lørdag 28. februar 2015

# 36 – What if your upbringing wasn’t inside of the frame called «normal»?

In blogpost # 35 we talked about the normal process of growing into adult age and among other I wrote: “You will if, you were brought up in a normal home, probably still share a lot of their values (your parents) and you will still love them”. What if you grew up in a family with lot of quarrelling, slamming of doors, being told repeated times that you were not good enough or even much worse circumstances?

Will God applaud your struggle to get free from bad childhood memories? I want to say it this way: If you have been abused in any way, or if your family wasn’t able to meet your needs as a child. God knows about that and he of course want you to heal from your wounds. If he sees that your try to become a grown up through your teenage years fails, he will feel sorry for you and he will want you to have the opportunity to have normal entrance into the adult world.

How can that come about? It will not be easy! Since I have been a therapist for harmed youth I know a lot about how damaged some might be. Some might be easy to help because they have only got a light depression or anxiety at a level that is easy to treat as long as the young one cooperate with the therapist. When helped out of their darkness they of course a free to study their religion.

Some, however, are damaged at a deeper level. I cannot teach you about all the Mental Disorders that can come out of a “sick family”. There are plenty of Internet pages about mental disorders that you can look up if you are interested, but please remember that all Mental Disorders do not come from growing up in distorted families. There are traumas that are so big that even the most healthy person will get emotional problems that is not related to his/her upbringing. As a matter of fact one in three persons either have had, have or will have some sort of mental disturbances in their lives.

Here I want to say something about some of the damages that might rise from growing up in unstable families; dinner never served at promised times, appointments in the family easily broken, no rules or so strict rules that it leave the young full of hateful feelings, no help with school work and so on ….

Since there were few possibilities for the child to predict what will happen now or then, the child, later the teenager, might have problems to hold fast to thoughts and keep a steady course in life. To ask such a person to study this or that might only make the youth feel uncomfortable because his/her concentration jumps from one topic to another along with feeling that also jumps easily from one state to another.

I have met so many of you and I want to tell that you have my deepest compassion! Youngsters that have grown up in normal homes have not a clue about what you are going through! They don’t understand that you cannot just skip out of it and turn to God in all your instability. They don’t know what a hard job that lies in front of you to get the normal life that they through a normal upbringing got for free.

What can you do? You can pray when that is possible for you. You can study small amounts at a time, let’s say for 10 minutes and you should allow yourself to feel good for being able to do so even if you already have become as old as 25 or thereabout. May be your struggle to have a normal life is just as difficult as it is for an academic to become a professor … Think about that!! You will have no diploma on earth for doing all the hard work, but perhaps God has made an invisible diploma for you that he will give you when you enter heaven.

I wrote this to tell that I have not forgotten that not all young people have the best opportunities to work it out with God.

My recommendation is that if you have it this way, please go and see a therapist. Many countries don’t allow psychologists to combine therapy and working on your relationship to God in the threapy. That means that if you wish to find out more about God, you have to visit the therapist to get order in your life and a priest to get inputs about God. (If you live in America there are some catholic psychologists here and there.  See http://www.catholictherapists.com).

It might take some time, but there are hope to both have a stable life and a connection with God even if you live in counties that don’t accept the mix of therapy and religion!

You are in my prayers!

God bless!

søndag 22. februar 2015

# 35 – Independence and God, in conflict or in harmony?

 Does God want us to follow him blindly without thinking? No, he doesn’t. We are born into this world helpless and not able to take care of ourselves? Without the care of our parents (love, food, cloth, shelter) we would die after a short time. We grow, however, and will not need the same care as a three year old as we did when we were newborn. A three year old can tell that he needs to go to the toilet, is hungry and so on. He needs another care then the newborn. As years passes on he or she is given more and more freedom in accordance with his/her maturity.

One of the developmental traits in humankind is that his ability to think clearly becomes more and more independent, especially in the teenage years. Psychologically the teenager has a job to do. She/he has to find out what is really “my” thoughts and values and what have “I” only inherited from mom and dad without thinking? This job is a natural process and it can in fact give personal emotional problems if the teenager jump over this process. (To “part our parents psychologically” doesn’t mean to say “good bye” to them. It has to do with growing up and meet your parents from an adult perspective rather than from a childish perspective. You will if, you were brought up in a normal home, probably still share a lot of their values and you will still love them). I think that since God knows that we have to go through this process of parting from our parents psychologically to become good mature adults able to take responsibility for our choices, he “applauds” when we are doing this very important job with ourselves.

