‘Rolling Stone’ Publishes 8-Page Article on Philly Catholic Church Cover-Up

The September 15, 2011 edition of venerable rock magazine “Rolling Stone” teases “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex -Crime Files” on its cover. Inside is a scathing eight-page article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely on the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s sex abuse scandal and cover up. People may scream Catholic bashing, but it’s all true. There won’t be any libel issues.

Here is an excerpt from her article: (It mentions the impetus behind my C4C crusade – Father Peter J. Dunne.)

“Every Catholic diocese has Secret Archive files – it’s mandated by canon law as a repository for complaints against priests so scandalous that they must be kept out of the regular personnel files. Few outsiders know the secret archives exist, and only the most trusted clergy have access to them. In Philadelphia, the sole keyholders were the cardinal and his closet aides. The files were kept in a row of unlabeled, gray-green cabinets in a windowless room on the 12th floor of the archdiocese’s Center City office tower. Inside was an exhaustive compendium of scandals dating back more than 50 years: priests with drinking problems, priests who had gotten women pregnant, aging stacks of confiscated pornography. Then there were the reams of carefully typed memos that discussed priests with what the archdiocese delicately referred to as ‘unnatural involvements’ or ‘unusual patterns.’ Priests, in other words, who had sexually abused children in their care.

One memo directed to Cardinal Bevilacqua in 1989, described a pedophile priest’s evaluation at an archdiocesan-owned hospital, in which the doctor “is of the very strong opinion that Father Peter J. Dunne is a very sick man” who should be removed from ministry; the memo warned that Dunne’s problem was so acute ‘that we are sitting on powder keg.'”

Let me share that the Archdiocese knew that Dunne was also “treated” in the late 50s long before this 1989 memo. What did they do with him in between those years? They appointed him chaplain of the Boy Scouts and Camp Neumann. Makes sense, right? My husband’s parents had no way of knowing they were sending their sons on camping trips to Canada with a pedophile – but the Archdiocese did. The fact my husband was lucky does not diminish my anger for ALL parents who have been deceived – many still unknowingly. My anger is with the hierarchy. My anger is that Dunne was living “a supervised life of prayer and penance” at Villa Saint Joseph, a retirement home for priests until he passed away last year – all paid for by the Archdiocese via generous congregations. Please don’t put the collection basket in front of me. I’ll give my money directly to Sister Mary Scullion, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Road to Recovery (for victims) or any number of other Catholic organizations that don’t harbor pedophiles.

But I digress, Erdely’s article is well researched and worthy of a careful read. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-catholic-churchs-secret-sex-crime-files-20110906

36 thoughts on “‘Rolling Stone’ Publishes 8-Page Article on Philly Catholic Church Cover-Up

  1. I will make a point of reading the RS article.

    It will take this article and many more like it to help us accept the sorrow and shame that the RCC has wrought on the world. When we have the courage to accept the human failings of the RCC, then, hopefully, we will be able to work for real change in our Church.

    We may need help from civil authorities to achieve real change in the RCC…

  2. Having never knowingly read a “Rolling Stone” mag, I googled it on line. I don’t think C4C’s cause is going to get much help from that quarter, from what I saw there. Sad.

    1. Well Gerald maybe you will start reading Rolling Stone now; it is a great magazine and definitely has some cutting edge articles; much better than the dreck that most people read today.

      1. Well Dal, I did purchase the rag at Publix out of curiosity and read the long article. My disinterest in “Rolling Stone” remains. Appreciate the attention however.

    2. Gerald Nichols – I found your reaction to the “Rolling Stone” article enigmatic, as your reaction sure puzzled me! Would you be so kind as to give us some insight on how you arrived at your evaluation? I disagree with your comment completely, but I am now intrigued by your thinking process. Please share the thoughts that brought you to your conclusion.

      What precisely did you mean by stating, “I don’t think C4C’s cause is going to get much help from that quarter, from what I saw there. Sad.”

      I was troubled and sad with the perverts the article dealt with, but found the article itself powerfully revealing. This is particularly true for those outside of this blog, those who have not followed the filth in the Diocese of Philadelphia to the degree that we have.

      1. drwho13,
        Fair question. If by appearing in RS the facts of the abuse reach a greater number than previously– there could be a salutary effect, but not necessarily IMO. I wasn’t disappointed by the article, it was similar to other reports I have read [though I can’t get past some of the “graphic details” without cringing], I found the mag itself to be very much “of the world” in a biblical sense. I hope I have relieved some of your “puzzlement.”

