Q&A: Why Are So Many Priests Silent?

Q. Why are members of the priesthood silent on the various issues that challenge the church, today? What are the factors that silence them? Why do they permit the factors to silence them? Why don’t they organize and provide substantive insights and remedies. And, why do we call silent priests “good priests”? If there is anything I will never come to understand, it is that.
– submitted by Katherine Fitzgerald
A. Dear Katherine,

Thank you for this insightful question that has been raised by many in the weeks since this latest round of crisis began.  I will try to offer my own insights on this question. In no way do I claim my answer to be anything other than my own insights as a priest who has had many conversations with other priests throughout this sad chapter in the life of our Church.

I think it is important to begin by stating that not all priests have been silent.  There are many priests who have spoken out strongly against the abuse of children, the perceived cover up, and the lack of communication and authentic pastoral concern. These priests have spoken through their homilies, in their bulletins, in parish meetings and in casual conversations with concerned people like yourself.

I believe other priests are trying to find their voice and express this same frustration and concern in a manner in which they are comfortable (some research has revealed that by personality preferences, many priests prefer to avoid conflict which might explain some of what you are experiencing). As priests, we live in a culture that makes every attempt to resolve things privately.  I am not offering this as an excuse, but as a possible reason for why priests are not being as vocal as you and many others would prefer.  In addition, on the day of our ordination we made the promise to “respect and obey” the Bishop of our Archdiocese and as men of integrity we seek to do this very thing (even when our respect and obedience may be perceived as tacit approval, which it is not).

Thus, I believe priests are trying to make their voice heard in a way that will be received as respectful of the Archbishop and his assistants. Priests have been offering insights and possible remedies to the Archdiocese through a variety of forums and this will continue. I know of several priests who have had meetings with different Bishops that they found to be productive and very hopeful. I ask that you not take the silence of all of your priests to mean that they are not concerned, nor that they are not having meaningful conversations, nor that they are not searching for the best way to raise their voice.

As a priest of this Archdiocese I believe that the Holy Spirit is moving amongst the priests in a new way (especially as we prepare for Pentecost) and I pray that the priests who minister to you will find the voice that is needed to continue announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ!

– Father Chris

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.

89 thoughts on “Q&A: Why Are So Many Priests Silent?

  1. Father Chris: Thank you for taking the time to communicate with us very angry and frustrated Catholics.

    However, I need to clarify a statement you made. When you were ordained the obedience did not include not speaking out forcefully about criminal behavior which this obviously is.

    This is what frustrated us. A horrific crime like child sex abuse by a fellow priest and the coverup by the institutional church should dismiss formal politeness to anyone, especially a priest and including the Archbishop.

  2. Father Chris,though I appreciate your insight, I still think it is a lame excuse to say that your vows included obeying the Arch Bishop. Aren’t vows primarily to God? I am sure service to God does not include being silent about those who would rape children or put them in potential harms way.

    Because of my reaction to all of this, I have found clergy (whom I have spoken with directly) to be so defensive and hostile towards me and my family. Is this the kind of ministry that should be expected towards those of us who are struggling right now? Where is the compassion, the empathy? Is it only reserved for those who will blindly follow, and demand no answers? This silence makes me believe there is much more that is being hidden.

    1. What we are defining is the “Clerical Culture”. It is strangling your free wills and common sense. Stop it once and for all!!! Please grow up. Is Jesus or John the Baptist one of the boys club.

    2. Father Chris: I would like for you to explain from a priest’s stand point why the Church purchases sexual abuse insurance. It is a documented fact that the Archdiocese in LA has purchased sexual abuse insurance. So it seem to me the church has actually planned on a certain amount of priests will sexually abuse kids. I am wondering–when I donate to a basket– what portion of my donation could go to an insurance company. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Thanks

      1. Maureen, I certainly can’t speak for Fr. Chris, but I suggest reading Jason’s Berry’s book “Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church.” It’s all about money, and how it’s mishandled once it goes into the basket.

        “The financial story includes donations made (or withheld) by average Catholics in the pews, sales of multimillion-dollar properties, and settlements paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests.”

        As for the church actually planning on a certain number of priests sexually abuse kids, you can be sure that this is factored in when buying insurance. It’s not a case of IF it will happen, but WHEN it will happen. Two very well respected former Benedictine priests/monks A.W. Richard Sipe, and Patrick Wall state this in a couple of recent videos that are well worth watching.

        I posted these videos on Catholics4Change in the section, “New Head of Office of Children and Youth Protection – Same Old Problems” -drwho13.

      2. They need insurance because they don’t take child sex abuse seriously. Look at the Bishop Finn case in Kansas City this month. He got a letter from a school principal in May 2010 about a pedophile priest and admits he never read it.

        You never hear about child sex abuse at corporations like Disney or Chucky Cheese. Its not that hard to stop it. You want me to do it? Put me in charge and I’ll fix the problem in a week.

      3. Maureen
        This info was posted by a commentor-I think it answers your question
        Virtus is the brand name of the awareness program/risk management-loss prevention program created by an insurance company called National Catholic Risk Retention Group Inc., of which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a policyholder. Here is some info about its roots. http://www.virtus.org/virtus/virtus_description.cfm
        Here is some info about National Catholic Riskj Retention Group Inc. http://www.nationalcatholic.org/
        Virtus is the brand name of the sexual abuse awareness program that all employees, clergy, and volunteers must go through if they are to have contact with children (at least 1X weekly) in this diocese. VIRTUS is also the brand name of the sexual abuse awareness program(Teaching Touching Safety) used in the grade schools in this diocese. This program has been in use for a few years now in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. When people talk about the “safe environment program” this VIRTUS program is usually to what it is they are referring.

