Kansas City Bishop Indicted In Relation to Sex Abuse Reporting


Click here to read breaking news: “Kansas City Bishop Indicted in Reporting of Abuse by Priest,” by A.G. Sulzberger and Lauri Goodstein, The New York Times, October 14, 2011

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65 Responses to “Kansas City Bishop Indicted In Relation to Sex Abuse Reporting”

  1. This is where change will happen. The Church may not be willing to change but the criminal justice system may just well make them change. When the C4C site was started, we sought comunication with the Archdiocese in addressing the crisis – now Susan and I are headed to Harrisburg on Monday to join in the press conference with other advocates in support of the Pa. House Bills which will provide justice for victims and protection for children.

    • I posted a link below. Does our DA need to think smaller to get convictions? This is a max of 1000 fine and up to a year of jail time. Are we going to support this to out these offenders(probably need to change the law also). Maybe even have a federal list as Ms Hamilton suggests if they are charged and convicted of a misdemeanor instead of a felony (only one of the suggestions in the article)? Are we aiming too high and need a wedge case like this? How many priests are going to use mental health issues as a defense? Would the “pew catholics” support a SOL bill that limits tort? Or do we need to go all out in this state? If we do go all out we would need to change the leadership of a certain committee or the leadership of the state government – difficult task for a Philly based organization..

    • Kathy, I wish you every success in Harrisburg and agree that, sadly, the only way the Church will change is when the criminal justice system forces it to.

      I have walked the halls of our state legislature, on behalf of the poor, There is a lot of power there, and not very many players…your voice there will be magnified, accordingly.

      My warmest best wishes, joan

  2. Susan and Kathy, once again, you are leading on protecting kids from abuse. Given all your tasks, I really don’t know how you find time to do this, but I salute you. Finn and Lynn, strange bedfellows, to be sure. Let us hope and pray that Seth Williams, who merely inherited the case against Lynn from his bold predecessor, former DA, Lynn Abraham, will get some encouragement from the bold DA in Kansas City, WOW, the criminal charge of a US bishop. Finally, the rule of law envisoned by our Founding Fathers has finally caught up with an American bishop. He, of course, is entitled to his due process, but given what has already been reliably reported in the media, he may not be able to find enough high priced lawyers to beat this rap. Let Bevilaqua, Rigali and Chaput beware. American justice is on the move and their turns are coming. AMEN!

    • At the risk of boring my new Philly friends, I request again that they read the comment under the heading, “LET’S GO BACK FURTHER” to the NCR article entitled “You can’t go to Rome again”, accessible by clicking on to http://ncronline.org/blogs/bulletins-human-side/you-cant-go-rome-again . The comment shows Chaput and his papal puppet master are standing on thin ice and that our Church belongs to us, the People of God, and not to a Roman clique and their 5,000 bishop puppets! I hope all of you read and reflect on the comment.

  3. I hope the catholics in the pews realize what this means…the hierarchy doesn’t even follow the rules and policies they create!

    There is no justice and healing in the catholic church…and no reliable safety measures to protect children. They can’t even follow their own rules.

  4. Here’s the actual indictment
    http://media.kansascity.com/smedia/2011/10/14/14/36/1jHnmQ.So.81.pdf

    And here’s the story from the Kansas City Star

    http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/14/3207527/bishop-finn-diocese-indicted.html#ixzz1amw09f4R

    Note that the two folks in the pews interviewed continue to support Finn. Willful Blindness.

    • You and I (and everyone on this blog) wrack our brains over how to reach the folks in the pews.

      The people best positioned to reach the folks in the pews are the parish priests.

      So… if you are a clergy member who wants to “do something,” or who desires to be a prophetic voice, or who believes himself to be a shepherd, I ask that you take upon the task of informing and empowering the folks in the pews. At this time, this may be the most effective way that parish priests can support the objectives of this blog.

      • Last week I asked a priest if he had been at the St Helena’s dinner, and how he reacted to the ovation for Mr Lynn (that was our homework assignment, wasn’t it?). He told me that since I wasn’t his parishioner, he did not have to answer my question; and he scurried away. (St Patrick’s, Rittenhouse).

        I have no faith that the clergy will “man up” and do the right thing. They are blinded by ambition and the desire to belong.

