CBS National Coverage of Press Conference


Click here to view CBS National coverage of yesterday’s press conference regarding the five priests who were removed from ministry and the three who will be returning. Susan Matthews of Catholics4Change.com was interviewed.

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102 Responses to “CBS National Coverage of Press Conference”

  1. Susan-I’m glad you were able to attend the press conference. Did anyone ask what would happen to the priests who were deemed unfit for ministry if they chose to leave the priesthood? This seems to be the crux of the problem. When we read about Cudemo, Gana, Sicoli, and others who are now living outside of church supervision in places such as Orlando and Sea Isle how can AB Chaput say the diocese wants to protect children. Does he mean only children inside a church building?

    I am assuming these priests who are unfit for ministry have cases that cannot be prosecuted under the current SOL. Otherwise shouldn’t they have been handed over to the police? And further-doesn’t this just emphasize the need to overturn the SOLs? Was any member of the press allowed to ask questions re. the SOLs?

    Thanks again Susan for all you are doing.

    • Theresa, That’s exactly what I asked. Archbishop Chaput said he felt a responsibility to monitor them. But when I asked how he planned to monitor them it became clear that real monitoring didn’t seem feasible. Phone call check ins don’t cut it when protecting children. However, legally there isn’t much that Archbishop Chaput can do about that. If his predecessors hadn’t let the clock run out on civil charges, we’d all be in a better place. Sadly, Archbishop Chaput doesn’t see the many benefits to the removal of the statute of limitations in regard to civil law. One of them would be the public naming of these men.

      I made sure I mentioned this to FOX, CBS local and national, CNN and anyone who would listen.

      • Susan, I commend you for the outstanding job you have done with the recent interviews. As always, I am impressed with your composure and the clarity of your thoughts. Perhaps you could give lessons to the AD speech writers?

        I was not surprised at all by the announcement on Friday. So little info, dragging this horrid ordeal out even longer. I do want thorough investigations, but there is such a thing as being timely! Aside from timeliness, those doing the investigations only have the material they are given, so we’ll never know the completeness. Investigations in the public sector would never go on this long.

        Along the lines of monitoring those released from the priesthood, I remember reading that a diocese was supposed to follow them. The individuals were supposed to report in to the local diocese when they moved. I’ve been trying to track down where I read this… I think it was somewhere around the time of the first Grand Jury report. Like you said, Susan, this is a difficult thing to realistically monitor, esp when there are no civil charges.

        Does anyone else remember hearing about this monitoring?

        • Archbishop Chaput did mention calling in during his answer to me. But what happens if the individual doesn’t call in? These are people who didn’t follow the rules in the first place. I’m not blaming Archbishop Chaput for what happened before his coming to Philadelphia, but I’d like him to admit that removing SOL could change this for the future.

      • Susan, the AD could PAY for chaperones to accompany these priests when they are on “excursions”.

      • Susan, I am referring to priests who are in Prayer and Penance, when I suggest the PAID chaperoning. When I read the AD materials for their care, there seemed to be a ‘disconnect’ where these P and P priests could check out of the facility on their own, and write up some kind of a report, that was ‘overseen’ by staff.

      • Susan, this is a quote from the St John Vianney description of the program for P and P priests.

        “The residents of the Annex must report where they are going, how long they will be there, and who they will be with. They must record all their activity weekly. A social work coordinator reviews their schedule and checks up on them. They must account for all time away from the Annex.”

      • Joan, I like the idea of chaperones for those who go into the pp program. But I’m even more concerned about the priests who will be laicized.

      • Can anyone make any sense of this? To me it reads that they move among the community freely but that staff knows their location because the priest tells them . Is this the way others interpret or am I missing something. If priests are simply telling the staff where they will be….hmm..I did the same thing with my parents when I was a teenager..and well..anyone who was once a teenager or raised a teenager knows how well that works.
        http://archphila.org/HHHIC/doc/Prayer%20and%20Penance%20Program_May%202012.pdf

      • Kathy, from your citation….once they ‘swipe’ their card……

        “The facility at which the program participants live is equipped with aswipe card system and video monitoring system to assist staff in monitoring program participants, not only when they are on site but also when they are enter or leave the facility.”

        I took my quote off a much more extensive description of the facility…could get the citation if you wish.

      • So they are monitored at the facility,swiping their card coming and going…but when off site?? Why even bother videoing them swiping cards if they are gone from the facility for hours unattended? Am I missing something?

      • Kathy, here is the citation describing the P and P program.

        http://archphila.org/protection/DocArchive/CS&T/protecting.htm

      • It leaves so much unexplained. For instance if a priest will be leaving for the day to spend time with family..the family is called to verify this? They verify the exact amount of time spent with them? Are the priests in this program allowed to have their own private vehicles? to transport themselves back and forth when they are off site?

      • survivor's wife Reply May 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        “responsibility to monitor” …anyone can read the Dallas Charter, the review board findings, the Grand Jury reports, and then listen to Chaput’s ditty on Friday to know this is an empty comment.

        There are no consequences for an errant priest, just like there aren’t consequences for an errant bishop, archbishop or cardinal. I laughed out loud when Chaput said something along the lines of being the bishop and his priests “obey” him. Did anyone notice Farrell squirm as he said it? I said it to my monitor, “Really? They obey you? Well, then tell them to quit raping kids and lying about it!!!” He control them…unless they are perverted and abusive to children and adults…and then, in that case, he covers for them.

        I don’t know that I have any more fight in me to beat the same drum. The very system monitoring the abusers is inept and corrupt. They are also taking advice from AD-paid St. John Vianney therapists? Why would they follow the suggestions from the same entity that told the AD some unfit priests were fit for ministry? What therapist invites a pedophile priest to their HOME and then has to call the AD to tell them, “oops, I shouldn’t have done this, but I had Fr. over for dinner and he made inappropriate comments and advances toward my daughters.” No boundaries and warped!

        I think the laity should be just as worried about prayer and penance priests as those being laicized.

