Letters to the editor

Real help for victims of the Catholic Church

I was deeply moved when I read Brad Lena’s ad in your Nov. 24 issue [Holiday Season Guide, p. 16] appealing to all victimized Catholics to join him at the St. Justin Center (across from the Basilica of Saint Lawrence in downtown Asheville) for a “Christmas Homecoming.” Moved, indeed. — the waves of nausea were overwhelming.

Me and my children are recent victims of the Catholic church (perhaps “theological-corporate-criminal enterprise” is more fitting). I, too, have voiced my appeal to people of the faith to come to the immediate aid and assistance of those who have been so incredibly harmed by this malevolent organization. My initial efforts were directed to Bishop William Curlin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and to Archbishop John Donoghue in Atlanta. I also informed the local district attorney’s office, the SBI, the FBI, our state attorney general, and even gave it a whirl with Chief Will Annarino of our own nationally-acclaimed police department. While I am still waiting for some appropriate action and response from these officials, I have been advised not to hold my breath.

So, back to Mr. Lena. Does he really think that those of us who have trusted God to deliver us from the … atrocities of the Roman Catholic Church — wherein the prerequisite for inclusion is the coerced willingness to engage in psychological, spiritual and physical battering — are actually going to return to that hell-hole?! C’mon, Mr. Lena, get real.

This nation has suffered long enough from the abusive and oppressive Roman Catholic Church (cult is more like it, and a highly destructive one at best). “Justifiable” pedophilia and ordained misogyny have kept our eyes riveted to the scandals, while our hearts are torn with damning disgust for being so curious about families being ripped apart.

This organization, of which I assume you are a part, Mr. Lena, has a prolific and well-documented history of criminal conduct, based on aberrant ideologies that result in extreme forms of interpersonal violence.

For the most part, the general public is unaware of these orchestrated systems of violence. Multigenerational exposure to theologically based incest and rape has left our individual communities filled with people whose pathologies cannot be remedied. [Internally,] the church thinks and acts … in terms of “redemptive violence.” And on a corporate level — in my opinion and that of some criminologists — the highly sophisticated and organized forms of theft, arson, fraud, drug trafficking, pornography and rape are institutionalized “crimes of the elite.” It is endemic, systemic and cancerous.

Me and my children have endured such victimization and harassment that defies one’s sensibilities. We have survived. There have been many others who, like myself, will carry scars from this psychological trauma, but we are still living, breathing creatures who will likely devote the rest of our lives to seeing that the perpetrators are held accountable. There have been many others who, like myself, will carry scars from this psychological trauma, but we are still living, breathing creatures who will likely devote the rest of our lives to seeing that the perpetrators are held accountable.

Mr. Lena, let me clue you into something: There is a God, and He is nowhere near the Roman Catholic Church or anything you people do. Wanna know what else, Mr. Lena? We ain’t coming back — not even for a friendly little discussion. God ain’t coming either.

Although I am sure you mean well, if it’s forgiveness you are looking for, as your ad suggests, I invite you to get out of there and get to know your Creator. God’s healing mercy and grace does abound, but you must choose God in order to receive it, rather than continue to invest in the Roman Catholic Church. Trust me on this one. God is just not coming to any of your Tuesday-night discussions.

For those of you who have suffered and continue to suffer from the ritual abuse and distortions of truth imposed upon you, please know that you are not alone, and that there is genuine help for you right here in this community. Do come home for Christmas and stay away from your abusers, no matter how much they prey upon your emotional and spiritual vulnerabilities. We are out here with open arms, ready to embrace you and to journey with you in establishing that genuine covenant relationship with God, [of] which you have been so cruelly deprived by the Roman Catholic Church.

I want to suggest several helpful and informative books that can be obtained through our local public library: Captive Hearts, Captive Minds; Recovery from Cults; Unmasking the Powers; Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society; God: The World’s Future; Wolves Within the Fold; In The Name of All That’s Holy and Slayer of the Soul.

As for me and a whole lot of other victims of Catholic [abuses], we will not be attending the Tuesday-night healing opportunities. In my opinion, there will be no healing taking place there, probably just more of the same old misleading propaganda.

Start with yourself, Mr. Lena, and then waste no time during this season of Advent in choosing a journey-partner. Choose God, and head home for Christmas.

— Ginny Godfrey

Godfrey can be reached at 253-5446, or by e-mail at GraceFoundation@cs.com.

This can’t be progress

The Dec. 1 issue of Mountain Xpress carried a letter from Freda Holt, lamenting the construction of Interstate 26, which has irreparably ruined her rural-home environment in Ellen Cove, Madison County. I share her disappointment in the changes that are happening in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and I can’t help feeling that if this is progress, I’d rather have regression. So I address this letter to:

Dear Freda Holt,

I sympathize with your sense of personal loss of Ellen Cove and Daddy’s mountain. Sometimes the development of the land for other than its historic use for homesteading seems like an outright desecration. I especially regret it when roads, which had conformed to the topography by wandering along the valleys, are replaced with straight, multi-lane pavements that literally obliterate the topography. Improved access is a mixed blessing.

