Displaced Loyalty

Click here to read: “Alleged victim’s mother: Priest admitted ‘something inappropriate,'” by John P. Martin and Joseph A. Slobodzian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 11, 2012


Her 14-year-old son was visibly shaken after spending the night with the Rev. James Brennan in 1996, she said. The boy clung to his mother and refused to sleep alone in his bed. But he wouldn’t tell her what happened at the priest’s apartment, she said.

Brennan, an inspiring priest and friend so close she considered him a brother, was just as evasive when she and her husband pressed him days later for answers, the woman told a Common Pleas Court jury Wednesday.

“He said something inappropriate happened and it will never happen again” – but he wouldn’t elaborate, she said.

73 thoughts on “Displaced Loyalty

  1. Catholic apologists are already blaming the mother, and the lawyer is blaming the coach for not saying anything, but I assume that isn’t what you mean in the title “Displaced loyalty”.

    Remember that this happened in 1996, before news was accessible on the Internet, and before 2002, when the true colors of the Catholic church were shown to the world in Boston. First, it would have been crazy to even suggest that a priest would have sex with a child. Secondly, if anyone tried to suggest it, one billion Catholics would have defended the priest and viciously attacked the victims.

    In 1996, the only people that knew the truth about how much that this was happening was the Catholic church. In Philadelphia, Cardinal Bevilacqua, Bishop Cistone, and Bishop Cullen shredded the evidence of it. If they had done what Jesus Would Do, they would have told everyone the truth (note that 99% of Catholics reading this will say “I understand why they didn’t tell the truth”).

    Of course, worldwide, the Catholic church knew that this had been a major problem for decades or centuries, and priests in every parish knew about it, because they heard the confessions from other priests.

    The “Displaced Loyalty” is for anyone that follows these priests and bishops, and doesn’t realize they are “false idols”.

    1. Note: I was raised Catholic, and didn’t realize the Catholics changed the commandments, removing the 2nd commandment (about “false idols”), since they had a pope and a bunch of bishops with huge egos, huge buildings and huge bank accounts.

      However, I respect their honesty in removing it, rather than leave it there and ignore it. I assume they’l be getting rid of “bear false witness” in Vatican 3.

      My prediction – they add in “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s husband”.

      See the first match for
      10 commandments catholic
      at http://bit.ly/HtFU6O

    2. “…something inappropriate happened…” I hate the verbiage clerics use when their try to cover their filthy criminal actions. They are silver tongued devils. I call their use of language “priest speak.”

      In England, the law makes it much clearer; they call it “Buggery!” I believe that the word BUGGERY so much better describes the “defilement of a child.”

      The word “Buggery” makes one FEEL the disgust of the crime, in a way that the criminal priests and their lawyers don’t want you to feel it. Let’s call a pig a pig!

      1. Its all a part of Catholic dishonesty. Two other famous Catholic phrases are “boundary violation” and “inappropriate touching”.

        These phrases are true, yet dishonest, in this sense that machete murder is also “a boundary violation” and “inappropriate touching”.

    3. Patrick, I really like your 1996 point. I worked in a diocesan setting, and I didn’t have a clue….in 1996. There were a few articles in the NCR about abuse, but who reads the NCR, not your average pew catholic! Abuse Tracker has been covering the mess, post Boston, but who reads Abuse Tracker?

      And your media point is great too. With a 24/7 news cycle and the Internet….now, data is instantly available, to the media literate.

      Today’s N Y Times on page 18 details Bishop Maginnis who felt that a ‘church worker’ was ‘stirring up conflict’ with a report about pornography. That was Sister Joan Scary…and the ‘church worker’ description didn’t honor her status as a nun, her concern about a priest receiving pornography, and was sexist as well, in my view a good old boy who didn’t want the apple cart upset.

      But not everyone reads the Times.

      1. This is the first I am reading of Bishop Maginnis testifying..I don’t remember seeing anything about this on philly.com or the Priest Abuse Trial blog…how did this not make local news? Maybe it did and I missed it.

      2. Joan,

        Can you post the link to the NYT article on Maginnis? I’ve been to the Times twice, today, and can’t find it. Thank you.

    4. James@15,
      I found 2 verses of scripture that may strengthen your inner fortitude until you courageously testify in room 304 on the 25th.
      Proverbs 12:22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
      Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived. GOD cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
      The AD/Church may be against you, but I’m certain God is on your side.
      I hope you visit C4C tonight, and these Bible verses speak to you.

    5. It appears the publicity regarding clergy related suicide i VICTORIA alone, is bringing more cases to the fore.
      I don’t think ‘misplaced loyality’ will soon be an issue here.
      The ABC and The Age have articles in today’s news, [Friday}.
      God knows where this will end.
      It’s been made clear the church must have been aware for years.
      These member of the heirarchy are responsable for ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ according to the Marriage Act 1961 [sections 31&33], Agents of the Commonwealth to perform marriages on their behalf.
      A law unto themselves, with no monitoring or mandatory reporting to the Department of Justice.