        Just the opposite, Susan. Chaput sees all the benefits he needs by blocking the SOL reform. The AD will ALWAYS fight the SOL because they know it means money! They will sacrifice the children to protect the wallet. And people keep thinking, “If we just make them aware enough, they will do the right thing.” They have not. They will not. They KNEW and they KNOW. They CHOSE and they CHOOSE this. It’s so hard for Catholics just coming to grips with this to understand how contrived, calculated, and orchestrated this has been all along. Susan, you make them nervous.

        The hierarchy (and their spokespersons) behave as though they are just learning. Let’s all remind ourselves that the MOST informed people all along have been the hierarchy. (After the abusers and victims) They knew of the abusive priests (otherwise they wouldn’t have hidden them), they knew of the victims all along(look at their priest notes in the secret files), they knew families were hurting (it’s why they couldn’t assign pedophiles in the same parishes or parishes in close proximity). I don’t know who I am more disgusted with at this point…the hierarchy or some of the laity that are giving the hierarchy some time to “get it right?” My patience is gone, their lip-service is worthless, their actions futile. How can they be the MOST informed for the LONGEST time and be the LEAST effective?

        “Unsuitable for ministry”…I don’t need a review board to tell me the Pope on down should be on that list!

        Susan, your comments and questions were excellent!

      • survivor's wife Reply May 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        Kathy,
        You aren’t missing anything. If an abuser wants to abuse, the system in place can be worked around to perpetrate. This is not a “policed” system. It’s a false sense of security and a way for the AD to say they have a system in place the “works.” That’s a heck of a risk to take when it’s our kids on the line.

        It all comes back to trust. Do you trust the RCC to handle the sexual abuse of children seriously? Do you trust that the RCC will err on the side of children over the privacy of priests? Do you trust the RCC to admit they’ve done something wrong if this system isn’t working?

      • survivor’s wife,

        I agree with you.

        What you say, however, shatters the hopes that the hierarchy’s modus operandi can be changed, that the Church can be repaired, and that trust can be restored.

        Many of the faithful refuse to accept what you say, believing that they can eventually and ultimately influence the hierarchy to accomplish reform. The faithful will rationally go about wrestling the hierarchy into a healthy and holy condition, the way 21st century people would wrestle an unconscionable, secular institution into a similar kind of condition. But it won’t work.

        The hierarchy is a religious cult.

        It would be wiser for the faithful to arm themselves with the plethora of recent and substantive knowledge on cults and cult-think. Once they have, they will have no interest whatsoever in wrestling with the hierarchy, rather, their only rational, 21st century interest will be to flat out disengage with it.

        (I know it’s shocking to hear the hierarchy referred to as a cult. It is, however.)

      • Dr. NInes said these priests at prayer and penance were accompanied by staff. Ask anyone that was at the meeting.

      • Kathy…I think your PAnd P facility is a second one, not St John Vianney?……from your citation…….A: The Prayer and Penance Program is located in Darby, Delaware County, Pa. It is on the campus of Villa
        Saint Joseph, a home for retired priests.

        Am a bit confused…..but happy to hear Beth’s report that Dr Nines said P and P folks were chaperoned…..

      • I didn’t get a chance to ask when did that policy start as most people in the meeeting seemed to think that had not been the case. Maybe Vicky could shed more light as she asked the question of Dr. Nines.

      • Beth,
        At the OMC meeting, Dr. Nines responded “they are chaperoned” when Vicky asked about how folks at St. John Vianney center were monitored when they left the facility. When Vicky asked further “chaperoned by whom?” Dr. Nines responded, “staff”.
        At no time during the public Q & A was there a question posed to Dr. Nines about the priests specifically in the prayer and penance program. Though on the same grounds, the prayer and penance program is separate from the St. John Vianney Treatment Center.
        I have been chewing on this since the meeting when Dr. Nines’ answer did not jive with what had been revealed to me by folks at the Catholic Accountability Project over the last year–that the P&P priests are not supervised when they are off grounds. I really think Dr. Nines’ answer was in direct response to what he was specifically asked about the supervision of the folks in the St. John Vianney Center. I do not think his response was about the priests in the prayer and penance program.

      • Clarification of typo in my previous post: SORRY!
        Though they are often misunderstood as being on the same grounds, the prayer and penance program is separate from the St. John Vianney Treatment Center.

      • Ok MIchele I thought it was for all programs. I came in alittle late though to the meeting I believe you are right. I thought P and P was at Villa Joe in Darby?

      • Susan,
        I wanted to make C4C readers aware of something found on the AD website via the link to the “Honesty, Healing, Hope in Christ” link.

        http://archphila.org/HHHIC/doc/Prayer%20and%20Penance%20Program_May%202012.pdf

        At the link posted, one can find a Q & A about the Prayer and Penance program.
        I found the answer to the following question most alarming. It seems like the answer is supposed to make us feel better about the lax supervision regulations because those in the P&P program are not considered high risk re-offenders,. All I thought when I read this was “oh, so the Church just tosses the real sickos, the ones considered high level for re-offending, back into the general population.”

        Q: Are all priests with substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor admitted to the Prayer and Penance Program?
        A: As stated above all priests are required to submit to a sex offender assessment conducted by the Joseph J. Peters Institute prior to their admission to the program. If the sex offender assessment indicates a high level of risk the priest is not admitted to the Prayer and Penance program.

      • Does anyone know if the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales has a similar “prayer and penance” program at their retirement facility in Childs, MD? It seems that is where the pervert OSFS priests and brothers are sent.

      • Susan,

        I don’t think it’s fair to state that the previous bishops ‘let the clock run out on civil charges’. The victims themselves (or their parents) ALWAYS had the opportunity to contact their respective police departments just after the actual incidents took place.

        • Joe B. That’s what I thought a year ago. I’ve had the opportunity to personally review evidence admitted to the current trial – official archdiocesan memos between Msgr. Lynn, Bevilacqua and others. There were notations regarding the length of time left before statutes would run out on specific victims who had come forward. Bevilacqua specifically sought to keep evidence out of the DA’s hands. These victims went to their Church believing that their leadership would act in good faith and remove these men from ministry. Some of these victims wanted to maintain their privacy. Some of them didn’t tell their parents. Imagine their shame (although the shame was entirely with the offender). They were not seeking financial awards. They were seeking to protect other children. Had I been a victim, I would have trusted them, too. Sometimes traumatized people don’t make the best decisions for themselves. It was up to these men of God to do the right thing. They didn’t. Today, I know of current victims who won’t come forward. They are not emotionally ready to deal with it. It’s frustrating to me, but I was never raped.