God is not against independent thinking!

The problem, however, is that this “becoming young independent adults” doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In former times when the society around the young was Christian (Catholic), the young had a lot of grown ups and friends to discuss with that would be able to reach out to them in their searching for independence. The value system these youngsters had to go through was different from today.

If you are a youngster of today you will have different answers after whom you have asked. The task of becoming independent with regard to psychologically parting from your parents are therefore much more difficult than it was for former generations.

If you have decided that you don’t have to go to church on Sundays after thinking about the question, asking others about their opinion, thinking more and so on, you have made a mature decision.

The problem, however, is that your choice is not in line with the teachings of the Church God himself founded.

a)   The third commandment from God says: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”.
b)   Dogma 154 out of 255  says “The church founded by Christ is holy” (a dogma is a truth that a catholic has to believe as a formal member of the Church).
c)   Dogma 149 says: “Christ is the Head of the Church.
d)   CCC 2177 says: The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church." 
e)   One of the Church’s own commandment says:  “On Sundays, you will participate in the Mass, and on feast days as well”.

As you can see, it is possible to do an adequate and “psychological good” parting from parents and becoming mature, but still have made a choice that is not in line with the teachings of the Church God founded. How can that be?

I think that if you look back to blogpost # 34 where I asked: “Who were your missionaries?”, you might have a glimpse of what I mean. As a matter of fact I could have asked: “What sources did you put your trust in when you decided your values?

To be an independent individual doesn’t mean that you have to think outside of the “catholic box”. To be a catholic in line with the Church’s teachings you have to study the right sources to find out how to behave toward the God that made you, loves you and wants you to reach Heaven.

To say yes to the Church, doesn’t mean that you are not an independent individual. When you have found your place in the Church, based on the Church’s teachings, it is other questions you have to answer.

Some of these questions might be:

Do you really want the education your parents want for you?
Do you have to have the same music taste as them?
Do you want to raise your (future) children in exact the same ways as your parents raised you when it comes to disciplining them?
Do you want this or that to be the same as your parents?

All this and many more questions is for you to decide about which of the values your parents gave to you, you want to keep because you think their choices were good. On the other hand you have to fill in your own were you feel that you have a different understanding according to how to raise children (as one of many examples).

God has given you a free will to choose HIM or not. It’s not wise to waste that choice upon opinions from your friends or others who was not well formed in the catholic faith.

I know that it can be difficult to be young and I don’t think that you will shift opinions from the one day to the other just because I put some reminders for you in this blogpost.

What I do think, however, is that you probably will put the reminders from this blogpost together with what other persons concerned about your salvation writes about the topics discussed here.

Like all mature and reflective persons you will probably put it in “your box for further thinking and reading when I have the time” in your brain. (There are no boxes in the brain. I said that figuratively).

God never forces anybody to take a special choice. He has told us through the Bible and the Church how he wants his unconditioned love to be returned. If we need time to understand and to find out, he will bend down to us and follow us in our tact. He will guide us inside the frames that we are able to open up for. As a little input from a Jewish convert I read about. The Jew said something like this when called to the Catholic Church: “I will follow you wherever you want, even if you are Buddha or something else, as long as you are not Jesus” (freely from my memory). God did not spit him out of his mouth, but followed him patiently for the years he needed to reconcile himself with the fact that it was the Christian Messiah that had called him. He became a catholic at last. 

Still there is one thing to add: Your will to find out what is the will of God and what is the will of people who want to convert the catholic teachings to this world, must be serious. To just lean back and wait for God's intervention without participating yourself, might be considered as some form of laziness.

God bends down to us even into our last moment in our bodies on earth. Young people die in car accidents in plane-crashes, in influenza and more. You never know when your last day comes. Oh yes, a lot of young people of today will reach the age of 80 or 90 in the western world, but you have no guarantee that that you will be among them. 

