Putting the Pieces Together

Much of today was spent sifting through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s press release of the three priests removed from ministry. The following are some initial thoughts and findings; we will update as more information becomes available.

The press release claimed that Fr Raymond Smart “has not served in any school or parish since 1995 due to poor health. He has been retired and living in a private residence since 2002.”  While this may paint a picture of a priest who has long been away from ministry and living at the local Korman Suites, the truth of course tells another story.

  • We confirmed that Fr Smart was acting as a weekend assistant priest at St Teresa of Calcutta parish as recently as 2016
  • The parish bulletin of St Philip Neri, Pennsburg, has Fr Smart listed as  Retired; resident, as recently as 2015.  In 2014 he is listed as being the celebrant of the Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday daily Masses. In December 2015 he was hearing Christmas confessions.
  • From the press release we know that Fr Smart was investigated three times since 2011 however the two prior investigations  and resolutions were never announced by the Archdiocese. Fr Smart had his faculties restricted in 2017 and this was not even shared with the priests of the Archdiocese. The announcement of the final removal included the information of the prior investigations.

His case raises many questions:

  • Is a parish rectory considered a private residence?
  • Is being listed as a weekend assistant priest in a parish bulletin not considered serving at a parish?
  • If the Archdiocese wants to protect children, then why not release the information of every parish where he has resided or assisted? Transparency or technicality, which one will it be?
  • Does the Archdiocese realize that the internet exists and everyone can put the pieces of the puzzle together ?

 

Fr John Meyers

Fr Meyers may have had the quickest resolution in Archdiocesan history if the timeline is to be believed. The press release states “in late 2018, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed Reverend John F Meyers on administrative leave following receipt of an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor in the 1980’s”.   He was placed on admin leave in late 2018, however the press release fails to state when the allegation was actually received.   If the allegation was truly first known in late 2018 and the case is already resolved and being  sent to the Vatican , that is quicker than even the case of Msgr Hugh Campbell who came forward to admit abuse and his case still took 5 months for resolution. Maybe the  Archdiocese now has a fast pass similar to Disney Land.  How much time elapsed between receiving the allegation and removing Meyers from the Malvern Retreat House?

Fr Meyers was the rector at the Malvern Retreat House where many Archdiocesan students attend the Kairos retreats. The students spend a few nights at the retreat house without their phones or outside contact.  The staff from the high schools supervise, but finding out that the rector of the retreat house was a predator has sent a chill down the spine of not just parents, but the kids also .

We are looking at you John Delaney, Delegate of Investigations, to provide an honest answer to these kids as to if Meyers was left at the Malvern Retreat for even one day after the Archdiocese received the allegation.

We have not had a chance to review Msgr Logrip’s case. Logrip was placed on administrative leave for the second time for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. That’s next.

Any information you would like to share in regards to the recently removed priests, please message us through the contact link or email to kmkane242@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Breaking News: Priests Removed From Ministry in the Philadelphia Archdiocese

Closeup of the neck of a priest wearing a black shirt with cassock and white clerical collar

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced the following three clergy status updates.

Msgr. Joseph Logrip has been placed on administrative while being investigated for a new allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father John Meyers and Father Raymond Smart have been found unsuitable for ministry based on substantiated allegations that they abused minors in the early 1980s.


The following was excerpted from the “Flock Note” sent to Philadelphia archdiocesan priests and deacons today.

“Today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that Reverend Monsignor Joseph L. Logrip has been placed on administrative leave and that his priestly faculties have been restricted following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s. This allegation has been forwarded to law enforcement and the Archdiocese will cooperate with authorities in the course of the investigation.

The Archdiocese also announced that Reverend John F. Meyers and Reverend Raymond W. Smart previously had their priestly faculties restricted. Both have been found unsuitable for ministry based on substantiated allegations that they sexually abused minors in the early 1980s. In both of those cases, law enforcement declined to press criminal charges.

The determinations regarding their suitability for ministry were made by Archbishop Chaput following the required canonical investigations and recommendations from the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibilities Review Board.

Their cases will now be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in keeping with procedure for the formal canonical process.”


Click here to read today’s Philadelphia Archdiocesan Press Release.

