Struggling


#1

Hello, I was raised Catholic consider myself to be Catholic maybe even devout. When desperate, alone and depressed I will usually find myself in a Church and in prayer. During my debauched and alcoholic college years I went to Mass everyday (the healthy don't go to hospitals). No matter were I have been I have always considered the Church home it was my safety net. I not always been very good at the practicality of being Catholic but I have always believed. That being said I have fathered 3 children out of wedlock the oldest is 28 was adopted and last I heard hoped I would rot in hell the youngest 2 are 13 and 11. They live with me and my wife, not their mother although she is close by and a whole story in itself. The 13 yr old is Baptised the 11 yr old is not. There is a reason and this is were I struggle. My problem is the power that is wielded by those in the church. She wasn't refused Baptism. But it was an incident at a Baptisim "class?" that seemed to put me over the edge.

Let me clarify I am from the Boston area and I am a Police Officer in the Boston area. Growing up I was very involved in the Catholic Church and CYO. My daughter was born just as the big sex scandle was breaking in Boston. As the scandle began to conflagrate the lists of accused Priests began to be released I was shocked and horrified by how many I knew (about 9). Now I wasn't one who was molested I wouldn't have been considered an easy target I come from a big stable family. And as these names were released I can remember calling old friends "did he touch you?" The answer was usually no I can remember Sister Clair my mothers best friend from high school and principle at my Grammar school telling me and my cousins to never be alone with Father ----------. Reading that she was told to shut up and stop being a meddeling woman was upseting. These criminals didn't touch me or my friends but one got one of my sisters friends.
I was heartbroken by the whole scandle.
But, as this was happening I was attempting to have my daughter Baptised. I was informed I had to go to a Baptism Class. I had been though a similar class with my son and asked if I could be exempt as it would be very difficult due to my work schedule and child care issues. The answer of course was no my son had been Baptised in a different church. So off to the class we went. Now my son who was 2 1/2 and non-verbal (we learned later he had aspergers syndrom) had to come with us. The boy was a little disruptive, I thought he would be I explained that he would be and that we didn't have child care for him hence why I wished to be exempt. There was a young priest at this class. Now you have to understand a 2 yr old who can't speak learns about his enviroment in a different way he touches, touches alot and explores alot we knew this and did our best to contain him. But as anyone who has an active 2yr old can understand it didn't go so well. I could see this Priest getting frustrated I apolgized and did my best to contain my boy. At one point my son ran past this Priest who grabbed him by the arm gave him a little shake and through gritted teeth told him to behave. At which point I picked up my son took my daughter and told thier mother we were leaving. I will state right now the only thing that kept me from breaking that Priest's arm was his collar. I understand my son was disruptive I understand he was distracting, he was also 2 and I had this beforehand. When I tried to address it with my Parish Priest- "oh I heard about that it seems your son needs discipline". I kept my mouth shut but truthfully I am not keen on childrearing advice from someone who does not have children. A couple of weeks later I again tried to address it explaining that I tried to address the issue before hand he had no right to touch my son and he again just seem to blow it off. My daughter has not been Baptised I find it difficult to attend Mass. I cannot seem to find a Priest who will discuss it with me. I am angry. These criminals took away someplace I allways belived to be safe. This Priest seem to think it is okay to touch another mans child and his superior would not address it. The days of "Ask Forgiveness not Permission" are long gone. I believe now is the time they need to ask for both. The coverup over this horrifies me I understand about Brotherhood I am a Cop we get it we know what Brotherhood is but there are limits to protecting eachother and lines that are not crossed. It seems the Church dosn't like to draw the lines in the sand. I am trying to comeback I am trying to forgive but want some answers even if it is we screwed up bad. Can anyone help me with this?


#2

HI!

I am in Law Enforcement as well - though I am non-sworn. I hope you don’t mind my chiming in here and offering some feedback.

First of all I want to point out that you did not understand the extent of your son’s challenges at the time (according to you he was later diagnosed with Asperger’s but at the time of the class he was just a non-verbal 2 year old that seemed to ‘need discipline’).

So…I am going to make a suggestion: now that you have all the information, contact the parish (or another parish) and explain the cross you bear. Ask if there is a possibility of preparing for Baptism that does not require the child to be in class with you.

