Seeing Christ In Court



I have been to the trial several times but today was a very difficult day. The courtroom was packed with Lynn supporters on the defense side and victims, family members and supporters on the prosecution side. Although, it was so crowded some late-comers had to mix in where there was an available seat.  I looked around at the people who I never knew until this past year: Vicky and Steve, whose bodies were sexually violated as children; Art, whose beloved son is now gone forever; Sr. Maureen, always fighting for children and victims; Joy, who founded a support group for parents of victims;  Sharon, Vicky’s rock through the hard times; Irene and her husband, who attend vigils and support Justice4PaKids; Bill and other senior citizens, who do not let age or infirmity keep them from the vigils outside the Archdiocese in the rain, cold or heat; “Had it” Kate, who returned for a second trip from New York for the trial.

Many people have made their way to room 304 over the past 8 weeks. Margaret from Catholic Accountability, who I was with the day they entered the evidence of my former parish priest Fr. Cannon; Jackie and Susan, who I sat in between as we cried the day James and Billy took the stand to speak their truth; Beth, who always extends warmth and comfort to our victims; Rich, who bravely sat and listened to the testimony of James and Billy, their stories so similar to his own; and the family members of the victims who testify. So much painful history has occupied those rows – so much pain.

You wouldn’t know that pain unless you chose to read the Grand Jury reports, met with victims and their family members, and attended on the days the victims testified (rather than only attending when Lynn testified).

Many things happened today in court but there was a point that I almost lost it. Blessington was questioning Lynn about Avery being stationed at St Jerome’s. To hear Lynn explain away things, was a tipping point for me. Lynn explained that while Avery was in residence at St Jerome’s his primary job was chaplain of a hospital. He wasn’t a typical parish priest involved in all the activities of the parish but rather would say Mass a few times a month, be used where needed. Blessington reminded Lynn that this assignment did not work out well for “Billy’, the 10-year-old who Avery brought into a small storage room where he had him strip naked. He violated that boy’s innocent body in ways that are still burned into my brain. No, this assignment did not work out well for Billy, even though the AD knew of Avery for years, his name already part of the infamous shredded memo of 1994. Lynn explained it as if it made perfect sense that Avery performed such duties of hearing children’s confessions. He was not in a confessional box but rather would hear the confessions out in the open. Lynn referred to it I believe as a ‘production line’, many children brought over from the school. Makes sense…right?  All those innocent children from St Jerome’s lining up to have their confession heard by a predator priest. What could possibly be odd about that?

I guess the insanity of it all hit me because I went to confession to a predator priest in my childhood parish and my classmate ended up just like ‘Billy’. And of course the AD knew about Fr. Cannon for years when they assigned him to our parish. St Andrew’s of 1970’s was St Jerome’s of the 1990’s, same story, different innocent children.

The questioning also focused on Avery’s side gig as a disc jockey. It turns out Avery actually DJ’ed a dance for the children at St Jerome’s. Lynn explained Avery was told to not DJ anymore school dances.  So the same kids lining up for confession  to a KNOWN  predator priest at St Jerome’s were now also dancing in front of a predator priest….but hey that only happened once. And other than Billy being taken into a closet and sexually violated, business as usual. Blessington was able to illicit what I guess you could call an emotionless apology out of Lynn.

Do any clergy ever cry for these children – for the bodies that have been violated, the innocent souls shattered?  Like always, the clergy in the courtroom today acted like they were at traffic court rather than a trial for crimes against children.

On the way out of the room a priest was shaking hands with Lynn supporters. When I approached him I said, “Hi Father, I am here for the victims.” He mumbled something like “oh” and looked away. The same reaction you would receive if you said something inappropriate at a cocktail party. No handshake for me.

That’s okay because I have met so many good people who have filled the aisles behind the prosecution table. We have hugged and cried, held hands and prayed.  We have done the very simple thing of seeing Christ in each other and those who were harmed. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

233 thoughts on “Seeing Christ In Court

  1. Thanks, Kathy, you have said it all. Even this Irish lawyer is at a loss for words.

    1. Kathy, God love you all…victims, survivors, supporters, families of victims….and may God bring an infinite amount of peace to each of you and justice to the trial.

  2. Thank you, Kathy, for your excellent report on today’s trial. Yes, it is an honor to be in court to show our solidarity with the victims.

    1. “I’m here for the victims”. That’s beautiful music to many ears. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time from their busy schedules to “witness” for Christ at the trial. We are all fortunate to have been able to bring our kindred spirits together during this time before and during the trial. To all that respond frequently or to those who simply read the blog and somedays cry and other days smile we have been through this journey together. Thank you all. It has been such a joy to get to know you,

    2. It was good to see so many come to court yesterday to support victim/survivors and their supporters as we seek some accountability and justice.

      There’s not much to say about Lynn except that he has no integrity and little character. It made me sick to listen to him as he said repeatedly how much he did for victims. He did nothing. Like Krol, Bevilaequa, Rigali and most of their auxiliaries they are sorry examples of humanity. Men? I don’t think so.

      Remember when Lynn said that he didn’t even bother to make recommendations to Bevilaequa because he knew they would not be acted upon? What he didn’t say was that Bevilaequa didn’t respond well when underlings like himself did anything that smacked of questioning his, the cardinal’s authority.

      Lynn’s excuses were pitiful and he a pitiful example of a man. But reasons they were not.

      I have no doubt that the cardinal archbishop and the bishops of Pennsylvania wish that things would get back to their definition of “business as usual,” ASAP. It’s up to the people to see that that does not happen. We are well aware of Chaput’s lame excuses for not supporting House Bills 832 & 878 and we know how he and the Colorado Catholic Conference misrepresented the bills there.

      What Chaput didn’t say at his June press conference was how many hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions, that have been and continue to be funneled into the PA Catholic Conference’s coffers to oppose any statute of limitation reform. Write him and the newspapers asking for a financial accounting. IT IS YOUR MONEY AFTER ALL.

      Have you asked Chaput lately for the running tab for Lynn’s dream defense team? You have a right to know, again, it’s your money!

      Please join with others seeking justice, accountability, transparency and some evidence of a moral compass among the hierarchs in the First Friday Vigil from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 1st on the sidewalk outside the Archdiocesan offices at 222 N. 17th Street, Philly.

      Sister Maureen

  3. My God. They have no ability to think about anyone but themselves, and yet have no notion at all of thinking for themselves. Theirs is the behavior of insects, not that of mature fellow members of a faith community they believe they lead.

    Because of this they refuse to understand that having been made in the image and likeness of God, they are in fact now responsible for the actions they take in His name, when as He can, they undertake to Create or to Destroy.

    By their fruits you will know them.

    I know them to be Destroyers. It matters not a whit that they think otherwise.

  4. Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in Philadelphia, PA, in room 304 of the Criminal Justice Center, in an archdiocese having approximately 400 priests, there was not one, damn cleric in persona Christi.

  5. When Blessington was questioning Lynn about Avery being the DJ at a dance for children at St Jerome’s and Lynn dismissed it as only happening one time,I could see that Blessington’s shoulders seemed to be shaking with his next comment/question. I give him credit for keeping his composure. I would have wanted to scream “Only once!” one time is too many,one child is too many,it is all too much. What is it that the clergy seems to not understand,the countless children that were victims and the countless children exposed to predator priests. A group of children at a dance with Avery being the DJ? As a parent it sends chills up your spine,to Lynn it seemed like “only once”.
    My daughter was in second grade when I dressed her in her Irish dance costume to dance at the retirement party for Msgr Campbell,the priest who was just removed last week after admitting to sexually abusing a child. I dressed my child and took her to perform for a man who sexually abused a child,even though I had no way of knowing that at the time, I feel like I failed as a parent. When I heard the news about Msgr Campbell that was the first thing that popped into my mind and I almost ran to the bathroom and vomited. I think I had such a hard time in court today because it was the first time I had been there since I found out my own children had been exposed to an abusive priest,and when Lynn acted like it was not a big deal that the children at St Jerome’s danced in front of a predator priest,I really had a hard time keeping my composure.

    1. Kathy – I don’t have words anymore, but as I read yours, I can’t stop the tears from flowing. I’m grateful you share your heart – it helps mine.

