Assuaging their own grief…

I have to admit that sometimes I get really angry over some of the comments that are sent in that, on the surface, seem to want to offer me encouragement but, in fact, are supportive of either the man who raped and beat me or others like him.   They are most likely sent by well-meaning people who are not willing to admit that their church is guilty of harboring predator priests as well as other criminal activity.  Or they are unwilling to allow that their precious “Father Bob” or “Father Gibson” was a predator who indulged his perverse fetish of raping prepubescent boys as his way to  get off.  (Excuse me for being blunt.)  (Robert Gibson’s assignments as a priest in the Diocese of Scranton are listed here.)

A case in point, I received an email from a reader in response  to a reply I left to a comment on a recent post.  The original comment was from a friend who was angry that the man who had officiated at her wedding and baptized her children was also the man who sexual preyed on her junior high school classmates (yes, that is an intentional plural).  The conflict was weighing on her. 

I was also conflicted for years because the same man who had raped and beat me numerous times was responsible for getting my father into an alcohol rehab program during my freshman year of college.    The man was a bit of a hero in my family for a long time.  I heard about it for years and I seethed at the accolades being offered for him.    He used this magnanimous act of pastoral kindness to keep me quiet, keep me in place, keep me from telling my great terrible secret.    It was quite a shock to my parents when I finally told them some of the things that happened all those years ago.  Acts of sexual predation that the Diocese of Scranton deemed credible based on other reports on the same “priest”.  Acts that I know were committed on more children than the Diocese of Scranton cares to admit.

The email I received was a little over the top.  I read it once and it bothered me so I walked away from the computer.  When I read it later I was upset.  The next day I was just angry.  I wrote several responses, deleting one after another until I was able to find a way to temper my  anger.  I am not sure that I was completely successful.

The sender of the email stated that she had gone to Missouri to see Father Gibson.  In her words (Sic):

 He was a vegetable of a man in bed. He is completely unable to speak or respond. I knew it was him because they told me that was the man in the bed; but I didn’t recognize him. He is an emaciated shell of a person. He is enduring an empty, lonely, desolation of a life.He cannot speak or comprehend. He is Completely cut off from human interaction.  It is an empty room with nothing but a bed.

Where the wheels came off for me in this email were statements like (sic):

But I knew Robert Gibson. I believe he would choose to suffer like this. I believe he was so ashamed. I believe he was pained at what he did to you.  

        When he dies. ….. And my sense it will be soon… Robert Gibson will make it a priority to help you heal. He was a monster to you. He knew that, but he was not able to control his urges. They call it pedophilia.

Did you ever have urges that you could not control?

Michael… I hope and pray (and I do still pray) that you are somehow able to find peace. If there is a God, then I know that Robert Gibson deserves to suffer for what he did to you. I knew him. He had goodness along side the horror that he showed you.

You will be free soon. Your pain is something I cannot grasp. But you will wake up one day and realize you can breathe. That means Robert Gibson has died and begged our Lord to protect you and comfort you. I hope then you will be free.

Let me answer each of these examples in turn.  I don’t believe he would choose to suffer.  He enjoyed what he did, he liked the power, he liked being dominant and he got off on it.  It sexually excited him.  Did he have regrets or did he lament his actions?  We have no way to know.   His only regret was probably that he got caught.  But even then there was no consequence of note.  The Diocese was more about preventing scandal and keeping the parishioners in the pew for the Sunday morning magic show and tithing.   They moved him to Dittmer, one step ahead of the authorities that should have prosecuted him.

He is going to make me a priority after he dies?  Interesting concept!  If you buy into the “heaven hypothesis” (thanks Maria, I really like that expression) you would think that this man would not get past St Peter.  He would probably be on the express train to hell, along with Bishop Timlin and his band of cronies who put themselves above the welfare of children in the Diocese of Scranton. 

My favorite…  “Did you ever had urges you could not control?”.   If you are insinuating that I have had urges to molest, rape or harm in any way, a child, the answer is “NO”!   I get this more often than not from the church apologists/zealots, in fact it is one of the church defenses against survivors/victims of sexual predators wearing Roman Collars.  They want us to be identified as predators.  They want us to be seen as subhuman and threatening.    Do not, even for a moment, put me in the same category as Robert Gibson, rapist of children.  

