Witness Links West Virginia’s Bishop Bransfield to Abuse


Click here to read: “Witness Links West Virginia Bishop to Priest Abuse,” by Tony Hanson, CBS Philly, April 18, 2012

“A witness, who says he was raped by a Father Stanley Gana, has testified that Gana put him on the phone with then Father Michael Bransfield, who allegedly said he was going to have the boy sent to him.”

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108 Responses to “Witness Links West Virginia’s Bishop Bransfield to Abuse”

  1. Keep naming names… Let’s get it all out there.
    I believe the victims

    • The prosecution has asked for the judges help to get an associate of Bishop Bransfield to testify as well…a msgr. who is ‘missing in action’ and Bishp Bransfield appears to be complicit with the exceedingly sordid priest, Gana…whose foull behaviour can be identified in the Grand Jury reports in the RESOURCE link at the top of the page.

      Relative to Bishop Bransfield and Father Gana from this post: “And the prosecutor has told the judge another witness is expected to testify Wednesday that Bransfield also brought boys to an infamous farm where Gana allegedly raped multiple boys. And the prosecutor says they have been notified of another incident of fondling by Bransfield.”

      • Bransfield was the Director of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. He is described in this deposition as follows– http://www.rcf.org/pdfs/hdep.pdf “Richard Mullins and, you know, in conversations that were just phenomenal. You know, Richard Mullins has a — he’s always over there with Monsignor Bransfield, you know. And I said who’s Monsignor Bransfield? He said he’s the — he runs the National Shrine, you know the Immaculate Conception. And I said what are you telling me? He said he’s one of the boys. He’s got a big boy’s club. They have their big parties over there. Just phenomenal stories.” Pages 154-155.

      • Hmmm..Noticing that there are several distinguished Bransfield’s in the AD directory:

        Bransfield, Rev. Msgr. J. Brian STD, MDiv (1994)
        U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 202-541-3000
        3211 4th Street, NE
        Washington, DC 20017
        Saint Johns Hall
        4001 14th Street, NE
        Washington, DC 20017

        Bransfield, Rev. Sean P., JCL, MA, MDiv (2002)
        Vice Chancellor, Chancery 215-587-4538
        Assistant Judicial Vicar, Metropolitan Tribunal 215-587-3750
        Cardinal’s Residence
        5700 City Avenue
        Philadelphia, PA 19131

    • Just in from AP, and noted on Abuse Tracker:

      Local Priest Sought to Testify in Clergy-Abuse Case
      PHILADELPHIA (PA)
      WTRF

      By Ashley Mullins

      PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) –
      An aide to Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese is being asked to testify in a clergy-abuse case.

      According to the Associated Press, Philadelphia prosecutors say they’re having trouble getting Monsignor Kevin Quirk to testify in the criminal court case of Rev. James Brennan who faces sexual-assault charges. Quirk was a judge at the church’s in-house trial of that case.

      Quirk had agreed to testify, but said he had to notify Bransfield. The report states that since then, the process has stalled.

      Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina has agreed to take it up with court officials in Wheeling.

      • “he said he was going to have the boy sent to him.
        How nice of father friendly (Gana) to share. Sick.

  2. If the witness is lying and slandering the bishop, then I would expect the bishop to follow the example of Joseph Cardinal Bernadin, meet with his accuser and seek the truth. If not, the cloud of suspicion will forever follow the bishop, compromising his work and his status.

    • ..speaking of Cardinal Bernardin, Is it true that he was really innocent of the accusations against him? I remember at the time thinking he was guilty as sin and that he talked and muscled and mostly bought his way out of the tight spot he found himself in.

  3. I have long thought of how these abusing men can ever get forgiveness when they hang on to their meager status instead of resigning and taking themselves out of action and prominence. In my city we have creditably accused, resigned clerics show up a Catholic functions and walk boldly around with heads held high. We have an ongoing problem folks.

  4. So basically, the West Virginia Diocese doesn’t let Msgr. Quirk come testify, then the next day someone said Bishop Bransfield touched someone? Now we have a good guess why they did not want him to testify.

    http://www.wtov9.com/news/news/philly-da-wheeling-charleston-diocese-balks-sendin/nMcCw/

  5. Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Mike Bransfield is from St. John the Baptist, Manayunk, maybe 6 or so years ahead of me in school. He recently replaced the Marist Fathers (my former community) with diocesan priests in a parish the Marists had staffed in Wheelingfor 100 years. Bransfield offered no explanation to the Marists as to why he was taking the parish away from them. Philadelphia clerical arrogance incarnate!

    • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Bransfield was ordained in 1971. Near that famous Gana class of 1970. He is actually MUCH older than me 😉

      • i believe i knew his sister. He has another sister who is/was a nun?

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

        Didn’t know his sisters, Crystal. So, can’t say.

      • To Martin, I just got on the computer to comment about the number of child molestors that graduated from the class of 1970. I think I have counted at least 8 from one class alone! All defrocked I hope!

      • I would really like an explanation from whoever was running the seminary in 1970 why so many priests from that one place went on to become sex abusers.

