Naive to Assume He Isn’t

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January 31, 2018 by lucieromarin

So, I got Kilgraved.

Then this happened:

My best friend died eight months after her illness was diagnosed. During her last weeks, I had to search for words of comfort when she wondered why her priestly spiritual director ignored her text messages and her approaching death.

That priest was my spiritual director, too. Over ten years, he had directed me into near-total dependence by his habit of control, his playing with boundaries and his certitude that I was afflicted by a demon, of which he spent four years trying to rid me. (More on all of this later). At the time of my friend’s illness, that priest had not spoken to me for over a year. I thought he was suffering the fallout of painkiller-addiction and untreated trauma, and I prayed daily for his full recovery and the grace of having him hear my confession again. I wasn’t just desperate for rescue. I missed him.

Two weeks after my friend’s burial, our mutual second-best friend – the youngest of our trio and a single mother –  told me that our spiritual director was the father of her children.

He had given me penance for my failure to protect the girl from her ‘fall’. He’d actually used the word ‘failure.’ He’d even said, “If you would have had your drivers’ licence, none of this would ever have happened.” He had publicly baptised the first child, and I had gathered singers at the baptism for the young mother’s favourite motet. Despite this, and despite my fear about my fate with a co-habiting-and-now-untreatable demon, I still put him first, and I offered friendship. I really thought I meant something in his world and that I should be there to help him as he had helped me. After waiting for that year to hear from him again, I received one text message, an offer to meet. I was jubilant. His brother warned me that the message was a lie. His brother was right. After twenty years of friendship, ten years of obedience, four years of exorcisms, two years as my sole confessor, two years of a double-life, and over $4,000-worth of meals he let me serve him, he lied, walked away and never spoke to me again, either to say, “I’m sorry,” or “Goodbye.”

He was laicised and married in the space of a year, without having to prove that he had not misused his power over the girl, or that he had healed from his traumas and could hold down a job. After a year of unsustained employment, he had friends-in-the-right-places create a role for him as a lay prison chaplain. The managers of his Catholic referring agency asked for so little information that, when they referred him to CSNSW, they did not even know the name or location of his previous workplace. Aghast, some of his casualties reported their experiences to the Catholic agency that employed him, to the government department on whose grounds he is deployed, and to his Archdiocese. What those offices did (or did not do) with those reports is a story for another day. Suffice it to say that, if a fatherless female minor is referred to a 37-year-old priest for behavioural counselling, and if that priest, while the girl is still a teenager, removes her from her family, chooses her school, sets her up with friends, trains her to have ‘no thoughts of self’, orders her to do sit-ups, gives her a dress-code, moves her away from all adult supervision and into a flat around the corner from his house, takes her photo and keeps it on his phone, tells her other people’s secrets, has her report on her choirmaster, visits her privately against the rules of his Order, shares with her his favourite sci-fi and sports, sends and receives personal text messages with her, gives her gifts, lets her cook and clean for him and asks her to break into his house to fetch his hat, then he hasn’t, according to that Catholic agency or that government department, abused his power, because none of those acts were violations of the boundaries of duty-of-care, and none of it was grooming.

*

He’s not dead yet. He might well be en route to that complete healing for which I offered so many prayers and had so many Masses said, and I just don’t know he’s en route, because I’m not there. Still, he never apologised to us, and he goes about giving spiritual advice to a new set of souls with his debt to his first flock still outstanding. I wonder how he’ll advise clients who also do not want to apologise to the people they’ve hurt.

*

Oedipal. Heh. Of course, she almost got murdered by a mind-controlled henchman afterwards…

 

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