This Mother’s Verdict


I just finished reading “Catholics have rendered a verdict” – an opinion piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer by Orlando R. Barone. He ends his thoughtful column with, “No bishop living today will see that trusting smile fully restored, but no living bishop can dodge the moral imperative to begin the healing. There will be more trials and more juries and more lengthy deliberations, but it is the mothers who will render the verdict that counts.”

This mother will need more than the weak statement issued in response to Msgr. Lynn’s verdict. Here it is:

“Archdiocese Reacts to Verdict In Trial of Monsignor Lynn, June 22, 2012

This has been a difficult time for all Catholics, especially victims of sexual abuse. The lessons of the last year have made our Church a more vigilant guardian of our people’s safety. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is on a journey of reform and renewal that requires honesty and hope. We are committed to providing support and assistance to parishioners as they and the Church seek to more deeply understand sexual violence, and to create an environment that is safe and welcoming to all, including past victims. 

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia offers a heartfelt apology to all victims of clergy sexual abuse. Now and in the future, the Church will continue to take vigorous steps to ensure safe church environments for all the faithful in Philadelphia.”

We’ve heard these promises before. Healing and real protection can’t begin without truth. When will the Church admit that not only Bevilacqua but many other Cardinals have harmed children through their cover ups? When will the root causes of the cover up be addressed in open forums with the laity? I’m not talking about the hope and healing initiative on the parish level. I’m referring to the Vatican. Archbishop Chaput could be the best Archbishop ever but what happens when he is gone? A pervasive culture of clericalism persists throughout the institution. That culture will continue to allow this kind of cover up.

As a mother, I refuse to support the institution in any way until it is reformed. My son will no longer attend parochial school. I’ll send him to public or private Catholic school. The archdiocese won’t see or squander a dime of mine. I’ll give directly to Sister Mary Scullion and other Catholic modern-day saints. That’s this Catholic mother’s verdict.

 

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106 Responses to “This Mother’s Verdict”

  1. I am sorry, as a Catholic, as a parent, as a person, for you, & for your son, that the failed leadership of the institutional church has forced this decision on you, Susan. May G-d continue to be with you on your journey.

    • Susan…. Understand your point of view…stopped contributing, years ago, very clearly support individual and collective nuns efforts as well as many other non profit entities, kids profitted from private and private catholic schools…as well as public and private public schools…..NO dependence at all on local Church stuff….Do attend mass periodically, but see the Church as ‘the world’….

      Think you will find it a peaceful approach…certainly hope so!

      • Do attend mass periodically, but see the Church as ‘the world’….
        **********************************************************
        I view the Roman Church as “the world” also Joan. Very astute observation IMO. Let us all recall that the apostle Paul wrote [under inspiration] that his gospel had been “preached to all the world.”(Col. 1:5,6)

  2. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply June 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Dear Chaput:

    Your remark is withered, worthless, and ineffectual.

    Tell us when you are gone, when every U.S. bishop is gone, and when Benedict is gone.

    Hope is contingent on the absence of all of you.

    Hadit

    • hadit,

      I agree completely. I hope B16 (and the other suspects) live long enough to have their day before the International Criminal Court.

    • Thank you Susan, Kate and Kathy. When I follow your efforts, I am always proud of what C4C is accomplishing.

      We now also need to get Seth Williams, a Democrat, to apply the same law to Cardinal Rigali that he applied to Rigali’s lackey, Lynn.

      The press needs to find out why Rigali appears to be getting a free pass. They are now free of the gag order.

      Reporters need to ask Ed Rendell, a very influential Democrat, whose law firm represents Chaput and Rigali on child abuse matters, if he has discussed directly or indirectly in the last two years the Philly AD matters with Seth or Ed’s former assistant, Judge Sarmina. Ed touted Seth’s future political career on MSNBC after Lynn was indicted.

      If Ed spoke to either of them, we need to know if there was any discussion of their future careers. Since Gina Smith did the legal work, Ed should be free to talk. If he isn’t , Rigali and Chaput should free him of confidentiality constraints as to any political discussions. Enough of the games!

      The Philly jury found Lynn endangered children. Lynn said he was only following his boss’ policies. Rigali was also Lynn’s boss.

      Seth, why isn’t Rigali sitting next to Lynn in his cell?

      • And what about BIshop Cistone and Cullen, along with any other priests that conspired to hide the evidence about the 35 known pedophile priests and shred the evidence in 1994?

      • Precisely!
        And I, for one, am still waiting to see the original list of 323 accused/suspected priests that Lynn whittled down to a mere 35. The remaining 288 are…???

  3. What we need in Philadelphia is an independent committee of parents from various backgrounds who will evaluate the policies and procedures of the Philadelphia Archdiocese in regard to their child protection policies. Over the course of the past 18 months I have evaluated the policies of various Dioceses in the U.S and have been shocked at the lack of policy/procedures that exist within our Archdiocese. Many Dioceses function similar to a public school district where all policy is uniform across the board within their school,sports teams,clubs, activities..everyone following the same safety protocol. In our archdiocese many things regarding child safety were left to the discretion of the pastor of the parish and many things you would think were strict policy were nothing more than guidelines . When I was advocating for a specific child protection policy, although ultimately successful, I was told repeatedly that it may not be possible to issue a mandate which all pastors would have to follow. Why? It is done in other Dioceses,why not Philadelphia? And what is the accountability if a pastor is not following existing child protection policies? From what I have experienced there are no consequences.The focus seems to be on improving the policies for when abuse is reported, but where is the focus on preventive measures in our Archdiocese?
    It is easy to ignore phone calls and emails from individual parents,that is why we need to organize and create a group that will serve as a way to represent the parents of the AD. If the AD is saying they want a safe and protective environment ,then they will work with us. If not, then that in itself is telling.
    Leslie Davila, the current head of OCYP has taken my calls,listened to my concerns and suggestions. She is respectful, which is more than I can say of others who I have dealt with on similar issues. If child protection is to be improved in the AD, then parents have to part of the process,it is as simple as that. They are our children,no one has more of a right to be involved in the process.It doesn’t matter if you do not have children currently in the system. Email me at kmkane242@gmail, if you are a parent in the Philly AD and would like to be involved. I have my Masters Degree in Social Work, child welfare policy is no problem for me to evaluate..there will not be any “heavy lifting’ by those who volunteer to be involved…just a genuine concern for children.

