Pastor Testifies that Lynn Kept Him In the Dark About Priest’s Sick History


Click here to read: “Pastor says he was not told of priest’s sex past,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 2012

Excerpt: A Havertown pastor testified Wednesday that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent a priest to his parish in 2002 without telling him that the man had been caught with gay sadomasochistic videos and a sexually graphic love letter he wrote to a seventh-grade boy.

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148 Responses to “Pastor Testifies that Lynn Kept Him In the Dark About Priest’s Sick History”

  1. When Okonski reported Murtha’s sex-letter to his superior pastor, REV. JAMES SHIELDS, he “did nothing.”

    Where is Shields, now? Dead or alive? Mary, Mother of the Redeemer rectory in North Wales? Are you telling me he can’t be charged with a crime???

    Interesting how the clergy-brothers are testifying against each other. A truly astounding and never before evidenced scenario. I wonder who will pay for what will be perceived as extraordinary acts of disloyalty, and how?

    • hadit, I think the clergy testifying has many implications. Laity are so often to dismiss the claims of victims. “A priest would never do that” I imagine if this letter had actually been sent to the child, many laity would think the child created this letter. If a church worker reported this letter -well they would have been written off as some disgruntled employee. But a priest on the stand claiming this happened-this is true. How can the faction that always writes off the victims ,now deny this?
      The rumor mill has up to 40 priests and 20 nuns being called to testify. The nuns who reported Brennan living with a teenager and having parties where he served teens alcohol? Will the nuns be liars now too?
      At what point does the denial stop?

      • Kathy,

        Priestly testimony for the prosecution will disturb the sheep who are in denial. They will look for any spin that permits them to remain oblivious even in the face of the truth. People like Donahue, the Vatican, etc., will provide suitable spin. They’ll be told that their faithfulness to the spin deems them “good Catholics”… the rest of us are heretics. Denial will never fully disappear. Never.

      • I can hear the sermon already…

        “The Church needs the truly faithful now more than ever…”

        Codependents of the world, unite! lol

      • Kathy,

        When Rev. Wintermyer blogs, there are a few bloggers who write that he disgraces himself, the priesthood, and God with his ideas and points of view. This is pretty much how the sheep in denial will protect themselves from the truth as priests testify against each other during the trial. In philosophy, we call it “willed ignorance.”

      • Hadit,
        I’ve already heard a comment from a family member that “it’s just horrible that the state is using taxpayer money to ruin our church…pitting our priests against each other like that…leave it to the government!”

        That thought process is laughable, is it not?

        “Willed ignorance.” or “Denial.” Protect the ego at all costs.

      • SW, that ‘Co dependent’ line was a ‘keeper’.

        But I still keep coming back to the thought that for some folks for a whole mess of reasons, denial is survival.

        But there are a lot of folks for whom the data from this trial is going to be, or is, painfully instructive.

        I am very interested in the these folks, and their impact on the Church in Philly.

      • Kathy – why not just wait and see?

      • Hadit –

        How can you be sure that Msgr. Shields ‘did nothing’? In all likelihood, he reported the matter to the Chancery.

      • Joe, did you read the article? Fr Okonski testified he reported to Shields and he did nothing. If there was a report don’t you think Lynn’s attorney would be entering that report into evidence??? Joe I think you just proved a point of discussion we are having on this thread.

      • Joe did you see the headline of today’s Inquirer?
        Pastor: Past of Priest Made Unknown

        This from Fr Mc Kee’s testimony about Murtha’s stay at Sacred Heart. We aren’t making up priests not reporting or other priests not being told they were given an abusive priest at their parish. This is court testimony—from priests.

      • Well guys, whether anyone will admit it or not, what’s happening in Philadelphia has certainly made an inpact in Melbourne. Archdiocesen Clergy have “broken ranks”, and called for an inquiry in the handling of abuse complaints, [not abuse per se] but complaints, and that doesn’t include religious orders. [You recall our Premier Ted Ballieu, set the ground work, with his advisers]. The journalist mentioned Boston and Ireland, but no reference to Philadelphia. By pre empting their own demise, it protects the Catholic Bishop’s Conference, which I’m sure the Apostolic Nuncio had instuctions to make sure of, from Rome. Anyone with any forsight will know this. Any formal investigation, including power to compel evidence will not eventualize I’m sure. Helen Last, past Advocate for the same AD, who stated “sensitive files” were being removed during her time would know anything “sensitive” would never become come public, [with more recent debacles in Philadelphia] and with the same Judicial Vicar Ian Waters in place, who would
        certainly make sure of that. The “anxious, confused and disenpowered” clergy by the crisis which one has to admit would pertain to many, no doubt, others will be heaving a sigh of relief.

    • ..(unless I’m mistaken) Does anyone else find it unusual that none of these child molesters ever mysteriously “turned up dead” …They just got away with all these crimes for decades without a single distraught father, mother, brother or victim ever seeking revenge?
      How did they get so lucky?–Is this also a function of clericalism?

      • Crystal, I think they call it “unexpected deaths”, but never untimely.

      • I think no one talked. Once you start talking you start to put the pieces together. Silence keeps it going. Probably thought they were the only one…………thought church was handling it keeping the predators away from kids……….once they started talking………they begin to see the horrible truth and fit the pieces together that the church already knew………..

    • I attended court proceedings on Monday and again on Wednesday. Other matters made my getting up to court from south of Wilmington, Delaware today impossible which was just as well with the accidents and tons of trash making getting any place in center city very difficult.

      Many people here have already commented on the priests’ testimony for the prosecution and you all have read the newspaper accounts so I will not go into detail other than to say YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE. It was an experience to listen to these priests relate their experiences with Murtha, read Murtha’s love letter (supposedly unsent) and realize that he had still being assigned to parishes without the parish, pastor or priests warned even after Murtha spent time at the Downingtown facility.

      If your schedule allows get to Philly and the Criminal Justice Center, 3rd Floor. I was surprised on Wednesday that it was wall to wall people trying to get a seat which was the case for all the preliminaries. Then, if went out to use the bathroom you had to wait at the end of the line to get back in, if your cell phone rang it could be taken and/or you were ejected as was one victims’ supporter sitting next to me who had forgotten to turn it off.

      There was room yesterday. Judge Sarmina’s rule is NO CELLPHONES FOR SPECTATORS so leave it home or in the car. You will also have to pass through metal detectors on the ground floor and again on the 3rd floor before entering the courtroom.

      Making comments while the jurors are in the courtroom even if the judge and the lawyers have left the courtroom for a sidebar discussion is a NO-NO. Actually I was surprised that more people haven’t been ejected as was the case again during the preliminary hearings, motions, etc., leading up to this trial.

      One thing I minded very much was that District Attorney Seth Williams was not in attendence on Monday and did not give the hour and and half long opening statement for the prosecution.

      Good Catholic that he is I hope and pray that this is not a harbinger of a less aggressive prosecution.

      For those so inclined you might want to write and ask Mr. Williams just why he wasn’t there?

      Hope to see you in court sometime soon.

      Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
      New Castle, Delaware
      maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

      • CORRECTION

        “If your schedule allows get to Philly and the Criminal Justice Center, 3rd Floor. I was surprised on Wednesday that it WAS NOT wall to wall people trying to get a seat which WAS THE CASE FOR ALL THE PRELIMINARIES.”

        There was plenty of room on Monday and on Wednesday.

  2. Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply March 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Why can I not find Murtha on any list? Not on AoP website. Not among the last 21.

    • Martin,this was pointed out in an Inquirer article a few months ago, Murtha never showed up on any list or the Archdiocese website that lists priests who have been removed. This one “flew under the radar” until it was entered into evidence along with some other documents. He was removed prior to the “21” but had not shown up anywhere previously.

    • Murtha’s name appears on Bishops accountability.

      I just went through my Cardinal Dougherty HS yearbook and counted 8 out of 36 priests on staff in my graduating year, who are now listed on Bishops Accountability.org.
      …so 1 out of every 4 priests there were child molesters.–ISN’T THAT GREAT?!

      • Crystal, to add to your stats, 3 out of the 6 priests from my wedding are on that list.

      • mimsyb, OK..You topped me! –you’d better make sure that you’re technically married! May I ask why you had 6 priests?

      • LOL… Not looking to top you, Crystal, just adding to the mind boggling numbers. There are sooo many of them, how could this have stayed undisclosed for so long?

        6 priests at the wedding were concelebrants. All priests that were either relatives or close friends of the family. People we’d known for years. Some of them known since they were small children. It’s interesting to go back and put the pieces of stories together. One story that stands out is that one of those priests had to go out st St. John Vianney’s for care because he had a breakdown from being overworked at his parish. He said the pastor was an alcoholic and therefore all the work fell to him. When his picture was posted in the Inquirerer along with his story, my poor mother didn’t know what to make of it. It has taken her until now to believe any of these reports.

        And the priest who did the pre-marital planning for us, he was one of them too. So, yes, I do sometimes jokingly wonder if we’re really married. But I try to remind myself of the other 3 priests who are in good standing.

