Another Pastoral and Public Relations Debacle for Archdiocese of Philadelphia


The Philadelphia Archdiocese was a topic this morning on “Inside Story,” a local news show on ABC. The panel discussed the recent move by the Archdiocese to discontinue tuition-free education at archdiocesan schools for the children of clergy sex abuse victims. They uniformly agreed that it was mishandled – especially on the communications front. The “best case study of bad public relations,” said journalist Larry Platt. Sadly, the public relations response mirrors the pastoral response to victims. No one was buying the cost cutting argument, either. Renee Amore pointed out that the archdiocese paid for priests’ legal fees.

They went on to discuss the March 22 Healing Mass.  When panel moderator Tamala Edwards asked communications strategist Jeff Jubelirer what he thought, his response was – And? Mass is nice, but what else? Panelists agreed that archdiocesan efforts are falling far short of expectations. Larry Platt commented on the lack of an ongoing archdiocesan program. That reminded me of the “Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese,” program Archbishop Chaput rolled out in May of 2012. The program was supposed to take place at the parish level and consist of four phases over six months. That went well. I’m sure it made an especially huge difference at Our Lady of Calvary as parents were left uninformed about their pastor Father John Paul.

Not enough honesty, hindering healing and crushing hope.

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47 Responses to “Another Pastoral and Public Relations Debacle for Archdiocese of Philadelphia”

  1. The Archdiocese pays for counseling for victims..how could they not? Really this is not a perk or a present, this is the bare minimum of what can be done.

    If I bought a car and was in an accident and came to find out that the car dealer knowingly sold defective cars that put people at risk but then found out that I qualified for the free physical therapy that the car dealer provides for all its injured customers?? Of course I would need the free physical therapy but what I really needed was to have not been in the accident due to the defective car in the first place. It is mind boggling.

    • Great analogy. And the only reason you contact the dealer is so they “know” and take those defective cars off the road, so no one is injured in the ways you were. They then lie and tell you the cars have been repaired or taken off the streets, when in reality, neither are true. And the dealership wants you to go to a mechanic of their choice…you know, one who has a contract with them.

      If there were people who exposed these lying car dealers and held them accountable for their deceptive practices so others were safer, we’d call them courageous heroes, not victims just out for the money.

      We’ll find our own mechanics and send you the bill, thankyouverymuch.

      • Memo from Sister Maureen

        About the Mass scheduled by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 at 5:15 p.m. to which so many victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse have received invitations:

        I will be somewhere out in front of the Basilica Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul with a sign urging support for all victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, past, present and future – BY ANYONE by supporting PA legislator Mark Rozzi’s recently proposed PA House Bill 2067 covering the sexual abuse of children.

        Legislation similar to HB 2067 has been previously proposed but the chairman of the judiciary committee has blocked any discussion on those bills. Strong efforts by the Insurance Lobby, the PA Catholic Conference and others helped in that effort.

        There will be a film crew asking passersby whether they believe legislation like HB 2067 is necessary in Pennsylvania.

        If you support victims of childhood sexual abuse, past, present and future, join me. Bring your own signs supporting this bill and don’t forget to call your Representatives in Harrisburg urging support of HB 2067.

        Going to the Mass ITSELF on the 22nd?

        I would never, ever recommend attendance on the part of survivors or their families. That would be something each would have to decide individually. The survivors and/or families that I have heard from, directly or indirectly, are outraged at having received the archdiocese’s invitation. Remember the public relations disaster that was Remember the Sorrow created by Justin Rigali? Would you believe it is still available in its entirety on the AOP website?

        Well, it is.

        Other concerned individuals including advocates, etc., well that’s another story.

        The only way I would consider going in would be before the service began, empty handed, sitting some place in the front third of the pews, by myself just inside the pew to the right or left of the center aisle to say my own prayer to the Lord. Sometime after the service began and at an appropriate moment I would simply get up, by myself, and exit by way of the center aisle, slowly walking back the way I came in. If anyone would care to perform a similar action, you are welcome.

        Please forward this to anyone you think would be interested in supporting such legislation and I’ll see you on the 22nd in front of the Cathedral. I plan to be there between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

        • I plan on being there!!

