Pastor Asks Us to Defer Our Support


I received this email today. I had left a message on Msgr. Conway’s voice mail in regard to our support.

“I am a MMR parishioner.  At a meeting last evening with Msgr. Conway and the Parish committee that has been formed to further address the sexual abuse issues in the Archdiocese, we were made aware of Catholics4Change’s plans for this Sunday.  I have been asked by Msgr. Conway to communicate his request that these efforts be deferred.

To begin, of course everyone is always welcome to celebrate Mass at MMR.  But, for a number of reasons, we are concerned that the planned efforts of Catholics4Change (handing out support ribbons and leaflets) this week could be disruptive and counterproductive.  In fact, Msgr. Conway is not the celebrant at the 10:45a.m. Mass and the May procession of the First Communicant children is set for the next Mass.  There are simple logistical issues related to parking that need to be considered.  

Certainly, “Msgr. Conway is grateful for all of the support he has received, but, again, his focus —and all of those working on the issue— is to ensure that the problems are addressed properly. In furtherance of that goal, after Msgr. Conway’s evening meeting with the parishioners several weeks ago, a parish committee was formed that is in the process of finalizing a number of concepts to address the issues.  There will likely be an announcement in the MMR Parish Bulletin very soon respecting the Committee and its mission and follow up meeting for the benefit of the Parish to provide answers to questions raised at the first meeting and thereafter.  Msgr. Conway fully supports the Committee and its mission and among other things, we are happy to discuss our efforts with anyone from Catholics4Change.  

Msgr. Conway requested that everyone hold any further action until the Parish Committee moves ahead with its plans and involves everyone at the Parish level.  He has repeatedly said the issue is not about him but rather, the greater issues of protecting children, instilling and restoring confidence in all the priests and the protection of the Church of Jesus Christ.  

I’m sure that everyone will respect Monsignor’s wishes.

– Paul A. Logan, Esquire”

While Catholics4Change thinks far too much has been “deferred” since the 2005 report, we don’t want our support to get in the way of parish healing. We were aware of the May Procession. That is why our attendance was planned for the 10:45 Mass. There was no plan to distribute leaflets – just stickers that read, “Keep Kids Safe.”

Msgr. Conway is right. This issue is not about him. It is about “the greater issues of protecting children, instilling and restoring confidence in all the priests and the protection of the Church of Jesus Christ.” It is about the laity needing brave priests who are willing to put ministry above legalities and misguided leadership. We hope we can support one soon.

What do you think?

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81 Responses to “Pastor Asks Us to Defer Our Support”

  1. Well stated. Sadly, the laity are pushing hard to get our voices heard under very difficult circumstances. We truly need our priests to stand apart from the status quo of church politics and join your fellow Catholics. How else can we make a difference?

  2. It’s no coincidence to me that a lawyer sent you this letter. Why is everyone so afraid of standing up for what’s right. I realize parents with kids in the procession could be concerned of the disruption – so plan the C4C support for another time. But they won’t. Cowards just like everyone else. What is it going to take? One of THEIR kids being sexually molested maybe???

    • The procession is planned for after the 12:30 Mass. We were planning to attend the 10:45.

    • Paul Logan may be a lawyer by profession but he has been a valuable asset to MMR and serves the parish in many capacities. One of the way he serves is as a member of the parish council and to suggest that it is a coincidence that a lawyer sent the letter is a false assumption and insulting to him as well. It appears to me that MMR is addressing the issue and will be moving forward with their response. That doesn’t sound cowardly to me. It may not be what you want them to do but MMR had a priest who was named in the first grand jury report and nearly had a pastor who was named in the second, so the parish is most certainly going to be doing everything to protect their kids.

  3. Alas, I am sorry to hear this news. It is very sad that Msgr. Conway cannot call an emergency meeting of his parish committee. However, we will be waiting for that committee to present its findings and hope that all will be willing to support their pastor and deal with the hierarcy in an atmosphere of problem solving and colleagialtiy.

  4. It might have been nice for the Monsignor to contact you directly. That said, I understand the position he is taking in light of MMR’s own efforts and wanting to keep the focus on the children’s celebration at the later Mass.

    It is encouraging that a parish committee has been formed with the pastor’s support to address the sexual abuse issues in the Archdiocese. Personally, I would like to see open meetings and committees at each parish – with pastor support. I wonder how MMR’s process might be shared with other parishes who would like to establish a similar response. Would Monsignor Conway be willing to call on other pastors to do the same? What are his views on how C4C can recognize those who are willing to speak out and those who are willing to engage their parishioners?

  5. Is Paul A. Logan, Esquire, an employee of the archdiocese? If not, what if any connection does he have to Cardinal Rigali?

  6. Someone from the Archdiocese “got to him”. It is a far cry from when this all started. He has been silenced!

  7. This article made my heart sink to my feet. I can not believe the parish would not want the pastor to be supported. I am at a complete loss for words. I do not buy a word of that letter. He does not want our support, the diocese does not want our support, they want us to go away. The only way anything is gonna change is if the legislator hold their feet to the fire. I would love the ads that were discussed to be targeted at the 2 individuals in Harrisburg who block the proposed law changes from having the hearing they deserve. I was gonna go to church for the first time in nearly 20 yrs and I have been told to stay home.

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if a priest offered to have a Mass where Catholics4Change could come together?

    • Dave, normally I would say the people are getting the type of Church that they deserve to get. They are getting the treatment they deserve to get. However, I have to believe that there is more going on here that we know, and I’m trying to think of any underlying causes, and offer one possibility.

      “People suffering from Stockholm syndrome come to identify with and even care for their captors in a desperate, usually unconscious act of self-preservation.”

      “Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome have also been identified in the slave/master relationship, in battered-spouse cases and in members of destructive cults” (Discovery Health.)

      Remember as Catholics many of us have been deeply indoctrinated from childhood. We see the Church as our master.

      We identify with and even care for captors (evil clerics) in a desperate, usually unconscious act of self-preservation.

      We don’t want to go to Hell, and there’s no salvation outside the Church (many believe that!). Therefore, when the master (Church) commands, we “step in fetch it.”

