The following is an edited compilation of many questions received via site comments, the contact form and my personal email. Thank you for your input.
April 7, 2011
Your Eminence, Cardinal Justin Rigali:
In the spirit of Vatican Council II’s Decree on Ecumenism, I ask you these questions on behalf of Catholics4Change. We are a community centered on the desire to respectfully share our concerns on important Church issues. We do not seek to change doctrine or sacred tradition. The change we seek is the creation of a more meaningful system of communication between the laity and Church leadership. In just a few weeks, the Web site Catholics4Change.com has received over 25,000 views, hundreds of comments and hundreds of subscriptions.
We respectfully request your answers by Thursday, April 15th and will publish your unedited answers on Catholics4Change.com by the 16th.
The Laity & Children
- Will you direct all pastors to hold meetings that will allow parishioners to be heard and to heal?
- Will the Archdiocese announce the names of any removed priests and the nature of the allegations to the entire Archdiocese? Over the course of their ministry, these priests “affected” many parishes, institutions and organizations.
- Since the 2002 United Bishop’s Conference Treaty for the Protection of Children, many Diocese have developed additional customized charters of child protection. Why doesn’t the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? Why do we lack “practical policy” for our children’s activities and events?
- Why is there disclaimer language in our policy that precedes the Standard of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries?
- Will the Archdiocese establish a special collection for victim support groups with all collected money going directly those charities?
- To avoid conflicts of interest, will the Archdiocese fund a victim assistance program independent of the Archdiocese and its lawyers?
- Will you publicly support legislation that suspends for two years the civil statute of limitations on sex abuse claims? Will you also support the abolishment of the statute of limitations for sex offenses against minors?
- Will the Archdiocese use independent providers for the evaluation and treatment of priests accused of sexually abusing minors?
- Do you take responsibility for the lapses in zero tolerance that occurred between the 2005 and 2011 reports?
- What would Jesus do?
Thank you in advance.
Susan Matthews, founder of Catholics4Change.com
St. Mary of the Cross…St. Catherine of Siena…St. Gabriel, pray for us.
10 thoughts on “Letter & Questions for Cardinal Rigali Sent Certified, Express Mail”
I especially like the following points:
THE LAITY AND CHILDREN: #2
THE VICTIMS: #1, #2, #3, #5, #6
Thanks for your good work, Susan.
— Dick Taylor
That is ten to many questions for our leader. He will need to consult with his attorneys before even considering a response that will NEVER come. Doing some quick math based one the fees the three law firms advising he Archdiocese charge, they would spend well over $20K to answer your ten questions with tem open questions. That being said, I would like to suggest that the Archdiocese erect an electronic tote board outside the Basilica showing how much they have spent on attorney fees to date. Of course you realize your ten questions violate the basic OPP (Obey, Pray & Pay) of being a “good” Catholic now. One final note, number six “What would Jesus do” has to be my favorite for obvious reasons.
Keep on pushing!
Did someone mention “legal fees” in this blog? Archdiocesan faithful interested in the unlimited parishioner contributions spent on legal fees in response to the clergy abuse scandal may be interested in contacting the general counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
As a matter of fact, from the below statement taken from the law firm’s website PRIOR to the release of the First Grand Jury Report in September 2005, it appears that the law firm representing the Archdiocese of Philadelphis is quite proud to announce that they have long served as counsel to the archdiocese.
Let us all remember that serving as counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the interests, concerns, and objectives of its leadership is quite different (some may say quite the opposite) as serving as counsel to the faithful of the archdiocese and the needs and concerns of those who make up the Catholic Church.
“Attesting to Stradley Ronon’s strength in this area, we have long served as general counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
Mr. William Sasso
Stradley and Ronon
2600 One Commerce Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way, the Stradley-Ronon statement of its long-term association with the archdiocese was removed from the law firm’s website shortly after the release of the first Grand Jury Report in late 2005. Why would Chairman William Sasso elect to remove such a proud statement from the Internet since his law firm still remains the primary counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?
Back to the legal fees and costs, the faithful may want to find out from the “long-term” counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia exactly how much money has been spent thus far on the clergy abuse scandal (Grand Jury I and Grand Jury II). Contact information is provided above for those faithful who are looking to frustrate themselves even further in this ongoing debacle.
Last question, “What would Jesus do?”…who knows? Jesus usually did the opposite of what the Pharisees did, so why ask a Pharisee?
I doubt that Mr. Rigali will answer. And I think there are a few changes to “sacred” tradition that are needed. The vast majority of priestly vocations that exist amongst the Married men and women of our faith can no longer be ignored in favor of the tiny minority of those who are willing to commit or pretend to commit celibacy. Our church must be bigger than that. We must drag our church out of the dark ages.
All good questions that deserve to be answered. The most important being # 6. What would Jesus do and why aren’t they doing it?
Our pastor had a meeting and although it wasn’t as well attended as it should have been, there were more people than I expected. The hierarchy are kidding themselves if they think that only a minority of the diocese is angry..or silent. People are extremely angry but since the cardinal isn’t making any public appearances to each parish accepting responsibility (probably because that would contradict their defense), parishioners are directing their ire at the parish priests. The cardinal is throwing them all under the bus and hiding behind them instead of publicly accepting responsibility and asking for forgiveness. We all know what Jesus would do. Too bad our “leaders” don’t.
Rigali can not and will not respond for that would mean accepting their role in this cover up . As a survivor i would rather that attention be spent on the state reps. if we can get them to change the law it wont matter what he says or does, justice will be served.
I think some of the people that have claimed that they were abused….weren’t they see dollar signs in front of their eyes. I hate to say that…..but i really think it’s true.
Many folks are thinking this. Even the U.S. Bishops Conference has admitted that false accusations are very, very rare. In the vicinity of 1 percent. It’s up to the justice system to weigh the evidence and come to conclusions. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty – but everyone also deserves their day in court. Would you rather risk the slim chance of a false accusation or a sex abuser left to have his way with many children? If you haven’t, please read the Grand Jury Reports available on the Resources page of this site.