“Mark” Held His Own Under Scrutiny

Click here to read: “Monica Yant Kinney: Accuser holds up well at clergy sex abuse trial,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 5, 2012


“I’d forgotten that Mark was a Marine. In spite of everything he’s endured, he strode confidently into the courtroom, with a shaved head and chiseled face, wearing crisp gray pants, navy vest, and tie. That Mark was battle ready was all the more amazing given that just a week earlier he’d been confined to another mental-health facility.

Jurors learned that Brennan was practically a member of Mark’s family, a regular at cookouts and graduation parties. He sang the nights away with Mark’s mother. He played beer pong. He took Mark golfing and to Gettysburg.

“When the collar came down, he was just Jim,” Mark recalled wistfully. “He was one of the guys.”

Mark was 14 the night of a 1996 sleepover that changed both of their lives forever.

“He was wearing plaid boxers,” Mark recalled, one of many times he broke down and cried. That image “will never leave my brain.”

99 thoughts on ““Mark” Held His Own Under Scrutiny

  1. It is interesting to read Monica’s article and then also read the trial blog from Ralph Cipriani. That is why I encourage everyone to take a day and attend the trial. In the end the jury will render a verdict based on evidence and witness testimony and how they have processed all of the info and witness testimony .I know I read numerous articles from the day I attended and in some areas I agreed and others I had a different opinion of how something played out.


    1. “Guy is credible.” That is what I wrote in my notes as I observed Mark’s testimony yesterday. I am glad the reporter had the same experience. Another reporter described him as combative. I agree with Yant Kinney; he was appropriately assertive in asking the defense attorney to slow down and be less combative. He was being bullied and he responded in various ways that respectfully said: stop it!

      The defense attorney seemed manic. The judge chastised him when he started in on Mark before the she announced it was time to begin. At another time she asked him to slow down. At one point, when the lawyer overstepped his bounds, the judge asked him if he was now running the court. When the witness broke down, the lawyer was as frenzied in what he said were attempts to help as he was when attacking the victim. At the end of the day, the judge gave him and the DA permission to approach the witness to discuss logistical matters only. While I could not hear the conversation between Mark and the lawyers, it ended with the defense attorney blowing up and the judge calmly reminded him that they were not supposed to be dealing with content matters. She should have swatted him like a fly.

      Concerning the apparent inconsistencies in testimony given at different times, I found Mark’s explanations plausible. They contained nuance and subtlety that conveyed honesty and the complexity of reality. The defense lawyer sought simplicity and certainty.

      Mark’s responses to his enigmatic behaviors, like asking Brennan, his onetime abuser, to supervise his community service made sense to me. Of course an addict would finagle a way out of doing court-mandated community service. What better way to do this than ask to be supervised by someone you could manipulate? Mark was direct about that motivation.

      There was only one time when I questioned the victim’s motives. At the end of the day, Mark put out his hand and asked Judge Sarmina to shake hands; she refused, offering an explanation I could not hear. The jury was out of the room. I wondered if this was an innocent act or a recovering addict’s attempt to manipulate, maybe it was both.

      Mark walked to the back of the courtroom, stood in front of the first row where I was sitting, and scanned the observer section, looking apparently for someone who was not there. I found myself wanting to be supportive but did not know what to do. He’d said on the stand that his lawyer from his civil trial had been in court earlier in the day, maybe that is who he was searching for. I feel sad that he apparently ran down 12th Street alone.

      1. Thankyou Martin. It is so complex. Victim and recovering addict………..I think how would I feel getting up there and talking about something so personal……….something you have been trying to numb your self from for years…………here you are up there talking about it in front of complete strangers…………then there is the shame of the abuse and the addictive lifestyle he lived………..he is in my prayers……………it takes guts to get up there. I found court very impersonal and cold when I went with my husband to face his offender………I wish I could be there………

      2. I also was at the trial and believe that Mark was truthful, absent some trivial details that a 14 yrs old could make mistakes in trying to suppress the trauma. This is a question to you, when situations like this occurs does a ‘trauma bond ‘ sometimes happen between the Victim and the perp. The others that testified today including a Detective illustrated the same MO by the enablers and perps and I liked the way the Detective described why he never told anyone along with the fact that his family life revolved around the church, this made him a perfect target as he was taught to revere clergy without question. Now do we know why the rcc/ archdiocese of Phila, chaput and the catholic conference of bishops lobby so vigorously against any changes in the laws ? Can you imagine what is going to happen when the law permits those who were abuse prior to 2005 or 2006 an opportunity to come forward ? The Pa Legislature can not ignore this much longer and kowtow to the rcc. The VICTIMS need to have an opportunity to come forward and confront their abusers !

      3. Unableto to trust, you asked: is there a trauma bond between perp and the victim?

        There is an old and robust literature on sexual abuse of children that provides this answer to your question: Yes!

        The abused can experience an illusion of being fused with the abuser. If this is true, it is incredibly cruel that the child’s fragile ego does not allow him or her to maintain a separate sense of self and — FOR SURVIVAL’S SAKE — becomes confused about where he or she stops and the abuser begins.

  2. What a grueling day for Mark.

    Did Brennan have other victims that came forward?

    Is Brennan laicized or living a life of prayer and penance?

    1. survivors wife,the interesting thing is the Archdiocese found the account to be credible and I believe his laicization case is still pending (in Rome) he is not in a prayer and repentance program.
      I believe this is the only allegation against Brennan. This along with a history of being reported by fellow religous for troubling behavior with minors ,but no other allegations from any other person.

    2. From Bishop Accountability

      “Accused in 1/06 of abuse in 1998. Placed on leave. In 8/06 Archbishop deemed there had been abuse and permanently removed him. Matter referred to the Vatican. Named in report and presentment by new Philadelphia Grand Jury on 2/10/11.Accused of raping a14 yr old boy in 1986 at St. Jerome. Defense attorney is casting doubt on veracity of Plaintiff. Refused plea agreement 6/11. Trial set for 3/12.”

  3. I read the account on the trial blog…very different perspective of what happened.

  4. A reasonable doubt is a doubt based on a reason. There appear to be reasons to doubt. “I love the scent of incense in the morning. It’s the smell of raw political power.”

