Join Voice of the Faithful for First Friday Vigil


I would like to invite any who are able to make it, to join me in advocating for the passage of PA House Bills 832 & 878 in town, on the sidewalk in front of the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Office Building at 222 N. 17th Street between 12 noon and 1 o’clock tomorrow, Dec. 2. I will have picket signs for you if you haven’t any of your own. Sunny weather is expected.
 
Sister Maureen
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93 Responses to “Join Voice of the Faithful for First Friday Vigil”

  1. Sister Maureen,

    Is there a petition where Catholics can tell AD leadership that the Philadlephia church wants the SOL removed or suspended for a few years? I magine that tens of thousands would sign this. I don’t see this directly moving Chaput but the press associated with such a mandate would be hard to ignore… it would create public scandal were it ignored. It could also start more conversations in parishes even in cases where some refuse to sign.

    Martin

    • I hope this was a great event. Please report if there were any priests in attendance.

      • No priests. One came last year right after the Grand Jury reports. Most of them avoid and turn the other way when they see the First Friday vigil. Because it is noon on a weekday most of the partipants are senior citizens. Beth,Jim and I have joined on a few occasions but mostly older Catholic’s passionate about victims and kids – no angry mob -and still everyone avoids them . Except the people who just happen to be walking down the street -the passerby’s are usually nice and friendly and Sr Maureen always has literature to give them.

  2. Best wishes, Sr. Maureen. I will be with you in spirit. At you conveniece you may find hopeful the “revolt” of Belgian priests, joining similar actions in Austria and Ireland.

    For more, please click on at:

    http://ncronline.org/news/global/belgian-catholics-issue-reform-manifesto

    • I invite everyone to, first, read the enlightened and energetic article Jerry cites in his post.

      Then, Google the Association of Philadelphia Priests. Read its mission statement.

  3. Neat article.

    Association of Philadelphia Priests…I haven’t spent any time there, so I took a look around.

    I think I got as far as their by-laws, when in their first sentences…”After the Grand Jury Report in Feb. 2011…” and then proceeded to discuss THEMSELVES, their rights, due process, etc.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Like they really needed to circle the wagons to talk about themselves? to figure out how to handle this scandal? What could they possibly have written down on their notepads? They aleady know what they are supposed to be doing. They have a model and He hung on the cross. You know that whole “die to self” can be rough. They might want to try it sometime.

    Well, at least they are consistent.

    • Just read the bylaws for the first time after I saw your comment. I have visited the site and left comments but never before saw the bylaws section….wow. Did you happen to see the comment I left on the site? No one ever comments on there although the site has been “public” for months. I think half the reason may be “don’t speak up to a priest” while the other half would be “why even bother”

      • I did see your comment. 🙂

        I think you know which group I would fall under and it certainly isn’t the “don’t speak up to a priest” category. lol

      • No, I didn’t see a comment from Kathy Kane. Are you under a different name???

        Maybe no one ever comments on the Association of Philadelphia Priests website because they never communicate anything.

      • Hadit catholic,
        The priests have a section that can be assessed by priests with passcodes and I guess they talk to each other but it is true there is no communication with the laity. Again that is why even with law changes you have to wonder what kinda of church we will be left with? One that lacks trust, communicate and genuine concern for our neighbor?

      • I assumed you were the post from Kathryn? If you weren’t, then I didn’t see your post either.

    • SW when I read ‘They have a model and He hung on the cross. You know that whole “die to self” can be rough”. I involuntarily laughed because it is so true.I guess I would rather laugh than cry. Any who have suffered or watched the suffering of victims can attest to that statement.

    • Had it,here is a link. I commented under a post that had to do with the article from Fr Martin about the narcissism involved and why people cling to the priest rather than the ‘nameless and faceless victims” We posted the article a few weeks ago,the Priest Assoc. posted Fr Martin discussing his article in a video. http://philadelphiapriests.com/2011/11/18/a-brother-priests-speaks-a-truth-difficult-to-hear/

      • Just took a look at Archbishop Chaput FBpage he is in Rome now.

      • Anyone ever bother to post on Archbishop Chaput FB page?

      • Thanks for directing me to your excellent post, Kathy. But why no responses to it from any members of the association???

        They create a website where people can communicate with them, yet they fail to communicate? A false pretense is created.

        It’s as though they are saying with their website, let’s make ourselves APPEAR open and interested in communicating but, in the end, we’ll all play deaf in order to protect ourselves.

  4. “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s’ ” 2 Chronicles 20:15

    Just something to think about during these times that test our souls……..

  5. I have to laugh at the continued hypocrisy of the catholic church and its clergy , as a participant in the first friday vigils I observed many so called ‘good priests’ enter the building with their heads down through a side door giving no acknowledgement to those who are pleading for the VICTIMS. So tell me again about the ‘good priests’ and where are they ? I would like to meet one.

  6. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    unabletotrust

    “….. ‘good priests’ enter the building with their heads down through a side door giving no acknowledgement to those who are pleading for the VICTIMS…..”

    One picture, image, action, decision says it all. Allegiance and loyalty to corruption trumps the hurt, pain and sorrow of the victims each and every time that side door is opened and a priest walks into the building.

  7. I know there are many in the RCC(church) that feel there are “good priests” still in the RCC. There may be one in a Monestary in the Himalayas(sp) that has not heard of, or or known a person who has molested an innocent but he would be the only one.

