Fourth Week of Trial Begins with Another Victim’s Testimony

Click here to read: Witness: Priest plied me with booze, molested me,” by Joseph Slobodzian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 16th, 2012 (updated by John P. Martin)

“The Rev. Thomas J. Smith had offered to take him and another boy on a trip to Hershey Park, driving a recreational vehicle borrowed from the second boy’s parents.

But the RV got no farther than King of Prussia, the man testified, when Smith said the vehicle had mechanical problems and they would have to stay overnight in a nearby Holiday Inn…”

115 thoughts on “Fourth Week of Trial Begins with Another Victim’s Testimony

  1. I’ve read the article. I await the trial blog entry to get a feel for what really happened.

    “…a recreational vehicle borrowed from the second boy’s parents…had mechanical problems and they would have to stay overnight at a nearby Holiday Inn…”

    I don’t think I will ever get “used” to the idea that pedophiles set up elaborate grooming systems to get to their victims. When I read it…it makes me wonder, did the vehicle have mechanical problems or did the priest “create” the problems? It’s so sickening. Story after story…

    And the shame that goes with waking up on top of a priest, only to be shoved off him as if the VICTIM has done something wrong. Ugh.

    I wonder how these jurors are holding up?

    1. For anyone not from the area, the travel from Andorra to King of Prussia is less than a 30 minute drive. So if a vehicle ‘breaks down” that short of a distance away, why not call the parents,a friend or parishioner to come pick them up. Instead check into a hotel for the night with two young boys……

      1. Less than a 30 minute drive???!!!

        This is when you would wonder if the parents questioned this behavior or if they, like many parishioners, would have thought it was a “neat idea” for the priest to “treat” their child to an overnight stay at a hotel.

        Hadit, I think back to a priest of my youth…young assistant priest who always played on the playground with kids…would get into “wrestling” matches with young boys and swing “spider style” with girls on swings. I briefly witnessed one of the swinging episodes with a friend from my church and automatically thought, “That’s weird.” I completely forgot about that priest until today…but you mentioning it makes me wonder now.

        Also, the squirrel-ly priest of my later teen years who mysteriously was reassigned after shoving a pregnant woman in a fit of rage…is back on the scene. He’s a …..

        you guessed it…he’s a wrestling coach now.

    2. It’s true, SW. Child abusers are calculated, methodical, manipulative, and they are experts at it.

      Just think about how many “potential” victims these guys have. From what I know of child abusers, being a victim for one, and also the extensive research I have done, child abusers groom many other children before they actually abuse one. They emplot certain techniques over the span of sometimes years or decades trying to understand what works and what doesn’t work to give them access to a child and then to abuse a child. Did any potential victims say “No,” in his past? Did any just not respond to his motivation?

      Once they develop their skills their skills, they hone in on a child and abuse him/her, and they use those same skills over and over. It’s kind of stupid on their part if you think about it. I think about the movie “Home Alone,” where the one of the two burglars left the water running in every house they robbed. Well when police finally caught up to them, they could link them to every other house burlarized in the neighborhood because all the houses were flooded when they left the water running.

      Just like with us victims, when we come forward, prosecutors and law enforcement try to piece a “pattern of abuse.” It’s incredible how one victim can tell the exact same story of 10 or 20 or more other victims, simply because our abusers used the same grooming techniques on all of us. I guess they didn’t think to switch it up every now and again, so that if we ever did come forward accusing him, our stories wouldn’t match other victim’s accounts.

      But I bet if you added up all the “potential victims”, who were able to get away simply because the abuser’s techniques didn’t work at that time, and the victims he did abuse, you might discover a very, very long list.

      I watched this prison show on MSNBC one night a few weeks ago about sex offenders and they interviewed an inmate who had abused little girls (and I’m not kidding when I say “little.”) He started talking about how he got close to his victims, by choosing children with dysfunctional families, those with single parents, poor families, those with mental or physical disabilities, those with trusting parents, and the list probably goes on and on. I can only say “probably” because I turned it off. Talk about “cold chills running down your spine,” this was too much for me.

      Then on Sunday night, Dateline had a episode about “My Child Would Never Do That,” which was about children being put into situations where they were approached by an adult stranger, and a camera showed which ones would walk off with the stranger. While this might be important, it almost never happens. Why didn’t they show the trusted priest, or the police officer, or family friend, or uncle, or parent trying to groom the child? That would’ve been 1,000X more benficial to a child’s safety!

      I hope someday parents start listening to the actual facts that show more heterosexual married men, or the biological parent, family friend, neighbor, coach, relative, teacher, priest abuses more children than strangers.

  2. Another predator from my childhood parish…………..people are starting to talk…….breaking the silence………more survivors will come forward now……it’s so sad and it makes me angry……….glad we are trying to change the laws……..

    1. This is why this site is such a good thing. People are connecting the dots. I realized that a predator from my grandmother’s parish in South Phila. which I visited as a child ended up giving my children their sacraments far from there. This sickness has been going on for a long time.

    2. Beth, what years was he there? It isn’t even mentioned in the article along with all of his other assignments. Wasn’t he at Prendie also as a chaplain?

      1. Yes to Prendie. I will check the parish dates. He is no longer a priest. His cousin was my music teacher and we knew his uncle small world. My younger sibling felt Fr. Smith was creepy they and their peers had more exposure to Fr. Smith. Passion play etc. He lead that.

      2. Yes, Kathy. He was also at Prendie for a while. He’s also the priest who my husband and I met with for our pre-marital counseling and was also one of the con-celebrants at our wedding. Sigh….

        Granted, I did not suffer the abuse of these men, but it is all just so horribly wrong. I am at a loss for words anymore. Such a farce they made out of the priesthood. How ridiculous for him to question my husband and I to prepare us for the sacrament of marriage.

