The decades of psychologically imposed silence followed by the years of legally required silence have come to an end and I am free to speak. I've always felt my autobiographical writing is where my voice finds its most honest expression, as much as I desired to excel as a writer of fiction.
I sent this message to Francis I, mainly for catharsis, but also feeling it was my duty to speak to the one who sits upon "Peter's Chair."
Caveat. It's not the work of goofy and lighthearted ROU, but the heartfelt cry from the soul of John Doe #310.
For my friends who wish to travel down this dark and hilly road I am attempting to ascend I share this public message I composed for Pope Francis I.
Like all groups, the Catholic Church contains both sincere and insincere individuals. My cousin was a priest, and a good man. Like all groups of people there are good people, such as Mother Theresa, and evil people like those priests who abuse Altar Boys.
This pope seems sincere when in his behavior of eschewing palatial quarters, silk vestments, and $5000 Prada shoes, his mingling with the poor and sick, his asking for forgiveness for those victims of abuse who had their innocence, faith and trust stolen by the evil of pedophiles who used the church as an ideal hunting ground for their victims.
But Francis, it's hard to forgive a church that when approached by one such victim and offered the opportunity to sit down and discuss the evil done in the churches name and seek reconciliation and fair treatment, for assistance for children who were deprived of a working father who was damaged to the point of psychiatric disability by the PTSD that is inevitable from years of sexual abuse only to be told "no thank you, go ahead and sue us." A diocese that then hides behind bankruptcy, while simultaneously wielding unlimited funds to retain the best of the best lawyers to put the victim on trial, knowing how the game is played and that they can outspend the plaintiff to the point that any "victory" would be consumed by legal fees and expert witnesses. A local church leadership who are happy to stall as long as necessary to deny any relief or recompense for years while the victim struggles to maintain his sanity, relying an a real family that loves and supports him unconditionally, no matter how damaged he has become. A diocese that is willing to spend any amount of money that is necessary to ensure that they will be able to help the victim as little as possible, knowing full well that the victim will be forced into a position of accepting a pittance when one considers the years of suffering, not just at the priests hands, but for all the years that followed as he battled suicidal depression.
As I say, It's hard to forgive. But I will take you at your word, when as the leader of the church you ask for forgiveness and reconciliation with those so abused.
But there is a cancer on the church that still thrives, and arch-bishops and highly skilled lawyers and accountants who call themselves bishops and nuns, and a local leadership that operates 180 degrees in opposition to your public call to the victims of child abuse.
Your call for reconciliation literally represents the only door that appears to even be opened a sliver.
Part of this victim so desperately wants to believe that the prodigal son isn't just meaningless story, and that you are sincere about battling this malignancy in a church that, as a younger child, he wanted to join as a priest and servant to the poor, the sick, the hopeless.
A victim who is now himself poor and sick, and has little hope that his lone voice will ever reach the ears of a man who seems honest in his actions, but who nevertheless is still only one man battling alone against a system of concealment and denial of the very real hell that those abused by priests experience.
A victim who, even after all he suffered, would still rather work with you to try and heal a church near death, than give up and walk away without at least be willing to talk. To be willing to battle the wolves who love nothing more than to hunt amongst the sheep, safe in the knowledge that the shepherds do not protect the flock, but instead look the other way while the wolves feast and have their way.
Any legal action is now finished and settled for all time, but the emotional scars remain. It is up to you, whether you accept this final invitation, or follow the example of the diocese and simply close the door in the victims face. Yours is the last door for the victim to knock upon.
Sincerely and with love for all those affected and cast into the darkness of unending shame, humiliation, and suffering.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.