    Anyone who knew of and didn’t report this evil, is guilty of a Crime as is the perpetrator by his reason of covering up the Crime.

    So what do you have? A Church that will not accept this Crime Against Humanity. This Church must realize it’s sins of omission and go directly to God Almighty and say they are sorry for these omissions and then do somthing about these Hideious Crimes Against the WEAKEST OF OUR CHRISTIAN FAMILY

    .
    DON’T JUST SIT THERE IN CHURCH LIKE YOU ARE HOLIER THAN THOU. ‘CAUSE YOU’RE NOT! YOU ARE AN ASSESSORY TO THESE CRIMES. DO SOMTHING TO GET THE WORD OUT TO ALL THE PEOPLE STAYING AND DOING NOTHING AND LETTING IT PERPETUATE IT’SELF

  8. There was an article in last Thursday’s Inquirer about a Wednesday night forum held at PSU between students and administration. It was a no-holds-barred, Q&A… lots of questions about where do we go from here, Joe Paterno, how could this happen, etc. Questions were all over the map. I only read the article about the forum, but what struck me is that there has been nothing like this in our diocese.. not in 2005, not in 2011. Some groups have bubbled up.. C4C, a few parish groups… but nothing on a diocesan level, and certainly nothing as free-form as a Q&A with difficult questions.
    How much there is to learn….

    • Laura,

      The values, freedoms and liberties that are at the core of Penn State are not at the core of the Catholic Church.

      Penn State is democratic. Fundamental to a democratic institution is freedom and transparency. It values openness, critical thinking and freedom of thought. Because its administrators and faculty are informed and knowledgeable, they are sensitive and insightful… they are humanized. They act as formidable role models for their students. Students are expected and encouraged to inquire into issues, ask questions, assert their feelings and hold independent points of view. There is a mutual respect among the various tiers of people who make up the institution. Among the ways it fosters mutual respect is by fostering and maintaining a genuine sense of community.

      The Catholic Church is a monarchy. The pope rules. The effects of his rule are oppressive. The entire Church suffers under the weight of it. The weight impedes a genuine sense of community. The expectation is one of obedience. The sheep are expected to conform. The clergy vow to conform. Questions, change and independent thought are not valued, rather, they are considered grave threats to Tradition and grounds for punishment. There is no transparency. It functions as a medieval cult.

      There is nothing about the structure or nature of the Catholic Church that permits it to function like Penn State. Nothing.

      Penn State magnifies the Church’s need for an existential epiphany.

      Thanks, Laura.

      • haditCatholic… I couldn’t agree more with your well-written reply. I have long thought the Church seems to require a “childish” laity… that would respond to an authoritarian “do because I say it is so”. Ironically, it was through my Jesuit education that I learned to reflect on the Church’s teachings and history, and became an “adult” Catholic who expects to dialogue and be a contributing part of this Church. What I find, instead, for the most part… deaf ears, closed doors, and call that I must be “anti-Catholic” if I dare to question.

        Once again, I am grateful for the forum C4C provides…

  9. Voice of the Faithful is an anitCatholic group. Many members have been excommunicated in other dioceses! They hold views contradicting catholic teaching. If you really care about the Church, please do not associate with them. Please.

    • John Fitz….I guess you are one of the catholic’s that just doesn’t give a dam about the innocents all over the world ,that have been sexually abused by priests, nuns and brothers. You care more for the protocall of “catholic teaching”, than you do for the souls of the sexually abused, by people of trust, in a supposed holy place.

    • John,

      Catholicism consists of two dimensions: the faith and the Church.

      The members of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) do not hold views that contradict the faith or catholic teaching. The views they hold, and their efforts and work, pertain to the Church, its hierarchical structure, its exclusionary position on women, gays and divorced Catholics, the issue of clericalism, the Church’s lack of transparency, the mismanagement of the sexual abuse crisis, etc. Indeed, VOTF’s motto is: “Keep the faith. Change the Church.”

      If you attend church, John, I suggest you meet with your parish priest. Ask him if the Church begs for change. He will inform you that your Church must and will change. There is no Catholic on the face of the earth, including the Pope, who is not aware that the Church needs to change.

      HOW the Church should change is the question.

      John, HOW should the Church change in your point of view?

    • John, please cite your source information on ‘many (VOTF) members have been excommunicated in other diocese’s.

      • John, there are 195 US diocese and according to Wilkepedia

        As of January 2009 there are 630 Catholic archdioceses (including 13 patriarchates, two catholicates, 536 metropolitan archdioceses, 79 single archdioceses) and 2,167 dioceses in the world.

    • While I may not consider VOTF an anti-catholic group, I can certainly understand why many in the pews see VOTF’s stance on many issues as such.

      Whether people align themselves with the church, SNAP, VOTF, C4C, or some other group, hopefully we can come to agreement that the raping of children and the subsequent cover up are criminal. Regardless of affiliations, very bright lights need to be shining in all the dark places.

      The catholic laity, in line with church teaching, will be active and vocal on this issue. They will have no other choice when they truly understand what they’ve been called to be FOR the church.

      John, you share a perspective that many hold.

