"outing" an unstable seminarian

I asked this question a couple years ago on this forum: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=404146

I did come forward: I emailed the priest who gave us couples counseling (my ex called it pre-pre-Cana – then dumped me!). Later, I copied the same email to the head of vocations for our diocese.

So I did the brave thing: named names, copied people in my emails, gave contact information, etc. NOTHING happened. I’m being treated for PTSD, and he’s studying in Rome. “Living well is the best revenge,” and he’s doing it.

Just thought I would provide an update, thank you for your advice, and maybe give some information about calling out an emotionally abusive and unstable future priest. sigh

Two things come to mind.

Maybe he has sought help for these issues.

Maybe they are not real issues and only you preceive them as such.

This is a problem with second hand stories. We do not know the full truth, we only get one side of the story.

If the diocese is only contacted by you (an ex-girlfriend) and their experience is different then they will not take only your word on this issue.

You did what you thought you should do, now let it go, it has been over a year and if this is still an issue for you then maybe you need to bring this up in therapy as I see you are being treated for PTSD. Is your PTSD related to this individual?

You can count on it that your charges WERE looked into. In today’s atmosphere, there is no chance that they were not.

The seminary officials, and the Archdiocese would most definitely investigate such charges, and take appropriate steps, if any were required. They do put those men through some pretty vigorous evaluation, and they can and do observe their behavior in stressful situations. They determined that your charges, while valid to you, did not result in any behavioral problems that would prohibit this man from becoming a Priest.

The fact that you once again bring this up here, after so long, shows a great deal about YOU.

I would strongly suggest that you get into counseling, and get rid of your hatred for this person. It is so obvious that you expected that he would be kicked out of seminary, and you are horribly disappointed that he wasn’t.

That is NOT “looking out for the welfare of the church”, that is revenge.

It is time for you to get rid of your feelings and anger that are directed against this person. Get some help, purge your anger and get on with your life.

I posted this because I was deleting old emails and really appreciated the guidance I got here.

I did not act out of revenge. I was contact by a relative (priest) who urged me to come forward. Even then I waited (and sought guidance here). It’s good to know that my information was taken seriously.

Yes, the PTSD was caused by this young man. I work very hard on moving on and would do anything to get my old personality back. It hasn’t been “about him” for a long time. I just wanted to thank this forum and provide an update.

I am sorry for your experience and the presence of this individual in the seminary.

That said, you must move on. Get counseling if you haven’t received it.

Drop it and hope that he won’t affect others the same way.

I experienced PTSD after what was for me a traumatic delivery. I hated my OB and wanted to kill her. I got counseling. This was before PTSD was recognized as a distinct entity. I myself recognized my problem by reading in Time magazine about what Vietnam veterans were going through. It took a long time, years, for my feelings to fade. Now I recognize it for what it was. I suspect that you went through far worse, but feel that counseling is essential, especially at it has already been several years.

Another thought: which others mentioned.

Why didn’t your cousin priest come forward? After all, he’s a disinterested observer. He’s a grown man and a priest. He has no axe to grind.

If your cousin is still alive and well (sorry…) and still interested, he can still come forward, citing the lack of response to your previous attempts, perhaps interpreted as sour grapes by an embittered girl.

I happen to think that people don’t fundamentally change. I think that abusers remain abusers. I would never tolerate someone who yelled at me or anyone else, and it’s not tolerated in my workplace, and increasingly, not tolerated at all (vis. recent attempts to control school bullying). It may be covered up but eventually will erupt.

The Old Medic speculates without knowing first hand. I DO know first hand, having been in seminary. And I studied after the abuse crisis came to a head.

I can assure you that mistakes are still common. A man I studied with had problems with anger and concealed his insecurities with humour, but it was not displayed in front of the formators. We all knew he had issues, but he was ordained nonetheless. Within a year, he ran off with a woman from his parish and now has two children.

Another seminarian was hitting on other seminarians, but the bishop ordained him anyway, with the explanation that “as long as he is not hurting children, then it is okay to ordain him”.

We are talking about orthodox bishops and an orthodox seminary here, by the way. It never failed to baffle some of us seminarians how oblivious the formators were to so much and how bad their judgment could be.

You did the right thing - as some one who suffers from PTSD secondary to relationship trauma all I can say to you is that you must at this point know that you have made the amends you can and that you need to work on your healing. It will help you to know you have done everything you can do regardless of the outcomes. Actions are ours, outcomes are Gods.

Thank you all again.

Yes, my PTSD treatments involves therapy (and pills and exercise). The “get over it” thing may be years away (nightmares are hard to counsel out!).

(I’m curious, shocked, and amazed at Old Medic’s post on this Christian forum.)

Go forth to love and serve!

There should be no shock nor amazement at any responses.

All we have is your comments, this is an anonymous internet forum. We do not know you, we do not know the situation. All we know is what you have chosen to tell us. Yes, it may be the truth. Then again it may not be. It may be what you perceive as the truth but without hearing from the other party to this relationship we can not know.

I and many others, will chose not to condemn the other party in your issue without hearing the whole story which we will most likely never hear.

I would add that it seems odd, at least to me, for you to make this update and complain that your “outing” of this seminarian did not ruin his life. It seems like you were looking for revenge, to cause him as much harm as you feel he caused you. Now that this did not happen you seem to have come here for validation.

I am sorry but some of us can not give you that.

I will pray for you and this seminarian.

I can speak to a bit of this - with PTSD if your PTSD is secondary to the abuse sometimes it can seem like the way to end pain is to avenge yourself. To others it will seem odd. You will never convince someone who has not been through it that your motives are not vindictive. I can only speak for me here when I tell you this but you need to take a step back and know that you did what you did with the what you felt were the best of intentions. Now you need to move on. Know that whatever happens you cannot change the past. For all you know you may have already changed the future. For all you know he may be getting counseling right now. At this point you have to look at him as being none of your business as you would look at your life as being none of his. It is the do unto others with a slightly more negative slant. Remember prayer, penance, eucharist, and therapy will be your guiding lights through this.

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