Philadelphia Priest Removals: Sin & Absolution

I’m not sure how to prepare for tomorrow. I’m trying to reconcile good memories of a priest who had a positive impact on my husband’s and my life with very unsettling facts. Both are real. Do bad acts negate the good?

Dr. Fitzgibbons, an Archdiocesan psychiatrist for whom I ghostwrote in the early 90s, had told me anger was the root of all psychological dysfunction. It made sense to me. Rape is committed out of anger rather than desire. But recently, a clergy sex abuse victim and one-time patient of this doctor, told me he disagreed. He believes extreme selfishness is the cause.

It takes just a quick review of our own motives for sinning to come to the same conclusion. Relate that idea of selfishness to the priests removed from ministry for anything from “boundary issues” to sexual abuse. A priest’s homosexuality or failing to be celibate is the least of it. It’s the harming of others emotionally, physically and spiritually out of self-interest while representing Jesus that most find egregious.

I wonder if any of the priests not being returned to ministry will acknowledge the harm they’ve caused and if they’ll seek forgiveness.

Where do we and these priests find absolution? Not in three Hail Mary’s and one Our Father. I believe it can be found in the opposite of self-interest.

I wish the hierarchy believed the same.


57 thoughts on “Philadelphia Priest Removals: Sin & Absolution

  1. Susan, just wanted to repost an earlier comment:
    I just have to say that I truly believe that we are on the precipice of real change. I say this because of the constant stream of exchange and dialogue that is taking place here. Susan and Kathy, I also believe that the two of you remarkable women are true pioneers to “ministry in the new age” of the internet. What a beautiful way for all of us to feel connected and be in communion, even if we all don’t agree. We’re not supposed to! We just need to be respectful, which is what I’ve experienced 99% of the time since I’ve found a home on this beautiful blog.
    I don’t mean to sound cheezy or anything…but every time I’m on this blog, I feel as though I’ve gone to communion, (with a small c), but it’s really a big C because I’m with my brothers and sisters in Christ who only want to make us “a healthier, stronger, more Godly Catholic Church.” (To quote our dear “Pastor” =:)

      1. No matter what is revealed today by Archbishop Chaput keep in mind that Gina Smith and other archdiocesan investigators have access only to what he or other church officials have make available to them. They never know whether they have complete files, records, etc., on any accused individual. That was made clear by archdiocesan review members themselves. Besides, Chaput may or may not accept their findings. Remember that church review boards are set up by the bishops and they set the parameters. They report only to him.

        Most significant is the fact that the hierarchy of the RCC has never taken responsibility for their complicity in covering up for thousands of sexual predators in their midst. They have never addressed the underlying culture – CLERICALISM – which allowed this to take place.

        They refuse to own the problems they themselves have created.

        In reality Pennsylvanians need to get beyond their dependence on religious denominations to police their own whether Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran or Jew.

        Protecting children from sexual predators of any stripe and holding enablers and facilitators accountable is society’s responsibility.



        There will be a prayer rally in front of archdiocesan offices at 222 N. 17th St., in Philly beginning at 12 noon.


        Sister Maureen Paul Turlish


      2. If Gina Smith is absent from Chaput’s announcement, today, and if she is not available for comments to the media, it will wreak of poor PR, secrecy, patriarchy and control. If what comes down, today, comes down via the lips of Chaput, alone, it will call into question exactly how “independent” the review board was (is) in recommending the fates of priests.

        I want to hear from Gina Smith about a process that has taken way too long, and where the results are apparently going to be delivered to Philly Catholics in calculated doses.

  2. I love what you explained – it’s absolutely true. I wonder if they because selfish because they thought they could. I went to grade school with Stanley Gana and he would have been the last person anyone would suspect of sexual child abuse.