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply March 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

        Crystal, 14 of the priests on lists served at one time or another on the faculty of Roman. Martin

      • Some key numbers… from trial testimony.

        Fr Trauger, stalked in 1991, Archdiocese checked into it in 2003, meanwhile he had been moved to 6 or 8 unsuspecting parishes…he was removed from ministry, in 2003….am not clear if he is defrocked and perhaps out molesting some more. 12 YEAR LAG

        Father Murtha, wrote love letter, plus porn, in 1995, Served in many parishes, was defrocked in 2010, could well be out molesting some more. 15 YEAR LAG

        Neither of these guys were criminally charged with abuse, we are just hearing about them, because their treatment by the AD shows a huge pattern of cover up.

        If ever there was an argument to open up a window on Statutes of Limitations….so Father Trauger’s and Murtha’s victims could come forth…these guys are the poster children for it….

        And of course, there are many many more Traugers and Murtha’s.

        Yes, opening up the SOLS will be costly. But if you pass on predators who commit ugly crimes….you pay victims first THEN you do good ‘good works’

        In the last three days the the ‘hits in C4C hit 10,000…..at this rate C4C will be doing a 100,000 a month. Very good job Kathy and Susan.

      • Another interesting fact and I know I am digressing here–I found a number of the priests on the lists were involved in the Tribunal; the committee that gets to investigate the personal details of what went wrong in a marriage and whether or not it can be annulled. Yes, the sickness touches many of us in different phases of our lives.

      • Congratulations Martin! —I’m sure the pedophiles had a field day at Roman.

        I noticed about i year ago that LaSalle high in Wyndmoor updated their front sign to read something to the effect of..:”LaSalle HS, Conducted by the Brothers of the Christian Schools” –
        –The reason for this HAS GOT to be to differentiate them in the public’s mind from the notorious order, The Congregation of Christian Brothers, founded by Edmund Rice in Ireland.–one of the most barbaric and shameful religious orders. ..(good PR move by Lasalle!)

  3. The thing that strikes me about the Murtha case is the timing . The amount of training and clearances a parent has to go though to volunteer at their child’s school is extensive. Criminal background checks,child abuse clearances,technology addendum training, mandatory reporting training,safety environment training …all these things fine with me because there are abusive people in society and if background checks can keep them out of a school..great. But all this training and clearances for parents and the guy sitting in the rectory of these parishes mentioned, is a danger to kids and …..nothing…absolutely nothing. It is head spinning.

    • Yes Kathy, I sat at the safe child trainings as the priests were being shuffled and the hierarchy was lying and the parish priests were oblivious. It was on my feedback form…”This is a great thing to be implementing. But why no mention that the very reason we are required to do this is because the priests are abusing our children? And where are they as we sit here in these sessions?”

      Hadit, another thought came to mind about the priests testifying. Who foots the bill for their travel, meals, accomodations? Taxpayer or church? Anyone know?

      • SW,

        I assume the clergy who are testifying for the prosecution are “local,” from within the parameters of the Philly AD. Can’t imagine that their travel expenses amount to much. To be honest with you, I’d personally pay the travel expenses of ANY priest willing to testify against his brother. Been waiting for such a scenario for 41 years. Never thought I’d see it in my life time.

      • Yes,most local ,a short car ride into Philadelphia. But I do believe some hierarchy that will be testifying are now scattered around the country.

      • Hadit,
        I’d be happy to pay as well…I just wanted the catholics reading this to know if the taxpayers are footing the bill, or if they are.

      • Actually, we are paying the bill…church donations (to pay for for molestation related costs) are tax deductible.

    • What is the “Murtha case?”

      • Murtha is the priest with the porn and wrote the letter to the 7th grader. I commented about the “timing” -after 2002- because this is when all of the safety precautions went into effect for all who volunteer at the schools

      • Oh, well like I said, I didn’t get that far into the article. I stopped after the first paragraph. Maybe I’ll go back to it later, maybe I won’t. I woke up, got my coffee, walked the dog, and turned my computer on and went to Philly.com and here. The stories are just getting worse everyday and I think we’ve only scratched the surface of just how horrible we can expect them to get in the days ahead.

        It takes me a long time to read this stuff. I can’t do it in one sitting for the most part. I know that for me, as I’m not speaking for other victims, but I go into my own history when something sticks out that is relevant to my own abuse, and there’s usually a lot of relevant stuff. I have to take “breathers” between paragraphs sometimes.

    • Kathy, are clergy required to take the traing that you have taken…I ve seen data that says they are, but Iwould guess like so many other institutional decisions, that it depends on the diocese.

      If they were required to take that training in 2002, it adds to the knowledge and liability issue.

      • Clergy in our diocese are required to take the training.

        The training is simply about education and awareness.

    • This is what Melbourne ex Catholic teacher Pam Krstic, was on about.
      She saw clergy grooming students in her classroom, stating Catholic schools and the church, were not subject to the same legal requirements that apply to others who work with children, and clergy need to be legislated as mandatory reporters of child abuse. Mary went on to be co-founder of a group for those affected by abuse, after two priests from her parish were convicted of sex-abuse, a strong advocate for the inquirey made possible by the Premier of Victoria, Ted Ballieu.

  4. “Dressed in black but without his clerical collar, Trauger mentioned that he was a priest, though the teen didn’t know him, he testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Freaks like Trauger have done for the clerical collar, what the The Bloods & Crips have done for the hoodie. No one can wear one without having their character questioned.

    Once a symbol of trust, the Roman collar now provokes fear and vigilance.

  5. “A Havertown pastor testified Wednesday that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent a priest to his parish in 2002 without telling him that the man had been caught with gay sadomasochistic videos and a sexually graphic love letter he wrote to a seventh-grade boy.”

    Philly.com could’ve ended that story right there and it says it all. “Sadomasochistic videos?” What in the world? “Sexually graphic love letter?” to a 7th grader?????

    You know… I never really like to curse on this forum, because I view most of you people as classy older gents who like to keep the language clean, but most of this sh!t is really f#cked up. I’m sorry, but I just can’t find any other words to describe it. I can’t even get through most of the news stories I’ve started reading, because I want to run to the bathroom and heave my guts up.

    How could a grown man stalk a 7th grader? What in the hell? My abuse is what it is, and sometimes I can separate myself from my own memories to only be totally disgusted by what these men have done in the recent past. Just look at the Grand Jury Report. It’s so awful to read. “Shero raping a 10 year-old boy in the back seat of his car.” Shero telling the boy, “It feels so good.” What the hell? It’s a boy! A little kid! This stuff wasn’t happening in the “50s, 60s, 70s, and some of the 80s”, as Bill Donohue would like you to believe. This stuff happened after the 9/11 attacks. We all know how it felt like it was just last Tuesday that the attacks took place, and yet a lot of this abuse happened after the attacks. Didn’t the Catholic Church promise to clean up their sh!thole after the Boston scandal in 2002? I guess they forgot to track down the elementary school students’ stalkers.

    This 10 year-old boy in the GJR didn’t even have a fighting chance. One after the other got to him, and when the priests were done destroying his innocence, what happened? The teacher decided to get in on the action. Just sick! This poor kid is probably screwed up for life. Probably? Wait, no! He is screwed up for life. Join the party, pal!

    And then the Catholic parishioners just stand around and sling insults and they call these victims liars. If they are indeed liars, wow! These guys have fantastic imaginations, because from my view, you just can’t make this stuff up. I think it’s too awful to even consider it’s a fabrication. Besides, as in my own case, with the priest who abused me, lawyers look for patterns and they look for other victims to corroborate each others stories. Pedophiles are very maticulous. They are psychological experts. They find and fill a void in a child’s life. They study a child very closely, and they groom the child very slowly, manipulating him/her into doing little things at first to see how far they can take it, then they go further and further, until they can do whatever they want. They brainwash children, and somehow they manage to push all of the blame and guilt on us. I can see now, looking back, some of the grooming process my abuser used on me. He protected me from the school’s bullies. He bought me a soda in the cafeteria. He wrote me little notes telling me “I was the cutest kid in his class.” Then he started telling me about masturbation, and asked me if I had ever seen a dildo. He asked if I had ever seen another boys penis. And it went on and on until he got me where he wanted me. All that other stuff was the bait and when I bit, he reeled me. He took what he wanted and I didn’t have a damn clue how it happened or why it was happening.

    How much sicker do these guys have to get before the Kool-Aide Drinkers take their heads out of their a$$es and start paying attention. Do you want this sh!t to happen to your kid? I’m doing everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to your kid. Why don’t you help me Fra Joseph and Joe B? Stop bowing to such scum and take a stand. Think for yourselves instead of what mere mortal men have brainwashed you into believing. These are defenseless little kids, who are innocent, and carefree, and should have absolutely no concept of the word “sex.” News stories should not be written in the papers everyday with “kids, rape, sodomy, 10 year-old, stalker, sex” all in the same sentence.

