Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clergy Abuse? Is it Over? No! Become a Part of Healing

Clergy abuse?  Is it over?  No!!!!!!!
  • Many clergy abuse survivors still in the Church remain silent.
  • Many survivors remain estranged from the Church.
  • The Bishops requested 20 plus years of e-mails from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests costing them huge sums of money to protect the confidentiality of survivors.
  • Despite the 2002 Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Young People, survivors abused in the last 10 years continue to come forward.

The whole community is wounded and the whole community needs to be involved in the healing process.

Come to Ascension Catholic Church to be a part of the healing process.
July 14, 2012
11 AM to Noon
743 SE 76th Avenue
Portland, OR 97215
St. Francis Room

Cost:  free, but registration required
Contact: Virginia Jones at 
ph# 503-866-6163 or

Elizabeth Goeke was a young Benedictine nun in 1965, when her confessor assaulted her on Christmas Eve.  She was told to keep silent about the event and then told to leave her order when she could not.  She was then told she would be excommunicated if she did not remain silent except during confession.  After leaving her order, she went home to her parents.  During confession in their parish, a visiting priest called her a “dirty woman” and told her to “get out” of the Catholic Church, so she did.
Twenty seven years passed.  She did not attend Mass or any other religious service, but in 2002, in the wake of the clergy abuse scandal, she returned to her order for a reunion of current and former nuns.  
She was asked, “Of all our class, I thought you were most suited to the convent.  Why did you leave?”
Elizabeth replied, “The year I was on mission I learned I was not cut out for the life, and then there was the fact that I was abused by a priest.”
She was not embraced by her order or her very Catholic family, but this event marked the beginning of a healing journey and spiritual renewal for Elizabeth.  She did not return to the Catholic Church because the Church did not welcome her.  She became an Episcopalian.
However, she started working with parishioners and priests at Ascension Catholic Church in 2007, listening to the stories of the wounded on all sides of the issue.  We facilitated the reconciliation of a survivor, Steve Fearing, who was abused by a Franciscan priest with his Franciscan brother , Fr. Armando Lopez, the former pastor of Ascension.  After Steve shared his story, Fr. Armando apologized, and the two men hugged.  Everyone in the room cried tears of joy.
Elizabeth said, “We are on holy ground here.”
Later, Fr. Ben Innes OFM, the new pastor of Ascension, supported Elizabeth as she led a retreat at Ascension in 2009.
The leadership of the Catholic Church isn’t going to lead the way.  We the people have to lead.  Come join us to hear Elizabeth’s story and consider what we the people can do.

Elizabeth Goeke

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