Time for Spring Cleaning

The National Catholic Reporter has published an insider’s view of the Philly clergy sex abuse trial by Rocco Palmo, Whispers In the Loggia creator and blogger. Click here to read: In Philadelphia Church, at a Crossroads,” April 9, 2012. As always the comments are very pointed and interesting. Frequent site commenter Gerald Slevin’s observations are included in the string.

From Susan:

Palmo is an encyclopedia of Philadelphia Church history which gives him a comprehensive context in which to analyze the crisis. He also has international Catholic news reporting experience. It’s a pleasure and an education to speak with him about both. Palmo has described Archbishop Chaput as a mentor and was close with the late Cardinal Bevilacqua. Even the best reporter’s observations would be filtered through those friendships. I desperately want the same Church for which his mother hopes. However, I’m a bit cynical that this “is being cleaned up.” I still see lots of filth.

The trial may or may not put one priest in jail for a cover up that involved many more. Clergy sex abuse cover ups have occurred and continues to occur in other cities around the world – until civil authorities step in. Until the root causes of moral corruption in the clergy are addressed – we haven’t accomplished a clean up. It’s a top-down problem. The Pope is awaiting recommendations from Bishops this Spring. I wonder what Bishop Finn will suggest?

We must do the cleaning up. Here’s two ways:

1. Let the DA know you expect him to leverage the full force of justice in regard to protecting children from all sex abuse.

Seth Williams

Three South Penn Square
Corner of Juniper and South Penn Square
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499

The Twitter account is @Philly_DAsOfc

2. Withhold contributions to Archdiocesan funds until Archbishop Chaput meets all of the recommendations of the 2011 Grand Jury. (Remove the victims’ assistance program from Archdiocesan administration – and lawyer access. Priests should be evaluated by independent psychiatrists. Church leadership should support the removal of statute of limitations, rather than fight it.)

16 thoughts on “Time for Spring Cleaning

  1. Philly Clergy; If you can’t hold Rocco and his family , isn’t about time you came forth. The train is leaving the station. Call a meeting of all clergy and plan an agenda. Fear not..

    1. Thanks, Maureen, I hope C4C bloggers read my comments and related links under Rocco’s NCR article.

      Also, I hope they express their views by e-mail whenever appropriate to both Seth Williams and Judge Sarmina, always sending noted copies of the e-mails to BOTH PI reporters, John Martin (jmartin@phillynews.com) and David O’Reilly (doreilly@phillynews.com)

      Its up to C4C bloggers to let the Philly criminal justice system know that this time we want and expect justice for ALL involved in this sick criminal conspiracy–no free passes for anyone!

      1. Unfortunately everything is political even the church……….thanks for connecting the points Jerry.

      2. Jerry,
        Thank you for providing the email addresses. Always, always, always…cc emails to church hierarchy, then save it in a variety of locations.

        This may sound extreme, but you’d be surprised by what seems to get “lost.”

      3. Jerry’s article is brilliant. (I love the scent of incense in the morning; it’s the smell of raw political power.)

      4. Several weeks before trial, Chaput made what many thought was a PR blunder. He hosted a standing ovation for Lynn at a church event. How could the savvy Cardinal make such an error? The answer is that it wasn’t an error. They were fattening up Lynn in advance of prison. What Jerry points out is increasingly clear. One priest received a honey deal with little more than a one year term, this for heinous crimes. Another priest has a chance to walk free or receive a minimal term; Lynn may absorb the bulk of the damage for Old Boys Network, and receive the largest prison term. Chaput merely was thanking him in advance, steeling Lynn to accept this. The AD is paying for Lynn’s lawyers, and this is an ethical violation because Lynn is the one facing prison, not Rigali. He should call to mind the fate of Father Geoghan. All is aimed at letting Justin Rigali walk free. It was Justin Rigali who for nearly a decade oversaw the criminal enterprise. It is Justin Rigali who must be held accountable. A just resolution of these ongoing crimes must include a just sentence for Justin Rigali.