      1. Jane, I know how difficult this must be for all who have been associated with St Jerome’s. I was enraged thinking of all those sweet innocent children lining up for confession. As Catholics we so often are only concerned with what happens within our own parishes,concern for children should not know any parish boundaries.Those children at St Jerome’s were like my own for the few hours I was in court yesterday.

      2. Kathy –great posts!
        I see this whole “clergy abuse crisis” exactly the way you see the children of St Jerome’s. It’s simple:
        What the Catholic clergy did to other parents’ children, they also did to my own four children.

      3. I wanted to mention Lynn’s response not only in the Grand Jury Report but also when he sat there smiling on the witness stand, when a Victim came forward and commented that if nothing was done to address the abuser they would go to the Police, and Lynn responded “you do what you have to and we will do what we have to ” this in and of itself shows unequivically the concern of the hierarchy in that Lynn would contact the archdiocese’s civil attorneys , so with that said what does one infer from this ? I have concluded that the church’s morality lies primarily in its bank account.

      4. SNAP’s response today :

        SNAP blasts Msgr. Lynn’s defense theory
        Msgr. Lynn suggests he was overwhelmed and inexperienced, but apparently never once asked for additional personnel or training. He implies he got conflicting pressures but apparently never once sought clarity. He now blames others’ “rules” but apparently never once objected to them or tried to change them.

        If indeed Msgr. Lynn had these feelings of maybe wanting to do more, shouldn’t there be some evidence that at some point over a decade or more he might have acted on these feelings? Yet there is none.

        Here’s what Msgr. Lynn did do: he lied to parishioners (and admitted that under oath, using that word) because his boss supposedly wanted him to. And not once, in almost four decades as a seminarian and priest did he ever call police about known or suspected child sex crimes, no matter how egregious or repeated they were.

        Msgr. Lynn wants us to believe that despite his power and title and prestige and education, he was a poor, powerless trapped mouse coerced by a larger-than-life prelate. The truth is he’s a self-serving moral coward who let dozens or perhaps hundreds of kids be sexually tortured because he didn’t want to jeopardize his career or his colleague’s reputations.

  6. God Bless all of you who are suffering through this criminal trial of Lynn and Brennan and the rest of the clergy who appear at this trial to support these evil men. I hope that the jury will see through the “holy roller exercise” that the supporting priest and laity are performing each day they are at the trial. Thank You Kathy for a truthful, clear, description of what has happened at today’s trial. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring wisdom to the jury to arrive at a verdict of guilty.

  7. I find each and every one of be….the precious Saints of Today. Oh that I could have been there with you in the flesh. But I am there with you in prayer and Spirit each and every day… .You. all are in my heart. And Christ gives us all the strength to know His Will will be done . Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit that we are learning more about every hour. May God hold you all in the Palm of HIS HANDS.. LOVINGLY IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD…..gloria

  8. I understand your frustration but feel you aren’t being objective.We all tknow to well about the many cases of chiltdsexual abuseby thevclergy.However Mgsrlynn is a good priest and his track record speaks for itself.Anybody that knows anything about the Catholic Church know that it was not his decsionto allow those who abused Children to remain active in ministry .This whole case is a jokevfrom view that this should have entered the Court room to begin with?Some ambitious people wanted to make a name for themselves and this why this trial happened in the firstl plac. It is my belief that this whole thing never should havehappened. Further if one is goingnreport situations get the facts together and be objective in the reporting

    1. I agree with you Jim that this whole thing should have never happened,the rape,sodomy and violation of children’s bodies should have never argument. I am not a reporter,I write on a blog that has become a port in the storm for people who have been harmed by the church and those that support them. Jim how many victims have you met with? How many of their stories have you heard? I will let Vicky tell you about her experience with Lynn.

    2. JIm,
      Please expand on his track record…how do you define that? Are you from his parish? Have you read the reports and talked to the victims?………people that appear to be good can fail to act leading to harm of others.You seem to imply that the decisions might have been bad if so he had a choice not to follow them. Joke…….. to.who to you?……..defintely not the victims, family members, laity and to the priests I have spoken to. Have you noticed the mass exit out the catholic churches doors lately?

    3. Jim,
      I will be at the vigil Fri. with our survivors come and get a balanced view of what is really going on. I wanted to know the truth and I found it. Do you want to know the truth?

    4. Jim, If you really knew and understood this issue you would be a bit more compassionate perhaps. Your simplistic analysis of the motivation behind this case does not correlate with reality. Crimes were committed in the Philly AD and covered up in a systematic fashion. Are you OK with that?

    5. Are you kidding all of us here?? Lynn is a good man… How can you use “good and man” in the same sentence when you talk about Lynn?? I have known Lynn from his days in Philadelphia, Wayne and Downingtown and what you see is not what you get when it comes to Lynn. The Pew Sheep in Downingtown love the guy and it has to be that bumbling Mr. Magoo act he so eloquently pulls off… Do not be fooled, Lynn may not have actually “touched” a child however his actions or should I say lack of actions not only harmed children it also put many at risk…Lynn has friends in high places and could have easily dropped a dime… Protect the church and its money is a Lynn specialty, always has been during his career…The time have come for Lynn to make a career change……..

      1. WR, just a small example of how petty a liar Lynn is..spoke to him on the phone twice during 2003 in a futile attempt to garner some info on a Fr. John Walsh (RCHS)..
        ..first call Lynn told me Walsh died in April, 1995.. added when a priest dies their info goes into the archives and are extremely difficult to retrive..
        ..second call he actually said this..the archives are kept at a seminary way, way out of the city and he hasn’t had the time to get there yet..’
        ..of course all the records were at his fingertips but this was his way of was only with the assistance of reporter David O’Reilly that allowed me to get the info I sought..
        Keep the Faith…

      2. James, the Lynn defense was that he was ‘just following orders from Bev et al’.

        Those orders had their origins in canon law…ie if a priest denied culpability, he was to be believed. And a hierarch was to be obeyed, however dissolute that hierarch was.

        Lynn is a citizen of the US, and the state of PA. It is a crime to endanger children in civil society.

        this whole trial has been a huge intersection between canon and civil/criminal law. May the jury make the proper distinctions.

      1. I was thinking the same thing but I have seen people change so Jim I have hope that you could have a change of heart when you see the full picture…….not just what you want to see…..

    6. Jim Burke,
      “This whole case is a joke”. Jim, this comment is shameful. I could easily “go off” on a screaming tirade but, let me just say this.
      It’s wonderful people like you…that affirm our decision to leave the catholic church forever.

    7. Msgr. Lynn’s track record, no doubt, includes many acts of kindness and duty toward his parishioners. That is not in dispute. His track record, however, also consists of moving multiple known child predators to places where they had more access to children and at which they committed the same crimes again. It is so clearly apparent that Lynn’s strongest supporters do not want to even face the fact that there are VICTIMS here.You are ignoring the victims. There are many people sitting in jails who, besides committing their crime(s), have done some good things in their lives. That does not erase the fact that they committed crimes. The same is true for Msgr. Lynn.

      As far as “ambitious people”, I think we see more ambition among the priests, bishops and cardinals in the RCC than the world has room for. In fact, personal ambition and preservation has been more important to them than our children.

      1. I totally agree, amazed. People, why do you even bother replying to Jim???? Ignore him.

    8. Jim Burke,

      Your comments carry no weight with anyone who has taken the time to read the grand jury reports, and to follow this trial.

      With the help of God, Lynn’s support will soon be limited to prison visitation.

    9. Jim Burke, You need to get your head out of the sand. Lynn never once stood up to Bevilacqua, nor did he ever call the police. Sexual abuse of children is a CRIME, plain and simple. Lynn needs to go to jail for aiding and abetting a CRIME, plain and simple.

    10. Jim- A child endangerment/abuse trial is a “JOKE”-? Are you a father of a child? … Would you be as amused if your child fell prey to one of Msgnr Lynn’s many pedophiles? Wonder if you’d be as impressed by Lynn’s track record if your 10 yr-old boy was one of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. kids who returned home from serving mass, or from parochial school, changed utterly, horribly, forever.
      You have been indoctrinated by a religious institution to tolerate child abuse…to overlook it when it’s right under your nose. They have made fools of us all–for decades. This institution even has you foolishly calling their henchman, Lynn, a “good priest.” The leaders of the AD and their lawyers are depending on you to stay naive, and are privately laughing at you, Jim.–That’s the only real joke in this…and sadly, the joke’s on you.

