Friday, June 5, 2015

Sachsenhausen and evil

Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin, is a site of evil, a place where one sees and touches evil.

Here too was a brothel.

And so many of the perpetrators got away with it.

In the current issue of Spirituality there is an article written by a former Dominican priest, who was physically and sexually abused by a priest.

The abuser priest is three years dead.

In 1977 he verbally abused me. And from then until his death it was as clear as day he hated me.

Years later at a provincial meeting he sneered at me and attempted to humiliate me.

We lived in the same community from 1989 until approximately 2010.

I was removed from the community on the grounds that I was not a 'good influence' on the young men studying for priesthood. The man who physically, sexually and verbally abused, lived in the same building. Indeed, he lived there as a privileged person until his death as an old man.

That removal  is a badge of honour to me, especially sitting here  in Sachsenhausen. But it was a savage attack on my good name.

I write these words at the end of a two-hour visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

I can feel and smell the evil of this place.

And we can all do this.


Anonymous said...

I am saddened to hear of your continuing distress from past events. When it happens within a 'religious' environment and indeed from supposedly 'religious' people it does add to the galling nature of it. I too was treaded badly and feel aggrieved from the past treatment I experienced from a 'religious' (supposedly) superior. However it is a pity that the article was not published when the (accused) priest was still alive, it would have shown some real courage.

Michael Commane said...

Thank you for your comment. Might it have greater resonance if it were not anonymous?
On the occasion of the death of this man I wrote to every member of the then provinical council of the congregation to which he belonged. I also wrote to the secretary of the then provincial council. I did not receive one reply to my letter, though one man did speak to me about it. There has never been any attempt to discuss in open forum the damage this man did. And he wa a 'powerful' man.
At a chapter in the mid-1980s I asked that we have a discussion on matters relating to sexuality. He was in the chair and attempted to make a laugh of me. On another occasion, when I was a young priest, he threatened to have me removed from a community unless I apologised to him about something. He came to my room roaring and screaming. At the time he was 'vocations director'.

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