This Friday afternoon in conversation with the program Words Take Out Words, We spoke with the journalist María Olivia Browne, who is the co-author with Anicole Contreras of the book “Vidas robadas en nombre de Dios” and spoke about what the investigation of the book is about, which narrates the story of the protagonists themselves of the abuses of power over conscience and religious faith that existed within the Catholic Church.
A long investigation?
2 years in total, there are 19 people who entrusted us with their testimonies and that in some way we wanted to capture in these different stories about the abuse of power. It is a prelude to another type such as sexual abuse. One says that it is impressive that this type of thing is seen in the sector.
Write it as a monologue. Why?
The idea is like the voices of Chernobyl, that’s a bit of the model. They have to tell their full story, from childhood. To understand and not miss anything in the process, because when you’re inside you don’t know that you’re being consciously abused, with a lot of therapy and pain. This is a book that brings you closer to a pain that is of stolen lives in the name of God.
There are testimonials of all kinds…
Eugenio was the one who gave his testimony in Karadima’s book. From there the part accompany many victims. It is a long pilgrimage and there comes a minute when we talk and he is still a priest. There comes a minute when he says that he can’t continue in the church. These are not isolated cases, but an update also of the region with today’s world. Starting with the women, 12 testimonies are from women.
Let’s talk about abuse of conscience…
The great abuse is that of power. We have been asked a lot about this. We start with a definition, it is taking over your thoughts and everything that your consciousness carries. What is told in these stories is that they even end up imposing religion on you. Others decide until they separate you from the family, it is a very strong boss, it is the main enemy. The crazy thing is that the families help all the victims to get in and out.
The fact of these 13 chapters with so many patterns, it is good to be obedient. People who have worked abuse is the theme that persists in the faith, there are still schools that still in Chile today the majority are and are in charge of the Catholic Church as supporters. We have a case of an association that is prohibited by the Vatican but continues to function.
We talk about patterns, the estrangement from the family is repeated…
It is a very long process and it costs a lot to get out. Not everyone exposes his life, in a minute we said that they cannot live hidden in society. It’s going to be 5 years since the pope’s visit and we put it, the hope annulled, there was a lot of hope that everything was going to change and everything comes to nothing.
We have known of the abuses in the Catholic Church. Does the doctrine of the Catholic Church continue in some way in its formation, producing the abuse of conscience?
In the last chapter there is a movement that was little known, which has 3 schools. It has its own rigid constitutions, the book ends with an annex that is what abuse of conscience means. Having to show the mails, not having the right to a life of one’s own, which is taken to extremes. They are things of the middle ages and we have to update ourselves.
The fact of the confession…
The cover and the figure that there is, is where they begin to dominate your entire life. That is seen as a good thing, we must understand that we all have some basis in the Catholic Church of our country. They are bases that are in everything but stay under these codes and that this type of movement continues to act and today we are in another period of crisis and they have been more extreme.
The abuse of women by women…
There are very impressive cases, the case of the Sisters of Providence, they have many schools. There they participated very little and the girl who gives her testimony there recounts how a woman ends up treating her with attitudes that she was hers even her servant. She tells about her when they sent her to kill animals because they bothered the school. There are also the Santa Maria crusades that continue to function.
In general, there is a strong female presence of abuse. In the first chapter there is the case of a nun, and she tells an anecdote of how they treat her, they are characters that we have sanctified but they all wear a Karadima and we are realizing that. Karadima was an abuser of conscience too. There has to be a device for all the abuses to work. It is a difficult subject to grasp.
“Some parents came to claim the school because of some kittens…”
It is shocking. There are cases in Brazil, each story is enough for a complete book, each one is a novel. It is shocking that these things happen, the sense of spirituality of the people who gave themselves is lost.
What should happen in the Catholic Church?
We put from journalism stories that deserve to be investigated. There has to be an update as in all institutions. They talk to us about new constitutions, perhaps the church should do that exercise. The laity should take a more active and up-to-date role. It’s not just taking a selfie with the pope and he’s forgiven.