      • mcdonnellwrite, I think they sort of blame the “Woodstock scene” for seminary problems at the time. All the “good” men stayed away, tuning in, turning on and dropping out…(lol)

      • crystal, I know the Vatican recently made a statement that seemed to blame the priest sex abuse scandal on the loose morals of the 1960s, but if I’m not mistaken a priest who was ordained in 1970 would have entered the seminary around 1965. That was still pretty early in the 1960s and the “Woodstock generation” hadn’t made its mark yet. I was in high school in Philadelphia in 1965 and it was still a pretty conservative time. I don’t think the Philadelphia seminary can use that as an excuse for why the class of 1970 had so many sex abusers in it. When you have a priest testifying that he was almost gang raped in that seminary at that time, it makes me wonder who was in charge and why nothing was done. I know Cardinal Krol was the head of the diocese, and his residence was across the street from the seminary. He was one of the most powerful men in the American church back then and it’s scandalous that he didn’t know what was going on in his own seminary.

      • How can we say that the class of 1970 had an inordinate number of abusers when we really know nothing about the number of abusers generated in other years by St. Charles Borromeo Seminary? What is going on in this seminary, today, and in all of the others? Eighteen year olds enter seminaries. While they are not children, they merit our concern in terms of their well being.

  6. I am clearly ‘off topic’ as we are talking about a neighboring diocese and specific abuse issues, but today on Abuse Tracker, in another neighboring Diocese, Pittsburg…their Priest’s association sent a very supportive letter, pubiicly, to their Irish priest’s association brothers, supporting them….

    It’s the first time I have seen this done…could it be that there are chinks in the armor of the hierarchy, could it be that the Lynn trial has helped?

    An Open Letter to the ACP from Pittsburg
    UNITED STATES/IRELAND
    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.

    • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Mutiny in Eire

      Joan, the Vatican just silenced another Irish priest, a theologian — an 84 year old! Threatened to remove him from priesthood if he told others of the Vatican action. Of course, the Irish priests’ association is raising holy hell.

      http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2012/04/sean-fagan/

      Maybe some of these sons of St. Patrick could go and drive the snakes out of Vatican City.

      For all, consider posting an expression of thanks or support for the 800+ Irish priests who being publicly disobedient to Paparatz. I see Sister Maureen recently made a post.

      http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/

      • Martin, many thanks for the links to thank BOTH priest’s associations…I think other C4C ers will want to thank them…I just did…..This is a terribly important deal!

      • Bad idea by the Vatican… trying to silence the Irish…ain’t gonna happen.. talking’s what they do best.

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 19, 2012 at 6:35 am

        Crystal, I love your reply! It is so true. Martin

  7. Joan said, “This is a terribly important deal.”

    How terribly important?

    Reforming the priesthood AND the Church literally depends on a priest-mutiny. No mutiny, no reform.

  8. Hadit, serious thanks for your comment. Today’s C4C posts have been involved in other abuse issue considerations, and today’s trial data is horrifying. But in my heart of hearts, I think the Pittsburg Priest’s Association letter to their Irish brothers is monumental, and deserves a lot of support.

    We have been, justly critical, in my view of priests who ‘didn’t step up to the plate’ and allowed fellow priests to mutilate innocent children.

    THIS time, these Pittsburg guys ARE stepping up to the plate, it’s a risky business for them…if enough other priests associations do the same, I doubt if the Vatican will excommunicate them all…there is a ‘priest’s shortage.

    I really encourage C4C folks, VOTF folks and everyone else to use those good links Martin provided to thank BOTH the Irish Association AND their Pittsburg colleagues.

  9. Priests will be leery of the term “mutiny.” It’s the antithesis of “obey.” Getting out from under the cultish mindset of obedience will be neither natural nor easy. They will attempt to exert themselves in uncommon but relatively “acceptable” ways while, at the same time, knowing fully that their agendas are unacceptable to their superiors. Their superiors will never come to view their agendas as worthy of discernment or implementation because they are perceived as disobedient, threatening Tradition, having the potential to substantiate a hierarchical conspiratorial involvement in the sex abuse crisis, and threatening to hierarchical power and authority. Their superiors will authoritatively attempt to silence the hell out of them. The papal “shepherd” is doing this as we speak. There is no doubt in my mind that, if push comes to shove, priest-heads will roll. Think about it. A cultish, cloak and dagger, medieval, monarchical mindset reigns. If priests want to accomplish anything, it will take a mutiny.

    • Hadit, the Vatican just cracked down on the nuns…who will probably have to reincorporate. My take is that Rome is in a very defensive mode….Folks don’t act that way unless they are severely threatened.

      Tipping point, maybe?

      • Joan,
        I saw this news. It’s time for the women religious to tell the old, freaky boys club, to go to hell.
        The women religious have been “second class” citizens in the church’s eyes forever. Time to rightfully respect the women of the church.

      • You know JR, in a weird and convoluted sort of way, I think the Vatican crackdown on 57,000 US nuns is a disguised blessing.

        I agree with Joan Chittister (sp?) that the nuns will have to reincorporate, forming some kind of new entities. But I think two things might come out of it.

        The nun’s new organizations might encompass lots more folks and be a substantial force for Church reform, and two, and this is anecdotal…I just told my more conservative husband about the ‘Vatican crackdown’ on them, and he said “the nuns, the nuns…why would anyone go after the nuns?” Or put another way…I think the backlash will be substantial.

        Catholic nuns are, in my view, the best thing the US Church has, lose them and the Church’s ‘street cred’ which was already discredited, sinks to an unbelievable new low.

      • The women religious have been telling the boys to go to hell for decades now. They are running and holding key positions in the boys’ dioceses, hospitals, social service organizations, etc. Their ability to organize globally, articulate and accomplish meaningful ministries, and stand up for themselves when the going gets tough has been repeatedly evidenced over the years. I have said on C4C on a number of occasions that the sisters possess the skills to articulate a new Church and lead it.

