Tuesday 26 February 2013

If you read French, this is a MUST read

Autrement que victimes : Dieu, enfer et résistance chez les victimes d'abus sexuels (Not just victims: God, anger and resistance in the voices of sexual abuse victims)

Authors: Jean-Guy Nadeau ;  Carole Golding ;  Claude Rochon
Publisher: Novalis
Date: 2013

The publisher's blurb in French. I have done a broad translation of the French (I hope the authors aren't too upset by my paraphrasing at points but I think that I have retained the essence of the blurb.)

Fruit d'un travail de plusieurs années, cet ouvrage offre aux différents intervenants psychosociaux des informations qui leur permettront de mieux travailler avec les croyances religieuses de leurs patients et de les intégrer dans leur thérapie.  Si des victimes trouvent dans la foi ou dans la religion un soutien pour survivre à l'abus, d'autres assimilent ce drame à un abandon ou à l'opprobre de Dieu ; elles se sentent alors davantage coupables, ressentent un sentiment d'exclusion, bref tardent à sortir de leur traumatisme. Enfin, les enfants éduqués chrétiennement vivent très tôt, et avec peu de ressources, l'expérience douloureuse des questions radicales sur les relations entre Dieu, la souffrance et le mal. De nombreux témoignages viennent illustrer ces positions et enrichir la réflexion par des cas concrets.

The fruit of many years of labour, this book offers much information for psychosocial counsellors that will allow them to work more effectively with the religious beliefs of their patients and to integrate these beliefs into their clients’ therapy. Some victims find in their faith or their religion a support that helps them to survive the abuse. Other victims describe their response to this abuse as abandonment by God or as contempt for God; they then feel more guilty, and also feel excluded from the belief system. In short, they take a long time to resolve the issues raised by their traumatic experience. Lastly, with few resources, children who are educated (raised) as Christians live from a very early age with the painful experience of facing radical questions on the relationship between God, suffering and evil. The book contains many firsthand examples that illustrate these issues and the discussion is enriched with these concrete cases.

I have only started to read the book and after reading different chapters and sections, I already feel that it is definitely a wonderful addition to the literature on the impact of the Christian belief system on victims of child sexual abuse within that system. This is not just because they have a lengthy discussion of my Psalm and Eulogy (pp. 104-118) - guess I am a the*logian, whether I like it or not. It is well balanced between those who, like me, felt abandoned and angry at the failure of the belief system to address our needs and those who have found support in the system.

The authors should be looking for a publisher for an English translation so that it can reach a wider audience.

I will comment further after I have finished the entire book. (After all, French isn't my first language and it takes more time to integrate what I am reading!)

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Honest: Catholics are Christians

My rant for the day!

I am just marking papers and, even after all the lecturing and discussion in class, my students will still come up with a sentence like the following: "They also looked at mostly Christian or Catholic  families and did not go near other religions." (For that one, I even looked at the source material just to make sure)

I could have accepted Protestant or Catholic - don't need to get into the touchy subject of all those other Christians - well maybe Anglicans/Episcopalians aren't touchy - I'm not sure that they know they exist.

I swear that we need a mandatory history of Christianity course. Students may not know anything about other religions, but they certainly don't know anything about Christianity either - except maybe their own peculiar brand (but that's another post). It is not as if my Catholic students are exempt from understanding their own religion either.

Honestly, I do my best in my medieval and reformation classes, but it's just not enough.

Monday 18 February 2013

Well it's about time - but it's too little, too late

So Roger Mahony and Thomas J. Curry have apologized.

Here is part of Curry's statement (echoing Mahony's of the previous day)

"I wish to acknowledge and apologise for those instances when I made decisions regarding the treatment and disposition of clergy accused of sexual abuse that in retrospect appear inadequate or mistaken," Curry said in a statement obtained by the Ventura County Star.

After decades of refusing requests for files, denials that anything untoward really happened - no cover-up, of course, this is what the victims get.

Oh well, better than nothing I suppose!

And then again, I could go back and watch Deliver Us From Evil one more time. Maybe nothing would have been better.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Thank God and Greyhound, he's gone!

However, don't start singing the Hallelujah chorus just yet. This does not mean that things will change. Any priest who has risen through the ranks is tainted by the "scandal" - if only by sins of omission, if not by sins of commission and by the conspiracy of silence.

I never fully explained the theological problem of "doubt" when I wrote my previous blog on the film, Doubt. Doubt in the authority and teachings of the Mother Church and the Papacy is a sin tantamount to heresy in a nun. One does not question. This is the double meaning of doubt in the film.

I have no love for the man but sitting in my chiropractor's office and hearing the news of his resignation, my first utterance was that he was "heartsick".  My blog, Just what is the colour of the sky in their world, part 4, was probably on my mind when I said this. This is a man that has never had "doubt" as far as I can tell. He is a "true believer". At the same time, I cannot help but wonder whether or not it has finally become too much. As long as there were the odd priests here and there who abused children, it would not necessarily bring the true believer's faith into question. But it has been relentless. It hasn't let up since it began in the 80s - thirty years of relentless disclosures. Furthermore, it is worldwide. Therefore, it was not indigenous to the "degenerate world of North America".

I speculated earlier that the move of Charles Scicluna out of the Vatican was more than it appeared to be. The resignation of Benedict XVI/Ratzinger makes me wonder even further.

I cannot wish him well in his retirement. He has presided over the Inquisition and has hurt many, many good men and women of the church during his years of power. His refusal to deal seriously with the sexually abusing priest is the worst of it. If there is a "God", I can only hope that "he" will make sure that the years of decline will be fraught with questioning. May he actually suffer from "doubt" and begin to understand the full extent of the damage that he has inflicted (with the help of others, of course) on the faithful.

I don't hold out much hope.

And maybe he is showing signs of early Alzheimer's - if so, couldn't happen to a worthier recipient!

So. You know what is left out of the discourse????

 Children Just Saying ........... The discourse of rape culture, of course, in the academic literature, of course. Just struck me as I was r...