Love By Arrangement Philadelphia Style

by Kristine Ward, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Chair

Pope Benedict has been called many things in his six year tenure as the Supreme Pontiff but not until yesterday had he been called a Yenta.

Archbishop Charles Chaput chose the imagery of an arranged marriage with Pope Benedict as the matchmaker to describe his view of his new position. (link to the complete text of the homily

There was laughter in the cathedral when the Archbishop made this reference. Maybe it played better in the cathedral but we find the choice of words poor if not disturbing.

It seemed insensitive at the very least to use a marriage metaphor as a homily context at this installation when the overriding issue in Philadelphia is the latest Grand Jury report, the pending court cases, the “if” of the testimony of Cardinal Bevilacqua, the wonder about reinstatement of priests who were removed by Cardinal Rigali after the Grand Jury report revealed 31 remained in ministry in violation of the Dallas Charter principle of zero tolerance.

Insensitive because of the mounds of heartache, pain and sorrow that has lived in and ruined marriages of sexual abuse victims raped and sodomized by priests and nuns. Spouses, children, in-laws and any manner of extended families suffered and continue to suffer in tandem with the pain of the survivors. Marriages entered into in love were and are twisted and strangled by the tentacles of molestation.

So rarely is marriage spoken of in a homily context it adds to the oddity of the choice of this imagery in the installation ceremony of a scarred and hurting diocese.

We call our readers attention to the tight tie of bishop to pope that Archbishop Chaput drew in using this imagery. Without the action of Pope Benedict Archbishop Chaput would still be in Denver. He’ll give a required report of his “arranged marriage” to the matchmaker (or his successor) on regularly scheduled ad limia visits to Rome. The other partner in the “marriage” will not be invited. Bishops are hardly autonomous or independent from Rome. We ask our readers to keep that image in mind when the dissembling begins in legal action and Rome knows the “locals” not.

Archbishop Chaput did not speak directly of the sexual abuse crisis in his homily but he did say” This Church in Philadelphia faces very serious challenges these days. There’s no quick fix to problems that are so difficult, and none of us here today, except the Lord Himself, is a miracle worker. But it’s important to remember and to believe the Church is not defined by her failures. And you and I are not defined by our critics or by those who dislike us.”

We hope Archbishop Chaput knows the same holds true for victims of sexual abuse: they are not defined by their critics nor those who dislike them.

As forced love is an oxymoron, love by arrangement seems a cold beginning indeed.

Contact: Kristine Ward, 9347-272-0308,

21 thoughts on “Love By Arrangement Philadelphia Style

    1. Although I have never heard of “arranged marriage’.Marriage metaphors run through the Bible. Christ(husband) church(wife). Faithful, unfaithful wives etc. In fact the 4 pillars and canopy over the altar at St. Peters is suppose to symbolized the marriage bed. Since marriage is the most intimate connection we have emotionally, physically and spiritaully it is used to describe Jesus’s love for the church. Nuns basically are married to Jesus etc The arranged part does sound like the marriage is forced in this case. So if you read between the the lines it does sound like he would rather be in Denver. But then again would you want to be the new archbishop of Philly? I woundn’t……

  1. Awesome. A shred of honesty from a Catholic Bishop. If he was really honest here is the speech he would’ve made:

    “Let’s get it straight. I don’t want to be here. My dad, Pope Benedict, forced us together. Just like every arranged marriage, I would never have chosen you myself. You, Philadelphia, are the ugliest woman on the planet and nobody wanted you. You have dozens of children that were raped by your cousins, and your last husbands left you without doing anything about it. I’d rather be them.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love the fact that thousands showed up for the wedding, but tomorrow I’m stuck with this disgusting woman and a bunch of kids nobody wants to deal with.

    Let’s be honest – I want to inherit dad’s house at the Vatican someday, and this is my shot, so I’ll deal with your legal hassles. If I succeed while minimizing costs, ten thousand people will show up at my next wedding in Rome. It’s better than being a Kennedy.