    • Kathy…the fact that there is no coherent child protection policy and so much is left to individual PA pastors whims….brings to mind the 194 US. Dioceses that operate as individual fiefdoms with bishops owing allegiance only to Rome….Until the Lynn verdict….

      Are there local legal requirements that could help shape up that goofy diocesan situation…in a ‘post Lynn’ era?

      • Joan, minors are allowed to be employed at rectories in the Philly AD…stunning. There are guidelines about the number of adults,chaperones to be present at Church related functions but then take that same minor and make him/her an employee at the Church/rectory? And if a church employee or priest ends up alone in the rectory with that minor..what are they supposed to do? Go sit in their car until the minor is finished their shift?
        Remember the 17 year old who commented on C4C about the priest who was arrested for prostitution and then texted the minor the following day saying he was sorry? Why..why are minors employed in the Church or rectories? You would think from a liability point the AD would not even allow this..for their own protection.

      • Kathy….should a few sentences making it illegal for minors to work in rectories be slipped into one of those bills?

      • Yes, and the church policy articulated by none other than JPII is that no bishop is obligated to follow the Dallas Charter. Two Bishops have formally opted out.

    • Kathy, I think what you are proposing is great, it is just the grass roots type of movement that should be happening throughout the church and society in general. I think parental involvement needs to be encouraged in all settings to better assure the safety of our children. And if the institutional church is not open to this type of input then it speaks volumes about their commitment to reform and renewal.

    • Excellent idea Kathy.

    • Already have some people on board..I have no idea why I referenced this needing to be a committee of parents..anyone who cares about kids, feel free to jump on board! kmkane242@gmail.com

  4. As a mother and a grandmother who once trusted her children with many priests, I could not today, knowing what I do. Fortunately, my children were spared such physical and emotional damage, but is there a mother anywhere who does not cry for every little innocent child so violently betrayed? I know good priests, and though I might want to trust them, I cannot and will not trust those who turn a blind eye to what the evil ones have done, nor trust that they will be truthful about what they know and preach. Good priests need to join the mothers and fathers, I pray that they may have the courage to break free and do what is right and just. Until they do, I cannot see how they can be free.

  5. Kathy,

    The AD is looking to close, consolidate, but eventually close even consolidated Catholic schools. So, the partnering you advocate will become moot, except for CCD, scouting, etc. The thinking is Catholic schools are cost prohibitive, thus a millstone around the necks of pastors and the Diocese, so why go through the effort of involving the pew sitters; too much work and these schools will soon be gone, anyway. Besides, the majority of Catholic schools that are in trouble accommodate a good number of non-Catholic students, who fail to meet tuition requirements. Parishes and the AD are no longer in a position to absorb these tuition costs. The character of the Church Militant in Philly is evolving. It’s your guess as to what it will look like in a generation.

    • amos, I don’t look at it as partnering with the AD, more getting the info available and questions answered. The schools are probably on their way out…but while they still exist children deserve the best protection we can offer. And there will always be CCD, CYO ,altar servers etc…even look at my comment above about children working in rectories. Children will always be a part of the AD even if the schools eventually close.

    • Amos, Chaput’s message, like the pope’s, is clear. Keeping churches and schools open has much less importance to the hierachy than keeping cardinals and bishops out of jail.

      Donations only go so far and criminal lawyers, as we have seen in Lynn’s case, don’t work for nothing!

    • Amos, those schools with kids who can’t meet the tuition requirements are schools that I hope can remain open… various strategies have been used including the adoption and funding of tuition by more affluent parishes or folks.. I think it was DC that did a Catholic school Charter interface….

  6. This is the hard part of being a family member of a victim.

    It’s difficult watching people come to grips with this.

    Did it take a guilty verdict to believe us? Did it really take a guilty verdict to snap people out of denial? (Some still aren’t out of it). Or a “vanilla” statement by the AD in response to a guilty verdict to hammer home the betrayal? A school closing? A parish merging? A fiscal blunder?

    Lynn sits in a jail cell and the landscape of the RCC is changing. I think, “10 YEARS!!!” Ten years to learn what you could have learned from listening to a victim in the first place?!?” I suppose I should be grateful many people are getting it. But, instead, it actually hurts. I am frustrated. You couldn’t just take our word for it? You had to get hit on the head yourself?

    Disgust and frustration is coming across in every post I submit. It’s not the fault of good people just trying to understand….it’s me. People here need encouragement and a place to love their church but hate the management of it. Sadly, I cannot separate the two…I hate them both. I’m frustrated and negative and do not have much to add here at this time. I will not waver or relent with my child advocacy work in my area, but I am giving myself a much needed break here. Hopefully, I can return with a renewed view of the laity.

    I rejoice with each of you over the precedent-setting conviction of Lynn! That is truly exciting!

    This mother’s verdict: Guilty. From the moment the first child was violated to present. Guilty. From the first lie told to present. Guilty. From the first moment hierarchs enabled predators and endangered children. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

    • SW, I will miss you…but trust your insights…Joan

    • SW, you once told me politely to take a breather. Until you return, I will keep my thumb on the spray paint can and won’t press down until you permit to do so. God bless you and your husband. You are and will remain in our thoughts and prayers.