I don’t want to frighten you. I only point to the fact that so it is!

 One smart way to participate in your own salvation (that can only happen by the grace of God) can be to set apart an hour a week or more where you study the dogmas, the church fathers, the catechism and more (one topic at the time) and then adds a prayer time from 10 minutes to an hour about what problems you have with the faith and at the same time ask for God’s guidance. If you do this or similar, you show God that you really want to know HIS truth. 

May this Lenten season bee good for you and for your relationship with God, your family and friends!

lørdag 21. februar 2015

# 34 – St. Methodius and St. Cyril, then - what now?

(I haven’t been able to post this before now because my Internet connection has been out of function).

Before we go back to our list of questions that I suggested you should take your time to think about, I want to use the opportunity to use this feast day for St. Methodius and St. Cyril (February 14 – 2015) to reflect upon our Western secular world of today and how easy it is to be seduced in this more or less God-less world  both in Europe and in America.

The first time I heard about St. Methodius and St. Cyril was on a bus trip at Balkan, Europe many years ago. The two brothers had done a good deal of work by translating the Gospel into Slavonic language so that ordinary people could understand it in Moravia and later in other Slavonic areas too. They were honored by the Byzantine emperor. Rome didn’t like that of course. Neither did Germany. I will not go into that problematic here. In modern time both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox revere them. They are looked upon as the missionaries that have contributed to spreading the gospel to parts of Balkan. They are considered guardians of Europe.

Back to the bus trip: We visited something that looked like a barn from the outside in a town called Veiliko Tarnavo, but the barn was quite different on the inside. The town is known as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1386) and was of course Christian (Orthodox Christianity).

On the 17 July in 1393 Veiliko Tarnavo was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and as time went Christianity was forbidden and Islam took it’s place.

Veiliko Tarnavo is a beautiful town hanging down from the mountains. It gives a wonderful view into it’s surroundings. It feels as if you want to stop and praise God in this beautiful landscape that has been the geographical area of war between the Byzantines and the Ottomans.

I didn’t intend to write the whole history about St. Cyril and St. Metodius here, neither do I  intend to write the history of Veiliko Tarnavo. A little personal comment: I wasn't a catholic at that time. Among all the happenings over years that became my road into the Catholic Church, I think that the story about the two saints already mentioned and the experiencein the "barn", contributed to the many building-blocs in what later became my catholic faith.

I want to tell about my experience inside the building that looked like a barn. It was a church inside. To find a beautiful underground church inside the barn gave me a feeling of having entered Heaven. There where icons everywhere and Eastern Orthodox music came out of the loudspeakers. The church had become a museum when I visited it, but still it gave the impressions of being a holy place. I had no problems to imagine the Christians that once worshipped here, perhaps with the threat of losing their lives if the Muslims who had forbidden Christian practice discovered them.

In 2015 we are free to go to Church in the Western world without being afraid that someone will notice it and arrest us. Can we be captured from others sources?

Today (14 February 2015) the gospel text (Luke 10, 1-9) is about Jesus sending 72 disciples out as missionaries. We too, as Catholics are supposed to evangelize about the Good news.

Are we good enough to do that? While mentioning the Ottoman Muslims who conquered Veiliko Tarnavo, it was the forbidding of the Christian worship that was my point, not the historical frame of that time (Muslims expanding their land).  Can we risk that again (that somebody will forbid us to celebrate our faith) , and if so, who are we to fear? To be honest I think that what we have most to fear nowadays are not other religions, but our own apathy. (Various religious terrorist groups is another topic).

Many Catholics of to day laugh of Hell. I think they will stop laughing if they happen to enter that “place” with no opportunity to return. They want to choose how to worship God and forget that the authority was given to Peter and his apostles (The Church). Jesus has never taken that authority back. Jesus did never give the authority to uncle George, grandmother Esther, aunt Elisabeth or to Jane, Henrik, Alfred or you … The Vatican II did not change the Catholic dogmas either. They only wanted them to be more understandable to ordinary people (just as St. Cyril and St. Methodius did in their time when they translated the Gospel into a language that people could understand in their part of the world). The Church is there to guide and inform us, not to trample upon us and make us unhappy by making rules. I don’t talk about clerical or other abuse here even if that are important issues. The topic here is if somebody, in days not so far away, will be able to forbid us to worship God again. Will we have to build barns or other underground churches again?