      1. LN, Its sickening.

        I’d said in a comment before that

        – in Australia, 26 suicides can be tracked back to Catholic pedophile priest child rapists Robert Best and Gerald Ridsdale
        – any normal human being would want to find the other victims and prevent further suicides, but Bishop Peter Connors says “there’s no need for an investigation. We’ve learned what we needed to learn about what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t appropriate behavior.”
        – see

        Just today, it was reported that the number of suicides is up to 40.

        I guess the cold and heartless Catholic church didn’t learn that seeking out and helping the victims might prevent 14 more suicides.

        See http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/dozens-of-clergy-abuse-victims-took-own-lives/story-fn7x8me2-1226325523957

  2. I posted this on the other thread. It belongs here.

    I think the mother was just as conflicted as many in the pews have been. I hope every parishioner sees themselves in that mother. Everyone claims they would have done differently…but, I bet the Chuch’s last dollar they wouldn’t have…because it’s taken them this long to get this far. Of course, she betrayed her son. And before any Catholic get judgmental about what that mother should or shouldn’t have done…they need to remember what they did when they first learned there were victims. What did they do?

    Fr. Brennan was a wonderful priest because he helped her through the loss of her mother. (Emotional attachment) The defense may have been smiling…but that mother showed exactly what “pull” a priest has on a person…to not question a priest even when they are ADMITTING inappropriate acts with your child! Based on the testimony, it sounds as though she regrets not doing things differently. I hope that’s true for Mark’s sake. The trial is about conspiracy and child endangerment. But, that mother’s testimony is a beautiful showcase of how “unhealthy” Brennan was to abuse his position/power…gaining the trust of vulnerable, grieving adults…people he’s supposed to be ministering to, right? Ate Sunday dinner at their home twice a month? Who’s needs are getting met there? What that mother probably didn’t realize is he was probably “using” her while she “needed” him. That doesn’t make him a good priest, that makes him a sick man.

    I want to run to Mark even more so…betrayed in every way possible. You have to be laying in an ER, after attempting to take your life, spilling the truth in dribbles…MARK KNEW…HE WOULDN’T BE BELIEVED! Kids intuitively know family dynamics…and the mother proved him right…she didn’t pursue it, didn’t follow up, didn’t take him seriously, didn’t tell anyone else. He knew Fr. Brennan would never tell. Mark, you smart little boy…you knew. You knew what all the adults were too sick to know. I am sorry you were raised in a church that could do this to you and lie about it and born into a family that wouldn’t believe you.

    I believe you. Thousands of people believe you.

    Yes, his mother betrayed him.

    1. survivors wife, when you wrote ” I think the mother was just as conflicted as many in the pews have been” Bingo. You get the trophy for the best comment of the day. Take Mark’s mother and now call her many laity in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Even with the Gand Jury reports, the lists on the Archdiocese website of abusive priests, the indictments of the priests on trial and the news in the media about priests stalking children,stashes of child porn and every other unimaginable act possible. And in the midst of all this overwhelming evidence of children being at risk and harmed,many people will speak of their loyalty to the good priests. It is as if standing up for children and victims is somehow a disloyal act to the priests.
      I can’t tell you the number of people in the past year who have told me how bad they feel for the good priests. “it is such a shame what is happening.” So how did we get to this point that loyalty to adult men blurs the responsibility we have to children and those who have been harmed? “I feel so bad,the priest at my parish is a nice guy” ” I feel so bad, I have had priests help me out in my life” I have no doubt their are nice priests and I have no doubt that priests have helped many people in many ways in their ministry, but to speak up for children is perceived as going against a priest? The irony is that some priests I have spoken to don’t even see it that way….but many laity continue to. So with no one wanting to offend each other, the elephant remains in the room growing larger and larger and harder to ignore.
      We have been conditioned in so many ways to worship the man on the altar and not the man wearing a simple cloth and crown of thorns nailed to a cross. It is a process,It took me the past two years to go through it and emerge on the other side where I know what my 16 years of catholic education taught me and I will speak when what the Gospel teaches is not being followed in relation to children and victims. Will I address that to a priest? Absolutely and have many times in the past year in many conversation,the most recent in an email exchange last night. When I went to the trial last week I emerged from the elevator to face Msgr Lynn and another priest chatting in the hall. A few minutes later another priest joined them. I did not know at the time if the priests were testifying (they weren’t) or if you are allowed to speak to a defendant (Lynn) outside of court,so I just stood a few feet away,staring at them. I would have had no problem walking right up to them ,introducing myself and telling them I was here for children and victims . Actually that is exactly what I did in a later email to one of the priests who was there. It is the most freeing experience in the world to get out from under the spell that other people hold the power and authority in your relationship with God and your relationship with others. And once you get to that point, there is no looking back.