        Several ideas to get the word out:

        1. A mass email to every member of every parish containing within the pdf of Mr Bevilaqua’s testimony. We get the email addresses from parish directories, or from a sympathetic church secretary, or we hack into the parishes one by one.

        2. A public reading of Mr. Bevilaqua’s testimony. We find a venue; we rent that venue; We advertise the reading; We practice our roles and we read that document out loud.

        3. We squeeze individual parishes. We protest at one parish, every Sunday, for however long it takes for us to get a meeting with the pastor. At that meeting we demand that he speak from the pulpit about the crimes.

        4. We stand up during a sermon and question why the clergy is silent on the issue of the day.

        I’ve toned down my rhetoric so these are some of my polite ideas to get the word out.

        We cannot wait for the clergy. We are STILL waiting for Mr. Chris to answer several pointed questions asked two weeks ago.

      • Charles, I think each of your 4 protest ideas is great. I hope some Philly Cathoilocs back you and implement them. First a trickle, then a flood. Go for it Philly!

      • Charles,

        I’m posting here because there was no “Reply” to hit on your post.

        Interesting that you confronted the priest about the Lynn standing ovation debacle. His scurrying away is an all too familiar priestly response. Priests should know how thinking Catholics are sickened by this common response, how it compromises a priest’s integrity, demeans his intellect, and how the lack of thoughtful engagement is utterly alienating. Some of the negative attitudes that persist, today, regarding priests have resulted from this shifty, inept, and hardly pastoral MO.

        I am from NY. Today, I asked a priest what he thought about Finn and the crisis in Philadelphia, PA.

        On Finn he said that civil law will undo clericalism. He envisions a domino effect resulting from Finn’s charge. He said that no one could have told him ten years ago that the state of the Church would be where it is today– “imploding.” “Everything is happening so fast…” When I pressed him to act and speak prophetically, he became undone– antsy, nervous, hyper. He scurried off.

        On the crisis in Philadelphia, he said, Chaput and the lawyers will do what Rome says… To be honest with you, he seemed in the dark about the details of the crisis in Philadelphia.

        I like your activist ideas, and I’d like to see them brought to reality, but Kathy and Susan cannot be expected to act as leaders for activism beyond the activist one they already lead (focused on justice for victims and protecting children). They have a well articulated agenda. They are occupied 24/7!

        Are there other people on this blog who are interested in Charles’ ideas for activism, along with, of course, supporting Susan’s and Kathy’s?

        Are we allowed on this blog to explore and develop ideas for activism that go beyond Kathy and Susan’s agenda?

      • hadit, Thank you and I think probably the best thing would be for someone to develop a Face Book page or other site to discuss ways to implement some of the ideas that others have had. The approach we have taken is certainly not one that is for everyone – nor do we think only one approach is correct. It is a huge problem which needs the input of many people and ideas. But you are right – we are overwhelmed – in a good way -with our advocacy work and work with justice4pakids. Along with our family commitments,sometimes we are stretched a little thin. If somone wants to organize protests or such things – fantastic. I would happily attend – just not sure we would have time to organize and coordinate. I know Susan would link the FB page or site that someone develops focusing on the ideas that some have expressed.

      • Also C4C has a FB page which people could post details or info about rallies etc… My personal opinion is that when the trials start in March – might be the best time.There will be alot of info coming out in the news at that time and might actually inspire/anger people to attend a rally. We are off to Harrisburg tomorrow for the press conference – fingers crossed!

      • Hadit,
        You said-
        You and I (and everyone on this blog) wrack our brains over how to reach the folks in the pews.

        The people best positioned to reach the folks in the pews are the parish priests.

        So… if you are a clergy member who wants to “do something,” or who desires to be a prophetic voice, or who believes himself to be a shepherd, I ask that you take upon the task of informing and empowering the folks in the pews. At this time, this may be the most effective way that parish priests can support the objectives of this blog.

        Food for thought: Isn’t the fact that it is seemingly impossible to get the pew sitters OR the priest to react a strong sign of a basic flaw in the Catholic religion. Personally I would say yes it is; butIMHOt’s jmho.

      • gerald nichols,

        While it is seemingly impossible to get the folks in the pews informed, and the parish priests to inform them, these are NOT flaws in the Catholic faith. Rather, they are flaws in the institutional Church.

