Wishing You Peace This Christmas and Protection and Justice in 2012


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78 Responses to “Wishing You Peace This Christmas and Protection and Justice in 2012”

  1. S. Reid Warren, III Reply December 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    In his homily today the Pope reminded listeners: “Let us look through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and light.” He seems to forget that the glitter may have satarted in the Vatican with all of the crimson, robes, gold, silver and architecrture – all so different than the simplicity of the manger scene and the Prince of Peace lying there.

    Reid

    • I saw part of the midnite mass, and it made me want to puke. Pope comes out on a brand new gold cart, wearing a hat, scepter, and outfit that must have been worth over $75,000.

      Flash quiz – if Jesus was here right now, would have have made the pope do the mass in a sheet, and sold the $75,000 outfit to prevent 375 children from starving to death next year?

  2. S. Reid Warren, III – Below is a sample of some Christmas gifts that you can get from Neiman Marcus. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2102930,00.html

    They sell a lot of high end glitter and ‘bling’ (flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth; broadly : expensive and ostentatious possessions) for Christmas. Nonetheless, the Vatican collection makes even Neiman Marcus look like the Dollar Store!

  3. Merry Christmas, thank God that more people are seeing the liight. I pray that Christ’s light continues to shine so that this abuse is never again hidden in darkness. Thank you for your website(Susan & Kathy). May God continue to bless you and all who are protecting our children.

    • I share ed’s thinking, about abuse never being hidden again AND his thanking Susan and Kathy.

      Perhaps we are having an Internet ‘spring’ where outfits like Abuse Tracker, make church abuse cover ups ever so much more diifficult for institutional church to carry off, and pew folks, hopefully, are ever so much more aware of the need for protection of innocent children.

      Perhaps the Holy Spirit is doing a bit of an ‘end round’ for the sake of the church. It seems so. And that’s good Christmas news!

  4. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 26, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Hard to imagine, sitting around the holiday dinner table with your children and/or grandchildren, wondering what their world will be like in the years ahead, what the government will do (NOT DO) to provide for a safer and more secure environment from sexual predation, and how I (grandfather) can help to protect and safeguard these young children.

    Can you imagine if the following actually did happen:

    Rep. Ron Marsico asked one of his grandchildren what they wanted for Christmas and they responded: “PUBLIC HEARINGS” so the children now and in the future in PA can be protected. Indeed, no finer Christmas present could ever be requested from this grandfather. Just as importantly, what would grandfather’s response be to this genuine and heartfelt request?

  5. Dear Benny (the one who wears ornate costumes and Prada shoes),

    Somewhere, I read “Pope Laments Christmas Glitter.” It made me lament.

    You are utterly out of touch with real people. Your stereotypical assessment that we are salivating to be consumers is both demeaning and untrue. Because our lives escape you, you are unfamiliar with the depth and breadth of our minds and values.

    Your message is hardly provocative, Indeed, it is passe. Few of us do not know what matters and what doesn’t, what endures and what disappears, what’s worth it and what isn’t.

    Last evening, the four parish churches in my community had a joint Nativity program. There were five parish priests in attendance. Three wore cashmere sweaters, one sported a to-die-for black, leather bomber jacket, and one was 20 minutes late because he had been “shopping for Ralph Lauren polo shirts at T.J. Max.”

    Good Catholic girls are whistleblowers!

    Signed,
    I’ve so HadIt with you it isn’t funny.

    • Some will argue all these were gifts from family and friends…….I guess it is partly about the image they portray……….I lived in India for 6 months when I was 14. What Mother Teresa did and lived is what I consider Christian anything less is living of this world……….that goes for the laity also………including myself……….Jesus never said it would be easy…..we need to learn to live with less and live more for other people. I believe one follows the other. The more we live simply the easier it is to see our brother/sister.I will never forget seeing fingers ravaged by leprosy reaching into our taxi nor the horror of chidren’s tongues cut out so they would be more pathetic as beggars as my dad explained to a shocked daughter. I will never forget how much we are blessed with in this country……just to have food and a healthy body and clean drinking water. Because of this experience I was able to appreciate the simple things in life, be more content with what I had and be blessed with the gift to now see Christ in everyone I meet since then…….but especially in the faces of the most vulnerable.

    • Beth and hadit, I was just reading an article about a local nun and her work in the area of social justice. She has worked with the poor and oppressed for over 40 years. Here is one of the quotes from the article:

      “There are people who say Jesus was a wimp. There are people who say Jesus was a high priest. I see Jesus as a revolutionary who came to change the structures that oppress and marginalize people,” said Lyons.

      • Kathy,

        In Jesus of Nazareth, the book by Pope Benedict XVI, he insists: “Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and no myth, revolutionary or misunderstood prophet.”

        Jesus was the Son of God, period. He was divine, period.

        What are your thoughts on the Pope’s position? Do you agree with his position, or are you more inclined to agree with the social justice nun’s view of Jesus?