    How can anyone do anything right now that doesn’t involve protecting kids? to hell with universal healthcare, the primaries, costly automobile insurance, taxes, Chase Utley’s knees in hiding! None of that will matter in 20 years when the kids who were raped today are walking around like freaking zombies or not walking around at all, because they’ve killed themselves. This stuff KILLS! If a childhood sexual abuse victim doesn’t die from a drug overdose or a bullet to his head, he dies inside. Take it from me, I am not fooling around. This kind of stuff tears up a person inside. It wreaks havoc on my conscience, and pounds through my head, breaks my heart, and drills a gaping hole through my soul.

    Just think about it really. A 7th grader being stalked by a priest, a grown man? Love letters written by a adult to a child? 10 year-old raped in the back of his teacher’s car? A victim reports his own abuse well before any of these other kids had to go through this sh!t and nothing was done. NOTHING! Just try to imagine for one minute the thoughts that were surely circling that kid’s mind. It’s just awful. It’s not right. I am so disgusted.

    • Rich, I understand what you mean about targeting and grooming. I received a call a few months ago from someone I love and who means the world to me. He disclosed to me for the first time, his own clergy abuse… He was in a situation where he was being bullied and away from home…guess who stepped in to save him from the bullies…you know the ending to this story.

  6. I’m really in anger mode today, Kathy. I was going to head up to the trial with “Unabletotrust” today, but just found out I have to take my aunt to the airport.

    I have my 5th epidural tomorrow in my back, and if it works I’ll be good to go for Monday. If it doesn’t work, as the last 4 haven’t, I’ll probably be in even more pain for about a week, becuse that’s how long it lasted with the previous epidurals.

    I’m think though that maybe I shouldn’t even go. If it gets me this angry just reading the articles, how crazy will I get in the courtroom?! I also worry about being “triggered,” having panic attacks, flashbacks, and that type of thing. It’s not exactly fun getting a panic attack around other people, especially strangers. It’s very embarrassing. We’ll see if I can calm down a bit over the weekend. Wooosaaabbbaaaa LOL

    • Don’t know how you do it, V4J. You really put your feelings into words amazingly well. I am not a victim of abuse and MY anger will get the better of me at times when it comes to this subject. I can’t imagine how you contain yourself. I have gone to therapy for anxiety and depression in the recent past and may have to schedule another visit soon, just too keep my head on straight. I have become somewhat obsessed with the case and with getting the truth out to the many who choose to ignore it. And SO many choose to ignore it! I guess I just want you to know I hope you are well, and I can’t imagine going to the trial and NOT getting upset, so take care of yourself first, because we need you. Thanks

      • Well to be honest Michelle, since I came forward about my abuse in 2009, I have written over 70,000 pages of words. Some victims drink their pain away, some stick needles in their arms or sniff white powder, and some kill themselves.

        I write. That’s the single most important method I’ve used to deal with my clinically diagnosed “severe PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.” I feel like a blank word processor and a keyboard is all I need sometimes to figure it out, enough to get me through the next hour and sometimes even a whole day. When I can’t sleep at night, or I awake from nightmares, or panic attacks, I usually wind up at my computer spilling everything out. Most nights, wiritng is all I’ve got to keep me calm and sane.

      • And by the way, Michelle, thanks! 🙂

  7. Survivor’s wife- You aren’t alone. I spoke up -out loud- and on the feedback form when I had to sit for 3 hours after work, taking that safe training course a few years ago. I agree Kathy, I too have no problem doing anything in the interest of keeping my, and other children safe. But let’s be real about the reason why we have to take those courses. It’s because of the pedophile priests. Period. I still hear in my head, how so many think Lynn has done nothing wrong. The only truth in that statement is, he did nothing. And that was so incredibly wrong.

    • deidre –To those misguided people I say, Lynn’s role wasn’t passive, He did plenty –He did his dirty job –and he left a trail of countless victims behind. I hope he goes to jail and has a lot of time to think about them.

      V4J – I’m so disgusted today too –I have a feeling of hopelessness about it all…The RCC and its problems seem so massive and global, limitless, really…So few people I know take any of this seriously…so there’s nobody to even discuss it with….and so here we all are, completely dependent on a justice system to save us from the AD?
      …. I hope you can find some relief after the epidural.

      • Crystal, realistically Church reform is going to take a really long time. But has been said often on this site, you are either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

        And, I think it’s a ‘momentum’ issue’ in which we all need to be engaged. Every time a DA throughout the US begins to examine the possibility of convening a Grand Jury to determine Church management liability for predator passing on…

        Every time activists attempt to change clergy molestation reporting requirements, SOLS, or my favorite, criminal liability for ‘supervisors’ of clergy and others overseeing the care of children….

        Every time the media reports on these matters……

        Every time someone comments on C4C, or other similar sites….

        Every time someone reads these sites..

        God willing, more kids are protected, more abusers are uncovered, and the Church moves a bit closer to reform.

        The thing about it is, that if there is no ‘momentum’ opposing the these evils…they will continue, they will fester, they will grow.

        Take heart, Crystal…..you are on the right side of this one!

      • Joan,
        I think you are right. Take it day by day and do the best you can. I know some survivors are not crazy about SNAP but the information on the site gave me the knowledge and courage to confront a Predator….the information I gained helped pinpoint dates and years…he went to jail because of it..I hope this site does the same thing for someone.

  8. For the record…Lynn did a lot.

    He had tremendous “pull” in the AD…it’s how he got to the position he was in.

    I don’t think we can look at Lynn as someone who just didn’t “do enough.”

    Had he done nothing, he’d be claiming ignorance and “I was unaware” (my personal favorite). No, he held that position for a reason…he did a lot and it was all about image.

    I don’t know of many priests who are propelled to these positions that aren’t great secret keepers and company men. Those in power know who will lie for them and tow the line…Lynn was good at it.

  9. Agreed, SW! I’m used to having this “discussion” with those from my (his)parish who insist that he was/is too weak to stand up to his superiors or that he himself is in fact a victim in this. It’s been terribly difficult for me to not be overly nasty with anyone on this topic. But I do agree with you, he did pleanty. And if my child had nightmares after his arrest, because he gave her her first confession, I can’t even imagine how those of you, who have been direct victims, cope on a daily basis. I think of it often, and try to aply it to my trials in life. First your abused, then your tortured by apathy. It’s time for everyone, particularly in Lynn’s parish community…TO WAKE UP.

  10. Unbelievable. For an organization that has always been obsessively concerned with their image, keeping secrets, covering up and not exposing their “dirty laundry”, this is just hard to believe.

    I believe the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is “stuck”, with no way out regarding all of these sordid, evil, amoral, criminal revelations that will play out day after day down there at the Criminal Justice Center. If the past archdiocesan management style were in place, Chaput and his leaders would be in a hurry to close this matter as soon as possible, i.e., some kind of plea deal involving Lynn, Brennan, et al. However, and this is the key element, to do so would most certainly risk and/or expose similarly situated Vicars of Clergy around the country who may just face similar criminal prosecution for their conduct, or more specifically, their omissions or failing to act to protect children.

    I think it’s time for Archbishop Chaput to bring in and bring on some of the heavyweight legal help he had out there in Denver. I think a call to Martin (Marty) Nussbaum is in order. Here’s a man who has gove all over the country to support and defend the Catholic Church in a variety of forums regarding their (mis)management of clergy abuse allegations, reporting and responsibilites. Mr. Nussbaum, the City of Brotherly Love will certainly welcome you and your associates with open arms.

    • Ski adv. –What do you think Nussbaum can do here, that isn’t already being done? –As you say, the AD appears to be in a no-win situation.

  11. After just a few days of this trial I NO LONGER feel “guilty” about not putting cash in the plate each Sunday nor supporting the yearly appeal… Hell, my wife and I are considering pulling the kids out of school as a matter of principal. No matter how this plays out, the Phila. AD has broken every “moral” rule I can think of to date. How can one be foolish enought to support $$$$$$$ this AD going forward without some major changes from the top down that includes a full confession of sins………I know.. Hell will freeze over before a full confession comes.

    • In California the dioceses paid out over billion dollars so as not to air their dirty laundry in civil trials as Philly will be doing in this criminal trial. Of course money will not buy silence in this criminal trial and it seems guilty pleas are not forthcoming, so far. This tells us that the bonds of priest brotherhood have been broken for good. This failure to ‘fall on the sword’ so to speak is the end of clericalism. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF now. So the dirt laundry will be for all to see.

      • I agree; divide and conquer is the key straightening up this mess. If you can’t break-up the the old boys club, there is no hope of cleaning up the church.

        It’s just like the Mob. As long a the code of silence was maintained they were very powerful. Once they started to snitch on each other they became a shadow of their former selves.

        Clericalism must end or the abuse will continue.