          Denise

          • Suggestions for signs outside the Cathedral on Saturday afternoon:

            Support Rozzi SOL Reforms
            Protect Children
            CSA Predators Don’t Stop
            DO the Right Thing
            CSA = Epidemic
            CSA = $1.5 Billion to PA Taxpayers
            Where’s the Outrage?
            Justice Denied for Thousands
            Stop Perps – Pass Reform Bills
            When is enough – ENOUGH!
            Hold CSA Predators Accountable
            Legislators – DO something Now!
            Could you tell when you were 10?
            Don’t Protect immoral, godless acts
            Allow victims to expose criminals
            Forget the Powerbrokers…help the People
            Stop Endangering Children

            Thanks,

            Sister Maureen

  2. The more they try to cover up the more they expose themselves !

  3. Survivors wife,
    Your comment on the other post about this subject was spot on. Even if they discontinued the funding for the future..how did they not automatically grandfather the kids currently receiving aid? The stress on those families and kids waiting for an answer..waiting to see if they would have to switch schools etc.
    Of course you want the right thing to be done for the sake of doing the right thing ..but seriously..no one thought about this would be perceived? Discontinuing aid to the children of victims? So now a newspaper article,blog posts and a Sunday morning television segment all focusing on this issue.
    Very good comments in that segment..hopefully we can provide a link.

  4. I received a letter from Archbishop Chaput inviting me to a mass for the abuse victims/survivors in Phila. There is no way that I would step foot into a church after being molested for 3 years in a Phila Archdiocese High School, let alone feel that this is in anyway sincere. What my family goes through and what I am learning to deal with is sickening and they can pray all they like but the healing starts when the abuser is taken away from children for good.

    • As far as I’m concerned, there’s no ‘forgiving or forgetting”, when an act of will has caused so much harm and religious plethoras used to what ultimately is a quietly determined way of getting out of it.

  5. Susan,

    I did not see the show and after your report I wish I did. However, the heading to your story I find very interesting because it made me question has there been any Archdiocese in this country that is not a public relations debacle ?

    I am sure I will read somewhere the Inside Story show will be defined by others as an attack by the church hating bigots. Simply another media attack.

    You know that has left you open to the same attacks by others simply because you had the guts to report on it.

    Keep up the good work Susan

  6. “Alabama Youth Pastor Jeffrey Eddie ‘Can’t Remember’ How Many Boys He Molested”:

    February 2014 arrest of Jeffrey Dale Eddie, children’s minister at Highland Park Baptist Church, on two counts of child pornography, 31 counts of second-degree sodomy, and three counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.

    It’s the second such case at a Colbert County church within a month. In January, Oliver Brazelle, 79, the former music director at the First United Methodist Church in Sheffield, was charged by Lauderdale County authorities with second-degree sexual abuse and one-count of second-degree sodomy.

    SSShhhhhh……!!

    • Bob what is interesting is that you read this story somewhere..meaning it was reported in the news. Any lightbulbs going off yet? Although one of your complaints in the past is the focus of abuse in the Church.

      We focus on Catholic clergy just like advocates in the Hassidic Jewish community focus on the abuse in their community and other denominations focus on protecting their children.
      The fact that you and some of your cohorts use stories of sexual violation of children as some type of “one upping” is so depraved it is beyond words.

      Susan and I and many others on this forum are involved in protecting all children in many ways..through legislation, education awareness and advocacy. Whether the child was abused by a teacher, coach, rabbi, priest, parent, minister,neighbor….. whether the child is Catholic, Jewish,Protestant…on this site we focus on our own Catholic community.
      Every time I read or hear a story of any child being physically abused or sexually violated it is punch to the gut …as an adult..as a parent..
      I know you don’t know that feeling Bob..to you it is all a numbers game..the whole thing is a game and kids are the pawn.

      When I saw your name pop up I knew it would be something vile involving children …can’t say that I ask “What about Bob?” when we don’t hear from you.
      Maybe step away from the computer and help a kid..better yet, please stay where you are.

    • Bob – I’m confused as to your insinuation? Everyone else is doing it so its OK?

    • Bob,

      Your comment is the exact same one from another blog site.

      I have cut and paste the same response from another commenter.

      Doesn’t make sense. If it’s unreported, how did you get a headline? If both guys are arrested, how is that worse than your church’s transferring pedophiles from one parish to another? You are referencing stories that show how it’s supposed to be done. The pedophiles in these other religions are being prosecuted, and they’re unlikely to have a chorus of parishioners and nuns praying for them at trial. Thanks for pointing this out

      Yes Bob, thanks for showing us what the catholic church still needs to do.

      • Actually, I found it on several sites and blogs. The response is so naive it’s not worth comment.

