Click here to read breaking news: “D.A.: Church officials knew about priest’s S&M letter,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 2012
Important to note in article:
“Sarmina is expected to decide to rule on the prosecutors’ request after more arguments on Monday.
The judge said she will also reexamine the issue of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua’s competency at that proceeding. She did not elaborate, and all attorneys are barred from publicly discussing the case under a gag order.
The 88-year-old retired prelate testified in a private pretrial hearing in November. Prosecutors have not said if they plan to introduce that testimony or call Cardinal Bevilacqua to the stand.”
101 thoughts on “Church Officials Knew of 30 Years of Abuse”
I don’t know how many times I came to C4C, today, or how many times I began writing a post, only to abandon it.
The betrayal is utterly overwhelming.
Hadit, you have a choice….you can pursue S &M behaviour on this posting or Msgr. Lynn accusing a ten year old abused child of seduction of a filthy priest, or or or,,,it is numbing and the horrible thing is, I fear, we are just scratching a very very ugly surface.
I credit the judge for holding these pretrial hearings, incredibly ugly as they are. I have never used the word ‘ugly’ so often and fear it is an understatement!
My pastor said at mass the church right now is like a dying tree. Trees die first on the inside and only after being dead on the inside for awhile you then notice the bark peeling off the branches falling off one by one and then deteriation gets faster and then you realize the core is rotten. This is going to take 100 yrs to get over or more and the church will never be the same on many levels nor should it be.
Hadit I told my family before Archbishop Chaput came into the picture the Arch. of Philly was being run by Satan. How do you overcome Satan? Pray and action.
We must act and the courts and law makers also but we can’t forget this is as spiritaul battle also.
Beth, you are so often right…it is both a legal and a spiritual battle and I think prayer is really in order….along with a very vigorous legal attack.
Wow Beth-I am impressed your pastor used this analogy. We never hear anything about this crisis at our church.
Hadit-I haven’t written anything lately because I feel like with everything I read it is like another kick in the gut and I am breathless-but then I try to imagine how the victims have suffered-and it makes me weep.
I also agree this is a legal battle we must take to the courts as well
as a spiritual battle we must face with prayer.
This may sound odd sharing this here but until a personal experience about 20 years ago I did not pay much attention to Marian apparitions. I am convinced now that this worldwide scandal is why there are increasing reports of statues of Our Lady weeping. I also believe with the magnitude of these scandals and coverups this is the final crisis of the church as mentioned in the catechism. Incredibly, our leaders who publish the Catholic Catechism refuse to see this and instead blame any of us who speak up as not being faithful.
I don’t need to be faithful to a corrupt hierarchy to be faithful to Jesus Christ.
This won’t take 100 years to destroy the church. Every teenager will have access, in their smartphones, to the truth about what thousands and thousands of priests did to children younger than them, and they will not forget, and they will not remain Catholic.
There’s a reason God made a 9th commandment to “tell the truth”, and he didn’t give a special exception for where priests raped children.
The way to save the church is thourgh complete honesty, complete admission of all guilty and complicit parties, prison sentences for all criminals regardless of the statute of limitations, lifetimes of payments to victims for therapy, and everyday apologies to every victim from any Catholic whoever doubted them.
In other words, What Jesus Would Do.
This isn’t that complicated, and it’s no example that God keeps making it come out regardless of how bishops and priests fight the truth. In other words, they keep doing exactly what satan would do.
I agree with you. This is not going to take 100 yrs to destroy the church it is imploding now. I said “this is going to take 100yrs to get over or more” meaning the church will be leveled and will need to rebuild somehow.
Legal battle, spiritual battle, new legislation, withhold financial support, speak out and educate, but what else can we do to actually force change in the heirarchy?
Tomorrow (Jan. 26th) the Philadelphia Priest Association meets. Are they prepared to show that they consist of substance? That they mean something? That they have a clear purpose? Will they deliver a public message? There are innumerable things they could say and do without overstepping the AD gag order on them. Do they possess the minds necessary to imagine them?
Or will they wring their hands?
Just read on your site the meeting was today.
Fr. Chris, please report on your meeting. Thank you.
I have been thinking about this alot lately.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Let’s hope the Holy Spirit enlightens them.
I don’t know what you expect from the Association of Philly Priests but please realize that their Mission Statement/Objectives or whatever it is called does not include anything about speaking out on Justice and Peace issues in general or Justice for Victims of childhood sexual abuse by clergy in particular, support for legislative reform of sexual abuse statutes regarding children or even the Accountability & Transparency the USCCB mandated in 2002. (Delivery is another matter entirely.)
As far as I can tell, the APP’s main concern is the protection of their individual rights – Due Process – under Canon Law particularly. Priests, like anyone else, should have the rights to Due Process. I am a great defender of that. Have the Priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had that protection historically? No, they have not. The greatest abuser of their Due Process Rights is the Archdiocese itself specifically and the Cardinal Archbishops of the past – Krol stands out in my mind at the front of the crowd. Krol knew the power that being organized brings to a group. If memory serves me, priests of the archdiocese were forbidden even to belong to the national priests’ association let alone establish one in the AOP itself. So this is relatively new for Philly.
