Archdiocese Behaves the Way It Does, Because It Can


By Sister Maureen Turlish, Guest Blogger

First, let me say the Archdiocesan Communications Director’s comments in regard to the Philadelphia Magazine article are not worthy of response. But for those who would like to respond directly, her email is dfarrell@adphila.org.

Those who have the print edition of Philadelphia Magazine’s July issue have probably already read editor Tom McGrath’s comments “On the Church” on page 8. McGrath comments that the 2011 report is “essentially saying that little about the archdiocese’s behavior had changed over the previous five years.”

Actually nothing substantive has changed in the archdiocese’s behavior in the period between the 2005 and the 2011 Philadelphia grand jury reports on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Along with Bob Huber, McGrath asks, “how the archdiocese could continue to behave in the same way once the scandal had been exposed.”

The answer to that question is profound in its simplicity. The archdiocese continued “to behave in the same way once the scandal had been exposed” was because it could, because it can.

Yes, because it could. That’s part and parcel of the reality called “Clericalism.” Bluntly put, it was/is standard operating procedure. Keeping secrets and avoiding scandal at all costs had been the order of the day for many decades. Money is the thread between keeping secrets and avoiding scandal with the operative phrase, “at all costs.”

The breadth and depth of the sexual exploitation of children by clergy may have been exposed to the larger society in 2002 in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts and later in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by the Boston Globe and the 2005 Philly grand jury report but it was not unknown by church authorities.

Cover-ups, intimidation, harassment and shunning followed reports of the sexual abuse of children for decades only most people were unaware of it, could or would not believe it or actually colluded in it.

The majority of Catholics in the five counties that comprise the Archdiocese of Philadelphia believed all the variations on the theme that church leadership put forth. Many statements coming from the cardinal archbishop’s office were falsehoods and were documented to be so. The majority of Catholics wanted to believe that their spiritual leaders were telling the truth and that they would deal with this the way it should have been dealt with.

But that was never the reality. Neither the inner workings of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding the sexual exploitation of children, young women, men, vulnerable adults including nuns nor the collusion and conspiracy of church authorities will be known until or unless all church documents involved are ordered to be made public by the courts as was the case in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts. There the chasm between Cardinal Bernard Law’s public statements that he wanted the public to believe and the reality that existed in archdiocesan files, records and his correspondence was exposed for all the world.

Keep in mind that it is only the sexual exploitation of children that is being discussed here and the only predators that the institutional church is concerned about are clerics.

When I spoke with Pennsylvania Representative Michael McGeehan when he invited me to speak in Harrisburg to the importance of the bill he has introduced, House Bill 878, he told me that following the 2005 grand jury report he believed what church authorities said. He now believes that it is society’s responsibility to protect all of Pennsylvania’s children and that sexual predators and enablers, irrespective of their religious affiliation, should be held to laws that are adequate to the problem of childhood sexual abuse which is an epidemic in this country.

Like Representative McGeehan, I expected the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church to be in the forefront in areas in sexual exploitation, whether that sexual exploitation is of children, young women, men or vulnerable adults. No only is the church not leading the parade in this area, it is not even bringing up the rear and that fact is evidenced in sentence after sentence in the grand jury reports in Philadelphia as well as other dioceses in the United States and around the world. That reality came home to me very early in 2002 when I took part in my first protest outside the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul on April 26, 2002. Both Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and I were quoted on CNN that evening. Read my October 28, 2005 article in the National Catholic Reporter:

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

Further evidence is the fact that criminal and civil statutes of limitation have been viciously opposed by states’ Catholic Conference whenever it has been proposed.

Yes, there was feigned outrage in 2005 from the archdiocese by way of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young and their 76 page rebuttal, media statements and newspaper articles galore charging a conspiracy against the church, a resurgence of the No-Nothings of almost two centuries ago, homophobic rhetoric and so on down the line. Whatever floated or seem to stick at all was pursued and elaborated on. Who can forget former Pennsylvania Congressman Rick Santorum’s comments on the sexual permissiveness of New Englanders?

Then there was the piece-de-resistance offered up by the archdiocese on September 15, 2006: “Witness to the Sorrow,” a slickly orchestrated public relations promotional piece if ever there was one. I cannot fathom Mary Achilles returning to work for the archdiocese when so much of what she recommended or was a part of had no follow-up the first time around.

No, substantive changes did not occur during those five plus years. Individuals came and left from 222 North Seventeenth Street including the aforementioned Mary Achilles.

What changed when the 2011 report was released was that arrests were made. As I said on Larry Kane’s Comcast Network earlier this year, criminal arrests were made and made possible because of some earlier changes in Pennsylvania’s criminal statutes of limitation regarding the sexual abuse of children.

While still inadequate those changes allowed for the arrest of Msgr. William Lynn, formerly in charge of priest personnel from 1992 to 2004, basically for enabling sexual abuse and conspiracy along with four others who are variously charged with sexual abuse and conspiracy. That criminal charges were made has made all the difference in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Read “Where is the Outrage? in the NCR at:

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

Before Catholics contribute to this weekend’s PETER PENCE COLLECTION they may want to read the June 24Th editorial found on the National Survivor Advocates Coalition website at:

http://nationalsurvivoradvocatescoalition.wordpress.com/editorials/

as well as Jason Berry’s new book, Render Unto Rome, The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church. Read some excerpts at:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jason+berry&x=10&y=19

Sister Maureen
maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

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59 Responses to “Archdiocese Behaves the Way It Does, Because It Can”

  1. I returned to Catholicism after a 40 year absence Easter of 2005. God showed me the beauty of the faith and that it is built on His Love. I was naive for a couple of years thinking that all Catholics saw this. I now see clearly the evidence of a major portion of laity and religious being influenced by spiritual narcissism. They exhibit a grandiose sense of self, require special treatment and admiration, can only be understood byother special or high-status people, has a sense of entitlement, requires excessive admiration, lacks empathy, interpersonally exploitative, shows arrogance, criticism is taken as an attack without merit. Maybe that is the definition of clericalism.

