Panel of Experts to Answer Questions on Catholics4Change

Clergy sex abuse, the cover up and related issues raise so many questions. In an effort to serve our readership, Catholics4Change has assembled a panel of experts to answer queries related to their specialties. Whether your question involves PA legislation, Canon Law, archdiocesan policy, spirituality, victim support – we will do our best to get it answered. Use the private contact form on the Contact tab located in the bar at the top of this Web site to send your question. Please indicate if you wish to remain anonymous.

All of these panelists have generously volunteered their time, so please be patient as you await reply. Questions and answers will be published as new posts on the site and then archived under the Q&A category.

Meet the Panel:

Father Chris Walsh is Pastor of St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Northwest Philadelphia. Prior to this assignment, he served as School Minister at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster and Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Ransom Parish in Northeast Philadelphia. Father Chris is originally from West Chester and is a graduate of Temple University.  He firmly believes that the Holy Spirit is at work in the Church, even in these difficult days, and that the Catholic Church remains a true instrument of God’s grace in our broken world.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. She is a founding member of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition, a member of the steering committee of the Greater Philadelphia Voice of the Faithful and a member of the Child Victims Voice Coalition. She has taught and chaired departments at both Archbishop Wood and Lansdale Catholic High Schools in addition to teaching at St. Bernadette, Drexel Hill and St. Albert the Great, Huntingdon Valley.

David Clohessy has served as national director of SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests) since 1991, setting up local support groups and doing thousands of interviews (including Oprah, Sixty Minutes, the Phil Donahue Show, Good Morning America). He’s been a community organizer in poor neighborhoods, and has done political and public relations consulting. In 2002, Clohessy was one of only four survivors to address all of America’s Catholic bishops at their historic meeting in Dallas. In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement in Advocacy Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT).  

Daniel F. Monahan has been handling personal injury cases, including clergy sexual abuse cases for state and federal courts, for more than 30 years. He graduated cum laude from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1975. He graduated from Villanova University School of Law in 1978 and earned a Masters in Law from Villanova University School of Law in 2000. Monahan is a member of the American Association for Justice, the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, the National Crime Victims’ Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He and his wife of 35 years live in East Goshen and have three grown children.

Please note:

We invited the Archdiocese to have a representative on the Question & Answer panel. They thanked us for reaching out but declined to participate.

Catholics4Change will continue to seek experts to add to the panel.

23 thoughts on “Panel of Experts to Answer Questions on Catholics4Change

  1. Thank you all very much for being willing to respond to our questions.

    Here is a link the Safe Environment Program in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL.

    Do you feel this is an adequate program for the protection of children and vulnerable adults if it is implemented properly?
    Is there anything you would add to their program?
    Is there another program in another diocese that you think is superior and why?

    Thank you again,
    Sibyl Smith

    1. Thank you, Beth. It’s the interaction from people such as yourself in the comments section that makes this site. Thank you for your dedicated support of C4C on and off the site.

  2. “We invited the Archdiocese to have a representative on the Question & Answer panel. They thanked us for reaching out but declined to participate.”

    Wow, what a surprise! Leadership that has refined deceit, secrecy and treachery to an art form asked to participate in an open forum and they said NO?

    First, they’d have to lower the drawbridge to cross the alligator-filled moat that surrounds HQ at 222 N. 17th St. Next, the leaders, with checkbook in tow, would have to meet up with the sycophants from Stradley and Ronon. Finally, they would have to share details, information, facts, documents, evidence, etc. and answer questions regarding their conduct and decision making with the archdiocesan faithful in an open forum such as Catholics4Change.

    That’ll happen when “hell freezes over”.

    1. The RCC negates to share any details and information with abuse victims. Why would they share any info with a website?

      Besides, even if you get some answers, how would that help? Children are still going to be abused inside and outside of the Catholic Church.

      When you stop giving them your money, I can almost assure you that things will change. Just look at Coca-Cola – They changed their recipe in the late 80s. What happened? People stopped buying and drinking Coke.

      If the Church sees that people have stopped buying into their lies and false promises, and they decide to stop drinking the rhetoric propaghanda, maybe the RCC will change their recipe (or policies), when dealing with priests, nuns, and laypeople who abuse children.

      Think about it.

      1. Rich, you’re right.

        People need to stop asking the church and start telling them. Catholic sheep hate when I say this, but this is an organized crime unit where they raped children, mobilized the pedophiles, conspired to hide it, and lied about it. They did it thousands of times.

        You don’t ask the mafia for a meeting – you go in and arrest them. The same should be true here. The advantage is that the Catholic church won’t kill you, and you are actually doing what God would want you to do.

        Catholic sheep are so used to just doing what they are told that if bishops tell them to ignore the whole issue, they will. If bishops refuse a meeting, they will go back to their school desk quietly.

        Here’s a different perspective. The bishops here are doing the work of the devil. They are protecting child rapists. They are lying about it. They are ignoring the victims. This is exactly what the devil would do. God couldn’t make it more clear.

        God doesn’t want you to ask the devil for a meeting. He wants you to show some guts, and fight the devil as hard as you can.

        Now, Catholic sheep, tell me where I’m wrong.

  3. A question for all the panelists: Is the hierarchy of the church in a dither due to this crisis? Or are they in denial?

    Another question is, how powerful are we, the Faithful? Do we really have a chance to effect real change in our Church??

  4. Susan and Kathy: This site is excellent, God inspiring and a contribution to church reform far superior to many that I’ve seen. You are both a gift to life. Keep it going.

