Hi, VERY TOUCHING!!! I read it with many mixed emotions surfacing. I too have been personally affected by abuse. Not by clergy, but by relatives and a doctor. For a long time I was angry at the people who I confided in who failed me...people I loved and trusted...(my mother and my husband) so I understand why abuse victims, who have already been violated beyond words feel betrayed by those who could have stopped it!! But, in their defense I have to add culture was different then. You just did not talk about such things! It seems (if we did not acknowlege that it was true, we did not have to deal with it and maybe it would just go away...plus the victim was often viewed as the guilty party.This was not uncommon in rape cases where lawyers attacked the character and good name of the victim in order to let the abused get off) I think some of those who could have made a difference felt that they were doing all that they could, because they confronted the abuser, and more or less disciplined him/her, by transfering them or by taking away certain freedoms....I believe ignorance is the WORST enemy of TRUTH!
Like you, in the context of prayer groups and sharing sessions I have met a very large number of women (and some men) who, like me, were abused by older brothers or other relatives. Does that mean that all boys can't be trusted??? I hope not!
All that having been said, when I hear the media reports they enrage me!!! I want them to tell the truth and they are NOT!! There is a blatent 'Anti-Catholic' sentiment among journalists...to the point that some in the Jewish community have jumped to the Holy Father's defence...which only fuelled the anti-Catholic agenda of the media.
Here are some noteworthy facts to help keep things in perspective:
-- physical and sexual abuse, especially of children, is a mortal sin and a dispicable act, it always was and always will be and justice should be done, if it is not done in this world we can be sure it will be in the next.
-- to that end, no one has done more than Pope Benedict to eradicate this foul stench from the Church and the clergy...yet the media continue to attack his credibility reporting situations falsely and twisting the facts to sell news
-- of all those guilty of sexual abuse of children, 2% are Catholic Clergy.
-- almost all cases of sexual abuse by Catholic Clergy happened more than 30 years ago...yet, many innocent and holy Catholic Clergy are viewed as suspect to this day.
-- Jesus promised, when he founded The Catholic Church naming St. Peter the first Pope, that the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her (the Church). In the eye of the storm I cling to this Truth!
Human nature wants to lash out, to punish those who hurt us...to get even. But, that is not what Jesus wants...only by His grace can we forgive those who have sinned against us which is what He wants to help us do, and then leave justice up to Him.