    • Ronald,
      At least in my mind, perhaps in others, your letter raises questions rather than answers. What do you believe about your “return” to the Roman church now? Do you still believe that God led you “back” to it?
      Please shed some light on what you truly believe, you raised some questions.

      • Gerald, I am home in my Church. I am greatly disappointed in the leadership of the Church. I have practiced as a licensed mental health counselor for over 30 years and I have treated victims of many different kinds of trauma during those years so I have an understanding of what they need for healing from the authority figures in the Church.
        It was through my work that God exhibited His Love for me and for those who came to see me for help. One 60 year old person who was diagnosed in 2003 with terminal liver cancer and had less than 6 months to live came to me for help with her depression. After several months of resolving issues related to her dying she stated then that she had nothing to live for. She called one day and stated that her hands started bleeding spontaneously in her doctor’s office, who could not give an explanation. She was also an ex-catholic and left due to the abuse that was discovered 25 years earlier in the church that her sons attended. Nothing was done. Anyway, I told her that I thought she was now in the hands of God and gave her some material about stigmata. She lived beyond her expected time of death and her hands continued to bleed more often. I asked her one day to close her eyes and ask God for some explanation. She stated that she heard we were not to know now but that I was to read Romans 8. One evening in February of ’04 she came into my office and held her palms face up. The next moment I saw blood form into her palms. We ended our counseling a month later. The next time I saw her was June of ’04. She was gray and could barely stand. She stated that her hands were still bleeding. I told her to place them on her abdomen the next time they bled. She promised to do so. I received a call from her two days later telling me that the previous day during her visit to her oncologist at a well known treatment centertt while she was having an MRI her hands started bleeding more profusely than ever before and she also had seizures. When she was stable they took the pictures and found only scar tissue on her liver. She came into my office the following day and was radiant.
        I did not see her again until November of 2005. I returned to Catholicism Easter of ’05. When I saw her in November I told her about my return to Catholicism and she started to cry and told me that the last time her hands bled was Easter Sunday of 2005. That is the short version.
        I returned to Catholicism after a 40 year absence Easter of 2005. God showed me the beauty of the faith and that it is built on His Love. I was naive for a couple of years thinking that all Catholics saw this. I now see clearly the evidence of a major portion of laity and religious being influenced by spiritual narcissism. They exhibit a grandiose sense of self, require special treatment and admiration, can only be understood byother special or high-status people, has a sense of entitlement, requires excessive admiration, lacks empathy, interpersonally exploitative, shows arrogance, criticism is taken as an attack without merit. Maybe that is the definition of clericalism.

    • Thanks Ronald, for your additional post and story. It is an interesting story. I see that your main purpose is to note that “clericalism” abounds in both the clergy and laity in the church today. Correct me if I am wrong about that please.

      It is also a wonderful thing to once again see the evidence that God still does miracles, such as the healing of the woman with cancer and the bleeding hands. Thank you.

      • You’re welcome, Gerald. I totally agree with you. If they thought more about God and less about themselves, but…

    • Some posting here may want to consider attending a gathering this Thursday evening, June 30, 2011 at 7 p.m. to

      TO MEET SOME OTHER
      CATHOLICS FOR CHANGE
      SPONSORED BY VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL

      Hear CHARLES GALLAGHER, lead prosecutor of the 2005 Grand Jury speak on the Philadelphia Church following the latest Grand Jury Report.

      Joseph Boyle of Call to Action and Association for Rights of Catholics in the Church will give a brief overview of the historic meeting which took place in Detroit, June 10-12, 2011.

      Detroit presentation of Anthony Padovano will be shown on a screen.

      At the:
      United Food and Commercial Workers Hall
      3031 A. Walton Road,
      Plymouth Meeting, PA

      More details as well as directions are found at http://www.votfgp.org

      Sister Maureen
      maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

  2. One thing is for sure about Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, you can take her out of Philadelphia, but you can’t take Philadelphia out of Sister M.P. Turlish. Persistent and tenacious, just the way advocacy is supposed to be. Sister, just keep your foot on the throat of management and leadership (????) down there at 222 N. 17th St. and once in awhile, apply some gentle pressure.

    Be assured that archdiocesan dysenteries (er, I mean dignitaries) are disturbed, annoyed, aggravated and hopefully outraged by all that you do for our children, clergy abuse victims and their families. Your diligence is a constant reminder of their failure, ignorance, deceit, treachery and hypocrisy when it comes to the innocence of the archdiocese’s youngest parishioners.

    By the way, Sister, you failed to mention that William Sasso, Chairman of Stradley and Ronon, and an “Innocence Protector” to the children of Montgomery County, referred to the First Grand Jury Report as “anti-Catholic.” I submit to this audience that the legal counsel, advice and expertise provided to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since September 2005 has been “anti-Catholic.”

  3. ‘william sasso’s’ reply to the First Grand Jury was an ‘OPINION’ and the Phila Grand Jury Report was FACT !

