Lawyers Reveal Bevilacqua Ordered Shredding of Memo

I’m sure Church leadership is hoping this news gets overshadowed by the good news of high schools remaining open. This information is rife with implications. While the defense is using it to benefit Lynn, it points to major conspiracy. Contributing Catholic parents must feel completely violated by the abuse of trust. So many children were placed in harm’s way. It’s hard not to feel like a pawn in their game of power, money and lies.

“Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered aides to shred a 1994 memo that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children, according to a new court filing….” Click here to continue reading: “Lawyers: Bevilacqua ordered memo on priests to be shredded,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 25, 2012.

122 thoughts on “Lawyers Reveal Bevilacqua Ordered Shredding of Memo

    1. “SMOKING SAFE EXPLODES”: Thanks, Susan and Kathy, for the gruesome updates. This is an amazing bombshell.

      Nobody noticed until Tough Tony died recently that there was a safe that apparently hadn’t been opened for years?

      Nobody thought an unopened safe was suspicious?

      FORGETABOUTIT!! The contents of the safe were clearly relevant and material evidence that should have been produced in response to at least the 2005 and 2011 grand jury subpoenas, as well as for Lynn’s case.

      Hiding material evidence like this list is a separate continuing crime. Even failing to state the list and smoking safe existed in response to inevitable questions could constitute perjury.

      What did Rigali, Chaput and their lawyers know about this safe and list? How could they have failed to open it sooner? Is there any connection between the “smoking safe” and Chaput’s changing his lawyers recently.

      Seth Williams and Judge Sarmina now must get answers under oath to all of these questions and more. Let’s lift the gag order and get some answers from Williams about how a multimillion dollar criminal prosecution effort missed the “smoking safe” until now. Philly taxpayers are entitled to know how Williams is spending their tax dollars.

      The sexual abuse if many children could have been prevented had the smoking safe been opened earlier!

      1. OK, 35 names and details of molesting priests were recorded by Lynn, ordered shredded in 1994 by the Cardinal with two bishops participating in the campfire, one of whom currently runs a US diocese …..neither of whom are ‘returning calls’.

        And somehow Lynn is held harmless.

        Lynn wrote the memo, knew its contents (whatever the paper disposition was), moved on bad guys from parish to parish, during his years in office, thus endangering children and conspiring with assorted despicable hierarchy.

        Does Lynn get yet another ‘prosecutorial pass’ when he knew how evil these guys were, really knew as he did the original tresearch

        Does shredding the list make the truth go away…..are these 35 evil men suddenly cleansed, purified to move on to ‘ministry’. oh please.

        The prosecution has it right the Archdiocese is a quagmire of unindicted co conspiratism.

      2. Jerry, why would Lynn be considered innocent just because he researched some files and recorded the 35 molesters, whose records were then shredded.

        Lynn knew all about these guys, hell, he’d done the research, now if he had resigned his position it would be a different matter, but he knowingly passed these guys on for years….I see that as child endangerment with a conspiracy overlay. Am I wrong?

      3. Of course, Joan, you are correct. What Lynn already admits he did certainly endangered thousands of Philly children. Now he is trying to shift all responsibility for his actions to dead bishops, while simultaneously trying also to wiggle his way out of the relevant Pennsylvania statute. When one is facing up to 28 years in jail with inmates who dislike child abusers, one gets very creative, desperately so it seems.

      4. thanks Jerry, as usual!

        Another question, does the ‘smoking gun’ sufficiently implicate those other two bishops towards an indictment, same question for Rigali, or would it take empaneling anotherer GJ or does the prosecution have sufficient current evidence?

        And what does it mean that Lynn’s attorneys say ‘Lynn was thrown under the bus’ …You can bill me!

      5. Joan, I do not know the specific PA criminal procedural steps, but whatever hoops Seth Williams must jump through, he should be asking under oath Rigali, Chaput, et al. and the relevant lawyers what they knew about the smoking safe and its contents. Whether any of the could be charged with obstructing justice, perjury, etc., would depend on their answers and other evidence.

        Keep in mind what Rigali’s own Child Protection Board Chairwoman Catanzaro recently wrote in Commonweal Magazine about Rigali’s misleading her about almost two dozen priests’ questionable records. Her article alone should have triggered a thorough investigation of Rigali by Seth Williams.

        Of course, Williams has shown surprising public deference to Rigali. It is unclear to me why.

        The reference to “throwing Lynn under the bus” appears intended to elicit sympathy for Lynn for being the only senior official indicted (so far at least!) . Too bad!

        For Catanzaro’s relevant remarks, please click on at:

      6. Jerry, thank you yet again. I reread the Commonweal article and it surely provides grist for the D A’s mill. And the notion of putting all the hierarchy under oath and sorting out their liability sounds like a fine idea!!! And answers my questions.

        But the remarks of Rigali’s Child Protection Review Board Chairwoman raise a huge number of broader child endangerment questions. SNAP and Sipe, and others all advise bypassing a diocese and going straight to law enforcement with any abuse issues.

        They do so for just the reasons that the 2011 Grand Jury found the local PA review board wanting, ie strange canon law stuff that does not reflect civil law imperatives, bishops that disclose very limited data to their review boards, conflicts of interest with diocesan attorneys and investigators present on Review Boards, the list is endless.

        It would be a better thing if the Dallas Charter scrapped Review Boards, and directed the hierarchy to immediately refer all complaint to civil authorities. THEN, depending on the outcome of civil due diligence, the diocese could be informed and if the allegation was judged substantive criminal action could be taken, and if appropriate canon law could be invoked.

        I think it would be whole lot safer for kids and would like to see that scenario applied to those 21 or 26 ‘suspended priests’ as well.

      7. Joan, the Dallas Charter mandated review boards mainly to keep abuse claims away from the police, not to protect children. Rigali got straight A’s in the “phony” audit of his review board just a few months before he suspended over twenty “newly suspected” priests under the pressure of the 2011 grand jury report.

        The pope has yet to require the world’s bishops (1) to report all abuse claims promptly to the police, and (2) to have independent audits of each bishop’s oversight of abuse reporting.

