Archdiocese Suspends Lawyer

Click here to read: “Archdiocese Suspends Top Attorney,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 17, 2012

Excerpt: “The grand jury report that led to endangerment and child-sex-abuse charges against four priests suggested Coyne was slow to turn over documents regarding one abuse allegation. Prosecutors in that trial, which starts March 26, have complained about similar delays in getting documents from the archdiocese.”

86 thoughts on “Archdiocese Suspends Lawyer

  1. Coyne must have clashed with either the Denver lawyers, Gina Smith and/or Seth Williams, or all of the above. Chaput’s public “sacking” of him with no real explanation may have destroyed permanently Coyne’s professional reputation, his stock in trade.

    The suppression for several years of the Bevilacqua/Cullen/Cistone shredding of potentially incriminating evidence may be implicated here, but given the Philly AD’s secrecy and stonewalling, there may be more coming out soon.

    Next week is crunch time. Philly’s own March Madness.

    We will finally find out whether Seth Williams and Judge Sarmina really show up to play hardball, or just play hide the ball as PA politicians, prosecutors and judges have been doing for decades by cowering to the might of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

    Please be alert and let your voices and votes be heard!!!

  2. Jerry, you of course nail it once again, couldn’t agree more. I believe in the power of prayer. Will everyone who blogs on this website set aside 5 minutes of every day this trial is in process and pray for truth and justice. I know our voices will be heard. Survivors, start now to have ready a support group to help you through the next several months. I plead with you to please be self caring. Do whatever it takes to protect yourself in a safe way. If you need to turn off the tv, do it, if you need to not read the paper, do it. Be smart, and by all means, take very good care of that wounded child inside of you, who needs you to protect him/her. You all are in my thoughts, reach out, we are no longer alone!

    1. Yes Vicky…I’ll be praying for truth to be revealed and justice to prevail.

      I believe the victims.

    2. Vicky,
      You are like a mother hen and I believe many need someone like you right now. I have been praying and I will continue to pray for all our survivors for peace and justice.

  3. Could it be that the ‘church lawyers’ providing belaying ‘advice’ to the Archdiocese were amongst others, Coyne? If so, why did Chaput keep Coyne on as in house counsel when he rid himself of that firm that Michael is so fond of?

    quote from posting:

    “Lynn, who investigated misconduct complaints against priests and recommended their assignments, is accused of conspiracy and child endangerment for allegedly enabling or covering up clergy sex abuse. His attorneys have signaled they may argue he was following the advice of church lawyers.”

    What are the implications of Coyne’s sacking relative to Lynn’s defense? Did Coyne make Lynn do it? Ie pass on predators? It was all Coyne’s fault? The Archdiocese was badly advised by the in house counsel they kept on?

    What gives?

    1. Joan,
      Many times during the course of the scandal I have thought there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. There is the bare minium and the opposite end of the spectrum love one’s neighbor…………….The church should always take the high road no matter what the cost because souls depend on it.

      1. Beth, agree completely! Also think Vicky’s idea of praying daily during the trial (at least 5 minutes!) is an excellent idea.

        At the level of the ‘letter of the law’ which is an issue right now, wanted to add the following quote from the posting:

        ‘Last month, attorneys for the lead defendant, former Secretary for Clergy Msgr. William J. Lynn, disclosed that Coyne waited until this year to turn over records he found in 2006 that suggested that Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua once ordered aides to shred a memo identifying 35 priests suspected of sexual misconduct with minors.’

        The notion that Coyne waited SIX YEARS to turn over records regarding 35 implicated priests is frankly horrifying. Is Cloyne legally liable for children who were sodomized or raped?

      2. Beth, never ever would they take the high ground, not only on the issue of money, because they’re fighting for the image of the churh and lost credibility. Just read up on what Australian victims/survivors have had to take on board.
        I recall a supposedly independant support person being reminded of whose side he was on in the earshot of a young woman suffering horrendous abuse at the hands of one of two friars.
        It’s across the board.

    2. Joan, ” the law firm that Michael is so fond of” – funny. I hope this doesn’t turn into a case of the ‘lawyers made me do it” ,everyone but the clergy at fault.

      1. Of course ‘the lawyers made me/us do it’ IS the defense!

        Faintly reminiscent of the bishops defense in Boston (and elsewhere) 10 years ago, ‘the therapists advised us that the predator priest was now OK, and could be ‘returned to ministry’ after a therapeutic rehab.

        That dog didn’t hunt then, and it doesn’t now!

      2. The attorneys advised us to…? what? Lie? Steal? Deceive?


        And who hired the lawyers?

        I’ll wait to hear the reasons he was “suspended” before I spend any more energy wondering what plan they had cooked up.

        I believe it’s Coyne, not Cloyne. Cloyne – Ireland.

  4. Relative to the SIX YEARS issue…ie the Archdioces had found the list of 35 implicated priests, and it was revealed to the public, by Lynn’s defense team..

