Initiative Seeks Healing for Philadelphia Catholics

“Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese,” is a long overdue archdiocesan outreach to the parish level. It could very well help some Catholics begin to heal and give them hope. My fear is those healing wounds will be ripped open and hope shattered by yet another grand jury report. Pardon my cynicism. I really believed all the right things would be done after the 2005 grand jury report. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

For this to be a success on any level, the hierarchy must get on board with the honesty portion. When asked why it took a second grand jury report to get action, Archbishop Chaput said he wasn’t here, so he won’t comment. Really? The past is the best predictor of the future. How can we possibly change the future without an honest analysis? I suppose that will be left to the civil authorities rather than our moral authority. With two grand jury reports, internal communications and an ongoing trial, there is plenty of reference material. I hope the binder sent to each parish includes that information.

When I asked Archbishop Chaput how he personally would work to restore our hope in the institutional Church, he said he didn’t know. That very honest answer strikes at the core of the problem. The solution needs to come from the top down. Pope Benedict requested that all Bishops craft their recommendations regarding clergy sex abuse. The deadline is this Spring. I would love to read what Bishop Finn compiled. Perhaps it’s time to step outside that collapsing box and look to what Amnesty International, our civil authorities and others who specialize in human rights and justice have recommended. It’s time for the Vatican to act decisively on this global issue.

Seeing Archbishop Chaput witness Msgr. Lynn’s trial during victim testimony would give me hope. Seeing him passionately address the victims who stood outside the archdiocesan building before or after the press conference would have given me hope. Having him admit that the removal of the statute of limitations would protect children in the future would give me hope.

But I guess that’s why it reads, “Hope in Christ.” Who could have hope in the hierarchy? I’ll stick with Christ.

We are left with priests removed from ministry decades after allegations first surfaced. The statutes no longer apply. They can live anywhere. Oh, but they’ll have to check in by phone. I guess our collection basket money also covers the long distance calls from the former Father Sicoli in Sea Isle, across from Play by the Bay playground.

Click here to read: “New program seeks healing for all in wake of sex abuse crisis,” by Lou Baldwin, Catholic News Service, U.S. Catholic, May 8, 2012

133 thoughts on “Initiative Seeks Healing for Philadelphia Catholics

  1. Susan you said: “Pardon my cynicism. I really believed all the right things would be done after the 2005 grand jury report. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I believed, like you, what they told me after the 2005 GJ report. So much that I wasn’t outraged that Lynn had been sent to my parish as pastor, in charge of not only the church but the school my kids attended. Concerned, but not outraged.

    I no longer believe or trust. I have encountered such arrogance at a local parish level, any about face in attitude, will only be seen -by me at least- as damage control. Not true, sincere contrition.

    This has left me, like many, confused, depleted and lost in faith. And that’s nothing compared to what the actual victims are dealing with.

    1. I was struck by the ‘management’ style of the Initiative.

      “Achilles and her committee have put together a binder that was given to the clergy that covers a multitude of scenarios and suggestions, including how the news should be broken that a former priest of the parish has either been restored to ministry or permanently removed.

      It covers meetings with parish staff, pastoral and financial councils and communicating with parishioners, complete with sample announcements and even sample homilies prepared by St. Charles Seminary faculty as well as suggestions such as informal gatherings for coffee and donuts after Masses where people can exchange their views.

      “We have communities of faith that need support and assistance in processing this,” she said. “This is certainly not the most positive era in the church, but we have to honor the victims by responding to themappropriately and by doing the best that we can to prevent this from happening to someone else and the best we can to respond better the next time.””

      Preprepared homilies, sample announcements, suggestions for informal gatherings et al.

      I agree that faith communities need support and assistance after this harrowing period. But I keep thinking of the victims that so often say that they just want to be heard and respected. And I would guess that many many of the laity want the same. The whole concept of ‘listening’ to folks, through whom the Holy Spirit speaks seems awfully important and then ‘responding’ to THAT content…doesnt seem to require Preprepared materials, so much as ‘hearts that are open’….

      Many years ago I was involved in a training program that produced literally thousands of volunteers. We had speakers, materials, the whole 9 yards. But the best thing we did was to concentrate on ‘active listening’…and our volunteers told us it was by far the best thing we did. It was also, very respectful of our volunteers and the folks they were helping. Perhaps there is material in the Initiative packet on ‘active listening’ ….I hope so. And I wonder if Martin or Michele, or Kathy would give us some input?

      1. Create a safe space for people to talk and listen to one another.

        First, a confession. Organization development is what I do in my day job along with teaching leadership to doctoral students. I would be willing to work with any Church leader, on a pro bono basis, to launch the kinds of conversations described below. Dialogue is my area of expertise. I am not willing to work with a bishop, even for premium consulting rates. Change cannot happen if it is started at that level and those whom bishops are paying will not tell them what they need to hear.

        You said it perfectly!

        I would tell the priests to start by throwing away the binders. At the press conference, I think Susan said something like: “we don’t need another program.”

        To the priests,

        Ask people what they need and listen. Trust that you do not even know the right questions to ask. Don’t tell them what they need. How arrogant and disrespectful!; don’t get sucked into doing that by leaders that fewer and fewer are following. The leadership of the institutional church has demonstrated again and again they have no clue what the Church wants and needs. Cultivate “not knowing” and go find out what the Church (the people of God) needs.

        Just give them a place, some coffee and tea, and let go. Let THEM choose the content and the process. Dare I say, let them lead? If you want people to change, you must demonstrate that you are open to change.

        I, for one, do not know if more than a few bishops can have any humility about what they claim to know. The present pope mocks the spirit of dialogue when he uses that word. How can a self-avowed infallible be open to being changed by anyone?

        Change will be bottom up this time. The Church will drive the change; the institutional leaders will come along kicking and screaming, or they will not come along at all. It is hard to give up your monarchy.

        You are closer to us than you are to the excellencies, graces, eminences, and holiness himself… join with us to renew the face of the Church.


      2. Thanks, yet again Martin!

        If only priests could do just what you said…trust their folks, listen to their people and learn from them…over some tea or coffee…WITHOUT an agenda.

        The way you treat friends you care a lot about…respectfully and lovingly.

        My boss many years ago…she who pushed ‘active listening’ like an art form said…it was an operational form of love. And she made those of us who had our ‘message’ all worked out to put up, shut up and LISTEN.

        1. Joan, yes!

          “The way you treat friends you care a lot about…respectfully and lovingly.

          My boss many years ago…she who pushed ‘active listening’ like an art form said…it was an operational form of love. And she made those of us who had our ‘message’ all worked out to put up, shut up and LISTEN.”

          in those kinds of conversations, I trust that God will be present in the space between us.

      3. Oh Martin….’In THOSE kinds of conversations, I trust that God will be present in the space between us.”

      4. Oh Martin…your students are blessed and I wish I was in your classes.

        You said it perfectly.

      5. Martin,
        You are so right just sitdown and talk and listen , be open and we will learn so much from each other.That is what I have been encouraging my priests to do.Yesterday I had a wonderful experience interacting , talking and listening to a victim,relative of a victim,advocate and a concerned layperson at lunch and as always these conversations made a deep impression on me. This victim was saying his biggest hurt was a sense of rejection from the church…..a church he once loved. I write this because I want the priests and laity to know this and reach out to our victims ….go to the streets and marketplaces like Jesus did …we have treated them horribly but you have to be genuine or it is not going to work…..

      6. Beth I wrote a blog that Susan will post . I ended up writing about our lunch rather than the trial,the conversations that will probably never take place at the parish level.

      7. Kathy….I look forward to your blog! And will like it a lot!

        But, I suspect some of those ‘conversations’ will take place, at the parish level. You can’t harness the Holy Spirit, Whom, I’m betting on.

