Email correspondence with the Professional Ethics Council
of the Catholic Church in Norway
Translated from Norwegian
Copy sent to SNAP:
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
På norsk her
On April 14th 2010 I wrote:
Subject: Information about (very old) violations
I wish to inform formally that Father XX SJ sexually violated my integrity in the 1960s.
He never worked in Norway, but violations also happened here, when he was visiting my parents in Ottestad, and when he visited us in Rome, Italy.
Father XX was the priest who gave me my first communion and confirmed me. That was in India, when he was a teacher at XX School in Darjeeling. He was later transferred to Canada, and I now wonder if that could have been in connection with sexual violations at the school where he worked.
Over the years Father XX sent me many pornographic letters, which I now regret having burned a long time ago. I have been more interested in healing the damage he and The Church caused than in accusations and documentation, but now I want to be yet another number in the Church’s statistics.
I am attaching an essay I have written about what I consider to be the background for the Church’s acceptance of sexual violations of children’s integrity. If you wish, I can send an English translation when it is done. *
I will also be sending you a description of the violations and my viewpoints as to why Church violations are so harmful. But it is going to take time to process and write this.
Thanks for the last time [direct translation]. You held the funeral mass for my mother.
I received a reply the very next day:
Thu, 15 Apr 2010, Arne Marco Kirsebom wrote:
I thank you for your openness and for your letter that you attached. It is useful support for being able to learn. [direct translation, doesn’t make much more sense in Norwegian] I think it is completely horrible what molesters do and I agree that The Church has not yet understood the seriousness to the victims. [direct translation again] I take the liberty of giving you a link to some thoughts that I formulated on my blog just before Easter: http://arnemarco.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/overgrep-og-judas/. [contains bible quote about millstones and “cause to sin”]
You write that the violations are very outdated. But is there anything you want the Professional Ethics Council to do for you?
I remember the funeral and the gathering afterwards.
With friendly greetings
p. Arne Marco Kirsebom
I sent a reply on the same day:
Thu, 15 Apr 2010
Thank you for your quick response, your link and your offer to help.
And I do actually need help with some bible research. There is an expression in your blog post that creeps me out, and I would very much like to know what the original wording is.
I’m thinking of “caused to sin”. **
[The expression in Norwegian is “leads to fall”] This has overtones of “sin” that are completely misleading and places yet another millstone onto the burden of guilt and shame that victims of Church violations already bear. ***
Sexual violation of a child’s integrity is not a question of being caused to sin, it is a question of CAUSING HARM. One is just as actually harmed as if one had been hit by a car … and it would not occur to anyone to say that a traffic victim was “caused to sin”.
In English I have found these translations:
“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin”
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me”
So the translations are very different.
Apart from that, there is nothing that the Professional Ethics Council can help us with. But my sister and I are willing to meet with the council, if it thinks that our experiences and viewpoints can be useful.
And I strongly suggest that the council gets in touch with The Support Centre Against Incest in Oslo and asks for guidance. There are many similarities between incest and church violations, and the victims’ problems later in life are the same. So the Support Centre can help you with valuable expertise on how to meet children and others who inform of church violations.
(Copy to Kari-Anne and a separate copy to The Support Centre with an explanation)
My sister and I did not get a response to this.
We did not get an answer to our Bible question
The Catholic Church’s Professional Ethics Council was not interested in our experiences and viewpoints.
The Catholic Church’s Professional Ethics Council did not get in touch with The Support Centre.
And we had not become numbers in the statistics when bishop Eidsvig was interviewed on national TV on April 16th 2010.
On February 10th 2011, almost a year later, P. Arne Marco Kirsebom wrote:
Dear Ingrid Johanne Vaalund,
I am appending a text that we now have received from the Jesuit Order about p. XX. As you see, he died 20 years ago.
Is there anything more that the Professional Ethics Council can do about this case, do you want an apology from the Church for what happened?
With friendly greetings
P. Arne Marco Kirsebom
Here is the appended text:
(I have XXed out some names to protect privacy)
This is Fr. Ignacio Echarte, S.I.
Secretary of the Society of Jesus
I reply to your request, which we have received through our webpage, about Fr. Francis XX.
Francis G. XX, was born in XX, on the 17.10.1910
Joined the Society on the 05.02.1931
He was ordained on the 21.11.1943
He made his last vows on the 15.08.1946
He died on the 23.01.1991, in XX
Ignacio Echarte S.J.
tf. (+39) 06 689 771
We knew that Stalker Priest had been born, had died and where he had lived. We had not asked for this information. And this unasked for and unnecessary information came in an email two days after I posted a critical essay on “The Catholic Church in Norway” in this blog. [Not yet translated.]
In time I will use this correspondence with the Ethics Council as a starting point for an article on cognitive dissonance and religious gaslighting. For now I just need time to assimilate the attempts my sister and I have made to communicate with The Catholic Church in Norway.
This has not yet been translated
When I was checking Matthew 18.6 today, I came across a translation that would have made my life easier when I was a child, even if the millstone would still have caused problems:
“And everyone who commits an offense against one of these little ones who believe in me, it were profitable for him that a donkey’s millstone would be hung around his neck and he be sunk in the depths of the sea.”
In another context I am going to explain why Matthew 18.6 kept me from saying anything when the violations were ongoing. The short version is that not only was I convinced that I had sinned, I also knew that Stalker Priest did not deserve to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned at sea. I only wanted him to leave me alone, and it never occurred to me to ask for help in protecting my borders and integrity. As I see it, one of the biggest failings of The Catholic Church has been and is its blindness to children’s borders and integrity and their fundamental need and basic right to protect them.