      Good priests, like other good men, don’t hold onto jobs where they must endanger children by shuffling around pedophiles who sodomize and rape the children of unsuspecting communities. A good man quits such a job, and he goes to the police. –Anyone with a soul knows that.

    11. May you one day see the real truth. I hope that God will find it in his heart to awake yours. Only a man who has never been abused or raped by a man of God can say the things you have said. Read the grand jury reports and then come back and tell me all this is a mistake.

  9. Kathy, you did not do anything wrong as a parent. You trusted your church to make sure their priests were truly men of god. Your trust was not a bad thing. Sadly so many priests and bishops have been shown to be unworthy of our trust and unworthy of their calling.

    Blessings on you and the fortitude of body and spirit that it has taken for you to attend these proceedings. From all victims, especially those who were unable to rise above their pain and instead took their own life – I offer my heartfelt thanks. God’s grace and healing has been present in that courtroom through you and the others like you in that room

  10. The recent evidence that the Vatican is in total disarray for those with eyes to see, shows the Lords timing is always perfect.
    Who could honestly take them seriously any more, apart from those whom the church hold to ransom, and there would be millions of them worldwide.
    Here I’m referring to in particular, the decent clergy who earnestly have asked for rescripts of their vows, to live with dignity and claim with honesty the children they have brought into the world, acknowledged and who bear their name.
    The right of all fathers without exception.

    1. “The recent evidence that the Vatican is in total disarray for those with eyes to see, shows the Lords timing is always perfect”
      I can’t post photos , but if you have seen the photo closeup of Benedict XVI at the “Pentecost Mass” you must be shocked at his appearance. I was!

  11. Jim Burke…One child sexually abused by a person of religious authority. ….Is one too many! But it’s not ..Its thousands. If it’s a catholic priest, nun or brother it is done to they have made a vow to God Almighty to be CHRISTUS to the world .” What ever you do to the least of my people you do un to Me ”
    One person who knows. about and supports the crime that is going on and does not report it to the authorities is just as Guilty.

    Jim. Not doing your homework on this subject makes you equally. as guilty in putting your head in the sand and saying what you just said…very sad to the saints on this blog to see you care so little about the sexually abused innocents of this world.

  12. Kathy, Thank you for your support and your witness of the day. I truly wish that I could be there with you all. This has been a difficult journey but it’s been made easier by the members of this community who have reached out to the survivors here with empathy and compassion. Thank you for crossing to our side of the road, listening to our stories, helping to bind our wounds and for creating a place for us to gather and share. Thank you for not passing us by as so many continue to do through indifference or the need to defend the indefensible.

    It’s hard to hear about how Lynn didn’t have the power to stop the assignments that lead to future abuse victims. He had all the knowledge that we have been hearing about for the past 8 weeks and if that isn’t power I don’t know what is. Instead of acting on this knowledge the heirarchs at the AD wrapped themselves in layers of plausible deniability, secrecy and lies. It’s hard to hear that Lynn feels blameless in the abuse of “Billy”. Even I wonder if maybe I could have done something more to prevent what ultimately happened to “Billy”. Although I realize that this was outside of my “responsibility” and “power” I still wonder…… what human being wouldn’t.

    Robert Fisher MD

    1. James, I think you of all people did ‘more’ to protect victims than anyone else whose records we have heard. And, boy do we thank you for it! Joan

  13. Dear Kathy,

    First of all, thanks for your support of victims. This is so important!

    Secondly, it’s a terrible crime and a sin that children have been abused and that doesn’t justify anything. But as I see it, you’re writing here more on your emotions, than on the facts…. and I challenge the way you are presenting things here. You’re making it sound like this Msgr and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are insensitive to the children, or as if they were turning a blind eye when abuse was happening during their “watch” or that they even knowingly consented to it and did nothing. You present the facts to support this distorted reality. Again, I’m not saying I support what happened, but we can’t let emotion determine a case, although sadly I think the Judge is so emotionally charged against the Church that she too is turning a blind eye to the reality.

    For example… you wrote: “So the same kids lining up for confession to a KNOWN predator priest at St Jerome’s were now also dancing in front of a predator priest….but hey that only happened once. And other than Billy being taken into a closet and sexually violated, business as usual. Blessington was able to illicit what I guess you could call an emotionless apology out of Lynn.”

    It was never “business as usual” as you propose… at least not according to Ralph Cipriano and the news papers…

    According to Ralph Cipriano, over at, Lynn did NOT act as you suggest, with a “hey that only happened once” kind of “not-caring” attitude. You distort the reality!!!

    “It happened once and it was stopped,” Lynn told the jury about the dance.

    Lynn conceded, however, that when Father Avery raped the ten-year-old altar boy, it was the one time on his watch that an abuser priest under his “supervision” had abused a child.

    “Now you’re sorry, after three days” of cross-examination, Blessington said.

    “I was sorry when it first happened,” Lynn said.

    According to the facts, Lynn reprimanded the priest and expressed sorrow, just because you don’t think it was good enough, doesn’t mean it wasn’t.

    The sad fact that Avery abused a boy is not Lynn’s fault….but you blame him… why? how?


    Here’s what Ralph reports:

    A true smoking gun points only one way, making one side’s case, but not both sides, said Fred Tecce, a former federal prosecutor and TV commentator who has publicly questioned the case against Lynn.

    Tecce describes the prosecution’s case like this: “horrible things happened to children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, some one needed to be held responsible, and the only guy in the courtroom that could fit that bill was Msgr. Lynn.”

    “While it’s true that horrible things did happen to children in the archdiocese, and something really needs to be done to address that,” Tecce said, “under the law and the facts, it’s not appropriate to hold Lynn responsible. That’s not the way the law is supposed to work.”

    In other words, we don’t discover a horrible crime and then round up somebody to blame for it. We have rules of law that govern society, and when people break those laws, we charge them with crimes, Tecce said. Through no one’s fault the existing laws were not broad enough to prosecute the church for its past conduct.


    I’m glad you go to the trial and support the victims, and that this whole thing has been one big bonding experience between you and others who hate the Church, but please don’t distort the reality and present it as truth.

    Thanks to Susan for posting this and allowing me to stay in the dialogue…


    1. JV, I was continue to allow your comments as long as they fit within our comments guidelines. Also, you only bolster and affirm my position with statements such as the following…

      “According to the facts, Lynn reprimanded the priest and expressed sorrow, just because you don’t think it was good enough, doesn’t mean it wasn’t.”

      “Reprimanded and expressed sorrow” doesn’t cut it when dealing with a known child predator. It falls woefully short of a normal human response and put other children in danger.

      Is it Lynn’s fault alone? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t make him any less responsible for his own inaction.

      1. John,
        Here is the truth. Think about this before you continue along in your apologia.

        Little children are by definition hopeful for the future, trusting of adults, excited to be forming ideas about their world and the God we teach them about. Little children are filled with wonder and joy is their natural essence.

        Priests who assault them and use them sexually destroy all of that joy and wonder. They erase hope, they erase the hopeful little

      2. Little futures, they are taught that all they believed has been a fiction. Hierarchs who allow that aid and abet that destruction

    2. John, many people who have committed crimes say they are sorry, but they still have to accept the punishment for breaking the law. Many criminals stand up in court and publicly apologize for what they have done….then they are hauled off to their jail cell.These are crimes, not little mistakes. Msgr. Lynn is an accessory to crimes. Those are the cold, hard facts. Priests are citizens of our state and nation. They need to follow the law and accept the consequences when they don’t, just like all other citizens.

