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Abuse victim to tell world’s bishops: ‘You’re in charge: it’s up to you to stop it’

Marie Collins explains to Madeleine Teahan what she will say at an unprecedented gathering of bishops in Rome this week

By on Monday, 6 February 2012

Marie Collins: ‘I’d like to see the Church going back to the basics of what Christ said, and he did not teach that institutions are more important than little children’  (Photo: PA)

Marie Collins: ‘I’d like to see the Church going back to the basics of what Christ said, and he did not teach that institutions are more important than little children’ (Photo: PA)

When Marie Collins first found the strength to tell her secret she was racked with trepidation. Living from day to day, leaving the house or talking to her next-door neighbour was intimidating enough, but telling an archbishop that a hospital chaplain had sexually abused her when she was 13 years old was almost unthinkable.

Next week, at the invitation of the Vatican, she will stand up in Rome and address some of the world’s most senior bishops, telling them the unwelcome truth that few wanted to hear 27 years before.

“I don’t feel nervous or intimidated,” she tells me just days before her address. “I feel more hope that something I say might help. No matter how much help you receive as a survivor that 13-year-old child is still inside somewhere and still comes up, that little voice saying: ‘You’re not really a good person. You’re worthless.’ That never really goes away. But I’ve had a lot of help to become the person I would have been had I not been abused.”

Marie continued to practise her Catholic faith long after she was abused. She married a Catholic and they brought up their son in the faith. He served as an altar boy at Mass. But it was not until she experienced the Church’s response to her anguish that she became disheartened and could not bring herself to continue practising. This is one of the things she is quietly determined to explain in Rome next week.

“I have been a Catholic all my life and when I went to the diocese and the archbishop it was with the absolute conviction that once they knew they had a dangerous man in their control they would want to protect other children,” she explains. “And I found it devastating that they would not do that.”

It was Marie’s doctor who first urged her to report the abuse for the sake of other children within the diocese, if nothing else. Marie had had close contact with psychiatrists as her life had been marked by anxiety, depression and agoraphobia.

But when she approached her local curate in 1985 he told her: “It was probably your fault so I don’t think I need to do anything about it.”

“He even went as far as to say that I was forgiven and I should go away and forget about it,” Marie recalls. “He refused to take the name of the offending priest and just finished the conversation at that. That totally destroyed me. I just fell apart.”

For the following 10 years Marie was often hospitalised due to severe depression sparked by her utter dismay at the curate’s response. She resolved that she would never speak about the abuse with anyone ever again.

But 10 years after her first attempt to speak out disturbing media coverage of a serial abuser in Ireland, Fr Brendan Smith, confronted Marie with the nagging question: was she the only one?

“I always thought that this man abused me because it was something about me. It occurred to me at that point that he may have abused other children. And of course from that thought came the other thought: he may still be abusing children. At that point it wasn’t a question of whether I should go and report him again or not. I just had to. I had no choice. I had to do something.”

But once again Marie was crushed by the response after she urged that the offending priest be removed from his current parish where he was in regular contact with schoolchildren.

“The archbishop told me that I couldn’t possibly ruin this priest’s good name and that it all happened a long time ago,” she says.

It then emerged that the diocese had already known for many years that the priest in question was an abuser. He had been removed from the hospital where he had abused Marie but he was still working in the archdiocese.

Dublin archdiocese’s handling of Marie’s case has made it difficult for her to face Sunday Mass and practise her faith in full. She explains that she couldn’t stomach moral instruction from a priest in a pulpit given the wounds she had received at the hands of the Catholic hierarchy.

“Men in power covered up for these perpetrators,” she says. “It’s like having a fox or a rabid dog and it has killed hens in a hen house. So you move it into the next field and it kills hens in that hen house. You’re the one in charge of it. It’s up to you to stop it.”

Marie hopes to tell her audience in Rome next week what she now tells me: “Being treated in the way that I was by the Church can destroy your Catholic faith and actually exacerbate all your problems. I mean, I was a practising Catholic up to that time that I reported to the diocese in 1995-1996. I now find it very, very difficult to practise my religion.

“I’d like to see the Church going back to the basics of what Christ said, and he did not teach that institutions are more important than little children.”

Marie is also determined to communicate to the conference that the psychological effects of child abuse are far-reaching and enduring.