        The Vatican cracked down on the nuns???

        Take it away, sisters.

      • Hadit, the nuns not only run things well, they ‘own things’…my prayer for them, if they choose to ‘disengage’ is that they have high quality legal advice on the ‘property settlement’!

  10. eee gads, sounds like a divorce!

    Since the boys are the cause of the break up, it’s only fair that the sisters take their property and withhold the Eucharist from them.

    • In the midst of the nun’s issues…I surely don’t want to lose the notion that the Pittsburg Association of Priests took some serious risks in supporting their Irish brethren.

      It only takes a couple minutes to go back up to Martin’s very helpful links and thank BOTH associations!!!!

      It’s time we’ll spent!

    • It’s all so disgusting Kathy.
      father friendly had a rotation of boys and this monster actually raped a boy with his parents downstairs. Are you flippin kidding me!

    • I wish I knew more about why the judge in W. Virginia wants proof that the Msgr. is a “material witness.” What is a material witness, and what would prove the Msgr. is one?

      • Quirk is the judicial vicar who oversaw the Canon trial against Brennan. So he was the judge for the church’s “in-house” trial. The things he must know …

    • Kathy, Msgr Lynn advised Avery and I think others when in ‘treatment’ for abuse to go for ‘alcoholism’….’see he is not a pedophile’…actually Lynn advised AVery to plead anything but pedophilia.

      This is reminiscent of Lynn’s defense that in not reporting horrific abuse, in 1995, mandated by PA law…Lynn was under the impression that the ‘CHILD HAD TO REPORT THE ABUSE TO REQUIRE LYNN TO REPORT TO CIVIL AUTHORITIES”…

      It’s almost too disgusting to comment on.

      • Joan,

        I just posted on the Irish priests’ site. While I was posting, I remembered reading about the Association of Pittsburgh Priests a few weeks ago. The organization is not “recognized” by the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I know it includes lay people. At one time, recently, I believe the organization requested that their Bishop engage in a dialogue with it on the issue of birth control I guess my point is that the organization is an unusual one, I think, because it includes lay people. With lay people, a priest association may be more inclined to take what might be perceived as “risks” to other, more traditional, priest associations… including the “risk” of writing a letter to Irish priests in support of their courageous voices of integrity. I believe the Pittsburgh priest association includes lay people in order to manifest its belief that “Church” entails clerics and lay people working conjointly.

        Do you believe the Diocese of Pittsburgh does not recognize it??? It’s considered a kind of non-traditional, too Vatican II, off-beat organization.

      • Hadit– I wonder if the Assoc.of Pittsburgh Priests is linked to Duquesne University –and the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) who run it.–?–It sounds like them.

      • Hadit…I confess to a bit of confusion…the website for the Priest’s association in Pittsburg is similar to the Irish Priests Association website…there is a mailing address for Pittsburg association, listed on the website.Certainly hope the Pittsburg group is alive and well.

      • Interesting, Crystal. I wonder if the Diocese of Pittsburgh has a another, different, priest association that it recognizes, or whether there is only the one it doesn’t recognize. The Philly priest association is recognize by the AD, correct? Or no?

      • Hadit I think the Irish Priests Association published the Pittsburg letter on the Irish site….there is a Pittsburg address for their association at the end of the letter, but I am missing a ‘link’.

        The Philadelphia Association has AD approval, often prints the AB’s statements.

  11. Joan, in reference to your comment above concerncing Msgr. Lynn’s responsibilities when handling an allegation of sexual abuse:

    C. Clark Hodgson, long-time counsel to the Philadelphia Archdiocese was quoted in the Northeast Times (Philadelphia) shortly after the release of the First Grand Jury Report in September 2005:

    “Church officials were not obligated by state law to report sex-abuse cases to civil authorities unless the actual child victim notified the church personally. If the child’s parent filed the complaint with the archdiocese, however, church officials did not have to notify police.”

    • SKiadvocat…..is the mandatory reporting requirement REALLY written that way. It doesn’t sound like ones I’m familiar with. Who would expect an abused child to report to authorities?

      • that’s the way it was back in 2005. Joan, I do not know what the requirements are today. As I’ve mentioned before about this fine attorney, the St. Thomas More Society of Phila. turned around and saw fit to award him the St. Thomas More Award later that same year.

  12. Statement by: Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511, SNAPJudy@gmail.com

    A man has given sworn courtroom testimony in Philadelphia today that
    –West Virginia’s bishop, Michael Bransfield, took boys to a beach cabin, and
    –a Philly priest told him Bransfield was abusing one of them.

    And years ago, the friendship between the Philly priest and the West Virginia bishop was noted in a grand jury report. (As best we can tell, Bransfield never tried to refute the report.)
    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2011_02_10_Philadelphia_Indictment_Comparison.htm

    In light of this, we believe that Bransfield – not his lawyer or his PR man – should address these allegations – immediately and directly – and take questions about them. (Remember bishops have repeatedly promised for a decade to be “open and transparent” in clergy child sex abuse and cover up cases.)

    This isn’t rocket science. For starters, there are three simple questions Bransfield should answer:

    Did or does he own a house with Philly’s Fr. Gana? If so, did he take boys there? And did he molest any of them?

    This notion that Bransfield somehow can’t respond to the testimony today in Philly, as his lawyer claims, is bogus.

