After learning in 1988 that my brother had been sexually abusing young boys, I had gone to a Church official, expecting him to tell me that he was being watched or in therapy. I expected an answer.
I received no information at all.
When I spoke with the church official, he told me that this was not my problem to worry about, and the Church would take care of everything. As time passed, decade-by-decade, I continued to question Church officials but was continuously deceived, believing them.
Being a cradle Catholic, I was encouraged to trust them. But, I was continually troubled because I saw no indication the Church was doing as it had promised. My brother remained in active ministry, being transferred from parish to unsuspecting parish with no warnings to anyone about the danger he presented.
My brother, Norman H. Christian, ordained a priest March 18, 1961 in the diocese of Saint Louis, Missouri, is the subject of my book, No Longer on Pedestals. I've disclosed inside knowledge of Father Christian's life, along with my observations of the Church's actions regarding him throughout his priesthood. I tell of decisions I made and things I did at the time that were right, as well as those for which I regret.
I hope that people will have a better understanding of the suffering the victims endure throughout their lives because of the abuse by a priest, and the denial of compassion and support from the hierarchy. Realizing the molester is remaining in active ministry is devastating to the victim.
I hope to enlighten other faithful members of the Catholic Church with the truth of how molesters are kept in active ministry, endangering innocent children and families. Empowered with this knowledge, readers can challenge the leaders of the Catholic Church to change their ways as well as encourage the entire Congregation to be more like Christ and hold the abused in our hearts and welcome them instead of denying them.
I want to give all clergy abuse survivors hope; to validate the life-long pain they've suffered at the hands of someone they were taught to revere and trust.
The Church continues to be secretive about the sabbaticals and treatment centers that shelter known clergy sexual abusers and the Church is now encouraging dioceses to declare bankruptcy so as not have to pay the victims of the chronic abuse.
Pro-life advocates should be outraged that the very people who should be an example of Christ to all are destroying vulnerable children's lives. Instead they are ignored or called liars due to their broken lives. Everyone seems to want them to just go away.
There is hope within me as I see how people are better understanding the pain of the victims and are being moved to discuss this horrible crisis within our Church with their pastors, families, friends and parishioners.
What a better world this would be if everyone would reach out with kindness to all victims of abuse.
Author of No Longer on Pedestals
Carol Kuhnert is a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church. Upon discovering the truth that her brother is a pedophile, she has made it her mission to confront the issue and push for change and reconciliation. She has been married for over 52 years and currently resides in Missouri.
"No Longer on Pedestals"
By Carol A. Kuhnert