Bishop Accountability Seems More Clouded Than Transparent


Click here to read: “Accountability, transparency and the bishops,” by Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, National Catholic Reporter, October 31, 2011

Excerpt from above linked article: “Review board decisions are not binding on bishops, and board members themselves have no way of knowing whether they have received all the information a diocese has on an individual priest’s questionable behavior. Diocesan review boards, moreover, do not necessarily investigate all those accused or removed from ministry.”

 

 

 

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112 Responses to “Bishop Accountability Seems More Clouded Than Transparent”

  1. Thank you.

    I loved the comments section too.

    • I made three of those comments…mostly relating to PA, plus the Bishop Legal Tracker…..sort of like the Abuse Tracker, only keeps track of the legislative antics of the Catholic Conferences!

      I am very glad Jerry is back….

      • Thanks, Joan, you are sweet. Last year I had an extended e-mail dialogue with a remarkable woman, Maeve, who ran an abuse counseling organization in Dublin and had to deal regularly with Archbishop Martin, a slick operator. The woman, who had previously worked with genocide children survivors in Rwanda, was really frustrated with Martin’s mystical smokescreens.

        I had five sisters and have three daughters, plus a wife. I know from experience the power of the wrath of a woman. I told Maeve to give Martin hell. I told her he probably hasn’t experienced the “therapeutic” benefit of a woman’s wrath, since his mother scolded him, if she ever did to her beautiful “priest son”.

        Maeve did and said it helped and she felt better as well.

        So I challenge Philly women. These clerical wimps are messing with your kids and grandkids. Follow your maternal gut. Give these clerical wimps hell. I have no doubt each of you have it in you. Just follow your God given female instincts. I will step out of the way when the fur flies. I don’t want to get run over by such wrath, but I would love to observe it!

    • Yes, let’s not forget about First Friday Vigiling on November 4th outside Philly Archdiocesan offices at 222 North 17th St. between 12 noon and l o’clock.

      Sister Maureen

  2. I think alot of the problem is greed and power. Remember what Jesus said about greed and power? The laity need to be more involved with the business and adminstrative end of the church.Lets put the money in the hands of the laity with checks and balances and lots of transparency and so that the heirachy can focus on it’s true mission the saving of souls…………..

    • Beth, have you seen Jason Berrys, Render Unto Rome, ?

      I think you would REALLY like it…..does book and verse on the Church and money, is very readable, and definitely deals with the issues in your comment!

      • Thanks. I just read Justice Denied and Render Unto Rome was the next book I wanted to read. I think many including myself and the church get so focused on the material world we forget about our souls and the souls of others.

      • So disappointed that I couldn’t make it to the local meeting with Jason Berry the other week. Amazing how we have had some of the best and brightest right here in Philadelphia. Yes,Marci’s book Justice Denied is wonderful and she is such a powerful and informed speaker. Render unto Rome is my next read.

      • Kathy, couldn’t figure out hoe to put this under your Jason Berry message, but I plan to hear him next week!

        His thesis is that the next shoe to drop is the fiscal scandals in the Church.

  3. SW, I am back. Survivors and kids are more important than my ego and Philly Catholics need all the help they can get.

    I hope you saw my comment to Maureen’s outstanding article, under the comment heading, “KIDS AND THE 2012 ELECTIONS”. PA could be the critical swing state in the 2012 US national elections.

    In addition to closely monitoring Seth Williams (hereinafter “SeW” to avoid confusion with you, SW !), C4C readers and voters must utilize every opportunity to impress upon all candidates that they will not get their vote unless they agree specifically to press for US national legislation that protects kids and respects victims.

    I also hope C4C readers read the crosslinks in my comment to Maureen’s article. The links put Philly Catholics’ situation into a broader perspective.

    • Loved your comments! I don’t have the time to research all facets of this…so your links to support your comments were invaluable.

      We agree, Philly catholics need all the support they can get.

      I love PA…not only because of the wonderful people on this site…but I’m a die-hard Steelers fan.

      I’m hoping that PA residents share why they are voting the way they are. So many are one issue voters…pro-life, then this is the vote. It’s a good idea to keep the conversations going about how strongly you feel about “respecting all life.” Initiate the conversations Philadelphians! Let them know you are holding both the church and the DA accountable for their actions against or for our children.

      • Although Sr Maureen’s articles always leave me just so proud to be working with her – when she emailed this article to me yesterday,I really thought this was one of her best reflections on the crisis and what needs to be done. See you Friday Sr Maureen – same place,same time!

    • Hey Jerry, welcome back. I knew you anger would subside, To me you are such an important part of this blog and I am so happy your ego took a back seat to your concern for children and victims ūüôā

    • Jerry, thank you for returning! I would love to write to you on another track. I am a survivor and I really do hear you! I am taken back by your knowledge and truth. It is refreshing.

      • Thanks Abigal and Vicki. I thought I already replied here, but don’t see me comment, so will try again. For now, I need to focus on “blind blogging”, since I already am unable to reply to all the blog sites I think I should.

