Word on Suspended Priests Coming Soon


Click here to read: “Archdiocese’s review of suspended priests nearing end, Chaput says,” by John Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 9, 2012

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93 Responses to “Word on Suspended Priests Coming Soon”

  1. It will be interesting to see if we can figure out any reasonable explanation for why this has taken so long. I assume the AD would say it has to be careful to protect the privacy of those involved, so what redactions there are may be weighed to see if that seems to be true. Realistically, however, we may never know, even if we think we can figure it out, and the lack of a persuasive explanation only feeds a natural skepticism, especially in light of past history.

  2. Kathy made the point recently that any ‘cleared priest’ would want the full facts disclosed to his congregation. One of the 2011 Grand Jury recommendations to the Archdiocese was full disclosure of the factS, see below:

    • 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 allegations, including any “secret archive files.” This should be done in a way to protect the privacy of the victim. 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.

    • “If the Archdiocese wants to change the public’s perception and regain the trust of parishioners”…………..This has got to be the BIGGEST “IF” out there,,TRUST….NO one in the office of the Philadelphia AD should be trusted. Trust is something one has to earn and from the pew I sit in these “gentlemen” should be run out of town…

    • The diocesan spokesperson was quoted in an earlier Inquirer article as follows:

      ” As they have done for months, archdiocesan officials declined last week to discuss the priests or their review. Donna Farrell, a spokeswoman for Chaput, said to do so would violate a gag order issued by the judge overseeing the forthcoming trial of two priests and a former priest. (The archdiocese is not a defendant, but many of its employees and priests could be witnesses.)

      If the judge OKs the release of info regarding these priests, I assume the judge would not limit the AD in its full disclosure to congregations regarding the facts that had been considered and resolved. I think ‘cleared priests’ deserve that disclosure.

  3. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply March 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    “…Justice requires a resolution of these men’s circumstances….”
    (priests on administrative leave)

    Justice requires a resolution of the archdiocesan abuse victims circumstances as well, Archbishop Chaput.

  4. WR, also included in “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” > Krol, Bevil, Rigali, Lynn, ….. and, on and on and on …..

  5. Please pardon me if I interject some Lenten reflections on this site. The Gospel reading for today is Luke:16: 19-31 the parable of the vineyard as the property owner sends his servants and his son to find out what is happening to the vineyard. Judy Cannato writes (Quantum Grace) ” the Parable is about religious leaders who have failed to understand the responsibilities entrusted to them.” In the next paragraph she writes ” Those who live in a mode of protection and defense are incapable of dreams, for dreams entail the risk of leaving the secure in order to aim for the possible.” (p.72) Judy sees Jesus as the Master Dreamer. His words and message challenge all the stereotypes of religious thought, not just of his moment in history, but also the baggage we carry in our own religious lives. The tragedy of all this trial is just the reality that simply telling the truth solves all the problems. No need for lawyers, no need for trials. Please can someone in the AD just tell the real truth not some fabrication nor some confabulation eroding the trust of the people, the church of Philadelphia.
    The religious leaders of old did not want to hear what Jesus really had to say. It appears that the religious leaders today are in the same mode and simply by passing the whole message of Jesus, particularly to message about protecting the innocent little ones.

  6. More lies, and still more pending. But then, how else would we expect entitled, spoiled, mommy’s boys to handle such a disgrace?

    Thumbs up to jeannie guzman comments on this.

  7. “…Justice requires a resolution of these men’s circumstances….”
    (priests on administrative leave) To add to Michael’s comment ..Justice requires a resolution for the children of the parishes of which these suspended priests were stationed.

    I can predict what will happen. Some priests will be cleared, the focus of people’s attention will be on the priest that are cleared. The priests that are found to have been a danger to children but still in ministry up until last year -no one will have much to say about that although children at those parishes children could have been at risk.

    • Kathy,

      I am most concerned that parishioners will TRUST whatever recommendations/decisions come from the AD and their children still won’t be safe.

    • Will they even go back to parishes? I can’t imagine all parishioners would feel the same way -one way or the other. I know when the suspensions first happened people from the affected parishes were weighing in on both sides -should have been suspended -should not have been suspended.

      • Kathy, even with full disclosure to the congregation…you don’t think reinstatement would work?

      • Joan, I can only speak for myself that the only way I would feel satisfied is if a person accused of harming a child was tried in criminal court with all the evidence open to the public.

      • So, Kathy if I understand you correctly, you don’t buy the ‘Cleared’ deal? Which I certainly can understand!

      • I dont understand how or why someone would be cleared. I say I don’t understand because I have no idea of the allegations, the process of investigation or decision making. If I was accused of harming a child I would want to be tried in criminal court with a judge, jury,and evidence open to the public so that when I was found not guilty -no questions would linger about me or my case.
        Joan ,like most in Philly,I do not even understand the individual reasons these men were suspended -we were told the charges varied from boundary violations to actual allegations of sexual abuse and we should not treat them with the same “broad brush”

      • Kathy,

        Aren’t these the priests from the two grand jury reports? If you want to read what they “allegedly” did, read those. If you want to find ot what they really did, its worse.

