Bevilacqua May Have Leveraged Pedophiles for PR

Click here to read: “What the Cardinal Knew, Or How to Hoover A Pedophile,” by Ralph Cipriano, The Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog, April 23, 2012

Excerpt: “Why would Cardinal Bevilacqua knowingly consort with two known pedophile priests, and indeed allow his Archdiocese PR machine to parade the two abusers out in public with him? Maybe because the cardinal thought he owned these guys, in the tradition of J. Edgar Hoover. Both Sicoli and Gana knew that their crimes were documented in the archdiocese’s secret archives, and that they served at the whim of the archbishop, who, at the scrawl of a pen, could send them packing. So when it came to Sicoli and Gana, the cardinal had them “Hoovered,” he had their unquestioned loyalty.”

Editor’s note: I had the “privilege” of covering Cardinal Bevilacqua in the 90s as an editor with The Catholic Standard & Times and later as a freelancer for a now defunct Philadelphia monthly magazine called The Player. To say The Tierney Group was hands-on regarding coverage is an extreme understatement. I always attributed it to Bevilacqua’s enormous ego and Machiavellian style. Ralph Cipriano is dead on. In hindsight, it’s clear Bevilacqua used pedophiles to aid in his publicity spin. I hope Brian Tierney and Jay Devine were not aware of the depth his depravity. They might as well have been billing the devil.

66 thoughts on “Bevilacqua May Have Leveraged Pedophiles for PR

  1. There so much depravity here, I’m not certain where to begin. Devilacqua (his eminence GAG) knew of father friendly’s(Gana) abuse in 1991…and let this monster cannibalize children for decades. He shows off Gana and his parish. The other father friendly (Sicoli) attacked 9 kids. 3 of the boys lived with Sicoli in the rectories with the knowledge of Lynn.
    Pure evil.

    1. Bishop Bransfield has made some very definitive statements in the press about what he didn’t know vis-a-vis who was using his New Jersey beach house and what he didn’t do. Whether or not he will be willing to repeat his denials under oath is quite another story but in the interests of clearing his name, his right to being presumed innocent, his right to due process and the accountability and transparency all the bishops promised in 2002 I would expect him to jump at the opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great if Bransfield accompanied Msgr. Quirk on his trip up to the Criminal Justice Center?

      As far as Gana’s location is concerned those who know where he is aren’t giving that information to the prosecution or Judge Sarmina.

      Cardinal Rigali has become part and parcel of the continuing cover-up in Philadelphia since he arrived and that was made very clear in the 2011 grand jury report. He should be required to testify.

      I spent another two days in the courtroom last week and plan on attending Wednesday’s session. With each day Lynn sinks ever deeper in the muck and if Avery takes the stand Lynn should go completely under.

      The abuse of power and authority by the hierarchy of the RCC is alive and well and is seen most recently in the Vatican Reprimand of U.S. Nuns:

      Vatican Reprimand of U.S. Nuns Divides Faithful

      National Public Radio – April 23, 1012

      Yesterday’s NPR show Talk of the Nation out of Washington, D.C. with Neal Conan can be listened to at:

      Also included is a transcript of the broadcast.

      Guests include Sister Simone Campell of Network, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby (
      The document, Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, is found at:

      Sister Maureen

      1. Sister Maureen,
        As I stated in an earlier post,
        It’s time for the Sisters to tell the freaky old boys club to go to hell. Women religious have been under respected and under appreciated forever.
        Thank you for tenacious efforts to protect kids.

      2. Sister Maureen, I share your hope that the bishop will testify ‘under oath’ and soon!

        I wanted to comment on that NPR citation…personally thought that John Allen was a weak player. I know Simone, have a huge respect for NETWORK, was involved in creating California’s version of NETWORK, ie JERICHO, modeled on NETWORK and Simone was JERICHO’s director, before moving on to DC.