        I have four grandkids in nearby Bethlehem. I hope at some point to swing by Philly and demonstrate in front of Seth Williams’s office, “Occupy Seth’s Office” or something like that. Perhaps we could all meet and get arrested together lol .

        My grandkids would get a kick out of seeing Grandpa on TV in handcuffs. Who knows? There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are making progress.

  4. Their is no ‘transparency and accountability’ that is just a PR gimmick to make everyone believe that the ‘rcc’ has reformed. When the LAWS are changed then the ‘rcc’ will be compelled to be transparent and accountable, however they will settle out of court and the cases will be dismissed and the files will remain HIDDEN. Try and get a straight answer from a clergymen and all you get are vague responses or I don’t know, ask cahput why the pope sent him here, ask chaput to tell you where the money comes from that funds the lobbyist group in Harrisburg , I can go on and on , see my point .

    • I agree – no one ever knows anything. No priest knew kids were being abused,no priests knew Bishops were covering things up. When Chaput was named to Philly and asked by the press why he was chosen he said something to the effect of not knowing why he was chosen and only had very brief conversation with the Vatican officials who called him.I think I remember him saying it was a three minute conversation. But then again “who knows” right?

  5. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply November 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Tell it like it is, Sister! Our Archbishop in Atlanta, Wilton Gregory, a major player in developing the charter to protect children, won’t even reveal the names of his advisory board members. We can have no idea of what is going on, other than the occasional story of clerical misbehavior that hits the headlines. This despite an Archdiocesan promise of openness and transparency.

    The above was a comment at the NCR website in response to Sister Maureen’s wonderful and honest essay on the state of Bishops and their Review Boards. Seems like Bishop Gregory has provided a peculiar evil and sinister twist on his game of “Let’s Play Review” by refusing to name the players.

    By the way, whether you realize it or not, Bishop Gregory, the Emperor really is not wearing any clothes. Wilton, take off the blinders and take a look.

    • ahhhh! Michael,how could I forget you when I gave a shout out to all the people who have been so influential in forming the C4C community. Your law enforcement background and vast personal research in connecting the dots between all the “players” in the Archdiocese has been so helpful over the past few months . More importantly,many victims have felt that you have helped them with your comapssion and relentless personal quest to have justice for those who have been victimized within the Church.

  6. Michael S. has been an “all action”, commenter on here for months. Very impressed by his advocacy within Marsico’s office on behalf of the victims and children.

    Always look forward to Michael’s posts ,my kind of guy.

  7. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply November 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you Brian and Kathy for your words of support. You see I come from a background of many years advocating, both personally and professionally, in the disability field and I’ve been speaking up and out on a variety of issues and concerns.

    I wish I had the time to more actively participate in the Harrisburg trips and/or the First Friday vigils. It seems there is no “bottom” to this level of depravity, deceit and the reckless disregard for the safety of our children throughout archdiocesan churches, schools and programs in light of the revelations re Father Murtha and St. Anselm’s.

    I have discovered at least two other parish assignments AFTER the time that he was removed from St. Anselm’s in the mid-90’s for health reasons.

  8. Pennsylvania State Representative Louise Bishop speaking at the Justice4PAkids press conference we held in Harrisburg October 17th.

    • I can’t even tell you the irony of having one of the State Reps with the last name of “Bishop” being one of the sponsrs of these House Bills. Look even at the title of this video clip. “Bishop Fights for Abused Children”
      In talking with local Catholics,I have frequestly mentioned “Bishop’s” efforts for victims and protection of children. The local Catholic’s eyes light up “One of the Bishops is standing up for children?” No I have to tell them,no Bishop in Philadelphia,just a very strong and passionate member of the House of Representatives

  9. Those that cannot obey, cannot command , B. Franklin

  10. In Sr. Maureen’s really excellent article, Chaput says that any kind of statute of limitation reform would lead to ‘dismantling and pillaging [of] the Catholic community.’

    What does he mean, exactly? Is he saying that he will not permit justice for victims via a reformed statute of limitation because it would catastrophically affect the communal and fiscal well-being of the Church? Seriously, I am asking for insights on this because, regardless of how well the Church maintained in Delaware with a reformed statute, I have no problem whatsoever with the Church being relegated to absolutely nothing, at this point, if it means justice for victims.

    Nothingness would be a refreshing foundation upon which “Church” could be reinvented.

    • Exactly. Where could you get better clarification on what Archbishop Chaput means then from Abp. Chaput himself?

      Write him via snail mail and perhaps he will answer.

      • Chaput’s thinking is nothing short of putrid.

      • There was a really good comment by Bullough titled “A criminal window was passed…..” in the NCR comments section under Sister’s fine article. The comment dealt with the “dismantling and pillaging” issue as well as I have ever seen it dealt with. ….

    • Hadit Catholic, I am in total agreement with your closing statement.

    • To had it catholic, in todays inquirer the viewpoints section Thomas Leitch wrote: Charles Chaput’s remark that the now statute of limitations on reporting child abuse “are a good idea or we wouldn’t have them”. I assume this deferential attitude toward secular laws means the archbishop will stop fighting to limit abortion rights, which must be a good idea or they would have not be allowed under Roe v Wade which has been settled law for more than 40 years!!!