    • John I hear you. I researched just about every group involved with helping stop child sexual abuse. I believe in all the catholic churches teaching. But, I do think that this is a society issue and I am willing to work with anyone that wants to stop abuse of children. It does not mean I am going to join their group. We even have Jewish groups fighting for law changes. It does not mean I am going to become Jewish. I also notice that other groups have different agendas. I see this as simliar to the abolition of slavery various catholic and noncatholic groups coming together to stop child sex abuse. How ever after the laws are changed from without I think the church will have to change from within to survive.

    • Voice of the Faithful began in the basement of a Catholic church in the suburbs of Boston after the sex abuse crisis exploded there. Its original group consisted of concerned, faithful Catholics who couldn’t believe what they were reading about their Church, and met together for prayer and action. Much of what they learned about why the abuse crisis came to be in our Church echoes what “haditCatholic” wrote above about the Catholic church as a monarchy… that its very hierarchial structure led to the secrecy that allowed the abuse to continue for decades.

      • Yes but they also did add other agendas like women priests, people living homosexaul lifestyles etc. and I guess that is were it changes to more than just a one issue group so I understand some may have feelings they might not be traditionally catholic.

      • I think that if we all address sexaul abuse by changing the laws that will naturally lead to changes having to take place in laity involvement and structure changes, Even changes in cannon law. Just by the very fact there will be less priests to go around. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Voice of the Faithful leans towards but they are thinking ahead.

  10. Voice of the faithful pushes an agenda that goes far out of the bounds of fighting against child abuse in all it’s forms. I think we can work for justice on behalf of victims and not align ourselves with Voice of the Faithful. For those of you who bashed me for saying we should not go along with VOTF’s agenda: I want you to know that we have to protect our children and follow Church teaching. I’m not choosing one over the other, because the two don’t contradict each other. We must protect our children AND be faithful to the church. Just because someone wants to be a faithful catholic doesn’t mean that they also do not want justice and protection for our children. Please try to have some sense of “faith and reason”. So many on this website are simply out for blood and want to force their agenda, including VOTF and Sister Maureen, and the ladies who have set this website up.

    It’s possible to believe what the Church teaches and seek civil justice!

    • John, You are certainly entitled to your thoughts. But I must ask you how “I’m out for blood?” My agenda is the protection of children. I make that clear on the “About” page.

    • I’m not out for blood. I’m out for truth, transparency, and accountability.

      John, you’ve shared your ideas…and perhaps you also rub elbows with fellow catholics. Do people in the pews think the women who set up this site are out for blood?

      Wow, I just don’t see it…not as their intention, not in their actions, not in what they are truly working for. There could have been many opportunities for them to lump more agendas onto this one…but they never have. They seem to have a sole purpose…healing for victims and protection of children.

  11. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    John Fitz……

    You are assuming (of couse, we all know what happens when we “assume”) that the other player in this drama, i.e., the Catholic leadership and management, both religious and lay, are committed and dedicated to achieving the same goals as those in the Catholic Church who want to ensure the protection of all our children.

    Well, John, it would seem that the last 10 years worth of evidence, reports, investigations, depositions and settlements would indicate just the opposite. What do you think, John Fitz?

  12. Michael and Susan and other,

    I agree you should be trying to protect children. We all should! But when you align yourselves with VOTF the whole scene changes. I know the history of VOTF (thank to all who informed of that) but that allowed their voice to get lost in so many other things. They wants some form of justice for victims, but they also want other things (women priests, and all kinds of other crazy stuff).

    As for being “out for blood”… it doesn’t seem that you are willing to be reasonable. For example, if the statute of limitations is lifted “the Church”, meaning the whole Church, not just the bishops and priests, would suffer. How can “the Church” remain if people from 50 years worth of victims seek “financial remuneration” for their suffering? The Church provides for those who come to them without suing! Money won’t solve the problem anyway, mercy will! We don’t need to drain the Church in order to truly help people. “the Church’s money”, meaning the money that exists (and I hear there really isn’t as much as people think) is used for its daily operations, for caring for the sick and the poor, for caring for the victims, etc. It’s not wasted or abused by the “hierarchy”. If you’re not “out for blood” than what are you out for? Giving money to lawyers (and most of it will go to them anyway) and victims will not heal them. Justice is a different thing, if crimes were committed, civil justice must be sought!!! But simply opening windows for people to sue is not justice, it’s tomfoolery!

  13. By the way Susan,

    I understand what you wrote in your “About” pages, but your actions and comments on the website and not in accord with that.

    How do you reconcile that?

  14. for my typo…. “but your actions and comments on the website are not in accord with that”

    • John, So you’re saying we should not make any laws that might financially harm the Church. Should we shape civil law to protect the Church because it does good works? Our Church leadership has proven through action and inaction that it needs much more than a nudge to make necessary changes. Criminal behavior should have legal consequences. Our civil justice system relies on monetary compensation. I didn’t create it, but it does seem to get the message across. As long as the hierarchy allows child sex abuse cover ups to continue they are putting good works in jeopardy. Don’t pin this on child advocates. Pin it on the guilty.

      • Susan, your point about “criminal behavior should have legal consequences” is a telling one…and I would carry it quite a bit further.

        When we talk about the good that the Church does, I believe that that the Churches charitable functions, however worthy, take second place to the justice owed to abuse victims.

        Let’s see if I can make some sense out of this. If I commit murder and am convicted, no matter how charitable I have been in the past….I still deserve the punishment meted out in the courts, as a PRIMARY reality.

