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Kudos to “The Kansas City Star.”  On their front page, and it takes up nearly the whole front page, is “The Alter Boys’ Secret.”  It was even the Sunday paper, December 4, 2011.

“Four young lives, innocence lost.  One priest, later sent for treatment.  Decades of silence and secrets.  And finally, revelations as a 30-year mystery unravels.’

Such a typical threat.  And it works most of the time.  Kids are petrified.  Why was this priest sent for treatment instead of being charged and sent to prison?  The recidivism rate for perpetrators is something like 99%.  What kind of treatment are they getting?  It should be done while he is behind bars.  Why is the Catholic church so often protected in this way?  Some priests have served some time, but it seems to be rare.  If someone wants to challenge that I would appreciate it.

I am not against the Catholic Church.  This kind of thing is happening in faith congregations of all denominations.  Is it being less exposed in these other faith communities?  The Code of Silence is such a powerful force that most of us don’t want to believe it exists.  Kids believe what adults say.  So most of them stay silent.

“Monsignor backed the four alter boys up against the wall, shoulder to shoulder.  Then he forced then to perform sexual acts on each other and on him.  When it was over, just minutes before Mass was to begin he issued a warning.  ‘If you ever tell’, he said, his voice booming in the long narrow room, ‘You”ll be kicked out of the Catholic Church, your parents will disown you, and you’ll die and go to hell.”

Please notice the language, ‘sex acts.’  No, it may have been rape of many types, oral copulation, molestation, even call it sexual abuse and the words more authentically describe what happened.  Sex can only happen between two consenting adults.  Anything else is sexual violence (SV) of some form.

Jon David Cousens, one of those little boys,  is now a 41 year old plumber who struggled with his fears and finally showed amazing courage and told.  The priest, Thomas O’Brien is named in over two dozen lawsuits.  He denies all allegations.  “This was all 30 years ago,” he told the Kansas City Star.  “There is just no truth to these things…Is there any end to this?  It is just killing me.

I am sure it is killing him.  I wonder at the inside cancer in his brain that he grew up to do such things.  I have compassion for that damage, but it does not preclude the need to be charged and stand trial.  Such a corrective experience can contribute to healing his brain.

Most of my sadness is with the children though.  The ones being violated now, and the pain of the adult survivors. My hope for them is that they will find their way on the Unintended Journey set before them.  God did not intend that Jon David would need it, but if he will let him, God will heal and redeem.

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