  2. Rocco, finally you have informed your readership of your membership on the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. My coaxing and/or gentle prodding or your insatiable desire to maintain your status as Catholic journalist appears to have forced you to announce your pastoral position and relationship with the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

    A review of the careers, professional interests, education and Catholic-related employment status of some of the members of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia demonstrates the likelihood that the archbishop’s appointments ensure individuals who share similar philosophies, understandings and perspectives as our Philadelphia spiritual leader.

    Mr. Palma, in my opinion, you are going to have to choose one or the other……your objective, conflict-of-interest free career in journalism or your position on the Pastoral Council and service to the Archbishop of Philadelphia. For responsible media sources, such as NCR, to continue to publish your articles while you are still a member of the Pastoral Council undercuts the integrity, independence and objectivity of the work of their entire publication.

    Michael Skiendzielewski

  3. Can you clarify “withholding contributions to diocesan funds”? Does this include my weekly parish contribution? I have already withheld my pledged contributions to the Heritage of Faith/ Vision of Hope campaign, and am crafting my formal written notification of my decision – “My pledged contributions will resume when all recommendations from the 2011 Grand Jury report are accepted and implemented.” I ignore the “other envelopes” that are sent to us to fill, especially those that appear to be heading downtown. I read on a blog from a few years back that the best way to keep your weekly donations in the parish is to give gift cards- that these are excluded from the tally, of which a percentage is sent to the AD. Any truth to this? Also, I would like to open a dialog with our pastor about what the laity can do to improve things, demand change, and keep the good priests supported and encouraged to speak up against the hierarchy. Yes, a tall order, perhaps a fool’s errand. But I need a focus for my energy and anger. So, how should I start such dialog? I have been thinking of talking to our deacon first. Thoughts? And no patronizing pats on the head, please. I am ready to rock this boat and encourage my good pastor and the laity at my parish to do the same.

    1. Maureen schedule a meeting and talk from your heart. It might take sometime(a few meetings) depends what existing relationship you have with your pastor. Talk to people on your parish council they have an idea where the priest is at. If you can talk to your deacon do so.If he does not listen start going to another parish. If everyone start doing this maybe we would only be left with the good ones.

    2. Maureen ,so many people just walk away and never tell why they left or are thinking of leaving,or maybe staying but no longer donating or participating in other ways. I would schedule a meeting with the pastor and drop off a letter to him before the meeting expressing all of your thoughts and opinions on all of this.

    3. Send Archbishop Chaput your 2 cents!!!! Before Cardinal Law was forced to leave Boston, I suggested in posts that people drop their 2 cents, and nothing more in the collection plates. I didn’t think that my idea was taken seriously, until I started hearing back about pennies, instead of envelopes in the collection from private emails and in posts on the internet. Spread the word: 2 cents and nothing more! Money, or the lack thereof, is the only thing that’ll get soon-to-be Cardinal Chaput’s attention!

  4. “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5, 19-20 This is what counts and this is what is at risk and what I believe many are trying to do.

    1. Thank you, Beth and Kathy, for your suggestions. My husband and I have a good relationship with our pastor. Hubby is on the parish council, so I have been sharing my concerns and ask that he discuss with the group. When the 2011 report came out, one of our deacons gave the homily and spoke so honestly about his grief for the victims. I think I will start with him, as one parent to another. It also occurs to me that our pastor may be welcoming of someone other than himself being the rabel rouser. Regarding contribs, any other info on what action to take or not take?

      1. Maureen, I have a friend who keeps a whole set of small pre typed notes in her purse and places one in each Sunday collection basket. They read, something to the effect ‘that she is donating her normal weekly donation of $—–to ———- (name of charity that assists abused children) and will continue to do so until…..(and here you could put in the suggestion that the GJ recommendations are implemented.)

    2. Maureen,you mentioned your husband is on the parish council. I have found so many people this past year who are very involved Catholics Eucharist ministers, lectors, ushers,volunteers…so many people now speaking up,taking a stand..
      and many very involved just like you and your husband..very encouraging.

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