        I think the Church has a similar responsibility. Molesting priests and the knowing predator passing on by the hierarchy, are primary evils that demand appropriate legal consequences, BEFORE any other Church function.

        To go back to my analogy for a moment, if I am a convicted felon, no court in the land, hopefully, would let me off the hook so I could go back to my ‘charitable efforts.’

        Two last thoughts on this issue, when the statute of limitation was opened up in California, over 300 unknown predators were identified and CA children were thus protected from further predations.

        AND the legislation proposed in PA applies ALL children abused in PA, with whatever legal consequences that may have.

  15. Susan,

    you say “pin it on the guilty”…. I agree 100%. But don’t mix the guilty with those not guilty. Maybe we should close all our schools, all our hospitals, all our soup kitchens, all our retirement facilities, all our church buildings, all our facilities that care for the mentally challenged and sick just so that you can win, not the victims, you! Wouldn’t that be nice! You are punishing those who committed no sin. But I guess we are one body, so you’re probably right, we should all suffer, but than again, after all this is said and done, you’re the last one who will be suffering. You are a wold in sheep’s clothing.

    • John,
      The problem is that laity see themselves as innocent bystanders…and for the most part they were and are…by choices they made.

      The laity will be cleaning up the messes of errant bishops…who lied to the victims and the laity, (even some of their own). But, the people who committed no sin…actually did. Pride. “Not Fr. So and So.” “Not my bishop.” “Not my church.” While everyone was too busy to pay attention, the wolves were in the hen house.

      “I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do. I ask…”

      Use whatever rubric you want…this is the Catholic one…the laity sinned. What are you doing about it now?

      I couldn’t agree with you more…show some mercy…literally for Christ’s Sake.

  16. If priests commit sins like this or bishops or whomever commits such horrible crimes like this, they THEY and ONLY THEY should be punished! They are the guilty ones, not “The Church” not “the hierarchy”… that’s my point.

    • So no institution is responsible for its employees/representatives? Say Penn State for example.

    • ” Don’t mix the guilty with those not guilty.” You do not know the law! There is a statute that says, (an example)” if you are driving the get-a-way-car for the person robbing the bank, you are a part of the crime. ”
      “Aiding and Abetting in the crime”, is what it is called. Your thinking is warped!

      If it were your child being raped by a person of authority in a supposed holy place how would you feel? And especially, if every cleric knew about it and did hothing? Gee ,I think you’d be pretty angry, uspet and enraged, that it could even happen in a place so sacred to us all.

      We were apologists for the RCC for 60 yrs. and left this so called chuch of Jesus Christ on our 50th wedding anniv.when we knew then what we had heard , over the many years by our family ( in religious orders) and never believed ,WAS TRUE..

      It was a very easy thing to do…to reject the devil and find that the KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN US.

      The regrets are none, only that many do not see the “writing on the wall “that God has SO OPENLY put before you.

      • Wait a second Gloria… Every cleric did not know about the abuse.

        Sorry that you left the Church after so many years, that’s really very very sad. I’ll pray for you.

    • All who know and do nothing are “GUILTY”!!

    • But you can’t open windows to criminally prosceute. So these molesters go on to molest 50, 100 more victims. Many of these victims may ironically end up in our hospitals etc after they develop addictions or attempt suicide. I have seen it with my own eyes.

  17. so you are admitting that you don’t just want to punish the guilty, that you also want to punish the innocent?

    • No. I’m saying that institutions have a degree of responsibility in whom they hire and manage. That degree is legal and placed into percentage terms when it comes to financial awards. This applies to all cases – not just child sex abuse. It’s also common sense.

  18. Joan, firstly, your “one person” analogy does fit with the Church because her charity is unrelated to these crimes, but the innocent people who have nothing to do with molesting priests or bishops who are not good admins. will suffer. Services will be taken away from people not related to the crimes. Secondly, you are presuming that money will heal the victims. Classic modern liberal pride always thinks that if you throw money at something it will cure it. Justice is fine, it should be pursued, but suing “the Church” is not justice, its foolishness.

    • John, I am one of those ‘innocent people’ and not only that but I have been fiscally helpful in supplying the Catholic Conference in my state with additional social welfare lobbyists.

      I am hugely aware of the social good that the Church can do and has done.

      But for me that does not change the primary Church responsibility to abuse victims. It just makes it more painful.

      As for the ‘money can’t heal issue,’ I would go with Susan on this one, our civil justice system uses monetary remuneration where crimes are committed. Which is better than fighting it out on the dueling field. And may well act as a further incentive for institutions, ALL institutions to clean up their act.

      • Joan, you and Susan are wrong on this. you think money can heal? when all the money is gone, the emotional wounds will still be there. trust me, I speak from personal experience as a victim.

        • Jimmy, I don’t think money can heal, either. However it is the basis of our US justice system. More importantly, the system exposes perpetrators. And that justice system is in place for everyone. Not just Catholics. Your experience may be different than another victim’s experience. You have my prayers.

    • John,
      Why are victims suing the church?

      When you know the real answer for that…in it will be the solution.

    • Unfortunately it is one of the few ways to get the Archdioscese to self correct. All change is painful. But innocent children need to be protected.