    3. John,the accounts in the newspapers, Ralph’s blog and my own account, only cover a small fraction of what occurs in the courtroom each day. As a mother sitting in the court yesterday,I saw little remorse for what happened,that is my opinion and I am entitled to it. If I had seen actual remorse I would have stated that,I didn’t feel it ,maybe others did. When Lynn described how Avery was not hearing confessions from children in private but rather out in the open, he seemed to feel this made sense. It is not appropriate for a known predator priest to be hearing any child’s confession whether in a confessional box or in the pew of a church,it is simply bizarre to me that this makes sense to anyone and shows once again the utter disregard for the children which has been the problem all along. The other thing Lynn was asked was if parent’s had the right to know that their children were exposed to a predator priest. John I don’t know if you are a parent but that answer is yes,a parent should have the right to know this. Disrespect for parents and disregard for children.
      Msgr Lynn was also asked about what is meant about a priests “right to his reputation”. He explained that a priest is entitled to this right if an allegation or accusation is made …until the case is decided. Well in Avery’s case his name was already listed as “guilty” on the shredded memo list when he was stationed at St Jerome’s. So he somehow was entitled to his reputation even after the AD found him to be guilty of the allegations. What right did the parents and children at St Jerome’s have? Obviously none.

    4. John, from comments you have made it sounds like you are local, have you ever been to the trial? Have you seen the legal team being paid for by the AD and the clergy who attend to support Lynn,while not even looking over at the victims and family members who sit across the aisle. If this is the “healing” of the victims we are told to pray for,it is a strange path on the road to healing

    5. John V — just wondering how you would describe Jesus when he turned over all the tables in the temple — remembering that we are talking about Love Himself in action! Too emotional!? Or a heart that was True and filled with righteous indignation!

    6. “I’m glad you go to the trial and support the victims, and that this whole thing has been one big bonding experience between you and others who hate the Church”

      Wow John-I barely have words to respond to this. It sounds like to you anyone who stands in support of the victims over the clergy hates the Church. It is the very fact that I do love the Church that I have been heartbroken since reading the 2nd grand jury report nearly a year and a half ago. I think many others who post here feel similarly. All the beauty of the Church that we grew up with has been forever soiled by our very leaders in whom we trusted to act in the person of Christ. While I believe in the teachings of our Church I feel as though our leadership does not. If they did, how could they have missed Jesus’ admonition to not harm His little ones?

      I cling to Jesus and look to the saints for strength during these times. I think especially of Catherine of Siena who exposed corruption in the Church and challenged even the pope. Would you accuse Catherine of Siena of hating the Church because she spoke out?

      1. Theresa, thanks for saying what I was thinking.

        The assumption that folks who support victims and want to protect innocent children ‘hate the Church’ is both simplistic and wrong, and perhaps, on occasion evil in its intent.

        If the Church can be truly responsible for those ‘little ones’ as Jesus taught us all to do, than it will be a huge blessing for the Church. A purification, the Church desperately needs. Folks who are critical of Church behaviour in this matter and highly protective of innocent children are helping the Church right some of these egregious ‘wrongs’. And THAT’S not ‘hating the Church’.

    7. Hate the church no………hate how the church has treated our children and the survivors YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    8. “…..You’re making it sound like this Msgr and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are insensitive to the children, or as if they were turning a blind eye when abuse was happening during their “watch” or that they even knowingly consented to it and did nothing…..”

      John V.!! What’s to be done with you!? lol! ..Astounding…Your “take” on what’s happening in that courtroom, and in the AD, is so incredible to me, that I can only assume that have no children of your own. -And/Or that you work for the AD?
      You might want to brace yourself for the possibility of a disappointing verdict.

    9. John,

      I trust that you sincerely believe institutional leaders who claim we hate the church.

      Go to and read the original Chancery documents housed there from dozens of dioceses. Consider this original evidence and come to your own conclusions.

      I have no doubt that you will see an unbroken pattern of behavior among Church managers:

      1. Avoiding scandal was always the driving concern.
      2. Keeping things secret and hiding the priest perpetrator were essential.
      3. Caring for the victim is scarcely mentioned.

  14. 99% of the people in this region who obtain news from the papers and TV miss 99% of the most important part of this trial – the personal and family comments on this site. The real truth. The real pain. The real deceit of the AD. The perspective from the families and the victims. Jim Burke – it is sacrilege of the worst sort to say that “this case is a joke …..”


  15. People have the right to any opinion or to support whomever they choose but the thing that always amazes me is that a grown man charged with a crime can illicit more sympathy from people than a child whose body was sexually violated. If you support Lynn and feel like he is the fall guy for the AD that is your right, but in the meantime what are you doing to make sure others are brought to justice for these crimes and what are you doing for the victims of these crimes?

  16. Watching lynn laughing while testifying shows the rcc’s arrogance and indifference to the VIctims of abuse, as far as the priest shaking hands for supporters it clarifies the rcc’s position, and asks the question where are the good priests ? This trial also clarifies that the office for the secretary of clergy according to lynn was useless as according to lynn it had no real authority so they claim, to me it shows that it was created for damage control and gathering information to confirm what the legal liability of the church would be. How anyone can continue to support an organization run by men who enable and protect abusers is shocking.

  17. Unable to trust posted in part: “How anyone can continue to support an organization run by men who enable and protect abusers is shocking.”
    I agree — and also offer my two cents [and I mean it as a tribute to the victim supporters here.]
    As I see it, the divide in the courtroom and elsewhere is obvious—
    One side says by word and action: “Keep it all in the family. The most important thing is survival of “Church” and for RCism to remain above all.
    Another side says: “I cannot stomach it! I will take my children and leave!”

    1. The content of the letters is more distressing than the fact that they were stolen. The pope has nothing to hide, right?

    2. But don’t you understand that this was stealing from Christ or at least his vicar on earth? Well, that is the Vatican line. God help us. We cannot overestimate the willful blindness (and blind obedience) of those in the Vatican.

  18. Just a few weeks ago, after listening to the testimony of “James” and “Billy” I vowed never to go back into that courtroom. Some statements from Billy really troubled me, but none more than “God loves you and wants this for you,” and “take off your pants, it’s time to become a man,” told to Billy by his abuser Fr. Edward Avery. My abuser also told me God loved me and wanted me to “stop fighting it” and just give in to the abuse. But, “take off your pants, it’s time to become a man,” is probably what sticks out most for me in these last few weeks. I keep repeating that over and over in my head. Those words have kept me up at night and I think any of that statement repeated again, even if a little differently, has become a trigger for me and my own memories of abuse. How could anyone tell a ten year-old boy that sex with an adult man is part of becoming a man? It makes me f#cking sick! How anyone like Edward Avery could exist in the priesthood for as long as he did makes absolute complete sense to me, but how he could coexist with non-abusers is what I find most disturbing. Msgr. Lynn knew and he did nothing. It would not matter to me one iota who were my bosses. If I find out that a man beneath me (or above me for that matter) is raping a child, first you’re going to face the wrath of Rich, Arthur, Vicky, Steve, Martin, Billy, and James, then you can tell your story to the police officers who come to arrest you.

    It’s odd, but I never realize how truly awful my abuse really was until I hear stories from other victims that disturb me. It’s even worse when I hear other victims repeat what their abusers told them and then recalling that my abuser said the same thing to me, or did that same act on my body. If somebody told my story to me, exactly as it happened, I think I would spiral out of control and there’s no doubt I was fall back into deep depression, probably deeper than any depression I’ve managed to climb out of in the past.

    I decided last night that I would get a good night’s sleep and head up to the trial today by myself. I
    haven’t driven a car in over 3 weeks, but I was fairly certain that I’d be able to make the trip to Philly. Unfortunately, I got halfway up the Expressway and the pain in my back and leg became unbearable and after pulling over on the shoulder and taking a couple of minutes walking around my car and stretching out I thought it would be better for me to drive home. With that kind of pain, I was having difficulty driving and I knew that I was certainly unsafe to be on the road with other people, whom could be hurt or killed if I continued to drive in such severe pain. I would be negligent and if I did cause an accident and hurt some innocent person, just driving to work or worse, driving their kids some place, I just could not live with myself.