        I’ve read the rest of the articles on him. Absolutely disgusting antics.

        I get madder every day that passes. How Catholics can sit by and read these stories, even the stories cleaned up for publication in the newspaper, and still make excuses… it baffles me.

      3. 1987 to 1991 I was out of st andrew by then but not my siblings…….to think and we had just got rid of cannon……..

      4. Connecting the dots… I was married in May of 1987,,, He was moved from Annunciation in June… evidently over to you in St. Andrew’s…. not much of a move. I suppose that way he could continue being chaplain at Prendie.

      5. Mimzy,
        I read the report when it first came out. I fear their are many survivors that need to talk to a trusted friend of therapist and when ready contact the police.

      6. If he did the play for 5 years thats 5 groups of kids that the police need to talk too. Not to mention the other parishes…………its so sick………so sick……pick the kids to be Jesus make him feel special and sexaully abuse him.

      7. I just checked ,he was at our parish 87-91. Cannon left in “85” and the new abusive priest arrived in “87”…as John said..can’t make this stuff up

      8. Mimzy and Beth, literally within 5 minutes of posting this article on my facebook page,a message from a friend whose sibling was in one of Smith’s demented passion plays. It is not even 6 degrees of separation at this point.

      9. My brother had a friend that Played Jesus……..the kid pretty much fell off the face of the Earth. It hits home………it really does………..

  3. Anyway… I read the article on

    If I read the word “wrestling” again, I’m going to scream! From a cleric (a professional), I find it a really immature way to relate to or associate with children. Are clerics to “wrestle” with our children? Does “wrestling” lead to meaningful relationships? Does it communicate something important? I think “wrestling” is stupid, and basically a low-level and immature form of social communication. I’m not surprised that many pedophile priests engaged in “wrestling” with their victims. Points to a seriously under-developed person. I also question the developmental level of parents who witnessed “wrestling” between clerics and their children, and who perceived it as “special.”

  4. How fortuitous for father friendly (Smith) that the rv “broke down” right next to a Holiday Inn….and that he happened to have two seventh grade boys and a bottle of southern comfort whiskey with him. You can’t make this stuff up!

    1. And that for kids that age, you could throw the car in neutral, rev the gas, say the car was broken down, and they aren’t going to question the priest or fix the engine.

  5. I support survivors no matter what parish but if you are from St Andrew’s and I can support you in anyway please let me know.

  6. My question is why did nt the laity have the whole picture back then? Even around the 1st grand jury report? They did not want us to know how bad it was even as they did not think it was that bad because they did not stop it………..

    1. Beth, I suppose it was just that blind trust that people had regarding the religious. For real.. who could imagine a priest doing such vile things during practice for the PASSION?!? Of all times or places!

      My parents told stories of when they were in grade school and high school, how the nuns and brothers smacked them around. If they complained when they got home, they’d get it again from their parents because they obviously trusted the judgement of the religious and the kid probably deserved another smack.

      I’m sure it wasn’t as severe during my time in grade school, but the nuns still smacked kids around and pounded them into the slate blackboards.
      It was a long hard look at Catholic schools before I put my kids there. I bluntly discussed discipline before I’d even consider it.. Thankfully, it has been a better experience for my kids.

      Beth, like you said.. where was the laity “back then?” As a parent, I could not dream of someone laying a hand on my child as a form or punishment or abuse. I think back and wonder if my parents went thru it, how could they have put their children in similar situations? When I asked,Mom just said times were different then.

    2. mimzyb……….I meant the AD was holding back info from the laity……..but I get your point also.

      1. Oh, I understand now, Beth. Yes, because the AD knew what was going on was wrong and they were just covering up to protect themselves. They had the power to do so, and obviously thought they had the right to do so, too.

  7. A little background if people are confused to the Passion play references. From the 2005 report
    “Smith took at least three boys playing the role of Jesus in the parish Passion play into a private room, required them to disrobe completely,” pinned loincloths around them, and then, during the play, encouraged “other boys in the play to whip the Jesus character to the point where some of the boys had cuts, bruises and welts.” These actions, the Review Board found, “occurred in multiple parish assignments with a number of different boys over a number of years.”

    1. Thanks for the background on the Passion play Kathy.
      That story is sickening…like they all are.

    2. Pretty damn blasphemous – having a child play Jesus, eventually rape the child, have the hierarchy hide & move the priest that did it, and have the whole congregation say the child is lying when the child comes forward.

      Catholics in the congregation are literally betting their eternity that God is stupid.

    1. What an ugly and busy trial day….you have the kid…where the recreational vehicle ‘broke down’ on a very short trip and Father Smith raped the victim….

      THEN you have the AP report on Father Gana, a serial molester, who …Gana started grooming the skinny eighth-grader soon after the 300-pound priest arrived at Our Lady of Cavalry in northeast Philadelphia, and before long he had the boy playing cards in his rectory bedroom, the witness said. That led to stripping naked, oral sex and, ultimately, painful anal rape, he said.

      The abuse also took place at Gana’s farmhouse near Scranton, he said. The inner-city teen had never seen anywhere so beautiful.

      The Associated Press could not locate a phone listing for Gana. The archdiocese declined to comment on the testimony, citing a gag order.

      It should be noted that this abuse was reported in the early 90s and Father Gana was defrocked in 2006 (after the 2005 Grand Jury report)

      THEN, you also, today, have testimony from a victim of Father Trauger’s, reported on CBS Philly, who again reported the abuse many many years before the good father was ‘removed from active ministry’.

