An Airport Encounter

It was only the third time it had happened to me in my nearly thirty-five happy years as a priest, all three times over the last nine-and-a-half years.

Other priests tell me it has happened to them a lot more.

Three is enough.  Each time has left me so shaken I was near nausea.

It happened last Friday . . .

I had just arrived at the Denver Airport, there to speak at their popular annual “Living Our Catholic Faith” conference.

As I was waiting with the others for the electronic train to take me to the terminal, a man, maybe in his mid-forties, waiting as well, came closer to me.

“Are you a Catholic priest?” he kindly asked.

“Sure am.  Nice to meet you,” says I, as I offered my hand.

He ignored it.  “I was raised a Catholic,” he replied, almost always a hint of a cut to come, but I was not prepared for the razor sharpness of the stiletto, as he went on, “and now, as a father of two boys, I can’t look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser.”

What to respond?  Yell at him?  Cuss him out?  Apologize?  Deck him?  Express understanding?  I must admit all such reactions came to mind as I staggered with shame and anger from the damage of the wound he had inflicted with those stinging words.

“Well,” I recovered enough to remark, “I’m sure sorry you feel that way.  But, let me ask you, do you automatically presume a sexual abuser when you see a Rabbi or Protestant minister?”

“Not at all,” he came back through gritted teeth as we both boarded the train.

“How about when you see a coach, or a boy scout leader, or a foster parent, or a counsellor, or physician?”  I continued.

“Of course not!” he came back.  “What’s all that got to do with it?”

“A lot,” I stayed with him, “because each of those professions have as high a percentage of sexual abuse, if not even higher, than that of priests.”

“Well, that may be,” he retorted.  “But the Church is the only group that knew it was going on, did nothing about it, and kept transferring the perverts around.”

“You obviously never heard the stats on public school teachers,” I observed.  “In my home town of New York City alone, experts say the rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is ten times higher than that of priests, and these abusers just get transferred around.”  (Had I known at that time the news in in last Sunday’s New York Times about the high rate of abuse of the most helpless in state supervised homes, with reported abusers simply transferred to another home, I would have mentioned that, too.)

To that he said nothing, so I went in for a further charge.

“Pardon me for being so blunt, but you sure were with me, so, let me ask:  when you look at yourself in a mirror, do you see a sex abuser?”

Now he was as taken aback as I had been two-minutes before.  “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Sadly,” I answered, “studies tell us that most children sexually abused are victims of their own fathers or other family members.”

Enough of the debate, I concluded, as I saw him dazed.  So I tried to calm it down.

“So, I tell you what:  when I look at you, I won’t see a sex abuser, and I would appreciate the same consideration from you.”

The train had arrived at baggage claim, and we both exited together.

“Well then, why do we only hear this garbage about you priests,” he inquired, as he got a bit more pensive.

“We priests wonder the same thing.  I’ve got a few reasons if you’re interested.”

He nodded his head as we slowly walked to the carousel.

“For one,” I continued, “we priests deserve the more intense scrutiny, because people trust us more as we dare claim to represent God, so, when on of us do it – even if only a tiny minority of us ever have — it is more disgusting.”

“Two, I’m afraid there are many out there who have no love for the Church, and are itching to ruin us.  This is the issue they love to endlessly scourge us with.”

“And, three, I hate to say it,” as I wrapped it up, “there’s a lot of money to be made in suing the Catholic Church, while it’s hardly worth suing any of the other groups I mentioned before.”

We both by then had our luggage, and headed for the door.  He then put his hand out, the hand he had not extended five minutes earlier when I had put mine out to him.  We shook.

“Thanks.  Glad I met you.”

He halted a minute.  “You know, I think of the great priests I knew when I was a kid.  And now, because I work in IT at Regis University, I know some devoted Jesuits.  Shouldn’t judge all you guys because of the horrible sins of a few.”

“Thanks!,” I smiled.

I guess things were patched-up, because, as he walked away, he added, “At least I owe you a joke:  What happens when you can’t pay your exorcist?”

“Got me,” I answered.

“You get ‘re-possessed’!”

We both laughed and separated.

Notwithstanding the happy ending, I was still trembling . . . and almost felt like I needed an exorcism to expel my shattered soul, as I had to confront again the horror this whole mess has been to victims and their families, our Catholic people like the man I had just met . . . and to us priests.

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224 Responses to “An Airport Encounter”

  1. Margaret says:

    Arch. Dolan,
    Thank you dearly for your message here. You are brave and we love you for it!