        If the pope had required that, the Philly abuse scandal might never have occurred, at least on the scale it has. Of course, the pope has been very busy telling Catholics when and how to have sex, as well as offering a glowing eulogy of Bevilacqua a few weeks ago. You can’t make this stuff up!

        These are some of the reasons I just criticized the pope in my new NCR comment, “More Papal Disgrace”, readily accessible by clicking on at:

      8. Jerry, in a weird and bizarre way, perhaps this escalating scandal in Philly will help bring down the sick system. The indictment of a couple more bishops and a cardinal for everything from perjury to obstruction of justice would put an exclamation point on the issue.

        I wonder what standards are being applied to those 21 or 26 or whatever ‘suspended priests’ in the AD, is it a sick review board with no teeth, or law enforcement as the first order of the day. If I were the AB I’d be very very cautious, right about now about their reincarnation in local parishes. Can you imagine the effect of putting one or more of those guys back in a parish and have them abuse?

      9. Joan, I have no doubt the Lynn case, if the full story is publicly disclosed by trial or plea, will accelerate positive reform of our coercive hierarchy.

        I am less optimistic that much in the way of Philly AD child protection has changed to date.

        The Philly AD officials must be in “near panic mode” right now. Lynn has already begun putting heat on a sitting bishop and a retired bishop and may be threatening to implicate others, such as Rigali.

        Who can know for sure with the unnecessary continuation of the gag order? We likely will get more answers very soon.

        It looks like “hardball” plea negotiations are well underway, as Lynn appears to have begun upping the ante with his current legal motion.

    2. I have an empty, sick feeling that every AD is the same. This is beyond criminal…this is pure evil, I fear.

      1. Mother Hen,
        I’m not sure about every diocese operating this way, but where I live does. I’ve seen it firsthand.

        I’ve been in rooms full of victims and family members that can attest to the same from their interactions with their diocesan hierarchy.

        I believe the victims.

      2. I am very sorry to inform you but this is “business as usual” in the Catholic Church, starting at the top in the Vatican all the way down to your local parish….I indicated in another blog that this was a distinct possibility and I would be more surprised had it not occurred. Just imagine the response to the inquiry, “why did you do this?” …. “I was ONLY following orders”, the same response that was given by many at Nuremberg…how sad it is to discover we have so few priests with a moral conscience to do what is right as opposed to what is commanded by one’s superiors.

  1. It’s mid-boggling, isn’t it? How timely that this is released on Friday, as all the eyes are on the school news. What a tangled web they weave.

  2. From the article I posted:
    “After Bevilacqua’s death last month, a locksmith was called in to open a safe at the archdiocese headquarters and inside were copies of both the list of 35 predator priests and the memorandum that it had been destroyed.

    “Unbeknownst to anyone else and in violation of the cardinal’s directive, Monsignor Molloy preserved a copy of this list in a different place – a safe to which no one else had a combination,” the court documents said.”

    For anyone familiar with Msgr Molloy -in interviews he admitted that he realized that much of what was being done might one day be investigated and decided that if he took detailed notes it would help once a criminal investigation took place. He absolutely did the wrong thing in not protecting children-no doubt about that -but appears to be one of the only one who had second thoughts. The prosecutors on the 2005 grand jury report were impressed by his change of heart and transparency. He died one year later in 2006 and his funeral was attended by many clergy/hierarchy and prosecutors(would have loved to have seen that crowd mingle). And now all these years later -a hidden document discovered-maybe a last ditch attempt by Msgr Molloy to to try to do the right thing.

    1. My question is why did they wait til Archbishop Bev. was dead to open it? Was this so he would avoid court himself? Seems like someone knew something. The sadly the above article does not surprise me………..what is that Bible verse ………the devil is the father of lies……………….

      1. by “he” I meant Archbishop Bev. Was there some kind of plan on Molloy’s part that after Archbishop Bev’s death this would come out so Archbishop Bev would not go to jail. Kathy I hear what you are saying.

      1. From the NCR article (link above)

        The Cudemo case was when I truly realized that I couldn’t be sure that I could trust my superiors to do the right thing,” said Molloy. “So I decided to operate in a manner that would eliminate the need to trust anybody.”

        Molloy said he then went into “hyper-documentation” mode, taking great pains to make his files to Bevilacqua and Cullen as detailed as possible.

        At the time, he said, it was the best contribution he felt he could make to the situation, to history. If it all blew up one day — and he was pretty confident it would — he wanted as detailed a record as possible to exist. If his superiors were making the correct decisions in handling the abusers, they would be happy to have his reports. If his superiors were making the incorrect decisions, then his reports would help explain what went wrong.

        “I wanted my memos to be there,” he said, “if the archdiocese’s decisions were eventually put on the judicial scales.”

        He was also motivated by self-protection.

        “This way anyone could come along in the future and say this was right or this wrong,” said Molloy. “But they could never say it wasn’t all written down. No one could ever say I shaded or hid any info….

        The secrecy surrounding the complaints had become too much for him. “It had gotten to the point where I felt like I was working for the CIA instead of the church,” he said.

      2. “It had gotten to the point where I felt like I was working for the CIA instead of the church.” You were Fr. Molloy, “Catholics in Action.”

      3. Thank you for that reference Martin.
        I’m sure the Australian Bishop’s Conference have their eyes glued to what’s happening in Philadelphia, with to date here, he who knows much has/will/ much be given with plenty of support from those who count, unwilling to rock any boats.
        Remembering no doubt their own undisclosed failings.

  3. There are so many shocking and painful facets to that story. There is so much to digest.

    One, particularly painful facet is this.

    Imagine Bevilaqua, Molloy, Cullen and Cistone at the meeting, discussing the list of 35 priests. The four conspire and commiserate in brotherly fashion. They are between a rock and a hard place. The list wreaks of immorality and crime. Does it bring them to their knees? Do they invoke the name of God? Do they speak of the children? Do they weep for them? Do they phone the DA?

    They act as evil geniuses, having myopic vision. In cultish fashion, they are intent on protecting the erroneously holy name of the Church. In protecting it, they protect themselves.

    In brotherly fashion, an order is put forth that is followed obediently.