  12. In spite of the salacious evidenc, there is a chance that the defendants will be found not guilty. If that happens, you will see a sanctimoneous, self righteous response from the right wing extremists that the church really represents. And this entire matter will just go away. Fact is that aside from the small percent that care, i.e., those reading this blog, few if any others care. The rest just go to church, put money in the plate, and carry on with their pretend faith. Even if one 40-something pudgy monsignor goes to prison, so what. NONE would dare reproach the real beasts in power. So, you’re really gonna drop a note in the collection plate letting them know how you feel? Maybe that will prompt them to have everyone sing Kumbaya next Sunday, and then can offer another Renew program for the faithful idiots to perform penance.

    • Its no accident that CNN, the NY Times et al reporters are attending this trial.

      Whatever the outcome…there will be more DA’s throughout the nation looking seriously at prosecuting institutional Church ‘management’ for passing on predators. Instead of giving the Church ‘prosecutorial passes’.

      The ‘protect the Church’ mindset is over, prosecute the Church, when appropriate is, perhaps the ‘new normal’.

      At a minimum…dioceses throughout the nation can be expected to be ever so careful in these matters. They don’t want a ‘Philly’ media exposure.

    • It won’t go away. It will be preserved on the Internet for eternity, and the youth of America will read it as they grow up, and they will decide whether the Catholic church is God’s church. The current church is mostly tun by old men who are concerned with keeping the old ladies in the pews happy, and they can be lied to.

      The next generation will see the truth, and the Catholic congregation will diminish every year until it is insignificant. Just like the devil would do it.

    • Mark – speculation is counterproductive. Why not just wait until the verdicts are announced?

      • Joe B. I understand where you are coming from but waiting in the past has lead to more kids being molested……….that is where I am coming from. You wait for someone else to do something…….more kids get molested……..that is why we are so concerned . We want it to stop.I pray also though:)

  13. It is slow…it is painful…

    but it’s possible for people to change…

    I don’t think the clergy (as a whole) will change…I believe they will just close ranks, get tighter and fewer hierarchs will hold all the power.

    My end goal is always about the safety of children. This trial is just a cog in the wheel on the journey.

    I wouldn’t call it their “pretend faith,” …but, you’re right…many in the pews just don’t want to know. Some will be paying a very high price for their ignorance and blind obedience…just as many now are as well.

    Writing a note in the collection plate isn’t about getting the hierarchy to do anything…it’s a statement about the person writing it…that they aren’t blindly following.

    On a sidenote…the clergy hear us…they may not respond…they may act like they are “unaware,”…but they know more than what they let on. You just have to know their currency…the 2 M’s…media and money.

    • SW, it’s always a pleasure to interact with you!

      And yes, this trial is a cog on the journey!

      Personally, and professionally, I tend to cut some slack for a limited number of folks, who I genuinely believe, simply can’t alter their belief systems to proactively absorb this trial data.

      There’s a really good book by Elizabeth Liebert, Changing Life Patterns, which looks at where folks are spiritually/developmentally and how they ‘move on’. Liebert argues that it’s extremely tough for folks who need the security of institutional correctness, to critique the ‘needed’ institution. Generally takes a life threatening experience, cancer diagnosis, divorce, maybe this trial data. AND then, folks don’t make a quantum leap developmentally, but rather one or at best, two step ‘shift’.

      So much for esoteric data….I keep wondering if Martin might want to take a whack at this?

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply March 30, 2012 at 5:15 am

        Joan, you asked for it 😉

        There are no stupid or foolish actions. Human behavior makes sense if you understand the behavior from the perspective of the actor. Given his or her way of thinking, the behavior makes perfect sense to him or her. (This does not mean condone it or ignore it.)

        Each of us has a “self,” a constellation of needs, values, beliefs, abilities, etc. – that make up our identity.

        That “self” is the result of our relationships with others, starting with those most influential early in life, like family and Church. It is very difficult to give up this “self.” Threats to change the self feel like threats to our very existence. So, you answered your question. For some, it is simply too scary to let in the information about clerical sex/power abuse. I too cut them some slack.

        If we want to change the way people act, we need to change the way they think.

        If we are to change the way they think, we must first be willing to perceive their behavior as it was intended…. to “imagine the real” for them. This is NOT to say we like the behavior or the thinking behind it, it is to say that we need to imagine the world as it exists for them. This does not mean we give up on opposing them and standing our own ground. It means we do that and simultaneously, as Martin Buber said, “swing to the other side” to “imagine the real” for them.

        As we humans develop, the self becomes a filtering mechanism for what and how we perceive and evaluate things around us. Information that fits with our concept of self is readily admitted to awareness. Information that is at odds with our concept of self is filtered through the way we see the world or completely rejected. We become defensive in response to what feels like a threat to self.

        Defensiveness can be minimized by using non-evaluative feedback. This is the kind of feedback that describes something without attaching a value judgment to it. An example of non-evaluative feedback was demonstrated by Kathy above when she asked Joe: “Joe, did you see the headline of today’s Inquirer? Pastor: Past of Priest Made Unknown.” She simply described the newspaper headline without a lot of editorial comment. She might have said: “You gullible fool, look at the facts.” Imagine the kind of response that would provoke.

        Our sense of self – our identity – was created by being in relationship with others. It will change if we have new relationships, people we like and respect who express curiosity about and thus challenge what we think and believe. Rather than “you are what you eat,” I say “you are who you are with.”

        So, in speaking with the old ladies with the rosaries, who attend daily Mass, and then talk trash about the Other (victims, people of other races, ) in the parking lot, the idea is not to shame them, abandon them, or agree/conspire with them. You cannot influence them by doing any of those things. The path to change would involve meeting them as human beings, developing a personal relationship, and asking questions in a nonthreatening way that raises awareness: what did you make of those priests testifying in court? Were they telling the truth? Was it hard on them? Do you think they hate the Church? I believe that victims telling their stories can be powerful feedback for these old ladies – here is my story, here is what happened to me. Victims simply describing their personal experiences will create awareness in ways that do not feel like threats to the listeners. If you look at social changes, e.g., civil rights or gay rights, you will find that the most effective way to change those who oppose us is having contact with them and just letting them get to know us. We cannot hate the Others if we come to know them.

        If we are hoping to influence others, we ourselves must be open to being influenced. This is where the bishops and priests most often fail – they who have a self that is “alter Christus” cannot enter into a conversation with us as peers. Ultimately, they must be right. When all else fails, they forbid people to talk, like Popes Wotyla and Ratzinger forbid us to talk about the ordination of women. Talk is dangerous.
        P.S. I do respect those who take an in your face approach, especially victims.

      • Thanks Martin you had alot of good insights. I love your “you are who you are with” A few of the things you mentioned I have learned over the years. Even if you dont agree with people it is good to understand how they tick so you know how to approach them . Again great thoughts you verbalize things I noticed but did not completely put together.

      • Martin, you are a peach (my highest compliment)!

        I am so glad you commented! I think what you were doing, was giving an operational definition of ‘love’…in this case of your opponents. (shades of Allport and ‘contact theory’, Rogers ‘client centered therapy’ et al)

        This site has integrity, because the contributors have it, and you added to it, immeasurably.

        And it’s so tough, when the abuse is staring you in the face, the cover up is being daily uncovered and as Kathy says emotions are ‘raw’.

        I especially appreciated your last paragraph. Your point about religious players who cannot afford to ‘enter into dialogue’ because as ‘alter Chritus’ they must be right! Would that Vatican 2 had prevailed, the priesthood of the ‘faithful’ had been seriously implemented.

        So, Martin given that I totally agree with your analysis, what’s the game plan? What I think you are calling for is the ability to keep ones principles and agenda totally intact, but if one wants to change folks minds, a confrontational approach is far less effective than an informational (relatively non judgmental…no one is perfect) dialogue with as much appreciation as possible (again none of us are perfect) of the ‘other’s’ worldview.

        I too think victims have a perfect right to be ‘in your face’….and need to be.

        Again, many many thanks! Joan

  14. This generation of children will be totally different. Nothing like driving in the car with your kids and the news brief be about priests stalking children, porn stashes and sexually suggestive letters written to 7th graders. I am thinking clericalism dies a fast death with these kids. The info will be preserved on the internet for all to read,but these kids are learning in real time.

    Crystal,you had 36 priests at your high school? ….schools today are 99% lay teachers and only about 2 to 3 seminarians ordained each year in this Diocese. I had to laugh because a friend told me today of an effort to have the pastor of her parish removed because he does not get along well with people…good luck with that ..there is no one left to replace them.

    • Would not let my 11 and 12 year olds listen to the War of Roses on one of these Rock stations in the morning because it get really dicey…. Now I have to turn off KYW…The fact is the kids know what is going on, mine have asked questions. We decided to TELL THEM THE TRUTH and not hide the events that are unfolding…..This trial is impacting the entire parish community, top to bottom…. I am still trying to determine what is worse, the acts themselves or the cover up……

      • Imagine how horrifying it is to teenagers of any age to hear what happened to the victims, and how the gangsters in the Catholic church hid the pedophile priests, protected them, reassigned them, lied about them, and then fought and bullied the victims.

