Objection Overruled: Lynn Lacks Counsel That Counts

by Susan Matthews

I successfully navigated I-95 rush-hour traffic, paid exorbitant parking prices and made my way into the Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert this morning. I didn’t know what to expect in room 304. Thus far, I’ve somehow managed to escape jury duty and traffic court. I entered the double wooden doors. Instead of TV’s Judge Judy, it was Judge Sarmina. I had to make a seating decision. Was this like a wedding? If so, I knew whose side I wanted to sit on – the prosecution. I sat next to Kathy Kane on what must have seemed far too much like a pew to victims seated nearby.

“James” was on the stand calmly delivering his testimony in response to the prosecution’s questions. He was incredibly composed throughout the specifics of his molestation by Father Edward Avery and his subsequent recollection of communication with the archdiocese. His voice only wavered during a reading of a letter he wrote to Avery years later. His emotional conflict in reconciling Avery the dear friend and Avery the molester was heart-wrenching. The full impact of the betrayal was palpable.

“James” is now a doctor specializing in hospice care, married and a practicing Catholic with five children in Catholic school. When asked how the sexual abuse impacted his life, there was a long pause. Imagine what he must have been weighing. To say his life was ruined would diminish his family and all that he has accomplished. Yet, any one of us can imagine the toll.

The prosecution delivered the timeline of what Msgr. Lynn knew about Father Avery and when he knew it. If Lynn had acted appropriately on his knowledge, the next witness might not have been sexually abused by Avery as a fifth-grade altar boy at St. Jerome Parish. My own son is just a year older. I can’t bear to recount what happened to “Billy.” Please refer to the 2011 Grand Jury Report on our Resources page.

“Billy” took me by surprise. I hadn’t done the math. We tend to think of victims as being from the past. He is only 23 and even younger if you take into account that he hasn’t really lived a day since he was 10.

Instead of tears, his testimony triggered a “Chuck Norris” motherly instinct moment in me. In coping with the abuse, “Billy” turned to drugs. Those in AA know spirituality is critical to recovery. When you’ve been soul murdered, where does one find the faith? I hope this young man can take back his life from Avery.

At the lunch break, AJ Baselice, father of a clergy sexual abuse victim who committed suicide, suggested that Archbishop Chaput attend the trial. Church leadership should be there. Why aren’t they? I suppose other priorities top their list. Why worry about child sex abuse when rebel nuns tackling poverty need to be taken down?

On the ride home, I wondered what I would say to Lynn if given the opportunity. I settled on, “When did you stop believing in God?”

Related Articles:

Click here to read: “Ex-altar boys testify of sex assaults by priest,” by John P. Martin and John Slobodzian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 25, 2012

Excerpt: “God loves you, and this is what God wants,” Avery allegedly told the Philadelphia altar boy after forcing him to dance a striptease and engage in oral sex at St. Jerome’s Church in 1999, when the boy was 10.

Together, their testimony represented a pillar of the landmark conspiracy and endangerment case prosecutors are trying to prove against Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. They contend Lynn’s failure to remove Avery from active ministry after learning of one allegation in 1992 enabled the priest to abuse the fifth-grader at St. Jerome’s seven years later.”

Click here to read: “No return to courtroom for Father Avery,” by Ralph Cipriano, Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog, April 25, 2012

108 thoughts on “Objection Overruled: Lynn Lacks Counsel That Counts

    1. Rich,
      Please listen to me…….You have to take care of yourself. It is important to realize that you can be retraumatizing yourself every time you listen to or read another abuse testimony.
      It is not healthy for you to do this to yourself. It undermines your own recovery work. Please know that this does not mean you are not supporting your fellow abuse survivors nor are you letting htem down in ayway, shape , or form.
      As a family therapist, I had weekly debriefing sessions with my supervisor to process my own feelings about my clients and address any re-traumatization that might have surfaced. We even had our own therapists to see so that we stay mindful of retraumatization matters. In the therapy world, therapists are taught to take care of themselves FIRST so that they can be there for their clients. Know that any abuse or rape survivor can be severly retraumatized when he/she attempts to support or advocate for others before his/her own recovery journey is further along. You need to take care of YOU!
      It is important to be secure in your own recovery work before being able to handle listening to other abuse testimonies. Please reach out to your support network as often as you need to right now. Know that you have been retrauamatized and that it is important to address this with your therapist.
      I will be praying for you!

    2. Yes, it is extremely important to take care of YOU.. There are times when we have to remind each other to do the same.

      Billy and James are so brave, and the details need to be told for their sake and for the public to realize the horrific trauma that innocent kids have been through. It is not just a so called pat on the butt.. which some catholic leaders like for us to believe.

      It is no wonder that Billy has tried to drowned himself into not feeling. The pain and triggers never go completely away… but with help they can get better. I have faith that Billy is going to get better, and just getting courage up to testify has got to make a difference. He is awesome.

      I have listened to hundreds of heart wrenching stories from victims who have been torchured and sexually abused by catholic clergy, and these victims biggest concern is that NO other child is ever treated the way they were. Even more disgusting is how the victims are re-abused by the church leaders and those catholics who refuse to believe their stories. This blog has been great..
      Too often victims read comments posted to articles from those who are so brainwashed that they believe their beloved priest could never do such terrible things to kids. Many times the comments blast the victms with horrific comments.

      When I hear more awful news, some days I get so angry, I have to prance around my house and cuss and swear and call these abusers and church leaders the worse names I can think of.. ( in fact I have not yet come up with a really bad name yet) there is nothing that seems to fit the horror. After prancing around the house for a bit, I then sit down and get back to work… there are many, many more victims who are still silent and too afraid to speak up.. like we heard yesterday these victims said, “they were afraid that no one would believe them..!

      Billy and James, I hope that you know the huge difference that you are making for the safety of out kids… and how many lives will be saved because you are not staying silent anymore.

      So also, don’t forget to take care of YOU too..

      Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-333-2511 snapjudy@gmail.com

    3. Yes, it is extremely important to take care of YOU.. There are times when we have to remind each other to do the same.

      Billy and James are so brave, and the details need to be told for their sake and for the public to realize the horrific trauma that innocent kids have been through. It is not just a so called pat on the butt.. which some catholic leaders like for us to believe.

      It is no wonder that Billy has tried to drowned himself into not feeling. The pain and triggers never go completely away… but with help they can get better. I have faith that Billy is going to get better, and just getting courage up to testify has got to make a difference. He is awesome.

      I have listened to hundreds of heart wrenching stories from victims who have been torchured and sexually abused by catholic clergy, and these victims biggest concern is that NO other child is ever treated the way they were. Even more disgusting is how the victims are re-abused by the church leaders and those catholics who refuse to believe their stories. This blog has been great..
      Too often victims read comments posted to articles from those who are so brainwashed that they believe their beloved priest could never do such terrible things to kids. Many times the comments blast the victms with horrific comments.

      When I hear more awful news, some days I get so angry, I have to prance around my house and cuss and swear and call these abusers and church leaders the worse names I can think of.. ( in fact I have not yet come up with a really bad name yet) there is nothing that seems to fit the horror. After prancing around the house for a bit, I then sit down and get back to work… there are many, many more victims who are still silent and too afraid to speak up.. like we heard yesterday these victims said, “they were afraid that no one would believe them..!

      Billy and James, I hope that you know the huge difference that you are making for the safety of out kids… and how many lives will be saved because you are not staying silent anymore.

      So also, don’t forget to take care of YOU too..

