Let’s Hear From the Clergy


Where does the rank and file clergy stand on the sex abuse cover up, Vatican guidelines, Amnesty International’s report and the John Jay study?

Cue the crickets.

Except for a few strong voices, we don’t hear from them in our parishes or here on this site. Why? Is it the conservative culture of the priesthood in Philly? Is it because they are afraid of being punished with an undesirable assignment? Is it because, like many of the laity, they don’t know what to do?

We need to hear from our priests. Many of us struggle in the pew. Our faith is strong but we feel like enablers. Will the clergy stand up, speak out and minister to us?

Here’s one priest from another diocese who agreed to have his correspondence shared.

“I am writing to support the movement of Catholics4Change.  I am listed as a subscriber to your blog-link. I just wish to respond to a general theme of this blog.  I have been following the terrible issue in Australia where Bishop William Morris has recently been “fired” from his post as Bishop primarily because of agitators who turned him into Rome and the “Inquisition” of the Vatican.  He seems to be a very open and liberal bishop and one who has been very much loved by the  people there. He has been very much into the issue of sexual abuse – trying to assist victims and their families in his diocese. Of course, he was also charged with supporting the ordination of women and married priests to assist in the decline of ministers in his diocese. There are many other charges against him but these seem to be the most egregious, added to the list is the fact that he supported and encouraged General Absolution (the Third Way) which has been discouraged by JPII, referring all back to individual confession.

How do we expect the Vatican to support any move against the Local Archdiocese of Philadelphia and especially since the Pope has recently requested that Cardinal Rigali is to represent the Pope in Eastern Europe in June for a special celebration?

How much more sad can this situation be, not just for Philadelphia but for all of us as Catholics, seeking honesty and openness in this closed system named Church?

Rev. John S. Wintermyer
Ret. Archdiocese  of Washington”

I invite all clergy to share their viewpoints here at Catholics4Change. We accept guest blogs and welcome your comments. If you would like to submit a blog, please use the contact page to email me.

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45 Responses to “Let’s Hear From the Clergy”

  1. Susan
    About 2 months ago I came across an article that described a trip to the Holy Land that Cardinal Rigal and two of the Bishops attended along with a group of local Catholics.From the description of the trip it was a wonderful experience for all,a “spiritual renewal” of sorts. The dates of the trip were March 26-April 2nd.Just six weeks into the largest crisis ever experienced in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, a large part of the hieracrchy left town.While they were away it was announced that two more priests were suspended.
    I immediately thought of the priests in the Archdiocese.The parish priest who many times these days is doing the work of what 4 or 5 priests used to do.The parish priest who has no choice but to face his congregation in the midst of this crisis.The parish priest who is asked questions about the crisis that they themselves have no answers and have probably been the recipient of the anger for things they may not have played a role in.
    How many times has a parish priest scheduled some free time for himself to only be called to minister to his congregation?How many times has a parish priest had to put their own needs on the back burner as he needed to attend to a parishioner in crisis? Where is the spiritual renewal for the parish priest who is trying to do the best he can in the midst of such a time of conflict and turmoil?
    The following is a quote from Cardinal Rigali about the trip to the Holy Land:

    We have been very blessed during these days,” he said. “We have had various opportunities for reflection and prayer to consider what God has done for us and the blessings He has bestowed on us. The time has come when we must communicate to others what we have received. To do this effectively we must live His commandment of love, His commandment to ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’”

    Has anyone had this message communicated to them since the hierarchy returned from the trip?Do the survivors feel embraced,the laity acknowledged,the priest supported?It seems that we all probably have more in common than we think.Can we find a common bond in that?I hope we can.I know we need to.
    Even in the troubling events of the past few months I have told my children that there are good priests,not everyone harmed children,not everyone covered up crimes. But when my children ask me where are these good priest?I want to be able to say”They are right here among us”

  2. I know many good priests. I studied with them during my seven years as a seminarian in the 1960’s and had an opportunity to work in an Archdiocesan seminary for three years more recently in the 1990’s.

    Unfortunately they sense that they have more to lose than to gain from standing out alone. Its a form of “vocational suicide”. They are tied into the system and the culture that will destroy them personally. There is much back stabbing among the clergy and they know it.

    However, we need a few John the Baptists who are willing to confront the real problems in the diocesan priesthood and in our church.

    Yes, please stand up and stand out. Please.