Window To Justice: Will PA Senate Support Victims Or Child Predators?

Pennsylvania senators must decide whose interests they’ll represent. Will it be the victims and children or will it be the predators, their enablers and insurance companies?

When the PA Grand Jury Report revealed 1,000 victims of Catholic clergy child sex abuse and that it had been covered up, there seemed to be a bi-partisan wake-up call. Yet, there’s been no progress in the senate. Where is the humanity and common sense?

Pennsylvania’s legislative shortfalls enable child rapists and molesters to live among us – unnamed, unpunished and undeterred.

Current law allows child sex abuse victims to pursue criminal charges against abusers until age 50; they can file civil lawsuits until age 30. The grand jury recommended eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecutions, noting that “no piece of legislation can predict the point at which a victim of child sex abuse will find the strength to come forward.”

Eliminating the statutes of limitation for child sex abuse is smart, but it wouldn’t be retroactive. Marci Hamilton, an expert in constitutional law and CEO of Child USA, explained to CNN in a recent article, that US Supreme Court precedent prohibits extending criminal liability after a case’s statute limit expires. So, even if a bill passed in Pennsylvania, it would not apply to any victim age 51 or older.

And worse, the limits for child sex abuse cases used to be five years for prosecution and two years for civil suits. Think of the thousands of victims silenced due to that short time frame. If that doesn’t grab you, think of all their anonymous abusers.

The solution is to eliminate the statutes of limitation for child sex abuse AND pass limited window legislation to clean up the past and prevent abuse.

A two- or three-year window would allow victims, who aged out of previous statutes of limitation, to file civil lawsuits. Arguments that a window is unconstitutional have been refuted by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who references ample precedent in other states, including Delaware. He is confident that window legislation will survive legal challenges.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

Every Pennsylvania parent, grandparent, person who cares about kids should let their state senator know they support this solution.

Download the Excel spreadsheet compiled with the help of attorney Slade McLaughlin. It provides insight to each PA senator’s stance on window legislation as well as contact information. Please tell them you want them to open a window to justice and send them pictures of the kids they should be representing.

With more feedback, we will continue to update spreadsheet.

Father John Paul: Still More Questions Than Answers

One of the most common search terms that leads people to this site is the name of the laicized priest Father John Paul. It seems that many in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia still have questions concerning the John Paul case… we do, too.

Many C4C followers may remember the Paul case. He was allowed to stay in ministry as pastor of a parish for a year while being investigated for historical allegations of child sex abuse. The investigation was kept secret from the parishioners.

John Paul garnered, quite possibly, the most bizarre article ever written on Catholic Philly, where his retirement and travel plans were detailed along with the news that he was being investigated for child sexual abuse.

This article written only after he surprised the Archdiocese with a letter to his parish that he was resigning for “physical and spiritual” health reasons. He pulled a fast one on the Archdiocese with the letter and they were none too pleased. However, he still seemed to receive special treatment and was only placed on administrative leave after multiple individuals came forward to file reports of past abuse against him.

We announced John Paul’s administrative leave on C4C in November of 2013. The Archdiocese waited another month before making the announcement.

Paul was found unsuitable for ministry in February 2014 and was voluntarily laicized in June 2015. His name was finally added to the Archdiocese website section of  “clergy laicized for credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” in late 2018 – three full years later.

There are many questions that remain about the John Paul case, ranging from what some feel is an inaccurate assignment record, to also hearing that not all cases filed against him may have made it to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Review Board. The Archdiocese has not responded to our most recent questions about the John Paul case.

Please feel free to reach out if you have your own questions, would like to be in contact with others who reported abuse allegations by John Paul to the Archdiocese, or have any information you would like to share from his 40 years in ministry.  Together maybe we can all get the answers we are searching for in the curious case of John Paul.

You can reach us through the contact link on the home page or email Kathy Kane.

Abuse Talking Points Interrupt God’s Word

If the hierarchy put Jesus in the driver’s seat, they wouldn’t have to worry about steering the clergy abuse conversation. Instead, they craft messaging to deflect criticism and distract Catholics.

