Tom (advocate, excerpts)
TOM ~ expert witness, priest, advocate for victims, Canon lawyer ~ The Bishop's Goat? ...oh man. The Bishop's Goat, that's pretty simple. I helped write a book and have done a lot of research in sexual abuse in the Middle Ages and the Early Middle Ages. In the Early Middle Ages, there was some documentation I found that said, 'If you had sex with an animal, like a goat, you got ten years on bread and water. But, if the goat belonged to the Bishop, you'd get a stiffer sentence'. I found actual documentation.
Basically, there are instances where the priests work together openly in a conspiratorial fashion and pass kids around. I have come across that in my work. I've been doing this for 24 years. I've been deeply involved all over the United States and in other countries, as well. And, I have seen it a number of times, where either Diocesan priests or members of a religious order have passed kids around, and referred kids, from one priest to another. I can't say it's a majority of times ...but, it's a significant number. I know one place, for instance, when I did some cases in Belleville Illinois, there were priests passing kids around there. In a monastery, for instance, in northern Minnesota ...in another monastery in Ireland. I'm not an investigator, I do work as a consultant and expert witness, and give support to victims, internationally. It's there. I do writing on the issue, but I'm not involved with any worldwide investigations, as such. I'm probably the only person in the United States, that does this kind of work in the United States and in Europe, as well. My reception in Europe is pretty much the same, as here. When I go over to Europe, as here, I work with victims and their supporters. Here, and there, the institutional Catholic Church responds basically the same way ... the Church denies it ...they don't treat the victims correctly ... they treat them shabbily. The Church denies it, they stonewall it ... the church has to be forced into doing anything about it.
There's a difference between spirituality working toward being one with a higher power versus organized religion. Organized religion, as is quite obvious, is business. It can be a business about helping people, and bringing great good. But, it can also be a business for self-aggrandizement, and profit. In many cases, the Catholic Church has encountered sexual abuse of children and responded as a corporation, and not as a true, spiritual body. Catholics, or others, have been led to believe that ‘we need this church, for our spiritual welfare'. And this in turn, gives us a certain amount of emotional security. Information such as sexual molestation of kids by priests, seriously threatens that emotional security, and it's very fearful. It scares people. So they react. I think they react in denial because of a significant amount of spiritual immaturity. They're still stuck, in magical thinking, ‘I need the Bishop, I need the Priest, if I'm going to see God.'
Well, that's nonsense.
[AA] How come the Church hasn't come after you?
[T] They have. But, they can't kick me out because I haven't done anything criminal. I've criticized them. I've spoken against them. But, I haven't done anything that's going to get me into super deep, deep trouble. What they've tried to do is threaten me ...they've isolated me ...I can't practice openly in any Diocese ...I've lost a couple positions ... things like that. I don't think I'm capable, or anyone's capable, of changing the institutional Catholic Church in my lifetime ... because, it's so screwed-up. I mean, they want to go back to the 1950s. They want to have everybody walking in lock-step, and obeying the Pope and the Bishops and be a bunch of dumb robots. Well, I don't think that's healthy. But, the fact is, that's what the Church wants. So, all that being said, it's okay ... if they want to do it that way, that's fine ...except, the institutional Church, when people ask me, ‘What do we do? I can't stand it! It's driving me crazy.' I say, "Walk away." Why stay, if it's hurtful to you. It doesn't make sense.