    Whew. The brotherly foursome are infallible.

    All the while, beyond the walls and doors of the meeting, the invisible children hurt, struggle, fail and fall. In one fell swoop, their hope is shredded.

    Where in the scenario is it marked by compassion, sympathy and consideration? Where is it humane?

    1. I read that Lynn had claimed a church conspiracy to conceal clergy abuse was orchestrated at levels higher than he.
      I hope I got it right on Cathnewsnz in a response to a comment bringing another element into the article.
      No doubt someone will correct me and I always stand for same.
      The publisher is very impartial and I would hate to embarrass him.

    2. Hadit, You asked; “Do they invoke the name of God?”

      If by that question you mean did they “take the name of the Lord in vain?” Meaning to use the word “God” in a profane expression, I bet they did!!!

    3. Hadit,
      For most people reading these developments, it can be about legal maneuverings, who knew what and when, lawyers, money, etc.

      But, as victims reads this…what you wrote might be what’s running through their minds.

      I don’t see a safe with a memo that implicates others (thankfully we have people whose focus is that)…I see secret meetings, corrupt men conspiring plans to cover themselves (and pedophiles) without ONE thought about the children who were violated. What was the conversation that took place when they were figuring out a way to HIDE what they knew?

      I believe the victims.

  4. This is a deliberate attempt by bevilaqua, rigali, et al to hide evidence, it also confirms that lynn is part of the chain of conspiracy , it also shows that the archdiocese of Phila engaged in ‘Fraudulent Concealment’. I believe more arrests and indictments are in order. Now it also gives me the impression that Harrisburg may have known about this and stalled legislation, I wonder what the connection is, maybe it is time to subpoena ‘caltagirone and marsico ?

      1. How could it be Cardinal Rigali didn’t know about the “smoking safe”? Could he please voluntarily explain to his former flock of eight years what he knew about the “smoking safe” and its contents?

        Or will we just have to wait until Seth Williams gets around to subpoenaing him?

        And what about Chaput who has been around now long enough to have wondered about the unusual unopened safe?

        Of course, Rigali is probably busy promoting his protege, NY’s Cardinal Dolan for pope, and keeping his other protege, Kansas City’s Bishop Fin,n out of jail.

        And on top of that, they appear to be working full time to demolish all American women’s health insurance.

        Too busy to worry about a few hundred abused Philly children, it appears.

  5. I mention Cullen and Cistone because it names them as being at the meeting or the shredding. The article I posted says the document was discovered after Bevilaqua’s death -the article says the document was discovered in 2006 .Just wanted to point that out.
    With all of the evidence available from the Archdiocese records and now people implicating each other -how can anyone deny a cover up? I am referring to the Catholic laity who still say-just a few bad abusive priests -the Church did nothing wrong. In this case alone their were 5 ADULTS involved who did not protect children.

    1. Not just 5 adults….

      5 adults that Catholics look to as their teachers of the faith, right? Five adults that confirm children into the faith, right? 5 adults that told, not only law enforcement, but their PEOPLE, that they weren’t “aware.” Five adults that said they were doing everything within their power to keep Philly Catholic children safe. I guess they were thinking of the wrong “safe.”

      Denial is a powerful thing…until people are ready to handle the uncomfortable feelings that come with accepting the truth, they will remain in their bubble. Many bubbles are breaking.

      I believe the victims.

  6. Where have you gone, William Sasso, Chairman, Stradley and Ronon? The next time he receives a civic, business, organizational award or appointment to a Board of Directors, will someone please ask him about the “secret safe”?

    1. Wasn’t sasso bevilaqua’s attorney when bevilaqua went to the grand juries, maybe they need to take a hard look at sasso and sent him a subpoena ! Let not forget cistone,cullen and rigali.

    1. Theresa-If the safe was not opened until 2006 I guess I can see how it escaped the 2005 investigation but how did it escape the 2nd grand jury? And if the AD knew about the memo in the safe since 2006 but did not share this info with the 2nd grand jury-doesn’t this implicate others in the AD?

      Kathy-I agree with you re. Bishops Cullen and Cistone and with you Joan re. Cardinal Rigali.

  7. Each time I hear something outrageous about the hierarchy I feel it can’t get worse. Apparently I was wrong. Nancy Mortimer O’Brien

  8. From Bishop-elect Cistone’s statement, May 20, 2009:

    Though I hope to have a greater opportunity before I leave Philadelphia to express my profound gratitude to my archdiocesan family, I do take this moment to thank His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, who ordained me as a bishop and with whom I have had the privilege to work closely these past 6 years, as well as his predecessor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, whom I assisted as Vicar General. I also express gratitude to my brother bishops, priests, deacons, office staff, and all those who work so tirelessly for the Church in Philadelphia.

    1. Of course, Cistone expressed gratitude to the two Cardinals for keeping their part of the “devil’s bargain”–he got his bishop’s ring and they got his cover-up assistance. It appears this is a common step up the clerical ladder.

      But for the courage and tenacity of Lynne Abraham, Seth Williams’ predecessor as Philly DA, in initially going after the Philly Archdiocese’s pedophile priest brigade, Philly Catholics might today be kissing the ring of “Bishop” Lynn.

  9. Where is Lynn at the moment? Is the scapegoat gone whistle-blower living among his brothers? Is there upheaval among them, some applauding him, others obediently shunning him? Or are they all on auto-play, just plain edgy and silent? Has the AD reluctantly put up Lynn at an undisclosed location in order to maintain some semblance of “order” in what has become an AD (and Church) in complete and utter disarray?

    It is not unreasonable to ask if Lynn is safe.

  10. Catholic sheep stand by as our children are molested and emotionally destroyed by our trusted priests; Muslims in Afghanistan go berserk in the streets because of the accidental burning of the Koran. What’s wrong with this picture?

