A SURVIVOR'S STORY
Through a Crucible to Spring

April 2008By Lindy Morelli

Lindy Morelli works as a counselor in Pennsylvania.

Ed. Note: The following is the true story of a victim of clerical sexual abuse. It contains a depiction sexual depravity perpetrated by a member of the clergy. We are publishing this article because it is important to understand the wickedness of such acts and the human devastation that results therefrom.

In July 1988, I was a naïve 23-year-old. Having been blind since birth, I was also extremely vulnerable. I'd been sent to a school for the blind at four years old and saw my family infrequently. The separation was very sorrowful. I longed for a true home.

As I grew, my need for human love was heartbreakingly unfulfilled. But God sent me treasured friends, in whom I found solace. Moreover, at an early age, I had a profound experience of God's love. One day, while praying in church as a young child, I felt a warmth emanating from the Tabernacle, and I was overwhelmed by the unmistakable presence of Jesus. From that moment, my life was never the same; faith became my bedrock and preserved me through many trials.

In 1987 I went on my first pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia. Being in that oasis made me radically hunger for God.

On a subsequent trip to Medjugorje in May 1988, I met Father X, an Irish priest. At that time, I was still in tremendous emotional pain from the loneliness of my childhood. Maybe Father will be a confidant, I hoped, maybe he'll be a safe person. After returning home, I began writing to him, pouring out all of my troubles.


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Though an avid reader of Catholic materials, especially Pope Benedict's articles on line and his books, I'm only beginning to understand theology more through the help of grace rather than through my intellectual analyses. And there are things I ponder - some with answers, some in waiting.
Pondering about this tragic story (that it is real is very hard to accept), it makes me wonder if this is the implication when Jesus made the prophetic comment about Judas, "It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Is there a multiplyer effect on the gravity of sin committed by Judas down to generations?
Then there is the command to love our enemy. We know Jesus loved Judas even as He knew he will betray Him - and being the Creator, Himself, He saw His image and His likeness.
Then you wonder if the misdeed and sin of this priest is worst than that of Hitler, because Hitler murdered millions of people, but this priest sinned against the flesh. Venerable Jacinta of Fatima seems to indicate that sin against the flesh is more abominable in the eyes of God than taking another person's life. I have an inclination to believe this because it distorts the very essence of creation.
And that he (the priest) is Irish! Being historically minded, I have always had a special affection for Ireland and Poland for their loyalty to the Cahtolic Church.
Then there is the reaction of Saint Maria Goretti's mother to her violator and killer, Alessandro when he asked for forgiveness, the mother said "How can I not forgive you if my daughter forgave you." And Alessandro did repent towards the end of his life.
With hedonism and all kinds of sexual perversions and indecencies swarming all over us, the tendency to develop hatred against many persons is not easy to overcome. But a Catholic pope did visit his assailant in his cell to forgive him without compromising the Church teachings about sin.
We have a long battle to go. Willing to be God's foolishness, sometimes, seems to be the only answer. May our weakness really invites God's unfathomable strength.
Posted by: humblesoldier
April 07, 2008 12:43 PM EDT
Even more poignant know that we have know the breadth of the scandal that's plagued Ireland. Posted by: Jack_Straw
March 08, 2010 02:16 PM EST
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