  5. Susan, Thank you for the all important Catholics4Change! It am so rewarding to know that the Catholic public has a forum in which to respond, without fear of repraisals or subjection! I am glad to have a “voice” regarding my Church which I have loved for over sixty five years AND to which I have been faithful.

  6. Does it occur to you “good people” that you [with few exceptions]had nothing to do with being water baptized and raised Catholic?
    Were it not for that fact you wouldn’t be struggling to turn the Roman Catholic Church into an institution you could comfortably exist in and trust. But here’s the scary part- and I underline “scary”; it’s not “good people”
    who miss going to eternal damnation at the end of this short life— according to God’s Word it is only those whom believe the gospel “of your salvation” [Eph. 1:13]
    Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    The Roman institution is as far from that truth as East is from West.

  7. Is it a coincidence that the Vatican is front and center on the Today show this morning touting their presence on Facebook and Sirius Satellite Radio as a way to embrace everyone; especially the younger generation? Their power to put on their “game face” to the world and spin the truth is amazing, but not surprising. It has been happening for generations. I didn’t see one thing about Amnesty International listing the Vatican for crimes against humanity anywhere but on this site. No one that I mentioned it to had heard about it. Does the Vatican even care? How does the hierarchy manage to always top bad news with good news? Their PR department is certainly on top of things. Truly a powerful political machine. Thank you for keeping this “real”. We certainly have our work cut out for us. The presence of this site, and others like it, are our only hope.

  8. I want to thank everyone for the prayers you sent my way as I went up to Philly’s Wills Eye Hospital last Friday for emergency eye surgery. Everything is “looking” good and I received an excellent report when I went to my retinologist yesterday. I received an O.K. to fly to Detroit for the American Catholic Council on Thursday, Washington next Tuesday and from there to Cincinnati for our scheduled Province assembly.

    The weather is expected to be especially pleasant for our First Friday Vigil in front of the archdiocesan offices tomorrow at 222 N. 17th Street. I hope as many as possible are able to attend and that invitation is extended to all concerned individuals in the tri-state aarea.

    Bishop Senior’s quoted comments recently about the Philly Archdiocese not taking a position on House Bills 832 & 878 IS VERY MUCH taking a position, THE WRONG POSITION.

    It is morally reprehensible, given what continues in diocese after diocese just here in the U.S., not to be proactive in supporting adequate legislation covering childhood sexual abuse, by anyone, and the enabling or facilitation of the same. Basically, these are the criminal charges leveled against Msgr. William Lynn. Court proceeding are continuing (June 6th) but it will be some time before the actual trial begins.

    If you haven’t done so already, be sure to read Michael Sean Winter’s article in the National Catholic Reporter, “The Dallas Charter Is On Life Support,”

    One wonders when the bishops or the pope for that matter, will really begin to get it. As I said when I appeared on Larry Kane’s TV show in March, the AOP “skated” on everything after the 2005 PGJ Report and could not imagine the possibility that criminal charges would ever be brought forward as has now been done.

    It should have happened long ago.

    Sister Maureen

  9. My question: are all Catholics afraid of the alphabet or just most of the Catholic parents at PJPII High School in Royersford. I printed copies of the Grand Jury Report and sat on a bench outside of the High School tonight. Justin Rigali was inside preparing to say mass. Only three adults had the courage to accept a copy of the report. The others avoided me like I had leprosy. Is it letters that terrified them so? Or the words that the letters form? I did have my protest sign beside me. Maybe it is when words are printed on a sign that they get terrified? Something certainly frightened them enough to summon the police to have me escorted off of the property. Maybe the pen is mightier than the sword?

    1. Buddy,why were you escorted off the property and lets here from someone at PJP why you were escorted off and who made the decision.Rigali say what you are afraid of

    2. I love Buddy Schmidt. You have guts.

      Catholics are so confused. They do what priests and bishops tell them, even if it is in direct defiance of what God tells them. They ignore the truth if the bishops tell them to avoid it. They somehow think that they will get into heaven if they do “What Bishops And Priests Would Do”.

      They are confused, and they think God is stupid and will forget their actions or their inactions. Catholic sheep are in real trouble if God isn’t stupid.

  10. Ms Susan Matthews, Thank you for your service with C4C. I like the idea of a panel of experts to answer questions. I am a 76 year old cradle Catholic with 14 years of formal catholic education. My Catholic informed conscience helps me to practice tolerance for all human persons. After reading the 2005 Grand Jury discloser of sexual raping of trusting young persons by Catholic clergy I was emotional stressed and no longer trusted the bishops that lied and paid for silence to grieving families. Raising our children, who spent time with some clergy and while never abused a daughter said one priest did try to play footsy under the table. I did learn from the Grand Jury that this priest was a sexual abusing person and I felt deceived by my RCC. As a real father my mission was keep my children safe by guiding them away from potential bad people, places and things. I was denied this by a trusted institution who had misplaced their collective consciences.
    Question: To me, to trust the RCC again, how will I know that these morally educated bishops truly have a Christ informed conscience?

    1. Craig: None of us will or can be perfectly sure of anything again as a result of the sinful behavior of the clergy and our bishops.

      Our trust levels will take generations to heal. Just trust in the Lord for now.

      I am a father of four, so I understand your concerns. Future generations will have to be more cautious.

    2. Craig,
      As an ol timer 78 to another, and this is apart from the fact I am ex-Catholic; Whether Catholic or not, if you placed trust in anyone because of the handle in front of their name [father, General, Officer, etc.] and not because they had earned that trust- you would be a foolish man.

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