The hierarchial structure of the RCC beginning with the pope in Rome on down may have Due Process procedures and standards but that doesn’t mean they are followed. That is clearly seen on a worldwide scale from a Hans Kung to an Elizabeth Johnson with hundreds of others in between.
But don’t expect much else. As far as I can tell the priests who belong to this association do not realize the possibilities and strenghts that organizing for their own protection gives them.
The priests in Boston realized that in regard to Cardinal Law!
Hopefully Philly priests will learn that they have to stand up for each other and call each other to account as well. Call it fraternal correction or whatever you want. But they also have to call the episcopacy to account as well. They haven’t done much of that in the past because it has been bred out of them so it will be a real learning experience for them.
When I wrote this to Chris Walsh in regard to the letter I wrote to DE Governor Markell around 1/17/11:
“Chris Walsh et al,
You many want to circulate this among your brothers, family friends and consider posting it on your website as an item that should be of great concern to all Christens.
and sent it to the other members whose email addresses were listed, this was the response I received:
Happy New Year!
I had read about this man’s plight, very sad indeed.
I will discuss posting this with the Exec. committee but I am not sure it will get posted since (1) we are not in the State of Delaware and (2) it is outside the stated intention of the APP at this time.
May God bless you and your ministry.
Not a response that I expected.
So once again do not expect too much. I don’t expect anything from them and this is why in general and as a body the priests have lost credibility. Besides, they have been emasculated by a system not of their making and they find themselves incapable of addressing the issues of the sexual abuse of chidren by their brother priests and the cover up orchestrated by a majority of the bishops.
Perhaps I will see some of you at the Criminal Justice Center on Monday, January 30th when Judge Teresa Sarmina continues pre trial motions and rules on the “PRIOR BAD ACTS” issues.
Perhaps more people can be encouraged to come to First Friday Picketing at the AOP offices at 222 N. 17th St., from 12 noon to 1 pm on Friday, February 3rd. Perhaps besides friends, family and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, those supporting legislative reform and our scheduled to close high schools, parish schools and churches can be encouraged to join in.
IN NUMBERS THERE IS STRENGTH!
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Advocate for Victims & Legislative Reform
Sr Maureen, thank you for a ‘heads up’ on your local priests association and what to expect from these guys, relative to episcopal challenges.
I thought your remarks were prescient and well founded. A new association without heretofore due process in a extraordinarily conservative AD, is in itself, quite remarkable.
And it is thoroughly understandable that they are preoccupied with internal business. One might wish it otherwise, but realistically from a process point of view, that’s a ways off!
I think and hope, that they may well be in for a ‘steepened learning curve’….relative to the Lynn trial. .AND those other trials!
Like everyone else in Philly, and indeed nationally, they are going to get a large dose of data about hierarchical handling of rampant child molestation, and for them it has to be ‘up close and personal’.
Six months from now, I would be very interested to know what their thinking is…not so much, now.
Sr. Maureen and Joan,
At various places in your posts, you portray the priests as victims of a system that has emasculate them; as slow learners we should be patient with… the learning curve will come in time (two Grand Jury reports aren’t enough, nor is everything else that has informed us and is available to them, nor is their inclusion in the culture that has caused the crisis enough); as unable to realize the possibilities that come from organizing (when the Boston and Irish priests can act as models); and as a group we should not expect much from (but it’s worth checking back six months from now).
The “association” called parish priests.
Hadit, I can’t speak for Sister Maureen, but I can for myself. I think to a considerable degree, these guys ARE victims of the system, and emasculated by the system. I don’t have the same expectations of them, that I would have of independent normal adults. That’s why I suggest in 6 months with a steepened learning curve, I would be more interested in their point of view!
I’d love it, if two Grand Jury reports caused them to rear up and do something really helpful relative to abuse. Clearly the reports have not had that effect.
When I say it’s understandable that they are dealing internally right now, that’s a comment on a juvenile developmental process…not an adult process!
The Irish, the Austrians and increasingly other European priests groups are emerging from predominately Catholic countries that have had clergy molestation problems that are per capita far far larger than our US experience, bad as that is.
We are theoretically 25% catholic with 31% of those guys actually regularly at mass on a Sunday morning ( 7% of U S pop) while I don’t think the mass attendance in Europe is much..the percentage of folks identifying as Catholics is in the 50 to 80 percentile. And where the clergy molestation has been so endemic…in these countries, again on a per capita basis…there is a lot more indigenous support for clergy organizing by both clergy and laity than you can gin up here, in the most liberal of dioceses, which Philly clearly is not.
In Ireland figures from Abuse Tracker last week, list 650 members of their priests association….I think some are laity. Austria is making the Vatican nervous, right now. I think there’s activity in Belgium, and God knows where else.
Would I like the AD priests group to shape up, behave like mature responsible adults, count on it. Do I think they are sufficiently independent and mature to do so, no. Do I have hopes for the future, yes!
Having said what I said above by no means do I excuse them for their gutless failure to speak out whether it be privately to a Krol, Bevilaequa, Regali or Chaput on the horrific realities of evil that have been staring them in the face for years or in acknowledging the fact that their leaders have enabled and facilitated the sexual abuse of so many more that could have, should have been prevented if they had acted justly, rightly, morally with integrity.
The priests of the AOP have to face the fact that in covering up for and enableing and facilitating the sexual abuse of children, the leadership of the archdiocese HAS BEEN PIMPING OUR CHILDREN. IT HAS BEEN TRAFFICKING IN INDIVIDUALS FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.