  3. Deidre,From my understanding at ordination a priest makes a vow of obedience to their Bishops.
    In the Grand Jury report of 2005 Msgr. Molloy, who worked along side Msgr.Lynn in dealing with the clergy abuse problem,referenced this vow of obedience when asked why he did not come forward knowing the extent of the problem that existed.Msgr.Molloy had sat in on interviews with countless victims and knew of the priests who were still abusive and in ministry. At one point Msgr. Molloy said that he suggested to Cardinal Bevilaqua that a particular priest needed further psychiatric intervention and Molloy felt that he was going out on a limb by even suggesting this to the Cardinal.
    This whole concept of obedience in the face of crimes and abuse so bothered me that I did some research and had conversations with those who have a much greater knowledge of the workings of the Church than I do.What I was told was that Msgr. Molloy was not correctly interpreting his vows. If a Bishop or Cardinal is engaging in criminal behavior or making decisions that could harm children,the vow of obedience is not meant to protect those who are the cause of the problem.The vow of obedience is not in place so that the hieracrchy can do wrong and get away with it ,it is not what it is meant for.
    I am so grateful to Father Chris for being a member of the panel on the site. He is offering what has been so lacking-information,insight and dialogue.

  4. Fr. Chris I appreciate your communication with us. My concern is that this crime continues because of silence and lack of action. If your silence means you are acting quietly then there is still hope. As for speaking out during homilies and in bullentins that would mean you have to attend mass……..the people that need to hear you the most….the victims in many cases have panic attacks at the mire mention of going to mass or seeing a priest.Thus the population that needs to hear what you have to say the most is despairing and a few even killed themselves.How are you reaching out to those that don’t come to you…..if you are not speaking out publicly?

    1. I should clarify “by your silence” I mean the collective priesthood that seems silent in general not you personally. Obviously you are speaking out. But how else can victims be reached if they don’t attend mass because of their abuse as well as their family members? I have heard generations of families stop going because one family member has been abused.

  5. I can’t not believe what I have just read by walsh , stop the PR and take a stand, your attempt to explain what the ‘good priests’ are doing is just a lot ‘gaseous rhetoric’ , to me it reminds me of the oath of ‘omerta’ when you become a made guy !

    I have not met a priest yet who showed any ‘intestinal fortitude’ !!!!

    1. I know Father Chris personally. He doesn’t do PR. Father Chris is working for change on his terms – not the media’s or any particular group’s terms. He was invited to participate in this panel. If you met him, you’d finally know a priest with fortitude. He answered why he thinks priests are silent. We may not like the answer, but I think it’s accurate. Why are the laity silent? For as many reasons as there are people. I don’t expect you trust again. So I won’t ask for that. I don’t think I would trust anyone either if I were in your shoes. I just ask that we inform without attacking.

      1. To echo what Susan stated-having met Father Chris for me was like a breath of fresh air. I don’t think Father Chris would think an answer from him would alleviate people’s anger or appease anyone.
        He is here to have communication and answer questions from the laity.Remember we requested this from the Archdiocese and they turned us down.
        I have no problem telling Father Chris if I disagree with him – more importantly he has no problem hearing it.
        Right now I am seeing something that hasn’t yet happened in the Archdiocese – a priest is putting himself “out there” and the laity is responding with their questions and concerns.Only good things can come from that.Is it going to solve the problem? No.But it is breaking down some barriers.

  6. So many priests remain silent because 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 young males.

    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. For a priest with his life invested in the Church, to speak-out would require him to be more than a “good priest.” He would have to be a Saint!

    I was not a Saint; but as a man with a pension, I had a lot less to lose.

    Fr. Chris stated, “…on the day of our ordination we made the promise to ‘respect and obey’ the Bishop of our Archdiocese and as men of integrity we seek to do this very thing (even when our respect and obedience may be perceived as tacit approval, which it is not).”

    I have a problem with Fr. Chris’ statement for the following reasons. In the military, articles 90, 91, and 92 “…require the obedience of LAWFUL orders. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed, but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.”

    “‘I was only following orders’, has been unsuccessfully used as a legal defense in hundreds of cases (probably most notably by Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II). The defense didn’t work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since.”


    Fr. Chris, men of integrity do NOT OBEY IMMORAL and/or ILLEGAL orders given by any person (Pope, Bishop, or General). I do however understand that one may have to be a Saint in order to disobey such orders. Saints are rare, therefore many “good priests” remain silent.

    1. DrWho13, I think are two issues here. A priest with firsthand knowledge of a crime should absolutely take it directly to civil authorities. What the question and answer above addressed was the silence of the rank and file priests who in most cases have no firsthand knowledge of crimes.

      1. Susan, I understand. However, I also believe that even the rank and file priests who have no firsthand knowledge of crimes are not immune to the wrath of a person such as Rigali. As a former seminarian I know something about intimidation.

        I also understand that a “good priest” must also be a “prudent priest” if he is to make a difference in the Church. A lack of prudence will quickly render a priest “Persona non Grata,” and thus totally ineffective as an agent for change.

        Like Jesus, a good priest, will not throw his life away, but will rather lay it down for the good of the world. That requires prudence. Your point is well taken.

      2. The “Reply Button” still is not working.
        Elizabeth T. Posted:
        “I have been talking to non-catholic friends of mine and asking about this terrible time in the RCC. They are reluctant to speak on the subject. Finally one woman said that they had always thought that the priests in the Catholic Church were strange because no one could live the life they are supposed to live. No man could live that way.

        Frankly, I think we Catholics are a laughing stock in the world. Do we really believe that an organization so rich and so powerful is going to change one single thing.? Please God, there will be real change. We must rely on the civil autorities to restore our church to us.”

        For a “season” I returned to the habit of attending mass on Sundays with my dear bride, [so we could be together though I didn’t participate.] I can say that from appearances, Catholics and their priests are totally ignorant of the crisis in Catholicism. It was absolutely never mentioned from the “pulpit” or by any of the congregation. It seemed they were all just “in their own little world ” a never-never land as it were. I cannot bring up the subject with my Catholic family, it only brings the ole saw: ”
        It happens in other churches too etc.” Trouble using the medium here , have to end.

        ignorant of goings on like this blog and so on — certainly the subject of “crisis” is never addressed from the pulpit. I wonder if the posters here and on other similar media are aware just how little is known or discussed of this whole tragedy among the general Catholic population?

  7. ‘Omerta’ seems to me to be a totally correct term to use to define the relationship priests have with their superiors and with the people. Secrets, secrets, secrets. As I say, keep your secrets.