    • I asked this question on another ‘thread’…but thought I would repeat it here:

       
      Susan or Kathy….perhaps you could help me with the ‘numbers’.

      The 2011 Grand Jury report over a year ago, identified, I think 41 priests that were a serious concern to the Grand Jury.

      That 41 somehow became 37. What happened to those 4?

      Of that 37, 21 to 26? were ‘suspended’.

      Apparently, several more priests were added to the ‘suspended’ category and one has died. Perhaps in the ‘suspended’ category those currently on trial are noted? I am not sure, are they?

      There apparently were religious order priests named by the GJ and one such priest is a defendant in a future trial. I believe the Archdiocese deals only with their own priests…so how many religious order priests were part of the ’41′…and who is dealing with them?

      Of the remaining ? 26 ?, yesterday 3 were restored to ministry, 5 were designated as unfit for ministry and the balance were/are still being ajudicated.

      It’s been well over a year, and 3 of the original 41 have beeexonerated. 5 have been ‘removed from ministry’.

      THis is NOT a ‘track record’ to be proud of.

      • Susan – as always, a wonderful job! The victims could not ask for a better advocate. You are admired by many. God Bless!

      • Joan, many members of the press asked me for clarification on the numbers as well. I’ll try to pin this down. But either way, you’re correct. There is nothing here to be proud of.

      • Sadly, while in Denver, Chaput made it his mission to kill legislation extendng SOL. From Philadelphia Weekly article, dated Feb. 8, 2012:

        “The debacle in Denver is well-documented.”
        “Denver Bishop Charles J Chaput succeeded in defeating legislative reform in Colorado through shameless (and expensive) antics,” wrote Marci Hamilton in Justice Denied, a primer on statute of limitation reform, years before knowing Chaput would be cherry-picked to deal with the crisis in Philadelphia. Hamilton, who consulted on the 2005 Grand Jury report, called what went down in Denver one of the “bloodiest battles” in SOL reform yet.

        Read more: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/cover-story/138884039.html?page=4&comments=1&showAll=#ixzz1u6E1V8sk

      • Joan, I’ve been trying to do the math, too. The numbers have been everywhere, starting with 41 to 37 to 21, 22, 29….

      • NCR had a story sometime ago about Fr Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paraclete in 1947, warning bishops about cases of sex-abuse.
        Nothings changed.
        It’s still on line much to my suprise: Tom Roberts Bishops warned of abusive priests May 30th.
        Lot’s of links to original documents of that time.

  2. Excellent Interview Susan! Way To Go!

    I hope that these trials encourage more victims, witnesses, whistle-blowers and supporters to come forward. There are vivid similarities between Cameron’s Titanic and the RCC Institution

    … the sheer size; the enormous wealth; the pomp and show; the class-distinction; the arrogance, entitlement, and greed; the need to protect reputation at all cost; the abuse of power; the privileges by the ruling-class; the lack of empathy and emotional-connection; the godliness; the ship’s invincibility; the designer and builder’s infallibility; the captain’s complacency; the fatal errors; no second chances. Maybe history will need to repeat itself in another gigantic sinking. I believe the victims.

  3. But I pray-and I do believe-that the lessons of the last year have made our Church HUMBLER (my caps), wiser, and a more vigilant guardian of our people’s safety. That is our commitment today, tomorrow, and permanently.

    Given the context of this last line of Archbishop Chaput’s presentation at the press conference, I believe it is correct to conclude that “our church” refers to the leadership and administration of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But to use the word “humbler” when describing the conduct and decision-making of archdiocesan leadership here in Philadelphia is to take the level of hypocrisy and disingenuousness to a tier unseen so far in this despicable horror of clergy abuse and coverup.

    I challenge anyone here in Philadelphia to provide an instance, example, situation or evidence of conduct by those in leadership and management in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that substantiates or portrays a “humbler” conduct, understanding or decision-making on the part of Church leaders with respect to the clergy abuse crisis.

    • skiadvocat stated, “I believe it is correct to conclude that “our church” refers to the leadership and administration of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

      I believe that as well.

      It’s clear that the prelates are not going to humble themselves. It’s up to the laity to be the ones to humble them; yes Your Eminence, yes Your Excellency. SAY NO to all such deference!

      STOP kissing their rings! STOP standing in awe of magical hats!

      As 21st century educated Catholics, we will defer only to Jesus Christ.

      • haditCatholic stated, “The hierarchy is a religious cult.” Her statement is true.

        These are not holy men of God; they are nothing more that “corporate climbers.”

        Each time there is an upcoming announcement to be made by the AD, or the Vatican, our hopes are raised; and each time it is actually made, we are disappointed. It’s the same old company line. At some point one has to accept that there will never voluntary be a substantive change. The only solution is to keep pounding away at them in the legal system.

        I want to see more of these creeps in prison.

        At some point each individual has to decide either to remain under the control of a hierarchical cult, or to let go. Many of us have tried long and hard to change them, but it’s not going to happen.

  4. Adding to my previous comments on Cameron’s ‘Titanic.’

    The punitive ways used in 1912 to get people to toe the line are now replaced with the multidisciplinary team of lawyers, insurance coverage, investigators, lobbyists, politicians, PR firms, media outlets, specialists, expert-witnesses; institution-run victim-assistance, institution-run perpetrator-treatment, institution-run self-policing; fear-based mob-mentality; population-control spiritual-aids (pray, pay, obey, love, forgive, be humble, peaceful etc.), the laity’s obedience (as in Titanic’s personal valet ‘Love Joy’).

    the rescue-attempts … too little, too late.

    the survivors’ lives – waiting to live … waiting to die … waiting for an absolution that never came.

    I BELIEVE THE VICTIMS

  5. Just to clarify “the survivors’ lives – waiting to live … waiting to die … waiting for an absolution that never came.”