I wonder just how many priests have read the two GRAND JURY REPORTS cover to cover? They should know that they have a moral obligation to do so AND TO DISCUSS IT WITH THEIR PARISHIONERS. Their positions demand it.
It is up to the People of God in the parishs of the archdiocese to bring these matters up in conversation with their priests, singly and in groups. They cannot be left to get away with saying that “it’s all in the past now,” “it’s been handled,” etc., etc. That is not the reality and we can’t give the priests a pass when they say things like that.
It is a subject that has to be faced realistically and discussed. Great things may and are happening in individual parishes but the position of the archdiocese itself is still one of circling the wagons, one of obstructing justice, one of fighting, WITH THE BEST CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS MONEY CAN BUY, the ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY the bishops mandated through the USCCB in 2002.
Thank you, Sr. Maureen, my point exactly. NOTHING, none of the reasons behind their silence and inaction, alleviates them from their moral responsibility.
Sister, I am formulating a letter to Judge Sarmina about the history I have had dealing with Lynn and it goes back to 1994. I will address the Prior Bad Acts issue as it relates to me on a personal level. I will tell her all about lynn’s actions towards me, how he treated me as a victim and the words he said to me, namely, I am just an empty well!
Vicky, I am so glad you have the strength to write to Judge Sarmina. If there is anything I can do for you I am here.
Your courage and determination are so uplifting. I wish you strength and peace. I am so proud of you! You are in my prayers in the weeks ahead.
Maureen, you more than other’s know it’s a boy’s club, worldwide, it’s the nature of the beast.
They may be into optional celibacy, but I don’t know about women priests.
Why won’t His Excellency open The Secret Archives?
Are you kidding? The stench coming out of the Secret Archives would be an environmental hazard. The EPA would be called in, and the Church would be facing even more charges!
Because they contain more of the truth
because The Secret Archives show that he’s not that Excellent
Let’s see now, the hierarchy has blamed all and sundry for the moral collapse of The Church and dwindling attendence and the closing of schools and the anger at The Church – Atheists, anti-Catholics, the media, laws, back-sliders, lapses in modern morality and values (not counting those within The Church, of course) when all they had to do was open The Good Book to find the answer: Matt. 10:26 – “Fear them not therefore; for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, THAT speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, THAT preach ye upon the rooftops. And fear not them which kill the body,but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” See, the answer was THERE all the time, and even I, a non-believer could find it. Right under their noses. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…….”
Reid yes it is that simple.
Ah, Reid, you nail it once again. I refused a long time ago to not allow the evil church to murder my soul. All they had to do is stand in the light and speak the truth by doing the right thing. So simple and yet they have chosen to stand instead side by side with satan. Satan thrives on ego and arrangance. If only they had been true to God we as survivors would not have been suffering for so long.
“Church Officials Knew of 30 Years of Abuse”
Yes they did, and so did Fr.Tom Doyle. Fr. Doyle has been trying to wake-up the sheep in the RCC for that same length of time. I can only imagine his frustration! These people are in a permanent vegetative state, and should have “DNR” written on their foreheads.
More on Fr. Doyle: http://www.richardsipe.com/Doyle/index.html
Fr. Richard Sipe’s view on the bishops: http://www.richardsipe.com/reports/2011-02-22-us-bishops.htm
A.W. RICHARD SIPE is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor who earlier spent 18 years as a Benedictine monk and priest. He was trained specifically to deal with the mental health problems of Roman Catholic Priests. In the process of training and therapy, he conducted a 25-year ethnographic study of the celibate/sexual behavior of that population.
Yes he did: I believe I directed you to his story: Clergy in Crisis, Never another Pat.
Look what they do their own.
Maybe it’s just me, but I saw a powerful disconnect in the Inquirer’s front page article today on the burial of Joe Paterno. The photograph provided the disconnect – two Bishops in white surplices (symbol of purity), one with sheppard’s crook, as Paterno’s casket was about to be put into the hearse. Although not all priests are guilty in the sex scandel of The Church and not all men at Penn State of the sex scandel at that University – still. Two nuns would have been more appropriate – making several photographic statements at the same time – but perhaps too truth telling. The hype over Joe Paterno and the media coverage has been what – over-done, just right, maudlin, Hollywood, heart felt, way out of proportion for a football coach……… Now, once the investigation of rape of children at Penn State is complete, will there be shrines to the child victims, will the victims be raised on the shoulders of professors, students, and trustees in triumph of justice over man’s inhumanity to man, and will the Inquirer devote thirty pages that week to the causes, soul searing devastation of child rape and just for a moment, turn “The Valley of Sorrow” back to Happy Valley for victims?
For me, the bigger disconnect in today’s Inquirer was reading that, even with continued front-page coverage of the rape of children by priests, over $1 million has, allegedly, been raised to save a diocesan school. Oh, but that’s different – that’s for the schools! For the children! No, it is continued funding of an organization that allows it’s employees to rape children with impunity. (Parents: you can rationalize it all day long but you have options: public, private, charter, home schools; Too pricey? Too dangerous? Move. But the truth is you are making a decision, convincing yourself it’s the lesser of two evils, and putting your kids in harms way – and for what? Learning the catechism? You can’t be serious.) Stop giving money to these criminals!