    HOWEVER, when your special life, your special vows, your special needs inflict HARM on innocent children and vulnerable adults, that is when I am interested and I want your special life stopped!! Before you deal with the people of the church, REMEMBER that we are ALL governed by the CIVIL LAW, and as persons equal before the law, yuo are obliged to obey the law as much as I am.

    This blog, and many others like it, are coming to the conclusion that it will probably take radical action–lawsuits, indictiments–to make you all understand that we mean it.

    1. Elizabeth T,

      You’re right. “This blog, and many others like it, are coming to the conclusion that it will probably take radical action–lawsuits, indictments–to make you all understand that we mean it.”

      This is a war. Without the power of civil and criminal law we will not be able to split open the rotten underbelly of this secret organization. We know the enemy and they will holdout until they are brought down from the outside.

      1. Well said, drwho.

        The Philadelphia Grand Jury report told part of the story. Every city has a similar story. The one consistent thing is that the behavior of the Catholic church will embarrass its followers as we try to rip the truth out of them.

  8. You’re not going to like this, Fr Chris, but I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to fight against child rape.

    Here are some reasons:

    1) They don’t think child rape is a big deal.

    A few priests, like Bishop Vangheluwe of Belgium, who had sex with his nephew, starting at age 5, admitted that the thought it was no big deal. He also had sex with his other nephew.

    Father Van B in the Netherlands, who has been serving on the board of directors of a group dedicated to making pedophilia legal, says pedophilia is no big deal.

    These are finally two honest priests. Reprehensible, but honest.

    2) These priests are cowards, are afraid of being fired, and don’t understand true commitment to God

    They do what they are told by their bosses, the bishops and the pope, who tell them to be silent. If they speak up, they will be fired. They might have to work for a car wash to survive, and they wouldn’t live as nice of a lifestyle, even thought they would be doing the right thing in God’s eyes.

    3) There are no future promotions for the outspoken

    4) They all know that the problem is much, much, much worse than we’ve seen.

    They hear each other’s confessions. They hear insider info. They see it happen. In a story I just read the other day at http://bit.ly/jGHoCS a priest walked in on another having sex with a child, closed the door, walked out, and did nothing.

    5) The “greater good”

    They are supposed to be following the word of God, but instead will listen to the bishops.

    Bishops will tell priests internally they they are all doing this for “the greater good”, because the scandal would take people away from the church, and even though a hundred thousand children will have their lives ruined by pedophile priests, more than a hundred thousand people would leave the church if the truth got out.

    Bad strategy – God let the word get out, and now you are not only the church that committed rampant child rape, you are the church that lied about it in a consistent, coordinated, contrived manner.

    There are more reasons, all similarly based in cowardice, apathy, or evil.

    This isn’t rocket science. It is about right and wrong. The Catholic church and its priests know the difference, but they choose the wrong for the same reason 5 year old kids do – they think they might get away with it.

    The amazing thing to me is that they think they will get away with it in front of God. I have to believe God has a special place for all of them, and its not heaven. Maybe they will relive the lives of these kids for eternity.

    I’m not here to make friends, Fr Chris. Now tell me where I’m wrong.

  9. Father Chris,

    Thank you for reflecting on my question and sharing your insights.

    Regardless of the lofty theological and ecclesiastical nature of the Vow of Obedience, the reality is that it fosters a paralyzing, inhumane and immoral climate of fear, inclining priests to sacrifice their integrity, suppress their consciences, and live inauthentic lives. The vow and its resulting fear act to arrest the psychological, moral and spiritual maturity of our priests.

    While many priests may be working on finding their voices and devising ways to deliver them, I’m skeptical because the leadership they are inclined to rely on for permission and support has virtually imploded. I don’t see priests speaking without being led.

    While I consider your response to have taken few risks, it informed me. Interestingly, the real strength of the response lies in who authored it.

    You have the character and wisdom to affect and improve the Church. May you continue to be blessed with the courage it will demand.

    Thank you. Katherine Fitzgerald

  10. I am not in any way attacking ‘chris’ personally or professionally , however the time for talking is long past and it is now time for action, hopefully ‘chris’ will go to Harrisburg and petition the Legislators to pass pending legislation that will hold EVERYONE accountable that includes the ‘enables and perps’ , no more TALKING and WHINING ! The change in the laws will not destroy the ‘rcc’ it will save it by forcing out those who have infiltrated its ranks and use its creditably to abuse !!!!

    1. We’ll see how many Catholics line the streets in front of the courthouse or in protest in front of their Archdiocese Headquaters. Their child hasn’t been abused yet, Unable. They just can’t understand why we the victims, or parents of the victims are so frustrated and fed up.

  11. While I understand trying to be kind and protective of people brought into this forum, one thing I have liked about this site is being a place where people can be honest with their feelings. Certainly not abusive, but honest.

    So many of us feel like we cannot, or have tried to, honestly express our upsetment and outrage, to the church only to have it fall on deaf ears.

    I would hope in the interest of honesty, people coming to this site are not looking for easy questions, and soft replies. How can there be such a thing when the subject is abuse and rape of children? If so, it would just be more of the same of what the church provides, and that is nothing.

    I think that people here mostly just feel strongly about the “wrongness” of this entire situation, and are justifiably angry. Should we take it out on each other, no. Should we take it out on every priest we come accross. Probably not. But given the current climate in Philadelphia (speaking for my own community.. I know this sad situation has existed in more places than anyone would care to think about)..can you blame anyone? The bottom line is, no one knows what each other has been through.

    The vows a priest takes may be technically to the Bishop but does anyone really believe that, that would include covering up information, doing bad and terrible things all in the name of the Bishop, and that makes them not responsible for thier own actions? From Kathy’s response above, clearly not. Yet it seems to be an excuse that is given for silent priests. I think that is what is being addressed to Fr. Chris. It’s great that he, as well as everyone else who has a voice here, is using it. But, is the world of clergy so terribly blurred or controlled that individual thought processes, such as right and wrong, no longer apply?