      Judy Jones, SNAP

  1. Both of the men who testified were highly credible. I wanted to cover my ears when each offered the details of his abuse. I cannot imagine it would be possible for anyone hearing their words not to have been deeply touched. Lynn’s attorneys asked James questions but not many. James is obviously very bright, struck me as pretty highly developed psychologically, and solid — that is the word. His honesty was compelling. No one could claim he is out to damage the Church; he still practices. They would have taken a lot of risks if they had tried to take him on. They asked 0 questions of “Billy.” Smart strategic move on their part. They did not want the DA demanding that Avery be brought in to testify. The judge raised that possibility earlier in the week. Billy was remarkably strong given what he has been through. The DA showed photos of him as a child including one in his altar boy clothing. Heartwrenching. I pray he stays clean.

    I left court and went to visit my sister at Nazareth Hospital. Avery had been a chaplain there. My neice, who works at Nazareth, was there; her 9 year old son is a student at St. Jerome’s. Never been there but saw photos of the church in court. I mentioned Father Avery. My sister, who doesn’t follow the news, said: I know him; he used to give me a lot of DJ jobs in the 80’s and was at our house a lot. I was stunned. My mind instantly went to my nephew who was a little boy in the 80’s when Avery went to his home. Thinking about him and my great nephew, now 9 at St. Jerome’s, made all of this touch close to home.

    Has anyone ever done an exorcism of that church building?

    1. Yesterday when I mentioned Malachi Martin to Patrick I was thinking all the known buidlings should have some sort of exorcism.

  2. James Brennan laughs.

    Everytime I look over at the defense I noticed James Brennan in some kind of humorous discussion with his defense attorney. Sometimes it even appears as if his attorney is telling him to stop and even ignoring him. But he continues to laugh. Brennan is on trial for the attempted rape of a 14 year-old boy, and guilty or innocent, laughing during a victim’s testimony seems like the most inappropriate emotion I can think of, but hey, I’m probably referencing a creature with no human emotion at all.

    Could Brennan and Msgr. Lynn possibly be innocent? Why are these men priests? If not even to argue their predatory abuse of children and one defendant’s ability to look the other way, while only placing known predators in an environment with more children to abuse, should these guys, as “men of God,” not be outraged by the testimony of these victims, whether or not these defendants are guilty? Where is the shame on their part? Wait. I almost forgot for a moment – They gave all of their shame to us. Anyone who laughs throughout a tearful and obviously emotional testimony/confession by a young man who was sexually abused and raped at 10 years-old is not innocent! I thought about an opportunity I may have had throughout two days in the courthouse, when during recesses, Brennan walked by me, or leaned up against a wall outside the courtroom with a smile while rolling his eyes, I could’ve thrown him out a window, but sadly we were only on the 3rd floor of the Criminal Justice Center. I quickly divert my fantasies into reality and I know I want to get away from that pile of garbage as soon as I can.

    In another post a few days ago, I was talking about a certain part that most people have that I seem to lack, and I still don’t know what part I’m referring too, but I vaguely remember the first instance of abuse in my life. After it happens, it’s like this part of you leaves the room and the door closes only to be reopened when the Darkness comes calling. I think that’s what I’m referring to when I interact with just regular people. They’ve never known the Darkness.

    If I had a dollar for everytime I was told, “God loves you and He wants you to do this,” I think I’d probably have enough money to build a fairly large estate in Beverly Hills, CA. I’d probably never have to work another day in my life. There is probably nothing more devastating than growing up in a very Irish conservative Catholic family, where the belief in God and the religion was paramount to anything else. My mother dragged me to Mass, not only on Sunday afternoon, but also Saturday nights. By the time I was 15 or so, I rebelled and when I refused to go to church anymore, it was the priest my mother called to come have a word with me. His black suit only further represented the Darkness.

    I’m afraid to sleep tonight, because the Darkness with be there. I can’t get Billy’s childhood photograph out of my mind and I keep replaying his testimony over and over in my head. If I go to sleep tonight, I know my nightmares will be there and McDevitt will be waiting for me. He used to tell me I was his favorite among all the boys because I let him “show me.” I just froze and I didn’t know what else to do. This stuff had already happened to me before and I think I thought I could definitely trust a priest. My parents trusted priests. I was about a year and a half removed from my previous sexual abuse before McDevitt started on me and I wanted to die. I just thought that sexual abuse by those men, or any man, was the only purpose for my life. I hated it. I hated having to go to Catholic school, Mass, I hated being alive, and still hate the Darkness.

    Brennan can laugh it up. McDevitt can think it’s some kind of joke that the rapes are causing me significant pain. I think I realize now that they are the Darkness. I’m still searching for the light.

    Peace out!

    1. Rich-I just finished reading the Inquirer article and came back on here and saw you had added this post.My heart ached reading about what you endured. What Michele wrote is so true-you need to take care of yourself right now. It was as much an act of bravery for you to be in that courtroom today as it was for Billy and James to testify. I will be praying for you that you get some relief from your horrible memories and can get some restful sleep tonight.

      You are absolutely right about Brennan and the others-they are the darkness. You may still be searching for the light but you are the light to those of us here. Please believe that.

    2. V4J, you are right – no emotion. These abusers have no concept of the pain they have caused. I still remember how future priests had no problem discussing they had no problem sleeping with a 15 year old. So people like j niles(nines) calmly discuss their theories while you and others realize the church nor the Oblates have even touched your pain. They are just so absorbed in protecting themselves they don’t get it. This is a rape trial, you raped someone. This victim will hurt for the rest of their life, you, the abuser will only suffer because of your actions. Thank you for sharing – agreed with Patrick – you are a victim expressing yourself what is with the thumbsdown?
      Praying for you and all the victims.

    3. V4J,
      It makes me sick that father friendly (Brennan) found the trial amusing. I can only imagine the range of emotions you felt. The lack of empathy (or at least, try to fake compassion for the 2 brave men on trial) is horrifying.
      I agree completely, these priests are Darkness. They are the great deceivers dressed in silk robes and ridiculous hats.
      And, all the other “good” priests that stood idly by, listening to children’s pleas and screams…they are Darkness as well.

    4. Rich, I too noticed Brennan laughing. Saw that last time I was there and was struck by its inappropriateness. How do you think a jury member would feel about that? At the end of the day I literally ran into Brennan coming out of the men’s room. Being close to him and Lynn at other times has had me want to scream at them. If I were you I can’t imagine how I’d feel in their presence.

      I am happy I got a chance to meet you. You are always in my prayers. Martin

      1. Brennan was laughing when I was at the trial a few weeks ago. Also as I have mentioned, I was stuck with Lynn and some priests in the hall…didn’t seem to have a care in the world…all happily chatting about Holy Week.
        Even if Lynn believes he is innocent or the priests also believe this..the horrific abuse of children that has occurred in Philadelphia does not even get the respect of appropriate demeanor.
        During the testimony yesterday many people were visibly moved and in tears..I guess it is because we have not lost our connection to humanity and suffering.

      2. Wow Brennan was laughing? Perfect! I wonder how the jury liked that spectacle?!
        It conjures up a creepy mental picture…
        “..and as the flames climbed high into the night, to light the sacrificial rite, I saw Satan laughing with delight…” (lol!)

        Night has surely fallen over the Archdiocese of Philadelphia …and the demons are dancing madly…and goodness and truth are up in flames.

      3. It was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who confessed most abusers are unremorseful, with common traits of narcisssim and grandiosity.
        He well and truly appears to fit the bill.