      • Hadit I see more of this nun’s vision of Jesus. I was educated by both Sisters of St Joseph and Sisters of Mercy and I believe I was educated,instructed and influenced similar to this way of thinking. That is why in the Inquirer article I reference this work being exactly reflective of what I was taught in 16 years of Catholic education.I wasn’t taught to be quiet or submissive ,I also did not view Jesus that way either. When I am with Sr Maureen she reminds me of so many of the nuns I knew when I was growing, up however many of the young nuns who taught me went on to leave the convent.

      • Surely the Pope was not denying Jesus’s humanity? Divinity, yes, humanity, with all the compassion that that encompassed. yes!

        I am a great fan of Matthew 25, think Tracy Kidder when describing Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains, does a stunning job of identifying Jesus’s love and compassion for the poor and Paul Farmer really lived it out…in fact Matthew25 was buz language in the book.

        And that doesn’t preclude the mystical side, either…Thomas Merton, all of Merton, Richard Rohr and so many others who have a huge amount to offer on ‘the other side of the mountain’…

  6. There’s a beautiful photo in The Washington Times, of the Latin Patriarch carrying a statuette of the Christ child in a golden cradle, it could be any child, to be sacrificed at the altar in years to come not for us, but for the sins of others.
    Very symbolic.

  7. I see Jesus THE Christ , as my Savior, my Redeemer, my Lord and my God, who Lives and Reigns within HIS People. I consider myself and my family to be HIS People. How do you feel about that.?

    If All was taken from you, no church building, no Bible , nothing at all, as a symbol of your faith, whould you and could you still abide in HIS LOVE and Safety??

    “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU” *

    May THE PEACE OF THE LORD BE WITH YOU ALL. STAND FIRM IN HIM AND HE WILL DO FOR YOU WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD. *

  8. Not sure of anyone else’s holiday gatherings…but ours were very interesting to say the least.

    Of course we are surrounded by Catholics, devout, practicing, contributing (not as of our conversations a few days ago though)…

    All conversations kept coming back to the poor handling of the sexual abuse of children by clergy. They were defiant, rebellious…in a word…angry.

    I can quote my elderly relative, “The litugical changes may be a good thing. But if this is how they’ve spent their (hierarchy) time and our money, they should be ashamed.” This coming from a man who has done nothing but breathe the praises of the rcc.

    How would you like to have this priest at your parish? When my Aunt said, “Why were liturgical changes a higher priority, financially and otherwise, than the sexual abuse of children.” His response? He put his hand up in her face and repeated word for word what he just said. Pressed further, he repeated himself again with his hand in her face again. He told her she needed to “listen better.” LOL Which made me laugh because he clearly did not undersand who he was talking to. Her name is all over scholarships in our area. Guess who is no longer financially supporting her church “until they can come up with a better response to victims and their parishioners about how they’ve spent our money.”

    Or my husband’s elderly relative who was concerned about the people who only come to mass around the holidays feeling like it was no longer their church because the wording had changed. His comment,” Those changes were for the people in the churches, but we have so many who have just left the church, you would think we would want to make sure they felt it was still their church. Not now. Who wants to go backward to a time when they were covering up abuses?”

    They had a lot of positive things to say about the choir, the volunteers, the spiritual aspects of the mass, but they are thoroughly disgusted by their hierarchy.

    That is success! Gone are any illusions about what their hierarchy is doing. I wish it could have been strictly about the sexual abuse issue, but I am grateful catholics in the pews are angry…it MAY motivate them to action! And if they can’t be motivated to act, at least they will undersatnd those of us who are doing something!

    Truth always comes to light. Always!

    • SW, our Christmas was somewhat chaotic with 8 days of guests, but two things happened, which I found interesting. One, a local paper showed a picture of a practically empty Cathedral, and two, a segment of the family (Jewish/catholic mix) really liked a crowded suburban service and thought the pastor did a wonderful job on a somewhat self deprecating sermon that related to his own and the churches failings.

      and they really liked the ethnic diversity, as well. Jeans were worn by some, as well!

    • Dear Survivor’s Wife,

      Many people I know view the liturgical changes as just another diversionary move by the hierarchy much like the “investigation” of the sisters in the United States.

      I agree with your elderly relative —

      “I can quote my elderly relative, “The litugical changes may be a good thing. But if this is how they’ve spent their (hierarchy) time and our money, they should be ashamed.” This coming from a man who has done nothing but breathe the praises of the rcc.”

      The hierarchy has spared no expense to deflect attention from the continuing cover-up of what has been done wrong. They are an embarassment to all of use and yes, they have no shame.

      Sister Maureen

  9. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Archdiocesan hierarchy and management:

    Priority #1 – Rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Can’t wait for Chaput’s pronouncement (READ autocratic) regarding the Philadelphia Catholic educational system. Hope that our archdiocesan leadership has the decency and honor to release such news on a day other than January 5th, the feast day of St. John Neumann.

    While Bishop of Philadelphia, St. John Neumann founded the first Catholic diocesan school system in the United States.