      The content of the testimony is appalling, the behaviour of the Archdiocese horrific, the stories…sadly repetitive …and the chances are very very likely that THIS Philly data didn’t just happen in Philly, but in many places, nationwide. Again, I thank the Philadelphia District Attorneys and Grand Jury members for their hugely important help.

      1. Joan is right!

        “… and the chances are very very likely that THIS Philly data didn’t just happen in Philly, but in many places, nationwide.”

        Every diocese in the U.S. must be investigated!

      2. Hadit, I don’t think that there is much question about the fact that a thorough Grand Jury investigation in any diocese in the US would come up with the ‘Philly Story’ some more some less, but all over this nation there were Msgr Lynn’s in the same time period, ‘tidying up’ abuse, passing on predators to unsuspecting parishes, further endangering innocent kids.

        When Boston broke, there was a lot more ‘tidying up’ going on.

        And there were horrific accommodations made, deals cut that gave ‘prosecutorial passes’ to hierarchy, over and over again, nationwide. The Church while deeply guilty was considered untouchable.

        AND the Bishop’s lobbying arms, the states ‘catholic conferences’ in the individual states were busy campers blocking legislation that required mandatory clergy abuse reporting, child endangerment legislation, statute of limitations extensions, et al.

        And don’t for a moment think that those catholic conference ‘interventions’ won’t continue.

        The best hope we have for genuine ‘justice’ in these matters is that prosecutors throughout the country are giving some very careful thought to the Philly scene and asking themselves about it’s application to THEIR jurisdictions.

        I always try to thank the Philadelphia DA’s and Grand Jury’s because we owe them such a debt of gratitude for perusing these matters vigorously.

      3. Patrick Wall is another one of those really good guys. An expert on abuse, and counselor of victims. Here is a long and very good U Tube piece:

      4. Joan, 2 quick thoughts..I am grateful for the work of the DA’s and of course, the GJ’s…Yet I also find it rather pathetic that we feel so indebted to these elected officials –It was nothing less than their job to keep kids safe from the serial molesters in the rcc –and it should have been done all along.
        I wonder how many victims’ parents over the decades, ignored the instructions of the “Fr. Lynn’s” and reported their children’s abuse to the police but the investigations went nowhere because of the power and influence of the AD.

        also, Patrick Wall is just terrific. What a background !–His tone is just right. Would anyone here recommend his book, “Sex, Priests and Secret Codes”?

      5. Crystal, I don’t think prosecutors ‘got it’ relative to the magnitude of clergy abuse and predator passing on till after Boston. I am guessing that the prevailing wisdom was let the Church handle the problem with their Dallas Charter and proposed reforms. Don’t muck in Church State stuff unless you have to.

        However, in the next 10 years, increasingly not only were abuse civil claims mounting exponentially, but hierarchical responsibility was in evidence. That’s where those prosecutorial deals got cut…


        Do I think more grand jury’s should have been convened, or the ones that were convened far too soft on the hierarchy, sure.

        But rather than contacting civil authorities initially, most parents of kids went to the Church, most victims went to the Church…and we have detailed on this blog, what a very bad idea that was! I don’t think parents and victims who did go to civil authorities got clobbered because of Church power, so much as they simply didn’t access civil authority. ( I know of one case personally, with a number of victims in 1980 where parents did go to the DA, when the local diocese had been unproductive…and they were very effective.)

        Patrick Wall was a priest, involved ‘on the other side’ of these matters, and left the priesthood and has been very effective on behalf of victims for the last 10 years that U Tube piece has lots of data, and my bet is that the book is just fine.

  8. Every day at that trial is the story of a a new horror. I pray it is making an impact on these jurors. It’s all in their hands.

    1. Has there been any report in any of the news articles of blogs about the reaction of the jury to the testimony? Imagine having to listen to this for 4 months!

      1. mimzyb,

        Over the years, I have read several articles that include the thoughts and words of jurors after a verdict has been reached in a priestly sexual abuse trial. They think and feel exactly as we do. They say what we say. They are not influenced or intimidated by clerical mystique or authority. They are shocked at the degree of clerical stonewalling. Quite frankly, in the end, they were floored, infuriated and sickened beyond anything they could have imagined.

        Just today I read a brief but clear example of what jurors say when they can say it. This is what one juror said about Mahony when he testified at a priestly sexual abuse trial (he’s about to testify at another one):

      2. hadit, thank you for posting the link. I am encouraged that the jury is taking it all in and can read between the lines and see the truth.

        I give them a tremendous amount of credit. I don’t know that I could sit thru all of this testimony for 4 months without needing counseling myself afterwards.

    1. So many people having sacraments celebrated by abusive priests, hard to wrap your head around. Wish that all this St Andrew’s connecting was for happier reasons ,what an ugly reality.

    2. jk,

      I feel your pain. The priest that married me in NY was eventually removed for sexually abusing children.

    3. JK, I completely understand how you feel. It may help ease your feelings if you remember that for marriage, it is the couple that administers the sacrament to each other. The priest is merely the witness.

    4. JK – The priest who ‘married’ us back in 1968 is also living a life of prayer and penance.

      The priest is merely the church’s witness to the marriage. The bride and the groom actually effect the sacrament.

      Life goes on.

      1. Joe B.
        What is your point?

        That someone shouldn’t feel upset or betrayed by the fact that someone who was an integral part of an important day in their life is a pedophile?

        I sometimes wonder if you think before you type…”the priest is merely the church’s witness to the marriage.” Oh, ok then…as long as he didn’t effect the sacrament…

      2. And what about my kids. They all received the sacraments from predators in two different parishes of the diocese of Philadelphia. One actually had his first Penance on the lap of a predator. I know it does not compare to the horror of the survivors of abuse; but guess what, they will have nothing to do with the RCC. All of us are aware of what went on here (and everwhere else) and believe the victims.