    5. V4J – I am distraught for you. I read these accounts, I read the Priest Abuse Trial Blog, I read how the Vatican is now attacking nuns and ignoring the abuse you and so many other endured and I feel helpless. I feel hopeless. But I also feel determined that we mush keep shining the light. Like Theresa said you ARE the light. I know you are still searching for the light, but look within yourself. The darkness that is there was placed there by the evils of others. It is not your inherent darkness.

      I am thinking of a particular abuse victim that I know who has not even scratched the surface of their abuse. He is no where near you in the healing process. He believes that the darkness inside him is his and his alone. He is possessive of it and even glorifies it at times. It is all that he sees.

      We must keep shining the light, the truth. But as Michele said you must must must take care of yourself first. Just like on an airplane, put the oxygen mask over yourself before you help those around you. I did not endure what you did and I don’t think I can sit in that courtroom and look at Brennan or Lynne without wanting to jump over the railing and shake them uncontrollably. (or worse)

      I will keep reading, blogging and spreading the light.

      Much love

    6. Rich, I agree with Theresa and Michele. Please take care of yourself and know that it is not the selfish thing to do, but the compassionate thing to do. You will be in a better minnset to help others only when you take care of yourself. You have been there physically and now will be there in mind and spirit. You can’t give any more than is humanly possible.

      I have no background as a therapist, but I was in that courtroom with you and I will never be the same. It is plastered into my mind. So, I’m figuring if I multiply my feelings of devestation by about a zillion I might come within range of what you’re experiencing. You are supported here. Do what you have to do to help yourself. Noone doubts how deeply you are connected with the other victims. They have a piece of you with them, whether you are in that courtroom or not. God Bless You and thank you for your courage.

    7. V4J,
      They are sociopaths and evil…………I had a glimmer of the evil /darkness you talked about and it was pure horror………a horror I never experienced before………a horror that sent me running and I mean running to God……..I said this before but………..I believe in God because I know his opposite exists……..I felt his presence and he followed me around for 2 days before my husband was baptized………..I was never a religious nut but I had to pray the prayer of St, Michael and my sister brought up Padre Pio holy water and it is only when I went to the blessed sacrarment the evil spirit left ……….when I confronted my husbands offender it was there also. I think you experienced the absence of God or at least the presence of Satan. People might think I am nuts but its the truth and I would not believe it if I had not experienced it myself.

      1. I don’t believe you are “nuts” Beth! Your honesty is a testament to your faith.

        I can imagine that this evil you speak of is ever present in the courtroom sitting with Lynne and Brennan.

      2. Thanks Michele I was thinking maybe I shared too much but this presence totally caught me off guard and I was unprepared how to handle it. It was trial and error. The only thing that seemed to work was reading the Bible out loud and adoration. I guess the point I wanted to make to V4J was that we are fighting things seen and unseen.

    8. V4J, On an earlier post, I expressed my fear that your courageous attendance to the trial on wednesday could hurt you. I feared some ignoramus would trigger flashbacks to your own horrific abuse. It happened. I am so sorry. Who knew that it would be the DEFENDANT, James Brennan!?
      First of all, please take the advice of the therapists, victims/survivors and concerned bloggers, including me. Please see your own therapist and seek support to get you through yesterday. We need you whole. We need you well. You are so worth it. We love you.
      Secondly, as an outside observer, I think “Father” Brennan may have shot himself in the foot by acting in such a disrespectful, cold,
      self-centered, arrogant, ignorant manner. I don’t think these guys can “help’ themselves!! I hope the jury is taking it all in.
      I believe you.

  3. Sometimes when puting things to paper, your pen just runs away, without thinking about what your saying, like automatic writing I suppose.
    That just how the this post of yours Susan has come across.
    As if connected mentality, I don’t know why, maybe it’s a form of empathy.

  4. Susan, have some answers for you…..At the lunch break, AJ Baselice, father of a clergy sexual abuse victim who committed suicide, suggested that Archbishop Chaput attend the trial. Church leadership should be there. Why aren’t they? I suppose other priorities top their list. Why worry about child sex abuse when rebel nuns tackling poverty need to be taken down? There is one simple answer here…DENY…..DENY….DENY…..Being there would acknowledge the church has a problem and that is not going to happen especially on Chaput’s watch… The Archbishop is wolf in sheep’s clothing….
    On the ride home, I wondered what I would say to Lynn if given the opportunity. I settled on, “When did you stop believing in God?”…You could say this for all the players in this event including Bevilacqua, Rigali, Jagodzinski (he had Lynn’s job first), etc. Anyone committed or had knowledge of abuse are not only guilty but also stop believing…
    Unfortunately, we will not hear from Avery who would have buried Brennan and in turn taken down Lynn… Like many, I trusted these men, Avery DJ my daughters and son First Communion parties. He attended many family events and yes I did talk to by kids who are now in the late teens and early twenties. Lynn baptized one of my kids which is just plain creepy no as that child has most like been subject to his bad judgment. Jagodzinski was our parish priest and frequent guest in my house until he stood up and acknowledge the grand jury report and his role. Sorry father, a Sunday confession does not get you a “hall pass” especially when kids are involved….I am ashamed to say I am Catholic…..

    1. Agreed WR-These priests were/are all so interconnected it has become a massive web of lies. Probably almost all Catholics in the Philadelphia area know at least one of these priest abusers and/or enablers because of the way these perpetrators were passed around from parish to parish.. Still there are those who refuse to read the grand jury reports. I have had people tell me this after I sent the link to the report to as many people as I knew last year. One person considered all of this an attack on the priesthood and later said she did not want to have bad images in her head from reading the accounts of abuse in the report. Well, what about the images the victims live with for the rest of their lives because their images are based on their actual experience?! If we can’t stomach what is in the reports imagine how the victims feel day after day! As for this being an attack on the priesthood the priests and bishops brought this on themselves by not protecting and helping the victims decades ago. You mention their lack of belief and that was what my husband and I discussed last year. I was asking how could these men have allowed this abuse to continue if they are believers and my husband immediately said he doesn’t think they really do believe. Maybe they did at one time but in trying to protect themselves and their concept of “the church” they turned to the dark side as Rich described above and have become the darkness in the church. Even the so called “good priests” who never abused anyone are not without blame because they cower in fear of that darkness and refuse to do the right thing and speak out. None of them should get a hall pass.

    2. We were ashamed to be Catholics when this all came out in the papers
      in San Diego in 2001. It was at our 50th Anniv. mass on the back deck of our boat, that we absolutely knew all the things we’d heard (from the religious in our family) in the past but wouldn’t believe , were TRUE ..We left immediately, told our Jesuit friend right after mass, we could stay no longer. He understood and said he’d give us a dispensation…I laughed and said” no”, he gave it anyway(he said just in case) You see the brain washing even in the face of ABSOLUTE TRUTH?

      It’s been over ten years and we know this is where we are to be….OUT!!! HE IS WITHIN US. NO ONE CAN TAKE HIM AWAY FROM US.

    3. Archbishop Chaput received high acclaimations when visiting Australia.
      Maybe it’s in the eyes of the beholder or hasn’t been brought to account for anything because he’s not been part of the sinisister networking downunder.

  5. Here is a partial list of others that should be attending the trial, Gov. corbett, Mayor nutter, Pa Reps marsico and caltigarone and all those ‘good priests’ supporting the VICTIMS but that will never happen, all that I will hear is that not all priests are bad when the subject of clergy abuse comes up.

    1. Unabletotrust, I agree. This trial is not getting the attention it deserves from our politicians who profess that they care about children. If they care, then they need to face the fact that we have a child abuse epidemic that needs to be addressed and this trial is pivitol in that cause.