  11. This might be the wrong thread for this question/rant.. Does anyone feel that the lists of offending priests are complete? How many have managed (or were helped to) to disappear from the rolls?
    About 10 yrs ago, a youngish priest moved into our rectory. He said Mass here regularly and served as a hospital chaplain. He was “different” but likeable enough. He stayed for a few months and then suddenly he was gone. At the time, I asked our pastor about his departure. He replied curtly,” I don’t know what happened to him or where he is. I know nothing about it.” I persisted and he became angry with me.
    I’ve searched the AD directory for the priest’s name and he’s not on it –never has been. – I’ve googled and looked on Bishops’ too.- He seems to have vanished. I certainly have no reason to suspect him of wrongdoing, but it sure raises questions. Too mysterious….

    (so here’s my rant) … enough already of all the mysteries and dirty secrets of the Church. It’s become so clear that staying aboard is an irresponsible, unethical choice (at least for me )– and yet strangely, it’s hard to exit completely.
    I confess to being fiendishly fascinated by the prospect of the whole corrupt thing tumbling in on itself. Where it used to be so acceptable to me, I’m now sickened by the sight of soft, spoiled, powerful, corrupt men dolled up in red shoes and fancy dresses and capes trimmed in gold…. ick!….Could there actually be any Catholics left in the world who find the arrogance, wealth and pageantry of the Vatican tolerable –while every year 15 million kids starve to death?

    1. Dear Crystal,
      The exact same thing happened in my parish in the late 80’s. Rumors circulated, one day he was gone. No questions were answered, and there is no record of this priest on the church’s website.
      Your “rant” could be my rant, or the rant of any catholic who takes the time to be informed. Great Post.

      1. Sounds a lot like Australia, Brokenrites, Melbourne support group have many instances on public record.
        Bernard Barrett, what will they ever do when you retire.

      1. thanks Joan. I just looked at that list and he’s not on it either. He’s nowhere. Poof, vanished! — and our parish has no right to know who he was and what he was up to while he lived in the housing we provided, and golfed at our local country club. …
        How many offenders just slipped away? Somebody knows. Their names must be kept in secret files somewhere… some of them still receive AD pensions.

    2. Crystal, many of us share your ambiguous feelings. The hierarchy has clearly betrayed us. But it is the Church where many of us and our children first experienced Jesus, Who will always be with us.

      The Church is part of our symbolic DNA now. We must do all we can to try to recover our legacy from the ecclesiatical felons who are trying to seize and destroy it. We are making progress, as the Lynn trial proves.

  12. Crystal and mother hen, If you remember a few months ago some evidence was entered for the trial about various cases of priests. The case of Fr Murtha with the child porn possession and writing “love letters” to children -he is not listed on the AD website of abusive priests -this was even mentioned in the article -no one had ever known this case existed before it was among the evidence. Well what I mean is -we didn’t know.

  13. If Lynn took orders from Bevilacqua to hide crimes, that means Lynn is just as guilty as a mafia lieutenant who gets an order to murder someone and passes the order on to a hit man.

    The Catholic church is the organized crime unit of the child rape world.

    Catholics should not feel like pawns, they should feel like the citizen’s of Egypt who overthrew the evil people who took over their country. The difference is that here, you can’t get killed for doing the right thing.

    1. Absolutely and did lynn compile the list and if so he is a link in the chain of conspiracy. The DA needs to go back to both Grand Jury reports and see who committed perjury and act accordingly. All those that knew about the list and remained silent are conspirators and this shows unequivocally that the archdiocese of Phila enabled and covered up the abuse. Like to find out who in Harrisburg knew about this ?

    2. Maybe not physically Patrick, although there’s been a fine line in more than just one instance, {and that’s excluding suicide}, but definately spiritually, on both sides of the fence.
      If it happens in Australia you can bet your life it’s over there and worlwide for that matter.

      1. I realize that the Catholic church has caused the suicides of victims, but my point is that people who revolt against the Catholic church won’t be killed for doing it, and that this is much easier than the Egyptians revolting against Mubarak.

    1. “Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.” Joseph Campbell

      1. Interesting choice, Hadit.

        The Chicago religious psychologist, Eugene Kennedy, this week also cited Joseph Campell in an interesting NCR article on Catholic myths and metaphors. Kennedy finds parallels between Downton Abbey, the popular PBS drama series, and the Catholic hierarchical myths.

        Kennedy’s relevant and stimulating article is accessible by clicking on at:

  14. Curriculm Vitae of Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald

    Villanova University School of Law – J.D. – 1973

    Founder, Office for Legal Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia (now Office of General Counsel) 1991 – 2004

    Shortly after the release of the first GJR in September 2005, I sent correspondence to then Father Fitzgerald, vice-rector, St. Charles Seminary re what his Office for Legal Services did with the reports and/or allegations of clergy sexual abuse that came into his office. Despite repeated attempts to speak with Father, I was unable to receive a direct response from him.

    Finally, his office assistant was directed by Father Fitzgerald to tell me that his office never received or handled allegations of clergy abuse.

    A civil attorney, who was the Founder of the Office of Legal Services, asserts that he and his office were not involved in the handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations.

  15. I googled Bishop Cistone -he served on the United State’s Catholic Bishop’s Conference Commission for the Protection of Children.

    1. Kathy,
      The USCCB’s Protection of Children…they are figure heads…change the names, no one really leads anything in that “fake” conference.

      Cardinal George (Chicago) also served.

      The Dallas Charter…I know that thing like the back of my hand. The rcc clings to it like they’ve created something wonderful. It’s a bunch of suggestions. Do you know what happens when a bishop doesn’t follow it? Nothing. They get written up in a “fake” self-reporting audit…and then you know what? Nothing happens. They made sure they answer to no one. Look at all the people the Catholic Church is employing to run their “fake” system. They created the perfect policy…complete with audits to “prove” to the people things were being run well.

      You know who the Charter helped? Those who actually have a conscience and they were already trying to do the right thing. If you are a corrupt bishop, you skate free.

      For all the catholics in the pews, policy doesn’t keep children safe, actions do.

      It’s like posting speed limit signs and then never enforcing them. Then hiring police officers to stop violaters so they can give them verbal warnings. It’s great for people who aren’t prone to speeding.

      Such a false sense of safety catholics have with their children.

