punished?
Third, does the involvement of four cardinals of the Catholic Church in my case explain my treatment?
The refusal to help me?
The Smear Campaign?
The Abuse of the Abused?
If so, then how has anything changed?
If Zero Tolerance has its limits.
If all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Finally, most importantly, and despite the narrative that the Catholic sex abuse crisis is Old News, there's the big question that makes this a problem of the present.
If the Catholic Church can do what it's done to me, a survivor — despite SPOTLIGHT, the Dallas Charter, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, Vos Estis, and everything — what ELSE can it justify and rationalize doing?
When it comes to kids, especially?
I don't know the answer to those questions, or where this podcast will take me, but I do know this is a critically important task. And, if Jesus Christ can do what he did — enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a certain and KNOWN fate — then I can do this.
How to (just) move on when the response of priests...
...when asked to continue a parish's work accompanying survivors...
...is to block survivors.
Of course, those priests are likely just following the lead of the bishops, who also block survivors who reach out to the for help.