  12. Susan and Kathy and Fr. Chris: I know this is a difficult moment but I trust God has his reasons for all the communication being aired on the subject of clergy silence. Lets let it happen naturally and assess it at some point in the future. We will see the divine plan at that juncture. Trust. Love DrNick

  13. One matter drwho13 mentioned, his pension from another job he had before entering the seminary, deserves, in my judgment, more attention. I asked, early on, in 2003 I believe, why more priests were not speaking out. Someone suggested it would be financially risky, because their pensions depended on their being in a good relationship w/ the bishop. So, I inquired whether priest’s pensions were vested after a certain period of time, as they are in most employment relationships. I was told to mind my own business, which tells you the answer. It seems a “baby step” the laity could take would be to make continued contributions to the parish &/or diocese contingent on the pastor’s pension being vested after he has served as a priest for 3 years.

    1. In Philadelphia, I hear priest pensions are held in a discretionary fund. You may recall the Archdiocese published in their parish bulletin insert that Lynn’s legal fees were being paid out of a discretionary fund. Hmmm. If I were a priest, I’d be asking about that. My guess is that Archdiocesan finances are the second biggest mess after the child sex abuse cover up. Let’s see some in depth annual reports. What has been published up to this point is a laughable overview. Anyone who has worked with the Archdiocese as a consultant on finances is welcome to comment on this. We would love to hear from you. I’m sure the legal team had them sign non-disclosures though. Bases covered. Pensions may not be, though.

  14. Deidre
    Always continue to ask your questions,express your anger. I like you,do not want more of the same,lack of transparency etc…
    I think Father Chris’s answer can be looked at as an explanation of the culture of the Church not an excuse . I will never agree with priests not speaking out because of a law of obedience-that will never make sense to me,I will never accept it.Thank God I am a woman because I would have made a terrible priest!

  15. As a survivor of priest sexual abuse for 25 years by 3 catholic priests please tell me the difference between having blind loyalty to your Bishop and looking the other way when you know little boys and girls are being raped some for years, remaining silent, tell me the difference between this and the holocaust where those under Hitler were “just following orders blindly?”. Where was the compassion and empthy while I struggled to get help and was reabused and NO ONE believed me or cared? Where are the “good priests” as they try to find their voice after all these years and thousands of children, lives distroyed some who in their desperation committed suicide, when will they “find their voice? Morally, I am ashamed of this church and its priests and the lack of courage they seem to have in the face of such a travesty suffered at the hands {holy orders sacred hands of priests?} of our children. Tell me where was the respect of our little human bodies as we were being touched by these sacred hands and in cases brutalized. I’m sorry Fr. Chris, you and all the other priests bishops and cardinals don’t get a free pass by explaining about your loyalty and obedience to a criminal bishop who looked the other way and protects his own priests who are raping children, remember they knew, the bishops knew what was going on and took care of their brother priests and told us the victims to keep quiet.

    1. So well said, Vicky. My heart goes out to you. I am physically sick as I read your post. You have been shown that the world is a dark, evil place, entirely because of the Catholic church. You have such strength to have risen above it.

      People in Hitler’s Germany might have an excuse when they meet God because the penalty for speaking out was death for themselves and their families.

      Catholics will look so pitiful in front of God, as he is surrounded by you and thousands of other child victims, all crying uncontrollably in the arms of God. I don’t understand why Catholics don’t grasp that they won’t be allowed into heaven.

  16. Some of the apparently silent priests may be in complicated positions as public awareness grows. The 1st Philadelphia Grand Jury report (2001 jury, 2003 report) mentioned “non-offenders” in a Finding:
    (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.”

    To the extent this has continued, more than officials and abusers have carried out the coverup. How many would not be easily determined. Perhaps coming calls for witnesses will bring some out.

    If drwho13 had not brought up the military parallel (6/7 5:17PM), I intended to. They are adamant about strict obedience because, someday, lives are likely to depend on it. They are equally adamant about the _obligation_ to reject unlawful orders from a superior. Occurrences may be rare and very difficult to handle, but, nevertheless, the obligations are very clear. No doubt, something similar can be found in the depths of moral theology. It needs to be observable on the streets as we continue to experience the unravelling of the clerical tradition of child sexual abuse coverup. I consider Father Walsh’s contribution invaluable as a relevant perspective, discouraging though it may be to hear.

    1. Well said, Jack.

      I respectfully disagree that “silent priests may be in complicated positions as public awareness grows”, though. The position isn’t complicated. God made it simple – tell the truth.

      I also read the part of the Grand Jury report and wondered why they didn’t try to prosecute the other priests for being a part of the conspiracy, for obstructing justice, et cetera. The DA must be afraid of Catholic congregation backlash.

      This is why it is so important to fight for the truth.

  17. Fr. Chris have you or any other of the other priests ever thought to come to a Fri. Vigil not necessarily to support Voice of the Faithful or catholics4change but just to meet and talk to the victims and their faimlies and concerned catholics? I have thought on more than one occassion that is what Jesus would do. I think it could possibly be the start of healing in some people that are open and to change and renewal in the church. I have been praying about it.

    1. Beth, I actually had not thought of thi but I am very open to such an opportunity. Thank you for the invitation. I assume the Vigil you refer to is the morning gathering outside the Archdiocese Office Building? fr chris

      1. Fr, Chris,
        You are correct it is at 222 North 17th Street. It is a vigil that is held the first Fri. of the month from 12-1. Sr. Turlish from Voice of the Faithful organizes it but others groups are welcome.She will not be meeting in July because of the holiday but it is open to anyone wanting to keep kids in the church safe and stop the abuse and coverups. I am rather conservative and have some idea differences with Voice of the Faithful but they are doing a great job trying to help victims and stop abuse. I think all catholics need to join together to protecct kids and renew the church. I have met many good people at the Vigils and I think it is a step in the right direction if you and some other concerned priests come and meet and speak to victims, their families and other concerned catholics.Peace

      2. What a sight that would be- imagine not just 1 priest but scores of priests showing up and listening, perhaps for the first time, to the victims and those affected by the “sins” of the fathers. Imagine …

      3. Or better yet- imagine what it would look like for all those caring, concerned priests (and caring, concerned catholics who have the courage to come, also) to show up in their street clothes at a non-catholic, non-religious meeting place and just listen to every victim who would be willing to tell their story.