      And the “good” priests that are supposed to be Jesus’ apostles who preach His word and model his actions? I think it may stop at Fr. Doyle…….the rest have not lived up to their calling …..or they would be there, as Jesus would, ministering to the victims and to their flocks. Maybe there are some others out there speaking up or ministering to victims, but I, personally, have not heard them or heard of them.

    2. “… not all priests are bad…”

      While not all priests were perpetrators or enablers, most priests during the course of their careers were privy to hearing about incidences of sexual abuse and/or inappropriate sexual activity among their brothers and/or their fellow seminarians and were acutely aware of how these incidences were permissively managed and covered up by the clerical culture. Additionally, all priests participate in the immoral clerical culture by mere association with the priesthood, and only a handful of priests extricate themselves from it or actively and publicly attempt to reform it.

      The handful of priests who extricate themselves from the priesthood or actively and publicly attempt to reform it, according to moral theory and ethics, are the only “good” priests. (By “extricate,” I mean leave or remove themselves from the priesthood.)

      Doyle is one good priest, Wintermyer is another. Wintermyer actively and publicly speaks to how clericalism imperils children, the faithful, priests, and the Church. In his C4C posts, he alludes to how he attempts to influence through his words and his ministry the mindset and culture of his brothers. We know why Doyle is a good priest.

      At the moment, there is not a single “good” priest in the Philly AD. Not one. They can chalk it up to being gagged by the AD while the trial unfolds, but to what extent did Fr. Chris or any other Philly AD priest actively and publicly attempt to eradicate clericalism prior to the trial-induced AD gag order? What priests courageously rejected the AD gag order, actively and publicly denouncing it and clericalism? How many have extricated themselves from the priesthood? Once the trial is over and the AD gag order is lifted, how many will maintain the stance of obediently permitting clericalism to persist as the culture of clerics?

      According to bilgrimage.blogspot.com, what the U.S. bishops and the Vatican want is a smaller, purer Church controlled and supported by like-minded, right-wing, super-rich uber-Catholics. The crackdown on the nuns, the anti-Obama agenda, the religious liberty agenda, and the invitation to the ultra-conservative and anti-semitic SSPX to return to the fold, are among the activities illuminating the agenda of U.S. bishops and the Vatican. If their efforts force a schism, so be it is their mindset. What group in the Church could foil such an effort? Only the priests. As deliverers of the faith, they can refuse to deliver this anti-Gospel one. What group in the Church could lead us away from this anti-Gospel faith? Only the priests. We can envision a holy, inclusive and Gospel-based faith, but we need priests to deliver it. Actually, do we? No, we do not. “Where two or more gather, I am there.” We can accomplish our faith in the way the early Christians did, and we can invite the nuns to nourish it.

      We are hostages to hierarchical agendas and silent and obedient priests only if we permit it. In the end, it is not about good priests and bad priests, good hierarchical agendas and bad ones. It is about us, what we are willing to permit, and what we will do to practice our faith.

      1. Hadit, a quote from today’s Inside Ireland, Abuse Tracker article, may well explain clerical ‘silence’:

        The newspaper has also reported that the latest cleric to fall under the (Vatican) ban is well-known broadcaster and writer, Fr. Brian D’Arcy, who has been outspoken in the Catholic Church’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal.

      2. Hadit,


        Purity is an obsession of fascists. So, why not a master race of Catholics? After all, the Roman Catholic Church, per Ratzinger, is the only one that can call itself a church; Ratzinger proclaims that other Christians belong to Christian communities not churches.

        What follows is from:


        What is fascism?

        The word has been bandied about by so many people so wrongly for so long that, as Paxton points out, “Everybody is somebody else’s fascist.” Given that, I always like to start these conversations by revisiting Paxton’s essential definition of the term:

        “Fascism is a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline.”

        Elsewhere, he refines this further as

        “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

  6. Can anyone confirm that the archdiocese of Phila has taken down the names of all the priests named in both Phila Grand Jury reports with creditable allegations of abuse and why ?

    1. I think the AD is gearing up for the big announcement coming next month about the return (or not) of the priests most recently removed from ministry. I am pretty sure this news is coming at the same time as when the Archbishop announces the new priestly assignments that go into effect each year on June 1. Usually the announcement about which priest is going where is made in May.

      1. Michele, when reading the letter that was sent out by the AD to the parents, I got the feeling that was also in preparation of a big announcement or a big revelation to come from the trial. The AD most certainly has their strategy planned out well in advance.

      1. Ed, this is exactly why we need legislation in PA that will help to expose these pedophiles (priests and other) who are out there doing whatever they want without anyone knowing about their pasts.

  7. I understand exactly what Susan meant by her Chuck Norris reaction to Billy’s testimony. When the prosecution went through the timeline of James abuse ..1977..he was in high school..I was in grade school..1981 he graduated from high school,I graduated from 8th grade. All the instances and situations,I was thinking of how old I was at that age..and another student (James) in Catholic school was being abused. With Billy he stated his year of birth 1988..I was in college. The abuse happening in 1998..I was married with a 1 year old son. I could have done something then..I was an adult..I could have saved him…I would have saved him

    1. Kathy and Susan, you are doing wonderfully. I am so pleased with the strong determination and “Chuck Norris” development of my two favorite Philly moms. Please keep it up.

      I am busy trying to help lock up bishops and have yet to find the right spray paint to use for SW’s interesting “paint the pews” observation.

  8. Again, you hit the nail on the head. I am just baffled by the way the clergy and also lay people pay so much attention to the rules and quickly point at people breaking them, except when they choose to disregard them for their own purposes…here is a good example: the parish in Downingtown, St Joseph’s had complaints from parents about a team for Relay for Life raising funds for fighting cancer. Why? Because these parents claim the American Cancer Society supports stem cell research and we Catholics must be against that. Where were these outspoken parents hiding their heads all these years when kids like “Billy” and ” James” were being abused? At what point do we sift through rules and do what is right instead of just doing as we are told?

    1. Mary,
      An interesting point about Relay for Life. My husband is a chairperson for a huge Relay event. He extends an invitation to all churches. Someone from the local Catholic church raised such a stink about ACS (American Cancer Society) funds supporting embryonic stem cell research (which is NOT true) that he wouldn’t even share the information with the priest or congregation.

      My husband walked him through the particulars, citing specific accounts and the ways the money raised is used. The man was confusing Relay with Susan G. Komen…and he could not give up the concept that he was wrong…even given the facts. Fast forward…all churches were so supportive and involved with Relay…EXCEPT the Catholic church. In our community, the rcc look like fools and it’s not because they hold some higher standard, but more because they are truly ignorant.

      Fast, fast forward…the youth at the rcc contacted my husband and created a team! They didn’t ask permission of the hierarchy…they just did it!

      I don’t think I could have been as gracious as my husband was…he just let it all roll.

      Sorry for the ramble, but I laughed to myself when I read about the Relay info in the letter. It’s the same all over. And better yet…how did all these Catholics hear about the same misinformation? It came from the top!

      1. It’s definately the roman caytholic’s way of picking the speck out of your eye, when they have a LOG in their own.

        How people can still,( after over ten years) , buy their “drivel”? No minds to use, to really think it out. How very sad our Lord must be with them.


    2. http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/press_releases/080331/
      Recently that issue came out again. My wife is a cancer survivor – and tired of this. I guess the priests that asked nuns to have abortions or go on the pill have some special power? Guess if a priest allows it it prevents AIDS, pregancy and cancer duh can’t Catholics see through this? Komen and planned parenthood are being attacked now(Komen does give funds to planned parenthood.. – how many Catholics use their services – almost all of the Judge grads I know.

