Waiting for Priest Removal Announcement


Click here to read: “Fates of suspended priests still in limbo,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6, 2012

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50 Responses to “Waiting for Priest Removal Announcement”

  1. Always good to see our own Susan quoted in news stories, and this cite mentioned!

    A Fr. Chris appearance as well! Congratulations for courageously articulating your own frustration with “no news on the 27.”

    • “Joe Maher, a Detroit businessman who runs a national support network for priests, said some of the suspended clerics had told him they hoped to meet privately with Chaput before he decided their fates. According to Maher, those priests requests’ have gone unheeded. They don’t know what to expect next, or when.”

      We were discussing the ‘suspended priests” matter in a previous post, in the last few days, and here the subject is as a key post subject. (thanks to John Martin and the Inquirer).

      I was struck be Fr Chris’s remarks, and frustration. Also remember that the Philly Priests Association came into being in part because local priests wanted more information than they could get from the AD.

      So, not much has changed.

      Gina Smith has been investigating the matter for many months, apparently some of the priests have received psychological assessment and some have been evaluated by civil authorities.

      In fairness to them, if they have been cleared, they should be reinstated, if not that should be reported too. This deathly silence serves no one well.

      • This is where some clergy are going to be scapegoats. OK, many of them are intrisicaly evil formed in a culture silence, obedience and God knows what. Yet if allowed to plead guilty to crimes outside that square, the formatiom could be taken into account, but they are not permitted to.
        It gets back to the bishops, who are their fathers in religious life.
        Who out of us as parents, would allow our children to carry such burdens, hoping they will never be brought to account for what they have done wrong in secret. Not one of us who are worthy of the responsability to care for those to whom God has given us.

      • Joan,

        Be very wary when the Catholic church says a preist is safe. Msgr Lynn admitted in the grand jury report that they used to ask them if they were a pedophile, and if they said no, that was enough. One priest was not classified as a pedophile because he had sex with women and children.

        In Kansas City, a priest last year named Fr Ratigan was not classified as a pedophile by the psychiatrist that Bishop Finn picked to evaluate Ratigan. However, Ratigan definitely took pictures up the skirts of little girls, and had dozens of those photos on his computer. He asked children to reach into his pants for change and candy. His computer was riddled with child porn, including a staged striptease of a 2 year old out of a diaper until she was completely naked.

        The archdiocese didn’t report it to the police, but lied to a police friend in an effort to see what they could hide without definite criminal culpability. They did so by asking the police friend if a single picture of a naked 2 year old was considered child porn.

        That’s like me asking if its ok for Fr Pat McCormick to drive if he’s had one beer, when I know he’s had 10 beers and a joint before that one beer.

        Ultimately, you know you can’t trust the Catholic church with the truth or with children. You can smile and laugh to yourself when they tell you something because you know they are lying to your face and just waiting to go get it absolved in confession.

        However, you are completely on your own protecting your kids. Every parent should send their kid to a Catholic church or school with a bodyguard who isn’t Catholic.

      • Absolutely no arguement Patrick, which is why I went and dug out an analysis of THOSE “REVIEW ” boards. (see below)

      • Why has the new archbishop failed to meet with his “suspended priests”? How many times have I heard bishops tell their priests that they are the most important resource he has…yeah, right!

  2. This article mentions Fr. Andy McCormick any relation to Fr.Pat McCormick……….the last name jumped out at me although it is a more common name.

    • Beth I can speak as an Irish Catholic in Philadelphia that the last name “McCormick” is probably more common than “Smith” 🙂

  3. The voices of the priests of the Archdiocese are as silent as ever. They don’t dare say anything the archbishop might take issue with so what does that say about them?

    “Judgment day is approaching for Archdiocese’s facilitators & enablers,”

    Philadelphia Daily News Opinion Piece by Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, 02/09/2012

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/138977774.html

    “Catholic Church Fights to Kill PA’s Statute of Limitation Reform,”

    Philadelphia Weekly cover story by Tara Murtha, 02/08/2012.

    http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/cover-story/138884039.html

    “How much is Lynn case costing?”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20120221_Letters_to_the_Editor.html

    “Shame on Bishop Malooly for his ‘support’ of monsignors,”

    http://www.delawareonline.com/comments/article/20120228/OPINION10/120227066/Shame-bishop-his-support-monsignors

    • Sister Maureen,

      If there is anyone on this site more disturbed than you about the pervasive silence of priests, it is I.