    • SW, Thank you for your presence and support here, it has made a difference to my wife and I. I hope that you and your family find what you need to heal and draw closer to one another in the coming months. Looking forward to your return if/when it is right for you.
      Bob

    • SW,
      You have made children safer by posting and by your witness………..thankyou

    • SW, I hope you read my comment before you go. As a survivor I understand completely how you feel. During all this trial reporting I said the very same thing, all they had to do was listen to us and do the right thing. So simple. Simply do what you preach to us. Back in 1965 I went to the pastor of St. Michael’s Church in Levittown, Pa and told him what Rev. Richard Dolan was doing to me on a weekly basis. No one will ever understand completely the courage it took to see the pastor. When I told him, his face was an expression of sheer shock. I know he told the archdiocese and 6 months later Dolan was transferred. SW, back in 1965, the archdiocese of phila could have stopped this if they cared. So, I get what you express so truthfully. My heart with yours, cries for all the children that were going to be raped after 1965! I love what you post, you are so honest and raw with your thoughts. I admire you so much. Take care of yourself and know that this survivor looks forward to coming back.

    • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply June 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Please don’t go SW. Express your frustration and negativity. Bombard us with the vileness of the hierarchy’s sins, crimes, trickery, lies, and betrayal. Make us angry, bitter, incensed, seething and outraged. Slap us into shape, force us to see the truth, shove it down our throats, hold us up by our ears until it is inconceivable that we ever forget or forgive how our hierarchy relegated itself to the unthinkable.

      • Kate, SW’s persistent wisdom and fortitude requires us to respect her decision. She has already given us, or at least me, more than I deserve. Whatever she decides from here on out is her call.

    • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply June 25, 2012 at 3:34 am

      Survivor’s Wife, enjoy the break and the rest. I am thankful to have heard you these many months. Martin

    • SW – I can certainly understand your resentment …and I’m sorry…
      I hope you’ll come back very soon– we’ll miss you!

    • I too understand where you are coming from SW. Your posts have always been worthwhile to read.

      If I hear you right, you may feel like I do; that, apart from vigilance that perps don’t strike again, there is not much purpose for a lot more “discussion.” I may be wrong, but that’s how I feel.

      “Come out of her , my people!”

  7. I resent the entire clerical approach to sharing the Word with the laity. It is centered in a political framework. Here in California, as elsewhere, the archdiocese vigorously, copiously parrots the agenda of the national conference of bishops from the pulpit and in its bulletins. What we hear in the pews and read in its bulletins are political screeds that are indeed important for the life of the Church as an institution, for dispensing the Word, and that are pastorally distant, greatly informed by a denial of what parishioners are bombarded with on a 24/7 network news cycle. Shepherding resources, talent, skill, effort, vision, promise, youth is skirted around, dismissive of shenanigans with Church treasure vis-a-vis the Vatican Bank, document leakage, international intrigue, dispensation of obligations for the very wealthy, obesity among the clergy, liturgical culture, clerical job assurance, public deprecation of the mission of nuns orders, quietude in riots of disorder, insensitivity to planetary women’s issues. A bully pulpit might otherwise mirror right action. -Alfredo de la Rosa, Berkeley CA

  8. Give no more money to the church. Give it to Sister Mary Scullion or to your own children or grandchildren for their education or something. Money to the church from now on will be given for the pope’s visit in 2015. UGH …. what a farce his visit will be. Only kool aide drinkers will be in attendance.

  9. Joan…I don,t want to “slip ” anything into a bill! What we are doing is honorable and right. God Blesses all those who do right. It must always be out in the open, what we, ” the defenders of Christ ‘s Words “require of the Law, for our precious abused innocents!

    • Glorybe it’s not immoral to expand legislation to cover other issues…perhaps my language usage was poor.

      • Sorry Joan..you are always so articulate!
        I didn,t mean to be pushy or overly moral about words but the RCC is! I don ‘t want us confused with them.

  10. You don’t give “the bully pulpit”to the evil one, which we have done to the innocents of this world, for the past 11 years.. Its time to know who your ENEMY is..Its THE devil! NOT… GOD ALMIGHTY, WHO IS GREATER THAN ANY INSTITUTION. THE CHURCH (US) IS THE BODY OF CHRIST! ALL DENOMINATIONS OF CHRISTIANS THROUGHOUT THIS WORLD, ALL CREATED BY GOD..NO ONE BUT OUR GOD!

    • Kudos to you Gloria, for [at your age] getting the WORD out tirelessly. I agree with your faithful exhortations to recognize what God’s WORD says about us as believers in the gospel of grace; i.e., that we are all members of the Body of Christ— an invisible unity spread throughout the world in every nation, race, denomination. We are those the Holy Spirit baptized into Christ,when we believed.

  11. not one word from the pulpit this morning about the headlines in the paper. not that i expected anything different. the gospel was about the birth of john the baptist – he must be turning in his grave.

    • OK, move along folks. There’s nothing more to see here; it’s all over (don’t they wish?).

    • At St. Joseph’s in Downingtown, “Lynn’s parish”, we had Aux Bishop McIntyre read a letter from Chaput. And I thought he said it was going to be read at all the parishes in Chester and Delaware Counties. Stayed to hear a portion of what he had to say — nothing really different. When he asked us to pray for Lynn and his family I had to leave…the rage I felt leaving that Church was not very Christian.

      • MTC……..any reaction at St. Joseph’s to Bishop McIntyre’s comments relative to Msgr. Lynn? Anything at all, positive or negative, heard from the parishioners at St. Joe’s concerning pastor Lynn?

      • No prayers for the victims? My priest mentioned lynn was in jail and it was because he did bad things……………God will give us the Grace to do the right thing in difficult times……paraphrasing

      • Yes, prayers for victims first. Then they asked for prayers for Lynn & family. So, I only heard just a few minutes of what the Bishop had to say. And I haven’t heard anything from anyone else. When I left Church I’d only seen one other person on my side of Church leave and if anyone left behind me I didn’t see. Lots of “pew sheep” and parishioners who cheer for Lynn in courtroom in this parish apparently.

