Marion Witte

December 9, 2018

The Facialist

Filed under: MLM Blogs — Marion Witte @ 9:05 pm

I have noticed that strange people and and odd events seem to come into my life with some frequency, and sometimes I wonder why.  I have learned not to overthink it (too much), and to go with my intuition as I sort out what “really happened.”

Recently I went to a local salon for a facial appointment, my second time at this particular location.  The first time I visited the shop, I told the facialist that I was a two-time breast cancer survivor, so I didn’t want her to use any products on me that were hormonal in nature (estrogen, etc). She said none of hers had anything like that in them.

I enjoy this type of down time, as it can be very relaxing, so I was mildly disturbed when she was asking me some questions about whether I knew a lot of people in the area, and if I had connections in the county. I thought it was an odd topic for idle chatter, but I let it go at the time.

When my facial was over, she began to tell me how she has just started selling a new product (in addition to all her other facial products), and that she thought I could benefit from it.  She was using it herself, and she loved it, as it was helping with her sleep, hot flashes and energy level. I asked what it was, and she said it was a gel that you applied on your skin – no pills to take – and it was all natural.  She asked if she could spread some on my forearm, and then I could see if I felt any difference in a couple of hours.  My bullshit detector was already going off, but I thought “what the hell.” 

Then she asked if she could send me the link to the website where the product was sold, and perhaps I could take a look at it.  I said I was probably not going to be interested in it, although I would check it out.

When I got home, she had already sent me the information, so I looked at the name on the product label, only to discover that it was a Human Growth Hormone (HGH) product.  I then also realized it was one of the internet’s multi-level marketing companies.

If you have been through any form of cancer, and have done your research, you will discover that there is a lot of controversy about all the bio-identical hormone replacement therapy the Baby Boomers are engaged in.  The long-term effects are not yet clear, so I personally think one has to proceed with caution when using them.

If you have had breast cancer, there are certain hormones that medical researchers strongly suggest you avoid adding to your system, as breast cancer is often a hormone-driven disease. One of them is estrogen and any photo-estrogen products (like soy and gluten), and another is human growth hormone (HGH).

Therefore, my mild irritation with this woman turned to mild anger, as I started this text exchange with her:

—————————————————————————————————————–

To Angelica:

I think I mentioned to you that I previously had breast cancer, and I was concerned about what products were used on my skin.   Two of the oncologists I have worked with have advised me that no women who has breast cancer, had breast cancer, or is at risk for breast cancer should ever be taking HGH.  They sent me links to the medical research in this area.

I suggest you exercise more caution when you are trying to sell this product to someone, without understanding its potential harmful effects.

In case I am not clear, I will not be purchasing this product.

————————————————————————————————————–

To Marion:

Would you send me the link to the research your doctor sent you.  I would like to read it and have my uplink distributor read it.

_____________________________________________________________________________

To Angelica:

Here are the links to the research being done by the National Institute of Health, Oxford University and the University of Queensland. 

They have all concluded the HGH is a contributing factor in the development of breast tumors.

—————————————————————————————————————–

To Marion:

My uplink distributor says your research is more about injectable HGH and not the type of HGH we have in our product.

—————————————————————————————————————–

To Angelica – (actually I decided not to send this one):

I don’t give a fuck what your uplink distributor thinks.

—————————————————————————————————————-

To Angelica – (sent instead):

Let’s stop the texting war.

I offer the following advice to you, for free:

  1.  When someone is coming into you for a facial, don’t try and sell them any of your multi-level marketing products.
  2.  If you are going to sell these types of products, do your homework, so you do no harm.
  3.  From my past experience in running businesses, I discovered that when a customer has a disagreement with you, they are ALWAYS right.  Just say you are sorry for the confusion and that you meant no harm.

Finally, please cancel all my appointments at your salon, and have a nice life.