  16. I know someone that works inside the archdiocese and she tells me things are very, very bad. She cannot tell me details as they have placed a gag order on her, once it is lifted the REAL truth will come spilling out. Do not underestimate the evil that is being perpatraited by the holy men of God. This is the tip of the iceberg, mark my words. Remember, God is in charge and all that is happening is the work of God through all of your prayers. If they can treat victims as they have for years then they are capable of anything. You can have all your vigils to keep the catholic schools open,{by the way, where were the vigils for the children who were raped by the representatives of this church?) but you can not eradicate the evil behind this so called religion. As long as this institution is run only by men, I hold no faith that it can ever be a true loving church. As a survivor, I don’t much care about the particulars of lynn’s case, nothing surprises me about how far they are willing to go to protect their interests. Please stop drinking the kool aid and see the evil that is before your very eyes. I have been horribly wounded by this institution and that is why I go far beyond the what ifs and the elaboratives, we victims are hurting!!

    1. Vicky, it’s my hope and prayer that you and other victims can survive this ugly period, with some degree of peace.

    2. Vicky, you and many others.
      I only wished I had heard of this site years ago, what a comfort to more than one person I know who has travelled to the pits of hell and crawled back on their knees to reclaim the faith they loved.
      Unheard of attrocities committed there.

    3. Vicky,

      Two things that have always bothered me over the years of the sexual abuse crisis in our Church were the assertions that the hierarchy fails to “get it” in terms of the plight of victims, and that mercy, alone, is what they owe them, not justice.

      In failing to “get it,” victims and victim advocates frantically attempted to inform a hierarchical mindset and heartset seemingly in disconnect. Still, however, year after year, the hierarchy displayed an inability to walk in the shoes of victims, to be moved by the beauty, innocence, vulnerability and pain of our precious children, and to display genuine accountability and sorrow. The impenetrable depth of the disconnect was inhuman, boggling the minds and hearts of the rest of us.

      Parallel to this mind and emotion disconnect was the hierarchy’s position that mercy, alone, was both the fix and the equitable resolution. The implication was that religious men were particularly, naturally and divinely endowed with the power to act mercifully, and that the result would be miraculous. The sheep were manipulated into seeing eye-to-eye with the fix through hierarchical threats. They were told that justice would fiscally obliterate the one, true Church and its good works. Eee gads.

      Today, I am experiencing a certain kind of peace. I am no longer asking myself why the hierarchy does not “get it.” I am no longer asking myself how hierarchical mercy could repair the tragedy. Rather, I am feeling as cold and calculated as the hierarchy has been through the entire crisis. The only thing I am asking myself is when will the despicable, hierarchical criminals be put in jail?

      1. Hadit, you helped me nail down that ‘justice’ issue as it related to victim’s rights to fiscal settlements BEFORE other Church expenditures.

        The Church’s personnell have grievously hurt innocent children and that crime committed by clergy, and exacerbated by hierarchy is a primary reality. Anything else the church does is secondary. And offenders belong in jail.

        We are seeing the truth of that In Philly, right now. I am extremely grateful to the criminal justice system, to Grand Jury members, et al for their efforts to see ‘justice’ done.

      2. Hadit,
        I pray none of us become cold and calculated like the hierarchy. I hope we seek justice with the peace that comes from telling the truth. I think I understand the peace you speak of though.

        I typed out a situation that occurred the other day between my husband and me. My apologies if I have posted this already. It was about acceptance…and it reminded me of what you said about that “certain peace” you are experiencing.

        Here it is:

        “My husband came to me the other day as I was just about to launch into another “happening” in Philly. A few days prior I had been reading the story of the Crouteau family and was “Oh no-ing” my way through the article. He would ask some questions and I would answer honestly. After a time, he quit asking questions and I quit “oh no-ing.” There’s a fine line we walk in our home about the Catholic Church. I knew just by his body language that he was physically sick just hearing snippets of what happened to that boy, the family, the priest, the investigators who knew but could do nothing. Why did I say anything?
        The following morning, he came to me…guard down, vulnerable, asking for what he needed. “I can’t go back. I didn’t ask to be abused, and you didn’t ask for the fall-out any more than I did…and yet, I feel guilty even asking this of you. Our needs are different with this issue. But will you please not share with me what is going on in the Catholic Church? I have come to a place of acceptance and forgiveness. To hear of a cardinal or bishop or some monsignor finally going to court, means very little to me anymore. To hear the same stories with different names keeps me sick.”
        I made a mental note to keep my mouth closed…literally and figuratively. I listened. I honored his feelings and I will honor his request. And then I cried. Mostly because I knew he had been unintentionally hurt by my actions. The rest of the tears were for me.

        He’s an articulate man. “Remember in the beginning, when I was angry? I would hear stories and listen to victims and read about family members and try to find ways for the Catholic Church to handle this better? I would shout in righteous anger, ‘The Bishop LIED!!!!!!! THAT BISHOP LIED!!!’ The time, the effort, the energy that was sucked from me and my family trying to get a hierarchy to simply tell the truth? Remember? It was a necessary part of my healing. Today, I don’t have the rage any longer. I have learned to accept them for who they are, not with spite or a pounding fist. Now I can peacefully say, ‘ok, the bishop lied.’ I accept. FOR ME, to accept them for who they are, FREES me to move on, to treat them in the same way I would anyone else who would lie. I don’t need to read any more stories. I don’t need to know they are still doing it. I know who they are. I choose to be free of them.”

        The only thing I have learned to accept is that the Catholic Church missed out on a really good man.”

        I believe the victims.

      3. Hadit and SW: I find your wise and considerate comments very perplexing.

        They raise for me an issue about a underlying tension implicit in C4C’s mission. C4C appears to me to aim both at sensitively getting victims the justice and respect they surely deserve, while trying to reform an insensitive and ruthless hierarchy that is still aiding in permitting more children to become victims.

        It appears that the determined hierarchy is impervious to sincere pleas for authentic justice, peaceful reconciliation and even child protection. This hierarchical obstinacy generates a need for a firm opposition that must triy to neutralize and even replace the hierarchy by lawsuits, prosecutions and publicity.

        After four decades of observing up close Wall Street sharks, many of whom behaved like the hierarchy does, it seems to me a firm opposition is essential both to get victims justice and to prevent future abuse.

