Monday, November 26, 2012

Response to Eureka Street : Dysfunctional Church stares into the abuse abyss

Dysfunctional Church stares into the abuse abyss

Michael KellyFr Michael Kelly SJ, founding publisher of Eureka Street, is the Bangkok based executive director of UCA News and was, in the 1980s, executive director of the Jesuits' Asian Bureau Australia. 

Every day of my working life I encounter men and women who have survived institutional  childhood abuse. Many are victims of clergy and religious. I walk alongside those who carry deep scars of pain and alienation. I work for an NGO which was founded in the heart of Catholic spirituality and a sense of biblical justice as the work of God. The organisation is now independent of religious affiliation and many of its staff are women who also carry the scars of the pain of betrayal of an institution that nurtured a childhood belief in the grace of love and beauty but is seen now as a patriarchal relic of a bygone era. I come from a family where Catholicism was our culture and now look at a younger generation where this culture has little attraction or meaning. I spent some years in a religious community of men and have been privy to the ambiguities of those who crave power and status from their clerical collars.I grieve the loss of so much promise I was offered by the era of the Second Vatican Council. I sit uneasily in the back pew now watching the passing circus of relics and WYD parades that do not speak  to my soul.The cross of lost dreams and betrayal  weighs heavily on my almost 60 year old shoulders.I do not wish to join the chorus of the bitter and the angry that flood cyberspace from the left and the right. The back pew is close to the door where I can still hear the joys and hopes the grief and anguish of humanity. It seems that their cries are calling me rather than the  "spiritual" language of the sanctuary. Quo Vadis?
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