“The Wrath of God” A fictional story of a victim who becomes a murderer

postman pat“Postman Pat, Postman Pat,

Postman Pat and his black and white cat,

Early in the morning,

Just as day is dawning,..”

The children’s tape player sang the words through its red and white face. Primary colors for a baby’s room. The tape was a distraction for me, and it covered my cries – but his hand usually sufficed.

People ask, How could a man, a priest?  It’s popular to ask, now, those taboo questions. Safety in numbers for those who dare to criticize God’s men.

But that night, so many nights, no safety. No one questioning. Not even the mother. And the father? He was around.

My face hurts now, as I tell you this. Pain in my jaw like after a long session at the dentist. As if it had been stretched wide beyond its comfort. And my throat is tight, golf-ball sized anxiety, so I can’t catch my breath. Give me a minute, here!

…..

…..

It was always hard to breathe during story time.

And now the inevitable pain in my rectum. Even though I am telling you this over 50 years later, the pain memories are so near. They live in my muscles under my skin.

In prison there are similar pains for many of the inmates. But I am separate. Solitary. Suits me just fine! Dangerous, they say, to myself and others. A sociopath by nature, or a victim whose violation of his body caused an irreparable tear in his soul through which all feelings escaped. Which am I? Maybe you don’t believe in souls or God. That’s fine. I’m The Wrath of God … and no one wants to believe in me.

I sought out one of them, one of the owners of those bodies that stole my breath and my sanity. One of the Men in Black. I burned holes in his body where he had torn holes in mine. Pathology or justice? Am I a righteous man or a criminal?  It’s up to you to decide, my twelve peers. But let me ask, first, that you take my place for just one night in that child’s bed, just one, and then you can judge me.

Cold

cold

cold, cold, hard, damp tiles

bare feet

they didn’t care

with their thick shoes and heavy clothes

pale legs above bloodless toes

the cold hurts

before it numbs

but fear is hot

insides shaking

lips trembling

don’t cry, she warns

don’t whimper or weep

it will be worse for you

stand strong, little mona

stand and stare

see what they point to

see it and know

there is no safety

for little girls

who don’t do what they are told

tears fall silently

on downy cheeks

please don’t notice

i promise i’ll be good

i won’t make a sound

i’ll be daddy’s good girl

you’ll see

Anger

Today I am beside myself with Anger…literally…it stands behind me and demands I write.

My mother knew about one abuser-priest, she admitted as much to my brother, that she had walked in on something in our house, a house we left when I was six.

She knew about the second abuser-priest because she was his victim.

How does a parent do that … know these things and yet expose their child to these men? How? I don’t know how. And then today I read of a couple whose child died with deep open sores under her arms, with feces that had been caked to her bottom so long that skin came off with the diaper – and I know. Parents are capable of horrendous evil, unspeakable crimes against a child, immeasurable depths of denial, at the very same time that they are capable of caring for other children in the family. And I shudder, knowing that my hurt was nothing compared to the pain and horror suffered by this child. And I weep. And my Anger fades inside again.

May the Lord Bless You … Mum

As my mother’s health declines steadily I have been dreaming about her and thinking about her with increasing frequency. I am told she whimpers and cries in her sleep and my heart breaks for her. There was much that she did as a mother that was at the very least inept: she sent me on car trips with a priest who was her rapist.  I am a mother and I struggled to find anywhere in my own head for that information to fit.  But upon reflection I understand. She was in denial. She had to maintain a very rigid denial, otherwise her whole world would have shattered. She had to hold her husband close and keep the family together. She had to bind us to the Church because her faith was the only source of strength she had. To have admitted to herself or to anyone else the crimes being perpetrated by the two priests in our life would have destroyed everything that was holding her world together. Everything. And she couldn’t risk that.

I have struggled greatly since first finding out about her rapes. But my shock, horror, anger, are fading now, as her life, too, fades. And what I feel is a tender sadness for all that she suffered at the hands of this man, and for all that she endured having to watch her husband’s struggle with his own teenage, then adult,  abuser- her Parish Priest.  Never telling her husband that she knew, never sharing the horror of her own rapes by the second priest. Both of my parents protecting each other –  they thought – both of them engulfed in their own private hell. 

And now I remember the little things my mother did for me. The poodle she knitted for me as a child. The Easter nests and Christmas stocking she lovingly prepared. The letters she wrote, the music tapes she shared with me.  The prayers and the candles.  I am thankful for those memories, and in turn I pray for her: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord look upon you with gentleness and compassion.
May the Lord grant you peace and take you swiftly into His loving arms.