——————————————————————————————————————–

And so, maybe this whole chain of events happened so I would investigate this product, and share my research with others.  This particular multi-level marketing company, NewULife Corporation, appears to be targeting and soliciting estheticians (facialists), nurses, naturopaths and chiropractors to become part of their distribution network. 

Good news – after research, I discovered the product they are selling has no HGH in it. 

Bad news – the are selling a HGH product that has no HGH in it. 

I have posted a separate blog about this product.

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$170 Bottle of Body Cream?

Filed under: MLM Blogs — Marion Witte @ 9:05 pm

I became familiar with human growth hormone (HGH) in the early 2000s.  Many athletes and bodybuilders were injecting this product to produce additional muscle mass (and many still are today). It was also gaining favor as a tool in the arsenal of the burgeoning “anti-aging” business.  Injections of bio-identical HGH were (are still are) expensive, so it was used mostly by affluent baby boomers. In addition, you must obtain and use this drug under medical supervision.

Then about 10 years ago, companies started to sell “homeopathic” HGH in both capsule and gel form.  Although the exact nature of the formulation of this product is hard to find in their sales material, it appears that some form of synthetic HGH is diluted in purified water.  The dilution ratio listed on the label of these products is 30x, which means there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 parts water to one part HGH.

That is equivalent to taking a small bottle of pure HGH and mixing it with more than the total amount of all the water on Earth. Therefore, mathematically and scientifically speaking, “Homeopathically Produced HGH” is pure water. There is an extremely high likelihood that there is a not a single molecule of HGH found in a bottle of these homeopathic products.

Bio-identical, manufactured HGH is a controlled substance, and it can be obtained and administered only by a physician, since it is prohibited from being sold directly to the public. HGH must be injected into the bloodstream by needle, as it will not permeate the dermis layers of the skin.

On the other hand, the mixture these marketing companies are selling is promoted as an HGH product, although there is actually no discernible HGH in it. Additionally, these products are being sold for application directly on the skin, in spite of the scientific evidence the HGH can not penetrate any of the skin’s layers.  In reality though, that is not a problem, as there appears to be no HGH in the product that needs to be absorbed!

Does this seem outrageous to anyone else besides me?

Companies first began marketing homeopathic “HGH” to consumers via several online sites and in certain retail outlets, such as health food stores. 

Then, in the last few years, the world of internet multi-level marketing met the world of homeopathic HGH.  Enter NewULife Corporation, with its miraculous cure-all, Somaderm Homeopathic HGH Gel.

The developer of this product is Alex Goldstein, who apparently has no medical or scientific credentials.  He is an iridologist (exams the colored part of the eye to determine if you have a disease) and also a herbalist (deals in medicinal herbs).  My intent is not to discount the value of either of these endeavors, yet I am not sure they provide the qualifications required to be developing a product making claim to such a wide range of health benefits. 

For $169.99 a month, you can purchase this miracle product. And better yet, if you become a distributor and talk your friends into buying it also, you can purchase it for only $149.99 a month. The company and its sales representative have a laundry list of health benefits derived from using their HGH product.  Interestingly, if you do not see results within the first 30 days, the salesperson will state that you have to purchase and use the product for at least three months before you “start to see any real benefits.” 

Below is a list of the “expected benefits” (as outlined in the sales literature) of the Somaderm HGH Gel product being sold through the multi-marketing company, NewULifeCorporation. 

Keep in mind, as you read the list of the benefits to be gained from using HGH, that there is no discernible level of HGH in the gel product:

  • improved stamina
  • increased energy
  • improved sleep
  • vivid dreams
  • improved muscle definition
  • heightened libido
  • increased strength
  • significant weight loss
  • improved vision
  • enhanced focus
  • enhanced muscle mass
  • hair growth
  • PMS symptoms reduced
  • greater flexibility
  • healthier nails
  • improved joint mobility
  • increase in sexual desire
  • alleviation in some menopausal symptoms
  • greater improvements in skin texture and appearance
  • skin has greater elasticity
  • reduction of the appearance of wrinkles
  • hair becomes even healthier and thicker
  • cellulite greatly diminishes
  • improved immune system
  • pain & general soreness diminishes
  • wounds heal quicker
  • greater metabolic output
  • grayed hair returns to natural color
  • reduction in LDL cholesterol
  • blood pressure normalizes
  • heart rate improves