        • Bob does not engage…he name calls, drops an obnoxious comment here and there,shows zero concern for kids..actually a little scary lack of concern for kids and now comments saying it is not worth a comment.
          I do love the fact that knowing the varied audience this blog draws..these are the comments from someone defending the Church. I will say though Bob that I do give you credit for not using the penis and anal inspired screen names as some of your cohorts.
          Keep on comparing the number of words per article and number of inches per article that abuse coverage in the Catholic church receives compared to other religions…obviously with children being abused that is absolutely the most important thing to be focused on as an adult.
          I can imagine Bob’s glee when he discovers cases of kids abused in other religions. It is sick. They do it too..like a 5 year old child response.

    • Bob,
      Thank you for sharing this! It’s a disgusting problem running rampant and no church is immune. Thankfully, the Baptist church reported them! The RCC likes to hide theirs.

      You did us all a service with your posting.

    • Bob, I think he was 78 when he was at Childs in 2005 or is this Bob that is related to Be Stil, that did change managers in Oct/Nov 2013, Maybe those questions about why Bob was still dealing with that organization may have paid off.hope that Bob isn’t in contact with kids anymore. At least we know there is more to those “dirty magazines ” and a few drinks to a 12 year old. Parents know more now. The article confirms that. Still wonder if Bob was the priest in Pennypack park speeding so that his students could not get a good look at him that was in the 60’s.I think there was a kid in that car – around our age. Yeah, Bob was withdrawn from ministry until I heard he was at Padua. Both Bobs did a lot of traveling, only Delaware lifted the SOL s that allowed the Bobs to be named.

      Getting old using abuser/survivors names when replying. They – the survivors- must be getting to you. We know better, Bob.

      Guess we are reading of the pastoral side of the Archdiocese of Philly . Guess I need to name a city a day just google that with priest and see what name pops up.

      Thank you for reminding us that those 78 year old priests are still dangerous. Also, how many vocations were lost because of these abusive priests. Read those articles and realize that God did send workers, some priests abused those gifts.

      Why did your church allow these abusers access to our children?

    • Bob,
      My now ex husband was abused by his dad who also was a youth group leader at many Bible churches in the area note he was not catholic. He was put in jail and now has life parole and walks around in supermarkets and coffee shops living a pretty much normal life after destroying many men’s lives, their marriages and families. The above is why I was so shocked and appalled how the catholic church handled the abuse by passing predators around. I personally had two predators at my grade school and two at my high school and not all their victims have come forward but as I talk to people and family I have realized their are many many more victims then reported. At the parish level Fr. Cannon in the grand jury report was in charge of the altar boys one of which was my brother. I wanted to know the truth so I have read all the reports and statements in Philly concerning this. One priest in my parish who was then since transferred even said this abuse scandal stopped at the Popes door. I love my faith and I love the teachings of the church but I have met and talked with our survivors as well and what bothers me the most is that for many survivors their hope and their faith was robbed not all but many and I value my faith so much I cant imagine living without it. Besides the loss of hope and faith is the fact that Archbishop Chaput I have learned as well as the earlier Archbishops have actively sought to block changes in new laws especially the SOL’s. The reason for this is not just monetary but that they would also have to release their documents on these predators. They do not want people to know that they knew its pure and simple.All the above hits home because of my personal experiences and the kids I went to school with and the survivors I have since met. A few weeks ago I was in Harrisburg because I am a concerned catholic and citizen in this state of PA and I know in my heart that law changes in PA to protect children is truly Gods work. I attend mass on a regular basis and go to adoration and confession as much as possible and as Pope Francis said I am also a sinner but I will continue to search for Gods will in my life and do what is right even when is costs me emotionally, spiritually, mentally, socially and financially because that is what Jesus would do. Peace and looking forward to the day I get to go home…………..to Jesus………..

      • Beth, thank you for a reply which stands in such stark contrast to most of what I see on here. I am sorry for what your ex-husband went through and the impact it must have had on you. I too am a fervent Catholic and, in accordance with my faith, a defender of the rights of the most vulnerable – from the unborn to children to the infirm. There is no doubt that, in hindsight, many Bishops mishandled the abuse crisis in the 70s and 80s. So did the rest of society. At that time psychiatrists believed that pedophilia could be treated. So sex offenders were sent for treatment. In the Church’s case they were then moved to a different area so that hopefully the offender would start a new life, free from the sickness.

        It goes without saying that anybody who abuses a child is deserving of the severest punishment, and should be treated as a criminal. In the Church’s case, the instances of pedophilia were relatively few – less than 5% of cases. That percentage is much higher in other institutions, religions, and of course families. The problem the Church had was with practicing homosexuals entering the seminaries in the era of sexual liberation. That era marked the beginning of the moral decline of the US and the West. It is an era that was aided and abetted by the acquiescence of most of those reading this post.