      FYI – check the references on the article, they claim NCI research is flawed.

      1. I don’t have any problem with Catholics challenging Komen’s research/affiliations to Planned Parenthood or being informed about how money is spent with charities…they SHOULD only support avenues that align with their beliefs. What I have a problem with is the fact that the rcc has spent so much time and energy distracting pew catholics. To the non-discriminating Catholic, “all cancer research” is against them! Or how about the fact that this keeps the people in the pews focused on outside “wrong-doers” while they are robbing the henhouse. Oh, if the pew catholics were as vigilant about the raping of their children as they are about the outside charities they have been misinformed about…what a different climate it would be!

        I think the rcc has done a wonderful job of making sure they disregard outside charities…because we all know…if you donate all of your $10 to ACS, what will the church receive?

      2. How bout the catholic school teacher in Indiana who was fired by the church for using In-Vetro Fertilization to get pregnant! She was fired because she chose methods that defied church teaching! She was on the morning news today. She has a lawyer and a lawsuit pending. Manipulative and controlling evil is just rampant in the church. Talk about a Jezebel Spirit Raping children is okay, but going to any extreme to “give life” and nurture a child — YOU’RE FIRED!

  9. Credit goes out to all of you who go and can remain composed in the courtroom. I can’t even imagine what hearing from the victims mouths an account of their ordeal, would do to me. I have so much anger with this as it is.

    Mary, you are correct. It’s called hypocrisy. How can an institution be pro life, and still allow this kind of horrific abuse to continue, be hidden, covered up, even nurtured?

  10. I think some believe that with these trials there will a big revolt in Philadelphia,laity up in arms.I don’t see it that way,just more of a gradual eye opening and people deciding at various times that they can no longer be a part of this. I bumped into an old friend this morning. In talking about what was new,what we have been doing with our lives, I told him about my work on this issue. Like me,he was raised in a very Catholic family, Catholic schools etc… I never know the reaction I am going to receive. He told me “he is gone” it’s all just too crazy at this point. His father who is an irish immigrant is completely lost,with all the news from Ireland and then right here in Philadelphia,leading him to question everything about his life. So add one more young Catholic family to those who are heading to the exit door,and one elderly man,feeling like he was living a lie.

    1. Kathy, James cited this Medical Missionaries Sisters song…It’s a Long Long Road to Freedom, from earlier and happier days, and given the present Philly situation and your prescient remarks, thought a lighter (but relevant on so many counts) rerun of that citation might be useful….Also, in the last month, there have been 62,000hits on C4C

  11. Sadly, this is an issue that has at its foundation, a bedrock of silent obedience and “looking the other way.” I grew up in a strict, traditional, Irish-Catholic family. I’ve experienced sexual abuse at the hands of “trusted friends” from the age of 6, throughout my teenage years. The memories I live with today are as if they happened yesterday. I remember my dear father saying many times: “What happens in this house stays in this house.” I always wondered if that was an acknowledgement of his knowing what was going on. To this day, I don’t know. But if you take this mindset into consideration, many of our Catholic hierarchy today also grew up in the same types of family as I. And so, I wonder if this is what so many Catholics in the Philly AD are implicitly listening to from the hierarchy on-down: “Remember, what happens in this house stays in this house!”
    Through the grace of God, I had the strength to speak out, address the abuse that went on, suffered the anger and resentment of family members, and still found peace and healing within myself and among my family. It really can happen! I thank God I didn’t give up or give into despair.
    However, I still have siblings who refuse to acknowledge the proverbial “elephant in the room.” So too, I believe, we still have brother and sister Catholics who still refuse to acknowledge the proverbial “elephant in the room,” especially when we’re pounded with the message, through parish letters, “pastoral letters,” and media statements: “Remember, what happens in this house stays in this house.”
    I remember as a kid, lay people in church standing up and yelling out in protest over the Vietnam War. We have a civil war going on within our own house. When do we stand up and yell out in protest: “NO MORE!”

    1. Jerry, I wish the testimony from yesterday was videotaped and could be shown to every single Catholic in the Archdiocese. James was abused by Avery in the late 70’s,early 80’s..years before Billy was even born. Avery’s name was on the shredded list, 4 years before the abuse of Billy. These were not just mistakes or a case of something being mishandled,this was a concerted cover up that resulted in the abuse of Billy in 1998. He was put in the path of a predator that was abusing children before he was even born. I think Catholics believe the abuse happened by a small number of priests and then was mishandled by a small amount of the hierarchy. Billy did not stand a chance ,the list of abusive priests was shredded in 1994 when he was a 6 year old then Avery put right in his path. I think most Catholics don’t connect the dots or see the big picture. It makes the elephant in the room that much easier to ignore.

      1. Kathy this morning’s NYTimes article did do that timeline…not as well as you just did it…but not badly.

        This is a goofy thought….from a 73 year old, technologically inept person..BUT I am wondering if someone could put together a social media piece, You Tube, Twitter et al…that makes just the points you just made and gets it out on the Internet, big time and soon!!!!

  12. Kathy, I understand exactly how your friend feels. I worked for one of the most horrible abusers named in the 2005 report. Had I not gone with my suspicions and gut feelings, my son could have been added to his list. I have tried for the past 7 years to keep my faith and all this that is going on seperate. I am sad to say, I am not as brave as some of the abused who still continue to go to church. My faith is God has not wavered, but to go to Mass every Sunday and listen to the same old thing. And the silence in the pews is even more deafening. Glad to say, I have found a place in the Episcopal church and will worship there. I support the victims with all my heart and pray for them. The Catholic Church will NEVER change. Thank you so much for keeping us informed and for doing battle every single day!

  13. I have known good, kind, humble priests as well as arrogant, self-centered, greedy priests. No surprise there. Priests are human and like all of us, have human flaws. What has truly shocked and outraged me is the “good” priests’ absolute silence about priestly predators and the behavior of the hierarchy, protecting evil-doers, thus putting innocent children at risk again and again and again and their utter lack of compassion for Billy and James and all the victims of evil, evil men. I have heard the excuse that priests must be faithful to their vows of obedience to the bishop, but is that any different from the Nazis who excused their inhuman behavior because they “were just following orders” and had sworn an oath to the Fuhrer. Is there some disconnect between their consciences and the gospels they preach about loving your neighbor and protecting the most vulnerable? How can we accept any moral guidance from those who condone by their silence such despicable and criminal acts?

    1. Claire said, “How can we accept any moral guidance from those who condone by their silence such despicable and criminal acts?”

      That’s a great question that every Catholic should be asking themselves Claire.

      How did Jesus respond when faced with adversity?


    2. I absolutely agree with you. From my own experience, “good priests” were absolutely absent from my life when my family needed them the most, even though we requested their presence repeatedly for three weeks when my mom was dying. We contacted priests from several different parishes!! We weren’t being picky, we just wanted somebody, anybody to show up when my mom, a devout catholic was dying. They never got around to her. Was I angry? Absolutely! Am I still angry? You bet! When I brought this to the attention of the hierarchy, they all agreed that my family was being too critical of our “good priests”. They are dealing with a lot right now!!!!!

      At the time, I was working closely with children for the Archdiocese. It was also the time of the second Grand Jury Report. I was expected to keep my mouth shut. That saying from an earlier blogger “What happens is this house stays in this house…” was the absolute climate of the work environment. If anyone spoke out on behalf of the kids, if these “good priests” were put in a less than favorable light, or if they had to question their superiors, let the “shunning” begin!! The kids were the least of their concern, unless someone threatened to pull their kids out. Loss of revenue always got their attention.