    There’s a second issue Bransfield must also address immediately. He’s refusing to send one of his priests to the trial in Philadelphia, despite a request from prosecutors.

    Regardless of whether or not a WV judge ‘honors’ the Philly prosecutors’ warrant, Msgr. Kevin M. Quirk, has sworn obedience to Bransfield. Bransfield can order Quirk to appear in court. Bransfield should do that immediately. If he doesn’t, that will only add to the doubts about Bransfield.

    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

    Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

    • Judy, if Bransfield does not comply with the Philadelphia prosecution requests, would a Grand Jury be convened in West Virginia to investigate Bransfield relative to his role in the abuse?

      • Another useful SNAP piece…particularly liked the point that while Bransfield is busy issuing denials…None of his statements are ‘under oath’ which of course, they should be.

        WEST VIRGINIA/PHILADELPHIA (PA)
        Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

        Posted by David Clohessy on April 19, 2012

        We’re disappointed that Bishop Bransfield is:
        ■apparently still not forcing his priest, Fr. Kevin Quirk, to testify at the trial in Philadelphia (as requested by prosecutors),
        ■has issued a written statement, instead of taking questions openly, about the child sex allegations against him,
        ■is apparently ignoring the allegation that he had a “lewd conversation” with a child,
        ■refusing to answer the allegation that he brought kids to the beach house he owns
        ■is only now making statements, seven years after it was first disclosed, about his alleged ownership of property with a child-molesting cleric, and
        ■continues to attack the judicial system and the judge and prosecutors in Philadelphia, especially since this is a trial that he has not attended. He apparently feels comfortable, from a distance, calling it a “circus.” But yesterday, he refused (through his lawyers) to respond to sworn testimony from that trial (he called the testimony “rumors.”)
        ■complains that his seminary is being “connected” to the priest abuse scandal (the truth is that dozens of former seminarians from there have been accused of abuse, including Fr. William Ayres, Fr. Edward Avery, Fr. Michael Bolesta, Fr. Robert Brennan, Fr. Gerard Chambers, Fr. John Close, Fr. James Coonan, Fr. Nicholas Cudemoo, Fr. John Delli Carpini, Fr.Philip Dowling, Fr. Peter Dunne, Fr. Thomas Durkin, Msgr. Francis Giliberti, and Fr. James McGuire. So no one’s “connecting” the seminary to abuse – many former seminarians have, in fact, abused.)
        It’s important to remember that both accusers gave testimony

        yesterday under oath. Bransfield didn’t.

      • I would suggest that folks ask DA in West Virginia to investigate the Wheeling-Charleston diocese for covering up sex crimes agasint children, especially now that this new info has come out…

      • Why can’t the ICC order an investigation into EVERY diocese in the U.S.? Each one is a Philly. What “body” in the U.S. could order such an investigation?

        • The ICC ( International Criminal Court) is the World Court at the Hague in Netherlands. We/SNAP have delivered tons of documents of evidence and have asked the ICC prosecutor to take our case, ( even tho it is extremely rare that will happen) ..We have turned over more evidence just recently.. This is a world wide systemic abuse, of crimes against humanity.. We have asked ICC to investigate Pope Benedict, Cardinal Lavada, Cardinal Berton, and Cardinal Sedano.. They are the top officials at the Vatican.

          To submit a case with the ICC it has to be massive and wide spread crimes against humanity ( sex abuse is included) our lawyers the CCR,.. ( Center for Constitutional Rights) they are non profit.. says we have plenty enough evidence from around the world, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, USA etc.. but we just have to wait to see it the ICC prosecutor will take our case. Filing a claim with the ICC is a last resort situation. It can only be done if the countries themselves are not investigating or prosecuting crimes against humanity.

          It is really up to law enforcement within the states and countries to prosecute these crimes.. But since victims are up against the most powerful institution in the world, it has only been until recently that law enforcement and the media are beginning to listen to victims..

          Also, until just recently, victims had no one to tell, because no one would ever believe them..as you can see even today, many, many victims are still treated terrible and not believed..that is why there are still ( I would say over thousands of victims who have not yet come forward.) A good example are those who were abused by priests in the Ohio Valley… Victims are still too afraid..

          It is a slow long process, but victims have made huge headway…. This Philly trial is a HUGE break through….. as far as Bransfield, we try not to speculate… but I am really watching this trial this next week… we have no idea what will come out..

          Here is the link to our progress with the ICC…http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_legal_action

          tks for caring.. Judy

      • Joan what seminary are they refering too? Could you clarify please?

    • SNAP,

      Outrageous! I have been following this story since yesterday. Infuriated! Nothing short of obstruction of justice! The episcopal lying, shredding, deceitfulness, hiding, avoidance, trickery and arrogance is beyond appalling. Surely our criminal justice system can penetrate the utter filth.

      • Hadit…I’m ashamed to say that if it were not so serious, I’d be enjoying this “Bishop Bransfield in WV” saga immensely! They’ve caught a big fish in the net this time..and he’s stinking up the place!! Wondering if the other 2 Fr.Bransfield’s in lofty positions the AD are his relatives –I’ll bet they are..how very embarrassing! I’d bet the criminal justice system will not long suffer these characters…Even my dear but in-denial/AD apologist/lawyer husband is taking notice of these Bransfield antics and finding them to be just incredible… Love it.love it.love it.

        “Almost heaven, west virginia,….blue ridge mountains………..