        I know from personal experience that there is immense power in those stories- power to change hearts and to motivate others to action to help expose the truth of the abuse and the cover-up.

        If anyone can make that happen, let me know. I will be there with my story and my song of hope.

  18. There are very few good priests who do speak out for the victims, but when they do step up to the plate the Church has silenced them, removed them from ministry, and ruined their careers. Yet the priests who abuse children are not removed, but rather transferred from one parish to another to abuse more children. This makes it obvious that the church doesn’t care about what happened to me when I was a kid, or putting your kid in the path of people who ruin lives.

    Even priests who have admitted to abusing children remained in ministry for many years after accusation arose. Just take Google Fr. O’Grady, Fr. Birmingham, Fr. Geoghan, or half the priests named on Bishop-Accountability.org

    I have yet to find an “active priest in good standing with the Church” to have any backbone at all. I am reminded by a priest who once commented to an article on this site where he claimed that the reason he keeps silent is because the Church pays salary, provides him with a place to live, and at his older age, he couldn’t imagine being homeless. That is just bull! Even the abusers, who go through the process of being defrocked, it takes many years to defrock these guys. If this priest was in his older years, chances are, he’d be dead before he would be defrocked. Besides, I’d rather live in a cardboard box than to allow someone to abuse a child right under my nose. If I know of a child being abused, the world is going to know who the abuser is and what he’s done. YOU WILL NEVER GET ME TO BE SILENT!

    I don’t believe good priests speak out, because I don’t believe good priests exist. Granted, I’m biased because I was abused by a priest, but how could anyone believe in such a person or group of people that know this is happening and staying silent about it?! As a parent, would you walk away from one of your child’s friends who was being abused, or would you stand up and do something about it?

    “Good priests?” Isn’t that a contradiction of terms?!

  19. I notice my post on this topic was not allowed. It certainly was not “out of line” with similar posts by others. Please explain why my post was not allowed.

  20. Father Chris, Thank you for responding. WHERE are all your brother priests? Forget the pensions… Forget about obedience to the Cardinal/Bishops. How about divine providence? God will provide – it may be a bed in a Catholic Social Services Homeless Shelter(!) for awhile but God WILL provide.

    Would you sell your soul with your silence for a “pension”? I believe Jesus is soooooo unhappy with the Cardinal, the Bishops, all the silent priests, and with all the silent Catholics. I know there are many, many good priests out there. STAND UP. We, the faithful, need you.

    1. I love your comment, Maureen, which was said much more softly than I will say it.

      The answer is pretty clear to me. Priests lack true faith, lack true compassion for victims, and don’t like the idea of poverty of any sort. They will not stand up for the true spirit of their religion and God if the downside is poverty. None of them in the U.S. are going to starve (like many people on the planet do), but they won’t get the same meals and housing if they stand up for the victims of child rape, so they make a conscious choice.

      And they all make the same choice. This is an absolute church-wide philosophy. No priest will stand up to do the right thing – the Catholic thing.

  21. Kathy, I think there are some women out there that would make wonderful priests, but I suppose I’m a very liberal Catholic. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have seen the compansionate side of many priests. For those of you who have, you clearly have had a different experience. My husband was an alter server in a local church years ago where a priest had been arrested for abuse (way back when). Since this issue continues to surface, it has to be clear to clergy today that many have major trust issues.

    I hope Fr. Chris continues to speak out, and I hope he will pray for those of us who are really struggling right now to see our faith clearly. I really want some
    positive experience here, for people like Vicky who have been directly injured,
    and those of us who are just confused about supporting a church that harbors and
    covers up abuse.

  22. While it may not be easy to speak out, I believe we are called to do so, and our priests must lead publicly on this issue. The culture that makes every attempt to resolve things privately allowed the abuse to continue for decades, and has exasperated many of us who see hypocrisy on the part of our spiritual leaders.

    The laity wants our priests to speak up publicly… in opposition to the secrecy that allowed the abuse to continue, in opposition to the disgraceful way victims and their families were treated, in opposition to the shunning (or worse) of those who did try to report abuse or those who desire to hold the Church leaders accountable for their action/inaction. We want you to speak up for the victims, for their families, for admitting mistakes and crimes, to speak up for renewed leadership in the archdiocese. We want you to address the crisis of faith this has brought about for so many Catholics.

    I have known wonderful priests, as well as some not-so-wonderful priests. It is not fair that all priests get painted with the same brush of distrust that this crisis has caused so many to do. It is certainly not an easy time to be a priest. In my opinion, though, much of this blanket of distrust is the result of the silence on the part of our spiritual leaders. Please, please, speak out.

    This passage from Matthew continues to come to my mind as we talk about this crisis…

    Matthew 21:12-16

    Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

    The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

    “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

    “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

  23. There are priests reading this discussion.

    How can the laity be instrumental in affecting the forces that impair your ability to engage freely in reforming the Church?

  24. I wanted to add a conversation I had with my kids about some of this a while back. They both attend Catholic school. It came up during a discussion about what Msgr. Lynn (specifically because he is/was our pastor and involved with the school kids on a daily basis), did wrong, and other priests that know things and don’t speak up. The kids had questions because some in thier school kept saying Lynn did nothing wrong. I told them this…

    If mom or dad had a boss that asked them do something wrong or illegal, we would be punished for it, if we did do it, and if we were caught.

    kids: what if the priest would get in trouble with his boss if he spoke up?

    If something truely horrible happened and you knew about it, and it hurt someone, aren’t you also responsible?

    kids: Yes, because not doing anything would be the wrong thing to do. And if the boss knew about it, he should get in trouble too.

    I think it is as simple as this. Alot of us working today (if we’re lucky enough…even if we are underemployed), don’t have job security or pensions for that matter. So concerns about personal security as an excuse for priests being silent, is inexcusable for looking the other way when it comes to abusing children. We all live in a world of uncertainty (financial and otherwise). I suppose we all have to put our faith in God, that things will all work out, but I think He still needs us to attempt to do the right thing and help out a bit.