    I don’t understand these people who staunchly defend such creatures, like child abusers, when the facts are on the table and only the abusers themselves, or their harborers, could find some reason why they should not go to prison. I went to the arraignment, and it was there that Edward Avery sat next to his brothers and declared his innocence. Is is not reasonable to assume that if Avery pleaded guilty prior to the trial that all of the defendants were most likely guilty, even if you’re dismissing the facts of this case entirely to rely on common sense? Besides innocent men do not smile and laugh while a victim of childhood rape is telling his story to a courtroom full of people, as with what I noticed from Fr. Brennan in the 2 days I spent in that courtroom. Innocent men don’t walk out of a courthouse with their hands in their pockets, “running” straight ahead to get away from reporters. Innocent men fight back to prove they are not guilty. Where’s the fight in William Lynn? He knows he is guilty. He knows he put children in danger by hiding known child abusing clergy within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Real men protect children!

    Once I finally heal from my back surgery, I’m going back to being that thorn in the side of the Catholic Church. I want answers to my questions. I want to testify in front of the PA Senate Judiciary Committee. I know once our elected leaders have heard my story, and the stories of my fellow victims, it won’t be business as usual, and they will have to change the laws. “It’s time to become a man” Rep. Ron Marsico and it’s time to start protecting children, not the abusers.

    Someone said on this forum, not so long ago, “the world must seem so upside down for the victims.” Do you know why it seems upside down for us? Because we were victimized and our victimizers have more rights than we do. In early 2009, I finally worked up the courage to tell someone about my abuse, to tell the District Attorney in Philadelphia, and legally report my abuse, and what happened? Nothing! The Statute of Limitations says that my abuser, if he were still alive, could stand on a pedestal and preach to the entire world that he “raped and psychologically, emotionally, and physically tortured a child,” but because that child is now 31 years-old there’s nothing anyone can do about. I can see Rev. John M. McDevitt dancing in hell right now. I wonder how many of his brothers he’s partying with.

    Guilty or not guilty, my mind is already made up and it will never change. I was innocent once.

    1. Thanks for mentioning Martin who also has attended the trial in support of victims. I also forgot Bob our former seminarian friend,and Jack who I met for the first time yesterday.

      1. Yes Kathy and Bob was a former catholic school high school teacher and devout kinda guy and he has changed his perspective on our victims since going to the trial and vigils and he believes everyone needs to see for themselves what is going on in the church/

      2. Exactly Beth, Bob put in the time of being there for the majority of the trial so he could understand what happened

    2. The reality is that you are still innocent. Your soul is pure; your heart is pure; your body is healing. Pray for your abusers; pray that they see the tragedies they have created and that they ask for your forgivenes. The tragedy of the RCC is, I believe, that the hierarchy does not believe they have done wrong. We can see that in the way they defend Lynn. Pray for them that they are able to admit their wrongdoings. Until they admit their wrongs, there will be no change…

      AND, until that blessed day comes, let us make every effort to have them tried and convicted in civil court. And, that will not be easy…

      1. I don’t have a soul.

        Pray for my abusers? Screw that! I don’t pray, and even if I did pray the last people I’d be praying for is adult men who rape little kids!

        I hope when these scumbags are sentenced to prison, some big guys prey on them, so they can know what it’s like to be small, and defenseless and afraid.

      2. “He knows of your desires for your dear ones. They are in His Heart. Your desires are as nothing in comparison with His desires for them”. Mother Katherine Drexel…….this is from a woman who lost her mother at a young age …..and suffered much……but she kept going…..she even fought the KKK……today ..I realized Saints don’t sit around and pray all day they “do” ……they do the work no one else will do or are afraid to do but they do it with prayer and thru Christ.

  19. The discussions between the lawyers and the judge as to the charges and instructions that will be handed down to the jurors were originally supposed to be open to the public today. I went to 304. There has been a change. The discussions are taking place behind closed doors as we speak. Otherwise, there is no action in court today. Closing arguments are planned for Thursday.

      1. Not sure, Joan. Reporters arrived this morning to sit in on the discussions. They, too, wondered about the change.

        While I have the day to myself, there are two things I’d like to accomplish. I plan on viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls at The Franklin Institute. I’d also like to meet Fr. Chris. I’d be happy to make my way over to his church. If there is anyone on C4C who can assist in arranging that, please let me know. Thank you.

      2. hadit ,Chris is in school meetings today and then a meeting in Bucks county tonight. He apologized for not being around tomorrow evening if you are still in town.

      3. I’m still in town. Just tell me when and where. Thank you Kathy and Fr. Chris.

    1. Hadit, Judge Sarmina’s secrecy is wrong. The last time she operated secretly, Avery got a sweet plea deal. If Lynn gets one, he had better be required to tell all he knows about Rigali and the auxiliary bishops. Otherwise, the judge and Seth Williams are mocking the citizens of Philly one more time.

      1. Jerry, what do you think about the whole idea of trying Brennan, and Lynn together- does it make any sense at all. It troubles me– especially since they started out with Avery in it as well. ???

  20. Amen! amazed….and all the others who have put these dissenting, arrogant, elitists in a place where they betray. by by their very words, the God who created them.

  21. I have not commented on this site for a little while, but I have been here. I have been reading, keeping up to date on the trial, and telling others about it. I have not commented because I can’t deal with the attitudes of jimburke and JV and how upset I get reading their comments. I feel sad and frustrated and angered and it is easier to be quiet than to confront them. It is not worth my mental health to respond to them. But I realized something: that is how the predators must make some victims feel. But I can not pretend that they do not upset me, because I know that there are so many others out there that think like them. I don’t think that we can change their views and that has me distraught at times. Thank you to all the people on this site. Your courage and tenacity gives me hope. The survivors on this site are nothing short of heros for the silent. I will be back commenting soon, making sure everyone knows I BELIEVE THE VICTIMS.

    1. Michelle
      I understand exactly where you are coming from. I was distraught at the end of the morning court session yesterday. I wish I had seen remorse,nothing in the world would have made me happier to write a post on seeing remorse in that courtroom. I really felt for the first time that I was not in control of my emotions. Seeing the clergy there to support Lynn as victims sat a few feet away,the other supporters who only came to hear Lynn’s testimony and not the testimony of the victims. I had to leave after the morning session to get home but I also HAD to leave. When we walked out of court I almost turned to the crowd and yelled..”do you not understand what happened?’. I thought about grabbing Vicky and Steve and saying “these bodies were violated” and grabbing Art and saying ” his son is dead”. The only thing that stopped me was that Irene came to me and told me that a TV reporter wanted to interview us ,I didn’t even have my wits about me to do that. I left the courthouse and never looked back,got in my car and cried for the ride home. I have no comprehension how the victims have spoken their truth for all these years,were betrayed over and over. Were mistreated by so many and still kept on going. Something ‘broke’ inside me yesterday. I sent an email to a priest this morning who was an influential part of my childhood. I have talked to him over the past few months and was supposed to go back and talk some more. That is all over now,I can’t straddle the world of trying to have laity and clergy understand what happened while also helping the victims. If I continued on that path I could see the time coming when I threw the towel in and walked away from it all. I can’t do that anymore. Instead I will focus on all the good Catholic people I have met this past year,and all the victims who have spoken their truth to protect our children. I am done trying to build bridges,I tried so hard and am finished.

      1. Kathy, I was so upset after reading your blog this morning, I fired off an email to our parish priest and send him a link to your blog. I don’t know if he will read it or not. The part about the priest not shaking your hand really got to me, just tapped into the rage I feel about all of this. How dare he pick and choose who is “worthy” of his handshake. How dare he rebuff someone because they are there in support of the victims. I don’t know if I could have held my tongue with him – the arrogance! I have tried to talk to my priest so many times and he only responds with carefully worded answers, often ignoring questions or points I have made. I have the impression he could care less about how upset I and others are about this. He seems to be all about self preservation, poor priests and all they have endured this past year or so – give me a break. I will let you know if he responds to my email.

        I believe the victims!!!

      2. Thanks again, Kathy, for being who you are. Out of this evil, forces for good like you arise. God has not forgotten us.

      3. catholic mom..good for you for emailing your priest. I would say that I was not expecting a handshake..I didn’t extend my hand either,,it was the facial expression and looking away when I mentioned “victims’ that said it all.

