At age five, 1954, "the Bishop" (Chicago's Cardinal Stritch) stood over me and said, I had to "stop babbling" about what the priest did to me. It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Today, I babble.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Recovering a memory that may help explain recovered memory, while speaking to a group about recovered memory ...

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By Kay Ebeling

Yesterday six parishioners came to hear two pedophile priest crime victims talk in a room at Ascension Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon. A handful of Cathoilcs took extra steps to find out what really happened with the handling of pedophiles and their victims in the Catholic Church. The group has been meeting there for two years, practicing Compassionate Listening , which originated in the Middle East with Israeli and Palestian neighbors trying to live peacefully with each other. Compassionate Lisstening techniques help combatants "see the humanity of each other, even when they disagree," writes Rabbi David Zaslow, of Ashland Oregon. Hmm, Ashland, Oregon.

Along with me yesterday was Cindy, a plaintiff from the L.A. Clergy Cases who drove all the way from the East Coast where she now lives, and between the two of us, I think these Compassionate Listening parishioners heard more than they expected to hear. I mean, Cindy is a victim of George Neville Rucker, 'nuff said.

Saturday, the Compassionate Listening Catholics learned from Cindy and me a bit about how bad things really were, from them we learned the Church is not telling its parishioners the whole story. So church going Catholics who rely on their bishops to tell them for the story still think most the allegations were never proved, and that the church has been benevolent and merciful. No wonder so many Catholics say, let's put it all behind us. They still think this is about a few incidents of inappropriate touching that may not even have happened.

No, it was sodomizing altar boys behind church altars, pulling kids out of second grade classrooms to the rectory to bang them 'til they bleed.

The bishops and monsignors are obviously doing all they can to keep parishioners in the dark. I bet they never tell their parishioners to read Bishop Accountability or City of Angels Blog. Apparently most practicing Catholics still really don't know how bad the pedophile epidemic was - and is. They are not finding out how duplicitous were the bishops, how widespread was the network of pedophiles amoung the priests, and that the crimes were not a little bit of inappropriate touching or temporary lapses of morality, the crimes were serial felony rape of children.

On my mind a lot on this trip is a specific kind of Delayed Discovery, where the adult victim of pedophilia has buried and forgotten the experience - until they have a child themselves. As the child reaches the age the adult was when the pedophilia occurred, often the memory of the experience comes in, or the realization of who was really the guilty party. "Watching the child at the age you were," I was trying to describe it to the group Saturday, "you look at the child and you realize how innocent they are and - no that's not it." I stopped and froze, then-

Jumped up, even waving my arms, and said, "I remember now how it started to happen. My daughter around age five was standing in front of a picture window facing the street. I tought she was dancing, exposing herself to the neighbors, because that is what I would do at age five, having been sexualized by a priest around that ago. I thought she had her dress pulled up, because in her I saw myself at her age acting out that way, and I thought that's what kids do.

"I ran up and grabbed her and she was just a kid standing in the window. And it hit me. How would she even know to be sexy and seductive at age five. How did I know to be sexy and seductive at age five. Something must have happened to me to get me started, because this innocent child in front of me has no idea or inclination at all to act the way I did."

In the weeks after I pulled Lizzie away from the picture window and realized she wasn't dancing there like a five year old harlot, specifics of what happened to me started to creep into my head, usually in the early morning in those moments between sleep and awakening. Today, I truly believe recent changes in law about Delayed Discovery are a start, but still not enough. Having a two or three year year cap on how long you can take action after a recovered memory is not enough, putting an upper age limit on when you can file suit is outright wrong. Because today at age 61 a good 16 years after the memory got sparked, I have not yet settled inside. I'm still figuring things out, I'm still finding things out.

Oregon has always seemed to be two years ahead of California in progressive activism. (After 8 years of Bush, Oregon is now ten years ahead of California.) I like it here. People here live the way I dreamed of living as a hippie in the 1970s.

Regarding the pedophile crisis in the Oregon Church, the Portland Archdiocese is now releasing most of the church documents that the church fought releasing, from the clergy cases that started here in the early 1990s. L.A. is just now waiting for the mediating judget to release the first batch from its cases that started there in 2002. The Portland Archdiocese led the pack of bankruptcies that the Church claims are a result of civil lawsuit payouts due to pedophilia in the priesthood.

It stands to reason that a progressive and oroginal process such as Compassionate Listening, where pedophile victims and parishioners start communicating and trying to begin healing, would originate in Oregon as well. It felt good believe it or not to sit in a room with intelligetnt Catholics, and I will write more about this whole experience next week when we get back to L.A.

I'm developing a magazine length story on Delayed Discovery, especially when the realization of the crime comes about because your own child turns the same age you were when the pedophilia took place. For the first ten years or so after my own Delayed Discovery, I hardly told anyone about it because I thought it was so strange and weird and freaky. Then I started City of Angels Blog in 2007, and as I started to read motions and complaints filed by plaintiffs in the L.A. Clergy Cases, I found out Delayed Discovery that happens when your child turns the age you were during the crime is a very common phenomenon, indeed, it's textbook.

For whoever finally gets around to writing the text book.

Maybe remembering the incident of Lizzie in the picture window while I was talking to the Compassionate Listening Group helped explain to them how Delayed Discovery takes place. Maybe people someday will stop asking, "Why did they wait forty years before coming forward?"

Oh by the way. Lizzie and I may move up here to Oregon, just because people here in Portland will help us get moved, and I'm beginning to get paranoid about the filth in L.A. Where we live, when you go outside you always smell human urine and feces mixed in with the heat and smog. You come home from an errand with a layer of grime on you that probably includes molecules of human waste When humans are living on the sidewalk and relieving themselves wherever they can find a bush - especially in the growing numbers as you see in L.A. - inevitably some new virus or bacteria is going to form. It dawned on me, as I looked at clean sidewalks and trees that aren't dying in the city of Portland, that if we don't get out of L.A. soon, in the near future they may not let anyone out, because of contamination. Okay, I have a vivid imagination, but when you look at the state of humanity on the streets of inner city L.A. and Hollywood, it's easy to feel like you are living in a sci fi movie. If we stay in L.A. much longer they may have to carry me away while I'm hollering: Soylent Green is made of People. The Catholic Church is run by felons. Soylent Green is humans - they are Felons, felons, felons, do you hear me felons .....

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1 comment:

city of angels lady said...

Please excuse typos, when I travel I work on this miniature keyboard and well......