As to the wonderment at the presence of a bishop at Paterno’s funeral: what are we going to say when Arch-criminal Bevilacqua dies and the entire US hierarchy descends on Philadelphia to honor his legacy?
Charles, as a survivor all I can say is God help me. I am just about getting through all this publicity on paterno, who also “looked the other way” instead of doing something more to protect children. I am just sicken by it all. I just don’t get it why people treat these people like idols and put them on such a pedistal. The victims always get forgotten.
Reid, your comments about paterno soothes my tired heart, thank you.
His Holiness Benedict the Sixteenth, who claims to be Infallible, has ordered that the Secret Archives remain sealed; so did Blessed Pope John Paul The Great; now His Excellency the Cardinal continues to enforce the order. Church teaching is that the people are the church. Maybe it is time to start taking off the shackles so that she who has ears and eyes will hear and see.
Mark, so how do we do that? Legal, spiritual, prayer, financial, legislation… what else can the people do?
As far as infallibility, to the best of my knowledge that only applies only to teachings of the faith. I don’t think it has anything to do with the handling of files, such as The Secret Archives.
Gee. wondering what Jesus would do with those files?
Theresa, You have put into words how I feel,”I dont’ need to be faithful to a corrupt hierarchy to be faithful to Jesus Christ”. Thank You
Does the cruise ship catastrophe in the Mediterranean give us an analogy to the tragedy of Philadelphia? Where was the captain? The apparent arrogance of this captain who wanted to grandstand his ship failed to realize that massive rocks on a reef were lurking just below the surface of the water. “Full Speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” was a great shiboleth for our American experience, but not exactly the motto on the coat of arms for the bishops of this Archdiocese. The poor “Holy Mother the Church” of Philadelphia has been downgraded to the “whore of Babylon” by defense lawyers who twist and turn facts and evil acts to protect those guilty and those who are conspirators to criminal acts.
Continuing the analogy of the ship captain, it also appears that the “captain” was not on the
bridge but on the stern scanning behind, hoping that passing through these chartered waters he will cruise safely onward. Sorry, tht wil not happen. The reef rocks are waiting. Justice and responsibility must be served.
I perceive the imperiled cruise ship to be the universal Church as opposed to merely the Church of Philadelphia. Is the Philly Church, alone, imploding, or is the entire Church imploding?
Sadly, I believe it’s Philly at this point.
The diocese I’m in goes relatively “unscathed” as these reports come to light. They will distance themselves from Philly…essentially acting like they are an island.
The SOL reform bills in our state went all the way to the Supreme Court and were shot down. Our diocese is just as criminal and corrupt as Philly without the benefit of a Grand Jury Report. Catholics here believe it’s “a shame what’s happening in Philly.” They don’t realize it’s right under their noses here too. The only people more corrupt and spineless than the hierarchy here are our politicians.
It’s “big” in PA…but in the Midwest…we’re just finger-pointing and distancing ourselves from all the “evil people trying to bring down the church.”
I know this is addressed to Rev. Wintermyer but I will put my two cents in the church is all connected one Archdiocese leads to another to another………..and so on……..it will not just be the Philadelphia church if managment is put in jail here they will be put in jaill in other archdioceses that is why Archbishop Chaput was sent here to control damage……..I don’t think you can repair this dam……….I am just wating for the flood.
Beth, excellent points. I agree that it’s all connected. I think what happens in one place affects every other place…when one part of the Body is hurting…everyone hurts.
I was just offering you the perspective of the laity where I live, not the hierarchy.
I know our hierarchy is watching Philly like a hawk…every Cardinal, Bishop and attorney is watching this…because they know if one falls…they can all fall. That’s behind the scenes…because to the laity, they behave as if nothing is going on around them.
When the clergy abuse scandal was unveiled in Boston, it affected the entire church…much like Philly now…BUT, the perspective of the laity is that if it doesn’t hit “big” like Philly and Boston and Los Angeles, then it must not be happening on that scale here (wherever “here” is for those parishioners).
Ten years is a long time for us victims (and family) to wait for others to “get” it. 20 years, 30 years, 40 years for some.
What is the climate in Philly about the victims now? Is there any remorse on their part for not believing them all along? Do you see any ministries (besides C4C) springing up as a result of what is being revealed? When people read the stories, is there more than just anger and disgust and betrayal toward their hierarchy? Is there a genuine outreach to the victims?
For catholics in the pews, it can’t just be a “screaming” to their priest and each other about how awful things were/are for the victims. Similar to when you learn a parent has beaten their child black and blue…and someone finally believes the child. Sure, we want the bad parent disciplined, but we rush to the aid of the child, do we not?
SW, I know you are asking Beth about the Philly response to the horrors coming out of the pretrial hearings, and how folks now react to victims?
I think the AD is in a huge turmoil. Their schools are consolidating in ways that many find unacceptable, Paterno’s memorial is on the front pages, AND appalling data on sexual abuse is there too.
I am guessing that folks in the pew will need some time to process all that data, especially the abuse data. 4 months of trials will provide more than a teaching moment relative to the horrors of abuse, it will provide a teaching semester and father Wintermeyers suggestions Numbers 4 and 5 about getting folks together to discuss the matter strike me as useful, too.
