Jury Will Read Two Boxes of Complaint Files From ‘Secret Archives’


Click here to read: “Jury in Pa. priest-abuse case to view secret files,” by Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Feb. 15, 2012.

 

Excerpt: “Jurors picked to hear a landmark priest sex-abuse case in Philadelphia will pore over two boxes of complaint files long buried in the Catholic church’s “secret archives.”

The secret files from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been marked “Exhibit One” after Wednesday’s pretrial hearing…”

“…Also Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina refused to step down from the case, denying defense claims of bias.”

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89 Responses to “Jury Will Read Two Boxes of Complaint Files From ‘Secret Archives’”

  1. Unless these files have been previously “sanitized” (some letters deleted, others “mysteriously” missing, others which were destroyed)….well folks there is danger on the horizon, the defecation is about to hit the rotating oscillator, this is what every diocese would dread with every fiber of their being, stay tuned!

  2. In a fair world, Susan and Kathy would be chosen to open the two boxes and give each document to the jurors. These two remarkable women have worked tirelessly to keep the pressure on for justice in this case. They and their families should be very proud.

    Please remain alert, however. Lynn and Chaput may yet seek a “sweet plea deal” to keep these files sealed!

    • They may seek a deal, but let’s hope that the DA doesn’t offer one.

    • Jerry,

      I found the info below very troubling. What’s your take on it?

      “Sarmina has prohibited all attorneys involved in the case from speaking about it. But Janis Smarro, a criminal law attorney in Philadelphia with no connection to the trial, says it may not be a slam dunk for prosecutors. Lynn may have a strong legal defense, she says, because it appears that the statute as written at the time does not cover him.

      Under that statute, a person could be criminally prosecuted if he endangered the welfare of a child by being aware of the threat to the child and failing to protect him or her.”

      “”Normally it covers the situation where the person has a direct duty to a specific child,”” like a parent, a guardian, a baby sitter or a nanny, Smarro says. “And you certainly don’t have that in this case.””

      “The law has since been revised to include those who supervise an alleged abuser. But Lynn’s lawyers say the newer, stricter standard can’t be applied to their client.”

      http://www.npr.org/2012/02/17/146983312/pa-priest-faces-trial-on-child-abuse-cover-up-charges

      • drwho13, a few thoughts.

        First, I am suspect of a lawyer who “has no connection to a case” volunteering a “decisive” interpretation who also seems to be quoting Lynn’s lawyer, who is supposed to have been “gagged”. The Philly AD feeds a lot of lawyers, many of whom are not directly working on this case, so I am wary.

        Second, Judge Sarmina could have decided by now if this statute gets Lynn off the hook.. She hasn’t. It seems unlikely she is going through all this to let Lynn off on a technicality.

        Finally, what is most important is that all the evidence be presented openly so the world can see the complete Philly AD sewer.

        If Lynn were to beat the case on a technicality, which seems unlikely now, the world will still know in spades about the evil operation that the two cardinals ran and Chaput has tried so hard to hide.

      • AND AB Chaput gave a party where Lynn got a applause and reportedly a standing ovation.

      • Thanks Jerry!

    • When I read of plea deals in other criminal cases,it usually means the person is now offering something in exchange. So if a plea involved Lynn now providing testimony for the prosecution then that is something I am not against. He would still do some time in prison and maybe his testimony would implicate others involved. And it would mean he was pleading guilty to some charge against him which would send a message across the catholic community (hierarchy) that management can be held accountable.

      • Kathy,

        While I remain unclear on what a plea deal would mean in the end, it has one attractive aspect to me.

        Allegedly, four priests will testify for the prosecution. Were Lynn, too, to add fuel to the prosecution’s case, it would further erode the priestly albatross called obedience, an encumbrance that acts to paralyze the individual consciences of priests.

      • Kathy, if DA Williams and Judge Sarmina were to accept a plea that did not require (1) Lynn’s cooperating fully , including by testifying publicly about Rigali’s extensive role, and (2) full public disclosure of Chaput’s secret files and Bevilacqua’s video deposition, then justice will have been denied Philly victims and children, perhaps forever.

        Catholics are still being conned big time. For example, Rigali’s protege, NY’s new Cardinal Dolan, is today being pushed as the next Pope. Rigali, Chaput, Dolan and the Pope continue to treat Catholics as complete morons.

        For more details, please read my comment, “Pope Dolan, God Help Us!”, readily accessible by clicking on at:

        http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/pope-new-cardinals-%E2%80%98forget-power-and-glory%E2%80%99

      • Jerry, I have probably watched too much ‘Law and Order’, but I thought if the prosecution offered a deal and the defense accepted it…that was it…would love some clarification on the role of the judge?