  3. Just went to Barnes and Noble and p/u the magazine and read the article. Maybe the reality will sink in when lynn is found guilty along with his co-horts. It is clear to me that those who have infiltrated the catholic church are the lowest forms inhabiting this earth. I am encouraged by all those out there who have had enough of these cowards and are holding them accountable. Wearing a collar doesn’t make you a holy person no more than standing in a garage makes you a car. I hope the facts come out during the trial that exposes the secrete files located on the 12th floor and what the leaders knew and when they knew it. I hope those on trial know that when they go to jail the knowledge and nature of their convictions will arrive well before them and general population is not a happy place, no one will be there to protect them as the defense lawyers will get paid and go home and those they took the fall for will go on as usual. I think louise hagner is a treacherous person along with jack rossiter, martin frick and karen becker

  4. I’m waiting for Lynn to answer this question under oath, ” when you told the cardinal that two priests and a teacher at the same parish were passing around a ten year old for sex, what did the cardinal tell you to do? ” game set match..

  5. I am looking forward to reading the article. I will pick up a copy of Rolling Stone this morning.

    But what I would love to read is the Governor of Pennsylvania had just signed legislation extending the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases and that window legislation, similar to Delaware, was passed and signed in Harrisburg. Rolling Stone is fun to read, but signed legislation to protect children and vulnerable adults is the first step to taking action!

  6. I have contemplated sending several copies of this article, and last weeks front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer to several people in my/Lynn’s parish (particularly those who have claimed he is a victim, and all of this was lies).

    However my disgust in this issue has been trumped by the very sad, unexpected and untimely death of my 14 year old daughters friend, also 14 and of this parish. Being around the hypocracy is almost intolerable, but, for those of us sticking it out, and who still have kids in thier educational system, there is much satisfaction to see the truth in written word revealed.

  7. Deidre,
    So many people just don’t want the truth. Maybe they are afraid of what it might do to their faith. But we can have faith without being fools. Faith is so important – especially with what you and your daughter are dealing with right now. Your daughter’s friend and family are in my prayers. Your daughter is lucky to have you to go to with her grief.

  8. I fail to see how anyone who is Catholic can keep on giving money to the church, since they now know that much of this money will go to the defense of Lynn and people like him. This is the same old story, detail and amplified, that has occurred all over the world hundreds of times already. It seems obvious that there is no other description for these activities than pure unadulterated evil.

  9. Thank you, Susan. Tough time for all the kids, most especially this poor family.

    Juna- Agreed. However if you have a child in Catholic School, you cannot just pay tuition. Fees to the parish are expected, or they can raise your tuition- all very subjective. It’s maddening.

  10. The evil described in this article is almost more than I can take, and I’ve been a SNAP leader for years, so I have heard a lot of sickening stories in addition to my own.

    This makes me wonder- what exactly would it take for people to say enough? To leave this “church,” to lobby for statute of limitations reform, to say my child will never again set foot in this church. It really is outrageous that so many Catholics are still wringing their hands over this or ignoring it all together.

    1. Janet stated, “It really is outrageous that so many Catholics are still wringing their hands over this or ignoring it all together.”

      As Catholics, we have been so indoctrinated (brainwashed) that it is difficult to free ourselves from the power we perceive the Church has over us. The RCC has thoroughly conditioned us to believe that there is no way to heaven without their clerics, regardless of the degree and extent of evil perpetrated by these clerics. We are taught from a very early age that there is no way to heaven without them, for they literally act in place of Jesus Christ here on earth.

      When I was in seminary we were clearly instructed that The Sacrament of Penance will give us as tremendous power over people, and they are right. If a person believes that their entrance into heaven is dependent upon a priest forgiving their sins, they can’t easily break that relationship without fearing eternal damnation. This mentality makes it very difficult for a Catholic to leave the Church.

      I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. Personally, I simply no longer believe that I need a cleric to get me into heaven. Some ideas that others may consider are confessing to a priest, but not actively supporting the RCC in any other way. For others, perhaps joining one of the Orthodox Churches that is recognized by the RCC as having valid sacraments would work.

      The fact of the matter is, the RCC has tremendous power over people, and that is a great impediment when those same people are needed to clean up the organization. This is a dilemma that the Church has us for centuries to maintain Her control over Her members.
      I’m all for “power to the people,” but that’s easier said than done.


  11. Janet, I agree with you completely, I am so disgusted by Catholics who just ignore this “evil” in the RCC. How can any parent still teach their child(ren) that this is any type of god-based religion, let alone the “one true faith”. I told my children this for years but once I finally realized that the clergy sexual abuse happend over and over again, and then was covered up by the church’s leaders, I actually had to apologize to them for staying in the RCC (Roman Catholic Cult) for so long and finally told them I am proud of them for leaving and encourage them to still stay active in lobbying for reform.