        For centuries, the hierarchy has enjoyed an authoritative and paternalistic reign over the priests and the laity. Vatican II took a substantial shot at re-articulating new roles for everyone, but John Paul II and Benedict have all but suffocated the effort. It’s truly a centuries-old phenomenon, a highly counter-Catholic-faith reign of terror, inflicted by the hierarchy and wholly intended to induce a fear so powerful as to paralyze the minds, consciences and hearts of the priests and laity.

        Were the entire hierarchy to be imprisoned and/or fired, and the priests and laity turned over to competent psychoanalysts, “good Catholics” might come to finally mean something.

  5. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply October 15, 2011 at 12:07 am

    COMEUPPANCE

    1) a punishment or retribution that one deserves; one’s just deserts:

    2) an outcome (good or bad) that is well deserved

    3) just retribution

  6. I wonder how long a common, ordinary, everyday diocesan priest would have lasted in his assignment had he been indicted by a grand jury for any reason whatever….I will give you a hint, not very long at all. Sadly, the bishops in this country when found guilty are treated vastly different than the diocesan priests by the Vatican. The majority of priests found guilty of criminal sexual activity do not enjoy the same fate that the bishops have, for instance, Bishops J. Keith Symons and Anthony J. O’Connell, both are in religious houses for the remainder of their time with the Church. Both do not face the fate of the priests who have committed similar offenses. The latter must find their own employment, housing and counseling. Where is the justice in that? Obviously there are different rules for priests and bishops……………..Only the religious orders of men have resisted the inclination to throw their brothers under the bus or out on the street. Small wonder why the diocesan priests are so distrustful of their bishops.

    • Law enforcement has finally taken action against a US bishop; that’s great!

      Now I want to see the Church do Her part. Ben16 travels around the world offering apologies to abuse victims, but he never takes concrete action against the perpetrators.

      Ben16 allows Cardinal Law to live a protected life of luxury in Rome. I would like him to show some sincerity by sanctioning Bishop Finn. As matters stand now, I see Ben16 as a fake, a phony, and a fraud! Come on Pope Ben prove me wrong. It’ll never happen.

  7. This has been posted before

    http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20050616.html

    which of these suggestions would work?

  8. This link is the article that came out in May. IIf you scroll down to the middle of the article, you can click on the letter written by the principal to the diocese.

    http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/diocese-warned-priests-aberrant-behavior-one-year-arrest

    This is the letter from the principal:

    http://ncrnews.org/documents/ratigan_letter.pdf

    I’d like to know how that letter got “leaked” to the media. My guess is that had it not been leaked, then we wouldn’t be having this indictment.

    As I read all of the details of this situation, it was very clear…yes, the parents were following the charter, the principal…I have mixed reviews on her professionalism in this arena…but without question, the hierarchy turned a blind eye until FORCED by the media and the courts to do the right thing.

    Bottom line…even with vigilant parents, teachers and principal, they still couldn’t keep the children safe! How many bricks do people need? This is what upsets me about catholics who hand over their children…they really think they can be vigilant enough to protect their children in a system that has not truly changed their ways. What do people think? “Not my child? Not our school?” I don’t understand it. Even with all the policies in place, and everyone but the hierarchy following them, the children still aren’t safe.

    • survivor’s wife, I worry about the children whose parents remain clueless and just assume their child is in a safe environment. I have shared that I had a situation that violated the Safety Environment program. I did not rest until a defined policy concerning the situation was put in place within the Archdiocese. I contacted everyone from the Phila. Archdiocese to the Office of Child and Youth Protection in Washington. I informed myself,researched,and was able to advocate for what was needed. It was not a process I would wish on anyone but the end result was a policy which keeps the thousands of children in the AD a bit safer.
      The situation I encountered was on a parish level not under the jurisdiction of the school principal. I have always been very pleased with the principal of our parish school. Child safety is one of her strengths. If it wasn’t – my kids would not be there -simple as that. Every time I contact her to see if a policy is being followed -she thanks me for my question and gives me the necessary info. Everything is followed exactly according to policy of any situation I have ever inquired.Parents need to be aware,question,speak up – whatever it takes.

