Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Count


Click here to read: “Judge dismisses conspiracy count against Monsignor, Priest,” by Joseph A. Slobodzian and John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 17, 2012

Excerpt: “The prosecution ended by letting jurors handle what they contend is the closest thing to a smoking gun in the case: a tattered gray folder that had been squirreled away in a locked safe at archdiocesan offices for more than a decade.

Inside were hand-written and typed documents, including a now infamous list that Lynn drafted in 1994 naming about three dozen archdiocesan priests who had admitted or were accused of sexual misconduct with children or teens.

Blessington and Detective Joseph Walsh also gave jurors a timeline of significant points in Lynn’s tenure as secretary for clergy, noting that he told a grand jury in 2004 that he couldn’t find the list.”

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128 Responses to “Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Count”

  1. Susan, the dismissal of the conspiracy count is not significant, and could help. It mainly means the judge doesn’t think there is sufficient evidence of a common plan between Lynn and Brennan. It actually simplifies things for the jurors on the remaining major counts.

    For the future case against Rigali and the other bishops, please read, “More Papal Fears For Children, Women, Nuns, Priests & Gay Persons–Do Only Cardinals Matter To Our Pope?”, accessible by clicking on at:

    http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/05/gerald-t-slevin-more-papal-fears-for.html

    • That’s what Kathy and I were hoping. I think the “smoking gun” file given to the Jury is much more significant in the scheme of things.

    • MUST READ!

      Jerry Slevin’s bilgrimage post offers clear and thorough summaries on where things stand in the Church, today (now), on children, women, priests, nuns, gay Catholics, and cardinals. Each group’s “predicament” is articulated for the reader. The summary on children, in particular, will be of interest to Philly Catholics and C4C.

      Nice work, Jerry!

      Click on the link in Jerry’s above post.

      • Thanks, Hadit.

        I still remain concerned about Judge Sarmina and DA Seth Williams letting Avery out so easily and early. Why? Avery was a much better case apparently than Brennan.

        Also, several of the suspended priests appear still to be under investigation by the DA. Rigali was in charge while these priests were still active. Has the DA taken Rigli’s testimony regarding them? If not, why not? The gag order doesn’t prevent the DA from discussing these cases, as Chaput’s press conference proved.

        This trial focused only on these three priests. Since Rigali must have known about the two dozen suspended priests’ prior allegations, any subsequent allegations, even if now barred, may support a charge of child endangerment against Rigali.

        The DA answers to Philly citizens, not to Chaput and his lawyers. How about some answers Seth?

        Marci Hamilton’s article today linked in my above article (at the end of the 9th paragraph under “CHILDREN” ) makes clear that Chaput was ‘selectively disclosing ‘ at his press conference.

        DA Williams has surveyed the Philly AD cesspool well. Now he must go try to catch the episcopal “whales”, instead of focusing only on the clerical “minnows”!

      • It is distressing to me to see this blatant attempt to “harness ” the appropriate animus against the Catholic hierarchy over the child abuse and direct it against the Republicans in the upcoming election. It should have no place amid honest efforts to safeguard children , and future children from either abortion , abuse, or the “Gay agenda.”

      • Amazed, we have laws to protect kids. We just don’t pray for divine intervention. Laws are enacted and enforced by elected leaders like DA Williams, Judge Sarmina, PA legislators and presidents and members of Congress. Protecting kids is inherently political and should be considered in evaluating candidates. That’s just reality. I don’t just make this up.

    • Best piece ever Jerry Slevin.
      Thank you.

    • Another brilliant piece, Jerry. Thank you.

    • Jerry…You are the most elequent writer…but your idea of the.next Pope making all the (evil) bad go away and exorcising the present church to be what we all thought it really was….Imo….is very simplistic, considering the death (murder) of John Paul 1. Who wished to give back to the World what had been stolen by previous Pontiffs! What say you? He lasted only a few weeks before his demise and immediate cremation . Even the Hierarchy say the Devil is in the church!

      • Glorybe, it was offered as a ray of hope. I don’t know what happened to JPI, but nothing in Rome surprises me.

        For almost 35 years, two predictable imperial popes have controlled. The prospect of a new pope, anyone, generates hope.

        The fear of prosecution may cause the cardinals to think seriously about electing a real reformer. We will see.

  2. S. Reid Warren, III Reply May 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    There are lies of comission and lies of omission. Both can be just as serious and damning.
    The AD seems to be relying on both types to cover their behavior. President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk which said: THE BUCK STOPS HERE meang that he had responsibility for all decisions he made. I wonder if Cardinal Chaput, Msgr Lynn and the Pope have such sighns on their desks?

    • Today’s AP post Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina agreed with a defense motion Thursday to drop one of two conspiracy counts lodged against Lynn. But he still faces another conspiracy count and two counts of child endangerment.

      It’s a bit confusing but I think only one conspiracy charge was dropped…Anyone want to elaborate?

      • Joan,

        The conspiracy charge that was dropped could have detracted from the strength of the other charges. I trust Sarmina. An “iffy” charge compels jurors to overly test and scrutinize more sound ones. We want the jury focusing on the clear and distinct strength of ALL of the charges. “Iffy” ones can make things murky…

      • Today’s N Y Times article, page A 20, notes that Judge Sarmina and I quote, “….Judge Sarmina left intact the charges that …Lynn endangered two minors by failing to remove errant priests and also a second conspiracy charge, that he cooperated with other officials to protect a former priest, Edward Avery, who recently pleaded guilty to sex abuse.”

      • “had it catholic” (that’s a sad name by the way)

        this whole case is “Iffy” so is most of what you write on here…

        If the weight of your “opinion” about all of this is so “credible” than what makes my opinion of your comments any less credible

      • John,

        First of all, I like you a lot. I may not agree with you, but I respect the passion embedded in your points of view.

        Second, there is no one more saddened by the name haditCatholic than I.

        Third, my “iffy” post was informed by the father of my sons, a judge for 29 years.

        Fourth, I think it is fair for anyone to inquire into the credibility of anyone’s posts on C4C. Hopefully, it will lead to productive responses and exchanges. Please inquire into mine at will.

    • The mentioning of Harry S Truman brought to mind the American Oath of Office.
      It refers to mental reservation, and never mentioned or included in the swearing to tell the truth under oath in a court of law, an American at least: Take this oath (on the Bible) without any MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF EVASION.
      Why isn’t that relevant in a court of law?
      Maybe it should be.

  3. Perhaps Jerry can help clarify/ explain?

  4. Jerry S.,

    What if a person wants to be in room 304 when the verdicts are read? How does that work, exactly?

    Do spectators congregate in 304, daily, waiting on the verdicts? Are they permitted to congregate there?

    How does it work?

    Thank you.

    • Hadit, I am not sure. There is still more to come, perhaps another week or so. John Martin of Phil. Inq. and Maryclair Dale of AP should report when the case is about to be sent to the jury. At that point, anyone likely could wait in the courtroom, although it could take a few days for the jury to agree on all the counts.

      I anticipate there will be TV coverage outside the courtroom when the verdicts are read.

