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No. I've never been sexually abused
by a Catholic Priest. That's the first question anybody who hears of this
project asks so it's best to answer it right away. "So then", the response
generally goes. "Why are you doing this then?"
Because I can. Because injustice in all it's
subtle and not so subtle forms appalls me. But when it comes cloaked (sometimes
literally) in the preening robes of religious hypocrisy, it deserves special
attention. And I have guitars and pens. This is what I do. So why not
do this? Hence, these songs.
The clergy abuse scandal that rocketed out of
Boston in 2002 was not the beginning of this story. Nor, sadly, was it
the end. Instead, shedding light on the actions (and inactions) of Cardinal
Bernard Law and his minions served as a much needed wake up call for society.
There is scarcely a diocese in the nation that has not been affected by this
scourge. Sexual predators concealed in white collars are now being pulled from
their spider holes with numbing
regularity. The trails of human wreckage left in their assorted wakes
is now coming to light....sometimes decades after the abuse took place.
And naked for all to see was (and is) a church seemingly indifferent to the
suffering of the most vulnerable of it's flock. The children. The lid
of high powered attorney's, hush money, and the sickening practice of shuttling
pedophile priests from parish to parish was finally blown off. And when
the laity deduced that the now public multi-million dollar settlements
may have indeed been at least partially financed by the Sunday collection
basket...well they got pissed. And then they got even. They stopped giving.
Law and the Vatican may have ignored the cries of children, but the wailing
of creditors sure got their attention. Thus far the church worldwide has paid
out 1 billion dollars to settle clergy sexual abuse claims. That's
billion with a "B". Imagine how many now closed Catholic schools could
have remained open if these nickels and dimes had still been in the bank.
"It were better for him that a millstone were
hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend
one of these little ones."
So says the gospel of Luke. Must have missed that
one in the seminaries.
What remains unclear to me is, to use a true sickening
example, how a man supposedly devoting his life to the ideals put forth
by Christ could masturbate a pubescent boy inside the confessional booth,
then bind him by the very power of that "confessional" to speak not a word
of the act. He commits such grievous sins in full figurative view of his
superiors....who sit on a locked safe full of reports documenting similar
past behaviors...secure in the fact that actual canon law is on their side. Ever
heard of "Crimen Sollicitationis"? It's in internal church document
that imposes strict secrecy upon perpetrators, witnesses, and even the victims
of sexual abuse, under threat of excommunication. You simply cannot make this
Once such Boston priest had over 10,000 pages of internal
church memos devoted to his predilection for young boys. Guess how many
of the documents mentioned the victims of his crimes? None. Even 16 years
of Catholic schooling haven't prepared me to explain that.
This music is created for and dedicated to the
courageous members of SNAP, the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. I am not affiliated with the
organization in any way, nor is this project officially endorsed by them. I simply admire their work and
was inspired by it.
-- T. Flannery