      Does anyone else have any thoughts on how this may have come about?

      Read more: http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/mental-disorders/stockholm-syndrome.htm

      • drwho13,I am so happy you brought up the defination of stockholm syndrome.As you know I am a survivor of 3 priests that raped me starting at age 14 one such priest abused me for 25 years! My therapist spoke to me about the stockholm syndrome and how I actually believed that I loved this priest and that he loved me. Back in the 60’s the priest could do no wrong so I was told it was my fault that I brought it on myself, if only I wasn’t so attractive the priest said.So you are on target. When people talk about the fact that the priest “sinned” and should be forgiven they forget that what the priest did was criminal and amends need to be made not only to society but to the victim {which by the way I never received from any of the priests} why you might ask? They actually believe that they have been forgiven by God and that is all it takes. I don’t believe for a moment that God’s justice comes with NO accountability on the part of the rapist of children.

  8. I think all the priests, suspicious or innocent, are afraid of the hierarchy. they would never admit it but they are terrified of repercusion. they should be ashamed. God is watching and listening.

  9. While it would be nice to have a pastor get on board with a group from C4C…he doesn’t necessarily know how it would go.
    Would it be universally well received, or would it cause problems?
    Would his “affiliation” with C4C (which would be presumed if he let everyone come) work against him while going forward with his own?
    We don’t know what he was thinking…I don’t know that we should go after him for asking everyone not to stand outside his mass handing out ribbons.
    Maybe he was not happy that it was announce before he gave the go-ahead (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way! 😉
    On the other hand…
    He should have responded himself, I thought that was kind of rude and the atty that wrote the email didn’t need to sign his name “esquire” if he didn’t want people to wonder why an attorney was writing this note.

  10. The most important words in this letter are “of course everyone is always welcome to celebrate Mass at MMR.”

  11. When I first saw the comment from the parishoner…..I was thinking in the back of my mind was the pastor aware of what we were trying to accompllish……It’s all about politics and no body trusts anybody…..its ashame. I guess we learn from this …we need to plan alittle better and take everything in account.

  12. Tough love, here…

    You’re like a scared bunch of school children. They tell Monsignor to be quiet (in case you didn’t figure that out) and he is telling you the same thing. Sorry – a lawyer is telling you that. Just like Jesus would do, having been flanked by his team of attorneys as he was hanging on the cross.

    God chose you to start the cleanup of his church, which is now an embarrassment of child rape, lying, and ignoring victimized children. You have the proof in a public grand jury report. If they had that in Boston, I’d be handing it out to everyone who would listen.

    So now I’m giving you an assignment. Read the story of Father Cudemo, who some of you know. Its in the grand jury report, which you can conveniently read at http://www.philadelphiadistrictattorney.com/images/Grand_Jury_Report.pdf

    On page 147, read about how he stood over a 10 year old girl, named “Ruth” and ejaculated in her mouth. Are you mad that I said it? Aren’t you mad that he DID it??

    Page 19 – two years later, when she was 12, he got her pregnant and took her for an abortion. After each event, he heard her confession, so he let her confess her sin. He abused her until she was 17.

    Page 147 – She attempted suicide multiple times. She has seizures. She spoke up. You won’t.

    You go out and fight for her. You go out and protest and scream like it was a Phillies game.

    Page 25 – he was transferred 3 times due to what were recorded in Archdiocese files as “particular friendships” with girls. That’s what they call it when a priest “finishes” in a girl’s mouth, gets her pregnant, and takes her for an abortion before she’s 13.

    He had 16 other victims that they know of. They have mental illness, too, even though they may lead partially functional lives. I guarantee that they never go through a day without thinking about he gory details. It is so painful to them to know you don’t care.

    Fellow priests observed it (page 38). Page 35 talks about how hard people fought to get rid of him, and the Cardinal Bevacqua let him back then the lawsuit was dropped due to the statute of limitations running out. Page 130 – January 1997, after the victims withdrew their lawsuit, Monsignor William Lynn, presented Fr. Cudemo with a certificate declaring him “a retired priest in good standing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia”. Read Page 130 to find out it got worse, and he was working as a priest in Orlando in 2003.

    Go out and DEMAND the truth – don’t ask for it. Go out and DEMAND justice, even if they outlasted the statute of limitations. DEMAND their resignations.

    God is giving Philadelphia a chance to speak. Go out and protest for Ruth. Go out and show others how Christians fight to do what’s right.

    Or do what this diocese tells you to do, and then go explain that to God someday.

    • Patrick, I’m with you; these are monsters and mobsters we’re dealing with. Go for the jugular or go home. The Diocese of Philadelphia has been stunned by the grand jury report, and if we can’t get a KO now it will be back to business as usual.

      These are not the caring shepherds we were brainwashed into believing that they were. They are the enemy. Stop them now, or be ruled by them forever. This is spiritual and legal warfare we’re involved with.

      Remember the first causality of war is the TRUTH! “There are no credibly accused priests currently in active ministry” (Rigali, Feb. 2011.)

      As Patrick points out, when we lose focus refer to the grand jury report. That will serve as our field manual as we wage this war.

  13. Sadly, this is where any protest within the church- meets the road. Ponder your decision re: this Sunday’s protest if you must, but also ponder why you are doing what you do- the big picture. You will not be liked or welcomed by many within the church as you are seeking to change the status quo. As a victim of clergy abuse myself I have often wondered where all the courageous, caring Catholics were. All of you who are part of this movement bring hope to my heart. I am delighted to see and hear those who will stand for what is truly God’s work on this earth- protecting children, bringing the truth about subterranean evil to light. March on, respectfully, but march on- for all the victims whose lives were shattered and for all the children. March on.

    • Marie, my heart goes out to you for what happened to you and for the reaction of the congregation. As Christians, they should have welcomed you back and helped you. They failed miserably, and will answer for that for eternity.

      I have spoken with victims, and I want to commend you on your courage. I know that you deal with the problem everyday. You are so strong just to have survived.

      I am working hard to convince people that you have to pick a side, and there are only 2 sides. You are either on the side of child rape and lying, or you are against it. The church is clearly, obviously on that side, and a handful of us in the congregation are so violently opposed, and can’t figure out why the sheep in the congregation won’t do anything.