As to the importance of the Lynn trial, I don’t think it can be exaggerated. For the first time in ten years, I am cautiously hopeful that REAL justice may occur, that FINALLY a diocesan leader is held accountable for passing on predators. The national media are heavily focussed because they ‘get it’…it is national news and God willing, justice will be served!
are u old enough to remember the character roseanne rosanadana??the church is NOT imploding..
Many years ago, I dreamt of JP11 on a wooden raft, full of people, hanging on for dear life.
Funny how somethings trigger off others.
Rev Wintermeyer, thanks for the ship analogy.
I am wondering if you have any advice for us, relative to how ‘justice and responsibility’ can be better served?
This is an older article but I find I need to return to it every once in a while to remind myself that my children are not to be blamed for “not integrating well” when they report others’ inappropriate behavior at friend’s homes, the playground, the pool, in the family, etc.
Might be a good read for other Ctholic parents as well.
Survivor’s wife has the correct idea. Many of my friends and family don’t even think that Philly is important as an example of what is going on in the RCC. They don’t even think that it is important to deal with this issue–it doesn’t affect them; it doesn’t affect their spiritual life, which is why they go to church.
I think it is pitiful that those who go to Mass have no interest in what one might refer to as the “political” life of the church. There really should be no disconnect. But, I think those who see the RCC as only a place for them to get spritual comfort should remember that those who have been abused sought the same spritual comfort; those who were raped were betrayed.
But, what can we reallydo about the RCC and its SINS. We need to find a way to threaten them with taking away all of their money and power: NO MORE TAX EXEMPT STATUS might be a way to start…
Elizabeth, as the bishops continue to wade into politics, they will step over the line – they can’t help themselves. Be watchful, and when they do here’s the form:
Response to Joan about how to implement Justice and Responsibility
1. Support the movement to eliminate the statute of limitations
2. Suppor the work of the District Attorney’s office
3. Encocurage the work of the press (Phil. Inq. and even Fox 13) fo exposing these crimes
also Monica Yank Kinney, Kevin Ferris, Nancy Phillips, etc, etc.
4. Locally hold meetings to begin discussing these issues , home groups or in church halls.
5. Invite pastors and priests in to listen!!! not to defend nor deflect blasme.
6. Speak about this evil to family, relatives and friends and keep the lettersw going to PI, NCR, Reporter, etc etc
7. Withholding funds always gets attention.
JUst a few ideas!! Good luck!!
Sadly, I live in another state, so some of those suggestions are not physically possible, some are and I have been involved with them.
I really want to thank you for the “list” and for your input….it’s a bit daunting to go up against an institution as powerful as the RCC, and yet, I think as a justice issue, it must be done.
I think the withholding funds is a good point, and much discussed on C4C, but what about actively donating to groups that support victims….somehow that doesn’t get the energy that I suspect it deserves. And yet these organizations are in a David and Goliath struggle?
Rev Wintermyer, You are a gem and a bright light on a dark day. Can we convince you to come out of retirement and move to Philadelphia? I know that we have talked so much on this site about the local Philadelphia clergy remaining mute on this crisis. The other day in court a group of nuns were referred to as ‘rats and wimps” for reporting an abusive priest. Not a peep from local clergy -chivalry among other things is dead. Victims are ignored and abandoned,laity betrayed, people leaving the church..nothing..nada..zero from local clergy. When I think of the heroic stories of the saints that I read as a child and the response of clergy in this time of crisis..there will be no modern day saints emerging from this crisis. I am not even looking for a Saint, just someone fulfilling their vocation would be a good start.
Kathy, I am compelled to respond to your post referring to the group of nuns being referred to as “rats and wimps” for reporting an abusive priest. Yesterday afternoon I viewed the movie “Doubt” for the third time. I also saw the stage play in NY when it first opened. The play and movie deeply disturbed me, but for some reason yesterday I viewed it as if for the first time. Perhaps it was because of everything that has come to light in the past months; thanks in part to C4C and the internet. Although it was only a movie, I felt a deeper understanding of the characters as the story unfolded and a much deeper sense of awareness of this crises. I found myself crying as the nun wept with doubt at the end.
For years those who tried to defend the young abused children were punished for betraying their church and their faith. The abusers were promoted as reward for being “outed” and forced to move on. I pray that those days are over, at least in Philadelphia. This trial will forever change history, and hopefully the RC church throughout the world.
I watched that movie it is a must see.
I agree. It was a moving, thought provoking, movie.
The article that Kathy and Donna referred to made me chuckle in astonishment. I wonder what sort of attorney the AD has hired who chooses such words as “nutty” and refers to religious women as “rats” and “wimps”?
“The other day in court a group of nuns were referred to as ‘rats and wimps’ for reporting an abusive priest.” (Kathy)
A fascinating dimension of the Catholic Church is the historical relationship between nuns and the hierarchy. Over the years, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on regarding this subject. In graduate school, I wrote a thesis paper on it. Back then, finding relevant research on it was next to impossible. I relied heavily on the nuns, themselves, who, at the time, were reinventing themselves post Vatican II in order to save their orders from extinction and make their ministries relevant in the 20th century. One of the best, relatively new and well researched books on the subject is Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church’s Betrayal of American Nuns by Kenneth A. Briggs. In it, you can read about the “ambivalence” and “hostility” they endured from the hierarchy, in addition to the “stonewalling” and “badgering.” You can read how patriarchy and the hierarchy’s myopic obsession with Mother Church have oppressed religious sisters for centuries.
