Friday, 23 February 2018

Talking About Sexual Abuse

A little while back I received an email about a 'safe environment policy' from one of the organisations that I belong to. I opened it, expecting to read something along the lines of occupational health and safety hazards. To my surprise, it was actually good, common sense guidelines on interacting with youth to prevent sexual abuse or any possible perception of inappropriate behaviour.

All well and good, but the covering email introduced the document thus: I will start off by saying this is a very delicate topic… 
and concluded: Thank you for your understanding of this very delicate subject…

In my opinion, treating this as a 'delicate' or 'sensitive' matter is, I think, precisely one of the things that has enabled abusers to get away with inappropriate behaviour for so many decades, perhaps centuries. It makes it the elephant in the room that everybody feels 'uncomfortable' talking about and leaves victims with feelings of guilt or shame and having to take the responsibility for protecting the others around them from feelings of embarrassment or discomfort. I know, because I was a victim from age 10 to 14 years old. It was only after being able to talk about it 15 years ago, or so, that healing began.

Don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting our conversation should get into the gory and sordid details of who, what, how, etc. But I have come to understand that the last vestiges of a Victorian approach to talking about sex still hang on the topic of sexual abuse of children. Telling people that this is a delicate or sensitive matter, to my mind, sends a signal that they should take note but, please, let's not talk about it lest somebody becomes uncomfortable or even offended.

The only people we should worry about hurting or offending are the victims or potential victims.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

A day in the life of a 'retired' missionary

Fr. Casimir
I have an eighty-something year old American priest friend who is a 'retired' missionary living in the Mariannhill Monastery Retirement Home for priests and religious in South Africa, Fr. Casimir (Cas) Paulsen c.m.m. He has zillions of friends and fans for whom he publishes a monthly blog. I snipped an extract which you might find interesting.

Saturday, the 21st. was a very interesting day. I was to take a funeral at 11am at the mother church from our branch at Savannah Park. I like to be a bit early just to make sure. I was there by 10:20. I found ladies cleaning the church who knew nothing about a funeral. Hmmmm. The sacristy was open but I couldn’t find any books or hosts or wine or whatever. Eventually I found a chalice and one big host  but there was not water or wine or small host. By this time it was almost 10:45. So I told them I was going back to the Monastery to fetch my things (always have some water and wine and hosts and chalice, etc.) realizing that I should have done that in the first place. By the time I got back it was 5 past eleven and the casket had already been taken into the church. But then, lo and behold, another hearse pitches up and disgorges another casket. Now what. Two funerals. I use my wine and water and holy water because there isn’t any at the parish but, thank God, the catechist is there. So we go to plan B. He know who is in the one casket and I know who is in the other so we just forge ahead. I was proud of our small but powerful choir from Savannah Park. There can never be a service without singing. 
After the Mass, we go to the cemetery. There is no road near the graveside, so the old men have to carry the coffin on a very rough hilly and pot-holey ground for about a football field away.  Some day I will describe how an African is buried, but I will jump over that for now. 
After the filling in of the grave we all go to the house for a meal and to meet some of the family of the deceased. I finally came home late in the afternoon and I am beat.

If you want to read the whole post, here is the link to Fr. Cas. Blog

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Happy birthday Ingrid

At the Rusty Anchor on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.  

Sent from my BB