“Child abuse destroys a person’s view of themselves,” she says. “You can’t just judge it by what’s physically done. It’s the psychological damage which is so dreadful.”

Marie describes how her mother, a devout Catholic living in a nursing home, was heartbroken when Marie finally told her about the abuse in anticipation of media coverage.

“It was heartbreaking to see her reaction because immediately she felt she hadn’t protected me,” she recalls. “She was quite devastated.”
The daily purgatory that Marie endured made simple sociable activities seem insurmountable.

“I couldn’t do the things with my son that I’d like to do. I had agoraphobia, I couldn’t take him out to play. I couldn’t take him on picnics. I really felt he was losing out in his life as a child. He didn’t have a mother who could do all the things that a mother should do.”

Yet Marie has not allowed self-pity or bitterness to hinder her constructive efforts to safeguard Catholic children in partnership with the Church. She has organised liturgies of reconciliation to cultivate spiritual healing for survivors of abuse. She has also written and spoken extensively about the effects of abuse.

Marie admits that her participation in the Vatican’s conference next week is controversial, given that some, including survivors of abuse, will regard it as simply a public relations exercise on behalf of the Church, rather than an expression of a genuine desire for change.

“I think this conference is a sign that things may be changing,” she says. “I hope things are changing and there is now going to be a new, more enlightened attitude to the whole abuse crisis, because we have had blame thrown out in every direction, from the secular society, to homosexuals, etc, etc. That’s sort of blame game is pointless. I’m hoping that this conference will at least improve things from now on – and it’s only a hope. And that’s why I am taking part. I’ve always lived on hope that they will learn and that things will be right for the future.”

The strongest test of Marie’s firm faith occurred when her abuser asked her to visit him in jail. By 1997, her tenacity had resulted in his conviction. Before he appealed against his sentence he asked to see Marie so that he could apologise. One can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the timing of the apology, but Marie talks about it without cynicism.

“If someone sits across a table from you and asks you to forgive them, if you’re Christian, it’s part of what we believe,” she says. “I
had to believe that he was sincerely sorry and looking for forgiveness. I would not withhold it from him.”

Marie has undoubtedly lost trust in the Catholic Church but her faith in God is firm.

“Even through all that time of struggling with the hierarchy my faith has carried me through. Before I speak in Rome I will be praying for the Holy Spirit to be with me and help me through it.”

She explains that one day she hopes she can return fully to her Catholic faith, “but in the meantime I’m definitely still holding on to my belief in God”.

  • Gabe

    Although there are many who believe that this is just a PR move by the church, I am still just naive enough to want to believe that the hierarchy is finally doing something.   I may be disappointed again, but I hold on to hope.

  • struans

    Come and join the Anglicans, all you disillusioned RCs. 

    Worried about the historic episcopacy and the validity of holy orders?  It’s all a bit of bad PR about Anglicans put out by RCs.  In history, mind you.  Put it out of your mind, and come and join us.

  • Jonathan West

    The key point which has to be addressed before any significant progress will be made in addressing the abuse crisis is that the welfare of the abused child has to be put before the career of the abusing priest and the reputation of the church.

    Unless and until the need for that is understood, and more than mere lip-service is paid to it, this crisis will go on without end.

  • Anonymous

    Hold on to hope, but don’t hold your breath. Do you remember the arbishop of Westminster’s words:”Catholics are
    members of a single universal body. These terrible crimes, and the inadequate
    response by some church leaders, grieve us all. We express our heartfelt
    apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt
    ignored, disbelieved or betrayed. We ask their pardon, and the pardon of God
    for these terrible deeds done in our midst. There can be no excuses.”When our children are prepared for the sacrament of penance, they learn that asking for pardon requires “a firm purpose of amendment”.  The hierarchy of England and Wales don’t seem to understand this; they prefer to engage in litigation rather than accept responsibility. 
    Despite appearances, this conference has been set up not by the Vatican but by the prestigious Jesuit University, the Gregorian. Its not a PR move by the church, then, as you fear. Going to Rome to talk to a lot of other bishops seems a rather expensive way of getting some ideas. Some good may come out of it however.  If for example a UK bishop rubs shoulders with a Belgian.  The Belgians have set up a truly independent arbitration council to receive and examine  and compensate people whose abuse is covered by prescription. The Belgian hierarchy has already acknowledged moral responsibilty. Listening to the courageous Marie Collins might thaw a few hearts too.  But what is preventing them from having unsanitised meetings with victims walking their own streets.
    As a matter of fact, the German Jesuits have offered 2’500 EUROS each to the 200 victims of abuse in their colleges, compared to the $150 million dollars are paying out to their 500 victims