    The celebrated Catholic leader who died last month destroyed, back in 1994, a list of priests who had been the subject of accusations of sexual abuse but were still active in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, according to testimony by another priest on trial for failing to protect children from predator priests.
    A memo filed by defense attorneys representing Monsignor William Lynn on Friday said that Lynn created a list of 35 priests who had been accused of sexual abuse, but his superior, the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua shredded it. Another copy of the list was found in 2006 in a locked safe at the archdiocese.

    1. Joan, Avery’s name was on the 1994 list that was shredded/hid in a safe. In 1994 they were planning ways to avoid future sex abuse civil lawsuits because some suits had popped up across the U.S.. What is interesting/horrifying is that it is happening in real time. They were coming up with ways to avoid future lawsuits while the abusive priests were still freely roaming the Archdiocese. The crimes Avery is charged, happened about 4 years after his name was placed on the 1994 list -he was on the list under the category “guilty ” meaning the AD must have believed the allegations previously against him.

      1. Kathy, I knew the predator list was bad and Avery was horrible, prior to 2006. There is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for Avery to have continued in ministry without a lot of vigorous ‘due process’ when he first showed up on the radar. I personally would not want to meet my Maker, having ANYTHING to do with Avery and his continued ‘ministry!

        But what I was fussing with was the notion that the Archdiocese, and presumably Coyne (who worked for Michael’s favorite firm which was the AD’s firm,) before he served as Counsel to the AD, apparently KNEW about that predator list in 2006, and his presumed inaction may well have put untold numbers of Philly kids at risk.

        And the only reason we NOW, in 2012, know that Coyne was informed, is that Lynn’s defense team, attempting to protect Lynn in the ‘lawyers made me do it’ defense pointed out Coyne’s 2006 knowledge.

        Its really hard to get a grip on the levels of horror involved in this debacle.

      2. Joan I think Avery had already been removed from ministry by 2006. Brennan and Avery were both already removed a few years before their arrests last February. I will double check the year Avery was removed.

      3. Joan here is the timeline for Avery from Bishop Accountability:

        Accused of abuse of 16 yr old boy in 1978. Denied abuse; said he never learned of allegations until 1992. Removed in 1993; reassigned as hospital chaplain after about 6 months. Placed on leave again in 2003. Laicization announced 3/06. Named in new report and presentment by Philadelphia Grand Jury on 2/10/11. Accused, along with another priest and a teacher, of orally sodomizing and molesting a 10 yr old boy in 1998 at St. Jerome Parish.. Refused plea agreement 6/11. New civil suit 7/11.

      4. Kathy on page 5 and 6 of the 2011 Grand Jury report
        in the RESOURCES link at the top of the page the Grand Jury asserts that there is ‘no doubt’ that the rape of the two children so graphically described was due to the fact that Lynn had not removed these guys. One of them was Avery…..I really think that anyone reading this blog and following this trial should read, at a minimum pages 1 through 10.

      5. In Victoria, in 2010, on public record alone, 300 abuse cases had been substantiated by church investigations, it is believed perpetrated by approximately 100 clergyman. Just one had been defrocked.
        Archbishop Mark Coldridge of Canberra Golbourn made it quite clear some time ago, “that priest’s cannot be sacked, they need to ask to leave”.
        A twist of fate, when considering a clergyman who asks for a
        resript of his vows [1139] for his child and mother, is refused. To preserve the priesthood and the evident danger of scandalizing the faithful

      6. Joan -They had Avery the list in 1994 and the crimes now charged were from 1998 -I agree on that. I was just trying to get info on if he was still in ministry when the list was “discovered” in 2006.

      7. The more that comes out the more it will be obvious that the bishops, lawyers and many in leadership were sacrificing our children on the altar of idioltry……….the worship of their(leadership) egos and pride……..rather pagan if you think about it.
        “Christ with me, Christ before me,Christ behind me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,Christ when I arise,Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,Christ in the eye that sees me,Christ in every ear that hears me.”St.Patrick

  5. I find it unusual that the AD would fire its “top attorney” a week before the trial. It’s known all along that Cloyne was “slow to turn over documents,” and the potential repercussions of that. Still, he remained on the legal dream team. Jerry says Cloyne will lose his professional reputation over his dismissal. What if the AD, with Cloyne’s knowledge, planned all along to use his expertise up until a week before the trial, then dismiss him for who knows, exactly, what reason or for how $$MUCH$$. Just saying that some sort of covert, clandestine Cloyne-deal could have been in the works for months. While Cloyne may never practice law again, he’ll won’t be poor.

    1. We are all guessing, Hadit. Another possibility is Coyne is “flipping” and will be testifying against the AD, etc., and Chaput is trying to get some “distance” from him now.

      Chaput has dumped his main law firm and now his main inside lawyer, but not a peep about a cardinal and two bishops who shredded potentially incriminating evidence. The noose must be getting tighter. We can only hope.

      1. By flipping, do you mean he would choose to flip or he would be forced to flip based on evidence?

        I know all of this is speculation.