  10. Talk about Christmas gifts….please take a very close look at this link where for the first time in the nation victims, survivors and clergy have come together in a way that is genuinely useful.

    In Wisconsin today, in a paid ad that you can access from this link, I think what you will find is in many ways an answer to prayer. http://www.snapwisconsin.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/The-Ad2.pdf

    • However, they are doing that because the Catholic church there is in the middle of a bankruptcy filing. This isn’t a bunch of priests doing What Jesus Would Do. They are doing what attorneys, and insurance companies, and British Petroleum would do in the wake of a financial disaster.

      Same scum, different pond, running out of water.

      • Patrick, SNAP is a major supporter. SNAP is a pond I’m willing to swim in.

      • Patrick, Peter Isely SNAP Mid West Director
        John Pilmaier SNAP Wisconsin Director
        Mike Sneesby SNAP Milwaukee Director

        Along with Father Richard Cerpich
        Father Gregory Greiten
        Fathet James Connell
        Father Howard G Hasse

        And others signed this amazing document….Abuse Tracker is right it’s a national first, and thank God.

  11. I disagree Patrick. I have been following this for the past month,ever since Fr Conell went public and supported the SOL reform at the capitol in Milwaukee. He stood with the child advocates in support of the SOL reform .
    http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-20111227-priests-and-snap-restitution-deadline,0,5760712.story

  12. Patrick,when I first got involved in this about 9 months ago I was greeted warmly by survivors of clery sex abuse. I knew abot clergy sex abuse since 2002,went through the Grand jury report in 2005 and was disgusted but really didn’t act on it. It took me until 2011 to actually do anything for a victim. I feel the same way about any priests who come forward and want to part of helping victims..too late..well so was I in many ways but I wasn’t rejected. I was welcomed and thanked for standing with them. I will do the same for anyone, clergy or laity who joins the cause. The first survivors I met could have bereated me for my inaction all of these years..they didn’t. If priests want to only have prayer services for victims,I am not interested. If they stand with victims and organizations that support victims,speak out publicly,support legislation and want justice for victims..then that is what we have been asking all along

    • Kathy, maybe Patrick knows more than we do, everybody deals with things individually. In some of his posts, I can see he really like many of us wants our church back, it’s an internal AND infernal conflict {forgive my presumption Patrick}.
      Australian Cardinal George Pell, as Archbishop stood side by side with one of Victoria’s notorious pedophiles that led to the death of dozens of suicides, lied about abuse to more than on victim and exposed publicly, paid a young woman off on the provisio that she never spoke of the circumstances of her under age pregnancy by one of his clergy, yet many clergy still maintain their “deep regret” for this and that and stands by victims. It’s called hunting the hounds while running with the foxes.
      There is always an ulterior motive. No one can be personally committed to anyone if answerable to a higher authority other than God. All clergy are, and that’s to their bishops.
      Of course they can’t be blamed for trying, but at the end of the day, well…..Catholcs make the best spies with the aid of the confessional I was told once.

      • “Catholics make the best spies with the aid of the confessional I was told once.” That’s a good one!

        For me “CIA” Central Intelligence Agency, or “CIA” Catholics In Action, were always the same outfit.

      • If a group of survivors has met with these priests for the past year and find them to be honestly concerned and helpful …that works for me. We say we want priests to do the right thing and then throw them under the bus when they do? Sorry but I am not getting on that bandwagon. What about Sr Maureen and Tom Doyle? Are they also not to be believed as honestly working in the interest of the victims?
        I am not naive,I would never just take someone’s word that they want to help victims,I would look at their actions and in this case in Milwaukee the actions and words match up.

    • Everyone gets to believe whatever they want. We know for sure that the diocese is under bankruptcy. That is the most important data point here

      It is the only diocese where four priests have publicly come out and tried to work with victims. (The four in Philly are still unnamed, and all of the others, like Tom Doyle and Sister Maureen were courageous individuals).

      Realize that Archbishop Dolan, the top bishop in the country, came from Milwaukee and was there during the whole scandal. He certainly isn’t coming forward, and isn’t offering any money for victim therapy.

      The optimistic Catholic can see this as a ray of light, where the church is just starting to do What Jesus Would Do, albeit aside bankruptcy lawyers and accountants. They can see SNAP as a group that is happy in Milwaukee.

      I see SNAP as a smart group of victims who know that they have lost to a Catholic institution that has better lawyers and accountants than SNAP can afford. The Catholic church is making themselves look broke so they don’t have to pay for therapy for victims. Look at the biggest church in any city. The Catholic church isn’t poor, and there are so few attendees, they could certainly “downsize”. They won’t, and certainly not to pay for therapy for the victims of their own crimes.

      Catholics have set the moral bar so low that any sense of humanity in this scandal looks good.

      I see it differently. This is more like negotiating with the terrorists (ones who raped children but aren’t going to jail for it). There will be no killings, just a financial negotiation. SNAP knows that the terrorists hold the better financial guns. There is bankruptcy, and now it is just a matter of negotiating how to split the money that is left. Now that there is no extra money to lose, some cowardly clergy will come out publicly and do what appears to be the right thing.