      I hope when that happens, the Philly DA will be pressed to indicate what will be next, especially for Rigali and the bishops. It would be unfortunate, to say the least, if Lynn’s bosses are not investigated thoroughly since the evidence indicates Lynn mainly just did what his bosses directed him to do. That is no defense for Lynn, nor is it a defense for his bosses.

      To give the hierarchy a clear and strong message, Rigali should for sure be thoroughly investigated.

      • Also, there needs to be a law enforcement investigation into the sex crimes committed by WV Bishop Bransfield… This was revealed in sworn testimony under oath… It can not just be silenced…

        I am sure Bransfield is just hoping it will go away… but this is extremely important, because he is now the bishop of WV..and if he is a child predator, it would only make sense that he too, is covering up sex crimes against kids

        I do know victims who have dealt with him… he does NOTHING
        He ignores…

      • Judy, Bransfield is from Philly and apparently a friend from seminary days of Fr. Stanley Gana, an alleged arch-predator.

        Bransfield is treasurer of Cardinal Dolan’s US national bishops’ group and is also head of the “$1 million a head” elite US donor group, The Papal Foundation, and meets with the pope annually.

        Bevilacqua was chaplain for a similar group, LEGATUS.

        Sadly, these wealthy US donors, many with kids and grandkids, seem to have done little effectively to push the hierarchy to curtail the priest predators.

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply May 19, 2012 at 4:59 am

        SnapJudy,

        I admire your passion and the obvious commitment behind it. For me, were I given a choice between the bishops and SNAP, I’d pick those who have stood by the victims.

        There is suspicion surrounding Bransfield, apparently a lot of gossip about homosexuality in DC whose existence was testified to under oath by a VA priest (former priest?) but no hint of crimes, a statement by a victim that Gana handed the victim a phone and said it was Bransfield who wanted to talk, and the same victim claiming Bransfield brought teens to Gana’s place in the mountains. I am not saying I do not trust the victim but that victim never claimed to witness a sex crime nor did he report a conversation with another child who had. I suspect that you are right, Bransfield wants this to go away and I agree investigation is essential. The language of the Wheeling diocese response to the Philly news actually made me more suspicious. In my opinion, it was his version of: “ I never had sex………..ual relations with that woman.”

        But, we do not know that Bransfield committed any sex crimes. No one, to my knowledge, has even made that claim. So, statements like the one that follows could actually hurt SNAP.

        “Also, there needs to be a law enforcement investigation into the sex crimes committed by WV Bishop Bransfield… This was revealed in sworn testimony under oath… It can not just be silenced…”

        I don’t want to come off as judgmental, simply offering this for your consideration.

        Martin

      • Martin, Bransfield is running a diocese that makes him responsible for thousands of kids. He has had a long relationship with Gana who allegedly sexually abused a minor in Bransfield’s beach house.

        Three separate statements under oath by unrelated parties have raised serious matters about Bransfield. He has had plently of time to give a responsive and satisfactory explanation, but apparently hasn’t.

        Neither Cardinal Wuerl, nor the pope nor any of the elite donors, who were with him in Rome after these allegations were made, seem to have indicated they discussed this with Bransfield in Rome or elsewhere.

        Given all this, I think he should be questioned, preferably under oath. Until he is, I wouldn’t want him around my grandkids.

      • Martin, thanks for your comments on Bransfield, which I think are fair.

        But, the thought that an investigation is in order is ‘right on’, too.

        And relative to that thought, Snapjudy, a favor.

        Barbara Blaine at the Santa Clara University seminar on sex abuse handed out a sheet of paper with info regarding 11 dioceses where, unlike Philly, prosecutors apparently gave the church a ‘prosecutorial pass’, in abuse cases. She said it would be posted on the SNAP website, but I couldn’t find it, there?

        I think that it is really relevant info right now. Could you possibly both unearth the memo and provide it to us?

        The thing about Philly is that because of the efforts of two or more Grand Jury’s, the staff, the jurors, the DA’s….and thank God for them, we know a painful amount about the internal workings of the AD, in Philadelphia.

        It would be interesting to learn more about those dioceses where the Philly disclosures did NOT Happen.

      • Joan, if feasible, could you please post your source for Barbara’s Santa Clara statement about some DAs’ giving bishops a pass. If Barbara said that, she is after all a lawyer, I believe, that is significant even if SNAP doesn’t post it.

        Surprisingly, one would have thought it would have been mentioned in the two current NCR articles about the Santa Clara conference. I believe NCR had a staffer attending the conference.

        As to Martin’s comments, I agree Judy should at a minimum have used “alleged” when making a statement about the testimony referring to Bransfield’s purported misconduct.

        It would be nice, however, if Cardinal Dolan and Bill Donohue were as careful in their choice of words in their disgraceful comments about SNAP and the survivors SNAP helps. Dolan and Bransield are both senior officials with the US bishops group.

      • On a lighter, but still serious note, today’s NCR article about the bishops, the Girl Scouts, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, et al

        http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/open-letter-us-bishops-lets-not-be-laughingstock-ok

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply May 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm

        Joan, when I was a kid, before we were allowed to go to the movies, my mother made us walk over to church to see whether or not the movie was objectionable, or, God forbid, condemned by NCOOMP. She still referred to it as the Legion of Decency. There was a poster in the rear vestibule with movie names and ratings. It seemed like anything we ever wanted to see was out: “Morally objectionable in part for all.”

        Maybe we need a new list of condemned or suspicious organizations and persons in the church vestibules. Maybe a tv show “Ratz’s Most Wanted.” They could use hidden cameras to capture nuns undermining the Church. Show close ups of the subliminal messages about contraception on those thin mint boxes. Out those priests who insist on saying that Christ shed his blood for all. But the show should always end up with a finger wagging Mother Angelica warning us that we too could end up on that show if we hung around with the likes of brazen articles who were – Ratz’s Most Wanted.

        Maybe we need a new list of condemned or suspicious organizations and persons in the church vestibules. Maybe a tv show “Rartz’s Most Wanted.” They could use hidden cameras to capture nuns undermining the Church. Show close ups of the subliminal messages about contraception on those thin mint boxes. Out those priests who insist on saying that Christ shed his blood for all. But the show should always end up with a finger wagging Mother Angelica warning us that we too could end up on that show if we hung around with the likes of brazen articles who were – Ratz’s Most Wanted.

      • Jerry, I haven’t seen the list…and I think Barbara’s point was that in all II Grand Jury’s (May 18 NCR, follow up article on the conference)

        “Handing out a piece of paper that identified 11 such investigations — including those in Boston, Philadelphia and Maine — Blaine said, “The findings in every one of them were almost identical: Church officials don’t report abuse to police.”

        I should qualify my comment that some of the 11 cut deals…

        Deals that I am aware of include Boston, Manchester, Phoenix, Santa Rosa, and in part KC.

      • Martin, I had a fantasy that perhaps Campfire Girls, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), the American Red Cross etc might soon be ‘investigated’ as well!

      • This is the statement we sent out to media in regard to testimony about Bransfield…tks, J

        A man has given sworn courtroom testimony in Philly sex abuse trial that:
        –Bransfield, took boys to farm in northeastern Pennsylvania and
        –a Philly priest told him Bransfield was abusing one of them.
        And years ago, the friendship between the Philly priest and the West Virginia bishop was noted in a grand jury report.

