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I was age five when the bishop stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what the priest did to you." Then, forty years later... I started babbling.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

12-Year Vatican Protest at Embassy in DC: My Story by John Wojnowski

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Guest Author at City of Angels Today:

In 1958, in Italy, at the age of 15, I was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest. The trauma was so extreme that the memory of the event was repressed for 39 years. Irreparably damaged, I lived a stunted, sad, insecure life to the age of 54 when, in 1997, a Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal in Texas, was the spark that jump-started the memory.

On the 4th of August, 1997, I contacted the Catholic Church and was offered counseling. Analyzing the facts it became evident that this molestation was the crucial episode that altered negatively the course of my life and caused much suffering to me and to my family.

On August 26th, 1997 I wrote my first letter to the Catholic Church ending with: "I welcome any interrogation by Church officials and experts because I am confident that my claim will only be strengthened."

A Bishop replied asking for more details.

I wrote my second letter with all the information I remembered.

A month went by... no answer.

I wrote my third letter.

More months went by... no answer.

I was being ignored because evidently I had no legal recourse and the hierarchy "KNEW" that SHAME would keep me from going beyond writing letters.

But I could not give up.

The misery of a life of insecurity, my family's suffering, the wasted potential of a stolen life cried for reparation.

I could not give up.

In 1998, I was not ready to go public about molestation or sexual abuse and at that point it was not really necessary: I made a large sign with a four feet tall question-mark and a small caption: "Bishop Lori, do you recognize this question-mark?" and stood in front of the Vatican embassy.

Quite promptly the bishop finally answered that unfortunately the “priest allegedly involved” died ten years earlier, so I had no case but the good bishop would pray for me and the Church would pay for the therapy.

Not quite enough for a cripple's wasted life and a lifetime of sorrow.

The only recourse to obtain Justice was at the "Court of Public Opinion".

In April 1998, a lone, shy, insecure, stuttering, anonymous old man appeared in front of the Vatican embassy in Washington holding a big sign:

MY LIFE WAS RUINED BY A CATHOLIC PEDOPHILE PRIEST

The breathtaking stupidity of the Catholic Church response makes me reluctant to use the term "evil" but the ferocity, ignorance, vulgarity, cowardice, infantilism, hypocrisy and malevolence experienced by this victim for the last twelve years are evidence of pathologies that plague this degenerate and disgraced institution.

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The Last 12 Years
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A sad old man, holding this big sign, often crying....(I was moved to tears when, from passing cars there were shows of support). The beginning was quite difficult, as I received all kinds of threats, insults and obscene gestures.

Daily, from passing cars people would yell:

LOSER!

....It was not easy.

One day a priest stopped by. He mentioned that he was not associated with the nunciature, but with the Washington Diocese. I told him my story. He asked many questions, also about the responses of people driving-by.

I also commented that I would be a LOSER if I would give up my fight.

Next day, all week, all month, all year.

A MIRACLE

The yelling of "LOSER!" stopped: the same people would honk twice, and when I looked they would give me the finger.

A "COWARD HIDING BEHIND A SIGN" I was called by a young Catholic who kept repeating his first and last name and how proud he was to be a Catholic and suggested to get a bucket to collect donations.

1) "Statute of Limitations"

2) "It may have been MY FAULT"

3) "To protest will be bad for me. I will be crushed by RIDICULE & SHAME.

4) "U.S. laws are too harsh on child molesters. Will or should change.(!!!!!!!)

These four questionable, suspect, threatening and ignorant arguments were given to me by a young anonymous priest that, one evening, after dark, emerged from the Vatican Embassy.

(The Nunciature appears to be a quite secretive or privacy conscious office. The only name disclosed is the identity of the Nuncio.)

I never graduated from the 8th grade but I detected some weakness in these arguments. I wrote a new letter to the Nunciature listing the four arguments and begging for an explanation.

No response.

After some detective work (pure luck!) I found that the young priest was a 39 years old MONSIGNOR, Doctor of Canon Law and the "First Secretary" of the embassy, that is #2 after the Nuncio.

The young monsignor knew what he was talking about when he mentioned me being crushed by ridicule and shame. A reporter for a local paper, claiming to be a supporter, interviewed me. I did not give my name with the explanation that I did not want my mother, a very religious old lady, to find out. One day, from a car, a man, dressed as a Muslim(!), yelled: "The article is in the paper!"

I found the paper,... I saw the article....SURPRISE ATTACK!....I WAS EXPOSED!!!.....THE SHOCK!!!.....THE TRAUMA!... Nobody can imagine how awful, devastating, crushing, it was when I saw my name JOHN WOJNOWSKI, in big letters in the headline and again and again and again in the text.

It was supposed to look like an "objective piece of journalism".

It was a custom-made cruel attack on a fragile victim that made a joke of the tragedy of my life. There was also one, to me very offensive, BIG LIE. Possibly it was expected that I commit suicide.

Were the "Holy Men" expecting me to have a heart attack?

Were they expecting me to give-up?

The stupidity!

The arrogance!

The evil!

It took me few days to recover and now, 12 years later, I am actually glad: It was a literal declaration of war, and, this is truly delicious, there was left a big handprint: a VATICAN'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT.

Notice the humor behind "Holy War": it reminds one of the humor of the signs that decorated the gates of Germany's extermination camps. -jw


BACKGROUND:
Oct 30, 1998, News Story:

Holy War: Vatican Embassy protester John Wojnowski seeks daily ... Holy War Vatican Embassy protester John Wojnowski seeks daily affirmation, and a few supportive honks

John Wojnowski is in Wikipedia:

John Wojnowski - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Holy War: Vatican Embassy protester John Wojnowski seeks daily affirmation – and a few supportive honks – on the Massachusetts Avenue sidewalk."

John's website:

VaticanHidesPedophiles.com
Hello, my name is John Wojnowski and this is my website: .....

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Posted at City of Angels Blog by Kay Ebeling
Sept. 20, 2010.

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2 comments:

city of angels lady said...

John Brown of Australia writes:

I know how John feels- much the same for me here- read and understand the home page of http://www.molestedcatholics.com/ for 1 episode

city of angels lady said...

Tina writes:

Thanks for giving John a voice. I love what he does outside the embassy. He is a true star to me.