      The Catholic church prioritizes the laws of the land and the laws of finance over the laws of God and What Jesus Would Do.

      • Patrick if you use blanket statements for an entire group of people then you are no different than the group who call all victims liars.I have not set the bar so low -actually I am much more cynical than you think. But now I read an article that this group began two years ago,which is a significant amount of time to see people’s true intentions. I am actually going to contact Peter Isely and see if he will write something for the site. I wonder if what you describe is the actual experience the victims had in this situation. Honest discussions with clergy members or negotiations with terrorists who control the finances.

      • I am not referring to the hierarchy in Milwaukee but the small group of priests who have been meeting with victims and advocates over the past year.

      • Patrick, I have to agree, but wish it to be different.
        I’ve known individual abuse victims who have been victimised again, falling into that mentality, ending up grateful for the crumbs given under the table in an attempt to find their footing back into a church they love.
        It’s an insidious game they play knowing first hand the seduction to gain the result they want, at any cost.

      • LNewington ,so are you saying no one, Sr Maureen, Tom Doyle,Bob Hoatson Richard Sipe etc…has the best interest of the victims at heart? I undertsand what you are saying but on the other hand find it hard to believe that 4 SNAP directors and members would be content with crumbs under the table. Actually that statement could be offensive to many victims…I am sure that victims have been misguided along the way by people in the Church and have been betrayed yet again..and I have also seen victims,advocates and religous come together. At our first meeting last June,for justice4pakids, Sr Maureen and Fr MacNamee joined with victims and advocates and are founding members. Granted only two religous from the Phila Archdiocese is a pitiful number but they certainly were not rejected by any victims or advocates.

      • When Vicky spoke at the meeting at a parish in Philadelphia with laity and clergy present -she owned that room as a survivor..no crumbs under the table for her or accepting anything as a way back to the Church she loved. She spoke her truth loudly and clearly for all to hear.

  13. In a related C4C article we have been posting about four priests in this AD who might be potential whistleblowers relative to child sexual abuse criminal charges… in Wisconsin today you have the names of four priests whose names are international news, relating to sexual abuse restitution. Comparisons are perhaps odious, but very relevant!

    • Joan,

      I think we’ll see Chaput continue to hard line it, muzzling his priests and AD workers, forbidding clerical organizations having any real purpose, rejecting AD or clerical linkings with victims’ groups, applauding the likes of Lynn in the brotherhood, and relying on his Denver attorneys and the sheep in the pews money to bring to fruition his agenda . Since bankruptcy isn’t an issue in Philly (yet), he’ll plow through it the way the hierarchy has plowed through things for centuries, now. He’s Opus Dei– heavy-handed, traditional, anti-reform, conservative, and obsessed with hierarchical power, hierarchical organization, and the Vatican.

      • The stunning and beautiful thing coming down in Milwaukee, right now, is way too in the spirit of Vatican II for Chaput!

      • Haditcatholic, no argument on episcoplal intransigence, but Vatican II did happen, and I hope that Milwaukee is more evidence of that Spirit.

        I think the ‘ Milwaukee Message’ deserves a LOT of ink in a LOT of places……to show that it can be done.

  14. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Who are these four priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who have allegedly been “muzzled”?

  15. Today’s NCR published the Wisconsin clergy survivor ad….which may be of interest to AD employees and victims/survivors:

    Text of Milwaukee priests’ public advertisement (Main Forum)
    by Jim B, Australia, Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 17:57 (8 hours, 51 minutes ago) @ Jim B

    A Message from Priests and from Survivors of Childhood
    Sexual Abuse by Clergy

    Some of us are priests of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and some of us are survivors of childhood rape and sexual assault by priests.

    In the wake of the bankruptcy filing by the archdiocese this year, we have joined together in an ongoing dialogue about the clergy sex abuse crisis and what we can do about it.

    The sexual abuse of a minor by a priest is a crime and a sin. If you were sexually violated by a member of the clergy it was not your fault.
    We want you to know that:
    • If you suffered this violation you are not alone.
    • There are many survivors who have come forward and are
    receiving the care and assistance that they need.
    • There are many resources in our community that are available to assist you.
    • To be believed you must be heard. No one else will know
    unless you tell them.
    • We stand by you and support you.

    EACH OF US BELIEVES that at the center of the human heart is an absolute longing for justice. We are committed to creating a true and lasting community of justice.

    Over the next months we want to widen our conversation to include other priests and survivors in the archdiocese, especially those who have already expressed a desire to join with us.

    AS PRIESTS AND PASTORS OF THE ARCHDIOCESE,
    we publicly declare our unqualified support to every victim/survivor.

    We hold ourselves and our institution fully accountable for any action or inaction that may have allowed these crimes to occur, the offender to go unpunished, and other children to be harmed. We are truly sorry that this happened to you.

    We believe that, in order for our church and our community to heal, there will have to be a full institutional accounting of the crimes that have taken place in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Victim/survivors
    and their families have told us how important it is that they know the truth about what happened in their church. It is also important for each one of us.