I am a catechist with our RCIA process here in California. We have people with children that cannot make the PSR (used to be CCD when I was a kid) classes because the parents work shift work. We make arrangements, we work with them…I bet you can find SOMEONE willing to work with you on this issue.

I too was shaken up by the priest scandal, but you know what? I am not a Catholic because of a priest - I am a Catholic because our Church has the fullness of faith. Priest scandals - as awful as they are - are not new. As you stated so beautifully, we are a Hospital for Sinners and not a Shrine for Saints.

Though we do have some LOVELY shrines…ok, just kidding.

As for your past, are you still in recovery from alcoholism? I have 19 years sober this past May. I got sober through the appropriate 12 step program and those 12 steps lead me right home to Rome…so let that go. Start working on your relationship with God - deepen the ol’ prayer life and find the local Catholic cop organization and get to frequent confession and GET THAT BOY BAPTIZED!!!

And hang in there, buddy…you are doing better than you think you are, I promise.:thumbsup:


#3

Great post and really interesting. Thank you for sharing with us. You could try another parish.

But lets all remember priests are human beings and all people need our love and support, and friendship. :slight_smile:


#4

All of this happened a decade ago. LET IT GO. Holding on to anger over something like this is getting you nowhere.

Move on.

Make an appointment with a priest about having your 11 year old baptized, at this age he is considered an adult and may have to ask for himself and go through some classes of his own.

Do not bring up the past in this meeting. Just start anew.

Priests are human, and getting frustrated with a child can happen to anyone. It was poor judgment on the part of that priest, but holding on to anger for 10 years over this? Come on, guy.


#5

I think it's great you made this move to reach out, an important step.


#6

Thanks I appriciate all your responses. It was a difficult post for me to write. It wasn't just that incident that bothers me it was the one that put me over the edge and frustrated me. And in truth I am not so much angry as frustrated

LSK, your right at the time we did not understand what my son's issue was. The boy, now 13 is proberly one of the politest most respectful young man I have ever met. He is a delight to most who know him and brilliant beyond compare. I don't consider his issues a cross to bear but an honor to guide him through his challenges. The same goes for his sister who is NVLD (similar to aspergers). I have been truly blessed with these children. They are both beautiful articulate and brilliant. As for recovery I have been around for more the 25yrs it has been a long stuggle for me. I currently doing ok I could proberly do better but I am not that worried about it.

1ke, your tone rings with the air of the priest who blew me off. I am sure this was not your intention one of the drawbacks to electronic communication is the inability to read faces and hear the tone in which your response was intended. I assure you I have moved on from that incident should I ever meet this preist I would most likely not remember him. The incident itself was small and made me angry at the time. Its just a glowering example of what bothers me. This was and is not my first rodeo it is 47yrs of the Catholic experince. Most of it good. I like being a Roman Catholic and identify myself as such. But what bothers me bothers me and I have had difficulty in finding a fourum to discuss it. Perhaps I am searching for a cathartic release to help me break though a wall that I seem to be running up against.

So what bothers me? Perhaps its were I live Boston is a uniquely Catholic town deep roots here. Its the attitude that bothers me. It is a pervasive attitude of arrogance and entitlement, perpertrated by those whos should be modeling humilty and service. The example of the priest who grabbed my son is just one example. I could discuss the priest who reported me to my supervisor for writing a ticket and having that ticket pulled. Or the priest who "attested" his associate being 21 when as a young bartender trying to pay for college I carded his friend. It didn't seem to matter that I could lose my job if he wasn't 21. There was the Pastor I had as a boy who tried to forbid graduating seniors from attending their public school graduation because he was not invited to perform the Benidiction. I could go on I have some really interesting stories about Cardinal Law. I am not saying they are all like this. The associate Pastor was the one who told us to ignore his order and graduate with our class. My Campus Chaplin was a gift I never would have even graduated had it not been for him he held me to the rock of faith as rushing water tried to wash me away.

