Growing up Catholic, to say that I would ever have imagined a world where pedophile priests were running rampant is a gross understatement.
Followers of the faith used to open their homes to these men (mostly in the 70s and 80s) inviting them into their lives and unbeknownst to them, their children.
It was considered and honor if a priest came to your home. It somehow meant that you were “special” that your family was perhaps a preferred family, not only in the eyes of the cloth, but perhaps in the eyes of the great unknown himself, God.
Every Sunday these men would preach from the pulpit, the good book, holding their hands up to the sky with thoughtful conviction. Their lives having been given over to the faith in the idea to bring others to the pearly white gates of heaven, all the while living a secret which could only be rooted in the darkest depths of hell.
A young boy, a certain type I might add, falls victim to the attention he receives from the most powerful man on earth, a priest. He is told he is special, given gifts, taken on trips, made to feel as though there is no one in the world quite like him.
Growing up in a time where the idea that “children should be seen and not heard” made it a fertile ground of children desperate to be hard and understood. It became a feeding frenzy for pedophile priests who could not tame their dark urges.
When that first inappropriate encounter happens, the child is confused. Not only is their trust, and body violated, but so is their faith. As they lay there in utter fear and self loathing, their minds struggle to comprehend what has just happened to them. This might be the first and last time or it might continue to happen, multiple times, for years and years with no end in sight.
Who will believe me? they think. I’m a piece of garbage, I let it happen, I ‘m just as guilty. I just need to suck it up and be a man. Forget this ever happened.
But you can’t forget. Your mind doesn’t let you forget. You continue to struggle through all areas of life. This secret effects everything, and everyone in your life. You keep the secret for fear of shame and yet the secret also keeps you. Hostage. Remanded to live your life in fear.
Some have succumbed to the pain and left this world too soon. Others have come forward in the face of fear and demanded justice for which nothing was done. When these atrocities were brought forth to the ears of those who could make the change what did they do? They covered it up. They moved the priests, relocated them with nothing more than a slap on a wrist.
My husband Joe Capozzi, started telling his story in 2008 in the form of a play, For Pete’s Sake. I watched him stand on the stand and bravely open his heart to a room of strangers, myself being one of them. I couldn’t believe this was true, yet I knew it was. You only had to look into this man’s eyes and you could see his pain. It was all there. For years since, he has fought tirelessly side by side other survivors, on behalf of children.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist.
~Keyser Söze (The Usual Suspects)
The common misconception when dealing with pedophile priests, is that somehow you would know. I assure you, you would not. They are not licking their lips in the corner at the sight of a child, or displaying some strange creepy habits as might be performed by some clueless over actor. No. They are charming, sincere and in many cases, some of the nicest people you will ever come across. They are generous and really take an interest in their victims. This is what makes them so nefarious.
Many of those who have lost their souls to these predators have also lost their faith in the divine. Like many of us, they cry out and ask why? Where is God? How could God allow this to happen to me? To other children?
Like most things in this illusory world we live in, with a complex duality not understood for lifetimes, we will never really know the answer to these questions. However, one could speculate that these souls who have endured this suffering have done so to bring forth the darkness to the light.
This is truly the ultimate battle between good and evil. These criminal act against children continue to happen every day. This is not about faith, god or religion. It is about sick MEN and WOMEN (nuns are guilty of these crimes as well) committing vile acts against children and not being made to take responsibility for it. It’s about equally corrupt MEN covering it up, making them complicit in these crimes against humanity. It’s about calling out those criminals and CHARGING them for their crimes. It’s about exposing the TRUTH and protecting future generations from the same fate.
We can no longer deny that these things have happened/are happening. It’s not just in the church, as this abuse of power is everywhere. It seems everywhere we look these days there is someone else being called out and it’s ABOUT TIME.
Survivors of abuse, having walked through the shadow of the valley of death, no longer fear that evil. They speak up so those without a voice can be heard. They protest so those who are not listening will hear and they share their stories, so those who are blind can finally see.
We have a responsibility to our children to protect them from those who would do them harm. We can no longer turn a blind eye in the face of fear. We must must seek out justice no matter how hard she may try to hide herself. And we must stand up and fight for what’s right…for the truth…for our children.