Sister saddened by Chaput’s Statements

From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Letters to the Editor, Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chaput says school closings concern parishioners most….


I am very saddened by Archbishop Charles Chaput’s comments about statutes of limitation regarding the sexual abuse of children (“Chaput says Philadelphia school closings concern parishioners most,” Oct. 28). In opposing reform the archbishop appears to be willing, in effect, to deny access to justice to all abuse victims, not just the small percentage who have been exploited by priests. This is hardly what one expects from a religious leader.

Child abuse is an epidemic that grows daily, taking a human and financial toll on the resources of both the state and the private organizations helping victims.
Inadequate statutes of limitation covering childhood abuse only exacerbate the issue. They are arbitrary and discriminatory, as is seen in the disparity of statutes in states across the country.
Would Archbishop Chaput have Pennsylvania deny the protection of law to all victims of incest in order to continue the cover-up of sexual abuse that has existed for decades in the Roman Catholic Church? In not supporting statute of limitation reform that is exactly what Chaput is doing.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, New Castle,

51 thoughts on “Sister saddened by Chaput’s Statements

      1. Kathy, my disenfatuation with my Church has been growing for some time. Chaput’s statement goes against everything I thought the Church taught about justice. If I stole $10,000 from a widow 10 years ago, and lets say there was a 7 year statute of limitation on the crime, what would the priest tell me in the confessional? “You are absolved without making restitution” because the time limit has passed?

      2. Deacon Den hardly needs to tell us more about his decision to resign.

        What we need to be told is how other deacons and clergy members morally validate staying.

        Peace to you, Deacon Den.

    1. Deacon, congratulations for posting your views and your (I am sure) decision, just want you to know, your spiritual life will now get better and your kindness and understanding will be more in line with WWJD 🙂

      1. Actually we are clergy, technically, but are usually treated much differently. It is much easier for a deacon to leave. I am not beholden to the archdiocese for anything: salary, benefits, insurance.. nothing. It is much harder for my presbyterate brothers, who are hoping to retire someday. Does this group or SNAP still meet on First Fridays at 222?

  1. Just a rotten bunch of snakes outto save their own hides at the expense of those who were abused.

    1. seriously, it just does not seem possible that an ordained deacon would make a comment like the above on a public forum. much less air their story here either. curiously, when were you ordained and from which catholic diocese? i guess we will soon see your information in the clerical reassignments/retirements soon unless you care to answer. as in some cases there might be more to your story. i am a little surprised, that is all.

      1. Senga,
        No, you will not see me mentioned in reassinments or retirements. I am seeking laicization. We do not take a vow to give up our first amendment rights.

      2. Senga, could it be that Deacon Den has been moved by the Spirit to take this courageous and prophetic step? I, for one, think he was. He has seen from the inside how corrupt the Church hierarchy is. Perhaps, he was also moved by the sincere pleas for honesty of C4C bloggers?

        To get a better idea of the immensity of the challenges he must have seen on the inside, please read carefully the excellent new article by the world’s leading expert on abusive clerics, “Mother Church and the Rape of Children”, accessible by clicking on at:

        There is no better guide to understanding what is motivating Chaput and his fellow puppet bishops than this short article. None!!

    2. I really liked your example of stealing from the widow and being exonerated in confession because the statute of limitations had run out!

      Your point is well taken!

      Please know that along with others on C4C, I have a huge respect for your decision and have known many deacons I regarded highly, and have just added you to the list.

      Very best regards, Joan

  2. Can this situation get any worse? What are they thinking? Martin Ridge, if you are still reading this website, would you please contact me at I would
    very much appreciate it.

  3. Great, now we’ve got the Deacons leaving. Let’s just alienate everyone. Talk about tin ears. they have absolutely no clue about leadership. This isn’t about faith in God. This is about the Church administration doing the right thing. You set this right and you’ve got a chance to turn things around, otherwise it’s a slowly sinking ship. Doesn’t anyone remember Nixon?

  4. I am sorry for your decision, Deacon Dan. Particularly because I feel we need more deacons/people like you in our faith, to help us out of the muck and mire that the church/clergy seems intent on dragging us all through, repeatedly. First with the abuse, then the cover ups, and now the continued arrogance to support changing nothing. I only feel comfortable receiving communion from deacons, nuns, or eucharistic ministers at this point. I’m sure it was a hard decision for you. It’s what I keep telling myself, just beause my church has turned it’s back on so many of us, doesn’t mean God has.