  2. Lawrence Kahler says:

    I wanted to stand up and cheer! Way to go Padre. I have had no response to give to such criticisms, anger, and hurt until now and perhaps the dialogue along the lines Father took will lead to my being able to better contribute to those I know in need of healing vis-a-vis the more traditional “turning the other cheek.”

  3. Jack antedomenico says:

    What an excellent reply!! We love you for your faithfulness to your Priesthood. We recognize you for your humanity. We are no different. Praise be Jesus who is our Rock.

  4. Jean says:

    Archbishop, thank you for this post.
    I am a convert to the Catholic faith and the mother of a priest.
    I also was abused as a child….by my upper-middle class father in an “intact, nuclear” home. So it hurts me in a number of ways when people vilify priests for the sexual abuse scandal. Obviously, child abuse of any kind is a horrific tragedy when anyone is the the perpetrator. Having said that, I know from personal experience that this scarring practice goes on covertly in even the “best” families, but that is never brought to light. Also, as the mother of a wonderful and godly priest, I suffer for all the men who are living out their priestly vocations in such a sacrificial and heroic way.
    God bless you father, and thank you for saying “yes” to the call.

  5. James Locke says:

    I am impressed with the skill with which you handled that. Great job, Your Excellency!

  6. Colin Walsh says:

    Great moral argument Archbishop. Yes – I murdered my mother but hey these other guys murdered their mothers, why not go after them? And people wonder why the Church is losing so much ground.

  7. Dan Mulligan says:

    Dear Archbishop, I just watched with gratitude the 60minutes segment on you. I agree with you that the Church does not need to change Her message. What I think you did not emphasize enough is the Church’s lack of progress in the method with which that message is delivered. The mass is sacred and as a lay person I think Vatican II was enough in this primary teaching tool of the Church. But Jesus didn’t hold a formal ceremony, he told stories to teach people his lessons. The Catholic Church on a global scale has failed to embrace modern forms of story telling and now sex and sin dominates popular story telling in books, TV, movie screens, and the internet. Saints used to write great stories, parables, to teach Christ’s ideas and life. Have we lost the basic sit down to a meal and learn from a story example Jesus set. Shouldn’t the Church have a movie production company, or a main TV station or radio station? If the message, a timeless one, of the teachings of the Church should not change, and I think it should not, then the method of delivery must become more refined or progressive.
    Sincerely,
    Dan Mulligan MD

  8. Cyndie Barnes says:

    Well done Archbishop Dolan…it is important to remain cool as Jesus modeled. Yet it is a daily struggle to defend the Church with love and compassion.
    Thank you for sharing.

  9. James Ordegard says:

    Oh, it’s fine. Everyone else is doing it.

    Anytime there is moral progress, the church stands ready to oppose it.

    Boooo!

  10. Thank you for standing strong. It must be shocking, but in a way not surprising, to be confronted by someone like this. This topic is blasted on the media in a scathing way.

    I’m encouraged when I see priest wearing their collar in public, and always disappointed when I recognize a priest on the street who isn’t wearing their priestly attire. I understand it must be tough to confront people like this, and perhaps scary, but as your example shows us, your witness to this man changes souls.

    Thank you,
    Timothy R. Schrock, AIA

  11. Alison says:

    Beautifully done. Thank you so much for your sacrifice, care and love for us. We are continually praying for our wonderful bishops, priests, and religious.

  12. Tony in Central PA says:

    OK, I laughed out loud on that joke.
    By the way, keep up the great work, Archbishop.

  13. Mike Saberas says:

    I find it hard to believe that he was satisfied with an answer like, “Everybody’s doing it.” Comparing a crime to the crimes of others only diminishes it in relative terms. In absolute terms, it’s still a big problem in the church that deserves a serious effort to eliminate instead of giving defensive answers. A far more satisfying answer would have been, “They are a minority, and the rest of us are trying really hard to get rid of them!”

  14. Skeptic says:

    I totally believe this encounter happened. Uh-huh.

    I’d say more, but since there is not a single comment on this entry, despite it having been linked on a few blogs that are critical of the pedophile-protection outfit that is the RCC, I’m not going to bother writing several paragraphs that will disappear into the ether.

  15. Diana says:

    Thank you for this post, your Excellency. Thank you for your witness, and your life. I’ll be going to Israel this week on a pilgrimage with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We’ll all be praying for the Church and for priests, and especially for all those who have been harmed by them.

