Monday, 30 October 2006

Abuse

I was rightly told off by an erstwhile reader for only posting twice last week.
It was one of those weeks .
Part of the hurly burly was caused by the Diocesan Synod which took up Thursday night, Friday from 2-10 p..m., Saturday from 8 a.m. -8.30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon.
It was not all hard slog and there were lighter moments. There were also profound insights and deeply moving times.
During one discussion a priest began his address by saying "I am a survivor of sexual abuse in this Diocese..." and he went on to invite us to be sure that we did not perpetuate abuse by victimising (particularly) gay and lesbian people.
I had indulged in my own theatrics my declaring myself to be a "bastard in the eyes of the church".
There was some laughter at suggested that I was still so.
I made this disclosure to show how sexual morés change.
My mother was divorced, the victim of a violent marriage. My father was her second husband. In the late 1940s when they were married the Anglican Church would not marry divorcées, and regarded those who married as living in adultery.
My mother, though a devout and practising Anglican, was married in the Presbyterian Church and readmitted to Communion (as she had been technically excommunicated) in the Church of England a week after she was married.
When I was born the church still regarded divorced people as living in adultery. So I technically am a bastard......resist the temptation, resist it, resist it!
My particular personal appreciation for the priest's disclosure that he was a survivor is that given my own bizarre "bastard" disclosure, about the way the church used to treat divorced people as though they were living in adultery even if they were legally married as my parents were, gave me a deeper appreciation of how abusive this was for them, and how this abuse was perpetuated for decades.
My mother worked through it but it probably took her 30 or 40 years. My father (who was not really a church person) in one sense couldn't have cared less about the stupid church games but it certainly made him feel unwelcome and less inclined to embrace the life of the church. Both of them were abused by this and I had never clearly named it like that. So I am grateful for that insight.
There was much other stuff to be thankful for.
The enjoyment of the company of other Anglicans who you only see at Synod once a year, which used to be so much a feature of Synod and shared meals and conviviality.
Is everything returning to normal? I hope so.
But it will never be the same again.

2 comments:

anon said...

Sexual morés may change, but God doesn't.

stephen clark said...

This is true