      • MTC, Was this the same as the recent “apology” from the AOP or something new? Was what was read at Mass the same or something new? If new could someone send me a copy? Sister Maureen – maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

      • I was also at Mass this morning at St. Joe’s. Bishop McIntyre at first apologized for not coming to St. Joe’s earlier, He said he should have come when Msgr. Lynn was first arrested and that this has been a very difficult time for abuse victims, for our parish and for the archdiocese. I am recalling from memory, I do not remember his exact words. He said that this is a very sad time. He conveyed Chaput’s concern and that he wished he had been able to come. Bishop McIntyre apologized to the victims. It was a read statement though – I wished he had looked at the parishioners with true compassion and sincere emotions as he “read” the statement. It would have been meaningful if he expressed his sorrow in his own words. He asked us to be one as a community of faith, that we all had our own feelings and opinions and to respect each other. He did ask for prayers for Msgr. Lynn and his family. (And I agree that they do need our prayers. We all need to pray for those we love and for those who are public sinners.) He did not let us know if our current temporary pastor will be staying for good, he simply said he will be with us in the days and weeks ahead. And yes, Msgr. Lynn is still listed as our pastor on the website? Maybe they are waiting until Monday to take his name of? Bishop McIntyre also offered to talk with anyone after Mass.

        Msgr. Lynn was a kind and gentle pastor to many in our parish. He was/is their friend. They simply cannot reconcile the two men, so they believe the man they knew. I am no longer angry with parishioners who appear to be close minded, we do need to respect where each person is. Perhaps one day they will see the terrible suffering that our church leaders allowed by not stopping this abuse when they could. When Msgr. Lynn was first arrested, I remember saying to a parishioner, yes, this is finally all coming out into the open. I felt the Lord was answering my prayers. But not many saw it that way.

        We were given this information – flyer – as we were leaving. From the Office for child and Youth Protection.
        “these last fifteen months have been very challenging time for all of the parishioners of St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown. The indictment of Msgr. Lynn and the subsequent trial has created a myriad of emotions and thoughts in everyone. Now that the jury has delivered a guilty verdict. For many there are no words to describe the feelings. Each of you will have your own unique response to the verdict. What is most important is that as a community of faith we respect the individual responses that each of us may have.” The second paragraph was reaching out to abuse victims and contact information to the PA Commission on Crime and the Archdiocese Victim Assistance Office. Also to contact your local law enforcement agency and/or Archdiocesan Office for Investigations

        I would hope at this time, now that the trial is over, that the archdiocese does admit that what Lynn did was wrong. Now that he was found guilty by the court, they no longer presume his innocence. And that anyone else who participated in the cover up will publicly admit their guilt and show true regret and sorrow for all the suffering for victims and their families. And that we unite as a church community to support and help victims any way we can.

      • MTC and Marie, thank you both for sharing. MTC, I would have stood up and walked out also. I find it interesting that we don’t pray in Mass for the former CFO of the Archdiocese who embezzled money but are always encouraged to pray for ALL involved regarding the sexual abuse of children..they never can seem to mention the victims on their own, without adding the priests in their somehow.
        Maire ,it must have been a very difficult time over the past year, and I can understand the difficulty of parishioners with reconciling the pastor they knew with the man who allowed children to be at risk.

      • I understand; however, I would and do pray for them— that through this they ultimately believe unto salvation.

    • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply June 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Carole,

      A watershed moment in Catholicism, and not a word about it on the first Sunday. My God, my God, why have they forsaken us?

    • When my [family- I won't give names] returned from Saturday Eve mass, I didn’t ask them what was said.
      After all these years, I know better.

  12. I don’t know if Archbishop Chaput’s promises have any personal meaning to him, but they don’t have any official meaning to us. And “official” is what counts. The only reason the archdiocese is now promising to ensure “safe environments for all the faithful of Philadelphia,” is that they got caught abusing, raping and endangering children by people outside the church. In this case, the civil world, which the hierarchy often looks at as the center of sin and “the culture of death,” has shown itself to be more moral than the official church.

    Inside the church, the power system that is at the heart of this calamity is still in force. The rule of obedience is still in force. And so is ignorance–or denial. Pope Benedict XVI recently told the Irish bishops that the sex abuse by priests is a mystery to him. No bishop said, “Joe, there’s no mystery; we’re operating in a spiritually corrupt power system.” (His faulty theology about the validity of the system is another discussion.) Unable or unwilling to look at the truth, the pope is keeping deadly silent about changing the system. With a silent pope, no bishop will act, despite Vatican II’s teaching that they run the church with the pope. So the church is officially frozen in place.

    Archbishop Chaput himself is trapped in a Catch 22. If he approves of what Lynn did, he will be approving of the church’s now criminal authority/obedience system. If he condemns what Lynn did, he will be condemning Cardinal Bevilacqua, other bishops, himself and the pope, who are continuing the spiritually corrupt system. So we cannot trust what the archdiocese says. We can and should be vigilant and ensure that they at least do what is necessary not to get caught again.

    I strongly agree that there must be some kind of parental oversight and evaluation of the archdiocese’s policies and actions. The present abuse investigation goes back a half century. For more than 50 years, the hierarchy failed to stop what any parent would have stopped in less than 50 seconds. No more abuse and cover-ups. Never again!

    • The only reason any of the bishops are promising anything –

      The only reason the USCCB wrote anything on anything –

      is because they got caught big time when the Archdiocese of Boston imploded in 2002.

      The moral turpitude of the bishops as a group is outrageous and reprehensible. Why would anyone put stock in anything the bishops say at this point because they have lost all credibility; “Sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.”

      They have yet to acknowledge or discuss the needed reformation of a corrupted clerical culture that they are part and parcel of. The bishops didn’t make errors; they committed crimes while supposed “protecting the church from scandal.”