      3. Joe B, ” Life goes on”? ..Life goes on for the bride and groom and the congregation…. but it’s the unsuspecting altar boy, who is molested in the sacristy after the wedding …It’s what happens in HIS life that really concerns us here. — Doesn’t he or she concern you?
        –or maybe you just do the easy thing and walk away and leave him there-?

        One hundred thousand kids in the USA alone, innocent little boys and girls who should have been allowed to remain carefree and unbroken, who should have been out in the yard playing wiffleball or tag.. but instead were serving in a church where known sexual predators waited to prey upon them- Six Thousand priests and ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND children just like yours.. irreparably violated…while your “sterling priests” turned their backs to the cries of these children in obedience to their bosses. Bosses who denying it and defending against it at this very moment, in a courtroom in Phila.

        –Sounds unbelievable?? It’s real. Wake up. It happened right under our noses… It happened in our churches, with our support, with our donations. It happened on our watch. It happened to the precious children who we had a duty to take care of.

        Do you “get” this topic of child abuse, Joe? It’s ugly. It’s jarring and painful and sometimes unfathomable… It forces us to listen to people, and question and learn things we don’t want to learn, and maybe even die a bit inside.

        ..But for righteous human beings, life in the Church cannot not just “go on”. You, Joe, as a catholic, are called to have the courage to “own this thing”, to take a stand, to take responsibility for what goes on in your Church, to protect the defenseless, and to right this wrong. Wake up.

      4. survivors wife and Mare, I agree. The priest who baptized my niece and I was the godmother, was arrested later that week for soliciting prostitution. The priest who heard my first confession..a pedophile. The priest who concelebrated my father’s funeral..a pedophile who actually came straight to the funeral from a meeting at the Archdiocese,and was gone from the parish the next day. Three chaplains at my high school now either laicized or suspended because of abuse. How could someone not be angry about this. It is not abuse but a betrayal in many ways. Joe again,I feel like you say “life goes on” because a priest is involved. If I found out my former coworkers or neighbors were pedophiles I would be angry,let alone these men who played an integral role in an event in my life.The role they played was the ‘alter Christ” and their actions were anything but Christ like. So the hypocrisy angers me greatly that they may have been in the role of a priest but were actually a predator.

      5. Crystal….serious congratulations on your comments…, some of the best I’ve seen on C4C…..!!!!!

        Very very sadly, the ‘actual stats’ are considerably higher than those reported!

      6. Crystal..exactly,so many innocent children many. How this does not register with people I still don’t understand. Children who did NOTHING to deserve what happened to them. Joe if you feel like the reputation of priests are under attack,they are adults,grown men who can speak for themselves. But the children whose bodies were sexually violated in every possible way…who defends them,who stands up for them?

      7. Awesome Crystal. Your comment rocked.
        Protect the guilty, screw the innocent…doesn’t sit well with decent people.
        Just as an aside. These “good” (sterling is laughable) priests all knew this garbage was occurring.
        Father Andrew Greeley was writing books and “doing” the talk show circuit in the late 80’s, early 90’s stating the number of US victims was over 100,000 even back then. God only knows what the true number of the victims today.

      8. Well said, Crystal.

        Joe B is the typical modern day Catholic. The priest who married him is a protected pedophile with a paid retirement. No big deal. Joe B’s marriage is still legit, because other pedophile protectors told him it was. That’s the important thing. Life goes on.

        Some of the best children’s lives were ruined, but it didn’t happen to Joe B, so its no big deal. Life goes on.

        As Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of My brothers, life goes on”

      9. Crystal,

        Your comment is unbelievable. I have never seen anything like that written by a Catholic parishioner.

        Thank you for being angry and pursuing accountability.

        Maybe I’ll comment more later, because after reading this just now, I am speechless. I expect less from Catholics, but you just hit the nail on the head and gave me a lot to think about.

        Maybe there’s hope for the Catholic race afterall. 🙂

  9. As you already know, these crimes are not unique. The Passion play references are especially disturbing. There are victims who have been tied to the altar, beaten and sexually abused…all because they needed to “feel what Jesus suffered for them.”

    It’s just so sickening. I wanted everyone in Philly to know…multiple this sick, incestuous, perverted priesthood by a thousand and you may have a more accurate picture.

    1. I just read it Kathy and came back to C4C to post.

      One word…


      Father Lynn was in charge of seminarians? Then Msgr. Lynn was influencing where priests landed in the AD? Wow…he’s got quite a resume’…a lot of RESPONSIBILITY. All those years he was acting like God with innocent people’s lives. Looks like he wasn’t a very fair, honest, or merciful God.

      Remember all the speculation before the trial began about having Catholics on the jury? Anyone care to comment on how you think they are fairing as they listen to grown boys and girls share horror after horror at the hands of priests, with the green light from the “honorable” dead man and mr. “I-don’t-have-any-responsibility-here” sitting in the same room with them?

      I am saddened for everyone who is just now realizing their child (or themselves) received any of the Sacraments from these pedophiles.

      What a chilling realization when you connect the dots about Fr. Gana’s comment, “I’ll see you after 6:00 Mass.” What Mass was it that he consecrated the body and blood and placed it into the hands of the faithful…and then raped a boy afterward? Let that betrayal soak in for awhile…and we won’t even have a fraction of what the victims have endured.

      1. sw-yeah, Fr Lynn was “just the man for the job” right from the start of his career. He spent a lifetime feeding children to the pedophile machine –and then conning their stricken parents out of their right to seek justice. He has no soul. Jail is the place for him.
        From my conversations with catholics who remain in the flock, I get the impression that most casually glance at the headlines of the trial and quickly go on to “more important” things. They feel that the matter was well taken care of after the grand jury recommendations…and so now we can all go back to trusting our leadership again–and to “pondering the beautiful mysteries given to us by our cath. faith” (lol!)