        Think about the 16 or 17 year old reading about this, on his own, and thinking that a gang of priests raped a 10 year old boy, who is his little brother’s age. Those 16 and 17 year olds have a clearer picture of the Catholic church than anyone remaining in the pews. Catholics who defend it in any way are just making those teenagers realize that this is a bizarre cult, not God’s church.

    • Yup Kathy…36 priests -gone are those days.
      I tell my kids everything I know and feel about this news these days –not that I need to .. They have access to news whenever they want and are encouraged to think for themselves…. They range in age from 15 to 23 and they totally and instinctively “get it” about clergy and the RCC –but we made sure they weren’t ever brainwashed in the first place. The RCC has their work cut out to try to trick this upcoming generation. –And with virtually no new priests coming up, it’s not going to happen.

  15. Joe ..,Okonski ultimately was the one who reported after finding the sexually explicit letter to an 11 year old boy. The letter described an oral sex act the priest wanted to perform on the boy and also in the letter the priest described fantasies of the priest watching as the child’s father spanked him. From the article

    “Father Joseph Okonski had a pained look on his face. The veteran priest was telling a jury how back in 1995, he walked into the bedroom of his rectory roommate, Father Michael Murtha, and discovered a trove of pornographic magazines and videos.

    “Certainly, I was disturbed by it,” the priest told the jury Wednesday. The porn was being mailed to the rectory of St. Anselm’s Church in Northeast Philadelphia in plan wrappers. The priest played one video. “It was sado-masochistic male-on-male pornography,” he testified.

    The priest reported the porn to the pastor of St. Anselm’s, but he didn’t do anything about it, Father Okonski told the jury. Then, Father Okonski made a second visit to Father Murtha’s bedroom and discovered in a closet a love letter Father Murtha had written to a seventh-grader named Drew.”

    • Fr O. is truly one of the best priests the AD has…and even he couldn’t find the courage do the right thing. So disappointing.

    • You know Kathy, I don’t see how ‘other priests’ in the AD can claim they didn’t know about the predators….I agree with Hadit, SW et al they are all complicit, and it is disgusting.

      I would imagine that priest/parishioner relations are at best, in Philly, going to be ‘strained.’

      • Joan,

        Many of the clergy possessed first-hand information about predators and/or enablers, others heard through the grapevine about incidences of abuse and hierarchical concealment, but ALL were fully aware of how the clerical culture routinely managed priestly “mishaps” and sins. To find such a modus operandi acceptable, to condone it via mere participation in the priesthood, and to perceive themselves as associated with an honorable institution having such a modus operandi is seriously alarming. Truly cultish in nature. It really calls into the question the psych-emotional development and needs of priestly men. What normal man would say, yeah, the culture’s modus operandi sounds healthy and holy to me???

      • And Hadit the seminary cultivated this myopia?

      • How about the secretaries at the front desk that day at Neuman – Where were their heads? They saw a roman collar and let a predator in to have at the kids.
        This victim’s story is has really demonstrated the complete authority and hold the clergy have had over us all.

      • Joan,

        You are absolutely correct. But let’s go one step further. I once taught a student who was in the process of applying to seminary. He was meeting regularly with a clerical “spiritual counselor.” The student once told me how “special” the counselor made him feel, taking him on outings and offering him a variety of privileges and “ins” that were not available to other young people his age. A sort a “grooming” was going on… not implying a sexual “grooming,” rather a clericalism “grooming.”

        Once a man or young man says he’s interested in the priesthood, glimpses of the culture appear immediately, and they are hard to resist. Why the glimpses are appealing to certain men and young men merits a psychological study.

    • Yeah know………the fact he was bold enough to have porn sent to the rectory speaks volumes…….he just did not care. What did the secretary think of all thoses magazines wrapped in plastic? I heard many years ago from a hotel front desk person that you would be surprised with the amount of priests that rent porn. I know alot of people have porn problems that are not priests but my point is he did not care who knew he was getting porn they mailed it right to him at the rectory…………

      • I just think that if I was a secretary I would question those covered magazines maybe someone tipped off Fr. Okonski…….you never know. Time to put netnanny on all their computers…………

  16. S Reid Warren, III Reply March 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Victims4justice – there are many words that are filthier than the words you use. Words like grooming, stalking, threatening, flattering, lying, seducing, raping and “I love you little fella.”
    There have alwasy been curse words tht are supposed to be bad, but all of them pale into insignificance compared to those I have listed above in the priest’s predatory behaviors over the years. Blaming, he asked for it, he came on to me, it’s the way s/he dressed, incest and on and on goes the list of abominable words. Lying, dodging, cover-up, burying evidence, sending priests off to another parish or to a retirment home also come to mind. I didn’t know!

    Reid

  17. Hadit, was it Richard Sipe who reported on a LOT of sexual molestation IN the seminary?

    • Joan,

      The student I spoke of in my above post eventually entered a seminary. He left after a year and a half. He told me that in the seminary culture he was exposed to, he found it difficult being a straight seminarian.

      Sipe has a lot to say about seminary life and culture. Each seminary can take on its own distinct culture.

  18. One Brazen Article Reply March 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Just a few thoughts after sitting through the trial for the better part of the week.

    The media reports of the proceedings have been accurate and comprehensive and provide a clear view of what has transpired in court.

    What I would like to convey is the notion of attendance which Sister Maureen addressed earlier today. Namely, that your presence in the courtroom is very important to complete the picture being presented to the jury.

    It is also imperative that the survivors who testify understand how many of us there are out here who care about what happened to them.

    Realistically, it is not possible for many people, but the more of us who can make it, the greater the impact will be on all parties involved.

    There are numerous hassles associated with making your way to Filbert Street. They can be overcome with some effort, and the feeling that one receives by “being there”, is worth it.

    We have had thousands of victims over the course of several generations in Philadelphia, and this trial is not something that we can take for granted. In fact, the church has been extremely deft at avoiding this for many years. Now that it is here we must make our presence known.

    Visiting a courtroom is not my idea of fun, but nothing about this case is enjoyable.

    The courageous woman who testified today walked out of that courtroom with her head held high. The feeling that I got watching her cannot be gleaned from the paper.

    Sincerely,
    One Brazen Article

    P.S. As Sister Maureen has stated, cell phones are banned. Simply turning them off is not an option, and you will have to go through a metal detector on the first and third floor.

    • If I lived in Philly, I’d be outside holding a sign…”I believe the victims. Visit Catholics4Change.com – Let Your Voice Be Heard!”

      or…

      “Victims, thank you for coming forward to tell the truth.”

      or…

      “Victims, thank you for helping to protect our children.”

      Something that honors and acknowledges those who had the courage to tell their story!

      I wish I was there!

  19. The sickest piece of this whole thing is that this is happening not just in Phillie, and not just in every major and minor diocese in the US, but it is happening in every nation around the world that is under Rome. It’s time to bring an end to this criminal enterprise. The key tool for doing this is information. Here is what the people in Arlington and Richmond, Virginia have put together, listing a few of the recent scandals there. http://www.eurekaencyclopedia.com/index.php/Category:Virginia_Dioceses Perhaps the “faithful” in Phillie, Pgh and elsewhere in PA can put together a similar resource.

    • Thanks Mark, didn’t realize Bob was accuse.

      “Rutledge affair Rev. Robert Rutledge, Oblates, ordained 1989, while a teacher at Catholic High School, Rutledge was accused of assaulting and emotionally battering a male student beginning 9/95. Youth became so emotionally upset, particularly after school officials became aware of abuse and refused to remove teacher, that he had to be withdrawn from school. Rutledge left school in 1996 but began teaching at College in PA. Civil suit filed 1997. Still residing in Diocese per 2008 directory accessed on 7/21/08” – from the above link

      http://legacy.bishopireton.org/Oblates/Oblates%20At%20BI.pdf

      now on a college campus in PA – still listed on the faculty

  20. Martin, you wrote “Threats to change the self feel like threats to our very existence. This reminds me of a phone conversation I had with an elderly priest. We were at complete opposite ends of the spectrum concerning the abuse crisis. He started with ” victims are liars,they just want money”,moved on to “the liberal press wants to destroy the Church”, then we got to, “The prosecutors in Philly have an ax to grind” It was a conspiracy of three groups coming together with the goal of destruction of something he loved….the Church. I went through each group with him, the victims, press and prosecutors. He would not budge when presented with questions or facts.

    I then asked him about Cardinal Bevilaqua and Rigali. I asked why priests would have been removed by them after the Grand jury reports if any of this were not true. I told him to go to the Archdiocese website where the priests who have harmed children and been removed are listed. How could the cardinals be part of this conspiracy against the Church? The answer was that the Cardinals were indeed part of this,they were against the priests and caving into the three groups listed above who had formed a conspriacy against the Church.
    What I heard in his voice was fear. He was passionate but not angry. He did not try to shorten the conversation in any way. He was firm in his beliefs and stood his ground. But the fear in his voice was palpable. To admit that any of this was true was not a possibility for him,it just could not happen. He was an older man,lived his life as a priest, he loved his church….it was all he had. Everyone was trying to take that from him.