      • Crystal…am a John Denver fan!

  13. hadit, i asked about the Spiritan Order because of their strong presence in Ireland and also in Pittsburgh– and their recent and unprecedented invitation to the Irish authorities to “come on in and investigate our order.” ( I don’t know what the outcome has been) They’re missionaries and thinkers, and many would not take kindly to being silenced by ex-nazi’s in the Vatican.
    My uncle was a Holy Ghost/ Spiritan. In his 50’s, after he returned from Africa, my uncle turned “radical” on us –(at the time, we just thought he was nuts). He was an activist and an advocate for social justice, globally and in the US, and for revolution and change from within the catholic church. He was no fan of JP2!! From the 70’s through the 90’s, he (and many nuns and priests like him) advocated for things like married/ female priests, changes to the liturgy and in the church’s teachings on sexuality…Too bad nobody was listening then!!….I miss him very much, and wish he were alive to witness the beginning of change.

    • Crystal,

      While your uncle is not alive today to witness the beginning of change, consider him an important seed to the change we are witnessing. I got my theology degrees in the 70’s. I was exposed to a number of formidable “seeds” who are not with us today. I often think of them. It breaks my heart that they are not here to see the results of their work and efforts, but I am acutely aware of, and thankful for, their role in what we are witnessing today. Thank you to your uncle!

  14. Sometimes the juxtaposition of comments floor me.

    For example, I was reading Ralph Cipriano’s excellent piece on yesterday’s activities at the trial. The victim-witness testified that his abuser, Fr. Gana, said that the Philly AD investigation into him “was a big joke.” Ok. The investigation was a farce. Then I read Rich’s post inquiring into whether he had to walk into the Church in order to attend the program last evening. It’s amazing how sexual abuse is a farce for one person and an agony for another.

  15. Imperfect? Informative? Insightful?

    My fear is that someone who went to that “spectacle” last night actually takes away the comments of Joe Niles as “informative and insightful,” because not only is this guy completely full of sh!t, but he’s also very dangerous. Joe Niles was inaccurate and deceptive. He danced around the truth by feeding the “few” people in attendance legal definitions, the “humanity” of a predator, (which is what caused me to interrupt him from across the room, and walk out. My dog has more humanity than the man who held me down, and pushed me against a urinal so he could rape me.) and absolutely nothing he said made sense. I think it was his objective to confuse people. He called the sexual abuse of a child, as opposed to an adult “murky, and confusing.” What is confusing about a grown man raping a 10 year-old?

    Joe Niles claimed that 90% of offending priests he had worked with only abused one child. Ah… can I say something here? YEAH RIGHT!

    He also claimed that predator priests are “now exposing themselves and seeking treatment.” I doubt that’s true, but in the small chance that it is true, I wonder why? Are they scared their victims might come forward and they want it to look like they sought “treatment” in the past?

    Joe Niles spent 30 minutes talking about the difference between a pedophile and an ephebophile, and how one predator prefers pre-pubscent children, whereas the latter prefers post-pubscent children, and someone who rapes a 13 year-old shouldn’t be classified a “pedophile.” Does it really matter? Was that really worth 30 minutes of my life? It’s rape! Who cares what terms you use to describe an “animal” who physically forces anyone into a sexual situation?! Is “scumbag” a better word?

    Joe Niles talked about the difference between “situational” and “predatory” abuse. He claimed that situational abuse is when an adult accidently rubs up on a child in a sexual manner without intent. Huh? Did anyone else hear this? I made sure to underline that comment and highlight it in my mind. According to Joe Niles, situational abusers are different from predatory abusers because it’s a spur of the moment decision for the situational abuser to sexually assault a child. YEAH RIGHT! What would I do in the situation of being in a room full of children? Hm… what a tough question, but I think I have an answer… I WOULDN’T SEXUALLY ASSAULT ANY OF THEM, because I was in the situation of “protecting” them, and a child is trusting me that I would never hurt them or do anything to cause them pain. Situational? Predators seek out situations where they can abuse children. (The only reason an adult is ever placed with the care of a child is to protect that child. If it wasn’t for predators parents would have no need to “trust” someone to look after their child while they’re away.)

    This was damage control on the part of the Catholic Church last night, or smoke and mirrors, and how stupid I feel now for even attending. I knew “the water tasted funny,” and I didn’t listen to my gut. I have been manipulated enough in my life and I can smell bullsh!t from another continent, and the only real accurate information the attendees heard last night was from Sharon King, who was cut off before she could finish. The Catholic Church doesn’t appreciate it when someone calls them out on their lies and actually tries to tell the truth. Honest and dedicated people get cut off.

    I’m a glutten for punishment, because I am so upset and enraged about the comments and “accurate information” purported by Joe Niles in that room last night. My fear is that anyone of the 25 people or so who attended will actually believe anything that man says.

    Last night, the Catholic Church didn’t set out to protect children. The Catholic Church stirred the pot of lies. Once again, the only real work being done to protect children and to find justice for those already victimized is being done OUTSIDE the walls of the Catholic Church.

    Joe Niles defends child abusers by calling them “imperfect people.” Yes, they are imperfect, but not because they are people, but rather because they are animals.

  16. Joe Nines comment on Twitter, “I’m so ashamed. I’ve gone over to the dark side and I’m loving it!”

    http://twitter.com/#!/DrJoeNines

    After listening to this man last night, I can only imagine what he’s talking about.