  11. In the comments section of Sisters article, there was one victims story from Gabe in CA.

    I wish there had been more. The NCR pulls in a much broader reader base, I suspect, than C4C.

    And from my own experience on this truly remarkable web site, I know the victims stories are hugely compelling.

    I think readers all over the nation need to really understand from victims themselves, if they are willing to share with the NCR, what they have gone through.

    Sisters article is still receiving comments, what do you think?

  12. Joan if you would like to share any of the victim’s accounts that I emailed you – please feel free to post to NCR. I am running out with my kids now,so if you have time that would be fine.

    • Kathy, I gave it my best shot with Arthurs story, but the NCR may not accept it…I did a copy and paste number. I am, however old and inept when it comes to posting.

      If NCR does not accept this posting, could you or God love them, one or more of the survivors fix this? ie, comment on Sister Maureen’s article in the NCR, with victims stories.

      I really do think the stories are critical to folks REALLY understanding the issues!

      Sister, herself has said that the victim’s stories are essential to understanding the issues!

      • Joan, I am no pro at postings either, but I just tried to add on NCR a short lead and crosslink to C4C’s story about Arthur. I added it as a comment under the comment heading, “PHILLY’S ARTHUR, RIP!”. It should be posted in the morning under my long comment, “KIDS AND THE 2012 ELECTION”, just under Sr. Maureen’s main article. I have developed a following at NCR, mostly pro, so hopefully it will get some NCR readers to check out C4C and the moving Arthur story.

      • Kathy, Gerry neatly put his Arthur story right at the top of Sisters article with a link that showed the picture and the story quite effectively.

        My copy and paste effort did appear in it’s totality at the end of the comments section, sharing space with some anti SNAP folks!

        I can’t help but think that the NCR could use more victims stories in the future. These stories cut right through the verbiage, hopefully straight to the heart!

      • Joan, Please try expressing your view that NCR should cover victims more often to Tom Fox at tfox@ncronline.org He is a senior editor there and has published several forceful articles on the Philly scandals.

  13. Jerry

    I am confused. I searched your name over at NCR thinking you were a columnist or blogger ,it seems that you comment on the site. Also you claim that you won’t let Seth Williams sweep things under the rug etc….Sending letters and emails is a great idea but really, you seem to see yourself as a key player in all of this ,when in reality – you comment on websites and blogs…. Just wishing that C4C went back to being the place many shared their views

    • Ellen, I never said I was a columnist at NCR. NCR picked up my Washington Post article last year on their own initiative, so I turned my attention to NCR. When I first started, I did a widely read NCR artice on the papal politics on contraception and found dealing with editors too time consuming, so I just usually give extensive comments.

      Many prominent abuse activists, international reporters, human rights activists, theologians,etc. have contacted me many times to exchange views as a result. For example, I have exchanged e-mails often over the past 18 months with Marci Hamilton, a great lawyer. As to Seth Williams, I will do what I can. By now, I am confident he knows who I am. Does he know who you are?

      It is disappointing, but perhaps understandable after last weekend, that you have put such energy into putting me down. You can always share your views here, even negative ones, as you just have. But if you don’t want to continue sharing them here for another quarter century, we must try to do more than just share views.

      • Jerry I know many here are very grateful to Susan and Kathy because while new to this cause they are geniunely concerned for our victims of sexual abuse world wide and especially in philly . They have created a much needed forum for discussion, healing and change aided by alot of different experts.Many have had enough narcissim coming from the church heirarchy that anything remotely simlliar may make it harder for them to share on this site.Anyway I think you have alot of good insights and a different perspective we can all learn from.. I think that if you take it down a knotch presenting the same information in a slightly less abrasive way it might be more productive in getting your point accross.

    • It’s called narcissism and the Internet is a huge platform for it. Once Seth Williams see the out-of-state return address I bet he just throws the letter out. I would.

      Philly C4C needs people IN Philly, on the ground and ready for action.

      • WOW, Rick. Thank goodness you rarely attempt to express your self here with any positive direction. If you think Philly only needs “… people IN Philly on the ground and ready for action…”, have you tried enlisting the help of the street cleaners union? How does Seth know my e-mail address is out of state, as if that really matter.

        It’s not about narcissism. It’s about building confidence in C4C readers for a strategy that may be their only chance. Have a nice day.

      • Jerry. I’ll gladly meet you at the Friday Vigil. See you there?

      • Rick, thanks for the Vigil invite. I would love to join, but it is a 400 mile roundtrip drive and I must plan my Philly trips in light of that. I am thinking of visiting to demonstrate before Seth Williams’ office at an opportune time. Perhaps, we could meet then.