    By the above-sentence, I mean the survivors’ of the sinking ship, who were protected in boats (many of them half-full). Of the 20 boats, only 1 returned, but it was ‘too little, too late.’

    I hope more people speak-up from among the victims, witnesses, whistle-blowers, supporters, and penitent perpetrators, so that there is justice and accountability in relation to the protection of children. This is a time-sensitive issue and I hope the peoples’ responses are not ‘too little, too late. I believe the victims.

    • Many of us have and are speaking up and out. We just need people to listen to us and our stories. We need the people who can make a difference to help fight out battle with us.

      More victims will come forward and speak up when the time is right for them. I try to use my voice to inspire theirs. Regardless of how many more unfortunates come forward today and tomorrow, we have enough people to change the current state of society, religion, and government. We just need those people to listen to us.

      We want to speak and we want to be heard!

  6. Susan, you go girl. Everything you say is based on rationality, safety and CHristian principles of ” protecting and helping those that are weaker”. Chaput uses that ” Soft, authoritative homily voice” but we arent going to be manipulated. How long does it take to figure this out.?
    And yet again, dont decide what is best for the victims, name the names, its all about protection of victims. Thaks Susan and Kathy

    • nogunspls, I agree. Hopefully more people will open their eyes and take notice to what is really happening. The hierarchy is trying to manipulate the people. They all seem to work from the same script, from one diocese to another, from the top down. I refuse to drink the Kool-aid.

  7. To V4J:

    You do more than your fair-share to help protect children. In my experience, most parishioners do not want to discuss this topic, because the priests are not talking about it. Some may have been told that it is anti-catholic propaganda… that it is from the anti-Christ. I just hope that more witnesses, whistle-blowers, silent supporters, and penitent perpetrators come forward for the sake of justice. Someone once told that he was afraid of going to hell if he spoke-up to his Church. Others are afraid of going to hell if they don’t speak-up. Is this a question of ‘everyone to his own’ or is this a moral, ethical, and criminal issue? I believe that Primacy of Conscience and the Truth will set us free. I know that there are many chains that bind us (financial, social, spiritual etc.) but if fear is the only chain enslaving us, perhaps Shakespeare says it all in Julius Caesar (II, ii, 32-37)

    “Cowards die many times before their deaths,
    The valiant never taste of death but once.”

    The main charge against Father Brennan is the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Are there others who have been harmed by this priest? If so, why aren’t they speaking-up? There’s Power In Numbers! How often have we heard this classical response to our individual grievances “you are the only one … there are no other complaints”. Archbishop Charles Chaput recently announced that of the five priests determined “unfit for ministry”, only one, Fr. John Reardon, was accused of sexually abusing a minor. Fr. Daniel Hoy, alleged to have sexually abused a minor, died July 25 before the investigation concluded. The other names will come trickling in, while some other major crisis will attract the attention of the media and the people, and, once again, the issue will be swept under the rug… no resolution.

    I believe the victims.

  8. had it, I was searching for the video clip of Rigali from last year where he states that there are no priests in minisrtry with credible allegations. I believe that was stated in both a written comminication and a video -maybe I am wrong about the video as I could not locate it…but I did find this. I remember watching it last year right after the GJ report and sitting in front of my computer watching,first furious and then I just had to laugh. that this communication would actually be taken serious,telling me how I might feel,what my reaction might be,that a few days after yet another GJ report of children being harmed it was a time for my faith to be renewed. I have to say I personally do not know any area catholics that can get past the first few sentences of these type of communications without hitting the “off” switch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqLMosgFN3c.

    • Kathy I apologize for the length of this Commonweal citation, but it addresses the Rigali issue, the ‘credible’ issue and the no ‘known’ abusers noted by the Grand Jury in 2011….

      These events certainly are embarrassing for Rigali. But I think it’s important to note that these suspensions, and the tacit admission that the archdiocese has been remiss, do not actually contradict Rigali’s “initial assurances.” That’s because Rigali’s words in his brief February 10 statement were very carefully chosen so as not to answer the actual claims of the report. Here’s what the report alleged:

      Most disheartening to the grand jury was what we learned about the current practice toward accused abusers in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. We would have assumed, by the year 2011, after all the revelations both here and around the world, that the church would not risk its youth by leaving them in the presence of priests subject to substantial evidence of abuse. That is not the case.

      In fact, we discovered that there have been at least 37 such priests who have been kept in assignments that expose them to children. Ten of these priests have been in place since before 2005 – over six years ago. We understand that accusations are not proof; but we just cannot understand the Archdiocese’s apparent absence of any sense of urgency.

      On the other hand, in cases where the Archdiocese’s review board has made a determination, the results have often been even worse than no decision at all. The board takes upon itself the task of deciding whether it finds “credible” the abuse victims who dare come forward. It is the board, though, that strikes us as incredible.

      The report goes on to detail a few of these cases, showing that the evidence offered to the archdiocese and judged not credible was, in the opinion of the grand jury, “substantial” enough to warrant follow-up. They conclude that, in these 37 cases, the archdiocese had received accusations and failed to take them seriously enough.

      Cardinal Rigali’s brief February 10 “response” to the grand jury report (.pdf here) did not actually respond to this claim. He repeated it, but then — while claiming to “address” it — answered a different question instead:

      There is one assertion in the report that must be addressed immediately. The report states that there remain in ministry archdiocesan priests who have credible allegations of abuse against them. I assure all the faithful that there are no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.

      I don’t think the shift from “credible” to “admitted or established” is an accident. If Rigali had said “credible” in the second case, he would have been lying — or, at best, speaking with a confidence he could not honestly claim. But he didn’t. What he said instead was a variation on “We do not have any priests in service who we know for certain have abused children.” Fine. (One would like to think that this could go without saying.) But it says nothing about whether the archdiocese has in fact been negligent in evaluating the credibility of allegations against its priests. No “admitted or established” abusers in ministry is a good start, but — as the archdiocese’s internal investigation evidently concluded — it’s not the same thing as prioritizing children’s safety above all else. Rigali knew that; six days later he said this: “The Grand Jury Report makes clear that for as much as the Archdiocese has done to address child sexual abuse, there is still much to do.” And they’re getting on with it, which is good news. But it doesn’t alter the fact that the archdiocese’s first response to the report was not an actual denial,but a non-denial denial. A bad move when you’re out to win back credibility. If Rigali couldn’t say “The allegations of this report are untrue” — and we know now that he couldn’t — he shouldn’t have tried to make it sound like he could. That he did is anything but reassuring.