        I hope victims realize this and, if troubled by the negative reminders that even a sensitive opposition must occasionally raise, that they, like your wonderful husband, try to divert their glance as the opposition tries to change the Church and curtail the number of future victims .

        I don’t know what else to say.

      4. Jerry,
        I clearly remember the stretch of time when my husband had a sense of acceptance about the rcc. It’s what allowed him to “take them on,” without the emotion and hatred…it was purely truth for truth’s sake. He was holding them accountable and exposing them in a matter-of-fact way. I think I know what Hadit means when she uses the word “calculated.”

        Not all victims are in a place to fight this fight. It’s why they need the rest of us to make this happen. The victims will likely have to “look away,” not because they don’t care, but because they care enough about themselves not to be re-victimized as they read the truths they’d been screaming to us for years. The victims have been telling us the hierarchy lies, will protect themselves at all costs, and the only way to safeguard children and prevent this from happening again is to employ every tactic possible (spiritually, financially, legally) against the rcc.

        I believe the victims.

      5. SW,
        I can appreciate what you are saying. I am glad he found some peace. I respect the fact many survivors can’t or don’t want to fight the church anymore.

      6. What a very valuable discussion! I think C4C is a forum with commenters and silent readers who are each on their own journey. And the journeys are as unique as the folks doing the commenting OR the quiet reading.

        Awhile back Susan said something when posting a new topic about the fact that she thought C4C was meant to be. I think she’s right. And God knows, everyone has a right to their perspective relative to sexual abuse, protection of innocent children and the behaviour of institutional church, and other church related matters.

        What I think is significant, is that C4C offers a very unusual place for all those perspectives to be aired. I’m hard pressed to think of any other such forum. And I am grateful for it!

      7. SW,

        Before the inception of C4C, I spent 41 years fighting many of its battles and defending its objectives essentially alone. The amount of mental and emotional energy I invested in them was staggering, although not staggering enough to impinge on my bringing up two boys and maintaining a career as a professor. As Rev. Wintermyer said, “READ, READ…” I read, wrote and advocated for reform in northern NY… a place particularly prone to sheep (they are in the fields and in the pews in inordinate numbers). It is evident by now, to everyone on this site, that my “expertise” (I don’t mean that literally) is the priesthood. Were we to change its culture and permit women to be priests (indeed, women would change the culture), the rest would fall into place. All in all, while the 41 years learning and advocating were not easy, justice for victims, Church reform and I are one and the same. It has always felt, most importantly, good and right to me, but it has also been exceptionally interesting. Again, I blathered alone for 41 years.

        Which brings me to you, SW. I do not share my life with a spouse. You made me see how the crisis in our Church might create in concerned Catholics who are married to each other unusual challenges, even strife could occur caused by opposing views. Of course, the opposite could happen as well, where two spouses share common views, or where they are accepting of opposing views. Any number of varying renditions is possible You and your spouse, however, are in a very unique place considering you are the wife of a survivor. On the one hand, it has led to you being a formidable spokesperson on C4C, on the other hand, and for understandable reasons, you are less formidable when you become a “spokesperson” at home.

        I have no one at home to be a “spokesperson” to. Kathy and Susan do. Joan does. drwho13 does. (I have always wondered if Patrick does and, if so, is his spouse a fan of cloak and dagger stuff, dungeons and the mafia ???) There are a host of others on this site who have spouses!

        While your spousal situation is unique, SW, having its own complexities, I would bet that spouses not having your special circumstances still have their own set of unique challenges when one or both become “spokespersons” on the crisis in the Church. Hearing their challenges might help to assuage yours.

        Thanks for your great posts.

  17. Kathy, Bishop Cistone served on the USCCB’ s Commission for the Protection of Children, and yet according to the article cited above in 1994 he was witness to the shredding of the document detailing 35 priests with abuse issues….

    and I quote “One week later, Molloy allegedly destroyed four copies, with the Rev. Joseph Cistone as a witness. “This action was taken on the basis of a directive I received from Cardinal Bevilacqua,” say Molloy’s handwritten notes.

    What in the world were the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops thinking of to put such a man on their major committee to protect children?…As Jerry often says, you can’t make this stuff up!

    1. This is the first time a cardinal has been caught. I suspect shredding incriminating documents is a widespread practice worldwide among the hierarchy. As the criminal cases against bishops continue to increase in frequency, we can expect to see a run on the shredder stores!

      1. Philly is not unique in the way it has handled innocent kids being sexually abused… It goes straight to the top…!!!

        There is a sytemic pattern that has caused soooooooooooooo much damage to those who were/are so vulnerable.. ugh

    2. Thats where the Franciscan University is, they sent one friar over from Australia for a “spiritual pilgrimage”, to prevent bond with the child he brought into the world.
      It didn’t work anyway, much to the chargrin of the present Minister provincial, still trying to deny his heir apparent full legal rights, civil of course.
      Canon Law doesn’t award them any at all, just looks good on paper.

  18. This lack of responsibility by the bishops goes back to John Paul 2 through Card. Ratzinger who sent a letter stating that bishops were not to go to civil authorities to report sexual abuse, but, were to handle these issues “discreetly” through church channels, albeit clandestinely.

  19. Very sad to say, but the duplicity of the men who have risen to leadership in the Church of Rome literally knows no bounds. As an example, just before Christmas in 1994, Blessed Pope John Paul The Great wrote a public relations piece, brazenly enough, to “All the Children of the World”. It was at a period of time when vast amounts of information were flowing into him from around the globe about how priests, under his direct control, were whole-scale molesting and raping young children. The Great said not one word about this, until many years later when He was forced to do so. He wrote in the 1994 letter, quote: “As I meditate on the words of this Psalm, the faces of all the world’s children pass before my eyes: from the East to the West, from the North to the South.” It was at a time that he knew. He fully knew the truth of what was happening. He truly was Great — a Great Con Man, a Great Cover Up Artist, and a Great Fraud. They now go back and make up excuses that He, His Holiness, Infallible in ALL MATTERS OF FAITH AND MORALS, made a mistake because he was so holy and had been raised under communism, and it was communism that was evil. Today, its the Muslims that they want us to believe are evil. You know what, we have been jerked around long enough by men who are deceivers.

