I have not posted in a little while. There are many reasons for this. Obviously, a glance towards a calendar would indicate that it was the holiday season. This time of year comes with some real challenges. The message of the holiday season and the focus on religious services sometimes can be an overwhelming reminder of events that transpired long ago. The “reason for the season” is lost in the static caused by memories of betrayal at the hands of a religious figure. As my wife has pointed out, something always crashes me around the holidays.

The other reasons for the long delay are mostly work related. I am lucky enough to have a pretty good job and one of the projects I am working on has placed a demand on me to travel almost weekly to meet other team members. I am hoping that one of these trips will enable me to attend a SNAP meeting in Northern Virginia or Maryland in the near future. Timing is everything.

Finally, I have been lucky enough to make contact with some other victims in recent weeks. The conversations I been involved with have been invaluable in helping me understand not only that I am not alone in my experiences, but that I need to adjust my focus on how I look at the church and their representatives. I have to stop looking at that organization as a church devoted to goodness, truth and honesty and see them for what they really are. They are a business enterprise. They are selling a product, hoping to establish brand loyalty and trying to mitigate risk. The bishop and his subordinates all occupy positions in the business from CEO to delivery personnel who focus on the company line and collect the weekly subscription fees via collections during services or the encouragement of tithing. It is a pay to play organization. You have to be a member to get all the services. If you are not a member in good standing (you are not up to date on your subscription) or you are a potential threat to the organization, you are kept out of the loop. In some cases you have lawyers remind you that you have no standing or that you need to keep your comments to yourself.

After my Florida post I received an email from a Diocesan representative inviting me to come to Scranton to meet with the Bishop. I found the timing interesting. It seems that if I start describing what happened to me in 1974 they seem to want to speak to me.

I am contemplating if the 400 mile trip to Scranton is worth the time and effort (and the expenditure of family treasure required to get there, spend the night and get back). I would love to hear from anyone who has had a meeting with a bishop to discuss what happened to them and if anything came of the meeting. Given the fact that Bishop Martino has never made any attempt to contact me since I reported the abuse by Father Gibson to his Victim’s Advocate, I have grave reservations that a meeting with him would be worth the time. But, I am not completely closed off to the idea.

I need some help here. Can anyone reading this offer me advice or the benefit of their experience?

There is more to come… I promise.

If you would indulge me one last thing. Having served in the military for almost 24 years I am very aware that this time of year is tough on those who are standing guard all over the world to preserve our freedom and safety. As people enjoy the holiday season, even in these economically challenging times, I hope they paused to think about the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and National Guardsmen who stand the watch so that we can enjoy this time of year with our families. Many of these men and women are in harm’s way on a daily basis, but they do the hard work of paying the price for our liberty.

No matter how you make your peace with your own personal deity, put a good word in for the men and women who protect you.

Michael will now step off his soap box for the night…

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