  12. “If a person believes that their entrance into heaven is dependent

    upon a priest forgiving their sins, they can’t easily break that

    relationship without fearing eternal damnation. This mentality

    makes it very difficult for a Catholic to leave the Church.”

    From the evidence it must be very,very “difficult” indeed.

    Only “some people” think about “ETERNITY”. I think about it a lot.

    I put the word “Eternity” on each email post I make. Eternity

    will never end— and that really gets my attention since it was

    impressed on me years ago. Eternity never ends— whew!, what a

    thought!!! What lies beyond death’s door will go on and on and

    on, never to end! It “boggles” the mind! I have dearly beloved

    members of my family who still are as drwho13 described—

    dependent upon the priests for any hope of escaping horrible fate

    once this short life is over. For those who never think about

    eternity, it is another story; they may be reached with the truth,

    for at least they don’t have a “defense” against it based on a

    firmly held “religious belief.” My job? Pray for all to see the

    truth, and make it known whenever and wherever I can.

    Drwho13 continued: “I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. Personally, I

    simply no longer believe that I need a cleric to get me into

    This is a dilemma that the Church has us for centuries to

    maintain Her control over Her members.
    I’m all for “power to the people,” but that’s easier said than



    Isn’t it ironic that in the bible, Christ gives “Saul of Tarsus” a

    new job and a new [Gentile] name of “Paul”; and a message that

    will set everyone in the world free, and right away– some men

    come around to distort that message so as to have “control over

    her members” as drwho13 said?

    Then I read: “abigailSeptember 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    drwho13, hence my reference to the RCC as the Roman Catholic

    What can I say?
    What do you say?

    1. Gerald – I say, I believe that the word ‘cult’ in ambiguous in nature. Thus, when we use it we would each have to clearly define what we mean by the word. I think that we would have as many definitions for the word as we have people on the blog. Therefore, I believe that the RCC may or may not be defined as a cult, depending on the definition we choose to use. I am not concerned with whether it’s a cult or not.

      However, I am concerned with the fact that the RCC has rules which places itself between the individual and God. By their way of thinking, its members must abide by these rules (many man made) or risk eternal damnation. For example, at one time it was a mortal sin for a Catholics to eat meat on Friday; to break this man made rule could result in eternal punishment. Then at some point in time the RCC decreed that Catholics could eat meat on Fridays and still go to Heaven. TO ME THAT IS CONTROL BY FEAR, and I simply don’t buy it. The current rule that Catholics must attend Sat/Sun Mass is also man made, and according to the RCC disobeying it may place ones Soul in danger of eternal damnation, again control by fear. If you break the rule, only the Church can free you from the punishment; you must confess your rule breaking (sin) to them in order to be saved from Hell. They (The Church) hold all the cards.

      In the mean time these men who lay down and enforce the rules go about raping children and covering for each other, along with committing a multitude of other vile crimes down through the centuries. Then they make the claim that the rules remain valid regardless of their crimes, because they were divinely inspired when they wrote the rules. They make the rules, break the rules, and change the rules, and you’re expected to follow the rules.

      The leadership of the RCC is rigged from top to bottom. They have developed the rules in such a way that they can’t lose, and you can’t win without being on their side. It like being in Las Vegas; the only way you’re going to win is if you own the casino. I don’t own the Church or the casino, so I’m out!

      My hope for eternal salvation now rest in Jesus Christ alone. I was held hostage by the RCC for far too many years, no more.


      1. drwho13,
        Exactly right. I definitely agree with your post. As an aside, I also believe that the religion “Islam” is similar in its CONTROL THROUGH FEAR. Man instinctively knows he is what God calls “a sinner” not fit to live with God for eternity, so man fears to the bone what will happen to him when he inevitably dies one day.

        But what so many miss, or reject, or ignore is that God has by Jesus Christ offered every man, woman, boy or girl RECONCILIATION by the death , burial and resurrection of His Son. It is clearly in the bible that all one needs to be saved is to believe what the cross has done for you. Once again it is offered–
        To All: Will you receive it?

  13. Cult: as system of religious worship and ritural – I agree
    Cult: a religion or sect considered extremist or false – Somewhat agree/Somewhat disagree
    Cult: Obsessive devotion to a person or principle – I agree
    Cult: a religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents – hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – Not always devious but certainly psychological techniques to gain and control (in the case of clergy sexual abuse, most certainly devious)
    So, as far as ambiguity goes in the meaning of cult, drwho13, I must agree.

  14. Just read RS article and I am at a loss of words. Granted, RS has a slanted journalist approach to everything however this reads quiet well. It also makes me sick… Lynn is evil and he will be judged by his peers. In the end, when are we, the “followers”, going to stop following and take back control? I have said it before and I will continue to say it the RC doctrine is “OPP” – OBEY-PRAY-PAY

    Stop burying your head in the sand folks we are ALL members of the Philadelphia AD and by our lack of action we have allowed this situation to go on. Why are you afraid of these men and our church?? They are not looking out for you and or your children’s best interest are they?? What would Jesus do??