    My kids wanted thier father and I to not go to our parish meeting, to quit talking about this out of fear. I never wanted to teach my kids that doing the right thing should make them afraid. I think it is sad that people they have looked up to have let them down in such a way.

    1. Diedre,

      You are a good parent, but most other Catholic parents aren’t. (Note that this is a factual statement and not a condemnation of all Catholic parents. If more than 50% say Lynn didn’t do anything wrong, thats “most”).

      The weak parents tell their kids that Msgr Lynn did nothing wrong. Then the kids will reach an age, maybe at 16, when they find out the truth (from the Internet, which will be on their Iphones):

      Priests raped 12 year old boys, and Msgr Lynn knew about it. He hid it. He moved them, and they raped again. Not once, but dozens of times. Lynn didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want to get in trouble.

      At 16, they will be horrified that children 4 years younger than them were raped by priests. They will remember that their parents knew all this, but still said “Msgr Lynn did nothing wrong”. They won’t ask their parents to explain. They made their case clear. So did the church.

      They will have learned so much about trust in their parents and in the Catholic church, all while they are leaning about the wonder of sex and the filthy depravity of sex by priests in the Catholic church.

      They will talk to their friends. They will develop thoughts of their own about right and wrong and trust. You know 16 year olds – they won’t go back to their parents for clarification and a healthy, honest debate. They will know that unprecedented evil was “nothing wrong”. They will know that there is no such thing as trusting their parents, priests or the church.

      Good luck with those kids in the future. Sometimes, you get the kids you create. The church gets the community it creates.

      The Catholic church and most of its parents are lying about Msgr Lynn. When you lie, you have to be really, really smart to cover all of the bad ramifications. Guess what…

    2. This was a great analogy to use in order to explain the situation to your children, Deidre. What an awful atmosphere for them to have to endure….children whose parents refuse to see the horrible wrongdoing and trying to make your children feel bad for seeing it! I don’t know how you’re doing it! How exasperating! I’m struggling enough with keeping my children in their Catholic Schools because of all this and we don’t have THAT to deal with. God Bless You for teaching them RIGHT, not wrong. I agree with Patrick…..someday when the other children realize the truth and see the side their parents were on, those parents are going to have some explaining to do as to why they didn’t take the side of the violated child.

      1. Jackie,

        In reference to your last line, the insidious thing is that parents won’t have to explain it to their 16 year olds. Actions speak louder than words, and the kids will know. They won’t ask for an explanation.

        They are in a phase where trust is so critical and communication is so difficult. A lot of them are in a rebellious stage, and are looking for an excuse to use to get away with drinking, doing drugs, going to parties, or having sex. They will have a whole new excuse when they say to you – “trust me”.

  25. Just a note, this was made in light of the difficulty of hosting a website. Kathy and Susan are doing a great service/ministry in hosting this website. They are responding quickly to the many needs of this groups – victims, advocates, and the many bloggers who contribute. We are all human and I know I am a sinner. Just know that many child molesters blame their victims.

    I have a problem with the money for support of these lawyers while reading of more scholl closing. With three teachers in Philly Catholic Schools, I fear for their pensions when they are retired. Probably on welfare and food stamps – nice reward for their service to our kids.

    In case it doesn’t post there, this is a reference to my comment about the internet.

  26. This is in response to the question to the priests.
    How can the laity be instrumental in affecting the forces that impair your ability to engage freely in reforming the Church?
    I think this is an excellent question. I have thought the same thing quit often. What can the laity do to help the priests in reform?FYI I responded this way because the relpy icon did not work but despite the glitches this discussion is getting alot of input from readers which is good.

    1. Martin, I intentionally chose “perceived” (but perhaps could have also used “alleged”) because while there are obviously many documents that lead us to “perceive” that a cover up took place that has not yet been proven in a court of law. While engaged in these conversation I am making the effort to be honest, fair and charitable. Fr Chris

  27. Since this topic is about the “silence” in the hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, what ever happened with Msgr. Conway, his spokesperson, Paul Logan, Esq. and the letter sent by the pastor to Cardinal Rigali regarding the concerns of the parishioners at Mary Mother Redeemer in North Wales, PA?

    Has there been any information about what has happened next in this pastor’s gesture to speak up and out and have his concerns (and that of his parishioners) recognized and responded to by archdiocesan leaders?

  28. The anger that we have against our priests is here for all to see. The prayers that there will be healing, that this time of struggle is being guided by the Spirit are all very nice, but they do not address the reality of the crimes that have been committed by the priests against our children, by the hierarchy against our children.

    I have been talking to non-catholic friends of mine and asking about this terrible time in the RCC. They are reluctant to speak on the subject. Finally one woman said that they had always thought that the priests in the Catholic Church were strange because no one could live the life they are supposed to live. No man could live that way.

    Frankly, I think we Catholics are a laughing stock in the world. Do we really believe that an organization so rich and so powerful is going to change one single thing.? Please God, there will be real change. We must rely on the civil autorities to restore our church to us.

    1. Eliz T,

      “They are reluctant to speak on the subject”

      No offense, since I think we’re on the same side, but I think they are reluctant to talk to you. No upside in arguing with someone about their religion.

      Your 3rd paragraph is right on. The Catholic church is a laughing stock. Some snippets from this year:

      – Bishop Vangheluwe from Belguim admits having sex with his nephew starting at age 5, and says its no big deal

      – nobody here seems to realize, but Ireland has the biggest Catholic sex abuse scandal in the world, where the new tag line is that “1 in 4” has been raped by a priest. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who has tried to speak up, is being silenced by the Vatican.

      – Father Van B in the Netherlands, who has been serving on the board of directors of a group dedicated to making pedophilia legal, says pedophilia is no big deal.

      – this week, in Kansas City, we find that Bishop Finn didn’t read a memo from a school principal warning about a pedophile in their midst, and then he didn’t bring it to the police station, and then he let the family destroy evidence

      The Internet and social media save the truth forever, and the truth is comical to the outside world.