Something equally as concerning as the dubious quality of this product is the marketing ploy being used by the company to imply that the FDA has put its seal of approval on the gel.  This product did indeed get a license number from the FDA to market as an “Unapproved Homeopathic” gel.

To obtain FDA approval, verifiable science and human clinical trials or studies would be required.  None of this has been done, of course.  Hence, this product does NOT have FDA approval, in spite of many of the sales representatives replacing the phase FDA license with FDA approval.

It would appear that many of positive health benefits reported by its consumers (many of whom are themselves sales representatives) from using this product are due to the placebo effect – which in and of itself can be a positive factor. In addition, there are some botanical plant products included in the formula that may be of benefit to some people.  That said, buyers should be aware that any benefits experienced are not due to the HGH in the product – since there appears to be NONE, according to their own labeling.

I filed a complaint with the FDA and the FTC, asking that they look into this company and this product.

As my grandmother said, “If it is too good to be true.”  You know the rest.

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Multi-Level Marketing (MML) on the Internet

Filed under: MLM Blogs — Marion Witte @ 9:04 pm
How Most Multi-Level Marketing Plans Work

I remember the good old days, when you bought your multi-level marketing products from the Tupperware “lady,” from your Avon or Mary Kay neighbor, or from the Amway distributor. Those interactions involved face-to-face communication with the sales representative, and you were able to see the product and test its quality before you purchased it.  In addition, there was little or no pressure for you to become a distributor, or to be asked to hit up your family, friends and business associates to purchase products from you.

We are in the new age of internet Multi-Level Marketing (MLM).

Everything about MLM has changed during the last 15 years, as a plethora of internet companies have entered the picture. Too often they appeal to well-intentioned folks who are told they are going to get rich by becoming a sales representative, and then a distributor, as they work towards the top of the ladder.  They are also advised they are getting in on an exciting new product, they can work at home on their computer, sell to everybody they know on social media, and they will be rich enough to retire in a few years.

The sad reality is that too many of these organizations either go out of business after a few years of operating, or their sales activity declines significantly and commission pay-outs start to be reduced or not paid at all. It is easy to understand why that happens, since under these types of schemes, at some point in time people run out of people to bring in under them, and the market becomes saturated. The program works if everybody who buys the products also sells the product.  And it only works if you have a solid, sustainable product.

Investigators who research various MLM companies have discovered that the founders of these companies, the executives, and the original distributors make a lot of money, especially in the early years of these companies.  Unfortunately, the other 99% of folks who are the sales representatives and customers (especially those that get in at the end of the run), either make a little money, break even, or for the most part, lose money.  You can do your own research on this industry if you are interested in learning more.

Therefore, although I am not a personal fan of this type of organizational structure, I would not discourage anyone from getting involved in an endeavor they consider worthwhile and honest. This includes doing your homework about the background of people who started the company and who are running it now, researching the quality of the product being sold, and obtaining an honest understanding of how much money can actually be earned.  If that all pans out, and you have a comfort level with everything, then I say go for it.

Please do your research first, so you don’t wind up losing money on these programs – and also the friends who you brought into it.

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October 13, 2018

Ghosting is Just Being a Coward!

Filed under: Thoughts — Marion Witte @ 7:51 pm

I was talking to my daughter the other day about how the norms in our society have changed dramatically the last few years, and how people are very comfortable in taking action to avoid human communication. She explained to me that is rampant in young people, and there was even a word for it – “ghosting.”

The Urban Dictionary Definition of Ghosting – “The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them that he or she is no longer interested.”