        In Bransfield’statement defending himself about these allegations, he attacks the judicial system, the judge, and the prosecutors in Philadelphia

        If anyone has knowledge or may have been harmed by Bransfield, please report it to the police. Your voice is important and the full truth needs to be exposed so that kids are safe today.

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

    • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply May 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      Jerry,

      In terms of appropriate action, I am with you. Investigation post haste!

      My point was that we do not know Bransfield committeed crimes. Maybe it is my researcher training, I am cautious about what I claim to kknow.

      Further, I have not read even informal allegations from anyone that he did commit crimes.

      When it comes to how people are treated, I aspire to higher standards than the bishops. Donohue has no credibility; his own words regularly display how carlessly he treats others persons and the facts.

      Martin

      PS Keep up the good work on NCR

      PS Keep up the good work on NCR

  5. Dismissing facts that don’t fit our prespective prevents the truth from prevailing Thus, If the defense for Msgr Lynn argues that he did not put children in harm’s way when Avery was assigned because there were five priest in the rectory to watch him, (see Cipriano’s article), I hope that the prosecution points out the fact stated in one of the grand jury reports that the pastor was not told about Avery’s problems. Likewise, a fact left out of the AP writers article was how charges against Avery and Brennan surfaced. The AD turned the information over to the DA. This is what started the second grand jury report that led to this trial.

    • Good point. If they were not told of his “problems” how closely was he really watched and he should not have been at a parish with a school either.

    • I am amazed that even if priests were told they were to “watch” another priest, that would even make sense. How can one adult ‘watch” another 24/7. I can understand if the other priests were told they might monitor him a closer or be aware of some red flags,but how are they to account for another adults where abouts and actions 24 hours a day?

      • Kathy, you are so right, especially when so many of these predators are master manipulators and con artists.

        Perhaps, we could take a cue from the classic movie, “Three Feathers,” and brand a scarlet “A” on their foreheads for “abuser”.

        Many of the survivors have had their “souls” branded permanently, so why not the wrongdoers?

      • The notion of “watching” brings to mind once again the finding on “non-offenders” from the 1st Grand Jury report (2001-2003). How many of these have contributed to the cleanup of the coverup so far?
        “Finding 10 [p.8]: “Many non-offender priests have remained silent in the face of clear evidence that a brother priest is sexually molesting a minor, and in some cases have actually covered up the abuse. The Archbishop and his appointed administrative managers foster this silence in order to avoid scandal in the Church and do not encourage priests to report suspected abusers.”
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2003_09_25_First_Philadelphia_Grand_Jury_Report.pdf

      • Kathy the answer is they can’t.

      • Something to keep in mind-

        Child predators are very cunning and manipulative. They know every trick on how to groom, threaten, lie, and put the fear of god into their victims and sometimes even their family members.

        They also appear to do a lot of goods things, they can be very charismatic and you may think they would never harm a child. They have to be this way, in order to not get caught and to continue to abuse

        Sexual predators are often powerful and well-loved. It would be comforting if those who preyed on the vulnerable were obvious social misfits whose appearance would somehow set off alarm bells and give us ‘the willies’ or ‘the creeps.’ They rarely do. Usually, predators are among the last people we would suspect of sexually violating others. At a party, the predator isn’t some oddball sitting alone in a corner because others feel uncomfortable with him. Most often, the predator is the guy throwing the party.

        We must overcome the dangerous myth that because someone is successful or warm or caring, he or she “couldn’t have done that!
        Also, we must stop thinking that because a man is old, that somehow he’s automatically “safe.” It’s just irresponsible to endanger kids by assuming an adult is “harmless” simply because he or she may be losing hair, wearing glasses, using hearing aids or walking with a cane. These can be signs of advancing age, but they are not signs that an individual is safe around kids.

        It is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim.
        Also keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
        Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511

  6. Page 76 of the 2011 Grand Jury report discusses the the AD reporting of Brennan, Spero, Avery et al.

    “. Unfortunately, while some improvements have been made, the evidence presented before us indicates that the Archdiocese continues to engage in practices that mislead victims, that violate their trust, that hinder prosecution of their abusers, and that leave large numbers of credibly accused priests in ministry.

    Among the improved procedures, the most significant is that, if a victim reports an actual instance of sexual abuse to the Archdiocese, church officials now notify law enforcement. That never happened before – in itself an indictment against the Archdiocese leadership that for decades suppressed thousands of allegations of sex crimes against children committed by members of the clergy. It was under the new, improved procedure that the allegations against Fathers Engelhardt, Avery, and Shero came to the attention of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

    Notifying, however, does not mean that the Archdiocese is helping law enforcement to successfully prosecute predator priests. In addition, it is unclear what, if anything, church officials do with reports that do not fit their definition of a full-fledged “allegation.” Examples that may not fit their definition include cases in which someone, perhaps another priest or anun, reports strong suspicions, or even knowledge, that a member of the clergy has abused a child, but the victim has not himself or herself personally reported the abuse to the Archdiocese. We saw no evidence that such reports get passed on to law enforcement. Still, some reporting is better than none.

  7. Great article Jerry: “More Papal Fears …?” You make it so easy for us readers when you add: ‘see here… etc’. Thanks.

  8. I think the real question here that needs to be asked are: What is really going on? Why is this trial dragging on when any normal person would reach a plea deal for a little leniency? Exactly who is advising whom? What are their true motives? What is the bigger picuture, that is, who are the unseen players and what is their agenda? I intend to write on this in a bit when I can find a few moments.

    • Mark, all good questions.

      My initial fears remain of a Chaput charade like this one. The trial ends and the two dead Cardinals are exhumed and hung. Rigali walks. Lynn, Avery & Brennan get light time. Seth Williams runs for higher office and Judge Sarmina gets a Federal judicial appointment, both with the support of Gina Smith’s law partner.

      Chaput then declares that his AD is now an “abuse free zone” and he gets his red hat. The SOL is not changed. Philly kids and abuse survivors continue to suffer and the Philly AD soon declares bankruptcy.

      I hope I am wrong, but the signs continue to be troubling.

      • Jerry S.,

        That would be the last straw for me. At that point I would officially renounce my catholic faith and seek Jesus elsewhere, most likely with the Greek or Russian Orthodox Churches. The RC clerics wouldn’t be bothered by my actions in any way, because I stopped giving them money years ago.

        However, I will never discontinue my attempts to keep the crimes of the RCC in the public eye, and work to change the SOL.

      • Drwho13, I understand your reaction. I made the observation so that we remain alert to real possibilities.

        Realistic C4C bloggers have pressed to prod the criminal justice system to make the progress made to date. They should and, I am confident, will stay alert to any Philly political games.

        Let’s all keep pressing.

      • Jerry, together let’s have a positive attitude… and the universe will do it’s work… tks, Judy

        write what you would like to see happen… would love to hear it..!!

