Smells Like Spin

A reader just pointed out discrepancies in data released by the Archdiocese regarding Msgr. Francis Feret. I got a strong whiff of public relations spin. Feret is identified as as priest “found unsuitable for ministry” because of “boundary violations.” However, immediately after the announcement, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article referencing an interview with the lawyer who represented a man who was anally and orally raped. If his abuse was unsubstantiated and some other offense a substantiated boundary violation, shouldn’t we have been told that?

The reader asked, “Are they just saying “Boundary Violation” to minimize the outcry?

Short answer? In my opinion, yes. During his press conference, Archbishop Chaput declined to discuss specifics in regard to individual priests. Also, it is my understanding from a source that at least one of the five priests removed from ministry for boundary violations is still under investigation by the District Attorney’s office for more serious offenses. It would appear this was another calculated move to control headlines and press coverage. Far better to announce removal for boundary violations. It smells a lot like Brian Tierney, public relations pro hired on Cardinal Bevilaqua, is still on the job. Of course, I could be wrong.

54 thoughts on “Smells Like Spin

  1. “Are they just saying “Boundary Violation” to minimize the outcry?”…. YES, I have yet to see anything in writing as to what the church officials consider ‘boundary violations’…

    If these so called “boundary issues” harmed anyone, they need to be considered very serious.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

    1. I read a definition of “boundary violations” on the Archdiocesan Web site. It listed things such as giving alcohol to a minor, etc. Kathy may have the exact link. However, when applied to these particular instances who knows what it means. Father Brennan said something to the effect that he considered his allowing a teen to view porn and then sharing his bed with the teen immediately afterward to be a boundary violation.

  2. “Are they just saying “Boundary Violation” to minimize the outcry?”

    Who is “they”? Does “they” include the woman who headed the “independent” investigation into the priests? The woman who empathically stated at the Friday news conference that the AD didn’t influence or obstruct the investigation whatsoever?

  3. “to the reader” thanks for pointing this out ……….you are making a very important point…………that everyone needs to take very seriously………………they still don’t want us to have the whole picture………what happen hope honesty and healing…………..

  4. Susan when I first read this real quick I thought the title said Smells like Sin…………..don’t they know they are selling their souls to the devil by continuing this miniumizing and coverup behavior? They are definitely not shouting it from the roof tops like the quote on this website states ………they may fool some of us but they are not going to fool God.

    1. Beth: Do you think they even care? Every time we turn around, we see how corrupt the entire organization is. My question is this: Why did the Archdiocese investigate these old allegations, anyway? Why were they NOT turned over to the legal authorities to do so. This shouldn’t be allowed. I think that Scriptures give us a pretty clear answer about what to do:
      “Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; (The Book of Revelation of St. John (18:4). That about sums it up! In the 18th or 19th chapter of the Book of Revelation, a “Giant Millstone” is cast down on the Apostate Church, built on “7 hills.” In classical literature, “7 hills” was always the moniker for Rome. Maybe it’s time for a mass Exodus!

      1. Oh Jeannie-You know your scriptures! I have been quoting these for so long but know them by heart-, not chap. & vs. People should LISTEN.. to you !

        1. Glorybe1929! We have connected many times before in “Comments” at several websites. Good to hear from you. How did you find me and my blog? Often, when reading your comments, I’ve thought, it’s too bad that most Catholics don’t have this person’s love of Scripture! I’ve always enjoyed your posts. Let’s keep in touch.

      2. Jeannie… I wish, to ask you á question? You have so much and where did you come by all this information on the rcc? If you don’t mind letting us all know some of your back ground I’m sure . we’d all appreciate it. Thank you so much!

        1. Gloria: I’m not a spring chicken. I’ve been around for years and for years my hobby has been honing my observational skills. As a Catholic, I was a good Catholic and a well informed Catholic. I was also very studious Catholic, who could be described as “A Thinking Catholic!” That is why I left the Church, as there is no place in the Catholic Church for a woman, who is a genuine, “Thinking Catholic.” I got into the Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church in its early years, when we were told by bishops and priests that “We were playing with Satan!” The Charismatics had a love for the Word of God, that I had never experienced in the Catholic Church. After our prayer group was asked to leave our parish “Because we were praying too much,” I left the Church. Since, I have studied the Old and the New Testament for almost 40 years. That is were I get most of my “spiritual” insight and knowledge.