      Say a priest from the AD of Philadelphia confided in you. He wants to affect the crisis. He wants to exert his conscience. He is determined to act as a person with integrity. At the same time, ideally, he wants to remain being a priest.

      He asks you for practical guidance. What concrete choices does he have? Were you him, what would you do?

  4. Lent is our time for serious reflection on how we can grow and become loving people in our world. This season is not simply a time of penance but rather a time to look deeply into our hearts and find there the meaning of what we should be about. The gospel of today, Matthew 23:1-12, presents Jesus challenging the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus tells his followers ” listen and observe” but do not follow their example. They preach but do not practice….They tie up heavy burdens for people to carry … They love places of honor.. and greetings and the salutation “monsignor or your excellency”…” but then, here is the real point of Jesus’ discourse.. “Do not be called Rabbi..or Father… or Master.. whoever exalts the self will be humbled..whoever humbles the self will be exalted”. Judy Canato in her book Quantum Grace (Lenten reflection) has a great meditation for these daily reading, closing with “the greatest of you must be your servant”. Are we really seeing that spirit of the Gospel played out here in this moment of crisis for the community of faith???

    • Thanks, John, for reminding us what the Real One said. In our struggle to enhance His message in the current Church, it is easy to overlook precisely what His message is,

    • Rev. Wintermyer,

      No, we are not seeing that spirit of the Gospel being played out in this moment of crisis. However, it is ironic, fascinating and powerfully enriching spiritually to see how the misappropriated arrogance among the Rabbis has not unanchored the faithful. In rising up against the Rabbis, the faithful become Gospel scribes, themselves, in effect rewriting Matthew 23:1-12. Were we to fail to respond to the Rabbis, today’s Gospel message would be dead and powerless. In responding, we bring it to life. Nothing adds more to the breadth and relevance of a Gospel passage than when the faithful enliven it.

      • OK Hadit…for a bit of ‘enlivening’.

        Another quote from the Inquirer article is as follows:

        “Some priests on leave have sat for psychological tests and multiple interviews with lawyers and investigators, according to people close to the process who asked not to be identified discussing it. Others have been under review by county or city prosecutors.

        After Smith’s team finishes reports on each priest, the evidence in each case is expected to be weighed by the archdiocesan review board. That board tells the archbishop whether it considers the allegations substantiated and recommends actions.”

        About diocesesan REVIEW BOARDS, a creation of the bishops, in the Dallas Charter in 2002.

        Many commenters on C4C have critiqued them heavily. SW says they are a sham, Jerry says they are designed to protect bishops not children. In KC, the bishop did not turn over porn to authorities, because no one reported a crime to him. In the PA Grand Jury reports for 2005 and 2011, the panel members were very critical of the process.

        AND now, in Philly….they are again going to advise the AB relative to Gina’s findings, whether allegations against “suspended priests” are “substantiated”.

        Perhaps this time, because of the notoriety of the cases, the Review Board be effective. Perhaps not. The problem is, we will never know.

    • Father Wintermyer, Thank you. You must be a very spiritual man to get what the TRUE message of God is. In the scriptures you quote that is the message, pure and simple. If only they [priests] had followed this truth, so many children would not be hurting. Humility can not be present when their is ego and pride.To know God’s basic message, is simply to be humble. I request of you Father, as a survivor of priest sexual abuse, that during this most difficult time, please keep me and all survivors in your prayer.

  5. I wouldn’t trust any recommendation from a review board. The bishop has the final say anyway. The review board is only as effective as the archbishop running the AD. Should you trust your AD Review Board to determine the safety and protection of your children given their track record thus far?

    I believe the victims.

    • SW, I know you know a lot about Review Boards, and there are many new bloggers on C4C. Would it be too much to ask you to explain their limitations….( Review Boards, NOT new bloggers).

      • Joan,

        There are many facets to the process, but essentially, it’s an inner-looping system without much accountability. I believe it’s Deidre who said “whatever suits the church” is what they do. In the infamous words of a chancellor, “My bishop answers to God and the Pope and he will not be intimidated by the demands of victims.”

        The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) created the National Review Board.

