"A heartfelt, personal story of the gradual awakening of a woman who comes to see that preferring the 'human to the perfect' does not alienate her from authentic spirituality but allows her to live more fully."
Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk
Mary responds to Peter Jamison's article in the current issue of the San Francisco Weekly titled "Tainted Saint: Mother Teresa Defends Pedophile Priest"
Just finished your book and keep thinking about the content. The main thing that touched me was yourhonesty which I felt throughout. I was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 30 years . Am now 79 yearsof age and connecting with Bishop Spong. Your book goaded me to looking up anything I could aboutyour writing. Sometimes I yearn for a group to engage with who could come with honesty. Honestyis so hard to come by and I found that in your writing.
Marjorie, I'm so glad that my writing moved you. I really felt that I had to be very honest with this book. I think that it's not easy for people--especially for people in the Church--to be honest about their own experiences, but I think it's so necessary.
Thank you for introducing me to Bishop Spong. Very interesting. And very honest, too.
Well put comments to this unfortunate story Mary. I am not surprised at MT response that it was greater sin to talk about sexual abuse than the actual abuse. This mentality was typical in her religious development and life history. Families today still think in similar unfortunate ways which only lead to more assaults and damage. The other point that sadden me about her is that she knew about the sexual predator sister but chose to ignore her, allowing her to prey and assault on other unsuspecting sisters-very similar to those who knowingly hide knowledge of a pedophile or sexual predator within their families, communities and neighborhoods. This is unforgivable in my opinion.
Yes, Hank, Mother Teresa's response was, unfortunately, fairly typical. I'm so glad that attitudes are changing, due to the good, brave work of people like you.
I love your balanced view, openness, and ability to examine facets of a complex person and situation for which we might never have full understanding. We now live in a world where a former despot can face criminal charges in international court, and where regular people can have a voice in ways once impossible. Finally, transparency and open dialogue are beginning to come to the arena of religion. Thank you for your part!
I don't think religion should be a backward force, but should be a depository and motivator of useful knowledge of our common humanity and actions to better our conditions. Unfortunately, all too often it is as my nephew once said, "Religion is nothing but misinformation."
Whether it is Christianity, Eastern or whatever religion, when holiness comes first, it always seems to mean that life is cheap. The dogma, maintenance of some kind of order, or goal of the afterlife is more important than empathy and the individual. This kind of thinking belongs to the days of feudalism or when a sultan could chop off the head of anyone because he felt like it....I say this, but real life is messy...look at our US involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
From all appearances, Mother Teresa gave herself 100% to the path of saintliness, but in today's world, she is a bit of a Don Quijote. It is like the Queen couldn't understand why the British public made such a fuss over Diana's death. So much has changed in the world, and MT was trying to preserve what she saw as good and holy. At least Mother T wasn't sleazy--no personal sex scandals, addictions, etc.--though championing a pedophile is perhaps far worse...extreme obedience really messes with empathy and the ability to follow one's conscience, which by its nature must involve the use of intelligence.
Is there a democratic, humanistic vision of religion? Thank you for your contribution to the dialogue. I heard you speak at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. I respect your journey and integrity.
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Copyright © 2013, Mary Johnson. All rights reserved.Header photo by Rachel Aidan