  9. Bishop Laurence Soens of Sioux City, Iowa, lives out his retirement years under the care of the church, in spite of being ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting 20+ boys. Statute of limitations laws prevented him from facing criminal charges. Many victims would love to have just the medical benefits provided to predator priests and bishops.

    So I am glad to see the legal system is taking action. Hopefully, more bishops will face justice under the criminal and civil systems. The days of the RCC being a kingdom unto itself are over.

    • So true about Pedophile priests getting health insurance etc and in some cases victims don’t even have it because it is hard to hold down a job let alone get up in the morning.

  10. I believe there are many priests living at St Joseph’s Villa in the Prayer and Repentance program I believe the AD foots the bill. They come and go with no supervision – simply a sign in and out system to disclose where they are going .Priests who have admitted they have abused children or the AD has determined the allegations to be credible, live together within close proximity to two elementary schools,are provided food ,shelter and health care and come and go as they please. Wow

    • I’m going to consult a thesaurus— I can’t think of anymore words to describe how … all this is becoming.

      I only fear for anyone, anyone who has to stand before God and try to justify why they were complicit in it.

      Of course , I have to add: Reconciliation with God is a finished work for he who believes.

  11. S. Reid Waren, III Reply October 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    As an outsider, it seems to me that this site has accomplished three things – made everyone more aware of the actions of priests and The Church – provided an opportunity for handholding,which is important – and an opportunity for the victims and their families to bear witness. BUT, what happens next? Confronting individual Cardinals or protesting in front of a specific church in America, is like picketing the home of one sleazy Wall Street banker or one office of one brokerage firm in Lancaster, PA. The real seat of power in The Church is 3,500 miles away – not in Philly, L.A. or Denver. Until The Vatican feels the pressure of protesters from all over the world and the teflon cardinals get egg on their faces I fear real change will remain as elusive as individual priests hiding their nefarious crimes – all too often with the support of bishops.

    • Well I think people speaking out has lead to the Bishop being indicted and if the Pope sees enough bishops go to jail he will have to change. I just read “Justice Denied”………..great book. Have you read it? With the SNAP suit against the Vatican I think he is starting to feel the pressure also.

      • Beth, the pope is at present the subject of a criminal complaint at the International Criminal Court. In due course, he can be tried, convicted and imprisoned by the ICC, an independent body formed by 150 nations by a comprehensive treaty. It is not subject to the UN or any nation. Of course, the pope’s high priced lawyers will tell him, don’t worry, Papa, it’s just a stunt. The pope is no fool. When he puts his head on the pillow each night, I believe, based on 40+ years as an international lawyer, that the pope sweats about being imprisoned. Given where we were just a few years ago, this is a remarkable development. So let’s just keep pressing for change by all available means. We should be very optimistic about recent developments, not pessimistic. The tireless efforts of many, including especially Susan and Kathy, are really beginning to pay off. Chin up, please!!

    • As a former insider SRW, I agree. AND…

      I think if you are going to stay in that church, you better start voicing your concerns inside…informing the uninformed. How does it help that the circle of people “in the know” are working on measures outside of their own church? If you are staying, shouldn’t it be a goal to step on the toes of many INSIDE the church, not just the hierarchy? What are people hoping for? For the clueless to somehow get a clue?

      I don’t consider the hierarchy “inside” the church…I consider them outsiders running the show.

      Now, from .an outsider’s point of view, my sole interest is the protection of children. Since I believe the rcc is corrupt and is not interested in the protection of children, my efforts are coming from outside (legislation, madated reporting, etc.)

      I’m interested in knowing from those who remain…(I think we can all agree the protection of children is top priority)…how are you informing those in the pews, fellow catholics, friends why they need to take back their church? Do you want your church back? How do you get your church back without pew catholics on board about the raping of their own children? Can the rcc ever be safe with so many people blind to reality? I know the answer to the last question, I think we all do.

      I am baffled, again, not by the hierarchy…but the laity.