        The National Review Board page:
        http://www.usccb.org/about/child-and-youth-protection/the-national-review-board.cfm

        Child and Youth Protection Committee:
        http://www.usccb.org/about/child-and-youth-protection/

        Anyone can read the links…but I can bottom line it for others who may not have time. ***Disclaimer: The following is my understanding of things, based on the research I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had, both with diocesan review boards as well as the National Review Board.

        The National Review Board (again in a nutshell) oversees and advises the implementation of the Charter in dioceses. They gather information, conduct audits and review reports, policies and practices for the Office of Child and Youth Protection (OCYP). The Charter (Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People) is simply the Catholic Church’s policies and guidelines about how to handle victims when they come forward and how to protect future children from abuse within the Church.

        (Where’s Hadit, Joan and Jerry to give us all the right words?) Sorry, folks, you’re stuck with me.

        At the diocesan level, there are review boards as well. They are to implement the Charter and report to the National Review Board of how they are implementing the policies and practices.

        There are some good aspects to the Charter and the purpose of the Review Board…but, I’ll just cut to the chase about the loopholes. Let’s pretend you have an honest bishop. An allegation of suspected clergy abuse has been brought to their attention. T

        he Charter outlines exactly what they are to do and they do it. They follow all the proper procedures. The Review Board would be made aware of the situation and they review and advise the diocese (bishop)on how the Charter is to be implemented (based on the information they’ve been given about the situation). They, essentially, are the hall monitors. Hall monitors with experience and titles and expertise (we hope). If that honest bishop makes a mistake in handling things, the Review Board would (should) advise the bishop to correct the mistake.

        You see where I’m going with this?

        Pretend you have a dishonest bishop. A bishop that wants to uphold their image, doesn’t like to be told what to do, withholds information from the Review Board because they have already “handled” the situation, or is use to doing things a certain way…layer it all with some clericalism. (There are many ways a dishonest bishop can operate here).

        A Review Board can advise all they want, but if they don’t have a full picture, are fed information that isn’t complete, or are heavily influenced by a bishop, then they are only as good as the bishop they are working under.

        In the link…see who the review board answers to. The bishop has final say.

        Points worth noting…The Review Board members are appointed by the hierarchy. Audits are self-reporting. Do you suppose bishops appoint members to a board that will challenge them or buck the system?

        In our situation, a review board didn’t have a clue what was even being said to them. They went along with whatever the bishop (and chancellor) suggested because they didn’t have all the pieces. The victims advocate was inept and couldn’t articulate what abuse my husband suffered. She ended up crying to my husband about how she was asked not to contact him (my husband) after the review board’s final meeting. She didn’t know what to do because what they were asking her to do was immoral and unethical as a victim’s advocate. She had already given my husband “too much information.”

        Names of the review boards members should be public.

      • SW that was exactly what I hoped you would do, post wise, I can dig out the technical stuff, but you have been there and express yourself, oh so well. And right now, in Philly as folks will have to depend to some degree on THEIR Review Board…it’s good that they understand the process AND the loop holes.

      • Way to go, SW! Nice work.

        Today, I read an article from the Catholic News Service. It explored 6 Review Boards from around the country, speaking with various members of the Boards. All of the members attested to a good experience, meaning they believed they had accomplished the Boards’ objectives, and that diocesan officials had cooperated. (In a separate story, I read that the head of the Board in Finn’s diocese resigned last month without saying why.)

        Is the Catholic News Service monitored by the Vatican? I assume it is. Clearly, then, it would confine itself to exploring Review Boards in a positive light. Can anyone cite articles attesting to Review Board “atrocities”?

      • Hadit, Catholic News Service is would, of course, try to repair the image of Review Boards..ugh!

      • Hadit…from the CNS home page:

        While created in 1920 by the bishops of the United States, CNS is editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. CNS is staffed by trained, professional journalists; all eligible nonmanagement staffers are members of The Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America.

      • Hadit, get the trial depositions of the thousands of abuse claims, that have been ajudicated….there I think you will find the story throughout the US of treatment of victims by dioceses, their attorneys, investigators, Review Boards et al.

        It is no accident that responsible groups protecting children, SNAP, Sipe, Jenkins Doyle, all say the same thing. If you are abused do NOT go to the Church, go to civil authorities.