If you feel well because you have found your own way of “catholic belief”, have you ever thought about whom your “missionaries” were? Who has taught you these beliefs? Fallen away Catholics? Your friends or other? I can assure you that as a former protestant there were a few things in the catholic teachings that really gave my brain something to work upon before I gave my “yes” to the Church. I will certainly agree about that not all the teachings are easy to understand.  Since I’m not the type to confirm something I don’t believe in, it was impossible for me to convert to the catholic faith without believing the dogmas. I had to wait until I understood them and my conscience was well informed and in line with the teaching of the Church.

May be you are a “pick and choose” catholic? Who were your missionaries?

“Do you need to have this “holier than the pope” attitude?” may be you want to ask me. My answer is “NO, but you see, as a protestant I too had met the “missionaries” who didn’t know the catholic dogmas”. I was wrongly informed. That’s why I had to do such a hard job to find out what was the Catholic Church’s teachings when I felt that God called me home to his Mother Church.

The same goes for you! I don’t want to scare you, but one day you are going to stand before the judgment seat of God. May be he will ask you why you were satisfied by following the teachings of the “wrong catholic missionaries”? Why didn’t you do your own research on the Church’s real teachings?

Take your time, but please do it! Please repent when you have found the real truth according to the Catholic Church and the Magisterium’s teaching. I think that it is so easy to be seduced by the secular world that it is very important to stay informed not by your own wishes of how it should be, but by the Church's undistorted teaching.

Remember what Satan told Eve in the Garden: “Did God really say ….”? He did! They had to taste the bitter consequences of doubting His word…

From my place behind the screen, I want to send you a hug and a big smile. Since I’m a convert I know that the way to the truth, as it is defined by the Catholic Church, can be a difficult road to walk before one understands it and sometimes it can be difficult afterward too because it contradicts much in the secular society. Christ has indeed said that his way goes through the cross. Crosses might sometimes feel heavy, but we have to choose. This road or that road? Our choice should be connected to where we want our journey to end, in Heaven or in Hell.

If it might help, try to think this way: You are going on a hike to a mountain were there are minus degrees. You feel that your backpack is heavy enough and want to skip the sleeping bag. If you do that you have not many chances to survive, so even if it is making your backpack more heavy, you bring it with you and your life is saved because you bothered to carry the sleeping bag (your cross). It is important to remember that we do have to be willing to carry our crosses when they come in our way, but we have lots of time with comfort too: good meals, sunny days at the beach, being touched by the smile of a baby, sing and dance, play, visiting other countries in our vacation , viewing art  and more ...

Please don’t feel that I have lifted my moral finger here to point at you. My intention has been to try to point at the fact that not every road leads to heaven. Hope you get my message and are curious enough to start a research for your own sake … I have also tried to point at the reality that if Christians don’t watch out, being a Christian one day will not look very different than to being an atheist. The war is these times masked in the secular/modern society. The enemy isn’t so visible as he was when the Ottomans attacked the Byzantines (that was the beginning of the story here).

May be there will come a day when those who want to follow the Church’s teaching will be forbidden to do so because religion that is not practiced at the secular alter may be looked at as an enemy to get rid of. If so, on what side will you be?

God bless!

onsdag 28. januar 2015

# 33 – Time is running … For new readers and for old still following.

It is more than three months since I wrote my last blog-post. It’s almost unbelievable that time has run so fast. We have celebrated Christmas and have started on a New Year, soon entering February and that means that we are not so far away from Lent this year. Ash Wednesday is on February 18. Do I have any excuses for letting you down by not writing?