      8. The trial itself yesterday was like watching paint dry. A cross examination of a detective about various documents in the Brennan case..when I left it was already 3 1/2 hours into the cross examination. I think the defense attorney did a terrible job,and I have been present when the defense has scored points to be fair. The things he focused on were at times ridiculous,Brennan gave good homlies,Brennan attended a Christmas tree lighting that year as opposed to other years and it went on and on for hours. The body language and facial expressions each time he introduced a new document were telling…it was like everyone in the room wanted to yell “stop”.
        Detective Dougherty did an excellent job and was still sharp 3 hours into being cross examined. At times the defense attorney seemed to ask him what he thought the various people in the documents meant by their statements and when Dougherty would say what he thought, the defense attorney would ask how he could surmise that . At one point Judge Sarmina interjected and said to the defense that if they were going to ask Doughtery what he thought then they can’t complain when he answers. I have seen Detective Dougherty and Det. Walsh on the stand and the high payed defense is no match for these seasoned detectives.If I was a defense attorney I would want them off the stand as soon as possible and to drag that cross examination on for hours where Doughtery scored points with almost every answer was just mind boggling.
        The other development was that Judge Sarmina is allowing a “field trip’ to a convent of cloistered nuns to have testimony from two of the nuns concerning their “supervision” of I believe it was Fr Gana.

      9. Joan,I just don’t know that you would get a cross section of people at the parish level as you did at the lunch. Will make more sense when you read my post.

      10. I posted Father Reese’s keynote address, at Santa Clara University on the Philadelphia Priest’s website, so if Philly Catholics wish to discuss the issues with their clergy, they can know the clergy has easy access to Father Reese’s address.

        To their credit, in my view, the Philadelphia Priest’s Association has cited Father Reese’s work on clericalism.

    2. Deidre, I feel exactly the same way. Only individuals, can be contrite and concerned for the welfare of their fellow beings… corporations cannot be –and sadly, that’s all the rcc seems to be.
      I no longer believe many of the teachings I grew up on, and I certainly don’t trust any rcc leadership….I have to say that although these realizations initially left me feeling sad and lost and depleted, the change has given me a new energy and excitement about the prospect of my newly found religion..”cafeteria catholicism” also sometimes called “christianity” -(lol)

    3. How many times do we have to hear tha same t old, old, phrase to finally believe it and DO SOMETHING THAT HAS SOME ACTION BEHIND IT?????OR INFRONT OF IT, OR WHATEVER…….. BUT ACTION IS WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN!!!!


      YOU ARE HOT REALLY CONFUSED! YOU HAVE NOT LOST YOIUR FAITH(ONLY IN un holy MEN) you are not depleted! When you are at your lowest, God is with you even more! AMEN!?

      1. The word should be not..! Sorry!

        Just quit all the talking and move on to the next PR Moment!

        Get all this writing out to the public. Huff Post…local papers, USA Today. WSJ, etc., etc. Get the Word out to all outlets.

        ‘s It can’t stay just here in Penn. when it all over the Catholic World.

        They are just hanging onto a thread, hoping you’ll be just as gullible as always!. Don’t let that be !

  2. Experience suggests that most of these “programs” amount to little more than PR campaigns designed to re-open the closed checkbooks of the disgruntled faithful. Criminal cover-ups are portrayed as “mistakes.” Failure to act decisively is blamed upon psychologist advisers, or canon law, or “if we only understood then what we do now…” Anything but the culture of clericalism and secrecy is to blame. For that has not changed, nor is there any intention
    in the clergy at large to change it Indeed, if anything, the crops of ordained priests from the
    past few years are more inculcated with clericalism than those of the decades before John Paul II. No doubt the new bishop will top it all off by trying to convince rank-and-file Catholics
    that they should join him in opposing civil window legislation which will “destroy the Church.”

    1. gbulloough: Your last sentence is a sure bet that you can take to the bank. Because Chaput was so successful in stopping our legislation in Colorado for opening up the Statute of Limitations, he was transferred to Philly. I would be that his new red biretta just might rest on his success in duplicating our Colorado nightmare in Philly, unless of course his brilliant group of attorneys from Denver just happens to get Monsignor Lynn off, “Scot-free!” In that event he’ll have his little biretta, regardless of what happens to your Statute of Limitations!

    2. how correct you are, anyone who thinks that the files are open, the safe is unlocked and the blinders are off are greatly mistaken and horribly naive…..the Church has existed for over 2000 years, as such it has treated transparency, accountability, honesty, admission of guilt and penance as foreign to they operational methodology, they may preach it from the pulpits but their actions speak otherwise. Witness the fact of how long it took the Church to apologize for the Galileo fiasco, a mere 500 years……sorry folks, the distrust and suspicion are not going away, and sadly, so sadly, the hierarchy thinks it’s all behind them, that we can trust them again, these past 30 years were just a blip on the ecclesiastical radar…..
      I’m going to say this once and hopefully somebody wearing a mitre and holding a crozier reads it……why as a body have you bishops never even attempted to perform some public penance, accepting responsibility for the crisis, acknowledging that you were warned and as a body you postured, postponed and pretended there was no problem? Do you have any inkling whatsoever of the massive amount of hurt, shame and suffering you have directly and indirectly foisted on people everywhere? With leadership comes responsibility, you have failed miserably as a group which can no longer be respected and trusted. AMEN

  3. Gosh, Susan and Diedre, I can actally feel your pain at the duplicity with which everyone involved in this sordid situation can be placed. It may take many years, but eventually you will grow to a place where you become aware that God is just fine without the lies and the smoke and mirrors. Being a victim has made it easier for me to understand what happened to me and why. I have forgiven the priest and most important, I have forgiven myself for permitting my seduction to occur. But I will never be able to forgive the conspiracy of silence. It’s really not a loss of faith, more like a loss of misdirection that all of us believed was faith.

    1. You are so right on! Also, kudos Susan for the excellent article above. You know brilliantly what you are doing in this situation, that is evident.

  4. WOW… You caught me off guard with this little jewel of a commentary today Susan…Hope is all we have as Catholics in Philadelphia however “Hope” will not pay the bills and the hierarchy is no longer trusted… Your sarcastic reference to the “weekly collection basket” says a great deal about our “blessed institution”…To do the “RIGHT THING” would have cost money…Just maybe the Pew Sheep will wake up and stock putting the cash in the plate…..Pray – Pay – Obey should the motto….

  5. Susan,
    I respectfully disagree with your premise that “the solution needs to come from the top down.” From the earliest of times in church history, any real solutions that have occurred have done so because of the determination and genuine desire for good to overcome evil that has come from the simple laity. Solutions from the “top down” are what have and what will consistently lead to corruption, lies, cover-ups, more lies, lawyers, settlements, etc. but no real change. Changes/solutions have always sprouted from the seeds sown by those “unnamed saints” of the laity. I suspect that this will never change.

    1. Jerry,
      Your comment made me think about top-down vs. grass roots changes.

      All of the top-down rules, decisions, and changes that are being challenged today are not because they aren’t liked, but rather, because they aren’t genuine or authentic.

      The thing that I think some Catholics in the pews are missing is that THEY are literally holding the RCC together, in Jesus’ Name, through the Holy Spirit. It’s not the hierarchy! All of the evil, complacency, silence in the face of tragedy, and ills of the hierarchy are being exposed for a reason. In the meantime, many of the faithful (including those outside the top-down rules of the RCC) are holding fast to Him.

      It was one of the greatest challenges I had when faced with choosing Him over choosing The Church, which I had been led to believe was synonymous, so intricately and intimately woven together that it would be impossible to separate the two. It is possible. When the Church became so misaligned with the Savior they claimed to follow, it then meant I was following false idols by listening to them.

      I reflect on the words Chaput spoke at the press conference…are those the words Jesus would have spoken? Would Jesus have copped out with “I don’t knows,” and “I wasn’t around then” and “someone else can answer that question?” I don’t think so. Inauthentic.

    2. Exactly, the only way that there can be actual change, is for the top officials to be held accountable for these crimes against humanity. They have to be forced, otherwise nothing changes.

      Chaput will obey his boss, otherwise he will get fired or at the very least demoted.
      The number one most important vow when a priest becomes a priest, is ‘not all the vow of celibacy’, but of vow to obedience to the one who is his boss!