    1. lol Mark !– incense is heavy in the air this morning! Let’s hope it goes to the heads of the defense and they overplay their hand with this victim.

      From the 2 different accounts, it’s hard to tell which way this is leaning…too many variables.
      Will Fr Brennan go on today -or at all?

    2. Yes, Mark, as sympathetic as I am and strongly inclined to believe the victim, as I sat there the defense attorney created reasonable doubt in my mind. DA will need to have other witnesses or evidence against Brennan. Maybe the victim from St. Jerome’s?

    3. One of my favorite philosophers is George Santayana (Spain), a Catholic turned atheist, yet he always considered himself a “Catholic atheist.” While he came to reject the existence of God, he could not mentally or emotionally extricate himself from the beauty, power, lure and seduction of Catholic “trappings,” among them the beguiling and addictive smell of incense.

  5. Get this.

    I just ran into “Doug” at the tennis club. He spent four years in the seminary, exited, got married, has 3 children. Eucharistic minister, lay minister, and a member of his parish’s finance committee.

    I asked him what he thought about the trial in Philadelphia.

    “What trial”?

    As the trial moves from weeks to months, can we expect that all Catholics will at least know about it?

    1. hadit, on the West Coast, unless you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, or New York Times, you probably are not getting Lynn trial coverage. The Times did another article today.

      Think it is, perhaps different in the East, and obviously in PA.

    2. The sands of time soon washes over.
      Just the other day mention was made of now Cardinal Pell and the process he had introduced to deal with sex-abuse in the Melbourne Archdiocese now under scrutiny.
      Not one person knew a young woman, falling pregnant at fifeteen years old to one of his clergy signed a compensation agreement with the church which stipulated she was not to divulge information about her “ordeal”.
      No report made to authorities:
      Dear God at fifeteen, a liason that began from the Confessional.

  6. I am very grateful for the accounts of the trial that people are posting here. It’s good to get feedback from those who are able to attend the trial.

    I was wondering, what sort of reactions are you seeing from the jury and others in attendance?

    After reading the 2 articles this morning in The Inquirerer, I coudln’t hold back the tears and still feel sick to my stomach… and that was just reading the articles. Perhaps I’m just being over emotional… with the Lenten season, the thought that this is only the end of Wk 2 of the trial and picturing my boys in the place of these victims.

    1. Mimzyb,
      I don’t think you could ever get too ‘over emotional” about the violation of a child………….you are just in touch with your God given compassion for others………..

    2. mimzyb–anyone who has a boy and has any imagination at all, feels the pain of this trial. Any of those boys could be one of mine.

      1. Crystal and Beth, thank you for your thoughts.

        I’m just a bystander in all of this. Fortunately, I was not one of those who was abused, yet the turmoil I feel is wrenching. I cannot imagine the lives of the victims. Bless them. The ones who are testifying, God give them strength.

        Thankful to Kathy and Susan and all the posters here for this blog. People in everyday life just don’t want to talk about this subject and many just prefer to brush it under the rug. The rug is lumpy enough. TIme to get it all out in the open.

  7. Couldn’t Brennan “man up” and just confess to the Court, and our Mark the Marine, and say I am guilty and sorry for having ruined your life. I am ready to clear my conscience. That’s what a christian man would do.

    At least then Mark would not have to go through another day with the combative defense attorney. God Bless Mark.

  8. This Brennan should be hung drawn and quartered.
    To imagine one’s child traumatized in such a way, in the sacredness of the home IN THEIR OWN BED! They are scum absolutely and if the full sense of the law doesn’t come down upon his head, society is in big trouble. This is only one out of how many throughout Christendom that has made it to a court of law.
    I tell you, Catholics need to re-asses their positions as a community of Christ otherwise they are all guilty by association, from the top down. Somewhere down the track the institution has to be taken to the United Nations for crimes against humanity. Geoffery Robinson QC with all the qualifications to speak out, made this statement sometime ago and he’s 100% correct.

    1. L. Newington –I couldn’t agree with you more! The guilt by association is getting to me more each day.
      I can’t believe non-catholics are so tolerant of us and of this mess! They have to think we’re idiots for putting up with it.

      1. This comment is not about Mark, specifically, but it IS about tougher accountability for church officials….which also affects Mark!

        A Kansas City judge just ruled that Bishop Finn will have to stand trial for failing to timely report a priest who had a huge amount of porn.

        Two US cases have major senior clergy charged criminally, Bishop Finn in Kansas City and Msgr Lynn in Philadelphia…Prosecutors are toughening up, thank God.


      2. Yea, that’s good news. But, in Finn’s case I just wish he had been charged with a felony right from the get go. Nonetheless, it’s a start.

      3. Joan,

        The Finn decision is a monumental and potentially far-reaching piece of news.

        Thank you.

      4. Drwho13, the bishops lobbyists in their individual state conference offices have been busy campers trying to eviscerate ‘mandatory clergy molestation reporting requirements’. Marci Hamilton has done a lot of work on this.

        I wish the charges against Finn and the diocese, we’re not misdemeanors, but felonies and had serious jail time and fines, not the one year and $1000.00 fine that is now current in Missouri.

        This is another classic example of the importance of legislative action to hold the Church responsible for abuse. It takes a lot of work. Right now in Harrisburg the PA Catholic Conference is fighting Statute of limitations extensions to open up a ‘window’ for abuse victims to come forth.

        There is a huge need nationwide to toughen up those mandatory reporting requirements , SOLs windows, child endangerment legislation, et al. And you can be sure that the bishops lobbyists are opposed, often on a ‘fairness argument’.

      5. Crystal said, “They have to think we’re idiots for putting up with it.”

        They do.

        I don’t mean to start a debate…but, I’m seeing the Catholic Church and its laity through the eyes of non-catholics…specifically other Christian denominations.

        I’m also a part of a women’s group with so many Catholic women in it…they are spiritually starving in their churches….and they are welcomed with open arms in our church. Reflect on whether that would happen if the tables were turned.