  3. I am very dear friends with a priest who was one of the 27 suspended. I am also friends with some of the others and know many of the rest.
    The one I am dear friends with has been completely exonerated of any and all wrong doing. I thank God for this and am so relieved that his 14 month nightmare is at an end. He truly did not deserve to be put through this. This you’ll just have to believe. I know it to be true. However, I also know that he devoted every moment of his 14 months of waiting, in prayer for the victims of abuse at the hands of his “brother priests.” He also spent his 14 months in prayer for all of his family: brothers, sisters, religious sisters, priests, parishioners, friends, and yes, enemies, (in no particular order).
    I’m left with the same sense of mixed emotions: Relief and gratitude that this nightmare is over for him, truly a great and holy man, coupled with such deep sadness and real pain for those victims/survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of those they should have been able to trust.
    Whatever tomorrow’s press conference yields, a fact remains: It is not over.
    -It is not over for the victims who have to wake up and face every morning without justice.
    -It is not over for those who continue to fight for justice and legislation that seeks to make reparations for souls irreparably damaged.
    -It is not over for those who seek to be heard.
    -It is not over for those who need to listen.
    -It is not over. It will never be over…
    -as long as there are those in positions of power who choose to protect themselves and their kingdoms, rather than their sheep who live within the kingdom.

  4. Susan, your commentary really hits home with the way I feel. It was out of pure selfishness and self-gratification that these crimes and the cover-up of them occurred . The fact that these men were supposed to be emulating Jesus makes it even more disturbing. I think that is why I found it so debilitating to hear of the words that were spoken to some of these poor innocent child victims as despicable acts were being done to them, such as “This is what God wants” and “You are making God happy.” How dare they use their positions as priests to twist the precious little minds and hearts of innocent children making them think that our Lord would actually condone such horrors. I said from the very beginning that I pictured Jesus heartbroken and weeping in heaven over this. I’m sure that has not changed.

    1. If these priests were ordinary men in the real world, they would be spending the rest of their lives in prison and being raped by the prisoners. Why because they are Catholic priests can they get away with this crime?

      1. Actually, not necessarily Susan. Even in the real world our government doesn’t protect us when it establishes laws, like the Statute of Limitations, that prevent victims from coming forward about the abuse and trying to file criminal charges and/or civil suits.

        I once read that the average male childhood sexual abuse victim comes forward when he’s 46 years-old. That’s the average. I was 32 when I came forward. That’s considered young. In a support group I go to where there’s anywhere between 10-20 victims present, I am almost always the youngest. I’d say that out of the hundreds of victims I know personally, probably 80% are older than me, and many are decades older than me.

        Especially right now, with all the news coverage, less victims will come forward because they know the Statute of Limitations has run out on them and then can’t do anything legally anyway, so I think the general consensus is, “why humiliate ourselves further?” I didn’t know there was a SOL on child sexual abuse before I came forward in Feb 2009, and I probably wouldn’t have come forward if I did know. The single biggest reason I reported my abuse to the DA in Philly in 2009 was because I was afraid my abuser might be around more children and abusing them and I wanted to stop him. I also thought he should go to jail, but then I found out about PA’s really “fantastic” laws that seem to protect predators instead of prosecuting them.

        Only in a fantasy world do these guys get any kind of punishment, and you can thank Ron Marsico and most of PA’s politicians for putting children in danger while protecting the perps.

  5. I am very dear friends with a priest who was one of the 27 suspended. I am also friends with some of the others and know many of the rest.
    The one I am dear friends with has been completely exonerated of any and all wrong doing. I thank God for this and am so relieved that his 14 month nightmare is at an end. He truly did not deserve to be put through this. This you’ll just have to believe. I know it to be true. However, I also know that he devoted every moment of his 14 months of waiting, in prayer for the victims of abuse at the hands of his “brother priests.” He also spent his 14 months in prayer for all of his family: brothers, sisters, religious sisters, priests, parishioners, friends, and yes, enemies, (in no particular order).
    I’m left with the same sense of mixed emotions: Relief and gratitude that this nightmare is over for him, truly a great and holy man, coupled with such deep sadness and real pain for those victims/survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of those they should have been able to trust.
    Whatever tomorrow’s press conference yields, a fact remains: It is not over.
    -It’s not over for the victims who have to wake up and face every morning without justice, It’s not over for those who continue to fight for justice and legislation that seeks to make reparations for souls irreparably damaged, It’s not over for those who seek to be heard, it’s not over for those who need to listen. It is not over. It will never be over…
    -as long as there are those in positions of power who choose to protect themselves and their kingdoms, rather than their sheep who live within the kingdom.