      Someday, everyone will look back and ask how someone could be on the side of child rape, of lying, and of today’s Catholic church. I’m trying to get us there as fast as we can.

  14. Is Pastor Conway’s “mad as hell” attitude waning? It would appear so.

    Perhaps the accolades for Conway as a “pastor who practices what he preaches” were somewhat premature? The verdict is still out on that.

    Has anyone at Catholics4Change actually heard directly from Conway since his recent meeting (aka – Trip to the Woodshed) with Bishop Senior?

    And btw, if anyone has the idea that a communication from a parishioner who is a lawyer is a happy coincidence, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that you might be interested in buying.

    This is too important an issue for C4C to back down now and you don’t need the permission of Pastor Conway, the parish council or the archdiocese to peacefully assemble.

    Canon Law supports the rights of individual Catholics to organize as Catholics4Change has done.

    This letter, this communication from Paul A. Logan, Esquire is pure PR spin and legal jargon wrapped very nicely but with the sole intention of taking the wind out of the sails of C4C.

    It is the kind of communication that lawyers, bishops and dioceses have very successfully engaged in for decades in covering up for sexually abusive priests and bishops while victims of childhood sexual abuse have been left twisting in the wind.

    For the love of God, read Section III, the Overview of the Cover-Up by Archdiocese Officials, pps. 29-58 in the Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, released in 2005.

    If C4C backs down now the archdiocesan powers that be will have succeeded. Do you want that to happen?

    Conway is right about one thing, “this issue is not about him,” but he made himself part of it by his inclusion in the Grand Jury Report and he made himself part of it by his denial of any knowledge having to do with the transferring of sexual predators even though his archdiocesan position and responibilities would suggest otherwise.

    Was he incompetent? Was he naive? Was he truly led astray by his superiors? If he goes silent now, the measure of the man, sadly, will be obvious.

    I agree with Patrick:

    “God is giving Philadelphia a chance to speak. Go out and protest for Ruth. God out and show others how Christians fight to do what’s right.”

    I agree with drwho13:

    “Remember the first causality of war is the TRUTH! ‘There are no credibly accused priests currently in active ministry’ (Rigali, Feb. 2011.)'”

    Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua said the same thing on April 26th, 2002 to reporters in Philadelphia and was quoted on CNN that evening.

    Bevilacqua said,

    “We all are agreed that no priest guilty of even one act of sexual abuse of a minor will function in any ecclesial ministry or any capacity in our diocese.”

    We are all aware that Bevilacqua did not speak the Truth in 2002 or 2005 and the Truth is not being spoken today.

    “PHILADELPHIA: WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?”

    http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/philadelphia-where-outrage

    “THE CRISIS OF CREDIBILITY IN PHILADELPHIA,” October 28, 2005

    http://www.natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2005d/102805/102805x.htm

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Victims’ Advocate
    maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

  15. In response to the post by Patrick O’Malley, you are correct about me. I am afraid, like a school child who is afraid of Mother Superior. However, after reading Susan’s interview in the Philly Inquirer a few weeks back, I knew I could no longer live with my inaction. As I headed to the rally on April 1st (also the ‘first’ for me), I felt my heart pounding in my chest at a rapid rate. And I prayed and thanked God for having given me the courage to face my fear.

    Moved by your (Patrick’s) previous comment about “50 people with protest signs in front of Rigali’s church”, but unable to return to the “palace on the parkway” with my sign for any of the Easter services, I decided that I would go on Monday, April 25th at 12 noon to the basilica. Inside, Justin Rigali would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. I expected that this mass would be well attended and I reasoned that I could do my part to keep this issue alive in the eyes of any who attended this event. Positioning my protest sign on the west side of 18th Street, directly accross from the main entrance to the cathedral, I enjoyed the warmth of the noontime sun as I kept vigil from 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM. And I was surprised by what I didn’t see. I DIDN’T see flocks of admirers and well-wishers flowing into the doors of the cathedral. What I saw was less than three dozen people enter and leave the church throughout this time period. I did not enter the cathedral, thus I have no way of knowing how many people may have entered the church from a side entrance. Later I asked a priest friend who informed me that many priests had elected NOT to attend as a sign of protest.

    We all have to face our fears in whatever way we can. And we all have to serve God in whatever way we are capable of. I do not know what the ‘final’ scene of the play which is my life will look like, but ‘scene II’ (Monday) felt spiritually refreshing. Susan and Patick, thanks for your encouragement.

    • Buddy,
      Thank you for your courage!!I am a sexual abuse survivor and I want you to know I respect and admire what you did and believe me it did not go unnoticed in the eyes of God. It feels wonderful that FINALLY people are beginning to get about the catholic church what I have known for years where their real concerns are. I have been before Msgr. Lynn on many occasions and Bishop Senior and Ragali all of them and was tossed away by their lies. So thank you from a survivor!

    • Buddy,

      Glad to see your involvement.

      Here is another problem. Most people aren’t going to have the energy to fight the church. They just stop going, which explains the small turnout at the mass. People read the Grand Jury report, or hear about it second hand, and just give up on the church or maybe on religion in general.

      Of course, their children and future generations will never jump into the extra rules of the Catholic religion. At least in Europe, people honest enough that they are leaving in droves http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/12/germans-leaving-catholic-church_n_847715.html

      This doesn’t even include Belgium, where a bishop had sex with two of his nephews (starting at age 5 in one case), and said it was “a game”. At least he was honest enough to show what priests think about child sex (let alone family sex).

      By the way, the Vatican STILL hasn’t decided how (to punish him.

      The loss of practicing Catholics is another side effect of what Cardinal Rigali and others have caused, and what the congregation’s apathy has promoted.

      Do you think God is going to blame everyone for that? I do.

      You can answer to Rigali, or answer to God. Most answer to Rigali, and I bet he won’t even be in heaven when you get to the Pearly Gates. God will make him spend a few thousand years living the lives of the raped children.