      1. Kathy,
        I have heard this “good priest” excuse for years. Allow me to make two points…Their eyes are open, yet they can’t see.
        1. Of the 6,116 (thanks Joan) credibly accused priests…I guarantee, many parishioners described these monsters as “good priests”.
        2. If a priest knows that his co-workers are raping, sodomizing, molesting innocent kids, and doesn’t report these filthy crimes to police…that priest is not a “good priest”. But, he is a co-conspirator.

      2. Kathy, thank you for posting this, totally needed this today. Your leadership is great encouragement to those of us who practice Catholicism but are finding our voices to talk to our pastors, deacons, and Catholic friends and family. Thank you so much for helping us victim supporters. I feel strange even saying that, the victims have been so brave, I am rather embarrassed and ashamed that I have been too timid or self-absorbed to engage and advocate. You all are opening my eyes …

      3. Maureen, thank you. After reading my comment I thought it may have come off as judgmental,which is the last thing I intended. What I want to say is “I know, I understand” I was at that same place myself not to long ago. I pass no judgement on people just starting to find their voice and ways to use it.

      4. You were not judgemental, but instead inspiring! It is hard to stay, but it is harder to stay and be silent. It feels like being a child again – everyone tip-toeing around the strongest kid, not daring to be the first to say to the others, “hey, let’s stand up to him together.”

      5. Priests who continue to associate themselves with an immoral culture, failing to speak out about it and actively engage in its reform, NOW, are not “good priests.”

    2. I sometimes wonder what went through the mind of one of these wonderful (abuser) priests as they were raising the host at consecration. They couldn’t really believe in what they are doing at that moment in light of their abusive acts which reduces to rubble any cognitive dissonance I once felt about their “good acts”. Their priestly acts were part of an elaborate con to enable them to get their needs and wants met. This is in sharp distinction from the example of Christ who so loved the world that he gave his life……
      How the vast majority of priests who were not abusers are not shouting from their pulpits about the need for deep reform in a clerical culture that tolerated having these perpetrators out there wrapped in the cloth of Christ while doing the devils work just..leaves..me.. dumbfounded. And how an administration would go to such lengths to protect, accommodate, lie for and cover up such evil. Well there really isn’t anything more I can say on this. Oh almost forgot. And how a flock of followers of Christ who despite mounting evidence of these evil acts are so enthralled with a fantasy version of the way things were that they refuse to open their eyes and see the way things are. Please readers of this blog who pass through and thumbs down the posts here. Search your hearts try to imagine what it would be like if you or someone you loved had been abused. Would you really feel that those responsible should have continued access to young people, and be protected from the consequences of their actions. That is what you communicate with downward thumb to those of us who believe that crimes committed should be punished and children protected above all other considerations. Not that complicated really. Please, join us.

      1. James@15,

        Don’t be affected by people who gives you a thumbs down on this blog. There are Catholic followers don’t even read the blog, but they will ceremoniously click thumbs down on everything. They don’t think – they follow. They don’t follow God – they follow bishops or the Catholic league or some other false idols.

        If they were smart, and they were Christians, they would know that in these cases you defend the victims and not the criminals. However they are just doing what they are told by others.

        You have partners and supporters here, and you got God on your side as tough as it seems, this is actually getting a tiny bit easier every month.


      2. Patrick,
        I’m not affected personally, it’s merely an invitation for them to really engage with this issue rather than accepting the talking points of others as gospel.
        I really appreciate your postings and the support of everyone on this blog.

  3. My “crystal ball” says Lynn walks…….
    Under questioning from Jeff Lindy, a lawyer for Monsignor Lynn, Bishop Maginnis agreed that any decision to remove a priest would have been the responsibility of the archdiocese under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who died this year, and not the secretary for clergy.
    “Removal of a priest came from the archdiocese — it couldn’t be done by the secretary for clergy, right?” Mr. Lindy asked.

    Lynn may walk however he is truly an “evil” man. Anyone with some common sense can see / read that Lynn knew these priests were bad yet he continued to follow orders based on an oath he took years prior. The question that needs to be answered by Lynn is this – As a Christian man, how could you put so many others / children in jeopardy and sleep at night. Does he not have a moral obligation to do the right thing and put a stop to the events that were taking place with in the AD of Philadelphia??? Yes, Lynn may walk however his days as a priest are done as the “stink” from the secret files will follow him all the way to Rome and he rightfully deserves it…..Come on folks wake up and smell the EVIL that lurks within out church……….

    1. WR, the Conspiracy charge has already in some ways been verified by Avery….Check out Marci Hamilton on this….and I wonder if the “Bevil made me do it” is going to be very persuasive Child Endangerment wise.

      1. Seriously glad that the prosecution has Tom Doyle testifying today:

        PHILADELPHIA—An expert on Roman Catholic church law is
        testifying in the trial of a Philadelphia monsignor charged with endangering children during the priest-abuse scandal.

        The Rev. Thomas Doyle says nothing in church or “canon” law prevents church officials from fully investigating complaints, removing priests from their jobs during investigations, and contacting civil authorities.

        Philadelphia prosecutors say Monsignor William Lynn conspired with abusers and other church officials to keep church members and police in the dark about scores of complaints reported to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since about 1950.