      • Jerry, I am just reading through the comments , I haven’t been on the site at all today,felt like I needed a break to clear my head. I think what you are reading is people asking you to maybe not throw titles,salary or impressive aquaintances out there along with your comments. That won’t fly with a Philly crowd.
        I have an Ivy League education and at one time that meant a lot to me, but now having the wisdom I do at 44, I realize that some of the most “uneducated “people have provided me with the most important life lessons and some of the most “educated” people have been the biggest idiots. I would have used a stronger descriptive word,but trying to keep the site rated PG. We have a good thing going here,and many have emailed fearing it is turning into a one man show.
        We don’t care if people are laborers, unemployed,college educated,high school drop outs …it doesn’t matter. All are equally valued on this site,no opinion is not welcome,all input appreciated.For those feeling like they wanted to leave because things have changed – hang in there and we will get back on track.

      • Jerry, I completely agree that we need to be aware of what is going on,especially with the trials. My question after the Bevilaqua competency hearing is, if they find him compeptent,will he be indicted also? I remember reading that the only reason he wasn’t indicted was because of his poor health and frail condition. I want him indicted!!! I don’t want any deals made,obviously because I want justice for the victims but also because I want it all to come out at the trials – the whole ugly truth. Many have not taken the time to read the Grand Jury reports,when this info is all over the local nightly news and front page of the Inquirer – that will make my day!

      • Hailing from NY, I have to disagree with you, Rick. The protection of children, justice for the victims of sexual abuse, and clericalism are global issues. While this site seeks to address these issues in PA and in the Philadelphia AD, and while it is imperative that there are “people in Philly on the ground and ready for action,” people from afar can financially support this site, support its blogging victims, provide information, sources, and advice, share unique points of view, and learn from its efforts, actions, practices and convictions, implementing them in their locales, so that the efforts of Catholic Philadelphians are universalized.

      • Hi Hadit – I agree with you completely. The church is universal, and so, too, are its problems/sins/crimes. And the Internet makes it possible for comments to be made cross border – the flow of information is unending. My point, however, is that as someone here, in Philadelphia, in the Archdio, in the pews I get very tired of being barked at by Jerry: You have to do this! You have to do that! WE get it. You’re a lawyer. You’re an S&C alum. Stop barking! We know we need to keep up the pressure. We know who the DA is. We know how corrupt the clergy is in Philadelphia. I’m sure there are problems in the Diocese of Rockville Center that Jerry could bark at. And I don’t see him barking on Dolan’s blog. Stop barking at us!

    • Ellen,
      What is your view? Maybe if you share yours, then others will feel they can do the same?

      I’m interested in hearing all sides.

      • Kathy, your comments are fair and I hear them. I am not trying to dominate and both respect and value the opinions of so many here. I may have overstated my stats. If you knew me, you would then know bragging is not my usual style. If it offended anyone, I apologize.

        I have one simple goal here. Obviously, it is not to be the most loved. My goal is to see Lynn tried fairly and fully by a jury, along with Bevilaqua and Rigali if the evidence warrants it. My bluster was intended to undergird my advice to C4C readers to keep their eye on Seth Williams.

        I worry at times that perhaps some C4C readers may innocently underestimate the ruthlessness of the hierarchy, so I have made my point and will back off now. I have a lot of other related matters to pursue in this struggle so I will focus more on them now. I will continue to follow C4C periodically and comment if I think it is both necessary and constructive. In the meantime, you and Susan seem to be on top of things.

      • Kathy, if Bevilaqua is found to be mentally competent, he will be questioned under oath on video (for future use at Lynn’s, et al.’s, trials). If during this questioning, he both appears sufficiently competent and discloses a sufficient basis to support an indictment, I expect Seth Williams will then indict him.

        The 2011 Grand Jurors were very clear based on the full grand jury proceedings that they thought Bevialqua was the principal potential criminal defendant. The Grand Jurors also indicated clearly that he should be indicted if his health would not prevent him from defending himself.

        He is a Brooklyn streetwise lawyer (like me), so he could be found incompetent by his own cunning. We will see. He is still not too old to be tried and imprisoned if convicted. A Brooklyn mafioso, Sonny Francese, from Bevilaqua’s old neighborhood was just imrisoned at 94 years old. It all depends on Bevilaqua’s health and Seth’s diligence.

      • Thanks Jerry …….. well stated .You make a good point on not forgetting the possible ruthlessness……..I saw it in the post of them wanting to interrogate the victim before the criminal trial. It’s a total lack of empathy.

      • Fair enough, Rick. I have already told Kathy I will end my Philly barking. I do bark at Dolan and Rockville Centre as well, often on other blogs. In the strange coincidences life sometimes brings, a villain in in the Rockville Centre Diocese cover-up is the former Chancellor . He is Bevilaqua’s nephew. The clerical apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Since you seem to know what an S&C alum is, I will breathe more easily knowing you have my Philly back. Good luck.

  14. I agree that the victims’ stories are crucial to people’s understanding of this issue. And if individuals still cannot feel empathy after hearing these accounts, I am reminded of a poignant scene from John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” when the lawyer has the jury (in a highly racially biased town) close their eyes and imagine all of the horrible things that were done to the victim (a little African American girl) being done to a little white girl. They are stunned. How about each person imagine what was done to these abuse victims being done to the child or children he/she loves the most in this world. When one personalizes these horrors, how can that not create empathy? When I imagine such things happening to my children, I become distraught both emotionally and physically. Everyone needs to feel that. Noone’s childhood should include such terror. Noone’s child should have gone through this. Victims need REAL healing and children need to be protected.