    I’ll fight your children when they ask me for money because they need therapy. I wish I could just do that Denver, where I was very successful at it, but dad told me to just do the same thing here. You really gotta see his house – you’re worth the short-term pain.

    Like all my other Bishop brothers, I would give anything to just ignore your abused children or just make them disappear, but now the whole neighborhood is watching. I’ve still got plenty of money to fight your children (God’s children) with the best lawyers on the planet, but it’s a lot of annoying work. I also have to keep everyone out of the basement. If they saw the records we kept about what we know, we could lose the whole family. However, if you saw dad’s house….

    Remember – this is an arranged marriage, not a partnership. Don’t look me in the eye and don’t question my decisions. I’m not interested in your opinion. I’m interested in you doing what I tell you to do and I’ll do what dad tells me to do.

    God made commandments, but they are like hitting in baseball. If you’re successful 30% of the time, you’re in the Hall Of Fame.

    Don’t bring up “right and wrong” and God and responsibility and love and children and “What Jesus Would Do”. Jesus never saw dad’s house.

    We have to minimize the wrongs we’ve committed, lie about everything we can get away with, and get those children to shut up. Some people still look up to us, and we’ll set the standard so low that everyone will think this is all ok.

    We have big work to do – we have to get the gays out of the house next door and we have to stop that married couple across the street from using condoms. That will keep the neighbors busy.

    Remember – you’re my current wife, not my final wife.”

  2. Mr. O’Malley – that presentation was excellent. So true, accurate, genuine and frighteningly realistic.

    Let’s not forget that Chaput’s road to a red chapeau passes through Philadelphia.

  3. Yes if the catholic church wanted to save more marriages…………they could start by stopping sexual abuse…………….who knows how many marriages they are responsible for destroying…………

    1. I have seen some priests trying to make themselves more available to survivors and their families…….from what I hear alot of survivors can’t even go into a rectory or near a church for help too traumatic. That is why I am praying that maybe some priests will maybe start a minstry and try to go out to the survivors and meet them where they are………in plain clothes maybe with other supportive catholics……..maybe I am not realistic but I believe that is what Jesus would do……..these would be people that already made reports to the cops and the priests would just address their spiritual needs…..regular counseling is still necessary but I think their spirital needs need to be addressed also.

  4. Perhaps this is a freudian slip giving a little insight into the relationship cardinals have with popes??? Certainly, it shows inequality. Is that what Chaput is trying to stress??
    Is he only following orders??? Are they all only following orders???

    We as bloggers must continue to keep the pressure on. We must continually let the hierarchy know that we are watching; we are wounded, and we are not happy.

    If anyone has a more constructive, active plan–even lawsuits–to effect change, please let me know. Right now, I’m rooting for Mr. Anderson…

  5. Read the entire homily…

    one word…


    Did anyone feel like they needed a shower after reading it? What’s wrong with these men? I hope it sounded better in person than how it read it print.

    1. Its actually in video online, and its just as creepy. If I lived there, I would have been outside with a sign that said “Priests had sex with children. WWJD” and hoped someone started a fight with me.

  6. exactly sw and neil, weird and creepy and how will he consummate this marriage????? I’m not going to put into print, but you can guess what I’m saying 🙁

  7. The other thing that’s been rolling around in my head while reading it…and after sitting in different churches (not catholic)…is what a “sales pitch” priests give to their parishoners. They have different twists, but all with the same theme…stay true to mother church. He sprinkled some Jesus talk in there…but nothing of serving Him. He issues is opinions as if it’s gospel itself. “Die to self,”…unless you are a bishop, then you preach to the masses that you are king and you have a tremendous responsibility for aaalllllllll these followers. Essentially telling the listeners, “I’m in charge, got it?” Of course the twist of words sounds better (and deceiving)…pray for me because I have all this responsibility…I’m shepherding you….blah, blah, blah…”

    And Mary will see the church through this MOMENT in time to joy and whatever…really? A moment? I think not. Convince your people it’s a bump in the road and it’ll all be over soon, right? A we’re-all-in-this-together mantra? Loved the little call out to the brother bishops…make sure the laity knows who holds the cards.

