I left the church completely when they turned their back on a child in need. This is happened years ago, but Charlie Pierce has an essay up that made me rethink about my own relationship with the Church. My thoughts are far too complicated for twitter, and I’m not sure they will make any sense with the blog, but all the hoopla on the Church lately has made me think about why I walked away from Catholicism and the Christian faith. I left because of the sheer hypocrisy of the Church.
I had a client, years ago, who was a devout Catholic. As with all of my clients, this young man was sexually aggressive. While in the world of treatment, his case was not necessarily the worst I had ever seen, he had done great harm to his victim, her family as well as his own family. His family came to me for treatment, and I worked with him to address his thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Given his level of activity in a peer group he was considered lower-risk. The family, who was accustomed to getting strength from the church ,assured me that this young man would continue to be embraced by the church community and receive the requisite spiritual and social support necessary to live a positive life.
They turned to the church, and the church kicked my client not just out of the youth group, but his school as well, citing his non-adjudicated offense as the reason why he could not be around children his own age.
Let me be perfectly clear: The kid offended someone much younger. He had no contact with kids of that age any more. He wasn’t on probation, he was diverted. This means he wasn’t even in the Juvenile Justice System because the authorities in the State’s Attorneys Office deemed him to be low risk.
So the Catholic Church, which goes on and on about forgiveness, redemption and social service turns its back on a parishioner who needed help. Meanwhile, the Bishops are shifting pedophiles and hebephiles around like collectible collecting cards. Here was a kid who was ready, willing and able to work through his shit. They walked away from him.
The kicker: I knew the pastor of that church. He was, when I knew him, a good man who cared about children of all kinds.
The Church did nothing for this kid, while they have gone to the MAT for adults who have offended dozens of children.
This was a kid who could have–and I should point out, was–helped without the guidance of the Church. As far as anyone knows, he’s relapse free for at least five years. During those five years, the Church has continued to shelter pedophiles and turn its back on people in need based on sexual orientation or gender.
I beat up on the Church because the Church chose to protect and shelter pedophiles, and because it abandoned families in need. Their hypocrisy drove me away. And now, despite my desire to believe in the hereafter, they can’t get me back.