The recent countywide-zoning campaign led to a referendum, which, though failing, showed a closely divided electorate, in spite of projections of inevitable population growth and the commercial development that [will] necessarily follow, as well as the new roads, water, sewer, telephone and power lines to serve the expansion.

The whole scenario wearies me, as I think back on the reasons most of us moved to Asheville and environs. Are we going to lose to progress the attraction of the small, isolated city in the mountains? Why must every acre of farmland and woodland be developed to provide room for people who have not yet arrived, but who will be enticed by tourism and real-estate propaganda to move to “paradise in the mountains”?

And will they, as will we, be disappointed when they arrive, to find the forests cleared and the mountains bared and sliced by highways designed to bring crowds of still others to settle here, and for the trucks to clog the traffic to bring the commodities to stack the shelves of the stores to supply the burgeoning population?

Do we need or really want a larger civic center that will attract crowds of people from across the state to attend conventions and athletic events, to fill our hotels and restaurants, and to take notice of the attractions of the area — and then plan to join us? Bigger and more is not necessarily better. Once the fever of progress takes hold, and I suspect it has, it is difficult to see where it will stop, if indeed it can. Once the promoter and the developer catch expansion fever, there is little to hold them back. Their money is tempting to the large landholders who, though initially dubious of the benefits of progressive growth, are humanly susceptible. Is it progress or is it greed?

So, here we are in the midst of our mountain paradise, throwing wide the gates — ironically, commissioning the Chamber of Commerce to encourage all to join us and share our isolation from big-city woes! It’s a merry-go-round which, I suspect, once started, will never stop to let us off. Do we really want progress, and will greed satisfy our need? Paradise may be just a pair of dice!

This is why 45 percent of the voters favor controlled development by instigating an intelligent land-use plan and the necessary regulations to implement it. Many cities across the country have found that zoning is the only effective way to control urban sprawl. In spite of the negative majority, the County Commissioners recognize their responsibility to plan and regulate population growth and the development of the necessary facilities — and they should be supported in this involved and difficult program.

If progress must come, let’s control it and try to retain the flavor of Asheville in the mountains.

— Norman C. Smith

Adopt the spay-or-neuter solution

I am responding to Marsha Womble’s letter in your Dec. 1 issue, entitled “Forget this animal-shelter hoopla.”

“Animal radicals,” as Ms. Womble calls them, are doing something about the problem. They are trying to educate people regarding spaying and neutering, which would eliminate the pet-overpopulation problem. Furthermore, this approach would save millions of taxpayer dollars. Rounding up animals and killing them is not the solution, as Ms. Womble suggests.

The problem lies with people who simply are too selfish to pay a nominal sum to spay or neuter their animals. Millions of healthy animals are being killed every year in this country, because of this attitude.

One organization in Asheville that has made a difference is the Humane Alliance Spay and Neuter Clinic, 702 Riverside Drive, Asheville, N.C. 28801, telephone 252-2079. It charges a nominal fee for its services. The clinic is composed of a dedicated, compassionate and hardworking staff.

The people of this community should be a part of the solution, not the problem, by supporting the Humane Alliance Spay and Neuter Clinic through donations, volunteer work, and spaying and neutering their animals.

— Susan A. Kamuda

Something’s drastically wrong in Henderson

Chris Crosson recently raised a couple of valid and frightening points [Letters, “Fiddling while Fairview (and the world) burns,” Dec. 1]. He’s right: We can’t continue to allow suburbs to explode ever outward until they cover the countryside like a scab, nor can we keep pumping pesticides and other poisons into the environment — without expecting something to go drastically wrong, eventually.

He mentioned my community of Edneyville to prove that last point, because Edneyville and Henderson County are both known for the apple harvest. Unfortunately, he left out a minor detail: Edneyville is no longer “completely filled” with apple orchards. Henderson County has very little farmland left, actually, because cropland, along with forests, are being lost to subdivisions, trailer parks and strip malls at the rate of about 1.6 square miles a year. While that may not seem like so much, look at my county on a map, compare it to Buncombe, and you’ll quickly realize that it’s a whole damned lot.

But the problems of Henderson County don’t stop at the fact that all the county’s farmland is expected to be developed within two decades.

In addition to that are our skewed demographics. Henderson County’s a dandy place to retire — to the point that the local yearly death rate of about 1,000 exceeds the birth rate of about 800, yet the county population increases by more than 1,000 annually.

Add to that a Chamber of Commerce that would love nothing more than to cram an eight-lane highway down our throats, should you all up in Asheville decline the DOT’s generous offer. Add also a regressive county government that is attempting to stifle every effort of the first progressive city government that Hendersonville’s had in years, and you’ve got a wasting mess that sprawls a lot farther, gets a lot grayer, and stabs a little deeper into the hearts of the locals every year.

People in Asheville have it good. You’ve got youth and public art. You’ve got people who think and people who sincerely want to solve Buncombe County’s problems. Count your blessings. After all, you could be living (or more likely dying) in Henderson County.

By the way, it isn’t that Henderson County suffers from a shortage of enlightened and thoughtful people; it’s just that whenever we dare to ask, “Whither Henderson?” we always receive the same answer from business leaders, developers, the county government and the yearly hordes of retirees. That answer is, without exception, “Wither Henderson.”

— D. Blythe

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