No, no others than that I have had a lot to do with job-related things and that in December I have never done more than I have to do in the last years. It's very dark at my place in December and I always feel that I have little energy in this dark period. Since I have no children left in my nest, I feel that I can afford to use some time at myself, really take care of myself in the advent time (and focus on God of course). I think it’s important that all persons are aware of taking some breaks in life. It can be breaks from social media, from stressful situations or people and more.  It can be just to do something else than we usually do. To take a break doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to rest, just to shift focus. Every person has to find out for her- or himself what type of break she or he needs. It is important to take care of oneself. The commandment Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mk 12:31) points to the  point that the one who cannot love oneself, will have problems loving others, too. The next sentence in Mark is “There is no other commandment greater than these”. And what was the first great commandment? It was about loving God. Stress that lasts some time might rob us from being able to love ourselves the way we are and that again might "take away" the love for others. Therefore, it might be good for people at every age to try to find their own ways of taking care of themselves. So, if you feel stressed, please try to find some way to “de-stress” yourself so that you might be able to love yourself, God and others.

To new readers: This is not an ordinary blog, where you start to read at the last input. The structure is more like a book. One starts to read at the first input and then continues to read at the next and so on. I have (some time ago now), worked in school with young people who had different kind of problems, so I'm very well aware of all the uncertainty that might be found among those who are the aim-group for my writings: young people who perhaps doubt or have fallen away from the catholic faith (and older people too). In these days where the secular society in many parts of the Western World tells the youth that faith is something only for dummies, the young need some place to start to find answers to the most common doubt's. There are many good blogs (and bad too) written in the English/American language. My writings are in line with the Magisterium and the Pope. My hope is that people who read here might think about why they doubt and think about if their doubts are reasonable. I hope that after reading my inputs, you will try to search out books that also are in line with the teaching of the Magisterium and the Pope and slowly find your way back to God and his Church again. That's why it's crucial that you start at the first blog-post from 2012 and work yourself one step at the time through the posts, one by one. To be able to benefit from this blog you have to participate actively by doing the thinking around the questions discussed to be able to eventually chose to say yes to God again. (I will not have time to write regularly, so please show patience while you wait for the next blog-post. Look back now and then).

To old readers still following: In the “About Me” section the following sentence has fallen out. “I will not have time to write regularly, so please show patience while you wait for the next blog-post. Look back now and then”. I have now added that sentence at the bottom of blogpost # 1 from 2012. For now I only want to remind you about that this blog is to be read from the first blog-post and not from the last. This is a blog that invites you to participate in your own Christian life by doing a great deal of personal thinking to regain Christian/Catholic life by thinking it all over again. By the way, are there anybody here whom have read: “Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins' Case Against God” by Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker?

If not, give it a try!

I’m very busy for the time being, so you might still have to wait for the next blog-post. Hope that is OK for you and that you look into this blog now and then to see if it has grown. Don't forget to tell about the blog to friends you think might benefit from it.

 See you sooner or later!

tirsdag 7. oktober 2014

# 32 – Father and Psychologist Benedict Groeschel is dead 81 years old.

I never had the chance to meet this good and talented person in my own life, but I thank God for his inspiring books and for his contribution to EWTN. RIP

From Catholic News Agency:




lørdag 14. juni 2014

# 31 - Do you feel that the Bible is outdated and was written for people of another time?

I suppose you know that Jesus gave power to the Church and the Pope (Mt 16:17-19), (Jn 21:16-17), (Acts 9:4-5, where Saul who persecutes Christians are told that he is persecuting the Church. «Persecuting me» is the Church because Christ is being consumed under the «cover» of bread and wine. Christ and his people is the Church. If Jesus had meant otherwise he would have said: «Why are you persecuting them?» He didn't say that!).

We have come to question 5 in blogpost # 3 (August 2012). We often hear atheists talking about the Bible as a book full of fairytales. Sometimes Christians treat the Holy Book as if they believe that too. It was good to listening to the story about Noah when they were kids, but now that they have grown up, they cannot see the meaning because science has shown that there perhaps never was a flood that covered the whole world. May be people of the time of the Bible needed such stories, but ....

Stop! Wait a minute. We have the celebration of Pentecost only a short time away (2014). What happened that day, do you remember? Well, it was the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out at the apostles and it was the day when the Holy Catholic Church (for all people) was instituted.

What had Jesus said to the apostles before he left them? He said: «I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth» (Jn 16:12-13). 