  21. Kathy,

    It’s disgusting the priest “started with, victims are liars”. As an “older” priest…there is 0% chance he was unaware of these ungodly acts. Yet, like 99.5% of the “good” ones…he never stepped up to protect the innocent lambs.
    Someone made the comment (Patrick, I think) Lie until you die. This is the mindset/strategy.
    I too, believe the victims.

  22. “He was an older man,lived his life as a priest, he loved his church….it was all he had. Everyone was trying to take that from him.” Do you think he is honest? Are his views on this moral? Does he take anything from anyone? What does he have, that he is fearful of losing?

    • “he loved his Church, it was all he had.”

      The Church is an institution, constructed and maintained by people. When it is corrupt, it is the duty of people to restore it to moral health. It is immoral for people permit an immoral institution to persist merely because it affords them personal stability or a psychological/spiritual “anchoring.” Unfortunately, ideas like the Church is “the bride of Christ” presents the institution in a theological light, skewing the concrete reality that the Church is merely an institution. The theological light can distort how people feel and think when the Church is in need of reform. Reform entails practical solutions to real problems. The idea that the “bride of Christ” is problematic, or that we should reform it through practical solutions is, for many, unimaginable, if not blasphemous. For many people, the idea of the Church being “the bride of Christ” is immutable theology. If you have enjoyed years and years of a love affair with the lofty “bride of Christ,” would you be inclined to acknowledge that the object of your love is corrupt, and that it merits reform? Yikes.

      • Damn Beth, you’ll never know how much of what you just wrote affects me. How anyone could ignore a child crying, begging, pleading for help is unbelievable to me.

        I can’t write too much about it here because it just really gets to me, and it’s the one thing in my past I never talk about much. I cried out for help. I screamed through the horrible pain, and NO ONE came to help.

        That sort of injustice breeds a lot of anger for the people who just stood around and did nothing. People who knew about it, but didn’t step in to stop it. A heirarchy that was aware and protected the people who caused all the pain. 😦 I prayed to God and Superman, but nobody ever came to save me. 😦

      • V4J,
        I am haunted by the image of alittle boy crying out for help……..you see I did not know him back then…………I could not help him……………I can’t help him today………..so my heartbreaks and I weep………………and I lobby to change the laws………..I am so sorry that you felt even God Abandon you………..I am so sorry you went thru that……………when a child cries out…………someone should help him………..not be ignored……I am so sorry……..I would have broken the door down to help him………I would have broken the door down to help you……..

      • More like I would have broken the f–kin door down.

      • Praying to Superman breaks my heart! I am SO sorry.

    • hadit, I think of the Sandusky case and his wife showing up by his side to all his court appearances. When you look at Sandusky’s history,having sleepovers in the basement with young children. One victim claims Sandusky’s wife was upstairs in the kitchen when he was yelling for help. If someone’s spouse is having sleepovers with children in the basement …red flag. But even now with all of the victims and evidence, she stands by his side. Look at all the dynamics involved in that situation. To admit he is guilty does that mean she has to admit to herself ,years of turning a blind eye? Does it mean she has to admit that she chose a spouse that was capable of harming children? The dynamics in that situation are so telling. Sandusky going to court to be allowed to see his grandchildren,his daughter in law fighting to keep her children away from him. Where do his own children stand in this mix? Does their loyalty to a father outweigh the safety of children? We want life to be black and white,emotions and denial cloud that picture. How many times of abuse within familes we hear of a family fracturing,those siding with the accused,the others with the abused.

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        Kathy, Sandusky’s wife’s behavior is a great example. In other cases, children who are victims of sexual abuse by the father often report a mother who seemed oblivious. Were the mother charged with a crime and were I on the jury, I would vote to send her to jail. AND, depending on the circumstances, I could feel some compassion for her. If I wanted to help other mothers in similar circumstances not to fall into denial, I would want to understand her and her experience.

        You said: “We want life to be black and white,emotions and denial cloud that picture..” I want that, why can’t human beings comply 😉 Martin

      • Very complicated………very sad………….possibly some thought Jerry was “off” but at least they knew the wife was home………little did they know………too painful for her to deal with………….so sad…………denial does protect the self……….not the victims

      • I just don’t think there is anything more heartbreaking than a child calling for help and being ignored.

      • great discussion! Good description of why hearts and heads are so hard to the issues of clergy abuse.. .For me, trying to reach people on this is sometimes like talking to Stepford wives or the “body snatched” -!!

      • Kathy,

        The dysfunctional “kingdom” owned by Sandusky (Penn State) and his wife was similarly evidenced by Bernie Fine (Syracuse U.) and his wife. Fine’s wife permitted him to regularly abuse boys in their basement rec room, and he permitted her to regularly sleep with members of the university basketball team. Both looked the other way. Fine’s wife admitted to knowing he was sexually attracted to boys. Rather than leave him, she developed her own “avenues” for sexual pleasure. The fulfillment of each partner’s sexual pleasure was “nicely” attended to without having to dismantle the “kingdom” that defined them, and copiously provided for them.

  23. John and Mark
    Don’t misunderstand,I am not offering this as anything other than observing behavior and reactions. My professional background is similar to Martin, I understand what he is explaining. It is not about agreeing with another persons reactions or behaviors,it is about trying to understand the reason for those reactions and behaviors and going from there. I left the conversation with the thought that probaby nothing I said made a difference, the defense mechanism was kicked into high gear -no info,logic or data would break through that. At this point the Church was all he had and he would fight anything that threatened that,because it threatened him,his very existence. This is not about feeling sorry for an old priest ..it is giving an example of what Martin outlined.

  24. Mark ,you ask “Are his views on this moral” I think when it comes to issues of self preservation ,morality is often the first thing cast aside. Look at the case of Avery ,a few days before his plea deal, the defense outlined that they were going to go after the victim and the victim’s history. That was their line of defense, attack the person who Avery had literally attacked. A few days later, Avery enters a plea deal and the attorney alludes to Avery having done some terrible things in his life.

    • And Kathy, the defense will go after Brennan’s accuser…they already have. Should Brennan take a plea deal, they will reverse course. No longer attacking the ‘attacked’. And yes, self preservation, with the assistance of a large number of diocesan paid attorneys…is the name of the ‘morality’ game.

      I am always amazed at the way a C4C posting ‘unfolds’…..the way comments trigger off a whole chain of response. It’s a very powerful form of dialogue and THIS blog has been exceptional! ( They are all, good!)

      • Speaking of “morality”, are people aware of the defending lawyers’ past cases?? Brennan defended the infamous Dr. Kermit Gosnell, if one can bring themselves to call him a doctor. And the AD has hired this scum to represent their Brennan?! And Bergstrom… defending corrupt officials, and duPont for murder… remember that case? Great folks for the so-called moral RCC to be associated with.

      • 4thchild I did not know that yuck……….

  25. “No one really understands what these young men and women experience, unless you’ve been there,” said Bishop. “No one understands how to treat them. No one understands what it feels like and no one is able to help them until a law is put into place . . . .”
    Bishop, a former minister and radio talk-show host, held on to that bitter part of her past until last year, when she and other state lawmakers began to push for action on child-sexual-abuse legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations and increase the requirements for reporting suspected abuse.
    “We want to send a strong message on this,” Greenlee said.
    Councilman Jim Kenney added: “There should be no statute of limitations on the theft of people’s childhood.”

    Who would’ve ever thought that advocacy would come in the form of a Bishop? Too bad this Bishop had to be like me to rally other politicans and citizens to make a change in the laws. But, at least she had the courage to speak out and I’m finally proud of a politician. I only wish she held office in the State of New Jersey, where I live. Cheers to this Bishop!

    • You know V4J if ever there was a time to make the argument for opening up the PA Statute of Limitations ( SOLs) as Bishop was making, it is right now when horrific abuse details are on the nightly news.

      And the Church’s cover up is a major issue.

      Untold numbers of victims of abuse exist in PA. We are just learning about some of the perps and vileness of their crimes.

      We are learning just exactly what those crimes were, in horrifying detail!

      These victims deserve restitution as a FIRST PRIORITY….then the Church can go about it’s ‘good works’. AND these victims may well name many more predators then are currently known, a huge favor to PA’s innocent children.

      • Joan Pa has formed a committee to study child abuse for a year!!!!!!!! What do they need to study????????? Change the laws!!!!!!!!

      • Or put more simply, the message to the church relative to opening up the SOLs windows is this:

        If you pass on predators who commit ugly crimes….you pay victims first THEN you do ‘good works’

      • Joan I think paying survivors is GOOD WORKS! Many have problems with holding jobs, relationships, addictions need counseling meds etc. I think it falls under corporal and spiritual works………..

      • I was at the press conference in Harrisburg when Louise Bishop disclosed her own abuse. It was one of the most moving and courageous things I have ever witnessed.
        And yes,the irony of the last name. I remember the following day one of the headlines on a local new site read something like “Bishop leads fight for SOL reform”

      • Beth…I agree! I realized after I posted that I should have qualified the remark…my point is that the argument is often made that the costs of SOLs mean the Church has to limit its services, ie it’s ‘good works’.