      Chaput’s top priority should be to support legislative reform (House Bills 832 & 878) that would hold sexual predators of children and enablers and facilitators like themselves (past and/or present) accountable before the law in the present and future and give the now adult victims of childhood sexual abuse access to the civil justice they have thus far been denied. They have no recourse criminally.

      http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/05/26/opinion/doc4fc0356eb3176329912900.txt?viewmode=fullstory

      The specious arguments against these bills by Chaput, the PA bishops and the Catholic Conference are shameful.

      People have lost their jobs and yet 11 million and counting has been paid for lawyers representing Lynn? And Fr. James Brennan who was found guilty in a Canonical trial, not that I put all that much faith in Canonical trials, but that must have been something for him to be found guilty, is still being paid, supported, etc., for how long now? Has anyone seen mentioned anywhere the total outlay of financial support for priests who are known sexual predators but remain priests, have not been laicized or have been “sentenced to prayer and penance?”

      Sister Maureen
      maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

    • Anthony,
      Thanks for your insight, there is a huge problem when the successor of Peter and leader of the church lacks the empathy, compassion, insight, and or honesty to articulate to those he claims to lead the reality of the corrosive clerical culture and need for true conversion that exists today.

      Or to reference another quote from a great film.

      This was no boating accident

      • Bob
        I agree that there’s a shark in the water of the church. Right now our hope lies in the work of people like those who participate in this blog, and mine, and like those in civil law, to continue putting pressure on the institution. The Truth is not in the institution, and through these people, the Truth is slowly showing its power.

        I see that you are turning your own pain into the work of healing. God bless you and your family, and the healing work you are doing.

        Anthony

    • Anthony, I just read some of your blog. After reading the Vatican Council II segment, I am going to start calling you Forrest Gump. You always seemed to be at the exact spot where all of the action was taking place.
      I know that you cannot answer for all of the clergy, but I have always thought from when we first heard of the standing ovation for Lynn,that it wasn’t Lynn the man they were applauding, but rather a “I would have done the same thing and I know it” mentality . Having once been on the inside does that make sense to you?

      • Kathy,
        First, I love your comparing me to Forrest Gump. I have often marveled at the luck of this guy from South Philly, who graduated from public school, worked and hung out on the corner singing with the guys, and then wound up in Rome at the Second Vatican Council, etc.

        Now to get serious. I notice that “hadit” points that she put the word “applauded” in quotes. But the truth is the same. The people stood up, as did the priests who were present. Starting in the seminary, where we were isolated from the world, we grew into a true band of brothers who would do anything for one another. In my time a story was told of a bishop who was driving home from a dinner with a priest, and who hit someone with his car. Before the police arrived, the priest changed places with the bishop. I don’t know if the story is true but it exemplifies what I mean.

      • “I would have done the same thing and I know it.”

        I’m not a catholic priest. After indulging myself in a sense of peace after the verdict was announced, I spent some time on the dark side and asked myself if I would have done the same thing. I think I have more in common with Msgr Lynne than I want to admit.

        (As an aside, I wanted to be a priest during most of my 12 years of catholic schooling. I can recall deciding in my senior year of HS not to pursue that calling. Had I entered St Charles Seminary, William Lynne would have been one of my classmates.)

        It would be worth Googling the Milgram experiments done at at Yale in the ’60s. They say a lot about how easily any of us can succumb to authority and how quickly empathy can evaporate. When I reflect on the trial and the GJ reports, I feel like I’m reading about the Milgram experiments being performed again in real life. You really don’t need much indoctrination to ditch your basic beliefs under the right circumstances.

        But there are a lot of moms and grand moms posting in this blog that have been doing the right thing, not just saying the right thing.

        Gotta admit I’m still in a pretty dark place right now.

    • “In this case, the civil world, which the hierarchy often looks at as the center of sin and “the culture of death,” has shown itself to be more moral than the official church.”

      A very powerful statement Anthony. Thank you.

      • Anthony and Theresa, I will never forget when a mother of a clergy abuse victim told me that the compassionate treatment she received from the Phila. DA’s office was what they expected from the church and never received.
        There is a gentleman I know who was formerly with the DA’s office. A few months back I had a very personal situation when a person I grew up with, disclosed to me that he was abused by our parish priest. It was at the beginning of the trial when many people were feeling the enormity of all that was happening. My friend was coming undone..not in good shape. I called the gentleman who had been with the DA’s office and he spoke with my friend for over an hour late one night and called him back a week later to check in on him. I also contacted a priest that I knew when I was young and who also knew my friend who was abused… the priest’s response? He was sad to hear it and I should contact victims assistance. So who played the role of Good Samaritan in this modern day parable..the priest or the prosecutor?

    • We can and should be vigilant and ensure that they at least do what is necessary not to get caught again.”
      *********************************************************************************
      I am going to give the benefit of grace and assume you meant:
      “Ensure they at least do what is necessary not to ABUSE again. :D

  13. I, too, left Mass two minutes into the homily!! It was Fox News at the ambo!! Priest reiterated the homily given by DE bishop regarding our loss of religious freedom. I could not listen. Two others walked out after me. But so many stayed! What don’t they get?

  14. Clergy sex abuse victims finally have received a bit of justice. This is the first time ever that a catholic church official has been found guilty of child endangerment.

    It is imperative that Lynn serve his sentence in jail behind bars. Yes, he is a flight risk. In one diocese alone, Sacramento, 5 perpetrators have fled overseas, so the threat of Lynn to flee is real.
    Plus, there needs to be a strong message sent to all church officials around the world that they can no longer get away with covering up sex crimes against innocent kids. And remember Cardinal Bevilacqua was the bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese before he went to Philadelphia. Many other dioceses need to be investigated for enabling and covering up sex crimes against kids.