  • Anonymous

    I think there is something unsettling about a woman telling her story of abuse in Rome. Like so much of what has passed as reform has little to do with the main problem which is of course homosexuality in the church and the out right protection of the homosexual predators that has been practiced by so many of these people. She is obscuring the issue, not that what she has to say isn’t important it is just that it acts as a veil covering up the main enemy homosexuality in the Church

  • Anonymous

    I think you should make a clear distinction between the chaste homosexuals in the Church and the predatory gays who undoubtedly exist in the Church as much as in society at large.
    The child abuse scandal has been caused by the evil behaviour of these gays, not by the conduct of those many faithful homosexuals who do believe in and practise the virtue of chastity.

  • Anonymous

    Hello struans!  Still flogging that dead horse of Anglicanism, then?
    When the synod finishes its work this week, and the C of E is committed to holding “gay marriage” ceremonies in its parish churches, and appointing ‘bishopesses’ to its ministry, the trickle of converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism will become a flood, and the Ordinariate will outstrip the traditional Church in its size and quality.
    The Ordinariate is the best thing that has happened to the Catholic Church in living memory, even better than the Vatican council, and Pope Benedict XVI will be long remembered as one of the great Popes in history.

  • Anonymous

    The abused child is now a fully-grown adult and hopefully still availing himself of the Church’s sacraments.  In that sense, the welfare of the ‘child’ is fully taken care of by the Church, emphasising the need of everyone to work out their salvation, even after suffering abuse at the hands of one of the Church’s priests.
    This ‘crisis’ will certainly go on without end for the sufficient reason that our fallen human nature is present in each and every one of us, and every human being is prone to commit evil when the temptation arises.  Like the poor, the paedophiles will always be with us, and the best we can do and hope for is to punish severely any who surface and become known to the law.  It is pretentious daydreaming to imagine that there will be a time when paedophilia is totally eliminated from the Church.  Society itself has never succeeded in doing that, so why should the Church be any more successful?

  • struans

    Geoffrey, my dear friend. How good to hear from you.

    “Still flogging that dead horse of Anglicanism, then?”

    There is no dead Anglican horse to flog.

    “the trickle of converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism will become a flood”

    This appears to be an admission that your Ordinariate has only had ‘a trickle’ of recruits. On what basis do you believe that there might be a flood in future? Presumably no crystal ball gazing, but what evidence do you have?

    “Pope Benedict XVI will be long remembered as one of the great Popes in history.”

    How nice it is that you are so loyal to your leader. A chap who you are, apparently, committed to follow no matter what he says. I’m sure that there’s comfort there.

    Oh, and also: ‘bishopesses’? Just bishops, my dear fellow, just bishops.

    And ‘gay marriage’? Just marriage, just marriage. A sacred commitment between two people of humanity. “But they cannot procreate, and marriage is for procreation” I hear. But does the church of Rome slavishly follow up on Romanist marriages to make sure that they’re copulating regularly, using neither contraception nor rhythm method? Does the church of Rome issue edicts against fellatio, cunnilingus or sodomy within a heterosexual marriage? No.

    The church of Rome is just an Italian cultural construct.

    Come and take a fresh look at the English church. There’s really no need to follow a chap who is elected on the basis of a bunch of mostly Italian people that you’ve never heard of.

    I do so enjoy our little jousting contests. Take good care of yourself Geoffrey. Toodle pip.

  • Parasum

    No. *All* Churches are full of evil in various ways - so changing makes no difference. If there were a sinless Church on earth, the first person to join would make it sinful.

    OTOH, this:

    “the trickle of converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism will become a flood, and the Ordinariate will outstrip the traditional Church in its size and quality”

    - is not going to happen either. The death of the C of E has often predicted, as has that of the CC. Neither has happened, & neither is likely to happen for a while yet. Gloating at the woes of others is not Christian, regardless of Chuch affiliation; actually,it’s suicidal.