      • Joan, the judge is the final word.

        If a judge thinks a plea bargain in unjust, the judge can either reject it or require it be modifed to satisfy the judge’s objections. Usually, lawyers know what a judge will accept or try to “pre-clear” the plea deal provisions with the judge.

        While judges rarely reject plea deals, this is an exceptional case and, based on our limited information, it is impossible to predict what Judge Sarmina would accept.

        That is why C4C’s “lobbying” and letters like Vicky’s to Judge Sarmina are so important—to make sure the Judge factors into her decision the Philly community’s need for a just decision, as opposed to a politically expedient decision that sadly is all too common.

  3. Let us HOPE for the BEST … and, pray for Judge Sarmina, et al …..

  4. Awhile back, Susan noted on a blog that C4C was no accident, that indeed, it was meant to be. I have not forgotten her comment, and if ever there was a moment of relevance, it is right now. Vicky’s survivors letter in an earlier blog, today, and the C4C response, especially from the survivors, is why those boxes, from the ‘secret archives’ are so very very important.

    I pray that the Holy Spirit will be very active in this good vs evil situation, for all the very fine folks on C4C and for innocent children everywhere. And that is the issue, this round.
    .

    • Joan, I’m fraid there will never be ‘secret files’ that haven’t been sanitized as LeoA has suggested, ever.
      It’s on record what the Melbourne Archdiocese’s Judicial Vicar’s office did sometime ago, when abuse was being exposed by support group Brokenrites, shredding them up!

  5. L. Newington, personally, I think there is a special place in hell for folks who shred those documents.

  6. Considering the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, the role of the hierarchy as concealers and enablers, the clandestine manner in which it goes about protecting itself, its “secret archives” and generally covert style, one would be irresponsible to not question the validity of its moral authority.

    Today, the “moral authority” is being exerted in full force in terms of Obama healthcare and contraception. While these issues might seem disconnected to the issue of sexual abuse, they are not. The clandestine enablers and concealers are promulgating a “moral truth.” Because our Church is not a democracy, it would seem that the oppressed faithful must dutifully swallow the glaring incongruity, blindly resigning themselves to the purported divinely inspired authenticity of papal moral authority. No. The incongruity, alone, should compel rational and conscientious Catholics to explore and critically analyze the validity of divinely inspired moral authority and the resulting papal edicts.

    While C4C likes to keep faith (moral authority) and Church (the sexual abuse crisis) separate, it would be shortsighted to not recognize how each informs the other.

    • Jesus said it was the one, holy, and apostolic church 2000 years ago. He didn’t say thatvot would stay that way through child rape, institutional lying, victim bullying, extravagant riches, et cetera.

      He also said adultery was a violation of a commandment, but didn’t specifically say “childery” was. He expected you to use some judgement, and He warned you about the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

      They’re wearing collars.

      • “Some” are wearing collars. (-:

      • Can’t find meaning for ‘childery’ Pat, but putting it into the context of adultry [fornication as the church prefers when expedient], there’s no way they will grant rescripts of vows to clergy (if a franciscan at least), if they want their heirs to take precedence over religious vows, a supposedly valid process within church law.
        Maybe because clergy are serfs and property of the church, considering, a PAPAL RESCRIPT can auomatically legitimize and remove the defect of birth of a serfs heir apparent, with the stroke of a pen but the true father can’t.

      • Susan,

        When you say “some,” I assume you are referring to the proverbial “good priests,” an idea I can’t wrap my head around. All priests are associated with the priesthood. The institution fosters a sick and dysfunctional culture that gravely impacts the well being of our Church (including priests). Regardless of how “good” priests are, by association, they are bad. Therefore, I am only willing to say that those wearing collars are wolves to varying degrees.

        I know my position is harsh. After all, the subject is “Faaather.”

        Hadit with Father.

      • Susan, you can believe whatever you want, but in my opinion, all of them are wearing collars, with some wolves being more evil, and others just being silent and complicit, like mafia members that don’t actually do the killing, but hear about the crimes and do nothing.

        If there was one priest that wasn’t a wolf, and did What Jesus Would Do instead of following the “false idols” that are Catholic bishops instead of following God, then that one priest would

        – look for victims
        – apologize profusely
        – admit the truth
        – implore everyone else to tell the truth, et cetera

        Priests are a variety of levels of wolves, but they are all wolves.

