Many of us find it hard to reconcile the facts of the Philadelphia Archdiocese priest pedophile scandal with our own positive experiences in Catholic school and parishes. Although the unthinkable has happened, it’s not the only truth. Because of their peers and the Church cover up, innocent priests are now scrutinized and suspected.
It’s important to remember the sacrifice and intention of these men, who far outnumber the guilty. In an effort to maintain perspective, I ask readers to please share an instance where a member of the clergy improved their life.
We must change our Church for everyone – including the clergy.
Let’s shine a light in the darkness.
8 thoughts on “Innocent Priests Tainted By Scandal Need Our Support”
So true, Susan. The other day when I went up to my children’s school (a Catholic one) I saw a Seminarian walking back to his car. He comes and talks to some of the classes each week. My heart went out to him. Here is a young man with great expectations and hopes for his future as a priest and THIS hits. How disillusioning it must be.
I have a story about how a priest helped me. When I was a young adult in my 20’s I felt that I needed a career change and very much wanted to find a nearby college to attend grad school for education. I contacted the priest who had been my senior guidance counselor in highschool to help me with this endeavor. He spent a good deal of time discussing options with me and recommended a college, which I knew very little about at the time(Holy Family). They had just started an Education Graduate program. I commuted there from my home in South Jersey, had a wonderful experience, received my graduate degree and immediately landed a job in an excellent school district. I would not have learned of this possibility had Fr. Hart not shared his time and knowledge with me.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Jackie.
Also “tainted” are all the Sisters, CCD teachers, RCIA teachers, Pastoral Ministers both women and men along with everyone else who life is their Church.
Susan — you and I both grew up with parents who always taught us to revere and honor those in the clergy, especially priests and nuns. Even if we were “the bold and brazen articles” that the nuns used to call us, we were proud to be Catholics. Being a Catholic meant, at least to me, that you were special. There was something special about priests, nuns, and how we used to celebrate the vigils and special church ceremonies at Mass — 40 Hours (which got its start in Philadelphia by St. John Newman); the Miraculous Medal Novena; Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday! All those Catholic rituals bring back happy, warm and spiritual memories. That is the Catholic church I love — smelling the incense; seeing the little First Communion girls kissing the blossoms on the flowers and drop them for the priest to bring the monstrance with the host down the aisle; singing “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us, pray for us.” And don’t forget getting three (3) wishes in a new Catholic Church. Catholicism gives me substance and provides a light in the darkness of the night. We Catholics have to band together, and unabashedly tell the world that yes, there are troubles but there is still much good in the church. Dialogue is needed, but so is action — for the betterment of our lives and of society in general.
Father Mike Murphy,the pastor of St Dorothy’s in Drexel Hill is a great priest. My husband and I moved from that parish about 10 years ago, but brought our children back this past Christmas Eve. My husband went through the RCIA program at St Dot’s and my children were baptized there also. Father Murphy performs a great balancing act of being a representative of the Catholic faith while also having a very realistic and down to earth approach to people. We still miss him!
Monsignor Joseph Marino,the vicar of Chester County, is also a great priest. He is a very busy man but just recently helped me advocate for a child safety policy in the Archdiocese. He was compassionate and helpful.I will always be indebted to him for being a bright light in a dark time.
I indeed hope there are more good priests than evil. However, I am not willing to bet my childs’ lives on that until I see some serious change within the Catholic Church. But frankly I think it’s too late. I’m sure MANY parishioners thought Avery and Brennan were “great priests” too. I thought the priest that married my wife and I 12 years ago was “great” but guess what? He’s on the list too. He is not a man of God if he molested an 8 year old girl, so what right did he have to marry me? I confided this to a friend today and he told me his marriage was tainted too by a rotten priest. It makes me wonder. I wonder about the priest who baptized my kids…or the one that gave my daughter first communion…or the ones that will confirm my son and daughter (if I let them). It makes my skin crawl to think monsters like Avery or Brennan or Lynn would even be in the same room as me or my children. But how can I tell? Really! I have faith that there are good priests, but frankly I can’t tell the difference and the RCC leadership from the top down is responsible for my perception becoming reality. The RCC priesthood is apparently a safe haven for sexual deviants, predators, homosexuals, and really sick individuals. Until the RCC can debunk that perceived reality, they should not wonder why the pews and coffers are empty.
Your one statement sums it all up “I have faith that there are good priests,but frankly I can’t tell the difference and the RCC leadership from the top down is responsible for my perception becoming reality.”
That pretty much says it all and the way that many are feeling.I also have had priests in my life only to find out that they are named in the Grand Jury reports or other suspensions.
The real victims in this horrible mess are the victims of child sexual abuse,that is where our focus and sympthy must be. But it is hard to ignore all of the collateral damage that has occurred.I am not sure the Church even realizes the far reaching effects of this breach of trust.
“When one member of the Body is hurting, all the members are hurting.” (St. Paul), therefore, I challenge the alleged accused priest-pedophile’s brother priests, to step out of the darkness and into the light in support of the victims. So far, Rev. Wintermyer, priest from DC, and the Priest named who works at Veteran’s Hospital, along with Sr. Maureen Turlish,SND, are the only ones who have said/done/written anything to come to the defense of the victims, also members of the “fold.”