        There is a very fundamental conflict of interest between victims and Church authorities.

      • Joan, I understand why they would tell people to go to civil authorities but it gets complicated when the crimes are past the point of prosecution and sometimes the only penalty that will happen is the priest being suspended/removed from ministry .Just like what happend in Philly with the suspended 26 priests -law enforcement could not do anything about this other than to “call out” the AD to do the right thing.
        And these boundary issues that are so important. For example texting a minor is not against the law but can be a violation of Church /Archdiocesan policy -not a matter the police can do much about. In some situations in order for a priest to be suspended from ministry there has to be a report to the Diocese because some of these boundary violations are not criminal (although creepy) and some of the abuse past the statutes. What a no win situation at times.

      • Thanks for the info, Joan.

        I’ve gotten to the point where I automatically write off as credible anything that the hierarchy touches… including its Review Boards. 100% it is responsible for putting me in that mental place. I’m not a natural born cynic. Wasn’t it St. Catherine of Siena who could smell the stench of clergy within a 5,000 mile radius? No wonder she’s my patron saint!

      • Hadit and Joan,
        I don’t doubt there is positive feedback from those serving on Review Boards. They are volunteers…appointed by clergy to serve. The lay people serving are doing what they were appointed to do. Even with a corrupt bishop, I would imagine many serving on the review board would have positive feedback about the functions they performed.

        It’s the process that has to be examined. The information they receive is filtered through the bishop. They are advisory only. There are no consequences for a that overrides the recommendation of the review board. There is the self-reporting audit, and a diocese can be “written up” for non-compliance with the Charter. But again, the audit is self-reporting…they can report they contacted a victim (as outlined by the Charter), but that contact may have been to bully.

      • It should have read: “There are no consequences for a bishop that overrides the recommendation of the review board.”

        I repeat…a review board is only as effective as the integrity of the bishop they serve.

      • Kathy….I should have qualified my remarks about contacting law enforcement first…I think the qualification might be if recently abused…

        Along with a whole bunch of 2011 Grand Jury recommendations to the AD to clean up its act, relative to their handling of abuse issues, there is this statement, initially, when you go to the top of this page to the RESOURCES section and highlight 2011 Grand Jury Report,

        “From 1992 until 2004, Msgr. Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children and for recommending appropriate action to ensure that priests could not reoffend. The Grand Jury found that Msgr. Lynn endangered children, including the victims in these most recent cases, by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in ministry.

        The Grand Jury also issued a report that summarizes its investigation and findings. The report recommended that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia overhaul its procedures for assisting victims and for removing from ministry priests accused of molesting minors. The Grand Jury encouraged victims to report their abuse first to law enforcement.”

      • SW, I meant to go back and thank you, yet again for your input regarding diocesan ‘Review Boards’ and look, again and seriously, at the ‘self reporting’ role on abuse issues, of dioceses relative to their USCCB National Review Board.

        I have raised kids, as I think most of have. When it gets to self reporting (especially when the issues are very serious) much as I love my family, I observe the Reagan admonition, ie ‘trust but verify.’So here goes:

        The bishops created the Dallas Charter, at a time of vast national media attention. If memory serves, I think the Dallas Morning News greeted the bishops as they arrived in town with a newspaper foldout detailing many many US bishops track record on these issues. I believe the Dallas Morning News had assigned staff to thoroughly research these matters.

        I say all this, because I personally think the Charter that was produced in Dallas was a desperate effort on the part of assailed bishops and bears a close resemblance to Swiss cheese. ( SW, You used the word loophole riddled.)

        The ‘self reporting’ as to abuse issues, part of the Charter is a classic example. The truth is ‘what I say it is, say the individual bishops to their National Review Board. ‘

        We have heard, repeatedly from national USCCB leadership, that the abuse problem is solved and the Charter works. I cringe when I hear that, and yet uninformed Catholics probably ‘buy it’.

        If ever there was a moment of accountability on the ‘self reporting’ style of dioceses to the national Review Board it is right now in Philly. And we can thank the 2005 Grand Jury. The archdiocese under Bev and others had been consistently reporting their total compliance to the USCCB National Review board relative to the safety of children. That was UNTIL the 2005 GJ report was released noting the 63 priests that concerned the grand jury A LOT.