        Lynn could spend years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and child endangerment. He is the first Catholic church official in the U.S. charged for his administrative response to abuse complaints.

      2. I’m looking forward to reading the trial blog about his testimony too.

        Thank you Joan.

      3. So disappointed. Margaret from Catholic Accountability and I were trying to get to the trial today and had a few conflicts,would have loved to have been there for Tom Doyle’s testimony.

      4. Hey Kathy,
        As an addition to our earlier discourse on “good priests”.
        I consider Father Tom Doyle a good Priest (capital P)
        Well done, Father Doyle for testifying!

    2. WR,

      I’ve heard this argument before. Who cares if Lynn was told what to do and if he was following an oath?

      If somebody joins an inner-city drug gang and they take an oath to the leader and the leader tells them to commit a crime, they don’t get a free pass as a matter fact, they are complicit if they even know about the crime.

      Some will argue that the Catholic church isn’t like an inner-city drug gang. That’s true – those gangs don’t rape children.

      1. Note, we the laity who are simultaneously practicing Catholicism and advocating for victims, WE are the Catholic Church. I do not rape children. I choose to stay and fight those who do, and those who would excuse it.

    3. WR, I wanted to go back to your second paragraph…about how ‘decent men’ can sleep at night, when endangering children. And John Richard made the same point….

      And Patrick contributed the thought that these ‘non decent men’ belonged to a Church ‘gang’ ….thugs who raped children, or permitted it.

      I keep coming back to the thought that there is no respect, or valuing of the laity….and the most vulnerable laity amongst us, innocent little kids. ANY decent man (and we have a lot of them on this blog) knows that you protect the most vulnerable…first, which is why WR you asked the question.

      Vicky called it ‘laity as second class citizens,’ I think it is worse than that….

      When I look at Bishop Maginnis’s remarks in today’s NY Times….totally dismissive and sexist…nuns were not valued, pornography was apparently irrelevant… ‘stirring up conflict’ was BAD.

      When I look at the horrifying pattern of institutional abuse, in Philly and

      I think the laity, for it’s own sake is going to have force the respect issue, and certainly the protection of children from abuse.

      1. Joan I got the same impression. Porn not a big deal kinda use to it. victims a nusiance , nun annoying and laity probably think we are stupid because we are in the dark . Just my impression of what Lynn and some pastors in trial seem to be saying/implying.

      2. SW, laity needs to be proactive and ask tough questions..of clergy, hierarchy et al…The laity may not engender respect immediately, but hopefully eventually.

        Here are some suggestions:

        Why were 104 priests named in the two Philadelphia Grand Jury reports in 2005 and 2011, with abuse complaints?

        What caused Philadelphia DA’s to investigate the AD? Twice?

        What was the ‘management style’ of diocesan leadership, relative to the abuse of minors in the last 70 years?

        Was the AD effective in protecting minors?

        If not, why not?

        Why did Lynn pass on predator priests to unsuspecting parishes?

        Why didn’t Lynn report suspected abuse to civil authorities? Thomas Doyle, a national recognized expert and canon lawyer says Lynn could have reported these matters to civil authorities, and should have, canonically.

        Why did Bev direct Lynn to do so?

        What other hierarchy players did the same?

        What was Bev protecting with this policy?

        What does it say about Church values when protecting reputation and assets is the name of the game?

        What does it say about Church values, when endangering the most vulnerable amongst us is OK?

        What does it say about Church values when abuse victims are treated horribly and predator priests often get a pass?

        SW you could certainly add to this list….my hope is that lay folks will discuss these questions, with friends, family, parishes, dioceses everywhere!

      3. Joan and Survivor’s Wife,

        Last week, Pope Ratzinger told the 400+ Austrian priests to stop their calls for public disobedience.

        Yesterday, the Association of Catholic Priests (800 Irish priests) told the Vatican it was wrong to silence their founder. See “Fellow Priests Support Galway Redemptorist Silenced Over Stance on Sex Abuse Scandal.”


        “We believe that such an approach, in its individual focus on Fr Flannery and inevitably by implication on the members of the Association, is an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland. We affirm in the strongest possible terms our confidence in and solidarity with Fr Flannery and we wish to make clear our profound view that this intervention is unfair, unwarranted and unwise.”

        Yesterday that Irish priests association released the results of a survey of Catholics in Ireland: See “Is Ireland still catholic?”


        “A major survey of the views of Irish Catholics reveals a strong divergence from Roman Catholic teaching on such issues as sexual morality, celibacy, women’s ordination, and homosexuality.

        “87% of Irish Catholics say priests should be allowed to marry, 77% support women’s ordination, 72% favor the ordination of mature married men. Even more significantly, 75% say the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality is not relevant to their own lives or to their families. The 25% that find such teachings relevant are frequent church -goers or people over 55.

