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Welcome to our newest project. The Dr. J Show is a weekly broadcast with an interview segment that features some of the foremost leaders and thinkers on issues relating to marriage, family and human sexuality. New episodes come out every Friday; catch them here or over at our YouTube channel.
Posted on: Friday, March 26, 2021
Sharon Slater is the president of Family Watch International (FWI) and the chair of the UN Family Rights Caucus. She is a consultant to multiple UN Member States on issues of life, human sexuality, and family policy and the author of the book Stand for the Family: A Call to Responsible Citizens Everywhere, also known as the “Family Defense Handbook.” Sharon also serves on the board of directors of No Left Turn in Education and on the board of the Political Network for Values, a global platform and resource for legislators and politicians across the globe defending human life, marriage, family, religious freedom and conscience. Sharon co-chairs the U.S.-based Protect Child Health Coalition (ProtectChildHealth.org). Sharon has directed multiple widely acclaimed documentaries including “The War on Children: The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda,” “Cultural Imperialism: The Sexual Rights Agenda,” and “Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Impact on Marriage, Children and Families.” She is currently the executive director of a series of videos on transgender issues (see at familywatch.or g/transgenderissues/). She and her husband Greg reside in Arizona and have seven children (three of whom are siblings adopted from Mozambique) and twelve grandchildren.
Posted on: Friday, March 19, 2021
Eric Scheidler is the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, founded in 1980 by his father, veteran pro-life leader Joe Scheidler. The League recruits, equips and trains pro-life Americans to put their convictions into action at the grassroots level through peaceful direct action. Under Eric’s leadership, the League’s headquarters city of Chicago has become “ground zero” for pro-life activism nationally.
Take part in the Pro-Life Action League's event on Good Friday, April 2, the Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion. This is an annual nationwide prayer vigil and a "springtime rebirth" of the national public witness against abortion as the pandemic recedes.
Posted on: Friday, January 08, 2021
Louisiana priest Father Shenan J. Boquet travels around the world spreading the Gospel of Life as president of Human Life International. Having journeyed over a million miles to more than 87 countries, Father Boquet has given numerous talks at conferences and symposia in the United States and around the world on issues ranging from the dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage to social justice and moral theology.
Father Boquet has appeared on EWTN television and radio shows, Catholic Answers Live, Ave Maria Radio, Vatican Radio, as well as a number of local Catholic radio programs in the U.S. and in other international media outlets. His writings have appeared in numerous publications such as: LifeSiteNews, LifeNews, Catholic Exchange, CNSNews, Catholic Lane, Catholic Online, Crux, Legatus, and The Wanderer. Father Boquet’s weekly newsletter, “Spirit and Life,” goes online Mondays at ww.HLI.org.
Posted on: Friday, November 20, 2020
Phil Lawler is the editor of Catholic World News, the first English-language Catholic news service operating on the internet, which he founded in 1995. CWN provides daily headline news coverage for the Catholic Culture site, where Phil Lawler also offers regular analysis and commentary.
Phil attended Harvard College and did graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Chicago before entering a career in journalism. He has
previously served as Director of Studies for the Heritage Foundation, as editor of Crisis Magazine, and as editor of the international monthly
magazine Catholic World Report. Transcript provided below.
Lawler is the author or editor of ten books on political and religious topics. His essays, book reviews, and editorial columns have appeared in over 100 newspapers around the United States and abroad. A pro-life activist and veteran of many political campaigns, Phil was himself a candidate for the US Senate in 2000, running against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Married since 1979 to Leila Marie Lawler, Phil is the father of 7 children, grandfather of 9, and a Red Sox fan.
Topics discussed is this episode of The Dr. J Show include:
Dr. Morse: Hi everyone, I’m Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Thank you so much for joining me today on this episode of the Dr. J Show my guest today is Catholic journalist Phil Lawler. You can read all about his bio in the notes to this video. And I want to say a special word to some of our followers here. First of all we're going to be talking about issues relating to clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, so this is not an episode for young ears. So, keep that in mind be as you turn it on.
And I want to also emphasize why we're talking about something that's it's going to seem like Catholic inside baseball to a lot of you guys because I know not everybody's Catholic, but here's why we're doing this: as you know the Ruth Institute is an interfaith international coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love, we're combating the sexual revolution all day long, and one of the big factors in the success of the sexual revolution has been the Catholic Church's failure to confront it and so that's why what happens in the Catholic Church turns out to be important to everybody.
The second reason we're doing this is that sexual abuse has turned out to become an issue that we deal with at the Ruth Institute. When I started the Ruth Institute in 2008, I never thought I’d be dealing with this kind of topic, but I’ve come to see that it really is an important aspect of how the sexual revolution has harmed people because this ideology disarms victims of sexual abuse, and it empowers and emboldens predators, and so therefore it's become part of our mission to deal with that.
I’m also going to mention to you when we're recording this no matter when you may come in to watch it you should know we're recording this on November 12, 2020. We still don't know who the president of the United States is, and the McCarrick Report was just issued two days ago and so we also still don't know very much about Theodore McCarrick and what he's been up to. So if you listen to this a year ago a year from now a lot of those issues, hopefully, will be resolved in one way or another but this is the context in which we're having this particular conversation.
Phillip Lawler thank you so much for being my guest on the Dr. J Show.
Phillip Lawler: Well it's my pleasure to be with you on your birthday
Dr. J: oh well thank you that's very kind. So, um, there have been so many issues that have been happening in the Church recently that are that are on people's minds that are troubling people. One of them is the recent statement that the Pope made that Pope Francis allegedly sort of made about same-sex unions, civil unions for same-sex couples, and this was the thing that put in my mind well I should really talk to Phil about this. So what do you think about what can you say about that statement the little controversy that um that sprung up around that film that was made.
PL: Well it wasn't you know it wasn't a mistake. We learned after the fact that this was the film was sort of patched together from comments that the Pope had made earlier and that there was at least arguably some, uh, confusion in his mind or in the minds of his handlers as to when how this would be used, but then the day after it was released the filmmaker was given an award and the presentation was in the Vatican gardens. Now that to me, that is a pretty clear indication that somebody at the Vatican had a very good idea that this film would be used for purposes of furthering the homosexual agenda, of suggesting that the Pope was changing what the Church taught about, uh, homosexual unions, and of course the Pope wasn't changing Church doctrine, he can't change Church doctrine.
Dr. J.: Right
PL: But he was certainly throwing open that doctrine to questions he was certainly providing an opportunity for journalists around the world, who don't know the Catholic Church so well, to say that the doctrine is changing. And it's one of so many incidents with Pope Francis that I just can't write it off to happenstance or, or, to you know misunderstanding they all the misunderstandings seem to go in the same direction. And at some point you have to tell yourself this isn't misunderstanding this is intentional.
Dr. J: That's right and then the an additional thing that took place that's not about Pope Francis but about the hierarchy here in America, uh, was Archbishop Gomez made a statement um congratulating Joe Biden as the next president of the United States and at the time he made that statement the election still hadn't been resolved and so it, it, made it sound like he was, well I what do you think of that statement? What do you think of Archbishop Gomez's statement? The Ruth Institute has made a statement about it. We've reacted we have reacted to it. But what did you make of that statement?
PL: Well the first thing that I would say is there was no need for Archbishop Gomez to say anything.
Dr. J: Exactly! Exactly! He could have kept his mouth shut!
PL: So why did he say something?
Dr. J.: That's right!
PL: and why there's really only one logical answer to that question. He said it because he wanted to carry favor with man he assumes it's going to be the next president.
Dr. J: mm-hmm
PL: and why, right?
Dr. J.: Right. So, so, he's, and when we made our statement about it we basically, we, we did not assign any motive to him we didn't speculate we just said you know this is unseemly to make this statement. It was incorrect to suggest that the Virgin Mary should, uh, to invoke the Virgin Mary that we may become a country that honors life and religious liberty, when we know perfectly well that that's not what Joe Biden has in mind. This was really unfortunate. And it's also unfair to the to the Catholics who live in states where the votes haven't been counted yet, you know, to ask people to, um, have reconciliation and brotherhood and forgiveness and stuff at that point, that's not that's not appropriate at that moment. At that moment those people have every right, uh, to insist on all the legal proceedings going through.
PL: Sure and you know even if the results had been clear at that point. I would question why such an anodyne statement?
Dr. J: Right.
PL: Biden has promised what amounts to soft persecution of the Catholic Church, to say nothing of what he's what he has promised in terms of legalizing abortion under all circumstances with taxpayer funding. And so you can acknowledge him if you want as the elected president once the votes are cast but certainly as a Catholic leader you should be saying we're in for a rough spell because that's just it's not a wild prediction, it's just a fact.
Dr. J.: Right, right. So let's turn now to the other big thing that happened recently which is the uh, release of the long-awaited McCarrick Report, so-called McCarrick Report, which was an investigation into the into Theodore McCarrick. Now before we get to the McCarrick Report, it seems to me there was something a little odd about the procedure by which he was laicized and I I’m not a canon lawyer so I don't understand, and I don't watch the Vatican all that much so I don't know exactly. but they swept, they kind of swept him away without going through some of the procedures. Am I, am I remembering that correctly?
PL: I think you are! I’m also not a canon lawyer, and to be honest with you, at some point I checked out, because the whole mess is so unattractive. I don't like to pay attention to all the details but I believe you're right there was not a canonical trial
Dr. J.: That's it that's the word I was looking for, right which would have brought forward more evidence and and specific kinds of evidence and so on that that was my understanding
Dr. J: Okay so we may or may not use this little exchange if neither of us is sure, we can't verify it no we don't then we don't need to go there but I thought I had read it in your columns
Dr. J: okay okay we'll do a little investigation and then father mark can just take this little corner of it. Um so, so tell us what, what was your reaction to the McCarrick Report, Phil?