  16. To All the “commenter’s” to the email: Even as a 78 year-old man who left the Church about 30 years ago, after being a member for 50 years, my jaws are hanging slack and tears are welling up in my eyes reading your comments. I would post these comments on FB or my website were it not for the unspeakable descriptions in the Grand Jury Report quoted here. I cannot bring myself to do that, though I believe people need to know the truth. What I primarily want to say to you is that the Church has no power to send any of you to hell. There is reconciliation, healing, and forgiveness — leading to eternal life for you, your priests/bishops, and — especially the victims of abuse in the gospel of the grace of God contained in the Word of God, and not outside that Word [Bible.] Contrary to Catholic Church indoctrination, anyone who believes that the Lord Jesus Christ died for their sins and is risen from the dead is assured of eternal life. (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Eph. 1, Eph. 3, Rom. 16:25 — and on and on!

  17. Good to hear your voice, Buddy. Your words below struck me –

    “Later I asked a priest friend who informed me that many priests had elected NOT to attend as a sign of protest.”

    I wonder how many elected NOT to attend the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday?

    One prays that these priests can take the next step and join with other members of the People of God and protest PUBLICLY.

    If not before, First Friday, May 6th from 12 noon to 1 o’clock in front of the archdiocesan offices at 222 North 17th Sts. would be their “golden” opportunity.

    Sister Maureen

  18. St. Ambrose: “We shall be called to account not only for every idle word, but also for every idle silence.”

    Thank you for keeping it real, Patrick O’Malley and Maureen Turlish. I am with you!

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, Philly pew-sitters, enough with the sitting, let’s get organized and moving and create a “Catholic Cairo” – what more evidence do we need that we are continually being stonewalled, and treated as children. We are intelligent, adult catholics. It is ACTION that is now needed.

  19. One obstacle for some priests may be what was identified in a Finding of the 1st of the 3 Grand Jury reports (p.8):

    “Finding 10. Many non-offender priests have remained silent in the face of clear evidence that a brother priest is sexually molesting a minor, and in some cases have actually covered up the abuse. The Archbishop and his appointed administrative managers foster this silence in order to avoid scandal in the Church and do not encourage priests to report suspected abusers.”

    These “non-offenders”, unknown in numbers, may find themselves in complicated positions as public reactions heat up.
    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2003_09_25_First_Philadelphia_Grand_Jury_Report.pdf

  20. drwho13,

    I so wish I was there with you. Two angry people could teach the world a lot about what is right, and Philadelphia is the place to start, since the proof is so clear, and since other cities would eventually follow.

    This gives you more respect for what Jesus did in His time, with few followers. He must be so sad about how little the Philadelphia Catholic congregation understood his true message.

  21. “Msgr. Conway is grateful for all of the support he has received, but, again, his focus —and all of those working on the issue— is to ensure that the problems are addressed properly. In furtherance of that goal, after Msgr. Conway’s evening meeting with the parishioners several weeks ago, a parish committee was formed that is in the process of finalizing a number of concepts to address the issues.”

    I’m curious about the statement, “to ensure that the problems are addressed properly.” I can count at least two or three parish-based groups in different churches that have formed to address this issue in a more formal way. C4C is a on-line community seeking to effect change as well, and is for many the only place to turn to for any dialogue about it. I get the sense that many of us whose home parishes have remained silent are seeking a place to gather with others who are forming a voice.

    Perhaps C4C can invite those at MMR, St. Joe’s, Old St. Joe’s, the Catholic Accountability Project and any other groups that may be meeting to share their experiences, formats, and agendas, and if they are open to people from other parishes to come for prayer, dialogue and action. Maybe links can be posted on the resource page?

    • Laura, That’s exactly the type of exchange I’d like to see happen here. C4C is meant to be a forum for the exchange of thoughts, information and a source of empowerment. We hope to inspire individuals to get involved with the many advocacy groups that already exist or to start their own efforts. I invited Mr. Logan to share information about their committee at MMR – how it formed, minutes, goals, etc. He said he would when they are more organized. I invite all groups to share their ideas, meeting times and events.

      • C4C is doing good things… thank you for the work you and Kathy and others are doing to keep us informed and providing the connections we are seeking.

  22. Same old story. A brave soul cries out for justice and is quickly silenced. Because the “good ” priests do nothing, the evil continues. Fear God, forget about Rome

  23. “I invited Mr. Logan to share information about their committee at MMR – how it formed, minutes, goals, etc. He said he would when they are more organized. I invite all groups to share their ideas, meeting times and events.”

    I don’t think your questions were all that difficult Susan. Sounds like more double-speak to me.

    “when they are more organized?”

    What kind of an answer it that?

    When was this committee formed? Last week?

    The people of the archdiocese have been slogging through this filth and listening to the lies since at least 2005, many of us for much longer.

    Sister Maureen

  24. Through fear and imtimidation….that is how they operate. I am not surprised only disappointed (once again). That is why C4C is sorely needed. If they can bring about change in Egypt and Libyia….then we can and must do it in Philadelphia. I am not afraid…I do not fear them. I will continue to participate in your group and look forward to the day when NOT speaking out is considered a sin by my Church.

  25. Just to let you know, I e-mailed Mr. Logan, attorney who authored/sent letter from MMR.

    Mr. Logan:

    I just wanted to reach out and send a note of support for you and the members of your parish community in North Wales.

    My wife and I have been married for 36 years with 4 children and our faith is so very important to us and to all of our children. What has transpired since the release of the first Grand Jury Report in Sept. 2005 is just more of the same evil, criminality and hypocrisy that was portrayed in that first report. This newest GJR shows just how manipulative and hateful our archdiocesan leaders were when it came to the victims’ assistance program and fooling victims into believing that the archdiocese really cared for them.

    This is just a portion of the document I sent to Mr. Logan at his e-mail address (located on the web).

    I have not received a response as yet from Mr. Logan…..I will share it if one is received.