Because of this, some were re-gifted canned talking points during the Christmas homily. This was the case across the Archdiocese of Chicago, where the Illinois state attorney general recently uncovered hundreds of previously unreported priest abuse accusations. Bishop Ronald Hicks, an aide to Cardinal Blase Cupich, sent a letter to archdiocesan priests on how to address the unfolding scandal during holiday masses and conversations.

Here’s a talking point from the letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times: Let people know the archdiocese has been “working to develop strong policies and procedures to heal victims and prevent abuse since 1992.” 

Shouldn’t reporting abuse accusations to the police should have been the starting point back in 1992. It seems they’re still “working to develop” that policy and procedure more than 25 years later. No rush. Take your time. It’s only children at risk.

Read the Chicago Sun-Times article here.

Pulpit Public Relations In Philadelphia Archdiocese

Talking points made their Philadelphia debut when the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua hired the Tierney Group, a public relations firm to handle his image. The faithful should have been more concerned that their shepherd needed to invest so heavily in spin. Since then, archdiocesan leadership continues to manage messaging – with less success.

In one instance, Leslie Davila, director of the office for child and youth protection, emailed United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) talking points to her staff when the movie “Spotlight” was released in 2015. The Oscar-winning film chronicles the investigative reporting of Boston Globe journalists whose groundbreaking coverage in 2002 exposed that archdiocese’s clergy child sex abuse coverup.

In her email, Davila wrote that the movie could “stir things up” in victims, survivors and the community. She reminded staff to remember the good work they do. Maybe she thought seeing the movie would cause a few archdiocesan employees to quit? It’s a reasonable assumption.

USCCB introduction: “In our experience, Catholics and others will take the movie as proof of what is happening today, not what happened in the past. Do not let past events discourage you. This is an opportunity to raise the awareness of all that has been done to prevent child sexual abuse in the Church. There is much good news to share.”

Much good news to share? Such as the news shared in 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report?

The final bulleted talking point reads: “Remember that if someone is calling to make a new report they need to be referred to the Office for Investigations 1-888-930-9010.” 

How about telling abuse victims to call the police! The USCCB does not include this instruction in their talking points. This was sent to staff members of the OFFICE FOR CHILD AND YOUTH PROTECTION!

But the real bulls#@! can be shoveled out of the “additional information section.”

Possible Words to those Harmed by Abuse: The movie, Spotlight, is likely to remind you of the pain and suffering you have endured at the hands of someone you had every right to trust, a member of the Catholic priesthood.” 

Member of the Catholic priesthood? Why not just say Catholic priest? The USCCB intentionally uses this wording to create distance from the problem. The priesthood doesn’t have members – it has priests. “That pedophile is just a ‘social’ member, not a full member.” Well… maybe it is like a country club.

“Express great sorrow and profound regret for what they have endured. Apologize for the grave harm that has been inflicted.”

To borrow a phrase from my kids. WTF? Do they really have to instruct human beings who work for the Catholic Church on how to be human? That line had to be written by a sociopath and intended for other sociopaths.

“Words alone cannot express our sorrow, shame and disappointment. So, it is our prayer and hope that through our actions you will find the healing you so richly deserve.”

Bishops hired lobbyists to prevent survivors from having their day in court. And, who says “you so richly deserve” in conversation? Bishops. That’s who. We hope and pray that complicit bishops get what they so richly deserve.

“Over the past years the Church has worked towards both healing and preventing abuse. Our endeavors may be seen in the twelve years of Annual Reports based on the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and independent audits.”

Parallel universe?

“The Church strives to put the child in the center of the room when making decision about children…”

That poor kid. My kindergarten teacher did that to me once. She sat me in a chair in the center of the room so she could keep an eye on me. The other kids were outside at recess.

“….and she will not be finished with this issue until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society or our churches.”

She quickly forgot about me and went to lunch. I was left sitting there in the center of the room. The bishops have left for lunch. Until Pope Francis takes a long hard look at clericalism that child will cools his or her heels in the center of an empty room.

“Words Reaffirming our Commitment to the Charter:….Twelve years later we remain committed to the principles of that Charter and we ask for your continued help, support and prayers as we: promote healing and reconciliation with victims/survivors of sexual abuse, respond effectively to allegations of sexual abuse, become accountable for our procedures, and protect the faithful in the future.”