        I don’t think it’s that non-catholics are tolerant so much as they don’t care what Catholics are doing. Where we are today…if a pastor spoke to us the way a priest speaks to their laity…or knowingly LIED to us about finances (which are completely transparent and are overseen by a rotating team of members)…or we found out a pastor covered for or lied for another pastor…they would be gone. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be something criminal or immoral. THEY are in service to the laity…not the other way around. They are to be examples of what Christ came to do…SERVE.

        All this lying, raping of children, mismanaging of funds, deception,conspiracy, and silence…

        I’ll say it…

        From an outsider’s point of view…the laity in the Catholic Church appear complacent and foolish. Maybe it’s not even from an outsider’s point of view..

        When you have a church on fire and the laity can say, “What fire?” doesn’t that pretty much sum it up?

      6. Drwho13, the bishops lobbyists in their individual state conference offices have been busy campers trying to eviscerate ‘mandatory clergy molestation reporting requirements’. Marci Hamilton has done a lot of work on this.

        I wish the charges against Finn and the diocese, we’re not misdemeanors, but felonies and had serious jail time and fines, not the one year and $1000.00 fine that is now current in Missouri.

        This is another classic example of the importance of legislative action to hold the Church responsible for abuse. It takes a lot of work. Right now in Harrisburg the PA Catholic Conference is fighting Statute of limitations extensions to open up a ‘window’ for abuse victims to come forth.

        There is a huge need nationwide to toughen up those mandatory reporting requirements , SOLs windows, child endangerment legislation, et al. And you can be sure that the bishops lobbyists are opposed, often on a ‘fairness argument’.

      7. Crystal,

        “…we’re idiots for putting up with it.”

        I don’t think we’re idiots, rather our behavior is the result of psychological conditioning (not unlike the grooming of victims).

        Catholics collectively accord RC clerics way TOO MUCH deference. I can’t think of another ‘Main Line’ Christian denomination that even comes close.

        Deference to RC clerics is matched only by that which is seen within the realm of CULTS.


      8. sw, I totally believe you. I have a very outspoken Presby. friend and who’s baffled by the RCC. I spent years defending it to her– I’m sure eating humble pie now!
        We Catholics deserve little respect from fellow Christians —Imagine, grown men and women letting our own children be violated, letting our donations be spent by thugs… bowing and scraping to clergy who disrespect us in return,… propping up a corrupt state in Italy … and tacking all sorts of oddball “extras” onto the pure and simple truths of Christianity…–and then we cry, “anti-catholicism” at every turn.

    2. L. Newington,

      There are a number of Catholics who have already personally and seriously reflected on the idea that, in continuing their association with the Church, they are “guilty by association.” The idea is a moral consideration that all Catholics should ponder.

      Likewise, Catholics should ponder the validity of the common assertion that remaining in the Church is “better” in terms of affecting change or reform.

      People who ponder these things will be prone to having their personal needs and agendas influence, obstruct and taint a purely moral and rational reflection on the two ideas. As people reflect on them, they need to be willing to cast off all of the clutter of personal needs and agendas that can sabotage moral and mature reflections and conclusions.

      What does it say about us if we are only willing to support victims, protect children, and advocate for the future of our Church in manners that maintain our personal comfort zones?

      1. Hadit,

        You asked my opinion; “… what is the difference between eliminating the clerical culture and reforming it?”

        Well, if one defines clericalism as how and by whom the Church should be lead and directed, in the case of Catholicism, elimination is impossible, unless the prelates decided to eliminate it themselves. That will NEVER occur, because for them power is everything, and they certainly are not going to downsize themselves out of existence.

        Reform on the other hand, MAY occur, but only to the extent required to ensure that the real power remains in the hands of the prelates. They may throw the laity a few crumbs ( i.e., allowing altar girls, etc.), if they believe that doing so is necessary to ensure their full control in matters of significance.

        “Catholicism is totalitarian in the best sense of the word. There is not a facet of life which does not come under the purview of God and which is not ministered to by the Catholic Church. The response to the Totalitarian State cannot be met with partial commitments or half measures; the answer must be total.”


        Due to the fact that one’s response to the RCC cannot be met with partial commitments or half measures; the answer must be total, thus elimination, or meaningful reform of clericalism, can not take place within the church. To do so, would destroy the totalitarian nature of the Church, and that church would it would be vastly different than the RCC that exists today.

        That’s why the action of Martin Luther is known as the Protestant Reformation, not the Catholic Reformation.

        Any reform or elimination of clericalism instituted by the laity would in fact render that church non-catholic, so the elimination OR reform of clericalism is by definition NOT possible.

        (I posted this before in response to a question you had in another section of the blog; it may have been lost in cyberspace).

      2. drwho13,

        So sorry you had to repost. Thank you.

        Can we start with the first paragraph where I get lost? “How and by whom the Church should be led and directed” is not clericalism, it’s priesthood. I mean, it IS clericalism in reality, but it was not meant to be. Prelates are to lead by the attributes of servanthood, not clericalism. Isn’t the culture of clericalism merely a despicable, patriarchal detour away from priesthood’s intended culture of servanthood?

      3. Hadit, we remain Catholics through Baptism, by church Law and that is our defence.
        By throwing that away we become rebels.
        By defending our rights within that law gains us more merit before God, who eventually will work all things for the good of those who love him. Be fed spiritually elsewhere, God accepts that.
        But it doesn’t stop us from standing up and being counted, in
        fact we are compelled to do so.

      4. hadit,

        “Isn’t the culture of clericalism merely a despicable, patriarchal detour away from priesthood’s intended culture of servanthood?”

        That’s why I entered the seminary in middle age (second career.) I wanted to contribute something to society through service to others.

        I agree clericalism is a patriarchal detour away from priesthood’s intended culture. However, many in the priesthood have come to BE served, and NOT to serve. On the surface is difficult to differentiate the motives of an individual priest. That’s why we have victims, and that’s why this blog is necessary.

        I would like to establish an independent Department of Internal Affairs (composed exclusively of lay Catholics) similar to that found within police departments. The members would be composed of individuals such as me (people who do not care what a cleric thinks of them.)

        As it stands now, we have no type of ‘checks and balances,’ thus the best we can hope for is that our ordained leaders are benevolent dictators.

        From the events that have unfolded, it is clear that many of those holding the power within the Church are anything but benevolent!