    1. What about a lot of Letters to the Editor of the Inquirer, supporting Sisters point of view that the Bishops position punishes all victims of abuse in the State.

      And what about making a second point that the Grand Jury recommended opening up a statute of limitations window.

      And what about a third point that the church has a FIRST PRIORITY RESPONSIBILITY to those abuse victims whom the Church has brutalized, BEFORE it educates kids.

      1. I’ve been listening to the morning sports shows… callers are outraged about the actions of Penn Sate administrators. I posted on “Mike & Ike’s” FB page urging their callers to send emails to Ron Marisco. If concerned Catholics can’t change our representives’ minds, perhaps outraged sports fans might!

  5. Everyone please remember to email Pa. State Rep A one sentence email supporting the Pa. House Bills 832 and 878 moving out of committee for hearings. With the recent horrific news out of Penn State,we need to continue to speak up for children,as adults it is our responsibilty.

  6. Archbishop Charles Chaput’s must make the statements he did regarding the statutes of limitation involving the sexual abuse of children, IF HE WANTS TO REMAIN IN OFFICE. Ben16 is the puppet master; support the SOL and you’re gone!

    “MILWAUKEE — Because he violated “communio episcoporum” (the communion of bishops) and other canons by speaking in support of extending the statute of limitations for cases of sexual abuse by clergy, retired Detroit auxiliary bishop Thomas Gumbleton said he was forced to discontinue his role as pastor at a Detroit parish” (NCR).

  7. Dear Representative Marsico,

    As a citizen of Pennsylvania who is concerned about the safety of our children, I strongly urge you to schedule hearings on House Bills 832 and 878. The Catholic abuse scandal, and this weekend’s stunning revelations about another abuse scandal at Penn State, have highlighted just how easily these crimes against our most vulnerable and innocent citizens – our children – can be hidden. It is outrageous that these allegations were not reported – as mandated by law. Because they were not reported, other innocent children also became victims.

    It is imperative that the Statute of Limitations be opened so that victims may come forward and be heard. We have a law in our state that mandates suspected child abuse be reported to the police. We have seen in these cases that leaders of institutions are more eager to protect their reputation than to follow the law. We must change the State of Limitation laws by passing House Bills 832 and 878 so that there is no escape clause for those who are charged with protecting our children.

    Please prioritize the safety of our children by scheduling hearings on House Bills 832 and 878. It is time that our children be heard… without limits.

    1. Representative Marsico, I am concerned that you do not understand the horror of child sex abuse. Innocent children in PA have been brutally savaged by sports figures, family members, priests and others.  The damage of rape, incest, and molestation is incalculable. Some victims are stunted for life, developmentally, some never recover. Some commit suicide.

      Opening up HB 878 and 832 to a hearing process is a moral imperative.

      I don’t believe that you want it on your conscience that more vicious abuse occurs because victims could not come forth, name their predators (many may well not be known) and seek justice.

    2. BRAVO!! to Kathy, Laura and Joan for your bold leadership. It’s so nice to watch you brave women in action.

  8. I have no more answers. I have bent over backwards trying to do the right thing over the past few years. I have tried to alert the community of known clergy who abuse children. I’ve sat through testimony in Trenton with the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass laws that would protect children from potential sexual abuse and allow for civil and criminal prosecution of anyone who abuses a child. I have stood in the freezing cold, snowy, rainy, and hot weather, screaming from the sidewalk and begging people to take me seriously and protect your children, but I’ve been ignored, insulted, and threatened. I’ve written more letters to politicians than anyone else I know, and for a longer period than anyone else I know, and people tell me “you won’t change anything.” I’ve tried to give advice to those already affected by abuse and I’ve desperately tried to convince parents and parishioners that your children are telling the truth. So many of my attempts to expose the reality of childhood sexual abuse have been thwarted and ignore by people who think we want money, when it is in fact justice and a reckoning I seek.

    I felt pain in my chest and sickness in my stomach when I opened up the newspaper this weekend to discover that yet another abuser in a position of power and trust used that to influence children and he abused them. By now the world knows that former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has been arrested following accusations that he abused at least 8 boys throughout a 15 year period. Two other school administrators were implicated in covering up the abuse. This is just another example of powerful people doing bad things and not an example of secular religion or football. A child abuser at the age of 50 has on average 138 victims. I’m sure that the current known number of victims Sandusky has abused is well higher than 8. I’ve tried to warn people about who they allow their children to spend time with unsupervised.