  3. Nick
    You bring up a good point about the “vocational suicide” that comes with speaking out.I know some former seminarians and priests have spoken to this in their comments on the site. Obviously it presents a risk.That is why the priests need to support each other in speaking up.There is such a priest shortage in the Archdiocese that even if 50 priests spoke up,it would be hard for them to penalized.
    How many times in people’s lives are they faced with a situation where they have to overlook the personal risk to do what’s right?I think people encounter that challenge on a daily basis.I have a family member who was very successful in the business world and because of some ethical concerns chose to leave a well paying job.He had 12 young children at the time.Can you imagine what courage that took? He suffered greatly financially for a number of years,but in the end he had his integrity.It isn’t always easy to do the right thing,no one ever promised it would be.
    Throughout history people have risked their lives for their actions.People who participated in the Underground Railroad,those who hid Jewish families during the Holocaust.In the end it is people’s actions that define how a situation will unfold.
    I think what the priests need to realize is the overwhelming amount of support they would receive.A large role of a priest is preserving the Faith.Having young children, I see an entire generation at risk of being lost.These kids are looking for heroes.I am just looking for those who are true to the Gospel Message.

  4. The best example of priests speaking out in this decade remains the 2002 monument to clerical courage and virtue represented by the public letter from 58 priests in Boston to Law calling for him to go and telling him why.

    http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories3/121002_letter.htm

    Maybe there are 58 more.

  5. Here’s the obvious problem – there are no good priests.

    The lack of speech by priests tells you the obvious – they all know that the problem is much, much, much worse than we know. They hear the confessions of the pedophile priests so they know.

    If there were any good priests left, they would stand up against

    – the child rape by priests
    – the lying by the bishops
    – the ignoring of the victims by the priests and the congregation.

    Instead, they are afraid of losing their jobs and actually living a life of poverty. They took a vow of poverty, but they are as hypocritical about that as they are about the rest of their jobs.

    A “good priest”, with guts, and with just a mild commitment to Catholicism and his vows, would be willing to get thrown out of the church, get a regular job, and start a new church that actually practices Catholicism.

    There is nothing against US law that prevents a “good priest” from doing this. There has never been a time in history when it has been easier. There has never been a time when the congregation needed it more.

    A “good priest” would know that separating from the current hierarchy of bishops, cardinals, and popes that

    – hid and moved child rapists
    – lie about child rape
    – ignore the victims

    and starting a church that really practiced Catholicism is EXACTLY What Jesus Would Do.

    There are no good priests.

    • Patrick,
      Priests under Rigali did not take a vow of poverty that is part of the problem they own property summer homes, cars etc. If they didn’t I think it would be easier to love like Christ alot of nuns take vows of poverty and order priests. Has anyone consider Rigali had them take an oath not to speak out? He did have meetings with them. Just wondering about this……..I don’t think it is right either way. Patrick a feel the way you do…….if they don’t speak up they are accepting what is going on……..

      • Beth, I heard from a few priests who attended those meetings. They did not go so smoothly for Cardinal Rigali. Many priests are very angry. There was no oath, but there was also no real conversation/solutions. Just more of what the laity gets. I agree with Patrick, too. If the laity and good priests remain silent – we are enablers.

  6. From what I understand,at ordination a priest pledges obedience to their Bishop.The article that Jack posted speaks to to this
    ”Obedience means you are cooperative to the fullest extent of your ability … but when it’s clear to your conscience that your bishop has lost his capacity for spiritual leadership, as clearly seems to be the case in Boston, then your obedience is to a higher law, to the good of the church,” McBrien said.

    Patrick,I think there are priests who did have knowledge of abuse against children and did not call the police,chose the “Church” over the children.But I do think there are priests in Philly who were just as blindsided as the rest of us by some of these recent events.

    • Thanks for sharing that I did not get to read that article yet. I know some were blindsided but silence is what lets this to continue. I know some are just waiting for the civil courts to take care of them problem but it is as if we have no leadership at this point in time. Our priests spoke at mass once and that’s it.

  7. From the John Jay Report, page 91. Dioceses, the interviewee reported, would intimidate priests who brought charges against other priests; he reported that the law firm hired by the diocese wiretapped his phone and went through his trash. (p. 90).

    The interviewee was a priest-victim who had come forward in 1991.

    So their is clear evidence to the fact that “you better watch yourselves” brother priests.