Ironically, the religious sisters endured in small numbers, acquired degrees, found their voices and organized. Today, their ministries go to the heart of the human condition. The priests, however, have curled up in a fetal position, are emasculated by their own culture and hierarchical system, are accepting of being rendered speechless during one of the most critical times in the history of the Catholic Church, and are unable to see anything more than the singular option of being obedient while the rest of the hierarchy goes about resolving a crisis of epic proportions in ways that altogether defy morality.
Brings new meaning to “rats and wimps”…
P.S. I have repeatedly stated, here, that the people best able to affect and enable the “gutless” priests are the religious sisters… been there, done that.
Dear Kathy, you and Susan are fulfilling your vocation in that you are, first of all full time “Moms” – start there, and also, that you have gotten the discussion going. You are prophetic voices, and let no one tell you otherwise. Many thanks!
Well said, Theresa. I am so grateful to have found this site. Educational, informative, balanced, inspiring, reliable. It is good to be able to have a place that one can trust.
All this pain is so familiar, I have heard the sounds of death throes hundreds of times before, as one comes to terms with the betrayals.
Australia has more than it’s share too.
With Catholic Lawyers Alliance worldwide, with a Mission Statement to: Serve God through their professions, building up the church through fidelity, committment to justice, community service and advocacy of the Gospel message, committing themselves to lives as a witness of faith, hope and service of God and their neighbour.
Doesn’t sound as if without fear or favour.
There are a lot of “facts” (so called) being mentioned on here with little evidence to back them up. There is something very demonic about this website and the comments on here. I don’t believe you actually want to help anyone. So much hatred certainly cannot contribute to anything good.
Debbie, Which “facts” are at issue? Please read my Web site mission and our disclaimer regarding comments. Do you find this Web site to more demonic that child sex abuse? I personally don’t hate anyone. Not even pedophiles.
Susan, don’t be too concerned with comments such as this.
Catholics have a way of shooting the messenger/s.
There is a very lively debate going on here and a few raw nerves are being touched.
The AD likely monitors this site 24/7. Every once in awhile I bet they can’t help but to comment.
I don’t like to use the word “hatred” (my good Catholic training?) when it comes to the AD, so I’ll call it intense dislike.
You noted that “There are a lot of “facts” (so called) being mentioned on here with little evidence to back them up.”
Don’t worry Debbie; the “facts” will all come out during the spring “Pig Roast” (trials), and that will contribute to a lot of good.
drwho…you just proved debbie’s point without even realizing it……also, please…. don’t continue to believe that whoever you mean by the “AD” would be monitoring this blog 24/7 or even at all… seriously…OR maybe you are just kidding and i didn’t get it.
The “AD” is defined as the leadership of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, composed of the archbishop and his staff, e.g., PR people, and lawyers, especially lawyers.
People who have worked for any major corporation realize that their public relations department monitors all pertinent forms of news media, e.g., newspapers, radio, TV, blogs, etc. This helps to prevents them from being blindsided. They have to know exactly what the people are thinking. The RCC and its subsidiary, the AD of Philadelphia certainly fall under the classification of a “major corporation.”
The defense lawyers have a particular interest in having a feel for the “pulse” of the community.
Jury selection is coming up soon; and for the amount that the AD is paying their legal team, you can rest assured that those lawyers know exactly what the mood of the jury pool is likely to be.
In the mean time, the AD’s PR people are working hard to spin that mood in preparation for the upcoming trials.
Debbie, perhaps you need to clean your glasses because you certainly aren’t reading the same postings that I am. Despite the demonic acts of pedophilia and cover-up that have gone on world wide in the RCC, the people on this site avoid bashing, strive to hold on to hope that the Church will recover and pray for all involved
In the spirit of ‘full citation,’ relative to a recent post, I Include the citations for European Church/Child Abuse and international priests association issues in the last month.
___Comments relating to Austrian priest’s association and Vatican concern:
___Recent Belgium police searching for church abuse records:
___Current stats on Irish priest association membership
___Dutch politicians want bishops resignations
___Irish prime Minister’s view of the Vatican
information regarding US catholic church stats, from a very recent study done by the National Catholic Reporter, can be easily googled at the NCR. They are extensive.
My last two citations are misbehaving, so I will do a paste on the Dutch situation, and encourage you to google Kenny…there’s been a huge amount written about the irish Prime Minister castigating the Vatican.
This is from America 12 days ago:
Calls for Dutch Bishops’ Resignations
FROM CNS, STAFF AND OTHER SOURCES | JANUARY 16, 2012
L eading politicians in the Netherlands have called for the resignations of Catholic bishops in the wake of a damning report on sexual abuse in the Dutch church. On Dec. 17, 2011, Holland’s deputy prime minister, Maxime Verhagen, said the church has been “profoundly damaged” and bishops should consider resigning. Released on Dec. 16, 2011, the report found that somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 Dutch children suffered abuse, ranging from unwanted sexual advances to rape, during the period of 1945 to 2010. The vast majority of instances were never reported to police. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that his cabinet is considering lifting a statute of limitations to allow criminal prosecutions. A complaint has already been filed with the public prosecutor’s office against a former bishop of the Diocese of Rotterdam, Philippe Bär.