PL: Well someone asked me yesterday was I surprised and I said “No.” Or rather, they asked me, “Was it what I expected?” and I said “Yes,
it was what I expected.” What I expected was a sort of bland, very lengthy report that would avoid all the tough questions and that's pretty much what
we got. We got a report that gave a lot of details, uh, that we didn't know before, but did not give the important, did not even address, the really
important questions that were brought up by McCarrick’s, uh, case by the scandal that he was involved in. To me the two important questions were first:
how did he rise through the ranks who helped him?
Dr. J.: Right!
PL: Who helped him?
Dr. J: Yeah.
PL: How did he influence policy at the Vatican and the Church in this country, and who helped him there and how was he influenced? You know who, who are bishops now because of McCarrick because, frankly, I want to be on the lookout for them that's never addressed
Dr. J.: Yes, yes. And I’ve read about a third of it so far, um, and, and you're right there's lots and lots of detail about his career and the, the paperwork, the official paperwork describing who, um, not so much who nominated him but the Holy Father was considering him for “x”, uh, for this See or that See, and then here are the letters that came in. So there's all the all these official papers are now publicly available so I suppose that's something. But yeah there's all these reports of his all of his accomplishments, and all the countries he's been to, and I’m thinking what is this? Is this his vitae? I mean are we are we canonizing this guy? I mean why are we talking about all the countries he went to and how great he was? You know I found that a little bit jarring to be honest, why that was in there. But anyway you're right the, um, beyond that paperwork there are a lot still a lot of questions.
PL: A lot of questions. There are a lot of salacious details
Dr. J.: Right
PL: a lot of stomach-turning details about just how he went about grooming young men
Dr. J.: Yes
PL: and bedding young men and sort of intimidating them, which is of course abuse even if they're adults. And, uh, taking advantage of his position as archbishop to, uh, molest seminarians and all of that we knew, but the details are the sort of things that that titillate, readers, you know, and might distract readers from the questions those readers really should be asking.
Dr. J.: That's right. That's right. Which are the ones that you mentioned
Dr. J.: Who was, who, um, enabled his rise, and who did he, uh, benefit afterwards. Not a not a word of that. Not a word of that. In fact, you know, looking at those networks is something that that could be done in a systematic manner if you ask yourself, “Well who did he ordain?” It seems like there was a line in there about different people that he, uh, had consecrated. You could use it, wouldn't be too hard to find out who he consecrated.
PL: That's one thing but it doesn't tell you who he promoted in private conversations
Dr. J.: That's right
PL: There's an awful lot of paperwork in this report, as you say, this documentation, but there's the problem is that so much of what goes on. Uh, so much of what should have gone on is private conversation and for instance, the one of the questions that the report does at least address is who knew what about him and when, but it relies exclusively, or almost exclusively, on what's on the written record.
Dr. J: That's right
PL: Well I knew about his shenanigans about 20 years ago, but I never wrote anything about it because I never had any hard evidence. But I knew about it because it was all over the grapevine and, uh, if I knew about it, a lot of other people knew about it. The fact that they didn't write down anything about it doesn't tell me they didn't know.
Dr. J.: That's right. That's right. In fact what they did write down suggests that they, they, they knew something but I think you said this in your column, if they knew this, why promote the guy? You know? This is um, this is, there were plenty of red flags there, right? So what's your thought about why they promoted him?
PL: That's to me one of the really intriguing questions why did they promote him he had red flags. There were these rumors, even if the rumors weren't true, it would be prudent to say, “Well we don't know if it's true, but there are lots of candidates for advancement to become a bishop or archbishop or Cardinal.” Why take the one who has this cloud over his head? and why was he…see that's one of the questions that's not
Dr. J.: That’s right. That’s right. yeah and when you sit there and start to think well what are some possible reasons? I can't think of any that are really good reasons, you know? I mean you can think of blackmail, or influence, or money, or you know. You can think of all kinds of things but I, I can't really think of a good reason you know? He could have been he could have been a bishop there in New Jersey. He didn't have to be promoted to D.C. Now what do you make of the fact it was Cardinal O’Connor who, more or less, blocked him from New York from becoming the, um, the prelate of New York, which I thought was pretty interesting. What do you make of that Phil?
PL: I was delighted to learn that. That was news to me. That's, that's one of the tidbits that I did not know and I knew Cardinal O’Connor. I had a soft spot in my heart for him. uh, and I was delighted to hear that he was the one, one of the few who raised the flood the red flag and informed the Vatican that this man had problems and would not be an appropriate archbishop of New York or Chicago or Washington. He was finally overruled but he was fighting the good fight there.
Dr. J.: Yes, yes that was that that was news to me too. Now another thing in the in the category of news/non-news, um, was the way that some of the headline writers so far have been trying to spin this thing as, “Oh it all happened on John Paul's watch.” There's all this detail about who John Paul asked and all the letters to John Paul and so on and so forth. So, but we knew that already. I mean, there's nothing, and as far as that material is concerned about John Paul or Benedict, there really isn't anything new that I could see. Phil did you see anything there about Pope John Paul or Benedict?
PL: There was, there was something new about Pope John Paul and it raised more questions to me than it answered because we already knew obviously we knew it was Pope John Paul who appointed him, McCarrick, as archbishop of Washington in, uh, what was it 2002, uh, was that right or was it 2000?
Dr. J.: It was earlier than that it was earlier than that because, remember when the Dallas Charter came out he was already arch…wasn't he already archbishop? And they put him in front of the camera that's another
PL: That's right
Dr. J: That's another there's another issue there right there but anyway the thing about John Paul that we didn't know share that.
PL: Yeah, well what I didn't know at least was that John Paul overrode, overrode a decision by the Congregation for Bishops. At that point the Congregation for Bishops which is the, uh, Vatican agency that helps the Pope, ultimately the Pope appoints a bishop, but it's the Congregation for Bishops that does the selection and presents candidates for his approval. And the congregation had decided that McCarrick was not an appropriate archbishop of Washington and Pope John Paul overrode them. Now immediately, you ask why did he do that
Dr. J.: Right
PL: and you plow through this report and you see that, uh, the Vatican had been informed about the rumors about McCarrick and the reports, and the mounting evidence of miss sexual misconduct. We don't know how much of that information got to Pope John Paul. We do know that Pope John Paul, having seen how communist propaganda artists would smear Catholic clerics with this sort of accusation, he was skeptical about accusations against Catholic priests and that's an unfortunate truth and it's come out many times that he just slow to pick up on, on what he should have, but when the information against McCarrick came to Rome, uh, McCarrick made a plea. He was obviously campaigning
Dr. J: Yes, yes.
PL: That letter was really something
Dr J.: Yeah tell people about that!
PL: Yeah well he made, he wrote a letter, and he insisted he had never had sexual relations with anyone.
Dr. J.: That sounded like Bill Clinton. That sentence sounded straight out of Bill Clinton, didn't it?
PL: Well they were friends and
Dr. J.: Oh yeah, ooh.
PL: and McCarrick was he was a very successful con man. He was very convincing. He conned a lot of people
Dr. J: Right, right.
PL: but what's intriguing to me is he wrote to the Pope a lot. He was a Cardinal. Cardinals write to the Pope. He wrote to the Pope a lot, that came out in the report too, frequently long letters, uh, self-promoting in this case he didn't write to Pope John Paul he wrote to Pope John Paul's private secretary now Cardinal Dziwisz and we don't know how much of what went to Cardinal Dziwisz, got through to Pope John Paul. All we know is that he concluded, he the Pope, concluded that the rumors against McCarrick were false. At that time there was no hard evidence. There was a lot of soft evidence, a lot of circumstantial evidence. We don't know how much of it got to the Pope, but maybe it was portrayed to him as nothing more than rumors.
Dr. J.: Right
PL: and that's a sort of thing he would reject. We don't know, in any case, was he at fault here? I would say, frankly, yes
Dr. J.: Yes.
PL: He made a mistake and this isn't the only mistake he made on sex abuse issues. I mean most famously, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Maciel, Maciel was also a man with who was leading a double life. Pope John Paul apparently never believed it and guess what? Father Maciel was very friendly with Cardinal Dziwisz. So I don't know how much to blame Cardinal Dziwisz, how much to blame Pope John Paul? Anyway there's the history. He, nobody's perfect.
Dr. J.: Right, right. But, but here's the thing about the whole spin cycle that's going on, and I just want to point this out because Phil and I, listen people. Phil and I are going to be talking a lot about what's not in this report okay and so one thing that's not in this report Phil is any new hard evidence that John Paul knew. There, and believe me, if there was hard evidence that John Paul knew, they would, it would, that would be all over the paper! That'd be all over the report, okay? So they got nothing. They got there's, nothing new in a sense, uh, on John Paul or Benedict. There's nothing new on them, but nothing, you agree with that? You could…
PL: Let me amplify on that point because it's a good one. I think this report was written, the way it was crafted, it gave journalists who don't know, who have not been following this as we have, it gave them an opportunity to say oh it's all John Paul's fault.
Dr. J.: right
PL: and I don't think that's entirely a mistake. I think they’re,
Dr. J.: right
PL: They’re deflecting they're deflecting attention from Pope Francis. The other thing I want to say is it really doesn't ring true to say, “Oh you can't blame Pope Francis because he didn't have, the Vatican didn't have any hard evidence. It's all the fault of this other Pope 20 years earlier when there was much less evidence.” So come on.
Dr. J.: Right
PL: If there was a lot of evidence in 2000 and Pope John Paul made a mistake, which I will accept
Dr. J.: Yeah
PL: Don't tell me Pope Francis is innocent because there's so much more evidence that came to him.
Dr. J.: Right. So let's talk about that aspect of it because this this I think it will be interesting to people all across the religious spectrum, is how should people interpret the news around this report and the news around, uh, clergy sex abuse and who’s, who’s the good guys, who's the bad guys. It turns out I don't think there's any real super good guys, um, but this the report is being spun in a particular way to downgrade the importance of John Paul II’s pontificate, um, and to upgrade the importance of Pope Francis's pontificate.
Dr. J.: Okay and so if, if you would, say a little bit about that because this term “deflection” is an important term, but there's a there's a larger, um, um inter inside the Church conflict that's at play here that people might not be aware of. So tell people about that a bit, Phil.