    • Rich, does Nines’ tweet mean that he considers it “THE DARK SIDE” to be paid to speak to a room of clergy abuse survivors and catholics expecting info and answers and some accountability for the priests he treats at St John V’s ???
      I guess when you’re steeped in lies, pedophilia and AD-style catholicism long enough, you don’t recognize Christianity when you see it. Could he possibly know how stupid he’s going to look and sound when his audience begins to piece this clergy mess together?

      • Crystal,

        I don’t really care about how stupid Nines looks when or if Catholics start piecing together this clergy abuse mess.

        I worry about how many more victims there will be before that happens.

      • My husband and I attended the forum on Wednesday night at Our Mother of Consolation church. To be honest, it took everything in me to stay and listen to Nines — the only reason I did stay was because I was there in support of a survivor and I also wanted to listen to Sharon King. I seriously don’t know how the victims who were present were able to contain themselves. I’m not a victim and I felt like I was going to explode! Nines stated that most of his priest patients were one time offenders – WHAT! OK we all believed that!! I can’t even stand that he used the word “offenders” — call them what they are: RAPISTS! He used the term “boundary issues” — How bout MOLESTATION instead! He also stated that most of his priest abuser patients were “situational offenders” — DEAR GOD! So, it was just happenstance that sitting next to a child stirred sexual tension in them and so that wasn’t predatory.. blah, blah, blah. It was awful listening to him. Sharon King was, for me, a soothing balm after listening to Nines because she didn’t mince words. She was strong and straight-forward in speaking of the life-long affects of sexual abuse on the victims. She said that children were indeed “screaming” and that the rapists couldn’t have given a damn. I felt grateful to hear TRUTH from her – but she was treated with such a mean rudeness from the moderator – his behavior and attitude towards her and others who asked very profound questons was disgusting. He had a question prepared that he addressed to ines that I believed was for the sole purpose of trying to get understanding maybe some empathy for the sorrowful spiritual state of the “offenders”. WHAT! I, for one, will not attend again. In my opinion, there is an agenda hiding !

      • Jane Kosiek,

        I’m totally sympathetic to your comments. BUT, LETS GET REAL!

        The man (Joseph Nines) works for the church, and he likes the money.

        Anyone who holds out hope of getting a satisfactory answer from such folks will always come away disappointed.

    • Are there any church leaders that haven’t “gone over to the dark side”?
      Just wondering.

      • John,

        Jesus is the only one that comes to mind at this time. Let me think about it a little longer.

      • drwh013 — Never expected to hear anything other than lies and spin from Nines — I’m well past expecting anything honorable from the catholic church. It was torture to sit and listen to his crap — my husband and I were there for the sole reason of supporting a victim who asked us to accompany her — otherwise, I would have had absolutely no interest in attending. There was no disappointment for me – just the usual disgust and outrage. We have left the church.

  17. I wrote a post about last night’s events under the heading “Our Mother of Consolation Parish Forum On Sexual Abuse This Wed.” You can look at it there.

    https://catholics4change.com/2012/04/14/our-mother-of-consolation-parish-forum-on-sexual-abuse-this-wed/#comments

    I have to wonder about ANYONE who protects these creeps!

  18. I’m veering a bit off the original topic of this thread, I hope you all don’t mind.

    I figured you folks were the best to answer my question. My son is doing a project for college. He needs to present a social-justice topic for a class. (and what better subject could he present?!)

    I was wondering if there people demonstrating outside the courthouse in Philly during the trial? It’s a Photo Journalism course, so it’s mainly photos that he needs. Any other suggestions in the Philly area would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your help.

  19. Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Have an extra million dollars?

    Want to be in the million dollar club whose members are “Stewards of Peter” in service of Ratzinger?

    Send it to Michael Bransfield, President of the Trustees at the Papal Foundation. Rigali is on the Board as was Bevilaqua before he died. Cardinal Dennis Dougherty sent the pope one million dollars in 1921 while other big dioceses sent 50 or 60 K. These Philly bishops know how to get in the good graces of a pope.

    From http://www.thepapalfoundation.org/the-foundation/m/

    “The Papal Foundation began in 1988 as a response to the desire of Catholic clergy and laity in the U.S. for a unique, sustainable way to support the Holy Father and his witness in the world.

    The vision was to establish an endowment that would
    • Provide an additional source of income for the Holy See
    • Strengthen the Holy Father’s ability to fulfill the mission of Saint Peter
    • Set the standard for other nations and challenge them to establish similar foundation

    Income generated from the investment of capital creates a perpetual source of revenue. The portfolio does not invest in any companies that engage in activities inconsistent with our faith.

    Our Donors

    Donors can be individuals, foundations or fraternal groups. Membership starts with the pledge to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year. Those who choose to make this commitment become Stewards of Saint Peter [link to Stewards page] and join a growing network of dedicated American Catholics in service to the Successor of Peter.

    The vision of our founding members and the commitment of our Stewards has resulted in a fund that has grown to over $139 million with a total of $70 million awarded in grants and scholarships.”

