Blessed Are Those Who Mourn, For They Shall Be Comforted
Welcome! Thank you for coming here to read about the release of my first book, The Book of Timothy: The Devil, My Brother and Me, which will join the world on November 9, 2021. Covid restrictions hopefully addressed, the book will launch in person with a hell of a party at the Irish American Heritage Center, on Chicago’s Northwest Side. And yes, you are invited! Just check out the Events calendar.
In the meanwhile, let me tell you a story. A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting a good friend for dinner. It was on a Sunday. Beginning on Friday of that weekend, I binge listened to the first seven episodes of the podcast Crisis: Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church. Here is the link. https://catholicproject.catholic.edu/podcast/. It is amazing deep dive by Catholic University of America into the many facets of the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States.
Anyhow, I was explaining to this friend that I spent a good part of the weekend in tears hearing the stories of men and women who were abused by their parish priests, including in one case, the abuse Cardinal McCarrick inflicted on a young man who still deals with the scars almost forty years later. She stopped me, stating words to the effect of, “I’m sorry, but at some point, you just have to get over it. The past is past.”
I am certain this is not a direct quote, but it is what I heard. I am also certain she intended no ill will. She is a dear friend who has seen me through the many years of bringing this book into the world. She is also a practicing Catholic with a faith life I have relied upon at many times of struggle.
Nevertheless, her words, whatever they exactly were, stopped me. With that came the anger (which I did not express) and also the sadness. If I cannot explain this to a very good friend, how can I explain this to strangers? Let me try.
If you are me and, I am assuming, many like me, you don’t get over it, because it’s not over. You don’t get over looking at photos of your brother from childhood and wondering what would have happened to his boy, pre-abuse, if he was able to become the person he wanted to be. You don’t get over the fact that he can no longer believe in God, because a loving God would never have abandoned him. You don’t get over wondering how he is doing behind the façade. Happy marriage, great father, thriving business man, because you know that on dark days any of these can come crashing down, even with therapy, even with love, even with friends and family who will do everything in their power for him to hang on.
You don’t get over not being able to go to Mass. You don’t go, because you know, that just as your friend has said, the vast majority of the laity want you to get over it too. You don’t get over looking at children walking to the altar to receive Communion knowing that this is a routine act you protect your own daughter from, just in case. You don’t get over being forgotten, or rather, not acknowledged as still here, if you can be here.
This I what people like me, the secondary victims, and the direct victims call grief. The most important thing to understand is we grieve, because we loved what was once part of our daily lives. We grieve because what we lost was worth loving. We grieve because it was inflicted by the place and people we would normally seek to comfort our loss.
“Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4. If this website can be anything, I hope it is this: a place of comfort for those who still mourn. I am here for you. Thank you for being here for me.
As we travel together, you will learn a bit more about me, the people, the places, the animals, and the causes I love. I would love to hear your thoughts as well, so please write me.