Why Does Joan Attend Mass ?

Joan sits near the front of the church during Mass. From this position, she is unaware that the rest of the building, behind her, is mainly empty. She was aware that our previous priest was under police investigation, and disappeared without an explanation being given, but, that is apparently O.K. with her.

She has admitted that she cannot understand the accent of our current priest, from Africa, but that does not stop her from attending Mass.

When the church’s organ broke down , a parishioner purchased a new one at a yard sale for twenty dollars. It was a bargain, because it has no volume control, and when it is played during Mass, the volume is deafening. Joan does not appear to mind this.

Many seniors develop problems with balance , and possible falls can be traumatic. However, Joan says nothing when she sees that the entrance of the church is obstructed with the previous broken organ, a rusty shovel, a large bag of salt, and four expired fire extinguishers.

Joan is unaware that our Diocese is now facing a lawsuit, due to the actions of the priest who disappeared. The victim’s family mercifully chose to keep that information out of the hands of the media.

I wish that my faith in the Catholic Church was as strong as Joan’s, so that I could continue to attend Mass. However, Joan is a cradle Catholic, while I am a convert, and yes, all the scandal and cover-ups have overwhelmed me. I am not a lapsed Catholic ; I am, as someone else has said, a ‘collapsed’ Catholic.

However, I know that Joan prays for me to return to Mass. I sincerely appreciate her prayers, and I leave the matter of the Church in God’s hands.

They call us “Newfies”

We folks in Newfoundland are sometimes called

“Newfies”. We do not like that term . It is derogatory, and it implies that we are very naive, or that we are

” intellectually challenged “. Have I ever behaved in a way that might label me as a Newfie ? Why yes, I have ! There was , for example, the time that Fr. Jose arrived a half hour late for Mass, and I said nothing, because he was always late. It was the day he gave his homily about his days in the seminary in his Asian country of origin. His face shone with obvious pleasure as he told us about the time he led a group of his fellow students on an escape from the seminary to a local pub. There, they all got drunk, the Father told us, and he danced on the tables !

Perhaps he was trying to build rapport with us, since many rural Newfoundlanders enjoy dancing too.

Why didn’t I speak up ? Well, as a retired Sociologist , I have some insight into my behaviour. Because no one else spoke up, I was under peer pressure to stay silent as well. Individuals are influenced by the groups they are in.

I have now learned my lesson, I think. I often pray that God gives me wisdom, since He promises, in

James 1:5 to grant wisdom to all who ask for it. I ask for the grace not to perpetuate the negative stereotype of the Newfie.

I Should Have Kept Silent, They Say

Who would have thought that I, a humble housewife by the sea, would receive criticism for writing this obscure little blog !

The fault-finding has come from former parishioners, who endured clergy abuse and cover-up, as I did, but who resent the fact that I chose to speak about it !

My critics claim that I should never have exposed what went on here, in a isolated Catholic Parish in Newfoundland. Sadly, Newfoundland has experienced much priest betrayal ; many people are familiar with the tragedy of the Mt. Cashel Orphanage.

However, it is best to speak up, for the phenomenon of clergy abuse has been world-wide, and it cannot be hidden. The Holy Spirit is bringing many things to light that should be exposed. Christians are people of light; light shines in the darkness.

So, I spent today mainly in my room overlooking the North Atlantic, thankful, that by the wonder of Facebook Messenger, I have been able to contact the Asian Bishop who sent us one of the priests who disappeared, without a word of explanation to the parishioners. I’m waiting to hear back from his Excellency.

Recovery From Clergy Abuse

We have started recovering from the clergy abuse we experienced almost five years ago.

Yesterday, my husband and I were able to attend church, not a Catholic Church, but rather a warm and friendly congregation where we can celebrate our faith in Christ , the victory of his Resurrection, and his unconditional love for all of us.

We were reminded, during the events of Holy Week, that Jesus fully understands betrayal, and He longs to comfort and heal those people who have been so wounded by clergy.

Pope Francis has clearly identified clericalism as one of the factors in the perpetuation of abuse by clergy.

Through clericalism, an unhealthy climate is created within the church , which wrongly maintains that the clergy are far superior to the laity. The laity have contributed to clericalism by fawning over the clergy, and never questioning them, even when their behaviour is suspicious. I saw this in our Parish, when our priest became increasingly bold in his misbehaviour, by inviting teenage boys to the rectory for sleepovers. No one said anything, and disaster soon followed.

I have learned, through this tragic experience, to place all of my trust in one priest only, that is Jesus, our Great High Priest.

May our Lord grant peace and healing to everyone who has been victimized by clergy abuse.

Spiritual Abuse

As Fr. Jose saw that no one in our Parish objected to his sermon topics, he became bolder. One week he preached about how he was caught drinking and driving in his native Asian country. He was given a DUI suspension, totalled his car and injured someone.

I asked my friend Veronica, a cradle Catholic, whether we should question this. She told me that the Catholic Tradition is to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. We must never question a priest. I understood then why no one said anything. But it is clear to me now that we were the victims of clergy spiritual abuse.