      Below is an example of how this works, In this article this teacher is one of a special kind. I have communicated with him many times. If only there were more priests, teachers, employees, who work within the catholic system, who are more like this man, kids could be safer.
      But they would get fired.|topnews|text|Home

      Be sure to watch the video.
      tks for listening, SNAP Judy

      1. Thanks Judy for this. IThe video is worth watching! I remember reading about this when it first happened.

        Interestingly, he gets fired in retaliation for reporting to authorities, even though the authorities did not make a report.

        Let’s see here….who do you want working with your children? John Cavell, the man who fired the teacher for doing the right thing, the priest who was asking inappropriate questions to teen girls during confession, or this teacher who was looking out for the well-being of children first, his employer, and his professional standards? Hmmmm, yep, let’s fire him.

        You can’t make this up!!!! Judy, if you are in contact with this teacher, let him know I support him and thank him for his commitment to the protection and safety of children at the expense of great personal sacrifice. It does not go unnoticed!

      2. survivor’s wife, the best thing you can do for Chris is post a comment on the article about it… He reads them all, and he needs all the support he can get.
        He still does not have a job, but there is hope, he has learned in the near future.. tks, Judy

      3. Judy, thank you for Chris’s story. I did put a comment on his site.

        It’s an appalling tale.

    3. Jerry: The Church always points to “The Sensus Fidelium,” which generally means, “the sense of the faithful,” whenever the faithful says that they have no say-so in the Church. Just because the words, “Sensus Fidelium” are in the records of Canon Law does not mean that the Clerical Culture of the Hierarchy really gives a rat’s *** about us. It’s just a PR word! It’s only when the “sensus fidelium” speaks bt closing their checkbooks that the Church, particularly the Hierarchy will take notice.

    4. If I can jump in, I think Susan realizes that “the top” of the Catholic church is never going to do the right thing, whether you consider that to be one of the Philadelphia Cardinals, the last two of which are now proven liars and proven pedophile protectors, or whether you consider that to be the pope.

      If I can interject my own charm into Susan’s polite but anti-establishment comment, I’d say that the fish rots from the head, and you have to cut off the head.

      Don’t let Chaput get away with this silly charade to let the parishioners think they are victims. That’s so self loathing, self centered, and Catholic. The only victims are the child sex abuse victims, and Chaput couldn’t be more disingenuous in dealing with them.

      Bring charges against Rigali for child endangerment and pedophile protection. Change the Statute Of Limitations. Dig up Bevilacqua’s body and put it somewhere you would put the body of a known, proven criminal.

      1. Patrick,
        I so agree with your statement…”The only victims are the child sex abuse victims”. These innocent lambs deserved so much more from the church and it’s leaders.
        Statute of Limitations must be changed.

      2. Patrick! Again, I thank you for stating the obvious about Chaput, in his trying to infer that the parishioners are the victims! Regarding your comment about Bevilacqua, I agree. It’s too bad that it can’t be burned in effigy. Both Bevilacqua and Chaput are themselves victims of the Clerical Culture where they have been taught that they have something like a “Donum Superadditum,” which doesn’t mean “A Big Doughnut covered with chocolate frosting and sprinkles” in Latin. I’m sure that both Chaput and Bevilacqua were of the mindset that because of their exalted positions in the Church they were owed deference due to their “Supernatural Gifts,” added on in the spiritual realms when they received their Vatican appointments! Now, I hope that you’re hearing the theme from “The Twilight Zone!” *I still laugh every time I think of your comment about “The Bevil made me do it!”

  6. When I read that article, I am struck by Mary Achilles’ title. She is the victim’s advocate for the Philly AD. Read that title again…victim’s advocate. Does she speak like one? Are her words a comfort to victims? Can she articulate what a victim is going through and respond accordingly? If you were a victim, would you approach her after hearing her speak on Friday and seeing her quotes in the media?

    I couldn’t put a finger on why I found her portion of the press conference inauthentic. I saw Gina Maisto Smith for what she was…a lawyer working for the AD, who happened to serve on a review board. But, Mary…a victim’s advocate. Her comments had nothing to do with advocacy for victims. She’s not working for Him…she’s working for an archbishop. Inauthentic.

    1. Survivors Wife, as a survivor I have a answer to your questions above, resounding NO, NO, NO, NO! As long as they are PAID by the archdiocese, their loyalty is to Chaput!

  7. You are too kind to Chaput. For him to say in May 2012 that he doesn’t know what happened or what to do in Philadelphia is disgraceful. Whether you date the beginning of the exposure of the US abuse crisis from 1985 or 2002 or from the first Philadelphia Grand Jury (2001 jury/2003 report), it is hardly a new mystery in the United States, the USCCB, or Philadelphia.

    Solutions are needed from the top down. That is where the problems are. However, expecting solutions to originate there is beyond the realm of hope. If the necessary moral and leadership capacity existed top down, your blog would never have had reason to be born. Jerry is right.

  8. 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. Well if they continue to, as you put it, “act out” by raping, sodomizing and otherwise sexually exploiting children they will be criminally and/or civilly charged just like anyone else in the state of Delaware. Here, as of 2007 with the passage of the Child Victims Law, there are no statutes of limitation with regard to the sexual abuse of children and there is also a LIST they will be put on if they are found civilly responsible in addition to the criminal list.

      1. Sister Maureen: Many thanks for this tidbit of information. I also enjoyed another of your posts which mentioned that the offending priest, in inquiries of child sexual abuse, does not need to swear an oath that he will tell the truth! Everyone else needs to swear to tell the truth, but the alleged Pedophile Priest is exempt from doing so. I had heard that before, but had forgotten it. Thanks for your many memory refreshers.

      2. Doesn’t the pass provided to clergy about swearing to tell the truth come from a biblical prohibition of swearing? I am pretty sure I learned about this matter years ago and it is biblically grounded.

  9. Coordinating the initiative is Mary Achilles, who served as victims advocate for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a decade, and who is the victims advocate for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
    “This is all about the parishioners, people who have been impacted,” Achilles said at a May 4 news conference. “As Catholics, we have been battered by this experience, and our sense of the integrity of the process has been robbed.
    “This is an opportunity, a leaping off point, letting people get their arms around the sex abuse scandal, look at it honestly and in a way that people can have an opportunity to voice their concerns, look at remedies and actions that can begin the healing process,” she added. “Nothing ends today; today is the beginning.”

    When a victims’ advocate, who has been doing this type of work for many years, begins speaking in this manner, it is crystal clear that she is speaking in the best interests of her employer, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. When Archbishop Chaput provides NO details re the investigations, details, evidence, statements, etc. to the faithful of the archdiocese, nothing has changed. SECRETS, DECEPTION, HYPOCRISY.

    Ms. Achilles speaks of “the integrity of the process”. What integrity? What process?

    And, yes, we have added Charlie’s Angels……..Archdiocesan Spokesperson (Donna Farrell), Victims’ Advocate (Mary Achilles) and Chief of Investigations (Gina M. Smith).

    1. skiadvocat,
      Without wanting to cause division, your comments about rating how the women at the press conference were dressed and now your Charlie’s Angels reference…come across as sexist. I don’t know if that’s how you intend it, but it doesn’t read well.

      I’m all for dissecting their positions as they relate to this scandal, but to mock how they dress as if they are on a reality show and now the Charlie’s Angels reference…we don’t need to stoop to that level. They have enough problems with how they function within the AD that taking cheap shots discredits your otherwise excellent points.

      If it doesn’t apply, let it roll.


    All your high falootin’ reports, data, etc., etc., don’t change a thing. it’s endemic. you don’t change the devil! Get a GRIP

    Have you ever been in a room with gobs of people and felt alone? Well, so has everybody. Those are some of the times when we call on the Lord. He is our strength and our salvation!!

    It’s those times and many other uncomfortable times we need HIM THE MOST, and it draws us to HIM and how we grow in our relationship with HIM..Those who Love the Lord (the people who write here) are the ones that have felt that way many more times than priests, nuns and brothers who have no one but themselves to think about!