        L. Newington, “childery” is my own term. If adultery, which is sex outside your marriage, is a violation of a commandment, then child rape certainly is, and is far more reprehensible.

      • I agree with Susan. Fr Connell in Wisconsin is doing exactly the things on your list Patrick. Is it pathetic that it is only him -absolutely. I had help from a priest here in Philadelphia -months before the last grand jury report. I was battling the AD on my own ,about a child protection issue. I realized that without a clergy member on board I would not be successful. I contacted Monsignor Marino who was the vicar in my area. He was polite,compassionate and proactive about children . He got involved immediately and because of our combined efforts there is now a policy in place which will protect thousands of children in CYO programs. Do we need more Fr Connells and Monsignor Marino’s….absolutely.

      • Susan and Kathy, you keep correcting me when I say things like “all priests”. There are 500,000 priests, and you found the two priests in this country that appear to be helpful (and weren’t thrown out yet).

        From now on, let’s agree that when I say “all priests”, I don’t mean literally “all”, I mean 499998/500000 or 99.9996%

      • Thanks Kathy, I admire Father Connell too! And Father Marino. I think it takes a considerable degree of courage, independence et al, to buck the sick system.

      • And how could I forget Fr Wintermyer who has commented on C4C over the past few months and I met at the last vigil outside of the AD. Then there are the 4 priests in Philly who are going to be testifying in the trials.
        Believe me I am beyond disappointed in the overwhelming majority of the priests who act like nothing has happened, ignore victims ,hope this will all go away. I just really dislike blanket statements about entire groups of people.

      • I am not saying that there are no priests who perform good works, nor am I saying that there are no priests who advocate for victims. What I am saying is that all priests, including the good doers and advocates, are cloaked in an identity and embedded in a culture that is sick, dysfunctional and, on many levels, immoral. Indeed, both the identity and the culture are wholly responsible for the sexual abuse crisis. The identity manipulated victims. The culture concealed it. Would you prefer that priests perform good works and advocate for victims while simultaneously maintaining their participation in the identity and culture that caused the crisis, or would you prefer that priests reform the identity and culture so that their good works and advocacy are unobstructed, not counter-culture, but purely, purely good?

        Until the priesthood is reformed, no priest is a “good” priest in my book.

      • Hadit,
        I understand what you are saying so how is this done? Reforming the culture and identity?

      • beth,

        As we speak, you and I are reforming the priesthood.

      • Hadit,
        I didn’t expect that answer at all but I think you are right.

      • Patrick,

        Interesting, He warned you about the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

        Who the wolves are is clearly a matter of perception, and one’s position in the Church.

        “VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican newspaper on Wednesday suggested those responsible for revealing sensitive internal documents alleging corruption and a cover-up were irresponsible, undignified “wolves,” the latest twist in what has become known as “Vatileaks.””

        Those whom the Roman Curia call “wolves,” I call “shepards.”

      • Sorry, the word is “shepherds.”

      • Drwho13, at first I thought it was a mistake, but finally figured out your comment on ‘One Priests Perspective’ was for real and very recent. I had not read that blog, a year ago, but it fits painfully, with this discussion.

        I know of one religious order, where priests have leaned very heavily on their leadership relative to abuse, but at the diocesan level, with the exception of Fr. Connell, not so. I have posted a number of articles regarding Fr Connell’s efforts on the Philly Priests website.

      • Dear Patrick and ‘Had-It- Catholic’:

        Alleged abuse issues aside, it’s well for all of us to remember that ALL of our priests have the Christ given power to forgive sins. Even those who have been laicized still have an obligation to hear the confession and forgive the sins of someone who is at death’s door. That’s a fact!

        Were I ever to find myself in such a dire circumstance, I’d gladly welcome the help of ANY priest – active or laicized.

      • Joe B,

        No, that is not a “fact,” that is a belief of our faith.

        The belief that priests, regardless of their status, possess the power to forgive sins is a testimony to the goodness of the power, and not, necessarily, to the goodness of the priest.

        Priests are not made good by the power. The power is good. Therefore, I see why, in a dire circumstance, you would seek the power from any priest.

    • Dear ‘hadit” and others.

      When a priest is ordained, he receives not an eternal character on his soul and the perpetual power to celebrate the Eucharist, to forgive sins ‘in persona Christi’, and also the special help of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are conferred on the new priest at his ordination. An ordained priest will always be a priest throughout eternity. As you know, without the priest, there can be no Eucharist.

      I have to tell you all that I take issue with the comments that imply that many of our priests are ‘bad’ individuals. Most of our priests – and certainly the ones that I know who have helped me and my family – are truly ‘stand up’ guys worthy of our profound thanks and admiration. And I know many fine priests.