  19. Oh Susan, you should try to help victims from within the Church. I agree with what you say about institutions. And people who commit crimes should be punished. But I ask you, who will pay for this? Will you give money to victims? You claim money will help them, I don’t believe it will. I believe mercy is needed right now. What if someone has a false claim against a deceased priest? Who will decide the verity of it? But my point still remains. “The Church” as you see it is a worldly institution with coffers of money just hidden away. That’s so far from the reality. And by the way the Church is not a corporation. But you won’t listen to reason. You think your way of aligning yourself with groups that go against the Church’s teaching is the way to go. You think that joining with old angry nuns like Sister Maureen who have axes to grind is the way to go. You think that suing “the Church” so lawyers and victims get tons of money is the way to go. That’s not true justice! Wow, I really hope your way works! But after all you are the “Lifestyle expert” (http://www.susanmatthews.com/) so I guess we should all bow to you and just jump into your crazy bandwagon. Well, Luxe Lady (http://www.theluxelady.com/) since you live so high on the hog and pontificate from your ivory tower, when all this is done the Church will still remain, the magisterium will still remain, the Scriptures will still remain, and one day she “the Church” will bury you and continue to try and save souls. She won’t have you getting in the way. Please continue to fight for your “so called justice” while those within the Church continue to pray and seek the path that will truly help our brothers and sisters who are suffering so much. You will probably dismiss me as some crazy person, that’s fine, I don’t need your approval. The truth is that victims need to be helped and justice needs to be attained, but not in the way you are promoting it.

    With all that said, have a nice day 🙂

    • “What if someone has a false claim against a deceased priest? Who will decide the verity of it?” The answer to your question is: The judge. Just because a case is filed, does not mean it’s won. The burden of proof is on the alleged victim.

      Also, the legal aspect is only one small part of the solution. This blog has covered many solutions. For instance, Church leadership could follow all the other recommendations of the Grand Jury Report that have nothing to do with SOL’s. But they haven’t.

      And yes, thanks for the plug, I have a job. This is an unpaid advocacy. I have Catholic School tuition and charitable contributions to make. And BTW, if you took the time to read the site you’d realize that my “luxury” is a way of thinking – not buying. For instance, a childhood free of sex abuse.

      You can keep your Church. I’ll help carry forward the one Jesus gave us.

    • How do we help victims in the church who know their offender is currently abusing children? Do you know how distressing that is? They don’t stop at one person. You seem to think this is a one shot fall from grace. When 10 20, 30 kids say a priest molested it is just common sense to believe them.

  20. Susan,

    Why did you not publish my last comment? Are you afraid people might agree with me? I thought this was a blog where I could “Let me voice be heard,” but it appears that unless my voice agrees with your voice than it’s not worthy of publication.

    Such a shame you’re afraid of true and genuine dialogue and only was to push your agenda.

    John

    • It was delayed because it contained two links.

    • John Fitz,
      Clearly, you care deeply about the Church. So do I. Although I already know we have different beliefs about what it means to be Catholic. I would hope there is room in our church for both of us. You say you want a dialogue.
      I did my doctoral dissertation on dialogue. My teaching and consulting practice have dialogue at the center. Now, of course, I cannot say: “this is THE definition of dialogue.” That would not be dialogical. I can say that all of scholarly research on dialogue points to certain values and practices: listening; speaking the truth as I understand it; imagining what is real for the Other; advocating for my point of view while being open to learning that there are areas where I could be wrong; confirming the value of the Other as a person worthy of respect even while I passionately disagree with him or her. In dialogue, I do not withhold myself in any way, including those beliefs that others might find objectionable, but I meet the Other as a person, hoping to change, and open to being changed by the Other. This is not easy. It is often painful to stay in this kind of conversation. It is easier to slay the Other.
      There are no theories or practice of dialogue that allow for attacking the other or name calling. It is easy for any of us to become highly agitated when we talk about matters like protection of the innocent and the religious tradition that is or was central to our lives. I am one of the most opinionated people in the world and sadly am often judgmental. Yet, when I enter a dialogue, I make an effort to operate differently. I know I will make mistakes and even hurt others but I am committed to clean up my mess quickly.
      It seemed to me (I don’t know this) that some of your comments about others, especially those about Sister Maureen, Kathy Kane, and Susan Matthews were intended to hurt them or at least question their motives and integrity as persons and as Catholics. Dialogues don’t begin that way. I am not saying this to shame you; I want to point a different way we might meet one another. We might even learn from one another. Wherever two or three of you are gathered…
      Martin

      • Martin,

        Thank you for your discussion on dialogue. I, too, would like to communicate with John Fitz. Can you give me insights into why, apparently, he is one person commenting as many based on the IP addresses available to Susan? What compels John to assume multiple identities? Is he not confident in his alone?

      • Hadit I was wondering the same thing. I don’t have a problem explaining why I feel the way I do on the statue of limitations. Or the process how reading and praying I realized painfully the church was wrong in not supporting the Bills if they truly valued the life of the soul over the material world.

  21. John stated: “The Church provides for those who come to them without suing!”

    That simply is not true. That may be what you are told, but that is not true by a long shot. I have my husband to thank for going through what no person should ever have to go through in order to get healing. At one point someone asked him, “Why are you going to all these lengths?” He said, “So, I can stand before any catholic anywhere and tell them, THIS is what the hierarchy is really doing to us…no lawyers…just a victim coming forward.” In the years since, his advice to any victim is to get a lawyer. That isn’t because he thinks victims should sue the church, but rather because the church has no interest in helping victims heal. I wish what you said was true. I wish I didn’t know dozens of victims that have been lied to, betrayed and silenced (again) by the hierarchy. The church holds up a few examples of victims that have counseling paid and says, “See what we’re doing!?” But, I promise you that is NOT what is happening behind the scenes.