  11. Crystal-I have always been accused of being a cafeteria catholic. I now feel that label is not meant as an insult as it once might have been, or at least I’m not taking it that way. So, I’m with you there.

    I am one of four kids, being the only one not a product of any kind of Catholic education (grew up in the south where, at the time, Catholic church’s let alone schools were few and far between). Often I heard that was what was ‘wrong’ with me. My Protestant mother has been blamed for this as well. As a kid I went to different church’s, synagogues, Sunday school with friends, yet they could never come with me. I remember thinking, wow, anyone can come to your church, bible study, etc. I love my more conservative siblings, but they don’t seem to share the same openess and tolerance I do on many things. Yet I didn’t go as far as my Unitarian sister, who actually has done more good in her community, church and youth groups than most people who show up to church on Sunday and warm the pews.

    I have had a lot of guilt about not reading the GJ reports before last year. So I identified to the extreme with Susan’s comment. Particularly, since Lynn became our pastor, and at the time I recall some being upset by it. It’s hard to admit to blissful ignorance, but I guess we are all guilty of it as some point or other. As nice as it is, you can’t stay there knowing all we know now.

  12. I think you know what I think. But just in case….just change the names where appropriate.

    Sister Maureen

    National Catholic Reporter
    April 21, 2011
    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, SNDdeN


    Many, probably most, Catholics in the five counties that make up the Philadelphia archdiocese believed Cardinal Justin Rigali in 2005 when he promised that things would change, that there would be no more cover-ups and that those who were raped, sodomized or sexually exploited by predatory priests and church workers would be treated humanely instead of being intimidated, harassed and bullied.

    I was not one of them.

    Since 2002 I have tried to do everything I could possibly think of doing to bring attention to what I perceive to be an entrenched pattern of deceit and dishonesty orchestrated by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church to protect its image, hold onto its power and authority, and keep known sexual predators in ministry while failing to even consider the welfare of untold numbers of children.

    February’s release of a second grand jury report on the Philadelphia archdiocese shows just how futile it is to put one’s faith in church leadership.

    Philadelphia’s hierarchy has failed the People of God. Cardinals Krol, Bevilacqua and Rigali have failed us and they have betrayed us.

    They failed to protect children and they failed to deal appropriately with those known sexual predators who used and abused the spiritual gifts that were so trustingly and lovingly bestowed on them when they were ordained.

    And speaking of ordination, where are the “good priests?”

    They, like many of us in ministry and mission, have been judged guilty by association while bishops have done little to help. Yes, we all have known, worked with or have had friends whom we now know are sexual predators but there is no more outrage coming from the “good” priests of Philadelphia than what has been coming from the pew-sitters.

    In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer piece, “A docile tradition protects the church,” pastor emeritus of St. Malachy Church, Fr. John P. McNamee, commented on 300 Chicago priests who spoke out against their then new archbishop for “publicly rebuking local pastors for minor infractions” during pastoral visits, saying that “in Philadelphia, not three of us priests would lodge such a complaint” against the archbishop.

    “Fearful, mute submissiveness?” Yes, all that and more. In the name of God, where is the structural reform that is so sorely needed in the institutional Roman Catholic church?

    Signs of reform in the Philadelphia archdiocese are conspicuous by their absence and yet it has been almost 10 years since the Boston archdiocese imploded.

    Do rank and file Catholics realize what has happened in the Philadelphia archdiocese?

    Have they read the grand jury reports?

    Because of what has been revealed in the second grand jury report on the Philadelphia archdiocese, not only has church leadership lost all credibility but Cardinal Rigali’s failures have shown the actions of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for what they really are, more window dressing and PR spin than substance.

    For years, bishops in the United States have followed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People as they saw fit with no real independent oversight.

    The failures of Philadelphia’s episcopal leadership, now documented in two grand jury reports, have resulted in putting the lie to the bishops’ much praised “zero tolerance” policy. It simply is not the reality that exists. It was not true in 2002 or 2005 and it is not true in 2011.

    With it all, however, Cardinal Rigali wants Catholics to trust episcopal leadership; to trust him. Do you?

    I do not. In all good conscience I cannot.

    However, I would give serious consideration to revising my opinion if Cardinal Rigali did the following:

    • Held a press conference on the steps of the archdiocesan office building at 222 North 17th Street or outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and announced his unconditional support for Pennsylvania House Bills 832 and 878, to abolish the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases and to suspend the statute of limitations for adult victims of childhood sex abuse.

    • Direct Catholic Conference president, Bishop Joseph McFadden, along with the pastors and the priests of Pennsylvania to publicly pledge their support for PA House Bills 832 & 878 from the pulpit, directing parishioners to call their state representatives and mount postcard campaigns if necessary.

    If he would do this and whatever else becomes necessary to move these bills into laws as expeditiously as possible, then I might consider revisiting my opinion.

    Such a clear statement of justice and concern for all children, past, present and future would go a long way toward restoring my faith and trust in church leadership but only if Cardinal Justin Rigali’s words were followed by action.

    No such actions have been forthcoming from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia only “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals,” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.

    1. sister maureen, you are the best! I have no hope for the events you mention.

      btw- i am frequently in boston– plenty of clericalism and pew sitting still going on up there –and mute submissiveness—-looks the same as here to me.–(??!!)

    2. I applaud every one of Sr. Maureen’s posts and articles,including the criticism of the Catholic bishops. I take this opportunity however, to disagree with Jerry Slevin’s constant efforts to paint the bishops as opponents of President Obama’s re-election. Obama is no Friend of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ IMO.

      1. Amazed, each Catholic must assess in good conscience who to vote for. My principal point is they should not be influenced by the bishops’ lobbying. The bishops are mainly trying to stay out of criminal and/or bankruptcy courts by cutting deals with Republicans.

        I haven’t yet decided who I will vote for, but it for sure will not be based on any signals from shameful bishops.

      2. Jerry Slevin posted:”I haven’t yet decided who I will vote for, but it for sure will not be based on any signals from shameful bishops.

        What I am hearing is “if the bishops are against Obama then I should vote for Obama.” No one is more “against the bishops than I, but I am also against Obama!

      3. Amazed, we all have to use our judgment. Please do your best to balance your values, as will I. The pope and bishops , among other things, sold out to the Republican right most recently in 2009. They made this political, not me.

        Please click on

    3. Sister Maureen, thank you for all of your very wise comments and for your unique and tireless efforts over so many years on behalf of defenseless children and mistreated survivors.

      You have made a real difference and are an inspirational example for us all.

    4. Sister Maureen, do you count John McNamee among the “good priests?” I do based on what I have heard from those who know him and his ministry to serve the people of God. Martin

      1. Martin, I count Fr. John MacNamee among the good priests. I met him for the first time last year when he attended one of our first meetings for justice4pakids and supports out work on SOL reform. I know of all the good work he did at St Malachy’s and the support he gave to all in that community. He also wrote a great editorial piece that was published in the Inquirer last Spring about the silence of the Phila. clergy.

  13. Survivor’s wife, I apologize if I offended you with my comments. The “charlie’s angels” reference was supposed to be humorous, tongue-in-cheek. They could have been all male players in the drama, and either way, I might even had called them “charlie’s devils.”

    Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall posting anything about the dress or clothing of those at the press conference. I have seen comments like that, but please tell me where I did that. Truth be told, with this crew down there at 222 N. 17th St., I or anyone else don’t have to “stoop ” to a level to mock or joke about their appearances.

    In these matters re to our children, you and I both know that the ONLY thing that matters is what is on the inside. And, according to my judgment, many of the members of our church leadership passed shame, dignity, honor and integrity a long, long time ago.

    1. Skiadvocat,
      I’m sure it’s just me. Thank you for clarifying. It could be that I’m in the midst of coursework addressing sexism and racism in media.

      I believe the comment made was about the press conference and texting in votes about how they were dressed. Again, if that was you, then, yes, it makes sense that it was done tongue in cheek with no other intention. If we were in person, I would have understood better, because tone and body language play a huge part.