      My point is that “good priests” better start going about the business of showing themselves by caring for the church, along with the laity whom they have delegated their priestly responsibilities. I mentioned before that I suspect that our “good priests” won’t carry out Christ’s mission if they could possibly expose their criminal brothers. To me, this makes all of them sinfully and criminally negligent!!

      The archdiocese expects their teachers and employees to carry on as if nothing has happened. They are expected to look the other way. They are expected to be “transparent” to what is going on, and since they are deliberately kept in the dark, parents, kids, laity are lulled into thinking that everybody is on the same page. If you want to keep your job, you will be part of the facade. …or charade!!

      From my own experience, MOST of the people working in our schools are 100% committed to the safety and protection of our children and our most vulnerable. The archdiocese knows it. These devoted people are so focused on following their God given vocation that they fail to notice that the archdiocese TAKES CREDIT for all of these good works and uses them to hide their criminals. Allowing the archdiocese to use your good works for their own agenda, (not God’s agenda) is the unwritten bullet point on every archdiocesan job description, and it takes president over any other responsibility you have, including protecting kids. I couldn’t stand it anymore so I left.

      1. Wonder, what the ‘present cimate’ is in the Chancery Office…what perhaps, is the attrition rate for employees? Can’t imagine it is a pleasant work atmosphere?

    3. These clergy members differ from the Nazis because these priests hold themselves up as men of God.–And they’ve been up to their tricks for centuries longer than the Nazis were.. also,the rcc was a bit more successful at world domination than the nazis.

      Today I find myself still baffled about the school principals who signed onto that condescending letter from the AD to the parents! These principals have been a HUGE part of the child abuse problem from the beginning. Those principals knew that the priests who were sniffing around their students daily, were up to no good. They were on the front lines when the distressed calls came in from parents–year after year.
      –Although this subject and circumstances are difficult to deal with at this particular time in the AD’s history, ignoring it and silencing discussion of the subject is not acceptable or up to any standard of professionalism in educ. in Pennsylvania in 2012. –and any parent who settles for this silence, is not advocating for his/her child.

      -And the warped idea of having the children pray daily for the (director of the school) Monsiegneur Lynn, who for 12 years sent known sex offending priests into the local schools to sodomize the students in the bathrooms and sacristies??– and hanging up a child’s pathetic report about Pastor Lynn as a hero?—-WHAT ARE THESE TEACHERS THINKING??? Subpar performances all around.

  14. There is a comment on Trial Blog about a victim reading his letter to Avery in the AD treatment facility.

    Given the right circumstances and support network in place, it can be highly beneficial and healing for a victim to confront their abuser…whether they are at a treatment facility, jail, or a public place. I wouldn’t say it was an AD slam to a victim because it happened at Vianney. It just happened to be that for the victim to confront the abuser, he had to go to the abuser.

    That said, I would guess the AD therapists thought it would also help slap Avery out of his denial. Avery was, afterall, their client.

    Great timeline Kathy. I’m having my own range of emotions as I watch all of the details come pouring out…as well as the natural responses that have occurred because of the truth.

    I don’t know if I have this in the right place and please take what I say with a grain of salt if it doesn’t apply (because, clearly, I wasn’t in that courtroom), but…

    Billy is young. The response to him seems to be the “fighter” mentality for what he endured at age 10. Because Billy (age 23) is closer to age 10 now than James(49) is to age 15… it reads like so many could more easily relate to Billy’s innocence than seeing a grown professional take the stand. The victims were ALL young boys and girls, whether they were fresh out of high school or a grandparent. Young, innocent, robbed, and betrayed. I wonder what James has lived through, what it required for him to confront his abuser, the toll it took on his marriage and parenthood, and all the myriad of ways he was forced to deal with this issue (trial and all) when perhaps he just wanted some peace. James is Billy. I have a Chuck Norris response for him too. Afterall, he was a young 23 year old at one point.

    1. I understand what you mean,Billy looked so young especially when he stated his date of birth as 1988. I guess what I meant was I have read and heard about abuse with my peer group and when something happened in the 1970’s and 80’s I thought of my own age at the time, and my response to the victims was one of I was a a kid then too,I can’t imagine what happened to you and how you have dealt with it. My response with Billy was that I was an adult when this happened,maybe I could have saved him..it was more powerful because as an adult I could have done something. All the victims deserve the same emotion/response that Billy’s testimony triggered,I felt like I wanted to protect him..what all the victims deserve,regardless of age or year of abuse.

      1. as a kid I got my friends to get their bats to stop a rapist – neighbor asked how could I identify him – we realized that we couldn’t so a bunch of 10 year olds(1960s) went back to playing ball. Friend told me in 8th grade about the weird questions he was getting in confession, told him to make a “bad confession” God would understand – still can’t go to confession without thinking of those forced confession in the 60’s. Actually can’t go at all now knowing the problems caused in that box

      2. Kathy, you said, “My response with Billy was that I was an adult when this happened,maybe I could have saved him..it was more powerful because as an adult I could have done something.”

        Interesting statement and telling of how things change.

        Think of all the “adults” in the church when the “James'” of the world came forward. Hopefully, the response is different today. But, look at the mother and father figures of James’ era that never even thought, “maybe I could have saved him.”

        Just processing everything…

  15. I get what you’re saying too, Kathy. Since James is like a “counterpart”, I relate to him as if he was my brother because it happened during my adolesence. Since Billy is younger, I relate to him with more of a gut motherly instinct, as if her were my son. Both are heartwrenching reactions. It was happening around us when we were kids and it’s been happening around our children just the same way.

  16. Another list Cardinal Bev. didn’t want you to see. This is a list of 38 priests from the Oblates of Saint Francis De Sales, who have been publicly accused of abusing children. Several more Oblates have been exposed since this list was published. My abuser John M. McDevitt is on the list here, http://app.bishop-accountability.org/member/psearch.jsp?diocese=WILMINGTONDE&lastName=&msearch1=View&op=doSearch&section=a-z&sortBy=&state=

    Again, Religious Order priests transferred from other states to abuse Pennsylvania children.

    1. Rich,

      I think you need to be aware that you have become a big part of this community of concern and deserve our thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure this past week hasn’t been easy for you, but I’m really glad to see your postings today – glad to see that you are continuing to contribute here, to educate us and to support others who have been or who might become victims. Your voice is essential and it is strong. You have touched the hearts and minds of so many people. Sharing here with us is good for us and good therapy for you! You are doing something truly wonderful. Thank you.

      1. Thanks, Pittsburgh. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m not posting here solely for you or anyone else who has been a regular here. I post about my story because I don’t want any other child to go through what I had to endure. It’s not right! And as cheesy as it may sound, it’s also just not fair.

        Do you know how many parents I have tried to warn before they entered a church where a known predator priest was serving? They just ignore me and tell me to get a life, and I consider those people to be the least hostile of the parishioners. It hurts me a lot when I see parents holding their child’s hand and walking into a church that I just happen to be protesting, because usually when we protest it’s because we want a priest removed. I get scared for that kid(s) and I hope I never run into him years from now at a support group meeting for childhood sexual abuse victims.

        Don’t take my word for it. Just protect your kids. If there can be anything to come out of what I write here, please heed my warning and protect your kids. That’s all I care about.

        By the way, you’re welcome!

        Peace out!

    1. “John GR Doe said he also told Greenfield, the oblates’ current provincial who at the time was a seminarian who had completed his studies at Brisson. Doe said he met Greenfield at a Bennigan’s in Wilmington shortly after the alleged assault and later, while walking on the grounds at Salesianum, told him about it”

      from the morning call article mentioned

      Sorry Rich -Mc Devitt, Killion and others were huge sick men that imposed their will on others.