  9. Thank you all for being here. I am a Catholic wrought with shame and disgust at the crimes of the church leaders. I cry almost daily for the victims. I have a five month old daughter. I want to teach her to walk with Christ, but I will not remain a silent Catholic, that makes me a party to these crimes. I must leave this organization or fight to bring it to a state of grace, if that is even possible. To the victims/survivors, I believe you, I support you and I love you. I hope to see you tomorrow at the Cathedral.

    1. Maureen, I feel the same way. I’ve chosen to fight because I beleive it is possible to change the Church if we use every tool available to us. I too believe the victims and survivors. I wish I were in a position to be present today. I hope you are heard.

    2. God Bless your heart Maureen and your 5 month old daughter. I am going to be 83 in Aug. I spent 60 yrs in the rcc(left in 2001) I was so ashamed of what was happening in “my church” I could hardly hold my head up. I had 4 children that I raised c but I also had the Holy Spirit witin me, that allowed me to be in a situation where I had no car, and HE only wanted me to read HIS word. I did and It saved me from the agony’s that were going on in my life at the TIME. READ THE WORD WHEN YOU HAVE TIME AND LET THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE YOU. HE DID ME…HE WILL YOU TOO!

  10. L Newington…I agree with you totally! I agree they are “drving the get-a-way car” , they are “aiding and abetting” in these CIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. If they stay!

    When people say “this is my church” not theirs” , there is a difference in ;”The Church” that they don’t seem to understand because of “generational brainwashing”. The RCC is an institution of men using OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
    to get what they WANT OUT OF LIFE. RICHES(THE HIERARCHY) , PRESTIGE,(reg priests) POWER, A PLACE TO HIDE( the vatican) when people find out who they are, not who they ” say” they are (the VATICAN) IT REALLY STINKS!!!

    We, are the ones who have a relationship with Jesus Christ and HE is the begining and the end of who we are… The Alpha and Omega . We don’t live a Christian life without HIM.

    If all the teachings that say” tradition” is what makes up the rcc is right , why did Jesus say Tradition was not who HE was Or ,A part OF??? Otherwise we would be Jewish. following Jewish tradition. HE was a Jew.

    He came to BE OUR SAVIOUR , nothing we could do would save us but HIS Dying and then Rising FROM THE DEAD on the 3rd day, as he told the apostles several times would happen!

    HE TOLD US IN HIS WORD THIS WOULD HAPPEN AND IT DID. They(Apostles.) didn’t understand but we do and they finally did.

    SNAP has taken the rcc to the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IN THE HAGUE , NETHERLANDS. They should be still in trial as I haven’t heard of it being thrown out. In fact I haven’t heard much about it lately. It was for CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY!

    No matter where we go, or what happens to us, we have our Lord Within us. No one can take HIM away but ourseleves, for not believing in HIM and HIS WORD.


    We are partially to blame, as we liked feeling that we had the “only real church” . We liked feeling superior to other Christian churches.. none of this superior attitude would Jesus Christ agree with.

    We did , because we were told it so often, we had to believe the lies. Generation after generation. There is so much proof in the Bible that we all have never heard before and we will be amazed at how much “they” took from us. We allowed it, by wanting to be Superior to other Christians! When we are NOT!

    All Christian BELIEVERS Are The BODY OF CHRIST!
    Not the wafer, host, eucharist or what ever. We THE BELIEVERS ARE….. PRAISE HIM! NOT THE rcc.

  11. I know my comments will be held in contempt by some but they are exactly what Fr. Tom Doyle has been advocating that we not believe their lies. I was amazed when I read his stuff. Still can’t imagine why he stays. g s

    1. I just had a revelation as to why FR. Thomas P. Doyle OP, has not left the priesthood. I think he is waiting for them to throw him out. After all he is the worst” thorn in the side “of the rcc that could ever be. He has 4 masters Degrees, maybe more , is a canon lawyer, a civil lawyer and defends the sexually abused in civil court and written about what he knew was going on in 1978 that he sent to the hierarchy that they completely ignored.He has done so much more and they have stripped him of every job he’s ever had in the rcc. They hate him but they can’t get rid of him or the whole rcc would be blown to smitherines.

      Thomas P. Doyle is brilliant and he would put up a defense so true and convincing ,the whole rcc would fall into the depths of hell where it belongs. He will leave when the timing is right.. I hope it’s sooner than later, that they kick him out. He won’t leave until they do!!!! We’re praying for you FR.

  12. …Imagine the nerve of them in Jackson County, MO!…forcing a Catholic Bishop to stand trial!–Shouldn’t this holy man’s word be enough for them!? What next?!

  13. Was at the Chrism Mass today- very poor attendance on behalf of the laity. I personally feel very bad for all of the good priests who are affected by this mess. For those who attended today- many had such a look of sadness on their faces. I think as these stories of the trial unfold, people are getting a behind the scenes look on how pervasive this cover up was- and also how it has destroyed families who once had such trust for the priests in their parishes.

    1. celticseeker ,is the chrism mass where the Archbishop/Cardinal of the Diocese gives sort of a spiritual state of the union address to the clergy?

      1. I thought a Chrism Mass, an annual diocesan event and normally led by the diocese’s bishop or archbishop, entailed the blessing of the oil of the sick, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of sacred chrism, including, also, a renewal of priests’ commitment to priestly service.

        The look of sadness of priests’ faces should be construed as a ray of hope.

    2. I think we should Praise the Lord with Cymbols and Harps, as the Psalmist David speaks in chorus.
      It seems that our God is speaking to HIS people and they are finally listening.



    3. I hope the sadness on their faces is about the victims that were raped, their superiors who lied about it, and not about the shift in perception that’s going to make their lives different.

      I feel compassion for them in the same way I do for a child that’s sitting in time out. Boy, you really hope they learn the lesson, but sometimes they are just sad because things didn’t go their way.

      Time will tell.

      1. SW….share your pungent thoughts about the ‘priests time out’….

        Have really wondered about church attendance in the Philly area?

        Can’t imagine it is going very well.

      2. Joan,
        I think I misread the post about sadness on their faces. I believe it was intended the laity had sadness on their faces…and I assumed it was the priests that had sadness on their faces.