  9. Jerry S.,
    I would not be missed when I leave, because, according to the Religious Order that spiritually abused me, I’ve already been too out-spoken for my own good. Taking my grievances up the ladder to Rome is not what ‘respectable Catholics’ do. If the abuse-survivors continue to suffer injustice, I will be proud to call myself a ‘Cafeteria or Roaming Christian’ and I will experience the full spectrum of Christian faiths. A good priest once told me that he was afraid of going to hell if he spoke-up against injustices. I will be afraid of going to hell (on earth and in the after-life) if I remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in bondage within this Imperial Cult. I want Heaven (on earth and in the after-life) through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I know that the human spirit cannot be suppressed indefinitely. I will continue to support the victims.

  10. Speaking Up…you have said it and you know where by you speak. We’ve been out of the rcc since 2001,Ive been blogging since then. The progress has been slow but this trial is giving all of us Hope. And this web site. A GIFT FROM GOD!

  11. Jerry….. I don’t want that kind of hope. The rcc is completely dead to me…never to be resurected..Jesus Christ is Alive and Well in all of us..& our immediate family that resides with us. One son very involved with the rcc. still bound by their lies….afraid..possibly… to tell his wife, a convert & children ages 12. & 16..Our prayer… to have him “see the light” He knows how we feel and wont allow us to speak ill of the church. I taught him too well! (60 yrs in the church) 11 yrs out!! We’re in Colo. he’s in San Diego. Spent 47 yrs in Scottsdale, Az. We Pray Pray Pray! Plus. have found a great Bible based church. W’ERE BOTH 82. Still kicking! Still blogging to get the sheeple to wake up!

    • Thanks, Glorybe. Pray for all of us, please, and just keep kicking.

    • Glorybe, as a mother it must grieve you that you have taught you son well.
      Fortunately I carried a lot of my nonCatholic formation which I believed only expanded when I converted.
      It has held my family well spiritualy in their own personal lives.
      Non of them accepting the contradictions of which they had firsthand experience.

  12. http://online.wsj.com/article/APeebf0d61734943d6ba2cb46f540735f6.html Predators always find the loopholes we need to close them and protect kids especially adding a window.

  13. Did anyone hear anything about the priest of the AD meeting with Chaput in Hershey, PA?

  14. When Judge Sarmina announced that she was dropping the conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children charge that was the main link between Brennan and Lynn, Blessington should have demanded that he be allowed to bring back Fr. Doyle to testify. Doyle could have proven that clerics don’t conspire in the manner the rest of us do (or in the various manners addressed by PA criminal laws). Clerics are Other people, from an Other culture, living in an Other world. They are aliens.

    Blessington tried to prove that Lynn colluded with Brennan to keep him in active ministry, so he could harm children. According to the senses of people in This world, Sarmina’s judgment appears correct. Apparently, that did not happen. But, again, clerics, don’t collude like the rest of us. Why? Because they function in a culture that is, by its very nature, colluding and conspiratorial. It’s not our culture where colluding and conspiracy are counter-culture, nor is it the culture around which the PA criminal laws are written. It’s a culture from an Other world. In the culture, colluding and conspiring are manifested in alien ways, in ways wholly unfamiliar to us, and in ways not covered by PA criminal laws.

    Did Lynn say: “Let’s keep you (Brennan) in ministry, so you can harm children”? And did Brennan say: “Let’s keep me in ministry, so I can harm children”? And did they both say, “Yup, ok”? No. But must we say they did not conspire to endanger children? According to Sarmina and PA laws, we must.

    Enter Doyle (who has traveled in the Other world)…

    Doyle: In the clerical culture, there is no need to speak collusion. It is understood. It permeates the culture. It IS the culture. It is a given that fellow clerics will collude to keep secrets, overlook and deny errant behaviors, never “tell,” be gullible, uninformed and forgiving, lie and deceive, protect themselves and their images, manufacture “spin,” and show undying dedication to the colluding culture in the form of blind loyalty.

    Did Lynn know Brennan was a freak, bouncing from one disorganized “ministerial” plan to another, most happy at loud parties, a train wreck waiting to happen, having a sexual predilection for boys, and “like” the others on the shredded list? Yes. Did Brennan know Lynn knew? Yes. Did either of them say what they knew? No. There was no reason to speak collusion. It was understood because it is “the way” of the clerical culture. In proceeding along with the understanding, both colluding clerics were being loyal to their colluding culture.

    • Hadit, I think you are 100% correct on Lynn and Brennan’s collusion in the clerical Twilight Zone. From my extensive observations of and communications with Tom Doyle, I have no doubt he would confirm your analysis. Legally, it is a tough case to present, however.

      The conspiracy count is only a minor skirmish in a much bigger war, and the dark forces of evil are in retreat. The Battle of Philadelphia has already been won by the Children of Light. The Philly AD clerical cesspool has been fully exposed and no one can now claim that the hierarchy anywhere has credibility. The bishops cannot risk another Philly style trial anywhere. C4C bloggers played a key role in this major victory.

      We are now in the clean-up operation mode, which will take time to be sure, focusing on rounding up the prisoners in Philly, Kansas City and soon everywhere. Soon, red gowns will be replaced by orange jump suits.

      My occasional pessimistic comments are directed at the secondary clean-up operations, not to the battle events which are mainly over.

      • Thanks, Judy. I am not being negative when I speak of realistic possibilities. My intent is to make sure we all are alert since we are facing some bold adveraries. If we realize the several possiblities, we can better plan for the best outcomes.

        I have discussed what I would like to see in my piece linked in the first comment above.

      • I should have added that another important part of the clean up operation is using the trial revelations to buttress the lobbying effort for SOL reform. The abundant new testimony about hiding evidence to delay abuse claims should prove to PA lawmakers (and lawmakers everywhere) that abuse survivors need more time to find the truth and file their claims.

        Since the survivors have the difficult burden of proof, it is not unfair to the Philly AD to give more time to let the survivors find the evidence the Philly AD seems to work so hard to keep secret for as long as possible.

        The Philly AD failed to turn over to the 2005 Grand Jury the “shredding memo” and then “lost” it again for six years.

        What about abuse surivivors who were investigating their abuse claims during this six year period? Should their claims be barred because the Philly AD can’t find evidence that may have been sitting on the Philly AD’s general counsel’s desk for six years?

  15. Thanks Jerry S and Glorybe for your encouraging words.

    Are the sheeple happier in the spiritual bubble? I was one of them not too long ago. Content with not knowing … not caring … not hurting. Ignorance is bliss. I had bought into the RCC ‘psych-projections’ that cults, indoctrination, scripture-twisting, false gods etc. was what happened to others. NOT TO ME! I was doing well while I followed the rituals and spent the rest of the time on my own terms. I was getting the best of both worlds … a happy mix of heaven and earth. Or so I thought! It was only when I aspired for a ‘real’ relationship with God that my conscience and my reasoning began to kick in. I had been handing over ‘my mind, my will, and my memory’ to false gods. In fact, to a whole city of them. This time my spiritual and my material-life were at odds with each other. There was no turning back. I was thirsty and I wanted more? Is this what Adam and Eve did? Do we condemn them for wanting more? Was Eve made the first scape-goat: “The woman you put here with me —she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” How did the Jews of the O.T. treat women? How do the RCC treat women? Am I treading on sacred ground? ‘To be or not to be’ in the RCC. That is my question to myself.’