"It is better to seek forgivness then permission". I remember the first time I heard that. It was from a Jesuit at a youth confrence when I was about 15. I honestly believe this is the attitude that allows those to commit the crimes they did. We can see how the arrogance happens. Watch after Mass or any parish event everybody runs to fawn over Father, tell him what a good homily he did or how wonderful Christians we are looking for his approval I can see how that goes to some peoples heads.

Many of you have said Priests are human too. Yes, I agree, subject to the same human frailties and predjudices we all are. But should we not hold them to a higher standard? As a Police Officer I am held to a higher standard. I can lose my job for Moral Turpitude. Should I place my hands on somebody without cause I can lose my job. I understand frustration I have been a cop now for almost 20yrs I can tell you about frustration. Less then 3hrs ago I dealt with somebody so stupid that he could have cost his wife her life. I just wanted to punch him in the head. I didn't, I didn't even write him a ticket. I deal with frustration all the time I can't tell you how many times I just want to grab somebody and shake them. I don't, I exercise some self control. Because I am held to a higher standard. I attempt to empathize with the person I am dealing with sometimes yes I have to walk away and let my partner deal with it but for the most part I attempt to resolve issues without putting my hands on somebody.

I am not trying to condem here I don't believe all priests are this way but I also don't believe its only a few. I see an attitude that allowed crimes to be committed priviledges to be extended that were not earned or deserved. It's causing a block for me and I am just looking to have a discussion about it


#7

I see a great need for anger management in the OP. We always need to be able to let go of the things that get us angry and frustrated, otherwise we will probably either end up dead from stroke, heart attack, suicide, etc., or hurt someone.

We are all frail, weak, sinful human beings, regardless of our vocation or status in life. Mistakes are made. People offend. Getting stuck in the personal offense and staying there does not help us. That is why we must learn to forgive - even if the person who offends us neither asks us for or wants our forgiveness. We need to forgive and move on or we live in unrelenting misery.


#8

I was a little taken aback by the last response and really had to think about it a bit. Thanks for your suggestion I have been treated for job related PTSD for many years I am not opposed to anger management. But... I am not talking about me. I am not talking about "people" who offend. People offend me all the time every day in fact. The individual I wished to punch in the head. I didn't, I wanted to, his wife was grievously injured and his moving her worsened it. I didn't even cite him for reckless endangerment and I was well within my right to. I arranged proper medical care for her and made sure she got to an appropriate hospital. I did call him an idiot though.

What I am trying to do is address a problem I see as an endemic cultural problem in the priesthood. Were do these indivduals get off believing they have this kind of power. To place their hands on children, to verbally berate and officer doing his job to expect and be entitleted to favors and priviledges others are not. This is not my first rodeo were I am as a police officer I run into Catholic Clergy all the time, daily infact. I have changed parishes, again that offending priest is long gone his supervisor, on to bigger and better things. I do not need the problem fixed for me. I am not going to leave my job. I am simply attempting to have a discussion regarding a serious issue I see. If we let it go (forgive and forget if you will), if we do not address and confront these issues they will continue. My intention is not to attack the church it is to discuss and debate to converse. I find that when I do bring up difficult subjects I am immediatly,... I will use the word attacked for lack of a better word I am told to get over it move on or get anger management. Just a discussion folks I am attempting to see beyond my block.


#9

No. Priests shouldnt be allowed such behavior. However especally at the time there was no leeway with priests and it was up to you to call the poliece. No one is going to incriminate themselves. Secondly, in regards to the scandal there are many steps the church has taken to make sure it is rooted out and prevented.

It dosnt make it any better for those abused but the “criminal priest” is about 1-2% of priests. At the same time the church hid this non-catholic shools and summercamps hid an abuser ratio of 10-15%…100 times that of the CC. Is it right? Absolutely not. But it does give one insight to the culture that allowed it to happen.

Today we are still hearing reports of molester teachers…not a week ago a girl was assulted at her summer camp by an instructor. The CC has rooted out and fixed the problem like no other insitution in the world.

As far as finding a good church and kind priest. Try St. Joes in Wakefield. Its an excellent parish.


#10

Dear CatholicCop,

Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. I can see that you are struggling on your faith journey and trying to look past all you have seen. I beleive from reading your post that you desire to grow deeper in your faith but there have been so many observed misbehaviors by Catholic priests it is a stumbling block for you.