        Either way…whether it’s the laity or the priesthood, there is a shift in Philly. Even if some of the laity are in complete denial about a trial happening around them…they are surrounded by people who do know.

        The priesthood, especially, may be very uncomfortable around the knowledgeable laity. It’s not the priesthoods strong suit to deal with change, a thinking (and acting) laity, or anger directed at them for their short-comings. It has been happening for some time, but in Philly, that shift is happening very quickly. They can crawl in their holes or they will have to be willing to walk through this pain and suffering with the rest of us. So far, they have behaved as cowards.

        The time-out I speak of is the position every single priest is in today. Think of a child in time out…they were sent there, not by their own will, but by someone else…for behavior that was unacceptable. Many children defend what they do, tell the person who sent them there, “This isn’t fair!” or “He did it too!” Sometimes there’s crying. Sometimes, there’s anger or rebellion. How long you sit in time out is determined by what you did. I’m sure many priests are hurting by what happened and eventually, their fall from the position they held in the eyes of the laity. I’m not uncertain whether they are sad or upset because children were raped and their superiors lied or if they are upset because they lost “rank” and status. Oh, they are feeling the pain of all this…will they accept the pain of this or whine because things are the way they used to be?!

        I believe we’ll be able to tell by their ACTIONS. Will they be able to humble themselves enough to speak of the abuse? Will they start ministries for their victims? In what tangible ways will they lead and support the laity in helping victims?

        If the actions are not evident…they will be just like the child in time-out who was more upset they didn’t get their way, than they were about learning the lesson and doing differently.

        It’s clear they are not learning the lessons because there are still victims suffering at their hands, more lawsuits, shredded documents, expensive defense teams, and an angry (or retreating) laity.

        Whether the priesthood gets the lesson or not…the laity is…and that’s a start to keeping children safe.

      3. SW if you misread the post, so did I. I think Celticseeker, was commenting on the poor lay attendance and the sad lay attendance…and his sympathy for the good priests. And thanks to Michele, we have the homily, which was, in part, about priests banding together.

        Your remarks, as always cause me to think.

        The notion of ACTIONS that priests might take in support of victims, ministries for victims, etc. raises some interesting questions.

        Will there be prayer on behalf of victims, yes I think that will happen and to some degree has been happening.

        Will there be specific ministries, I am not so sure.

        Right now, in Harrisburg, the Church is actively fighting the opening up of the Statute of Limitations ‘window’ to give victims a chance to come forth, name other unknown predators, have their issues addressed.

        This fact alone pits the Archdiocese against the victims, legally, with clearly competing agendas. I doubt that the average Philly priest is going to be actively setting up ministries for victims.

        It would in some sense be ‘professional suicide’

      4. Joan,
        Prayer moves people to action. I highly doubt Jesus tells people to run into their church and sit on their hands.

        He says it…Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the poor…action verbs.

        I’m looking for action.

  14. I think the chrism mass is when they bless the oils that are used when they have a healing . service.

  15. Mark was dynamite today! If I knew nothing about the case, I would not even question his credibility. Addressing the inconsistencies he said,”I was mistaken, but I am not lying”!!

    If you are online Mark; WAY TO GO BABY! You got the best of ’em!

    When I left, I turned the corner across from the Reading Terminal, and a street flute player was playing the Marine Hymn – The Halls of Montezuma!

    Mark is fighting the victims battle in the court on Filbert Street!! Beautiful!

    1. This is so encouraging Jack!

      I hope Mark finds us or we find a way to reach out to him. I hope someone holds a sign that reads, “I believe the victims.” I want to be there!!!!

  16. I heard that Mark did great on the stand today. I wish I could’ve been there. Still… I am right there with you and cheering you on. I’m so glad I came forward when I did and I get to watch closely as victims go get some justice!

    If you don’t know just how many of us are behind you, just imagine, we’re in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for being strong. And thank you for telling the truth!

    1. Every now and then, there is one of these remarkable days on C4C and today is clearly one of them.

      For anyone who missed it, Jim Saile’s remarks on the Lynn trial on the ‘Children Welcome on Good Friday’ posting, are hugely encouraging in terms of possible prosecution strategy, in the trial.

      Certainly, Mark’s testimony, as V4J has just pointed out is so profoundly honest.

      And, of course, V4J has been critical to this process.

      In Kansas City, a monumental decision relative to Bishop Finn, standing trial just occurred.

      And tomorrow, folks will observe Good Friday, perhaps at that Philly vigil at 11:00 am.

    2. I am so glad to hear this Rich. I was so upset the day before.I felt helpless……I don’t want our survivors to ever give up and despair or feel alone. So many times I read a story and I wish I could contact the victim involved and tell them I am cheering for them and I am in awe of their courage and strength which is letting in the light and overcoming the darkness and lies.

    1. I am amazed by some defense tactics in cases of child sex abuse. With Sandusky we hear he is a grown man showering naked with young children and engaging in “horse play”. With Brennan,another grown man sleeping in the same bed with a 14 year old boy and the defense terms his actions a “pelvic bump” and now today
      “savagely spooning”
      What planet do people live on that these defenses make any sense…….naked horseplay, pelvic bumps, savagely spooning….. seriously???

    2. I just read it too, Michelle. The detective who testified about his own abuse…amazing courage.

      It’s all on record. They are telling the stories of thousands of children!!!!

      1. And SW that detective was hugely useful, following Mark. Think the prosecution is really doing well….Thank God

  17. As a reply to all who have asked and responded, yes the Chrism Mass is where the holy oils are blessed and the priests of the Archdiocese renew their vows. The Archbishop directed his homily to the priests and bishops and asked everyone else in attendance, including the deacons, for their pardon as he did this. He encouraged everyone to please listen, but directed the current situation and the “duty to respond” directly to priests and bishops. While I agree with the sadness of the current situation, I also believe that the “old way” of doing things here in Philadelphia is over- could that be part of the sadness? I worked for the Church for many years, including in some of the rectories, and saw double lives being lived consistently. Yet, there was no one that you could go to about this. The Pastor’s just looked the other way and just pretended that nothing was wrong, they didn’t want to deal with it. My friend worked in a parish in an area that would be considered “struggling” from a socio- economic status, and each week she needed to go to a particular market to buy the best meat for dinners that the Pastor would have for his friends on Saturday night. This also including bottles of wine that averaged 60.00 a bottle. You can bet that his parishioners were not eating like that!!