  • struans

    Hello. I broadly agree with you. Let me add that I am not doing any gloating myself. I hope my comments do not come across that way. If anything those who might be described as gloating are some of those whose comments I reply to. Usually Romanists with claims about the purported inferiority of the C of E to the church of Rome: claims about people leaving the C of E and claims as to the church of Rome being ‘the one true church’. It is people who make such comments that I tend to respond to, and correct.

  • Anonymous

     “The abused child is now a fully-grown adult and hopefully still availing
    himself of the Church’s sacraments.  In that sense, the welfare of the
    ‘child’ is fully taken care of by the Church, emphasising the need of
    everyone to work out their salvation, even after suffering abuse at the
    hands of one of the Church’s priests.”

    Geoffrey, that is the sort of patronising rubbish that completely misses the point. If you have actually read the article, I’m not sure you should have bothered because you obviously did not understand what was being said.

    Are abusive clerics able to correctly administer the sacraments?

    Is there no psychological dimension to spiritual development? Do the effects of abuse not impinge upon spiritual health? If you are suggesting that the soul and our humanity are actually totally separate, then I think that some of your religious instruction might be a bit suspect.

    Yes, the poor, pedos and all the rest are always with us. Yes, there will always be corrupt elements within the Church, because of our fallen nature. But one would expect the Church to take responsibility for the actions of its officers/officials and to take it very seriously indeed when, rather than aid spiritual development, they actually damage it. The Church should be bending over backwards to help the victims, not seek to brush accusations aside and cover things up. That sort of attitude and behaviour has been a major contributor to today’s crisis.

    To be fair, it is my firm belief that HH BXVI is trying his best to effect change and improvement. However, his efforts are undermined when attitudes such as those expressed in your first paragraph persist.

  • Anonymous

     Is heterosexual pedophilia something to be ignored then?

    I would say that it doesn’t matter whether the predator was gay or straight, and especially not to the victim. In either case, it’s akin to murder of the spirit.

  • Anonymous

    “Are abusive clerics able to correctly administer the sacraments?”

    Yes.

    “But one would expect the Church to take responsibility for the actions of its officers/officials…”

    What do you mean by “the Church”?  Are you suggesting that the Pope or the Vatican should have been aware of the crimes being committed by some of our priests?  Do you seriously imagine that “the Church” keeps a file on the behaviour of every single one of the 400,000+ priests in the ministry?
    Why should “the Church” apologise for the sins and crimes committed by some of her members, crimes of which she was completely unaware at the time they were committed?
    I would not dream of apologising for your sins and crimes, and I would not allow you to apologise for mine.  They would be entirely my own responsibility and no one else’s. 

    “The Church should be bending over backwards to help the victims, not seek to brush accusations aside and cover things up.”

    The Church is indeed helping the victims, backwards or otherwise, in the only way that really matters: providing the sacraments for their eternal salvation.  Anything else is ephemeral, and of no consequence.
    The Church has never “brushed accusations aside” or “covered things up”, and it is totally an urban myth to suggest that she has done so.  Yes, some bishops, acting on the advice of out-dated psychologists, have sent abusive priests away for “treatment”, or transferred them to other parishes in the vain hope that they would be “cured” of their lust, but this misguided governance by a few is not remotely suggestive of a blanket suppression of the truth by the Church per se.
    Only those people who seek the destruction of Holy Mother Church are motivated to allege such an absurd accusation.

    “To be fair, it is my firm belief that HH BXVI is trying his best to
    effect change and improvement. However, his efforts are undermined when
    attitudes such as those expressed in your first paragraph persist.”

    In your opinion.  I would point out that Pope Benedict has already effected one significant improvement, as far back as 2005, by banning the admission of homosexuals to the seminaries.  Since the abuse scandal was clearly caused by the homosexual abuse of minors, the obvious first move was to exclude gays from the priesthood, and this the Pope has done.  It is unlikely that such abuse will be perpetrated by any priests in the future, if only for the fact that they now know what will happen to them when they are exposed.

  • Anonymous

    Geoffrey, you are part of the ongoing problem, rather than the solution.

    I think you should check your Catechism and Church Law as to the question of whether abusive clerics are able to correctly administer the Sacraments.

    “What do you mean by “the Church”?”

    I mean The Church, the organisation and institution, at all levels and in all countries.

    ” Are you suggesting that the Pope or
    the Vatican should have been aware of the crimes being committed by some
    of our priests?”

    No – but the bishops and management of various orders not only should have been aware, they usually were.

