We abuse victims often rage at God for our circumstances. Given the pain we endured, that is only natural. Is it, however, appropriate? Is God responsible for fate and justice, by inference, for innocent suffering?
“The Three Fates” by Alexander Rothaug (c. 1910), Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH (PD)
The Fates are a common feature in polytheism. They are often depicted as a group of mythological goddesses weaving the destiny of mortals on a loom. The ancient Greeks called them the Moirai. The Norse called them the Norns. They controlled the thread of life for every mortal from birth to death.
A belief in fate or blind chance can give rise to resignation, a stoic submission to events which largely removes free will from the equation. This is a way of coping with the gross injustice of abuse. It eases the pain, but reinforces a hopeless victim mentality.
What such a belief does not do is place responsibility where it truly belongs, i.e. on the predator. That can be appealing, since we need not confront the excruciating truth that we were not loved as we deserved. Continue reading
Courtesy of Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net/opinion/cartoons/cartoons-wolves-in-priests-clothing/article_5ab23648-a66a-5f8d-a162-bb6108eb6722.html
From his photo, Fr. Robert McWilliams, 40, would appear jovial and harmless. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Ohio priest has been indicted for child pornography, child exploitation, and juvenile sex trafficking . McWilliams had been on administrative leave following a 2019 arrest for possession of child pornography.
McWilliams posed as a woman on social media to entice young boys into providing explicit photos/videos of themselves. He then threatened to share the embarrassing material with their family and friends, if victims did not provide him additional material.
Some of McWilliams’ victims were known to him from his work as a parish priest.
Cleveland’s Bishop Nelson Perez has expressed the willingness of the Diocese to cooperate with law enforcement.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7; 15).
 CNN, “Ohio priest indicted on charges of child pornography and juvenile sex trafficking, US attorney says” by Rob Frehse, 7/3/20, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/03/us/ohio-priest-child-pornography-sex-trafficking-indictment/index.html.
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As we mature into adulthood, we gain not only physical and emotional strength, but power over our lives. This opens up new opportunities, and options never available to us before.
Distinguishing between the feeling of vulnerability and actual vulnerability becomes crucial.
“…Do I need to better protect myself from a danger in the environment? Or do I need to muster the courage to face something that isn’t going to kill me and that can help me grow stronger and more confident? Often we can conflate the two…Once we determine what our vulnerable feelings are about, we can thus make a decision to protect ourselves from real danger, or face an opportunity for personal growth by facing real feelings, emotions and needs…”
-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/
In an effort to protect ourselves, we may be tempted to erect emotional barriers, barricades against further abuse. This is only natural. To the extent that we re-establish safe boundaries, it is all to the good.
But we must remember that barricades can become traps for those inside. Inadvertently, we may cut ourselves off from the opportunities now accessible to us, and the very relationships which might help us to heal. Continue reading