      The next time that you are tempted to ‘badmouth’ the Catholic priesthood through generalization, think back to some particular priest who helped you in some special way.

      If you are truly sinless, then you can toss the first rock.

      If not, then why not just say a sincere and heartfelt prayer for the well being of the entire Church and let Almighty God do the rest?

      • Joe B, I understand your thinking. Almost 20 years ago when I was a seminarian, I could have penned a post similar to the one you have, and done so with complete sincerity.

        I no longer have the luxury of not knowing how the Church actually works. There certainly are good priests out there, and I know a few. However, the Church as a whole is corrupt. The evidence is right in front of you, just as it was in front of me two decades ago.

        I simply could not bring myself to believe it. I had my own idea of just how holy the Church was, and I did not want to hear anything that was going to turn my spiritual world upside down. I found great comfort in being certain that the RCC offered me eternal life. All I had to do was to follow the formula She provided, and heaven was mine. I firmly believed that those critical of my Church were anti-Catholic.

        Joe, I’m convinced of you sincerity, but we are simply at different stages in our spiritual journeys. While there are some that “…‘badmouth’ the Catholic priesthood through generalization…,” there are very specific allegations, and ample evidence to put a large number of priests behind bars.

        As human beings, and people of faith, our first obligation is to seek the truth, and sometimes the truth takes us to some very uncomfortable places. I now see this as simply a part of the spiritual journey that we are all embarked upon.

        Durning that journey, “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle.” (Plato?)

      • Joe B,

        You should probably address your post to me, alone, since I am the only person I know of on this site who refuses to acknowledge the “goodness” of any priest.

        The belief that all priests receive an “eternal character” and “perpetual powers” upon their ordination is a belief in our faith. I have read way too much of the works of Joseph Campbell (myth and ritual) to feel comfortable with that belief, however, for the sake of conversation, I will acknowledge it as a belief in our faith.

        The “eternal character” and “perpetual powers” priests possess are linked to their identity “in persona Christi.” Separate and apart from this character is the human character of the man or person “in persona Christi.” The “eternal character” is expected to influence a priest’s human character, however, it is not guaranteed to influence it. A priest freely chooses to permit the “eternal character” to influence his human character through his choices and actions. Ideally, the two characters co-exist in sync, each affirming and reaffirming the other. The result is a good priest.

        To knowing permit anything to obstruct the full realization of the characters and their intended symbiotic relationship is immoral. Both characters and their interrelationship naturally merit the highest dignity and care.

        The priesthood is a catastrophic obstruction. Its immoral culture, in which all priests partake, arrests in priests the full realization of their human character, altogether preventing a vital and harmonious unity between it and their “eternal character.”

        Reforming the priesthood would permit priests to be good priests.

      • Joe, I am not sure that you understand that many C4C commenters either have been sexually abused by priests or have had family members so abused.

        And the rest of us don’t like it at all.

        I am also not clear that you have gone to the link at the top of this page marked RESOURCES, and the accessed both the 2005 and 2011 Grand Jury Reports, which detail in nauseating depth that which has occurred in Philadelphia to innocent children for many many years.

        Were we surrounded by good priests who behaved well, there would be no need for this blog, nor any bloggers.

        Sadly, very very very sadly that is not the case.

      • Joe B. said, “The next time that you are tempted to ‘badmouth’ the Catholic priesthood through generalization, think back to some particular priest who helped you in some special way.”

        I can acknowledge that you’ve had some wonderful experiences with priests. I also know there are churches full of people who have been betrayed by them.

        I can think back to some particular priests of my childhood and into adulthood. I STRUGGLE to find more than a handful of priests that were men of integrity. The priest of my childhood (whom I was raised to believe was a holy man) after decades of Sacraments and service to our parish celebrated mass on a Sunday, announced he had “dispensation” from the bishop and the following Monday married his housekeeper who had taken care of his mother until her death in the rectory for 12 years. They lived 2 blocks from our church and he attended a Baptist church until his death. No wonder his homilies were so good.

        Round 2, was a priest who had a violent temper, a habit of lying and inconsistent behaviors. He also had an unusual draw toward young boys (of course, we can’t prove anything, but the writing is on the wall). He was “transferred” quietly after he shoved a pregnant woman in an angry episode. He has now popped back up (quietly) in our diocese after a number of “absent” years (had to do some digging on that one)…he has since started a wrestling team for young boys and he uses the church basement for practices. He helps coach other boys’ sports teams when he’s not fulfilling his priestly duties. I wouldn’t want to think such “unholy” things of the man. Time will tell and I believe, sadly, so will victims.