  16. Charles & Margaret Wagner says:

    A great article!! Archbishop Dolan’s response was excellent. One more thing that the Bishop could have included is the fact that the Catholic church keeps records which can be accessed. I don’t believe the other denominations have those kind of records.

    We can rightly fault the biased media coverage which certainly does not tell the whole story but rather only demonizes the Catholic priests.

    Sincerely,

    Chuck & Marge Wagner

  17. Judee Gallagher says:

    God Bless you Archbishop Dolan…I just saw your interview on 60 Minutes and had to find out more about you. I am going to forward your blog to all of my Catholic friends, here in Vancouver. It’s encouraging to find a Priest of your caliber in such an influential position and able to defend our faith in such an eloquent, positive and forthright way. I look forward to seeing your name put forward as the next Pope. Thank you for all you do for us…

    Yours in Christ,
    Judee Gallagher,
    Vancouver, BC

  18. Abbie McCarthy Kendall says:

    Hello, Archbishop Dolan.

    I just watched your appearance on 60 Minutes tonight. You seem like a man I’d certainly enjoy meeting and having as a friend. However, I cannot understand why (WHY??) you did not take the opportunity to clearly communicate that the safety of the world’s Catholic children is the most important mission of the Church today. It’s obvious that you have the intelligence, drive, personality, and communication skills to make this so. You also have the ear of the Pope.

    Yes, there are pedophiles and sexual abusers in all walks of life. But none are so heinous as priests. It’s time to take the action that the Church has avoided for decades. That is, push as hard as the victims have for justice. The Church MUST publish the list of EVERY priest and nun who is a known abuser. The Church MUST publish the list of every priest currently under investigation for sexual crimes. The Church MUST remove all suspected abusers from every parish, school, seminary, and other Catholic organizations. The Church MUST accelerate its action in every criminal case so the criminals may be punished, the innocent freed, and the victims given justice, comfort, and peace.

    I am an atheist, yet still carry Catholic DNA. How could I not, given that my Irish-Catholic ancestary goes back a thousand years. I loved the education I received at my Catholic School. I liked and respected the priests and nuns at our parish. Yet those memories are pushed aside by my anger and outrage that bad priests, such as Cardinal Justin Rigali in Philadelphia, are still allowed to hamper investigations and let criminals and suspected criminals live comfortably and have access to children.

    If you would tonight, Archbishop, please think of my cousin. Think of the predator priest in a Stoneham, Mass. parish in the 1960s. Think of this priest abusing my little cousin for YEARS while telling him that God would kill his parents if he told anyone of the abuse. Now think of my cousin as an adult, a young homosexual man, and his long, slow, painful death from AIDS.

    If this abuse had happened to one of my nine brothers and sisters, I would not STOP until the Church had purged every last criminal from its ranks and soothed and begged the victims for forgiveness. That today’s Catholics do not storm the Archidiocese of Philadelphia–that they do not storm the Vatican, knowling that children are being abused–leaves me sick.

    It’s up to good men like you to take charge, stop the abuse and cover-ups, help authorities prosecute the criminals, and comfort the abused and their families. If you do this; if you lead this effort with speed and thoroughness in America, you can spread this mission worldwide and end this horrible chapter in your Church’s history. You know this must be done. And if you believe in yourself and your Church and the protection of children, you know you are the man to do this.

    Best Regards,

    Abbie McCarthy Kendall

  19. I have meet many Catholic Priests during my 71 years as a Catholic. Stand tall Father, you stand next to Jesus as you walk together. I am proud to be Catholic, and very proud of my Priests. God Bless you personally, and all our Priests. Shalom

  20. I am so sorry that happened to you Your Excellency. Makes me sick that people just automatically assume such garbage about our beloved priest.

  21. Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    Thank you for your outstanding defense of our faith! I am the director of development of the Diocese of Cheyenne. Bishop Etienne speaks very highly of you and told me about this entry in your blog. I am so glad I read it. He also told me about your interview on 60 Minutes, and I thought you were wonderful.

    I told Bishop Etienne that if I am ever on his perimeter when you are around, I really want to meet you. I grew up in South Milwaukee during the time of Archbishop Cousins, and I see a lot of Milwaukee in you.

    God bless you today and always.