      • No -only three of the suspended priest cases were in the 2011 report as examples of priests left in ministry who had allegations. The cases in the 2005 GJ report-most of those priests have either died,been laicized or sent to lives of “prayer and repentance”. Many on the list of suspended 26 were not known to parishioners of having any allegations.

      • The three “cases” I mention from the 2011 GJ report are not the three priests who will be on trial. These three priests whose cases were “highlighted” in the 2011GJ report are examples of priests still in ministry with allegations- they were still in their parishes at the time of the report. I am surprised you hadn’t already cross checked the names of the suspended priests with the previous grand jury reports.

    • I read an article by Vinnie Nauheimer a US campaigner on the John Jay College Criminal Justice Report and folllowed the links. I can see the USBC sway in all this. I also recoiled when reading about the North American Man-Boy Love Association, one of the first proponents being notorious Fr John Shandly. The John Jay Report confirming a number of priests decided to follow the path and engage in sex with children. Where are these clergy today and is there a connection: if none, the attitude of some of the bishops definately is. It also somewhere on a link, touchs on the need of changing of a legislation, apparently the practice is well embedded within certain sections of society.
      You can’t change the world, I know.

      • L. Newington,

        Its actually Fr Paul Shanley from Boston, and there have been plenty of others, like Father Van B of the Netherlands, and Bishop Vangheluwe of Belgium.

        And don’t think you can’t change the world. The world changed in the last 5 days, and everyone will see it within a week.

        A viral video has been spreading about a guy named Joseph Kony, probably the most evil man on earth. Its been viewed at an unprecedented rate at 15 million views per day, because its a compelling story about evil and about children.

        They are aiming to have a special day to make him the famous as the face of evil on April 20th. I can almost guarantee he’ll be dead or captured by then.

        Apologists – don’t even start. I’m not saying the Catholic church is as bad as Kony. However, this story shows that if a handful of people expose calculated evil against children, and they have the truth and God behind them, evil can be brought to justice.

      • I saw the Kony video also. You are an expert in social media -put something together. It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself Catholic anymore-the guy who did the Kony video wasn’t African.

      • Great youtube posting about Kony 2012.

        There is so much that struck me about it…

        but one thing that resonated was…”First, to rescue our children and second, to deliver justice.”

      • Kathy,

        I have been workign on a video project with SNAP and the Enough Abuse campaign, but it depends on survivors coming forward and being on camera, and the dozens I’ve talked to aren’t ready yet,

        Once the first 50 are done, the next 5000 will be easy, and the goal is to show one story every day. WIth the current known survivors, that would take about 40 years, and that’s just with the current known ones.

        And remember, the guy who is doing the Kony campaing has a $13 million a year budget, which makes a lot of thing easier.

  8. Is Donna Farrell any relation to Bishop Farrell in Dallas? Anyone know this?

    • I think Donna is a local Philadelphian -not sure of any relation. I always try to be fair and I will say that Donna has treated Susan and I with the most respect over the past year.

  9. I have a lot of respect for Bishop Farrell. It’s why I wondered.

  10. Bishop Farrell went out of his way for my husband and me.

    He didn’t have to…there was no pressure or reason why he had to go the extra mile for us…he just did. He answered every question we had, some he could have spun, twisted or used clergy-eze to make the truth easier to swallow…but, he didn’t.

    He gave us the truth.

    That encounter made it glaringly obvious that bishops CAN do the right thing, even if it’s hard. I still think he could do more. He’s still functioning in the system that is broken, but as far as ministering to a victim, he got it right.

    Isn’t that refreshing news to hear?

    It’s why I believe there’s hope. The people have to demand the truth.

  11. Refreshing news is above in Fr. Wintermyer’s Lenten reflection. Thanks, Fr. W., because I was in great need of spiritual guidance today. Happy Weekend!

  12. To Survuvor’s Wife. May I respond to your inquiry about Bishop Farrell. He is directly from Ireland and he was a priest and Auxilliary bishsop in WDC when I was there. I have found him most sincere and honest and I have had many conversations with him while in WDC. I would never classify him as leaning to the left, but he is very honest and I do believe that he is a very kindly person. He was a Legionary years ago and transferred to WDC with a couple of other Legionaries at the time, His brother is a Bishop in the Legionaire Community.
    I am sure that Donna is not directly related to Bishop Kevin. I am so happy that he was able to be so caring to you when you needed him.

  13. Fr. John,
    Part of his time, I believe, was spent hearing the victims tell their stories. This may have given him some perspective? Of course, there are other priests who had to do the same and seemed to gain zero in the compassion department.

    I respect him for his honesty and sincerity with us. I won’t make a blanket statement about him or how he runs his diocese, because I’m sure there are some victims that may not have had the experiences we did…I don’t know.