He had goodness along side of the horror that he showed you.”  Really!  At what point did the “goodness” manifest itself?  Or perhaps he did “good” things to keep up the facade of being a caring priest in order to separate his next victim from the herd.   Tell me, how do you reconcile the fact that he had all this evil along side of the goodness he showed you? 

The idea of Robert Gibson ascending to the right hand of the “father” upon his death is absurd.   If there is a “god”,  I would suspect that miscreants like Gibson are not destined for any reward in the after life. 

I am sure when he does die, he will be buried with the full vestments of the church that turned its back on his victims.  I am sure he will have a funeral befitting a man of “god”. I am sure he will be heralded for his goodness and sent to his “maker” for his eternal reward.  That will be the final act in the church’s deceit.  I doubt his victims will be invited to send him off with the “honors” he truly deserves.  I am sure that Diocese will wait for a while to tell his victims that he has died so that there will be not interference with his priestly funeral. 

His death will not set me free.  I am already free, I have the truth.  I have spoken that truth and others have also stood up to say that they were also targeted by Gibson.  Some have done so publicly, others have done so privately.   As soon as our great terrible secrets were shared, we were all free.  He has no power over me.  His death will not result in my rebirth.  To give his life, his basic ability to pump blood and draw breath, power over his many victims is ludicrous. He is just a pathetic life form. 

For those concerned about a possible road trip to Dittmer to see Gibson for myself, I did make the run down I-64 from my home in Virginia to Louisville, Kentucky.   While the overhead signs encouraged me on to St. Louis, I did not venture past my Kentucky destination.   Gibson is not worth the gas.   To all my friends who wrote to me out of concern of what a trip to Missouri would do to me, fear not.  I would not do anything stupid.  I would not lower myself to commit an act of violence like Gibson did repeatedly to me and to many others.  If I was going to burn gas to make a scene, it would be to go to Scranton and engage the leaders of the cult in the Chancery on Wyoming Avenue. 

Remember, my dear readers, if you are currently tithing or contributing to the Catholic Church, you are perpetuating the hierarchy that has put children and vulnerable adults in danger.  You have been supporting a corrupt organization that has moved far away from the “faith” it purports to espouse.  Your tacit support makes you complicit in their actions. 

12 thoughts on “Assuaging their own grief…”

  1. Dear Michael…I agree that Gibson will not do any of the things the writer said. I believe there is a God, and there is a sin that is UNFORGIVEABLE… I Also believe that these monsters have committed. it. It is the SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT! I truly believe that this is the UNFORGIVEABLE SIN! Many have said I am wrong but I know GOD WOULD NOT TOLLERATE THIS EVIL, BY A PERSON WHO REPRESENTS JESUS CHRIST, AGAINST AN INNOCENT CHILD…WITHOUT A PUNISHMENT TO HELL..Take note.. my friend …hell here and hell there! Gibson is there!

  2. That person. who wrote you…. I’m sure was just trying to be merciful…as she thinks God would be. God will not be Mocked and this sin is beyond all mockery! This is HIS SON IN WHOM HE IS WELL PLEASED…HE is extremely sickened and angry by HIS HOLY SPIRIT BEING SEXUALLY ATTACKED BY A LIAR. IN HIS SON’S NAME.

  3. After reading her comments your progression of emotions were perfectly normal. Bothered, upset, then angry. I actually think you are a very nice person that it took a full day to reach “angry”. As survivors we all have heard some form of the “but he did some good things defense” and know that is minimizing the heinous crime committed on us.
    Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t kill and eat every person he ever met but would anyone complement him on his table manners at a family thanksgiving dinner?