  16. To haditCatholic’s comments: “Blessington should have demanded that he be allowed to bring back Fr. Doyle to testify. Doyle could have proven that clerics don’t conspire in the manner the rest of us do… It was understood because it is “the way” of the clerical culture. In proceeding along with the understanding, both colluding clerics were being loyal to their colluding culture.”

    Thank You for your excellent comment. I hope Blessington reads this blog. The defense use clerical rhetoric; clerical coded-language; sketchy-notes; canon-law; poor memories, deleted/lost/misfiled/destroyed documents etc. to misread the evidence. Priests and Nuns could help us cull through this corruption and deception as they understand this culture. God help the victims and their supporters.

  17. I think this trial is all about convincing a pig in a poke to stand by his man so that the others can walk away safely. The bishops are trying to show Lynn by word and deed and by picking up the tab for a $500,000 legal defense bill just how much they love him, and by promises of an Italian post and their lifelong devotion, to get him to take the fall for Rigali. This trial is all about tiring out the public on this matter, so that, frankly, they all become sick of it and won’t want to hear any more of this story. That way, if any wise guy gets the hankering to call Rigali to account, he and his PR gurus can say, “We’ve already had that trial, and the guilty party has been convicted, let’s move on.” This trial is all about protecting not just Rigali, but about keeping Roger and Ed and Ted and the rest of the North American gang out of the limelight. If it extends to any of them, then Joe from Bavaria would be next. While the verdict in the present trial is not certain, it appears likely that Lynn will absorb some portion of a guilty verdict. Once the verdict is in, the PR machine moves into high gear and proclaims that the process is over, that all has been cleaned up, and the proper persons have been punished. However, the same story is playing out in cities across the nation from Alaska and Montana, to Milwaukee, Florida, Texas, and all over the world. In many other cities, men and women are gaining the courage to make the powerful and life altering decision to confront both their abusers and a 2,000 year old behemoth, the largest, wealthiest, oldest institution on the face of the earth, powered by and kept in place by well meaning highly unaware individuals. This trial is about scape-goating and distracting. Lynn’s legal tab, paid for by the AD, is problematic because if Lynn had a real friend, who wanted maximum leniency for him, say reducing the real possibility of a 20 or 30 year sentence to 5 or 2, Lynn should start singing, tell the full story, talk about Bevilacqua and Rigali and Joe and what they’ve done. I think it would be in Lynn’s best interest to come out in the open with what he knows and to turn in the higher ups. I doubt this recommendation is among those that the AD law firm would suggest for obvious reasons.

    • Mark,

      If you sit in 304 for three days and observe Lynn, you come away feeling that he’s scapegoat-material through and through. There is just something utterly passive about him. In the entire courtroom, there is no person more passive.

      His passivity doesn’t bode well for “singing,” telling the full story, and talking about Devilacqua, Rigali and the rest. He’s stuck with an imposing defense team that is essentially defending the AD, not him (he was duly warned of this), and he lacks the personal attributes that would inspire a person to ultimately confront his scapegoat-predicament. He is not gutsy. To be so is not a part of his natural composition. Furthermore, he is the only permanent figure in 304 cloaked in clerical garb which acts to suppress and suffocate any “wise-guy,” counter-clerical ideas, actions, behaviors or words.

      He is just one, dead, uninspired, disempowered cleric.

      • Hadit, while I concur with both you and Mark, it is not inevitable that Lynn would sing much even if he got a plea deal. Williams and Sarmina let Avery plea without requiring his full cooperating testimony, which is something still inexplcable to me.

    • Well said and very perceptive, Mark.

  18. To Glorybe29 and Speaking up,
    Glorybe29, I am joining you to pray for your son and his family to “see the light” as you put it. I also pray for Speaking up for his journey to truth. Your Your son and family will come around and you two will be rewarded in heaven for your faithfulness in Christ.
    Only one thing sends anyone to eternity without Christ [Hell]and that is refusal to to believe God’s Word that Christ paid the price on the cross IN TOTAL for our sins, or thinking something more must be added to what Christ has done, as some continue to tell us.

  19. If you ask me, the most pathetic, permanent figure in 304 is Lynn’s sister who has been “supported” by a cadre of priests over the last several weeks. The priests are to provide “pastoral support” to the sheep-sister of the AD scapegoat. In turn, the sheep-sister, the scapegoat, the AD, the defense team, and the priests feel better. How sick is that?

    You have to wonder, if Lynn doesn’t eventually talk, will his sister? Where is the wise-guy in the family?

    (P.S. If you were among the cadre of priests, you make me sick.)

  20. MUST READ!

    “What Did the Prosecution Prove About Monsignor Lynn?”

    On Cipriano’s blog but author by an attorney.

    http://www.priestabusetrial.com

    • I agree, Hadit. It is a very incisive and informative article. It also suggests, as you earlier alluded, that Judge Sarmina in dropping the Lynn/Brennan conspiracy count, may be trying to sharpen the issues about Lynn’s alleged endangerment crimes for the jury.

      If the jury is undecided about one count, it is possible for this indecision to undercut their decisiveness on other counts that, if assessed independently, the jury would clearly and boldly decide.

      It has been a long and at times confusing trial and criminal intent is always difficult to prove. Sharpening the issues may be very helpful here.

  21. Mark’s Comment: “… men and women are gaining the courage to make the powerful and life altering decision to confront both their abusers and a 2,000 year old behemoth, the largest, wealthiest, oldest institution on the face of the earth, powered by and kept in place by well meaning highly unaware individuals.”

    Thanks Mark for another one of your insightful and concise comments worthy of being memorized. The RCC has global influence and collective knowledge of politics, law, finance, philosophy, social sciences, organized religion, PR, HR etc. Individual countries, divided by war, politics, and finances, do not have this clout. Whatever turn this trial takes, the end-results will be public awareness and media exposure of a roman corrupt cultish-culture of secrecy, and silence (RCCC). Hopefully this awareness goes global.

  22. I feel very sorry for Monsigor Lynn. He really seems to have lost his way many decades ago, and created a totally new life for himself as a 100% subservient and obedient individual, without his own inner conscience or discernment. I do think he is innocent of intent because I think his only ability to understand is to do what he is told. The massive church program of mind control completely overwhelmed him, and there is very little left of an independent human person. Truly a sad condition. if he has a friend reading this blog, tell him, look, now is your chance to redeem yourself, to tell the truth and to finally to become free. Your fellow citizens and catholics will forever appreciate your bravery, you will receive a reduced sentence, and most importantly, you will set yourself free and become your own independent person, finally. It won’t be all easy, there will be some who will revile you, but they will do that anyway; if you throw yourself on the mercy of the people, I for one would grant it to you and hold those higher up responsible.

    • TO ALL PHILLY AD PRIESTS:

      In an effort to get Mark’s message to Lynn, I ask that the priests who agree with his message, unite on behalf of their brother Lynn. Among you are priests who can put Mark’s message in the hands of Lynn and his family members. Among you are friends and individuals close to, and loved by, Lynn. You have enormous potential, greater than any other group of people, to influence the well being of your brother. Reach out with Mark’s message to Lynn and his family. Do everything in your power to alleviate the suffering. God forbid you remain silent.