      With all due respect Kathy, your school is not an island. It does not operate in isolation from a very ill system. I’m not trying to convince of you of anything, but I think parents tell themselves these things so they are ok with the risk factors they know exist. Truth is, knowing what you know, about the church, about your child’s school, about your childrens’ teachers, and the school principal, it’s a risk you are willing to take. You make it sound like your child’s catholic school is somehow more protected and I simply do not believe that. I think this Kansas City situation is a great case for all of the well-intentioned of the church. Some child’s vagina is on the internet forever because even though the policies were in place, even though the parents were vigilant, and the principal was doing the right thing…the SYSTEM was ill and allowed it.

      Whose child is next?

      • survivor’s wife, all of your questions are very good. I don’t know why so many laity remain so uninformed and unconcerned,it is troubling on many levels. Although I am working “outside” the Church in many ways, I also contact the Archdiocese on almost a daily basis with my constant questioning. My name is well known in the AD.
        I understand what you mean when you refer to my school not being an island in a very ill system. I understand your concerns. The only thing I can say is that I do trust the principal and lay teachers who have supervision of my kids. My daughter is now still at the parish school. She has been there since she was 3 years old and I know each of the women faculty – mostly middle aged teachers who have raised their own children.Ironically my cousin was a teacher at the school and was one of my daughter’s teachers last year.In the 11 years we have been there, not one thing has happened where child safety was not honored.
        One of the positive things that has happened since Susan has started the C4C site is that many local catholics have used the info as a way to inform themselves – word has spread and many visit the site daily. Not all comment – some just come to inform themselves. That is a small but positive step.

  12. The next step so to speak is holding the hierarchy criminally responsible for allowing children to be harmed. The example in Kansas City will go a long way in showing the hierarchy that they are no longer above the law. We can’t undo the past but we can make sure that the such crimes no longer go unpunished. I honestly do not think the Church will change without the laws forcing the change. Three things can assist this process. The media continuing to shine a light on the criminal acts of the Church,law enforcement investigating the actions of the hierarchy,laity speaking up and no longer being afraid of repercussions.

    • I just checked out the catholicphilly.com on the Arch. website. No letters to the editor or anything about the scandal……….surprise surprise……….

    • Yes Charles so many of us want to believe that the Church is Holy, therefore it’s very hard to let Her go. The situation is parallel to wanting to believe that an unfaithful spouse is in fact faithful. Our human nature makes it difficult to accept this type of betrayal.

      The RCC is Holy. Unfortunately that’s not true. It hurts as does any divorce, but we have to let Her go, take down Her leadership, and build Her back, and get on with our spiritual lives. The non ordained People of God have kissed their last ring. They will be the ones to return the RCC to Holiness.

      I want this worthless bishop to do actual jail time, so he can be mocked and jeered by common criminals. Finn for your sake, you better mount a “vigorous defense.” You’re going down hard you snake!

      I WANT FINN TO FEEL THE HUMILIATION THE CHILDREN FELT!

  13. Kathy Kane, you are EXACTLY right. We must continue to blog, comment, speak out in any way that we can to keep this scandal before the eyes of the public. When a reporter writes a story about the RCC, let us be courageous and acknowledge that reporting the facts that clergy harm children, and hierarchy look the other way, is not being anti-Catholic. Let us be courageous and face the truth, demand the facts, and make sure that criminal acts are prosecuted in criminal courts.

    Resignations, apologies, meetings with victims, are all bolderdash. Payoffs out of the coffers of the parishes seem to have been sufficient heretofore to silence the wounded. Payoffs are perhaps a necessary first step, but JAIL TIME IS BETTER. They will not learn until the threat of incarceration looms over their heads.

    Who are these people to DARE to harm our chldren. Who do they think they are. We should ben enraged; we should stay enraged until the courts have had their way with them.

    This indictment is a wonderful first step. Thank God the day of judgement is nearing. Let us pray for the grace of moderaton during the difficult times to come.

  14. In all the stories I have read about the Kansas situation over the long months since the Finn/Ratigan story first broke, the most poignant, accurate and condemning comment of all was by a prosecuter in the Reuters story just posted today by Kathy Shaw at the Bishops Accountability Abuse Tracker:
    “You don’t want to tarnish the name of the Catholic Church, which can do many good things,” said Brian Klopfenstein, a former prosecutor in Missouri. “But maybe they felt they had to do something profound to get people’s attention.” […] “If it’s so damn bad and you’ve been warned and warned and warned and you pay a settlement and there’s no action,” Klopfenstein said, “then it’s almost like even though it’s God’s house, you can’t turn a blind eye.”
    This comment shows another thing, the prosecutors are fair-minded and not out for blood or scandal, but could not overlook the lack of compliance by the Diocese and Bishop.