  6. Re today’s Inquirer story and in-house counsel, Timothy Coyne, I think it is appropriate to address similar concerns to:

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

    This founder is still here in the Archdiocese; however, he has been elevated to the position of Bishop. He is Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, a civil attorney who was put in the post of Founder of Office for Legal Services by the late Cardinal Bevilacqua, another civil attorney.…….maybe Bishop Fitzgerald may be able to shed some light on what has become a very, very troubling situation regarding the legal services team down there at 222 N. 17th St. Basically, the inquiry is the same…..What did they know, when did they know it, and what did they do with the information they had (re the sexual abuse of children within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia)?

  7. (Sorry to post this here, but I tried to post it 8 times in the appropriate blog and it would not post.)

    I took a poll on people’s views about Benedict’s signature scent. Here are the results:

    My mother (90): “Eccentric, narcissistic, quirky.”
    My psychologist-brother: “Hard times arouse a desire for authenticity.”
    My nephew (6): “Stupid.”
    My dietician-sister: “Isn’t a signature scent secular-fashionable? I thought he hated secular”?
    My lawyer-sister: “A form of refusal. Refusal to conform to papal norms. A revolutionary fetish.”
    My pew-sheep neighbor: “I’m sure he has a good reason.”
    My son (23): “Fitting accessory to all of the costumes.”
    My professor-friend: “Get over it, Hadit! What, you call me on a friggin Saturday to talk about the Pope’s scent? Don’t you have anything better to do”???
    My sister-in-law: “Whimsical. Kinky. The theologian turns fluff.”
    Me: “Eau de contraire.”

    1. Before I read the article on the cologne I wrongly assumed he was going to sell it to make some money maybe to pay some lawyers fees or something then I see that his cologne is not going to be shared with anyone. The lady making the cologne the article said spent months doing this so my question is how much did it cost me for his new cologne?

    2. The ‘pope’ is trying to hide the ‘stench’ that emanates from his criminal person something like Fr. Zossima who died and began to smell in the book written by Dostoevsky ” The Brothers Karamazov” . Also tim coyne is another link in the chain of conspiracy. I hope the DA looks at the actions of everyone, clergy , lawyers and law firms who represented the archdiocese and takes the appropriate actions and issues indictments and arrests warrants. Maybe it is time for the PA Bar association to take a look at this also ? As the list contained the names of those with creditable allegations of abuse that was authored by lynn who put Children in harms way only serves to confirm his Guilt regardless of the order to shred the document by bEVILaqua, lets not forget cistone, cullen rigali et al !

    3. Your son’s comments is my favorite. The perfume might be named for preferred materials in Ratz’s haute couture…

      “Ermine and lace”

  8. ..So today the pope commissioned his own cologne to spritz on ….. It’s all too bizarre to last much longer. lol
    Wondering if it came with accompanying body creme and bubble bath gel.

    (Supposedly Pius IX’s cologne: )

      1. BUT WAIT; THERE’S MORE! This idea must have been stolen from Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, TOO MUCH.

      2. drwho13– He’s too old have come up with this all on his own… hmmmm…Commissioning a personalized scent seems a “metro”, younger, hipper, Euro, thing to do…

        …imo, the story “reeks” of his long time, personal assist., the fashionable Msgr. Georg, aka “The heartthrob of the Vatican”
        I guess when you disassociated yourself from the real world long enough, your sense of “appropriateness” becomes muddled.-?

    1. It just goes to show the buffoons who are doing his PR.
      They need a Patrick O’Malley, fortunately there is only one.
      But it is ridiculous, really, with all that”s going down.
      Who would get close enough to smell him anyway, they’re making a fool of him, that’s all I can say.
      I”m glad he doesn’t belong to me, personally.

  9. Maybe it’s just me, and I don’t have all the facts (who does?), but it seems this is an opportunity for Chaput to give the appearance of doing “the right thing”… suspending Coyne, for not turning over documents in a timely manner, withholding “evidence” for years. Of course, Chaput and others before him in the AD knew about these documents since 2006, if not before. This has been a conspiracy of epic proportions within the RCC, including the Philadelphia archdiocese for decades. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out that the AD pressured Coyne and other AD laywers to keep it that way. Is Coyne being thrown under the bus now in order to present the AD in a better light? Giving the impression that they (the AD) are not to blame for not being forthcoming? Another PR spin?

    1. I agree, 4thechildren…. the “blame our scum-bag lawyers..We wanted to do the right thing, but their strategies prevented us.” routine. Everyone falls for that trusty,old one.

    2. 4thechildren, I agree that from the late 1980s on, the Church response to abuse reports has been ‘to bring in the lawyers’. And those lawyers job was to ‘protect’ institutional assets, reputation et al NOT innocent children.

      There is a totally fundamental conflict between the interests of the abused, and indeed those who may be abused and institutional church. Which is one reason why groups that support victims uniformly advise folks to avoid Church abuse reporting and go straight to civil authorities. It was a recommendation of the Grand Jury as well!