    2. Elizabeth T. –

      Assure your non-Catholic friend that many priests don’t live “the life they are supposed to live”, assuming that means unmarried and continent. A well-researched summary with many references can be found in “The Celibate Myth” by Richard Sipe. Last year, priests’ mistresses in Italy wrote to the Pope seeking his support. The Vatican confirmed in 2001 reports of priests sexually abusing nuns in about 23 countries. The difference between celibacy theory and practice is substantial enough to lead to Sipe’s rough estimate that, at any one time, about 50% of priests are celibate in practice.

      This obviously relates to our immediate question of why so many priests are silent. One who has his own sexual pursuits to conceal is not likely to speak out about another’s, even if the other’s is child sexual abuse. That is because all forms are usually considered by most to conflict with celibacy, a defining characteristic of a Roman Catholic priest (except for those for whom John Paul II and Benedict XVI have waived the rule).

      Thus, an unfortunate consequence of the celibacy rule is to facilitate the observable coverup of clerical sexual abuse of youngsters.

  29. “The Catholic church and most of its parents are lying about Msgr Lynn. When you lie, you have to be really, really smart to cover all of the bad ramifications.”

    I so understand about the web of lies from the Roman Catholic Church. I lived in them from birth until a young woman, but was caught in the undertow until my mid thirties and perhaps even beyond on some levels.

    I see that the lies do not stop at rape and child abuse, but that the very core of the Church is filled with lies and darkened understanding. God always darkens the understanding of those who would prefer a lie to His truth. Eph 4:18 This is what we are seeing today.

    We also see that God has given these Catholic priests up to “vile affections” and to a “reprobate” mind. I know as an Ex-Catholic, that Catholics do not rely on the word of God, as much as they do the priests and popes…however in light of the conversations going on here, perhaps you would read Romans 1:15 through verse 32…you may see a lot of the underlying problems in the Roman Catholic Church.

    I believe these same evil crimes against humanity have been going on at the same rate since the inception of the RCC. These unspeakable crimes against children is just now being made known on a level that cannot be hidden, passed over or denied anymore. Thank you God for this “global” ability through TV, News, and the Internet, or the devils would slide as usual. Some are now being found out and brought to task, though one of the largest evil forces, the RCC, is trying to stem the blood flow from it’s coffers by any means, but it seems that an artery has been hit…

    1. If all the priests of integrity would stand up and speak the blackballing by their bishops would have to stop. I support the view that anyone in the church from volunteer to cardinal who participates in any way in sexual abuse of the people, no matter what their age, needs to be prosecuted. Frankly, if I were a priest, I would rather be homeless, hungry and have my “career” destroyed then face Jesus, having kept quiet about the suffering of the people.

  30. “saved by grace” said:
    “Some are now being found out and brought to task, though one of the largest evil forces, the RCC, is trying to stem the blood flow from it’s coffers by any means, but it seems that an artery has been hit…”

    How about revising to “blood flow from its coffins by any means, but it seems that an artery has been hit…?”
    Of course I’m using hyperbole and rhetoric in all this. The situation is nonetheless serious though, in my opinion. When all is said and done the way to go for seekers of truth is out of Roman Catholicism.” Leave them alone” was the way Jesus put it.
    He says in His Word that He will eventually deal with them.

  31. “Clerical elitism” corrupts many within the RCC hierarchy, as it trickles down the clerical ranks, to the superiors of the secular-orders and finally infects the leaders of parish-ministries. The upper ranks operate within their feudal pockets of power and control, without accountability or transparency. This develops into a sophisticated system of endemic and systemic abuse, perfected over time, under the rules of spiritual/catholic formation, which include absolute obedience to one’s superiors, humility, poverty of spirit etc. No virtues are accredited to the courageous, who speak up for social justice and against criminal activities. Superiors ‘play God’ as they expel dissenters on the grounds that the later have lost their ‘faith or their vocations’, while the ‘group-think’ mentality fosters fear, intimidation, hypocracy, secrecy, corruption and abuse. It would take a miracle to change this kind of mind-set.

      1. I don’t hate you at all for saying that Patrick. That is the dealbreaker for me -the obedience in the face of criminal and horrendous acts done to children. That is when I say the same thing-it starts to feel like a cult.Those who speak out against the clericalism and wrongdoing are the ones who are silenced/punished.None of it makes sense. As one commentor on the site summed up perfectly when she said “Jesus is looking down at this saying this is not what my Church was intended to be”

      2. KK,

        And the cover up and deliberate ignoring of the victims isn’t a mistake, it isn’t one person, it wasn’t made hastily, and there’s no way God or Jesus approves.

        Bishops knew about it and covered it up. All 5000 of them treated it the exact same way, worldwide. They’ve known for at least 60 years, and they are absolutely, positively breaking God’s laws and What Jesus Would Do.

        Therefore, how does any true Catholic go to this church without trying to overthrow it? That’s what I can’t understand for the life of me. Is it a lack of brains, a lack of compassion for children, or a lack of knowledge about What Jesus Would Do?

        It’s a cult.

  32. Speaking up: Perfectly stated. I pose a similar question on drnickmazza.wordpress.com entitled “GoodPeople 2 GoodPriests”. This site is established specifically to address this problems in the priesthood. Please visit and continue the conversation.

  33. I see you already answered this question here. I asked you in a different thread.

    I don’t think your answer is an answer at all.

    What a sad commentary from a sad lot of men.

    1. I am glad you revisited this thread since I have more to add. Fr. Christ said: “Many priests prefer to avoid conflict.” I understand why! [chuckle]

      And he said ” … every attempt to resolve things privately …. ordination promise …. respect and obey…[ we appear to approve though we don’t always approve] … and finally …”I ask that you accept the silence” as “good.”
      My Question [since this is the Q&A place] What evidence is there that as you claim: “that the Holy Spirit is moving amongst the priests in a new way?”
      What has “Pentecost”to do with anything? That was a Jewish feast day —-nothing happens on “Pentecost” for you and the other priests!”
      Fr. Chris: “… to continue announcing the good news of Jesus Christ.”
      No, you only have bad news, no “good news.”
      You deny the Good News.