    • I have patiently waited to reply; the comments have ranged from suggested my representation of the Archdiocese to being a co-conspirator in league with those intent on silencing those who criticize the Archdiocese. I am frankly disappointed that Ms. Matthews did not fully recount our long telephone conversation or the invitation to her to meet the MMR committee formed in response to the reported sexual abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since the Archdiocese can no longer be trusted with this duty.
      So everyone is clear, the MMR committee’s mission is to change the status quo and develop a way to protect the children of our Parish and the children of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But we refuse to act without knowledge.
      Instead of making uninformed accusations or plan, we have researched the documented lack of action by the Archdiocese. How many people know of or have read the 2001 Grand Jury report? Or the Archdiocese’s reply to the draft 2005 Grand Jury Report before it was published? Or the DA’s sur-reply?
      Has anyone studied Cannon Law to determine what can be expected from the Archdiocese or the USCCB’s directives? Has anyone read the decisions of the Superior Courts of Pennsylvania in the civil lawsuits and considered what impacts these decisions have on the likelihood of cooperation from the Archdiocese?
      Our Committee is not sanguine with making uninformed accusations or exhibiting undirected rancor. We are focused on the education of parents to recognize the symptoms of abuse and how to ensure that we have maximized the likelihood of success. Sadly, that is not the reaction of many who appear to be satisfied to criticize rather then find a pathway to change.
      It is truly unfortunate that Catholics4Change did not contact MMR first. Perhaps had that occurred, there would be a concerted effort to achieve what our committee will demand: change and accountability. And they would have understood that Msgr. Conway is concerned that the focus be on finding solutions to the issues, not on him. His letter was courageous and bold; the MMR committee intents to follow that example.
      But we are also well aware that there is an acute necessity to come to the assistance of the priests of the Archdiocese who have been “thrown under the bus.” They are all under suspicion not because of who they are and what they do but instead because the Archdiocese has abdicated the role of Sheppard.
      With the innuendos and false light suggestions about me contained in the many comments I read, I am getting a small taste of what the priests are experiencing. We welcome everyone’s support and input and ask for your joining in the daily prayer to Michael the Archangel.

      • Paul, Thank you for responding. I do want to point out that I wrote in several comments that MMR would be sharing their committee plans once they were further formulated. Since I was not yet invited to a meeting on a specific date/time there wasn’t more to say on that yet. Since when does one contact a Church to let then know they’ll be attending Mass? That was all we planned to do. I did give a courtesy call to Msgr. Conway to let him know there wouldn’t any hoopla. I’m very disappointed I didn’t get a call back from him directly.

        Also, you question the education of site readers on this issue. Some who comment on this site have been advocates for many years. Their efforts are highly informed – not just on Philadelphia but in regard to the global Church. They’re all also those who are new to the cause. It’s important to share the information you mentioned – in a spirit of generosity and hope.

        This site contains a variety of viewpoints. I’m glad you added yours to the mix. That’s how we will find a solution.

      • Paul Logan,

        I have no fear of you, Rigali, or anyone else on your side of the fence. Come to Boston, and I’ll give you a speech in the Boston Common that will make you cry.

        If the Philadephia church were a business, like a Chucky Cheese, and they raped children and hid it, and the management team lied about it, and they ignored the victims, no one would ever go there. They’d burn the place to the ground. The management team would never work again.

        If they said “everything is safe, no suspected rapists here” like Rigali did in February, and then they came out a couple of days later and said, “oops, now that the Grand Jury report is out, and I got caught lying again, I’ll suspend them”, citizens would be rallying in front of Chucky Cheese every day, making sure the management team felt a lifetime of public humiliation. They’d invent laws to put them in prison.

        I’m trying to elevate the standards of the Catholic church to that of a Chucky Cheese, but I can’t seem to do it. If you aren’t trying to get rid of every bishop and priest that was complicit, emphatically starting with Rigali and Bevilaqua, then you are helping to keep those standards down.

        You also better hope God’s standards are below Chucky Cheese’s standards.

        In the meantime, the public hopefully knows that children were raped at Catholic churches, and the management team lied about it, kept children in danger, and ignored the victims. They are better off taking them to Chucky Cheese on Sundays.

  26. Paul,
    I have recently connected with a group of very informed, local Catholics who are interested in forming groups on a parish level.A few parish groups have already formed and there have been inquiries from a number of parishes. We want to make sure that we are all on the same page and working towards the same goals. The recommendations of the grand jury report are the focus of the efforts.
    You bring up a good point about Canon Law.I know for most, including myself,Canon Law remains somewhat of a mystery. I know that it seems that Mary Achilles had referred to Canon Law in the most recent grand jury report, as somewhat complicating her efforts. Would you be available at some point to meet with the group to discuss your knowledge of Canon Law?I think it could be beneficial,so that we all have a better understanding.
    Recently, I was able to have a child safety policy enacted within the Archdiocese. In working on this issue I also ran into the confusion about some aspects of Canon Law. An employee from the Office of Child and Youth Protection told me that Canon Law prohibits them from offering unsolicited advice to clergy members,even when those issues involve child safety! After a few phone calls and some quick research I was able to find that this is completely untrue. It seems that Canon Law can also be confusing to Archdiocesan employees.
    The group I have met with is made up of extremely informed, professional people.I have my MSW from The University of Pennsylvania in Social Policy and have done my own research over the past 7 months into the deficiencies in Phila. Archdiocesan child safety policies compared to other U.S Diocese.
    Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.If we all put our research and knowledge together,maybe we have a chance of meeting our goals. You can either respond on site or Susan can give you my email address.

    I hope Msgr. Conway is doing well. My grandmother’s maiden name is Conway and I was hoping to meet Monsignor. I figured with the last name in common and the boldness to speak out,we must have some common ancestory! Thanks,Kathy

    • I find it hard to believe the communication from Mr. Logan shown here is authentic. It contains several errors or typos I wouldn’t expect from a lawyer. [Cannon law?] Really!

      • Gerald, I wanted to be sure that Mr. Logan was really speaking on behalf of Msgr. Conway so I checked with other parishioners. He has been a long-standing member of MMR and very involved with parish activities. I looked up his firm’s Web site and spoke with him over the phone. He is also a Deacon.