  4. Dearest Michael,
    Carefully prepared, guileful letters, e-mails, or post comments from church apologists are re-traumatizing on so, so many levels. One level of which, is when the church apologist appeals to the priest’s closeness to the ~~ “Goodness of God” or that the sexually abusive priest’s ~~ “goodly deeds” outside of abuse somehow mitigate the crime of sexual abuse.
    I am not Confucius, Bro… I am not Jeebus or Solomon or Socrates or Gandhi or Nelson Mandela or any such. I speak in metaphor and allegory at times, because sometimes facts are hidden from the public [as has been done by the Diocese of Scranton for years. I heard about the drunken orgies there, just as assuredly as I was invited to gay, drunken orgies at Saint Paul’s Seminary near Pittsburgh]. Much has been hidden, and in my state of cardiac failure, I most certainly do not have time to reconstruct every inner meaning in real time, Pulitzer-prize-winning narratives, or news type. So I use metaphor and allegory; not to sound wise, trendy-down-to-earth, or folksy or whatnot — it simply saves time to fill in the massive gaps of truth we’ve been denied by the Criminal Corporate Roman Catholic Cult — with rhyme and reason.
    And so, as weak as it might seem, or inconsequential or trivial to this particularly-disturbing, subliminally-hypnotic church apologist’s [basically] telling you: “He’s too old to punish. Lay off of him. Him and God love you more for suffering in silence. You know less than me about what makes a man good or evil in God’s appraisal.” Oh. As weak as it might seem that the man is a serial rapist who destroyed lives — as trivial as it is that his “instruction booklet” provided by his employers to do his job had that little “MILLSTONE” quote in it — and as inconsequential as your righteous anger is to the supposed acceptance and tolerance of purveyors of vile acts against man, God, and nature. I’ve been writing about clergy abuse on the web for over ten years I think. It hurts when somebody gets it all wrong. But this apologist’s neglectful and denying lunacy… has indeed compared you to the criminal by asking if you have urges? Wow. I have the urge to perform an unnatural lobotomy on her. Joking. As victims, we are better than the unreasoned haters, Brother. They will always know that, if one side of their heart-beating is ever true to the other. All apologies on behalf of all decent humanity Bro, that one from the less -reasonable among us has compared you to the very criminal rapist who tortured so much of your life.
    Anyway, the allegory… the metaphor… let me get to it. This rape you suffered, Brother, it is as if it is as trivial and inconsequential that you were raped as if say, the ‘good father’ had merely showed up drunk or hung-over when making breakfast at your parish one morning, and burned your daily bread or toast blacker than charcoal. Now sometimes, admittedly, you can scrape the black of burned toast, and butter it up, or put sweet jelly on it, and it tastes just delicious — even though it looked like a crusty black slate of shite only seconds earlier. Other times, Bro, the toast is not fit for human consumption. No amount of scraping, buttering, or sweet jelly will work. It is just too black… like some hearts. We either take that piece of burned toast, and throw it outside for the dogs to chew up, or we throw it in the garbage. Anyhow… the crime against you by this unholy priest seems either to be as reparable as burned toast, or as dispensable… in the mind of this CCRCC apologist. And oh yeah, anything he did in life worse than merely [allegorically] burning a lad’s toast – why you probably have urges just as heinous and vile. Butter THAT on your daily bread, pal. Sheesh.
    Please keep up your greatest efforts, and do not be discouraged at the outrageous lengths CCRCC apologists will go to piss you off, or make you feel nuts. She is the nut, Bro, and any God or Jeebus would know the difference.
    As for rape and attempted destruction of one’s very soul, any God or ol’ Jeebus would know the difference between that and say, burning a piece of friggin toast.
    By the way [as you know]… there is no mitigation or equivocation in that MILLSTONE quote. It is pretty straightforward.
    Apologies again, too, for the cowardly wacko e-mails you must get – for taking such a staunch position against the criminals who taught you and me “R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N.” The more they try to piss you off in such correspondence, the closer to the bone your truths are cutting. You may not remove the proverbial plank from their eyes, Bro, but it seems you’re making a couple of them sweat.

    Sincerely,
    Kenny S

  5. Michael..you’re not buying that…. if there is a GOD …that HE would be angry enough to send these monster. to hell? I
    believe HE WILL! “g”

    1. I am not buying that emails like hers are from people who are being merciful. I think that they are hurtful. I also do not believe in a god construct that would allow for a benevolent god to allow for men like Gibson. I also don’t buy into a “faith” with a foundation of deceit.