    I’m tired of arguing what I believe to be obviously right and why laws must change to protect children. The world doesn’t need more of “me!” My life has constantly been revolving and while I feel deep sorrow for the victims now coming forward, this way of life constantly drags me down and forces me to open doors in my mind that I have tried to close for more than 20 years. The more I fight the less I feel like I’m making an impact. At the end of the day I feel good about what I tried to do, but time has only proven that it isn’t working. A tear comes to my eyes as I write this, because I have tried so hard to protect kids from ever having to experience what I have, and it isn’t working.

    The last few weeks have been very difficult for me. Depression isn’t much fun. I easily go silent for weeks and months and it’s during that time when my abusers resume taking over my life. Every time I close my eyes, or smell a specific odor, or I try to sleep at night I go back to that place I’ve been trying to run away from for more than half of my life. The more I read about abuse or argue about it the deeper the plunge into depression I fall. I tried to change the world and I tried to protect other kids, but if I can’t even get parents to listen to me, what kind of difference am I making? My ultimate fear is that more kids will be abused by the men I have tried to expose.

    I need to fight to protect children, but I also have to fight for me to stay alive and sane.

    1. Victims4Justice…

      Your message is making a difference… I truly believe that. Reading about your story, about your fight to be heard, about your efforts to keep our children safe…. though not always easy to read, it has pushed me to get out of my own comfort zone and do what I can to appeal to legislators, to spread the word among my circle about what can be done to put a stop to the abuse that has been allowed to happen. The Penn State report is outrageous, just as the Catholic Church scandal has been. However, it has drawn the attention of a whole other group of people who are also now outraged. Today, I believe there is a chance that the SOL will be changed, and those charged with protecting our children will no longer be able to hind behind expiration dates. They will be forced to take immediate action against allegations of abuse, and be forced to report to the authorities as they should have been doing all along.

      Please take the time to rest and care for yourself. There is a network of people here who are fighting with you for our children and for victims’ right to be heard. We will be waiting to hear from you again when you are rested. Please, please, know that you are in my prayers…

    2. Please, V4J, try to avoid discouragement, which, of course, is so justifable given your extraordinary efforts. You are surely being heard, although not always where you might expect it.

      The pope and his Roman clique are the subject of a criminal complaint. The Irish PM has, in effect, condemned the pope and recalled his ambassador permanently. The US Justice Department has filed a thirteen count federal indictment against the pedophile child pornographer implicated in the KC bishop’s criminal case. Lynn is being prosecuted and Bevilaqua and Rigali may be also.

      I have no doubt, as a lawyer, that the decisive and significant action just taken by the PA prosecutors, not just against the alleged pedophile at Penn State, but against two popular administrators as well, resulted in part from the public pressure that you, Kathy and Susan and others at V4J and C4C are creating.

      You have bravely laid a foundation by your heroic efforts that others are beginning to build on. You have really made a big difference.

    3. Rich,
      Glad to see you blogging ………we missed you and was hoping you were ok. I know you have alot going on and it is easy to lose heart but people need to hear what you have to say on this site. You have taught us alot. Depression is not fun and easier to get stuck in a rut when you are dealing with physical and emotional pain. Take a break from focusing on abuse if you can……..I find if you focus on evil that is all you see if you focus on good you start to see that it too exists…….I am not a victim so I am am not trying to insult you and say I know how you feel I know alot of this is PTSD which you stated and you don’t always have control of that but I don know that many soldiers etc suffering from PTSD have been successful with doing HEART MATH which is focusing on your heart and breath and an experince in which you felt most loved and safe. you can google online just an idea.

    4. Echoing what others have said. I’ve missed your postings and wondered if you were ok.

      I just want you to know your postings help all of us.

      Please take care of yourself at all costs…no guilt.

      Sr. Maureen….Excellent!

  9. V4J…I just want to thank you too! I really totally agree with everything Laura and Jerry said!
    I have learned so much from you about working hard at fighting for children.

    Sometimes in life you don’t know just how important your efforts are…and sometimes it takes a long time to fix really bad stuff. But you have been great!