  20. Mark, well stated! A recent article in NCR this past month states in a lengthy article that the hierarchy in Poland continues to hide predators from civil authorities, and continues to transfer same predators into unsuspecting parishes. Priests have been accused, but, none have served jail time. The Polish hierarchy continues to follow the path of JP “THE GREAT”. Does this sound familiar?

    1. Theresa, The long suffering people of Poland and Portugal and Italy, and many other so called Catholic nations, are so deeply victimized by these conniving, manipulative wolves in sheeps clothing that they don’t know how to get out from under their control. Thank God, the people of Ireland have had the good sense to kick them out, officially. Good riddens. They are sowing their same old tricks on a massive scale under the guise of black robes and fake holiness throughout Africa, Asia, and especially in Polynesia, where there are no rules against sex with children. Next on their agenda is to distract us all through another war with Iran, the middle class will pay for this, while the clergy will surely be praying for your children’s children. The church thinks in centuries, thats always been their excuse for failing to take action. Well, if they wait for another century before admitting women to the priesthood and coming clean on the sexual deviants in their midst, there will be nothing left of it a century from now. I predict that the institution is not capable of the kind of change that must be made, they just can’t, because to do so would end the charade they’ve staked their lives on continuing.

      1. The Catholic Bishops Conference in Australia have invited top Vatican speakers for a series work shops in communicating the gospel.
        You wouldn’t believe that Victoria has been calling for a commission into the dozens of sex-abuse related deaths, going back decades.
        With the number of officials who knew of abusive clergy, moved them around and covered the crimes, they appear not to have a worry in the world.
        I can see where the saying “we’ll roll with the punches” once relayed to me comes into vogue.

  21. Jerry,
    I see similarities here with Penn State in the mentality as far as…….. “we” informed the leadership it is then their responsiblity to report it to the police.That is why the laws have to change with regards to reporting. I think it is this mindset that prevents people from moving a step forward………someone needs to protect these children if leadership fails or covers up.

    1. Beth, you are so right. It is a game played by local legislators and Catholic bishops–make believe we are requiring mandatory reporting, but leave a lot of wiggle room for bishops to slither out.

      Clear mandates can easily be drafted, if one wants to.

      For example, Missouri clearly mandates prompt reporting of child pornographers. Rigali’s protege in KC, Bishop Finn, has been indicted for failing to report a priest who preyed on kids with his camera. Its a start, but clearly not enough.

      We can compel the reporting if we can pressure enough legislators to do their duty.

      1. Jerry, boy are you right….those laws ‘are not enough’ ….the Missouri reporting laws need to be strengthened. Finn is being prosecuted on a misdemeanor charge with a one year jail term and a very minimal fine.

        Marci has been arguing that mandatory clergy reporting laws should be felonys with substantial imprisonment and fiscal fines.

        Needless to say, bishops lobbyists are less than supportive!

      2. Jerry, ‘Great minds etc ‘

        I put in a comment waiting for moderation which cited the CNN piece, another and better local Philly piece and today’s NCR article.

        I suspect we both look at Abuse Tracker….which brings to mind the thought that readers of the C4C blog who are interested in these issues might want to check out Abuse Tracker (just google it).

        It’s a formidable and extremely updated source of data on abuse issues, not only in the US, but worldwide

  22. Jerry, here’s some “wiggle room” for you shortly after the release of the first GJR in September 2005.

    This item is from the Northeast Times (9/29/05), a neighborhood newspaper, shortly after the release of the first Grand Jury Report in September 2005:

    Further, according to an attorney for the archdiocese (Philadelphia), C. Clark Hodgson of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, church officials were not obligated by state law to report sex-abuse cases to civil authorities unless the actual child victim notified the church personally. If the child’s parent filed the complaint with the archdiocese, however, church officials did not have to notify police.

    Seems that Mr. Hodgson doesn’t understand that these young victims of such horror and abuse are controlled, ashamed, terrified and otherwise degraded so that it is very unlikely that anyone would have the courage at that young age to come forward and make the report themselves. But just so that you know that Mr. Hodgson’s work was not appreciated by the local St. Thomas More Society of Philadelphia, he was awarded the 2006 St. Thomas More Award by the local chapter. So that we are clear here, St. Thomas More, an attorney, was martyred because it was his philosophy to uphold the “spirit of the law” instead of the “letter of the law”.

    1. Thanks, Michael, for that revealing 2005 story of the sameful way the Philly AD worked and still works. I expect as a former senior law enforcement official that you would concur that one partial fix here is that every adult who has specific knowledge of child sexual abuse should promptly call the police, who are trained to handle abuse claims independently.

      Forget about calling the Philly AD, which will always have a conflict of interest here. That conflict, outrageously, is almost always resolved in favor of protecting the pedophile priest, not the child.

      Interestingly, Rigali was in charge of the Philly pedophile priest platoon in 2005. He seems to have learned little since then, and now appears hellbent on getting his protege, NY’s Dolan, elected pope. Dolan will likely just give us more of the same shameful protection of the pedophile priest platoon, first, last and always.

      For more on Rigali and Dolan’s papal plan, please see my comment, “Pope Dolan,God Help Us!”, readily accessible by clicking on at:

    2. Thankyou Michael for ilustrating vividly one of the main loopholes that needs/needed to be closed. The “spirit of the law” has been seriously lacking in the catholic church. With the result being destruction of many lives.

    3. Yes Michael and changes to the mandatory reporting law in 2007 came form this type of ‘wiggle room”. The part that always gets me is that just because you “don’t have to” doesn’t mean “you can’t” Big difference. When it comes to children, to fall back on the technicality of a law …is just so wrong in so many ways.

  23. Wait, half of a story isn’t any good; let’s provide the complete debacle from the Ski archives:

    But the Philadelphia St. Thomas More Society was not finished. In 2007, they saw fit to award the Philadelphia 2007 St. Thomas More Society Award to Mark Sargent, Dean of the Villanova Law School (Catholic institution don’t you know). Is this the same Mark Sargent who testified in front of the Delaware State Legislature in opposition to the proposed legislation to adopt a “civil window” to allow abuse victims to follow legal action against their perpetrators? Certainly another example of a member of the Philadelphia archdiocese adhering to the principles and ideals of St. Thomas More.