        The Church foolishly paid out millions – perhaps billions – to liars in the aftermath of the crisis. Those liars continue to make false accusations against innocent priests today. The effect of this was to create a media-driven feeding frenzy. Like the homosexuality issue, it is too complex to pursue here, but themediareport dot com provides excellent coverage. On bigtrial dot net you’ll find unparalleled exposure of instances of miscarriages of justice against clergy.

        Since the time of the Dallas Charter in 2002 the Church has largely put its house in order. Elizabeth Yore, Oprah’s children’s protection attorney, has described the measures the Church has put in place as “state of the art.” During his pontificate Benedict did more than any other Pope to address and eradicate the issue of sexual abuse in the Church. Remember the lies and defamation of him in the mainstream media at the time of his retirement? CNN, New York Times, NBC, ABC, Boston Globe, LA Times, Washington Post, etc? The mainstream media regularly lie about and misrepresent the Church and our Holy Father. They are part of a broad coalition which includes the UN. Consider, for example, the UN’s absurd report recently on the Church’s response to the issue of sexual abuse. But fear not, we have some very powerful, if less hysterical, forces on our side.

        The Church has emerged stronger from the crisis. It continues to be the only significant global institution with a positive moral mission. Sinners remain. As you say, we are all sinners. Personally, my faith in and love of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has never been more profound. God bless you and yours, Beth. Dominus vobiscum.

        • Bob, Dominus Koolaidum.

          • Bob this is how well it is working in Newark…that charter is not worth the paper it is written on..I do love though how you are quoting Oprah sources..can’t see you as a big Oprah fan.
            So I guess Myers and that Charter for protecting children worked real well in this case? And if Fugee did not do wrong in violating orders then why has the vatican defrocked him..or is the vatican now anti catholic?
            Also what is your reasoning for the abuse of female children by priests?
            Why have those on the National level such as Burke and Keating criticized the efforts of the organization that they were trying to assist? Why are Bishops not held accountable?
            So many questions Bob, but just stick with that Oprah quote that you love to post.

            http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/03/michael_fugee_expelled_from_priesthood_for_flouting_ban_on_contact_with_kids.html

          • Perfect, Crystal. Many thanks.
            There you are, Beth. I’m afraid that’s the level of intelligence you will encounter on what is a meeting point for anti-Church bigots. In January one “Jim Tucker” posted that seminarians should be castrated. And “Dennis Ecker” is a disturbed individual with an anti-Catholic obsession. I post elsewhere about this site, which purports to care so much about changing its dearly beloved church; but is a sham. At least one of the posters is a SNAP zealot. Again, I wish you well and would respectfully suggest you consider visiting those other sites I mention, and question the suitability and authenticity of this site. DV.

          • Bob that’s awesome..I am sure you are helping to protect so many children with your posting of stats and Oprah quotes. I think Beth can think for herself and honestly when I have ever been down in the dumps or tired of it all, she is one who inspires me to keep going.
            Beth is out among the victims in this Archdiocese ..the “liars”..she is hands on and has touched many people. Her work for victims and children goes beyond posting comments on a blog and I consider myself lucky to have met her a few years ago,even finding out we grew up in the same parish with the same abusive priest the Archdiocese knew about from the 1960’s..then he abused kids at our parish. Bob you claim abusers should be punished and are criminals..well the abusive priest is not in prison and never has been .
            Beth is exactly who we need in the pews..people feeling like they are not betraying the Church by protecting kids and helping victims.
            There is no one who reaches victims on a personal level like Beth does..I have seen it first hand. The liars are lucky to have her.

          • Survivor's wife March 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm

            Crystal,
            LOL

            Denial is a powerful thing. When the psyche of an individual cannot handle the fullness of reality, it must protect itself with denial. It’s too much for many to imagine a moral leadership raping their own and then deceiving to hide it, then enabling, then lying to parishioners. I’d like to live in Mr. Roger’s land of make-believe too.

            Thankfully, for the sake of children, most of us here don’t live in that land.