        “An overwhelming 87% think that Catholics who are separated or divorced and now living in a second stable relationship should be allowed to receive communion at Mass. There was considerable disagreement regarding the Catholic Church’s teaching that any sexual expression of love between gay couples is immoral: 61% disagree, 18% agree, while 21% do not have an opinion.”

        Meanwhile here in the US, where Catholics are walking away in astounding numbers, what are the top priorities? Contraception and complaints about being persecuted — losing their religious liberty. Chaput is at the front of the line, carrying these banners, leading his fellow bishops off a cliff.

        Austrian priests 400+
        Irish priests 800+
        Philadelphia Priests 0

      4. How does anyone get respect? By respecting themselves first of all. To be honest I think many priests are actually amazed that with all the evidence coming out to the public, that the faithful file into Church silently sitting in pews as if nothing happened. Catholics think that questioning their Church is questioning their faith. There is a big distinction there that people need to get past. My point in talking with priests has always been the basic question of “What Gospel is any of this following” And the result has always been silence. No one can answer that question because the Church is not following it’s own teachings in relation to children and victims. So why would I not question that? Why would I not call them on the carpet? As a parent I am at the top of the hierarchy in the Church when it comes to children,they have to answer to me,not the other way around.
        We are so used to being told what to do,how to do it,what we did wrong,etc…. and that carries through even when it is the Church itself that is doing wrong. Who are we to question? Who are we NOT to question? I can’t imagine being a Catholic child in this current environment with parents who do not speak on this. How confusing, how scary.
        When I was battling the Archdiocese on my own, months before the 2011 GJ report about a child protection policy that was needed, I did it because as a parent, no one will tell me what to do, no one has a right to come between a parent’s decision about their child, no one should infringe on that sacred bond and when they did, I came out swinging and didn’t stop until my mission was complete. Nothing about the “Church” made my “mama bear” instinct go away when it came to my child and all children. The Motherhood vs.the Brotherhood,not a fight I will back down from.
        I see this whole laity scenario like the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and crew made their trek to the wizard only to find they had always had a brain,had the courage ,and had a heart ,and when they pulled back the curtain on the Wizard….what did they find?

      5. Way to go Kathy!! I love your bold comments. When I open my new t-shirt factory, I am going to offer one that says: “Momma Bears Against the Pope!” He won’t know what hit him! LOL

      6. Kathy as a ‘grandma bear’, couldn’t agree more with your comments….especially the part about laity who are uncomfortable about speaking up about the abuse situation in Philly…..’questioning the Church is questioning their faith’.

        The case I would make for ‘speaking up’ is that IF you care about your Church, you ‘speak up’ because change is hugely needed, and THAT ‘speaking up’ IS an expression of YOUR ‘faith’.

      7. Martin, I had posted a comment at the end of this blog about the percentage of priests in Ireland, (at least a quarter of the total, maybe more,) active in their ‘Association’ that are calling for major Church changes, ….before your comments were released from moderation.

        I said I thought Ireland, which had been nominally 100% ‘catholic’ with a totally horrific abuse history was different from the US in that the US has a far far smaller proportionate ‘catholic’ population.

        NCR does a study every 5 years on the Church, and recently released some tough stats. If memory serves, about 10% of the US population reports as having left the Church, another 25% self report as catholic, but less than half of those guys, probably closer to a third actually attend mass weekly.

        And while education, health care, and social services in Ireland have been run by the Church, clearly that is not the US experience.

        I mention this because while Austria is interesting…in many ways Ireland has ‘tipping point’ potential.

        It’s a small, previously ‘catholic’ country with a very substantial and growing number of priests in their Association. Irish Catholics are, as you point out, hugely unsympathetic with conservative Church positions. And the history of abuse in Ireland, has been characterized by Amnesty International as torture. The Prime Minister lambasted Rome for the Vatican’s under cover direction to Irish bishops, relative to abuse reporting. Ireland’s Vatican Embassy was closed.

        Why do I belabor these points? Because Ireland is unique. And if I were picking a place where the Church may radically change, I’d pick Ireland, to start the move.

        As to the US, Wednesday’s US bishops ‘fight’ for religious freedom…well….

        As to priest association stats in the US….again….well…If Ireland goes as I think is possible, then western Europe may well follow suit, then, perhaps some serious action, or reaction in the US.

        Just some thoughts….thanks for your input, and citations….Joan

    4. WR – I pray to God you are wrong about Lynn walking. And Devilacqua wasn’t the only “higher up” involved. I still have a problem comprehending the amount of time it has taken to bring charges since the first GJ report. Too late to get Devilacqua on the stand. However, the DA’s office should be bringing charges against Rigali… as well as Cullen and Cistone!!

      1. 4the children, Lynn could very well walk. I encourage anyone local to take a day and go to the trial. It is a methodical prosecution presenting a case,a sharp and seasoned defense team and a jury made up of every day Philadelphia citizens. Anything could happen. I hope for the best and don’t think he will walk, but who knows.