Marion’s Definition of Ghosting – “A selfish way of avoiding a difficult conversation.”

While ghosting may have started as a way to break off a romantic relationship, I have noticed that a growing number of people, in all age groups, are now using this technique to avoid dealing with any unwanted text, email or phone call.  I have encountered this myself several times the last few months, and so I began to wonder about its causation.  I was recently ghosted in a business situation, when someone with whom I had been communicating for weeks never responded to my final proposal.  And a person, who I thought was a friend, used it as a way to blow off a planned get-together.

Many folks attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease a relationship without hurting feelings.  In truth, it actually shows that the person ghosting is thinking more of himself or herself, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the other party than if the subject kindly stated how he or she feels.

I know that most people have busy, complicated lives, and that responding to a text, email or phone call cannot always happen in a timely fashion.  When I cannot return one of those communications the same day or the next day, I try to send a quick note, stating that I cannot get back to them at the time, but I will do so later.  This way they are not left hanging wondering if I received their communication or if I am ignoring them.

Yes, I am old-school and old-fashioned.  And I think making a timely response is an act of courtesy.

There are many psychological reasons why someone ghosts, but at its core, ghosting is avoidance and often stems from fear of conflict. Which means, at its heart, that ghosting is about wanting to avoid confrontation and avoid difficult conversations.

My intention in writing about this topic is to explore why we now are compelled to “ghost” other people, when that term was relatively unheard of 10-15 years ago.  In addition to the psychological reasons listed above, some more specific factors that come to my mind are:

  1. We lack the courage to confront an uncomfortable situation
  2. We use it as a way to avoid an unpleasant face to face or verbal communication
  3. We use it as a way to escape personal responsibility

Here are some of the excuses I received back after I was persistent in getting in touch with certain parties, after they repeatedly ignored me.  These are the excuses I got after sending a text (or email), then a second text (or email) a few days later, and finally a phone call to ask what was going on:

  • Their response: “I didn’t get your text.”  My thought: I guess that “Delivered” function on my phone isn’t working.
  • Their response: “Your email went to my spam.”  My thought: And what about the thread of business emails that went back and forth between us for the last month.
  • Their response: “My voicemail isn’t working.” My thought – Yeah, blame it on the phone company.

Psychology Today posted an interesting article by Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., about how ghosting may be causing long-term psychological damage in young people who have not developed the tools to deal with this type of rejection.  Some of the more interesting conclusions in the piece are:

  1. Regardless of the ghoster’s intent, ghosting is a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic that can leave psychological bruises and scars.
  2. People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they are not thinking about how it makes the other person feel.
  3. The more it happens, to either themselves or their friends, the more people become desensitized to it and the more likely they are to do it to someone else.

After reading this article, I tried to think about anytime I ghosted someone, and how that may have left him or her in the dark, or worse yet, damaged.  I can only commit to do better in the future.

Therefore, when you think about ignoring someone’s attempt to get in touch with you, perhaps it would be a good idea to remember the words of Jesus as relayed in Mark: 2018:

“If a person shall decide to ghost another person, thou shall first examine your actions, to determine if you are just being an asshole.”

 

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October 12, 2018

Friends for a Lifetime!

Filed under: Thoughts — Marion Witte @ 1:09 am

I recently attended an inspirational/motivational seminar, with the intention of being to ascertain if there were any new techniques or tools being offered for self-improvement.  I was not sure what to expect. This course turned out to be a combination of many of the ideas offered in the early 2000s, including Tony Robbins, the law of attraction, Jungian psychology and soul work.  There was even an interesting new topic included in the agenda – becoming a medium!

My current area of interest is exploring where philosophy, spirituality and quantum physics intersect, so when I looked at the class agenda upon arrival, I thought this might be a waste of my time.  Yet I stayed and I listened, and was glad I did, as I heard some words of wisdom that resonated with me.  I do not know if they were new ideas to me, or if they were concepts I heard years ago and was not ready to process at that time.