      • AMEN, Mark and Hadit. Msgr. Lynn is facing long and hard time among a hostile prison population, as well as a life of shame for him and even to a lesser extent for his family.

        He can largely redeem himself, and likely reduce his prison time, if he speaks out now and lets the world know what has gone on, and what is still going on, especially with his cardinal and bishop superiors.

        He owes that to God, to survivors and to children still at risk, as well as to his family and himself.

        He is being used and hung out to dry by people who have shown little respect or concern for him, other than to insure his silence. Will they be there for him when he is in his prison cell? Not very likely.

        It is not too late, Msgr. Lynn, to redeem yourself and your family.

  23. In today’s New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd writes about why more and more of us are following Christ and NOT our Church.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/opinion/sunday/dowd-here-comes-nobody.html?_r=1&hp

    • Hadit…liked the Dowd piece!

      But here’s another….a tough examination of conscience on a Sunday morning…..http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/vinnie/

    • Hadit, Maureen Dowd appears to have read my recent piece as she has read many of my efforts i have sent her for two years now. She even alluded to it in a personal e-mail I got from her last night. I only mention this because I just read for the first time your disappointing negative comments about my work under the May 11 “Nuns Call…” postings.

      Please read the reply I just made to you under the May 11 column. I am also disappointed Susan and Kathy let your personal attack on me stand.

      You disappoint me, but don’t surprise me. I have met too many self-important small-time academics to be surprised by their large egos.

  24. Fair enough, Jerry. I just think that some first hand experience with the trial and victims, in particular, would add another dimension to your excellent work.

    • Hadit, if I could have made it to Philly, I would have. Too bad you just couldn’t have made your request simply and avoided the gratuitous and uninformed charges. C4C is too toxic and unpredictable for me.

  25. Jerry, you are right. I have no idea why I didn’t make a simple request. I can’t even recall my thinking at the time. All I know is that I did not, for a minute, intend to offend you. I have every bit of respect for you. I am at fault, and I apologize. C4C is not toxic, my post was.

    • Thank you for that, Hadit. I know you have suffered greatly due to clerical abuse of a loved onen and that evil both pains me and angers me. I suspect you wanted me to visit so I could speak to what I saw. I would have liked to if I could, but am satisfied that I can rely on what you, Kathy, Susan and others tell me, while I work on what I can.

  26. Two more AD priests unfit for ministry…neither was listed on the ‘shredded list’ or the 5 offenders recently identified.

    If ever there was an argument for opening up the Statute of Limitations ‘windows’ in PA and finding out just how many MORE offenders there REALLY are…this kind of announcement makes a huge case for it..http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/2-Priests-Removed-From-Ministry-152212625.html.

  27. I have concerns that a blanket lift of the SOL laws would not serve justice. This is what I would like to see. A statue of limitations that could be waived by something like a Grand Jury or DA when it can be shown that either a person or an institution prevented justice from being served. i believe that most of the cases presented in the trial such as Ganna and Cudemo (sp ) would qualify. The other exception would be that a qualifed counselorcould verify that victum who might have exceeded the SOL had an kind of issue that would explain the delay. Jerry, if that is what you are seeking I am on board and willing to publiclly state that. I believe a blanket removal of the SOL is bad law, but I am open to discussion on that matter.

    • PhilaCathpriest,
      “I have concerns that a blanket lift of the SOL laws would not serve justice.”
      Would you please elaborate? What are your specific concerns?

    • PhilaCathpriest,
      Why do you feel it’s a bad law? Are there more reasons than the belief that justice wouldn’t be served by it?

      I hope we can have an honest, open, civil discussion about what the SOL removal would mean for everyone. I’d be interested in your perspective about why it’s a bad law.

    • Father, The removal of the statutes would only ensure the ability to seek justice. It would not guarantee judgments. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. There is no statute of limitations for murder in PA. Do you think that doesn’t serve justice? Qualified counselors have outlined in various medical journals and in courts why victims of childhood sexual abuse hold back for years. Google away for hundreds of references from reputable medical centers of learning and research. I’ll hazard a guess that the reason most priests fear SOL reform is that they think it will bankrupt parishes and outreach efforts to the poor and under-served. I understand. But it’s been proven (by our very own Archdiocese) that losing money is a great motivator for reform. It’s the basis of our civil judicial system – regardless of crime. This isn’t a Catholic issue. This is an societal issue. Please read Justice4PAkids.com for more info.

    • Father, the reason I think a SOLs window being opened up in PA is a great idea is this. In CA there was a one year “window” that brought forth 300 NEW predators, that were heretofore unknown.

      I care a lot about protecting innocent kids….judging from the Philly situation and including today’s news, it is not unreasonable to think that PA has many more predators, religious and otherwise, than folks dont know about.

      The sooner THAT data gets out the better, so that these unknown predators can be identified, and innocent children can be protected from predation.

      • Oops “it is not unreasonable to think that PA has many more predators, religious and otherwise….than folks (currently) know about.”

    • You are right, Joan.

      The arrogance of Chaput and his lawyers–no information, no details, no nothing about the two priests- they’ll just do penance and collect their pensions that Catholics, including survivors, paid for, while Chaput’s lobbyists donate to PA legislators to kill SOL reform and stiff survivors.

      We might as well close all our prisons, give the prisoners everyday clothes, rosary beads and a pension, and tell them to sin no more.That is what Chaput, in effect, is doing. At a minimum, the priests should forfeit their pensions.

      Chaput has learned nothing from the Lynn trial, as those who saw him in Denver warned us would be the case.

      • Jerry..I saw some stats recently that indicated that 44% of priest predators, substantiated ones, we’re not publicallly identified….

      • That 44% figure for priest predators that are not known publically is

        BishopAccountability.org maintains a Database of Accused Priests and other accused clergy. As of February 10, 2012, there were 3,700 names in that database, including 3,303 priests, 22 bishops, 50 deacons, and 21 seminarians, for a total of 3,396 accused clerics in those categories. But the USCCB counts a combined total of 6,115 accused priests, bishops, deacons, and seminarians. This means that there are at least 2,719 accused clerics whose names are still secret. In other words, of the 6,115 total, at least 44 percent of the names are being kept secret by bishops and superiors of religious orders.

      • Jerry, (or anyone who can address this) I’ve heard lawyers who don’t seem to love the SOL reform idea… i don’t quite understand the ins and outs of why not. Would you be able to explain why they might be opposed (assuming that they have no real interest in protecting the RCC) What’s the down side of SOL reform on other segments of society?

      • Joan, I really wonder that too…. Who are these missing names? I wonder just how a priest’s family connections or clout with certain members of the hierarchy, factors into his ability to get away longer with his crimes.

      • Crystal, Bishop Accountability and Peter Isely are both cited below….Peter commenting on the number of priests recently and quietly removed from ministry, and the BA link….which I think is very important gives you an overview of the whole situation….if you check out the BA link, be sure to note the fact that in 2003 the USCCB did NOT report any abuse…this was the year after Boston..and one wonders what THOSE figures were?

        The BA link has many links itself that deal with stats…you could check out PA….who is listed with a high percentage of offenders…

        http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/USCCB_Yearly_Data_on_Accused_Priests.htm

        “New internal data released by the US Catholic Bishops today reveals that the total number of Catholic clergy who have raped or sexually assaulted children or minors over the past several decades is now 6,115 (a careful breakdown of the numbers in the report can be found at BishopAccountabilty.org). The number of accused clerics is, of course, larger.  