    Yes, I know how you feel. The next time I watch the classic “A Man for All Seasons” I’ll remember how this wonderful man and saint was dishonored in Philadelphia in the early part of the 21st century.

  24. Jerry, read your NCR blog on Pope Dolan. Just great, informative, instructional and blatantly truthful …. thank you for educating us in all that you report on. What I really enjoyed was the one responder who wrote concerning the POPE Dolan thing: (in the responder’s words) > “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani!”

  25. We all know the budget is tight but Archdiocesan leadership may just want to have the purchasing staff check out this capital expenditure. May turn out to be cost-effective in the long run. If necessary, ask for a review of the purchase order by members of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

      1. Thanks, Joan. The story is quickly spreading. The Philly AD horror story is now international headlines.

        CNN has a video today that even shows the handwritten note confirming Bevilacqua’s document destruction order. It reminds me ofwatching the PBS piece that dramatized the careful records kept by Nazi bureaucrats of Holocaust victims.

        May God forgive them! In the meantime, let us all continue to try to expose them.

        For the CNN video, please click on at:

    1. I thought CNN’s piece was great. I’d like to commend it for staying on this story over the years. It has been particularly vigilant and informative.

      Also… Jerry recommended that the “sensitive” consider stepping aside while the warriors accomplish the less savory tasks that are integral to ending this crisis. However, many of the “sensitive” are able to straddle both “sensitive” and warrior. Vicky is an excellent example. So is SW. Because a person delivers a “sensitive” comment does not mean he or she is ill-equipped to fight. Rather than viewing the two postures as opposing, try viewing them in unity. Whack, bam, boom. That’s my kind of warrior.

      1. Hadit, thanks for that and for all your efforts. If you reread my comment, you will see I suggested victims might best “divert their glance” IF the “warriors’ ” efforts upset them.

        I was reacting to SW’s moving report on how currently her husband is reacting to her reports of the struggle. I wanted to get SW’s guidance. She gave it to me helpfully and gracefully.

        I was worried my aggressive approach, which I believe is necessary with this ruthless hierarchy, might be too upsetting for some C4C bloggers. If so, I would then just concentrate my efforts at NCR, etc., since the last thing I want to do is upset victims.

        Since I first got involved in this struggle two years ago with my initial efforts to prod and/or encourage Hans Kung, Tom Doyle, Richard Sipe, et al., I have seen overwhelming evidence that many victims can be warriors, as well.

      2. Hadit,
        Pardon the slang but “you go girl!!!!!!” A fighting spirit(especially for something so important) is an amazing thing to watch.

  26. Warriors is one way to characterize our efforts, I rather like ‘ truth seekers and staters’.

    There has been so much obfuscation, cover up lies….

    It’s no accident that Kathy and Susan picked the scriptural quote for the home page,

    “Have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.” (Matthew 10:26-27)

  27. Joan and Jerry, many thanks on behalf of all the victims and their families, as well as those who receive support on this blog. “Obfuscation” is a great adjective. I also describe them (Krol, Bevilacqua and Rigali) alliteratively, “soul-soiling and sadistic shepherd/sharks” – you liars, and, in the words of Jesus, “let us vomit you out of our mouths.”

    1. I nominate Theresa to write our post-reform, truly true, revised beyond your wildest imaginations, new-Catholic dictionary.

  28. Hadit and Jerry (and everyone else), 🙂

    The truth shall set us free…

    Whatever it may be and from wherever it comes. What I can offer is the view from a front row seat to what one victim and family have gone through and deal with in regard to clergy abuse. I learn so much from the links, the reading, the digging, the sharing of experiences, the legal slant, the hardball approach, the catholics in the pews who love their church, but most of all, the victims.

    I understood what Jerry meant when he wrote “divert their glance.” I know who I am and what my husband is made of…we are warriors. We walked unchartered territory…held the hierarchy’s feet to the fire and basically, made them dance. It was beautiful and healing for us. It’s not complete though until all children are safe and those who were charged with their keeping are held accountable.

    My husband will share his story with anyone, anywhere, anytime if it means healing for a victim. He does not want to know “details” about abuses, or specifics about the rcc’s mishandling of it. I would imagine it’s similar to driving by an ambulance on the side of the road…for many, they look, they want to see, but they don’t want to see. If, however, you were in an accident and an ambulance was a painful reminder, perhaps, you just don’t want to see it all and you certainly don’t want the person with you to be sharing everything they see as they ride by either.

    I’m blessed to be married to a survivor that can ask for what he needs and encourage me in the fight at the same time. I shared the conversation because I think while everyone is focused on the fight (and rightly so), it’s important to remember that victims are struggling not to take their lives, dealing with addictions, depression, “leftovers” from the abuse, and challenges in navigating marriages, relationships with parents, siblings, friends, bosses, co-workers, and parenting children. These are the intricacies of this mess. Afterall, it’s why the fight is necessary in the first place…so no child has to endure what so many victims are living with today. It’s not enough just to want to nail the rcc hierarchy to the wall…it’s a good idea to know why you’re in the fight to begin with.

    Jerry, your approach is necessary, as is the approach of entire legal teams, prayer warriors, politicians, researchers (Joan and Hadit to name just two), the expertise of child psychologists, bloggers, media coverage, and victims sharing their stories.

    I agree, Hadit, I’m in a unique situation, but not alone in how I feel. May others know their perspective is welcomed and valuable here too. Telling the truth is all any of us can do…it will be what heals us all.

    I believe the victims.

      1. “it’s a good idea to know why you’re in the fight to begin with.” SW Feb 28 2012

        SW your input and that of others, victims and family members is why I research and cite!

        I don’t want another child hurt anywhere, by clergy. I don’t want another ‘clerical manager’ ever again passing on predators.

        I want this appalling mess to end.

        And, as a justice issue, I want every complicit clergyman in jail, I want very tough reporting requirements, I want tough child endangerment legislation, I want SOLs windows open for the just reimbursement of those the church has singed against.

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