  27. Paul Logan:

    In the spirit of research needed to provide facts, information to make informed decisions and judgments, the following is offered:

    The Church comes into existence through the communion of bishops in their dioceses
    with the Bishop of Rome. Under the Church’s law, parishes are considered portions of dioceses. Although the parishes themselves are public juridic persons and they are noncollegial aggregates of persons, the parishioners in the aggregate do not have collective rights

    http://www.stradley.com/library/files/mec-parish_constitutional_paper.pdf

    This is an excerpt of a presentation delivered by Mark Chopko, long-term general counsel to the USCCB and current chair of the Nonprofit and Religious Group at Stradley and Ronon.

    Paul, do you really think archdiocesan management, lay and religious, as well as their legal counsel, will allow Philadelphia parishioners any meaningful input and involvement in the child protection policies of the archdiocese? Paul, we have no COLLECTIVE RIGHTS !

    For further clarification, give your fellow professional a call down there in his Washington, DC office; I sure have.

    Tel #202-419-8410
    mchopko@stradley.com

    • Michael, “…we have no COLLECTIVE RIGHTS!” That says it all, thanks you.

      How could a reasonable Philadelphia parishioner place their faith in anything coming out of the office of the archdiocese?

  28. “Has anyone read the decisions of the Superior Courts of Pennsylvania in the civil lawsuits and considered what impacts these decisions have on the likelihood of cooperation from the Archdiocese?”

    How likely would these “court decisions” impact favorably on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, its management and leadership? Not too likely,

    How likely would the current legislative proposals to eliminate the civil and criminal statutes of limitations and allow for a “civil window” for legal action impact favorably on the archdiocesan management and leadership? Not too likely.

    I’m sorry and sad to say, that when it comes to clergy sexual abuse and the protection of the children of the Catholic Church of Philadelphia, “archdiocesan cooperation “ is indeed an oxymoron.

  29. Right on point, and thanks again!

    Please keep writing; it’s good to hear the voice of reason.

  30. LOGAN IS NOT THE SPOKESMAN FOR OUR CHURCH–LOGAN SPEAKS FOR NO ONE BUT THE COWARDS WHO WANT TO DEFER THE TRUTH–CONWAY YOU SHOULD MAM UP–THEY GOT TO YOU AND YOU FOLDED–WE WERE DUPED NOT YOU

  31. Joe: I understand your feelings and ire. Regrettably, it is misdirected and groundless.
    To begin, I do not purport to speak for anyone except myself. I was asked to communicate a request on behalf of the MMR Committee that the actions that were planned for last Sunday by Catholics4Change — without MMR’s or Msgr. Conway’s’ prior input — be deferred to a later date. Concurrent with that request was the invitation to Catholics4Change to join with our MMR parish efforts.
    No one “got” to anyone and your vituperations are exactly the provocative emotional accusations that deter committed people from engaging in addressing the real issues. Your statements about me will not deter my efforts, and frankly, I am not looking for your approval. But please recognize that attitudes like yours cause many who had taken bold steps to address unpopular issues to reconsider because they fear unjustified excoriations by those like you who do not even know them but feel compelled to make accusations.

  32. paul,i also am not looking for your approvalbut if you were asked to communicate something for the”committee”then you are speaking for someone other then yourself.but its not about me and you its about the victims.i make no claims as to conways guilt or innocence but he should speak for himself–as far as my attitude,it comes from reading of so much wrong being done and those in power ignoring it.im also looking for statements you deem as derogatory to yourself–fact is, you and others are worrying about who has to ask to go to mass and when and quite frankly putting you legal title next to your name–well you knew it would complicate things even more–so lets just get an honest answer from conway and senior.

  33. Patrick O’Malley,

    I love your analogy. “If the Philadelphia church were a business, like a Chucky Cheese, and they raped children and hid it, and the management team lied about it, and they ignored the victims, no one would ever go there. They’d burn the place to the ground.”

    It made me recall a posting I read (can’t recall where.) Someone said that they will not set foot in a Archdiocese of Philadelphia church until Rigali is either dead, or gets fired. Part of the reason was because Rigali said that “good Catholics” should not read the Grand Jury report because it was pornographic. IS THIS TRUE?

    Back to your analogy, that would be like the manager of Chucky Cheese standing in front of the place saying that “loyal customers” should not read the newspaper because it reported that the pizza wasn’t good, truly laughable!

  34. Vituperations? Excoriations?
    And I thought we were making progress here!

    Paul…..what happened as a result of the meeting with Msgr. Conway and Bishop Senior? Any details available to be shared with interested blog members?

    Oops, just remembered. According to Archdiocesan counsel at Stradley and Ronon, parishioners have no collective rights. I guess we will not learn of what happened at the meeting since we are not entitled to the information.

    Paul, by the way, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for your to respond directly to one of my e-mails. I’ll ensure no further vituperations.

    • Michael, I’m not sure if Paul will respond. But I wanted to share that he told me in a phone conversation that there was no meeting and that there was no backlash from the Archdiocese in regard to the letter. My source said otherwise, but who knows?

      • Susan, I do not know who your “source” is, but can confirm that there has been no meeting between Msgr. Conway and Bishop Senior, that there have been no “negative” repercussions visited on Msgr. Conway due to his letter and there has been no effort from the Archdiocese to deter any efforts by Msgr. Conway or MMR. Your comment was ambiguous, but the reply to all statements and suggestions is that your souce was wrong on every level.
        Prospectively, I will likley not offer many, if any comments. But for the good of all, I challenge you and every other commentator to learn the facts before comments are offered and conclusions advocated. (By the way, I am not a Deacon; so much for that accurate source).

        • Paul, I didn’t say my source was right. I just stated what I had heard from you and another person. I wanted to share what you had told me. I did not write or even infer that I didn’t believe you.

        • Paul, I apologize for writing that you are a deacon. That was my mistake and didn’t come from any source. I thought you had mentioned it in our phone conversation. I will be the first to correct mistakes here. As for sources, I have a few. I’ve heard many rumors that will never see the light of day on this site.

