Yesterday I had a psychologist from Chicago specializing in child molestation on a tour.
Wow, she had some scary tales as folks tell me really personal stuff on a tour given my subject matters – faith, history, miracles and culture – lead to profound discussions. This gal, I learned, can always tell a new patient is Catholic based on their expressed guilt in being culprit in their own abuse.
It reminded me of a recent Sunday off tours when I binge watched The Keepers on Netflix about the 1970 murder of a Baltimore nun. Don’t follow my lead! It was so sad as the schools, churches, DA, Church leadership and police force were all in on the abuse. I was baffled on two fronts:
One, how the Church spent all that money to keep the crimes out of the news as they relocated known child molesters time and again. Who does that? OK, for the moment, forget the moral implications, and ponder who pays all that money time and again for a known liability? Why not simply boot the molesters out on the first offense or tell them they’ll spend the rest of their lives washing dishes in a dungeon since they can’t be in public, ever. Lock an alcoholic in a booze store and they get drunk. Who is to blame? The alcoholic or the one that locked him the store?
Two, aside from the murdered nun, the Brides of Christ that ran the all girls’ school didn’t do a thing to remove the molesting priests for years. How can that be? Any 14 year old that has just been raped (and there were apparently dozens) doesn’t leave the crime scene at the counselor’s office and go back to class to seamlessly return to conjugating verbs or solving algebra equations. Those nuns must have known and looked the other way for reasons I can’t imagine.
Why dedicate your life to God and working at an all girls’ school to give these young ladies a boost up in life to only squash them in the process? I noticed every gal that was still alive was grossly overweight and I thought who wouldn’t eat themselves silly after those high school years if only to keep men, any guy, at a distance? Which then
made me wonder if you graduated in 1970 how many of these former Southern belles long ago died of drug overdoses for the same attempt at distancing themselves from potential harm.
I was lucky. My parents named me for the parish priest that was promoted out when I was a child and the next one was there for the rest of his life, long into my adulthood.
Unheard of at the time but for reasons of his own this priest didn’t want to move up the Church hierarchy by going to bigger churches in bigger towns. Plus, lucky for many kids, despite ample opportunity, this priest had no interest in sex with children. I was even fortunate that my scout leader was a pal’s Mom.
My brothers weren’t as lucky and recall how attractive boys from unhappy homes went on “special” camping trips just with the male leaders. Sometimes the trips were even more, um, special when the leaders switched their selected boys between the adult male scout leaders form other local churches. My one brother, not the brightest bulb,
was peeved at the time he was never selected (he still adores camping) only realizing much later his good fortune.
My siblings all agree our parents, decent folks we all loved, would not have believed us one iota had an abusive situation aroused (icky choice of words, sorry).
On the good news front my touring psychologist and I agreed that implicit abuse simply didn’t have the same opportunity with our own children. Parents in the 1990s were simply too aware of what their kids were up to (hence the term helicopter parenting) and untrusting of any authority figure.
Plus, with time, buffet-style religion became more common than the blind faith of my parents’ generation, enabling one to focus on the benefits of faith in organized religion rather than the corruption implicit in any institution.
by Joseph Toone
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin