This year, I wrote about a subject that I did not want to dwell on, but for some reason could not stop writing about.
I grew up Catholic and was fairly devout for most of my life, but over the past few years, given the testimony of acquaintances, friends, family, and the information I’ve gleaned from the snapnetwork.org and the 10,000 pages of testimony available at the Center for Constitutional Rights, I found I could not stop writing poetry about the pedophilia scandals. The result is a chapbook titled “The Witness,” which Kattywompus Press is publishing in 2016.
It’s a hard subject to read about. It’s a hard subject to write about. And the thought of promoting this chapbook is very difficult for me because most of my friends and family are still Catholic and will be troubled by this work. However, it’s not possible for me to ignore what I’ve “witnessed,” and I’m struggling with how to talk about this material. My first impulse was to write it and send it to Kattywompus, and then to let it go, but I think that’s an impulse born of being a “good Catholic” for so many years. We don’t want to rock the boat, we don’t want to criticize the church, we don’t want to be the person who calls out.
Yet it is not fair to the victims to stay silent, and I hope that I am able to overcome my fear and speak up for their sake. I don’t think the Pope or the Church leaders have adequately atoned for these crimes. I think they have brushed them under the table and, if there is any justice in the world, I would like to see them release all of the church documentation concerning the abuse and face what has happened.
“The Witness” is available from Kattywompus Press in January 2016 or for presale for $12 at Kelly’s website: www.kellyfordon.com (use contact form).