    From every report, the same holds true for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. No sooner do you get a new Archbishop, do the clergy give the highest level clergyman indicted up to that point a large helping of praise and a standing ovation….

  15. The most important thing the Kansas prosecutors could not overlook was the law…not just the agreement between the Diocese officials and the people of the Church.

    In this case, the law, the Diocese’s contract with the parishes, the people’s trust and the children’s innocence were all broken.

  16. Rod Dreher takes a careful look at the Kansas case – his point by point analysis is here: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/2011/10/16/why-bishop-finn-deserves-indictment/

  17. WHY IS THERE A POLICE CAPTAIN ON THE REVIEW BOARD ?

  18. There is a comment from a prosecuter in the Reuters article by Dan Levine that was especially compelling:
    “”You don’t want to tarnish the name of the Catholic Church, which can do many good things,” said Brian Klopfenstein, a former prosecutor in Missouri. “But maybe they felt they had to do something profound to get people’s attention.” […] “If it’s so damn bad and you’ve been warned and warned and warned and you pay a settlement and there’s no action,” Klopfenstein said, “then it’s almost like even though it’s God’s house, you can’t turn a blind eye.”

    The prosecutors were not anxious to smear the Church, but simply could not overlook the actions of Bishop Finn and the Diocese.

    I read Rod Dreher’s description of the events and agree this was criminal neglect. It makes one wonder if Ratigan was some Archbishop or Cardinal’s nephew.

  19. Sorry to post the same quote twice. I thought my comment had gotten lost in cyberspace.

  20. It has been reported that the Vatican would not intervene in the case of Bishop Finn. Of course not, and Ben16 claims that he’s so sorry about the abuse. I hope the International Criminal Court will be able take Ben down. He’s a phony.

    • drwho13, Rome can’t intervene or move the bishops around now because it will PROVE they are the puppet masters. Their hands are tied for legal reasons. Besides, if Rome intervenes at any point, they will then be liable for the missteps taken.

      They’ll keep their hands off all of these cases.

      • Rome could easily intervene. Finn could be called to Rome and given a position there – one with diplomatic immunity. The charge against him is only a misdemeanor so the court probably did not make him surrender his passport. Off he goes!

        No? Bernard Law. Formerly mismanaging the church in Boston, now: Roman Curia, archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and titular Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna, the American Catholic church in Rome. With Diplomatic status.

        Mr Lynn is probably up for a promotion, too. Whisked away to another titular.

        Rome doesn’t care.

      • survivor’s wife – That’s why I hope that the International Criminal Court gets their hands on Ben16; they’ll rip right through the corporate veil that the RCC Inc. is trying to keep in place.

        Even if they can’t physically get Ben and his cronies to The Hague, can’t the trial be conducted in absentia? That will accomplish the same thing. It was done in the case of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary at Nuremberg.

      • drwho13…I’m hoping for the same!

  21. Charles, Finn won’t skip town at this point. For more on this, please see my several extensive comments on Finn, Rigali(Finn’s sponsor) and Bevilaqua under the current article about Kansas City/Finn on the dotCommonweal website..

    • Jerry – Thanks and Wow! Talk about a Soap Opera of Wagnerian proportions! I take your point on Lynn and Finn taking plea deals in exchange for info. Actually, depending on what they give up, that might be pretty sweet. The spectre of prison time could humble these 2 huge egos, maybe. Based on what I have learned from your writings over at Commonweal I’m reducing the odds of Flight from 80/20 to 60/40. Thanks for the education!

      • Thanks for the kind words, Charles, and thanks for all you have taught me. I hope you also go to the National Catholic Reporter site and enter my last name in the “SEARCH” box available by clicking on the ‘search’ word in the upper right corner of the front page. I think you may add another “WOW” , at least I hope so. I hope your great endorsement will encourage other C4C bloggers also to read some of my other posts. I am fighting along with and for them, so I hope they read and benefit from my other comments. I think they wiil at least benefit in seeing there is a lawyer fighting for their interests.