        My prayers are with the sisters…

      3. Sr. Maureen: I have wondered for years how you have managed to stay in the Church. If these were the good, old days of the Inquisition, you would have been condemned by the Hierarchy and burned at the stake by now, and burned in effigy on every anniversary of your “penance of death!” May God and his angels continue to protect you! Jeannie

      4. Maybe Gana’s face should be put on the side of milk cartons, until someone recognizes him and reports his whereabouts! Also, contacting “America’s Most Wanted” might be a good idea!

    2. JR, Msgr Lynn noted both Gana and Sicoli in his 1994 ‘Shredded document list’ provided for Bev under the category ” Allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, WITH NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE’.

      1. Wow! Thanks Joan.
        If I may borrow from Patrick…Lie until you die.
        Beyond disgusting.
        Crystal, Something “hit” me today regarding the vatican’s 100,000 figure.
        This is the number of victims. We (depressingly) know that so many kids were raped/sodomized/molested over and over.
        The actual number of monstrous attacks could be a million plus.
        Wrap your arms around that.

      2. JR….I have seen projections that the percentage of abusing clergy was closer to 10% rather 5-6%, and the reported molestations of one molestation for an abuser only indicates that ONE victim came forward, and that 100,000 figure is ONLY in the US.

        Patrick is much better at this than I am…

      3. Joan, two of my perps were on that list. One is serving a “life of pennance and prayer” the other left the priesthood in 1982 who years later the review board found guilty of sexual abuse and sodomy, details that are still too difficult for me to elaborate on.
        By the way, Dr. Nines said that the perps at st. john vianney are chaperoned when they leave, I don’t believe it as he looked away when he answered my question.

      4. Joan,
        You were correct initially. Per the February 2012 sex abuse symposium, the vatican estimate was over 100,00 victims in United States alone!

      5. John Richard, I’ve read that more realistically, the number of US kids is at least one hundred thousand, times three. God only knows the truth. (I chose to be conservative about the numbers in my remarks to Joe B., so that he wouldn’t be inclined to split hairs over statistics with me)

      6. Vicky…thanks for the Nines data…about chaperoning molesters….I asked the question because it is a local issue for me and also, when I read the St John Vianney materials there was a long and I thought convoluted description of molesters WRITING UP A REPORT of their ‘excursions’….

        One wonders why Nines ‘looked away’ …might be something folks who live in the area should be attentive to…….

        ALSO, Vicky…the notion that these guys who are not even in prayer and penance are out molesting is horrifying..

      7. An important point about “prayer and penance” …it is NOT effective.

        Somehow if a priest is sent for a life of prayer and penance it makes it sound like it’s “jail for the holy.” Not so. A fellow brother may be in charge of documenting an abusers comings and goings, but that, in NO way, PREVENTS them from perpetrating. And let’s just play that out a little further…

        You have a brother priest in charge of “babysitting” a pedophile and reporting to the very hierarchs that allowed the perp to walk. I would think Catholic parents would have a problem with this. I know I do.

        A life of prayer and penance is facade.

      8. SW I know ‘prayer and penance’ is riddled with problems, but perhaps marginally better…than these guys out entirely????

      9. Joan,
        Maybe. I don’t want us to be satisfied with that line of thinking. The rcc would love nothing more than to sell this charade to the pew catholics as a workable solution. It’s not a workable solution that protects children. We need the SOL reformed so these named “prayer and penance” priests can be listed as sex offenders on state and national registries.

        The ONLY reason they would be walking the streets in the first place is because those who should have reported to civil authorities didn’t. Insert mandated reporting reforms. Then they had to get creative about how they were going to “hide” these perps. I know…a life of prayer and penance. Testimony after testimony we are hearing about how assistant pastors, nuns, fellow priests couldn’t “babysit” or control these perps, heck even the bishops…and now we think it will happen because….? A life of prayer and penance is like having them walk the streets.