    Obviously, we are very tardy in making this public statement of apology, support, and accountability; however, making this statement now is better than remaining silent.

    AS VICTIM/SURVIVORS OF THESE CRIMES, we declare our
    unqualified support for every priest who takes the courageous step of publicly standing with survivors.

    Shame is logically and naturally created when a child is sexually violated. That shame is rarely, if ever, felt by the offender. Instead, the offender pours that shame into the body of the child. If justice does not intervene to lift that weight, eventually the soul and aspirations of that child will be crushed by it.

    If even the possibility of spiritual reconciliation with the church is to become real and effective for survivors, priests of the archdiocese must courageously join us and insist upon a full and public confession.

    That confession must include the open publication of all abuse-related documents held by the Archdiocese and the religious orders serving in the Archdiocese. The confession must further provide a full and explanatory list of all clerics and employees who have harmed
    children and minors.

    Sex offenders always commit two crimes: first they steal the body; then they steal the voice.

    Recovery from sexual violence—for the victim, for the offender, and for an institution— is the resurrection of the voice through words of truth.

    We want hope for survivors. We want healing for them.

    We want a new day for the church.

    For victim/survivors who may still be living in silence or shame, we hope this public plea from us—as survivors and priests working together—will encourage you to come forward before February 1, 2012. That is the court deadline for filing a case for restitution through the bankruptcy process.

    Listed below are resources that can provide help and guidance with your decision.

    Peter J. Isely, MS, M.Div, LCSW, SNAP Midwest Director (survivor)
    John Pilmaier, MSW, APSW, SNAP Wisconsin Director (survivor)
    Mike Sneesby, SNAP Milwaukee Director (survivor)
    Marilynn Pilmaier, RN, BSN (mother of survivor)
    Vicky A. Schneider, MAPS (survivor)
    Karen Konter, female advocate (survivor)

    Fr. Richard Cerpich | Fr. James Connell
    Fr. Gregory Greiten | Fr. Howard G. Haase

    Resources in our community:
    The Healing Center: 414-671-4325
    http://thehealingcenter.org/

    Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault:
    608-257-1516 608-257-2537 (TTY) http://www.wcasa.org

    Sexual Assault Treatment Center:
    414-219-5555 (A crisis counselor is available 24 hours a day. Non-crisis information/referral is available M-F 8:30-5:00)
    http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/services/sexual-assault/satc.asp
    Counsel for Creditor’s Committee (of survivors)
    for information regarding the bankruptcy: 1-888-496-8643
    SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests)
    Peter J Isely: 414-429-7259
    John Pilmaier: 414-336-8575
    Mike Sneesby: 414-915-4374
    http://www.snapwisconsin.com
    Archdiocese of Milwaukee:
    414-758-2232 http://www.archmil.org

    Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office:
    Sensitive Crimes Division: (if you would like to speak to a member of the law enforcement community concerning a sexual assault) 414-278-4617
    Your local police department or county office for health and human services.

    Any other resource that you trust.

    If you would like to contact a priest or survivor whose name appears in this ad call Fr. Jim Connell at 414-940-8054
    or John Pilmaier at 414-336-8575
    Paid Advertisement Paid Advertisement

    Today we are making an urgent appeal to victim/survivors
    to come forward before the closing of the February 1, 2012 bankruptcy bar date, and we offer our help.

    • Father James Connell, one of the signatories identified above has a very interesting and provocative history relative to clergy child sexual abuse claims.

      Trained as a canon lawyer, he questioned the standards applied to clergy molestation accusations in his AD and found the standards to be both vastly higher than the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard and also that these standards are the determinative standards that Rome observes.

      The following discussion is from an NCR article in July.

      “Connell, then, knows something about accountability and church law, which he cites at length in his open letter. In preparation for a March 4 meeting of the Milwaukee Review Board with the newly appointed Archbishop Jerome Listecki, Connell visited the Web site of the La Crosse, Wis., diocese, where Listecki formerly served.
      He was surprised to learn that the standard of proof used by the board “in assisting the bishop in his assessment process is ‘moral certitude which excludes every prudent doubt or every doubt founded on positive reasons.’ ” The standard, put in place by then-Bishop Raymond Burke, is much higher than that outlined in the bishops’ own norms, which were promulgated following their famous Dallas meeting in 2002. It is also higher than the civil law standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Burke, who went on to be archbishop of St. Louis, now heads the Vatican Supreme Court.
      Connell said he feared that children would be at risk from priests accused of abuse who, in other dioceses, would have been referred for further investigation. In other words, in La Crosse, someone accusing a priest of sexual abuse would have to provide a greater degree of proof than the church’s rules expect. “Some priests or deacons could still be in active ministry who would not be there if the correct standard of proof were used,” said Connell.
      Indeed, during the meeting with Listecki, Connell made reference to his concern about La Crosse. The bishop, according to O’Connell, noted that 60 percent of the cases in La Crosse had been unsubstantiated, a percentage well above the national average”

      Which was about ten per cent.

