Contemplating My Faith; Being Catholic after the Church Abuse Scandal
By Carmen Perez
Sac City Express
October 25, 2018
I was raised Catholic and attended a strict parochial school, St. Peter’s, in Sacramento with nuns as teachers where we wore knee-length uniforms, prayed every morning before class started, before lunch and even before heading home. We had to wear our hair in a “proper manner”—we had to put our curly hair up in a ponytail—and went to mass every Friday.
I disliked the rigorous schedule, but I knew deep inside that it was the right thing to do for God.
In 2002, I was in 8th grade and couldn’t wait to go to a public high school, when the sexual abuse scandal shook the Catholic church. It was not on my radar. My parents, the nuns and teachers tried their best (and succeeded) to shield us children from the horrors that were coming out. My siblings and I had no idea what was happening.
But one day we were in the living room doing our homework when the Spanish news started to talk about the abuse. We had barely heard the words “Catholic” and “priests” when my mom changed the channel. She sat us down and said, “Never be alone with anyone, especially adults! Go with your siblings or friends.”
We had no idea why she was saying this and just moved on with our lives, slowly but surely becoming more entwined with God and the church. We joined youth groups, young adult groups, became lectors and eucharistic ministers. And I even started to work for the Diocese of Sacramento a little over two years ago.
In August 2018 the attorney general’s report on the priestly abuses in the Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses rattled me to my core. It was as if someone had told me that a close relative had died or someone had cheated on me. I just couldn’t stop myself from reading parts of it and feeling disgusted.