        I really don’t think many in the flock care to analyze how the Phila. trial fits into the grand picture of a thoroughly indecent, corrupted religion. They’re too afraid of “turning over this rock” for fear of what they’ll find underneath… Too scared of being left with “no faith” or of going to hell, or worst of all, of being called names like “Cafeteria catholic” or “Fallen-away catholic.” lol!
        –I believe some of the more enlightened caths only stay silent in order to protect their pride/ego/self-identity…They can’t risk feeling stupid for having been sucked in by a religious pyramid scheme/cult from the dark ages …So they continue to pay and be silent.–Which makes them not only stupid, but also very weak.

      2. Wow SW! I had to read father friendly’s (Gana) comment twice. “I’ll see you after 6:00 Mass” How terrified and hopeless the child must have been feeling. This poor kid knew what was next.
        Also SW. Thanks. Your posts (and of course the victims) have taught me so much regarding the nefarious grooming process and victim selection. All quite calculated and evil.

  10. Another week….. Another day….. Another victim…… Tell me something new please…Beyond anger now, just plain PO’d (sorry)….This is starting to take a toll on my parish as at recent fundraiser (Saturday night) most just wanted this to “go away” which sounds all to familiar to me… Have this go away i.e. sweep it under the carpet is not the answer, as a matter of fact I want it burned into everyone’s heart and mind going forward…So tell me why do we continue to support the Philadelphia AD?? Please someone tell me why we continue to put cash in the basket each week… If this were any other organization we would have shut off the cash and stopped supporting management and please do not use the faith card here…

    1. Habit is comfortable………………no one likes gettting out of their comfort zone…………..many times it is only after extreme suffering and discomfort……… makes changes

    2. WR have you any idea how many of those folks ‘who just want it to go away’ are following the trial closely, through local media or C4C or the legal blogs we are also reading?

    3. WR… I wish it would go away, too. I wish the abuse never occured and the whole dirty mess never happened. I just don’t get this “brush it under the rug” way of thinking. For me, I want it ALL out! I want every dirty, nasty detail revealed. I want to hear how they all were involved and made a conscious effort to willingly cover up the mess, too. I want the people to see how horribly flawed their leaders are, and how being blind sheep hasn’t helped.

      I’m not in Philly anymore, but haven’t contributed financially to my diocese for a while now. I haven’t left the church. Somehow, I hope major changes come out of this. I know the RCC moves as slow as molasses on a frigid winter morning when it comes to change, but it just can’t go on the way it functions now.. from the top/Vatican down. I don’t know if I’ll ever see it during my lifetime, but there is still something that holds me there wanting to be a part of the voice calling for change.

    4. Another week… another minute… another hour… another reason to be depressed…. Tell me something now please…. Beyond depressed now, just plain demoralized (not sorry). This has taken a toll on my life and my relationships. I just want this to “go away,” which just reinterates the biggest wish I’ve ever had. It will not go away. I can’t sweep it under the carpet. It is burned in my heart and mind for enternity. So tell me why the Philadelphia AD keeps hanging up on me when I call them, asking them for therapy? Please someone tell me how much cash from those baskets each week is used for attorneys… If this were any other organization would it have shuffled around and hidden known child sexual abusers and please don’t pull the anti-Catholic card here…

      1. My limit? You mean with therapy? If you do, the Arch of Philly never provided me with any therapy in the past.

        The Oblates paid for my therapy and promised it to me “indefinitely” only to once again break a promise when the case in DE was settled. (For the record, I never approved of the settlement. They only needed a certain percentage of victims to approve it, and by the time they got around to me, whether or not I ok’ed it, it didn’t matter, it still would’ve been settled.)

        The Arch of Philly, I have always felt, is just as responsible for my abuse, since they accepted a “known child abuser” into their schools.

      2. Wow V4J,
        That’s not fair at all. My husband’s therapy for a year alone was $20,000. Therapy is really necessary and many times for a longtime especially when one’s normal child developent was so tragically affected…….its not like an adult goinging thru a crisis who has already developed coping skills and trust etc.Adults can better deal with a crisis I think when something tragic happens at a young age you are so much more vulernable.

      3. V4J,,
        The point you make about the AD letting other religious teach in AD schools is a good one. I feel it should be explored more in the media and AD. If a religious teaches at an AD school and turns out to be a predator . The name and places the predator taught should be on a list easily assessed by children and parents having attended that school. I also feel that the AD has some responsiblity for policing the teachers etc it allows to come in contact with their students.If they knew a predator was being passed around their schools they have direct responsiblity for putting kids in harms way and at the very least should pay for therapy.

  11. I feel the same way, mimzy. I want this in every newspaper and in daily television and online news reports . People need to wake up to the reality of what has happened here and be horrified. Not enough people (especially Catholics) are woken up yet. Sadly, I’m afraid many of them never will be. To many, the abuse victims seem to be like fictional characters. They can’t (or don’t want to) grasp that there are countless people whose lives have been torn apart and who the Church has treated horribly.They are wrapped up in how it affects only them. Where is the compassion? This is not behavior Jesus would commend.In fact, I would guess he is deeply saddened by it.

    1. SO true Jackie— “They are wrapped up in how it affects only them”
      Until I woke up to this issue, I never fully realized how and self-centered we catholics are and how cold and unfeeling our brand of Christianity is. It’s so all about us. What a waste of a lifetime in pursuit of a Christ-like existence.