  34. This is not an answer to the Q but it is at least relevant to it. Ask your priest if his pension is vested? Whether he has served for 4 years or 40, I bet the answer is “I do no know” or, worse, “no, it isn’t”. We, the laity, people like the Roundtable who does best practices research for the church, should not allow that to continue. It makes them little better than serfs.

    1. They do get a salary and own cars and some even own shore and mountain houses many nuns don’t even have a car. It is always good to hear new information.

      1. Beth – yes, but it is all at the discretion of someone in the hierarchy. I agree, the priests are much better off than the sisters, at least financially, but neither are an excuse for us, the laity, doing what is right for those who serve the church. If we ignore the fact that the sisters & the priests are at the mercy of the leaders of their order, on the one hand, or, the bishop of their diocese, on the other, re their retirement, including their medical care (since most have opted out, at the hierarchy’s request, of the SS system), we are complicit in the way the hierachy excercises the control which gives rise to the Q which started this converseration.

  35. not a question, just a comment. Forbes Magazine listed clergyman as being one of the happiest jobs, #1 out of 10. I guess so, no mortgage, rent, light bill, phone bills, grocery bills,, insurances, etc. etc etc. and we wonder why they don’t want to speak up…. where the heck could they ever get a job like this…

    1. And … wherever they are sent … the “congregation” or fold of sheep is there waiting for them … with open arms. Sheesh! The biggest scam ever, and it has gone on for literally centuries.

      1. I don’t think people are welcoming them with open arms…maybe that hoopla is reserved for those with the special hats and vestments.

        Where we are from…the question when a new priest is assigned is usually, “I wonder what’s wrong with this one?” Sadly, they have reason to ask the question.

        That welcome luncheon and pasted smiles are out of obligation alone.

        Just like in any job/vocation assignment, they finally have to “prove” themselves. To me, that’s a refreshing change.

  36. I stood at an altar before God and promised I would welcome children and bring them up in the faith. Yes, I promised. THAT was the stumbling block for me and why I stayed longer than I was being lead to stay.

    Fr. Chris, in a nutshell, you talk about conversations among priests, the Holy Spirit, but really the crux of it is that priests promise to obey their bishops, and then some discussion about priests comfort levels and trying to find their voice, etc. Priests are putting their promise to obey a bishop ahead of what God commands…that isn’t about integrity, that’s cowardice. You can call it what you want, but it doesn’t change what it is. In order for priests to speak up, it would require courage and trust that your Heavenly Father would supply the strength needed to withstand the “beating” you’d take from those in this world who wouldn’t understand.

    Priests preach it, but they don’t live it…it’s inauthentic and that is why people are leaving or are sickened by the lack of response. How can you say, “Follow Him no matter the consequences,” when you don’t do it yourselves?

    You want the people in the pews to understand that even though priests are silent on this issue, it doesn’t mean they are complacent, or not concerned about what is happening. Your silence is a choice.

    Yet, the laity know…and more and more are starting to realize….so every time a priest stays silent or preaches about the church being a victim in some way (catholic media haters, low percentage of priests who abuse, it’s in other areas of society, not just us, etc) it confirms that you are CHOOSING who you follow…and it isn’t Him, it’s a bishop. It reminds me of someone eating a piece of bread while watching someone starve to death in front of them…”Really, I care about you starving to death, I was just talking to my other obese friends and fat landlord the other day about your plight.”

    I could even understand if priests lacked the courage to stand up to their bishops…but then what is stopping them from shepherding their laity about this? How can reaching out to victims and supporting their families through this be against a bishop? I don’t understand, or unfortunately, I do understand. Do you see why it’s not only the victims and their families that are upset, but now the laity? They see it. They feel it. They KNOW. Priests lack the courage to stand up for what is right.
    Does the laity have what it takes to do what is right despite their pope, bishops, and priests?

    1. Survivors wife that was one of the BEST blogs I have ever read on this site!!!!!!! You summed up exactly how I feel. If the priests preach the truth and live the truth which they are afraid to do then the money will follow also( I think many of them are concerned about how the church is losing money and how it will affect them and their parishes……..welcome to the world of the vicitms who who have money problems too because of their abuse ). If the priests continue this way many more catholics will leave and victims despair. I know alot of priests are “waiting” and “watching” (playing it safe)to see how things turnout with the new Archbishop but “the church will be burned down” by then so to speak and it will be a heck of alot harder to rebuild then if they would have tried to put out the fire basically by preaching and living the truth and going to the victims and asking what help they need to heal. Because if one part of Christ’s body is suffering we all feel it.

    2. Very nicely written.

      I’ve said these bishops are the “false idols” God was talking about, and that the genius of the Anti-Christ is that he is trying to drop your standards and make you think it’s ok.

      Let’s take your “bread” analogy a step further. Facts:

      – Archbishop Dolan, the biggest bishop in the United States (who is also obese, and constantly making jokes about it), lives in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, which is worth about $250 million
      – 2,000 children die of hunger every day. That’s one every 40 seconds, or about 750,000 a year
      – if the Catholic church sold St Patrick’s Cathedral, they could cure hunger for over a year

      What would Christ want? Keep great property and money or let children die of the world’s most curable disease. I’m guessing He wouldn’t wait 40 seconds to make the decision.

      Sell one church. Cure hunger for a year. Show leadership that would show the world the sacrifices the “one, holy and apostolic church” would make to save the “least of My brothers”. New Yorkers will make the sacrifice and go another 6 blocks to find another Catholic church. If necessary, those churches will do 6 masses a day instead of 3. Sacrifice. If the world doesn’t cure hunger, we’re selling another church next year.

      What would Anti-Christ want? Drop your standards so far that a billion Catholics think my suggestion is absolutely absurd, as all Catholics do. They are coming up with their reasons in their head. Now, imagine it’s your judgement day. Give those reasons to God. Your eternity depends on it.

  37. Just a little tid-bit to go along with what Patrick wrote: One can look “high and low” in scripture and not find a single place where believers are seeking to build meeting places,let alone temples or cathedrals. Homes , fields, beaches, are fine for true believers. We take the Holy Spirit us wherever we go anyway.

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