    I think what saddens me most is that the laity believe what they are told. So, it’s a catch 22 for the victims…they knew they wouldn’t be believed when it was happening, so they couldn’t tell. They knew when they finally came forward, they wouldn’t be believed. The hierarchy created huge wedges between the laity and victims (implying victims were greedy or liars or it wasn’t as bad as what the victims said) so their own shame of what they knew and what they did would be backed. And it was.

    The laity needs to connect the dots here. One of the biggest points the rcc has made to the laity (and others) is that the numbers of victims (and abusers) is nothing compared to the rest of society. Statistically, that would be accurate. They know the REAL numbers of victims…and it’s not anything like they have portrayed to their laity. If the numbers aren’t “as bad” as the victim’s claim, then they would have no problem with the statute opening up, right? The burden is on the victim to prove guilt anyway. They can’t pick and choose which twist they want the laity to believe…the numbers are either staggering or they aren’t. Which is it? And if they numbers are horrible, then why the heck aren’t they being honest about it? If the numbers aren’t as bad, then why aren’t they fighting for the SOL to open up? Better yet, go with your line of thinking John. If the church is really paying for counseling and dealing with victims in a healing way, they wouldn’t be SUING their church. The hierarchy is banking on the loyalty of those in the pews that will remain loyal to them, instead of being loyal to the truth.

    John, I know you don’t want your church bankrupt…no one does. Your rationale is the same as what happened the moment the first wave of victims came forward…”if they really cared about our church, they would….(be silent, get help on their own, tell a priest, let a bishop know). If they tell everyone about wonderful Father So and So, they will “ruin” our reputation. Victims were told we were ruining the church by telling the truth, the ugly truth. And you know what…it HELPED the church. It was painful and uncomfortable to admit that wonderful Father So and So was a pedophile…and another wave of pain hit when many realized the bishops, cardinals and other priests participated in the criminal cover-up. Is that bad for the church? I see that as just the opposite…THAT helped the church. So, now we have another wave of pain hitting, financial. IF the church cannot minister to these victims and their families, they will be financially on the hook for betraying their own.

    The laity is feeling the consequences for believing people they shouldn’t have believed. Some see that as punishment, I see that as a logical consequence for ignorance and complacency. You, as the laity, have the opportunity to change that. It cannot happen within the church…if that were true, it would have already happened.

    I’m sorry you have been lied to, but even more saddened that many believe it. It’s what allowed the abuse and what continues the cover-up.

    My hope is that catholics in the pews will minister to the victims and stand in the gap that the hierarchy has created between the Body of Christ and those who had the courage to tell the truth. This isn’t about the reputation of a church, the status of the hierarchy, or the money in the coffers.

    You either believe the victims or you don’t. It’s that simple

    • Well “survivor’s wife” as Susan said to little jimmy “Your experience may be different than another victim’s experience”

      Here’s what she wrote above:
      Jimmy, I don’t think money can heal, either. However it is the basis of our US justice system. More importantly, the system exposes perpetrators. And that justice system is in place for everyone. Not just Catholics. Your experience may be different than another victim’s experience. You have my prayers.

      Oh and by the way, it’s not that simple! This is a very complex problem, perhaps you and Susan think you understand it.

      • Fra Bob, Guy and John, In the interest of comment integrity, I must let everyone know that as moderator I have access to IP addresses and can see when one person is commenting as many.

      • I only understand it because I’ve lived it and witnessed it firsthand.

        I respect other’s views on this issue.

        It really is that simple, Guy, fra Bob or John.

        There are no “But….but….but….but…” you can put behind what thousands of victims are telling the laity. The victims are also giving a road map of how to help them heal AND how to protect more children. It rarely included money to begin with. The hierarchy can be thanked for ushering victims and laity down that road.

  22. EACH PRIEST, NUN OR BROTHER HAS TO KEEP THEIR VICTIMS IN A LINE. ALWAYS FINDING NEW WAYS TO GROOM THEIR VICTIMS TO SEXUALLY ABUSETHEM, AS WHEN THEY “CATCH ON” IF THEY DO, THEY CAN’T RISK THEM TELLING AND BEING BELIEVED.

    I never believed my family when they told me. I thought it was just sour grapes.

    . So over the years they have (in their religious orders ) involvred thousands of marginalized, handicapped or children INTO THEIR EVIL SCHEMES. THE NUMBERS BY ONE PRIEST , NUN OR BROTHER ARE BEYOND COUNTING.

    Oh people why are your eyes closed? Just like mine were. Ask God to Open your eyes as we did .You will be counted as TRUE BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST , WHEN YOU DO.!

  23. John,
    What are you doing within the church to help victims heal and to protect children? Do you openly discuss the ways this needs to happen (not just bashing those who choose other methods) with fellow catholics?

    If you are…where is your presence and your voice?