    Matt Potter

  22. Oh, this trouble weighs heavily on us all. But if you look at the black eyes satan has been able to inflict on the Mother Church throughout the ages by affecting the actions of a very small percentage of priests and even hierarchy, all the way up to the Papal seat even serving over a thousand years ago—you know that this is our challenge to face in this age. Media now brings everything that exists to light, eventually. Just as the William Aramony scandal significantly decreased the support and function of workforce supported United Ways across our Nation over 15 years ago, those who build the avenues of good are the ones who are able to take them down in quickest fashion.

    Courage is key. I saw the interview aired this evening on CBS and emphatically support everything you communicated about your position on all points. If the interviewer, and so many others who criticize the way the Church operates and is formed, only understood the factual history they would know: It is the way it must be. The Church would fail to be if these proposed “changes” were made. Throughout every age since Jesus came, the Church has remained static regarding the Sacraments. The Sacraments are the reason and the only way the Church functions to preserve the line of Peter and offer true salvation to all. Every individual who takes the Host in Mass understands this intimately. Boxing this understanding in order that it can be digested by the American Public amid the other programs and ideas promoted by CBS during their evening programming is a very tall order…

    I applaud your strength, wisdom and ability to remain a rock in the tides that pull against us. Your leadership is critical to the spiritual health of so many—American children to be raised in the teachings of the Church. Your humor reminds me so much of Father James Kelly, may he rest in peace, who baptized me on Easter 2005 in Camp Verde, AZ. God Bless you Father.

  23. Patricia says:

    Thanks for this. I have been saying for years that $$$ is a great motivator to accuse someone of this awful deed. I appreciate the explanations. How sad that there are folks who hate others that much!

  24. Fran Phillps says:

    Archbishop Dolan

    Thank you for sharing your recent experience in Denver airport it is very clear that the Holy Spirit was with you as you responded to this gentleman. I especially note your humility and Christ Like response. You not only responded openly but expressed forgiveness in your conversation. As a member of a Philadelphia Archdiocese who once again are going through a very rough period I would hope our priest see this article and can take courage in its foresight. My prayers are with you and your fellow Bishops and priest and I beseech the Father through the Holy Spirit and In Jesus to fill each of you in His Peace, Love and Joy for His word and I ask Him for His guidance and discernment in your call and ministry.
    God Blessing and Peace

  25. Catherine says:

    Excellent, excellent!! All praise to the Holy Spirit for the healing words via this good priest!

  26. Mike Fantina says:

    This was a truly inspired exchange! Most people, even priests would have become tongue tied at the accusation. This is wonderful….

  27. Archbishop Dolan, I am so grateful to read your blog “An Airport Encounter”!
    You sure handeld it with great graces received by the Lord as you answered this man. I am so grateful for your blog. I am always inspired with the information you give on your blog. I grew up in the Bronx and went to Ursuline Schools. Now I am a Sisters of Jesus Our Hope.

    God BLess you day and this week for you.

  28. Fr. Paul Salemi says:

    Thank you, Your Excellency! This has only happened to me twice, happily with the same end result. I praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit who always seems to give us the right words to win hearts for the Lord and His Church. Please know of my prayers for you and your ministry.

  29. Archbishop, I am struck by you showing us your deep wound and its effect on your being. In the end, when the man put his hand out, I saw Jesus and Thomas…”Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

  30. Ann says:

    To the Archbishop’s critics: please re read the article. Archbishop Dolan’s was responding to the “every priest is a chlid molester comment”. His point is that using that logic, when this man looks at pretty much anyone and everyone, he would be looking at a child molester. He is asking the man to look at the individual and not use the guilt by association method. The Archbishop never said it was o.k. to abuse since everyone is doing it.
    I feel sorry for anyone who leaves the Church and uses this as their excuse to leave or stay away. Contrary to what some think, The Catholic Church is WAAAY more than
    priests, bishops or lay people, sinners all. The sins of the people DO NOT invalidate the message but it does cause confusion and chaos. When you leave the Church, you leave Jesus. If you leave Jesus, what else is there? Where are you going? The answer is to the evil one. Are you sure that is what you want to do? Please forgive those who have sinned against you so that HE can forgive you. God bless.

  31. John Martin says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    Thank you very much for this story and your awesome witness to the Faith! Keep up the good work, your in my prayers everyday.

    Praise be Jesus and Mary!

  32. John J. Mitros says:

    The Holy Spirit has indeed been hard at work providing excellent leadership for the Archdiocese of New York, to wit: John Cardinal OConnor, and now Archbishop Dolan. Both have truly risen to the occasion on speaking to moral issues of the day, Cardinal OConnor on abortion (his reply and comments to Geraldine Ferraro), and now Archbishop Dolan on priestly sex abuse.