  10. It’s very easy to become discouraged, but God is All Mighty. I lost my faith in the Church but not in God. I so much admire the courage of Rich and V4J, and Sister Maureen, Good WILL PREVAIL and evil will NOT triumph. No matter how much everyone at C4C agree to disagree does not matter, we all have the same goal, protection of our children and justice for our victims. I cannot believe that my faith in God has become so prevelant after leaving the Church.

  11. i think that Archbishop Charles Chaput is here to close more schools and eliminate parishes (the list will come out in january),do damage control on the cover up and statute of limitations and DRUMROLL PLEASE!!to get his cardinals hat!

    1. SW you can count on the fact that ABChaput has been sent by the Vatican to ‘fix’ things in Philadelphia.

      He is a Vatican ‘fixer,’ was recently sent to Australia by the Vatican to remove the Bishop that spoke up for women clergy et al. And Philadelphia presents huge challenges with the most egregious current molestation crisis in the country.

      In Colorado, he killed the SOL proposed legislation with 25,000 protest postcards distributed in the parishes to be sent to elected officials, and he is known to be very political and very conservative.

    1. charles… the link you provided requires a subscription to access the article. would you mind giving us the gist (sp?) of the article? thanks!

  12. Sure. I was trying to conserve space… Here’s the text:

    Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is in the process of reorganizing the legal team representing the archdiocese in cases involving the sex abuse scandal.

    White-collar criminal defense lawyers Robert Welsh and Catherine Recker of Welsh & Recker have been brought in to serve in what has been termed a “quarterback” position in overseeing the defense of these civil and criminal cases and related enforcement issues. The firm has made at least one appearance so far in the case of Billy Doe v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia .

    “Welsh & Recker has been engaged as counsel by the archdiocese in connection with the pending criminal proceedings and, in that connection, our role will be to respond to subpoenas from the parties and to assist in facilitating witness interviews and testimony as the parties may require,” the firm said in a statement.

    The firm, sources have said, will be overseeing both criminal and civil cases.

    The changes alter, in part, the decades-long relationship Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young has had as outside counsel to the archdiocese. A source familiar with the changes said a confidential RFP has gone out for firms to replace the work that Stradley Ronon was doing on the civil cases related to the sex abuse scandal.

    “Stradley will have no role in any sex abuse case or collateral issues,” the source said.

    But that source and several others have said Stradley Ronon’s relationship with the archdiocese beyond the sex abuse case remains intact.

    Stradley Ronon Chairman William R. Sasso said, “We normally don’t comment on our clients’ affairs.”

    He said the archdiocese remains “a significant client of the office” but said he couldn’t comment further on client matters.

    One source close to the case said Chaput, formerly the Denver archbishop, has also brought in some of his legal team from Denver that helped him defeat proposed legislation in Colorado in 2005 that would have expanded the statute of limitations for sex abuse. The attorneys are staying in Philadelphia for what could be months, the source said. Before the RFP had gone out, the attorneys had been interviewing lawyers at large Philadelphia firms to bring onto the legal team, the source said.

    Two of the lawyers said to be interviewed were Joseph Tate of Dechert and William Winning of Cozen O’Connor. When asked if Tate was interviewed for work for the archdiocese, a spokeswoman for Dechert said the firm has no representation in the archdiocese case. A call to Winning, who was out of town, was not returned by press time.

    The Denver firm Chaput has brought in, another source said, is Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons. A number of Rothgerber Johnson attorneys have represented the Denver Archdiocese. Partner Charles Goldberg has served as general counsel to the Denver Archdiocese for decades and was awarded last year the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI. The medal was presented by Chaput. Partner Scott Browning currently serves as trial counsel to the Denver Archdiocese, according to the firm’s website.

    Another person close to the litigation said Welsh & Recker’s role was understood to be to monitor the cases and “any sort of ongoing investigation that the DA may have or may not have.” This person also confirmed that larger firms had been interviewed and that the Denver lawyers were in town and “they will be here for a while.”

    Other defense counsel in the criminal cases declined to comment on the change, citing a gag order. Jeffrey M. Lindy of Lindy & Tauber and Thomas Bergstrom of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, who both represent Monsignor William Lynn, the highest ranking official charged in the case, declined to comment. So did Burton A. Rose, attorney for defendant Bernard Shero. The other defendants’ attorneys were unavailable or did not immediately return calls for comment.