  22. One blogger believes the reason Lynn received that great big standing ovation and praise from Bishop Chaput is that he is being used as a ‘sacrificial lamb’ or ‘martyr for the sake of The Church.’

    In their minds, these churchmen are allowing themselves to be ‘offered up,’ ‘laying down their lives’ (in church lingo) and ‘going down’ or ‘being taken down’ (in Miami Vice lingo) as part of their loyalty to the higher cause. Even Ratigan probably thinks he’s a martyr. Some claim they are being persecuted by pro-abortion prosecutors. This is sick thinking.

    They will be used as symbols (just like the Catholic League uses convicted sexual offender ‘priest’ Gordon MacRae as the symbol or poster boy for ‘priest wrongly accused and convicted’)

    This is institutionalism and clericalism on display at its worst.

    This is all a sick kind of political drama or melodrama.

  23. In reading all of the posts and suggested sites to be fully aware of what is going on, I have one wish. That every person in every church still filling the pews each Sunday and faithfully contributing, take one day out of their lives to read everything on the C4C site. After…. ……..finally……..opening their eyes, that they take a stand of solidarity and support the victims who have Jesus at their side. To finally admit that we are all victims. And to agree that on one designated Sunday every church in the AD will be empty. Simply stay at home. Everyone. Can you imagine the impact that would make? Although I know that there are still thousands of faithful believing that they will have a mortal sin on their soul if they miss mass without a truly valid reason (i.e. on their deathbed) wouldn’t it be remarkable to show the powers-that-be that we truly support one another? I am not naive enough to believe that things would change overnight, but it at least would send a clear message; maybe all the way to Harrisburg.

    When C4C was first established, I think that this was one of the first “peaceful protests” suggested by Susan and Kathy. More and more people have become enlightened since then. Perhaps it is time to see how many people would stay away this time.

    I am/was a member of Saint Patrick’s church in Rittenhouse. It doesn’t surprise me at all that the priest scurried away when asked about supporting Lynn. The “I’m your superior and you can’t question me” attitude is stronger than ever. Hopefully not for long.

  24. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply October 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Donna Marie:

    I am/was a member of Saint Patrick’s church in Rittenhouse. It doesn’t surprise me at all that the priest scurried away when asked about supporting Lynn. The “I’m your superior and you can’t question me” attitude is stronger than ever. Hopefully not for long.

    You are from St. Patrick’s and understand that Bishop Fitzgerald was in residence there for awhile. Shortly after the release of the first GJR, I reached out to then Msgr. Fitzgerald, recently reassigned to vice-rector of St. Charles Seminary. I did so because in the early 90’s he was the first director of the Office of Legal Services at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    He is a civil attorney and I sent e-mails, faxes and phoned in attempt to speak with him. Basically, I was interested in determining what action he and/or his office took in response to the cerlgy abuse allegations that came into the Office of Legal Services. Finally, after a couple of weeks, his assistant told me over the phone that the Msgr. could not speak to me directly but did want me to know that none of the clergy sexual abuse allegations came into his office.

    Did you have any discussion with Bishop Fitzgerald while he was stationed at St. Patrick’s in Rittenhouse Square? I understand he is in residence at Our Lady Help of Christians in Port Richmond now. Nice place for a First Friday vigil, don’t you think?

    • Michael, I have been at St. Patrick’s since 2007. I don’t believe that Bishop Fitzgerald was there at that time. I am only familiar with the current pastor, Father Mackle. Very old school, so not surprising that he did not respond when questioned. The pastor from my old parish was even worse.

      It is very interesting to me that no matter how active you were or for how long. No matter how much you contributed and suddenly stopped. No one ever reaches out to ask “why”? This is across the board. Many of my friends jumped ship after a lifetime, and not one parish priest was interested enough to pick up the phone. Many were leaders on their parish councils, and still never a word. The response was pretty much like “don’t let the door hit you in the butt”! I have to wonder more and more…….. why do I even care?

  25. Bishop Finn has been indicted under Missouri ‘s mandated clergy reporting requirements. Many states exempt clergy from reporting such matters. And the catholic bishops of the US have worked feverishly through their individual states conferences, read lobbys, to oppose, eviscerate or diminish such requirements, while expounding on their Zero Tolerance.