    Do catholics see through this? Or do you have to be out of the church to realize they are extremely self-absorbed even (especially) in their preaching?

    1. Alot of catholics have gotten really passive………use to bishops and priests taking care of things for them………laity has to become more involved. Things have gotten to cushy for everyone and so the church is falling apart morally and soon physically……..unfortunately the wake up call for many maybe when they don’t have a physical church to attend because they have all been sold to pay lawyers fees…….then the remaining real catholics will have to meet in houses like Bibical times.

  8. Bizarre, freakish, delusional, controlling, oppressive, and just, plain incorrect.

    In my diocese, the recently appointed bishop was born and raised here, holding several pastoral and administrative positions in the diocese prior to his appointment. When his appointment was announced, the mantra “he is one of us” gleefully emerged, indeed, the mantra, in spite of being wholly untrue, continues to hold a firm grip here, today. The truth is that he is HIM.

    The truth is that all bishops (and cardinals) are literally so because they are deemed fit by the papal nuncios of their countries, certain “favored” members of the hierarchy and the Vatican, and the pope to act as pure and unwavering papal puppet-clones. Trust in their arrogant, irrational and purportedly Holy Spirit-induced judgments are protected, ensured and cemented when an appointed bishop vows obedience to the pope at his consecration. Should they or the Holy Spirit have “misconstrued” things, the vow of obedience will fix things… or else! The “holy” process is wholly meant to ensure ONE thing– complete and utter papal power and control.

    In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia last Thursday, Catholics married HIM, Benedict. Chaput is merely his puppet-clone stand in. Chaput’s past, present, and future history– all of his positions, efforts, words and actions– have been, are, and will always be HIS, Benedict’s (or those of any future pope or popes).

    There is no greater obstacle in the way of repairing the broken Church in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia than the truth of the marriage that occurred there last Thursday. Benedict is the least likely and able person on the face of the earth to repair your catastrophe, our catastrophe. And there is no other person on the face of the earth who knows, feels, and understands better this paralyzing and doomed predicament than Chaput.

  9. I was listening to my pastor at mass today and he was saying vicitms should have justice and regardless of how the lawsuits turnout we are going to need forgiveness on both sides and this is a huge task the church and archbishop will be undertaking. Yes we need forgiveness but does church leadership realize that forgiveness is just one part of healing? It is a process that takes many a lifetime to do and many may die before the process is complete? Someone may forgive t heir abuser but still put him in jail. One may forgive their abuser and enablers but it does not mean guarantee that their can be any realtionship between them? forgiveness is one thing trust is another .My hope and prayer is that at least the victims heal enough to be able to trust and know that Jesus loves them and they are made in the image and likeness of Christ despite the cruelty they have had to bear at the hands of false men of God.

  10. Just to refresh the church leadership’s memory concerning their forgiveness and what is required quoting from the Baltimore Catechism (their words not mine)
    FIRM PURPOSE OF SINNING NO MORE — I think they missed the boat on this one 🙁
    388. What is contrition?
    Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, and hatred for the sins we have committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more.

    Let the wicked man forsake his way and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord; and he will have mercy on him. (Isaiah 55:7)

    389. Will God forgive us any sin unless we have true contrition for it?
    God will not forgive us any sin, whether mortal or venial, unless we have true contrition for it.

