Sunday, September 28, 2008

Follow Up

Although I do not provide the means for readers to post comments to my blogs, I do welcome any, and all, emails pertaining to, and in response to, my writing. I try and respond personally to every communication.

Following is a copy of an email I received from the Iowa Director of the ‘Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests’ (SNAP). In an unusual move for me, I post it here because of the importance of the issue. I have included my response to the email as well.

I do not portend to solve the issue of sexual abuse in the church, only to further illuminate the problem and offer suggestion to consider. My suggestions may, or may not be, an answer to the problem, but if they promote continuing thought and discussion, such as is happening here, that is a step, and I am good with that.

I don't know how I came across your blog entitled, Confession: Part 2
I'm somewhat computer challenged and am unable to "blog" back; so you have my permission to post this.

In your blog, Confession: Part 2, you wrote: "Here's what I think. No male priest should EVER hear a child's, an adolescent's, or a woman's confession. That privilege should be given to nuns, who would be more trustworthy in matters of sexual exploitation."
I disagree with your comment that nuns are more trustworthy in matters of sexual exploitation.

I am a survivor of nun sexual abuse and have met way too many survivors of nun sexual abuse, both male, female, and vulnerable adults.
We have tried for the last 5 years to get the nuns to respond to clergy sexual abuse and have been totally ignored.

Females, especially female predators hiding under a habit, are as capable as males hiding behind a collar in exploiting children and vulnerable adults.

Steve Theisen
Iowa SNAP Director

I appreciate hearing from you. Thank you for taking the time.
I am aware of the sexual culture that nuns engage in, and failed to take that into account in the larger confession picture. Forgive me for that.
I did, however, state that nuns would be MORE trustworthy than priests, and that, I believe, is a true statement, not that all nuns would be trustworthy.
It is true that even though many women (in general) are sexual predators, the percentage of male sexual predators does far outnumber the percentage of females.
That does not excuse my oversight in not taking that into account regarding confession. Because of your experience, and the experience of many that you know,
it must feel like an enormous number engaging in the exploitation. As far as I'm concerned, one is one too many. I am very sorry about your experience, and I hope you have gained significant ground in the recovery process.
I do not make it possible for readers to post responses to my blogs because I don't want the blogs to turn into shouting matches. I prefer readers to respond to them in their own lives, among the people they know. However, in a situation such as this, because of its importance, I will make a point to communicate your concerns to my readers.
Again, thank you Steve. I hear you, and my best to you.


Self Correction: In my response to Steve I should have stated “the sexual culture that ‘SOME’ nuns engage in. I correct that here.