    • Jackie, I tried imagining my four really special grandchildren, two eighth graders and a Sophmore and Junior in HS, full of promise and generous of spirit, being abused.

      With all that life potential smashed down in a shame based, guilt based hole, perhaps never to fully recover. Never to fully develop their God given gifts.

      Someone called it soul murder. And it is.

      • It really is, Joan. I get so upset thinking about it. We love our children so much and care for them with all of our hearts from the time they are born and for some disgusting person to take their precious bodies and souls from them in such a way is pure evil. To have the leaders of our Church brush these acts under the carpet as if they were little mistakes and move these sick people on to new places with new potential victims just deepens the evil. To say that they have created wide disillusionment is a great understatement, though it is true.

    • What you say is true. Distance gives people a false sense of security

  15. Great responses from everyone! As most of you know by now I am a survivor and as part of my need to inform I will be speaking at Our Mother of Consolation church on Chestnut Hill ave, in Chestnut Hill on November 7th, 7pm to 8:30 It will be conducted as a forum with a few other people on the panel. I will have my supporters with me and anyone else who might like to join me. I am excited to do this for the people in the parish who have put this together. I want to inform and educate and support them because I see such pain on their faces.So many are lost and don’t know where to turn. I want to bring some solace and understanding to them.

    • Vicky, I am so glad that you and Barbara connected. Would you be interested in writing something that we can post as a blog about your experience speaking at the meeting? I am going to ask Barabra if she could write something too. There has been so much silence on the parish levels,maybe people from other parishes can read about the meeting and that could lead to some more parishes holding this type of event. You know us, very informal,a few paragraphs would be fine.

  16. Jackie…it IS pure evil! And must be fought!

  17. I really liked HaditCatholic’s response in the above exchange. I’m from the West Coast, and while I can’t be there on the front line, there are ways I can help. And your situation is a national issue.

    The passing on of predators, by episcopal “management” is a national, indeed world wide scandal. When Bishop Finn, was indicted and charged, it made worldwide headlines. Folks out here said ‘thank God” and they didn’t know a thing about Finn, or for that matter the charge, but they did know that throughout the US, bishops had not been held accountable for ‘child endangerment’ . And they suspected that the Dallas Charter was a self serving document. And, FINALLY a bishop had been charged on a criminal count.

    In Philadelphia, the circumstances are far more damning, the Grand Jury report 2011, is unbelievable, and yes I have read it twice, and you have a diocesan administrator who will hopefully go to jail, for the very crimes that have happened so often throughout the country, but gotten a prosecutorial “pass”.

    I can understand Jerrys law related anxiety relative to this issue. Seth Williams is not only very important to Philadelphia, his actions are very important nationally. The stakes are high, the opposition is powerful and well financed and the outcome is critical to better protect innocent children.

    I don’t for a moment doubt that there are other “Philadelphias” out there.

  18. Great news! People who follow C4C have taken our advice about contacting Seth William’s office. An email is being circulated among area Catholics with the info we posted a few days ago. I encourage everyone here to do the same. Send the people on your email list the contact info DA.webmail@phila.gov. Let’s flood the DA’s office with emails letting them know that local Catholics want them to stay strong in their efforts in the upcoming trials. One sentence takes just one minute! So happy that our efforts are reaching people who don’t follow C4C.

  19. S. Reid Warren, III Reply November 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    As an outsider it seems to me that the folks in this forum are preaching to the choir – to one another. The conversations are circular – a friendship circle, with a great deal of repetition. Is it not time to decide what MUST be done? What action to take? Hard questions: – Is The Church a sinking ship? – Is it salvagable? – Is it capable of change? – Is it invested in changing? I see no evidence from the hierarchy – none whatsoever. Faith levels in all Christian faiths are much diminished in Europe. Some may call them cafeteria Catholics. If change doesn’t come from America where will it come from? So far I see no leadership for change. When will someone say: “WE intend to take back our faith.?

    All the best to you.

    Reid

    • Great questions. There is no leadership for change that has organized the masses yet to change from within. I think we are realizing that presently. No bishops or priests in Philly are stepping up. Maybe in Ireland and Australia but that is all I have seen and they seem liberal. Rather depressing but the laity in Philly seem like they are getting more organized behind the scenes regarding sexual abuse but no one wants to jump into the leadership postion among the laity either. Many of the above questions I have been asking myself lately. I am starting to think the only change possible is from outside the church regarding abuse . Hopefully when the sexaul abuse is exposed in the up coming trial in philly finicial issues and corruption will folllow.

    • Those are some lofty questions SRW. Who should be answering those questions?

      The “WE” of your last statement is absent of the hierarchy. The priests are needed for the sacraments, so to be absent of them is to not have a part of their “faith.”

      The catholic dynamic is that the laity would not “lead” the church out of anything…the laity still look to the church hierarchy to do that for them to some extent.