        Last year, 270 never before identified priests were reported to have committed child sex crimes. 184 of these priests were officially but quietly removed from ministry because these reports of criminal behavior against children were found to be credible and actionable. Quietly, that is, unless parishioners and the public found out about it.”

    • Fr. thanks for being willing to discuss this issue. Pretty much every victim has a hard time coming forward any counselor would tell you that most come out by 40,50,60 yrs old.You need good evidence to press charges or they are not going to stick. Chaput keeps saying it is hard to defend against past incidences but he fails to point out the church kept such good records that many in the church are afraid they will incrimnates themselves not that they can not defend themselves . The victim is at a disadvantege they were a child and need to remember dates and times and places or it is not going to go to court in the first place. The offender has an advantage just by being an adult at the time the abuse occurred. Also when victims come forward other victims come forward that in many cases can recite the same exact story of abuse and grooming. They usually have more than one victim.

  28. PhilaCathpriest,
    you stated–“I have concerns that a blanket lift of the SOL laws would not serve justice”—

    Justice for who?

    And you stated– “counselor could verify that victum who might have exceeded the SOL had an kind of issue that would explain the delay”—-

    Of course victims of clergy sex abuse have issues that delay that keeps them from coming forward…!

    If you wish for anyone to consider your statement as authentic, please state your real name… Victims of clergy abuse have gone though enough pain, trauma and lies…

    thank you, Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, snapjudy@gmail.com

  29. I think there are two reasons why many priests fail to support changes in the SOL laws or a two-year window. One is that, historically, victims come out of the woodwork. Priests don’t have a problem, per se, with priest abusers being identified. Rather, they have a problem with how new laws or a two-year window might re-intensify the identification of priest abusers which in turn would re-intensify the negative spotlight presently on priests and the priesthood in general. The second reason is that priests fear false accusations. New laws or a two-year window might lead to a “victim hayday,” where many of the purported victims are not victims at all. Priests know how false accusations can wreak havoc on their lives.

    Priests who do not favor SOL reform or a two-year window come from the perspective of themselves, and their situation. I think their circumstances are compelling, and I think they should be addressed, but in ways that do not impeded justice.

    • survivor's wife Reply May 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Hadit,
      All good points about why priests aren’t in favor of the SOL being lifted.

      In my simple little head, I thought it was just because they’ve been “taught” or “brainwashed” not to be in favor of it.

      The comment that PhilaCathpriest made was verbatim what came out of a local priest’s mouth about 4 months ago in our area.

      Bad law? I’ll tell you what’s a bad law…canon law.

    • Hadit..I would need to check Marci’s figures, but I think the number of ‘false accusations’ in the CA ‘window’ was around 2%….

      Susan’s point about the burden of proof resting on the plaintiff is a good one. Also many victims as part of their ‘healing’ often mention the court vindication….FINALLY they were believed….

      To say nothing of the obvious advantages of identifying ‘unknown’ predators….and this ISINT just about clergy molesters …a PA law would apply to all molesters…..

      • AND, Hadit on page 71 of the 2005 Grand Jury recommendations there is a discussion of how a number of other states treat this issue….much more fairly which even the MSGR Cullen acceeds to.

        “Moreover, several other states have statutes of limitations that allow child sexual abuse prosecutions regardless of when the abuse occurred.

        Some states, such as South Carolina and Wyoming, do not have criminal statutes of limitations at all.

        Some states, such as Kentucky and West Virginia, have no statute of limitations for felony offenses.

        Some states have specifically enacted legislation abolishing statutes of limitations for some or all sexual crimes committed against children

        . Thus, Alabama has no statute of limitation for any sex offense involving a victim younger than sixteen;

        Maine has no statute of limitations for incest, unlawful sexual contact, sexual abuse of a minor, rape or gross sexual assault committed against children younger than sixteen

        ; Alaska has no statute of limitations for felony sexual abuse of a minor; and

        Rhode Island has no statute of limitations for rape, first degree sexual assault, or first or second degree child molestation sexual assault.

        Even a former official of the Archdiocese has recognized the needfor this proposal. Edward Cullen, who was Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Vicar of Administration, and who has since himself been elevated to bishop, was asked about the issue during his grand jury testimony. “I think it would be good for society if they had
        no statute of limitations,” acknowledged Bishop Cullen. “I really do. Yes, I do.”

      • SW and Joan,

        SW… there are a number of priests who would now agree with you that canon law is bad law. Many have come to see how it was wholly intended to protect clerics.

        Joan, I know that false accusations are around 2%, and I’ll bet priests know too. Unfortunately, they also know, very acutely, the deep “hit” individual priests take when they are falsely accused. It only needs to happen to a few to raise the concerns of others. Priests are paranoid of false accusations, and rightly so.

        It would really benefit priests if they would clearly and honestly articulate their concerns because they are valid, and they should be addressed. PhilaCathpriest spoke circularly when he called for special counselors to assess and scrutinize victims who delay reporting abuse. He didn’t say why he wants this. I’m suggesting he wants it because he believes it could weed out false reports or minimize accusations that entail “sketchy” details due to the time lapse. He wants to protect himself, his brothers, and the institution of the priesthood.

        Priests need to speak up about their concerns and fears, instead of automatically rejecting SOL reform or a two-year window when it means justice to victims and the protection of children. Speak up so we can address your needs! This would be a good project for Fr. Chris’ priest association. If priests remain loyal to Chaput’s anti-SOL reform position, they will be jeopardizing themselves because SOL reform is, in all likelihood, going to happen. Priests, then, will have to live with it, in addition to their concerns and fears. Now is the time that these should be addressed and remedied. Do not let Chaput’s strong arm silence you or whip you into submission. Speak for yourselves!

      • Hadit, the priests are at ChaPEW’s mercy economically and emotionally. He manipulates them arbitrarily just like he manipulates survivors, politicians and pew Catholics.

        Philly priests need to take some risks, even if only for their own personal survival, like the Irish and Austrian priests are doing. Surprisingly, to me anyway, lay Catholics in Ireland and Austria are strongly supporting priests who stand up to arbitrary bishops.

        If Philly priests remain wimps, ChaPEW and his lawyers will just feed them to the wolves whenever it it appears it will benefit the hierarchy, as Rigali did to 36 priests last year.

        Honestly, it is hard, for me at least, to be very sympathetic, given how so many priests remained, and still remain, silent as their confreres abused so many defenseless children.

      • Hadit…I don’t want priests accused unjustly.

        But I am at a bit of a loss to see, given present policy regarding allegations of abuse, with immediate removal from ministry, hopefully civil authority involvement and canon law requirements….how you would ( if you Had SOLs, as well) change the existing procedures? There are websites for priests with various forms of assistance, private canon lawyers for hire….I know of one case where a priest privately hired both his own canon and civil lawyers….my guess is that the Priest’s Association is well aware of these options.

        Perhaps, I am missing the point, but it seems like it would be ‘more of the same’ for the clergy if SOLs were enacted.