  5. Rape, murder, war they’re all boundary violations from a certain euphemistic and not to mention technically correct point of view.

    1. James@15,

      The clerics love to to use ‘church speak.’ It’s done for no other reason that to cloud our understanding of the crimes they committed. But, after all these years there are fools out there who still don’t get it.

      When they use ‘church speak’ one can be sure that they’re covering for something evil.

      Look at the language they used in Boston a decade ago, same language, different city.

      1. James: When a priest or bishop gets his doctorate or masters degree from a prestigious Catholic University in Rome, there are probably courses, teaching one “The Art of Obfuscation” or as you say, “Churchspeak.” I had wondered how and why Archbishop Chaput ordered an internal investigation, without turning all evidence of past abuse over to the police, where they could determine the difference between “boundary violations,” and molestation, rape, sodomy or forced masturbations. Maybe the next trial we’ll see will have Archbishop Chaput on the stand, defending his recent actions in Philly.

  6. Whenever I think of child sexual-abuse, I think of the abuse of power. It may appear that, at times, I am digressing from the topic of this blog, but I truly believe that clerical-power allowed some priests to cross the line. It was that same demi-god status that prevented parents from protecting their children… out of fear, guilt, denial, shame, poverty, stigma etc. We are told that, at the time of consecration, the hands of priests become the hands of God. How am I supposed to believe this? This past Sunday, on Mother’s Day, my Parish-Pastor (same one I wrote about earlier) began the service by saying that he felt closer to his mother now because she was in heaven. On asking some pew-catholics what he could have meant by this, they said that he was closer to heaven and holier because he was a priest. Sometimes, I have to watch myself from saying something that his lynch-mob may take offense to. And Alas! There is no venue to forward a complaint. He is flourishing by keeping his superiors happy, while lording it over us. He is arrogant and power-conscious and is teaching the lay-hierarchy to be the same… poisoning the minds of the parishioners. He is part of the migration of Indian priests, who have swept across Canada over the last few years. Many, with some exceptions, are authoritarian and old-school and may even believe that they are a purer breed. Perhaps the pope feels that this heavy-handed approach will beat us into submission … into praying, paying, obeying.

    In the area of praying, we are now using the New Missal along with the bowing and striking of the breast in submission. How much more docility do they want? Is this a slave-religion? We also pray the ‘vocation prayer’ and the ‘stewardship prayer’ and this week we were introduced to the ‘Calgary Diocese Centenary Prayer’. In the area of paying, the collection-plate goes back quite full. In the area of obeying, we are kept very busy with novenas, rosaries, rituals, fund-raising etc. so there is little time to read the bible and discuss ways to improve our personal relationship with Jesus.

    1. Your priest isn’t going to encourage you to read the Bible or to develop a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. That will never happen. As I said in another post, “It’s like the 1500’s and the Catholic Church Uber Alles, all over again!” Forget Vatican II. Forget being part of the People of God. You’re not going to hear that kind of rhetoric coming out of the Vatican or the mouth of your parish priest. For a genuine religious experience, cross the street and find an Evangelical Church, where people know and love Jesus, rather than follow dead rituals like rosaries, praying to saints, novenas, etc.

  7. JB,

    “we are kept busy with novenas, rosaries, rituals……..” Just a very few of all of the props that have been instituted by all religions over time. Having those rituals requires obediance, practice, the interventioin of a priest or preacher, someone to “lead” and to “require”. Thomas Jefferson said: THE CARE OF EVERY MAN’S SOUL BELONGS TO HIMSELF.


    1. Reid, THE CARE OF EVERY MAN’S SOUL BELONGS TO HIMSELF! I love how you bottom line it and labeled with such truth. When all is said and done, you alone will stand before God.I Thank God that my soul is whole and free of such evil!