      I do think you are seeing catholics take back their church in the ways they know how though. Speaking up, cutting funding, challenging legislation that goes against what their church wants, attending vigils, etc. are all ways I see catholics taking back their faith. It’s hard to understand what it’s like to go against the very church you love…to do what is right IN SPITE of the supposed “moral” entity. Usually it’s the other way around.

      I’m not sure we will ever see an organized re-structuring of the catholic church the way we think it should be, but I’m not overlooking the courageous catholics who are taking their own stand in their own way now.

      • As usual, SW makes excellent points. Catholics are beginning to take back their faith, in all the ways she just mentioned.

        I went back and took a quick look at the Vatican 2 documents on the Laity…we actually have a moral responsibility to speak up when the Church has run amuck. As it has in Philadelphia!

        We are not mindless masses, dictated to by a corrupt hierarchy, but rather, share the ‘people of God’ responsibility with all other segments of the Church.

        I think Beth has it right, some Church reform particularly where sexual abuse is concerned will come from the civil and criminal law sector.

        I think financial scandals are the next ‘shoe to drop’ in the Church, and again the faithful need to speak up and the criminal and civil law sector will hopefully help correct the problems.

        Another Vatican 2 statement dealt with the laity forming associations. Voice of the Faithful comes to mind as well as groups listed in C4C’s ‘About Us’ link. AND certainly C4C is a ‘group’…too. It’s interesting to check the number of ‘hits’ this blog gets!

        So to look at Reid’s questions….is the Church salvageable, yes with informed and proactive laity, criminal and civil law help, and most of all the Holy Spirit. Checking it out with Mary isn’t a bad idea either.

      • Thanks SW. It is really frustrating. I myself am trying to do all I possibly can. I just keep thinking this is what our victims had to deal with all those years. It’s like talking to a wall dealing with the hierachy and not much different talking to some catholics.At least people are starting to connect on this site.

      • Joan,
        You have alot of good points. Yes this site gets alot of hits. I think alot of priests and AD people read it too. They just don’t comment. Probably Chaput too as well as some news people and the general catholic population. I forget that sometimes when I blog. Maybe that is a good thing. Anyway I think the church has to sink before we can salvage anything. It really has gotten that bad. I was watching how the catholic development fund that alot of catholic donate to around Thanksgiving is granting money to groups that are contrary to church teaching. German bishops are funding erotic publishing ……whats next.

    • Reid, I tried to put yours and others thoughts together in an answer under SW ‘s remarks, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the small group circularity of C4C. The blog’s impact is substantial.

      Since Sat Oct 29 th to this evening on Nov 3rd, there have been over 5000 hits.

    • Reid,

      In my opinion, the Church is not “a sinking ship.” I agree with the predictions that it will “salvage” itself in the form of a smaller, poorer and more theologically orthodox organization. The hierarchical tradition and clericalism will remain. The only difference will be that, eventually, the secular world, via its civil laws and courts, will act to protect humanity from its sins.

      The real question, then, is who among the laity and the religious will remain on board?

      • P.S. There will be opportunities for hadit Catholics to practice their faith in non-traditional faith communities. They will be intelligent, democratic, inclusive and sacred.

      • haditcatholic
        I agree with smaller, poorer, theologically orthdox organization and hopefully without the greed and the hunger for power because there will not be excessive money to pursue. That is what I am hoping for anyway. A purer more geuine church. As for clericalism I hope you are wrong about that. If things continue the way they are I think the Church may be perscueted in the near future for its beliefs and that will further cleanse it. Time will tell.

      • I think the real change in clericalism will come from the younger generations of laity. We were raised to revere priests,this generation is growing up amidst the exposure that the some clergy have abused kids and many in the hierarchy hid the crimes. Kids are very black and white in their thinking. We can get sidetracked with SOL’s,canon law etc….Kids don’t have all of those distractions. Kids were harmed and many priests did not do the right thing. Period. Pretty much the way children process things.

        I was talking to a woman about a month before the 2011 Grand Jury report was released. She told me both her children now in their early 20’s have left the Church. She said ” They were teens when all of these crimes were exposed back in 2002, that is what they were raised with,that is their frame of reference for clergy”
        I think even kids today,if they stay as adults, will never ever be in the position we were .where there was an unnatural reverence and a priest was respected for simply being a priest. That I happily think -is over.

      • Kathy I think you are right about that. When my kids asked about the scandal i told them there are good priests and bad priests and they have to trust their gut when someone makes them feel uncomfortable.Definitely different then when I grew up. When I grew up I thought some priests were kinda creepy but you were not given permission to speak your mind and challenge the attitudes of your parents vs how you felt.

      • Beth I told my kids the same thing ,there are good priest and bad priests. But then when I was asked “What are the good priests doing about the bad priests?” I had to answer completely honestly. I had to explain that crimes were covered up by the hierarchy etc… and basically no one did right by the children. I had to explain that I knew priests who were not abusers, but did not turn in their fellow priests who harmed children. And clergy think they will hold any moral authority over this generations of kids.?

