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For Kay, who has fought the fight, done the work and deserves more, from all of us.

So much for powering down this blog.  Tonight I get on my soap box that I have piled on top a lot of other soap boxes.   I want to make sure you hear me.  Listening?  Good, here goes… (Don’t take your eyes or ears off me people, this is important!)

One of the first blogs I plugged into when I was searching on-line for some courage to expose and hopefully drop my Father Gibson baggage was originating out of California.  Kay Ebeling was doing something incredible.  She was throwing down on the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis as a blogger and a journalist.  On a shoestring she was producing City of Angels. She was reporting from the court-house in LA and traveling on donations and subsidizing her great opus at great  expense (financial and personal). Unlike many of the blogs on the subject of the Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal, she wasn’t just writing from the comfort of her home, she was going into the field and diving into the stacks at courthouses to provide transcripts and first hand accounts of court proceedings. She has been taking unpopular stances and writing articles on the condition of survivors. Whether you like her or don’t care for her you have to give her the respect earned by someone who has stood tall and spoken her mind. She has told stories that would otherwise have been lost and she keeps on fighting everyday.

After an emotionally draining episode with the Catholic Church in Chicago recently, she decided to take a little down time and reassess her situation. She  pulled down some posts on her blog on the advise of her attorney.  She is looking out for herself and taking stock of where she wants to go from here. Even though she explained all of this in her current blog , she has taken a lot of flak from our own community. Really people?! You think that giving this woman grief about taking a break and accusing her of selling out to the church is the way to treat a survivor who has shown a lot of courage in this fight? Seriously?

I know she is controversial, I know she rubs some of the survivor community the wrong way.  SO WHAT? Many people out there do not support Kay even though she is one of us. Many of those same people would like her to close down City of Angels and go away. If you are one of those people then you have sided with the Bishops and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church who have gone to great lengths to shut us all down. You are buying into the tactics of the people who support pedophiles and continue to turn a blind eye towards those who have been targeted, abused, raped, marginalized, isolated and intimidated. If you are personally attacking her or  calling her a sellout, you are on the side of the protectors of the monsters that stole our innocence, our sense safety, our sense of self and our faith. Are you enjoying the company? How does it feel to play for that team?

Kay is a warrior in this community. You cannot deny that, even if you don’t like the way she does her work. Unfortunately, there are not many out there who have done anything near what she has accomplished. There are a lot of people taking shots from the relative comfort and safety of their computers. Many of these people are happy to arm-chair quarterback her every move. My question to those people is this: How is the view from the bench? You are not in the game, yet you feel like you can criticize those that are?

We are never going to be in agreement on all things as a community, we are going to struggle with how to do things and how to shape a message. Some will go their own way and others will stay quietly in the shadows. Some will join with SNAP  or FACSA or some other group and work through that organization, others will chart their own courses. Kay has helped pave the road for many survivors, we owe her respect for that.

If you have some shots to take at Kay, send them my way. If you think you are superior to her, think again.

At some point this community forgot that we have a common bond. We have a common adversary that will go to any extreme to divide us and they are loving the infighting.  Lets keep the convesation on the issues we face and leave the personal stuff on the sidelines where it belongs.  Be critical of her ideas if you don’t agree with them,but keep the personal venom out of it.

Whatever your opinion, whatever your thoughts, be clear on a few things. This community needs Kay and City of Angels. We need every voice that is speaking out.  We don’t have the luxury of numbers at this point.  We need people willing to expose the truth, even if the survivor community is required to look inward when that truth is exposed. We need Kay as much as we need everyone else in this struggle. We need to support our warriors.

Keep the discourse civil, keep the personal attacks to yourself. When did respect go out of the survivor calculus? Where is the leadership in this community?

Kay, when you are ready to come back, many of us will be here to support you.

I was checking the dashboard for Off My Knees this evening as a way of getting my mind off of something that has been distracting me all day.  I noticed an increase in the number of hits I was getting off of one post in particular, Parting Company with SNAP.  Granted the total number of hits is less than 10 over the last week or so, it just struck me as odd.  I decided to pull the string and see where the new hits were coming from.

It seems that a blog named “TheMediaReport.com” is using a post I did on my issues with SNAP to support the author, a guy named David Pierre, who is using his site to hawk his books and to raise some money on PayPal. He does this by zealously defending the Catholic Church from Media Bias and the unfair people of the liberal left who are targeting the Catholic Church over the sex abuse crisis.

Mr. Pierre did a hit piece on SNAP and used one of my posts to support his position. While I am still not impressed with the National Leadership of SNAP, I have no tolerance for those in the Catholic Flock who are so focused on the “unfairness” of media coverage of the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church that they miss the basic problem that there is a SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Mr. Pierre is targeting his attack on the National Director of SNAP, but he fails to come forward with any tangible suggestions on how to deal with the cover-up of sexual crimes against children and vulnerable adults by members of the Catholic Church or laity. For that matter he does not come forward with any suggestions on gathering an ecumenical coalition to fight this pandemic across the various religions or other civic institutions who are not dealing with the crisis. I am not naive enough to say it is a Catholic-only problem, but I will say that the Catholic Church has been a miserable failure at protecting the most vulnerable of believers from predators wearing roman collars. A problem Mr. Pierre fails to address in his “media report”.