  4. Sister Maureen, you are brave beyond words to stand up like this for what you believe and know is right and true. I can’t imagine the snubbing and difficulties you must run up against every day in your work with other nuns and priests who would rather shove all this under the rug. God bless you for your courage. Keep up the good work.

  5. Sister Maureen, I love your strength, your fight for justice, and your fight against the Catholic church when they don’t practice the word of God. I still don’t understand why there aren’t a billion more like you, me and a few dozen more here.

    Keep up the fight. Someday, you will be up in heaven with the nickname, “God’s little sister”.

  6. Thank you Sister Maureen. What we need now is a People’s Pence Collection!! We who believe that the hierarchy must deal with us, have no power but our numbers. We need to have a collection–an ongoing one if necessary, to get a good bunch of LAWYERS.

    It is clear to me that unless and until the bishops are brought into civil court–and that will be hard for us Catholics to accept once it happens on the scale it needs to happen–then they will be made to stop the secrets and begin accepting their guilt and their shame.

    Are we really ready to to this to our “sacred clergy?”

  7. Thank you for your courage, integrity, insight and hard work, Sister Maureen.

    Consistently we have heard from the mouths of formidable scholars and thinkers who know the church, who study, speak and write about its crisis, and who advocate for reform, that THE single, most effective way to reverse the culture of clericalism, to jolt the top-down, monarchical hierarchy, and to impose reality and consciences on those who are ostensibly our moral anchors is to STOP THE MONEY.

    Stop the money is THE SOLUTION. The solution is STOP THE MONEY.

    (STOP! Don’t stop reading this! If you do, you are part of the problem. Do not turn away from THE SOLUTION because you are not convinced that it is the solution, or because you cannot conceive of how you, personally, can or would STOP THE MONEY.)

    What is wrong with us that we cannot embrace and implement the solution relentlessly articulated by formidable scholars and thinkers?

    What is wrong with us that we will not or cannot stop the money?

    There is a crisis in our church of epic proportion. Experts are telling us that its solution is to stop the money. Its solution is not to question our faith, or to leave the church, or to write the legislature, or to demonstrate at the diocesan offices. Its solution is to STOP THE MONEY.

    I am asking Catholics4Change– its moderators, readers and posters– and Jason Berry to partner, to align themselves. Together, we can lead a national effort to STOP THE MONEY. Berry’s soon to be released book will provide a stunning and compelling argument for stopping the money. It will provide the knowledge and information that is necessary to convince Catholics that stopping the money is THE solution. It will also empower Catholics who, for any number of reasons, cannot conceive of how they, personally, can or would stop the money.

    We are thinking Catholics. We wisely and conscientiously resolve our dilemmas. When experts articulate the solution, we implement it. Period.

    WE are the church…

  8. S. Reid Warren, III Reply June 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Just as Rosa Parks, Sister Maureen has tackled the male establishment. America obviously needs more women in leadership positions to speak truth to power.

    “WOMEN WHO BEHAVE RARELY MAKE HISTORY.”

  9. Interesting to come across things such as this from the past few years-smoke and mirrors

    http://archdiocese-phl.org/protection/Enhanced%20Efforts.pdf

  10. Victims4Justice.org Reply June 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    This morning, people outside of St. Philomena’s Parish in Livingston, NJ held a press conference that all or most in the crowd were abused by Msgr. John Laferrera. To date, 15 victims of Fr. Laferrera have come forward to report that they were abused by Fr. Laferrera, and lately, people have seen Fr. Laferrera driving around town in his convertible with young boys in the car. The protestors were harassed by a few Catholic parishioners.

    Fr. Terence McAlinden of the Trenton Diocese has at least 7 allegations of abuse against him. Currently, Fr. McAlinden is on “administrative leave” pending the outcome of the investigation, which has lasted more than four years. Fr. McAlinden is currently a real estate agent for Century 21 in Brigantine, NJ. Fr. McAlinden also took his victims across state lines and throughout other countries, where he abused them as well.

    Father Charles Newman, formally the president of Archbishop Ryan High School, is currently serving a prison sentence for abusing, not young boys, but for abusing his position and stealing almost $1 million from the Catholic Church. There is evidence that Fr. Newman abused at least one young boy in the State of Pennsylvania and in vacation spots at the Jersey Shore. Fr. Newman’s abuse victim committed suicide in 2006.

    These are just three of many stories of priests abusing children and are still currently priests. None have been defrocked. This is particularly why the Catholic Church will never change. How many people have to come forward and admit that they were abused by a priest before the hierarchy decides to remove these monsters from their positions around children? Just one year ago, Fr. Laferrera was promoted to Monsignor, even after he was credibly accused by several men of abusing them when they were young boys. Fr. McAlinden has admitted to abusing boys and girls, and yet the Trenton Diocese doesn’t seem to care enough to discipline McAlinden and defrock him. And again, Fr. Newman was only removed when the Church found out he was stealing their money. Never mind all of these priests steal the innocence and souls from kids, the Catholic Church makes it clear that they will allow the child abusers to roam free, many times around kids, but they will not tolerate anyone stealing from their bank accounts.

    Sister Maureen is right – the Catholic Church doesn’t have to behave any other way or protect children, because there’s very few people who are objecting to the vast numbers of children who have been abused and the obvious notion that children are still being abused and priests continue in a position of power. The people who actually are fighting the Catholic Church right now are few and far between. We are the minority. Do you know why the Church will never change? Because parishioners who continue to believe the Church and disbelieve the victims, (or the hell we victims go through), will never step up to the plate and object until, unfortunately, their child is abused.