        There’s no law that states the rcc has to name these men either…and more often than not, they don’t. Those who have been “outed” have been because some concerned person did some digging and found out the information. The “prayer and penance” is just another way for the rcc to “hide” and “deflect” responsibility and scandal. Imagine what would happen if they had to account for keeping registered sex offenders on the payroll? “Prayer and penance” translates to “do what you want while we take notes.”

        Children are not safer.

      10. SW … I d love to see these ‘prayer and penance’ guys officially listed on state and national registries….BUT I m not clear how you can so formally list them, or write laws to do so, when technically there is no evidence that they are abusers…just canoncical nonsense…talk about ‘cover-up’…

        It’s a particularly malevolent result of our dear bishops Dallas Charter.

      11. That’s what the SOL reform is for…

        Someone who was abused had to step forward in order to name these perps…because we all know it wasn’t because the abusers volunteered the information.

        Once someone is found guilty of a sexual charge, then they would be on the list. Most of your “prayer and penance” priests are because the SOL had expired and charges couldn’t be pressed against them.

      12. sw and joan– do township taxpayers ever protest these P&P facilities? Is there any local public outrage? It almost hard to imagine such recklessness …How about the Commissioners and parents–and school board –not to mention the police depts.?

        I know for a fact –from the way it fought against a proposed Methadon clinic, that my crazy township would never stand for one of these dangerous p&p facilities. I can only imagine one day we’d all wake up to find it a gaping hole in the ground! (–jk )

      13. SW.. I am all for SOLs reform…but so far it has been initiated in two states….think the move to get stronger mandated clergy abuse reporting requirements…(they vary from state to state,) with very strong requirements for PROMPT reporting to civil authorities is a step in the right direction….

        As to Crystal’s question, the only P and P entity, I know of is also the home of other clergy…there was media coverage, but that was about it. Parents in the neighborhood are EXTREMELY vigilant.

      14. Crystal,
        They are “innocent” men in the eyes of the law, so police departments getting involved is out of the question. The communities likely have no idea that the “retreat centers” or “old folks home for the holy” are housing the “prayer and penance” priests as well. If you do have community members aware…it’s highly unlikely they would rise up to challenge the status quo. I mean, look around…we have men charged and found guilty of raping children and there isn’t support…so who might question these men who have no charges against them and are “monitored?”

        In the infamous words of my husband they are…”a wretched hive of mentally ill, gender-questioning, psychosexually underdeveloped, control freak, warped, stunted, malignant, social misfits.” And he always adds to the end of it…”and then propel them to positions of leadership…what did you expect?”

      15. April 24..AP quote “Neither the priest’s admission — nor the scores of other abuse complaints brought to the archdiocese from 1948 through the 2005 grand jury report — were ever referred to police or prosecutors.”


        This is why you have serial molesters either laicized or hanging out at St John Vianney…rather than in jail where they should be.

        THIS is your loving catholic church, deeply concerned about the safety of innocent little kids…’in action’.

        And ASK yourself why 2005 was the ‘come to Jesus moment for these guys?’. ask yourself about Boston in 2002, and most very importantly, the timing of the Grand Jury report of 2005…the one where Rigali with very crafted canonical language announced that there were no ‘Known’ abusers.

        THEN ask yourself about the advisability of funding institutional church, or perhaps, victims groups that protect innocent children!

      16. joan… I learn something new and more disappointing almost everyday about the church. Any setup as crazy as St John Vianney, has got to be a tinderbox. It can only be a matter of time before something happens around there. Imagine the AD putting entire communities in that sort of danger and under that sort of a strain. Imagine the effect on property values….How obnoxious. What an indecent group of men. –I think Chaput and his bishops ought to live there if he thinks it’s so acceptable.

      17. Speaking of “Conclusive Evidence……” There is a story in the news over in Ireland, where a priest accidentally showed homosexually oriented pictures to the parents of his First Communion students. Cardinal Brady called the investigation into the matter, “Inconclusive!” Amazing, isn’t it!