      One can better understand Father Connell’s support of both the SOLs proposed in Wisconsin and his current efforts on behalf of victims.

      It would be very interesting to know what standard is being applied in the Philadelphia AD.

      • Today’s NCR article on the Milwaukee affair cites the NCR July 8 2010 article on Father Connell …title is Critical Question Leads Priest to Challenge Lax Abuse Policies, Tom Roberts

    • What happens after Feb. 1st?

      They had me all the way until that last paragraph. Sincere, heart-felt, using all the right language…and then at the end…what is that about?

      There are no stipulations on wanting a victim to heal. EVER. So, whether they file bankruptcy or not, whether insurance can cover it or not…the victims still need to heal. IF everything they say is true, then why add the last paragraph? Is there a timeline on how long they can help?

      Someone care to put the dots closer together for me? I’m not familiar with bankruptcy proceedings.

      • survivors wife, I am going to contact Peter Isely and ask him to write something for the site to further explain the situation to us.
        I believe that Fr Connell supports the SOL reform in Wisconsin allowing a two year window. My understanding (very limited) is a February 1st deadline exists due to the bankruptcy and these priests and SNAP members are trying to get the word out about that before that deadline passes.

      • This article explains the Feb 1st dealine. The dealine was set by the judge in the bankruptcy proceedings. SNAP is enouraging people to come forward by that date due to the legal proceedings.
        http://www.wpr.org/news/display_headline_story.cfm?storyid=27739

  16. Thank you for asking Kathy.

    What is the deadline for? The 2 year window or the bankruptcy? Sorry Kathy, I feel like my children asking more questions after I just told them “I don’t know.”

    • We must have been posting at the same time Kathy.

      I went to the link to read it.

      I understand now why it’s beneficial for a victim to file a confidential claim against the church before the deadline. Makes sense why SNAP is involved in getting the word out…if it comes after that date, the legal battle will be more of a nightmare. It’s clearer to me now about the deadline. It IS advantageous for victims to come forward as soon as possible. Got it.

      However, IF the church is as committed to doing right by the victims as they say they are, then that deadline won’t make a difference. I get what Patrick is saying…if they weren’t involving teams of lawyers, bankruptcy proceedings (c’mon, what catholic church do you know of that is “broke?), that would be worth something of merit. To me, the fact that any victim has to jump through THEIR hoops is THE insult. I don’t think victims who will now come forward are accepting crumbs…every victim has to heal in whatever way is best for them…but the ADs are still calling the shots!

      I know of a victim that came forward, told her story on the steps of the catholic hospital where she was abused. Due to SOL, she would never see a dime. The diocese offered to help her (to shut her up and get the media to lay off)…a one time pay out less than $15,000. She told them that getting raped nightly by the hospital chaplain for 6 months straight when she was 8 was worth more than 15 and they could keep it! Right or wrong in the eyes of others, she called the shots! The diocese was fine by that since they were off the hook and “see? We tried to help that poor lady heal.” She wouldn’t accept the crumbs they offered.

      Healing has to be on the victim’s terms, not the AD’s. The fact that victims are in this situation (bankruptcy deadlines) to begin with is horrendous. That’s the point. So, yes, it’s beneficial for victims to come forward, to not have to be drug through any more unnecessary heartache….but what some aren’t seeing is that it shouldn’t be happening in the first place! And now that they (hierarchy)are reaching out and wanting victims to get healing (in a timely fashion, of course, so they can lump them into the bankruptcy filings) it’s seen as merciful, kind.

      If there is one thing I have learned with all of my dealings with the institutional catholic church… they don’t do anything unless they will somehow benefit from it.

      I want to know what happens to the victims who come after the February 1st deadline. That will be the true measure of whether or not they mean any of the words written.

      • survivors wife I agree with everything you state -100%. This bankruptcy route has taken place in various Diocese over the years. My point was not and is not about the hierarchy. My thoughts were about the small group of priests ,only 4 of them, who have come together with victims and advocates. I don’t think the February 1st deadline is in any way fair to the victims, just as the way things have been done over the years has not been fair. I see the message this group of priests and victims and advocates is trying to send out. They are at least trying to make people aware of the deadline. I would imagine they themselves are not happy about the bankruptcy and what that means for victims and families.amilies.

      • Kathy,
        I’m encouraged when anyone sees what’s happening and wants to do something…in whatever way possible.

        It’s hard for me to give a lot of praise…and I know it’s what’s needed for people to come out of their pews…or off their pulpits…to know they aren’t going to be beaten over the head and told by victims that they haven’t done enough or my line, “Where were you?” I know people moved to action need our support. It just feels lopsided because they have it backwards.

        Kinda like parents relying on their children for emotional support and encouragement, when it should be the other way around.

        I hear what you are saying though…any good action is better than no action.