And who were the apostles? Jesus had many disciples, but only 12 apostles (one betrayed him, but he was replaced by another). These apostles were to lead the Church and to lay hands upon others to become priests. So these apostles were the first bishops, with Peter as their leader (pope). It was Peter who took the word at Pentecost and said to the crowd: «Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh» (Acts 2:14-17)
If the Holy Spirit guides the whole Church through the pope (Peters chair) and the bishops in the magisterium, then we must remember that it was the bishops under guidance of the Holy Spirit that picked out the books that together should become our Holy Book. The Bible is like God willed it to be, (inspired by the Spirit, but written in the style of every author). Not everything is to be read literally, but that doesn't mean that the Bible is full of fairytales or that it is oldfashioned. Through the guidance of the Church (who is guided by the Spirit) we can learn how to understand the Bible.

Let us go back to the story of Noah. It might be built on a local flood, and that would mean that not everything outside of the ark was destroyed. Do you agree? But if it's so, why is that story in the Bible? According to the explanations that I have got, the point here is cleansing through water. Let me refer to Genesis in the «Ignatius Study Bible» with commentaries by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch: «Allegorically, the Ark of Noah is a figure of the Church, and the baptism of the world, which purified and redeemed it, corresponds to the saving Baptism of the Church (St. Cyprian, Letters 68). The family of Noah is saved by water and wood, just as the family of Christ is saved by Baptism, which represents the suffering of the Cross. And as every kind of animal was aboard in the ark, so believers from all nations are enclosed in the Church (St. Augustine, Against Faustus 12, 14-15) (referred from Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, RSV, Second Catholic Edition, Genesis commentaries p. 27).

As you probably see, even if there never was a flood that covered the whole earth, the story about Noah make sense through the Tradition of the Church. We Catholics don't believe in Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone).

When some Catholics shouts out that the Bible is outdated and start picking and choosing what they themselves want to pick out, they are separating themselves from the catholic tradition, Bible and Tradition (with a big T). They are not Catholics to the fullest but have become products of their own irrational needs and thoughts.

It's up to you if you want to follow in the footsteps of these «pick and chose Catholics», but that; that these people exists, shouldn't hold you back from becoming a catholic or coming back to the Church if you have left it. I have decided my way. I will not follow the trend of the cafeteria-catholics. I want the real stuff, even if some will try to trick my by saying that the real stuff is oldfashioned! I can stand at my own feet togheter with the Lord. I don't need the feet of those who stand togheter, but still stand in the sand. I want to stand at the rock! Jesus has asked us to follow him. He has not asked us to follow the people who seem to have the coolest and most modern thoughts of today.

My advice (if you want an advice): Buy yourself a Catholic Study Bible, read carefully half and hour a day and offer all your doubts to Christ while you are reading. If you have the ability to visit a catholic church for about 15 minutes a day and pray in front of the tabernacle in addition to your Bible reading, I think you will experience that that is a good start too. The Church is about 2000 years. You cannot expect to understand everything in one moment. Remember to look up the Catechism of the Catholic Church to have that as a guidance too.

fredag 6. juni 2014

# 30 - Is it because of all the scandals in the Church that have been uncovered in the last years?

Well, here I am, in the beginning of June as I promised in #29.

I'm going to write some lines about the fourth question for blogpost # 3 (2012). It is time for you to find your written answers if you wrote them down. For you who are new: I want to recommend that you start with the three first questions unless this particular question that I'm writing about now is especially important to you.

It is 12 years (2002) since we could read in the papers all over the world about an overwhelming abuse of minors in the Catholic Church in America (at that time). If you are one of the abused or a relative or friend of someone abused I will guess that you were very angry! So was I, but even if so, the very same year I was received into the Roman Catholic Church. Why? Please repeat my input «# 1 - God's ways can be mysterious». 