    3. It absolutely boggles the mind. As said before, you can’t make up stuff like this. This is the stuff that makes up scandalous mini-series. Why do I hear a sequel to “The Thornbirds” in the back of my mind…. heck this stuff even makes that tale look tame.

  2. Sadly, all too sadly, I have heard these stories of threats to subordinates by diocesan leadership to “whistle-blowers”in more than one diocese….how truly pathetic that truth was so hidden and subverted. We may never find out ALL of the truth…

    1. I was a convert to the rcc for over 60 yrs and traveled and lived all over the world and never once missed mass.

      Change the names of all the clerics ,wether large or small and everything you have read is exactly the same all over the world.
      They teach each other how to get away with all their “shennanigans” , their word not mine, as they think of it as” just that” , nothing more nothing less. Confess it and go on your merry way.

      The people have been had!! But NO MORE~!

      Read scripture everyday and find out what they never told you. Trust in God and yourself and you’ll come out of this just fine. We all did .

      I’ll be 83 in Aug. and my husband and I and our daughter read Scripture every morn….We’ll be married 61 yrs in Sept. 1st. Psalms and Probverbs teach the young and the old how to praise God. and how to stay in the Love of Christ , rather than self.The NT is so beautiful, the lives of those who are in a relationship with Christ and each other, is no more different than now. We are all in need of HIM!!

      1. Gloria, you’re so right; the evil behavior of the RCC in Philadelphia occurs through-out the world. It’s known as the universal church for a reason.

  3. Absolutely damning! It would be unbelievable,except knowing what we now know, it’s so believable.

  4. In my opinion, the most important part of Cipriano’s exceptional piece is not the evil, but the knowledge.

    In citing Richard Sipe’s work on the clerical culture and its resulting situational narcissism, entitlement, superiority, lack of empathy, impaired moral judgment and self-centeredness, we come to know the minds that triggered the evil. As we speak, all clerics, by mere association with the priesthood, possess minds that, to varying degrees, are necessarily tainted and skewed by the effects of the clerical culture. As long as clericalism’s resulting “attributes” mold and form the minds of clerics, evil will persist and grown men will be prone to a host of dysfunctional behaviors and psycho-sexual lags. Sipes mind-knowledge starkly proves the immorality of clericalism.

  5. After meeting Archbishop Bev. I am not surprised……I met him in an airport once and there was something sinister about him….I was a college student happy to see my religious leader…..there was no reason for me to think this way…….but my gut said something else……it’s politics as usual….. you owe me a favor……….you rub my back I rub yours………..evil but not surprising……….I have read articles before alluding to the fact he had a girllfriend…… all makes sense……’s rotten and evil to the core……

    1. Beth, I was walking into a terminal at PHL and Bev (still archbishop) was walking out… late at night, no one was around. He was alone. I looked at him and it felt like he gave me a dirty look. “Sinister” captures the look on his face. Martin

      1. That’s interesting. The next time I saw Archbishop Bev. he looked lost empty fragile………a shell of the man he once was………I saw him coming out of the hospital with an attendent priest as I went to visit my dad………

  6. There once was a man named Rigali
    Who covered up pedophile folly
    For children he’d never worry
    But he suddenly left in a hurry
    Now prisoners cry, Come home by golly

    There once was a man named Shapoo
    Who was doing all he could do
    To save Justin Rigali
    But prison is calling
    And Rigali, soon will get you

  7. Cipriano’s piece is fascinating. He has connected quite a few dots in this puzzle of crime and incrimination. My only questions would be, is Gana still living, and will he be summoned as a witness to all this evil? His testimony would be very incriminating against the “establishment”.
    It would be even more fascinating if he verified the testimony of the other witnesses about Bp. Bransfield. Of course, we are all waiting for the prosecutors to call the former archbishop Rigali, and hear his testimony. I hope that we do not have to plead with Tennessee to have him served a summons to testify.