    1. Jerry, no doubt everyone commenting here, could claim to have had ‘a dear friend’ who was either a clergyman, bishop or brother, accused of abuse at one time or another. The very emotional draw to the expression ‘dear friend’ minimises the fact that it occurs.
      Not so much that they were exhonerated, but in many instances that there was insufficient evidence for a DDP to gain a conviction.

  6. Amen, Jackie! What a sacrilege to use God’s name as one is doing evil to innocents.

  7. These predators and those that covered up lacked compassion and compassion in action will help heal (though the scars will always be there)and prevent child abuse………the one thing that always strikes me is the amount of compassion our survivors and their families possess.

    1. Beth the compassion from the victims and families continues to amaze me. I only wish more people could actually meet with victims to see that every myth they have been told, is the exact opposite. Last year a woman who has supported victims for years said that she feels a special grace when in their presence, I know exactly what she means.

      1. As do I Kathy as do I……….it is a privledge to be among them and hear their stories they have undergone so much suffering……… suffering of the innocent…….I always felt Christ is near the brokenhearted although we may not know it at the time.

      2. I completely agree that when with the victims, there is a grace that is beyond explaining. I felt it for the first time at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Philly a little over a year ago, when my husband and I heard the horrific stories of survivors in person for the first time. With all of the demonic abuse that was done to them, there was an amazing graciousness in them that impacted me deeply and still does. Having been in their presence and listened to their stories, I will never be the same.

  8. “This is what God wants.” – Rev. John M. McDevitt

    That’s what he said to me when I was a kid and he was raping me. Oddly enough, Edward Avery said the exact same thing to his child victim, “Billy.”

    I swear I think these guys went to the school of “how to rape children, and how to screw them up for life.” When you get told that God wants this to happen to you over, and over, how in the world are we not going to end up believing it? I believed it and it was comment like that from “him” that kept me silent for more than 20 years. Besides, even if I did tell anyone, who would take my word over a priest’s? I come from a family where the priest is considered God on Earth, so it’s very easy for a kid to believe that this is something God does want.

    Billy’s testimony last week was all too familiar to my own story of abuse. I thought he handled himself very well throughout the day, talking about the horrible dtails of his sexual abuse. I have a hard time, a nearly impossible time, talking about the details in the privacy and presence of my therapist, but this kid had to tell a room full of people. I have a lot of respect for him doing it and doing it well. I tip my hat to Billy and James.

    Justice will be “swerved” tomorrow. I have no confidence that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will do anything different than what they have continued to do for years and years. These priests will get a slap on the wrist, and that makes me angry because I want them to know and they NEED to know what they’ve done to us by experiencing criminal and civil reprocussions.

    I don’t believe any current practicing Catholic priests are “good priests,” or good people for that matter, because they continue their silence while the bad apples rape children. How anyone could have any respect at all for such an institution or people is beyond my realm of thinking.

    And then a “innocent” priest sat waiting to be exonerated? Maybe he should have been out there fighting to protect kids and help expose the guilty ones. I wonder if this priest is innocent in the eyes of the Church, or the Criminal Justice System? The Catholic Church’s laws are obviously more lenient, because in the ret of society, if you rape a child you get to go to jail. (Of course if a victim is able to beat the ticking clock and come forward in time.) In the Church, if you rape a child you get a transfer to another city where you can rape more children, with maybe a pitstop at a retreat for identical scumbags, and then off to the next parish where more children will soon discover their fate at the hands of an evil monster, who ministers more to his own perverse needs than the subject of God’s Love to the people.

