A few weeks ago, Liz Hansen invited my family over to her family’s house for dinner. As all of our kids ran around, the adults were talking about some of the difficulties of being Catholic right now in the wake of the sexual and spiritual abuse and cover up in the Church as a whole and in some of our local Catholic communities. I asked her how she navigates still being Catholic. She handed me an article she had just written, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.”

I took the article home and read it a couple of days later. So much of it resonated deeply with me. Liz was giving voice to emotions and experiences that didn’t realize I needed to hear someone else articulate. In the article she recounted a family vacation she made two years ago that turned into a pilgrimage as she processed her experiences of scandal in the Church. One passage in particular stood out:

“A few weeks before we left, we had found ourselves on the receiving end of public derision from someone we trusted, a sweeping judgment that caught us off guard with its willingness to scapegoat, ridicule, and egg on others to do the same. It took place within the context of our church, a community we loved dearly and had striven to hold tight to during the  pandemic, even as the same fault lines that split the world made their way into the pews. Before we left, we’d come to a fragile place of forgiveness and reconciliation— possible only by grace, I realized in the moment—but it still hurt. Our sense of belonging, of being at rest and at home and safe in this corner of the Church, was still shattered.”

The experience of no longer feeling safe in my local church — that hit me.

This episode is now available on Youtube and in your favorite podcast app.

This week, Paul and Dominic talk with Liz Hansen about feeling unsafe in the Church. We had a great conversation with her a few months ago to talk about sexual and spiritual abuse and cover up at Franciscan University. This time, we wanted to talk with her about a new article she wrote for Dappled Things magazine titled, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.” The article was beautiful and deeply resonated with some of my own experiences of grace and scandal.

Elizabeth Hansen graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2008 with majors in English and Theology. She and her husband Luke met in the university’s Honors Great Books program; they raise their four children in Michigan. Elizabeth’s writing has appeared in Magnificat, Columbia Magazine, Plough, CruxNow.com, National Catholic Register, and FemCatholic.com.


Dappled Things article:

Previous interview with Liz:

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Paul Fahey lives in Michigan with his wife and four kids. For the past eight years, he has worked as a professional catechist. He has an undergraduate degree in Theology and is currently working toward a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling. He is a retreat leader, catechist formator, writer, and a co-founder of Where Peter Is. He is also the founder and co-host of the Pope Francis Generation podcast. His long-term goal is to provide pastoral counseling for Catholics who have been spiritually abused, counseling for Catholic ministers, and counseling education so that ministers are more equipped to help others in their ministry.

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