      4. Kathy can identify any of the priests who were there supporting Lynn They should be outted

      5. Kathy,
        Take comfort that the Lord will not leave you nor forsake you when you TRUST IN HIM.

      6. Kathy,

        I have not known what to say about your original post. I felt touched deeply. Unlike Peter who denied Christ when he was on trial, you see Christ in that courtroom, and have shared his suffering by proclaiming: “Yes, I know hm and love him.”


  22. Try to accomplish that, Mark. C4C bloggers would love to hear your take on things. I’d like to meet you, too.

  23. I believe the victims!!!! Looking into the face of evil, is lynn ,compassionless, smiling, smirking…..The evil one is alive and thriving…… I pray that Jesus and His light surround all
    , and continue to shield and protect the victims, and all who are standing up against the horrible crimes against innocence…..My heart cries for the innocent, but I feel that this is the beginning of your validation and freedom like never before. I am a catholic 4 change. We are the church…

  24. Tell. JV. The church he speaks Of is not a church but the dwelling place of evil… we are the people
    who have given our hearts to Jesus. Not an Institution. Denice you’re right!!!!! We. ARE..”.THE CHURCH”

  25. Let us not be fooled. The RCC is a powerful entity. This trial will not change much. The fabulous PR people employed by the RCC will somehow make this trial look like an attack on the RCC and, therefore, an attack on religious freedom in the USA. We must look beyond our parishes and or dioceses–even beyond the victims–to find an answer to the terrible institution that the RCC has become in the world. The sad thing is that the RCC may have ALWAYS been a terrible organization, held in check only by the good people who wanted a spritual experience. We are the people who want a spiritual experience; we want the chance to worship our God in the way that Jesus taught us. We want to demonstrate love for one another as Jesus demonstrated his love for us. Those desires have precious little to do with the organization that the RCC is now. Change is needed; real change is needed in the RCC.


    1. I firmly believe that the RCC should be charged in Criminal Court in the Hague. However, the RCC is VERY POWERFUL, and I am not sure that they will be found guilty–guilty of being an organization that by its behavior allows children and vulnerable adults to be abused.

      Until that day, we watch and listen to the reports of abuse of humans, the financial scheming, and obfuscation that is more a part of the behavior of the RCC hierarchy than the leading of the liturgy.

      I am ashamed of the church I was so happy to be part of when I was a child. I am so ashamed, and I wonder how anyone can take them seriously. But, I know the answer to that: the RCC is STILL VERY POWERFUL AND STILL VERY RICH.

    2. “held in check only by the good people who wanted a spiritual experience.”
      The sad thing is that the RCC may have ALWAYS been a terrible organization, held in check only by the good people who wanted a spiritual experience.”

      Elizabeth and glorybe29,
      I really believe I can assure you that as I quote Elizabeth- the RCC has “always been a terrible organization”; however, rather that being “held in check” it has been supported “by the good people who wanted a spiritual experience.”
      Only almighty God has “held in check” Satan and his kingdom from going any further than is the sovereign will of God. One day justice and righteousness will prevail all over the earth, according to what God has already decreed in the scriptures. It’s all there.
      At present, wherever on earth the Word of God is set forth, Satan appears to twist and pervert it so as to further darken men’s minds to where they cannot understand or perceive its meaning. But God is stronger than Satan, and His Holy Spirit continues to call out to every man with the truth. Will we hear and trust in the Word?

    1. Thanks, Kathy. Hadit and Irene, you were great. Hadit got across clearly the national scope of the priest abuse scandal. Irene got across strongly the need for SOL reform. Truly, well done. Whatever Lynn’s verdict, the world now knows, thanks to C4C bloggers, among others, that Philly has been a pedophile priests’ paradise overseen by three Cardinals with close Vatican connections. The pope can’t blame this one on his butler!

  27. I support changes in SOL laws and open window so that victims who would not benefit form the change might have an opportunity to get some justice now. I have informed parishioners and the Archdiocese of my position. I love the church, but not our failure to protect children. The church is filled with saints and sinners and alot of people somewhere in between. I have no doubts that Christ is present in his church, but so is our freedom to reject his ways. Msgr Lynn needed to refuse to do what he was told because it rejected Jesus’ way. Because I beleive we are more than the wor st thing we ever done, I only lament his bad choice of criminal behavior and not him as a person .Be assured that the preist i know would call the police and childline should they see abuse. It is actually Arcdiocesan policy now.

    1. Philacathpriest,
      I will be at the vigil fri. my parish priest was going to go with me but he now has a funeral. It would be nice to meet you .

    2. The church is filled with saints and sinners and alot of people somewhere in between. I have no doubts that Christ is present in his church, but so is our freedom to reject his ways.
      The whole world is also “filled with saints and sinners and a lot of people somewhere in between.” I have no doubts that Christ is present in THE WORLD. And He is present in a special way when believers whom trust [in the Word of Truth]are together with Him.

  28. It’s good to see a post on here from “PhilaCathpriest”. I wish more priests would speak up for what they believe in on this forum. I believe the victims! I also believe there are still some good priests left out there…priests like the pastor of my parish, Msgr Michael Picard, who spoke up and was able to put a stop when of one of these corrupt priests was almost tranferred into his parish years ago. It didn’t come without a price to Father Picard (he was denied a promotion as monsignor for 10 years as his penance for speaking out to his superiors), but despite the delay in his promotion, I sincerely believe he’d do it all over again, because he is a real man of Christ and he did it to protect his parishioners! We need more priests like Msgr Picard to take a stand in what they believe and not hide behind rules their superiors may have set for them to abide by. Remaining close-lipped about this most serious issue is not being a man of God. Speaking up and sharing the truths is! May God guide all priests out there who read this forum to step up and have the courage to speak out. We need more Father Picard’s out there to make the right choices…even if the choices are difficult ones to be made.

    1. I wonder if Msgr. Picard will get another promotion after testifying, yesterday, as to the excellent character of Msgr. Lynn. Yes! Picard testified for BOTH the prosecution AND the defense in this trial! Truly mindboggling…

      1. Really? So can you expand on that? What did he say? So I guess he blames it on the boss……….Archbishop Bev. who is dead………

  29. Did Sister Maureen’s channel 3 interview from yesterday get posted yet? If not, here is the link:

  30. If cell phones are not permitted, are there lockers available? What time is it expected to start on Thursday? If there is an overflow crowd, might people be turned away?

    1. Mark…no lockers ..nothing.I drive in so I leave my cell in the car. Court starts each day at 9:30..based on the crowd yesterday and everyone knows tomorrow is the final day, I would get there by 9 at the latest. There will be an overflow of media in that courtroom tomorrow.

  31. To haditCatholic, that is mind boggling and I was unaware he was called to testify again! I agree with Beth, I’d like to know exactly what Msgr Picard said in his defense testimony. It doesn’t make sense to testify for both sides…. If anyone knows his testimony from yesterday, please share.

    1. I believe when you are a character witness you are not “called” but are there voluntarily testifying on behalf of the defendant…in other words you have to agree to do it. hadit..where are you..let us know what happened with the character witness testimony.

      1. Kathy…I think I might leave the lights on for awhile.

        1 I don’t think the jury is either stupid, or God knows uninformed. 8 weeks of data has occurred…they are tired, but they certainly have heard from a huge number of victims and seen an incredible amount of data.

        2. Just because theres a rah rah number yesterday is not the definitive issue….

        3 we really don’t know what the jury instructions are…

        4. Brennan’s status as a priest is a question….and I include yesterday’s PI quote…”in a flash of unexplained drama,William J. Brennan, erupted in anger and was cited in contempt late Tuesday by the judge after a prosecutor said aloud that his client is no longer allowed to call himself a priest. the outburst led to a closed door meeting with the judge and lawyers, but no explanations.

        5. I hope some very functional lawyer type will comment far more effectively than moi…but I seem to recall that Brennan is involved in an ongoing canonical trial..for a period of years, which is perhaps what the prosecution was alluding to…and I I know I have read about it…so it clearly is a matter of record…and my question for that clever lawyer person is why wasn’t the jury apprised of this issue…surely it would speak to Brennan’s credibility?