    I have yet to meet an active innocent priest. All the priests I’ve know who spoke out for us victims and against the institutional church are the ones who have been defrocked. Figure that one out. The few priests who I know, who have tried to protect children, are the one disciplined and laicized.

    I think these priests should have to take multiple polygraphs before they’re even remotely considered being put back into ministry. Even then, if I were a parent of a child, I would not want that priest anywhere near my kid!

    Even if I were not a childhood sexual abuse victim, I don’t believe I would be a man who would sit by and do nothing while children are being abused. Why won’t these so-called “innocent” priests help expose the guilty ones? Aren’t those innocent priests at least slightly upset that the child-raping priests are giving their institution a bad name? No, probably not. The Catholic Church and all it’s employees don’t care about you, me, or the innocence of a child. They care about money and power. That’s it.

    I guess that’s what God wants.

    1. V4J,
      Predators are liars…………..the opposite of the truth………….keep speaking your truth. My husbands offender often quoted the Bible and said anger was a sin…………I was like are you kdding me……….they twist everything ………….even Jesus got angry ……………and yes the “good priests” should be angry these predators were allowed to move from parish to parish……..

      1. Yes, I believe predators are liars, Beth, but when you’re a little kid and you know the adult is the authority figure, especially a priest, you believe what they say, or at least I did.

        It’s funny, but my younger brother was the rebellious one in the family and he was always getting into trouble because he wouldn’t do as he was told and he constantly talked back to adults, teachers, priests, etc. I often think if maybe I could’ve had a little of what he had in myself maybe things would’ve turned out much different for me.

        But could’ve, should’ve, would’ve… it’s all water under the bridge now.

      2. Rich I know you believed them and I am so sorry…….it’s so sad……….no one deserves that type of emotional and spiritaul abuse least of all an innocent child

    2. I have felt the same repulsion with “innocent” priests. They all went to confession with each other. There is probably not a priest out there, who hasn’t heard about child rape, molestation or sodomy in another priest’s confessions, and yet, due to the “inviolability” of the confessional, they had the convenient excuse not to “out” their criminal friends! In one of the parishes, where I grew up, it was later discovered that our pastor had quite a career in seducing young, Hispanic teenager girls. At the same time his assistant pastor was raping and molesting young boys. It doesn’t take a leap of faith or a leap of insight to realize that it was a situation of “I’ll give you absolution, if you give me absolution!” Once most men become a priest, they “Buy into” the institution and “the brotherhood of the priesthood.” To break any of the taboos, like speaking out against a brother Pedophile, would be suicidal for their careers, and they knew it and acted accordingly (not to be confused with accordionly!)

  9. I’ve been getting a lot of “thumbs down” lately. I’m just curious if the people who do that disagree with me or you just like giving me a thumbs down for fun? If you disagree with me why not comment why? I just get the thumbs down with no particular reason. I’m open to your opinions.

    I just write how I feel or what I’ve been through. Maybe you could enlighten me about what I may have written that you disagree with?

    Just a thought.

    1. Hi: I was responding to your post about “innocent” priests, and it didn’t end up where I thought it would. I give you a thumbs up! Jeannie

  10. Susan, don’t whitewash your feelings. I’m sure this is one of the reasons Catholics don’t make a stand.
    As a convert, I make no excuse for anyone of them when truth has been established.
    I’ve seen cases when faithful have been held to ransom on some misgiving, to bring them to heel, when all along there have been skeletons in their own cupboard coming to light years later and the lives of others have been ruined by their actions past and present.
    Offer what you have doubts about for those who are silent, and unable speak up for themselves, living or dead.