    I will I could protect your child before you wait for the smoking gun.

  11. If we can STOP THE MONEY, let’s find a way to do it.

    Keeping the crimes of the hierarchy and the clergy in the public eye is one way to encourage our brothers and sisters in the pews to join in this crusade. Following the money and putting that before the eyes of the public is another way to encourage our fellow Catholics. Crimes such as those committed by the RCC need to be prosecuted in civil court, The resignations and apologies and conferences are a sham.

    Let us pray for the grace to be courageous.

    • How will parents with children in Catholic schools STOP THE MONEY?

      Normally, Catholic schools have two tuition rates: “supporting a parish,” and “not supporting a parish.” In order to receive a “supporting a parish” tuition rate, the lower of the two rates, parents are required to give approximately 15% of their income to their parish church. Similarly, in order to qualify for diocesan tuition aid, parents must be supporting a parish church.

      Parents who STOP THE MONEY would be required to pay the much higher “not supporting a parish” tuition rate. Additionally, they would not meet the criterion for diocesan tuition aid. For either or both of these reasons, many parents cannot afford to STOP THE MONEY.

      Say you are a person with children in Catholic schools. You want to STOP THE MONEY, but you also want your children to remain in Catholic schools at a tuition rate you can afford.

      How will you resolve your dilemma?

      .

      • I taught in a Catholic school. You won’t get around rule number 1…the diocese always gets their money.

        I don’t think you’ll be able to STOP THE MONEY, because they control you if you have a child in their system.

      • People have asked this question before on the site – there is no easy answer. I have heard of donations per week ranging in the $15 – $25 range in order to qualify for the tuition rate. 15% of income-that sounds unrealistic – don’t know any parish where that is required.

  12. 15% is what it is for our area.

    I suppose this needs to be another thread (as if this is a message board, which it’s not). But, I’m wondering why parents want to send a message to their church about the handling of child sexual abuse by STOPPING THE MONEY, but then continue to keep their children in that same system that isn’t accountable or transparent about it. You either believe your child won’t be affected or they’ve implemented effective policies for child safety or that your specific school is “different,” or some other reason? Can you understand why it seems incongruent to an outsider like me?

    I mean, how can one be so upset about how things are being handled in regard to the abuse of children by the clergy that they are willing to cut off their MONEY to send a message…but then hand them their CHILDREN. I know there’s more to it than that, but my brain can’t wrap around it.

    • If the number is 15%, learn from your archdiocese – lie to them. Tell them you make less money than you do.

      Rigali said “there were no priests accused of abusing minors in ministry”, when there were, but he changed the definition of “minor” to mean 10 years old.

      So…

      – You say that you and your spouse had significant salary reductions at work. You can do this by contributing more to your 401K.
      – You can say one of you got downsized if you wear shoes with shorter heels.
      – You can say that you are no longer paid any money at your job if in fact you receive a check instead of cash.

      I can see how these Catholic schools are effective. I’m learning a lot just by watching them talk.

    • Believe me I understand the conflict. I started my kids in Catholic school – before 2002 when everything came to light. The school my kids attend is an all female staff with a school administrator who loves them as if they were her own. My kids aren’t altar servers or ever in any situation alone with any clergy-ever. Another commentor on the site explained that because she deals with school violence in the city public schools her kids are safer on a daily basis in Catholic school. I don’t have that issue where I live with school violence in the public school system but a teacher in our public school district was recently arrested when it was found that he had 5,000 images of child pornography on his computer. So what do you do?

      • Kids are safer from teachers in public school (despite Catholic invented statistics comments to the contrary). Schools don’t back up
        and hide pedophile teachers like the Catholic church does, and they are still doing it today.

        Look at Bishop Finn in Kansas City – got a memo from a school principal about a known pedophile priest (Ratinger) a year ago, and ignored it. By luck, a computer tech was working on his computer in December, and found hundreds of child porn pictures. They still hid it, but it finally came out in May.

        I don’t believe that would never happen in a public school. If someone tells you it does, get proof. I think most public school child abuse is with male coaches and 16 year old swimmers or gymnasts or something like that. It’s not right by any means, but the children think they love their coach. They aren’t having forcible sex like priests are doing with children before they know what sex is. And they don’t get hidden and protected by 5000 bishops like they do in the Catholic schools.

        Take the money that you would have given to the Catholic school and use it for tutoring or something else.

      • I’m not challenging you Kathy, but it’s naive to believe your children aren’t alone with clergy – ever. That’s simply impossible to control. It’s great to know you trust the all female staff with an administrator who loves your children like her own. That’s the same thing most parents said about the “trusted” priests who they later learned abused their children. I’m in no way suggesting that administrator is abusive…I’m just saying you are trusting the way so many good Catholic parents trusted years ago.

        Yes, there are abusive people in all systems, but those systems have consequences (civil and criminal) for the crimes committed. That teacher is going to face legal consequences and probably lose his teaching license…an abusive priest who views child pornography…well, look what happened to him. His boss knew about his “problems” for years, put more children in harms way, and sent him to live with the nuns. What are you going to do? I can tell you what happens to administrators who haven’t protected children….they lose their jobs.

