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A better way
The Editor, Mr Steve Etwell
October 15, 2008
I was prompted to consider putting together a time line of my interactions with the Toowoomba Chronicle, however I felt they were things which simply do not leave ones mind, they are there for recall if we choose to do that.
I was reminded of the anger I expressed to the woman I was speaking to on the phone. I would like to apologise for that by saying that the expression of my anger and the manner in which I did that was entirely inappropriate and I wish to unreservedly apologise for my outrageous behaviour.
I am still at odds as to the cause of my anger and have yet to find a single person with whom I have communicated with who has been able to make reason as to why my advertisement was not able to be published simply because of the use of several specific words ="abuse", "sexual" and "clergy" or any suggested combination of these words. Thank you also for your more recent refund of my payment, long overdue, nevertheless it was greatly appreciated as my own dealings with those words have as you may understand borne an unacceptably high cost to myself and my family. No matter that human rights abuses simply oose throughout my life and the life of my family and unfortunately this even after 51 years has an unacceptably high impact on my child and directly affects his day to day life. These are not matters of concern to the many Catholics I have engaged in conversation with as they rely entirely as their faith instructs them on their Bishops to show them direction.
The fact that the Bishops as men of God simply do not have a direct line of communication with God is evident by several of the errors of judgment made by the Catholic Church through its Bishops. This is evidenced by the words of the leader of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on his recent visit to Australia. His acknowledgment of the clergy abuse problem and of the inability of his Bishops to manage it in a socially acceptable and humane way is simply the most current and the most authoritative witness to these facts. The lack of communication with God is also evident in the fact that the Church took more than 500 years to acknowledge that the earth was round as in the case of Mr. Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642). Quite simply if they did hear a word from God they would as the Pope understands it have acted differently. That they have not in the past acknowledged an error of judgment and that they continue to fail to acknowledge a similar error of judgment despite an almost avalanche of evidence and fact being presented to them on a regular basis indicates some form of denial or inability on the part of those in positions of management and control.
The difficulty the Church found in admitting it had the shape of the earth wrong appears to be displayed once again in regards the issue of clergy abuse and how the Church can rid itself of this problem and of how it should treat those who have been harmed by it is evidenced by the current manner in which the Church is attempting to deal with the clergy abuse issue.
My own case is simply one of many which have been delayed for 5, 10 or more years and even then we are faced with a barrage of the most silent of Bishops and priests and the most heavily financed legal protagonists available, this of course does not make it correct, it simply acknowledges the fact that if you have sufficient money, power and influence, just as in the case of Mr.Galilei you are able to deny the facts for a prolonged period of time. This, just as in the case of Mr. Galilei so often comes down to similar understandings or the inability to accept the truth of a statement. In my own instance this has come down to the description based on unsubstantiated statements of which the Church is not willing to provide copies of in regards the ability of a child to live in or at more than one place at the one moment in time. The truth of my family circumstances and the truth of the circumstances of many is evidenced through the fact that many children today live both with their mother and father, their parents simply live at different locations. Due to the lack of understanding of the Church and the need of their legal representatives to earn an honest living, the Church's legal experts are not yet ready to accept that as fact. This appears to be the current issue which is set to further delay any progress on my own case and similar occurs for so many others for an unknown number of years; it is to be hoped that this does not extend to a similar time frame as in the case of Mr. Galilei.
It appears the Church through its legal representatives is still able and willing to use similar delaying tactics as it did in the case of Mr. Galilei. I simply do not have that long to live and will never, based on the progress of the current system will be able to progress my case to a conclusion as it seems that as soon as one of these absurd situations is cleared at great human and financial expense, another similar absurd question or situation arises - these very often simply defy logic, reason and Biblical laws and the teachings of Jesus Christ, however they can be argued for centuries as Mr. Galilei's case clearly shows.
I find it unfortunate that there is an unknown number of individuals who have simply resorted to suicide as a last resort in attempting to retain some form of truth or logic in the face of this and in a desperate attempt to maintain some means of finding even an odd form of sanity for themselves in the face of similar circumstances to Mr.Galilei through simply choosing to end their lives rather than continue in the face of what they see as some form of insanity or social dysfunctionality which is simply ignored by their society which through that ignorance withholds the natural support a human being expects to experience.
I believe it is an incredible shame that it should be the case that someone is driven to even contemplate killing themselves due to this error of the way the Church deals with the clergy abuse issue and the blindness shown by society, let alone be permitted to carry that through by a whole society which appears to be frozen and shocked by the irrationality of it all.
I myself would like to know how many of the estimated 2000 other individuals (as well as the many thousands of other individuals who were sexually abused) who were sexually abuse by the same priest as I was have ended their pain in this way? In a way which has not provided a moment of peace or a glimpse of justice or healing for any of those poor souls so wrongly lost. The Church simply will not release this type of information, it seems because it may identify more instances of sexual abuse - this is simply not the way God would work, yet it, and it seems our whole society remains silent while more and more of those fellow 2000 eventually choose to end their life rather than accept as Mr Galilei was forced to believe, that the earth was other than round. That is quite simply more than enough to cause one to take their own life, more so when their entire society appears to not want to acknowledge what they see and understand themselves to be truth and fact.