      Whatever the true story is in this AD, if we ever get all the facts, it will be a tawdry tale of cover up over 20 years.

      And without the very good efforts of two Philadelphia Grand Juries, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I wonder how many other Phillys are floating around without Grand Jury exposure?

      My hope is that prosecutors, nationwide are reflecting on this matter! I am very very grateful to the District Attorneys that convened the 2005 and 2011 Grand Juries, to those citizens who served on them, to law enforcement then and now who are pursuing these matters.

      1. High profile retired QC and Independant Commissioner into abuse engaged by Melbourne Archbishop at the time [now Cardinal] Pell, told an alledged victim that his alledged groping by a clergyman was unlikely to constitute a crime. In a letter he said: without seeking to dissuade you from reporting the matter to the police if you so desire, I must say that the conduct you desscribed is unlikely to be held by a court a criminal conduct. Weeks later, police immediateley assesed the same complaint as a potential sexual assault.
        It’s easy to see the entrapment of those whom the church chooses to represent them, especially a Catholic.
        They’re on the payroll and results are expected to the point of comprising their own credibilty at times, and no job is worth that surely.

    3. I am grateful too Joan. And I think I already mentioned this but I will never forget one victim’s mother telling me that the compassionate treatment they received from the Philadelphia DA’s office is what they and never received from the Archdiocese.

  10. The Pope dies–

  11. is a great resource and I strongly encourage anyone (especially catholics) to visit the site, spend some time there, and get a feel for the scope of the problem.

    Just remember…the numbers listed have to be documented. So, if someone has not gone public, but has gone to a diocese…then they would not be reflected in the timeline.

    For every Catholic reading this…

    They KNEW. They KNEW it all. They orchestrated it. They lied to us. They bullied us. They lawyered up to intimidate us. They deceived you in the process, so when we were forced to go public and sue our own church in order for the truth to come out, you wouldn’t believe us. And you didn’t. It added to our pain and isolation. We were called money hungry liars, among other things.

    I don’t ask you to forfeit your faith…but I ask you to listen. Listen to the victims. Listen to what they’ve been screaming to you for decades. In every pain-filled story, their truth is a guide to the healing. This all could have gone differently had the supposedly holy men did what they had preached to the pews for years…become like our Savior. Humble themselves, admit their sins, beg forgiveness, and do whatever they could to help those they had harmed get some peace and healing.

    THIS is the mess you have knowingly and unknowingly funded. The victims didn’t ask to be victims. The families didn’t ask for this any more than the victims did. You, as the laity, didn’t ask for this…well, at least not intentionally. But, your hierarchy did. They KNEW. They lied. IF they are to be forgiven, it won’t be by the victims, the families, or the laity…it will be by the very Source they have harmed most. Jesus was clear about this…it wasn’t just saying the right words and all would be forgiven. To be forgiven, there must be a change of heart and desire to sin no more. Forgiveness will come when they REPENT. Their actions will speak repentance so loudly and sincerely, the victims will be healed, the families will rejoice and the laity will trust. My husband wrote it to our bishop…”you have listened to your lawyers, instead of your Lord.” For this, they (and you) are paying the price.…and the victims, the highest price of all.

    As the 2005 Grand Jury Report came out, people were shocked…except the victims. When the 2011 Grand Jury Report came out, people were even more outraged…except the victims. Why? Because the victims have known what the laity is just now starting to wake up to. It’s hitting Catholics in the wallets, in the schools, in enrollments, in priest shortages, in incongruence between actions and the Gospels. The victims knew what the hierarchy was doing to their parishioners as well. Every ugly truth that has come to light…the victims have been telling for years. It’s time. It’s time to quit defending indefensible behaviors in the leadership. Do what your hierarchy has failed to do…

    Listen to the victims. Their stories hold the answers.

    I believe the victims.

    1. survivors wife,you just summed up everything in that one comment. I know in that in the weeks/months ahead with the trial in the news many priests will say things such as “we pray the victims will heal” .There is not one sentence that drives me to the brink more than that. To me it sounds like a magical wand will whisk away the abuse,the betrayal,the pain ,the suffering. Healing does not happen by justice being blocked,it does not happen by victims being ignored,it does not happen by some priests going out on a limb and mentioning it homilies that in the end only make the priest and congregation feel better as if mentioning it solves anything.
      “Their actions will speak repentance” key word being action. No more words,no more speaking of the “evil” and victims magically “healing”
      No More .

  12. survivors wife, finally people are realizing the Truth,more and more each day.
    This letter was published in the Inquirer today from a gentleman I know,he has been involved for the past year ,maybe longer, in trying to seek justice for victims. He is a lifelong Catholic ,a senior citizen (sorry Jack) and his letter speaks to the hypocrisy so many feel.

    “The call for a fast”

    “As a lifelong practicing Catholic, I found the statements by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (“Bishops urge fasting protest,” Tuesday) to be outrageous. In the wake of the biggest church scandal in centuries – the hundreds, possibly thousands, of rapes of innocent children by priests and the widespread cover-up and stonewalling by bishops and cardinals – they urge the laity to fast and pray so that “the church may practice what she preaches.” Hard to believe.