        Round 3, the family friend priest who was my brother’s Confirmation sponsor…because my family is either very forgiving or just plain stupid to send us to a Catholic school after the previous incidents/experiences with “holy” men. Fast forward about 5 years and the priest plea bargained so he would face a lesser charge due to an inappropriate “relationship” (as the priest described it) he had with a young boy, the courts called it “sexual misconduct.” He did 3 years and is now in Rome working with young men and vocations.

        Let’s see…there was one of my high school teachers/ priest who was voted teacher of the year repeatedly…and he was brilliant…but he had an “anger” problem… whipping erasers at students’ heads and saying, and I quote, “God dam* you kids, now I’ll have to go to confession for losing my temper and throwing erasers.” Which is worse…blaming minors for your emotional instability or the fact that you wouldn’t be confessing how you’d hurt 5 students that day?

        How about the drunken parties we’d witness on Thursdays when the beer truck would roll onto campus for their weekly card parties…always after vespers, of course.

        DESPITE all of that, I still kept the faith that the rcc was not completely corrupt. (Or I learned from my family to be very forgiving or extremely stupid). I still believed there were some priests that were like the nuns of Kathy’s childhood. Good, honest, holy men…with flaws and sins, but nonetheless, shepherds of their flock, serving Him. Then, I married a former seminarian…someone who loved the church as much as I did…even with all its black marks. Eventually, the truth all came spilling out…and I got the opportunity to learn about sinfulness and corruption in a whole new way, on a whole new level by people with the titles of bishop, chancellor, cardinal, and working in offices of various dioceses, archdioceses, Rome, the Nunciature, National Review Boards and on it went.

        None of them ARE my faith. They might practice a religion, but they aren’t my faith. I have been “cured” of the priest on the pedestal. The priest may be a priest for life, but I will never be convinced that Fr. So and So has some special woo-woo magic to perform for me before I meet my Maker. What type of warped system do people subscribe to that allows a man (because of a title) to rape children, consecrate the Eucharist, place it in the mouths of the faithful and then absolve the laity of their sins? Or that a bishop can re-assign a pedophile knowing there will be more victims, and the next day CONFIRM young people into the faith? Say it out loud and see if sounds as ridiculous to you as it does to me.
        Joe, you may call it bad-mouthing…I prefer to see it as truth-telling. I don’t have to make generalizations because I have plenty of experiences to support the statements I make.
        Thank you, Joe, for making the comment. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on the priests who “helped” my family.
        o You also said, “why not just say a sincere and heartfelt prayer for the well being of the entire Church and let Almighty God do the rest?
        This is exactly what I’ve done, followed up by action…God is taking care of the priests…with all of our prayers and actions on behalf of His Son. There is hope for the rcc as long as there are people who have the courage to tell the truth. You keep telling yours and I’ll keep telling mine.

  7. Agreed Haddit! I always thought the moral authority argument regarding the folks in the pew vs the church, rested on the sense of the faithful. For example, the perceived wisdom of use of contraceptives…98%, the general wisdom of the people of God, (see Vat 2 docs for role of the laity), personal conscience, see Ratzinger, Thomas Acquinas et al. AND the Church as the ‘servant of the servants of God.’

    Where I see the connection between the ‘religious freedom’ debate and the sexual abuse crisis, is that folks are growing up, in terms of independent decision making.

    The contraception issue is very helpful, in that 98% of folks have exercised independent moral decision making. Now if they will only extrapolate to a defined concern for prevention of sexual abuse of minors, a profound concern for victims and an effective accountability standard for institutional church that is robust, we might actually be operating with moral integrity.

    • Joan and Hadit: I am getting confused by the bishops. I cannot figure out if we are supposed to be “sheep” or “rabbits”.

      You might find of interest my extensive NCR comment today under the heading: “Catholics Are Not Rabbits”, readily accessible by clicking on at:

      http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/what-about-contraception

      • Who ever we are Jerry, we’re at the bottom of the food chain.
        With meter wearing bishops no more than land owners, and priests, in turn for the power to say mass, is serf property of the church, it would be fair reasoning.
        Good on Blessed Abbot Marmion.
        There’s more, especially concerning the First Lateran Council, 1123.
        Nothings changed.

    • Thanks for that, LN, but I think a lot is changing for the better.

      The Vatican is now being brought to account under international law.