    • Kathy, can’t speak for a U Tube piece, but, again from the Commonweal article recently cited, Cardinal Rigali is quoted:

      “The report goes on to detail a few of these cases, showing that the evidence offered to the archdiocese and judged not credible was, in the opinion of the grand jury, “substantial” enough to warrant follow-up. They conclude that, in these 37 cases, the archdiocese had received accusations and failed to take them seriously enough.

      Cardinal Rigali’s brief February 10 “response” to the grand jury report (.pdf here) did not actually respond to this claim. He repeated it, but then — while claiming to “address” it — answered a different question instead:

      There is one assertion in the report that must be addressed immediately. The report states that there remain in ministry archdiocesan priests who have credible allegations of abuse against them. I assure all the faithful that there are no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.”

      I suggest reading the entire article, rather than my ‘excerpts’

      http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=12396

      • Joan, you asked me recently as to what the specific charges are against Brennan. He is charged with attempted rape,child endangerment and conspriracy.

  9. survivor's wife Reply May 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Kathy,
    Then to follow up the Rigali message, you can listen to Chaput say, essentially, the same thing. I found his words right around the 2:00-2:20 mark especially sincere.

    Rigali and Chaput…rinse and repeat…just change the names to protect the dysfuntional.

    • survivor's wife Reply May 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      For those who didn’t get to see the press conference. This is Gina Maisto Smith of the Philadelphia AD review board. There is nothing “independent” about the process when you listen to her lead in. I think we all know where the loyalties are, don’t we?

      • SW,

        I was offended by Gina Smith, especially at the end when she thanked her family and her collegues. I’m thinking, “did this woman just win some kind of award?” Yeah, and Oscar probably, but that wasn’t even a good acting job on her part.

        I wonder how many times in a year the Catholic Church uses the word “independent?” It’s not independent if your own organization hires the people responsible for the investigation. Nobody ever came to me and asked who I would like to see on the board.

        Then I was really upset with the overall tone of everyone involved. Everyone was so soft spoken. You would be able to hear my OUTRAGE if I was standing on that podium, because I wouldn’t be speaking, I’d be hollaring!

        I thought well before the press conference that the church will protect itself and it did exactly that. Over 100 priests have been identified in GJR’s since 2005. Where are they now? What is their status?

        This is acceptable for some people? This is like telling people there’s a fire but not telling them where it is.

        Boundary issues? It’s rape. I don’t care if it’s an adult touching a child inappropriately, or oral, vaginal, anal penetration. It’s all RAPE in my book. The physical aspect of sexual abuse is such a small part of it. Yeah, it hurts like hell physically, you can take my word for it, but psychologically, emotionally, and mentally abusers RAPE a child’s mind. It continues throughout our lives. It never ends.

        It never will end either. Nobody wants to accept responsibility. The church is angered when a rogue nun ministers to law-abiding, children-protecting, societal productive gays and lesbians, but it dismisses the priests who RAPE children?!

        If I wasn’t recovering from back surgery right now and was able to walk more than a few feet without having to lay down, I’d be up in front of the Archdiocese Headquarters with a sign in my hand, “PRIESTS? IS THIS WHO YOU WANTED TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?”

      • An interesting article on abuse tracker saying Cardinal Law was big Rome supporter for cracking down on nuns. I found that interesting. V4J I met Bob from Road to Recovery at the vigil.

    • survivor's wife Reply May 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Next up was Mary Achilles. Her last few minutes were telling. “It’s a beginning…” and then something about a first step in rebuilding trust…

      Well, what do you say to the 50 year old man who was raped 40 years ago who had the courage to tell the AD 20 years ago what happened to him?

      “We’re just now getting around to saying our ‘I’m sorrys’ and we’re starting to realize we may have betrayed you? Well, not really, because we don’t want any SOL reform or justice for you, but we feel bad that our laity is leaving (along with their donations). Even though we’ve known for years what we’ve done to you, the laity is catching on and we need to do something fast, so it’s a beginning…be patient with us as we learn the ropes.”

      Um, no. Your time has expired. You had your chance to do the right thing. You blew it. My kids won’t be your gunea pigs while you try to get your act together.

      How do people tolerate this?

    • Beth, here are 2 articles regarding Law and his involvement in the crack down on the nuns. Amazing he found time to get away from planning his birthday bash in order to get involved. Considering his track record, he’s got a heck of a lot of nerve.

      “Controversial former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard F. Law reportedly pressed the Vatican to investigate the largest association of Catholic nuns in the United States, according to Boston.com.”

      Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Former-Boston-archbishop-Bernard-Law-reportedly-behind-Vatican-crackdown-on-US-nuns-150339975.html#ixzz1uBZAybUV

      http://www.religionnews.com/faith/leaders-and-institutions/are-americans-in-rome-behind-the-nuns-crackdown

  10. Absolutely right, SW. They’re scrambling now to act like they care. As you said, Susan, AB Chaput has a history of not supporting laws that will remove the statute or provide a window for civil suits, even though it would provide a safer environment for all children and healing for victims (who the AD is purporting now to care deeply about). With all that has taken place in the past few years, though, how will he be able to successfully build a case against it like he did in Denver? Are there still enough sheep to support him on that?

    • Jackie, speaking of sheep, what is the parish climate since the press conference on Friday? Does anyone have any info on the “counseling initiative” that was planned for the weekend? What are people saying and thinking at this point?

  11. I had low expectations for this press conference and STILL, I was let down… Nothing was accomplished here … A shiny golden crucifix was fully exploited in background….and Gina m. looked to be wearing a clerical stole. –other than that I have no observations at all.

  12. Will the priests receive any type of stipend from the Philly AD? Or in other words, will the parishoners of the Philly AD support the priests so it will be easy for them to abuse again?