    Slade McLaughlin, the plaintiff’s attorney in Billy Doe , said Welsh entered his appearance in the case at a hearing last week in which McLaughlin was seeking a stay until the criminal cases were done. He said Welsh did not object to the stay and said only that he was representing the archdiocese in the matter.

    McLaughlin said he heard Chaput was looking to bring in attorneys from Denver. He said he didn’t know what their role would be or whether Stradley Ronon would be replaced. He said Stradley Ronon has a decades-long relationship with the archdiocese and has “done a damn good job.” McLaughlin said he would “be shocked” if the archdiocese would want to bring in a firm that didn’t have the institutional knowledge and relationships Stradley Ronon has built up.

    A request for comment from the archdiocese was not returned by press time.

    1. Thanks, Charles, for that. It is very unusual, risky and expensive to change large law firms this far into the game, especially since Chaput has only been in charge for a few weeks.. Perhaps, the past fees were too high or the past advice underwhelming for Chaput. Now Chaput will have to pay the food and lodging costs of his new Denver lawyers, as well as their hourly rates which are not likely much lower than he was paying Philly lawyers.

      Perhaps Chaput was distressed at his lawyers for not preventing him from holding his “secret” and disasterous cheerleading bash for Lynn, et al. It is a very reasonable inference that Chaput is dissatisfied with how the most important case against Lynn case is going. This is likely also some bad news for Bevilaqua and Rigali, given their close ties to the former Philly lawyers.

      From Chaput’s and the Archdiocese’s legal perspective, I think he is making another arrogant and amateurish mistake , which is basically good news for victims and kids in Philly.

      C4C may be getting to him as well. Please keep up the great work.

    2. WOW Charles, that sounds expensive!

      Be sure to stuff the basket this Sunday, and ever Sunday for the foreseeable future. Better yet, send your “love offerings” directly to the chancery. Dig deep this is no time to be cheap. Chaput needs a “massive infusion of contributions,” and he needs them now!

  13. A little morning research finds that Welsh & Recker are local…

    “Welsh & Recker is Philadelphia’s premier boutique criminal defense law firm. Our practice reflects the broad sweep of priorities among federal, state and local prosecutors, including investigations and prosecutions of criminal antitrust matters, bank, tax, securities and healthcare fraud, public corruption, money laundering, RICO violations, environmental crime, and trade and export violations. Our clients are individuals, foreign and domestic corporations and other entities facing scrutiny from a wide range of law enforcement and regulatory bodies including congressional and investigative committees.

    The hallmark of our practice is our reputation for successful defense at trial. We have the skills, resources and depth to translate even the most complicated issues of business, science and other fields into compelling arguments that successfully persuade juries and judges. Though our goal is to avoid trial, often the best means of accomplishing a non-trial resolution is a demonstrated willingness and ability to go to trial…”

    1. Laura that’s wonderful, and there are still fools in the pews that are more than willing to pay for this, crazy!

  14. The Pew Catholic – at least 25 and up to 40 % were themselves raped according to the stats. Some may look at the RCC as their strength.

    To those “pew catholics” I pray that you will support us with these house bills. We are not doing this to attack the RCC, but to protect our children and expose the offenders. With the recent stories it is apparent that our kids are not safe. Like many of you it is difficulty to watch sons and daughters going to camp, to college and even staying after school. We have been hurt deeply by people we thought we could trust or by strangers. Many have endured many sleepless nights knowing that Judges have thown out our cases, detectives don’t believe our stories or the crime against us has been downgraded and even the groups that support rape victims have come short and allowed victims to fall through the cracks.. Now is our chance to expose some predators. Please give other victims a voice. Please support HB 878 and 832.

    Many on this site have been hurt by the RCC and need to both express their anger and their need for your support. There are angry at the Church while others are angry at the justice system. They have every right to be angry as many of you are angry at your attacker. There is much good in both systems, but we need to weed out the bad. Give our kids a chance.

  15. The National Center for Victims of Crimes in Washington D.C.issued a statement in response to the Penn State crimes. In addition they also called out Rep. Ron Marsico for sitting on the important House Bills,they referenced in particluar 878 which would allow a two year window. It is phenomenal that this is receiving national attention and the advocates of justice4PAkids have been pulling out all the stops the last 3 days. Keep the emails to Marsico going

    1. Way to go, Kathy and Susan. If you keep this up and soon succeed, you may have to join me for golf with all the free time you will have. Seriously, you and justice4PAkids and C4C are making good things happen.

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