Ghost Town

Virgin has an amazing post over at her blog on Russians and the holocaust. The Russians won’t talk about what happened.

What people will and won’t talk about is a bit of an obsession of mine. Mostly because I am an Irish Catholic girl, and I have some heavy training in not talking. You can imagine how useful it is to teach kids not to talk.

But I have come to learn that the truth insists upon itself. Here something that is true. The church below is in my neighborhood and it is where Father Geoghan served in the 70’s and 80’s. img_03401

Father Geoghan was a pedophile who molested dozens of boys. One extended family had seven boys who were his victims. They were his parishioners.

One of the mothers of the victims wanted the church turned into the memorial. Her son had killed himself. Instead, the Diocese sold the parish to a Protestant church. The Protestant church has been working all winter gutting the place out. When I went out in search of Tic Tacs this morning, I decided to snap some pictures of it.

I told Jen I thought the place was evil and should be leveled. She is way more pragmatic than me. She said that places aren’t evil, people are evil. And everyone who had anything to do with this is gone now. Father Geoghan was killed when he was in prison.

The boys are either dead, or they are living ghosts.

When I first got sober, I had a counselor at the Fenway. My counselor was a handsome gay guy who was also in sobriety. I didn’t stay with him. I am a bit of a slut when it comes to therapist. I move around a lot. But I would see my counselor at the AA meetings over the years. When given the floor, he talks rapidly and incessantly about what happened to him as a Catholic boy. He can’t  stop drinking.

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10 thoughts on “Ghost Town

  1. “the truth insists upon itself”…shit that’s beautiful. Can I steal it?

    I’m with Jen though on not leveling the place. Erasing it feels like another kind of not-talking. If it remains, maybe there’s more of a chance people will have to reckon with it, tell about what went on and how it hurts still.

  2. I think one of the most dangerous things in our world today is the way a lot of suffering gets silenced and even reworked under the guise of the law/help. Gottlieb has a post over at LAMOMS about bullying and schools’ “no tolerance” policy when it comes to fights. I think she makes a good point. And, like Virg said, leveling the thing, though the symbolic equivalent of doing away with the hurt, only silences what once happened.

  3. You know Will, I think the self help movement can be oppressive too. I think sometimes people’s experiences get channeled into a “recovery language” that makes mush out of what the person honestly experienced.

  4. True. There is a very real danger to making oneself out to be a victim and creating that role for oneself, perhaps even when it shouldn’t exist. It’s fertile breeding ground for paranoia and violence. I think this conversation would be a fascinating ongoing topic, and I couldn’t begin to explain my stance here. I guess all I can say is that what the world needs is to strike the difficult balance between self-awareness and acceptance.

  5. I feel like we get trained so well NOT to talk about things that sometimes it’s even hard to think of what it is that we’re not talking about…if that makes sense. Thought provoking post!

  6. That is so sad. I can’t believe the things some people will do, especially when they are supposed to be religious leaders and moral examples. ugh. I grew up Catholic (I think I might still be to some extent-not sure yet) and my mom told me this weekend that she is republican because she doesn’t trust gov. bureaucracy and that there is no accountability in gov. This shows that there is problems in every organization- even religious ones. But wow- when you can’t even trust the churches….

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