Even if all the abuses came as a shock, I continued the introduction course that would allow me to become catholic, if I still wanted too. As you know I'm a psychologist. That means that I at that time was very much aware of how the life of a person who has been abused certainly would be full of pain, and not only the pain in remembering, but also the pain of loosing years of ones life. I knew about their flashbacks, their problems to function in daily life because they could never be sure that they would not bump into a room with a special smell that reminded them about the evil done to them, bump into a person who looked somewhat like the abuser, a noise or may be music that reminded them about the abuse. I knew that the effect of abuse can give problems to concentrate and that means problems to continue an education and to have a job to secure a reasonable income. I knew about the problems that some of the abused might have with being close to others. Some will never get married because of that. They miss the opportunity to have children, to become grandparents and great-grandparents. Others are so destroyed that their ability to say no to sex doesn't work. They might have children with different fathers or become father to kids with different mothers. To be without education and have the economical responsibility for these little ones might be hard. All in all the problems might be so hard to deal with that some of the abused start misusing drugs or alcohol. These persons will have to be treated for dual diagnoses. Some of those (both dual diagnoses and the others) may have to use many years of their life to struggle their way back to life through therapy. The damage the abuser has done is not a small one. Of course the damage will vary from person to person. Factors like how old they were when the abuse started, how long it lasted, how much trust they had given the abuser before the abuse and so on will have influence upon how hard the job of going on with their lives, will become, have been or still is going on.

I knew all this and still I chose to become catholic? I knew something more. I knew that people high in rank in the secular society very well could be abusers. I knew how clever they could be to hide this evil side of themselves to others. Nobody would have guessed that these «nice and good people» had a dark and hidden side.

Abuse is not a special «thing» for celibate priests!

When it was possible for me to become a catholic, in spite of all these ugly abuse cases, it was because I believed that this was the CHURCH God had instituted. This was the Church with apostolic succession. This was the Church where Jesus was really present in the tabernacles. No other church could be a substitute for the Mother Church.

If this was the Church that Christ himself instituted, how could I allow myself to stay out of it?

I saw that there was a big job to do inside the Church to stop all this evil, but nobody could affect the sacraments with their evilness. Whatever one of God's priests does, it never affects the sacraments.

If you who read this, now, have been a victim of these terrible acts done by God's servants, have lost your faith or left the catholic church for a protestant church, I can understand you very well. In a catholic church smells, music, cloth, movements, special prayers and more may trigger your memories and give you flashbacks. Be sure, I have felt very angry about these priests, unknown to me, who did all this. I have been angry on those who sent these priests on to new churches where they could abuse others. I don't understand my colleagues who declared that some of the abusers were cured ...

To round this up, even if there are triggers in the Catholic Church, I think that you will make Satan and his demons very angry if you do the psychological job that makes you able to come back. (A good psychologist or psychiatrist should be able to help you to come back to Church the day you are ready for it). Remember that the Church is Church even if people inside it fails to do good.

The same goes if you are family, relative or friend of the abused. It might be wise to come back to the Church that Christ instituted. I know it will be hard to go back, but if you sit down and repeat why God gave us the Catholic Church, may be it will become a little easier. I converted, as told, because «I believed that this was the CHURCH God had instituted. This was the Church with apostolic succession. This was the Church where Jesus was really present in the tabernacles. No other church could be a substitute for the Mother Church».

May be you could pray about it, so God can help you back when you are ready for it?

In my country there have been made step by step rules if one suspects sexual abuse among the clergy. The first step is to tell the police. If that had been the rule in the churches where the abusive priests worked, we would probably not have had the high amount of sex-abuse that media has told us about. Evil people will find their way to churches, both protestant and catholic, also in the future, as they do in the secular society. When we teach our children that obedience to God, doesn't mean to become others doormats and when we have rules to follow if abuse happens, we, as Church, are better equipped to prevent such scandals in the future.

To end this, I want to say, let us pray for all the good priests that are there and for the whole Church to become better to protect herself and her children!

Recommended reading:

«Catholics Come Home: God's Extraordinary Plan for Your Life» by Tom Peterson

«I Choose God: Stories From Young Catholics» by Christopher Cuddy, Peter Ericksen (ed), Schott Hahn (ed).

«Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith» by Scott Hahn.

«Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic» by Patric Madrid

«Surprised By Truth 2: 15 Men and Women Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons For Becoming Catholic». (v. 2) by Patric Madrid

«Surprised by Truth 3: 10 More Converts Explain the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic» (v. 3) by Patric Madrid

«What Catholics Really Believe – 52 Answers To Common Misconceptions About The Catholic Faith» by Carl Keating

«Where is That in the Bible?» by Patric Madrid