    Now therefore saith the Lord: “Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments. (Joel 2:12-13)

  11. Survivors Wife,

    Weird indeed, and I wasn’t expecting much. And that is putting it mildly. I really don’t know if there is just an out and out lack of humanity that is represented here, or such an exhaulted sense of self importance built in this institution. Or, they just flat out don’t care how they are presenting themselves. I think it could also be reaffirming the expecation that the flock needs to continue to follow blindly…

    But having been married for over 20 years, I do know a thing or two about marriage. I know that it isn’t complete obedience, nor is it a dictatorship. It’s a partnership of equals, not one obeying the other no matter what. And a marriage that will last, is not one built on lies, pain, abuse, and cover ups. I resent the reference.

  12. Yes, Deidre, I agree, my marriage of many years is based on truth, love and respect and I also resent the reference.

  13. SNAP sent me an email today. I posted the link of what they’re planning to do. In the email I got, this was the message: “Dear SNAP Leaders,

    Today we are having press conferences in New York and Washington to discuss our International Criminal Complaint vs. the Vatican, filed just hours ago. We are happy to send you that press release below. Similar press conferences are being held globally all week.

    This is a historic moment for SNAP. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done to get us to this point.

    Barbara Dorris”

    I absolutely despise SNAP. They are as much of liars as the Catholic Church, and this coming from a clergy abuse survivor. Again, this email only proves how much they are for themselves and their organization without regard to victims when they use the phrase “This is a historic moment for SNAP. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done to get us to this point.”

    SNAP is not a network. As I have found many SNAP members, there are also just as many who have been alienated by the organization, because SNAP leaders want everything done exactly by their standards. I have dealt with liars and psychological thieves within their highest ranks. Myself and quite a few other victims of clergy sexual abuse have dealt with personal attacks and rumors slung by SNAP leadership. They care nothing about victims and their suffering and more about their own facade and how the public with view them. Last year, when Barbara Dorris accused me of “screaming at her during a protest because I wanted to hand out flyers to children,” she flat-out lied. Anyone who knows me well enough, during protests, know I don’t hand out flyers to anyone. I hope my signs do the talking. This rumor, which carries no truth at all, was spread through email to other SNAP members. When I decided to pull myself away from SNAP and start my own meeting in NE Philly, and after I sent an email out to all my fellow victims who have been fed up with SNAP and their politics for years, Barb Dorris replied “Rich means well, but he does not have the patience to conduct a meeting and I fear any victim who gets in his way.” Typical lunicy!

    The meeting that I have started has nothing to do with leaders or organizers. There’s no group moderator or anyone to tell another that they are wrong in their thinking and they don’t belong. If there’s a problem, not one person will make the decision. The group with handle the matter. This is called diplomacy. SNAP cares nothing for victims and even recently is responsible for creating havoc with a non-SNAP meeting that’s been going strong for 7 years in NYC. What took 7 years to build, SNAP managed to destroy it in less than 2 weeks.

    If you stand on your own two feet, SNAP will push you down. If you argue with SNAP about what you want to say of your own abuse to the media or the public, SNAP will leave you hanging. And above all, if there’s a difference of opinion SNAP will spread rumors like wild fire. I don’t trust this organization as much as I don’t trust the Catholic Church. Both organizations care about three things; Money, money, and money. Shame on SNAP!

    (By the way, if anyone thinks they can refute this post, I still have the emails from Barbara Dorris and Barbara Blaine. I have let others inside and outside of SNAP read them. Tell me I’m lying?! I don’t lie and when people lie about me, it’s like stepping on a venemous snake.) Other than that, I’m usually a pretty decent, patient, compassionate person, who’s also a little bit messed up in the head. 😉

    If the idea didn’t originate with SNAP, well then it’s no idea at all…

    1. Wow I had no idea. I was suprised about what you stated above. It sounds like from what you said they got carried away by the cause and forgot about the victims. What do you think about sueing the pope?

  14. the marriage metaphor was very appropriate and aptly expresses the relation of love within the Church. our priests should be seen as husbands to the church! It was a beautiful image that the archbishop used. Clearly Susan Matthews and many commenting on here do not understand the spousal imagery of the Church! Try reading some theology before you make absurd comments about things which you do not comprehend!

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