    • Dr Nick – Dioceses and Religious Orders are known to frequently (always) “…intimidate priests who brought charges against other priests…;” there’s no question about that. It is vocational suicide, but as 2nd career man with a pension I didn’t care. I walked out, and told them to kiss my Ring!

      As I’ve (former seminarian) mentioned in the past, I was sued by a religious order for libel, slander, and defamation for being a whistle blower. An absolute defense against those charges is the truth, and I had it. The case against me was dismissed, and the priest involved is still in prison for sexually abusing a number of his young male relatives.

      A good priest could very well end up homeless doing what I did. You’re blackballed, so it’s very difficult to go to another order or diocese, and after what they put you through, who would want to?

      The day I left that organization was one of the happiest days of my life.

      • Wow and you stll go to church. You are one of the few that knows what a real catholic (and/or priest)is and should be. Thankyou for protecting those kids ………your reward is in heaven not here…..but you already know that….doing the right thing is never easy…..I am still greatly affected (suffering) from everything I went thru with my husband. I will never be the same and neither will he……..it changes you……you never see the world and people the same……..

  8. “A former priest, Anthony Benzevich, has said he alerted church higher-ups that Geoghan frequently took young boys to his rectory bedroom. In news reports after accusations against Geoghan surfaced publicly, Benzevich was also quoted as saying church officials threatened to reassign him as a missionary in South America for telling them about Geoghan. Benzevich told his story to Mitchell Garabedian, who represents nearly all of the plaintiffs in the civil suits against Geoghan and church officials, according to an affidavit Garabedian filed. ”

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2002_01_06_Rezendes_ChurchAllowed.htm

    Can there really be any question that the church has suppressed this. From this one person, how many lives have been broken. How many priests were lost? This is only one cases.

    Get so depressing especially realizing with all this info, many catholics are still supporting their church.

  9. So I think everyone agrees that priests protect each other, they follow their bishops lead even if it means ignoring the word of God and ignoring any type of honor, and they ignore the victims.

    Here’s where I’ll make a comparison that will aggravate everyone.

    The mafia is an organized crime unit. So is the Catholic church. The difference is that the Catholic church’s crime is raping children, and the mafia’s crimes are gambling, drugs, and stealing.

    Both groups hide their crimes by having a clear code of secrecy, and no one on the outside knows what it is. Both groups protect their own. One big difference is that the mafia never raped a child, and if they found out that anyone in the mafia raped a child, they’d kill them, painfully and immediately. That pedophile would never rape again, and would never ruin another life. Not a bad code of honor if you ask me.

    There is even a code in prison that they beat up child rapists, because prisoners have some honor, even though they don’t know each other before they get to prison, and don’t “join” like mafia members do. Many prisoners have children of their own, and hate the idea that someone would rape a child.

    Mafia members and prisoners have an honor code that the Catholic church doesn’t have.

    Now tell me where I’m wrong.

    • Patrick, I agree with you totally. I further believe that the Church could be charged in civil court in the same way that the mafia can be charged: as an organization that is designed to support illegal acts. Is it not true that the Chruch has allowed rapists and pedophiles to thrive and, basically, use the chidren of the Church as their prey?? Is there a code of secrecy that exists in the Church? Does not the Church do everything in its considerable power to deny its guilt?

      If that is not organized crime, I don’t know what is!

      • True, and the biggest problem is that they come in sheep’s clothing. At least when you deal with the mafia and prisoners, you are prepared for evil, and are impressed when they have a moral code about things like child rape.

        The Catholic church has the arrogance of a group that has God behind them, but they are so arrogant, they don’t practice His rules, like

        – be honest
        – don’t rape children
        – help the afflicted, especially if you afflicted them

        Most adults that are still in the Catholic church are somehow tolerant of this behavior, but the next couple of generations will be smarter, will see the truth, and will ignore the Catholic church.

        There is a short window of time to overthrow this Catholic church and put in leaders that practice Catholicism, or the next generations of children will see the church as a hypocritical cult, and will get out as soon as they are out of their parents eyesight.

        That is the legacy today’s Catholics leave for the next generation.

  10. And after reading all of the above I noted no current clergy responded.

    So that means they can’t or won’t.

