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Asking Fr. Nicolas Questions

December 1, 2009

In court — if that’s what it takes to get a pastoral response from Jesuits — my lawyer and I get to ask questions.

I want to ask Fr. Nicolas questions.

I wonder how a Jesuit superior general can be known for his personal interest and experience in ministry and do such a lousy job appointing Jesuit provincials with ministry skills.

Prov. #3, Doug Marcouiller, shows no promise in that area.   Probably the only people he cares about are other Jesuits.

Prov. #1 knew how to treat people like people  — he was a clear communicator, he was attentive in conversations, and he wasn’t afraid.  Prov. #2 was simply weird, and I’m not the only one who thought so.  He mostly bailed out, allowing the abuser to harass me after I was found credible and allowing the abuser to breach the agreement.  And now there is Prov. #3.

Prov. #3 has to do better and doesn’t seem inclined to.

I want to ask Fr. Nicolas about that.  I want to ask Fr. Nicolas how prov. #2 could fuck up so much.  I want to ask how much supervision Jesuit provincials get.  I want to know how Jesuit provincials who tell lies about abusers are punished in the Jesuit order.  Why isn’t prov. #2 removed from ministry?  How did he get his next job — now — as rector of a Jesuit formation house?  I want to ask a ton of questions about that.

Asking Fr. Nicolas questions will be the highlight of going to court.  The structure of the Jesuit order takes everything to the superior general, Fr. Nicolas, and I also wrote to him.   I want to ask him if he thinks he is effective, after I remind him of all the problems he ignored.

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“Companions of Jesus”

November 30, 2009

That’s what Jesuits call themselves.  Companions of Jesus.

I don’t see it.  The Jesus I know isn’t afraid of people, the way Jesuits are afraid of people who were raped by Jesuits.

But we can talk about this in court.   Really.

Jesuits Don’t Have Pastoral Sensibilities

November 30, 2009

The few Jesuits who do have pastoral sensibilities make it easy to see that most Jesuits do not.

I’m not filing suit against anyone who would be pained by it.

And it’s the only communication they respect.

The Downhill Slide of Missouri Jesuits

November 30, 2009

In 2003, when I made my first report to the Missouri Jesuit province about the Jesuit who sexually assaulted me, they talked to me and dealt with me like I’m a person.   I had no idea then how remarkable that is.   To be treated like a person.

The provincial took calls and never rushed.   He was furious and worried about other women who were hurt by the Jesuit abuser.  He said to call him whenever I wanted to talk.   We had three conversations, all at key times.   I am not a talker and really don’t like phones.   We both saw it the same way.  Have a conversation when it matters.   We both could listen too.

That provincial, Frank Reale, left later in 2003, when his term was up.   Tim McMahon came next.  During the first half of  McMahon’s term, the abuser’s relatives harassed me on the internet whenever I shared my experience with other abuse survivors.  (Under Missouri law, that’s cyber stalking.)   McMahon did not do anything about it for two years, and when he finally said something it was “it’s not our responsiblity”.    Frank Reale would have stopped it at the beginning.

Then I learned the abuser has been violating the legal agreement since at least 2006.  McMahon lied about it, flagrant lying.  He would have allowed more violations but I wrote to the school and the parish where violations were taking place, and told Fr. Nicolas.

McMahon left over the summer 2009, with his term finished, but this situation isn’t finished.

Now I am dealing with Doug Marcouiller, provincial #3.   Marcouiller hasn’t figured out how to have a conversation either.  I’m a case.

From prov #1 to prov #2 to prov #3, in less than six and a half years, all down hill.

It looks like court is the only option left, so that’s where I’m headed.  Court would never be my first choice, but there are some good things.  We can ask Tim McMahon and Doug Marcouiller and Fr. Nicolas questions — and  the abuser too.   The abuser will be in a court room.   So there are advantages to going to court, if that’s what’s needed.

All this shit, because of that Jesuit, and what he did to my life.

I will hold Jesuits accountable.

