This stained glass window graces the front of my church and forms the backdrop for the celebration of the Mass each Sunday. My husband is head usher at one of the services, so we arrive early and I sit waiting for others to arrive. I have a lot of time to gaze at the window.
While everything I do and write is informed by my Christian faith, I rarely am explicit about it. But for this post, I want to answer the question “why do you remain a Catholic with all the sex abuse and cover up that has gone on?” I stay because sex abuse and denial of it exists in every home, school, neighborhood, work place and faith community. It is a grievous truth that many still refuse to believe victims. Those in power, no matter the setting, continue to exploit that power and harm those weaker, whether children or subordinates. As I write, vitriol is being hurled at a woman who as a teenager endured a sexual attack from a boy who now wants to deny it. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t had such an experience, either in school or at work. Most of us never spoke of it because we knew it would open us to attack and blame.
I am sickened by predators, whether family members, priests or bosses. But I would have to go live alone on a desert island if I left every place they exist. Instead, I will remain an active member of my faith. I will listen to victims wherever they are. I will believe their stories and join in the task of holding the perpetrators responsible for their actions.