      It’s all good. My mistake.

  14. Keep going Sr. Maureen! Don’t stop and don’t let your powerful voice go unheard. The church needs more women to breath some sense into this ancient old boys club.

    I failed to mention in my earlier post that my Unitarian sister lives in Boston and became a Unitarian when a pastor from her church was involved in a scandal several years ago durning the mess in that area….

    1. Healing, healing, healing, that’s been the company line for so many years, not just in the AD, but from the Vatican on down, through-out the RCC worldwide. How can the Prelates speak of healing when we are right in the middle of a battle?

      If the People of God buy that attempt at subterfuge one more time, THEY ARE NOT READY TO OVERTHROW (or even reform) THE MONARCHY. The Church will have won again, and it’s going to be business as usual. The People of God will have again conceded to the Will of the hierarchy.

      For me personally, this can’t go on endlessly. I will soon have to make a clean break from the RCC. I don’t care how the Amish or the Church of Scientology run their organizations; and if this “healing” line of nonsense is accepted by the RC People of God, “I’m out!” I will no longer care how the RCC runs their organization.

      If that’s what they want, that’s what they can have. I’ve done what I could; and like the war in Afghanistan, there comes a time to realize that it’s not winnable, and that’s the time to go. My resources are being wasted.

      1. I was sitting with a survivor today at the trial and he said part of his healing is doing this everyday going to court. At the vigil when I had asked him how he could go to court everyday he said I feel like I get Justice. That is what our survivors deserve and need ……..the truth and accountability. He also wanted us to tell the survivors on this blog that he knows not all survivors can go to court like he does but to tell them they are represented there by him and others. Another man who is a layperson goes everyday and today he said that going to the trial has really changed how he thinks about things………he said every catholic needs to come down see this and be involved………

      2. I agree completely drwho13. We must continue pressing now as Susan, Kathy and so many here are.

        Beth, your important report from the courtroom suggests not only that the gag order should now be lifted, but that the trial should be televised as well.

      3. Dr.Who13,

        Susan said: “Perhaps it’s time to step outside that collapsing box and look to what Amnesty International, our civil authorities and others who specialize in human rights and justice have recommended.”

        You said: “If the People of God buy that attempt at subterfuge one more time, THEY ARE NOT READY TO OVERTHROW (or even reform) THE MONARCHY.” I am with you; we need to overthrow the monarchy. And the American Catholic Council is working towards just that.

        The American Catholic Council has a link to a valuable booklet on their website, “From Dictatorship to Democracy’” by Dr. Gene Sharp. From the booklet, you cannot negotiate or work with a dictator:

        “Facing the hard truth.

        The conclusion is a hard one. When one wants to bring down a dictatorship most effectively and with the least cost then one has four immediate tasks:

        -One must strengthen the oppressed population themselves in their determination, self-confidence, and resistance skills;

        -One must strengthen the independent social groups and institutions of the oppressed people;

        -One must create a powerful internal resistance force; and

        -One must develop a wise grand strategic plan for liberation and implement it skillfully.

        A liberation struggle is a time for self-reliance and internal strengthening of the struggle group. As Charles Stewart Parnell called out during the Irish rent strike campaign in 1879 and 1880:

        ‘It is no use relying on the Government . . . . You must only rely upon your own determination . . . . [H]elp yourselves by standing together . . . strengthen those amongst yourselves who are weak . . . , band yourselves together, organize yourselves . . . and you must win . . . When you have made this question ripe for settlement, then and not till then will it be settled’ “ (Sharp, 2010, pp. 7-8).

        Sharp, G. (2010). From dictatorship to democracy: A conceptual framework for liberation. Retrieved from this link on the American Catholic Council site:

      4. Leave the Church, but don’t leave the fight! You’re right. This battle not winnable inside of the Church. Jesus taught, “The kingdom of God is within.” This is the only kingdom that the Gates of Hell can’t come against. It’s our relationship with God, thru His Son, Jesus Christ, that can not be harmed by external forces like the Roman Catholic Church. One of my friends calls herself, “A Recovering Catholic.” Unfortunately, once we recognize the need to leave the Church, there will be a period when we need the healing “to recover.” That is when the discovery of the beautiful kingdom of God, only found “Within,” is our most valuable asset.

    1. David Yallop’s book, “In God’s Name” was a turning point in my life as it pulled no punches about the death of John Paul I, the Vatican Bank Scandal, and the Hierarchy which purposely designed it. There is an unrelated movie called “In God’s Name” by Joe Cultrera about the Priest Pedophilia Scandal and how it affected a good, Italian Catholic family. It can be found on Youtube. I highly recommend both.

      1. One of the things I remember from Yallop’s book was his mention of a monsignor who worked for the Vatican Bank — Justin Rigali. I am not suggesting that Rigali was involved in any inappropriate activity there.

        1. Little would surprise me about Cardinal Rigali. I didn’t remember him being named in Yallop’s Book. I do think that he is going to have a lot to answer for if Monsignor Lynn is found guilty in the Landmark Philly trial, which could reach a conclusion in a couple of weeks. Then, I think that new indictments will happen. BTW: I followed a lead of yours and wrote a blog on “The cost of looking like an Apostle. . . The link is here: I hope that you enjoy it!

      2. Jeannie, I blieve Joe Cultrera’s film is named “Hand of God.” It is excellent. It was shown here in KC and won an award from those who attended.

      3. Kay just wrote me and corrected the name of Cultrera’s excellent video. It is called, “The Hand of God.” Thank you Kay for bringing this oversight to my attention. Jeannie

  15. Wed., May 9 in room 304:


    I saw you take good care of Lynn and his two sisters. I also saw how you didn’t speak to Brennan, how you intentionally ignored him, and how you purposefully stepped away to avoid being near him when he walked by.

    It is these kinds of priestly “games,” standards, expectations and behaviors that will keep priests from playing viable roles in healing and hope initiatives.

    You guys belong to a creepy and cruel culture that makes you unfit for human initiatives.

    1. Hadit,
      You made a very interesting observation yesterday. I was glad to finally meet you at the trial . I wish we had more time to talk.

    2. haditCatholic said, “You guys belong to a creepy and cruel culture that makes you unfit for human initiatives.”

      That statement certainly sums up my experience as a former seminarian in a religious order.

    3. Haditcatholic, Totally agree with you. I want to let you know that I will attend the trial this wednesday. I went a few weeks ago and needed a week to process with my therapist, which was very healing for me. i went to support james@15 and Billy. I truly hope they are doing Ok.

      1. Vicky, James and Billy have been on my mind so much too. I hope they are doing ok.

  16. To Mark: Thank You for the links on Opus Dei, Legionairres of Christ, and Miles Jesu as in:

    I was once a member of a rogue lay-order which was under the supervision of their rogue religious-order. The “gift of final promise” was held over the members’ heads like a carrot and all forms of spiritual abuse flourished under the guise of ‘advancing in the virtues’. The indoctrination process demanded a lynch-mob mentality when responding, in obedience, to their superiors’ commands. When I finally spoke-up against a grave injustice done to me by the superiors of this lay-order, I was told that I did not have a vocation and that I had to leave the lay-order. In the hope of finding justice at a higher level, I finally took my case up to the mother-house in Rome as well as to my local bishop, but the rogue-superiors were protected by the religious-order and my concerns were not even addressed… no response to my letters. It is only the Truth that will set them free from this culture of death.. this web of deceit.

    The ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ addresses the perils of obedience:

    “…. The results of the experiment have demonstrated the impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a legitimizing ideology and social and institutional support…”
    Extract from:

    The Milgram Experiment is similar:

    “… Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study … ”
    Taken from:

    It is with great sadness that I look upon this RCC Institution as an abusive cult – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, sexually – justifying its behaviors through distorting ‘The Theology of Suffering.’ At the bottom of the heap are the victims who are condemned for speaking-up against injustice because they are supposed to suffer for the greater good and for the promise of the glory of heaven.