  13. survivor's wife Reply May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    More traffic now…look at the thumbs down.

    It is the highest compliment we can receive.

  14. That news conference was like a Shakespeare tragedy. Don’t you just love it when such an event is so precisely orchestrated and controlled?

    Aah yes, orchestration and control……two of the hallmarks of the success of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over the 6 1/2 years since the release of the first Grand Jury Report in September 2005.

    Best dressed at the event???? ……….Mary Achilles (heel) or Gina Maisto (maestro) Smith. If you want to vote for Mary, text your vote to PAARCH1; if you want to vote for Gina, text your vote to PAARCH2.

    The results will be available at the next Archbishop Chaput news conference when we will learn the fate of the other suspended priests.

    Mike Ski

    • Skiadvocat, I had a similar thought as I watched the video from the conference. They all spoke so mildly, and without emotion, as if they were trying to hypnotize the listener. For once, I would love one of them to stand up there, put some emotion in their delivery and say “It is appalling that I need to stand up here and even speak about this. We are ashamed at what has gone on and are deeply remorseful for the harm and sins that have been committed by our clergy….. ”

      But no, instead things are dragged out, lots of verbiage, blah blah blah.. forming initiatives, hum drum…..

  15. Jerry Slevin’s very powerful piece on Friday’s news conference.

    http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Hadit. I thought I was going to throw my computer out the window when the press conference was streaming. That was until Susan spoke up and I beamed, I know that brave lady!

      • Wonderful piece, Jerry! … The “monarchy thing” is SO TRUE –and it ought to make us all a lot angrier than it seems to.–Especially in Philadelphia.

  16. Hi,

    I have been following this blog since almost the beginning and I am finally posting. I just wanted to comment about the climate at a parish where one of the “suitable” priests is from. At masses this weekend there was a bishop present as well as other “official” people that concerned parishioners could speak to if they wanted. The climate was downright jovial – the priest saying the mass was very jokey and also talked about the beating the priests have taken over the last year or so. I kid you not. He then somehow with a straight face talked about honesty and integrity. The older women in the pews were beaming starry eyed at the bishop and jockeyed for position in his line for communion. I boycotted communion because I didn’t want to be anywhere near a bishop and promptly sent our parish priest a long email telling him what I thought about the mass and homily. No response yet.

    • Way to go catholicmom!!!!–Which parish or priest?

      • This was published in the Inquirer.
        http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-06/news/31598314_1_parishioners-michael-flood-glenside

        It made me sad. They really do not get it; despite what Mary Achilles stated at the press conference.
        Mary Achilles was boasting about how the counseling initiative program launched this weekend was about parishioners. It was designed to foster a sensitivity amongst the clergy–(especially the returning clergy) to help them reintegrate into parish communities, telling their stories in ways that are sensitive to the fact that given 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused, @ 25% of parishioners might receive the news of the AD’s decisions via the lens of their own abuse history–clergy abuse or other.
        The clergy continue to demonstrate that her initiatives are ineffective.

    • catholic mom, thanks for commenting. I am glad you did not name the parish,first it always ends up in some type of war that people think we are attacking their parish and second,this same scenario probably would have played out in many parishes in the AD.
      “the priests have taken a beating this past year” If the AD had always done the right thing concerning children then this whole situation would not even be going on right now… it is amazing with the horrendous evidence coming from the trial that this mentality still exists.

      • My pastor mentioned that everyone was praying for them(priests)…….he said pray for the victims…….it has gone on too long….Jesus is weeping…….

      • Beth,

        Your pastor – whoever he is – offered good and balanced advice.

      • Beth that pastor is dreaming…not everyone is praying for them… Some of us really want many of them brought to justice for crimes against children. I pray that the feds swoop in and fix this “crisis.”

      • Crystal,
        I hear you. I paraphrased…..basically his point is people come up to them and say they are praying for them he reminds them to pray also for the victims. My pastor has never come across as arrogant.

      • Kathy
        “..the priests have taken a beating this past year…”
        We had the same lecture at mass 2 weeks ago at my parish in NJ! We were admonished for how the priests have been treated and told we needed to pray for them and be supportive. As if the priests were the victims!

        Not one word about compassion or prayer for the real victims.

        And yes, if the hierarchy of the church had done the right thing, to protect the children, they wouldn’t be facing the mess they are now. It drives me insane when the bishops come out in force to oppose healthcare insurance, illegal immigration, SOL issues. They are so firm, adamant and timely speaking out on those topics, but when it comes to crimes committed by their own against innocent children, well, that gets locked in a secret file, shoved under the rug and dragged out for decades.

      • “..the priests have taken a beating this past year…”

        Great! I want to see the US and International legal systems continue their work until these criminals (priests, bishops) are BEAT INTO SUBMISSION.

        I’d water-board them if I could. Does anyone feel my same level of frustration with these Creeps? When I think of clerics, the word “creeps” now automatically come into my mind.

    • ‘the older women starry eyed at the Bishop. I am just curious to hear from others in my generation (40’s) that also grew up in the era of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. Even before all of this abuse was exposed and the obvious feelings many now have about the hierarchy, I never “got it”, the pageantry associated with the hierarchy. It always left me confused even as a child,the image of Jesus in a robe and sandals and then the men representing him with rings people kiss and ornate robes…never understood that.

      • Kathy, I don’t get it either. I’m 49 and grew up being taught to revere the religious and others in authoritative positions. My mother scoffed at me when I told her about “inappropriate boundary issues” and assured me I was being silly because no doctor/teacher would do such a thing.

        I still don’t get the pageantry or the blind adoration of the clergy. To me, they are like the rest of us, they put their pants on one leg at a time. One pastor I know has gorgeous vestments he wears on holy days for Our Lady. It dazzles the eye! Yet another priest I know wears modest robes and sandals and in return the people have been critical that he dare wear sandals!

        Somewhere along the line, our generation hopefully has learned what really matters and that we pass this along to our children. For me, I have tried to be much more open with my kids and have taught them about safety and boundaries. No topic is taboo. I also try to be a good listener and their advocate. I don’t ogle over the clergy, but respect them just as I would respect any other human. I do still see people from our generation who are blindly devoted. The best explanation I can come up with is that many of them enjoy the notoriety this connection brings them in parish life as one of the favored people.

