Good afternoon from London!
Yesterday I visited a very famous man with connections to the Royal family who recently celebrated a significant birthday. Happy Birthday (you know who you area).
All jokes aside, today’s blog is inspired by a tv drama that I’ve been watching called “how to get away with murder”.
Basically the title explains it all as it’s about a barrister who lectures and trains her students and teaches them how to get their clients away with murder!!
Her job is to defend her client, not to defend the truth and so whether or not her client is actually guilty is irrelevant.
As she lectures she trains her students on how go get these people off the hook. Here are some of the strategies:
1. Discredit the witnesses. Dig up their past by throwing doubt on their character or on their mental health so that their story won’t be trusted
2. Create new suspects as a diversion to muddy the waters and to make the dury doubt.
3. Tamper with the evidence and block it from appearing in court.
4. Intimidate the witnesses and try to force a false confession out of them.
5. Play with the emotions of the dury.
As I reflect on it today in light of the last few weeks and my involvement in the healing and LGBT ministry I sadly see the parallels between the legal system and the church!
“How to get away with murder” could be called “How to get away with abuse” and the murderers could be replaced by certain members of the clergy.
I can only imagine how hurtful it must be for good priests when their colleagues have been found guilty of abuse and cover ups and when the institutional church has played along. They must feel betrayed to the core and my heart and prayers go out to them.
Yet how even more devastating must it be for the victims of abuse and by abuse I’m not just talking about sexual abuse, I’m talking about sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, abuse of power, abuse of position…..
Sadly this subject hits too close to home when my own mother had a terrible breakdown as a result of abuse that she experienced from a priest. How convenient that as a psychiatric patient she doubted herself so much and felt such fear and trauma that she never had the strength to speak out.
Despite being a fervent catholic I never saw her visited by any member of the clergy when she broke down. Like Jesus as He hung on the cross, the apostles ran away and let Him take the pain.
She was suddenly silenced and shunned and the suffering she endured was out of this world.
Yet little did I know that Jesus would allow me to walk in her footsteps and no sooner was I converted than the abuse started for me.
If I spoke of demons they said I was schizophrenic. If I advocated for gay people they said I hadn’t forgiven. If I said I was called to live on providence they said I was psychotic….
Years and years and years of abuse beyond your wildest dreams and going back to the tv drama, the same techniques were used!
1. Discredit the witness…ie: me!! He’s mad, he’s crazy, he’s just like his mother, he’s lying.
2. Create new suspects. It’s mental illness, it’s his imagination….it never happened!!
3. Tamper with the evidence. There is no proof, you can’t prove it, your word against theirs.
4. Intimidation. We’ll kick you out of you continue to talk or worse we’ll lie and beat you up and give you a false criminal record like what happened in Medjugorje.
5. Play with emotions. “We were only trying to help him and this is how he repays us”. How many times have I heard this one….
You get the picture, it goes on and on and they do everything to make you crack as each time you have to relive the abuse and trauma in your mind over and over and they know it. They want you to give up, they want you the throw in the towel because if you do…..
And so in light of all this if there is one thing that has cheered me up over the last few days it’s the many priests who have spoken out publicly for the rights of LGBT people in the church and for an end to unjust spiritual abuse.
And yes, just like an American tv drama, the battle in the church is vicious and nasty and often one feels that there is precious little time for the truth or for the victims only self protection and preservation of reputations.
However thanks be to God that the people are no longer afraid and that more and more people, laity and priests are coming out of the woodwork and are unashamedly and publicly naming and shaming the abuses that they have both experienced and witnessed.
And so today as I pray and as I continue my ministry with often such little support or encouragement, I place all my trust in the justice of God and I take consolation in His majestic hand of mercy that raises up the lowly, heals the broken hearted and throws the high and might off their thrones!
So perhaps you can join with me and pray that beautiful prayer that Our Lady prayed, the magnifcat for all the victims of abuse in our church today and for the purging of all evil and cover ups among the clergy.
Thanks for reading
Ps. Séamus will be having his prayer meeting this evening at 7pm and he will be interviewing Paul Teece, priest and psychotherapist with amazing insights into LGBT ministry and the various associated abuses in today’s church. Join through Séamus’ Facebook page…
Good afternoon from London!