  11. I can’t repeat this enough (as said to me by the acting pastor of St. Joe’s in Downingtown, since Lynn was arrested for his part in covering up sex abuse). “No one cares; everyone has moved on; it’s not about you”. These words were said to me directly, (not in one sentence)immediately after a pathetic AD manipulated parish meeting. And it was in response to my statement to him on the uselessness of the kind of meeting provided. He was letting me know that the parish provided an audience for parishoners to come out and supposedly, openly, “discuss” this issue, and the low turn out, according to him, spoke volumes.

    I think people are afraid. I was. My kids attend the school, and my family has felt ostracized since February, when the initial arrests were made, and we told our kids the truth about the current situation in the church and our pastor. We had to. The kids are 13 and 10. One had nightmares, and the other one I think was just freaked out. I think their feelings are normal. I personally don’t think it’s normal to just tell the kids to pray and act like nothing happened (or worse tell them it’s all lies, blame the media, etc.).

    But, I think it is how most priests feel. It is a brotherhood, sadly of the worst kind. People you want and need in your life, turn to for help and spiritual guidance, are afraid or unwilling to do the very thing that they are supposed to do. The thing they implore US to do every Sunday. The right thing. This pastor said “it wasn’t about me”. Ok, if it’s not about me, my family, you and your family, who is it about? Aren’t WE ALL apart of the church? It feels like an us vs. them situation between parishoners and clergy.

    I wanted to go to that meeting and feel something, other than anger. I wanted to feel like my own parish cared about the victims, protecting kids, (other people’s and our own),making positive changes in the church, and me. All I felt was condesended to and barely tolerated.

    Until we start seeing clergy attempt to fix this situation from the inside first, by speaking up and out, what will change?

    • Deidre, First it all about you, and the rest of the people in that parish! The statement the priest made revealed his true colors. You now know who he is, and he should be treated with that knowledge always in mind. Never trust him again in ANY MATTER.

      I would circulate that man’s name, and what he said as widely as possible. Be relentless. Make that statement hang around HIS neck like the Albatross hung from the sailors neck. SINGLE him out.

      I did that when I was exposing a criminal priest, and the religious order that was covering for him. There were others that were involved, but to be effective I had to target one individual.

      As you said, “It is a brotherhood, sadly of the worst kind. People you want and need in your life…” Believe me Deidre, you don’t want some of these people in your life. In fact, you want to put as much distance as you can between your family and this priest. A good priest would NEVER have spoken to you as this SOB did.

      When I was fighting the legal battle with my former religious order I went right for leader who was promoting the evil behavior. I had a few seasoned good priests advising me. The others knew nothing about my plans (there are many snitches.) It is difficult to determine which priest can be trusted. The “good ones” have their own brotherhood within the larger brotherhood, where own support system.

      The priesthood is similar to a corrupt police force in a third world country. You better be certain you can trust the one you’re talking to, not always easy.

      As you said, you have kids in school. A evil priest will attack you using any means he believes he can get away with; watch your back! If possible, after doing some research, join a solid parish.

  12. Catholics are dividing into 2 groups – those who follow bishops, and those who follow God.

    In the future, you won’t be able to hide the truth from your children, and they are going to grow up trying to figure out who to trust. They will learn about this history of the Catholic church, and won’t trust any of the words of the Catholic church. They will know that the church raped children, hid it, and tried to “move on” without caring for the victims.

    You now have to decide how you want your children to view YOU, and how you want them to see God. In the next 5-8 years, your 10 & 13 year olds will form their own opinion, based on lots of truth published on the Internet. Most of it will talk about children their age that were raped by priests. They will be absolutely disgusted. They will see that it happened dozens of times in Philadelphia. They will see that you allowed those priests to stay in the parishes, and you allowed them to be with other children.

    They will look at the decisions you made, and the things that you did. They will look at the things you didn’t do.

    They will decide whether to trust you anymore. Its a tough battle for any parent in any era, but “picking a side” when you’re talking about

    – child rape
    – honesty
    – compassion for rape victims

    isn’t a tough decision. Teenagers will figure it out pretty quickly, and will look at the “Catholic sheep” as a confused, ignorant lot.

    They certainly won’t trust them. How will you make them trust you?

  13. Patrick, I think by being open and honest with our kids, explaining that everything is not lies was a start. That Grand Jury investigations just don’t happen for no reason. Explaining to children who are already confused and a bit scared, that all the media is irresposible and hates Catholics and are out to get us….was also a lie.