    It’s just good to know there are others who found him to be sincere and honest as well.

    …and yet, confined? to the system.

  14. That’s so cute that a diocesan review board is doing the investigation. I assume it will include:

    – Rigali
    – Cistone and Cullen
    – Donna Farrell
    – Bevilacqua (yeah, I know, but it doesn’t matter)
    – Lynn
    – Casey Anthony
    – Boss Hog
    – Inspector Clouseau
    – Paul Blart
    – Detective Frank Drebin

    A good balance of clergy and laity. Safety and confidence has returned to Philadelphia.

  15. Patrick, thanks for the laugh …great review board, and, please add >
    Tony Soprano
    Paris Hilton
    Snooki
    Bernie Madoff (for financial matters)
    Lindsay Lohan
    Michael Lohan
    ……. and, on and on, and on!

    • Theresa,

      I love your alternates.

      In related news, I just went to the church website and they had a job posting for “Professional Shredder”. What does that mean?

    • I think Tony Soprano would have no problem cleaning up this mess. Of course, it may be drastic measures, but I think he’d have an offer they wouldn’t be able to refuse!

  16. Why didn’t the head of the Review Board deliver the news that word on the suspended priests is pending? Why must it be Chaput? When Chaput acts as the Board’s spokesperson, it detracts from the purported independent character of the Board, and it solidifies the widespread complaint that the hierarchy is inappropriately patriarchal and controlling.

    What a god-awful institution to work for.

  17. Hadit, as so thoroughly covered in a blog very recently, the Review Board is appointed by the AB, is given info by the AB, and reports to the AB.

    My concern, frankly, is that ‘cleared priests’ info, which the 2011 Grand Jury has recommended be given to any congregation that a ‘cleared priest’ returns to, will somehow be ‘gagged’ by the AB. I think it’s in the interests of both the ‘cleared priest and the congregation to get the whole picture. The Grand Jury suggests that it will help ‘restore trust’.

    My hope is that the judge when lifting the ‘gag’ order will state publicly that the Archdiocese is free to communicate all info regarding these priests to whomever is appropriate. I do not want the AD hiding behind a ‘gag’ order.

    • Joan,

      Why should just the “cleared priests” info be made available to the faithful? Do you have any idea how many sheep live in denial when “non-cleared priests” disappear from the face of the earth? “Restoring trust” (and obliterating denial) depends on full, not partial, transparency.

      • Hadit….the more the merrier! Full disclosure on EVERY priest who quietly disappears! AND every ‘cleared’ priest. I think the Grand Jury’s point was that congregations deserved the data!

  18. Nothing has changed since Ana Marie Catanzaro wrote “The Fog of Scandal.” Cases considered to be about boundary violations were not turned over to the lawyers investigating the AD hired until just recently, perhaps after the disclosure that Bevilacqua shredded documents. SSDD I’m sad to say.

  19. It suddenly occurred to me, the upcoming trials will only address a few individuals. What’s the DA doing about the other priests who have been named? Any word of other investigations by the DA’s office?

  20. “Our ability to act on these cases has been limited by a number of stubborn legal and practical factors,” Chaput wrote…

    The stubborn legal and practical factors are exactly the same factors that Ana Maria Catanzaro laid out in “The Fog of Scandal.” I suspect that the files on priests who violated boundaries were not turned over to the AD’s hired gun, Gina Maisto Smith, until after it was revealed that Bevilacqua shredded files. Nothing has changed. It’s SSDD, I’m sad to say

  21. Here is a comment from a retired Supreme Court judge, Philip Cummins, who has made powerful recommendations about the churches’ handling of child sex crimes.

    Citing the Catholic Church’s system as an example of inadequate child protection, Any private system of investigation and compensation which has the tendency, whether intended or unintended, to divert victims from recourse to the state, and to prevent abusers from being held responsible and punished by the state, is a system that should come under clear public scrutiny and consideration …

    Crime is a public, not a private, matter.”

    I think the above pretty well sums up the rcc approach to abuse.

    • Yes unabletotrust, he did a great job didn’t he.
      To cast the eye on whats happening maybe you should have mentioned he was from Victoria and engaged by the Liberal Premier Ted Ballieu, much to his credit, a non Catholic.
      It could have been done much earlier by predecessors, these issues simmering for decades.
      “The silence of the cloth under siege”, The Age March 10 2012 is a good example.

      • L. Newington : What is the difference where he is from ? Do you have to be catholic to be against child abuse ? Do you disagree with his conclusions on Crime ? What is your solution ?