  15. I wanted to post on “After All the I Now Know….” but could not, so I am able to post a reply to Rev. Chris, now “philadelphiapriests” here.
    For ease of reading this I am splitting this into two separate posts.

    To Rev. Walsh, thank you for your reply to my post. I first want to say that I am not quite as gifted when it comes to writing my posts as many other members in here but with that being said, I do try to express myself honestly and sometimes after I hit “Post Comment” I think oooops, I hope that isn’t misunderstood. So in addition to unintentional meanings and typos, etc. please take this as off the cuff but certainly sincere.

    First , because of my respect for Susan and Kathy (although I do not know them personally) I take their word for their confidence and respect for you. After all, you are the only priest that responded here and let us know that you are a priest. So, for that, I commend you. Now, as I post this, I am not referring to you specifically, I am collectively referring to “Philadelphiapriests” as you now have that as your name. You said that you were” discussing this site with a fellow priest and invited him to write his thoughts here.” Ok, one other priest, do you think that you might want to get together with several, possibly, let’s say, ten (10) fellow priests and discuss this forum. See if you can get 10 to respond here.

    I am not saying that all priests are guilty of preying on children. I am not saying that all priests are abusing children. I am not saying that all priests are protecting the abusive ones. But what I am saying is that you…. One single priest…. Responded to this forum. ONE out of how many, not only in the AD of Philadelphia, but out of the whole entire county. I realize that this is a relatively new forum, but really, one priest …. That to me seems incredible.

  16. Part two of my reply to Rev.Walsh:
    A friend who attended a local parish Mass several months or weeks before the news broke in Philadelphia about the 21 suspended priests, but after the grand jury report became so accessible to the public, one young priest , in his homily, spoke rather harshly to the congregation about questioning him and others about clergy abuse, he was almost, well almost pointing his finger at the laity, like it was the people’s fault for starting this, quoting percentages of how much sexual abuse of children goes on in or society, and how only 2% of that abuse is from priests, etc. As she left Mass that day, she said that she was confused, disappointed and angry. So, several months or weeks later I was shocked to see him as one of the 21 suspended priests. Why the tirade in the homily…. Why the blame of the media, the laity, everyone else but the RCC??????

    This is the type of conduct from priests that gives all priests a bad name. This is what makes the laity so suspicious of the secrets and cover-ups and priestly attitudes that the laity is stupid and we should just do as you say. The evil and sin of child/teen sexual abuse is serious business. It’s not a type of crime that should be able to be forgiven in a confessional. The church’s rules… a sin is only forgiven if the sinner has true contrition. Repeated sexual assaults and the church leaders continually covering up, moving these priests, paying for their lawyers, to me the plain old “people” with a plain old “high school” education is even smart enough to know that these priests (and priests who know of an incident of sexual grooming and actual abuse and does not report it to police) do not have true contrition and are not forgiven.

    1. Abigail, I think you know this—- the priests and bishops can’t respond to us because there is no response. There is no “rock bottom” of truth upon which they can fall back upon to mount a response. It has always been “smoke and mirrors.” Why do you think almost every kid who leaves home after 8 or 12 or 16 years of “Catholic education” stops going to mass almost immediately after getting away from home? It’s because they never really accepted and believed the lies they were told. They instinctively knew it was not true. If this were not so —- would they have left it so soon? I ask.

      1. To continue my reply to Abigail. Some may object “but I hear Catholic Apologists on radio etc. that answer every question or challenge they get, what about that? I remind them that in that venue, they have an advantage since they control everything. They answer without letting the caller answer or question what they say.
        The caller, unless he is one of those who simply chant: “Yes Father,or yes Patrick, or yes Mr.Martignoni, thank you very much for answering my question— i will be back some other time for you to give me more BS,and I am so happy you gave me that BS answer” the caller must simply accept whatever the “apologist” puts out for he will never get to challenge with enough time the rote answers given over and over. My big question for those “apologists” is:
        Do you, as apparently intelligent human beings, actually believwhatha you put out for general consumption?I oftethinknK “he must know better than that —- he sounds intelligent enough to havactuallyly looked that up in the bible and a concordance and seen that it contradicts the traditional Catholic tradition. Why would anyone want to continue in a lie when the truth is evident? It is a mystery to me.

      2. Just for the record, it’s not only catholic youth that are bailing on their church. I don’t think that’s a catholic issue.

    1. Try posting it under the other post now it works. It did not work for hours for me so Patrick did not see my clarification of what I had writtten.

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