      The attitude I encounter when it comes to the issue of justice for the victims is, “Those so-called victims are the price of doing business for the rcc ..It happens in every institution…No need for us to go broke trying to do anything for them…Let the smart men in the AD and Rome handle them…besides they’re probably not entirely innocent anyhow; they should have just told their parents or the nun or somebody….they were probably the classroom wierdos and enjoyed the priests’ attentions, and are loving the attention now…some greedy lawyer has convinced them to cash in…”

    2. Jackie said,
      “To many, the abuse victims seem to be like fictional characters. They can’t (or don’t want to) grasp that there are countless people whose lives have been torn apart and who the Church has treated horribly.They are wrapped up in how it affects only them.”

      With every choice there is a consequence.

      The Catholics who choose this way are going to pay (spiritually and financially) for their ignorance, denial, and callousness.

  12. As a witness to the pain of a survivor…I feel angry when someone wants to bury their head in the sand.

    The victim didn’t have that option. The families didn’t have that option. The children of the victims didn’t have that option. Suck it up, folks…it’s time to quit acting like 3 year olds who play pretend.

    1. sw– the very, very, very least we need to do is to simply LISTEN to the accounts told by the survivors. How cold and unfeeling can a Christian be?

      1. When shame and fear keep us hostage it is hard for us to reach out to our neighbor to help them. We need as a church to stop thinking about ourselves and reach out to others. Did you know one of the the most mentioned phrases in the Bible both in the Old and New Testament is “fear not” and “Be not Afraid”. God knows many times we are scared that is why he repeatedly says fear not I am with you……..Be not afraid etc.So focus on Christ , pray to Christ and he will give you strength.

    2. SW,

      The hierarchy is not setting or modeling any sort of moral standard that says burying one’s head in the sand is wrong. Traditionally, it has acted as the moral articulator and enforcer for many sheep Catholics. If the hierarchy doesn’t say, “stop burying your heads in the sand,” they don’t. At the same time, the hierarchy is not flat out admitting any moral wrongdoing which might ignite a reaction from the sheep. This leaves many sheep Catholics in a moral vacuum. In the vacuum, the sheep aren’t LED. To a large extent, they are off the radar, ignored and left alone, “unimportant,” while the hierarchy and the progressives frantically attend to their complex agendas.

      1. I completely understand what you are saying. So, how do you categorize their faith when a christian is living in a moral vaccuum? Many Catholics stake their claim they will hang onto their faith…and yet, what kind of faith is it when you aren’t pressed to examine your beliefs or actions based on those beliefs?

  13. “After high school, the man joined the seminary. Finally, he began to understand the abuse and break away from the priest. But he didn’t report Gana to church officials or Lynn, who at the time was the dean of men at the seminary. He said he feared the repercussions.”

    “He also told jurors about a photo on Gana’s bedroom wall of seven close friends from his 1970 class at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Gana called the group his “mafia.” Four of the priests – Edward Avery, Edward DePaoli, James McGuire, and Francis Giliberti – have since been defrocked or removed from ministry over abuse allegations.”

    1. Ed,
      “friends from his 1970 class at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Gana called the group his “mafia.” Four of the priests – Edward Avery, Edward DePaoli, James McGuire, and Francis Giliberti – have since been defrocked or removed from ministry over abuse allegations.”

      Well, doesn’t that creep you out! Heck, that comparison even is a bad reflection on the Mafia.

      Scary thing is, as said before, this is sadly not limited to Philly. We know it’s worldwide, but the depth of this just turns my stomach. Where did it get its roots? How far back are we really going with this obscenity?

      1. The Church of Rome has many secrets. Man-boy love is only one of the surprises. I dare not mention other secrets because even the people on this forum are not open to believe, or prepared to understand the depth of the dishonesty. I would like to point out that both the College of Cardinals and the role of Pontifex Maximus are ancient institutions that pre-date Christ by many centuries. The College of Cardinals and the Pontiff were the pagan rulers of ancient Rome. The ancient secret sexual and blood rituals were retained in a hidden-in-plain view way when the Empire became nominally Christian. By the time that the Holy Roman Empire emerged from the chaos, all of the political powers were deeply hidden in a very clever way within the organization. The teachings given to the masses in the pews is, essentially, a superficial charade to keep the people sending money and supporting politicians that the church leaders have been put in place to protect.

  14. If I didn’t know that it was the job of a defense attorney to poke holes in a victim’s or witness’ story I would have to question the motivation of these attorneys and their tactics, the questions they ask and the statements they hope the jury will conclude. Maybe it’s just their jobs to humiliate victims on the stand and challenge their testimonies, but I tend to believe that many church defense attorneys take some of their questions too far. I also believe that their agenda seems to be more focused on not so much finding out the truth, but more to belittle and shame a childhood sexual abuse victim. It seems like the Catholic Church is out for blood, and their attorneys are trying to suck every last drop slowly seeping from our veins.

    “It is possible, very possible, for a victim of childhood sexual abuse to regain memory” of actual events in which sexual abuse took place, and the extent of the abuse, over time. I’ve always had a pretty good memory of the abuse that I went through, because I thought about those actions every single day of my life. Sometimes I thought about the abuse every minute, of every hour, of every single day of my life. I know other victims have suppressed and repressed their memories, and sometimes when one memory is recalled it leads to a domino effect of the recollection of other memories. I have been witness to something like that with myself, when one memory seemed to trigger another that I had not thought of in quite some time, or that I may never had “conscious” knowledge of to begin with because I may have disassociated from the abuse as it was occurring, whereas subconsciously I knew what was happening, but my brain tried to protect itself by drifting off into another place, or as I had always felt – I seemed to hover above my abuse. It’s like my body was there, and I could see him abusing me, but my mind was in another universe. One thing is for sure, whether a victim is discovering or ackowledging his/her abuse for the first time, or for people like me who have always remembered the vast majority of the abuse, once you face it and whether or not you understand it was not our fault, it still does not go away. One thing I can say for sure, today and at this very moment, abuse never ends. I sit pondering in the distance and think about all I have been through as a child and as a man, the hard work I have put in to becoming a mentally and emotionally healthy and stable person, and at times believing I am on the right road for one day becoming free, the little monster that is “abuse” crawls out of the closet or from under my bed just to say, “I’m still here.” I thought I had done everything that was asked of me, taught to me, and advised as the way toward healing, and I still can’t seem to overcome.