  17. Joan, in my experience, moral was terrible. People were completely immersed in creating a safe, nurturing environment for the kids and at the same time they never knew if or when or how their efforts would be used as a smoke screen for archdiocesan negligence. Many just went about their business and as long as no one asked for their personal endorsement, they were grateful to save their jobs. They take solace in the fact that at least when the kids are under their watch, they are safe.

    1. Child guardian…I think it’s great that you guys were committed to helping and protecting kids…I am so sorry that it had to be in such a miserable environment! Thanks, very much for being so honest about it!…Joan

  18. I was also at the trial. The two survivors I heard staired at evil sitting right in front of them. I saw and heard courage, conviction, honesty, strength and most of all TRUTH. I was so very proud of the both of them. I spoke to Billy and said thank you, you saved children today!! I REFUSE to give this evil any more of my POWER! I refuse, by God, I refuse! I stand straight and I stand tall and I stand proud with James@15 and Billy! These so called “men of God” They will not take my soul and shred it, they took my body, they took my mind and they tried to take my spirit but by God, they will NOT take my soul. These survivors need our strength and our hope and I intend to be an example of that. Do I have days when I feel just like Rich, you bet I do and those days stink. Do I suffer and hurt and get discouraged, you bet I do,.do I often cry myself to sleep because my heart hurts so much for all the victims that suffer, you bet I do. Do people see me as so strong that I don’t hurt as much, yes they do and that”s an injustice, and I will tell you why. When you have been raped by a catholic priest, what you feel inside is what will remain as part of your DNA as Rich has said many times, until you have experienced rape and sodomy in the name of God by a catholic priest, no matter how hard you try, you will never know the many, many levels of pain we suffer and indure for the remainder of our lives. It is like an awful disease that creeps into your bloodstream and created havoic when you experience a similiar situation and you go straight into PDSD

    1. Thanks, as always for your powerful words Vicky. The comments from all the survivors mean a great deal to me. The bravery and unselfishness of those survivors that testify or share their story astounds me. My first post, two months ago was when I saw the victim’s videotape speaking of their abuse. I was compelled to say I believe and stand with the victims.
      James and Billy did indeed stare at evil. All those priests/nuns that allowed this filth to occur without going to police, to my way thinking…they are evil also.
      The seminaries that ordained these monsters, to my way of thinking…they are evil also.
      I believe the victims.

  19. Cont. from above post, I meant to say PTSD. Often times you don’t realize you are in PTSD, it can be just awful! You deal with this sentence for a lifetime. What I choose to do when life smashes in on you is make a conscious decision if I am going to let this consume me or walk the hell through it with eyes wide open and with all my strength put one foot in front of the other. It all comes down to one thing for me, do I continue to give these evil priests my power or do I choose to take back my power, my power is my soul and no one, no one will ever take my soul, it belongs to me and only me, the rest of me I fight hard to heal every day until I breathe my last breath, so in the meantime I will offer my hope and my strength and my courage to any victim who calls my name! My voice will be strong in spite of my deep woundedness because I need to offer hope to my fellow survivors. We made it this far by God we can make it even further because now we have support and people believe us and support us and for me that means the world to me. No people will never know the pain we endured on that very deep level but they are willing to try. We are the truth, We are strong and together we will overcome!!!

    1. Vicky, you are so right, none of us who have not been raped or sodomized by a priest can really know in our DNA how horrible it was/is. But what we can know when you or Rich or our other wonderful survivors share with us…is just how much we HATE the evil that has been done to you. We also know that not only do we deeply support you, but that we will fight very seriously to change this hugely screwed up clerical mess, that allowed this to happen.

      Thank you so much …Joan

  20. Vicky, I am so impressed that you identify yourself as a “survivor”! In spite of Satan’s best efforts, you are still here, a pillar of courage and strength for all of us, and a real thorn in the side of our institutional church who refuses to acknowledge your pain, their responsibility for it, and make some attempt at restitution for a life lost. And you do all this for those too damaged to speak, and for the protection of those most vulnerable. Please know how eternally grateful I am for your wisdom, your counsel and your sacrifice. Please be good to yourself. Be with your family, friends, bloggers, therapist and anyone else you may need to allow the Holy Spirit to work through them to guard and protect your soul. It is beautiful. Please sleep well in knowing how loved you are. I am so sorry this happened to you. I believe you.

    1. Hadit,

      What a hero! Maybe we should print it out and place it next to the child’s description of Lynn as a hero.

      1. Too funny SW!—that might just get a “discussion” started in that school!. If the parents in Lynn’s Downingtown school had any gumption, they’d do it. Why not?!

      2. One thing we keep seeing across the board with these clerics is the glaring, abnormal, truly chilling and inhuman disregard for victims. Victims never even enter their minds! They simply do not occur to them! Care, concern or consideration are utterly nonexistent. The clerics are like beings from another planet. The clerical condition is nothing short of Other. It’s just way too unreal. Unfathomable. Scary.

    2. Thanks Hadit…the testimony that the prosecution ‘read into the record’ on this Cipriano piece from the 2005 Grand Jury report (initiated in 2002) can most probably be found in the RESOURCES section at the top of the page…also check out Lynn in the Grand Jury Report of 2011.

      Monsignor Lynn Takes The Witness Stand
      For more than two hours Thursday, the jury in Courtroom 304 got to hear the defendant, Monsignor William J. Lynn, testify candidly about his bumbling pursuit of a sexually abusive priest on the loose from the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

      Only it wasn’t the real monsignor up on the witness stand, just a man who gets paid to play him in court. As he has done several times previously, Assistant District Attorney Anthony Pomeranz took the witness stand Thursday to read another volume of Lynn’s 2002 grand jury testimony to the jury in the archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse trial.

      Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington once again reprised his role as the grand jury prosecutor, asking the questions, while Pomeranz read Lynn’s answers into the record. In the past, this prosecutorial play-acting could be dull, as the monsignor pontificated about Catholic tradition and archdiocese protocol, tossing around words like canonical, laicization and Catholocity.

      But the play acting turned serious Thursday as the grand jury testimony focused on what Lynn did and, far more damaging, what he failed to do while pursuing sex abusers in collars. Sadly for the monsignor, the testimony that Pomeranz read into the record did not follow the defense script in this trial, which has been to paint the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua as the man with the ultimate power in the archdiocese, and thus, the real villain of the story.

  21. child guardian..we had the exact same experience with my dad’s death… His entire life was spent quietly serving and donating to our tiny parish…and our lazy, rotten priest wouldn’t even do his job and drive over and give him the Last Rites. No excuses or apologies were ever offered. It was unforgivable.
    Other than that one time, I’ve never “needed” a priest –and never will – and often wonder why others feel they do.

    1. That’s terrible. My dad’s priest came a few times and he had some very comforting talks before he died.

      1. Beth, the image of a happy death that I had in my mind for my Mom paled in comparison to the one God gave her. I thought she needed a priest to help her mind clouded with Alzheimers to understand the way to let go of us and take Our Lord’s hand. She showed us all that she didn’t need a priest to do that. The hospice volunteers helped us understand how she was making her final journey. I so wanted to give my Church, my priest, credit for helping us through that time.

