My brother Richard died August 8th, 2018. I sent him a Love Letter on August 6th. I dated the sentiment August 8th, my 72nd birthday. I thanked him for his 'presents' to me. I wish to share with you my feelings, including a PS, I write now, expressing additional feelings regarding the news that more than 300 priests abused 1000 or more children in Pennsylvania - the straw that breaks the back - it's time to SCREAM - a time for ACCOUNTABILITY - a time for real CHANGE.
My 72nd birthday
AWR. Richard. Dick.
A Love Letter
From Mike - your youngest brother
Just fourteen years your younger
Richard. Dick. You are gift - Always inviting - Always welcoming. A present to me. A present to all. Thank you for your loving embrace.
And, so serious and determined - to make a difference with the seemingly insurmountable task of bringing to light the reality of Catholic authorities gone wrong - very wrong - as large numbers of priests, bishops, and even cardinals sexually abuse children. Maybe worse, is the coverup – the system, knowingly, quick to pass abusers from parish to parish, hiding the family member’s crime – a costly sin…. and by our religious leaders!
You have made a difference – a huge positive difference – a legacy that will last for your eternity. Coming from within the troubled system, you were willing to face the truth about your religious family and do something about it – a herculean task – David versus Goliath. It must have been a very lonely and painful task to take on. You were courageous to tackle the task.
Now, nearly thirty years after the publication of your book, A SECRET WORLD, Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy, the truth of abuse within the Catholic hierarchy is common knowledge. The system has started a mend, thanks to your assist in spotlighting the problem. I am proud of your presents. By the way, I have seen the movie Spotlight several times and count the mention of you as a source to the Boston Globe about priest pedophiles, as nine.
I remember you and Marianne welcoming Patty, me and Bridget to your home in Baltimore, - it was 1990, about the time of A SECRET WORLD release. You talked a lot about the contents of the book. I was stunned, probably in disbelief, thinking how this can be – maybe a few not keeping their vows, and fewer abusers - but so much? How can the problem be so pervasive? I am naïve. This was too much for me to absorb at the time. Probably too much for the world to absorb, at the time. How can this be? I thought – Is this the twilight zone? Time is telling. Truth is healing… in time.
I remember mention of Father Andrew Greely, a sociologist and successful fiction author, criticizing your numbers and your credentials. With time your numbers proved to be accurate. Your experience and tenacity to go after the truth, regardless of where it leads, is nothing short of Devine Providence.
Abuse by clergy was unspeakable – not possible by the God-blessed beings – priests - on the parishioner’s-given pedestal. Given the magnitude of the abuse within the Catholic hierarchy and the degree of disbelievers, your patience with progress has been amazing. There was reason to come out screaming with accusations. You nurtured the situation so well. Now you can scream!
I love your line I heard in conjunction with doing your 80th birthday book, – “The largest task in life is to love. And love is the only thing that lasts, everything else melts away”. Love you have – evidenced by all you touched – family, abused, friends and even Church. In the case of Church, let’s say, tough love!
I too believe love is our highest priority. My best work as a Life – Wealth planner is possibly now, having realized, in my mid-sixties, that the Love Priorities of Self-realizing, Connecting, and Giving are the focal point of a strong process to realize one’s success.
I define success as the realization of your unique good – doing what you love… your God-given talents, revealed by being open to your unique driving forces. And, being willing to follow those forces to where ever the passion persists. You have.
I love that you invited me to join you doing your third (trilogy) book of poems – SMELL THE ROSES, FEEL THE SOIL, REACH THE SKY. I didn’t see how this would work. But, it has evolved. You saw the possibility from the beginning and, thanks to your prodding, I am beginning to see the possibility.
SMELL THE ROSES is a book about love, and hope for more love. This is a theme we both are passionate about – what a great compliment to I CONFESS and COURAGE AT THREE AM.
What’s to be? Like your Last Supper needlepoint, what is has great value, like Durer’s Salvator Mundi. What do you wish for the unfinished?
My image, RICHARD, Reach the Sky, I captured during my visit with you, in La Jolla, in recent May, has much meaning, to me. It symbolizes the love priority of Self-realizing – reaching the sky – success – colorfully, and not without bearing harsh elements over a long period – dealing with pain and suffering.
You are “a life well lived”. Your legacy is a love example that will positively impact many, more than you can imagine. What a Wonderful life. I will miss you. I love you and feel your love.
PS You won't believe it, or maybe you will, but a week after your death the news of horrendous abuse by priests in Pennsylvania hit the world news. The Church appeals for forgiveness - I imagine much more - forgiveness is holy, it is worth attention - accountability and change are just - IT IS TIME FOR JUSTICE - TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES.
Here is what I imagine - All involved, including those who covered up, in any way, immediately resign and begin self-flagellation. This, unbelievably, includes 50% of the Catholic Church hierarchy. Celibacy is optional. The positions of priests and nuns are eliminated and replaced with Ministers. Gender makes no difference. Ministers are well educated, including versed on your writings. Ministers contribute to the level of their God-given talents, driven by their unique passions. Truth and love run rampant. It is good and right.
Hope to see you... not too soon.