    • Welcome, Catholicmom!

      Thanks for the very interesting report on things at the parish level. Excellent response to all of it!

    • Catholicmom – ‘Boycotting’ Holy Communion?? Shunning the nourishment offered by the Living Lord just because you didn’t want to be near a bishop who was distributing the Eucharist? Incredible!

      No, this was not ‘the way to go’.

      • I wasn’t shunning the Lord, Joe. I just did not feel in the right state of mind to receive communion. It just didn’t seem right to me since I was feeling so angry. I’m entitled to my feelings and you are certainly entitled to your judgement, I mean opinion, even if I don’t agree.

      • Joe,
        I have to admit I missed a few Sundays this year myself especially when the full impact of what happened at my childhood parish hit me as well as reading the grand jury report and Archbishop Bev’s testamony. I talked to some priests I know and went to confession but it is hard on everyone. Joe you are very intellectual…….have you weep with and for our victims I have wept for our victims many times……in fact I have spent many sleepless nights praying for them. I will never be the same.The truth of their stories are heartbreaking……many loved our church once………just like you and me….

      • Beth – thank you for the compliment.

        Like others on this blog, I detest any abuse to our children. My wife and I have been married for 44 years; we have 3 children and 3 grandsons – all healthy, happy and ‘well adjusted’. Our children – our ‘contributions to the gene pool’ – are the most important contributions we will make in this life as we pass to the ‘life to come’. God has been very good to us.

        I spent 5 years in Saint Charles Seminary (1960 – 1965) and would have been in the 1970 ordination class had I stayed. I lived, studied and interacted on a daily basis with some of the priests whose names are in the news today. I can tell you and the other blog readers in all honesty that I never discerned even a hint of any problems. Not one.

        Seminary life was a carefully planned and time tested mixture of prayer, study, recreation, reflection and discernment to equip the newly ordained priests for their mission as ‘Other Christs’.

        I suspect that some of the accused priests might not have maintained their prayer life. To grow spiritually, ALL Christians need to stay closely united with Our Lord through prayer, service and sacrament. It’s not enough just to ‘tread water’. All of us (except the BVM) have been wounded by the Original Sin. Therefore, each and every one of us has our own particular weakness or Achilles’ Heel (no pun intended). No one is exempt!

        Back in the seminary, there was a picture of a bishop’s coat of arms on one of the walls near our dining room – we passed it every day. It said ‘Ipsam sequens, non devias’ – meaning following her you will not go astray. The ‘her’ referred to is both the Blessed Mother and to the Church.

        I believe this even more firmly today than ever before. Simply put, Holy Mother Church’s mission is to get us all safely to heaven – ‘cradle to grave’ care, if you wish. Unlike SEPTA, this is one train that nobody can afford to miss. Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted (and that’s exactly what it is) to take a ‘cheap shot’ at some bishop like Charles Chaput who is doing the best that he can to shepherd us. May God Bless and sustain him!

        Pray for both the victims of sexual abuse AND all of our priests and bishops, most especially the ones who have been accused. Some may not chose to acknowledge it, but these priests are suffering along with the victims, perhaps even more intensely.

        In addition to the reception of the Eucharist at Mass, the prayer to Saint Michael (which someone wisely quoted on this blog – Thank You!) is a very powerful as are the Rosary, the Divine Chaplet and prayers for the Holy Souls. God knows that we all need His special help with everything that is happening in our Church, in our country and in the world today.

        The next time that you come across a priest, perhaps after Mass or at your local WAWA, greet him warmly as you would greet Our Lord. Shake his hand and personally thank him for his service to God’s people. All of us need periodic reinforcement and priests are certainly no exception, especially now.

        Also, pray for and actively encourage vocations to the priesthood. Each one of us will need the services of a priest to help us over the last ‘speed bump’ in this life. Pray now that one will be available for us whenever ‘that time’ comes. Remember, ‘what goes around, comes around’.

        Like Deacon Joe, I will not be commenting on this site again. While the stated purpose of the blog is the salutary protection of children, I sense other (shall we say) less altruistic motives at work with some. Quite honestly, I find them distasteful, disingenuous and sometimes even mean spirited.

        May God Bless all of you who are sincerely and selflessly concerned about the well being of our (His) children and follow the example of His Son Jesus to safeguard them!

        • Joe B, I hope you reconsider. Kathy and I appreciate the balance your commentary brings to the site. I also happen to agree with your statements in regard to the clergy. There is a diverse readership who comments here. It’s uncomfortable and authentic. I know I’ve been offended. But that’s a small price to pay for the grace I’ve also found here. Should you decide to leave, I thank you for your contributions here.

      • survivor's wife Reply May 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

        Blessings to you Joe wherever God leads you.

      • Joe B.,

        On this site one has to be able to take it, as well as dish it out. A person also has to have a hide like a rhinoceros to take on pedophiles, and those who cover for them.

        Joe you stated (in reference to those posting here) “Quite honestly, I find them distasteful, disingenuous and sometimes even mean spirited.” Joe, that’s exactly the way I view the hierarchy of the AD.

        This site required a certain warrior mentality (a Spiritual SEAL Team 6 mentally), otherwise we would stand no chance against the evil people we encounter in this spiritual battle of protecting children.

        I believe that a kinder gentler blog site would be more suitable for you.

        You stay behind and pray for us, and we will go to the front to kick-down the evil spiritual doors. You can be the Sky-pilot, and the rest will serve in the Special Forces.

      • Joe B., friend.. You’re a good soul…I often secretly wish I could have remained as unaware or unmoved by the reality and ugliness of the cath. clergy abuse problem as you’ve managed to remain…… lucky you!…Nothing needs to change for you…You get to stay safe in the arms of our mother the church…praying your beads. You get to peacefully continue along on the RCC “SEPTA ride” and live by the Latin sayings on a Bishops’ coats of arms, lovingly seeing priests as alternate Christs.. fostering a catholic-style relationship with Jesus’ mom….while demanding nothing from our leaders, trusting them blindly, staying safe and approved- of by your fellow parishioners, following along….risking nothing. How lucky for you that the fallout from this scandal missed you entirely.