    Marci Hamilton has identified this issue and makes the point that recent Rome directives to the bishops direct them to report abuse “if local authorities require it” while under the radar screen the bishops are eliminating those “local requirements”.

    A suggestion for your readers….you might want to check in your local newspaper or telephone book for the phone numbers of your state legislators and ask them if your state requires mandated clergy reporting of possible child abuse. you might also want to ask what penalties obtain.

    Your state need to know that you care about these matters.

  26. Oops, missed a couple things in previous comment. Bishop Finn has been both indicted and charged for non compliance with Missouri clergy reporting requirements. And a specific reference to Marci Hamiltons comments can be found on Patheos, dated Jan19, 2011, titled, “The Tangled Web Tightens for the Vatican”.

    Marci clerked for Sandra Day O Connor and her constitutional law credentials relative to Church State issues are impeccable.

    Her quote regarding US bishops mandatory reporting is as follows and is is an extension of her discussion in the above cited article of a Vatican letter sent to Irish bishops…for additional data see whole article.

    Marci Hamilton re US bishops and state mandated clergy reporting requirements

    …The public is being seriously misled on the Vatican’s position on reporting then and now. The Vatican’s official position is that it urged cooperation with authorities then and that it requires reporting now, so it’s all good. Right?
    Definitely not. The Vatican’s policy, as Lena indicates, which was reconfirmed in the last year as part of the Vatican’s “new” measures to protect victims, is to require reporting only if civil law requires it. No voluntary reporting to the police.
    But their position is much darker than it appears on the surface. Not only has the Vatican only required reporting if the civil law mandates it, its lobbyists have lobbied hard to make sure that state laws do not require clergy to report. Similarly, their lawyers have argued ad infinitum in courts that they should not be required to report, raising silly First Amendment arguments and every technicality they can.
    Let me say that again. The Catholic Conferences and the lawyers for the dioceses routinely argue that clergy should be exempt from reporting, generally and in specific cases.
    They will tell you that the reason they lobby against reporting is to protect the sanctity of the confessional. But it is out of character for them to limit their arguments in the legislatures or the courts to a bona fide confessional. Everything is a “confession” for them, including discussions about child sex abuse between priests and their superiors way outside the confessional box. So the sum total of their “reporting policy” is to avoid reporting in as many instances as they possibly can. All the while, they are paying lip service to reporting. This letter is a smoking rocket launcher.
    The rest of the letter deserves attention as well. If perhaps you are an incurable optimist who has been giving the benefit of the doubt to the Church, I think you would be interested in this paragraph farther down the letter:
    Since the policies on sexual abuse in the English speaking world exhibit many of the same characteristics and procedures, the Congregation is involved in a global study of them. At the appropriate time, with the collaboration of the interested Episcopal Conferences and in dialogue with them, the Congregation will not be remiss in establishing some concrete directives with regard to these policies.

    • Joan, We are fortunate that Marci lives locally and are thrilled to be working with her on the justice4pakids advocacy work. She is a wealth of information and a pleasure to work with. Her book “Justice Denied” is an excellent and easy read,explaining the need for statute reform.

      • You are lucky, indeed, Kathy.

        My respect for Marci dates back to 2001 when I first found her FindLaw articles at the beginning of this molestation mess. She was the only coherent voice in these matters, that I could locate in those days. And she was gracious, personally.

        I well remember, but could not cite the specific article, her very early statement that the Church had a golden opportunity to deal with these issues internally, be a leader in repairing the damage, and setting the tone for the whole country in a proactive and provident manner.

        Sadly, that didn’t happen.

        So, viewing this scene today, with a recognition of all that has since transpired, I am an even stronger Marci fan.

        Her expertise relative to the legal issues, her tenacity and productivity relative to individual state molestation issues, certainly her work relative to SOLs and lots of other related concerns, (and I have a very defined concern about those mandated clergy reporting requirements) …there is no one else with this track record.

        And the above doesn’t even begin to address Marci’s role with Amnesty International, the pending Oregon case and doubtless, many more related issues. And her legal endeavors cover a much broader area than church molestation.

        Very rarely do we find a Marci Hamilton. We are extraordinarily lucky when we do.

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