    It reminds me of the words of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, written in 1967: “Authority has simply been abused too long in the Catholic Church. … There comes a time when they simply forfeit the right to be listened to.” Imagine what he’d say in 2012.”

    1. Kathy, I’m confused, Why are the bishops urging the faithful to fast….if I got your writers point, it might be more appropriate for the hierarchy AND the Catholic Conference to do penance…fast, and particularly change THEIR ways.

      Merton quotes are always welcome!

    2. survivors wife, Susan and I have met some great people in the past year. I really think the number of the “head in the sand” Catholics is dwindling day by day. A week (sometimes a day) doesn’t go by that I end up in a conversation or someone calls me out of the blue to vent, yell, express their disgust about this whole fiasco. I also have learned that the saying to not judge a book by it’s cover is so true because some of the most passionate people have been those that I may have categorized in the “sheep” category. Shame on me.
      A friend called me the other day to catch up on some unrelated matters and the conversation turned to the current trials etc… In discussing it I mentioned how sad it is the way victims are still treated and sometimes not believed. “I believe the victims -I absolutely believe the victims” she stated.

    3. To remind me sometimes when listening to their sweet words, I pinned on my notice board above my computer the below, I can’t acknowledge the one who put it together as I’ve had for a long time.
      +It is not the will of the Lord that we who believe in him should be cowards.
      There comes a time when evil men who have smitten you on both cheeks, will demand of you your very soul, take away your liberty
      and place you in shackles.

    4. How lame is it for the bishops to hijack a Friday when we’re ALREADY supposed to be fasting, and try to make it seem like a Catholic hunger strike against …contraception or for religious liberty or ..whatever…?!

      I don’t think the RCC ought to be involved the nursing home, hospital or education businesses anyway.

  13. Dear Priests,

    It has been said that the moment of truth is at hand. The truth will transform the sheep, making it impossible for them to resist and deny it. When they absorb the truth, it will put them in conflict with their loyalty to the Church, it will cause an interior turning point in their lives, they will never again perceive the Church as they did, and it will shatter an illusion upon which they have built their lives and identities. The clarity of the moment will stop time, and a pervasive inner paralysis and silence will overcome them. Their hearts and souls will be broken. To you, they will bring their epiphany-induced suffering.

    Who among you is prepared to shepherd when the moment of truth illuminates the sheep? And how do you see me and C4C helping?

    1. HaditCatholic, your post to the priests has completely captured my frustration. I have been following this blog since last year, and have been devastated for all of the victims. I’ll be saying the Divine Mercy Novena for them now and during the trial. I am in awe of the thoughtful and well researched posts that have helped me get up to speed about this horrific situation. I’ve never been abused, but I have been ignored by our priests. The pain that I feel as a lost sheep is nothing compared to all the victims have been through. But the “turning point” you speak of has already happened to me. Where are the “shepherds” who will show us how to rescue and protect the victims? I think Jesus expects those of us who have not been abused to shelter the victims from further harm. Who will show us the way?

      1. Thank you for this, Child Guardian. Thank you for posting. Your words are so supportive. I hope more people who have been following this blog have the courage to share as you did.

        Hadit, I have been digesting your post since I first read it last night. Your words illustrate in the most eloquent way what I’ve been saying to the hierarchy…”Where are you? How are you going to shepherd your flock through this mess?”

        Kathy, it is a boost to know many Catholics understand. I’m praying for courage for each of them.

      2. Child Guardian,

        Welcome to C4C.

        The interior turning point in our lives and the resulting pain is not limited to the faithful in or out of the pews. Priests, too, are being inflicted with the great awakening as they realize how far the Church has interfered with their lives, their vocations, their reputations, their well-being and their consciences. We can be angered by their silence. We can feel justified in admonishing them for their paralysis. We can disrespect them for leaving us dangling. We can wonder why they are not moved by the victims. However, we must ask why? We must inquire into the challenges priests encounter, and the nature and culture of the priesthood. Here, we will come to understand the entire sexual abuse crisis, the entire odious modus operandi of the hierarchy, the entire pattern of crime and deception, and the entire inability of religious men to emotionally connect with the most vulnerable. The priesthood, alone, can tell us why we are not a good, healthy and holy Church.

        Please remember in your prayers the need to reform the priesthood.

      3. Hadit, a couple thoughts. No argument that ‘an interior turning point’ relative to the abuse situation is an issue for priests. And it raises profound questions about institutional church authenticity.

        But every catholic is a stakeholder, not just US priests, and not just US catholics. And the issue is not just a US issue. And the issue is not just about sexual molestation of innocent children.

        I think the abuse crisis is the tipping point, that reveals church inauthenticity on a global scale. And that scale includes Church/Vatican finance, bizarre evils that have occurred like the Legionaires leadership, crimes against humanity like the infant relocation effort in Spain, et al and of course, the global cover up of abuse that has occurred particularly where children are most vulnerable in orphanages in Canada and the Northwest, in Ireland, in Europe, in Africa, and I fear, throughout Asia, to say nothing about central and south America, and Australia, etc.