    I’m fully aware of my responsibilities to my kids. That is why I did the very unpopular thing to do in my parish/school, and that was speak up. I hope to be teaching the kids, though perfect I am not, that I am at least trying to live the way I have asked them to live. And do the right thing, even if it is hard. I continue to believe in forgivness, but one must acknowledge the sin before they can be forgiven.

    If some of your pointed responses to me (though not exactly sure why) are why my kids are still in Catholic School or apart of the faith, my answer is this. I am Catholic. We are Catholic. That is why I care enough to look at this page, and this group. It is apart of who we all are. And none of us did anything to bring this on. We are not evil, horrible people that want to bring down the church or hurt each other.

    We may not be the best Catholics, but we try. The problems facing the church are those that man is responsible for. Not God, not Jesus. It’s at least worth trying to shed some light on. I’m working through my issues, and in doing so I’m hopefully teaching my kids to be honest with thier feelings. Hopefully, that will be enough to earn their trust.

    • My frustration is that the congregation is apathetic about child rape, about lying, and about ignoring victims. My frustration is that the congregation doesn’t seem to understand that if the leaders don’t follow God’s rules, it is your obligation to do everything you can to throw them out. My frustration is that you say, “I’m afraid”, when there is nothing at all to be afraid about. You aren’t fighting Hitler in Germany or Ghaddafi in Libya.

      You should be fighting against child rape. You should be fighting against lying. You should be fighting against the false prophets disguised as bishops and priests that are ignoring the rules of God.

      You’re afraid that you might not get invited to the next church bingo tournament.

      Those children were afraid because priests had anal sex with them when they were 12 years old.

      Don’t talk to me about afraid.

      If I lived down there, I’d make every lying bishop and priest afraid that I would tell the truth in public every chance I got. I’d have every member of the congregation afraid that I would remind them that they gave me dirty looks when I said raping children and hiding it in the house of God was wrong. I’d say it loud and I’d say it proud and I’d walk into every bingo tournament whether they wanted me or not.

      Afraid. You should be afraid of your meeting at the Pearly Gates.

  14. Patrick
    I have spoken to many parents who have children in Catholic schools and are afraid to speak up because of backlash against their children.I think in Deidre’s case, she doesn’t care what people think of her,it is her concern for her kids.I am going to write something very soon about this for the site,it an important issue.I myself have broken through the fear however I do understand the fear,especially for those who have children.
    Don’t be too hard on Deidre,I know that she and many others in her parish are having a very difficult time since their pastor was arrested.She is trying to be a good parent to her kids in a very confusing time.

    • I’m still not getting it.

      It’s not confusing. God made it simple. We’re talking about child rape here. Pick one side or the other. Make sure other people pick a side, too.

      I promise you that some day, people will get a clearer picture of this and they will remember which side each person was on. Catholic apologists will look like fools, and God is making it clearer every day.

      Did you hear the news this week about Father Van B in the Netherlands, who has been serving on the board of directors of a group dedicated to making pedophilia legal, and says pedophilia is no big deal?

      http://www.examiner.com/crime-in-norfolk/priest-endorses-child-molestation#ixzz1ND1eo3YC

      Or Bishop Vangheluwe of Belguim, who admitted he had sex with his nephew from age 5-18, then he had sex with the other nephew. They are finally telling us what every non-Catholic knew.

      Priests think raping children is no big deal.

      We also know they think lying is no big deal.

      Pick a side.

  15. Patrick
    I have very clearly,picked my side.I have been in the newspaper,on the radio,at protests etc…However I am surrounded each day by people/parents who continue about their daily business as if nothing has happened.I have been trying to figure out ways to extract their heads from the sand and have come to realize that yelling at them is not going to work.The way I have gone about it is to inform people who have chosen to look the other way.You would be amazed at the amount of people who do not even know the basics of the situation here in Philly.There are times I want to scream at people who are so oblivious to the current crisis.But I realize that will only drive them away.
    When I went to my first protest a few months ago,the survivors I met were so kind and welcoming,it left an impression on me.They could have yelled at me,asked me what took me so long to support them.Where have I been all these years? But they didn’t.
    My point is in Deidre’s case she is in a parish with alot of conflict,her kids have already received some backlash .Obviously her kids are already upset about the situation.
    I realize that if I attack someone they are only going to walk away,it is human nature.

    • OK, and apologies if I come on too strong.

      However, I know a victim who killed himself because they never got over it, which is understandable if you know what happened to them.