  32. For the past few years, the spiritual image I have of these innocents, are their little mutilated bodies in a huge mound with unending distorted vapours hovering over them.
    Hopefully it will dissipate, when justice has been seen to be done and only God in his perfect timing will do that.
    Until then an ongoing nightmare.

  33. ” I thought how little we imagine what maybe the result of listening and acting on a desire God puts into the heart”…………Mother Katherine Drexel…………….I think Kathy and Susan imagined alot and now we are seeing the results in the community they have created here……..thankyou…… them and to all who blog here. I have been praying most of the day for all who blog here and for the survivors we may never know.Peace.

  34. Yesterday, in 304, during the afternoon, several character witnesses were called to the stand to testify regarding the characters of both Lynn and Brennan. Approximately 7-10 witnesses were called to testify for EACH defendant. Each of the witnesses was asked one, simple question. It went something like this: “Considering your knowledge of Lynn/Brennan and your associations with people in the community, how would you and others in the community describe his character?” Picard testified on behalf of Lynn. ALL of the character witnesses, for both defendants, testified as to their “excellent” or “stellar” characters. THEN, THEN!!! after all of the character witnesses for Lynn testified as to his good character, Lynn’s lawyer turned to the spectator section of the courtroom and asked all persons who agreed as to Lynn’s good character to stand (except the one’s who had already testified). THE ENTIRE SECTION OF SPECTATORS, LYNN FAMILY MEMBERS, PRIESTS STOOD! Once again, the priests “applauded” Lynn!!!!!!!! Shocking and beyond belief. The man in my section whose son was a victim and took his own life, looked at me in utter bewilderment. We shook our heads in disbelief.

    1. okay and there you have it..turn of the lights and shut the door on your way out..applauding once again..applauding …. a slap/punch/ spit in the face to every single victim.

      1. You got that right, Kathy. We must try to be as determined–even tougher, but not mean.

    2. Hadit, Kathy et al…I have a question for everyone…what is Brennan’s status as a priest …are there as yet unresolved canonical deliberations?

      Lynn’s codefendant, Brennan, is accused of trying to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Brennan has denied the allegation.

      In a flash of unexplained drama, Brennan’s lawyer, William J. Brennan, erupted in anger and was cited in contempt late Tuesday by the judge after a prosecutor said aloud that his client is no longer allowed to call himself a priest. The outburst led to a closed-door meeting with the
      judge and lawyers, but no explanation. you guys….yesterday’s PI did a piece I cited that included the following :

      1. Martin, thanks?…for the life of me, can’t understand why that fact was not a trial issue?

    3. “…PRIESTS STOOD!”

      I was taught in seminary that one never turns on a fellow priest. Everything else is secondary. Of course that includes victims!

      I stopped looking to priests for moral and spiritual direction years ago.

      Could anyone post the the names of the priests who stood?

      If Catholics had those names, those still choosing to seek moral advice from priests could at least avoid these individuals.

      1. drwho, I understand and the only thing I can say is in some ways it doesn’t matter who the 12 priests are who are publicly supporting Lynn because we all know that the number of priests publicly supporting victims is zero.

      2. Good point Kathy. Only a saint would have the courage to stand in support of victims. Among the ‘People of God’ saints are disproportionately represented within the laity.

      3. Kathy,

        On the other hand, if they were ‘outed,’ those 12 priests who publicly supporting Lynn could now be publicly scorned. They earned it!

      4. drwho13,


        From a recent speech by Richard Sipe:

        “The context of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic bishops and priests is the culture of the priesthood. Roman Catholic bishops and priests constitute a privileged cast. This persists as a centuries-long reality perpetuated by the monarchical structure essential to the operation of the Roman Catholic Church. The world of RC clergy forms the setting, circumstances, and opportunities that surround the sexual activity of bishops and priests with minors and others. Clergy rule supreme in their spheres of operation—ministry of the sacraments (especially hearing confessions and celebrating mass) religious instructions/teaching, and the administration of their institutions. Parishes (and seminaries) are the most common sites of sexual contacts between priests, minors and others. The climate and culture and power of Catholic bishops and priests put the vulnerable and minors at risk for abuse within areas of clerical control….

        If a priest is apparently compliant with the demands of the culture he receives automatic status regardless of any individual merit. The culture provides an assurance of employment and continued material compensation for the duration of his life. The identification with the power system and subordination to it relives individuals of responsibility for the consequences of their individual actions. Truth telling is curtailed and subjected to the welfare of the organization (the good of the church). The prevailing rationale is that clerics’ first duty is to the higher law of God. Secrecy and loyalty are essential binding elements operative to the function of clerical cultural. Men within the clerical culture are labeled “special” since ordination confers an “ontological” superiority. Clerics thus incorporated into the culture often demonstrate qualities of dependency, entitlement, superiority/arrogance, variable degrees of psychosexual immaturity, but in many cases “they posses enormous powers of empathetic discernment—albeit for purposes of self-aggrandizement.”

    4. Hadit, thanks for that account. What a scene!…It strikes me as an impulsive, dumb move by the defense. This jury was carefully chosen …Juries are smart (usually). They “get” the picture…and I hope this display irritated them as much as it did us.
      To me, Lynn and his band of increasingly desperate, cheering priests represent all the priests of the AD. Some applaud, some stay silent –All are complicit in this shameful spectacle.

      If I were a priest, I think NOW would be a good time to “get the heck out of Dodge” — and look for a new job and a new life.

    5. hadit – I have tried to read through all of the comments here, so I am sorry if I have missed it, but what did the judge do when that spectacle was made in the courtroom (of spectators standing and applauding)?

  35. Picard testified for the defense in relation to defendant James J. Brennan. He said that Brennan had a very good reputation. When Blessington asked increduously about testifying for both sides, Picard gave a wry smile and said, “it’s a learning process”.

    1. In my notes, I have Picard testifying for Lynn, apparently it’s an error. Presumably Jack is correct that Picard testified for Brennan’s good character, not Lynn’s. Thanks for setting the record straight, Jack.

      1. Does Picard’s testimony on behalf of the good character of Brennan, and not Lynn, change or not change bloggers’ views of him and his testimony?

    2. Brennan was a curate in Newtown with Picard as his pastor.

      Did Picard testify for Lynn as well?

    3. So he testified for Brennan..not Lynn? Interesting, it seems most of the priests in court have ignored Brennan..was he the only priest who testified for Brennan? So was Picard an actual “character witness’ or was he called by the defense as part of their defense of Brennan?

    4. learning process????????? Sounds like Chaput got to him……………..Chaput made a point of going to the biggest Parish in the AD also Picards parish just to say mass………..Picard at the time seemed very impressed by Chaput. This is very disappointing and sad……

    5. Ok.Thanks for clarifying. This is a strange twist like Jane R. said “BUt really are we surprised?”

  36. I’m glad I was at the trial yesterday, especially surrounded by supporters for victims. The hardest part was to watch Lynn blaming, giving excuses and a half hearted apology with a total moral disconnect of the agony survivors deal with every day-that was done”in the name of God.” Here’s a catholic priest on the witness stand and his words and actions caused me to think I was looking at pure evil with his lies and excuses and lack of compassion.
    I told my therapist, “I realize I’ve been grieving for a long time. I once loved this Church.” I didn’t start dealing with my abuse until I was 40 years old and when I began working on the abuse, my denial, piece by piece, fell down and as the shards of truth began to form and transform me, I also began to grieve, slowly, the terrible betrayal of my one time savior the Church.
    Lynn represents that betrayal. Yes, he did betray me by promising to help me, telling my therapist he’d get back to her in a week or two when she met him and requested some assistance with my case. After not responding to her repeated phone calls and letters after nine months she wrote directly to cardinal Bevilaequa for help. He responded telling her he’d given her letter to Lynn for a response. Lynn finally wrote, telling her such a request needed to be made to the Camden Diocese sinse I live in New Jersey. We made that request. Their reply “all such requests as this we send directly to the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Yes, he betrayed me, betrayed me at a time when He knew I was highly suicidal and desperate.
    When i saw him on the stand, I remembered, vividly, my years of pleading for their help. Beyond that, with the first 40 years of my love of the Church-which I now know was my need for denial so I could just survive-torn down-I now see the magnitude and depth of the betrayal which my denial covered. The abuse by 3 catholic priests and by several nuns betrayed my innocense and trust. The name calling and negativity betrayed my intelligence and self-esteem. Telling me I was raping God as the priest has me over his desk raping me anally betrayed my childlike wonder in the Divine. Thankfully, I tucked away a desire to know truth and God through truth. They never got to destroy that essence of me. As I write this, I am still reeling in the various levels of betrayal I have suffered and the innocence lost.
    Yet, too, I celebrate my new found connection to God. I no longer rely on a faith generated by someone else’s experience or belief in God. My faith has been cultivated through my own connection and experiences with a truly loving, compasionate God who holds me in truth. It’s complicated, but as I grieve the old Church, the old God, I’m glad I fired them both and began this incredibly difficult but courageous journey to eliminate the “middle man” and to be open to an incredible new journey and profound connection with God. I took the name of St Joan for my confirmation name. I admired her courage and her great love of God. I stand with her today and forever always in our truth!