  11. Susan, I would like to clarify one point that you may have made in your lead: “A priest’s homosexuality…” I believe that a priest’s being homosexual does NOT mean that that priest is not being true to the rule of celebacy any more than being homosexual means that a priest is a child rapist. Please make that distinction…

    Being a liar, a cheat, a rapist, and a soul murderer has nothing to do with sexual orientation, anymore than it is synonomous with being a Catholic priest.

    1. However, Elizabeth, as a homo myself I must say there is quite the hypicrosy that the Catholic Church speaks out against homosexuality when it’s estimated that more than half of its priests are homos too.

      By the way, you can blame most child sexual abuse on heterosexual married men, or the child’s own biological father.

      1. Ben Gresham, from the film Ben, wrote a beautifully expressed comment on Eureka Street, in respones to gay and lesbians within the church. Abreviated, he wrote: ‘I didn’t find fulfillment in my homosexuality, I found fulfillment in living an honest life with integrity and faith as a gay man.
        My sexual orientation is just another part of me.
        That really moved me, and I hope you take it in the same spirit if finding it offensive.
        The tag is Gay Christian’s church trauma.

    2. Elizabeth: I respectfully disagree with part of your statement! If a priest has taken a vow of celibacy, he can not participate in homosexual sex, or any kind of sex for that matter, without breaking his vow of celibacy! But, we probably agree on the next point: Pedophiles can be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transsexual, asexual, or polysexual (if that’s a word). From my perspective, one’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter in cases of child or teen pedophilia. All of them are scumbags.

      1. Wow Jeannie! I was thinking I was starting to like you with another comment you made earlier, but now I’m beginning to believe you and I could just be great friends! By the way, I think “polysexual” might be a word indeed; poly meaning “plastic?”

      2. Dear Jeannie, Just because a person is homosexual, does not mean that he or she is sexually active. A homosexual person can be just a celebate as a heterosexual person. Sexual orientation does not affect a person’s ability to follow the rule of celebacy.

        Please try to think of persons who are not heterosexual in the same respectful way that you think of persons who are heterosexual.

    3. Elizabeth, Thank you. I do need to clarify that point. I meant that some people might regard that as the issue. For me, the harming of others is the issue.

      1. Thanks to all who did not laugh at my incorrect spelling of the word celibate!!

      2. Susan, I am replying to Elizabeth T in the post right above yours, as there wasn’t a “reply” button there! I realize that sexual orientation doesn’t affect one’s ability to be celibate, I honestly don’t know how you got that out of what I had written. I didn’t mean any disrespect. There are many of us, “Out there,” who are too old to remember “How to ride a bicycle,” much less how to have sex! I think there are millions of adults of EVERY sexual orientation that are celibate. Some out of choice. Others, out of necessity!

  12. Susan…take care of YOU…. do something good for yourself… !

    It is really hard, let’s hope the full truth is exposed so that kids will be safer.

    My brother and several of my relatives were sexually abused by our parish priest in southeastern Ohio.. This same priest married me.. and baptized most of my siblings.. I am the oldest of 11..
    The part that hurts me the most is:.. he also did the last rights for my Grandma… she was so special to me.. she died of cancer for over a year.. that was back in the late 50’s, when folks did not tell the cancer person, that they had cancer.. But she knew.. and I keep thinking about the powerful all holy beloved priest who spent the last minutes with my precious grandma…

    hang in there.. and get some rest..ok? Judy

    1. That really sucks, Judy. I have some friends who were so controlled by their abusive priest that not only did the priest rape them as kids, but also married my friends and their wives, baptized their children, and remained “friends” with them and their families until they finally snapped out of it and realized what was going on.

      I’m very thankful that none of their abusers abused their kids too, or at least we don’t believe so and let’s hope not.

      Just shows how much control and power these guys are able to get on us when they start screwing up our brains as kids.

      1. victims4justice, you are so right.. It is amazing the power and control they have over people.. esp. adults..