        And sadly, I don’t think these issues are limited to this AD. (And I can hear you SW, saying what difference does it make if they misrepresent the situation?….there’s no ‘in house’ penalties anyway.)

        Just some thoughts!

      • Joan you said, ” We have heard, repeatedly from national USCCB leadership, that the abuse problem is solved and the Charter works. I cringe when I hear that, and yet uninformed Catholics probably ‘buy it’”

        I think because they created it and want it to work…they deem it a success.

        However, I don’t want people to think nothing works either. I think there are dioceses out there that are doing this right. The problem is people will not be able to tell the difference between a good bishop and a corrupt bishop or whether or not the process if authentic or not.

        Why is this critical to Philly right now? Because the whole PROCESS FAILED. If it had worked, then a Grand Jury Report of 2005 and 2011 wouldn’t have been needed in order to pressure the AD to suspend those priests. Philly Catholics have all the information they need to determine how the process works with the people in charge.

        Their first question has to be, “Do i trust the Archbishop? They can quit hanging their hopes on a Review Board, because they already have proofed it FAILED. They have to look at their Archbishop and ask themselves if they trust his judgement and level of integrity.

        Just a little food for thought here. If you were a corrupt bishop and you had to create a policy (Charter, in this case), that created rules to tell priests and bishops how to handle the whole mess…would you include consequences for those who didn’t follow policy?

        I believe the victims.

      • I wanted to add to this statement I made, “The problem is people will not be able to tell the difference between a good bishop and a corrupt bishop or whether or not the process is authentic or not.”

        People will not be able to differentiate if the process is working until it fails. By that time, there are already too many children who weren’t protected AND too many victims that have been re-victimized by the church again.

        There must be consequences (severe) from an outside auditer in order to make the process effective.

      • SW, doesn’t an ‘outside auditor’ depend on the bishop for the original data?

      • There is no such thing as an outside auditor at this point. It doesn’t exist.

        The people who created the Charter would have to hire an independent entity to audit the implementation of the Charter. Instead they created their own system with no accountability or transparency.

        The assumption is if an independent outside auditor came in, they would have access to every file, including the secret files. I don’t have much hope for this area to change, do you? It takes hundreds of thousands of dollars, entire defense teams and court orders to turn over the secret files…and even then, they may not be complete.

        What i really want catholic parents to know is (and their hierarchy has put thim in this position)….it’s all on them. Except they don’t have all the information they need in order to protect their own children.

    • If the board does not know about the other “papers in the safe” so to speak how are they to make an informed decision? Archbishop Chaput going to give them a map and the keys this time?

    • Joan I agree,I was a little unclear in my comment. What I meant was even when reported to law enforcement because of other factors sometimes the only penalties that exist will come from decisions inside the church because of statutes and boundary issues which are not necessarily crimes. Still report to civil authorities regardless.

  6. The ‘fates of priests are still in limbo’ and the lives of the VICTIMS are in hell !

  7. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply March 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Change the name from Review Board to Review Bored.

    Another example of the waste of parishioners’ contributions.

  8. Iam on a bit of a crusade today on the subject of diocesan Review Boards. Here is a a portion of a recent evaluation and the link for the whole article.

    http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/citizen/words-are-not-enough-what-catholic-needs/

    Civilian Review?
    The Dallas Charter recommended that civilian review boards advise the diocese on cases of suspected clergy sexual abuse of children. A national review board was established, but the first chairman, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, quit, complaining about suppression of information, obfuscation, and resistance to civilian review by church officials. At every local diocese a review board is appointed by the bishop and is created to advise the bishop. Close examination reveals that these boards are highly constructed by the bishop: canon (religious) lawyers are appointed by the bishop, the investigators and interviewers are picked by the bishop. In addition, the bishop decides what accusations are passed on to the board, and the bishop controls the subsequent information passed to the board, such as personal records possibly showing past behavior problems. Even then there is no assurance that the bishop will even take the advice of the review board. Lastly, there is significant ambiguity about what and when accusations get reported to the police and child protective agencies. Bishop Walsh of Santa Rosa was famous for knowing of child abuse by a priest and that priest’s coming arrest, he warned the priest so he could escape to Mexico.
    Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/13sqg)

  9. While the longer piece on diocesan Review Boards is waiting to be moderated, I pulled this quote out relative to these boards as the issue is very timely in the AD.