  24. I am reading the comments and just thinking about the victims who are testifying in Harrisburg today concerning the statutes of limitations.One was abused by a clergy member,one a family member,one a policeman,another a hockey coach. Anyone who follows the site knows that we are fighting for the protection of ALL children. So if the Catholic Church somehow waved a magic wand and the victims of clergy abuse were miraculously healed, I still would be advocating for the statute of limitation reforms. Since I have become involved in this issue,to find out that previously non prosecuted predators are ‘out there” in society is chilling.
    John somehow you seem to categorize us into other groups. The only protest I ever attended previously was a pro life demonstration. I will attend a protest in defense of children and clergy sex abuse victims with other Catholic groups -the only problem is -I have yet to find any other groups who are doing it. You don’t know me. I will introduce myself. I am a Mom with two children who attend Catholic school. Since they have been of school age, we have been though 2 Grand Jury reports and the suspension of 26 priests. So now you know a little bit about me and what drives me in fighting for the victims and children.

    • The “other catholic” groups, are not catholic, they are not sanctioned by the Church, neither is your group. And if you are seeking justice for ALL children and seeking justice solely in the Church than you should change the name of your website, because not everyone on here is Catholic.

      • Hi Ho Jo, John, etc. Same IP Address. C4C did receive nice comments from the Archdiocese. In the press the Director of Archdiocesan communications said “They are Catholic mothers who are concerned about children.” Regardless of who comments, our mission remains. There is a comments disclaimer.

  25. The thing about this whole mess…

    I challenge any and all good catholics to minister to the victims and their families. Why aren’t we seeing that presence in so many good catholics who want things better within their church?

    This is what I don’t understand…people will complain about what an organization stands for, or how another handles this issue, but rarely do you see the laity organize to truly help victims. How can anyone complain about the methods when they aren’t part of a solution? Anyone can stand on the sidelines and whine.

    Please share how you are changing things within the church John. I’d like to know you are more than a person on the sidelines.

  26. Not one of the commentators on this blog have stated that they have left the RCC. Why? Maybe they have but should mention it to others.

    What good does it do to stay? It just re-enforces the evil ones to continue with their evil, as the people are so dumb they contnue to be brainwashed by them and believe their constant lies.

    Ask Fr. Tom Doyle why he stays. I don’t know. I guess he feels bound to by his vows. I would say his vow was to God and not an institution and so there fore is null and void.

    He speaks very off the cuff about what he thinks the RCC has been doing , including that the euchrist is not consecrated by any priest.

    IMHO…I say “You” consecrate the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord. Consecration cannot be transfered from one person to another. If your belief system is that great ,you may truly consecrate the bread and wine.

  27. An aspect of the discussion between John Fitz and the other bloggers centers on the dilemma in moral philosophy called justice vs. mercy.

    In the case of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, both justice and mercy must be satisfied. The institution of the Catholic Church is responsible for satisfying both because it facilitated the crisis and covered it up. These are crimes. Only justice deters crime, mercy does not. Because the Church is ostensibly a “moral anchor,” and because it “does Good,” does not mean it should be exempt from the punishments that will deter its crimes.

    Only through justice is the supposition “everyone gets the same” or “no person or entity supersedes the law” validated. Indeed, MLK Jr. said that justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.

    Finally, only through justice can a society avert a never-ending cycle of retaliation created between victims and their perpetrators. Retaliation ends when justice restores balance.

    CS Lewis said that mercy, detached from justice, grows unmerciful. Mercy and reconciliation have to be built with full recognition and accountability for the wrong. Accountability IS justice.

    In a perfect civil law land, the goal of justice should not be to merely deliver justice alone. It should facilitate reconciliation through mercy.

    • I really like the thoughts you adressed on mercy and justice. I think God allows us in many cases to suffer the consequences of our actions so that we may turn back to him .Ex. Israelites wondering in the desert for 40 years etc.

  28. Susan,

    I understand that you are Catholic, but your associate on this site, Kathy, says that you are seeking justice for All Children. That’s great! That’s wonderful news! But why are all of your articles on here only focused on the Catholic Church? If you’re seeking justice for all kids, stop centering on the Church alone on your website, then. Post articles about rabbis who abuse children, coaches, public school teachers, protestant ministers, and parents.

    Everyone claims that they want to help all children of abuse, and that is wonderful, but then they only focus on the Catholic Church. That seems strange to me. Read the opening chapters of the first Grand Jury Report. Lynn Abraham claims that she wants to help expose abusers in different faiths, etc, but then the whole report is only about priests. I’m not saying don’t go after the priests who abused, but if you claim to want to help all children, expose the problem of child sexual abuse as it truly is… a societal problem.

    Thanks

    • In the RESOURCES link at the top of the page you can note the fact that the Grand Jury Reports of 2005 AND 2011 record the findings of both Grand Juries relative to the “sexual abuse of minors by diocesan clergy and employees.”

      In 2005, 63 priests were identified and in 2011 somewhere around 41 were identified, and 4 were charged with criminal acts. A number of recommendations were made to the Archdiocese by the Grand Juries and the opening up of the statute of limitations window for victims was recommended in both reports. Opening up this window would help victims of abuse throughout the State

      These Grand Juries were specifically charged with investigating Archdiocesan behavior, for a good reason.

      They were not charged to investigate other institutions.