    • Yes thanks for the link I saw that. After watching realcatholictv.com investigation on where the money goes in the CCHD I am not donating to the CCHD collection this year unless they defund the organizations they give grants to that fund abortion etc. Definitely hypocritics. Archbishop Chaput is you are reading this you should look into that. I heard they sent documents to all Bishops in US complaining about these organizations getting funding.

      • We should get realcatholictv.com to investigate the money trail to pay for the lawyers in Lynn’s trial and to lobby against the statue of limitations.

      • My point is they don’t even follow thier own guidelines in granting money to organizations. They just do whatever they want and hope no one is looking. If anyone challenges them they say we are uncharitable etc but make no real changes.

  20. This article, which I believe we posted many months ago,shows the efforts of the prosecutors involved in the Phila. 2005 Grand jury report under then DA Lynn Abraham. Some prosecutors from 2005 were also involved with the 2011 Grand Jury Report and the upcoming trials. While it is good to send emails to Seth Williams to let him know how the local Catholic laity are supporting their efforts and want them to continue strongly,this article speaks to the dedication of the prosecutors in the DA’s office. Susan and I have only heard stellar accounts from victims ,of the prosecutors who worked on the Grand Jury reports. Some victims credit these prosecutors with ‘saving them” in many ways. This article is really one of the best I have read about the cover up that lead to the 2005 Grand jury Report – a must read.
    http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006b/042806/042806a.php

  21. I think this article also does an excellent job of highlighting the obedience that priest’s pledge to their Bishop. I can understand pledging obedience to follow church doctrine, but obviously it is a recipe for disaster that priests felt like they needed to be obedient even in the face of crime and children being harmed/endangered. I have pictured all of the men in my life – neighbors,in laws,co workers,friends…and can’t picture even the most mild mannered of them blindly following along because they pledged obedience. Actually most of them would have a problem even pledging obedience to another person. And obedience in the face of children being raped?? No,most of the men I know would have taken matters into their own hands -and it wouldn’t have been a pretty sight.

    • You aren’t kidding about that! Agreed

    • The blind obedience syndrome relegates the priesthood to a cult.

    • Reading this John the Baptist comes to mind. He probably understood Christ the best it was prayer, mortification and voicing the truth at all costs that led to him gaining many followers. Maybe the Philly priests can mediate on him and gain the strength to be that voice that speaks in the wilderness as well as the catholic laity.

    • You know Kathy the priests might say they need to be obedient to the Bishop etc. But were the pedophile priests being obedient to the bishops when they were raping and molesting kids? Maybe disobedience is the real problem. I am being the devils advocate on this one. I think there are alot of problems with obedience more than meets the eye. Some priests were too obeident and some disobedent. So in this context it is not all about following orders. In many cases it was going against the catholic teachings. This just dawned on me.

  22. I guess I am in a reflective mood today but as a catholic it has been a very difficult process for me as I realize the extent of the sexaul abuse, corruption and coverup. It also has been difficult realizing this and trying to make other catholics understand how bad things are really in the catholic church in philly right now and abroad. It is painful because I believed the best of the catholic church and always thought of it standing up for the poor, the forgotten etc I love God with my whole heart , soul and mind and it leads me to wonder do the priests just lack faith? I love my church and that is why I feel I must speak the truth. What the church in philly and abroad has been doing concerning sexaul abuse is wrong. It is that simple and I committ myself humbly totry to make amends in anyway shape or form. I can’t do everything but at least I can do something.

    • I guess it is good to remember Jesus had to deal with Judas and the Pharisees so we are not alone in dealing with betrayal and hardheartedness.

    • Beth, I will be honest,this has been a difficult week. I think finding out about Murtha -whose case was unknown until the prosecutors included it in their latest filing,was just a little too much for me. The AD holds itself up as a model of posting on their website the priests with allegations who are now being laicized etc…. Murtha isn’t on there. Why? because no one new about him. The AD knew of course but his case didn’t make it into the Grand jury reports so why would they just post him on their website…. out of sheer honesty…of course not. And to think the children at that parish dedicated their yearbook to him,wishing him well when he was leaving for “health reasons”,when in reality he was in possession of child porn and wrote a letter which was found in his room,propositioning a student. It is all just insanity. It really is. And not one priest at that parish told the congregation the TRUTH?? What ever happened to the truth.

  23. great thoughts Beth…each time someone reflects “out loud” here, it gives me more to think about and something with swim in my head for days. So, thank you for sharing…I think. lol

    Kathy, it has been a revealing week for Philly.

    What excuse has the AD given for not being honest about Murtha? What’s their excuse this time?

    Is it on the radar of catholics in the pews? What will it take for catholics to be concerned about this?

    I have long since given up on the hierarchy ever doing the right thing for victims, but is it really that far lost on the laity too? I’m encouraged by the groups that are aware and working toward a solution, but what will it take for the rest of the laity?

    • The results of a long, very public, and disgusting trial should wake up the laity.

      Which is why Chaput et al are fighting it fiercely and Seth Williams is so very important!

      • One more thought….I keep “Abuse Tracker” on my home screen.
        I think Bishop Accountability is the sponsor. For folks who are visiting this blog and concerned about bishops behavior, you might want to check Abuse Tracker, out.