        I am only sorry a priest didn’t witness her child like wonder and awe when she saw Jesus’ face like we had the privilege to see. Our priests need to witness God’s saving grace in His people instead of saving the church’s face, or funds. They need to bear witness to suffering in the world, especially children suffering, and most importantly, when they are responsible for it.
        They need to beg for God’s forgiveness before they can dispense God’s mercy to others, and they need to step aside and give compassion first to those whom they have harmed instead of demanding it first for themselves. They will never connect to the world by hiding in a rectory. They will never earn our trust by keeping silent.

  22. Crystal, do you know what my wonderful mom’s dying words were to us when we thought she would be disappointed? “A PRIEST!? Sweetheart, I don’t need a priest. Don’t you worry about it.” Truer words were never spoken. Love you , Mom. Thanks for commiserating, Crystal. I needed to vent.

    1. Child Guardian, your mother passed down the truest definition of spirituality. You are truly blessed. Your words to me have more meaning and truth than you will ever know. Thank you for your support and your continued kindness to me and every survivor that reads these blogs!

  23. I believe the survivors. It is horrible and sickening. from the vatican down………I pray that the Light of Jesus and the Holy Spirit surround us and protect us from the evil of this world satan is alive and thriving throughout the rcc..

  24. Hello everyone, Sorry I haven’t been around but I’ve been a little busy. I guess I can’t talk about the things I said in 304 but I wanted to thank from the bottom of my heart those who were there to hear those words and those who sent prayers and positive energy my way. It made a big difference for me. I wish I could have talked to “Billy” as well but that was not permissible.
    “Billy” I think you did an amazing thing the other day and showed great courage. I am so sorry you went through what you did with avery, it wasn’t your fault. I hope that you can feel a greater inner peace and some sense of pride now that you have spoken your truth and the world has heard. Take very good care of yourself.
    Peace be upon you,
    “James” Bob

    1. James (Bob) — I am so sorrry for all that you have been through. I am also very grateful that you took the witness stand and spoke truth. Although I couldn’t be present in the courtroom on Wednesday, I was praying for you and Billy all day. I live in St. Jerome’s parish, though I am no longer a member.

    2. Dear “James” Bob,
      Nothing I write will adequately express my respect and thanks to you and to Billy for your testimony in 304 – but I must try. You both were in my prayers on Wednesday, as you are each day, because your suffering and your courage to come forward with the truth have touched my heart deeply. You are both amazing young men and your actions have done more to protect children from predators and their protectors than you might realize. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for your willingness to be the light for children everywhere. Thank you and God bless you both.

  25. It is difficult to post. Words fail. Consider the magnitude of what they’ve done in Phillie. In every city. In every nation where there are Vatican agents. The same still occurs on a grand scale. Evil men have clothed themselves as angels of light. Not one Bishop has been held accountable. These are crimes against humanity.

    1. James@15
      To my of thinking, what you did by testifying was heroic. It was an honor (I don’t throw that term around lightly) to offer you my strongest and most heartfelt “good vibes”.
      I have come to realize in the last few years, the size, scope, and duration of time this filth has occurred.
      We probably are still in the first inning of making these monsters and their enablers pay for their crimes against our little lambs…That being said, to continue to baseball metaphor, all of you courageous testifiers hit a GRAND SLAM.
      A bit of levity James… In your 3:15am post the day before you went to court, you said sleep was “escaping” you. I was having trouble falling asleep too, I was nervous for you. LOL

      1. I was too..Thinking about how brave you both were and what your journey must have been like to get to that courtroom.

  26. I just realized something absolutely beautiful happened on this blog we shared in the love of Christ……………loved our neighbor etc………..How beautiful……………..this is what it is suppose to be.Thankyou James and Billy for your great courage.

    1. Amen to you, Beth. My sincerest apology and heartfelt gratitude to James and Billy. God blesses us all through you.

  27. I was in court for the fifth day during the past five weeks of this trial and I was glad that there were so many more people there on Wednesday to support “James” and “Billy,” the men who were testifying to the what they were forced to suffer as children and how it has and continues to affect their lives.

    It took a great deal of strength to testify yet again as to what was done to them by perverted priests and the lengths church leaders went to protect and support rogue priests.

    It made me sick to my stomach to watch defendant, the “Reverend” James Brennan, still a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, carrying on and laughing with his attorney any time there was a break in the proceedings. This man is evil, no question about it. His laughter reminded me of the comment made by another Philadelphia predator priest who had boasted that he “beat the [church] system.” Why a sociopath like Brennan is still a priest is absurd but no more absurd than the eighteen “priests” who have “accepted a supervised life of Prayer and Penance,” whatever that means, at places like the Downingtown facility. I know other such “facilities” which boast of their “monitoring” and “supervision” but whose convicted, known and/or credibly accused sexual predators come and go as they wish, especially on weekends. They have access to transportation and money is never a problem.

    Why all of them haven’t been totally removed from the priesthood and excommunicated as well is unbelievable. If the archdiocese wants to house and support them they can do it with them laicized. I don’t know why decent priests continue to tolerate it. As long as these rogue priests are allowed to have title “Priest” it soils and demeans decent priests in the archdiocese.

    My prayers go out especially to those victim/survivors who have been in the courtroom but as others have said here, be sure to put your own welfare first. One can be in the presence of such evil for just so long.

    Bishops and individuals – Krol, Bevilaequa, Rigali, Cistone, Cullen and others have shown by their depositions, testimony, words and actions that they are moral pygmies with little character or integrity which has been clearly shown in their failures to follow the gospel mandate to protect the most vulnerable, children, from evil. According to the news reports and blogs that was very evident in the continued readings Friday of Msgr. Lynn’s 2002 grand jury testimony. And we all know what Jesus thought about those who failed to protect children, don’t we?

    I doubt that the hierarchy in the United States, Ireland, or any other country will ever recoup the moral authority and credibility they once enjoyed and thought was theirs by Devine Right. Nor should they. The bishops lost that with the sexual abuse of hundreds of thousands of children worldwide and the scandalous cover-up so many of them actively participated in. Time has run out on the abuse of power and authority by the hierarchy and Clericalism is dying a slow death. The only ones who seem not to realize this are the hierarchs themselves.

    The Vatican would do well to investigate the endemic and systemic corruption of its hierarchical system, a system gave bishops license to enable and facilitate such widespread sexual abuse of children and then conspire by all and every means possible to cover it up.

    The stench is unbearable.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Advocaate for Victims & Legislative Reform


  29. Hello,

    I know I’m an outsider to this discussion (I’m an atheist, came here via slacktivist who isn’t an atheist but gosh he’s worth reading anyway) — but I did want to say, I’m kind of sad to think that the best insult you can give to someone who allowed a child molester to continue molesting children is to tell him that he’s, well, an atheist. Like me.

    A lot of us try very hard to be good people, y’know.

    1. Gemma, The statement “when did you stop believing in God” should be taken within the context of this blog and this particular post. The question refers to his priesthood and illustrates the hypocrisy of his life. I’m not calling him an atheist. I’m calling him a hypocrite.

    2. Gemma,

      I’m agnostic. I think I stopped believing in one particular god the day I was raped by a priest as a young boy. I understand your comments, but I don’t think anyone here is comparing atheism with pedophilia.

      I know tons of people who believe in God and are very, very bad people. Certainly not believing in God doesn’t make you a bad person at all.

      I’m actually glad to see someone blog on this forum who is either athiest or agnostic. Welcome!

  30. Bishops and individuals – Krol, Bevilaequa, Rigali, Cistone, Cullen and others have shown by their depositions, testimony, words and actions that they are moral pygmies with little character or integrity which has been clearly shown in their failures to follow the gospel mandate to protect the most vulnerable, children, from evil.

    Sister……great description……you forgot one thing, they are well-dressed moral pygmies.

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