Talking to Dead People

November 28, 2009

I was about 27 and sitting on a bed in my room in a very old house that Boston College used for graduate housing.  I started law school the year before, and then decided to combine it with a master’s in pastoral ministry.   BC had arranged for students in the pastoral ministry program to rent space in the old house.  During my time there I learned some memorable things:  1.  Bats like old houses in Boston.   2.  Nuns are not all alike.    3.  A few people can eat the same food with e coli and not all will get sick.

One afternoon in July, I was sitting on my bed reading something….. and was startled when a book fell from a shelf lined with books and landed loudly on the floor.  When I picked it up later, I saw that something had fallen out and picked it up.   It was a prayer card from when my grandmother died, when I was 18.   And I looked at it, and saw that this day was the anniversary, the same day in July that she had died.   “Hi Grandma!”, I said to Grandma, who said “Hi” first.

I’m a lucky girl, being that Grandma said “Hi” first — and the first dead person to say hi.   I don’t trust anyone else as simply, or un-complicatedly, like Grandma.

So, this November I had hard work to do, getting crap together for my case with Missouri Jesuits.

I was putting it off, the way we people shut down when things are just way too hard.

And then the spirit of San Salvador captivated my reading, my conversations, my prayer — when I was hardly aware, not feeling much Catholic anymore…..  It’s the 20th anniversary of the murder of 6 Jesuits and 2 women co-workers in San Salvador.

And then one morning it was easy:    Tell the uncomfortable  truth, put the important papers together, and get it done.

Lying and Religion

November 28, 2009

I majored in philosophy at Holy Cross and loved it, but didn’t agree with the guidance that I should go on for a PhD.  I’ve never regretted that decision, though the reason I had then no longer applies.  Then, I kept telling people, “But I have nothing to say.”   How can you go on for a PhD and teach if you have nothing to say?  I had some fabulous teachers who had things to say.

Of course, that all changed.  I have plenty to say.   Plenty.   It changed for me at around 30.   And there’s been no let up.

I wonder a lot about how religious people tell lies, especially people in leadership roles.   If you need a refresher, google what the Irish Catholic church is saying about why they lied about rape and sexual abuse and allowed more human beings to be raped and sexually abused.  Look up what the American Catholic church said about their lies and cover ups about all the people who were raped and sexually abused.

The Jesuits are lying in 2009 — and it is no different.   It’s no different at all.  Lying, because in some way the truth will be costly and uncomfortable.

Jesuits engage in a daily examen of consciousness.

I wonder how that works with lying — but the American and European churches found comfort with it awhile ago.

The Catholic Church and its Liars

November 27, 2009

In the past 24 hours, I’ve read and heard a lot from liars in the Catholic church, and it re-opened recent wounds.

A commission in Ireland released a long awaited report on sexual abuse by clergy and the shocking pattern of lies from church authorities who covered it up.  You would think, from what Irish bishops are saying, that change is coming.

If the US church is any example, the Catholic church will continue to tell lies.  Seven years after it made public apologies for lies and cover ups and promised not to do it again, the Catholic church in the US is still lying.

I caught the last two Missouri Jesuit provincials telling lies about the 2003 agreement they signed after finding me credible.   Prov. #2 lied about the abuser’s actions that breached the agreement.  Easy to prove that he lied. Prov. #3 lied when he said the abuser has always denied it — the abuser apologized twice — and it’s not even relevant, after they found me credible and told me they did not believe him.  Prov. #3 also failed to address prov. #2’s lies about breaching the agreement, because he would have to lie too.

I read an article about a talk prov. #2 recently gave, about lies.  He was focusing on the lies told and the cover up by political and military officials after six Jesuits and two women were murdered in San Salvador twenty years ago.  And the lie that one human life is worth more than another, and that it took the deaths of Jesuits to focus efforts on stopping the killing.

Jesuits — along with Catholic hierarchy — will talk about and expose the lies of others, but not look at their own actions unless they are caught and exposed.

It’s no fun, any of this, and the cost on me is huge … but the lying has to stop, and I will make sure of that.