    5. Well we have an archbishop here in Brisbane who as a bishop in the Melbourne Archdiocese, who claims
      priests cannot be sacked, they have to ask to leave.
      A lot of crap really, because a religious order clegyman was requesting a rescript of his vows to be a ligitimate father to his child and was refused. His only other alternative was to live a lie and have the mother and child on the side, or runaway and ‘join another church’ as he put it, both unacceptable to the mother.
      He went to his grave with a sound mind, never rescinding and his wishes never granted.
      He had been between a rock and a hard place, for many years with superiors standing firm in the certitude no other priest could cast the first stone, not even them apparently.

  4. One problem in the past with our thinking of predators is that we think they think like us……… we also think.most people are good………we want to believe the best of everyone etc………..it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact(if you have not been personally involved in a situation previous where abuse occurred) that some people are so sick they have convinced themselves that molesting a child is ok……that it’s a good thing……that the child wants it. Predators manipulate this to their benefit. The grand jury report and trial have educated millions that their are really evil people in the world and that some people just don’t care about our children or their emotional, spiritaul health at all.

    1. So many people where betrayed but worse of all the survivor. I hope that some good comes out of this tragedy especailly that children know its ok to speak up and parents know better how to read the red flags.

    1. Hadit, Barbara Blaine sent me this edited e mail today…sorry it’s a bit long, but the references are included for both SNAP recent activities.

      . In the past five days, we’ve filed two lengthy legal documents – one in Missouri and one in The Hague.
      Last week in Kansas City, we responded in court to a motion by church lawyers trying to force us to answer even more invasive deposition questions and turn over confidential information about victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners across the United States.
      In that document, we again detail how we’ve never spoken to the man suing Father Michael Tierney, nor broken any “gag” order. We explain how church officials and lawyers are trying to violate the freespeech and free association rights of many individuals. Our filing  also includes a new, long affidavit signed by SNAP President Barbara Blaine which gives the judge more information about the work we do and the people we help.
      Contrary to a few loud claims, SNAP does not try to “destroy” the Catholic hierarchy. We seek justice for those people who lives were destroyed by the hierarchy. And we work to prevent more lives from being destroyed by the hierarchy.
      To that end, yesterday, we submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) new evidence and extensive documentation showing ongoing child rape by Catholic clerics and continuing cover-ups by Catholic officials.  The filing underscored the urgent need to prevent future child sex crimes and cover-ups and hold top Vatican staff accountable for widespread human rights abuses. Much of the new material includes evidence that has come to light in the six months since our original submission. These developments demonstrate again both how widespread this human rights crisis is and how it tragically continues.
      Since September, when we first contacted the ICC, nearly 500 victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and supporters from 65 different countries have reached out to us. We’re doing all we can to help them.
      As a reminder, the jurisdiction of the ICC includes rape, sexual violence, and torture as crimes against humanity.  It also provides for individual criminal liability for those with command or superior responsibility over those who directly commit such crimes. 
      In addition to the new evidence, our tireless attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights informed the ICC prosecutor about the “retaliatory and harassing” legal moves church officials are making against us since our ICC complaint was filed.
      P.S. Here’s our filing in Missouri:
      Click Here
      Here’s our filing in The Hague:
      Click Here

      Barbara Blaine 
      Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 

      1. Thank you Barbara and Joan. Many thanks to the attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

        It should be apparent to everyone how widespread this human rights crisis is (there are enough numbers, from enough countries), however, there remain places that merit serious inquiries (i.e. Africa, etc.). Less apparent and harder to substantiate (although gaining momentum daily) is the conspiratorial nature of the crisis. This is what I want brought to light in all of its “glory.”

    2. Hadit, since my earlier reply seems stuck in ‘moderation pending’ and didn’t generate a ‘Recent Comment’ icon, I am adding this re your ICC question and my relevant new article which I sent to SNAP and CCR. Please see my earlier comment above.

  5. Yesterday afternoon my son was confirmed and as I sat there listening to the Bishop for 29 minutes I started to ask myself some questions. First, what have I gotten my son into exactly as my own faith in the church is all but gone. As a matter of fact I find myself reaching back to my Episcopal roots more and more… Second, what did the kids get out of that 29 minute monotone discussion?? Even with a post graduate degree I failed to “get it” yesterday afternoon… Finally, even with all the pomp, multiple priests and the burning of inscents the stink, as it relates to the Philadelphia AD still exists this morning…. What yesterday signified was the underling problem of OUR church, the OPP (OBEY-PRAY-PAY) mentality which has got to change……Yesterday should have been a joyous day instead it was like the television show Survivor were the loser each week has to put his or her torch out and leave the island… Maybe the time has come to put some torches out in the Philadelphia AD before more of us abandon the island………

    1. WR, Abuse Tracker, just posted an article from the Irish Priests Association that starts off with the ‘fruits’ of Confirmation….thought you might like it!