PL: Well yeah there's a conflict between um the supporters of Pope Francis and the supporters of previous Popes who are appalled by what Pope Francis has done
Dr. J.: yeah
PL: and if you are, uh, at this point, if you're supporting, it's, it's a really, it's a sick situation from a Catholic perspective, you know? That, that it's so easy for people to start choosing sides one Pope from another.
Dr. J.: Right
PL: I mean we never did this before. We never said, “Oh this, I’m on Pope Benedict's side. I’m not on Pope John Paul's side.” because they were on the same side.
Dr J.: That's right where they belong they were on the correct side, they were on the side of Christ and his Church, in the deposit of faith.
PL: Right and even other previous Popes who, who you might have been unhappy with some of the way some of their policies, you never thought of it as an opposition.
Dr. J: Right.
PL: I certainly never did. I thought of it as well, “This one has, has more, uh, liberal leanings but we're on the same team” and it's been very um, disconcerting and discouraging, I think, for a lot of people to see. Uh, Pope Francis and his supporters fairly openly questioning the ideas of their predecessors.
Dr. J: Yes, all the way down to, and including removing Pope John Paul II’s name off of institutions that he founded to, to promote certain aspects. I’m thinking of the institute for, for family life, or you you, you tell people some of these institutes that they've removed.
PL: Well yeah I mean the institute that what is it the, uh, ins, now you've got me wondering the Pontifical Institute for the Family
Dr. J: Yes, I think that's what it's called.
PL: Uh, which as you say Pope John Paul founded and Pope Francis got it.
Dr. J.: right, right
PL: Essentially removed everybody and put in his own people who have a very different outlook on what's important for the family. Uh, and rather than emphasizing questions of family integrity, marriage, and defense of human life, they're focusing instead on questions like climate change.
Dr. J.: Right, right which will be which that dichotomy between traditional Catholic sexual morality on the one hand, and sort of you know what you might call trendy liberal issues on the other hand and saying these are all life issues, uh, and so therefore, uh, we're gonna talk about our life issues you guys you know you can kind of go over there but, but that's not, that doesn't really count. That dichotomy is very familiar to American Catholics because we see that all day long in our in our Church here right,
Dr. J.: and I also want to say to Ruth Institute followers who may be new to this kind of controversy the, the institute that John Paul started was to promote his, uh, particular innovative ways of teaching the ancient teaching of the Church: the, theology of the body and many of the insights that he acquired in his pastoral and Philosophical works before he was ever even a bishop. And that's very powerful work. We've interviewed a few people, um, who have some expertise in the, Theology of the Body, as well as some Thomist, uh, scholars and so on so you know you may be familiar with some of that work. So that John Paul was really trying to get the Church engaged with the modern world to try to confront some of these toxic things that you know, that he foresaw a long time ago, were going to be bigger and bigger problems. And so for, for Pope Francis essentially to come along and gut those institutions, it's a very significant um, what shall we say, um, strategic loss, uh, in the culture wars to, to have that happen. It's like somebody took out an ammunition dump or something, you know, that that this is a potential source of firepower, um, and it's now it's now been captured by the enemy you know? You could you could put it that way.
PL: In fact, I’d say that that's, that's the overarching problem that I see and for your non-Catholic, uh, viewers that I would say the, the overarching problem that I’ve tried to expose in the Catholic Church is this willingness to play by the rules of the secular culture. To try to make nice with the secular culture rather than to confront the culture and the idea, I understand the idea behind it, is the idea is oh then it will be easier to evangelize and that idea turns out to be wrong. Because when the Church, and now I’m speaking of any Christian body, when the Church conforms itself to the secular culture it's no longer influencing the culture, that you know, the Church should define the culture that's where the word culture comes from, from cult. And if the Church is rather adhering to the culture it loses all its influence. You, you try to, uh, you try to make yourself more palatable to the secular world by conforming and you think that that way you'll have more influence and you have less influence and less integrity.
Dr. J.: I think that's right and again I think our non-Catholic friends can relate to that because there are numerous examples of evangelical pastors who have, you know, somehow recanted their views and said, “well I’ve grown on gay marriage” or “I’ve grown on abortion”, “I’ve grown on this topic” and, basically, they've been captured. Those are like resources that the enemy has taken into his camp and are no longer really available, uh, to do what needs to be done so the, the we have our own our institutions have been corrupted, the Churches that are congregational Churches where there's kind of one guy and a leader and that kind of thing, um, the individuals get corrupted, you know, and kind of picked off one by one. For us, for us, and for the Anglicans and for the Lutherans, you know, is it's the Church structures and institutions that that become corrupted. But I’d like to get back to the to the McCarrick Report and let's talk about a few other things that you think are missing or misleading. One thing that jumped out at me is that there was a statement at the beginning that he was never an official envoy, or he was never an official, um, representative of the Vatican to foreign countries, and yet I thought he'd been all over the world and I thought he went and did, did this deal with the Vatican deal with, with China. Tell us something about that. It does, this looked like, I, I didn't understand what I was being told there that he never represented the Vatican. What is that about?
PL: The only way to look at that is that it's lawyerly language. He was never an official Vatican diplomat. He was he was never traveling to another country with a portfolio from the Vatican saying, “This is the official representative of the Vatican.” He was, however, traveling to other countries, including China with the blessing of the Vatican secretary of State. He was telling them about his talks with government leaders in other countries. He was briefing them and being briefed by them. So to say he was never an official diplomatic representative of the Vatican is just really an attempt to, again, to deflect responsibility. He was he was an unofficial that diplomat, okay? Is you know, is that good enough?
Dr. J.: Right, right, right, right, and, and that brings us to one of the points about Pope Benedict versus Pope Francis; that Pope Benedict, you know, you can say he should have done more, and you you'd be right, he probably should have done more, but what he did do was undone by Pope Francis. So spell that out for people a little bit, because this is this is really interesting point.
PL: Well it was undone by Pope Francis, but to be fair it was undone before Pope Francis came along.
Dr. J.: Okay tell people about that, Phil. Let's start from the beginning. Let's start from the beginning. Benedict becomes Pope in 2005 and he's got, you guys, have you ever had to clean up someone else's mess? Okay, Pope, just picture this Pope Benedict becomes, Joseph Ratzinger—world-class scholar and intellect—becomes head of the Catholic Church, which is a mess, right? And now this dear scholar is supposed to do something about it. So what did he do in 2005 or around that period of time? What happened, Phil?
PL: Well one of the things he had to do fairly early on is, uh, Cardinal McCarrick was turning 75 years old and, uh, under canon law a 75 year old bishop is supposed to submit his resignation and the Pope is free either to accept it or not and McCarrick went to Rome with his resignation and of course, uh, with his self-promotion, and he persuaded Benedict to let him stay on. About within a few months Benedict said, “Wait a minute!” he had heard more in the interim. He'd been filled in on the stories about McCarrick and he said, “I want his resignation now.” As I recall that was in November. The resignation was announced the next May. So that that tells you something about the clout that McCarrick had that he was able to postpone you know, to, to work with the Congregation for Bishops, to postpone the acceptance of his own resignation. Then, once he had resigned, and the evidence of his misconduct did continue to pile up, Pope Benedict sent a message through the Congregation for Bishops that he wanted a McCarrick to withdraw from public life. McCarrick got that, uh, request or directive. It was not formal, unfortunately, it was informal. He was asked to do it, uh, and he said, “Oh yeah, I will do whatever the Pope wants but of course there's this important thing that I have to do, and then there's the speech that I’ve already agreed to give, and then there's the tour of the Southeast Asia that I’ve already committed to. So you understand, I'll do those things.” And he was given permission by the Vatican, this, you know the second-tier Vatican bureaucrats. So, um, this is McCarrick we're talking about, this is a self-promoter, a world traveler, a mover, and shaker, and fundraiser, and within a matter of months, he was back to his usual schedule; just globe-trotting, making all sorts of public appearances. He, the directive from Pope Benedict was essentially a dead letter.
Dr. J: Wasn't there something though, where somebody used it to keep him out of something that had to do with seminarians?
Dr. J: It seems like it did get involved. The fact, the fact that that thing existed meant that somebody could invoke it if they wanted to
Dr. J: And which wasn't very often but somebody did. Tell that, little,
PL: Yeah, it was, unless I’m mistaken, it was Cardinal Wuerl in Washington, his successor, uh, who was advised not to have him at an event for seminarians. It would be unseemly, particularly because the controversy involved his molesting seminarians. So, as you say, yes, there was clear indication that people knew that he was acting, he was supposedly under restrictions and yet nobody was enforcing those restrictions. And the entire hierarchy was cooperating with McCarrick. How many of them knew he was defying the Pope? I don't know some of them apparently did. The Congregation for Bishops did, and this is another one of those question marks. Why is it that he was able to get away with defying the Pope's wishes, because there were people who knew about it. There were people in the Congregation for Bishops. There are people in the Secretariat of State. There was the Apostolic Nuncio, which is the equivalent of the Pope's ambassador in Washington. They all knew about these restrictions. None of them enforced it.
Dr. J.: So then bring us up to the, um, to the Pope Francis Pontificate and the character whose name we haven't met mentioned yet but will be familiar to many people and that's Archbishop Vígano. Um, where, where does Archbishop Vígano fit into the next phase of the story.
PL: Archbishop Vígano, first of all he, he shows up earlier before, uh, Pope Francis when he was working in the Secretariat of State and he twice, twice blew the whistle. He twice called attention to the potential for scandal with McCarrick and was ignored or, you know, brushed aside
Dr. J: Right, right
PL: Then he was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio in Washington and he got to Washington and there he was in the same city with McCarrick who was busily ignoring the Pope's directives and Vígano knew about those directives and I have to say he did not enforce them either. He a few times mentioned them. It's not clear how far he went to try to enforce them to try to get McCarrick back out of public view. Uh, and then there's a large chunk of this McCarrick Report is devoted to impugning Archbishop Vígano's character, to suggesting that he was dishonest when he made his shocking public statement a couple of years ago and said that Pope Francis was aware of this, Pope Francis revived McCarrick’s career, Pope Francis undid what Benedict had done. Uh, It's intriguing to me that this report has one real bad guy, and that one real bad guy is the whistleblower.