    It is time to start protecting children instead of protecting predator clerics. Keep in mind that the Philly Archdiocese is not unique in how they handle child sex crimes, all other dioceses have secret archives and many bishops are still not removing accused predators from their parishes.

    Also, because the jury was hung on the Fr James Brennan case, it does not mean that he is innocent, so if anyone has knowledge or has been harmed by Brennan we urge you to contact police.
    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    • You’re right Judy about Bevilacqua being at the Pittsburgh Diocese. It would be foolish to think that a man of the cloth with so much power would only abuse that power on the eastern side of the Commonwealth of PA.

      Behavior is congruent. There’s no doubt in my mind that there are many more survivors and victims who were harmed in the Pittsburgh Diocese and Beviacqua made sure everything was covered up.

      I beleive in miracles and God ain’t done cleaning up PA.

      Mike Ference

  15. During my high school years, I studied Anthony Trollope’s novel “Barchester Towers”. Though a humorous satire, I was surprised by the politics, corruption, and career-aspirations of the Anglican-clergy, naively believing that this did not happen in the Roman Catholic Church. These recent trials have demonstrated that the RCC are capable of far worse… and that they get away with far worse. Avery gets 2 1/2 to 5 years while Sandusky gets around 60 years with no gag-order during his trial … Brennan gets a mistrial … Lynn is found guilty by one count out of three … gets 3 1/2 to 7 years … perhaps presently appealing for a lighter sentence with house-arrest in a P & P Program … or, at the very least, for isolated, comfortable jail accommodation, a sort of sabbatical, where he can put together some books, with the support family, friends, and parishioners, on ‘the persecuted church’… Do the clergy believe the doctrine that they have fed us … the life-after-death scenario of a sinful life? The Sandusky Trial was fast, just, and compensated the victims, while the Priests-Trial was lengthy and included a plea-deal, gag-order, confusion over conspiracy-definitions, hung-jury, light sentencing, and no compensation for the victims. I wonder if there is a web-site that reports child sexual-abuse trials/sentencing for secular persons vs clergy-members. I wonder how prisoners serving long-terms for child sexual-abuse view this. I hope victims receive justice through healing, closure, support, and compensation. We could bring awareness to this topic by including links (bishopsaccountability, snap, catholics4change, etc.) as a permanent fixture to our every day emails. It would be optional to check-out the links, comment on them, or simply read / reply to the emails. Just an idea! I believe the victims.

    • Speaking-up……..I had purchased “Barchester Towers” BBC dvd on a whim a couple of months ago on Ebay and I’m glad to know how the issues portrayed in the film parallel what we are seeing now in Phila and the rest of the Catholic Church……can’t wait to sit back and watch the fictional drama/show (of course, we all have been watching the REAL show over the past 6 1.2 years here in the Phila archdiocese)

    • You speak wisely. Thank you.

  16. Susan, I agree wholeheartedly with your reaction to Orlando Barone’s column today. Beautifully written – both his and yours. I too can no longer support the church or give them a dime of my money or sit in the pew or the confessional and allow these men to tell me how to live my life while they are so guilty of so many things, not the least of which is covering up the evil in front of their eyes.

  17. I go to adoration when I can and today I prayed that all our victims know the love of Christ and that the church follows the will of God and I found myself weeping in relief that our victims finally got some glimmer of justice, in hope that our laws might soon change and weeping for the victims we may never know ( how their lives were destroyed in many cases and how their lives could have been different)and the thought crossed my mind has Archbishop Chaput, the pope etc weeped at the feet of Jesus for our victims? Will Lynn ever get it? Is he calling out to Christ at this moment also? What does he hear in response? Silence?

  18. My wife and I are in Fayetteville, NC, enroute to Philly bringing her 90 yr. old parents back to Philly for a visit. I took two books with me-render Unto Ceaser and Rediscovering Catholicism. I can not bring myself to read either, after reading the archdiocese website response that appears to have been authored by Donna Farrell. I can not believe the archbishop has not drafted a statement to have been read at all parishes today. This is the highest of crimes, a cover up, and I believe he should talk about failed leadership that permitted these priests to remain in ministry. Now, what about the archbishop in Saganaw who needs to explain what appears to be a failure to report and disagree with the shredding of the priest list?
    I have been additionally hurt by the fact the archbishop recently revealed the one priest of the six or so whose investigations are complete was Fr. Reardon, the chaplain for the Knights of Columbus where I received my 4th degree, a few years ago. He too, was on staff in the archdiocese before his last assignment as a pastor. He was the only one removed from ministry for alleged sex abuse of a child. We still have to hear the results on 17 more-remember, Archb. Rigali said there were no priest in ministry who were suspects in child abuse, then he announced days later the suspensions of all these priests who needed to be, and still are, under investigation.
    As grandparents, we are trying to keep our children/gchildren in the faith and I found my heart was not in the Mass we attended yesterday. We support your efforts to right our faith.
    John & Carolyn Heary

  19. Just one more reponse to SW’s expression of her frustration. I am guilty of having not properly educated myself about this issue until the last Grand Jury report came out. Once I read and understood what had occurred to so many innocent children at the hands of these despicable men and how so many knew and did nothing….I was horrified. So, I am guilty of having had my head buried in the sand and I am sorry for that ignorance. I had no idea the level of pain that was being endured by so many around me, but once I came to understand what had happened, I could not be “unmoved” by it as so many others around me seemed to be. It was not until we got news that a former priest from our parish was a prepetrator that many finally woke up around me and, yes, I too felt frustrated with that, just as SW is expressing. Many still haven’t “woken up.” Why didn’t everyone care before that? Does it have to be “close” to people for them to care? Where is the empathy? Where is the realization? This wasn’t petty theft (not that that’s ok)….this was child molestation and rape and a concerted cover-up of it over many years by many people! I get what you’re saying, SW. It shoudn’t take a guilty verdict at a trial for people to “jump on the bandwagon” of caring. Do what you have to do to be at peace. We hope to hear from you again soon.