        The point that I feel VERY STRONGLY about, is that the Church has acted criminally in my view, certainly morally guilty for its cover up of abuse, it’s treatment of victims, the list goes on and on, and BEFORE the church funds any other task, they simply owe it to victims to make restitution and I am NOT talking about some minimalist counseling on the cheap.

      • A committee to study child abuse? I’ll get in on that. I’ve been involved in child abuse for over 20 years. I’m an expert! LOL

        I do hope though with these stories on the news that parents may be given “hints” as to perhaps their own child being abused. I think it’s important to educate parents and children more about “grooming techniques” than it is actual abuse. I think more children are groomed than abused. Some grooming from perpetrators doesn’t work and they will move on to the next kid it will work with.

        Parents need to know that it is NOT okay for Father Smith to be sleeping in the same bed with their children.

        Parents need to know it is NOT okay for Father Smith to take children on vacation, or to the beach, or any unsupervised outings.

        Parents need to listen to their children and take their words seriously. Kids don’t say “Father Smith touched my crouch” for attention. Do you know how many victims I know who claim to have told their parents, only to be dismissed as “wanting attention, making up stories?”

        If I had children, there is NO WAY, NO HOW, NO CHANCE they’d ever be alone with a priest, teacher, coach, neighbor, etc.

        I could list so many things I believe that put children in danger every day of being sexually abused. If parents protected their kids like their protect their cars or their money, more kids would be safer.

        But I can’t just blame parents. School administrators are responsbile too, Catholic and public. There should be a protocol for dealing with a child, but definitely not one-on-one. It should be similar to a hospital or a doctors visit, where a parent must accompany a child into the exam room.

        I just purchased a 60″ Samsung Smart TV last week. The maintinence guide was nearly as thick as the Bible. Anyone in a position of dealing with children should have a similar guide, and you can’t be hired for the job until you know that guide inside and out, and until you’ve had a psychological examination, a polygraph exam, and an extensive criminal background check. Because when it comes to my child someday, or my nieces and nephews, I wouldn’t expect anything less.

        Maybe you people should be demanding more?

      • And I want to expand that defense of SOLs. When clergy molest children it has been rated as ‘soul murder’. The havoc in victims lives, is unbelievable. Suicide is not unknown. The evil is incredibly ugly.

        A church that knowingly covers this up, passes on predators to molest more kids in another unsuspecting parish, is just plain evil.

        And justice demands that restitution be made, to victims. Justice also demands that the corrupt institution be both punished and change its ways, big time!

        SOLs are one way of achieving both goals.

        And I personally am very tired of masses of atonement, prostrations before altars, pious sermons et al.

        I want SOLs. I want tough mandated clergy molestation reporting requirements. I want legislation on child endangerment…that is very tough on any supervisor who is responsible for staff who have responsibility for innocent children.

        I want real substantive action with real serious consequences, NOT pious blathering.

      • Joan–I’m tired of hearing how sorry they are and that they want to reach out to their victims.. PLEAD GUILTY if you’re sorry! But they really do have a way with words. Followers lap right it up and put their money in the baskets! The mass of atonement thing was …?… (words fail me). People actually fall for theater like that.

      • Rich,
        Parents are many times asked to leave exam rooms once minors become a certain age…depends on the state. I think it’s 12 in Illinois, is it 14 in PA?

        Due to a variety of reasons..practicioners know minors do not speak openly with their parents, OR the parents are perpetrating on the children and it’s the child’s chance to tell an outside source.

        I’m not saying it’s right…I’m just sharing some challenges we face as parents.

        Many parents don’t have an issue with it…but for my husband and myself…we have to navigate our own feelings in order to parent our children in the interest of what’s best for them, not for us.

        Then there’s the issue of counseling…after age 12 in our state…unless the minor permits it, a counselor cannot share what happens in session with the parents. Alone with a trusted adult and not permitted to share info?

        Trusting other adults with our children has been a difficult part in all of this.

        Sleepovers at friend’s homes…even if I know the family really well…what about the step brother who came home for spring break from college? Things that don’t even register with most people…are usually the first things that come up in our home. Some of our concerns are valid, and some of it is just our fear…it’s a tricky dance.

        I’ve watched one of my best friend’s (grown woman living her own life) check in with her mom for some of the most ridiculous things…driving home from work late at night, not returning a text within a certain amount of time. etc. The Mom…a former ER nurse…so my friend accomodates her mother’s fears.

        Honestly, I don’t want to place my fears onto my children. I don’t want them living their lives with trust issues, or having their spiritual lives tainted by this whole mess, more than it already has been because of our “stuff”…this is THEIR childhood. It’s a delicate balance we all search for as parents knowing what we know.

        Just rambling this morning.

      • Its a classical Catholic red herring to say, “but they do good works”. That is supposed to be their only job, and to do it so well that they lead others to do good works.

        Jerry Sandusky did good works. He was an outstanding football coach, and helped develop some young men. He ran a huge charitable organization. None of that matters.

        Catholics should just be honest and say, “Other than the rampant child rape, the lying, bullying the victims, and protecting our unparalleled riches instead of finding thousands of other victims, we do good works.”

    • V4J,
      I was moved by Bishop also. What irony with the name.

  26. ( I’m not trying to add anything new or profound here but just wanted to add…..)..For our justice system to work in our free society, the AD and it’s priests are entitled to a defense. Fr. B’s attorney actually is a good person, who’ll do the best job he can for his client…We should be glad to know the AD has hired him.. That way, when Fr. B. goes to jail, they can’t blame it on incompetent counsel…

  27. The “breaking rank clergy” stort as reported by well respected Religion Editor Barney Swartz is giving concerns it has been “taken out of context”, Melbourne’s Thursday’s Age March 29th.
    Even to the “Archbishop’s advisor”, Fr Tony Kerin being reported as such.
    I think being “the lesser evil” I mentioned, has given someone second thoughts.
    Or maybe there’s a political reason up their sleeve that has given them more light, with the elevation to the Chair of the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission QC John Searle, by the Attorney General. After a while you notice a pattern evolving.

  28. After I read this on the blog
    http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/03/monsignor-lynn-and-duty-to-prevent.html
    and then this
    http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/03/detective-lynn-worried-about-scandal.html

    I couldn’t help but have some concerns about the prosecution.

    This was stated in the first link about the prosecution being able to prove the following:
    “1) the accused must be aware of … her duty to protect the child; 2) the accused must be aware that the child is in circumstances that could threaten the child’s physical or psychological welfare; and 3) the accused either must have failed to act or must have taken action so lame or meager that such actions cannot reasonably be expected to protect the child’s welfare.

    Then I read this, said by a detective under oath:

    “It was my impression that he was concerned about the scandal it might bring to the church,” the detective said. When the defense lawyer persisted, Dougherty said after his extensive reading of the files, his conclusion was “There is little if any concern for the victims.”

    Instead, the detective insisted, the files show Lynn’s “concern was for the hierarchy of the church.”

    Here’s my concern. See #1 and #2…the church was (and is) blind to the victims. Thus far (and I know we have a long way to go), the prosecution is not showing the church is aware of “her duty to protect the child.” In fact, I think they are doing an excellent job of showing the church was completely UNaware “that the child is in circumstances that could threaten the child’s physical or psychological welfare.”
    I think the defense made their point with a detective that was brought by the prosecution. The detective even said it…”concern for the hierarchy of the church.”

    People don’t go to jail because they are self-absorbed.

    I really wish the detective had said, “It was my impression that he was concerned about the scandal it might bring to the church” …because they knew there would be more victims.

    The trial is going to last months…I’m sure they have a plan in place…but, so far, the prosecution seems weak.

  29. “According to records in the Centre County courthouse, he had a child with a 17-year-old girl when he was 49. He married her five years later. They have two children, 14 and 9.”

    It is difficult to know( we – those who haven’t been raped- will never understand) the pain of a rape victim, especially children. PA just doesn’t have the teeth in its laws to solve the problem. How many victims are told their case isn’t strong enough? How many parents decide not to persue because of the pain in their child’s eyes when reporting the crime, or undergoing the questions. I know these men legally need their day in court, but in my PA county a 5 year old was raped and a ninie years old by another, sentence under 2 years – the only goog in that they have to register as sex offenders – happened recently. Also, the justice syatem fail our youth with the “kids for cash” scandle in PA. Kids are not not inportant in our justice system and it is up to us to change that.

    So this week I will think of how Jesus submitted Himself and answered the questions honestly to civil authories, while the clergy of the RCC hide their crimes. An innocent submitting Himself, while those who are guilty hide behind His Name.So the clergy are protecting their church while destroying His Church leaving the souls of our children dying in their path. I am praying that during this week the RCC members have a change in heart and maybe drop a note in the collection basket (foesn’t have to be signed) that theyare disgusted with the abuse of children – as suggested by others on this blog.