      The Vatican Bank is under heavy scrutiny of EU banking regulators and the International Criminal Court prosecutor is investigating the pope.

      This, of course, takes time—months, not years; but it would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

    • Joan you are starting to sound protestant 🙂

      • Thanks, Beth…I think that’s a compliment…actually I have always loved that piece of scripture, from the time I was about 8 and memorizing the corporeal works of mercy for a release time religious Ed class, I remember thinking…but of course you would feed folks who were hungry, etc etc etc..I still think so…have just broadened the list a bit!

      • Well,
        I think the laity should be more in volved with the structural aspects but I dont think we should determine the teachings god has already done that.

      • All the ideas you mention are intersting though. Make me think.

      • Joan sorry about my vague comment. I understand what you are saying. I just am trying to explain that the churches teaching on contraception makes sense to me more now than ever and I came about that understanding in a round about way but it makes sense to me even though it is not easy and what I meant by the protestant remark was that the laity decides what teachings they will follow etc. Thanks for clarifying. Jerry and Hadits comments as well as yours help me understand where people are coming from better.

      • Patrick I totally agree and that is why I say abuse of power thats what I believe rape is.

    • The Bishops did not pull this ideas out of a hat. The church tradition, teachings and natural law all support reinforce what has been passed on to us from the early Christians. Contraception, abortion and infantcide are not new been around since Jesus time just more convient now. What you are talking about seems like relativism. If you take out the procreation aspect why can’t you take out the emotional bonding aspect? Then sex becomes just about pleasure and then what’s wrong with affairs and sex with kids?…………It becomes a slippery slope of what feels right and what I think is convient .Jesus was about truth and taking up your cross…….he never said it would be convient to follow him or easy. The church does not say have a million kids either…….it just has our emotional, spiritaul and physical health in mind.

      • Beth….think I misread your remark…I am as opposed to abortion, infanticide, capital punishment et al, as I suspect you are.

        I do think responsible folks can practice some form of family planning, and there are many, if their conscience so dictates. And about 98% of sexually active Catholics apparently do so.

      • Ok I am getting off topic and doing a bad job spelling. I find your discussion very interesting though.

      • I just want to clarify and it might seem strange but I confronted a pedophile and had like a 2 and half hr discussion about how he thought molesting a child is not wrong and it was the most disturbing conversation I ever had. The only way I could defeat his arguments besides the imbalance and abuse of power was strangely the teachings of the catholic church. The mind, body, spirit connection……….and how you take away one it leads to chaos. The mind body and spirit are connected and we are connected to everyone. Every thing we do affects another. He was arguing the bou man love assocation……it was sickening.

      • beth,

        What a sickening slippery slope you’ve created that “sex becomes just about pleasure and then what’s wrong with affairs and sex with kids”. Sex between adults consenting for pleasure is a conscious, voluntary decision. By the way, I’ve never seen anything in the bible that says there’s anything wrong with it, but let’s not waste this forum on that.

        Here’s the line that should be drawn that you missed on “sex with kids”. Its rape. Its completely involuntary from the child’s point of view. Rape of adults is also completely evil, but is much worse with kids, and neither is on that “slippery slope” of a normal person.

    • Did you know Australia’s Cardinal Pell in speaking to the youth at a WYD rally, said that abortion was worse than sex-abuse.
      This was a prelate, who paid a young woman off, if she didn’t relate to anyone the circumstances surrounding a miscarriage she had as a minor the father being one of his clergy.
      No reporting it to the relevant authorities.
      Brokenrites records: Partime Celebacy in the Catholic Church.
      I’m surprised that’s still up on the net.

      • I think they are both just as bad in a way………one kills the soul and the other the body. I thought about this before because the church spends so much on abortion awareness and lobbying against it and seems to work against victims of abuse in and out of the church by lobbying against law changes and so much about abortion in bullentins etc but nothing about abuse victims. I think in many cases child sex abuse can lead to more abortions because of incest etc and relationship issues with spouses etc in the future that might be abusive etc……if the addressed sexual abuse I think it would decrease the amount of abortions but no one talks about that.

  8. Jerry, I went back and reread Matthew 25:31, The Last Judgement, the standard for heaven, was taking care of the most vulnerable amongst us, and I would include the sexually abused to that list, for sure.

    It’s not about rabbits or sheep, it’s about a very adult responsibility, which I think Susan and Kathy are facilitating, big time.

    • Amen, Joan. When I kneel in a pew, I much prefer to sit next to an “adult”, rather than a “sheep” or “rabbit”. Susan and Kathy are doing a great job, I heartily agree.