  20. Elizabeth Twomey Groven Reply June 25, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Msgr Lynn is going to jail. That is good. What Chaput can do is to let the people of the RCC know that all policies and procedures followed by the public schools and other civil institutions in the AD of Phila are being followed in the RCC–full cooperation with civil authorities in matters of child protection. How can we make him do that: protest, complain to the Papal Nuncio, complain to Rome–demand civil intervention in cases of child abuse. Then, as individuals, work for the full separation of church and state by supporting legislation to remove the tax exempt status of the RCC–and all religions, for that matter.

  21. I applaud your efforts, but meaningful reform of the Catholic Church from within will never happen. It is a corrupt organization that has always chosen its own institutional interests over that of its members, including their children. Any objective study of the history of the church must conclude that it has always been defined by its authoritarian nature and the selfish interests of its clergy. The only meaningful, effective protest to that institution is to walk away from it, as I did over fifty years ago.
    I look back at that decision with no regrets. My resolve has been strengthened anew with the birth of three sons and a growing number of grandchildren, who lead healthy, moral, productive lives free from the indoctrination, influence and potential harm from that corrupt institution.
    The only meaningful reform in its history has come from those who left it, which is why history calls that movement The Protestant Reformation. Good luck in your reform efforts, which are doomed to fail. The good news is that you can find healthy, religious communities that are led democratically by their membership.
    Seek and you will find them.

    • Alan Crist,

      You’re right. If you give any person control, by allowing them to impose their religious authority upon you, YOU ARE AT RISK FOR ABUSE.

      You are a NOT child, and the clerics are NOT your parents. Focus upon God, and STOP groveling to clerics!

      Then, unlike Billy’s mother, you will have the strength to protect your children, while standing up for yourself. It all comes down to self-respect.

      • Correction – should be Mark’s mother, not Billy’s mother.

        “No mother on earth failed her son more than the mother of Mark Bukowski… in the beginning, throughout, and at the end.” (Kate FitzGerald – hadit).

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply June 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

        drwho13,

        Something huge stood in the way of Mark Bukowski’s mother protecting and defending her son. The testimony from the trial clearly proved that an emotional bond existed between his mother and Brennan. I’ve always wondered if there was not something more to the bond.

    • Kate FitzGerald (hadit),

      Thank you for the insight; that’s very possible.

    • Amen, and amen!

  22. MTC- Though I am a parishoner, and my kids attend St. Joe’s, there was no way I was going to go to church, there, this Sunday to listen to any more BS about Lynn, prayers for his family, etc. I am curious to know, will they finally remove his name as Pastor? If my child is asked one more time to pray for him and his family, I will vomit. Though I understand what you are trying to describe about how many SJ parishoners viewed Lynn, I think all those people needed to do was read the GJ reports (which most had not when we attended the parish meeting), victims heartbreaking stories, or perhaps view him laughing and often smug in the courtroom. Those images, should replace any kind or sweet rememberances of someone who really doesn’t deserve them. He lied, he did not do the right thing, it is not all someone’s else’s fault. He is being held accountable for his actions or inactions. This parish needs to wake up.

    I applaud Susan’s decision and wish I too, was in a position to do so. I can’t stand supporting this instituion full of liars. These are not decent loving Christians. They a den of vipers.

    • Deidre I cannot imagine the message that praying for Lynn sends to children. There are many children within our parishes who have been or will be abused at some point in their childhood. Child sex abuse is so often kept hidden because of shame,embarrassment and fear that no one will believe them. If a child is being abused by anyone.coach,neighbor,family member etc..and is sitting in a church hearing that a man who participated in endangering children should be prayed for ..then we have just pushed that child 10 feet back in ever coming forward with their own abuse.

      • I am just thinking of being a child in this scenario. We saw on Friday night Sandusky being taken away in handcuffs and at the press conference the AG saying “In Bellfonte Pa, we believe children” She was met with applause and cheers and there were many children in that crowd..what a powerful,positive message to these children and then put that against children being asked to pray for a man who endangered children…stunning.

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply June 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        This is one of the reasons why victims are repulsed by the idea of returning to the Catholic Church. There, they are exposed to clerics leading the congregation in prayer for perpetrators and enablers. The Church says to victims, “Come home, we love you and want to support and comfort you.” But when victims “come home,” they are revictimized.

        I’ve said before that all human beings, regardless of their sins and crimes, deserve compassion. I have no problem with clerics meeting the compassion-needs of convicted felons and their families. I think, however, that they should be met privately. Congregations and classes of school children should not be corralled and led into participating in en masse acts of compassion simply because it is the will of clerics, teachers, principals, etc.

      • MackerelSnapper, that you could assess that I am a kind and gentle person is probably the highest compliment I could hope for. Thank you. I think people rise up to othe’rs higher expectations, and I will try to be the person you think I am. I pray, pray, pray for all of us. The victims, the survivors and the rest of us…the forever SAD. When will anything go back to resembling what it used to be? I love my Catholic Faith, but my faith in my Church is…..well…..I’m still hopeful. We are are a People of Hope, right?

    • I have thought about you lately Deidre, knowing that you are one of the few in your parish who was outraged by Lynn’s inaction. My mother is at St Martha’s and every time I drive out there I see the progress on the new church building and it sickens me. How they can continue with that construction project in light of this trial and Lynn’s conviction is beyond my comprehension.

    • Having compassion for Msgr Lynn and praying for him and his family is the Catholic thing to do. Whether guilty or not guilty. Do you think Jesus would pray for Msgr Lynn? I certainly think he would!

      If you’re not able to pray for Msgr Lynn right now, instead pray for yourself, that you may find the peace that comes with forgiveness and you may come to know Jesus better than you do now.