        The advantage to victims of SOLs goes without saying.

      • survivor's wife Reply May 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm

        And why would priests say canon law is not good when it’s objective is to protect them? Do we hear any priest vocalize their disapproval of canon law?

        We are in the same book, in the same chapter, but will fall on different pages, Hadit, when we discuss priests. You give them an “out” in some ways. I don’t. As if their clerical culture is an excuse for pathetic ministry, low standards, and criminal, immoral, ineffective behavior toward their parishioners. How much more time can we spend focusing on these psychologically infantile men? They have forgotten Who they serve. Do they not think they will have to account for what they’ve done to the least among us? to Him?

        I find the priesthood filled with cowards…so afraid of the repercussions of standing up for what is right and doing His work…they draw little lines in the sand and “help” in the ways they consider “safe.” We all know that’s what Jesus preached…”As long as I’m safe and comfortable.” Instead, the priests have been convinced they are the ones being persecuted. Far too many are an embarrassment to themselves and to God.

        And just when I get fed up with the priesthood…I look at the laity and wonder, “How and why do you tolerate this?” Why aren’t you demanding more from the priesthood? The priests are to be serving, not being served! Do you not challenge your priests for the same reasons they are silent? Safety and comfort?

        I’m not challenging you Hadit, because I know you have done the homework in regard to the clerical culture that exists. My vent is just that…a vent. I’m so frustrated that children’s lives and justice for victims are at stake and we seem to be focused on priests again.

      • Joan,

        I completely agree with you that SOL reform and a two-year window would probably be more of the same for priests. However, I still say it’s important that they publicly vocalize their issues, and enter the public conversation. Otherwise, they reach conclusions about their “predicament” and SOL reform in the vacuum of the priesthood. The clerical thinkgroup vacuum has got to go. Flat out, it is harmful. The public conversation could provide a wealth of support, information and expertise that could improve the priestly condition. If priests remain attached at the hip to the clerical groupthink and Chaput, they are surely doomed to more of the same… and worse.

      • Hadit, I am all for dialogue around these issues and understand your concern that priests participate.

        But there is a cynical side of me that says the AD is historically conservative, priests have minimal power, unless they have outside income or assets, their hierarchy is I believe some of the most conservative in the nation….I don’t see a lot of ‘wiggle room’ for these guys…actually, I don’t see any wiggle room at all.

        This is not Ireland with a quarter of its priests highly organized and it’s bishops for the most part disgraced….and the Prime Minister castigating Rome…..

        I do think the Philly priests are in a tough spot…didn’t they convene their association last year because they were ‘out in the cold’ informationally?

        Frankly if I were a Philly priest, I might well want to transfer out of Philly, maybe go get a marketable degree, in a less rigid AD.

      • SW,

        My frustration and disappointment with priests is at least equal to yours. I agree with all of your points, and I welcome your vent wholeheartedly. Indeed, I am the blogger who refuses to acknowledge the existence of even one, “good” priest. To identify and associate with the institution of the priesthood is fundamentally immoral in my opinion UNLESS a priest is actively and publicly engaged in efforts to reform it. In my book, even someone like Doyle is only “approaching” the kind of radical response I am looking for. My posts are intended to say, “get going with the radical response, this is how, and I expect NOTHING.”

      • Joan,

        I would venture to say that Philly is no longer the conservative capital of Catholicism in the U.S. And if that isn’t something to celebrate, I don’t know what is!

      • On the priests’ clerical outlook, there is an informative discussion of the leading clinical expert on clericalism and child abuse, Richard Sipe’s recent Santa Clara remarks, with a link to Sipe’s remarks, available by clicking on at:

        http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/05/richard-sipe-on-sexual-abuse-as-product.html

    • In a News works article just posted, discussing the defense strategy of presenting Lynn as minion of the hierarchy….the following is helpful

      “Terry McKiernan, the president of bishop-accountability.org, said he expects the defense will try to present Lynn as a middle manager who was doing his best in a difficult situation: “And things obviously went wrong, but that isn’t his fault.”

      McKiernan said the defense will try to convince the jurors that Lynn is a scapegoat, but, “It’s going to be very, very hard to argue that because the testimony that he gave to the grand jury that resulted in the 2005 grand jury report was very, very detailed; and he admitted really in no uncertain terms in that testimony that he had really made the wrong choices. I think it’s going to be very difficult now to back-pedal on that and blame his actions on others.”

      McKiernan said many church observers nationwide are keeping an eye on the precedent-setting trial.

      • The “Eichmann” defense of only following orders didn’t work for Eichmann and won’t work for Lynn.

        Lynn’s lawyers, who are paid by ChaPEW, are stating, in effect, that Lynn’s bosses are the real bad guys. The trial evidence strongly suggests these lawyers charges that Lynn’s bosses are ALSO bad guys, including Rigali and at least three bishops, are likely correct.

        So what are you waiting for, Seth Williams? ChaPEW’s own hired guns are stating the hierarchs are the bad guys. So when will you tell us, Mr. DA, what your prosecutorial decision is as to each of them? Soon, I hope.

        Philly citizens have been waiting for over a half century now for the DA’s office to meet its statutory obligations with respect to the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s predator paradise.

        And what about ChaPEW’s sitting on material info about admitted priest predators for so long. Aren’t his delays endangering children?

        I assume your DA’s office can handle more than one case at a time.

  30. There once was a Bishop Shapew
    Who served first the wealthy and few
    When priests children buggered
    He sleazily sluthered
    And begged for more money from you

    • Mark.. this is reprehensible! –y you don;t even know the Archbishop… how can you slander him like this!!!

      And susan … you permit this on your website!!!! You have lost a lot of credibility…

      How shameful!

  31. I’m not sure Philly is as conservative now…the laity, and civil authorities have forced their hand…even if it’s a charade of movement, they are moving.

    The diocese I live in is known by seminarians as being uber-conservative. They can’t wait to be a part of such “rich tradition.” They love their Latin masses with the priests back turned from the congregation.

    The laity might not be as aware as we want them be in Philly, but the hierarchs around the globe are paying attention to how the Philly AD is handling this…copious note takers…so they can filter and spread the manure to the masses (pun intended).

  32. If AD must go bankrupt, to heal victims and bring healing and justice to victims then so be it. My first question is this: Why did PA enact the Statue of Limitation laws in the first place? Second question is: If the Pa Bishop Conference is as powerful as some claim on this site how come they can not get voucher legistation passed? I wonder if the legislators are holding back because the SOL laws may have merit. Nevertheless, would not what i propose satisfy the issue at hand:

    Waive the statue whenever an institution or person interferes with due process. I can not think of one AD case that would not fall under this exception and thus justice would be served while maintianing the law.

    .

  33. someone needs to hold “Bishopsaccountability” website accountable for this defamation of character!!!

    • John, …Once we really start reading the “defamation” on BishopAcctountability.org., it’s hard to look at the RCC quite the same again.
      One in of four of the 34 priests who taught at my high school in the late 70’s are listed on that site…I’d recommend that you take a closer look there…See if you can stomach what you find.

  34. The activities in 304, today, are fascinating. Would it be possible to start a new, main post on Lynn’s testimony?

    http://www.philly.com

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