      • survivors wife, Again I agree exactly. I guess my thoughts are when we see someone like a Fr Connell who is standing with victims and advocates ,including going to Madison and advocating for SOL reform,I am not going to bash him .Even people like Sr Maureen and Tom Doyle started somewhere at some point in their advocacy work on behalf of victims. I am not elevating Fr Connell to hero staus but I also won’t refer to him deragatory or call him a coward.
        The “crumbs’ analogy about the victims rubbed me the wrong way because I agree the church often offers crumbs, but I don’t view the victims that I have met as waiting for some measly crumbs, or a pat or the head ,or anything of that nature at all. Actually they are some of the strongest people I have ever met, to suffer abuse as children and then speak out as adults.

  17. The deadline is for claims due to the bankruptcy The SOl two year window legislation has not been passed in Wisconsin.

    • I wrote: If there is one thing I have learned with all of my dealings with the institutional catholic church… they don’t do anything unless they will somehow benefit from it.

      Another point…the rcc is sitting pretty with this move because they can separate themselves (or at least appear) that each AD is an island…not connected to Rome. How can Rome be responsible for this mess when this AD here or that AD over there are filing bankruptcy. Good move on the part of rcc.

  18. Perhaps in a very strange way, the whole Milwaukee situation has a huge significance for Philadelphia. A discussion of Father James Connell in Milwaukee brought forth his canon law background and concerns about the standards applied to accused clergy in his AD.

    He was very concerned that accused priests were judged on their culpability abuse wise only if every “moral certitude which excludes every prudent doubt or every doubt founded on positive reasons” was considered. An impossible standard that exonerated the guilty, made civil law standards of beyond a reasonable doubt, a joke and put innocent children at huge risk.

    I personally have been wondering for a long time as I read and reread the Grand Jury reports of 2005 and 2011 how the various Church authorities, ie cardinals et al, especially Bevilauqua could so easily dismiss evidence obvious to both Grand Juries, on the basis of the accused priests verbal denial.

    BUT if you apply that terribly high and essentially unprovable canonical guilt standard to accused clergy it explains the Milwaukee 60 per cent ‘unsubstantiated’ abuse claims ( when nationally the standard was 10 per cent) and it explains to some degree the situation in Philly with Rigalli and perhaps Chaput…

    There are some 26 or more priests in the AD who are currently suspended. Folks in the pews have both a right and a responsibility to determine just what standard the AD is using to send these guys back to the parishes?

    If the standard is guilt determined by a canonical system that current civil and criminal law not only do not observe but reject and if folks in the pew buy such a set of decisions, then sadly, their children are at huge risk, and in many ways the fault is there’s.

    • Joan I also read an article about Fr Connell’s concern about the high amount of claims deemed non credible and the standards that were being used to determine credibilty of allegations. I am going to try to get in touch with Fr Connell and see if he will write something for the C4C site.

      • Thanks Kathy…Fr Connell would be great. I have his July 2010 NCR article on my home page….think he is quite remarkable.

        My NCR paper copy arrived today and on page 3, there is a note that ‘Abuse Standards Updated’ in the La Crosse diocese, citing Fr Carroll’s critique of the ‘moral certitude’ standard.

        I think that NCR July 2010 article is very fine….you really get the sense of the guy, and the comment section is exceptional.

        Please ask him about the canon law standards that might be operative in Philly? That’s a question with 26 possible applications, right now!

      • Kathy, I went back a took a look at the ‘new standard’ that the La Crosse diocese is now using relative to clergy molestation allegations, it is Canon Law 1983 code c 1717 ‘semblance of truth’ standard, a lower standard, than moral certitude, Zoe Ryan in the NCR reviewed the matter in an article on April 22, 2011, which alludes to the Philadelphia Grand Jury 2011 concerns.

        Then I went back and took a look at the Grand Jury 2011 report relative to what the Grand Jury had to say about the AD’s handling of ‘credible’ accusations and if anyone has the energy for it in the RESOURCES link at the top of the page, on page 56 there is a lot of relevant data…”Our review of just some of these priests files shows that the Review Board finds allegations “unsubstantiated” even when there is very convincing evidence that the accusations are true–evidence certainly alarming enough to prompt removal of priests from positions in which they pose a danger to children. ”

        On page 118 the Grand Jury recommends that the Review Board Process be revised “so that credibly accused priests are removed from ministry”….commenting on this point the Grand Jury noted that in the cases the GJ had reviewed, the the Review Board had reached the wrong conclusions “in the vast majority of cases”…( only 2 cases had apparently been ‘substantiated’ out of some 37 to 41)
        Page 119….”Yet, Bishop Senior rattled off a whole list of priests that the Review Board had cleared for continued ministry by finding the allegations against them ‘unsubstantiated’. At least 37 priests remain in ministry despite reports that they have engaged in improper behavior.

        The Grand Jury then questioned if the Archdiocesan Review Board had been instructed THAT THE STANDARD OF PROOF WAS ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY?

        What do you suppose the current standard is in the AD, relative to the 26 now suspended priests????