    Depression is falling back into place. My nightmares are back, full steam ahead. My panic attacks are commanding my days. (He is in the room with me and he’s coming to get me again. The abuse is imminent and I will be held down and raped. I can’t get away and I can’t find anyone who can help me. I’m right back there again and it reallys sucks.)

    It does really suck! No matter how hard I try or what I do I can’t figure out a way to figure this shit out and get past it. The people who know about it won’t help me, because they say I sould have told them sooner, even though I tell them now that he would’ve hurt me worse if I told anyone. They didn’t even want to help me. They just wanted me to keep it quiet so they would not be embarrassed and at fault. Instead they put all the fault in my hands and set me up for a lifetime of embarrassment.

    Then these attorneys go on to accuse the victims of lying about the abuse because they’re drug addicts, alcoholics, and criminals. Abuse doesn’t make anyone a saint! I am grateful that I never got involved in any kinds of drugs, but I have consumed my fair share of alcohol. I can’t say I ever committed armed robbery, and I’ve never even been issued a speeding ticket, but that just might have something to do with my inability to leave my own house, because I was safer sitting in a small room all by myself and consuming large quantites of alcohol to drink the memory away until I passed out, hoping to sleep for just one night without nightmares and night terrors. As if our priest abusers didn’t take enough away from us, we have to worry about the institution of the Catholic Church later on, trying to take from us what little we have left. Our abusers and the people who protected them didn’t exactly force our hands with drug addiction and alcoholism, and criminality, but they didn’t exactly give us any alternative either. When we finally found a purpose (a purpose to be healthy productive people) in asking for help, they denied our truths and even our existence. Sometimes they hoped we would just go away… or maybe die.

    This case is very important to me and so many other “victims.” There’s no room for attorneys trying to define their careers, or egos trying to get their points across. It’s about the countless number of children who were destroyed by their innocence victimized. It’s about bad men doing bad things and being punished. This case is about giving us victims some semblance of justice that we deserve. Only then, maybe, will we be able to find some measure of healing.

    1. V4J
      I’m not a lawyer, but it’s the job of the defense attorney to win for his client. They put their client first and do whatever they can to do so.

      I wish there was something that could remove the pain you’ve been thru. Hopefully, when this case ends, maybe it will be able to bring you some relief.

    2. Humiliation of the victims is part of the strategy of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and is passed down to every diocese and church attorney.

      Dolan knows that if the word gets out that every victim will be humiliated, fewer victims will come forward. That’s why he quotes the Catholic League in his own blog when they humiliate a 16 year old girl who is the victim of a disgusting old priest. Dolan knows very well that kids read social media blogs, and he just got to tell them all that the victims are the enemy, and every Catholic should fight them.

      Just like Satan would do.

      1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and Bill Donohue are at the top of my list of despicable human offal.

        The fact that Dolan was elected President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is very revealing regarding the integrity of US Catholic leadership.

        Every move that Dolan makes should be watched carefully, and publicized to the greatest extent possible. People need to know the true nature of this individual.

        Furthermore, never forget the person who elevated him to the position of “Prince of the Church.” I pray that B16 leaves soon.

  15. Yes Neil, I know how priests can be and how much they love humiliating us at every opportunity available. Just like priests who call us liars, anti-Catholic, try to beat us up or get parishioners to do it, and then we find out about their arrests for soliciting prostitutes.

    1. Rich,

      As lawyers would say…’I strenuously object!”

      This is a gross generalization based upon an article that was previously posted on this site just to foment discontent. Most of our priests are sterling examples of Christian charity.

      1. Joe, in my opinion, a priest is “a sterling example of Christian charity” only if he risked his career and immediately notified the police when he knew a child to be in danger — Christians protect the innocent at all costs –My beagle has a better record of protecting kids than most of our priests.

      2. Joe B.

        See, now you are just baiting people…”most of our priests are sterling examples of Christian charity.”

        Good one.

      3. Crystal, brilliant response.

        Joe B is from the Catholic school of thought that says, “Other than the child rapes, Jerry Sandusky did a lot of good charity work”.

        Most Catholic priests knew this was happening, and like a bunch of cowardly, dysfunctional, social misfits, they did nothing about it, giving up on their faith when it was really tested.

      4. Joe B.,

        I have yet to see you provide any credible support for the statements you post. Nothing you write is in any way persuasive.

        I would try a new course of action; your current methods for winning hearts and minds is unsound, and counter productive for your cause.

      5. Joe B.,

        One thing you don’t get is that most priests don’t want you to defend them. They want you to be enraged by their predicament. Clericalism is the scourge of their profession. They want you to be insightful about it, and they want you to put your insight into action. They have no use for starry-eyed, needy, uninformed and emotionally immature Catholics. They are tired of you patronizing them. They are finished with all of the sickening, blind dependence on them. They want you to know that they don’t consider themselves sterling examples of Christian charity, indeed, they won’t until they find their voices and reform their profession. If you care so much about priests, then why is your method of caring so uncaring?