A question I have for you is this: What would it take for you to get past all you have experienced? Honestly, please think about this. Would talking with a priest you like help? Chatting with others on an internet forum? Knowing that criminal priests have been brought to justice? Spending time in prayer? Learning more about your faith? Joining a bible study? Confronting certain members of the clergy that have offended you?

At this time, I don’t see that there is a clear answer to your dilemna. You are having difficulty with the church because of your experiences and can’t get past them. I beleive if you spend quiet time in prayer and dig deep that may help you. There needs to be something that will satisfy you, what could that possibly be?

Jesus Christ loves you so much and he knows the answer. He is proud that you are working hard protecting the public! He is proud that you have a family that you are taking care of and are trying your best! He knows of your struggles with alcohol and is so proud that you have been successful in battling that! He knows you deeply, he wants to help you. Turn to him, increase your prayer life. When you are in prayer ask Jesus over and over and over how he wants you to grow in faith and be at peace. I will pray for you, hope this helps a little.


#11

CatholicCop,

I see where you are going. I don't understand why some others aren't addressing your actual question. Why should any subset of the populous expect and recieve special dispensations based on their vocation.(using vocation in a broader than just spiritual sense). You as an Officer of the Law are held to a high standard. Which makes you more able/likely to point out when others are not.

You are absolutely right. There are priests that abuse power, period. Unfortunately looking at history there is no shortage of powerful priests that used their church powers for their own gain. No excuses. It is up to us to point that out to their higher ups when we as the laeity see it.

What we have to do. And I speak as someone who is on the road to becoming catholic and do have some issues with my priest in my parish, but am trying to see the larger picture. It's a great thing to see that no matter the bad apples the Church is still the purveyor of Truth. The local priest is not the end of the line as to what the teachings are. Anyone can go look up the true teachings in the catechism.

I wish I had a magic eraser and could undo all the evil that is out there. I know you do too. And I fear you see ALOT more than I do being a policeman. But the Truth will set us free and we have to focus on that. We are supposed to forgive and forget, but that doesn't mean be a doormat. Remember Jesus in the temple with the moneychangers.

My prayers for you in your struggle. I see you mainly want to discuss and blow some steam. I'm there with you sir. Have a good one. And God Bless you and your family. :thumbsup:


#12

Finally, Thank-you

Purple, I am a police officer and the offending Priest’s act didn’t quite rise to the level of needing police involvement. It was more of a father protecting his child from an insensitive idiot who way overstepped his authority. Nothing pisses off cops more then entitltement. I do see the Church making steps to resolve the abuse issues. And I do belong to a good Parish with a good Priest he married my wife and I. He is a delayed vocation (I seem to relate much better to delayeds) he was a vascular surgeon and an attorney before he answered his calling. He is reluctant to discuss this issue I suspect he is quite frankly tired of hearing about it. But he is a good man and I like him very much.

Monicad, I don’t exactly know what would help me get passed this. Some of this is helping and I was talking to a wonderful Presentation Sister ( a dear friend of my wife) who seemed to understand what I was struggling with. She unfortunatley suddenly passed away this week. I will miss her dearly. Part of me wants to “slap” some sense into these indivduals. It seems I identify alot with Priests. They take vows, I swore an oath I take very seriously. I honestly try to model behaviour expected of a police officer I certinly don’ t always get it right. I get mad, I yell at people doing things they shouldn’t. I have been known to “tin” another officer to be extended “professional curtosy”. I don’t expect it and when refused am okay with it. But yes I do it. I certinly don’t expect to be able to do what I want because I wear a uniform. And I wouldn’ t dream of challenging an officer based on that as I have been by those who wear a collar.

Kford, thank you for your understanding of what I am trying to do.

Folks I like being Catholic I do not wish to leave the Church over this stuff I want to get passed it and be at peace with it. My brother no longer attends church my sister has left and is Lutheran my sister in-law has left and joined the Congrationals this is not my desire. I have found great peace in the Mother Church and wish that peace again in my Church I considered it home and a safe place for a very long time when I was lost. The worst of these individuals have stolen that from me. I wish to find that home again.