  6. Indeed hurtful, and indeed to assuage or make them feel good. Cripes, I’ve seen survivors being outright attacked in every forum I participated in, but too… proselytized by even denser globs of “explaining” God’s way to the victim. Usually that precedes a request that the victim “forgive” the deviate rapist priest, and his conniving enablers at the diocesan level and above. Oh. Yeah. This e-mail appears to be both. Attacking Michael by questioning whether he’s had “urges,” and [beyond human substantiation] asserting that Gibson will make it a priority to help God heal Michael. Last time I checked, there are around 7 billion people in the world. So then, this church apologist’s perception of what a God [or Gods] may or may not do in relation to Gibson’s post-mortem, possible spiritual desire to rectify things has less chance of being right than me winning the Powerball Lottery tomorrow. That “guess,” or interpretation, is as good as any second-graders. Why would she perceive any moral-empowerment to “lecture” a man on such? As well, her assertions can NEVER be proven. Last time I checked, there is nobody alive on this planet that [it can be empirically demonstrated] has died and come back to life. So then, the nebulous assertions of Michael’s CCRCC apologist have no basis in relevance or validity, as far as the merits of logical discussion are concerned. It is wishful thinking on one face, designed to make the letter writer feel good about her CCRCC kind. It is demonstrably hurtful rhetoric on the second face — the URGE remark. It is obvious that somebody wants Mr Baumann to get frustrated and quit. Two-faced hating, wrapped up in some prettier words. Whatever. “If it makes you feel good, do it.” Sure. Those are words to an old Madonna song, not the basis for a compassionate Christian response to explaining away the lifelong suffering of clergy abuse victims… with glib spritzes of improvable nothingness, and a brazen, cowardly attack on a man’s character.
    Gotta fly. Outta here.
    Peace, Bro.

  7. It’s hard when you don’t believe that God doesn’t take our free will from us.. HE
    does’nt, and we are responsible for what we do or don’t do.. Gibson. and all the rest will be held guilty..guilty…guilty..I still forgive. as it hurts me more than them, to hold a grudge! I don’t forget. though, and I keep on blogging. against them. and all the evil going on in the rcc. It’sickening! KEEP ON KEEPING ON! gloria …I’ve been your fan for as long as you’ve had this blog..remember me?

  8. Reading your blog has brought back a littany of memories for me. My older brother and I were two of the many victims of Fr. Robert Caparelli. We never made it public and we never pressed charges. By the time his case was made public the statue of limitations for us had long since expired, so we were never able to confront him in a court of law. Had I known at the time, I would have sued for as much money as I could due to the fact that the church knew about his affinity for little boys a full year before I was born. All they did was reassign him.

    Unlike the person who wrote you that pitiful e-mail, I do know your pain. I know it only too well. I can say with a straight face that I have forgiven my former tormentor. I’m not implying that you need to do the same. Whether you have or haven’t matters not to me. Everyone who is a victim of such abuse deals with it in their own manner, and I hope yours is effective. I can only say in my case that once he was arrested and I fully realized what a pitiful and broken man he was, I understood that he could not control his impulses. Fortunately, Fr. Caparelli was not violent, and this made it somewhat easier to bear. I never once went to see him in jail and found out he died two years after the fact. Most importantly, I have come to terms with the fact I had nothing to do with causing it, and could do nothing at my age at the time to prevent it.

    I know only too well the contemptible liars and cowards that are the majority of the church hierarchy. I found out much later that once we moved out of state my mother wrote the local Archbishop and she asked him what to do. She told me that he encouraged her to go public (she didn’t) because he would not want such priests. I found out too late to do anything that it was known, as I said earlier, a full year before I was born that Caparelli was a pedophile and was highly likely to continue as such without therapy. This is what I take umbrage with. I think of all the needless victims only because they wanted the church to save face (and not have to pay money)

    I can only hope that you have found your peace with it, and it sounds like you have. I imagine that the blog is part of your way of coming to terms with it. Hopefully this is the case. Keep up the good work, and don’t listen to the likes of that person who sent you the e-mail. I am reminded of the old Native American proverb of not judging a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes, and until that happens she has no room to pontificate.

    They say Dr. Mengele used to hand out sweets to his child victims..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s