A particularly intriguing idea about friendships was offered by one of the presenters. She suggested that we clear out any friends who no longer serve our purpose, so that there is a space for new people to arrive.  That concept resonated with me, although it would have been more useful when I was younger.  Her suggestion was that we should rank our friends on a scale of 1 to 10, and if they were rated an 8 or less, we should eliminate them from our life.  This approach seemed a little harsh to me, as I could imagine myself getting rid of most of my friends or acquaintances!  She offered no technique for such a ranking, which makes sense, as it seems that would be a very personal and subjective concept.

I pondered her idea upon returning home, and I decided to experiment with the idea of long-term friendships, using a process that made sense to me.  My intention did not include removing people from my life.  Instead, I wanted to examine these staunch friendships to determine why they had sustained themselves for several decades – up to 60 years.  I based my inquiry on the question of “What was the common denominator that got us through our individual difficulties, the times when we were out of touch with each other, or when we had a disagreement or misunderstanding?”

I also thought that perhaps the results of this exercise, from an old lady’s perspective, might be thought-provoking to younger folks.

After reflecting on my long-term friendships, I concluded that the length of time since our friendship began, until today, did not determine our connection. Conversely, it was the depth of our friendship that had created its longevity.

For me, the common denominator of these friendships includes three core issues.  These criteria would, of course, be different for anyone doing their own evaluation:

  1. We have a mutually supportive relationship. I know I can count on them to be there for me if I need help, and they know the same is true of me.  We provide support to each other, on a reciprocal basis, so our friendship never becomes one of taking advantage of each other.
  2. We have an honest and open relationship. My true-blue friends have the courage to let me know when they disagree with me, and to suggest that I look at a situation in a different way, in an effort to give me options that I could not see for some reason. I do the same for them.
  3. We work towards maintaining an authentic relationship. We have a deep understanding that we are each on a personal journey and we support each other as we walk those separate paths. Neither of us are interested in bullshit.

True-blue friends fall into a special category, and those friendships need to be honored.  These friends enrich our lives.  They make the good times more enjoyable and the tough times more bearable.  Being a faithful friend is not always easy and it does not happen overnight.  Instead, it requires constant attention and nurturing.

On the other hand, not everyone will fall into category of a life-long friend, yet those individuals provide valuable lessons, companionship and socialization.  They are often referred to as “friends for a reason” or “friends for a season.”

To anyone who is interested in developing a life-long friendship, I suggest you make it a priority.  We often expend more energy into buying a house or looking for a job than we do in finding staunch friends.  Decide what qualities in a friend are the most important to you, so that you attract that sort of person into your life.  If you currently have any “toxic” relationships in your life, consider removing them to make room for healthier people.

As an added benefit of this exercise, I was reminded that I have a 10+ friend in my life – my beautiful daughter Angela.  She is there at the “drop of a hat,” and she is the most honest person in my life!

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September 26, 2018

Thank you, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 12:48 am

This post is to support and honor the courage of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Christine Blasey

I spent the last few days deciding if I really wanted to write this post. After much soul-searching, I knew, with absolute certainty, that I needed to do just that. I find the reaction of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to the claim of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to be both appalling and condescending. Let me be clear, I am not taking a side about the veracity of Dr. Ford’s allegations. What I am willing to do is confirm that the way she recalled and disclosed her attempted rape is quite normal, based on my very personal experience in this area.

 

 

When I was 16 years old, a neighbor who was ten years older than me attempted to rape me.

That was well over 50 years ago.

I obviously do not remember everything that happened to me during my teenage years, but I remember that event as though it was yesterday. I remember the look on his face. My terror. My anger. I remember the knife. And I remember hearing him say, if I ever said anything to anybody, he would kill my father, the most beloved person in my life. The hair on the back of my neck rises as I think about the Army pistol he aimed at me, as of proof of his intentions. I believed him, and so I said nothing to anyone at the time, and for many years thereafter.