  9. Patrick and our survivors I want you to know I was not comparing affairs to abusing a child there is a big different in power and the pain and trama afterwards after I wrote that comment I thought I should have reworded to avoid any misunderstandings because I was rushing to go out. Anyway I apologize if I came across as insensitive that was not my intention. The site and everyone’s insights and sharing has been a gift.Thankyou.

  10. http://www.oblates.org/healing/index.php I was looking at the site and came across this apology. I guess the proof is in actions though not just words. Looks like drwho13 already posted the above article on Lynn.

    • Hadit and survivor I think the above link illustrates how we are forcing change thru pressure and lawsuits. You never would have seen that years ago but you question the sincerity after it comes about thru lawsuits. I hope that the changes begin to take heart in the new and younger generation that child sexual abuse will not be tolerated and if it happens their will be quick interevention to stop it and address it and to report it.

      • I mean to address this to survivor’s wife also sorry for typo.

      • beth,

        Lawsuits and legislation may only act to impose consequences on the members of the hierarchy who engage in criminal and conspiratorial acts. If laws are broken, if procedures are not followed, people will be punished. That certainly would be a change!

        It will be up to the hierarchy, however, to change itself– its culture, its groupthink, its traditions, its hierarchical system, its modus operandi, etc. These “trademarks” make it particularly vulnerable to crisis, crime, sin, immorality, chaos and dysfunction.

        The hierarchy is committed to maintaining Tradition, which means it is NOT committed to change.

        Might be a long road ahead.

      • Thank you, Hadit, for your perceptive insight that lawsuits and legislation alone cannot reform the Church, but they can deprive the hierarchy of the coercive power that it has used since Constantine.

        This power enabled the hierarchy to maintain a monopoly on thought and ritual. Catholics are increasingly challenging this monopoly and are realizing the hierarchy cannot prevent these challenges any more.

        Catholics can now get back to Jesus’ message directly, without the monopolistic and self-interested interpretation the hierarchy has interposed for over a millenium and a half. It is happening already.

      • Jerry,

        How long do you think Catholics will hang in with challenging the deaf hierarchy’s monopoly on thought and ritual, and circumventing its self-serving and “infallible” missives on faith and morals in order to get back to Jesus’ message directly? At best, the scenario is disconcerting. “To be Catholic is to be complicated.” But are we to be disordered as well?

      • Thanks, Hadit. Disconcerting, possibly, but the current repressive and hypocritical situation is already disconcerting. Disordered, perhaps, but I expect it will be more discrete, and not necessarily disordered.

        There is no need for the rigid top down hierarchical structure anymore. A worldwide horizontal network of thousands of separate Catholic communites, with limited and democratic hierarchical oversight, will do just fine.

        This horizontal structure worked well for 300 years without the advantages of modern communication and education and can work again. It can hardly be worse than what we are suffering with now.

      • An elegant dialogue, Haddit and Jerry….

        But I suspect that that ‘rigid top down strucure’ has become to some degree ‘horizontal’ already. And will get ever more horizontal.

        Somewhere between the 24/7 news cycle bearing very little good news about the Church and ever so much bad news, and an increasingly educated laity (those who stayed)….it seems to me that hierarchical power is a thing of the past. Folks will consider some episcopal pronouncement, and then make up their own minds. It’s what adults do.

      • Which brings me back to my original question about a church hierarch that has no intention of authentic change.

        I’m convinced hierarch behaviors will be changing because they are FORCED to change. It will help. I don’t discount the effectiveness and purpose of the pressure on the rcc from all avenues.

        However, I’m not as hopeful of this hierarchy humbling themselves enough to authentically change their hearts and approach in order to regain the trust of the people left in the pews. People don’t hand over children (or finances) to people they don’t trust. So, it makes me wonder why this isn’t a mission of the hierarchy, given their self-centeredness….to earn back the trust of those they’ve betrayed yet still remain in the church. They can pretty much “write-off” those of us who are gone, but theose who remeain?

        I believe we are altering behaviors, but I have yet to experience a change of heart. For those who remain in the church…what steps are people taking to create a ministry for victims and their families? Why are catholics in the pews waiting for a directive from their misaligned hierarchy to do what Jesus has already commanded them to do?

        I’m talking about changes INSIDE the church…not on the chancery steps…not in a courthouse…not through legislation…but IN the Catholic Church? Where in the world are all of these supposedly good people IN the Catholic Church?

        I think we’ve missed the mark if our continuous focus is on the hierarchy. The question from the victims and families still remains after all these years…Where are you, Catholics?