          • Bob,
            I agree child sexual abuse was mishandled in the 70’s and 80’s and I add in some situations even to this day so why doesn’t the church come clean, make amends, reach out to our survivors in a compassionate way and help change the laws in PA so that all children are safer? My ex father in law needs to be watched and if he had not plead no contest which is very rare he might have been walking the streets with no probation. The laws in PA are very weak in protecting children and need to be strengthened. I feel if the church did all the above effectively peoples attitude toward the church would change. I see the face of the suffering Jesus in our survivors more clearly than I have ever seen him before. I don’t know Denise very well, but Jim has become a friend and when I read his words I see his suffering………not with my eyes but with my heart and my soul………

          • fr. bob your essay reads live a ‘pep rally ‘ for the evil that has become the rcc, you expressions of sorrow and conclusions are specious at best, what are you doing for the Victims ? Remember ‘Justice is a Virtue that gives everyone his due ‘ So bobby my boy take your ‘BS” and peddle it to the hierarchy as it is shills like yourself that the rcc depends on !

        • Survivors wife..Mr Rogers land.. the land where kids say “he did it too” and “I am telling on you” When Bob said he posts else where about this site..I could just picture the little kid..”I am telling on you”
          The constant statistics and deflection..”he did it too”

          The taunting of victims like a kid teasing the outcast.
          The refusal to engage in questions like the child plugging his ears “I can’t hear you”
          Trying to recruit Beth “Don’t play with them..play with me”

          Mr Rogers land indeed.

          • I recently commented about watching a 60 year old man follow an elderly nun around a doctors office ,name dropping every religious person that he knew. She was obviously bothered by his attention..she should have told him to take a seat and be quiet, no doubt he would have run to the nearest chair and closed his mouth.

        • So Bob – I am curious as to your response on the Fr. John Paul matter – where a pastor was allowed to remain in his parish, with some type of “ministry plan that limited access to children” while he was being investigated. This goes against EVERY recent guideline imposed by the AOP. As Kathy and Susan have commented, if not for the courageous actions of others – myself included – coming forward and documenting past abuse at the hands of Fr. Paul – he would have retreated to Italy or Africa for other victims. So how is the house in order when the same mistakes are being made?

        • Fr.Bob “shill” for the rcc, precisely stated unabletotrust.

  7. I think Bob is a priest or brother, maybe not even a male. but a nun. (Bobbie). Always telling us about all the other molesters that are not Catholic. When a person says he represents Christ and you confess your sins to him..it is completely different than any other human being in a place of elevated (above the normal )authority .This is a grave sin against the HOLY SPIRIT…IMO!

  8. Thank you for posting my comment!

  9. I was attacked by a priest as a child. Stopped going to church which upset my parents who thought I was just being rebellious. Went off to college and visited other faiths trying to fill the empty place within. Got a ride home from a service one night from a pillar of the congregation. He tried to attack me too. Does that make it ok that a priest violated me Bob?

  10. Not only other religions Bob, but also in youth sports ..look at Sandusky/Penn State..oh that’s right that hardly got any press at all.

  11. crazedandconfused Reply March 19, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Where do they get this 5% nonsense? Based on my own experience, 75% of the priests who were entrusted with my safety and spiritual well-being when I was in high school have since been removed from ministry or laicized.

    • The one that molested me, the one that replaced him when he was sent to be a “visitor” at another parish and molest more little girls, the one that was in our parish 10 years earlier, the pastor we got when they closed the parish, the one at my grandma’s parish at the same time, 5 at my brother’s parochial high school, the pastor of the parish where I moved when I got married ….. It’s like a carnival ride in a haunted house. The car twists and turns and the ghouls jump out at every corner. That’s a little more than 5%
      We have a dear priest that used to be in our parish. Any wonder he won’t wear his clerical garb in public outside re church

      • (Typo) outside the church property. He has been a victim of comments and nasty looks where people equate him with all these monsters. He has given his life to serve and now has lost respect from the public, is overworked , and heartbroken to hear of classmates who have become criminals etc. not what he thought the priesthood would be years ago.
        Unfortunately he is one of a rare breed according to the statistics in my past.

      • 5% of the priesthood is nonsense. It’s a sex predators’ haven, and always has been. 25% of the 36 priests who taught at my AD high school sexually abused minors …and they’re just the ones who were sloppy enough to get caught.

        • The chaplains at my high school during the years I was there and shortly before and after, are removed. Removed by the Church ,not the liberal press.

          • crazedandconfused March 19, 2014 at 10:37 pm

            And IF someone had listened to me all those years ago when I tried to get help and they had offered me money to shut me up, what would I have done? I don’t know. “They” are always on about the money. The money was not paid out to liars- it was paid out to people who were telling the truth. The money was paid to hide the truth and keep the offenders in circulation. I am having a bad week and I am a little sick of the rhetoric of the “defenders of the faith.” Oh, and another thing, we stopped speaking Latin nearly 50 years ago.

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