A Memorial Day Apology to a Group of Innocent Boys

“Too often, assumptions have been made that this problem is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. This report does not support this conclusion. Indeed, it shows that family members are the most likely to sexually molest a child. It also shows that the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy, and that it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests.”  Scandal Time III, Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, August 2002



When arrested, the average pedophile has assaulted @140 victims.This is NOT an exaggeration.


Today we begin to tell a story that some might find familiar. However, we leave you to decide whether it is fact or fiction. This wretched scenario is being played out in churches all across America. We will utilize the knowledge gleaned from the book we have been reviewing, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. We will attempt to show how various incidents fit quite clearly into some of the classifications of this book. We are talking about spiritual abuse. Warning: the story is disturbing, and, in some cases, explicit. Without details, however, the story will not make sense.


Today is Memorial Day. This holiday was created to honor those who gave their lives to assure the freedom of the citizens of this blessed country. So, it seems fitting that we remember those who were victims of another war, this time, spiritual. Yet they deserve to be honored no less than those who have perished in the line of duty.


The enemy in this scenario is no less real. However, his weapons are not seen because he lurks in the dark, seeking opportunities to devour the innocent. He uses tactics that are well known to those in the defense business. These strategies can include turning a trusted patriot into a double agent, sometimes without the patriot’s understanding until it is nearly too late. The fascinating book and movie trilogy, which began with The Bourne Identity, is an example of such a scenario.


This past weekend, the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, spoke to the graduating class at West Point. His advice was so unusual the media extensively covered his remarks. He said that these young women and men "must tell their superiors what they need to hear; not what they want to hear".( Fox News: 5/23)   That is our goal as well.

To the abused boys who are now young men,


On behalf of the worldwide church of our Lord, I beg you for your forgiveness. Yes, I know it happened at a particular church but the church is not a building or a location. The church is everywhere where there are those who gather to follow the faith of the Scriptures. The church did not protect you and you were horribly injured: physically, psychologically, and spiritually. This pedophile stole the innocence you had as you entered your teen-age years. So, instead of getting up the courage to ask a pretty girl to go to the movies; you were brutalized and forced to perform acts that were confusing.


YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME! You did nothing wrong. The pedophile abused you. I know that there are church leaders who have said or implied that you might bear some fault. Not only are they wrong, they are despicable to have suggested such a thing. You were young teens. He was a manipulative monster who played games with your mind. Jesus said that anyone who causes a little one to stumble should tie a cement block on his feet and jump into an endlessly deep ocean. Jesus understands and He weeps at what happened to you. The perpetrator and those who treated you callously will stand before Jesus someday and will have to give an account for their contemptible actions.


Why do I apologize? I was there when they told us about what happened. I was also there when they told us they would give you intensive help and that we should not talk about what happened in order to “protect” you. I did something stupid. I believed them and thought I was leaving you all in good hands. I didn’t care enough to ask about you. I refused to remember that even church leaders are sinful and can care more about themselves then those they serve. I should have asked sooner. I should have checked to see if the promised help was being provided. You weren’t helped in any significant way. Many of them never spoke with you. I shall bear that burden for the rest of my life. Please forgive me.


I know that some of your family members have had difficulty dealing with what happened to you. Please understand. They were raised to trust their pastors. Over many years, they have given a lot of time and money to their church. They believed that your involvement with church would bring you closer to God. When these loathsome events became known, they were shocked and had difficulty imagining the extent of your damage. Believe it or not, parents aren’t given a manual on how to deal with this sort of abuse. This scenario did not fit the beautiful dreams that they imagined for your life. Some of them were embarrassed. Others blamed themselves and had trouble admitting it. Some of them wanted to pretend this never happened. Others, may God forgive them, actually believed that this monster deserved a second chance and should not go to jail! Your parents were victims of this rapist and the callous church as well. Some of them want to believe that everything is still OK, both at the church and with you, because they can’t deal with the pain.


The pastors and church leaders failed you. They may have been afraid that the church would be sued. They wanted to protect a building instead of openly caring for you, come what may. Some of them said that they were dealing with other more troubling issues. HUH??? Some may have even said that they don’t owe you any apologies! Some may have even lied or claimed that everything was just fine at the church and that they never noticed one little thing until the rapist was exposed. May God forgive them. Your pastors and church leaders sinned against you. You did not deserve to be re-victimized. How strange that a church that says to love your neighbor and to stand as a light upon a hill became secretive and unloving.


Some of you may now struggle with depression, drug and alcohol addiction and confused sexual identities. Some of you may have turned your back on the church. I don’t blame you. People, who had the opportunity to give you intensive help, did not do so until they were embarrassed when their lack of action became publicly known a couple of years after the fact.


Please know that many Christians love you. Some of these folks you have never met. Some have given up their church and have been subjected to ridicule, name-calling, rejection, and even pursued to other churches. They have gladly born the persecution and abuse because they remembered that you experienced far worse trials. Not a day goes by that you aren’t remembered in prayer. You have not been forgotten.


We were the silent church. However, we are finally gaining our voice, and we speak for many. We will no longer be silent or silenced. It is understandable that you might reject the faith due to the actions of an aberrant and callous church leadership. However, in those moments, think of those who also loved you enough to bear the anger of those comfortable in their darkness. We, too, know the Lord and hope you will take some small comfort that there are those who have and will sacrifice much to reach out to you in your pain.


We are here for you. Please let us know if we can do anything for you other than firmly standing for the truth. If anyone out there is reading this story and wants help, please contact us through the comment section of this post. We believe you, we don’t blame you and we love you. You do not need to face this alone.


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