    When I think of the diocesan-priests, the various religious-orders, the numerous lay-orders, the cult-status of the saints, the sacramentals etc. I can liken the RCC Institution to a multi-level business … that of a large corporation providing different products under different company-names to keep the consumers happy.

    Cult! or Multi-Level Business! Where is God in all of this?

    1. speaking up… excellent post….
      I wonder whether the membership of the 3 lay-orders you mention is now dwindling.

    2. Speaking-Up, Your analysis is onto the truth. The Roman church is a huge mind control cult adopted straight from the ancient mystery religions in Sumeria. The College of Cardinals and the Pontiff are Pagan political-religious institutions that predate Christianity by centuries. All of the cult like practices, endless recitation of memorized prayers, elevation of statues and relics and laced objects to the status of worship or honor are just part of a system that locks people in without the need to think.

      I suggest that you view the dozen brief film clips of Michael Calace called Rape of the Soul which can be found on google video under his name for a brief introduction. As far as the Stanford Prison Experiment, the German film, Das Experiment, should be viewed by every reader of this website, it explains a great deal of the Roman dynamic. The saint stories have all been added as lore for misleading children and the gullible. The purpose is to keep everyone as lifelong infants, never maturing and never having any real understanding.

  17. In 2009, The ‘dreaded’ International Humanist and Ethical Union took the Holy See to account before the United Nations in September 2009, on account of sex-abuse of our children, Geoffrey Robinson QC, a leader in constitutional and international law. Led missions for mentioned Amnesty International and acted for Human Rights Watch. There are enough avenues to travel on.
    I thought you were so far ahead of Australia, it goes to show, it matters not what anyone does, they will end up doing it ‘their way’, until it goes the Netherlands International Court of Justice in the
    There is certainly enough evidence.
    Look up both IHEU and Geoffrey Robinson QC.

    1. The pope says, “this is NOT the BURGER KING. You don’t get it your way. You get it my way, or you don’t get it at all.”

      You’re right L. Newington, Netherlands – International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague.

      It’s time for the pope and his cohorts to get it ‘THEIR WAY’!

      1. There is one internal case of Priest Pedophilia, which I believe has an excellent chance of going to the Hague. Father Brendan Smyth was a notorious abuser in Ireland as well as the USA. I like to call him, “A Pedophile Priest WITHOUT Borders.” Smyth, single-handedly, brought down the Irish Government, a few years back, and it looks now, as if he is going to be the undoing of Cardinal Sean Brady, the chief Primate of Ireland. Members of the Hierarchy on both sides of the Atlantic knew that Fr. Brendan Smyth was a prolific abuser. The BBC just did a documentary called, “The Shame of the Catholic Church.” It can be found on Youtube at this address:

      2. jeannie, that you tube video moves me to tears– How could this have happened? thank you for posting it… Gortahurk was my grandfather’s town in Donegal…..such a “terrible beauty”

      3. Beth,

        NO such reference exists, and I SHOULD HAVE made that clear.

        The quotation was simply my attempt at literary license, (breaking the accepted rules of grammar or usage to make a point or achieve an effect). But, it’s a point I stand by. The time has come for the ICC at The Hague to take a close look at this man.

        I doubt the pope has ever heard of the BURGER KING; and if he has, he certainly has never eaten there. LOL

      4. Beth,

        NO such reference exists, and I SHOULD HAVE made that clear.

        The quotation was simply my attempt at literary license, (breaking the accepted rules of grammar or usage to make a point or achieve an effect). But, it’s a point I stand by. The time has come for The ICC at The Hague to take a close look at this man.

        I doubt the pope has ever heard of the BURGER KING; and if he has, he certainly has never eaten there. (LOL)

  18. I watched about 1/2 of the BBC video and it is indeed a powerful experience. Just to let everyone know that I was so impressed by the presentation that I shared the below thoughts at, the archdiocesan website. Let’s see if they accept this post at the website.

    Truthfully, seriously and honestly, an “invitation to grace” can be witnessed in a sensitive, compassionate and deeply-moving documentary just released by the BBC entitled “The Shame of the Catholic Church.” It can be found on Youtube at this address:

    Such a presentation should be made available to the parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

  19. Room 304, Thurs. morning, May 10:

    I have two seconds to report because I have to get to the airport…

    OMG! The testimony of Sr. Kathleen, this morning, was incredible! She was abused by Cudemo, as were some of her relatives. She also has extensive knowledge of the AD… her testimony will NOT bode well for Lynn. It’s all over AD!

    So glad to have met Kathy and Beth, two friends of Rich, one being Steve, and Bob. I met Sr. Maureen this morning and chatted with her.


      1. I feel like I am missing part of the story. Did the Sister who testified today do something else to bring Cudemo to the light after she was told in 1991 by Malloy, “It’s not that easy to remove a pastor at this time”. Did she say “I cannot go on; if it isn’t done that way, I can quit.” as she proposes Lynn could have done?
        I am by no means giving any support to Lynn. Please do not misconstrue my questions. I am just having a hard time understanding why Lynn could be held to the higher standard of “doing what is right no matter the cost”, when it seems nuns who did/do not hold themselves to the same standard.

      2. Michele,
        Please correct me if I’m wrong Hadit or Joan or Kathy…

        She approached the AD (Molloy and Lynn) to let them know Cudemo abused her and he should not be in ministry.

        The people who had influence and power about Cudemo’s status and assignments were the Cardinal (and Molloy and Lynn). Sister would not have quit because she wasn’t complicit in keeping Cudemo in ministry.

        What a horrible position to be in as a nun in the Philly AD…victimized by your cousin, the priest and working for the very people you have to disclose the abuse to in order to get Cudemo out of ministry and away from children.

      3. Michele, you certainly didn’t miss the part of the story where the Catholic apologist looks for the distraction.

        You practice the first Catholic tactic of blaming someone else or trying to search for a shred of some hypocrisy to help defend one of the greatest abuses of hypocrisy in religious history.

        Here’s the difference: Lynn was Cudemo’s boss, and as the Sister knew, he had access to plenty of “inside information”. Molloy also had information, and Lynn Malloy, and their boss, Bevilacqua, the Don of the child sex mafia, had the power to do something about it.

        Only the Catholic apologist wouldn’t understand this so I’ll explain it for you, and I’m typing slowly:

        Lynn, Molloy, & Bevilacqua:

        – were Cudemo’s bosses
        – had power to do something about Cudemo
        – had inside information about Cudemo’s pedophile history
        – would have been noticed if they resigned as a result of Cudemo, and their courageous stance would have meant something. It would have been a “Christ-like” action


        – was a victim of child rape from this powerful priest, Fr Cudemo
        – thought that she was raped by “Christ on earth”
        – spent every day of her life and development thinking that she was raped by Christ on earth, and had the confidence and power that someone would have if they lived that life
        – probably thought she was the only victim in the world until 1991 (most victims though they were the only one until 2002)
        – is in a culture where women are second hand citizens and have no power whatsoever
        – wouldn’t have been noticed if she quit, and knows she would have been stepped on by every Catholic within range

        Now you are up to speed with the rest of the class.

    1. It was good to talk this morning.

      I also had a chance to talk with Sr. Kathleen after she left the courtroom today after giving her testimony. I thanked her for testifying and told her I appreciated it given all that she has been through and particularly for saying, in so many words, that Msgr. Lynn COULD HAVE QUIT! Since she holds some authority given her position in the AD that should carry some weight,

      Marci Hamilton was there as well in the a.m. Talked with her as well.

      Sister Maureen

      1. Can folks fathom what he “COULD HAVE QUIT” means to priests? The statement is unfathomable for clerics which goes to show you how detrimental and catastrophically problematic the culture of the priesthood is.

      2. Hadit…three thoughts.

        First of all, thanks a lot for your keen trial insights!

