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Open Letter to Pope Francis About Sexual Abuse in the ChurchDave Lopez special to Salem-News.com
I am standing in solidarity with the victims in Pennsylvania.
(DALLAS/FORT WORTH) - After staying quiet far too long about the abuse I suffered as a 12 year old altar boy, I've penned an open letter to the Pope. If you're inclined to do so, please SHARE and maybe somehow, he'll get this message. Thank you.
His Holiness, Pope Francis
Most Holy Father:
All over the world we hear voices of thousands of people telling their stories of abuse by Catholic clergy. I speak for us when I say YES, it happened, is happening and MUST STOP.
The thousands of voices raised is only a small fraction of what I am guessing are the MILLIONS who have suffered this fate, yet remain quiet for personal reasons or out of shame. Wearing robes, burning incense, genuflecting and absolving people of sins does not make it "open season" on gentle young souls trying to create a spiritual connection with God.
It is not ok, was not ok, and never will be ok for the strong to take advantage of the humble. In fact, though I am probably less seasoned in my knowledge of the Bible than you, I understand the message of Christ is love, humility and forgiveness. I've forgiven the parish priest in Munich, where I was victimized as a child. How about the Church throwing out some love now?
These lewd acts cost me plenty. I lost my peace of mind, developed severe anxiety, and found it impossible to reconcile if I was a bad person who was responsible for what had happened.
It took years of therapy and a commitment to personal growth with mentors and spiritual counselors to begin building a positive relationship with God, which was thrashed by my experience in Catholicism.
I am not motivated by financial compensation for what happened. Research says the Vatican cashflow is in the hundreds of millions, individual holdings in the Vatican Bank are estimated at $15 billion, property held by the Vatican to be worth over $1B dollars, and the Church owns huge amounts of the world’s most priceless art. I know money doesn't heal. In fact, I understood Jesus to be a poor carpenter who taught us how to love, not hoard billions. Love heals.
I'd suggest designating a weekend, or a month, in the liturgical calendar to LOVING AND HEALING in 2019! Invite all past and current victims to services in which they are invited to spend a minute or two in front of the congregation and tell their stories. Then, invite some community prayer and healing.
Hold the perpetrators accountable! Wearing fancy garments should not give them special privilege that is protected from the law. Why not stand up in St Peter's square and APOLOGIZE to the victims, then DENOUNCE sexual abuse and EXPEL the abusers publicly once and for all. Anything short of that is just playing politics and maybe even protecting them.
It's not complicated. It just takes a radical new way of being. The time of the Overlords is ending. Why not stop having people kiss the papal ring, and acting like high ranking clergy are somehow above the average person?
Because, ultimately, we're all the same - souls having a human experience, struggling for an understanding of self, dignity, and ultimately, to know God.
Grand Jury Report on Catholic Church Priest Abuse:
Pennsylvania officials released a landmark grand jury report that identifies
more than 300 "predator priests" who molested children in six dioceses.
It also accuses church leaders of taking steps to cover up the abuse. [CBS News]
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