A Photo, an Envelope and a Stamp

Please join Kathy Kane and other Catholic parents in a campaign to show Cardinal Rigali the faces of the children he needs to better protect.

by Kathy Kane

Passive Philadelphian is an oxymoron. Yet the words “passivity” and “Philadelphia” have been appearing in articles on the Archdiocesan cover up. Many Catholic writers across the country have asked, “Where is the outrage? Where is the call for accountability?” I have been wondering the same.

Philadelphia is infamous for its citizens’ outspoken, sometimes even crass behavior. City council meetings have erupted into fistfights, snowballs have been thrown at Santa Claus and God help you if you’re a fan for the other team and dare to enter our sports complexes. It’s safe to say the label of “passive” is a new one to describe us.

We need to do our best to keep our children safe and protected. Everyone –  whether devout, on the fence, or a fallen away Catholic – agrees on this. So what do we do? Do we put our trust in the legal authorities, victim advocate groups, the Church itself? Have we as the laity contributed to any type of reform, change or honesty within the Archdiocese?

Jamie Mason, a writer for the National Catholic Reporter, recently wrote of the passivity of the laity within the Church in regard to the clergy abuse scandal. Among the many valid points she makes, one hit me the hardest as a parent. Jamie writes, “So often we lament the lack of integrity in church authorities. But if we continue to remain immobilized by denial, weariness, or complacency, we may leave the next generation asking, where was the integrity of the laity?”

I feel real change within the Archdiocese will only come from the pressure of the legal authorities and the media. Do we sit back and hope that others are doing the best for our children? I cannot let this moment go by thinking I did nothing.

I am going to address an envelope to Cardinal Rigali and include a photo of my two children. I am going to write one simple statement. “There are real children affected by the decisions of the Archdiocese. They are the future of our Church and they deserve respect and safety.”

Will you join me? A photo, an envelope and a stamp. It’s a simple statement, which if joined by others, could make a powerful impression on the officials of the Archdiocese. These are the children they are putting at risk, these are the children they risk losing by their actions. The least I can do for my children is take a few minutes to put an envelope in a mailbox. Will you join me?

OFFICE OF CARDINAL RIGALI, 222 North 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1299

7 thoughts on “A Photo, an Envelope and a Stamp

  1. Great idea,send pictures of the grandchildren too.
    Of course the most important things we can all do is support legislation concerning the statute of limitations and financially support victims assistance groups that provide much needed advocacy.
    I have been told so many times that the only hope for real change and reform will come from the legal authorities and the media putting pressure on Church officials.I agree.
    This picture campaign is just one small way of reminding the Archdiocese that we are no longer going to turn a blind eye to the crisis.

  2. I know I have anger toward the CHURCH. Pray for me if you feel the need. Any time I criticize the Church, there is always someone who wants to pray for me. My response is that we need to pray for any child who was molested by a priest, first.

    In my parish, we had SEVEN priests who have been accused of sexual abuse. My church was Immaculate Conception of Philadelphia PA. I have witnessed the lies to protect the accused.

    I support anyone who is fighting for justice in the Catholic Church. The Grand Jury Report of 2005 almost destroyed my faith in the Church. However, the 2011, has destroyed my faith in the Church. The Church is no longer ethical, honest, innocent, or righteous, in my eyes.

    I will send my photo and stamp to your campaign, however, my children and grandchildren will NOT be in the photo. I can not send a photo of the “kids” in my life to administrators who have protected sexual predators who preyed on children.

    Two of my sons were married by a priest who name is listed in the 2011 Grand Jury Report. I can Photoshop the priest out of the wedding photo’s but how do I Photoshop my memories? Where do I go from here?