Dr. J.: Yeah
PL: And that really tells you everything you need to know about what his report is about.
Dr. J.: Right, right um and so, so bring people up to date with the with the timeline at when Pope Francis became Pope. This is when Vígano had his conversation with the Pope that he recounted in his very first letter. Do they dissect that conversation at all in the in the McCarrick Report?
PL: No, they don't even talk about that. They, they say that that conversation there's no record, no written record of it.
Dr. J.: I believe that that's total, of course. Why would there be?
Dr. J.: Vígano never claimed there was I mean that would be crazy, yeah.
PL: Right. They say it's disputed, Pope Francis doesn't remember it, uh, so it's, it's his word against Archbishop Vígano’s, uh, and the report essentially is giving us to believe that Archbishop Vígano’s account is not accurate and that therefore the Pope knew nothing. It is however, it is, uh, there is a little tidbit stuck into the report that um Cardinal Becciu, who was the sub, the deputy secretary of state at that time, twice spoke with Pope Francis about McCarrick and expressed concern about him. And again there's no record of that, uh, other than Becciu's recollection and again the Pope says he doesn't remember so the, there are at least four different occasions when an Archbishop by his account told Pope Francis about this problem and each time Pope Francis says he doesn't remember it.
Dr. J.: And add to that the point you made earlier, which is that all the evidence that had already accumulated about him that was still already available and what Pope Francis did essentially was remove what the, the even the very nominal restrictions that Benedict had put on him. That all went away, and as far as I know.
Dr. J.: Now how did that happen? Was that was that something official, or was that just another de facto kind of thing? What, how did that
PL: Well see there was nothing there never was anything official enough to do
Dr. J.: That's the problem
PL: Yeah, but I mean Pope Francis was clearly friendly with McCarrick, was aware of his work as a diplomat, as a as an unofficial diplomat in China and elsewhere, uh, was in contact with him. So you know while Benedict was Pope, McCarrick was running around the world, uh, but he was not getting one-on-one recognition from the Pope. When Francis came into power he did and
Dr. J. What do you mean by one-on-one recognition from the Pope?
PL: Well I mean other Vatican officials were dealing with him, Pope Benedict was not singling him out. Pope Benedict himself never violated his own directives in other words he told bennett, he told McCarrick to retire to pub, private life and he did not encourage him in his public dealings. uh, Francis did.
Dr. J.: and so let's talk about the, uh, the, the other elephant in the room as far as I’m concerned which is the China deal, uh, the, there's been some negotiation between the Vatican and the Chinese communist government, and there are a whole bunch of unanswered questions about it. What we do know about it is that the Church in China is facing more restrictions and more persecution than ever before and, uh, the Cardinal Zen um has spoken out very, very clearly about this. There's no doubt that the, the guy closest to the situation is 100% convinced the situation is far worse, uh, than it was before. Phil tell people some of the unanswered questions about that.
PL: Well, I don't know where to begin
Dr. J.: All right, well we have a while, go ahead
PL: Because okay what are the questions about the deal with China? Well, I don't know what the deal with China is it's a secret. You know these the pact that the Vatican reached with the Beijing government has never been made public. We have been told that the essence of the deal is the, um, the Pope selects bishops, but that's the fig leaf. Still it's, just still the Pope's prerogative to select the bishops but he slept selects them from a group of candidates put forward by the Communist Party, so he's not really selecting them. Or, you know he's handed over, the Vatican has handed over that power, and at the same time the Vatican has, uh, persuaded a couple of bishops of the so-called underground Church who were loyal to Rome it persuaded them to resign to make room for bishops who were appointed, illicitly, by the communist regime. So, it's a real setback for the independence of the Church in China. At the same time that the government is tightening the screws on Church, you know taking out pictures of the Pope from Church halls and replacing them with pictures of the chairman of the Communist Party and you know requiring, uh, instead of hymns, singing patriotic songs and, uh, the underground Church is still under heavy pressure we have priests being arrested we have bishops who haven't been seen for several years. And none of this is getting better. So, we don't know we don't know what the deal is, but we do know that it's not helping the Catholics in China particularly the loyal Catholics.
Dr. J.: Yes, yes, that once again we've got a situation of secrecy and lack of transparency and so we're left to guess and read between the lines based on information that's publicly available, and of course what I would like to say to, to everyone watching this on pretty much any topic you can think of, when you're operating in an environment of secrecy and cover-up people's imaginations are going to go. They're going to go all over the place, and some of the places they're going to go are going to be wacky, and some of the places are going to be sound, but if you guys want to yell at us about being conspiracy theorists, listen to me, you have no one but yourself to blame. You need to come clean with a lot more stuff than we have here, and then, then you could say that guy's off the wall. At this point, you know if you're not sure the tie goes to the guy with the tinfoil hat. You know? I mean it just, they have just shredded their credibility with all of this kind of cover-up. So it's no wonder that people's minds go all over the place. So what Phil is saying, he's not accusing anybody, he's just saying the outcome is not good and the fact is we don't know what actually went down. Did the Vatican get something in return that's of benefit to the Vatican? We don't, well one would hope if you're doing a deal that you'd get some you get some benefit if you make all these sacrifices, but we have no idea what that actually is. Is that right Phil?
PL: I think it's right. Cardinal Perolin, the Secretary of State, has indicated that to him the great, uh, benefit of this deal is that the Church in China will be united, rather than split between the underground Church, loyal to Rome, and the official Church that's recognized by the government. Well, first of all that doesn't seem to be happening because the, the underground Church is still being harassed. But secondly actually it goes back to what I was saying earlier. Are you being united because you have, uh, you have accepted the restrictions? Are you being united in the mold of the Communist regime? Because that's no kind of, then you're not united with the worldwide Catholic Church, and then you're not doing your evangelical best
Dr. J.: Right, Right. Yeah you could you can be united by, uh, one side or the other capitulating and, and it looks like it being united, but it's not really the same thing as a genuine reconciliation or meeting of the minds or anything like that. Uh, it's the word “united” being used as a cover, uh, for for something else. Perhaps full-on surrender or perhaps full-on betrayal or fall you know we don't know.
PL: We don't know exactly right we don't have to argue, you can just agree with me.
Dr. J.: Yeah right, right. That ends the fight right there, yeah. Now there's another whole set of things within the McCarrick Report that I would like to call people's attention to. Because this is more in the wheelhouse of, of the Ruth Institute as we've come, as we normally you normally expect from us. Um, and, and, that is the accounts of how Cardinal McCarrick actually conducted himself with the seminarians, and with the young men and the teenage boys, and so on, and so forth. As I was reading some of those accounts, I realized this is full-on grooming. This is full on grooming, and I think, if you, if if you are a mom, or you're a therapist, or you're a teacher, you should really go look at the, at this report, and you know skim through Cardinal McCarrick’s accomplishments, and all the rest of it, and get to the part where they, where the witnesses are explaining, here's what he did, here's what he said, here's how I felt, I didn't know what to do, because it was so, so, entangling. That is grooming and people at that time, especially in the 1980’s, one lady who wrote in the 80’s, people didn't have the language for explaining what was happening there, but she knew something was wrong. Can you expound on that a little bit, Phil?
PL: Yeah, well as you say grooming is, we didn't have until very recently any hard evidence of actual molestation, but we did have lots of evidence of what you would call grooming.
Dr. J: Right
PL: And that's one of those things where there's a lot of smoke that you get you're going to find a fire. We had clear evidence that McCarrick would routinely have a bunch of seminarians, young men, adults I guess, legal adults but young men out to his beach house and then he would choose a handsome one and say you're gonna share my bed. Now, okay it is possible for two men to be in the same bed and nothing untoward goes on, but realistically if you don't see that as a problem, as a sign of, of something wrong, when it happens all the time, when, by the way alcohol is involved in most of these cases. It's all sorts of red flashing lights should be coming on in your head.
Dr. J.: So there's one particular person that I want to call attention to, and this is a person I had never heard of before as I read this. It looked at priest one and priest two, and so on, some of those stories I recognized from earlier accounts, and I’m pretty sure we could, if we searched the news, we could figure out who those people were, but we need not, their testimony is there and speaks for itself, but there was one person I had never heard of before and this is a person who is identified as mother number one and this is a woman who wrote anonymous letters, uh, to a variety of people in the, I want to say in the 1980’s, saying Monsignor McCarrick was behaving really strangely around her son, or her sons, she had a large Catholic family, her husband was devoted to the Church, couldn't possibly be believed that the priest would do anything wrong, but the mothers just like got these, like you said screaming red flags, “this is not right” and, and, she sat down, she describes how she sat and she went to the public library with the with the directory in front of her, and she hand wrote these letters to the various people that she thought would do something about it, and she was so um frightened, you know, and that no one would listen to her, and so on, and so forth. This woman, what she did was extremely important. Took a lot of courage. If she's watching, if somebody knows her, I would like to, just, you know, give her a high five and a thumbs up, and, and thank her for doing that. Because, um, your evidence, your testimony, turns out to be important. They must have found her. She must be alive, because it looks like they interviewed her and some of her sons. So, if they're out there, you know, thank you so much for what you di. But her account makes it clear, how the kind of con-man aspect of predators operates, right? Because it makes you afraid it makes you feel like you're the crazy one, you're, they're not going to believe you. Are you kidding me? You're a housewife! Are you kidding me? You know that kind that kind of whole vibe. Do you remember this lady do you remember this part of the,
PL: Oh absolutely, and it's very familiar because I’ve been tracking sexual abuse for 25 years or more, and I’ve seen so many cases like this, and I, I can think of, of some really heart-wrenching cases, but hers is one of them, and what's also heart-wrenching is to see in the report how various bishops responded to her, and their response, okay it's an anonymous accusation, so I, you can't convict anybody on the basis of an anonymous accusation, but you can get your antennae up, and instead what they were doing was, they were looking for ways to excuse McCarrick, you know, they were looking for explanations that would be benign, of his behavior. “Oh, it's probably a misunderstanding. Oh, you know, she didn't understand the real situation and we don't want to make poor Cardinal McCarrick, or archbishop McCarrick, we don't want to make him feel bad. We don't want to put him on the defensive.” All of the sympathy is for the predator and none for his prey.