  22. Joan ,here is a letter from Mariana Sorenson and Maureen McCartney, prosecutors from the 2005 GJ report. The letter was written to Cardinal Rigali in 2006. They express their concerns about the priests left in ministry . When the 2011 report stated concerns about 37 priests left in ministry -it may have been a shock to the public -but not to the authorities or the Archdiocese. I think this letter also shows the dedication of the prosecutors in the DA’s office. I have only heard very positive things about the DA’s office from survivors. One mother told me that the care and compassion exhibited to them by the DA’s office is what she had expected from the Church but never received. Susan excerpted the letter in the post but the link to read the letter is also included -the letter is a must read.

    https://catholics4change.com/2011/06/01/prosecutors-prophectic-2006-letter-begged-cardinal-to-consider-his-conscience/

    • Kathy, I copied a part of your posting, and it raises questions that I had about the REAL numbers of accused priests vs the ‘reported’ numbers….very sobering.

      In 2011 – Still relying on lawyers and p.r. specialists.
      In 2011 – Abuse victims still waiting.

      “….Anyone can do the arithmetic: at least 169 priests accused in Archdiocese files, 121 of them Archdiocesan priests – and only 57 accounted for on the Archdiocese website (17 laicized, 12 dead, 21 in prayer and penance, and 7 pending before the Holy See).  The result, evidently enough, is that many of the accused priests named in Archdiocese files but not in the report must still be in ministry (unless there has been an unusually high death rate among accused priests). Because the Archdiocese refused the grand jury’s request for copies of interviews conducted by the Review Board’s investigator, we cannot know the basis on which the board failed to recommend that these priests be removed from ministry…

      In 2011 another Grand Jury Report released. Some priests finally removed. How many sexually abusive priests still remain in ministry?

      • Joan, the loose accounting for these offenders, is unpardonable.

        By the way… Who gets to oversee that lucky gang of “Prayer and Penance” sex offenders? Do they all live, pray and do penances together in one facility, paid for with our donations? Picture that place when the lights go out! Is this for real?

        .Where else but the RCC is “a life of prayer and penance” adequate compensation for the destruction of children? –What an absurd joke.

      • Crystal,
        Prayer and penance placements for offenders are for real.

        My husband’s perpetrator is living at a beautiful religious retreat center overseen by other priests. He would pass a background check without a problem. He has never been criminally charged with a crime due the statute of limitations. He has been banned? from ever publicly serving as a priest.

        I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the diocese who has to find a place for him. But something catholics need to know is that they are funding his “prayer and penance” placement until he dies. He’s not an exception either. They have other priests who “oversee” his comings and goings and then report back to the diocese. There are too many problems with this set-up. There is absolutely no way you can “oversee” or “police” perversion. At this location, there are youth retreats, and children’s play dates, not to mention…it’s a retreat center for adults.

        This is not a safe plan or a cost-effective one either. But, it is one that allows them to save their image.

        This is a great reason for the statute to be opened up…IF this man could have been charged and found guilty…he’d be in prison…instead, catholics are unknowingly footing the bill for his posh retirement of “prayer and penance.”

      • crystal-unless something has changed recently, the priests in the “prayer and penance” program simply sign in and out – letting the staff know where they are going and when they will return.
        Wrong on so many levels.
        Survivors wife, I remember reading an article that focused on abusive laicized priests who were removed from ministry and sent out into the public. Someone from I believe the USCCB was interviewed and said something to the effect of the Church is not the police, they can’t track these abusive men who are now out in society. So now they decide they are not the police, but the reason we are in this situation is because for years they acted like civil authorities, doing their own investigations and deciding outcomes .

  23. Joan I remember reading shortly after the 2011 GJ report that some priests were believed to be in ministry simply because the statutes had expired to charge them criminally. If that criteria was used by the Archdiocese ,review board etc…that is absurd. Just because someone might not be able to be criminally charged does not mean it is okay for them to be in a parish with children.

  24. While we may never know what is holding up the Review Board inquiry, one thing we do know is that it resulted from one AD “drama” in a convoluted mix of AD “dramas,” all of which the hierarchy intends to “fix” by, first and foremost, maintaining its oppressive, medieval, covert, conspiratorial, and patriarchal style of “resolving” matters over the centuries, and, second, by paying a 21st century legal dream team to defend it.

    I have a question for the members of the legal dream team:

    What is the point at which each of you, personally, would step aside from defending a criminal institution, riddled with unconvicted felons, involved in a global conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children, and having a centuries-old chokehold on justice? Is there a point at which the truth would become more compelling to you than billable hours?

    • hadit, I suspect there’s no such point you refer to here. It sure looks like the AD, with their treasury and influence, might lose a battle here and there, but in the end they’ll patch it all up, and be back on top.

      I’m newer to this… trying to sort out and understand these issues while balancing them out with my Christian faith… 50+ years of foolishly believing that truth and righteousness always triumphs in the end. I’m in a weird position of having so many “dug in” apologists in my life. Caring about this, in this environment, gets discouraging.
      Gotta admit, today I’m feeling sort of hopeless that good can win out over evil in this…

  25. HaditCatholic, you use fabulous adjectives and language to describe the AD “dramas” > oppressive, medieval, covert, conspiratorial, patriarchal, criminal, riddled with unconvicted felons, cover up, chokehold, compelling … in a word > “you liars”, and, in the words of Jesus: ” let us vomit you out of our mouths!”