37 years after my attack, my father passed away. I delivered what I hope was a loving, yet honest and authentic obituary at his funeral. As I exited the church to get into the funeral car to go to the cemetery, I noticed a man leaning on the hearse. It was my attacker. I gathered myself, as best I could under the circumstances, and I approached him. With a sarcastic grin, he said “Nice speech.” I quietly thanked him. He then preceded to ask me if I remembered what had happened between us. He went on to tell me, since I was now such an uppity woman, maybe he should tell everyone what I compelled him to do, so that people would know what kind of a girl I really was. I had to gather my thoughts, as my anger and grief were each fighting for my attention. It suddenly struck me that he could no longer do harm to my father, and at the same time I also realized that I had been holding on to that fear for years. So I channeled my dad’s energy, and said what I think he would have said. I told him, using my Big Girl Panties voice, “Say whatever you want to say, and then get the fuck out of my life.”

If anyone were to go back through the records of the various therapists I talked to over the years, you would find a discussion about the attempted rape in many of their notes. You would also read an abbreviated version of the event in my memoir published in 2010.

The attack I describe lasted less than thirty minutes, yet it has affected me my entire life, in ways both big and small. I am writing about this now, not as a victim, yet as an attestation that the type of events Dr. Ford outlined, and the related remembrances, do indeed happen, and we owe it to females everywhere to be HEARD.

And so, I ask that any members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have experience with the subject of sexual assault, or who are sympathetic to the difficult situation of the accuser, please take that into account and show compassion to Dr. Ford’s very complicated and sensitive situation.

And to the members of that same Committee, those who appear to have no interest in pursuing any form of truth, or showing any form of compassion to those who may have been subjected to such a vile experience, I say, with all due respect:

“Please, shut the fuck up!”

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September 23, 2018

Another Out-Of-Touch, Old White Man

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 5:29 pm

I must be naïve, for I thought most people would support the idea that children shouldn’t be raped by men wearing dresses, especially if he flaunts his power by wearing wizard hats and bead necklaces with alpha-male sized crosses.

My latest blog posts are focusing attention on the issue of childhood sexual abuse, especially in religious organizations, including religious schools. Several people have made it clear that this also happens in religious organizations other than the Catholic Church. Point well taken.

That said, I have been somewhat surprised, yet not shocked, by the reaction to my posts about the childhood abuse that occurs specifically within the Catholic Church. Most people agree that this abuse needs to end, yet they offer several reasons why they will not speak up:

  1. They are afraid of what family members will say
  2. They are afraid of what their social media “friends” will say
  3. They are afraid of what their employer might say
  4. They are afraid of the Church’s response to them within their community
  5. They are afraid of what will be uncovered by getting outside law enforcement involved
  6. They are afraid the cost of settling all the lawsuits will bankrupt the Church

These fears, and others that I have probably not considered, appear to be holding people back from expressing an opinion or getting involved with this important issue.  What is disconcerting to me is that, while I believe most people find childhood rape an abhorrent behavior, they also consider it “someone else’s problem.”  Perhaps people would be more vocal in their outrage if they understood that their fear of speaking up is inconsequential compared to the fear inflicted upon these children.  I speak from personal experience.

The Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania was the first major law enforcement agency in the United States to investigate child abuse within the Catholic Church.  Their report did not cover the entire state, as it did not include the State’s largest diocese in Philadelphia.  In spite of that, the results of that inquiry are appalling.

A national survivor’s organization is calling for an investigation to be conducted by officials in each state.  So far, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Nebraska, New Mexico and Kentucky have begun inquiries.  California’s attorney general is currently under pressure to undertake a similar investigation.

Below is a link to an online site where you can petition to have an investigation done in your state.  Note: For some reason the list is not alphabetical, so you have to scroll down this list to find your state.