Kathy, after countless calls and emails, have you heard back in regard to your personal experience with the lack of archdiocesan accountability for boundary violations? Nope. I didn’t think so.

“What the Church is doing now: It has been twelve years since the Charter for the Protection of Children was approved in Dallas. The Charter is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. It also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. The Charter directs action in all the following matters: Creating a safe environment for children and young people;

Now potentially dangerous mommy volunteers take classes and prove they don’t have criminal records.

Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;

Anyone here healed? Reconciled? Anyone?

Making prompt and effective response to allegations;

Did the bishops misplace their copies of the Charter?

Cooperating with civil authorities;

When forced by law.

Disciplining offenders;”

Offenders is a nice soft word for men who raped, molested and abused kids. But not as soft as the discipline. Say three Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers. Some have been issued three demerits, a full pension and a Vatican assignment.

“Child sexual abuse is a scourge on society. Figures show that 25% of woman and 16% of children are victimized by the time they are adults. Sadly, the Church did not recognize the possibility it could be a part of our communities as well.”

The secret archives tell a different story. The Church knew about clergy child sex abuse for decades and actively covered it up.

“But now we know and the Church will keep up its efforts to prevent child sexual abuse in all areas of society.”

The bishops expensive lobbying efforts against statute of limitations reform hinders justice for ALL victims of sexual abuse – those abused by a coach, uncle or neighbor. With no prosecution and no civil lawsuit, a perp can score a free pass and anonymity. Is one living in your community? You wouldn’t know. So much for prevention.

Speaking The Truth

To end on a more optimistic note, there were priests in Chicago and at least one archdiocesan staff member in Philadelphia who rejected the above supplied talking points and spoke their own truth.

There’s only one message the pope, cardinals and bishops should be spreading. It’s called the word of God.  

Our Christmas Wish For You

With decades of clergy child sex abuse coverups, the Catholic hierarchy has given plenty of reasons to curse the darkness. But you have all chosen to light a candle. The bright glow of truth has revealed so much to the world this past year.

Survivors and betrayed Catholics can probably relate to the Christmas message in Isaiah Chapter 9. I was Google searching for something else and it popped up. That kind of spiritual serendipity happens a lot with Catholics4Change. Kathy and I appreciate how it has connected all of us and helped C4C grow into a community. This Christmas, we wish you the gifts of peace and hope.

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

Upon those who lived in a land of gloom

a light has shone.

You have brought them abundant joy

and great rejoicing;

They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest,

as they exult when dividing the spoils.

For the yoke that burdened them,

the pole on their shoulder,

The rod of their taskmaster,

you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

For every boot that tramped in battle,

every cloak rolled in blood,

will be burned as fuel for fire.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us;

upon his shoulder dominion rests.

They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Herod

Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

His dominion is vast

and forever peaceful,

Upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom,

which he confirms and sustains

By judgment and justice,

both now and forever.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!


No Law or Order With Victim Compensation Fund

Closeup of the neck of a priest wearing a black shirt with cassock and white clerical collar

Victims who were abused by order priests stationed in archdiocesan schools aren’t eligible for the Victim Compensation Fund rolled out by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

This is just another rock solid reason for the PA legislator should pass a two-window for civil cases. It would allow those whose abuse previously fell outside the statutes of limitation two years to file a civil case and seek justice. 

Wouldn’t it seem the archdiocese was serving in a supervisory role, given that these men were working with children in archdiocesan schools. It’s no different than the responsibility they should accept for a lay teacher who isn’t an archdiocesan priest. 

Of course, the religious orders are also responsible for their clergy members and for hiding abuse.

Click here to read: “Catholic Church: Religious orders kept reports of child abuse secret for years,” by Lindsay Schnell, USA Today, Dec. 16, 2018

“Religious order priests make up roughly one-third of all priests in the USA, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They’re often known best for achievements outside the church. The Jesuits, for example, run some of the most prestigious academic institutions at the collegiate level and some of the most dominant athletic programs in U.S. high schools.”

Are you wondering what the difference is between archdiocesan and order priests? Here’s a Catholic classroom link that explains.