Dr. J: That's right and that's, that's very, that is so common that is so common and, and, uh, the Ruth Institute earlier, earlier episodes of the Dr. J Show we've actually interviewed sex abuse survivors, whether they're clergy sex abuse, or other forms of sexual abuse, survivors. And the issue of having some, um, affirmation, or clarification, or a sense that justice has been done, that's extremely important to people. And many, most, of them don't have don't ever get to have that feeling that something's been done. We have one, Faith Hixley, and I don't know if you know Faith and her story, but her predator ended up in jail, and, and that really meant a lot to her. You know? That was really, really, important to her; that she was taken seriously and she had her day in court and, and all the rest of it. And so all of this woundedness is out there not being dealt with.
PL: And it's, of course, you don't want to convict somebody falsely,
Dr. J: Of course
PL: And there are false accusations out there. On the other hand, you have to have a balance. You have to at least honor the accusation enough to look into it
Dr. J.: Right
PL: Other than to dismiss it right away, and to you know, when you get the accusation if you're immediately looking for excuses rather than looking into the actual situation you're part of the problem.
Dr. J.: Right, right. And that I think is one sign that is a sign of some kind of growth or progress, is that there are more people who are willing to take the accusation seriously yes and that is very positive. Um, on the other hand there are people who do use these accusations for personal gain or political purposes, which we see in the public sphere all over the place, please see recent Supreme Court nomination processes. You know, um and, and I, I want to say to people who are making false accusations, you need to cut that crap out. You got to cut that out! I mean, that is so damaging to people who actually have been harmed, to pull up something that, or invent something in, in the way, that is sometimes done in the public square, that is really destructive, you know? I’m just, I just gotta, say that.
PL: Unfortunately, it's very hard to prove that an accusation is false.
Dr. J.: That's true.
PL: You almost always are going to be left with questions.
Dr. J.: That’s right. That’s right. And that's one reason why the, the early earlier tradition of the Church, or practice of the Church, was really very important in the earlier part of our social understanding, social norms. You don't, you don't leave people alone together, who, who shouldn't be left alone together. Having co-ed dorms, for crying out loud, you know? Did you really think that there'd never be a sexual assault case happening? Okay, maybe kicking all the boys out of the girls’ dorms at 10 pm, maybe that was a little harsh, you know? Many innocent games of checkers were not played. Many innocent movies were not watched, because you kicked the boys out of the dorm at 10 o'clock. On the other hand, there's a whole, you got a nice big bright line there, a very strong gate there that protects the vulnerable from, uh, from assault. Which then, in the end, if you're going to try to prove did happen, or did not happen, which is a huge problem on campuses, right? Did this guy really do it or, or, what, what, what really happened you can't prove it, but you can prove that he was in the dorm after 10 pm, that you could prove, and if he's not in the dorm after 10 pm, the number of assault cases is going to go down. You guys that's not a bad system when you think about it.
PL: Right, and I, I think of Vice President Pence. I understand he makes sure he's never alone with a woman other than his wife, well that sounds a little extreme, but guess what? There's no accusations against him.
Dr. J: That's right that's exactly right our board member Walter Hoye makes a point of never traveling without his wife, you know? I mean you always see the two of them together. Well, you know, yeah there you go, there you go. And, and within the Church there was aesthetical discipline that was expected of people, and um you know rules of conduct, and how you lived, and how you arranged your living space, and lots, and lots of things were in place to make it harder, not impossible, obviously, but to make it harder. Um yeah, and so, so those, those things served a purpose. Um Phil, is there any, are there any last words that you would like to say to our audience about these, uh, about these issues?
PL: Well, there's one other very big issue that we haven't touched on that I would like to mention
Dr. J.: Okay
PL: When we ask why was McCarrick so successful? Why did he keep getting promoted? One reason is he was a legendary fundraiser and he spread the money around. He gave cash gifts to other bishops, and that is written off in this report as customary. And I say if it is customary for bishops to give five-figure donations to each other as gifts in cash, that's a corrupt custom. That's a corrupt, that's a custom that is asking for trouble. It really has to stop.
Dr. J.: I agree with that. In fact, when you look through the history of these things, it's very common for financial cost, for financial corruption and sexual corruption to be very closely linked. You know. If you look at various cases there are cases of a homosexual bishop or priest giving lots of money to their boyfriend to their gay boyfriend and all of a sudden the, the parish is going what happened to all our money and you look into it and it went to the it went to the boyfriend or whatever it was. And, and that brings me to another question, uh, Phil that, uh, a lot of times I’m asked, and, maybe you're asked this too. “How can you guys stay in a Church that is so corrupt? Why are you hanging around this? Your Church is so corrupt, why are you still there?” Well how do you answer that question, Phil? I’m sure you hear that.
PL: Oh absolutely, uh, because it's my Church and I’m not leaving. I want the corrupt forces out, because the Church is, is the spotless bride of Christ and it's being polluted by these people, by the corruption, and I want them out. I’m not gonna, I wouldn't, I’m a cussed Irishman. I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of leaving.
Dr. J.: Now Phil that's not a very spiritual answer you're supposed to say something about how you love the Eucharist, and the fullness of the Catholic faith
PL: Of course, where else would I go?
Dr. J.: “Lord to whom shall we go?”
PL: Exactly, yeah.
Dr. J.: We do, we do feel that too, you know? One of the things that I sometimes tell our followers is that um that American Catholics, it's on us to deal with childhood sexual abuse because childhood sex sexual abuse it's all over the place. Our whole culture has been corrupted by the Sexual Revolution, by the sexual revolution, including the abuse of minors and the abuse of subordinates, and so on. It's everywhere. So do you think Hollywood is going to clean itself up. Do you think the politicians are going to clean themselves, up?
Dr. J.: The only people who love their institution and who love the truth enough to stay the course and fight it is us American Catholics, American Christians, we love our Church enough to fight for it, and that's why we're not leaving. We're going to fight for it and we welcome anybody who will help us.
PL: Exactly, yes.
Dr. J.: Phil Lawler, I think that's a good place to stop, let me, except for one more thing. I want you to tell people where they can connect with you. Tell people about your website and your various activities so that they can subscribe and get acquainted with you.
PL: Well I’m available every day or my material is available every day on Catholicculture.org and I do a news, news service, or really it's a news compilation service, there and as well as commentary, and then I’m also working these days at the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture at Thomas Moore College in New Hampshire that's another thing that you can find on the web at Thomas Moore College or the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture is a bit harder to deal with, but the two the two of those keep me busy.
Dr. J.: Very good thank you so much for being my guest today on the Dr. J Show thank you it's been a pleasure.
Posted on: Friday, August 07, 2020
Faith Hakesley is a wife, homeschooling mother, blogger, and author. She was born and raised in Massachusetts where she graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Following graduation, she worked in the Psychology field until the birth of her first child. Over the course of her life, Faith has overcome many traumas including rape by a Catholic priest, the death of a brother, and has lived through incurable cancer as well as a serious heart condition that nearly took her life.
In 2008, Faith was one of five victims of clerical abuse from the Archdiocese of Boston to meet privately with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during his trip to Washington, D.C. Their meeting awoke in her heart the yearning to use her story in order to help others. Since then, she has become passionate about sharing her personal story in order to offer hope, healing, and peace to those who are suffering. Faith strives to break the stigmas associated with trauma and encourages others to find hope through their faith.
Faith has appeared on CNN, Face the Nation, Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo, Kresta in the Afternoon with Al Kresta, EWTN News Nightly with Lauren Ashburn, Emmanuel Radio with Cindy Dorsey, WJR with Marie Osborne, and Catholic TV's This is the Day with Bishop
Robert Reed. She was a guest speaker at the 2009 Women Affirming Life Breakfast in Norwood, MA and has been a contributing writer for the National Catholic Register,
where her story was featured in a recent interview.
Her first book, Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse, a devotional for victims of sexual abuse, will be published by Our Sunday Visitor in August of 2020. She maintains a blog called Faith Restored which can be found on her website faithhakesley.com.
Interview transcript is provided below.
Hi everyone. I am Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Welcome to the Dr. Jay show. Today, my guest is Faith Hakesley and she is the author of this very exciting book. I find it exciting. I am glad that it is out there. Faith is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, and she is a very brave survivor. She has told her story, she has gotten justice and she is doing a lot to help others heal and to help the church. So, Faith, very happy to have you and to have the chance to speak to you in public and you know, in person, face to face like this.
Thank you for having me.
We have been kind of, we have kind of discovered each other on the internet and we have had kind of, you know, an internet friendship and then I recruited you to be part of the summit for survivors of the sexual revolution. You did a great job and you are expecting, I am just going to say, you are expecting your fourth baby. So, Faith, let us just dive right into it. If you do not mind, tell people just a little bit about your story.
So, I come from a very Catholic, very conservative home. I grew up, I was one of four children. I had three brothers and I was the only girl and we
grew up very close knit family, but also very close to our faith. It was an important part of our family, like everything we did centered around
our Catholic. And we were very close to our parish community as well. And I was homeschooled for several years, grades four to eight. And then,
my parents made, it was a painful decision but they decided to send me to a Catholic high school. I was a very kind of awkward kid. I did not fit
in with a lot of these other, with my classmates. I just really did not fit in. And so I was struggling academically, mostly because not so much
that the schoolwork was more difficult, but just because it was the social aspect that just threw me off. There were a lot of things that went
on in a Catholic school that I never would have expected. So, later that year, I was 15 years old.
So let us hold it right there. The things going on in a Catholic school that you would not have expected?