#13

[quote="Catholiccop1, post:1, topic:246146"]
Hello, I was raised Catholic consider myself to be Catholic maybe even devout. When desperate, alone and depressed I will usually find myself in a Church and in prayer. During my debauched and alcoholic college years I went to Mass everyday (the healthy don't go to hospitals). No matter were I have been I have always considered the Church home it was my safety net. I not always been very good at the practicality of being Catholic but I have always believed. That being said I have fathered 3 children out of wedlock the oldest is 28 was adopted and last I heard hoped I would rot in hell the youngest 2 are 13 and 11. They live with me and my wife, not their mother although she is close by and a whole story in itself. The 13 yr old is Baptised the 11 yr old is not. There is a reason and this is were I struggle. My problem is the power that is wielded by those in the church. She wasn't refused Baptism. But it was an incident at a Baptisim "class?" that seemed to put me over the edge.

Let me clarify I am from the Boston area and I am a Police Officer in the Boston area. Growing up I was very involved in the Catholic Church and CYO. My daughter was born just as the big sex scandle was breaking in Boston. As the scandle began to conflagrate the lists of accused Priests began to be released I was shocked and horrified by how many I knew (about 9). Now I wasn't one who was molested I wouldn't have been considered an easy target I come from a big stable family. And as these names were released I can remember calling old friends "did he touch you?" The answer was usually no I can remember Sister Clair my mothers best friend from high school and principle at my Grammar school telling me and my cousins to never be alone with Father ----------. Reading that she was told to shut up and stop being a meddeling woman was upseting. These criminals didn't touch me or my friends but one got one of my sisters friends.
I was heartbroken by the whole scandle.
But, as this was happening I was attempting to have my daughter Baptised. I was informed I had to go to a Baptism Class. I had been though a similar class with my son and asked if I could be exempt as it would be very difficult due to my work schedule and child care issues. The answer of course was no my son had been Baptised in a different church. So off to the class we went. Now my son who was 2 1/2 and non-verbal (we learned later he had aspergers syndrom) had to come with us. The boy was a little disruptive, I thought he would be I explained that he would be and that we didn't have child care for him hence why I wished to be exempt. There was a young priest at this class. Now you have to understand a 2 yr old who can't speak learns about his enviroment in a different way he touches, touches alot and explores alot we knew this and did our best to contain him. But as anyone who has an active 2yr old can understand it didn't go so well. I could see this Priest getting frustrated I apolgized and did my best to contain my boy. At one point my son ran past this Priest who grabbed him by the arm gave him a little shake and through gritted teeth told him to behave. At which point I picked up my son took my daughter and told thier mother we were leaving. I will state right now the only thing that kept me from breaking that Priest's arm was his collar. I understand my son was disruptive I understand he was distracting, he was also 2 and I had this beforehand. When I tried to address it with my Parish Priest- "oh I heard about that it seems your son needs discipline". I kept my mouth shut but truthfully I am not keen on childrearing advice from someone who does not have children. A couple of weeks later I again tried to address it explaining that I tried to address the issue before hand he had no right to touch my son and he again just seem to blow it off. My daughter has not been Baptised I find it difficult to attend Mass. I cannot seem to find a Priest who will discuss it with me. I am angry. These criminals took away someplace I allways belived to be safe. This Priest seem to think it is okay to touch another mans child and his superior would not address it. The days of "Ask Forgiveness not Permission" are long gone. I believe now is the time they need to ask for both. The coverup over this horrifies me I understand about Brotherhood I am a Cop we get it we know what Brotherhood is but there are limits to protecting eachother and lines that are not crossed. It seems the Church dosn't like to draw the lines in the sand. I am trying to comeback I am trying to forgive but want some answers even if it is we screwed up bad. Can anyone help me with this?

[/quote]

*I really feel for you.

I believe in the written word - you should write to the priest who handled your child with copy to his superior. It is a record. They can read it a second time.

I understand your anger but would like to remind you of the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Jesus said to leave the weeds until the harvest. There will always be weeds among the people. These priests may otherwise be good men but they need to be made aware that by such actions they are alienating parishioners.

I hope you can get closure on this and find it possible to make your anger go away.

God bless you
Cinette*


#14

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