        SW’s advice to check out the Abuse Tracker website was good advice, with a thoroughly international flavor.

        If the Church is to reform, people really need to understand the dimensions of the problem…priests need to understand it, laity needs to understand it…I won’t even address hierarchical knowledge.

      4. hadit, my personal opinion is that the vow of obedience the priest takes at ordination has been distorted to epic proportions. I also think that just as we ,the laity put too much emphasis on the clergy’s role in our spiritual life,so do the priests with the hierarchy.Just as priests laugh off the ‘priest collectors” they turn around and do the same thing with the hierarchy.. As for fraternal correction..well that doesn’t seem to exist .

      5. Joan and Kathy,

        Joan: I completely agree with the breadth you describe in terms of Church and priestly problems. I always have a global perspective in mind when I speak of them, and I never limit the way I reflect on them to the sexual abuse crisis, alone. The only reason I contained my priestly remarks to the issue of sexual abuse was in order to maintain C4C’s focus. When I speak of priests, I speak of all priests; when I speak of the Church, I speak of the universal Church. Thanks for your remarks because it reminds people in Philly that their problems are the problems of Catholics around the world.

        Kathy: The vow of obedience has had catastrophic repercussions. In short, it has been used to maintain a cloak and dagger cult. Power, submission, rank, fear, silence (the list is endless)… I know we throw around the word “cult,” here. But if readers were to explore cult indicators, they would come to see that our priesthood functions according to the ones developed by 21st century
        cult-scholars. Ummm… “priest collectors”? Never heard the expression before. Can you inform me?

        Joan: While I have you on the line, when are we going to Philly to meet everyone??? We have to put a face to each person’s thoughts! There will be a C4C reunion one day, right???

      6. hadit “priest collectors” is a term that some priests use to describe laity who are so enamored by them. I had always called them priest groupies ,a priest gave me the term they use.

      7. Hadit..would very much like to put a face to the name of C4C folks…have a grandson who may go to Penn in two years and have thought a reunion would be a fine idea!

        And thank you for your ‘global’ input.

        I was making a global argument but sadly think I may need to add a local one as well.

        I come from a family which due to their donations and connections should by all rights have made me a devout Opus Dei member. I had the providential sense to marry a guy with a very different background. I also had the opportunity to be very engaged in the Vatican 2 period in my diocese. And I am …very clearly, a Vatican 2 catholic! With no enthusiasm for the reform of the reform.

        The sad data that I guess I should share, deals with bankruptcies of religious orders in the US. These are orders that have educated many family members, thankfully without abuse.

        And I suspect these are not the only US religious orders in the US with bankruptcies.

        The Christian Brothers in Canada filed for bankruptcy a number of years ago and in 2011 in the US. The Northwest Jesuits in 2009.The abuse costs that precipitated the bankruptcies were the systemic abuse of poor Indian kids in orphanages in the US and Canada run by these orders.

        My devotion to citations provides this link

        None of this gives me any pleasure, in fact it’s sad beyond belief. But I really think that C4C readers need to understand the breadth of abuse issues in the US and worldwide. And they need to understand that while both the Christian Brothers and the northwest Jesuits have had huge abuse issues they have also managed legally to protect their assets, as have many dioceses who have filed for the legal protection of bankruptcy.

        Its clearly not a pretty picture, but it does need to be ‘factored in’

    2. child guardian, The victims will show us the way. We have been looking in all the wrong places for truth,justice,mercy and compassion. I have said a few times in the past year that we should have been looking beside us in the pews, rather than towards the altar all these years to actually see the Gospel message played out. I have seen more “good” from fellow laity in the past year, than from clergy and it has taken me up until a few days ago to accept this. It is a painful journey to get to that place. But now that I do accept it,it is freeing in many ways. Do not let the inaction of clergy hold you back from fulfilling the basic tenets of your faith. I don’t mean to discount your feelings because I understand and have been in that place. We all have the power within us to stand with those who were abused and abandoned,to bear witness to their pain.

      1. Joan ,absolutely,people are in various stages and need to be. Some stages for me were days,others months. I do love the screen names of some new commentors ..4thechildren, cleanstart,child guardian….expressing their thoughts even by the name they choose. Always happy to hear from new people with thoughts and opinions, it is what this site is all about.