    1. Celticseeker,

      What exactly did Chaput say to the priests in his homily? Thank you.

      1. Michele, thanks for the homily link. I read it.

        At 73, I remember the Vatican 2 period with joy.

        Had that homily been written in the late 60’s I am willing to guess that the content would have been very very different. The ‘Priesthood of the Laity’ the shared tasks of the ‘People of God’, would have gotten a lot more play.

        This homily was ‘all about them’ which is sadly the direction that the ‘reform of the reform’ has taken, due in my view because there was Curial panic that John the 23rd had ‘gone too far’, given the laity too much power, actually TRUSTED the laity to work collaboratively and inclusively, with the hierarchy and ‘the World’….

        It is so sad.

      2. Michele thanks I was going to look that up. I finished reading that homliy thinking we have to get our enthusiam for our Christian faith from the Jewish religion???????? I understand what he is saying but it seems like hey look at the fans on the other team they are are fired up about their team we should get fired up also. I feel like our zeal comes from within not without. Its present or its not. If its not we need to take a good look at ourselves and see what we are not getting whats wrong maybe our team needs practice,honesty,better communication or to stop violating team members and covering it up etc etc.How can you get fired up when your team does not play by the rules?

    2. Thank You Celticseeker.
      You cite that you “saw double lives being lived consistently. Yet, there was no one that you could go to about this”. The phrase “double lives” piqued my interest. Is this phrase a euphemism for child abuse? If it is…you most certainly could have gone to law enforcement.
      BTW. I have a relative who is a priest and drives a brand new Mercedes, so the $60 bottle of wine doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  18. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to any days of the trial. That’s a real downer for me, because I wanted to get in at least 8-10 days, maybe more.

    Last night, I woke up screaming in pain in the middle of the night. My partner rushed me to the hospital and as it turns out my herniated disc slipped into the nerve quite a bit more at some point during the night, maybe from some sort of movement. After doctors at the hospital gave me an MRI and morphine for pain, I was able to get an emergency appointment with my spinal specialist. As it turns out my doctor scheduled me for immediate surgery on the 20th of this month (if you can call 2 weeks from now “immediate.”) Anyway, the recovery period for the particular surgery I’m having, which is to completely remove the disc and insert an artificial disc, and to repair some muscle damage is going to be 3-6 months conservatively, but likely up to 1 year. It would seem that my physical protesting days are over, at least for the next year. Right now I am on 25mg morphine per hour for pain, a Fentynal Transdermal Patch (which is an opiate) that blocks pain signals to my brain. At this moment, I have very little pain at all, but I also have little to no sensation below my left knee into my ankle. My doctor believes the disc slipping during the night last night may have very well damaged the nerve, because of the severity of my pain and the lack of sensation and motion I now have in my left leg.

    So… needless to say, I’ll now be getting all of my information online, and I hope that C4C keeps up the good work of providing that information. I’m sorry to the victims that I am unable to be there to support them, but I am cheering for you from the bleechers in Galloway Township, NJ. I’m expected to be in the hospital for 5-10 days after the surgery, so hopefully they’ll allow me to bring my laptop or tablet and hopefully they have WiFi available.

    I can finally say that I am in almost no pain, finally, but it has come with a price unfortunately, in that I have lost mobility and sensation in my left leg, but it’s nice to finally be nearly pain-free after 9 months since my injury. A medical supply company is delivering a cane and wheelchair tomorrow, but I doubt I’ll use either. It’s just not my style.

    I hope for the 3-6 month recovery period of course, and I can get back to doing the business of exposing the Catholic Church and anyone who thinks they can abuse a child and get away with it. I might be down right now, but I’m not out of this fight, not by a longshot. The time is coming for a reckoning and I hope to be a part of it when it comes. I hope to be there when justice is served and these victimized boys, now men, in Philadelphia get the justice they deserve. I also hope that the perpetrators get the punishment they deserve. I certainly hope their punishment fits their crimes, but I can’t imagine any punishment worse than being sexually assaulted and raped as a child, but I’d like to think that a dark, cold cell with no windows or doors would give these perps a glimpse into what our lives, as victims, has been like. I hope they find out just how devastating the mind can be when it becomes confused and dark.

    Maybe while I’m recovering I can work on my book. I hope I’m able to add a chapter about how these courageous men in Philadelphia overcame, fought valiantly, defended and spoke up for the little boys they were, and celebrated a victory dance for themselves and victims everywhere.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    1. Rich,

      A couple of days ago I said that it seemed like a resolution to your back pain was near…

      Last night, for you, was horrendous, but it had to happen for the resolution to come in the form of surgery in two weeks. Pre-surgery and post-surgery are always unwelcome scenarios, but “post-post-surgery”– once it’s all said, done, and healed– is “heaven” to the mind and body. The “pearly gates” are just over the horizon for you. Hang in there! It will be worth the wait.

      Wishing you the best in the weeks and months to come.

      1. I never wanted surgery, Hadit. I was willing to do whatever it took to avoid surgery. In over nine months I had 5 epidurals, twice trigger point injections, therapy, and probably 15 separate visits to the emergency room for a pain shot when the pain became unbearable.

        Up until today I hadn’t taken a pain killer of any kind since around Thanksgiving. I had a bad episode with Vicoden and I swore I’d never take another pain killer no matter how severe the pain became. Well last night the pain wasn’t severe at it, is was pure AGONY! I have a cabinet full of some of the strongest pain killers available, because every time I go to my pain management doctor, even though I tell him I don’t want the script he gives it to me anyway and tells me “just in case.” Then the Case Nurse calls to tell me to fill the script if I don’t in a week. So I have managed to amass about 800 pain killers. No wonder people get addicted to this stuff. They damn near force this stuff down your throat. They must be getting some kickbacks from the pharm. companies. (I actually kept the pain killers just in case my Mom was in any pain toward the end of her life and we needed to give her something to make her more comfortable. Hospice sends a comfort kit, but most of the stuff in it, even the morphine, is pretty useless.)