      • As to horizontal church structure….I attended a neighboring church, Sunday that noted in its parish bulletin, the generosity of parishioners last month in raising $4000, in a collection that was being given in $500 increments to a rescue mission, an interfaith coalition, a nuns program that helped inner city women, an ecumenical homeless program, a domestic violence group and a senior helpline service. All these programs were public non profits. None were diocese promoted.

        Meanwhile some bishop promulgated petitions sat, on a card table outside the Church, relatively unsigned.

        And in the pastors remarks about Lenten practice, his notes ended with Methodist, John Wesley’s prayer.

      • SW, I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. If I gave you a different impression, I can only say there is only so much one can say into these small boxes. I haven’t yet figured out how to squeeze longer comments into the boxes, but will get there eventually,

      • SW, I totally agree on the misplaced emphasis on the hierarchy, relative to a genuine operational change of heart, abuse wise. I am more hopeful at the parish level.

        My own experience with parishes, suggests that many of them in our area, have come a long way, in their sensitivity and assistance to folks in need.

        Twenty years ago, you would not have had the kind of fundraising or fund distribution I just noted. It was when parishes began to house homeless in their own facilities, that they ‘got it’ . When parishioners were volunteering in domestic violence hotlines, feeding folks at soup kitchens, personally involved in ecumenical efforts etc etc that they started their own mini foundations, and started making their own distributions, of money and time.

        I think Vicky talking to groups in church settings is a very important beginning. It’s the best effort that I have heard about, and a lot more of it needs to be done……I don’t think folks in the pew are uncaring….I think they are hugely uninformed. And that personal encounter cuts through that information barrier, big time.

      • Jerry, you never gave that impression.

        As you can tell…I’m frustrated . Frustrated with some of our local rcc parishioners for behaving like victims when they aren’t.

      • I think to expect the pew sheep to dismiss the misaligned hierarchy and independently rise to the occasion is unrealistic. There are factors and circumstances that position people well to challenge institutions and act independently (one is education). In contrast, there are factors and circumstances that disempower people (one is poverty). Then there are psychological frames of mind (fear) and life experiences (close associations with victims) that define a person’s actions or inactions. Everybody has a story.

        Church is where the stories of people come under the influence of the informative, instructive and shepherding skills of the hierarchy. It is where the faithful learn to incorporate into their lives, and live out, the Gospel values. It is the duty of the hierarchy to lead in this regard. We cannot expect that the pew sheep will, on their own, undergo epiphanies, or magically become blessed in conscience, or rise to saintly status. Because the hierarchy is misaligned and fails in its duty, the duty does not revert to the pew sheep.

        If it reverts to anyone, it is us.

      • Hadit,
        I clearly understand the points you are making about the position of the laity.

        Unrealistic or not…they will be held accountable for their role in this, whether they are uneducated, fear-based, or lack compassion.

        I don’t expect the hierarchy to tell the truth, given the climate and culture of clericialism…but they will still be held accountable. The same holds true for the laity.

  11. Then again just PR campaign after DE lawsuits………

  12. I wonder what has happened to retired Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, when as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for clergy, congratulated a bishop for not denoucing a priest later sentenced to 18 years in prison for multiple counts of sex abuse.
    “You have acted well and I’m happy to have a colleaque in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and all brother bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son a priest”.
    It certainly backs up Cardinal Regan’s latest withdrawal of his apology given years ago.
    Vatican cardinal praised French bishop for not reporting abuse to police. Catholic Culture.

  13. I am citing this article on yet another roman catholic cult organization not for the corruption that it indicates. But because it shows a similar pattern of behavior, as in Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee, Ireland, Australia, and on and aon. Sound familiar? From the report: “For many years, his governing manifested an ultra-authoritarian use of power, sociopathic symptomology, cult dynamics, and disregard for both canon and civil law. Besides, in imitation of the Masonic power structure, a secret Miles Jesu membership both protected Fr. Duran and assured that the future transition of power remained in the hands of his chosen successors.” When JPI died after just 33 days as Pontifex Maximus; JPII seized the reins of power like Louis XIV or Henrey VIII, and he stacked the card(inal)s to select B16 and have himself named Saint and The Great; B16 now has done the same. Link is here– http://milesjesutruth.blogspot.com/

  14. Read some of the comments under Sister Maureen’s letter. Maybe we must prepare ourselves for the onslaught of “dark secrets,” but the onslaught of criticism may take greater strength and courage. For every “dark secret” that emerges, victim advocates will be criticized for being “progressives,” anti-Church, anti-Catholic, and just plain evil.

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