Mr. Pierre would be a lot more credible if he was calling for an independent investigation into all credible accusations of sexual abuse by trained, independent investigators. This should not be a threat to the Catholic Church. But the church traditionally stone walls and intimidates and blames the victim. They cry that they are unfairly accused or treated without respect in the media. They tell the faithful that the victims are only seeking money as they pass the collection plate to make sure that the princes of the church live a life of opulence in their palaces. Yes the Catholic Church is the victim here! (adjust your sarcasm settings…)

Mr. Pierre, you should not be using me to make your point, because you really don’t have one as long as your head remains in the sand. Good luck with your money-making enterprise! Funny, it seems to be a very Catholic thing to ask for money after an attempt at character assassination. If you want someone to review your book, drop me a note, I will be happy to read it.  That is, if you don’t mind a “self-professed clergy abuse victim” reading your work.

Eye on the ball, people, eye on the ball!

It has been a while… 

I have been struggling with some major issues in my life as of late.  Matters involving my family and what is best for them, my job situation, and my own personal happiness are the priority.    The blog  just did not make the top of the priority list (or the middle for that matter) lately.

Like some of my blogging compatriots, I have been questioning whether keeping OFF MY KNEES going is really in my best interest.  I have  been asking myself if this is moving me forward or if this is helping me sort out the mess I have created in my life.  I don’t think it is.  As a result, the number of posts on this blog have slowed down considerably.  I do not know if I will be pulling the plug on this, but it is a definite possibility at this point. 

I have to sort out the path to normalcy and happiness for myself.  No one else can do that for me.  I need to chart my own future and put down what is not working for me.  People close to me have been telling me to get rid of the things that are not making me happy.  An article I read not long ago recommended that on your 50th birthday you should let go of the 50 things that are not working in your life.  The universe is telling me to change.  It is almost beating me on the head at this point.  I am listening, finally!

I have pissed off a lot of people with this blog.  Some of them I care about.  Others (read as the apologists for the Church, the people who cannot see what is in front of their upturned noses and those that should have done something to deal with the crisis and did not) could fall off the earth tomorrow and it would not mean a thing to me.   

People in the Victim community (and by victim, I mean those who will not move forward but just sit wringing their hands waiting for someone else to save them) are mad at me because I dared to question the leadership of  SNAP and their methods.  (OK ,Bob from SNAP MN, you can start the hate mail again, I need a good laugh, you would not believe how bad I need to laugh at one of your ridiculous epistles.).  Others are focused on reforming the Catholic Church.  News Flash—- THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! 

I have read the hate mail, read the threats of legal action or bodily harm.  I have been called delusional, deeply disturbed and crazy.  Not only from those who zealously and blindly defend those in their church who have enabled pedophiles but from the lemmings in the victim community who support a national leadership that has proven to be nothing more than a self licking ice cream cone (keep those donations coming, folks). Catholics seem to be particularly adept at writing the kind of vitriol that can only serve to prove that they will punish or attack anyone who dares to questions their leadership failures. 

The Catholic Church and other organizations that prey on the victim community for their livelihood are going to continue to try to maintain control and separation over survivors in order to either preserve treasure or create it.  The only way forward is through the state legislatures and the courts.   I would love to see the day when Federal prosecutors raid every diocese to get the files of the predators and expose the full extent of this crisis.

For years I have said that the only way to make the Catholic Church do the right thing (because as a religious entity, they are incapable of showing compassion, doing the moral thing, and following their own teachings) is to hold them to a legal standard that will punish them so severely and devastate their war chests so completely that they will have no choice than to do what is right and just. 

Sad, isn’t it?

So for now, I will leave the light on here.  The plug is not being pulled yet.    I will check in on the blogs of my fellow survivors and I will support the effort to change the laws of this country to allow for harsh punishment for all sexual predators who prey on children and vulnerable adults.  I will support and campaign for all legislation that allows for the prosecution of all those that had information on credible allegations and failed to report them (to include lots of jail time), I will support the stripping of non-profit tax benefits to any organized religion, let them pay into the communities that they are willing to destroy.

If given the opportunity, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or the States of New York or Florida, I will sue the Diocese of Scranton for the truth on Father Gibson and those that protected him and allowed him to prey on me and many more.  (Note, I did not mention money, I want the truth)

For Gibson’s other victims, please contact me.  Stay in touch.  There is hope and power in numbers.  Just please understand that I cannot solve all this with a blog.  I am not the answer, I am just one survivor asking questions, seemingly in the dark. 

None of this will ever be fixed while everyone sits on the sidelines.  So what are you doing?

Copyright

This site is copyrighted by my statement.
Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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