      • Susan,for a gentleman who keeps saying he speaks for no one but himself Paul seems to know much more than the rest of the parish.If you have so much inside information Paul please feel free to share it with us and set us straight.Quite frankly how do you know what you claim to know?You prove with each and every one of your answers that you seem to be the voice of Conway and Senior–and if true did something happen to their voices,at this point I challenge you,since we are so ignorant of the facts–victims and accused–enlighten us,who is your source.As far as false accusations you are doing a fine job of that every reply,questioning peoples motive and accusations of being a dividing voice in the church and parish–we just want the truth for a change

  35. Rigali lied when he said that there were no credibly accused priests currently serving in active ministry.

    Once a statement such as that is made, the veracity of any following statements (even if true) are always suspect.

    That’s why it’s so hard to defend an innocent priest. The Church has lied so many times; in so many places (worldwide), that the only “infallible decree” that She can truthfully make is, “The Roman Catholic Church will lie to you.”

    Mixing truth with lies is a great way of obfuscating the issue and confusing the People of God.

    • drwho13,

      Well said.

      Think about this, also. When have you ever heard a priest say, “I hate the way the church dealt with this – raping children, lying about it, covering it up, ignoring the children just to save money”.

      There have only been 5 that objected, and I know who they are. The reason the others don’t object is that they all know that the problem is much, much worse than we’ve seen. They hear the confessions of the pedophiles, and they all just hope victims don’t come forward.

      The beauty of the Internet and social media is that the truth will be brought out. Philadelphia parents don’t seem to realize that their kids will all learn about this and wonder why their parents took such a weak stand, or didn’t take a stand at all.

  36. Paul Logan:

    ” But for the good of all, I challenge you and every other commentator to learn the facts before comments are offered and conclusions advocated. ”

    Now that’s wonderful advice, both logical and legal. However, you are presenting such wisdom to the wrong audience. The audience that needs to abide by this directive is currently holed up in 222 N. 17th St. and out there on that valuable real estate at City and Cardinal Aves.

  37. Susan and Joe: The question of how I know what I know is easy to answer; I have been working very long and hard to find the answers and obtain facts by asking questions, researching pleadings and legal opinions and reading everything available. I have researched historic documents and attended meetings where the issues were discussed. I have interviewed and had discussions with many priests and deacons. I have studied the Church’s and secular laws affecting the issues. I will make no decisions without having a factual foundation for everything I say and firm basis for doing things. You should try this approach before making accusations and comments; it is freeing and does not harm innocent people.
    One of the best of the worst examples of what you have adopted as a way of commenting is the suggestion that I am “speaking” for Bishop Senior. I have seen Bishop Senior one time in my life (about nine months ago) and I did not speak to him except to say hello.
    As it relates to Msgr. Conway, we have been working on many things, together, not only those things that deal with abuse, but on many other matters like RCIA, Pre-Cana and Liturgy.
    I have concluded that until there is a reason to believe that anything productive will come from further discussions with Catholics4Change as to what our MMR committee is doing, we chose not to do so. I have yet to hear one affirmative or practical thing that has been proposed from Catholics4Change or the commentators,just rhetoric and vituperations. That is tragic; the emotional capital expended on negative comments about individuals could have been better used to promote real solutions to protect the kids and exonerate innocent priests.
    It’s too bad that Catholics4Change has yet to take advantage of opportunities to champion the positive things that could have accomplished, but instead invited a brand of “cyber-bulling” and rumor mongering that is emblematic of the relentless criticism of those with whom you disagree or simply don’t understand. Such a waste.

    • Logan: “the emotional capital expended on negative comments about individuals could have been better used to promote real solutions to protect the kids and exonerate innocent priests.”

      Spoken like a lawyer who is on the side of the diocese, whether you are or not.

      What about children that were victims of child rape by priests? What about justice for them, and therapy for them?

      What about trying to put Rigali and Bevilaqua in jail for clearly endangering children and facilitating child rape? What about trying to use “child endagerment” laws and RICO laws to prosecuted Rigali for saying in February that there were “no credibly accused priests in the diocese”, and then retracting a few days later with the Grand Jury report. What about explaining the diocese’s procedures in the Grand Jury report to everyone?

      Gotta admit your crying about “cyber-bullying” is pitiful. The poor lawyer and multi-billion dollar Catholic church got bullied.

      Here’s bullying – Father Gallagher from Philadelphia raped Daniel Neill when he was a young boy at St. Mark’s school. The archdiocese did not believe that the priest molested him during the time he served as an altar boy at the church in 1980 and 1981.

      He committed suicide this year. Guess he wasn’t looking for money after all. Guess he was telling the truth.

      What a horrible life he lead after that kind of Catholic church bullying. Your Catholic church’s slow progress didn’t help Daniel Neill.

      Your crying and self-loathing about bullying makes me sick, and by the way, it makes God sick.

      Be a man. Be a Catholic. Go out and fight for Daniel Neill and tens of thousands like him, or God will judge you on it. Future generations will judge you and the Catholic church on it.

      I will keep writing the truth in forums that future generations will read to see how the Catholic church reacted to the simplest crimes of all time – child rape. Real life, hard core bullying, by one of the largest institutions in the world.

      I won’t apologize if you feel bullied.

    • Paul, I don’t recall questioning your knowledge – ever. It is my goal to keep Catholics4Change as informative and as positive as it can be in relation to child sex abuse. Not all the comments reflect that goal, but I think having a variety of perspectives is extremely important as well. I find value in everything everyone has written here. I’ve thanked you for your comments. When I saw something false was written about you, I commented with the truth. I hope you’ll reconsider your participation on the site. Either way, I wish you the best in your efforts at MMR. I believe you are committed to seeking the protection of children – just as we are here.

