May 13, 2005

Profile in courage



May 15, 2005

There may be Roman Catholics who will regard "Our Fathers," Showtime's Saturday 9 p.m. movie about the church's pedophile priest scandal, as more exploitation, more Catholic-bashing. Olan Horne has another word for the film: "courageous."

Horne is one of the victims. In 1970, consumed with guilt and shame, he confided to Rev. Joseph Birmingham, a friendly, new priest at his church in Lowell, Mass., that he was being sexually molested by a member of his family. Birmingham first coaxed a graphic description of the abuse from him and then asked Horne to show him his genitals. Horne was frightened. He was 12. He did as he was told.

"Showtime has been as courageous as any individual who decided to come forward, because there's still a stigma attached to this," Horne, a butcher by trade, told a group of TV writers in January. "Nobody can have a healthy conversation. I have a family that has difficulty even talking about the issue."

Horne didn't step out of the shadows and speak up until he was middle-aged. An earlier victim of Birmingham, Bernie McDaid, recalled that he did tell his parents and that they reported the priest - in 1969. The priest was transferred. To Lowell.

"Huge fallout"

"The Catholic Church said that they went and got him help, but they never did," said McDaid, now a painting contractor. "The records show differently. The fallout from this is huge, and it needs to be exploited more. We need to talk about it more because the damage, as far as I'm concerned, they raped my soul. OK? They took God from me at age 11, and that needs to be known."

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2005 07:20 PM