    3. hadit, wrote “when they absorb the truth it will put them in conflict with their loyalty to the church” That is my feeling of the priests themselves. No matter how much evidence they see this,no matter what their personal opinions,their loyalty to the Church will be the stumbling block. But what is the church? The Church is the children,the laity,the abused. The Church is not supposed to be grown men decked out in bedazzled costumes answering to ‘your excellency”. If the priests can redefine what the church is supposed to be,then maybe there is a chance,if not it just won’t happen. We have seen clear evidence submitted by Church documents of the conspiracy,the shredding of documents,the cover up. We have heard nuns be referred to as ‘rats and wimps” by defense attorneys.We have horrific stories of abuse from countless victims in the reports . We have seen the hierarchy not follow either civil law or the Gospel in this matter. Every legal maneuvering possible will be played out in court. If priests cannot find their voice in the face of crimes against children then what am I waiting around for? I don’t need a shepherd because I am not a sheep. I don’t need to call someone “father” because I had a father and he was a very good man. I was “stuck” for a really long time in waiting around for clergy to do the right thing,I am not stuck there any longer. This is no meant in any way to dismiss those who are having those feelings, because I understand.But to be able to get break through that has lead to me to a peaceful place.

      1. AND Kathy, you can add to the ‘legal manouvering’ of the AD the fact that the AD has just refused to provide a series of documents that Lynn’s defense team wants released that detail Lynn’s discussions with the AD’s law firm while he oversaw clergy assignments. If there were no problems with this correspondence, why not release the requested documents?

        As to the folks in the pew discussion, I have been looking at the very rapidly increasing number of daily ‘hits’ on C4C and have a considerable sympathy for those ‘quiet readers’. Actually, I would welcome their input!

        Getting a handle on this whole disgusting mess, is not easy. I think it has taken many of us who were not victims a considerable amount of time to begin to understand the issues. Speaking personally, it has been a painful and very unpleasant process.

        And folks learn stuff in their own time and way. SW noted Kubler Ross’s stages, recently, Getting to the 5th stage, acceptance of the issues (after denial, bargaining et al) is a graced location, but not an easy journey.

        And we are all on that journey. I trust the victims AND the Holy Spirit!

  14. There were three men deeply involved in the execution (and cover up) of Pope John Paul I (see David Yallop’s 1984 book, In God’s Name, for the full details (6 million hardcover copies were sold around the world at that time, but only few in the US)). The three were His Eminence Bishop Wojtyla (he was said to be smarting about having narrowly lost the earlier papal election in 1978, and as an extreme right wing conservative (he had never met a fascist he didn’t love) he was at polar opposites of Albino Luciani), His Eminence Bishop Magee (he was the first to find the dead body, and later he wasn’t), and His Eminence Bishop Josef Ratzinger (he has been hanging around the Vatican for decades, and was an early supporter of Wojtyla). All three climbed their way to success over the dead body of Albino Luciani. And now all three are coming to justice. Magee has been removed as a Bishop in Ireland for his disgraceful role in the cover up of some of the worst priestly pedophilia around the globe. Ratzinger is being revealed for what he is, a conniving narcissist and priest pedophile protector. And Wojtyla forever will be remembered as the man who sat idly by and did nothing but promote fake saints and relics (such as the Shroud of Turin and Our Lady of Guadelupe, both now thoroughly discredited), and an endless stream of novenas and rosary prayers whose main purpose is nothing but to distract the faithful while their money is pilfered and their children buggered without penalty. In the name of God, I call on Ratzinger and his key goons to step down in the present year, or to be removed by the universal will of the faithful, that’s “sense fidelum” for those who don’t understand anything unless covered in Latin or lace.

  15. Amen to you Joan! I believe the Holy Spirit too. I believe He is speaking through the people on this blog.
    I have a question though. If Coyne was fired for holding back documents, why is the AD now holding back documents siting client priveledge? Maybe Chaput fired Coyne because he released the smoking file cabinet?! Do I have something backwards here?

    1. Child Guardian…this is one of those moments when Jerry’s input would be very helpful!

      My own uneducated guess is that the AD had said they would reserve the right to cite attorney client privilege and are invoking it because materials in the requested (by Lynn’s defense team) correspondence may not shine a very pleasant light on the AD.

      I’m reminded of the women judge who advised Lynn originally that he would have ‘conflict of interest’ issues with the AD paying for his counsel.

      As to the Coyne thing…it is Lynn’s attorneys who have indicated that Lynn was just following the direction of the AD legal counsel…. In the predator passing on situation….It is not clear why Coyne was suspended!

      As to the Holy Spirit…Susan has said that the C4C forum was meant to be. I think so too.

      The Church has paid a very high price for its handling of abuse issues, a mass exodus, major loss of credibility, and the moral hideous responsibility for the abuse of victims, treatment of victims and child endangerment. And right now Philly is the epicenter.

      C4C, for the first time in my experience, in real time, with real folks is attempting to deal with those issues, without hierarchical spin. Wherever you live, if you have Internet access you can follow this story through the eyes of victims and concerned others. Questions that have never gotten asked…like yours CG are getting asked as this process unfolds. There are no PR firms tailoring the content.

      And one of the remarkable things about it, is that for the most part, C4C commenters don’t rant…they question a lot…and well they should.

      Do I think the Holy Spirit is involved? Absolutely.

  16. Thanks Joan. It is hard to make sense of it all. All of us just want answers. All the answers! Answers for the victims, the children and our church.
    The archdiocese’s legal posturing is so frightening to me. …So disgusting to me! I want so much for any priest to come forward and stand up to the corruption… the evil. Who can we trust but the Holy Spirit?