  24. Just a crazy thought but has anyone ever sent of emailed a copy of the Grand Jury Report to 60 minutes or 20/20? Or is this an absolute no-no before the trial? Just curious because the truth is that this is just not Philadelphia. The more I read about these priests, bishops, etc. they actually go from diocese, like for instance Edward Cullen who was mentioned in NCR article posted above became the Bishop of Allentown. So, how many priests all over this country have been moved around and around? Every time I think of this I get angrier, and sicker and more and more hopeless. I just hope no one takes a plea and the trial moves forward fast and furious . I think Seth Williams needs to hear it from all Philadelphians not just the catholic ones. Spread the emails like wildfire …

    • Back in February and March after the Grand Jury Report was released both CNN and MSNBC had reporters in Philly doing reports. I believe CNN was also at the rally we attended in March. Maureen Dowd of the NY Times covered the preliminary trials and interviewed Seth Williams also. Seth Williams also appeared and was interviewed on MSNBC. After this the judge ordered the gag order to all parties involved -defendants and prosecution.
      The media always needs a “hook” for a story – I have learned this from our very own Susan Matthews and her experience in PR and reporting. I think we will see the national coverage again once the trials start up. Although the people the media would most like to interview are under a gag order,I think there is value in a story focusing on the victims (not the ones involved in these upcoming cases) and advocates who have long been involved in the crisis in Philadelphia. Susan and I have met people who have worked on this issue since 2005.The best time for this type of story would be right before the trials start when the spotlight will again shine on Philadelphia. The other thing to remember is that Monsignor Lynn had been the highest ranking clergy member in the US to be indicted in cases involving. clergy sex abuse, this was groundbreaking news. Now Bishop Finn in Kansas City has taken that place with his indictment.

      • Take a look at the air dates and locations the Come Home commercial is supposed to air…you don’t suppose they planned this, do you?

        One step ahead and deep pockets.

    • Abigail here is vidoe of CNN reporting from Philadelphia last March,we will see more of this in the coming months http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJg2DWouVcs

    • Also CNN just ran a special this past weekend titled “Predators in Plain Sight” about the statutes of limitations and laicized priests living among the general public
      http://cnnpresents.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/29/predators-in-plain-sight/

  25. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply November 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Abigail, now that’s an idea I really love. You’d have to get a contact person at these locations, I would think, in order to have some chance at a successful or productive outcome.

  26. Abigail, The huge importance of this trial is ….”its not just Philadelphia” because predator priests are moved around in PA or to other states. Although that is bad enough!

    But if this trial of Lynn et al is successful then a message is sent to the Catholic Bishops NATIONWIDE that their morally corrupt and obnoxious management style relative to molestation must improve. AND they are not going to get any MORE PROSECUTORIAL PASSES!!!

    There are a number of bishops throughout the country that “sort of” conform to the Dallas Charter…which itself is a weak system.

    These guys were given a technical “pass” by the Vatican from even having to report abuse to civil authorities…..The Vatican norms in the 2002 Charter, requiring reporting were NOT “essential” norms….which means if bishops don’t report, the Vatican won’t punish!

    There are bishops that refuse to participate in the programs of the Charter. The bishops “self report” on compliance to the Charter…any parent knows what that means..

    This trial has national, as well as local importance for the protection of innocent children!

  27. I do realize that this trial has national importance for the protection of all children but it should then have national media time even before it starts so that many people in other states know what the trial’s outcome can mean. Hey Jerry Slevin, you seem to carry a lot of clout and know some important people, what do you think of 60 Minutes or some other national news show reporting on the GJR or at least doing a story on C4C or something like that?

  28. Look what they’ve been up to in all their spare time…

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/tim-drake/catholic-ads-to-air-nationally-on-prime-time-tv/

    Just in case you thought they didn’t have the money to fund an expensive PR campaign.

    When I see this I think a lot of things…but mostly, I think it’s not real/authentic and people will see right through it. Things are too far gone and they are grasping at straws. “Emperor, you don’t have any clothes on and now you just made a commerical naked.”

    I’d like to make my own commercial. “Come Home, where the moral leadership rape their children and then lie about it. Where you have no voice and you get used” Sure, that sounds like a home where I want to dwell.

    I will do my best not to throw a rock through the television screen if it ever comes on in my presence. Merry Christmas, victims. We just spent millions on a a campaign to help ourselves, rather than help you heal. We still do what benefits us as the church, instead of doing what would benefit those who need the church.

    • One more thing this commercial says without words: “We are very nervous.”

    • It really shows a mindset that has its priorities all wrong.They should do an ad apologizing for all the coverups and say they will try to make amends to our victims. Nothing like denying reality to piss off more people.

  29. SW I took a look at your Link to those commercials, obviously a very conservative undertaking….and the vocational links on that blog were apparently to groups associated with the Legionaires of Christ…which even the Vatican recently discredited.

    There’s a lot of real conservative money out there, connected to the hierarchy! I’m putting my money on the Holy Spirit!

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