Call for Church Investigation

God only knows the extent of the massive national abuse that may be uncovered, as it has been in Australia, Ireland, Canada and many of the European countries. We should all welcome the results of the various investigations in the United States that are to take place, so we understand the magnitude of this problem.

If you are a Catholic, a non-Catholic or a compassionate human being, please ask yourself why you have remained silent about this issue, and if there may be some action, even if it is a small one, that you could take to show your support for the survivors, and the children currently being abused. I am one small voice with one small platform, and I do what I can, yet we need many more “small voices” to speak up in order to effect change.

As you decide what personal action you need to take (or not take), you may also want to ponder about what side of history you want to find yourself.

As a society, we can change our political alliances, our court system, and even our Constitution.  That said, if we do not stop raping and abusing children, we are morally bankrupt, and none of those other actions matter.

 

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September 7, 2018

Memes-Catholic Church Abuse

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 12:22 am

This is an album of 13 memes I prepared for use by any social media sites that are working to keep the awareness of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal alive in the news.

Hopefully they will appear around the internet.

Feel free to scroll through these photos using the arrow keys. You can share any that are of interest to you by going to my Marion Witte Connection Facebook Page.

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August 17, 2018

Father Stephen Colbert, Please Help!

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 12:05 am

 

Below is a letter I sent to Stephen Colbert at The Late Show.

  If you are interested in supporting this effort, you can email his press secretary,
Lauren Kamm:

lauren.kamm@cbs.com

Or write to an individual or organization who you think can help to effect change.

 

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August 15, 2018

WTF – When Is Enough Enough!

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 7:09 pm

I usually wait until my outrage over an issue has subsided before I post on my blog.  This is not one of those times.

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Attorney General released a Grand Jury report related to continuing sexual abuse occurring in the Catholic Church.

The report states that “Church leaders protected more than 300 “predator priests” in six Roman Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania for decades because they were more interested in safeguarding the Church and the abusers than tending to their victims. More than 1,000 young victims were identifiable from the church’s own records.  The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal. Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them did nothing: They hid it all.”

The report includes descriptions of priests engaged in rape and child pornography for decades, using “whips, violence and sadism,” and in one case joining together in a secret cabal of abusers. To add to the injury, the report contained accounts of bishops who had actively defended the accused priests.

Sadly, this is not really anything new – just more of the same.

Bishop Ronald Garner of the Harrisburg Diocese, who was cited in the report as having lobbied not to defrock offending priests, has issued this official statement on behalf of the Catholic Church:

“As part of our on-going need for repentance and healing, Bishop Gainer will celebrate a Mass for Forgiveness at 12 noon on Friday, August 17, in our Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick, 212 State Street, Harrisburg.”

To Bishop Gainer, I say, “enough with the fucking repentance and forgiveness – how about some change.”

As someone who was subjected to sexual abuse myself as a child, by a trusted person, the wounds from my past were reopened as I read this story. I have let many people know during my lifetime that my personal experiences left me with a “hole in my heart.”  I listened to some of the survivors telling their stories today, many of whom still cling to their faith, saying that they have been left “with a hole in their soul.” It was then that I could no longer hold back the tears, for I understand this at a deep level.

I left the Catholic Church at the age of 18, and am still in recovery from it. If I were still involved with that organization (or learned of any organization that operated a pedophile sex ring), I would be protesting and demanding change. Therefore, to the good Catholics who are sitting by silently, I ask “When you are going to wake up?”  If you stop going to Mass for six months, the Church would get your attention and perhaps do something to stop this legalized sexual abuse. Better yet, stop making your weekly donations.  Money is the power base of this organization, so such an action could bring the Church to its knees, and perhaps force it to take some real action to stop all of this, and not just issue statements about repentance and forgiveness.  Ugh.

Churches are much like families, in that the desire of the members to be part of a tribal situation often supersedes the willingness to speak up, tell secrets, and do the right thing.

For me it’s really very simple – you either give a fuck about kids, or you don’t!

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