        If you think your school is different, all you have to do is go to Dr. Nick Mazzo’s website and read the article about the visitng priest who was “hearing confessions.” Probably “a good Catholic school”, but look how they handled that teacher and what they said about the actions of the priest. This is what I can’t make sense of…there isn’t any institution that is totally safe, but when one KNOWS the system abuses its own and lies about it and still they place their children in it, I think it’s a horribly risky gamble.

      • Don’t worry about challenging me-I get it and the things you expressed I myself have thought many,many times. I am not being naive in thinking
        that my kid’s are never alone with clergy-they are not ever alone with any clergy. There is such a priest shortage that the only times my kids see a priest is at Mass with a few hundred people present.
        I think the most important thing we all can do as parents is to instruct our kids-is that the only thing that is going to keep them safe-of course not. I have told my kids if they ever find themselves alone with any adult and anything even feels odd or uncomfortable – leave the situation and I will back them up 100%. So much of the abuse that happened involved kids being abused by trusted clergy who were even family friends.I don’t have that relationship with clergy nor does my family. I agree 100% with the statements about the way things are handled-I get it. A priest who could be doing wrong is handled totally different than it is handled in the rest of society-no arguement there.

  13. The link for Jason Berry’s book is incorrect. Try here: http://amzn.to/kCZKwc

  14. Victims4Justice.org Reply June 27, 2011 at 1:32 am

    My mother taught in the Philadelphia Archdiocese for over 20 years. She has told me that her and my father would set aside 15% of their income each week for Sunday Mass. My mother also taught at the grade school my brothers and I attended and never was the tuition lower. In fact, I can hear my father’s voice in my mind telling my brothers and I to behave in school because he worked three jobs, my mother one, to keep us in parochial schools, where they thought we were getting a better education than most of my friends who were attending public schools. After my freshman year of high school, when I had to endure almost daily sexual and physical abuse from a Catholic priest, I begged my mother and father to send me to public high school. I wanted out of Catholic school so bad that I was willing to attend one of the more dangerous high schools in NE Philly. Like the good Irish Catholic my mother was, she swore on that guilt trip that she had done something wrong, because her son, whom she thought would someday become a Catholic priest himself, didn’t want to be within 100 miles of a Catholic school. She never knew exactly the reasons why, but I told her that I wanted to be in woodshop and the public school I wanted to attend had a woodshop. She would later find out, just a couple of years ago, that returning to Catholic high school for my sophomore year would be returning to the abuse, and that is the reason I didn’t want to go back.

    I just found out recently that my mother has stopped attending Mass. This is a huge surprise. When my father was in alcohol rehab, my mother went to the Catholic priest for help. When my mother took us to attend Al Anon meetings, instead of going to the meetings at the rehab center, we went to meetings at the Church. Whenever we had issues in our lives, instead of supporting us and trying to understand whatever it was, she went to the priest and sometimes even to my uncle, Cardinal O’Connor of NYC. My mother was, is, probably always will be a saint. So it was quite a shock when I found out that because of what happened to me and so many others, she has now decided to stop going to Church and hasn’t given the Church a dime in a few months. Way to go, Mom!

    I am definitely aware of how disciplined good Catholics are and what they’re willing to do for their Church. Even hard-working parents like mine, ALWAYS devoted a portion of their income to the Church. It’s just something that was done back then and it’s still something that occurs now. I think people actually believe that 15% of their income will get them into Heaven faster, while those who only give 10% will be stuck in purgatory for quite a bit longer, and for those who give no money at all, well… you know where we’re going? But that’s okay. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

    • You got a rough deal, RG. Someday the world will recognize your incredible strength.

      This solution is so simple to me:

      – take a stand
      – take your kids out of Catholic school
      – spend the money elsewhere

      If they are upset short term because they’ll lose their friends, they will certainly understand and respect their parent’s principles when they get older. If you don’t think they’ll get as good of an education, take the money you saved and get tutors or put them in special programs.

  15. This is what I did:

    1. I left the church. (I practice my faith via prayer, intention and desire.)
    2. I kept my sons in Catholic schools. I drove them to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. I
    supported their faith formation. I talked to them about how I felt, what I believed, and
    what my conscience compelled me to do considering the circumstances in the church.
    3. I mailed to my former parish church the required (in my NY diocese) 15% of my income
    every week. I did not contribute to the annual Bishop’s Fund or ANY other collection.
    4. I STOPPED THE MONEY when my youngest son graduated from the 12 grade.

  16. The chttp://ncronline.org/news/accountability/bishop-i-didnt-read-letter-warning-priests-behavior?page=1hild pornography case in Kansas City…

    and this…

    http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/kansas-city-vicar-general-accused-sexual-misconduct

    To add insult to injury, it came out recently that they had warnings about this man for YEARS.

    You know what would scare the dickens out of me if I were a parent of a child in that school, ALL measures were in place…vigilant parents, administrators who were aware, policies in place and STILL the children weren’t safe…why? Because there is no consequence for sexually exploiting and abusing children in that system…those parents had a false sense of security because they trusted an institution that assured them they were doing all of the “right” things. Except, they weren’t. Parents are still believing their children are safe. 50 years ago, they weren’ safe, 20 years ago, children weren’t safe, 5 years ago children weren’t safe, and today, they aren’t any safer than they were 50 years ago. If you don’t believe that, there’s a grand jury report I can link up here.

  17. I referenced this in an earlier post…it’s from Dr. Nick Mazzo’s website.

    http://drnickmazza.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/do-priests-fear-their-bishops/

    • When a topic generates this much good discussion we will make it a post for the site. Look for that shortly. Survivor’s wife-visit the “About” page on the site to see how serious I am about child saftey in the Archdiocese-it is why I am involved and will continue to be.