One of my religion classes felt more like a social justice type class, more than religion. I remember having arguments with some of the teachers. That is not church teaching. So, it was kind of made fun of a little bit, you know, like, oh boy, who is this girl. You know, kids acted in a way that I was not used to. I just had not been exposed to what some of these other kids had been exposed to, the movies, the books, the magazines, just some of the things that, again at the kids were talking about, just like, whoa, you know, a shell shock, like culture shock for me. So anyway, later that year, again I was 15 years old, one of the women from our parish was starting to slow down. She was an older woman and she offered me her hours working at the rectory on Saturdays. And around the same time, there was a newly ordained young priest. His name was Father Kelvin Peter Rodriguez. He had come to this country from Columbia, taught himself English. He came over here to go to the seminary. He had a violin with him. We got to talking, we found out, oh, he is the new priest that has just come in. So, I got excited because I was quite an accomplished violinist at the time, and he was trying to teach himself violin. So, we kind of connected over that a little bit. And I helped him tune his violin and said, oh yeah, if you ever have any questions, I will help you out.
[05:01 – 10:00]
He became a friend of sorts, like a confident. He seemed to understand some of the things that I was going through. At least he said he understood, he was giving me some advice, you know, just be yourself, do not worry about what anyone else thinks and all that stuff. And he became very well-liked within the parish community. And then over a period of several weeks, I noticed just his actions towards me, changed a little bit. You know, we talk about grooming and in hindsight, I realized that I was being groomed a little, you know, he would ask certain questions or he just touched me on the shoulder or just touch my hand very quickly. Or he was starting to ask kind of personal questions like, oh, are you dating anyone or any guys at school that you like? It was just sort of an awkward conversation and then there was the first, I will not go into detail, but it was like the first real touches happened and it just kind of went downward from there. So, I suffered abuse for that entire summer. And then in the fall of that year, I made up an excuse to my parents and to the pastor of the parish who, by the way, we found out later, because people sometimes ask, where was everyone when all this was going on? Well, the pastor we found out later and I try not to speak badly of him because I think he tried to be a good man in his own way, but he suffered with his own demons and he was a bad alcoholic. And so he was upstairs most of the time, drinking and so as a result, there was no one watching out for anyone else in the rectory. And so this was one of the reasons this was able to happen. So anyway, I made the excuse to my parents and to the pastor, you know, this job is really interfering with my schoolwork and it is true. My schoolwork was really suffering. People just did not understand why.
That is right. You left that part out. So, before you go any further, so this is going on for a couple months?
Several months, I would say the first real incident was probably June, July. And then I think it was about October, November, maybe by the time I quit. And then even after I quit though, he then reached out to me after mass one Sunday and asked if I would come to the rectory every so often to give him violin lessons.
Oh boy. Yeah.
What was I going to say? No, I did not want anyone to find out. And I also want to add in, you know, I grew up in a home where this kind of issue was
talked about. If anything ever does or says anything to you, if you ever find anything, you know, you come and you can tell us, we will believe
you, you know. But that victim mindset took over, his grooming or that whole process was just so powerful that I really was just putting this all
on myself, what did I do, I must have done something, I must have asked for this, I am a horrible person, I am just, all these labels that I started
putting on myself. And so the abuse continued a bit for the next few months, but sporadically.
Because you were not there all the time. Right?
Every so often he would call and say, hey, can I have a lesson on this day? So, and then he ended up being transferred to the marriage tribunal.
Oh my god.
This is what we heard. And I remember thinking, he is going to be counseling troubled couples. Okay. Well, you know, as a victim, I thought I was the only one, the possibility that there was anyone else just seemed kind of, it did not dawn on me that there could be, but I still thought it was strange that he would be transferred there of all places, because in my thought, he should not be counseling anyone but, okay.
We have heard from time to time about men credibly accused of homosexual abuse. Being placed in the tribunal because people think, well, they are away from children, they are safe, they are okay. And I am like, okay, so you want a guy who has no self-control and who is not oriented towards married life. You want that guy doing Canon law and judging people's marriages and talking to them and, oh, what a bad idea.
[10:01 – 15:00]
When they transferred him, do you think anybody had an inkling that there was a problem with him? Or is that something that you were in a position to judge?
As far as I know, no one within our parish community knew that anything had happened at our parish of all saints. However, I have since found out just from reliable sources that there were people who were very much aware of what kind of man he was. He was a womanizer. From the parish that he was at, before he came to our parish and even from the seminary, but he was a known womanizer and this sort of, like a group if you, you know, I will cover for me, I will cover for you kind of thing. And he sort of was a part of this group within the seminary. There was actually a deacon. He passed away, not too long ago. Who apparently, again, this is what I have been told, who tried to put a stop to Calvin's ordination, or that did not happen. That he was ordained. And then when Calvin, my rapist, when he was still a deacon at the church, he was stationed at before he came to our parish. He raped another woman. She went to the pastor, he did not believe it. So he brought Kelvin and this woman into the room together and said, did you do this to her? And of course he did not.
Oh, I am so sure he told the absolute hundred percent truth.
And so then he was just transferred right up. So, there were people who were very much aware of the kind of man he was, but he was sort of passed along anyway because he had friends and people who could defend them.
Okay. This book is about public school administrators. Same story, different costumes, different sectors of society. Same story.
Yep, exactly. It is absolutely variating, it just should not happen.
I am sorry. Just tell me your story. We keep getting sidetracked.
There are so many layers to it. It is really hard. I still, to this day, it is hard for me to tell the entire story. There is so much, because there is so much I am always learning. Even all these years later, it has been like 20 years. So, once he was transferred, we lost track of him. We had no idea what had happened. Then that next summer, was when July 1st, my oldest brother, Matt, he passed away unexpectedly. The autopsy showed, like a heart conditions, not the same heart condition that I have, but he had a hereditary heart condition. And it took his life when he was 22 years old. Calvin incidentally, right during that week as we were making funeral preparations, he called the house. Now, of course, again, my parents knew nothing about what was going on. No one knew anything. And he said, oh, listen, I heard about what happened to Matt. I am so sorry. How is everyone doing? How is faith doing? And my dad thought it was interesting that he was so concerned about me, but he also kind of understood that because I had worked at the rectory and I had given him lessons that he just figured, okay, well, they had kind of a special connection, you know? So, my parents very innocently said, hey, could you come to the funeral? Do you want to, you know, concelebrate at the funeral? He ended up showing up at the house. This was probably the day before Matt’s wake and I will never, Oh, I will never forget this because I was, and my parents could see that I was having a really difficult time handling Matt's death, which I mean, you could expect, but I was the one who found him lying on the floor. I was the one who screamed, oh my god, there is something wrong with Matt. So I was really, really struggling plus what they did not realize as well as I was now carrying the burden of two traumas around with. And I was just, I was slowly losing my mind. So, I remember being on Matt's bed, just sobbing. And all of a sudden, I felt this hand on my back and I recognized the touch right away and it was Calvin.
[15:01 – 20:14]
And he comforted me. I had just lost my brother and he sat there on my brother's bed, comforting me. It makes me feel so gross. Anyway, he sat with me for a little bit and I got up and I just left from there. We went and we sat in the living room and my family was there and he sort of, you know, he comforted us and he said some nice things. Then he said, I have to go. So, we had Matt's funeral. He did not show up, which I was just praising God, because his funeral was hard enough to get through. I was still remembering when I was being abused on Sunday mass. Kelvin would sit there. If he was saying the mass, he would stare at me from his seat and he would just stare at me. It was just that it was the most evil, I can still imagine his eyes. It was just the most evil look that he would just give. Anyway, side note. So, you know, after Matt's death, life kind of went on. I still was not getting any better. I was just not myself at all. I had lost interest in my music. You can understand why. All the things that had brought me joy, I was going downhill. My parents were really worried. And then school started up again and I was a real mess. So, they brought in a grief therapist, a Christian woman who they had known for years and so I went and I spoke with her and at the very first visit, I just blurted it all out. And I felt so much better. Like, oh, I told someone, so like my secret is out. I can talk to her about this, at least. And then the next week she explained, once again, I hope you understood what I told you, but I am a mandated reporter. So, I did have to report this. She is like, I am not going to say anything to your parents, that is up to you, and if that is something you want to do. And so I took a few weeks to kind of prepare and think about it. And I did finally make the decision. We brought them in and I told them everything. And it was, you know, you talk about the importance of family and I could not have gotten through the next few years, any of this without my family. They did not ask questions. You know, they did not ask, why did you go back? What did you do? There was no blame, whatsoever. The only question came from my dad. My mom, I remember her just sobbing and grabbing me. Are you okay? Are you okay? Oh God, please. No, no, no, not my child. Then my dad, I remember him just going and I kind of have to laugh at it now as a parent. Who did it? That was his question. And I told them and they said, oh, like, we should have known. I am sure they blamed themselves a lot for things.
Let me pause right here, because there are a couple of things that you are saying here that I have heard from other survivors. Okay. So, number one, that other family trauma, that other big life event of somebody dying, bam, out at Combs. Second thing is, is your parents' reaction, your parents trying to help you and then at the same time blaming themselves but at the same time, then looking back and going, the signs were there. Now that she said it, it adds up.
Yeah, always. He had a little nickname for me and I should add this in. He would call me, you little thing and there was a reason for that and it had
to do with the abuse. And he had this little nickname for me and no one else knew what it meant except me. Anyway, it was again, that was another
element of control. Let me know. I see you. I am watching you, you know?
And I have got this technical into your brain and I am messing with you in front of everybody.
I am getting away with it.
I have so much power in this situation that I can mess with your mind and blame you of everybody, and nobody is going to help you.
Yeah, exactly. And he had given me advice on more than one occasion when I asked him about certain issues, you know, I feel like I should talk to my parents about such and such, Oh no, do not do that.
Oh my God.
Once everything came out, it became more difficult in a way, but also a lot easier. More difficult because then I had to actually deal with this stuff that had been building within me for so long. And we then found out that the reason he had been removed from active duty because a woman, he had been having a consensual fling with, she was in her sixties.