        …But Joe, many of us here were skewered right through the heart with the reality of sexual abuse of catholic children…These children matter to us….We take what happened to them at the hands of our clergy, deadly seriously…We aren’t OK with it and we probably don’t sound nice, to those who are OK with it.
        Weak, immoral people tolerate evil. God expects MUCH more than prayers and religiosity. God demands action.

      • Joe. your post makes me understand more where you are coming from, not that I agree or disagree, just your own life experience that brings you to where you are at this point. You said you were in the seminary with some of these accused priests, I believe it was the class of 1970 that one of the priests referred to having his “gang of 7 ” maybe I confused the year not sure. I believe you are honest and would share if you saw abusive behavior,I believe you when you state you didn’t. So when you left in 1965,you left a group of young men who were continuing on their path to fulfill their vocation as a priest. Young men in the prime of their life on the cusp of making life long decisions and choosing a direction . And you probably saw these men as very prayerful and holy. That memory must be very powerful for you, we all have those memories of times in our lives and the people who were part of it. the friends we had in college,the friends who were in our weddings etc…And when we think of those times it is like we are young and at that point again. So for me,I may go to a reunion and laugh that the beauty queen is now an overweight housewife or be shocked that the boy who was such a gentleman is now on his 4th marriage and a serial womanizer ,but you Joe have something totally different to deal with… to know that some of these young men who you left back in 65 as possibly spiritual, energized young seminarians..have gone on to harm children in the most vile ways. I don’t know that I would be able to wrap my mind around that if I were in your shoes…having to reconcile my good memories with a horrendous truth. I understand you more now Joe,the youtube video of the priests,the thought that the priests have sterling reputations…you left before you saw the broken parts ,which is how one priest described the Church to me . I am sure these young men you left back in 65, who went on to abuse children did not stay close to God and the life you describe and I understand why you need to. I don’t think you realize that the harshness of some of your comments have been so troubling to our victims, I have to believe that if you knew that in your heart you would not have made some of the comments directed at the victims .

    • Hello Catholicmom, thank you for posting the events from your parish. From your description of the tone at mass, it just goes to show that they still just don’t get it. Nothing to be jovial about and jokes had no place in their homily. Good for you for speaking out and I hope you get a reply to your email.

  17. It’s hard to watch these presumably intelligent women, standing out in front of such men, and playing along with this immoral charade…. They know these men are nothing but misogynistic thugs, determined to stay on top at all costs…..
    These ladies sound like 8th grade valedictorians as they spout off nonsense about “daunting tasks” and “healing”.
    Heads should have rolled from that podium Friday…but all we heard was jibber – jabber from an upwardly mobile archbishop from who knows where?– Colorado? —The Potawatomi reservation, Kansas???!!
    What could this stranger know about the people of Philadelphia? Why would he ever care about the children of St. Jerome’s parish in N.E. Philly or in Manayunk, or Logan, or Kensington, or Norristown……. He was never sent here to care about people, but to preserve the company’s assets.
    These 2 women should be ashamed of themselves for going along with this mess. Deep down, they know better.

    • Crystal, my thoughts exactly!! Those women were just doing the job that they are being paid to do. As far as Chaput, he was brought in on purpose for clean up detail. Since he’s new, he can answer by saying “I don’t know. I’ve just been here 8 months.”

      I’ve seen them shift bishops around. They bring them in at times of change to make it easier. Whether it’s closing schools, closing parishes or dealing with the abuse, they shift them around to make clean up detail easier.

  18. ‘Swift and transparent’ investigation leads to resolution of clergy abuses cases

    This is the heading of one of the articles at the archdiocesan website http://www.catholicphilly.com re the investigation of the suspended priests.

    Swift??? Transparent???

  19. Catholicmom- “the priests have taken a beating,” he said.

    Wow. Just wow. I have often wished the hierarchy, priests and Catholics who don’t get it would have to feel the way we who were victimized felt when we were at our lowest points- that they would experience those feelings. For a week or so, not for months and years. Then they, perhaps, would not be so cavalier.

    • Janet, my jaw actually dropped when he said that. My husband looked over at me, worried about how I would react. I’ve been upset with this particular priest before. A few years ago he mentioned in his homily that hey, yes, bad things happened in the past but that was so long ago and we should put it behind us and move on. How did the congregation react? They applauded – and I walked out. This was before the latest grand jury report. I have been very open with the other priest in my parish. We have had many discussions and while he listens to me patiently I never feel like he responds to me from his heart. He always seems guarded in what he says. I have urged him to listen to victims talk about their abuse. I ranted to him when Chaput gave Lynn a standing ovation. I have printed things from this blog to show him. He did tell me he personally relayed parts of our discussions to the visiting bishop. Wish I could have heard that conversation. Was it a sincere conversation? Were they shocked or annoyed that I had the nerve to have an opinion?

      Anyway, sorry to ramble on so much. Also, I’m so sorry for the pain you have suffered and continue to suffer. I wish they could feel your pain too.

  20. And from court today,an account of an actual beating. The family did not know at the time,when they did find out the mother accompanied him to make the report at the AD.

    http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/05/former-teen-jesus-talks-about-being.html

    • so sad so sad………….

    • Looks like Smith is going to be a star player at the trial. So evil. It sickens me to think that he likely met with my husband and I for premarital instruction at the same time he was abusing these children. Gosh.. if I had known at the time what was going on….

  21. If you google John Travolta today, you will find the latest on sex abuse in Hollywood.

    • I read about the two Cory’s also earlier in the year.

    • Travolta would probably be a lot better off if he got away from Scientology.

      And, the RCC’s lay members would probably be a lot better off if the creepy clerics got away from them!

      I’d like the nuns to have a chance to administer the Church; they have a very good record administering hospitals, and today’s Church certainly needs to be in the ICU.

  22. All – Insightful article on NCR site (May 7) by Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea. Very worthwhile read.

    http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/hierarchys-inability-mourn-thwarts-healing-church

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