    “Do you seriously imagine that “the Church” keeps a
    file on the behaviour of every single one of the 400,000+ priests in the
    ministry?”

    No but if there is anywhere that I have suggested that I am sure you will quickly point it out.

    “Why should “the Church” apologise for the sins and crimes committed by
    some of her members, crimes of which she was completely unaware at the
    time they were committed?”

    Because the Church, at various levels and in various countries, was aware and all too often blamed the victim, or put pressure on him/her to keep quiet – as in the case in this report.

    While the Church in Rome may well have been unaware of individual instances – indeed, I have argued strongly, often, that it was the case that the Vatican was unaware, the responsibilty for dealing with it being vested in the world’s Bishops until 1992 – there was an awareness of a general problem going back many, many years. 1961 saw a letter specifically addressing the subject but it was reiteration of another letter issued in (off the top of my head) the 1920s – and that was not the first. Dante made reference to abusive practices by clerics, in Inferno.

    “The Church is indeed helping the victims, backwards or otherwise, in the
    only way that really matters: providing the sacraments for their
    eternal salvation.  Anything else is ephemeral, and of no consequence.”

    If the body is the Temple of the Soul then how it is treated and related to has a bearing on the Soul’s health. If you doubt this, then I refer you to the Catechism.

    “The Church has never “brushed accusations aside” or “covered things up”…”

    Yes it has and the examples are too many to list here.

    “…and it is totally an urban myth to suggest that she has done so.”

    My personal experience, and that of others of my acquaintance, would suggest that it is far from a myth, urban, rural or any other kind. If you are in any doubt about that, then I refer you to the Ryan Report, for one, and the more recent reports from Ireland, as well as investigations in N America. Not only was it done – it was routine.

    “…acting on the advice of out-dated psychologists…”

    Part of the problem has been that effective advice was not sought as often as it should have been – but I will agree that some more recent advice, no doubt influenced by the Kinsey Report, was rather poor. But much of the time there was no advice sought or taken at all.

    “…the admission of homosexuals to the seminaries. Since the abuse scandal was clearly caused by the homosexual abuse of minors…”

    You have noticed, I trust, that the individual in this case was female? I would also again refer you to the Ryan Report, which listed thousands of cases of abuse that were not male homosexual in nature. I trust that you are not suggesting that abuse of young females is acceptable, or that they were ‘asking for it’ or were ‘strumpets’?

    However, I will concur that the majority have been male pederasts (as distinct from paedophiles).

    When one goes to Confession, among other requirements are acceptance of guilt, genuine contrition and earnest of renewal – as I am sure you are aware. The Church expects this of individuals and it as a whole – and that includes the Body of the Church, the Faithful – has to accept the reality of what has happened. With the greatest possible respect, attitudes such as yours do not fulfil those requirements and they undermine the endeavour to renewal. If there is always someone prepared to make apology for the inexcusable, then the need to confront, accept and offer genuine contrition will be undermined.

    btw – just in case the thought should leap unbidden to your mind, I did not seek and would not accept compensation for what I went through. That was for two reasons: the experience would have been compounded by making me feel like a prostitute, and second, I would not, with ‘clean hands’ have felt able to challenge the oleagenous apologists and slam into the face of opinions such as yours the reality of the damage that has been done.

  • Anonymous

    “I think you should check your Catechism and Church Law as to the question of whether abusive clerics are able to correctly administer the Sacraments.”

    If an abusive cleric has not been laicised, he remains a priest and able to administer the sacraments.

    “No – but the bishops and management of various orders not only should have been aware, they usually were.”

    Some were, some weren’t.  It is fantasy to allege that all bishops, or all superiors of orders, were aware.  Only a small minority were guilty of such deception.

    “Because the Church, at various levels and in various countries, was aware and all too often blamed the victim, or put pressure on him/her to keep quiet – as in the case in this report.”                                                                                                                                                                                    Sheer make-believe.  Again, only a small minority of bishops of the Church acted in this manner.  To allege that the Church, per se, acted in this manner is slander.

    “…there was an awareness of a general problem going back many, many years. 1961 saw a letter specifically addressing the subject but it was reiteration of another letter issued in (off the top of my head) the 1920s – and that was not the first. Dante made reference to abusive practices by clerics, in Inferno.”

    Well, well, surprise, surprise!   You have discovered that scandal is something that has always affected the Church – AND ALWAYS WILL.  Perhaps I should congratulate you on your astounding discovery!