[20:15 – 25:22]
Now, let us also remember, he was a young priest. He was in his probably I think, early thirties at the time. So, at the same time he was abusing me,
he was having a thing going on with this woman in her sixties. And when she found out that he was going to be transferred to the marriage tribunal,
she called and said, Oh no, this is not a good idea, this is what has been going on between me and him, I recognize it was wrong, however, I do
not want to see this happen to anyone else. So, she put a stop to it. So, she kind of put them out of commission. So, he was not an active priest,
which explains why he did not show up at my brother's funeral, which I am very grateful.
Which he did not reveal when your parents invited him.
No, we did not know that he had been removed so that he was on leave, they had put them on leave.
Because at this time, if I can just clarify, all they officially knew about was an adult. They had not heard anything about any.
I think so. So technically, nothing illegal had transpired. Yes, she went to him with her issues and you know, he took advantage of it, but it is technically not illegal.
It was immoral.
Immoral but not illegal in their eyes because she was an adult, you know? So, anyway. So, I had come forward at that point and then I made the decision.
I went and spoke with someone from the district attorney's office because I was a minor, you know, they had to take down. So, I had to tell them
everything, that was humiliating, that was so draining. Oh my goodness.
You were 16 at that time or 17?
I would have been 16 at this point. I also went and I spoke with someone from the archdiocese of Boston. I do not remember his exact title, but he was in charge of handling things like this. And when I told him what had happened, I told him the story and he said, we had been waiting for something like this. Basically, they were waiting for the other shoe to drop because they had heard all these whispers of issues with women, but nothing with a child, nothing they could actually get them on.
He had already been removed from ministry because of this other lady.
So, they had done that part of it. They had done that part of it, but there was nothing they could go to law enforcement.
Exactly. So, once I heard that there were other women who had been victimized, even though I was the only minor, I made the decision, okay, I am going to face him in court. I did not have to. And it was a painful decision to make. And I did not want to see him. I did not realize just how painful it was going to be to have to testify, but I knew it was going to be hard. He had warned me, this is not going to be easy if this is the path you choose, but that is what I chose to do. And so I did. After three hours of being cross-examined on the stand, he was eventually, they did find him guilty. Originally, he got 12 to 14 and then he went back to court later on and the judge lowered it to 8 to 10 or something weird. Anyway, so we got 8 to 10. He served his time and then he was deported to his native, Columbia because he was not a full American citizen. That is the last time I saw him was at the trial. We have learned so many more things since then, for example, he had a girlfriend when he was at our parish, and she was like an 18-19 year old young woman. Very, very troubled. She sent me an email. She somehow got ahold of me several years ago and blamed me that the stress I caused, caused her to lose their baby. So, over the years, there has always been one more thing that I find out. I said, okay, Lord. And now, you know, here I am. All these years later and I am still here.
And you are trying to tell the truth as best as you can without, you know, as I am listening to you, I am hearing you describe what happened with as
little blame as possible, just to describe this is what happened. And we can see, we have the evidence of what kind of a man he was. You know,
that there are multiple people that he took advantage of. So, for him to be going around in a Roman collar is scandalous in and of itself because
that gives him trust that he does not deserve and then he can weasel his way into people, technically it might not be illegal, but it is certainly
wrong and very dark and very wrong, you know, just very wrong for him to be doing that. So, you do not know what is going on with him in Columbia.
He is just not in the country anymore.
[25:23 – 30:01]
Yeah, I do not know. But all the women who have come forward to me privately and there have been, I would say close to 10. And so you know there is always more, you know that. They were all adult women. One claimed she was drugged. Another one, she was a well-known in the parish as a matter of fact but, you know, he took advantage of her just in various situations in which they were alone together, you know. So, all sorts of stories I have heard. He was not a very nice man.
So, I think, for the average person listening here, there are a couple of things that I would like you to address and one of them is the response of the parish community because to this day, there are people who probably think, Oh, he was such a nice priest. What happened? So just talk us through it a little bit, Faith.
I think as a parish, as a lay person, I think it is hard to admit that you have been taken advantage of. You are, in a way, maybe you were not physically abused, maybe he did nothing to you, you know, personally or physically, but you have been victimized and it is hard. It is very humbling to admit I was wrong. I thought that he had a very good character. I thought he was a Holy man and I was wrong. I think it is really hard for people to admit that. And so I think as a community, there were many people in my parish and even to this day who sided with him because he made himself look, even at the trial, he made himself look like such a victim. I do not know why they are doing this to me, but the God is my witness. I did not. I am not the monster they are trying to paint me to be. I recognize certain people from years ago. And I know they still maintain his innocence. They are convinced. There is no way he could have done this. They got out there and they were greeting people, filing out of mass with flyers, asking to help defend him, asking for money to help with his defense attorney, all these things. Now, the pastor did tell them, you know, you cannot be doing this on parish property. You know, I was actually threatened. I was threatened by people who were so convinced that this man was telling the truth. So yeah, I think with the whole, we mentioned grooming before, and I think these predators weasel their way in to the entire community. And this happens way too frequently.
Well, one of the cases, there was a priest who was preying on teenage boys and he was going to, they are going to funerals, you know? And one boy had
committed suicide and the priest is weaseling his way into the guy’s friends who are grieving the guy. And of course, the reason they kid committed
suicide is because this priest had prayed on, you know, but they caught him and they had him in court and he was so convincing as a liar. He was
so convincing that they could not convict him. And finally, they got a 17 year old boy who agreed to wear a wire and who basically, you know, had
a kind of encounter with him and got him on tape. So you can hear what this guy said to this kid. And there was a detective listening in the whole
time, the kid's parents knew about it and so on. And at some point, the kid just bolted out of there and the detectives moved in and arrested the
guy. But without getting that on tape, the guy was so smooth that people would not have believed in it. And I have often sent people to that. Just,
this is how it is done. So, tell me a little more about the aftermath. I mean, how did it feel to see him behind bars?
It was a relief at the time, you know. There is different stages to grief. I was still grieving my brother, of course, at this point. So, but also I was grieving coming to terms with everything that had happened to me. So yes, having that chapter, kind of closing that chapter was a relief, but at the same time, it was just, okay, now what. I did not know how do I now keep moving forward?
[30:02 – 35:03]
And it took a lot of support from my family. It took a lot of prayer, which I was really struggling with at that point. You know, my faith was, it was a struggle to keep that up and I had that same good Christian counselor and that is all I could do. And it was just about every day, one foot in front of the other. I was literally forcing myself to just, okay, I am going to get up and this is what I am going to do. For whatever reason, I was just determined. I just got to get through this but it also encouraged me to, because of everything I had been through and especially with the trial and all that, it inspired me to change my major from music to criminal justice and psychology because I wanted to help other people. So, I went into college with the idea that I was going to become a victim advocate of some sort, it did not end up happening, but that is what I was working towards. And I do not know what to tell you, I just kept going.
Right. But how would it have felt to you if he had not been charged, if no one had believed you. I am trying to put, imagine some of the other cases that we hear about where people do not believe in, people cover for the guy.
That would have held me back. I can imagine that I would have been living in fear, even with him behind bars, I lived in fear for a long time. I still
live in the same city where it happened. I still go to the same parish. I mean, I kind of stopped going to that particular church for a while because
I just emotionally, I could not handle it but for a long time, I was living in fear and that was with him behind bars. I can only begin to imagine
what it is like to go through what I have been through and then see your rapist go free. I really cannot. I do not know what I would have done.
So, tell people about your meeting with Pope Benedict, because when you had that meeting, you have written very movingly about it, and somebody took a photo of you. I suppose, they took photos of everybody as they shake hands. And it is a beautiful photo. So, tell people about it and tell people what that meant to you to meet.
I look at that. I have that in the living room. For several years after they gave me that photo, I could not look at it because all I could think of was the pain and I will explain to people who are not familiar with it. I was one of five survivors from the archdiocese of Boston, asked to go to Washington, DC in 2008 for a private meeting with then Pope Benedict, the 16th. He met with us at the, I can never say this right, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC. And we were each given just a few moments to go up and speak to him privately. And I had been preparing myself for this moment, thinking I am going to say something really spectacular. I had no idea. I was clueless. Before I left my mom, because I traveled with my fiancé, my now husband, but then fiancé traveled with me along with a large group of people. And she gave me her rosaries before I left to sit here, use these. So I did. And in the car ride on the way there to meet the Pope, I was like, okay, Lord, what do you want me to say? Because I really want to say something really profound that is going to make an impression on him, but just nothing was coming to mind. So, I sat in the chapel again, just praying, nothing was coming to mind. Finally, my turn came, I walked up to him. He stretched his hands out. I held his hand and I just started sobbing. I could not say a thing. And at first, I felt really embarrassed because like, come on, you know, get yourself together, say something. And he was so loving, so kind. He said just very gently, I understand you are getting married soon. They must have told them. And I was the youngest one by about 30 years. So, they probably assumed she must be the one who was saying, and you know, I said, yes. And he said, well, blessings on your marriage and your future family.
[35:04 – 40:02]
And he said, there is always hope. He said, never forget that. And he gave each of us a pair of rosary beads and then that was the end of the meeting. So, that picture was taken, the picture you are talking about is me holding hands with him, just sobbing uncontrollably and he is talking to me and I have not had very many moments in my life where I feel like, Oh, Jesus is speaking to me directly right now. I do not have those kinds of firework moments. I am just not one of those people, but that was one of those moments. It really felt like it would feel if Jesus was talking directly to me. He was so fatherly. He seemed to really understand, you know, just how big, how serious this thing was. While we were there, our Cardinal Sean O'Malley presented him with a book of names, large book containing, I do not know the exact number off the top of my head, but it was over 1400 names of people who had been abused by a priest deacon, you know, from the archdiocese of Boston. And next to some of the names, there were little crosses. Those are the names of people who had passed away. Many of them had passed away because of drug overdoses, suicides. And when that book was given to the Holy Father, I think at that moment, it made the victims more tangible, you know. So often we hear about numbers, but they were their names, just names. I see my own name in there. I am the only faith. And it is just makes my heart just kind of sink, like, Oh my god. The other people who I have known of, you know, and I see their names and it is just really, it helps to make us more tangible. We are no longer just a number, just some other person who has been abused. We are real people with names and lives that have been seriously affected by this. So, that meeting with Benedict really, it changed my life. It really did. It gave me more hope than I had in a long time. And it was at that meeting that I felt the Holy Spirit was working in me to telling me, you have got to do something. I do not know, you know, and I did not know exactly what it was, but it was like I was being told you have to use your story to help other people.