    In all of the replies printed above, however, I have noted a serious omission, an item which Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to several times throughout the scriptures. Admittedly, sexual abuse of children is most heinous, and should only be viewed in that light. However, are we not also to pray for the abusers themselves, that they repent and lead chaste lives heretofore? These priests are still part of God’s creation, and as is often noted during Marriage Encounter sessions, “God does not create junk”. And also, do we not pray daily “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”?

    “Judgment is mine”, says the Lord. I would propose that we do as the Lord Himself has taught us, and pray for true conversion of heart and for repentance of these priests, as well as for the psychological and physical well being of those they have abused.

  33. BPS says:

    In answer to Eric Smith-

    “approximately 4% of Catholic priests and deacons in active ministry between
    1950 and 2002 have been accused of the sexual abuse of a youth under the age of 18.” Page 27 – The John Jay study (http://www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/)

    So where did you get your 9% figure from the study? That’s more than double what the study actually says.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    I think the mistake you are making is confusing pedolphilia with ephebophilia (attraction to adolescents). Rates of pedophilia are low and may be the same across the board, but the problem the Catholic church has is with abuse of pre-pubescent and adolescent boys. That is a crisis, owing to some obvious factors, and does not compare with other churches or religious organizations.

    And like the recent news suggesting that couples that routinely attend church have a much lower divorce, disputing data that said Christians have the same rate of divorce as the general public, there is need to analyze data and not be careless in it’s use.

    Although I think you may have made this man think about his callous remarks, it seems a
    tragic defense to use potentially weak or inaccurate data to accuse others rather than respond to the charges. No other church is facing this particular crisis. Trying to shift the blame is not going to help in the long run. The statistic that may be more helpful is what percentage of Catholic religious have been indicted. If that is one in one thousand, as an example, you might first say your heart breaks for the victims and exhibit true grief and penitence for the state of the church. But then you can follow up and ask your assailant how he thinks the 999 innocent must feel when they held guilty by association. That might not only get your man thinking but wear down the fierce walls around his heart. Pax Christi

  35. Elizabeth says:

    According to Roman Paur, executive director of the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute in Collegeville, Minnesota, statistics regarding clergy sexual misconduct are “fundamentally guesses”; there is no hard research to back up the numbers, and traditions that might have such statistics are reluctant to disclose such information because it would draw too much attention to the problem within their denomination.

    Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Holistic-Living/2002/03/Soul-Betrayal.aspx#ixzz1HGG0McUS

  36. Frederic Thomas says:

    Am I the only stricken by all the \bravo Archbishop Dolan\ comments and cheering about this story?

    So the Archbishop says nobody should worry, priests aren’t worse than the rest of humans and you say \bravo\?

  37. Veronica says:

    I understand how the man feels, and while it is true that sexual abuse occurs all over, the Catholic Church isn’t like the other churches and institutions. The Catholic Church is held to a much, much higher standard as it is the one, true Church – the ONLY Church instituted by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So, the young man has a good point.

    Your Excellency, you are one fast thinker. I would still be standing there desperately trying to think of a rejoinder in defense of our beloved Roman Catholic Church and Her countless loyal and faithful priests.

    God bless you and all of my New Yorkers!

  38. Cradle Catholic Mom/Wife says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Great interview on 60 Minutes too. I agree with you and am glad to hear you speak up on controversial issues. Well said. Looking forward to hearing more!

  39. Meredith says:

    I sympathize with some of the critics here, but guys: you have to put yourself in the archbishop’s shoes. What if someone walked up to you and said you look like a child molester? How would you react?

  40. tess says:

    I would add there’s another reason why the stereotype of the child-abuser-Catholic-priest is so strong in people’s minds.

    People in all those other professions that grant access to, and some amount of power over, children – they don’t have the same restrictions on seeking genuine sexual fulfillment (outside of an abusive situation that kind of guarantees silence about the matter) that Catholic priests do. They can have casual or serious relationships, even get married. The morality of their actions in that field isn’t dictated by their employer (though I daresay society’s expectations and judgments are a burden to all of us).

    As a second contributing factor, it’s known that a substantial percentage of those people who do sexually abuse children are committing redirection actions – they’re not pedophiles, they just can’t find anyone or anything else to gain sexual satisfaction from, or exert power over (because in those cases and who knows how many others within the playing field of sexual activity between adults, the act is about power at least as much as about sex, if not more).