      • Survivor’s wife-here is a post I previously wrote referencing the same concerns you speak of:
        https://catholics4change.com/2011/05/15/philly-archdiocese-protection-policy-seriously-flawed/

      • I have visited it…and I know you are serious about child safety.

        I know we come at this from many angles… as I’ve re-read my postings though, they sound differently in my head than how they must read…because they were meant more like we are all sitting on my patio discussing this in a passionate way, rather than the snarky way they read. Something I will need to consider with future postings.

        I’ll be looking for the post, because there was something someone posted that sparked another thought, but I didn’t want to hijack the thread more than I already did.

  18. I don’t see your comments as snarky at all-I see them as passionate about children being safe and that’s a good thing!

  19. I have been grappling with this issue of stopping the money but wanting to keep our daughter in our parish school. I taught in 4 Catholic schools in the AD and also taught in a public school in Philly. To those here who say the public schools are safer, it was in the public school where there was an incident with a male music teacher and a student and the music teacher was simply reassigned. Sound familiar? To those traditionalist Catholics who swear the schools were better off in the days when there were more nuns and priests teaching I would say I am much happier that all of my daughter’s teachers since preschool have been married laywomen. Yet when I taught in the public school I realized I did not feel like I could teach the whole child as I could in Catholic school because I realized just how much my faith was a part of me and how I needed to be able to share that with my students and weave it throughout the various subjects I taught. I want my child to be in a setting where she is free to learn and talk about God; where her spiritual side, the essence of her being, is not cut off from her intellect.
    Yet as someone who has taught in the AD, and one who has seen the good that Catholic education can do, especially for children in the city, I am disgusted at the damage our hierarchy has done to the church but mostly the horrible damage they have permitted to occur to innocent children.

    When I graduated from college (16 years of Catholic education) I served as a full-time volunteer with Covenant House. Shortly after my volunteer service ended, the founder, Fr. Bruce Ritter, was implicated in a scandal involving young men. My faith survived that experience because I thought it was the behavior of one disturbed priest. Again my faith survived in 2005 with the revelation that several priests I knew from my childhood and one who taught me in highschool were implicated in the first grand jury report. In 2005 my faith in the institution survived because I did believe what the AD told us and I willingly submitted to the training and background checks required of all of us parents to even set foot in our child’s school.

    When the AD sent out their slick brochure re. their capital campaign in the years between the 2005 and the 2011 reports we chose not to contribute. As I watched year after year where more and more schools in the city and now the inner ring suburbs were being closed I was disgusted that the AD seemed to be following the money trail to Chester County where they perceived the more affluent to be moving and were going to spend millions on a new high school while closing one where my students I was then teaching would have attended.

    Within our parish we have had problems with a lack of support from the pastor for the school to the point that we decided to give what would have been our annual parish appeal contribution directly to the school in the form of art supplies. We have reduced our weekly contribution to the minimum required by our parish for our daughter to attend school, which is $15 per week, not 15%.

    Lately I have been attending mass when I can at the Catholic university I attended as an undergrad. I feel like the priests do not talk down to me and they are somewhat removed from the AD.

    I know some here would still consider me a pew sitter. I attended one rally this spring outside 222 and hope to attend more.

    Sorry this comment is so long. I really appreciated this thread about having a child in the catholic schools. I admit I am really torn about what to do. My primary reaction has been to say they won’t force us out but then I ask myself how I can have my child be taught to respect the hierarchy when I no longer respect any of them? I’m also not sure if I can ever go back to teaching in the AD, at least not under it’s present leadership.

    • Thank you for your comment, Theresa.

      For me, it accentuates the snowball effect that results when a person’s conscience is strained. Initially, it unmoors us, and sets us adrift. Then, we are propelled into convoluted, personal journeys that force us to reinvent our practical and spiritual lives. In the end, people of integrity live by their resolutions, however, there is always a disconcerting, nagging and lingering sense of being alone.

      • Thank you haditCatholic. I can handle that “disconcerting sense of being alone” for myself and if my daughter were older I would discuss all of this with her and let her make her own decision. The question is will she resent me for keeping her a part of this church while she was young because I felt she needed to develop a foundation in the faith? Yet if the leadership is morally bankrupt, what kind of foundation is that?

  20. Theresa- Sometimes we use a comment as a post-is it okay to use your comment? I think you touch on so many good points that would be discussed.

    • Sure Kathy-I had been away for a few days and have been up late catching up on the latest posts here. So much of what you and Susan have written lately echo my own feelings and struggles these past few months since I read the 2nd grand jury report. I want to thank you both for what you are doing.

  21. So many of you here, and others too I suppose, are facing a dilemma- what to do about raising your children, and what to do about your own lives as well?

    I am not completely an “outsider” or an “objective observer” since part of my family continues to attend mass.

    I advise you who struggle to turn to prayer and scripture in this dilemma. I pray God will guide you into truth and peace with Himself.

    • Thanks Gerald-I have been praying a lot about this. The thing is I sometimes like to go to a neighboring parish to pray in their adoration chapel. The problem of course is we are taught we need the priests to consecrate the host and we need the bishops to ordain the priests. How do we continue to adore the Eucharist when we cannot trust the bishops? Are we still complicit if we pray in a Catholic church or chapel but don’t contribute financially? Most importantly, what message are we sending our daughter? I know my faith is in Jesus and not in the institution and has been that way for many years but with a young child it seems important to have a structure to help impart the faith. I don’t really see joining another denomination as an alternative because I don’t think any of the others are any better. I appreciate what haditCatholic wrote about handling all of this with his/her children. I would love to know how others have dealt with this, particularly you and survivor’s wife. For those who felt they had to leave the instutional RC church, what has been the trickle down effect on the next generation? Did your children hold onto their belief in Christ and were they able to impart that to their own children without a church community for support? Or did you in fact end up joining another denomination?