    “Close examination reveals that these boards are highly constructed by the bishop: canon (religious) lawyers are appointed by the bishop, the investigators and interviewers are picked by the bishop. In addition, the bishop decides what accusations are passed on to the board, and the bishop controls the subsequent information passed to the board, such as personal records possibly showing past behavior problems. Even then there is no assurance that the bishop will even take the advice of the review board. Lastly, there is significant ambiguity about what and when accusations get reported to the police and child protective agencies. Bishop Walsh of Santa Rosa was famous for knowing of child abuse by a priest and that priest’s coming arrest, he warned the priest so he could escape to Mexico.”

  10. AP York Dispatch, today, commenting on the the Review Board issues and “suspended priests”, and the findings of the Grand Jury reports in 2005 and 2011:

    The report accused the archdiocese of failing to weed out potential predators even after the first grand jury report in 2005 had blasted the archdiocese for protecting 63 accused child molesters over several decades. The 2011 report found that at least 41 accused priests remained in active ministry from 2005 to 2010. The complaints ranged from sexual abuse to molestation to “boundary issues” involving children.
    Prosecutors said the archdiocese’s internal review board created in the wake of the priest-abuse scandal “finds allegations ‘unsubstantiated’ even when there is very convincing evidence that the accusations are true,'” the 2011 grand jury noted. That claim prompted the archdiocese to hire former Philadelphia prosecutor Gina Maisto Smith to review complaints involving active priests. Those priests were suspended, pending completion of her work.
    Smith did not return a phone call Tuesday.

  11. Hand picked by the bishop to challenge the bishop? Not going to happen.

    This is why children aren’t safe. There are no “teeth” for errant bishops.

  12. Kathy, this has been an issue here in Australia too, on record if the time to look it up on the net. But many retain a sense of loyality to their Faith, not the church. And the alternative processes does make it an inhouse issue. limited restitution is made, with no civil convictions, with confidentialities attatched until recent times and most go back into ministry after taking “Admin leave, several hundred of them if my memory serves me right.
    This is a big topic at the moment, among others of course.
    What interests me, I did a Marriage Celebrants course, to become registered, an applicant has to proven a “Fit and Proper Person. Ministers [clergy] of Recognised Denominations are agents of the commonwealth according to the Marriage Act, and clergy who have pleaded guilty to church processes are not recorded by civil law.
    This needs to be looked at by the Federal Attorney General.
    I wonder how the system works over there.

  13. SW, I had not realized just how relevant the 2011 Grand Jury recommendations to the Archdiocese were till I went back and reread them…they very much speak to what we have been blogging about…take a special look at comments on Bishop Senior.

    • Fund a victim assistance program that is independent of the Archdiocese and its lawyers.
    Our observations of two victims’ experiences with the Archdiocese’s victims assistance program are sufficient to convince us that the program needs to be completely overhauled and removed from the control of the Archdiocese…..conflicts of interest are unavoidable. Victims of sexual abuse suffer today from the assistance coordinators’ split loyalties.
    The Archdiocese should either refer victims to the already existing Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program, and then reimburse the program for aid that it provides to people harmed by Archdiocese employees, or it should fund an independent nonprofit that would administer assistance to the victims.
    The important element would be complete separation between the people who administer the program and the abusedPp117

    • Revise the Review Board process so that credibly accused priests are removed from ministry.
    This recommendation is simple: The Archdiocese must revise its review process to assure that the church hierarchy credits and acts on credible allegations. The cases we reviewed reveal a process that reaches the wrong result in the vast majority of cases. Victim assistance coordinator Louise Hagner told the Grand Jury that, out of all the victims she has interviewed, there have been only two whose credibility she even questioned. Yet Bishop Senior rattled off a whole list of priests the Review Board has cleared for continued ministry by finding allegations against them unsubstantiated.
    118 S

    • Conduct the review process in a more open and transparent manner.
    If the Archdiocese wants to change the public’s perception and regain the trust of
    parishioners, it should be more honest and open with the public. We saw situations in which the Archdiocese told the public that it cannot conduct an investigation because it did not know the identity of a victim. Yet we saw in their documents that they did.
    We believe the Archdiocese should make public its files on sexual abuse ….At the very least, parishioners deserve to know whenever an allegation of abuse is made against their priest. If the priest is cleared following an investigation, the reasons, along with the evidence, should be shared with the parish. 