    2. Reid: So true, so true! Lately, I’ve begun to see under the Vatican’s disguise. In the good old days, uneducated people were enamored with the bells and smells. No a days, it’s not so easy for people to say, “ooh, and Aah” over fansy vestments, gold chalices and ornate cathedrals. People are awakening to the Vatican’s and the Hierarchy’s many disguises: Expensive raimnant on the outside, but pure filth, underneath!

  8. No offense to this site intended, but as we try to analyze the ongoing lies of catholic church hierarchy, more and more children remain at risk and more and more predators remain at large. Church hierarchy will never change their ways. They simply do not have to.
    Mike Ference

    1. I very definitely am coming to realize, though apparently others already have, that the reason for the abuse not being rooted out long ago is that the abusers have a “network” that serves as cover for their crimes. Just call me a little “slow.”

      1. amazed,

        You can bet your life that there’s a “network!” When I was in religious life there were pedophile rings that passed kids around, and watched each others backs.

        There was even an infamous website called “Sebastian’s Angles” back in the 90’s (since taken down) that was almost exclusively the domain of RC priests. They openly supported the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA.) I also believe that a South African bishop was involved.

        I don’t know why the Vatican didn’t act immediately to take it down, but they didn’t. I also do not know who was responsible for its take down, but I don’t believe it was the RCC. The site was well know; but JPII did nothing, now that’s what I’d call a very sick saint!

        From my experience the Church has no shortage of creeps and freaks, and they’re highly networked. It’s very similar to the Mob.

    1. I think that Archbishop Chaput is more content with photo-opps, where he can look saintly and holy, and distanced from reality than he is actually getting down on the ground and communicating with people!

  9. If you remember, the guy who came out against Feret publicly for abusing him never formally complained and came out to talk only after he was suspended. They may have used the “boundary violation” that was something else to be able to get rid of him while other things linger. I’m sure legally they can’t say the dismissal was for sexual abuse while that is unsubstantiated, but they can find other reasons to get rid of him. Where I worked once we were pretty sure a guy was stealing but we fired him for being chronically late just to get him out of there.

    1. Mark, I am confused the article states the victim contacted the AD in 2006 with allegations of abuse.But I undertsand your rational about being able to remove someone for other/additional infractions in order to get them out.

      1. Hi Kathy, I am the one who first reached out to the AD in 2006 regarding fr feret, then I realized I wasn’t ready to pursue, when his name was released in 2010, I again notified the AD. I have pursued justice since that day. I have a letter from the AD saying Feret was removed because of what he did to me, then they notifed me the following week that his removal had nothing to do with me??!!i

  10. There were three Catholic schools in Port Richmond within five blocks; Nativity, Our Lady Help of Christians, and St. Adalbert, where Feret was the pastor. Several years ago, the three schools were combined into Our Lady of Port Richmond. Although the school could have been located at Nativity, the school was given to the pastor who had credible allegations of child abuse made against him. Sadly, this man told little children that there was no Santa and humiliated students in the presence of senior citizens who also gathered at his parish for their weekly meeting. For those of you who are tired of inane, poorly prepared homilies and top down liturgies, please consider visiting the Community of St. Mary Magdalene. We meet every Sunday in the McBurney Chapel of the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church at 9AM. The church is located at 600 Burmont Rd. We also have a satellite which meets monthly at Holy Innocents/St. Paul Episcopal Church at 8AM on the second Sunday of each month. The church is located at the corner of Tyson and Torresdale Ave. in the lower NE section of Phila. Come and be fed. You will never leave angry.

    1. Eileen.. It’s very good to know that congregations like yours are thriving.
      Feret has been around forever…i remember him as the very feisty and outgoing activities director of cardinal dougherty hs, in the 70’s…. How disgusting to think of him having open access to the unprotected children of 3 combined grade schools –courtesy of the man of the hour, Msgr.Lynn (-?)..and countless others who turned their backs on the welfare of Philly’s children.