    1. Well said Child Guardian.
      “I want so much for any priest to come forward and stand up to the corruption”. I too, am immensely troubled by this dark aspect. Most all priests ordained prior to 2002 (when the roof caved in) had to know. Why didn’t they warn us (at least privately) that our innocent children were being preyed upon. In my wife and my eyes, they are complicit. This filth has been occurring since at least the 1850’s (see Sister Mary MacKillop, patron Saint of the whistleblowers).
      Full disclosure…My family has officially left the Catholic Church.
      Thank you for bringing up such and important point.

  17. Thank you Had it. I know the priesthood is the crux of the problem here. It is my impression that our bishops don’t want to know about where they have neglected the laity. It is hard enough for them to admit they have ignored the victims. In fact it was strongly suggested to me that I examine my critical heart.
    I feel like the little kid in the crowd saying the the Emperor has no clothes!

    1. C.G.– “The emperor has no clothes” is the message I keep getting as the lies and hypocrisy unfold.. and as for trusting… I believe we can only trust our very own eyes and ears.

      (However, occasionally there’s a funny side to it all too- such as the idea of the pope commissioning a personal scent –now there’s some comic relief in a very unfunny performance.)

      1. Crystal, you got that right!
        Thanks for listening to all of you. When the time is right, I’ll share a little more about the priest neglect thing that has happened in my life, but I would not want to divert attention away from the victims and the kids right now.
        Pope Benedict’s perfume reminds me of when Mother Theresa won the Nobel Peace prize. Instead of the luxury car, she asked the committee to buy her an ambulance, and they did. I wonder if our Pope thought of how he could have asked the perfume house to use their talents (and funds) to make toiletries for the poor? Guess not. Sorry…I am so bitter right now.

  18. Hadit,
    I respect your perspective and research you have done in regard to the priesthood.

    I have more I need to learn about it. I struggle with the idea that we need to be focusing any more time and energy on the role of the priest.

    1. SW,

      The dysfunction in the priesthood is centuries old. For different reasons, we and the clergy ignored it. When an organization fails to address its dysfunction, it escalates into something more egregious that we cannot ignore. That “something” is the global sexual abuse crisis, resulting in hundreds of thousands of victims. We can chalk it up to bad priests in a dysfunctional organization who we decide we want nothing to do with– take a hike boys, hadit. But in ignoring the dysfunction, we become a part of it. We have a moral responsibility to never, ever, ignore dysfunction, anywhere, not because of the dysfunction, itself, per se, but because of the egregious acts that can result from it. We have a moral responsibility to protect the potential victims of egregious acts resulting from dysfunction.

      Besides the moral reason, there is a theological reason to address the dysfunction in the priesthood. It centers on the belief that priests share in the Priesthood of Christ. Consider for a moment the priesthood on displayed, today. Is it even remotely in sync with the Priesthood of Christ? As a faith community we are called to maintain and sustain this tenet of our faith, and not ignore the human dysfunction that defiles it.

      1. Hadit,
        I have a moral responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves. I don’t see the priesthood as an entity that cannot help themselves. They seem content in their dysfunction until “life teaches them” differently.

        When they are ready to get honest with themselves and others, I will be here to support every step. Until then, my moral responsibility is to help those they have harmed in their dysfunction, continue to give honest feedback to the priesthood about how their dysfunction has hurt my family, and to support avenues that provide encouragement and support to victims and accountability and transparency for the abusers and enablers.

        Hadit, this is where I am at the moment. You have done the research…I have not. I have much to learn. I see everything you are saying…I think I’m just coming at it from a different perspective.

      2. SW,

        I “get” your place completely.

        IF the clergy ever come around to addressing their institutional dysfunction, it will be people with your point of view who “becloud” the process of reform with the demand for accountability and penance. There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of “intermingling” is essential for real, meaningful and genuine reform.

  19. hc, Nicely said, thank you. However, it is not a “crisis” when it has been going on for one thousand seven hundred years or more. It is part of a well maintained agenda by people with inside knowledge and control. Do a little research on “Saint” John Bosco, he had a “special affinity” for little boys, then do a little research on the order he founded, the Salesians, about the most sexually agressive and corrupt in the world. In Baltimore, the “holy” and prestigious seminary, St. Mary’s, has been known by insiders as “The Pink Palace” for a hundred years. It’s about the same at most, if not all, of the others.

  20. Mark ,Salesians appear on bishops…. Wiki has this order as major players in the US sex abuse scandals, paying out 19.5 million $$ four yrs ago, just in Los Angeles –also abusing children in Australia (in Boys’ Town, of course), The Netherlands and Belgium.

    It boggles the mind how this disgrace went on for so long around us… So many victims.. these men eagerly supported by us, protected by our own institutions… and in the end, they might all still get away with few real consequences…
    I wonder.. Is it foolish to hope that this trial in Phila. could make a real difference in this thing?

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