    • Martin, on page 36 of Jason Berry’s, Render Unto Rome, In a chapter titled, ‘Origins of the Vatican Financial System’, Berry notes that “…the Holy See is not a wealthy country like one of the Arab oil states. It’s largesse relies on donors, large and small. Peters Pence….and the Papal Foundation, supports church projects in poor countries….”P. 36

      Berry went on to note the allocation of the Peters Pence which had often been used to plug Vatican operating deficits was used: “In 1985 a year after the Holy See agreed to pay three banks $242 million to resolve the Vatican Bank complicity…the Vatican Bank was unable to cover the Vatican operating deficit of $39.14 million. P 37

      The American church has been the ‘cash cow’ for the Vatican…Krol did not want donations for poor countries frequently given by the Pope during ‘ad limina’ visits, to be siphoned off to pay Vatican operating deficits with Peters Pence or other donations..as also happened in 1987, when the Holy See overspent its budget by $63.8 million, paid for by Peters Pence to the tune of $50.3 million and $13.5 million from other sources. P 38

      The Papal Foundation was created in 1988.

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 20, 2012 at 2:22 am

        Joan, thanks for this; I have just started reading that Berry book. You mention Krol. Krol was brought to Rome to striaghten out a huge financial crisis at the Vatican. BTW, the headquarters of the foundation is in Bala Cynwyd.

      • Maybe they are in a financial bind.
        A couple of years ago, they owed Israel a ‘massive and unspecified amount of money’ in land tax due on church properties and classified as ‘tax delinguents’.

    • Scary and cultish.

      If my recollection is correct, some of the funds from this account were used by Benedict to build a house located along a “trail” in Mexico that is traveled by Mexicans fleeing illegally into the U.S. At the “stop house,” they are fed, housed, and attended to. If it is not this fund, it is another “papal” fund that invests in promoting illegal immigration into the U.S. Isn’t that aiding and abetting in a criminal act?

      • Hadit, and you know that “stop house” doesn’t exist simply to help poor Mexican people as they sneak over our border — With the RCC, there’s always a profit involved. I wonder what it’s really about.

      • crystal,

        It’s really about evangelization. It’s about funneling illegal immigrants into the U.S. in order to bolster the dwindling Catholic population; and it’s about getting them out of Mexico where fundamentalist Christian faiths are winning souls away from the Catholic Church.

    • FROM THE PAPAL FOUNDATION/SCAM WEBSITE:

      “A GIFT WITH MANY SPIRITUAL RETURNS
      Mary Beth Philipp’s parents, Warren and Mary Lou Hayford made an amazing gift. As Stewards of Saint Peter, they wanted to share this experience with their entire family, so they gifted all seven of their children with Stewardship in the Foundation. In 2008, they traveled to Rome together on the Foundation’s annual pilgrimage.

      Mary Beth remembers the experience fondly. “We were able to have our photograph taken with Benedict XVI, all of us. My mom had Alzheimer’s and needed to hold my father’s hand to calm her confusion. They stood on each side of the Holy Father and as they took hands, the paparazzi said, ‘You can’t reach across the Holy Father’s body like that!’ My father replied, ‘Someone has to hold her hand so she doesn’t become confused.’ And the Holy Father just took my mom’s hand and held it.” This tender moment is recorded in their photograph. “My mom died just weeks after the trip. It’s a powerful memory for our entire family that brought us closer to each other and to the Church.”

      Mary Beth, who lives in Kingwood, TX, also has attended the Washington gathering of Stewards and has been tremendously impressed with the discussions and reflection during that time. The Foundation has put her in touch with Catholic thought leaders who are dealing with the key social issues of our time.

      “This financial investment has brought our family many spiritual returns,” she says.”
      ————————————————–
      WOW, ..FOR A MILLION DOLLARS, THE POPE WILL CONDESCEND TO HOLD THE HAND OF A CONFUSED ELDERLY LADY ! ..THESE FOLKS ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT THEIR MILLION DOLLARS BOUGHT/BROUGHT THEM SPIRITUAL REWARDS… WILL THERE EVER BE A SHORTAGE OF SUCKERS TO FUND THE VATICAN?

      • “This financial investment has brought our family many spiritual returns”….sigh

      • Crystal, it just shows how low the bar is at this point and how distorted people’s view of what the clergy is/should be. They are supposed to be ‘humble servants” but this family pays $$$$ for the honor of meeting the Pope and then are just amazed that he held the hand of their vulnerable family member. I read something recently written by a young woman after Bevilaqua died and she was defending his reputation because when she was child he had visited her parish and in the excitement she fell down and bloodied her knees. Bevilaqua saw this and helped her out. So because of this one interaction…he was only nothing but a good man. How many times have you helped a child with a bruise,cut,injury? When my kids were young my kitchen was a virtual first aid station for the neighborhood kids. I have bandaged many a knee without being a humble servant of the church,but the Cardinal did this…and it was just amazing.
        Who isn’t going to help an injured child or an elderly woman? And to have laity just be so enamored by this, shows how laity feels about themselves. Second class citizens that expect nothing, deserve nothing,so when the most basic act of human instinct in helping someone is shown,it is just amazing to them. Yesterday my husband witnessed a very serious car accident involving multiple vehicles. the one car spun out and flipped over. My husband ran to the car,which was leaking gasoline, and helped the driver out of the car, and then half carried him away from the car to a safe place and stayed until medical help arrived. My husband then went on with the rest of his day, clients who were demanding of his time, two teenagers who ..well two teenagers enough said…and a wife (me) who probably threw a few sarcastic comments or eye rolls at him at some point of the day. You know,life as a basic human being that we all live everyday. People who live in the real world, not humble servants dressed in bedazzled gowns and fancy hats, just people who when they see their fellow man in need..rise to the occasion..without accolades or fanfare.

      • Kathy…a super set of comments…especially about your husband!