    It stands to reckon that one would expect the percentage of such people to be higher within a group that, by virtue of their profession (no pun intended on virtue!), is banned from living their sexuality at all. People focus on the problematic of child-abuse because it seems to them the direct consequence of the problematic of enforced celibacy, and the undebatable proof that it’s inherently wrong to cage people’s sexuality that way. I happen to believe this, too, and I had seen a connection with the problem of child abuse.

    I’d love to see figures on the comparison to other professions with access to children.

  41. steve pemper says:

    Fr: Celibacy is not a curse. It is an incredible gift that you give to God.
    The Saints of the church found a way to rejoice in this offering to God. You should too, and all the Priests who are called to do this. God knows what he did by asking this of you. God will give the gift of grace to any and all called to religious life. What a cheap ticket to heaven when you truly think about it. Just ask any Saint now rejoicing in heaven. God will repay you many times over for this abstinence you offer.
    Our Lord Jesus gave up much more than we are called to give up…

  42. DN says:

    Yeah, odds are Chris M may not be a priest. Good article. I’ve had several similar conversations, and I’m a layman.

  43. Iris says:

    @Chris M

    Mind that your claims depict Christ as someone who *failed* in wholly realizing human nature when he called upon his disciples to leave *everything* behind, even their friends and families(!), in order to follow his path. It seems you forgot that priests are challenged to follow HIM in every way. Do you really want me, a laywoman, to spread all the verses, in which Christ claims to turn away from a profane lifestyle not far from our modern fleshly lifestyle, as the precedent condition to become one of his followers?

    Stepping down is no personal failure, it is acknowledging facts in the face of God – and that is wisdom! I do not disrespect anyone who stepped down from being a priest to have a wife and a family, and I doubt any good Christian does.

  44. Giovanna says:

    Thank you for your living testimony…I have been truly blessed to meet numerous AMAZING HOLY PRIESTS, to whom I owe the direction they have provided me to strengthen my faith, and I feel truly blessed to belong to this Church. I will continue to pray for the holiness and continuous conversion of one of our greatest treasures: our beloved priests!

  45. Regina Weiner says:

    Your Excellency–I imagine that most priests have similar stories to tell. It has to be a terrible thing to work in the public limelight, and a constant temptation to start falling for the admiration of the crowd. The episode of Fr. Euteneuer at Human Life International still rings in my ears. Having done no end of excellent work, this man fell under the full weight of his humanity. In a way, I admire his humble admission more than everything else.
    Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation.

  46. stormy says:

    thanks for that messege Archbishop Dolan!

  47. JAERR says:

    PS…after reading some of these comments, I have to say to Abby and some of the others, we all have had bad things happen to us in this world and suffered and guess what, we have caused others pain and suffering too – but I really hate the blame game…get on with your life the best you can and raise yourself up in every possible way, of course spiritually is number one, God takes you to levels of healing you never thought you could reach in body, mind and soul! Believe it if you pray it….whether you are living or dying, young or old, suffering is pure joy when you think of Christ on the cross and what awaits you. Isn’t that the name of the game, no blame, just play the game of life.

  48. NB says:

    It would be wrong of a person to assume any priest they saw is a child abuser, but it’s also wrong to argue/justify/deflect attention from this very real, serious and common occurance with “here’s a list of professions in which abuse is also high”. That doesn’t make abuse amongst priests any less prevalent, nor does the allegation (doubtful) that perverts in public schools get “transferred around” change anything either. I would contend that it IS worse when the act is committed a priest does it because they’re supposed to be figures of morality. I say “of a person” because this story seems very forced and contrived (cheesy dialogue, quoting a long list of statistics) and it’s highly doubtful that this actually occured. Archbishop should have approach this issue in a different way.

  49. Steve Harper says:

    @ Chris

    That is exactly why the Church in Ireland is experiencing so much difficulty – the men and women of God are no where to be seen. The people think the Church is dead.

    Witnesses to Christ are needed more than ever now.

    “Pick up your cross and follow me”

  50. Agoah, Francis says:

    Whilst admitting that there have been some serious abuses of children by priests and religious in the Church, I appreciate the way you helped the angry man put the whole abuse thing in perspective. And it is heartening to see how your engagement with him pays off: He went away a less angry and better informed person. That encounter was Gospel-good news.