  11. I believe that it is through awareness of the underlying reasons for the sexual-abuse of children that we can also protect children. This awareness can come from this blog, other streams, websites, research-based articles and books, listening to top-down liturgies, understanding the purpose behind the rituals, being aware of what is happening during the service, observing the passivity of the laity, some of them half-asleep. Even Jesus must have attended the Temple to observe how the Pharasees taught the people. For spiritual reasons, we can then participate at another Mass. Last Sunday, my Parish Priest told us that God’s love was conditional to the following of the Ten Commandments, after which the love became unconditional. This is similar to giving children their allowance if they do their chores. This parish comprises of immigrants and a large number of children who are listening to this message of conditional love. Are we not protecting these children by bringing awareness to this situation?

  12. I have not seen nor heard anything remotely suggesting that lynn and his other co conspirators did anything to remove abusive priests. As far as the defense team trying to suggest that lynn did not have the power to remove these priests from the list that lynn authored confirms the fact that the archdioces was only concerned about ‘scandal’ , there was nothing that prevented lynn from contacting the POLICE instead of consulting with the law firm of stradely ronnin !

  13. Eilene difranco posted:
    For those of you who are tired of inane, poorly prepared homilies and top down liturgies, please consider visiting the Community of St. Mary Magdalene. We meet every Sunday in the McBurney Chapel of the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church at 9AM. The church is located at 600 Burmont Rd.
    Me: I find it amusing [but sad] that in so many cases the Roman church is not even doing a good job at being the evil and apostate cult it wants to be. By the way, what is “top down liturgy?”

  14. drwho13 posted:For a little more info go to:
    That story is shocking indeed; especially if the quotes of the bishops chat are valid and not made up. What seems clear is that these rings or networks exist among the clergy. What is not clear , or maybe to some it is clear is whether these men are formed by their training or they brought the tendencies with them when entering the religious life. I suppose a Case may be made either way. Do you think there are separate networks for the heteros and homos?

    1. My parents were both abused my father as a teen through his 30’s, my mother as an adult. The two priests involved were in a relationship – if not actively sexual certainly actively complicit in each others abuses. They took turns with us children, sort of like a pedophile tag team, sometimes one priest sometimes the other. I lived it but still find it hard to believe. How can there be so many pedophile priests that they can function in groups and get away with it? It has to be that the bishops are involved, or are threatened with the revelation of their own indiscretions if they reveal the abuses. It has been suggested to me that pedophile priests were sometimes made bishop because they would be good at keeping secrets about abusers.

  15. Well everyone, I attended the trial today. Marci was there, so good to see her and Joe Walsh remembered me and my full name after 11 years! We had to leave the courtroom soon after we arrived as the cloistered sister were coming in to testify. About 45 minutes later the prosecution read from many secret documents a gentleman taking the place of lynn in his testimony back in 2010 I believe. I have been involved with this god awful mess since I went into see Lynn in 1994 with my allegations of abuse. Today, seeing the amount of cover-up and total disregard for the victim and the depth the archdiocese went to to protect their priests was physically sickening to me. I can not put into words the level of evil. When Lynn was asked why he didn’t notify the pastors where these perps were sent he replied, “I didn’t want to ruin their reputation.” He was also caught in a few lies. no surprise there. I could only stay for the morning trial. After what I heard and saw today, their mis No GOD in this institution!

    1. The experience must have been awful for you today, I hope you can take good nurturing care of yourself tonight. I believe there is Goodness and Truth in the church….in the courage of survivors. That is where God, if there is a God, is to be found, not in the doctrine, not in the structures of leadership. Any goodness/ Godness in the church is there despite our bishops and despite Rome.

    2. Of course they would remember you…

      you are an unforgettable woman.

      I’m glad you had a chance to be at the trial…but saddened to know you aren’t feeling well because of it. Please take care of yourself.

    3. Vicky,

      I would have given anything to have been in the courtroom with you today! I would have given anything to sit with you, to talk with you, and to support you while you waited outside for the 45 minutes. I hope someday to meet you.

      When I encourage people on C4C to attend the trial, I’m not encouraging survivors. To them, my hope is that they recover, doing and not doing whatever that individually entails.

      One thing I know about you is that your experience, today, will nourish the insight and wisdom you bring to the Friday vigils, your speaking engagements, this site, the playground at the shore, and the various meetings and initiatives you attend.