      There is no question that molestation is a societal problem

    • Ho Jo,
      After the 2nd Grand Jury report came out many catholics in the pews including myself realized the catholic church had not cleaned up it’s act since the first Grand Jury report. I am catholic I go to church . I am very involved in church leadership. up until recently I have given the church large sums of money. I went to catholic grade, high school and college. I loved most of my teachers especially the nuns. Some of the priests creeped me out and I now realize two at my grade school and 2 at my hign school were pedophiles. Why do I know this because they are on the Archdiocesian list of predators. I was thankfully never abused by a teacher but looking back in my case it seemed the priests liked boys were I was at. One even was in charge of the altar boys and asked my brother to go see his train set in the rectory which he never did. I now realize that it is very possible many in my school may have been abused knowing what we know now that most abusers abuse
      more than one child.Two years ago we put my husband’s dad in jail for molesting my husband. He is not on Megan’s list because the crime happened before Megan laws existed. After 18 months he is walking around in local stores, streets etc,. My husband even became catholic. I have read all the grand jury reports, listened to victims listen to Archbisop chaput, read Archbishop Bev. testamony and tried to look at it from every angle and what the church is doing is wrong in addressing child sexaul abuse. Yes sexaul abuse of children occurrs everywhere and my catholic faith helped me protect kids outside of the church but I want kids to be safe in the church and also want all catholic children to have a healthy sense of spirituality i had in order to fight such evil so when I saw the same evil I was fighting outside the church in the church I felt I needed to do something. Sexual abuse kills souls and with out faith in God it is very hard to fight evil. What moved me to action was the story of a boy abused by a seminarian in a grade school. He told a priest and the priest told him not to tell anyone. Then he went to high school and told his guidance counsleor adn the guidance counselor in school sexaul abused him. This should not be. He needed spiritaul, emotional and physical protection and he recieve no protection. He evetually committed suicide. The church has been my rock and hope through many diffficult times and it should be just that. If we can’t trust the church who can we trust. My answer now is God because the church does fail because it is human but this should not be. I am a idealist and i guess i am focusing on the catholic church because I want it to be the place Jesus wanted it to be. Jesus never promised us the church would not suffer only that if we followed him we would have eternal life. The church may have to suffer on earth for the damage it has done by not protecting children but I believe if we stop the abuse it could lead to some healing and souls having a repaired relationship with Christ. that is why I focus on the catholic church.Feeding the hungry and caring for the sick are important but not as important as saving souls and leading them to heaven. It started out wanting constructively to address the issue head on.But we at C4C have not gotten any response nor input from the Archbishop becasue it seems they do not want to clean up their act and Archbishop Chaput does not want to change laws.I would be happy to discuss how the laity can help thechurch with the sexaul abuse crisis in the church anytime with Archbisop Chaput. I really want to help my church. Unfortunately as stated before a criminal window can’t be opened so they only way to name predators is through civil lawsuits. Also victims suffer PTSD and many have addictions or attempt suicide.Recovery from sexual abuse is life long. Many victims never own a house, get married or do the normal things you do because they are in and out of rehab and attempting suicide. Many do need money.So civil suits disclose names of predators, give justice to victims and retore a sense of control and balance over ones life. Becasue sexaul abuse is abuse by a powerful adult over a vulernable child. It is not a mutal relationship. Lastly is money which we all know does not heal everything but it might get you assess to therapy that will or cover lost days of work, medications etc.

      • I have to add that it is very difficult emotionally to sue your abuser and many including my husband faced their abuser in court to protect other kids. Protection of kids by naming predators is why I support the statue of limitation law changes not because I want to bankrupt the church. I want to keep kids safe and keep them from going through the hell my husband and our family has been through.

    • Ho Jo At this pont I am confused as to who is who with people posting under a variety of names but really being the same person. For the sake of clarity I will refer to you as HoJO. I don’t know how long you have followed this site. Susan and I are founding members of justice4pakids an organization that is fighting for the rights of victims and protection of children -all children and victims of child sex abuse. C4C focuses on the problems within the Catholic Church. If we never had the problems within the Church,this site would not exist.

  29. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Ho Jo…..

    Many posters on this site are/were Catholic so the natural point of interest and focus is that faith which has been integral to our lives for many, many years. Most here care about our Catholic faith and so we focus on those matters of clergy sexual abuse that are closest to our hearts and minds.

    We all know that child sexual abuse is a societal problem, regardless of where it occurs, including other faiths, public and private schools, non-profit associations, families, neighborhoods, etc.

  30. How can any of you be so cold and calculated in your postings when this about children, the handicapped or marginalized being sexually raped by a person of authority in their lives,who tell THEM that they REPESENT JESUS CHRIST HERE ON EARTH. There is a difference in who abuses whom.

    You quote regulations from the hierarchy etc. It’s most disgusting.

    How absolutley terrifying it must be for them to be taken advantage of, when the God within them is screaming for the evil ones to stop and remembertheir Lord Savior Jesus Christ.

    The Lord has not taken our” free “from us, so that we may love HIM and have a Relationship HIM without being dictatorial as the RCC is in everyway to their followers.

    This is not a church that follows in the Footsteps of Jesus Christ but of the rules of man, using Jesius’ Words incorrectly for their own benefit. You see this in every thing they do when it comes to the sexually abused. I call it Spiritual Murder.

  31. Math: 10: 26-27 I have been speaking this scripture since 2001. Oh, that the people would hear HIM!

    I meant to say “free will” but it didn’t get there, in the above comment. Also Jesus …I guess I
    should edit a little better!.

    How come you didn’t put my comment in about who I am. ? Did I make too many mistakes? I’ve been known to do that at my age.

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