        As to Crystal’s quote, those donors live in a rarified and uninformed world. I very much doubt that anyone explained to them the reason for the creation of the Papal Foundation…ie the Vatican had screwed up THEIR fiscal situation royally…and Peter’s Pence and other contributions were needed to bail out the Vatican, rather than to help the poor.

        Hence the creation of the Foundation by US bishops/Cardinals, in 1988.

        Jason Berry, in his award winning book, Render Unto Rome, covers the matter thoroughly, (I like Berry’s book almost as much as I like the RESOURCES section at the top of the page.) Berry traces everything from a weekly contribution on a Sunday morning to appalling Vatican fiscal manipulations, and he also covers the interface of the abuse crisis as it plays out fiscally!

        As to the notion of individuals, catholic or otherwise, behaving graciously…there have been a few priests I know, who have preached on the goodness of the laity, not many. And yet it is the nuns, many lay folks and all those wonderful folks who are not catholic who keep this world somewhat intact…Thank God for them.

      • Wow Kathy! Your husband is a real hero!– that incident couldve ended terribly for all involved, including him…TG he was OK…

        Reminds me ..I read online that A. Chaput held court in attendance at the funeral at St Cecilia’s, Fox Chase, of the young fireman killed in the line of duty in Kensington last week…
        Many boys were molested there in the 1980’s–by several priests- and let me tell you, it is a REAL problem to many people in Fox Chase to this day. That tightly-knit community in NE Philly was a proud, feisty one –and they have not forgotten…nor will they.

  20. When you’re in the seminary, the “gift of ordination” is held over your head like a carrot. Everything that you say and do is put under a microscope and “evaluated.” Unfortunately, the ones looking into the microscope were blind fools. I knew Rob K. in the seminary. He was (and I can assume, still is) one of the kindest, most thoughtful individuals I’ve been honored to have known. However, he made a costly mistake. He indicted one of “boys already in the club.” When you do this, you’re head is literally on the block. And so, they can make accusations and fabricate anything they want about your character, and put a halt to years of dedication and sacrifice at the drop of a dime and threaten to withhold the ordination that you’ve spent years working towards. I’ve seen this game played far too many times to care to remember. Rob is a true man of courage, and, in my estimation, a far greater man than those who attempted to railroad his character and send him out of town.

    • In the Priest Abuse Trial blog it is mentioned that Rob K had the opportunity on the witness stand to take “some shots” at Msgr Lynn and did not, but instead acted in a priestly fashion.He sounds like the type of person you describe,the type of person the Church needs…..

  21. Quirk must testify – AP just reported!

  22. I understand that I am a public figure and therefore subject to public criticism. The nature of these statements and the manner in which they were released however go way beyond any sense of fairness and propriety.

    Part of the statement released by Bishop Bransfield from Wheeling, West Virginia. Anytime I hear a US Bishop or Cardinal using words such as “fairness” or “propriety”, I am compelled to ask when did the bishops ever treat the clergy abuse victims with “fairness” or “propriety.”

  23. Does anyone know what this statement means,.?–.”Quirk is not subject to arrest on any prior civil or criminal matter during his time in Pennsylvania, the court there has noted”–

    I have noticed it in several articles.. strange to me! Has Quirk committed crimes in Pennsylvania..?
    http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/560233/Bishop-s-aide-must-testify-in-abuse-trial.html?nav=5061#.T5Q6VESMQjo.email

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

    • It means that Quirk has no prior, outstanding civil or criminal charge(s) against him in PA that could cause him to be arrested at this time or when he arrives in PA to testify at the trial. It doesn’t mean that charges could not be brought against him now, once he testifies, or later. Right now, there is no reason to arrest him. There are no charges.

      • Thank you, I just thought it was strange that was even mentioned..!! tks, J

      • Snapjudy….it’s a quote from an Inquirer article: Wilson ordered Quirk to appear in Philadelphia when requested between April 29 and May 1 and ordered the District Attorney’s Office to reimburse him for “all reasonable and necessary expenses.

        He also noted that Sarmina had agreed Quirk would be “protected from arrest or civil and criminal process [by Pennsylvania authorities] while traveling and attending the trial.”

        • Yes, I read that article too… I had never known that if a witness is called to testify at a trial they are told they will not be arrested.. There are a whole lot of questions this trial will hopefully answer… TONS..! tks, J

      • I “hear” where you’re going, Judy, and you may be on to something. But it’s pretty standard practice to say that the witness being called is not being called in order to arrest him due to already existing charges.

  24. An interesting statistic.. the other day we wanted to respond to Bransfield’s statement defending himself, “I have been deeply saddened by the priest child abuse scandal that has been connected to a handful of my former colleagues and friends from St. Charles Seminary”

    What does Bransfield consider is a ‘handful”.?

    So I did a quite easy research on Bishop Accountability web site. and found “43” abusive priests who either worked or attended St Charles Seminary in Philly.. That by no means is all of them, which would take more time digging. BUT, I was taken aback by so many, which is outrageous.

    I have heard so many horror stories about that seminary. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a science fiction movie..!!! J

  25. St. Charles Borromeo? Horror stories? There are seminaries having far more horror stories. I guess the question is: Are there any seminaries having NO horror stories?

  26. hmmm… good luck with that, bishop b.!
    –A Life lesson: If you don’t make a habit of hanging out and partying with violent, sociopathic sex offenders, it makes you appear a bit more credible.

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