    • Joan, the last recommendation will be important with the decisions of the suspended priests. If a priest is cleared, all info about the allegation and how it was determined to be unsubstantiated/not credible should be public. If I was a “cleared” priest I would actually demand this be done so that no questions lingered .

      • Kathy, what shocked me was this part relative to a Bishop and credibly accused priests..’suspended or other wise’

        . Victim assistance coordinator Louise Hagner told the Grand Jury that, out of all the victims she has interviewed, there have been only two whose credibility she even questioned. Yet Bishop Senior rattled off a whole list of priests the Review Board has cleared for continued ministry by finding allegations against them unsubstantiated.

      • “Unsubstantiated” means…

        Bishop: Accused Priest, did you sexually abuse this minor?

        Accused Priest: No.

        Bishop: Ok.

        I’m reaching a boiling point given all the evidence the pew catholics have been given and then fail to ACT on. It leads others to believe they must not place their children as a higher priority than the priest. I’m about to go “Patrick” on everyone. 🙂 Said with the utmost respect for Patrick.

      • survivors wife, I hope you know what I meant. If there is a process then make it public,make the reasons it was unsubstantiated public,what is the process Gina Maisto Smith and her team are using. If it is not made public then again-who knows? Was any criminal investigation by law enforcement involved? That would matter to me.
        Don’t go rogue on us 😉 we need your always informative,reasoned input. I have learned more from you in your passionate but calm manner than probably any other source over the past year.
        Joan I had already read that excerpt many times ,I can see why you were shocked.

  14. And here are the opening remarks of the 2011 Grand Jury when making recommendations to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding Review Boards et al….(and SW I sure do not want to cause you pain….but folks in Philly really need to understand this, and I fear they won’t go up to the RESOURCES link…so I am bringing it to them

    Recommendations of the Grand Jury 2011
    This Grand Jury’s investigation and conclusions need to be considered, we believe, in light of the findings of the 2005 grand jury that also probed abuse of minors by clergy in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The earlier grand jury documented the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by at least 63 priests in the Archdiocese. “We have no doubt,” the jurors said, “that there were many more.”
    Yet, as terrible as all that criminal depravity was, the grand jurors were just as appalled by the cynical and callous handling of clergy abuse by the Philadelphia Archdiocese hierarchy, up to and including the Cardinal. The 2005 grand jury report described how church officials conducted non-investigations that predictably failed to establish priests’ guilt; how they transferred known abusers to parishes where their reputations were not known; how they successfully avoided involvement by law enforcement; and how they used investigations and intimidation to silence victims and fend off lawsuits.
    The report noted that church officials’ strategies for handling child sex-abuse cases had the effect of multiplying the numbers of victims and increasing the harm they suffered. “As abuse reports grew,” the jurors observed, “the Archdiocese chose to call in the lawyers rather than confront the abusers.”P111

    We implore Cardinal Rigali and his staff to review all of the old allegations against currently active priests, and to remove from ministry all of the priests with credible allegations against them. By the Archdiocese’s own account, at least 37 priests
    remain in ministry despite reports that they have engaged in improper behavior with minors. That should not be acceptable to anyone. pp119 120

    …….We do not know if the members of the Archdiocesan Review Board are not objective, or if someone has instructed them that the standard of proof is absolute certainty, or if they are considering factors that have nothing to do with whether or not a priest committed the offense alleged. Whatever the reason, their decisions appear devoid of common sense. The Review Board currently betrays victims who muster the courage to come forward with allegations. It approves retention in the ministry of serial child molesters. No Archdiocesan official should be accepting the board’s recommendations
    P119

  15. I’m saying all of this in jest…Kathy and Joan. I’m not “hurt,” by anyone sharing something that’s the truth, no matter how ugly it may be.

    I knew exactly what you meant too Kathy…transparency, no matter what.

    If you couldn’t tell already, I tend to “bottom line” things…take complicated issues, complexities in systems and boil it down so I can digest it and act accordingly. Cut to the chase.

    So, I’ll cut to the chase. Catholic children aren’t safe in Philly with the systems they have in place.

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