      • Archie, I agree. Forgiveness is a cornerstone of our faith and does not erase awareness. We can pray for those who do harm without allowing them to harm again. At the first vigil I attended in front of the archdiocesan building, I met a wonderful woman who works with victims as well as inmates. She is an inspiration.

      • Archie, I have been Catholic for 44 years I have never been asked to pray for a convicted felon in Mass before..ever. When the terrorists attacked the US we prayed for the victims,not the terrorists. What people choose to do and who they pray for is fine and a personal decision, but do not tell me in Mass to pray for people who abuse or endanger children and DO NOT ever have that message relayed in front of children..ever. Many children are abuse victims or will be at some point ,and the message that we pray for abusers or enablers is more than confusing..it is damaging. I have always said that the abusive and enabling priests should be in prison and have the prison chaplains available to them just like all of the inmates, I have absolutely no problem with that.

      • And you would think that the priests in the courtroom would have shown compassion to the victims..that didn’t happen .I pray that Lynn and company who ignored the victims everyday , come to know Jesus better than they do now.

      • Catholics always forget the second part of John 20:23.

        Jesus said, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

        Catholics only like the first part, so they forgive everybody for every sin that wasn’t committed against them. That, of course, is one of the easiest things in the world to do.

        God & Jesus are going to care a lot more about what you did for the victims. God has proven, without question , that Lynn hid and moved known child rapists, who were destroying children in His name. What did you do about it? That’s what God cares about.

        The Catholic church will teach you that its good to spend $11 million to protect a proven pedophile protector, then pray for him after he is convicted. God’s going to ask you what you did to help the victims. Here’s your $11 million defense: “Cardinal Bevilacqua told me that this is what I should do”.

        The problem is that God doesn’t have a statute of limitations, and God won’t fall for the $11 million Catholic defense either. And God doesn’t forgive your sins just because the Catholic church does.

      • KATHY Kane wrote:”.I pray that Lynn and company who ignored the victims everyday , come to know Jesus better than they do now.”
        **************************
        When I pray for Lynn or anyone else found guilty of a crime, it is always as Kathy said— for them to find salvation.

      • Archie Francis,

        Lynn didn’t do anything to me. I play no role in his being forgiven or not being forgiven. His forgiveness is in the hands of those he damaged. I have no intention of telling victims whom to forgive.

        I see my mission as being an adversary when it comes to people like Lynn, relentlessly tracking and exposing them. God is not only a God of forgiveness. He is a God of justice.

        The victims can forgive, IF THEY SO CHOOSE. I’ll focus my concern upon justice instead. I’ll work to see that people like Lynn receive the maximum they have coming to them.

        On a side note, I’d allow Lynn to be placed under house arrest as soon as the pope does the same for his butler. As far as I know, B16 has chosen to show charity to his servant by allowing him to remain in a Vatican dungeon.

      • Archie….. Jesus was uncharacteristically intolerant of those who endangered children. His words directly addressing the subject of child abuse call for no earthly compassion for those who abuse.

        He brought shame on his family –HE should pray for them.

      • Archie, I can detect that you’re a kind and gentle person. You don’t want to loose that.

        Many of the posts here are from moms and grand moms, also some of the kindest people on the face of the earth. They’re standing up for kids who are too young to stand up for themselves. I’m not nearly as gentle as you and probably suffer from a warped sense of masculinity. By the time a man gets to be 61, he should have had enough experience standing up for himself.

        But don’t stop being gentle. There’s a story about St Francis deSales I want to share. DeSales was known for his gentleness and is often called the gentleman saint. A woman with 7 children wrote to him and asked how she could become holy, since she found it impossible to go to church everyday. DeSales wrote back saying something like this, “Madam, you should not be going to church everyday. You become holy by doing God’s will. For you that is being the best mom you can be to your 7 children.”

        A lot of moms are posting here because their vocation requires it.

      • MackerelSnapper, it was so kind for you to reply in the way that you did. I am disappointed in a lot of things, too. And, I give back by voluteering for my Church. I think it’s been 17 years now, and it’s my joy and my pleasure.

    • There are so many kind and compassionate people on this site. My heart breaks first for the children…and never stops breaking. While I read the first Grand Jury Report, I was never able to read the Second..I tried…but I wanted to throw up. There is so much good in people…more good than bad. God created us in his own image, right? I am not am a member of St. Joe’s parish, but feel that Msgr. Lynn is takin the fall…and yes, I am praying for him. Nail me to to the Cross.

  23. Deidre – Think you meant to send your remarks to Marie who was describing how parishioners were responding to Lynn. It wasn’t me – I think they’re all “pew sheep” and probably have not read a single sentence from the Grand Jury Reports. I did go Sunday to see if there could possibly be anything they could say that would be “different” and possibly have some healing words – they didn’t even come close. I’ve been unhappy since Lynn came as a result of the 2005 report – was aware then why he was there. Obviously nothing will be changing in the Parish any time soon.

  24. You know, its been reported that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is completely ignoring Msgr Lynn? He took the fall for the AOP and no one will even talk to him. That’s really sad. And Jesus did say to us, along with feeding the hungry, sheltering the poor, that it was important to tend to the imprisoned. (paraphrased, please forgive me.)

    • “no one will even talk to him” better for them to compartmentalize then they can avoid examining their own actions……………..or lack of action…….spiritual work of mercy “admonish the sinner’……..that way they can return to the path that leads to heaven………everyone is thinking temporally……….been the whole problem all along…..instead of looking around maybe they should look up to God every once and awhile…..

  25. Theresa M. Coleman Reply July 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Dear Archie, like you, I am keeping Msgr. Lynn in prayer. I cannot lay my head on my pillow at night without asking God to make Lynn speak the truth, and that he realizes what his cover-up did for the many innocent victims, of which my brother and my nephew were victimized. No, I do not condone what Lynn did, but, I do not wish evil on anyone … just JUSTICE and TRUTH.

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