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I don’t know if I can call myself Catholic any more, in fact I think I am embarrassed to do so. Yet, as a victim of sexual assault by a priest, I feel I can have more impact if I remain Catholic and continue to speak my truth within the Catholic community.

I get very angry about the assumption that all victims are Catholic haters and no longer part of the Church, as if being raped by a priest is an excommunicable offense. Or perhaps it’s just telling the truth about it that is unacceptable: victims must be liars. But can that be it? Since when has lying been an excommunicable offense?  Is it the fact that we are accusing priests, then? Is that the unforgivable offense? If so, then the problem is with Catholics who believe that priests cannot be predators, who assume that a priest cannot be both loving and compassionate in ministry and also calculating, predatory, and criminal in their sexual behavior. Such naive beliefs are fed by the archaic view that priests are higher human beings by virtue of their ordination, that a transformation takes place in that sacrament raising priests closer to God than ordinary mortals will ever get!

These beliefs must be challenged. They are based on a magical view of priesthood and the sacrament or ordination that needs to change, and who better to challenge it than victims – especially ones with divinity degrees. So I struggle to hang on to the Catholic community, to remain within its borders, searching for wisdom among Catholic writers and enjoying the occasional gospel mass where the priest doesn’t look like my abuser and panic attacks remain at bay.

(Edited.  Apologies for the previous version; it was a comment in process that became frozen in cyberspace and I didn’t realize it had “defrosted.” I need to visit my blogs more regularly!)

A RESPONSE TO AN ATHEIST BLOGGER WHO HAS CHOSEN TO BECOME CATHOLIC – click here for the website

I don’t know you; I came across an article about your conversion on CNN news. I am delighted that you have found the love of God; I am somehow offended that you have chosen the Catholic Church. With all its immorality in leadership, its disregard for truth, let alone God’s Truth, its dismissal of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of female religious and in the call to priesthood among women, its rejection of homosexuals as disordered, yet its acceptance of large numbers of homosexuals into the priesthood, its protection and promotion of child abusers and their bishops, its total and absolute disregard for the spiritual and emotional torment of child victims and their families… it is impossible for me to find the Truth that is Jesus within the contemporary Catholic Church.

I wish you well, I hope you can take Jesus with you on your journey into Catholicism and remain faithful to the guidance of the Truth.

John Paley

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