Author: Patricia Bond with Bobbi Linkemer

Publisher: LinkUp Publishing

ISBN: 9781482543773

In recent years there has been a spate of media coverage concerning sexual misconduct of Roman Catholic priests with children and minors. What is less publicized and becoming a growing problem across a range of faith traditions is the sexual seduction that takes place between some members of the clergy with their female congregants or parishioners which is nothing less than a blatant and horrendous abuse of power.

Many of these illicit relationships do not only arise during counseling sessions, they also arise within the context of non-counseling interactions. To worsen the situation are the children born out of wedlock from these relationships and are treated as collateral damage by a Church pretending that these children don't exist so as to protect their devious priests.

With her Imbalance of Power: Exploitation of Women by Catholic Priests, Patricia Bond has shown a great deal of courage and guts to tell her story and that of her son Nathan John Paul Halbach. It is a true story that simply needed to be told and one that is supported by more than twenty years of legal documents as well as professional and personal factual accounts.

Patricia Bond was one of these unfortunate women who had a relationship with Henry Willenborg, a Franciscan priest, who incidentally had a history of several relationships with women, one of whom was even a minor. According to Bond, the book exists because her son Nathan not only encouraged its writing but insisted on its completion. Bond further states that she wanted to give voice to women victims who had been abused by their priests and their Church.

Bond's story is not only a narrative about her own experience being deceived and taken advantage of by someone whom she had a strong trust in but it is also about her courageous son Nathan, who at the age of twenty-two succumbed to a rare brain cancer, Germinoma. This is a type of cancer that is supposed to have a ninety-eight percent recovery rate, unfortunately, Nathan fell into the two percent who don't recover.

Nathan was born during Bond's five-year relationship with Father Willenborg who even celebrated his baptism and who had acknowledged in a private writing given to Bond that he was the boy's father. It should be pointed out that Willenborg upon learning of Bond's pregnancy had encouraged her to have an abortion. As events unfolded, the Franciscan Order had subsequently drawn up an agreement acknowledging the boy's paternity and agreeing to pay child support in exchange for a pledge of confidentially. However, when Nathan's cancer required a great deal of costly medical care, the Franciscan hierarchy turned its back on him and played all kinds of legal games to avoid paying the medical bills. Even more cruel was Father Willenborg's abandonment and rejection of his son Nathan, particularly during his final days. When one of Bond's friends advised him that his son was dying, his reply was: “I have no need to see Nathan.” And this is supposed to be a man of the cloth!

It is mind boggling to read how the church continued to protect this scoundrel having full knowledge of his sexual escapades and deviant behavior. Here is a charismatic priest who thought very little of preying on emotionally weak women who are at the crossroads of their lives, as was the case with Bond. Women who believed that he would never be a person who would even think of taking advantage of them, after all, he was supposed to be a role model or as Bond's describes him, “the Franciscan's perfect son.”

Bond has used her book and her experiences as a canvas to speak forcefully to vulnerable and victimized women who have found themselves in relationships with priests who have abused their power. It is also dedicated to, as mentioned in her introduction, to express her son's wish to help children born of these illicit relationships to know that they do count and that their biological fathers do not define them or what they can become.

This is a sincere memoir that is worth sharing and Bond does a masterful job of successfully and accurately recreating her story and bringing it to life. She does not simply offer readers a portrait of her own experiences but actually draws them in.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Patricia Bond

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