      I also assume that everyone has read at least the first 6 pages of the Philadelphia Grand Jury report at http://www.philadelphiadistrictattorney.com/images/Grand_Jury_Report.pdf

      If you read those 6 pages, and don’t do something, there is something wrong with you. If you read the first hundred pages and don’t throw up, there is something wrong with you. If you can look at Msgr Lynn or Bevilaqua or Rigali and not want to rip them apart for not doing anything about it, there is something wrong with you.

      When I think about this, I think about 12 year old Ruth, raped by Fr Cudemo, who got her pregnant and took her for an abortion. He raped her for years, and raped 17 others that they know about. I think about what a horrible, horrible life Ruth must have led, all because of Fr Cudemo and the Catholic bishops and priests that helped to conceal him.

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

      I grew up in Catholic schools and churches. That could have been me. That could have been you. That could be your kids.

      If God decided not to let me get raped, I will honor Him by fighting for those that did, and I wouldn’t care what the consequences were. We’re right, and we’re fighting bishops and priests that aren’t practicing the word of God – they are doing exactly the opposite.

      I would stand proud when the congregation looks at me a year or two from now and says, “Wow, you were right”, and throws all of the guilty out of the church.

      The ultimate moment would be when Ruth is accepted into the congregation as a hero, emotionally crucified when she was 12 years old, yet survived the powerful Catholic church and the congregation that scorned or ignored her.

      Its already too late for Daniel Neill, raped by Father Gallagher 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.

      I’m sorry if I come on too strong, and I appreciate that people are doing something, but if you think about Daniel and Ruth and thousands like them in the United States, I think God would want you to do more and do it now.

      • Believe me Patrick,I get it.Susan and I have been non stop on this for the past few months.You need to come to Philly soon and have a beer with us.

  16. I just don’t think our priests care.. When I tried to talk to my parish priest about my feelings and all the information coming in I was told to “quit reading that stuff.” and left with my mouth hanging open. I have since left the Catholic church. I see no hope for the Church’s future.

    • My mom confronted several priests/brothers, from the congregation I belonged, over incidents they were involved. No response. She is still upset at losing a possible priest and the chance that her sons could have been abused. Because of my brothers in Catholic schools and realizing the extent of the problem, I had no doubt that I needed to return to Philly. Thinking that my “religious brothers” could have been abusing my biological brothers and cousins. Still trying to find an article about one priest that was involved in sex peddling, promise my brother at least that much.

    • June,

      You are the smartest kid in the class, and chose the best way out. It’s very tiring trying to teach Catholicism to a church that refuses to learn.

  17. I’m just getting back to this, and no Patrick, I was not at bingo. Just kidding. I’m a full time working parent whos is busy, but thinks this is important.

    Thanks Kathy, I appreciate your comprehensive view on where I am at right now.

    And Patrick, you have every right to be upset. These things are upsetting and terrible. They should not happen to anyone, especially children, and especially by clergy.

    But, Kathy was right. I have ranted, I have opened my big mouth, I spoke out of turn at our meeting. For what? People don’t hear your hurt, only your anger, and then they shy away. Even those you don’t want to allienate.

    But it isn’t bingo I’m worried about. It’s about my kids being treated fairly, because I have spoken up about something that is unpopular. Most at our parish meeting wanted Msgr. Lynn to return. Ugh.

    But, I am not giving in to this. I saw something last week that really spoke to me. A woman in our parish with 8 young children, died suddenly. I stood in line at her viewing for an hour and a half with my girls to pay our respects to the family. I witnessed such an outpouring of love and support from our parish community, that it really made me see what good there was around me.

    There is good around all of us. And as for my entrance into the pearly gates, the God I believe will hopefully accept me and all of us…flaws included.

    I have said it before, this site and group is an important place for people to really vent. Thanks for allowing me to do so, when I need to. And as for beer….I’m always available.

  18. Do you remember when Mark Foley claimed that alcoholism was the cause of his having sex with several teenage male pages? Alcohol makes you drunk! It doesn’t make you a pedophile. As “Larry the Cable Guy” would say, “That’s like blaming misspelled words on my pencil.“ Music soothes the heart, calms the soul, and provides memories; some good and some not so good. I could dance to rock & roll all day and night. Never once did I feel like molesting a child as I played the Grateful Dead & Aerosmith on my I-Pod.