      You are such an amazing survivor. Thank you.

  16. Mona and survivors wife, thank you for your kind remarks. Joe was the det. that came and interviewed me back in 1994, he was professional and kind. Marci Hamilton is a very wise and smart women, who happens to be a lawyer fighting for the victims. I was impressed by Joe especially after hearing Lynn’s responses to the grand jury report as saying “I don’t remember, I don’t know that was 10 years ago, I have to speak to my lawyer before I answer this question.” Lynn was only in his early 50’s when he was questioned. I am ok. I guess I am just blown away at the coldness and evil that these so called men of God profess. I hope I never come to understand this level of evil that was done in the name of God, not just the cover-up but the rapes, the magnitude of it all. We were just children, for God’s sake! What exists in those secret files is beyond comprehension!

    1. Vicky, I have to conclude , at least in my own opinion, that the depth of evil is now being exposed to some Catholics and ex-catholics because God has a hand in its exposure. Scripturally, God in other ages has done things for the reason that He wants people who have not believed the grace gospel by faith, will hear it and if they persist in their rejection of that gospel, He concludes they have no excuse. This may be what is transpiring IMO.

  17. Correct to read: …has done things so that mankind is left without excuse. Now, in this age, God could be exposing the deep evil so that
    people who have not believed …[hope that helps]

    1. Amazed, it does help, thank you. Referring to your earlier post these priests did have a network. The detective told me they all knew each other when I showed him my yearbook where I went to school in Levittown. I was shocked at the time but as I remembered one of my priest abusers words to me it hit home that these priests were actually comparing their conquests and what victim might they want to share!

      1. Vicky,
        That is so sick and I am sorry. Before I blogged here and went to vigils people would say…….their just human like the rest of us(meaning predators priests) and they fail etc…….there is nothing “just human ” about raping children…….I again am so very sorry for all you and our other victims have been thru…… are not an empty well you are a life giving river to many of us………

      2. Vicky….”priests were comparing notes on which victim they wanted to share”……there is, in my view, a special place in hell for these guys….

        I am so sorry! Joan

  18. Beth, You are getting a real good handle on this, thank you for your kind words to me. We survivors have suffered on so many different levels, levels that permeate our entire world view of who we are as a person. People that say they are only human have no grasp of the magnitude of what the sexual abuse causes in a persons life. Those people need to read the grand jury reports and then I want to hear them say, fr. so and so was only human. Sometimes I have a very small amount of tolerance for people like this.

    1. God Bless you Vicky. You say you have a very small amount of tolerance for them and I say” I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NONE. I too am so sorry for what’s happened to you but you have a handle on it now, I believe. and will pray for your continued healing, along with all of our precious survivors.

    2. “people like this” make me think they are hanging on to wrong-wrong ideas about the priests and church because it’s all they know, and they have identified with it and won’t admit they are wrong and need to look further to get it right. IMO.

  19. Joan, Yes! The 2 Det. that interviewed me said as they were looking through my yearbook, knew of a ring. They pointed to at least 5 priests they knew of. By the way most of the priests in my yearbook were from the franciscan order TOR. I went to Bishop Conwell High. Fr. Schaeflein one of my perps who also happen to be my principal was one of the ring. After Fr. Lynch told him about me, he went after me and tried to get me to go with him and not Fr. lynch. he even talked to my husband to be out of marring me and that he would take very good care of me. Ah what most people do not know about my story.

    1. Oh Vicky…a ring of 5 priests…Franciscans…did law enforcement do anything about this…you mention a detective….I think the Order priests are an unexplored sewer pit.

      It gives a whole new meaning to the words ‘disgusting/evil’

      Again, I am so sorry….but maybe it’s a good thing to have this tragic discussion……please, please take good care of yourself during this appalling trial…Concerned Joan

    2. Vicky…such evil to the most innocent.

      I’m so sorry.

      One of the victims I’m friends with said they would never come forward because there was a ring of priests that passed him/her around. They said they’d never tell because “no one would believe me anyway.”

      It’s all so tragic.

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