Since I am on the subject of the church in Europe, one shouldn’t leave out the Greman church ownership of not one but two publishing companies that provided large revenues to the Church.
Apparently their publications included salacious novels and porn.
Catholics in Germany had been contacting the Vatican about this mess for years to no avail, and it was not until major media markets told the story, that the Vatican ‘discovered’ the problem.
The link is:
And the Church in the U.S.http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/26/3393481/september-trial-set-for-bishop.html
Today is my day for ‘linkage’ challenges, try this one for German Church ownership of publishers of porn.
For folks who found the citations I listed today, in Europe, distasteful, I would tell you that I do, too.
That doesn’t change the content of the citations.
Hadit said it really well, as she always does. This site has a number of folks, many of them with research skills honed in graduate school, that care a lot about the Church, innocent children, sexual abuse of children, the passing on of predators, and institutional coverup.
These problems are surely not limited to Philadelphia. Indeed they are world wide.
And we are just beginning to learn
how in the world are your comments and citations even related to the archdiocese of philadelphia?
“Debbie” “Smith”. Really?
“mark” … really?
Demonic? Really? How so, specifically? And which facts do you claim to be incorrect, specifically?
Many of the facts included in the posts, here, have been included in earlier posts where material was cited to support them. The majority of posters on C4C research and read on the subject of sexual abuse regularly if not daily. Many posters are victims, have worked with victims, work as victims’ advocates, have worked in some capacity for the Catholic Church, are faithful to the tenets of their faith, have degrees ranging from law to psychology to theology to sociology to philosophy to journalism… All of the posters are rock-bottom interested in informing folks. If there are facts you mistrust, please bring them to our attention. In order to affect the sexual abuse crisis, our knowledge must be valid. Keep us on our toes. What seems invalid to you?
We are hardly demonic. The feelings seem to range from frustrated, shocked, angry, disgusted, disappointed, disillusioned, sad, abandoned… but not demonic. While our feelings are strong and deep, our efforts to protect children and provide justice to victims are our bottom line. Please join us with your input. The crisis in the Church calls for a response from each and every one of us. I’m interested in yours.
Vicky, Thank you for your comments. It just occured to me – When church Fathers and Brothers rape children, is it considered incest or just rape????? I attended a seminar on incest 30 years ago at Bryn Marw School of Social Work. During a film a woman sitting next to me teared up and started shaking. I leaned over and whispered asking if I could help her. She shot back agnrily: “No, leave me alone.” I did. Afterwards she stopped me in the hallway and thanked me for asking and then told me she was a victim of incest. One male letter writer to the Inquirer and I have been e-mailing about his take on abortion – and he reacted strongly when I gave him statistics on rape and incest. He said he distrusted these statistics as he didn’t know anyone who had been a victim of rape. Well, duh! How can anyone be so clueless. Apparently he thought that rape and incenst victims would come up to him to exclaim: “I’ve been raped and you haven’t – yannah, yannah, yannah.” Be well Vicky.
My point is that while many good things are being said on here about some pretty evil stuff (specifically child abuse) it is mixed in with all kinds of backbiting, slander and gossip. Focus on the real issue, which is child abuse. People are attacking priests, bishops, and “the church” with all kinds of outlandish accusations, with no grounding in reality, and no connection to the issue of child sexual abuse.
If I ever fall into the categories you described without backing it up, please call me out on it specifically. I will do my best to clarify why I say what I do.
It is helpful if you can be specific when you see it though…so we can reign it in or support why we are saying what we are saying.
Thank you for clarifying your previous comment.
Debbie, have you read the Grand Jury Reports for 2005 and 2011 that are available at the top of the page in the RESOURCES link? These Grand Juries were impaneled to investigate child abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, by the District Attorney of that area.
I think the issue of the connection of child molestation, specifically rape and sodomy AND their connection with priests, bishops and the Church IN the Archdiocese of Philadelphia might be clearer to you.
Debbie I understand some of what you are saying but after having two priests at my parish(when I was in grade school) that were defrocked or doing pray and penance and two priests at my high school that are also on the archdioscese list and reading Archbishop Bev’s testamony where he said he had no legal or moral obligation to let past or present parishes know a pedophile had been there I really don’t know what information I am lacking to make a decision that something is wrong with our leadership.
Debbie, we talk a lot about child sex abuse more specifically clergy sex abuse -that involves discussions about clergy, hierarchy, the Church, their policies, charters, mistakes,crimes etc….. People also express their anger,frustration and many other emotions involving this issue. When a child has been abused within the Church, it has not stopped at the hands of the perpetrator -if it had -if the Church had done the right thing and protected children rather than the institution -this site would not exist, less children would have been abused,perpetrators would be safely behind bars .
Sister Maureen made a very good point when talking about AD clergy that I wanted to revisit for a moment, as it is terribly timely right now.
I think asking AD clergy if they have read the Grand Jury reports for 2005 and 2011 is a very very good idea, perhaps Debbie should read them too, if she has not already.
As anyone regularly on this blog, knows, I am ALWAYS saying that both reports are available at the top of this page in the RESOURCES link. Indeed they are the first two citations.