They appear not to be concerned by other facts emanating from such an absurdity, such things as the abuse of human rights as we know them today, truth, justice and the Aussie understanding of a fair go. None of those matters appears to be sufficient motivation to speak out and to support those affected by this foolishness and by the most horrific crime which can be perpetrated against another human being which leaves them alive, only to wish they were dead because of the abandonment by their fellow Australians and their country.
Many myths and places in our folklore have resulted because of these undemocratic ways and perhaps that may be the only place those 2000 others and their associates will ever be mentioned in the history of Australia. It is such a sad thing for an entire Nation to carry such a burden and does for those 2000 and their fellow 2.7 million other Australians who have been sexually abused seem to be the only place they will receive acknowledgment of the truth of their experience and the fact that they actually do form a part of the Australian culture.
Such distortions have existed for so long that even our legal system has had to distort itself to accommodate this untenable and irrational position. The application of Statute of Limitation Laws which simply defy natural, psychological and Gods laws are permitted to exist simply because of this one distortion.
The safety of children in every sense and in particular a sexual sense must be cast aside to accommodate this once again untenable position. The truth so many Catholics and those of other faiths seek is simply not available to them while such a state exists. Once again this is simply not the way God works. No amount of theological or legal argument can sustain a position so obviously at fault as the manner in which the Catholic Church currently manages the clergy sexual abuse issue.
Every Catholic whom I have communicated with simply expresses their horror and sometimes their outrage at such a preposterous state of affairs and it is those good Catholics who daily plead with Bishops to change their ways and they too simply remain unheard and unsupported due to the silence of Governments and our media.
Unlike other countries such as the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland which have instigated truth commissions and have forced the release of information so that justice and human rights can be observed, Australia and New Zealand appear to remain bound up in some form of denial of the facts and denial of the truth which the very existence of so many victims shows; victims who are fellow Catholics and fellow Australians.
Australia and New Zealand it seems are reluctant to follow the good example of these other countries for fear of bringing down the Catholic Church. Little do they realise that the Church in these countries is rebuilding and it is a much fairer and much more honest and caring Church which is emerging so strongly in those other countries; perhaps here too Australia is set to miss out.
There are pockets of resistance, however these are simply being over-run and out-priced through the legal processes of these countries; countries which have acknowledged the facts and the truth and have shown themselves to be countries of character with respect for human rights; countries which have set about rectifying the problems with the understanding that there are no better educated minds in regards the prevention and survival of sexual abuse by clergy than those who have both prevented and survived sexual abuse by clergy and sexual abuse by others.
Australia it seems would rather put its head in the sand and simply not see the facts and the truth as has been found in those other countries, it seems that both Australia and New Zealand would prefer to follow the example of the Prime Minister and the Attorney General by leaving such matters in the hands of the Catholic Church, which in the words of Pope Benedict himself states that they simply do not not know how to manage appropriately and are seeking assistance in that regard. This type of abandonment is simply not in my understanding the Australian way and provides nothing of what I understand my fellow Australians fought and died for in so many wars.
Is there any wonder our youth are confused, is there any wonder so many of them are out of control. Is there any wonder so many are at risk on a daily basis? They need stability around them and it is simply not available under such circumstances. Perhaps we should have an apology day for our children, one where we simply say we got it wrong, this is not the Australian way, this not the way adults act, this is not the way human beings treat one another and at my last recollection this is simply not the way in which God expects us to act and we are on track in setting these errors right; simply because we cannot be truthful with our children and one another unless we do.
I personally would like to experience the Aussie fair go and I feel quite confident that those other 2.7 million Australians who have suffered sexual abuse would also appreciate similar. I also feel that all those parents who are afraid to let their children out of their sight for a moment would also appreciate some respite from such an abhorrent and absurd situation. They too must feel incredibly pained and wronged by the lack of the ability to be heard above the outrages expressed over things such as names as in the recent case of Mr. Hagan and his belief that once derogatory terms and names were, at the time of their use were also painful and harmful to many of those of his culture at those times and the lack of acknowledgement of that does cause pain to many of those who simply exist today despite the outrage expressed by those who simply choose to remain ignorant of those facts.
It would seem that it is acceptable and in the spirit of the Australian way as well as in the spirit of democracy, truth and justice as well as upholding the teachings of Christ that a perspective, however different than that proffered by a Church in some form of denial (as in the case of Mr Galilei and in the current case of the sexual abuse issue) should be able to obtain equal exposure in your newspaper.
I have endeavoured to write this in the required 250 words as you have stipulated, however I feel that after seeing recent examples whereby far longer pieces have been printed over far less important issues that this opinion should have an opportunity to be heard simply because it goes towards the protection and safety of our children, our relationships with our children and the safety and sanity of all of us who live in this society today.
I understand that the rights of an editor can at times through the omission of a single word change the flavour and meaning of a sentence or concept and with that knowledge in mind I have taken the opportunity to publish this piece as a whole at the following location: abetterway?ref=TwbaChronicle
and look forward to an appropriately edited version in your esteemed publication.
John A Brown
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