      • Reply to Theresa [posted6-27-11 1:36 p.m. Subject: Archdioces Behaves … Because It Can.
        First of all , thank you for your reply to my post; and please check out my web site (forums-“Ex-Catholic And Saved By Grace” at http://xcatholic.yuku.com as a supplement with background information for this post.

        1. On the question of HOW TO RAISE/EDUCATE CHILDREN
        You and others here on C4C are highly energized and determined to protect children, your own and other’s from sexual molestation because you believe with conviction that to be victimized in that way is extremely damaging,even “soul killing”, and yet — can you truthfully say to yourselves you have even given careful biblical consideration to the path you set your children on from infancy up to school age by subjecting them to and choosing for them an indoctrination into what can be scripturally and truthfully called a cult ? Perhaps you consider certain other religious groups cults that are “different, you say” from your own particular choice or handed down religion– but are they different?
        What if I can show you by scripture, that you are believing man’s lies as tenets of your faith? I can do that regarding the Roman religion. How? By showing you and others the same things I have discovered myself , as a former Catholic (for 44 years) about what God’s Word plainly says — and not what the masses [no pun] have been misled to think it says. Though you may think cults like David Koresh, JWs, Mormons, and the koolaid poison drinking suicide cults are more deserving of the name “cult” — that is a falsehood because the Roman cult completely overshadows those and is infinitely more dangerous and successful in its power to oppress , deceive, and even destroy men’s souls and their eternal life with God.
        2. Personal Faith Practices – Eucharist, Sacraments etc.
        Again, because of indoctrination and practice over years, Catholics find it very hard to extricate [that is a good word to use, I had to do it] themselves from their style of spiritual practice. Again, the cult-like structure has assured the place of priest and bishop by making every subject in the Church dependent upon the “clergy” for the vaunted “sacraments.” Sacraments are not biblical nor scriptural. The scriptural communion, or supper as described by inspiration by apostle Paul is not the Roman “transubstantiation.”
        1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
        Paul writes to believers of his gospel of grace, the salvation freely offered to all whom believe the gospel: [I Cor. 15:1-4.] The words of the inspired letter mean exactly what they say, no more, no less. Rome twists them to try and substantiate their idea of a magical changing of the elements into Christ, a torture of the scripture never intended by Christ. Clericalism? Yes, even priestcraft is a fitting description.

        Because of length restriction, my post will be continued next.

      • Continuing my reply to Theresa:
        3. Is The Faith Of Christ About Things One Must Do?
        Like water baptism, Eucharist , confirmation? Or is it about what Christ has done for us, whom believe? Wrong assumptions — e.g. Jesus instituted the Roman church– lead to wrong conclusions.
        Rome teaches that the Catholic Church IS ISRAEL! And that the Catholic Church gives us the bible. Scripture contradicts both these claims; therefore, the Roman Church is in contradiction with scripture, and is a cult.
        4.The Question Of Complicity In The Crimes Of The Priests
        I do not join with those who argue that Catholics going to mass and contributing are “complicit” with the abuse because I conclude Catholics have been lied to and deceived and have need for help in finding their way to truth and the gospel of grace. This is the effort I have been involved in with my web site http://xcatholic.yuku.com
        5. What Is The REAL ISSUE?
        Was the Roman church started by Christ? No, not at all. Jesus said when He walked the earth:
        Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
        With only two exceptions, Jesus was ministering to Israel and preaching that His kingdom “was at hand.” The Eklesia (assembly, church) he said He would build was the earthly kingdom assembly of Israel on earth: Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
        On the other hand, we are the Body of Christ, not Israel. We are separate from the kingdom eklesia that will be ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ from David’s throne in Jerusalem as prophesied in the Word of God. Christ, from heaven raised up Paul and made him the apostle of the Gentiles [us] and named us The Church, the Body of Christ. The choice awakening Catholics must make is between the Word of God and man’s traditions and apostasy from the Word.
        6. What Can We Do About Our Children In Catholic Schools?
        You can try to get your children in bible based Christian education. This is limited in availability but does exist.
        7. Should I Join Another Denomination? Would That Be Any Better?
        Only If great care is taken to find assemblies where the Word of God is the source of authority. The ideal is to find bible teachers who rightly divide the Word of truth, and are faithful believers in the gospel of grace: Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
        8. Bottom Line
        Where you are in your walk is where you are —
        It took me years to be as free in Christ as I am today. It will take some more, and some less. For example: The poem by C. Carretto posted here was all about contradiction and had no peace of God.
        9.How Have Others Dealt With It?
        It really is in the hands of the Lord; let Him work on it.
        10. The Question Many Ask: Will You And Your Children Have Christ Away From Romanism?
        Yes! But follow the scriptures, not false prophets who deny the truth of the Word.

