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Clear, haunting view of an extremely hot, disturbing topic
on July 22, 2011
There are few things worse than being molested as a child. One of those few things is being molested by a member of the clergy as this article proves so clearly.
As a boy, Tommy Deary was molested by a Catholic priest who early in his priesthood had his "grooming" techniques down to an art. He knew (usually) which boys would be the most easily victimized--and who would be the least likely to tell. When the molestation happened to Tommy, it was a completely different era, in that the word pedophile wasn't even used and certainly wasn't heard daily. The Catholic Church clearly knew this priest had issues, as we say today, but their method of dealing with the problem priest was to send him from town to town, rather than stip him of his collar.
Tommy's suicide, though, changes everything. He never told anyone exactly what the priest did to him, though he told bits and pieces to several people over the years. Deeply troubled, Tommy committed suicide and the family believed Tommy's mental disturbances were directly due to the fact that he was molestated as a child.
One brother, in particular, took on the mission of finding the priest and was determined to get answers about what really happened between the priest and Tommy. Two of his brothers went with him. They found the priest, but not one willing to tell the truth. He, in fact, actually blamed it on the victim, as is far too often the case. Eventually, the family pursues the matter long enough and hard enough that the priest is eventually stripped of his priesthood--something he would not give up, even though he was too old and sick to perform any priestly duties.
No one can read this article without coming away feeling good that the family of the victim does have at least having some degree of satisfaction in knowing the priest was defrocked. I admire their courage and determination so much. It's just heartbreaking that Tommy himself was not still here when that happened, nor was he able to ever freely tell his story and heal.
This is a very well written article about one victim out of many--just by this one priest alone--of the Catholic Church scandals of recent years. It shows the Catholic Church's tendencies to ignore priests with sexual problems and its denial that such things happened in the Church at all.
What A Predator Priest does exceptionally well is to take all the priest scandal/molestation media hoopla and make it personal. This is one person and his family's story, yes, but it is representative of so many others, but in this one story I was able to connect with whole subject in a personal way that I hadn't been able to do before. The scandals have just been so huge, but this article boils it down to one person.
While the article does not cast outright negative aspersions on the Church, it does show its reluctance to face up to the long-standing problems among its priests. Surprisingly, I was not as outraged as I thought I would be after reading this article. The Catholic Church has suffered, but its members have suffered as well, and they need the Church to regain its inner strength and restore its reputation. Much of what happened during this man's story was in such a totally different world that I think that other denominations would've reacted the same way. It's easy to forget in this era of over-telling everything there is to talk about that it hasn't been that many years ago when there wasn't even an adequate language to describe what was actually happening back then and even less education on how to deal with it effectively.
The only thing that bothered me at all about this article is that I cannot help but wonder if this is what Tommy, who never completely told his story, would've wanted. He seemed to be a very private person in general, but that might have been because of the shame he felt. I can never know the answer, but I will continue to ask myself if this public telling of his story is what he would've wanted. I have to hope that it is.
Overall, I was riveted by this article and am glad I read it. It's very well written and flows nicely. The length is perfect for a lunch break. I hope that this family now has peace and can move forward, knowing they did they best they could do for their brother and son.