        My own mother could not allow herself to believe her own son… she could not allow herself to believe that everything she lived for.. ( the catholic church ) and what this priest preached… would have been for nothing.. I think she would have felt her whole life was lived wrong… plus she was very afraid she would go to hell..

        I have a really hard time understanding the mindset.. I am a mother of 3 really neat kids.. and grandmother of 3 really neat grandkids… and now I am a great grandmother to 4 month old Tristan… and when I look as his pics… I just keep thinking, “if anyone harms him, I will have their heads”….

        Sometimes it is overwhelming… but good to share our thoughts and feelings…tks, Judy

      2. Rich and Judy, I generalize here but… I think it takes too much humility for old-school, Baltimore catechism Catholics like our mothers, to ever face the painful truth about their clergy. It is a lack of humility, of honesty… They are too prideful to admit they were vulnerable enough to be duped as they were. The other factor is fear of the unknown –they can’t imagine what lies on the other side of the realization that they were lied to by their men of God.

        My own dear mother (83) was raised by post-Victorian era parents…stern, strict, religious, unyielding… One simply did not EVER change one’s direction in life… Social circles, neighborhoods, church matters, politics –everything had to remain constant and unchanging (no matter who got hurt)– these people do not know how to change courses when circumstances warrant it… — They’re “Ever Ready Bunnies” when it comes to overlooking the obvious and paying homage and obeying the clergy and the Vatican.

    2. I have read many of your “Comments” on other sites, and I’ve always been impressed with the time and energy that you have put into this battle. Many times, I’ve personally wanted to just “Give Up!” as I realize the Church isn’t going to change in my lifetime, the next millennia or until Christ’s return…. but then it’ll be too late! Then, like the prophet Jeremiah, something starts “to burn in my heart,” and I have the energy to get in the fight again. I encourage you to keep in the fight, because you are making a difference. Jeannie

    1. By you and so many other brave victims for speaking up and exposing the truth…. my hope is prevention… and that he will be safe…!!!!
      It is too late, after it happens, that is why this Philly hierarchy priest abuse trial is sooooooooooooo important…

      to get this abuse stopped.. no matter if those responsible have to sit in a jail cell for a long time.. It is about prevention..!!! tks, and hugs, Judy

  13. Susan, I love what you wrote. I am struck by the relationship between sickness and sin.

    For 100+ years, virtually all psychological research focused on the study of men and boys; the belief was the findings would be applicable to all human beings. The ideal for growth was developing a separate self, one who could stand on his own feet. However, when psychologists studied the development of girls and women they came to different conclusions about what leads to health and what leads to sickness. They found that relationship is the central need for girls and women and that sickness has its roots in a lack of connections. So, maybe they provided the other half of the story. We humans need to be able to maintain our separateness AND enter into relationship with others.

    When I read the stories of pedophile priests, I must conclude they were very sick people. They represent selfishness in the extreme. While this should not keep them out of prison, it is probably the case they did not experience love and were incapable of giving it. The narcissistic obsession led them to treat children as things, objects who existed only for their use.

    When I read your piece, I was also struck by the fact that selfishness is the root of all sin. If love is the great commandment, treating the Other as an “it” is the greatest failure to love.

    Jesus called us to radical love. There is no greater image for this than the shepherd leaving the 99 to find the 1 who was lost. How impractical and foolish! Yet, when a child was abused by one of the leaders in the flock, the wounded lamb was left by the side of the road, alone. The shepherds feared that the 99 would lose faith in the authority and power of leaders.

    Scandal, the great theme in Church abuse documents, is all about concern for self. Bishops scurried to swear the victims to silence lest the image of priest and church be sullied, and authority undermined as a result. They were concerned about looking good, keeping up appearances.

    The individual pedophile priests were sick, very badly damaged human beings. While they must be held accountable, I view their crimes originating in the trauma they must have suffered as children.