      2. Joan, it’s not only Gana, but what about all the others who have either gone to a “life of prayer and penance” or been laicized? I recently found out there is a parishioner in a nearby parish that is a defrocked priest, who was convicted for molestation in the 80s. He’s got free run and no one watching over him.

  8. 3.75 million -Whoa! .. some good plaintiff’s work!…Wonder how many grade schools and parishes they needed to scrap to raise 3.75 million?

  9. Just a reminder that one of our C4C commenter friends, “James” is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow. I put it on my calendar. James, if you are reading, please know that we love you and we are praying for you and even if we are not physically in the court room, we are with you in spirit. Your strength is inspiring and remember that there are many who stand behind you in support. Much Love

    1. Thanks Michelle…it’s on my calendar, too…think some C4Cers will be there ‘in body’, know that those that can’t….will be there ‘in spirit’!! !!!

      1. Joan and Michelle, i will be there at the trial to support James as well as martin and my therapist Sharon. james if you are reading this, I’ll be wearing a bright green jacket so you can’t miss me. look at me if you need to, together we are truth and together we are strong.

      2. My calendar, too! James, we are all behind you. Be strong! Look for Vicky in her green jacket and envision the rest of us there behind her, give you all our support.

    2. Thank you Michelle for the reminder…I had it on my calendar.

      Praying for him and all truth tellers during this trial.

    3. James stay strong, You are very brave, your voice is powerful and you are being heard.

      The truth is being exposed and children will be much safer because you do ‘not’ stay silent. There are thousands of victim who are with you in spirit.

      Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
      “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.

      1. James -do not be afraid – the Holy Spirit will hold your hand and all of us will hold your heart. You are a hero. We believe in you!

    4. Thanks Michelle and everyone here. It’s 3:15 and I take the stand in 6 hrs, sleep at the moment escaping me. I just really needed to read these words from you all right now. And now I will leave you with these words from Alan Paton in his book “Cry the Beloved Country” They summarize my feelings at the moment.

      “I shall no longer ask myself if this or that is expedient, but only if it is right. I shall do this not because I am noble or unselfish, but because life slips away, and because I need for the rest of my journey a star that will not play false to me, a compass that will not lie.
      I shall do this, because I cannot find it in me to do anything else. I am lost when I balance this against that, I am lost when I ask if this is safe, I am lost when I ask if men will approve. Therefore I will try to do what is right, and to speak what is true.”


      1. Alan Paton’s words are those of the Holy Spirit to you, I am convinced. May God be your rock and your shield.

  10. I’ve been investigating the Pittsburgh Diocese for over 23 years. The recent revelations of Bevilacqua blackmailing pedophile priests is old news to me. It works the other way as well. Pedophile priests have actually blackmailed the church hierarchy. What you are witnessing is the dual edge sword of power and evil. God Bless the Catholic Church, whatever is left of it.
    Mike Ference

  11. I find nothing of this testImony to be facinating, even interesting.. It is ABSOLUTELY an ABOMINATION TO GOD AND MYSELF AND ANY ONE WHO LOVES THEIR SAVIOR!

    Talk is cheap…getting these testamonies OUT INTO THE INTERNET in any way you can, is the best thing to do. See it often enough and they (the kids and adults who are still believing this crap of the devil) might start to think and look into it and start to question why so many people are leaving this church. They will ask questions about why priests, nuns and brothers IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH are allowed to get away with CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND NOT BE TRIED LIKE ANY OTHER PERSON?

  12. James, you did GREAT today. I hope you heard me as you left the courtroom, I said good job! I was in my green jacket. You were confident and strong. You answered the questions with dignity and class. You showed emotion which was very important. I wish I had the opportunity to speak with you afterwards. I love how you spoke your truth, calm and deliberate. I hope it gave you a sense of peace, if only a small one. In solidarity I count you as as a powerful voice, thank you for standing strong, you join with many of us as the voice of truth! HEAR, HEAR!!

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