        Because, fundamentally, it’s all about needy you…

      6. Joe,the old saying you can’t judge a book by its cover,makes a lot of sense. How can you say most priests are sterling examples of Christian charity,unless you literally live with them and witness all of their actions 24 hours a day. I wouldn’t make that comment about anyone… neighbor,coworker or even relative unless I was with that person at all times. The one thing I have learned in my life is that sometimes people we categorize one way because of public persona, actually can lead lives that are the exact opposite. I don’t mean this in relation to every priest, but have had my fill of priests who are not examples of Christian charity…for many reasons. I am not going to attend mass and maybe serve on a committee or have other interactions with a priest and then declare that priest is a sterling example of Christian charity because for the other 6 days a week or 23 hours of the day..I have no idea the type of life that person is living. And when I think of Christian charity..I think of the Gospel ….and when I stand with victims and their families and priests literally turn the other way..well the simple story of the Good Samaritan seems even to hard to be fulfilled . I don’t want priests to even have to live up to having a sterling reputation,that is unrealistic because they are human, but I would love to see the Gospel being followed concerning victims and children.

      7. had it, I agree and my many conversations with priests over the past year,speak to exactly what you state. Clericalism is a two way street and for so long so many laity have fed the beast of clericalism. Priests have admitted to many of their fellow priest not being ‘priestly” or good representatives of their true vocation. They see it,they aren’t looking through the same rose colored glasses as many in the congregations are. One priest shared the story of attending an event a week or so after the 2011 Grand jury report. The parking attendant comped his parking,the priest thought this was being done for all who were at the just for him. And then when at the event while waiting in line for a drink,the other attendees stepped aside so “father’ would not have to wait in line. His thoughts were even with another report in the news,people were still treating the clergy in Philadelphia as “special” not able to pay for their parking spot or wait in line for a drink. When you constantly put people in a situation where they are treated ‘different’ than others, they are only bound to act ‘different” . This is not healthy for clergy or laity and like “had it” said many do not want this treatment although there are some priests who will continue to only want the blind loyalty of the congregation. When normal people receive blind loyalty it does not feel real to them,it does not make them feel good about themselves,in many ways it makes someone feel like a fraud. They are human Joe,flawed in many ways, and if you ask priests in Philly if they feel that most of their fellow priest are sterling examples of christian may be surprised by the answer.

      8. I have known a lot of priests. Lived with a lot of priests for 7 years.
        Most of our priests are like most of our people — average humans making an effort to live a good life AND they are fully human with all that entails, with all that delights and disappoints us in human beings. Most, like most of us, are doing the best they can.

        Few are “sterling (pure, excellent, exceptional).” Picture a bell curve, a normal distribution. Why else would we remark on how a particular priest is a “good priest” if he did not stand out?

        Diocesan priests, especially Philadelphia priests, experience a huge barrier to living a Christian life – clerical culture. That generates pathologies peculiar to the culture. Kathy expressed this well. When you put them on a pedestal, you undermine them and set them up to fail.

      9. Hey Patrick, I’m really not kidding about the dog– She thinks she’s a Doberman !–(and we don’t want to embarrass her by telling her she’s only a floppy-eared little Beagle with a loud mouth).. If only the clergy were as fiercely devoted to the well-being of the ones they been entrusted with.

  16. Interesting Neil. Humiliation is deadly to a teenager….How abusive of Cardinal Dolan.
    What a schmuck.
    I just read some articles on his blog. New Yorkers can’t be as stupid as all that… His tactics will backfire on him in one of these days when people have heard enough…or maybe when he picks on the wrong young girl.

  17. Rich,
    Hang in there man, I wish you all the best.

    Grab a couple of Bruce tickets and we’ll meet you at Citizens Bank Park on Labor Day!

  18. V4J: I pray that you will 1 day have peace in your whole being, and that Our risen Lord protect you and surround you with His Light..I do believe all the survivors. It is horrible x’s 1000 the abuse that has been covered up, from the top down….

  19. Soon, Father Karpinski came to another realization. “I could no longer represent an institution,” he said, that would not protect children. “I could no longer represent an institution that did not protect me.”

    1. V4J,
      I read that. That pretty much almost made me want to cry. Satan has a grip of the church here in Philly. I know Christ wants his church cleaned up………I know Christ is working now through those who love him…….but we need to come together This forum has made connecting to others possible………when I pray at adoration the memorae Christ strengthens me. Please pray like you never have before……Christ will strengthen you…….as he does me and then please act…….I want you on this site to know…….I am afraid at times but God gives me the strength to do what he wants me to do and he does amazing things thru you if you let him……I don’t understad it all…..but God is working he is……remember this is not our final home or resting place…..

  20. Beth I agree. Satan does have a grip on the church. This looks demonic. How the church responds to this will tell you how much of a grip Satan has.

    1. Thanks jk,
      You state ” How the church responds to this will tell you how much of a grip Satan has”.
      On a daily basis, we see the response. Fight the victims with high priced lawyers (that you Philly parishioners pay for), shred documents, avoid testifying etc.
      Are you seeing something different?

  21. John Richard, The way the church has handled this has been criminal. It does look demonic to me. What I meant was to watch and see what happens after this trial. How will the church respond. Will changes be made to keep children safe. Or does this evil go all the way to the Pope? The pedophilia seems to be worldwide. If the Roman Catholic Church response is the sweep it under the carpet, and pretend it never happened, then it is not the church it claims to be.

  22. drwho13, the institutional church, as we knew it, is like the Titanic which has hit an iceberg in the priest sex abuse scandal. And, worse yet, the obedient pew-squatting laity stayed seated on the deck while the ship went down. Thank God for C4C adult-thinking catholics who refuse to remain quiet, sheltered, or abused emotionally or intellectually.

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