  22. Going back to the original post here by Sr. Maureen I just want to say Sr. that you are a modern day Catherine of Siena. May God bless you for all your hard work on behalf of the victims and their families. I

    • I appreciate what you wrote in your blog post victims4justice and my heart breaks for what you have endured along with others who have been abused. Please understand that for many of us, even those of us that worked in some capacity for the AD (myself as a teacher in several of the Phila AD elementary schools) we are just beginning to realize the extent of the lies and coverup carried out by the hierarchy. We ARE outraged for your sake and the sake of so many others and we are struggling to find the best way to respond. Do we stay in the church and try to fight or do we just walk away, and consequently leave the fight to those who remain? I have told everyone I know to read the grand jury reports. It grieves me when I am told by someone they don’t want to read the report because they can’t handle it. If those are the only people who remain NOTHING will ever change. We all need to be like Sr. Maureen and not be afraid to speak out. (When I say “we” I mean those of us still attending Mass-I understand why anyone who had been abused would need to walk away-the PTSD would be unbearable.)
      Please know that you are in my prayers and please pray for those of us hanging on and trying to fight from within.

  23. Victims4Justice.org Reply June 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Tonight, from 7pm – 9pm, online chat room meeting for victims of abuse, family members, and supporters. Why don’t some of you stop by and offer your advice and listen to what victims have to say? Just go to http://www.Victims4Justice.org and click on the category “Chat Room.”

    I’m very interested in hearing (or reading) what some of you Catholics have to offer.

    • To Rich: I really wanted to go there last evening but was giving some time to my dear wife, since I had been busy elsewhere lately. Is the time slot E.S.T.? I would like to know when you do it again.

  24. Currently chatting on http://www.Victims4Justice.org “Chat Room” category. Anyone is welcome to join. Advice and opinions are welcome.

  25. This is to bump up my two replies to Theresa’s post of 6-27-11 at 01:36.
    I split my initial reply in two[7-1-11 7:43 and 7:47 pm] for length restrictions, but not sure if they went through.

  26. Ex-Catholic & Saved By Grace Reply July 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Gerald, thank you for your posts!

    I do not talk about my abuse on line much…but I found true freedom and knowing that I am accepted in the Beloved, just as the word of God teaches us.

    I wish more Catholics would study the Dark Ages…to see why the priests, bishops, cardinals and popes did not want the people to read the word of God! Why they kept the Bible from folks. I know now…because they would loose all credibility in their religion that was man made, not God made!

  27. Some time back, our parish-priest was telling us that we have enough ‘spiritual tools’ to support us on our spiritual journey. He discouraged us from reading lofty writings such as the encyclicals or the writings of the elders and the saints or those of contemporary theologians. The catholics are already lagging behind in their knowledge of the scriptures, while he was telling us to move backwards to the days of ‘paying, praying, and obeying’. The new missal also seems to be suggesting a dependence on the clergy and the religious. The readings and the sermon of the Mass are put together in a ‘cut and paste manner’, and we end up not understanding the Word of God, even though we are no longer living in the Dark Ages. In some other Christian denominations, the scriptures are taught through a lengthy sermon on a specific topic and the sermons are available on their website in various visual and audio-formats. If preachers are also to be teachers, they should adapt to the various learning- styles of their parishioners.

    • Ann Davidson,
      You are “righton” with your post.Only today, i had a brief phone conversation with a EWTN Catholic apologist on a local “Catholic radio station.” He cut me off and wouldn’t allow me to simply express my point of view because it was at variance with the view he had presented to a previous caller.
      Definitely “my way or the highway.” When he fell back on the cliche ” we have believed this way for 2000 years,” i told him I cdidn’t care if it was mistaken for 2000 years, I believed what the Word says, not what he was putting out.

      • I had to start another post because the system malfunctioned again. It seems this system is against me posting and will try one tactic or another to keep me silent. oh well.
        The reason I called in on the catholic program was because the apologist had answered a previous caller with an answer that was wrong and in conflict with the Word of God.
        The caller said he was a recent “convert to the catholic church” and still had questions unanswered about “faith and works and what Paul wrote in Galatians. [Note: Galatians is a Catholic apologist’s worst nightmare because it directly attacks the position taken by the apostates of Paul’s time as well as today’s catholic doctrine.] Well, the burden of the apologist’s argument was that Catholics still had to obey the 10 commandments of the law, such as attending mass on Sunday because of the commandment to “keep holy the sabbath.” What he was trying to get the caller to “buy” was that Jesus Christ was changing the Jewish religion into “Christianity” by abolishing Judaism and changing the requirements [works] from the Mosaic law to another set of laws per the Roman church. In other words, just replace circumcision with water baptism etc. and other BS like that. I called and waited for my turn. When I was allowed to speak I mentioned that Jesus didn’t change any of the Jewish religion of the Old testament, rather He practiced Judaism Himself. And even after Pentecost, when Christ had died, risen,and ascended to heaven, His followers still practiced Judaism, worshiped in the temple, brought sacrifices, etc. etc. The apologist had given the impression that Jesus had done away with Judaism, when in fact, He practiced it to perfection. I also mentioned to the apologist that Israel will once again practice Judaism in Israel in the end times and the millennial kingdom according to God’s Word. By this time the apologist had decided that I was not going to accept that his reading of scripture was THE ONE TRUE RELIGION so he cut me off and didn’t allow me to finish explaining where I was coming from.

  28. This is to Theresa: You have not responded to my reply to your 6-27-11 post. I know it is difficult, but I also believe you need to face these facts and allow myself and others to help you deal with the questions raised. bumping it up for your attention.

  29. I miss posts by Theresa so I am “bumping up” this thread in hopes she will post again.
    Hi Theresa, you have been missed!

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