And here you are.
Exactly. When or how or any of that, but.
And here we are with your book. Okay. So, I want to say a little something about this book because it is due to be released early in August of 2020, I think. Is that right?
August 24th, it is coming out.
Okay. So, by the time this, I do not know exactly when this will be released, but yeah, you can pre-order it or you can buy it, one way or the other, whenever you happen to be watching this. Tell people a little bit about it, Faith. It is not just your story.
There are bits and pieces about my story thrown in there, but this was meant, this is a devotional. So, originally I had started out by writing. I did not know what direction to take with my writing. So, I was kind of just writing my story, how I dealt with it, writing about my faith, how that was affected. And then it turned into more of a devotional thing, which I am more comfortable with in a way, because I do not want it to be about me, but I want the story. I want my story to help other people in some way,
There are things you have to do, you know, she has got it. This is for you to use.
Yes. So, I really dug deep into my own experiences and also the experiences of people I have spoken to. Different gifts that God gives you in order to heal. And what inspired this was actually my mom because people say, well, what glimmer of grace? What is that? Well, it is almost like it is like a hug from God in a way. It is like, God speaking to you in a way that you understand something that makes you say that was you, God, that is a glimmer of grace.
Tell people about the tootsie roll,
Tootsie roll. I love this story. This was going on at the trial. I was sitting outside the courtroom with just a stranger.
[40:03 – 45:02]
He was the court guard, the bailiff. He was waiting to bring me in to testify and you kept looking in the window to see, okay, are they ready for her yet and he was trying to carry on like small talk with me. And I was just not interested. I was trying to be polite. I was trying to be kind, I was terrified. I felt like I was going to my death. So, right before, right as we stood up, he said, okay, it is time. And he pressed something into my hand. And then we went into the room and I looked down and it was a Tootsie roll, just this little Tootsie roll. And I had been praying, okay, God, please help me get through, show me, I need to get through this, show me that you are with me. And in that moment, that the passage, I think it is from Matthew maybe, a faith, the size of a mustard seed and all I can think of, okay, well, it is bigger than a mustard seed, but it is faith, the size of a tootsie roll. And a few weeks before that, my mom had told me about, you got to look for the glimmers. You know, you have got to look for glimmers of grace, God's glimmers of gray. And she told me, you know, explain to me how she had gotten through my brother's death and how she was getting through all of this. Because as a mother, I cannot even imagine what she was going through and so it was like, I realized, this is a glimmer of grace. God is talking and he is telling me, it is going to be okay, he is with me. And a tootsie roll. Honestly, I do not like Tootsie rolls. Chewy, they bother my teeth, but ever since then, every time I see a Tootsie roll, my eyes start well, you know. So, I had that Tootsie roll in my pocket the entire time I was on the stand. It was that little, just what I needed. That little piece of comfort that got me through that. And so that was what encouraged me. It got me on the path to looking, you know, to recognizing more regularly, those glimmers of grace, that God never truly leaves you no matter, you know, he never abandons you, even if you feel alone, even when you are scared, he is always there. And he is always speaking to you and so in the book, I really try to encourage people to open their minds and hearts, to recognizing God's presence in their lives, into recognizing that he wants to help you heal. And these are the different gifts that he gives you to help you to heal. So, that is the gist of the book.
It is called glimmers of grace. And the thing I like to add to it is it for people who have not been abused, then people for whom this is not an immediate
thing in your life, understand what that bailiff did for you with that small gesture of kindness. And you do not know what your gestures of kindness
are going to mean to people, you know, and just the fact that you say to somebody, I believe you, do you want to go for coffee? You want to talk,
you want to not talk? Do you want to just go to the movies? You know, just your act of friendship towards somebody who has been through the mill
like this, it is very powerful. You have a calling to be a glimmer of grace to the victim, to their families, to their husbands, maybe, you know,
these things have enormous ripple effects.
Yeah. You put it so beautifully. That is exactly, you know, one of the things about this book too, is I wrote it. Yes, it is for survivors but I also think that someone who is trying to support a survivor could pick this up and at least get an idea of what that person is going through or a survivor could read it and say, maybe I read something like this and, you know, write down my answers to some of the reflection questions. And I say, hey honey, you know, I give it to my husband. Can we go through this together? Can we read this together? Can we reflect on my answers together? Cause I want you to really understand what I am going through. So, I hope this is going to be a powerful tool even if it just changes one person's life or helps, you know, puts someone on the road to healing, you know, it is worth all the time and energy it took to write it.
In parishes or church, other church communities or parent church organizations or anything like that where they have had an incident that now people are aware like, Oh my god, this has been going on under our nose. And we did not know, we do not know what to do now. This is a place to start.
This is meant to be a very gentle approach to healing. I have, in the past, picked up books where it is a lot of psychology thrown in there and big words, and it is just, okay, I cannot do this.
[45:02 – 47:17]
Then I tried to think, okay, how would I have wanted someone to speak to me, especially when I was first coming to terms what had happened.
I think this is a book that people can buy by the case. I mean, if you have got a need, if you are in a situation, you know, just buy 10 or 20 of them, give them out.
I think even for priests or for even a therapist office, for your Catholic therapist, Christian therapist, I think this would be great to be able to give to your clients or to parishioners, any kind of situation like that.
Right. Well, faith, do you have any last words for our Ruth Institute followers?
Just, there is always hope. That is all I can say. I think Pope Benedict said it best. He said there is always hope so just never let go of that hope.
That is great. Well, thank you so much for being our guest. As you know, the Ruth Institute is absolutely committed to dealing with the sexual revolution as fallout and surely victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether it is clergy, whether it is a public school teacher, whether it is relative, whether it is male or female victims, survivors of childhood sex abuse are part of the fallout of the sexual revolution. And so this is one aspect of dealing with that. And I am so grateful that you wrote this book and so grateful for your time today. Thank you so much, Faith.
Thank you. God bless you.
Posted on: Friday, July 24, 2020
Reverend Father Bonifasio Senteza shares with Dr. J the conditions in Uganda under the Wuhan virus pandemic and the annual Ugandan Martyrs celebration.
Ugandan Hunger Pandemic: "Activists protest at coronavirus-related ‘hunger pandemic’ in Uganda," from the Irish Times
Ugandan Martyrs Day 2019 (YouTube)
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse's Uganda Talk on the Ruth Speaks Out blog
Posted on: Friday, November 01, 2019
Kevin Wells is a former sports reporter with the Tampa Tribune, where he covered Major League Baseball. His challenging book, The Priests We Need to Save the Church has been one of the country’s most-widely read Catholic books since its release in August. Kevin is also the author of Burst, A Story of God’s Grace When Life Falls Apart. He is a freelance writer, Catholic evangelist, and is President of the Monsignor Thomas Wells Society for Vocations, which financially and prayerfully commits itself to the promotion of strong priests, seminarians, and practicing the fullness of the Catholic Faith. The Society honors his late uncle, who was murdered in his rectory in 2000. Kevin’s work with youth earned him the James Cardinal Hickey National Figure Award from the Archdiocese of Washington. He lives in Millersville, Maryland with his wife and three children. He loves baseball, reading, and his backyard fire pit with many men gathered around.
The audio-only version of this podcast is available here: Listen
Readings and Resources:
Posted on: Friday, October 25, 2019
(October 25, 2019) This Friday, we have some urgent action items for you with regards to a breaking case in Texas. James Younger, a 7-year-old boy, appears to be being forced to live as a girl by his non-biological mother. He is in danger of being chemically and possibly surgically transitioned in addition to being forced to wear dresses, a train of craziness that began when he watched "Frozen" and liked the character Elsa. We're making available hotlines to Governor Abbott, petitions, and generally raising awareness, which may have an effect on Judge Kim Cooks' handling of this case. More details in this special breaking news episode of The Dr J Show.
Governor Abbott's opinion hotline is (512) 463-1782 or gov.texas.gov/contact, to reach Texas governor Greg Abbott. The Judge handling this case is Democrat Kim Cooks of the 255th Family District Court. The hashtag for this issue is #SaveJames. Keep the heat on!
LifePetitions also has a SaveJames petition, currently with over 76,000 signatures: Support Dad and Texas Governor's bid to save 7-year-old boy from being turned into girl
The audio-only version of this podcast is available here: Listen
Posted on: Friday, October 11, 2019
Welcome to the 5th Episode of the Dr. J Show, where we bring the world's experts to talk about the issues that face families and the faithful.
Dr. Rodriguez is a general pediatrician in Tacoma, WA, who sees patients from birth to college. She has a special focus on working with children, families, and adults who have experienced trauma in their lives. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. She is a member of the Catholic Medical Society and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. She works in ministry to adult survivors of abuse including survivors of human trafficking. She uses a model of long-term healing and restoration. She has given presentations to community and medical groups on the science of trauma and toxic stress and on human trafficking awareness and prevention. She also facilitates peer support groups for survivors of abuse through the Maria Goretti Network in the Seattle area. She is married, mother to three children, and serves her church as lector, catechist and mentor. She contributed two chapters to the book Abuse of Trust by Allen Hebert.
Action Item: Buy the book Abuse of Trust. Read it! Give it to your pastor, school principal or anyone else involved in ministry. Give it a positive review on Amazon!
Follow the guidelines of trauma-informed ministry:
Posted on: Friday, September 27, 2019
Check out the latest episode of The Dr. J Show!
This interview is with Allen Hebert, author of Abuse of Trust, which tells his story of being molested by his parish priest, as well as the stories of other victims of abuse. The book demonstrates how Allen and others have found hope and healing. Abuse of Trust includes wisdom from experts to help survivors of abuse.
Abuse of Trust is available in the Ruth store.
Watch the third episode of The Dr. J Show and share it with your friends.
Prefer just to listen? The audio-only version is here.