  3. This is a wonderful idea. I will gladly send pictures of my little grandchildren. My now grown children and I all attended catholic school, but with the way things stand now, I’d rather my grandchildren did not. I managed to hang on as a Catholic after the revelations of 2002 and 2005, but this latest batch in Feb. 2011 was the last straw. After 64 years of faithfulness to this church, I have stopped attending and will not contribute a cent that would go to the archdiocese. This was a very hurtful decision to make but I felt I could no longer stand by idly and continue to look as though all this didn’t bother me. This has nothing to do with my faith in God – only my faith in this church. It is no longer the true church founded by Jesus Christ. The people who run it are evil and greedy. The safety of our children was thrown to the wolves in order to keep the money flowing and to save the reputation of a flawed institution.

  4. I agree with j. wind that I am uncomfortable with sending photos of my children to those who are either predators or those who protect and promote them. I don’t think its safe. I’ll gladly send my own picture – with a note informing them of my withdrawal of all funds supporting the Church. I am even afraid to support Catholic charitable organizations because the Church can take money from wherever it wants to pay for the lawyers and settlements – nothing, in my opinion, is safe or sacred anymore to the heirarchy of this church. I have been a Catholic my whole life – all through school and college and even grad school – I am working toward a Masters in Theology. I do this because of my faith in God and Jesus Christ, but I have no faith left in this Church. Rigalli should be left alone with the parents of a few molested children for about 5 minutes – then he will be wishing for the millstone around his neck that – hopefully – is to come.

  5. I read the Inquirer article yesterday and was ready to send in a few pictures from my sons baptisms, pictures that include the priest who baptised them, Msgr. Lynn @ St. Joe’s in Downingtown. I had the pictures ready to go, but since both my husband & I are also in these pictures and my older son will be attending school @ St. Joe’s next year, for fear of being recognized and some sort of retaliation against us I stopped. This scandal has shaken me to the core. It has been a difficult decision for us to continue supporting our church, to send our child to school there, continue attending mass, etc. There is still a part of me that hopes the accusations against Msgr. Lynn are false, but I know this is because I have a direct connection to him. Wheter or not he is guilty doesn’t change the fact that these horrible acts have gone on and been covered up for too long. My heart breaks for all children and their families affected by clergy abuse. I pray for all faithful catholics who are dealing with the same struggles I am.

  6. To MK,
    If you are uncomfortable sending the pictures,please do not. Everyone needs to do what is comfortable and I always listen to my inner voice,which is what you need to do.
    I just wanted to address what you said about fear of being recognized or some type of retaliation. It is a conversation that I also had with a friend. I just want to share some personal experiences with you because I too probably would have felt the same as you, a few months ago.
    I have been advocating within the Archdiocese for the past few months for improved child safety policies. I wish I could say it was an easy process but it was not. There were times I almost threw in the towel,it all became too much. There were times I battled with a clergy member.For the first time in my 43 years,I yelled at a priest. There were times I was thrown under the bus by other parents and those who I was in contact with at the Archdiocese.
    At one point when I thought I had stirred the pot just a little too much,I folded like a deck of cards. I told my husband “I think I am going to get into trouble” it was like I was a child again. My husband who is a convert and did not grow up with the shame and guilt that so many of us Catholics carry through life,thought my statement was just crazy. He said “What do you think they can do to you?” I had to stop and think and realize how silly my comment was. Were they going to excommunicate me for advocating for child safety? Really what could they do?
    I emerged from the whole experience a stronger person. I realize that the priest I battled with is just a man,no different from anyone else. He does not hold the key to my salvation,he has no power over me.
    I was able to have a child safety policy passed, because I refused to back down.I had to take religion out of the mix and treat it as any other organization that I would deal with. I would never let anyone else make me feel opressed or threatened,why would I allow that from members of my own Faith?
    The truth is so often as Catholics, we feel a certain amount of dependence or even a little fear of the control of the clergy. It is like we “need” them,when in reality they “need” us. There is no Church without the people.
    So MK,I understand your concerns,I really do. I just hope that you can realize the important role that you play in the Church and not feel threatened by anything you may or may not do on behalf of child safety. I don’t want you to send the envelope,I do want you to feel empowered.

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