Finding Healing and Refuge in the Catholic Church
*I want to say first of all that this post is not meant to take away or diminish those who have suffered abuse by members of the Catholic Church or any other church. *
In recent weeks here in Baltimore and around the country, the Netflix series The Keepers has been making the news in regards to the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. It's a well known fact that a lot of people were abused by clergy within the church for years and that the clergy and staff in higher positions covered it up. It is shameful and should be dealt with. However, some of the media attention does not come from people who truly care about those affected. It comes from those who have so much hatred towards the Church that they do not care about reporting facts accurately. A lot of clergy have been falsely accused. And that also needs to stop immediately.
Abuse doesn't only happen in the Catholic Church. It happens everywhere. In every faith, in every culture. It is not confined to any one place or a certain type of faith. And what alot of people fail to realize through all of this is that the majority of sexual abuse happens within people's own homes and families. Parents, step parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. These cases rarely get the media attention that they deserve and it is happening at a more alarming rate than ever before in our society. And there's also a huge problem with family members covering the abuse up. That's not to take away from what is happening in the Catholic Church, but it's the facts. Much more abuse happens outside of the Church than inside.
What a lot of people don't realize is that there is a huge amount of Catholics who have been abused outside of the Church and who have found healing and refuge in the Church. The media never tells those stories. I know this because I am one of them and I know many others. I was molested when I was in between 7 and 9 years old. It happened periodically by the same man. And no one knew or suspected anything until it was all over. My family ignored all the red signs. Being afraid of men, going from straight A' s to failing grades, a change in mood and eating habits. But when you have an unstable family life to begin with, a lot of people don't notice the changes. Or they turn a blind eye and say it's not their business. I never dealt with the abuse until I was a teenager and even then therapy did not work because I still had an unstable home life and so much going on. It wasn't until I became an adult and found the Catholic faith that I really started to deal with the abuse I suffered. A lot of people talk about the sexual aspect of abuse. But it is so much more than that. The damage is in all areas. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I studied other faiths as a teenager and none of them gave me the peace that I felt when I found Catholicism. It opened up the door for healing from my past and everything that I went through. Am I completely healed? No. I dont think anyone ever completely heals from having been sexually abused. It's always in the back of my mind and certain things will trigger those memories. But there is a certain amount of healing that has taken place within myself and I know I would have never gotten there if it wasn't for my Catholic faith. And I know a lot of others feel the same.
The Catholic Church has always been a refuge for those who are hurting. It has always been a faith that heals. Everywhere you go in the world, the Church is there. Even in countries where it is banned, there are still those who practice the faith in secret. Why? Because we love our faith. We love our Church. Most of us wouldn't be who we are today if it wasn't for the Catholic faith.
My intent with this post is to shed a light on the real Catholic Church. The Church that heals and helps all people of all walks of life. There are so many negative articles about our faith and we need more good ones. We need to show people that our Church can heal. Heal souls. Heal hearts. That is the core of our faith. And that will never change.