  26. There is no doubt in my mind that members of the legal dream team have experienced episodes of upchucking. The question is when will billable hours cease to restore them to good health?

  27. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply March 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    When will Hollywood send us a screenwriter for this drama, show, comedy, tragedy so that we, the faithful (no, not the Church leadership) can turn this into a financial windfall? Such an event can be the single answer to the prayer re saving our Catholic education here in the Philadelphia area?

    We can begin to line up Hollywood actors and actresses for the roles in the upcoming production of this new “Philadelphia Story.” Any suggestions from the blog members would certainly be appreciated.

    My only question is this: Which Hollywood heavyweight actor is good enough to fill the role of the “Innocence Protector”, William Sasso?

    • The movie “Doubt” had to have opened some eyes to the problem of sexual abuse in the RCC.
      Also, remember the 1980’s Paul Newman movie “The Verdict” ..(that one didn’t end well for the Boston AD!)

    • Pick me! Pick me!

      I want to play the next archbishop, after Chaput falls. Wait until the former archbishops see an insanely decorative chasuble falling over female breasts, and a miter atop long, flowing, golden locks. The one, true, and holy princess finally appears because, well, all the princes are doing time.

      Trust me. I can pull it off.

  28. Michael, this could be the re-generation of Pee Wee Herman portraying Sasso.

  29. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply March 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Theresa, in my mind, there would be no finer a choice than Chazz Palminteri. Demeanor, looks, style, swagger, belligerence, etc. I certainly would recommend Mr. Palminteri to the casting director to play our dear friend and attorney.

  30. Something else to wonder about in Philly, because it’s happened here in the Midwest…

    The priests who have been removed from ministry are only because someone has come forward. The numbers that are shown to law enforcement (usually by court order) are because a victim exists AND has contacted the church or law enforcement.

    Think about the victims who have never named their perp to either the church or civil authorities. Do you believe the church will voluntarily admit they had (have) a pedophile on the books if they haven’t been forced to admit it? Even if it’s a victim’s word against a church…at some point, they can’t deny the victim told them.

    Everyone’s looking at a list of priests who have been removed from ministry. I want the names of the priests who perpetrated and no one has come forward yet! The rcc has done an excellent job of creating a climate that is so hostile to telling the truth. So many victims are suffering just to put one foot in front of the other (if they’re lucky)…and we expect them to take on the church? The laity that will judge them?

    The Secret Archives hold so much more than we’ll ever know. But, that day is comin!

    • I’ve always believed the numbers were 3-5 times what we’ve heard. In Ireland, they say its 5-10 times.

      Stats show at least half of adult rapes aren’t reported, because the victims feel helpless, and often can’t prove it. Children NEVER come forward. Some victims have the guts to come forward decades later, but satan’s little minions in the Catholic congregation will immediately discredit them and call them liars, just like their bishops and priests tell them to do.

      The bottom line is that there are probably 3-10 times as many victims as we know about.

      May they somehow find peace in this life, and may they have control over the souls of the complacent or condemning congregation in the afterlife.

      • Beautifully said Patrick.
        How the Spirit grieves for those who have been the victims of erotic vagrancy by men of the cloth.
        They say all men are the same, but before God, they certainly are not.

  31. This website seems to be degrading into a site that simply bashes and makes fun of the catholic faith, our hierarchy, our sacraments (the priesthood), our traditions, etc… which were all instituted by Christ. I’m really confused… it seems like people commenting on here are not interested in reforming the Church and making her better, but that you have another agenda. You’d rather see another Church, one that Our Lord did not establish which women priests (seriously…haditcatholic). Some people on here say very good and constructive things, but some are very biting and decisive. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, feelings, etc, but all the catholic bashing on this website, which is supported and encouraged by the ladies who established this website, is not going to help fix anything.

    • George, we welcome comments and ideas – especially the constructive ones.

    • George,

      My post was lightheartedly inspired by Michael’s post in which he lightheartedly suggested that the AD drama go Hollywood. I was caught up in his momentary humor.

      It will necessitate the inclusion of women to reform the Church and “make it better.”

    • George – thank you for your insightful comment. Since I am a beneficiary of the church’s social justice ministry (12 years of residential education, followed by significant financial assistance w/ my undergraduate education costs), I am happy to acknowledge that not all that the church, or even its leadership, the hierarchy, does is wrong headed. On the other hand, I hope you will acknowledge there is good reason to criticise the lack of human as well as financial stewardship of our structural church’s leadership, starting at least in the mid 80s, w/ the Gauthe (sp?) case in Louisiana, followed by the Porter case in the early 90s & the the breakthru expose by the Boston newsmedia in 2002. Even then, when they met in Dallas that year, the bishops intentionally avoided the kind of real scruitiny they obviously needed by limiting the so called annual “audits” to Q whether a plan was in place to protect our children, but not to inquire whether the plan was actually put into practrice. That may seem academic, it is not. I was the volunteer coordinator of my diocese’s protecting G-d’s children program until I realized the diocese’s leadership had no intention of following through on the commitments it had made in Dallas, &, I believe, that remains true to this day.