        Today is a different story though. 4mg Dilaudid (morphine) every four hours, and two 25mg/hour (50mg total) Fentanyl Patches, which I wear for 72 straight hours, before a replace it with a new one. Right now, I’m on some planet. I’m not sure it’s the same one you’re on though. 😉

        Screw the pearly gates. I just want this damn disc out of my back. But, thanks for the wish anyway. 😉

    2. Rich,
      I did not realize it was just in 2009 you came forward. I hope your surgery goes well and be kind to yourself while your body is healing it usually does take 1yr to fully recover. I am glad your pain is being managed. Take whatever time you need to recover but know you have already made a big difference to many people you may never meet but who will never forget your words and stories.Write your book……….I am looking forward to reading it and this is a good opportunity to do so.

      1. I called the Deputy District Attorney on Feb 2, 2009. On Feb 4, 2009, I was in Charlie Gallagher’s office reporting my abuse to him and a Philadelphia Police Detective.

        By the middle of March, I had a therapist and I barely uttered a word about my abuse for over a month. (I started off therapy sessions 2 hours per day, twice, sometimes three times per week.)

        In April I attended my first SNAP support group meeting with another survivor, a man I now call my best friend.

        June 18, 2009 I went public with my story hoping to expose my perpetrator and bring more victims forward. More victims did come forward. I was the first on record to legally and publicly accuse my perp. Now there are 15 of us. (Probably many more silent victims.)

        On that day, June 18, 2009 my life changed forever. Mostly it got better.


      2. By the way, the only newspaper to get my entire story correct was the Philadelphia Gay News. Yeah, let’s hear it for the boy! 🙂

        I went to Father Judge High School and I was abused by that priest in 1990.

  19. V4J…the disc thing sounds ugly. a number of years ago I had a major piece of one at L1, L2 break off. The pain was terrific and pain killers didn’t work. I lost all reflexes in one leg and they were going in the other. Within 6 weeks I had surgery to remove the large piece which by then was free in my spine.

    And the docs were concerned about nerve damage. The surgery was very successful but it took several months with a lot strange tingling and some pain to get the legs back to normal….apparently nerves regroup!!!!!

    You have my absolutely unlimited sympathy…

    But I have a lot of confidence in the docs, and you are young and I will bet you will find many persuasive ways to protect innocent kids!!!!!!!!

    I will be praying for you!!!!! Joan

  20. By the way, I don’t know how the vigil was at the Cathedral, but thanks to everyone who showed up and thanks for supporting us. We need all the support we can get, and I have to say, it certainly is strange to see Catholics in protest (or even in a vigil for the victims) against the Catholic Church.

    Speaking for myself, I feel a lot less alone today than I did way back in early 2009 when I came forward. No one was there to help me through the initial struggle of telling someone and being public about my abuse. I’m grateful to see that victims have so many supporters nowadays, and I’m grateful to the people here who have not only used their words in protest, but are willing to show their faces in front of churches, or in the media, or are willing to discuss this subject with family and friends.

    Three years ago, I hoped to bring more awareness to this horrible issue. I know I have been able to make some kind of impact, and I’ve gotten to have many long, intelligent, mature conversations with so many people walking passed a church or walking into one. While I still suffer the never-ending battle of loneliness, I am thankful that so many people have decided to help fight our [victims] battles with us, and you’ve all be able to reinforce my mentality on most days that this is not a battle I am fighting alone.

    Today feels quite opposite of the day I first reported my abuse to the DA in Philly and I left that office and walked out onto Broad Street feeling like the most invisible man on the planet when it was brought to my attention that a law, known as the Statute of Limitations, prevented me from holding my abusers liable, criminally and civilly. Somedays I feel like this ongoing trial in Philly will be the catalyst for the removal of the SOL on child abuse, while other days I feel like nothing will ever change. But, at least on this day I know many people, especially non-victims, are standing with us demanding accountability and justice. I have no words to describe how appreciative I am, and how much of what you’re all doing right now is going to make “breaking the silence” so much easier for the next victim who comes forward.

    Thank you for supporting us, lobbying for law changes, and believing us. We all want justice for the children we once were, but most importantly, we want to prevent present and future children from abuse.

  21. ..my son and I are back from the vigil/protest at the Basilica. Beautiful day! All seemed to go very well. Fox tv interviewed Susan M.
    It was nice to put some faces with names. Thanks to those who organized and spoke!

  22. I just returned from the vigil, my first one. It was the most inspiring way to spend “Good Friday” ever for me. To be a part of something so important, and to be in the company of people truly living the beatitudes, especially those “suffering persecution for justice sake”…was a wonderful privilege for me. Thank you to Susan and Kathy and all who organized it.
    V4J, please take care of yourself. I pray for a complete recovery, and hope it is not too difficult for you.
    Vicky, SW and the other victims who I’ve come to know on this blog, your words continue to inspire. Thank you for sharing your lives in spite of all the pain you have endured. Your love and concern for children and the preservation of the innocence of childhood is awesome. You are a reflection of what Jesus would do.
    I want you to know how sorry I am that you are carrying this cross. It is my impression that the Roman Catholic Church has imposed it on you. This is NOT a cross that Jesus has given you. He would not want you to carry it at all, let alone by your selves, and certainly not in His name, as the hierarchy would have us believe.
    Although I have never been abused by a priest, as you have, I am one of the many who have been spiritually abused by my church. To me, spiritual abuse is when our priests expect us to assume the responsibility of their ministry to God’s people and restitution for all their terrible sins.Then, we are supposed to let them take credit for all the good graces that God has given us.
    From my heart, I want you to know that the church (That’s us) WILL make you whole somehow. I know you will never get back what has been stolen from you, but if the pain, and horror of your life can be acknowledged with a sincere apology, and we can bear witness to all of that, you so deserve it. You are worth every penny that it will take. I so resent that we also have to pay the exorbitant legal fees to defend the terrible people who have hurt you, and our church.
    That has been my struggle — how do we take it back from the terrible men who have done this. I just don’t know what to do.
    So, having the chance to be at that vigil, and imagining that I was bearing witness to the suffering of Jesus, your suffering, well, it was a privilege for me to be in the company of people who are living the beatitudes. I hope you feel heard and supported. What else I can do to lighten this terrible burden? Happy Easter!

