I learned that courage wasn't the absence of fear,
the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not
but he who conquers that fear.
- Nelson Mandela
In 2015, Pope Francis visited the United States. As part of
that visit, he
addressed the U.S. bishops and said the following with
respect to the priest sex abuse scandal.
I am also conscious of the
courage with which you have faced difficult
moments in the recent history of the Church in this country
without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of
mortification and great sacrifice.
Given the ordeal the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the
Catholic Church have put me through, and that I give an overview
The Sins of the
Fathers, I was stunned.
When I think of "courage," I think of Jesus Christ entering
Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a known and certain death. I think
of Martin Luther King Jr. leading his people despite knowing
what he could be -- and ultimately was -- in for. I think of Jackie Robinson
1947 season, in which he pioneered the integration of major
league baseball and withstood months of the worst kinds of abuse
-- verbal and physical -- with super-human grace.
To use the word "courage" to describe the actions of the
Archdiocese of St. Louis and the leaders of the Catholic Church in
the United States is both offensive and clueless.
How much courage is required to repeatedly tell a
survivor that nothing happened? To then
Gaslight a survivor and
try to drive them crazy? To play
Hardball with them and
fight to deny
them even the slightest amount of assistance?
Simply put, using the word "courage" to describe the
actions of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the leaders of the Catholic Church in
the United States debases the word and the actions of those who
truly embody it.
If you're smart, you'll do like I am and stop looking to
the Church for examples of courage and instead focus on the
words, life, and example of Jesus Christ.
I can't afford to see my therapist any more.
I haven't seen
her for therapy in years.
As a result, I've struggled, again for years, with the
feelings and emotions -- what I call
Feelbacks -- that I
One thing that I've come up with that kind of works -- it
works when the problem is fearful thoughts, but not when I start
to get woozy and pass out -- is a mantra that was inspired by
the courage of Jesus Christ.
Is this as scary as what Jesus Christ faced when
he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a known and
Sometimes the answer is "Yes," but it's usually "No."
I never understood what people meant when they would talk
about Christ being our strength and our rock, but I think that
mantra gets to the essence of what people are talking about and
why Christ died for us.