        Second, Thomas Doyle, I think made similar remarks as a trial witness, to Sr Kathleen’s…Lynn had personal responsibility…the Cardinal was NOT a ‘puppet master’…

        And third, today at Santa Clara University in CA a major clergy abuse seminar was held. The keynote address was given by Thomas Reese SJ who has experienced the heavy hand of Rome…I cited his address and posted it on the Philadelphia Priests website….it deals with much we have discussed on C4C…the link is:

  20. Hola Senior…. NOTE THIS HAPPENED IN 2005… In court today “Sullivan said she believed she mentioned her find to Lynn’s successor, Msgr. Timothy Senior, but didn’t recall any further discussion. Or what happened to the files…” YES THIS IS THE SAME SENIOR WHO JUST CONFIRMED MY SON…This is down right creepy now…

    Posted: Thu, May. 10, 2012, 1:38 PM
    Locked safe held list of pedophile priests, witness says
    By John P. Martin
    A few months after she started working in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia clergy office in late 2005, Louise Sullivan was handed a task: straighten up the file room.
    After more than two years of grand-jury investigations into allegedly sexually abusive priests, the room on the 10th floor of the archdiocese’s 17th Street headquarters was cluttered with cardboard boxes and random files. Sitting atop one cabinet in the corner was a safe.
    Sullivan, the office’s newly appointed director of operations, asked around: Whose safe was it? And what was inside?
    No one knew, she told Common Pleas Court jurors on Thursday.
    The backstory of the safe — and its contents — remain a disputed but potentially critical piece of evidence in the conspiracy and child endangerment trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, who once ran the office.
    Inside the safe was a list that Lynn compiled in 1994 naming 35 active archdiocesan priests who had been diagnosed as pedophiles, had admitted sexual misconduct with minors, or were suspected or accused of such conduct.
    To prosecutors, the list crystallizes their claim that barely two years into his 12-year tenure as secretary for clergy, Lynn understood that the archdiocese was letting potentially predatory priests work in parishes across the region. One of the clergy listed as guilty of sexual misconduct was the Rev. Edward Avery, who five years later would sexually assault a Northeast Philadelphia altar boy after Mass.
    Lynn’s lawyers say the list is something else – proof that their client, more than any other church official was trying hard to identify the scope of the abuse problem and address it. Avery was the only priest on the list later accused of assaulting a child, and after Lynn had directed him to undergo treatment and recommended him for a limited post as a hospital chaplain.
    They also contend that Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua and other top deputies were aware of the list and that Bevilacqua ordered all copies to be shredded, a sign that he ultimately dictated the policy on sexually abusive clergy.
    Sullivan’s testimony represented the first small step to possibly unraveling the mystery, something jurors might be asked to do as the trial winds down in the coming weeks.
    When Sullivan first noticed the combination safe, no one could explain who put it there or why or how to open it, she said. She also didn’t ask Lynn, who had left post of secretary for clergy the previous year.
    Instead of just throwing it out, Sullivan hired a locksmith to drill the safe open. Inside, she was surprised to see an accordion folder, holding one or more manila folders. She didn’t review the papers but took the whole folder down the hall and placed it in on the conference table in one priest’s office.
    “I casually said to the staff, You all told me there was nothing in there, but here’s a file,” she testified, under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington.
    Sullivan said she believed she mentioned her find to Lynn’s successor, Msgr. Timothy Senior, but didn’t recall any further discussion. Or what happened to the files.
    “At the time, this was a very insignificant task in the office,” Sullivan said.
    In pretrial filings, prosecutors said that archdiocese officials finally turned over the list earlier this year, as they prepared for Lynn’s trial.
    Contact John P. Martin at 215-854-4774 or at Follow him @JPMartinInky on Twitter.

  21. Jerry Slevin posted: “Amazed, we all have to use our judgment. Please do your best to balance your values, as will I. The pope and bishops , among other things, sold out to the Republican right most recently in 2009. They made this political, not me.

    Please click on just cannot follow your “dots”to say that the Catholic bishops are Republicans, or that Catholics and others incensed over the handling of the sex abuse by priests to vote Democratic in November. I researched the link you posted and things becaome strange indeed when I learn the organization behind the “Manhattan Declaration” is not a “Republican Right” but an Ecumenical group of very liberal “names” very similar to the list behind the “Catholics and Evangelicals Together” attempt of an earlier time. Just doesn’t compute Mr. Slevin.

    1. amazed, I am amazed that you write that you, “researched the link you posted and things becaome [sic] strange indeed when I learn the organization behind the “Manhattan Declaration” is not a “Republican Right” but an Ecumenical group of very liberal “names””.

      On the list are super-neocons Michael Novak and George Weigel (who promote every oil profiteering war that comes along, for pay). Also listed from the fringe right are Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Jonathan Falwell, Bully Bill Donohue, and Opus Dei friend Robert George. Most of the rest you will find in the archives of Bishop Accountability–Charles Chaput; Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B; Timothy Dolan; Most Rev. Kevin J. Farrell; Most Rev. John C. Favalora; Bishop Robert C. Morlino; Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted.

      E.g., “Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, who decried the “sensationalized” series and said that prayer and fasting – not investigative journalism – were the answers to sexual abuse.”

      1. My Intent is to illustrate that the attempt to call the bishops at fault in the priest sex abuse cannot reasonably or demonstrably called “Republicans” or that they are an “anti-Obama bloc.”

    2. Amazed, President Bush Jr set the wheels in motion long ago.
      He was a soft touch for the Vatican when seeking the Catholic vote, to the point of alllowing diplomatic immunity when the Holy See was being brought to account for abuse.
      Time out to read The Last Crusade: Religion and the Politics of Misdirection by Barbara Victor would show more light on what Jerry S. said.

  22. …Correction: …or that Catholics and others incensed over the handling of the sex abuse by priests need b
    e coerced or nudged to vote Democratic …
    I find it hard to escape this conclusion when I see you post this type of thing broadly on the internet.

    1. Amazed.
      I understand where you are coming from. I also understand Jerry. It seems like slaughter of innocent vs. rape of innocent what a choice. It’s rather disturbing. I have been to two types of vigils in my life prolife and survivors vigils. Makes me sad that the innocents …….children are many times the victims of our selfishness. I also have read that most women that have abortions would have had their children if they had emotional and or physical support …….I am not saying it is easy …..I have compassion for these men and women ….I have had a few difficult preganncies myself.

  23. Drwho 13…..I really agree with what you say. I don’t see how anyone can still “sleep with a madman”, once they find out that’s who he is. Many speak of the good priests, nuns and brothers still there I still find it very uncomfortable that they sound like such hypocrits when that’s who’s feeding, clothing and housing them.! (It’s called biting the hand that feeds you!” )There is nothing they can do in the RCC that they can’t do out of it!.GOD will give them a place to go( WITH THE EDUCATION THEY HAVE BEHIND THEM)) IiT SHOULD NOT BE TOO DIFFICULT. MAYBE EVEN RUN FOR OFFICE. GOD BLESS ALL WHO HAVE THE FORESIGHT AND COURAGE TO LEAVE. ” You said it right Jeannie .”The Kingdom of God is within”

  24. Just read about Sr. Kathleen’s testimony in a few of the articles regarding the trial today. Cudemo truly sounds like the epitome of evil and yet they did nothing about it. God knows what he is doing in Florida and to whom. It makes me sick to my stomach to think he could be doing these same things to more innocent children. How does Lynn sleep at night? And the others who covered up too (because we all know there are plenty of others)….how do they preach Christ’s word when they have been accessories to evil? I just can’t comprehend it. I know I should by now, but it continues to blow my mind.

    1. They have stopped focusing on Christ and instead of Christ working thru them Satan has used them to ruin souls…….May God have mercy on them and they repent and make amends and the victims get some peace and justice on this Earth….