      • Kathy, yesterday’s print NCR noted that the La Crosse diocese was updating their standard of proof to “sufficiently confirmed’ instead of “moral certitude’ and noted that Father Connell had raised the issue in 2010 when he reviewed the La Crosse diocese’s procedures and found that, “instead of using canon law’s “semblance of truth” standard, La Crosse was using a (tougher)”moral certitude” standard, which was a violation of the Essential Norms drafted by the U S bishops and could be putting children at risk. Connell told NCR.”

  19. Oops, last word should show ownership, ie ‘theirs’….And I suggest that anyone interested in these canonical guilt standard issues might want to take a good hard look at the July 8, 2010 NCR article, ‘Critical Question Leads Priest to Question Lax Abuse Policies’ where Father James Connell details the whole sorry mess.

  20. Clearly, we need some commentary and analysis regarding the priest group/SNAP/victims situation in Milwaukee. It would be great, Kathy, if you could get someone involved with that to write a piece for C4C.

  21. Not at all, Kathy, Maureen Turlish and Tom Doyle know where their at. Australia has Bishop Geoff Robinson and Angela Ryan csb from way back with the assistance of Sydney University Professor Patrick Parkinson formulating Towards Healing, all three have their limitations.
    A Commission into abuse has been called for, for years, Professor Parkinson included more recently. An inquiry into abuse related suicides is now being called for.
    We have a CBC with a stranglehold with some members well and truly entrenched in the abuse scene, knowing full well what the score is, especially Archbishop Wilson, already in the hot seat himself.
    Bishops are bishops, that’s it and they use anything and anybody to get what they need to have in line with Rome.
    They would sell their mothers if they had to.
    I’m know both Fr Tom Doyle and Maureen Turlish have no illusions what the world is up against AND their own limitations.
    As a layperson, I have to go along with Patrick on this I’m sorry, with
    no offence meant.
    As a footnote: have a look at Brokenrites website, they’ve never been had up for libel.

    • LNewington my thoughts are that maybe someone like a Fr Connell could be on his way to be a Sr Maureen or Tom Doyle and if that is the case than what good is bashing him or calling him names going to do?Patrick called the 4 priests in Milwaukee,the ‘same scum” ,while a group of survivors has worked with these priests for a year. I don’t think Patrick knows any more about the situation than what is in the paper. So no…sorry… I don’t go alone with that. If Fr Connell is meeting with survivors,challenging the standards he feels are too stringent in evaluating abuse claims, and standing with advocates for SOL reform…I am not calling him scum. Nor will I call anyone scum.

  22. Pondering the Feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28) through poetry:

    “Know you what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of today. It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of Baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul.”

    Francis Thompson, English poet (1859-1907)

  23. The hierarchy and the Vatican have long, bizarre and macabre histories of clandestine activities. The activities have always been centered on maintaining and preserving a patriarchy, a monarchy, Tradition, power and wealth.

    Men who are attracted to secret, cloak-and-dagger, covert, hush-hush, in holes and corners, stealthy, under wraps, neo-conservative activities can prostrate themselves before the Church, own it and have it.

    After all, isn’t this, really, how it has always been?

  24. I am just going to take a moment to remind everyone that this site was developed for people to share,discuss,debate and of course disagree.. We hoped to be a notch above the comments left on may online sites where people just use the commenting section to” “rage an run’. Please remember this when commenting. Also please do not post entire articles in the commenting section,please copy and paste a link to the article instead.

    • Hi, Kathy. I see that you removed my posting about Finn of St Louis. Why? If you are concerned about length … Joan’s post above on Dec 28 is just as long. My post was on topic; so why delete it?

      • Charles,your post are always welcome and on topic. Could you do me a favor and post the link to that article? I hope Joan won’t mind me saying, as she has said herself but she sometimes has trouble figuring out how to post a link. Sorry Joan! Also I think it is great when a commenter excerpts a few sentences or something important from an article that caught their eye and then post the link along with it. Susan is going to go through and clean up the comment section later today and remove the posts that include full articles.

      • Charles, I really liked your Finn piece.

        Kathy is right, I am inept, but learning the link thing. If it’s any comfort the Fr. Connell piece was removed along with your Finn piece and I suspect more ‘pruning’ is coming, and I loved Fr Connell’s remarks so it was painful to see them disappear.

        I have a lot of respect for what Kathy and Susan have accomplished on C4C and if they want shorter pieces, I am very OK with that.

        I think they have managed to create an arena of civil discourse that is needed, timely and powerful.

        • Joan and Charles, Thanks for understanding. The site gets unwieldy for most users if comments are too long. Even main blog posts aren’t supposed to exceed 700 words. That being said, the content is very important and we do want to share it. The best vehicle is through links or by asking us to post content as a main blog post. I apologize for not adding posts this past week due to a family situation. I’ll be back at it in the New Year.

  25. Thanks for posting the link, Hadit. I’ve had problems submitting comments. Thanks again.

  26. Hadit, thanks for posting the link to the Finn story. I’ve had problems posting comments so I am happy to see that you’ve helped out! A Very Important Read!

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