      The Association of Catholic Priests

      In preparation for Confirmation around the age of ten, Catholic children are taught that this sacrament will confer on them the dignity ‘Temple of the Holy Spirit’. Are they taught how to recognise the Holy Spirit moving within them then? If their hearts were then to burn strongly for other Temples of the Holy Spirit who were violated in the past, or they were to feel a just anger against bishops who knowingly allowed that to happen, or they were to shed tears for the mothers so cruelly betrayed – would any of those manifestations of moral indignation signify to them that the Holy Spirit was now at work within themselves?

      I ask this question because of the stunning failure of the apostolic visitation to Ireland to address two other questions: First, why Irish Catholic church administrators, politicians, civil servants and police officers – all also Temples of the Holy Spirit – were not moved to moral outrage and effective action by the cruelties revealed by the series of state reports into abuse: Ferns, Dublin, the Catholic residential institutions and Cloyne.

      Second, why it was that the church’s clerical system did not become ostentatious in the cause of child protection until secular courts, media and state forced it to act.

      1. Joan, I posted comments about the Irish priests association early this AM. Awaiting moderation. Even a year ago, I could never have imagined these actions and comments from a handful let alone 800 Irish priests. Martin

      2. Martin, I think the Irish Priests Association with 800 members represents at least a quarter to a third of Ireland’s priests.

        Perhaps only in a formerly 100% ‘catholic’ country with devastating child abuse, (I think Amnesty International labeled it ‘torture’) could priests organize and vocalize so effectively. The Vatican just silenced one of their top leaders.

        if one asks why US priests don’t organize as effectively…the US is nominally around 23% Catholic, the abuse while terrible, has not been on the Irish Scale…

      3. Joan,

        You don’t know that the US abuse isn’t on the Irish scale. You only know how much has been reported. US abuse could be much worse, but isn’t being reported, thanks to the public bullying of victims by Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic League, etc

      4. Patrick….maybe US abuse is comparable. But the US did not have all its education, health care and social services under Church control. The US is not a ‘catholic country’.

        The US did not have those ‘laundries and orphanages’ that Amnesty International identified in their document, In Plain Sight, in horrifying detail…to say nothing of the regional reports. The level of abuse especially of poor Irish kids, was endemic, basically torture and on a huge proportionate scale.

      5. I agree.

        My point was that I doubt that Ireland was as bad about actually fighting the victims and bullying the victims, and the US is still doing it today, mostly though bishops like Dolan, and their highly paid PR groups like the Catholic League.

        The continuing, deliberate Catholic evil is that they know there are more victims, but they also know that if they discredit every one, others are less likely to come forward, and 99% of US Catholics don’t have the compassion or concern to do the Christ-like thing.

      6. Patrick…I think the criticism that might well be directed to Ireland was that while horrific Church abuse was occurring, it was occurring ‘In Plain Sight’ …no accident that Amnesty International so named their truly horrifying description of the abuse of poor Irish kids in those orphanages and ‘laundries’….

        Which is to say that while the abuse was Church oriented, there was a complicit ‘blindness’ to it on the part of the Irish public.

        Do I think there are many more US victims and loads of Church cover up…absolutely…

        One of the reasons the Philly trials are so important is that there are ever so many other dioceses where …if prosecutors could get the data… It would sound just like Philly.

        I always enjoy your posts…Joan

      7. Now I am really not sure what I got my kid into………I do this much, there has to be a significant change in the church and in the Philadelphia AD…Not sure Jesus every envisioned a church like what we have today….I keep looking back at Thursday’s service and it was all BS to appease the parents and grandparents who remember a different church i.e. who were blind to the events taking place behind closed doors………..

      8. So true Joan, about what Amnesty Ireland has to say about the Irish people and their culpability in the Irish RCC tragedy –It was their own ignorance and narrow-mindedness and mean societal rules which cast those children out and sent them to institutions where they were tortured, starved and neglected.–In plain sight of all in a land known for its goodness and charm and catholicism. They have themselves to blame in a big way for this tragedy .–and the church was there to take full advantage of the situation.— Irish-Americans inherited this disordered legacy.

      9. Crystal….I think your reading of ‘In Plain Sight’ was a major wake up call…if I remember your posts correctly.

        It’s actually a great but terrible ‘read’ for anyone interested in abuse.

        There are many messages in it but the one that occurs to me today on C4C is the parallel between no status poor Irish kids, and what the Church WITH complicit silence of the Irish public did to those kids and what has happened to sexually raped and sodomized children in the US, molested by clergy, and others. For all of us, this is clearly an ‘either you are part of the problem, or you are part of the solution’ challenge.

      10. joan– absolutely. Lessons can be taken from every single victim’s story . Ireland’s cultural history is vastly different from the US’ –but certainly people are the same everywhere –and the RCC’s goals never change. It’ll always be parasitic.

      11. Today, April 18 on Abuse Tracker….the Pittsburg Priests AssociatioN sent the following to the Association of Irish Priests…a very big deal!! !:

        An Open Letter to the ACP from Pittsburg
        The Association of Catholic Priests

        An open letter to:

        The Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland

        On April 14th,some of our Association of Pittsburgh Priests members distributed leafletsquoting Vatican II documentation to an assembly of “Catholic Men”concerned about the so-called threats to Religious Liberty in the USA. We were reminded that the eminent theologian, American John Courtney Murray,S.J. author of the Council’s document on Religious Freedom, was himself censored prior to that history-altering Ecumenical Council.