  25. One thought…

    The defense is being crushed. The jury “gets” it. I think the defense went into it knowing it would be crushed. I think the AD knew it would be crushed. It rejected a plea deal for Lynn because doubt is far preferable to admitting guilt . When Lynn is found guilty, the AD will continue with its denial, it will plead anti-Catholic bias, it will blame the judge and the jury, it will have a martyr in the form of Lynn, it will file an appeal. All of that is preferable to admitting guilt. The Catholic Church will not admit immoral, criminal and conspiratorial practices for heady, churchy, authoritarian, power-laden, arrogant, theological reasons. Period. The AD had no problem spending the hard-earned money of the faithful to cover its ass with a dream team. The dream team isn’t out to win what they know they can’t win, they are out to carry on the “show” necessary when an institution will not admit guilt. Lynn is the “show” scapegoat. He will be rewarded. It’s shocking how the dream team goes through the motions, pretty much unaffected by its ineffectiveness. The money is pouring into the pockets of all of them. Not one member of the dream team appears anxious, frustrated, scared or worried. Everyone on the dream team and in the AD knew things would go as they have. Whatever. The AD will pick up the pieces with a bunch of language-babble (like we heard at Friday’s press conference) that mesmerizes the pew sheep. Life will go on…

    If I am correct, how can priests and the laity ever expect healing and hope?

    1. Hadit,
      That is a very good question. One word jumps out for me Christ. i will follow him where ever he leads and I don’t where that is………………….but I feel he is presently working in our midst………..he did say not to put our faith in princes but in him…..that is the only thing I know now…….I guess that is where our faith comes in……

      1. Another thing I have really been thinking about that fact the abuse happened in one on one contact and that healing may need to be done the same way in one on one relationships with genuine compassion and concern. As one victim pointed out if Chaput really cared he would have met with victims from Philadelphia and he has not. I hear Chaput saying many times he has met with victims before but I don’t recall him saying he met with any of our victims in Philadelphia………has anyone else?It’s kinda like when someone dies close to you him saying well I have been to many funerals before I dont need to go to your loved ones funeral……….very hurtful and totally missing the point…….each victim has a story to be heard………each victim needs compassion and healing ……..each victim is made in the image and likeness of God and is special….if he understood this he and all the heirarchy would do as Tom Doyle said and take off their robes and ring and go to the victims…….and I ad as much and as frequently as he can……..if he can take time to visit the largest parish in the diocese to say mass he can take an hr to meet with some victims.

      2. beth,

        The people who need to follow and be led by Christ are the priests. They are the only ones who can annihilate the elephant in the room. The AD is the Vatican “in persona.” It will not admit guilt. To do so would altogether unravel its power and moral authority, and permanently stain the image of Christ’s “bride.” But without an admission of guilt, all efforts at hope and healing among the priests and the laity are crippled.

        Priests can obediently go through the crippled motions of appearance and protection-based AD sponsored initiatives for healing and hope, or they can unify and radically call for an admission of guilt, while emphatically asserting that they will not participate in initiatives that do not originate in one.

        Priests live crippled lives. Their infliction is clericalism. They are used to crippled orders and mandates from the top, crippled initiatives, crippled engagements with the laity, crippled consciences, and crippled associations with each other. Nothing, however, has crippled them more than a 21st century, informed laity who “gets” how their infliction cripples them. The wised-up laity has, in effect, removed all of the clerical crutches. We will know the clerics who follow and are led by Christ because they will WALK!

    2. Don’t underestimate the power of win here.

      Most people (especially nationally) don’t know ANY of the details of this story. When Lynn becomes the first priest convicted of moving known child rapists around, many more people will hear about this, and many more will read about Cudemo and the 35 others that a Cardinal knew about and intentionally hid in 1994. Other prosecutors will gains some guts, and Bishop Finn in Kansas City may be the next to fall. Cardinal Rigali may be indicted.

      We aren’t that far from someone having the guts to use RICO statutes to infiltrate the whole syndicate and rip the “secret archives” out of every diocese.

      As far as Lynn is concerned, he ought to be very scared. Prisoners know how to treat pedophiles, and these days, they have internet access.

      1. Patrick you are right there will be a ripple effect and much of it will be cleaned up.

      2. Patrick…I don’t underestimate a Lynn ‘win’ here. If the jury so decides.

        And ‘the other prosecutors will gain some guts’….and the stories of folks like Cudemo, will, if briefly, become national news, et al.

        I feel less secure about the RICO thing as I think it was tried and failed?

        But what particularly gets my attention is a ‘building momentum’ on these issues. I am out here on the West Coast and even relatively conservative folks are appalled at the Vatican/nun situation. For the most part, they will not be unhappy if a diocesan ‘manager’ is convicted. There seems to be a consensus that the Church has not only handled abuse issues very badly, but has gotten off scot free at the hierarchical level.

        Do I think the church is going to marvelously reform immediately, no….do I think the ‘momentum ‘ is on the side of the angels, increasingly, yes.

        Do I think this is a marathon, not a ‘sprint’….you better believe it.

        I believe the victims, trust the Spirit.

  26. Kathy,
    I just read that Sister had gone to Prendie………………..its sad what happened to her……..I am glad she was able to speak out…….it takes victims years sometimes never……to come forward. Thankyou Sister…….I read how you said you felt like you were fighting evil……one thing to hear about evil another to stare it in the face and take a stand which you did today.Peace

  27. To Crystal: ” I wonder whether the membership of the 3 lay-orders you mention is now dwindling.”

    Yes, the membership is dwindling. On the website of, the write-up is on “340 Consecrated Leave Regnum Christi in 3 Years”. Sorry for the delay in my response.

  28. Beth wrote:Amazed.
    I understand where you are coming from. I also understand Jerry. It seems like slaughter of innocent vs. rape of innocent what a choice. It’s rather disturbing. I have been to two types of vigils in my life prolife and survivors vigils. Makes me sad that the innocents …….children are many times the victims of our selfishness. I also have read that most women that have abortions would have had their children if they had emotional and or physical support …….I am not saying it is easy …..I have compassion for these men and women ….I have had a few difficult preganncies myself.
    [beth wrote]
    Yes,It is very difficult withall the “smole and mirrors”; however, there is no way I will hang the bishops behavior on the Republicans, or side with the Dems in the upcoming election based upon inuendo that the bishops afre both abusers and Republicans.

  29. This is not a political debate or a small problem with- in a confined area but a Historical Uprising of God’s People against the evil one who wishes to destroy the vunerable innocents of our world.
    We will not allow the devil to wreck any more havoc on any more of us out here fighting for Christ Jesus or Lord and our God!…..We Rebuke[ him] in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen!

  30. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.c…………………* Then war broke out in heaven; Michael* and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back,………………… but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.*……………..this is from revelations………..seems like the devil never liked Mary……………..I was thinking about my question about children being our innocent victims and I came across this………gave me something to think about

  31. Did anyone else,(Vicky, Rich, Beth) notice that amongst the names of people listed as Mary Achilles’ collaborators for the HH&C initiative is John Grogan, lawyer and parishioner at Our Mother of Consolation parish(OMC)? John Grogan was the facilitator for the meeting at OMC wherein Sharon and Dr. Nines presented. Hmmm….

    1. Michele, Thank you for the info about grogan. No, I didn’t realize he was involved in this however, I am not at all surprised. He was so very rude to Sharon and walked out right after the meeting. He really could NOT handle the truth!

    2. Thanks for that info on Grogan, Michele. From the reports made by C4C bloggers who attended the OMC meeting, Grogan “facilitated” speakers who were vehicles for spreading AD practices and agendas, while cutting off other speakers and attendees. The HH&C initiative is AD through and through, pure and simple. No one should trust anything that is AD sponsored.

      The AD looks to parish priests to identify and recommend professionals in their parish who can be useful to the AD and its initiatives. Professionals who have both an expertise AND a sheepish mindset , and are notoriously willing to pal up to the AD and its agendas are the “chosen ones.” They must be “puppet-material with an expertise.”

      (For centuries, bishops have looked to parish priests to identify these kinds of people and tap them for their expertise, money, and willingness to follow the AD/clerical agenda. Our Church has greatly suffered due to this clerical practice. Its entire goal is to foster and sustain the clerical agenda. Unfortunately, however, the needs, concerns, and points of view of people who oppose the clerical agenda are never heard or met. The “chosen” lay people are never a cross section of people with diverse and differing ideas. Indeed, the “chosen” might as well be clerics since that is their mindset. This
      practice has got to stop!)

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