  38. Paul and all Commentors
    I am going to extend the olive branch,hopefully all will grab on. One of the problems we all are encountering is the lack of information that is being provided by the Archdiocese. When that happens the result obviously will be rumors,innuendos etc….It is a climate that has been created by the AD and now we all are forced to deal with.
    I have decided when things like this occur,they are no more than a blip on the radar screen.I am not going to waste my time debating about Msgr. Conway ,Bishop Senior or anything to do with that situation.I am going to focus on the real problem which is the actions/inactions of the Archdiocese.
    Paul obviously you feel that you may have been personally attacked. Welcome to the club.Since Susan and I have been in the public eye the last few months we have been attacked on radio programs,newspaper web sites,online forums.Some people feel we are not radical enough, others feel we are participating in a witch hunt against priests.My children have read comments where I have been vicously slammed by people who do not even know me.Obviously we can’t please all of the people all of the time.I don’t even give it a moment of my time any longer.
    Paul you made the comment about not seeing one affirmative or practical thing from C4C or the commentors. Maybe you are new to the site. We have informed people about the PA House Bills and steps needed to have them enacted. We have attended rallies where we have done the most important and Christian thing, which is bearing witness to the pain of survivors.We have attended meetings with other groups who also are working towards having the grand jury recommendations implemented. This week we will attend a meeting that is a gathering of people and representatives both local and national, who have vast knowledge and experience on the current crisis we are facing in Philadelphia.I extended an invitation to you and MMR to attend that meeting, even after the issue about C4C attending Mass seemed to have been so overblown and misinterpreted.We are currently assembling a panel of experts to have a Question and Answer category on the site.
    Susan and I have spent many long hours answering emails,letters and phone calls from people who have been ignored by the Archdiocese. If you want to dismiss all of that,that is your choice,your opinion.
    We have made many connections with various organizations and parishes throughout the AD,it is a shame that MMR chooses not be part of that. I am not going to allow personal attacks that I myself have encountered ,to defer me from my goals or limit me working with others.The issue is too important .It is not about us,it is about our children. Can we all get our ego’s in check and remember that? Olive branch extended – please all- feel free to grab on.

    • Kathy sorry I must have been replying same time as you—didnt mean to look like I was ignoring your post

    • Before you extend an olive branch, read the Philadelphia Grand Jury report, or read my story above about Daniel Neill, who recently committed suicide because the diocese wouldn’t believe he was raped by a priest.

      This isn’t a kumbaya moment amongst friends.

      • Patrick,believe me I am not looking for a kumbaya moment.I am looking to protect children.Will we share any info with Paul that could protect the children at MMR? Absolutely.If Paul and the MMR committee choose not to share info that could better protect our children,that is a sad situation.I don’t see parish boundary lines when it comes to child protection. If they want to reconsider and join with the other parishes,that is only a good thing.

    • I’m just saying that the church doesn’t seem to care about

      – current victims that haven’t come forward
      – current pedophiles in the priesthood
      – punishment for anyone that enabled child rape or did nothing to stop it

      Those are some of the things I care about. I’m guessing me and God are on the same page about that.

    • Kathy: You stated, “I am not going to waste my time debating about Msgr. Conway, Bishop Senior or anything to do with that situation.”

      I’m a distance away from the situation geographically, and in terms of having knowledge of the facts. I however believe as do you; the real problem involves the actions and inactions of the Archdiocese. The Conway, Senior matter, saps energy that must be delivered to the head of the snake, which I believe is the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

      I view the Archdiocese in a manner which is similar to the way the United States views Pakistan. There are people within each of these organizations that do not wish us well. In both cases, there are those who suggest that we simply abandon them. On the other hand, each of them (the AD, and Pakistan) are of value to us, and not everyone in either org. wants to harm us, so it’s complicated.

      That being said, we have to target the enemy as precisely as possible. I see Rigali as the enemy. He lied to us; he does not support the PA House Bills, and he advised people not to read the Grand Jury report. These are facts.

      The affirmative and practical things C4C does involves keeping the enemy (Rigali’s and his actions) in the public light. The Archdiocese is like a Roach; keep shining the light on them and watch them scatter. They hate the light!

      At 75 Rigali had to submit his resignation to the Holy See. The fact that Ben XVI did not accept it immediately tells us a lot, and I have no idea what to do about that. Any thoughts?

  39. Paul,first of all I was replying to Susans post,so whether we agree on certain facts only she would know because except for that one post I have never answered her direct,and yes I do agree with alot of her comments and ideas.Second,if you are working long and hard I commend you but while no simple answer is available being truthful could certainly be a huge start,and Im talking Conway and others.Rumor mongering and cyber bullying,well Paul,I firmly believe the rumors could be dispelled if we had answers-I have stated more than once I have no idea of Conways guilt or innocence,but he sure isnt helping by not saying anything,bullying—well out of all the posts I have read here you certainly seem to lead the pack on that,everyone who doesnt agree with you is/are not doing anything to ensure childrens safety,moving in a positive direction or mindless—such a waste Susan I appologize if I have in any way made my views seem like yours,but like I said I was just replying to your post and please keep up the good work and to all please dont let the insulting replies of those who choose to sidetrack the issues with insultig rhetoric stop your support of your beliefs—pro or con

  40. “It’s too bad that Catholics4Change has yet to take advantage of opportunities to champion the positive things that could have accomplished, but instead invited a brand of “cyber-bulling” and rumor mongering that is emblematic of the relentless criticism of those with whom you disagree or simply don’t understand. Such a waste.”

    Mr. Logan – your comment above is inaccurate and mean-spirited.

    If, as you believe, such conduct as exhibited on this blog is “such a waste”, please provide a constructive alternative or two, with specific details.

    What exactly is the group at MMR proposing to do? What is Msgr. Conway planning to do?

    You have made it quite clear and you are correct that the archdiocese has effectively used the legal system to their advantage throughout all of this. So what legal possibilities, proposals and/or would you suggest to the non-lawyers on this blog so that groups like Catholics4Change may work toward what you may consider are more effective and productive approaches to combat the monolith of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

  41. Paul, I would love for you to consider (like Kathy suggested) attending one of our meetings.

    We are networking with people from other parishes that are interested in making changes and staying informed. We’d love to talk with you (like Michael is suggesting) about what it is you have found out from your interviews, what it is your parish has decided to do about this problem/is it a model we can offer to others, etc.

  42. hello has anyone heard from Logan–conway–or anyone from mmr since Conway was duped

    • Crickets. Not a peep from MMR. I wonder if Msgr. Conway joined the priest association – the more than 100 priests who were concerned with lack of leadership? We’ve had other priests comment and minister here. If anyone else has heard anything, please share.

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