        With this historic reminder before us, we congratulate the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland and Fr.Tony Flannery and his Religious Congregation, publishers of REALITY magazine, for their serene response to censorship and silencing.

        If REALITY magazine must paythe price by its being censored, it’s the seed that might die so that a new reality for the IrishChurch and the World, English-speaking Catholic Church can take on new life.

        We are indeed indebted to Father Flannery and your Association for your website, http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ieby through which we are kept informed, and for being a remarkable and lively media contribution to Church Renewal.

  6. Wow. Today, C4C is information overload for me. There is so much to digest from so many great and informed bloggers. Thank you, everyone.

    James’ post saying how he was starting to look forward to testifying at the trial, to putting his truth out there for the world to see, really hit me. I wish I had words, or a particular strength or talent, that would magically infuse a sense of peace in him as he faces the task ahead. I wish I could fix everything for him in terms of his comfort level in these days leading up to his testimony. All I have to offer you, James, is my 41 years of advocating for victims like you, and my promise that, although I am invisible to you, I am with you.

    While The Hague considers the number of sexual abuse victims around the world, is it considering the inordinate number of victims who took their own lives? Never has any formal inquiry been made into the suicide dimension of priestly sexual abuse. I can assure you that the hierarchy is aware of it, and has covered it up. Australian officials are developing a plan to investigate it, but I’m calling for a world-wide investigation.

    Jerry, it took two reads to digest your excellent, MUST READ, blog on the bishops. A reader can go away from your article feeling totally overwhelmed by the power the princely boys wielded, by the colluding, and by the “gangsta” feel. But by the second read, a person starts a sort of self-hate process, where she mentally whips herself for ever having associated herself with a Church having such a despicable clerical world.

    Joan, I agree that the priest association in Ireland, and Ireland, itself, could lead the way in Church reform. I think, eventually, we will spend decades in a reform mindset where priest associations from around the world will play formidable roles, however, in the end, I think it will take leaving the Church of Rome to have a Church we respect and trust.

    1. Hadit, my pieces are intentionally “heavy” because the history is complex and the main actors are so deeply duplicitous. But we must face honestly what we are up against.

      No cause for much “self-hate” though. We were all conned. We know that now and must bring the truth we have all recently learned in spades to the light of the media and other Catholics, calmly and methodically.

      Joan, Irish priests are ahead of American prriests, to be sure. But Irish Catholics tend to just leave the Church quietly in disgust understandably. They lack the strong American political tradition of pushing our government, prosecutors, judges, legislators, political leaders, et al. The political pressure in the US is beginning to build.

      Of course, so far we lack an American counterpart to the Irish PM, Enda Kenny.

      1. Thanks Jerry, and all the C4C’ers. So much thought provoking and passionate commentary.
        “We were all conned”. I reflected on these 4 words all night. While I prefer the term deceived, I share your sentiment.
        “We were all conned”. True Jerry, but by whom? I recognize my comment will make some uncomfortable…but I contend it’s our parents/grandparents who own some of the deception. Some, if not many knew what was going on “behind closed doors”. Few spoke up, fewer changed Churches, most all remained blindly loyal.

      2. This may not be the right place for it..but when we talk about folks in the pew…We know that 10% of the US pop has left the Church. Of those who have stayed, Sunday mass attendance presents some interesting stats indicating that about 31% (of the remaining 23%) attend mass weekly, 47% less than monthly and the balance somewhere inbetween.

        The chart I am pasting from the NCR 2011 study is hard to read…

          1987 1993 1999 2005 2011
        At least
        once a week 44% 42% 37% 34% 31%
        Two or three
        times a month 13 15 19 16 13
        About once
        a month 17 18 15 14 9
        Less than
        monthly 26 25 29 36 47

      3. Thank you, Joan for this data. Unlike so many C4Cers whose background is in psychology/social work, my education and experience is finance/economics. The data is of value to me.
        The numbers add credibility to my thesis. Our parents/grandparents stayed… but my generation is attending far less frequently.

    2. Hadit,
      I thought of you tonite at mass the priest was saying showing mercy is an action and does not in anyway take away the need for justice. He also reminded us that Jesus showed up despite the locked doors …….

      1. Beth,

        Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

        Justice permits and enables mercy. For mercy to precede justice, or for mercy to parallel justice, is cruel. Justice comes first.

  7. — SW!…I read the article—and learned that merging is all about “evangelization!”…Just think of how much more effectively the AD will be able to “promote the Gospel ..” after it closes down these neighborhood parishes.

    I wonder if any of these buildings will be demolished? I guess the insides are sold off to help pay for the AD’s “evangelization” efforts–? Immaculate Conception in Germantown certainly was one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen in Phila.

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