  23. Huh? Maybe I’m tired tonight, but I’m reading this sermon of Chaput’s and wondering what he’s talking about.
    If it can’t be said in plain English (not seminary-speak) and without mystical language tricks, then I drop off. I start wondering ..”What is it he’s trying so hard NOT to say?”
    Is he just trying hard to hold his army of priests together with all this?

    1. Crystal, I share your incredulity, confusion AND disgust at that sermon. But after all it wasn’t meant for mere mortals anyway.
      Joan, thank you for your insight and wisdom about what our bishop COULD POSSIBLY be thinking!!
      Beth, you get the award for the spark notes version! I bet even his fellow priests were squirming with embarrassment.
      Sorry, just a little miffed. Thanks for letting me vent. Some shepherd.

    2. I know. I was puzzled. He makes it sound like being catholic is not as exciting as being Jewish. Maybe he should be a recruiter for the local synagogues. Something missing there.

    3. Crystal, I went back and reread the homily, and then reread my earlier remarks and yours and others comments.

      This homily was very clearly directed to the AD’s priests, it was a rallying call, using Yeshiva biblical students fervor as an icon for local priests recommitment.

      It was offered at a time of great challenge to local priests. Daily press data details the horrors of both AD priests and the hierarchical crimes that are gaining both national and international attention.

      Somehow these priests are to rely on each other, and God, AND lead the faithful.

      I was not being casual, when I said that if this homily had been given in the post conciliar period, when the faithful were identified with a separate but substantive priestly responsibility, when the ‘People of God’ was comprised of both priests AND laity. When there was an openness and inclusivity that characterized the Church in its internal and external relations.

      That was then, this is now. In answer to your very good question, Crystal, what was NOT being said was just how evil the AD has been for ever so many years, abuse wise, and just how valuable yours and every other lay persons insight and wisdom are.

      AND, perhaps most importantly, that the proper role of the priesthood is that of servant to the ‘people of God’ not master.

      1. Excellent summation, Joan. Thank you.

        I would like to add that I find Chaput’s homily to say to the priests:

        “shape up, remember who you are, acquire the discipline, comaraderie and zeal displayed by the rabbinical students at Yeshiva (and uber-conservative bishops), be the kind of men you need to be (meaning, blind yourself to the catastrophe we have created, don’t mention it, our fraternal strength will insulate us from it, let the lowly priesthood of the faithful clamor away, all the while we’ll put our noses to the priestly-Tradition grindstone, carrying on as valiant soldiers in Christ (as though nothing, nothing whatsoever, is happening, penetrating us, or affecting us).”

        Interesting… and quite dysfunctional.

      2. CG,Beth Joan and Hadit, –Yep… Same old, same old–except weirder. Only a weirdo would rally after a speech that “out there”. I guess the laity in the congregation nodded off before they caught the gist of what he said to his men.
        … Losing more hope every day for the possibility of any real change..

      3. Crystal, change generally comes slowly, incrementally, and often painfully.

        My expectation is this. In Philly, there may well be convictions of those currently on trial now, and in the subsequent two rape trials. Perhaps, many of the suspended priests will NOT be returned to ‘ministry’.

        The AD will be ever so diligent, in oversight of clergy, relative to abuse, from now on. They DON’T want a repeat of today’s media exposure, or it’s impact on folks in the pew.

        Perhaps, there will be further indictments, perhaps of hierarchical players.

        Laws in Harrisburg will hopefully really tighten up on mandated reporting of abuse and hopefully some version of SOLS will occur.

        On the national stage, dioceses thoughout the country are watching Philly and Kansas City and the message is, prosecutors are no longer giving prosecutorial ‘passes’ as they have in the past, to hierarchical crimes.

        The Vatican is watching this too!

        Are we going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ conversion in the Church? Would love it, but don’t think so. Are we going to have a more responsible Church, where abuse is concerned? I think so, based primarily on the good efforts of civil authorities, Law enforcement, those wonderful folks that convened and served on Grand Juries, et al.

        I believe in the power of ‘momentum’ …that is the building consensus of folks on C4C, and elsewhere, laws being developed to help victims, the increasing awareness of folks in the pew, the media exposure nationally and globally on all of this… to keep pressure on the US Church to, at a minimum, not get any more abusive.

        It is when there is no momentum, ie apathy, silence, that evil flourishes. Such has been the case for far too long.

        This may not give you much comfort Crystal…but it’s a whole lot better then what it might have been, or was.

  24. Joan, Had it, Crystal, Beth… How powerful your insight. How truthful. How frightening.
    Your description of the posture of the priesthood toward themselves and the laity is spot on.
    If one doesn’t agree or comply they can just leave. It makes me feel sick.

  25. Catholic apologists have been all over questioning the background of Mark due to his drug and petty crime problems. Of course, the aren’t seeking truth, so people should read the Grand Jury report to see what they knew about Fr Brennan. The event with Mark was no isolated incident. See http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/PDFs/clergyAbuse2-finalPresentment.pdf

    Just a few excerpts from the truth that they did manage to uncover:

    On pg 20, Cardinal Bevilacqua noted in a memo to the priest’s file, “My interview with Father Brennan has raised certain doubts in my mind about his honesty”

    On pg 20, Father Brennan told Msgr Lynn that he himself had been sexually abused, but later denied it.

    Pg 19 One afternoon, Dr. O’Brien heard noises coming from inside Father Brennan’s office, and then watched as the priest and David (a student) tumbled out of the office, wrestling with one another. In the words of other staff members at Cardinal O’Hara, including Dr. O’Brien’s secretary, the relationship between Father Brennan and David was “not healthy.”

    Pg 21 Fr Brennan was living with that student, named David, as reported through channels by the religious sisters at Divine Providence Village, who had observed the situation firsthand

    Pg 18 In both posts, Father Brennan was known to have inappropriate relationships with minors.

    This was just from a quick skimming of the report.

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