    • George,

      In an effort to better understand the opinions and fellings that you hold (and are entitled to hold), please comment on your understanding of the mission of the Catholic League, and its president Bill Donohue. Thanks!

    • George, I hated church-bashing just like you until very recently –so I really do understand your call for some respect here for the Church.

      Would you be calling this “Catholic bashing” if your child was one of the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of precious children, who have been destroyed by clergy sexual abuse? I doubt it.

    • Hello George.

      I agree with you. Some bloggers seem to forget that the Church is the Bride of Christ and has the eternal protection of the Holy Spirit.

      Admittedly, we human beings will fail, committing sins and crimes for which we have to atone and sometimes suffer civil punishment. These are the unfortunate effects of original sin and our failure to cooperate with God’s graces. Except for the BVM, we’re ‘all in the same boat’, more or less. We all know that Our God is Rich in Mercy for those who seek it!

      Several bloggers have made persistently snide, derogatory and patently counterproductive comments about the Philadelphia Church leadership, especially the late Cardinal, Cardinal Rigali and the current Archbishop.

      Instead of giving into the temptation to ‘vent’ with a caustic entry, why not silently offer up your frustrations for the good of the souls in Purgatory in this Lenten season. We can also pray for justice in the upcoming trial and the exoneration of those good priests who have been suspended.

      ‘Verbum sap sat’

      • Joe B, Our forgiving and forgetting, and “offering it up”; our putting up and shutting up –and silence, apathy and passivity got countless, precious children molested by “the bride of Christ’s” clergy.

        God gave us common sense–we are called to use it to protect innocent people.

      • Joe, we all fail, prayer is good, and I will be attending a funeral today where clergy and community will be outstanding.

        But the reason folks comment on this site, relative to Church accountability especially as it applies to clergy molestation and abuse cover up, is that there is pervasive ‘institutional’ Church situation that violates children horrifically. And unless it is fixed, more vulnerable innocent children are at risk. The notion that this situation has been “institutionally fixed” is NOT the perceived wisdom of C4C commenters.

        It is a situation so bad that, in part, it is the reason that 10% of the US population previously catholic, have left the Church. And in many ways the church’s reputation has been severely damaged. it is the reason that there are trials in Philly, and if you read Abuse Tracker, trials, worldwide.

        Many folks on this blog have been abused, others are family members, some have been involved in church affairs relative to these matters, (see Ipmulligans comments). Others are simply concerned and want the truth of the situation to be known.

        In my view, the value of C4C commenters is that in many instances they know from tragic experience, where the Church has failed. You have to understand the problem, in order to fix it.

      • Joe B – I think the wise keep in mind that the Body of Christ is us, not just the bishops or the curia. Some seem to think that the protection of the Holy Spirit prevents the institutional church from making mistakes. Any short course on church history should dispel that. I do believe that the Holy Spirit protects the Body of Christ, the People of God, from embracing error, that is probably the basis of the concept of the sensus fidelium (sp?). Both our church’s history and that doctrine should encourage each of us, whether clergy or lay, to engage in the kind of fraternal correction which recognizes wrong and takes the steps needed to prevent it from reoccuring.

      • Joe,
        The day of silently and blindly following the heirarchy of the church is gone. People are educated, involved and aware, and hopefully these characteristics will continue to grow.

        What good would it do if we silently offered frustrations over the abuse that has been allowed to occur? Without a doubt, I am certain that posters to this blog pray for the souls in prugatpry, as well as the officials involved in the investigations, the victims, the guilty, the falsely accused, the good priests and sisters, and for the safety of our children. Along with prayer, we are bound to do what we can to correct these wrongdoings and not let them continue. How sinful would it be to sit silently as someone was being beaten? Why sit silently when it is know that this abuse has occurred?

        Just curious, George, Joe, and others who think we should sit silently… Have you read the Grand Jury Reports?

  32. I wonder why no one stands up for the rights of children who have father’s clergyman.
    I seem to be the only one protesting and there’s plenty of them around, even mentioned on this site.
    I’m aware of confidential payouts for those expecting nothing more and the living together in brother/sister arrrangements, all to preserve the priesthood, but there are those too, who can’t and won’t accept a life of deceit and subterfuge.
    That has to count for something in the scheme of things.
    I’m sure St Francis would be knocking on a few doors.

    • L. Newington- Are you referring to the children of priests? Tell us more about this. I’m not sure it’s much of a phenomenon here in the US…

      In the US priest sex abuse cases I’ve read, the offspring of priests have been aborted — and the abortions were secretly paid for by the priests -(to prevent a scandal, naturally.)