When anyone engages me in a discussion about the AD, that is the very first question I ask!
Would love to know how many folks have accessed the RESOURCES section…is there any record of ‘hits’ on that link?
Excellent point, Joan. I know my eyes were wide opened after reading the reports. I was absolutely floored. I still don’t know if I can find words to adequately express my thoughts and emotions after reading the details.
Reading the reports is the first thing I suggest to others, too.
You know mimzyb, those Grand Jury reports, and the survivors stories on C4C were what got me involved.
I was almost nauseated when I read the Grand Jury reports, and then very very angry.
I think these tragic stories are, sadly, necessary to educate folks. It was no accident that a courier service delivered stories like these to every Representative in the PA legislature….perhaps folks should deliver a full copy of both Grand Jury reports to each priest in the diocese?
Joan, or anyone else. please correct me if I am wrong. Didn’t AB Rigali advise the priests not to read the Grand Jury Reports?
I think the GJR should be mandatory reading for all religious – priests, nuns, brothers, deacons, sisters, and for all Catholics. Too bad it wasn’t included as in insert in the Cath Standard and Times as well as the papers of other diocese.
I felt the same as you, Joan. Once I actually read the details, saw the names and correated it with my own life in the AD, that is when I really “got it.” Felt like I was smacked over the head with a 2×4.
Mimzyb, my apologies for not responding, but I just dont know if Cardinal Rigali told priests not to read Grand Jury Reports.
It would be extremely rude of him if he did and a violation of the priests civil liberties….
I totally agree with you, I think these reports should be read by everyone involved in anyway with the Catholic Church in Philadelphia!..but, of course that is their choice, and dare I say, perhaps, their responsibility.
Rigali advised all -not just the priests to refrain from reading the 2005 report. I also remember the report being referred to as anti Catholic and the irony is many of the prosecutors were ….Catholic.
The original article is no longer available to link but here is the text:
Don’t Read Report, Rigali Says
By David O’Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer
Cardinal Justin Rigali said yesterday that Catholics should avoid reading the district attorney’s grand jury report, which accuses past leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese of covering up years of sexual abuse by priests.
Its “prolonged explanations of the abuse” are “very graphic,” the Roman Catholic archbishop said in an interview at his Center City office yesterday.
The 418-page report, released Wednesday by District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, also “gives a very slanted view” of how the archdiocese now handles sex-abuse cases, he said.
“I don’t think it’s of value to families,” Rigali said.
The report blasted former leaders of the archdiocese for allowing dozens of priests to abuse hundreds of children during the last 35 years.
It harshly rebuked Rigali’s predecessors, Cardinals Anthony J. Bevilacqua and John Krol, for allegedly “burying” abuse reports, concealing crimes, and reassigning abuser priests to parishes where their sexual appetites were unknown. The report listed 63 known abusers who served in the archdiocese.
Kathy, I am amazed in the twentfirst century that a ‘religious leader’ would make such a statement which is archaic, medieval, and profoundly disrespectful of folks in the pew, who are clearly able to digest data and make up their own minds, (unless they are mentally challenged.)
63 known abusers should have weighed heavily in folks minds. Very very heavily in people’s minds. Perhaps the good Cardinal did not want folks to “dwell” on that stat, or what it meant in terms of abused children, some of whom are the topic of the 2011 Grand Jury report. Totally disgusting!!!!!
Joan -this link issued on the day the 2011 report was released -a few short weeks later a total of 26 priests suspended.
Kathy, I’m not often at a loss for words….but…it’s kind of like I have literally run out of ugly words relating to rape and sodomy of innocent children….and I m not doing much better with THAT “archphila’ link.
But there was a line in it that was oh so typical of these guys….no priest had an “admitted or established” allegation of sexual abuse.
This time, I am not going back to the RESOURCES link at the top of the page to reread the 2011 report, again, but in it (and the 2005 report as well) there was a classic pattern of priestly denial, Review Board incompetence and episcopal ‘distance’….AND remember the canonical guilt standard was, an impossibly high ‘beyond moral doubt’.
So, of course, there were no guilty priests. There aren’t any guilty priests anywhere, by that logic.
Let me be really CLEAR about this….unless a priest actually confessed, pretty much regardless of how compelling the case was against him, the Review Board (whose limitations are legion, but who gave ‘technical cover’ to the AD) apparently, was unable to “establish credibility” of the claim.
SO, that disgusting letter was true, doubtless crafted by AD legal staff.
The reason 26 priests were suspended a few weeks later …AND THIS IS CRITICAL is because the 2011 Grand Jury, did not buy the Archdiocesan package. THEY found sufficient evidence to name 41 priests with credible abuse claims, and they indicted 4 priests and a school teacher on rape charges and conspiracy and Child Endangerment. Rigali retired early, a new AB was appointed.
Without the Grand jury….well you get the idea….
The National Catholic Reporter did a long piece on the AD Review Board, which discusses the problems they encountered relative to the Grand Jury 2011 report…it’s a good read and very relevant right now.
While the AD Review BD was explaining itself in the above cited post, Commonweal did a good job of distinguishing ‘credible’ accusations of predators see link
Let us not allow one negative blog responder to distract us from our “mission” here of exposing abuse and cover up by responsible parties of the church.
I enjoy the fact that we’re rocking someone boat!