    “Yes it has [covered up the abuse] and the examples are too many to list here.”

    I’m sure you can be prevailed upon to give us just one example, then, and in some detail?

     “But much of the time there was no advice sought or taken at all.”

    Sheer allegation.  You cannot possibly know what each and every bishop did when faced by this problem.  Many of them did in fact consult medical advice on the matter, and were instructed to refer the abusers to health centres for treatment.

    “I trust that you are not suggesting that abuse of young females is acceptable, or that they were ‘asking for it’ or were ‘strumpets’? ”

    Your words, not mine.  At no point have I denied that some abuse by clerics in the Church was committed by heterosexuals against females.  Such abuse, however, was a fraction of the offences committed by gays.

    “With the greatest possible respect, attitudes such as yours do not fulfil those requirements and they undermine the endeavour to renewal. If there is always someone prepared to make apology for the inexcusable, then the need to confront, accept and offer genuine contrition will be undermined.”

    In your opinion.

    “I would not, with ‘clean hands’ have felt able to challenge the oleagenous apologists and slam into the face of opinions such as yours the reality of the damage that has been done.”

    No one doubts for a moment that enormous damage has been done by the commission of these crimes.
    What I am opposing is the attempt to discredit the whole Church by imputing to each and every bishop and priest the responsibility for these abusive crimes.  This is deliberate slander, which I am confident you will reject out-of-hand, knowing the relevant section of the Catechism (CCC #2475-2479).

    I sympathise with you for the abuse you received at the hands of those priests who knew better and should have behaved differently, but, as I pointed out in my previous post, grave sinners will be a problem facing the Church from now until the end of time.  It is wishful thinking to suppose that any significant reduction in the sins of the flesh can be eliminated from the Church’s members when no such reduction can be achieved by society as a whole.  The best we can do is to punish severely any miscreants who come to light and then move on.  That is all that society can do, and that is all that the Church can do.       

  • Anonymous

     “It is wishful thinking to suppose that any significant reduction in the
    sins of the flesh can be eliminated from the Church’s members when no
    such reduction can be achieved by society as a whole.  The best we can
    do is to punish severely any miscreants who come to light and then move
    on.”

    I agree with you, geoffrey – but I’m not sure where excuses, minimising the extent and impact and other acts of apologia fit in with that. Actually, I’m pretty sure they don’t. They are a frustration, in both senses of the word. They enrage those seeking justice, confuse those who actually wish the best for the Church and get in the way of the Church’s ability to come to terms with the scandal, deal with it and move on. Until it stops, the Church cannot, and will not be allowed to, move on. Until the church clearly does admit and come to terms with the structural problems than allowed it to become as widespread as it did (pedophilia may be at a lower rate in the Church than society as a whole but pederasty and abuse of young women is not, sadly) then all bishops and priests will continue to be viewed with suspicion over the broader sweep of the world – and how many who would, otherwise, have come to the Church have been and will be deterred from doing so?

    btw – ‘usually’ does not mean ‘always’; nor does ‘all too often’; nor does ‘various’ imply ‘every one’.

  • Anonymous

     I have nothing more to add to this exchange of views.  I have made my position quite clear: I will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to discredit the Church because of the crimes committed by a small minority of her members.

  • Anonymous

     tbh, geoffrey, you never actually had anything of value to add to this or any other exchange of views (this isn’t our first, as I’m sure you are aware).

    You may think you are doing the right thing in muddying the waters and attempting to minimise the scale and impact of the scandal, but I’m afraid you aren’t.

  • Stew11

     This is a smoke screen. Most of the predators have been homosexuals. Have the people who have protected them been chaste homosexuals? I can’t say and neither can you. All I know for sure is these people have cost the Church millions, have done untold damage to Christianity and are continually protected by people like you and geoff. Until the lesbians and homosexuals are run out of the Church on a rail we will continue to fight a losing battle to the Culture of Death.

  • Anonymous

     If I may refer you to the discussion above, between me and geoffreysmith1, I don’t think you can accuse me of throwing up a smokescreen – rather the opposite. I agree that it has done the Church enormous damage – and the cost is measured in more, much more than mere money.

  • Nicholas Lawrence

    Marie should join the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.

    There, she will continue to love God and find the peace that has eluded her for so long.