      • Up until the early 1980’s, in the Archdiocese of Melbourne there was a facility in place for women “in situations created by clergy”. God only knows where they all ended up or their newborns.
        With the overbearing power of the church, with all these babies and nowhere to go, [some mothers coerced into giving them up for adoption], women who kept their infants were treated like whore’s and discredited at every opportunity, if they didn’t bend the knee. It wasn’t unusual for proposals to live a double life were made allowing clergy to remain in the prieshood.
        The Franscican Order in particular slipped under the radar, and at least one Minister Provincial Stephen Bliss, supported a friar in filing for a rescript of his vows, [1139] not granted on insufficient grounds and his incumbant Paul Smith, hell bent on preserving the identity of the Order hasn’t followed it through avenues available. This particular friar on his deathbed never rescinded his wish to benefit his child and the mother and could be granted posthumously.
        There other instances where bishops have had a role to play, keeping the women placated fearing they will have to return any financial benefit given signing confidentiality clauses.
        The day will come when these children will rise up.
        Meantime they have to live a life of subterfuge.

  33. Crystal, your reply to George is spot on … my sentiments exactly.

  34. JoeB ,it is interesting that you reference justice in the upcoming trials and the exoneration of good priests that were suspeeded. No mention of the victims,also no mention of prayers for the hundreds or thousands of children put at risk by leaving abusive priests in minsitry. If even 3 , 4 or 5 of the suspended priests are found to have credible allegations and permanently removed -that is 1 too many that children were exposed. As adults it is our responsiblity to protect children -they can’t do it themselves and all the prayers to the souls in purgatory will not change a situation that could be a danger to children. If I see a child run into the street in the path of an oncoming car,I am not going to pray,I am going to act.
    I recently had a very long conversation with a priest about the very unhealthy relationships that often exist between laity and clergy in Philadelphia. Clericalism has thrived here for years and it is interesting to see that some priests themselves are uncomfortable with the unhealthy respect,deference etc…that exists no matter what the situation. Joe I am a Mother -no respect for a priest trumps my responsibilty for my child or any child for that matter.
    If Cardinal’s Bevilaqua and Rigali were not priests but were coaches in a sports league your children particpated, and you found that documents were shredded and your children could have been exposed to child predators,I am thinking you might be upset? This is no different and to treat it differently only makes the problem continue.

    • Kathy,

      In your conversation with the priest, did he say why, or did you infer why, he was made to feel uncomfortable by the “unhealthy respect, deference, etc.” that can transpire between the clergy and the laity?

    • hadit, I think it is common to what most people would feel-that the unrealistic expectation would be hard to live up to and is not healthy in many ways -for both priest and laity. It creates a dependency in many ways which is never a good thing. If someone is in a position where they are only commended and never questioned or challenged that is not a normal relationship. I have also talked to priests who feel that referring to them as “father” sets up a dependent,authoritive relationship.

      • I recall introducing my parish priest to an Anglican friend as Father, he corrected me by saying brother.
        God Bless you Con Sullivan, resting in peace.

    • Hi Kathy,

      At the onset, let me assure you that I do enjoy your posts which are the most level headed, cogent and well thought out on this blog. Your agenda is well focused and genuine. My sincerest congratulations!

      Now, just because I didn’t explicitly express any sympathy for those who have actually experienced abuse doesn’t mean that I don’t pray for them as I do for all victims of injustice in today’s world. I do care about their welfare.

      As a mother, you do have an important and God given responsibility to look out for the welfare of your children. We have 3 grown children ourselves and 3 very ‘interesting’ and promising grandchildren. They are the most important contributions that we will ever make for posterity and we would be heartbroken if any of them were abused by any adult – coach or clergy included. So, continue with your vigilance.

      My comment about prayer was mainly directed to those on this blog who spontaneously ridicule the hierarchy (including the Holy Father) while making insulting and demeaning comments about clerics in general. Someone once said that ‘more things are wrought by prayer than the world ever dreams about’ or something to that effect. As Father Wintermeyer said, we are now in the Lenten season and this is the opportune time to ask for guidance and help.

      The trial will soon be upon us, testimonies will be given, accusations made, defenses offered and verdicts rendered. Why not pray hard for justice and the well being of all involved?

      Joan, thank you for your comments, as well.

      LP, I also agree with your comment that we in the Laity comprise the largest portion of the RCC, we are sharers in Christ’s Priesthood and also have the help of the Holy Spirit. Well said!

      It was in the same spirit of ‘fraternal correction’ that I was going to comment on the relevance of the postings on Father McCormick and the rationale for priests ‘quietly’ leaving the ranks of active priests on the AD’s website. However, one of these posts seems to have been redacted. Why, I wonder?

      • JoeB -we pulled the latest post because we don’t know the reasons for the suspension -there are many reasons a priest could be removed-obviously some not good -and to waste energy on speculating – just seems like…. well a waste of energy. If any info comes in the near future about the reason for suspension we will post. Susan’s questions about how suspensions are handled is legitimate, especially given the current climate in the Archdiocese.