    The uniform response of the bishops represents an institutional or collective sinfulness/sickness. In all of the documentation on the sex/power abuse crisis in the Church, among the bishops and other managers, arguably more healthy than pedophiles, there are almost no stories of love. The cover-up was designed to protect the belief in the priest as “alter Christus” and thus preserve the power of the institution.

    Few would mistake any of these bishops as another Christ. The system they live in, while not an excuse, breeds narcissism. They are incapable of changing it. It is the Church, the people of God, who must end the monarchy and its medieval trappings, including princes with 60 foot watered-silk red trains (see ) where Ratzinger’s reform of the reform brings back the regal $30,000 outfit (see )

    1. Excellent information Martin! hopefully, the sun is setting on the day of the “alter christus”.
      Loved the fashion show at the end! –There’s something KKKish about the way those robes appear now to me. If nothing else changes in the RCC… THOSE OUTFITS HAVE GOT TO GO!! lol!

    2. Martin,
      While I did not get a chance to read the articles you cited. You expressed so well many of the thoughts I have been thinking. I noticed that a few of the priests were sexually abused one by his own father . A few had mental illness Manic depression, addictions etc.All of the above do not give predators a free pass to abuse but it does show how these background factors etc.may contribute to the men they became. They do need to be tougher on screening new seminarians but also earlier intervention and removal needs to be the case. Yes it is all about selfishness.If they thought about the victims welfare they could not do what they do……both the bishops and the predators…….

      1. Beth, thanks for your thoughts; to me, this makes the bishops even more culpable…

    3. Martin: I love your “Capa Magna” pics of the sixty foot long “red trains!” I’ll need to use them in some of my blogs. I invite you over to my blog because it’s the kind of satire that I think you might enjoy. Many times I’ve written about “bishops in brocade” Gucci shoes and high-hatted miters! One of my latest blogs was “St. Izzy de Seville, the Patron Saint of the Internet.” I usually manage to tie everything back to the Priest Pedophilia Scandal and a corrupt Hierarchy.

  14. It’s all window dressing. Nothing is going to change. The root cause of all this dysfunction is mandated celibacy which continues to hold the clerical model and lifestyle in place. And why? Mandated celibacy, not freely chosen celibacy, produces extreme lonliness which in time leads to alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. Until that changes, just look for more of the same old same old….

  15. What does everyone think about the 5 priests who were found NOT SUITABLE to minister and the 3 priests who will return to ministry?

  16. One overlooked piece of data is the fact that loneliness leads many priests to act out. There is a quantitative study proving it; namely, The Bingo Report by Louise Haggett, in 2005. The bishops know that loneliness is a contributing factor among others leading to sexual abuse, alcoholism, financial misdeeds, but they have chosen to ignore it. You can trace the loneliness back to mandatory celibacy, kept in place by the clerical culture, which keeps the bishops in control. Until this issue is addressed, there will be no real reform and you can expect to see an ongoing saga of acting out.

    1. John, of course priests are lonely!! (with the exception of the many who are secretly in relationships)
      Any responsible, intelligent adult understands that a healthy young man agreeing to enter a lifestyle built on loneliness (and celibacy??!!) is a terrible idea….and one which attracts troubled, conflicted young men. It can’t and shouldn’t be done…and everyone with any sense knows it. When does this foolishness ever end?

      The RCC is too arrogant to acknowledge that the Protestants got it right by allowing ministers to be normal men and women with normal human needs. I agree, nothing’s going to change.

    2. John M,

      Thanks for this information. I just ordered a used copy and look forward to reading it.


    3. I know for sure the Franciscan Order had their fair share.
      One Australian friar, a missionary for many years having a nervous breakdown, when forced to give up a relationship, only to seek further avenues to fill his need of the intimacy of family life.
      He entered the seminary at junior level with the highest of asperations.
      If only his mother had been permitted to share his doubts and in latter years, if still living, the beautiful child he brought into the world.

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