Why We Come:
Kathleen M. Dwyer - Boston, MA

What follows is something I wrote in response to people asking us at Boston protests "Why are we still there...Law has resigned?" It is now in a one page handout which we are giving out at various demonstrations.

We come because not to do so may give the appearance that there is no reason to be concerned or worried about the children and vulnerable adults of today and the children and vulnerable adults of tomorrow;

We come because not to speak our truth is to create a less than whole picture of the Catholic Church;

We come because the church hierarchy says one thing and does another;

We come because the church hierarchy has known of this for years yet with held information that could have prevented the countless victimization of so many children and vulnerable adults and validated, supported and indeed, possibly contributed to the healing of those who were victimized;

We come because the church hierarchy protects perpetrators, conceals their crimes thus making accountability impossible;

We come because the church hierarchy is defensive when asked to account for their behavior regarding their active and overt collusion with perpetrators rather than being outraged, sorry and eager for information to help them change such behaviors;

We come because we are angry;

We come because we were betrayed;

We come because perpetrators and those who cover for them have had no consequences and therefore have no reason to stop abusing;

We come because we have no reason to believe the abuse has or will stop;

We come because of the lack of understanding the church hierarchy demonstrates regarding the effects of having been sexually abused. That in order for us to receive any financial help we have been forced to meet with representatives of the institution that protected, supported and covered up for those who abused us. No one who understands sexual abuse would ever expect a victim of rape to ask for support and/or healing from the rapist;

We come because our silence was killing us;

We come because our silence was protecting perpetrators and their supporter;

We come because breaking our silence is healing for us and has the potential of creating a more safe place for the children and vulnerable yet to come;

We come because even though it places us in a position to be scrutinized and vulnerable, it is far less harmful than when we were silent;

We come because we are working at moving from victim, to survivor to activist in our own lives;

We come because each day we learn a little more about how right we were and how wrong they were, are and seem committed to continuing to be;

We come because the church hierarchy knew and knows and their own documents reveal that to be true;

We come because what was done is a crime not a scandal;

We come because the church is given and claims to be the moral authority and if they will not role mode the taking of responsibility, the expressing of outrage and the behavior of commitment to insure that no individuals be allowed to do such atrocities without consequences why would those others who commit such crimes in even greater numbers, stop what they are doing, take responsibility for their actions and be held accountable for their crimes;

We come because the Bishops refer to the sexual abuse of children and the vulnerable in the church and their cover ups as their occasional lapses and believe that it is they who are being exploited by interest groups that don't like the teachings of the church;

We come because, without change and accountability, it is us who were, are and will continue to be exploited not the church, its bishops or priests;

We come because the hierarchy continues to blame victims for everything from the abuse itself to the lack of funds to support schools, programs for the homeless, addicted and poor as well as health insurance and other benefits for those employed by them;

We come because the hierarchy would rather close schools and programs and deny benefits to their employees than sell off some of the valuable properties they own and benefit from;

We come because the hierarchy would rather blame victims, everyday laity, groups who would like change, marginalized groups, the media, the times or any other person, place or thing rather than take responsibility for their own behaviors;

We come because some who sit in the pews today are also perpetrators and are invested in the church family not being held accountable lest they be placed in a position of being held accountable;

We come because it wasn't our fault but rather the fault of the perpetrators, those in the hierarchy who covered up for them and any others who knew;

We come because the shame is not ours but the perpetrators, the hierarchy's and any others who knew;

We come because not to do so would be wrong;

We come because those who went before helped us to arrive in this place where we dared to speak our truth;

We come because we want to leave a better place for the children and the generations yet to come to speak their truth.

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