      • Joe B not only are children the most important contribution we will ever make for posterity, they are the only treasures we will have in Heaven.

  35. Kathy,

    I agree with all of your reasons.

    Unhealthy relationships between clergy and laity are particularly relevant to C4C for this reason:

    Time and again we heard victims of sexual abuse say that they did not inform a parent or other figure of authority. Why? Because they thought “no one would believe them.” Many of these children grew up seeing parents, grandparents and figures of authority patronizing priests, behaving with deference towards them, and exhibiting inflated respect. Indeed, Catholic schools were to some degree responsible for fostering this kind of behavior in that they trained children in the ways of it, and the religious sisters in the schools modeled it. When children were abused, the disproportional and inflated views of clergy overpowered them, silencing their voices.

    I am particularly interested in how the relationships between clergy and laity can be made healthy. Face it, our inflated views of priests are as much in our DNA as Catholicism is. It’s been going on for centuries. It is ingrained in all Catholics. Changing the pattern will not be easy. However, acknowledging that the problem exists is a step in the right direction toward a time in our Church when the relationships among its people are healthy ones.

  36. I simply cannot resist sharing my afternoon with C4C, as we discuss dependency on clergy et al.

    My family gave a significant piece of property on a river, in Oregon to a religious order. An old family friend had died and I flew up for the funeral. The deceased had been critical for many years of long sermons…anything over 10 minutes made him vocally annoyed, 8 minutes was preferred. A week ago in the hospital, he wrote the sermon for his mass (short, and terrific) it was read, in lieu of a sermon. The applause of a very packed church was deafening.

    These are not folks, clergy or church members, who are unduly dependent. Far from it. It’s a very emotionally healthy group of quite remarkable people.

    So, I think there is lots of hope, for an emotionally mature laity, and clergy. I just spent my afternoon such a group!

  37. What I like about people such as George, and those who think as he does, is that you always know where they stand. The problem, though, is that their attitude–“My Church, right or wrong”—represents all that is wrong with the Church it. And it represents the single biggest stumbling block to the Holy Spirit as He desperately tries to break through the darkness which has descended upon the Church. I give them credit for holding fast to their position. Unfortunately, their view does not consider facts, and flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that calls for change within the Church. Jesus did not institute infant Baptism—he was 30 when he was baptized, and he said to no one, have your infant baptized. It was centuries later. Jesus said to no one, make Sunday the Sabbath, again, that came centuries later. Jesus said to no one, pray the rosary, and most especially, he never called for an all male priesthood. In fact, the leaders of the church disregarded the teaching of Jesus, who selected married men to be his Apostles. And Jesus said, please correct me if I am wrong, CALL NO MAN FATHER. But of course, several centuries later, the men in leadership positions made up their own teaching, separate from that of Jesus, and instituted this teaching. The church needs to change, and the present leaders need to go. The Holy Spirit is calling them, one by one and by name, to step down. The Holy Spirit is calling you, just listen, and He is opening the way for honest men and women leaders who even now are rising up. And George, please don’t come up with any more rote memorized / brainwashed recitations, because they no longer work.

    • I like what you wrote, Mark.

      George and I could perceive each other as disconnected and out of each others shoes, but the fact of the matter is that, recently, we shared a similar frame of mind due to certain posts we each made.

      I posted a garish screenplay segment where a women donning priestly vestments rises as holier and truer than the men for whom the vestments are made. Presumably, George found it blasphemous and irreverent. (Ok. It was.)

      George posted that Our Lord did not mean for women to be priests. Were women to become priests, it would necessarily mean a new and different Church, a Church other than the present Church which, George believes, is the only, immutable Church condoned by Our Lord. I found his post blasphemous and irreverent because he implied that the idea of women priests is an abomination of Our Lord’s will. Since I know that Jesus never called for an all male priesthood, and since I am a woman, George’s post offended me… as mine did him.

      There is always hope when two, distinctly different people can feel the same thing, even when they feel it for different reasons. I’m willing to converse and learn with George, and I hope he will with me, but both of us must agree to base our conversations on the truth. That way, we will be less inclined to disappoint each other, and more inclined to emerge as excellent examples of good Catholics engaged in the journey called faith.

  38. unabletotrust, we had a Prime Minister claiming his dorment Catholic roots when the pope visited Australia, we had/have had Tony Abbott another self professing Catholic and a past Premier another Catholic, where were those voices with all the abuses being brought to light and the way victims were being treated.
    It shouldn’t have had to wait until a non-Catholic was in the position to do something about it is what I was trying to say.
    A little like the International Humanist and Ethical Union bringing the Vatican to account in Geneva on abuse and breaches of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in September 2009.

  39. Cont. I could have mentioned Catholic NGO’s and Human Rights affiliations, solicitors, the list goes on.
    Political correctness is the word I’m looking for.

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