    Smoke and mirrors! That’s all these reports are. The Catholic Church continues to blame everything and everyone instead of their own employees, who have systematically abused children and vulnerable adults for hundreds of years. It’s time the Church stops looking outside for answers, and rather take a good hard look at themselves and what has propelled so many of their own to abuse children.

    When an institution like the Catholic Church views sexual abuse of a child no different than sexual contact with an adult man or woman, because it’s all the same sin, maybe they will stumble upon their own guilt within the last thousand years.

    http://www.Victims4Justice.org

  19. Mark,

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but I have one huge philosophical disagreement.

    Its way past the time when we allow “the Church to stop looking outside for answers, and rather take a good hard look at themselves”.

    They can’t be trusted to do this. They should be treated like criminals. They committed child rape, concealed child rape, and condoned child rape based on their inaction. They lie and ignore victims. They don’t practice Christianity, and don’t get the benefit of the doubt for the next 6 decades.

    Law enforcement and an angry Catholic congregation should force them to justice. They are now criminals and not clergymen.

  20. Yes, Patrick, I realize that. I am one of those child rape victims of a Catholic priest. I also believe they can’t be trusted to investigate themselves. I am merely noting that they need to stop blaming outside influenences for the demise of the many thousands of children, whose lives have been destroyed because of what occurs inside their walls.

    Instead of blaming him, her, this, that and the other thing, they need to start accepting responsibility for what they did to contribute to this.

    Having said that, I wish the federal government would step in and investigate this fraud of an institution!

    • So sorry to hear it, Rich. You are strong just to have survived. You deserve to have Catholics fighting for you, and I will be fighting them until the day I die, even if I’m only one of a dozen and we have to fight the entire billion others.

      You have been wronged by priests, bishops and a congregation that completely broke God’s rules, and should be praising you for your strength and resolve rather than trying to minimize child sex as a problem.

      They probably won’t kill me for fighting them, so I will do it proudly, and hopefully, someday we can get you some justice.

  21. I don’t know if anyone on this thread is a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Honestly, I didn’t read all the replies. Do you know how bad it gets for me, for others who were abused? All abuse is really bad and everybody handles it differently, but when you are abused by someone so trusted as a Catholic priest, living this life through the experiences of what happened and the emotional turmoil since has been nothing short of HELL!

    I’m almost 35 years-old. I’m afraid of the dark. I can’t close my eyes without seeing my abusers. I have panic attacks, nightmares, night terrors, and I’m gay. (Proud to be gay!) But my sexuality is being blamed for the cause of child abuse. I have never abused a child, nor have I ever wanted to abuse a child.

    Then, the music I listen to comes under fire as another cause for sexual abuse of children.

    What’s next? I love baseball! Will the Church start blaming my beloved Phillies for the cause of rampant abuse within their walls?

    This is crazy! I want the Catholic Church to stop blaming everybody but themselves. 5,948 US Catholic priests have been implicated and/or alleged of abusing kids and vulnerable adults. Isn’t that a large enough number for civil authorities to start investigating this disaster? How many more children have to suffer with a similar life as mine?

  22. By the way, if there are any victims in the Philadelphia area, we will be starting a support group meeting in Northeast Philly on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, at

    Faith Lutheran Church
    4150 Woodhaven Road
    Philadelphia, PA
    7pm – 9pm est

    Former Catholic priest/victim/advocate/counselor Bob Hoatson will be joining us to help get us on the right track.

    If you need support and would like to attend the meeting, please contact me at http://www.Victims4Justice.org

  23. I missed this two weeks ago, but thought I would share:

    http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/priest-%27mad-as-hell%27-over-church-moves-042011?sms_ss=email&at_xt=4dde89e3c0d8ec41%2C0

    Monsignor Conway has chosen to speak up and speak out, God bless him!

  24. Maryanne
    This story was from back in March.Msgr.Conway was named in the 2005 grand jury report as being aware of an abusive priest.It seems that the letter may have been generated by Monsignor’s desire to clear himself of any wrongdoing.Which is his right of course.
    A group from catholics4change was going to attend Mass at his parish in support of him and we were asked to not come to show our support for Monsignor.

  25. I agree strongly that we need to encourage priests to speak out. Perhaps a way to start would be with sympathetic retired priests and priests who are not directly under the Archdiocese. For example, I know one priest who is chaplain at the VA and who joined one of the Voice of the Faithful vigils at 222 N. 17th St.

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