    The quote I mentioned is from this article:
    http://articles.philly.com/2011-12-17/news/30528966_1_centre-county-courthouse-preliminary-hearing-grand-jury/2

    Interesting Bio for someone who is protecting Sandusky and attacking rape victims..

  30. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/30/cardinal-timothy-dolan-holy-week_n_1389557.html?ref=topbar

    If you have the stomach to watch it…

    HOW can people take him seriously?

    “Pass Over lies. Pass Over falsehood. Pass Over sin.” Clue in Cardinal…you look like a fool preaching that when next door your brothers are standing trial for crimes, sins, and lies you’ve also committed.

    He is a politician at heart…a lot of talk, a lot of theatrics…not a lot of substance.

    Thanks for the link Hadit…I followed it and then found the video clip of Dolan.

    • SW, today’s Wall Street Journal did an extensive interview with Dolan covering insurance mandates, religious freedom, church and contraception issues.

      Dolan said the Church should have been far more vocal on opposition to contraceptive use, blamed Church leadership for high use of contraceptives by US Catholics.

      Basically, it was all about ‘religious freedom’.

      There was on interesting aside, the AD of Washington went to City Council over the adoption and placement of children with same sex couples, threatening to get out of the adoption business.

      One of the city council members said’…….Good. We’ve been trying to get you out of it forever. And besides, we’re paying you to do it. So get out!’

    • Dear Cardinal Dolan,

      Your “passing over” video landed me passed out. I’m sorry! I hate myself for not being a moron.

      Can you put down that beer bottle long enough to tell me how many Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s I should say? Sure, it’s okay if you say it with your mouth full.

      What about Chaput lending me his Opus Dei spiked belt? Can you guarantee me it will hurt more than, say, 50 Hail Mary’s and 75 Our Father’s?

      Worried in Northern NY…

      Hadit

    • I feel like my family member(church of my childhood) just died and he is coming across like a pep rally something wrong with that.

  31. After watching that Dolan clip, now I know why I have bolted down my computer monitor and put a metal protector in front to protect the glass screen.

    Is it possible, given their appearance, style, diction, and persona that Cardinal Dolan and William Donohue were identical twins, separated at birth? Theirs would be an excellent case study in the phenomenon of “nature” vs. “nurture” !

    Michael Skiendzielewski

  32. Thank You 4thechildren, I wondered about that.

  33. Thanks SW it is a “tricky dance”.

    • beth, i didn’t know what to make of it- very incomplete. I’m finding it hard to get much daily info about the trial. Any suggestions (other than Philly.com and NCR?)

  34. Crystal, Abuse Tracker has a whole mess of trial related articles on it…..I keep it on my home page!

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AbuseTracker/

  35. Crystal, here’s a very recent and detaied piece on the detective’s learnings about AD behaviour.

    http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/03/detective-lynn-worried-about-scandal.html

    • Joan – thanks so much for sharing the above link.
      How much more OBVIOUS can the church hierarchy be regarding their indifference to the abused? Never voicing concern for the danger to children… only the reputation of the pedophile priests and the church! This has been repeated time and time again. I, as well as every other member of this site are aware, but I still think the majority of the laity are not. Perhaps some of these quotes should be posted on the churches’ bulletin boards?

      On Feb. 16, 1998, after meeting with Leneweaver, Lynn wrote in a memo to Msgr. Joseph Cistone: “You will note that he has a history of acts of pedophilia/ephebophilia and I imagine by today’s standards, would be diagnosed as such. He really does not understand the climate of the times, nor the risks to himself or the church, should he be given ministry.”

  36. Crystal this detective testified at the trial last week…some of the perps behaviour is so disgusting, I am omitting it, but here is the detectives take on Lynn:

    “In 2007, Lynn met with the former priest, who was still seeking reinstatement. Lynn noted that Leneweaver was critical of the treatment he had received at St. John Vianney. “Nothing was done to help him,”the former priest complained to Lynn, who dutifully recorded it.

    When Detective Dougherty was finally finished reading records into evidence, Lynn’s lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, got a chance to cross-examine him. Don’t you think, the defense lawyer wanted to know, that Lynn showed concern for the victims here by preventing Leneweaver from returning?

    Detective Dougherty wasn’t buying it.

    “It was my impression that he was concerned about the scandal it might bring to the church,” the detective said. When the defense lawyer persisted, Dougherty said after his extensive reading of the files, his conclusion was “There is little if any concern for the victims.”

    Instead, the detective insisted, the files show Lynn’s “concern was for the hierarchy of the church.”

  37. Retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson from Australia was in the States last week. He spoke at several gatherings around the U.S.. Prior to speaking last Tuesday in Detroit, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron sent a letter to all of his diocesan priests, asking that they not attend Robinson’s speech. “I would discourage your attendance at this presentation and ask that you share my concerns with anyone you know who is planning or considering to attend.” In attendance at the function was Illinois Supreme Court Justice Burke. Interviewed after Robinson’s speech, she noted how pleased she was with the event and the number of priests in attendance, many of whom attended in attire not including clerical collars.

    Robinson is a formidable, insightful, courageous and refreshing voice in the Church, today. What kind of bishop would conspire to prevent his priests (and the faithful) from attending an event having the potential to inspire thought and critical thinking at a time of crisis in our Church? He would be one intent on preserving, at all costs, the groupthink, the party line, and his arrogant ass. Do you have an idea how the faithful suffer, spiritually and intellectually, under such an oppressive and medieval clerical system?

    The priests will have to do better. Real and authentic acts of priestly defiance get done in white collars.

    http://ncronline.org/news/bishop-total-re-examination-catholic-faith-culture-needed

  38. Hadit, I read that NCR article, and ordered Robinsons book.

    Apparently there were a substantial number of Detroit priests present…somewhere around 150, in civies, so Vignerons behest was not effective. Roger Mahoney had given the same direction in LA, and I suspect that didn’t work either. How foolish can these guys be in an Internet age to think they can stifle truth. Shades of the Inquisition.

    Robinson wants a total readjustment of the Church’s approach to human sexuality, and points out the evils of the traditional approach as it relates to sexual abuse of children and predator passing on….

    “…In the sexual abuse crisis, that (traditional) attitude, Robinson said, helps to “place the emphasis on the sexual sin against God rather than the offense against the abused minor.”
    “Paedophilia was, therefore, to be dealt with in exactly the same manner as any other sexual sin: confession, total forgiveness and restoration to one’s former state, and this was a significant part of the motivation for the practice of moving priests around from one parish to another,” he said.

    • Joan,

      Far more powerful than defiant clerics in civies are defiant clerics in clerical collars. (Post that at the Philadelphia Priest Association headquarters, Fr. Chris.)

      Robinson notes how incidences of sexual abuse of children were perceived by clerics as theological transgressions (sins against God), therefore meriting a theological fix (the sacrament of Reconciliation). Narrowly spinning crimes against children into theological transgressions involving clerical man and his Maker, alone, conveniently omits the petty, annoying and worldly details called victims and justice. What? Who or what are they???

      Such a nice, entitled world the clerics have, living ethereal existences and manufacturing delusional theologies to support it.

  39. thanks joan, abuse tracker is great!

    • Hadit, I went back and took a second look at that NCR article which is full of good stuff. I thought of Martin’s point (above) ie that bishops and priests can’t enter into a conversation with the laity as peers, about abuse because of their ‘alter Christus’ status. In my thank you to Martin I noted that part of his commentary and said it was a pity that Vatican 2 and the priesthood of the laity, had been scrapped.

      Robinson talks about the ‘sense of the faithful’ …..and how THEY would have handled the abuse crisis, below:

      “Among the other aspects of Catholic culture Robinson said that contributed to the abuse crisis are mandatory celibacy for priests, a “mystique” some attach to the priests as being “above other human beings,” and a “creeping infallibility” of papal decrees, which is used to protect “all teachings … in which a significant amount of papal energy and prestige have been invested.”

      Referencing the Second Vatican Council’s recognition of the “sense of the faithful” and its definition of the church as the “People of God,” Robinson said that “it is surely simple fact that the People of God as a whole would never have got us into the mess we are in, for their sensus fidei would have insisted on a far more rigorous and, dare I say it, Christian response.”

      “The pope and the bishops have lost credibility, and it is only the People of God who can restore it to them,” he said. “If the church is to move forward, these painful lessons must be learned, for this is an issue on which to leave out the People of God has been positively suicidal.”

  40. I can only echo the thoughts and prayers of all of you who have become enlightened, by the Holy Spirit …You. encourage the abused and people like me who have been so gravely offended by the diabolical actions of these men and women-, who we trusted with our most prized Spiritual possession, ..JESUS.”OurLord and our God. Trust in those who bring Good News to you and your family is such a comforting, nurturing part of your life that when you lose it, there is a huge void that only Christ can fill..That is exactly what HE has given all of us..a new found LOVE OF HIM -,not the imperfect messengers we put in HIS Place …We have all found a renewed Spiritual LOVE of CHRIST Within us. HE IS. THE HOLY ONE! HE IS WITH. US! Gloria

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