Livin’ On a Prayer

I did my regular blog this week. And then for some reason, it just totally disappeared. I didn’t have the heart to start over again until now. I did find out that it was a glitch in the system that had nothing to do with me and that was easily fixable. But tell that to me after an hour of so of hard thinking and typing just went “poof” into thin air.

Last week’s poll revealed that most of us get our news on-line. That is no surprise, really. Do you think it is less biased that way? More factual than hearing someone with an opinion speak the words? I don’t know. While I think the press is necessary, I don’t like how they will lean in one direction in order to stir controversy. It’s getting to be that the more outrageous something or someone is, and the more attention they can draw towards themselves, the less facts and what is good or truthful matters. It’s all about ratings and headlines.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about your comfort levels with religion and the church and if you still practice your religion or what you do instead, if anything.

I have heard horrible stories about priests abusing power and using their place in religious society to misuse the trust that their position generates. I have also heard stories about priests using religious ceremonies or objects to sexually abuse their victims.

This past week, it came out that a priest was caught having sex on an altar with two (I assume) paid dominatrix. I hate to say this, but it’s too bad that the one time a priest was caught with his pants down, it was with someone who would not have some kind of proof for court.

But here’s the thing….what do you do when you have been abused by a priest or in a church setting or with religious objects….and you need some spiritual being to turn to in prayer or comfort from someone in a time of need? Where have you turned for your spiritual needs and group support?

I think the sad part of this is that many people probably have not even gotten to the point where they could turn to a higher power or to trust enough to be emotionally vulnerable in a group setting. And ironically, if a survivor has learned to survive with the help of drugs or alcohol, that is another layer of “getting past” as help comes in the form of admitting the problem and turning to a higher power and opening up to a group.

There’s so much sadness and as much as we support each other, for the most part, we are alone with our thoughts.

I encourage survivors to go to meetings on-line. Because I think there are steps to recovery. Different steps for everyone, and some steps more difficult than others, but difficult steps can spur growth and strength.

I remember after I was fired and I had to look for other jobs because I was given unemployment…because it was a screwed up situation that was basically a cover-up…..I told a therapist that I had applied for a position as a secretary in another church….a non-Catholic church. Her reaction was….”What’s with you and priests?” Which I now see was rather inappropriate of her to ask. What I was looking for was a chance to do-over or to get back something I had lost. Without realizing it, I was looking for another religion.

I haven’t actually converted to another church. Technically I still belong to my mother’s parish. But having been a person who always wanted to know more all of my life….and probably someone who asks way too many questions….hence the polls….I do think that by the time I had been fired from my job at the diocese, I had outgrown the rules that the church tries to impose.

Both of my children were baptized by a priest who is now in jail for raping children. And he had the nerve to ask me if I attended church regularly and how important was my religion and could he trust me to make sure that the Catholic faith was important to my kids?

So what do we do to keep our faith and our belief that we are not alone or unloved in this world that seems out of our control?

If you have joined another faith, has that helped? If you are still Catholic but don’t attend church, are you able to pray at home and find comfort? Do you still believe in a higher power….or has the betrayal of trust you have suffered also wiped away your belief in all of the teachings of the church as well?

I’m not here to judge. I am hoping that in some way, with or without religion, survivors can find peace within themselves. Personally, I don’t think priests or a building are needed in order to worship God or to live a Christian life or to live a happy life without any belief.

After I began to see what had happened to me and how not only how unfair it was, but how a criminal offense had been manipulated and covered up, and that this was just the tip of an incredibly huge iceberg of people who were getting away with anything because nobody was holding them accountable…. I began to disbelieve anything else they were saying as well.

And to me that means that I will be just fine if nobody blesses me and if I don’t confess my sins or go to mass or give them money or leave the church money in my will…..I am free to pick and choose what is best for me.

And I am free to choose to believe what feels right to me.

Right now, what feels right to me is meditation and guidance and angels and trusting and being connected to spirit and not humans with an agenda to control me with fear and to reel me in to support them financially. It’s sad…it is. But I think it has also taught me to think for myself and to trust myself first.

I think that is a lifelong process in itself. It’s not easy. Especially if you have anxiety issues or panic attacks or social phobias. If you suffer from those issues, you find yourself talking yourself down so much that you find yourself minimizing real threats at times. Which is another reason I believe in mediation and spiritual enlightenment and prefer those practices over being shamed as to how often I am supposed to attend mass. Just sayin’. Different vibe there.

This past week, I actually ventured out with someone I haven’t seen in six months to go visit a friend who lives in the middle of nowhere. She is a very spiritually connected person who I actually met at a spiritual development class last year. But she has such an amazing home. And the reason I say that is because the minute you walk in her house, you know who she is. And she said that it took her years to be able to get to know herself and who she was…..which is what I’d like to talk about next time. Getting to know ourselves.

In the meantime, please have a safe and happy week and please take this week’s poll. Thanks!

7 thoughts on “Livin’ On a Prayer

  1. The pedophile priests have no concept that what they did was wrong. After all, Jean Vianny says they are all right next to God, so whatever they do is holy. I got thrown out of the theological convention that I crashed. One sign was “I am sick of theological arguments justifying pedophilia.” The flip side “Catholicism is billions of believers held hostage by 300 proud, pagan pedophiles in the vatican.” is what got me kicked out.

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  2. I echo the response above. Clearly, it is definitely not in any way your fault. There are good people and good priests around & it is somewhat difficult to identify those who are authentic shepherds,(pastors) from those who are blatantly evil & untrustworthy, The betrayal that you have experienced is also a sign of a deep spiritual wound. I am inclined to believe that those of us who are survivors have this type of woundedness.
    Our journey toward spiritual recovery involves a lifetime of mining our hearts and souls through deepening faith and rigorous prayer as well as peeling away our story to other like-minded persons. But also persons who have the willingness, knowledge, and skill to feedback to you what your heart is saying to them.

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  3. I feel a deep resentment as to how the abuse I suffered has prevented me from living a much fuller life than I have. It’s a pain that will likely never completely heal for me

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  4. love your commentaries. I left the catholic faith bc I felt I was literally shown the door. I have found that other faiths (Baptist, Unitarian) focus on the individual. I have learned more about the Bible and Jesus the person and Jesus the God than I did in the catholic faith. I have also learned lessons directly from the Bible about living. These things were only hinted at in the catholic services mixed with ritual. I never knew there was a viable alternative to the catholic faith. I see why Pence and his wife left the catholic faith and why another senator from the west left the same to be another faith without having experienced traumas we all have to live with. God bless!

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