    1. Vicky,

      I spoke to Judy Ransom, asking if I could get the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to pay for my therapy and psychiatric costs, because I was abused in Philadelphia and never once has the Archdiocese done anything for me to help with my healing. She said she’d get back to me within the week. That was 5 weeks ago!

      If the Church doesn’t lie on its own, they teach non-clergy the true art of lying.

      1. Rich — It’s hard not to resent some of the lay employees of the AD, who over the decades have done the dirty work of the decision makers….They should be ashamed of themselves.

      2. Rich ,
        The next scandal is where the h-ll did the money go……….they have no money left…… the word on the street.They lobbied and spent too much on lawyers among other things.Even if the answer was no she should have got back to you.

      3. Beth, How do we know that the AD’s money was spent?… Who’s sure it’s gone? The only thing I am sure of, is that those in control of it are huge liars who will say anything to their loyal followers to save face and keep the donations coming.
        When you think of all the Golden Years for the AD, and the millions they raked in.There’s never been any accounting for any of it!! It’s all probably stashed in the Vatican Bank, or locked in a secret file downtown ..or sunk into beachfront Avalon homes… Who knows?… .
        (I, for one, demand a refund!!!! )

      4. Rich, I would be willing to contact Judy on your behalf if you want. Sorry if this is a duplicate post..I think my first one didn’t go through.

      5. Kathy,

        My therapist, Sharon King, asked Judy Ransom to call me 5 weeks ago, after I told her I had been calling the VAC for weeks and was constantly being ignored, sometimes transferred to a dead end phone line, or just flat-out hung up on. That is the only time I spoke to anybody and she never called me back.

        If you want to try getting her to get back to me, that would be great. I’d appreciate that kind of support. Thanks! 🙂

      6. Rich,
        I am sorry no one called you back. Sorry I went off on a tangent. I just think that victims should be the top priority and they blew all the money on lobbying and who knows what else and it makes me mad I am glad Kathy offered to call. You deserve an answer.

      7. Rich,
        Have you thought about contacting Leslie Davila directly about your conversation with Judy Ransom? Leslie is the director of the OCYP. Leslie is quoted in a press release on the AD website as saying “I will be a vocal advocate for adult survivors of sexual abuse as well as for the children and youth of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

        Here is Leslie Davila’s #215-587-2466
        Hold her accountable for doing what she said she would do. I’ll even come to you and be with you when you make the call to her if that would be beneficial to you.

  37. Thank you Kathy, for sharing your heartfelt compassionate story….i hope that many, many victims read this…

    I too went to confession to a predator priest in my childhood parish– I learned later that he had sexually abused by brother and several of my relatives..

    I hurts..!! .Judy

    1. How horrific Judy.
      At the moment, Greens MLC David Shoebridge, member of the NSW Upper NSW is trying to have the law changed so hundreds of victims can sue the Catholic Church in Australia. His paper Victims for Justice has just been released and their response is now they have never denied paying damages/restitution plastered on the front page of Catholic Weekly.
      For years they have claimed they could never be sued as they own nothing.
      Honestly, I don’t know how any of them can lay straight in their bed.
      That goes for their legal counsels (plural) too.
      God forbid if they die in their sleep.

  38. I think of David tonight, a fellow victim and SNAP member. He didn’t survive. I think of my two older brothers and their fractured lives. I think of my parents – I hope death brought them peace. To all victims in Philadelphia – reach out to each other, share your strength, your courage and your pain. You aren’t alone. Whatever the outcome of this trial, the Truth has been spoken, and because of that more victims will find the courage to speak theirs.

      1. My comment would not post … the ‘f’ was the only letter that came through… nothing more intended … ha! ha!.

      2. I completely agree with both of your comments, Speaking-Up, although a little on the terse side!

    1. Mona, I really do believe those who have gone before us are doing their bit interceeding before the Christ of Justice.
      The clergy must recognise this too if the truth be told, but afraid to admit it being counseled that: Obedience delivers them from self will and that of their own judgement.
      Push on remembering God will not be mocked and he deludes himself who believes otherwise.

  39. Jim S I believe it is a small number of priests who are supporting Lynn..the number I have heard is about 12..taking turns showing up to support him during the duration of the trial. When I was there in the morning session there were 5 priests present ,I wonder if more showed up later for the afternoon character witness session. Jim,I know one of the priests who has attended,I actually walked right into him standing with Lynn when I got off the elevator the first day. I won’t say his name only because of my kids…I can’t involve them in any of this and naming him would do that . But I will tell you that I sent him an email after seeing him at the trial, told him of my work with the victims, told him I had attended mass a few times where he is assigned and that I won’t be back. It was a diplomatic but passionate email…as survivors wife says “the Body of Christ train is leaving the station..hop on board” I always feel if I can help influence people in any positive way in letting them know about the victims…yes, actually know these people exist and are sitting a few feet away from you in a courtroom. Well I tried but there he was again on Tuesday.
    Joan when I said turn off the lights and shut the door” I didn’t mean in relation to the jury/verdict, I meant of any chance of seeing any genuine remorse, shame or even understanding from the clergy in relation to the victims. Every person is entitled to a defense, every person is entitled to have loved ones support them….but this is a trial about crimes against children…even if you are there to support Lynn…please hold your applause

    1. Kathy,

      I understand were you are coming from i.e. protecting your children. As a father of six, all of whom have or are attending Catholic school, I get that however we need to “out the Lynn 12”… We need to identify those 12 priests who have been sitting behind Lynn so others can not only protect their children but also make a conscious decision as to whether they want to have any interaction with one of the 12 like you have done… If my Monsignor (West Chester) were in attendance I would want to know. So how do we identify the Lynn 12???????????????

      1. WR,

        You stated, to Kathy, “I understand were you are coming from i.e. protecting your children.”

        I (drwho13) also understand such fear in that I personally experienced it when I outed a pedophile priest who is now in prison. My lawyer informed me that my life may have been in danger for doing what I did at that time.

        So, LETS NOT lay it on Katy’s shoulders; she’s done enough already, and IT WILL BE DANGEROUS.

        If I lived in the Philly area I would get a photo of those priests, and would ID every last one of them.

        For safety reasons, if someone take this action I urge you to remain anonymous .

  40. I think it’s time to start naming names.

    Just like I want to know who gave Lynn a standing ovation at that ridiculous priest gathering…I want to know who is standing up in court, for public record, and supporting Lynn.

    If they have the courage to stand up in court in support of Lynn, then they have the courage to take the beating that’s going to come when they head back to their parishes, preach the gospel, and ask parishioners for money. Philly Catholics deserve to know where priests stand.

    I want names. Who are we protecting?

    1. The priests standing in an open court CHOSE to be there, CHOSE to stand up for Lynn, and need to be held accountable for their actions. Everyone of us must be able to answer why we do what we do…they can too.

      They should not be able to slink back into obscurity. If they believe what they are doing is right, then they will have no problem having their names aligned with the support of Lynn. In the bigger picture, long after a verdict, Catholics need to hold priests accountable for their actions. I’d want to know if my parish priest was standing up in court in defense of Lynn!

    2. I honestly do not know the names of the dozen or so priests that have supported Lynn at the trial. I know that about 5 priests were there yesterday morning..maybe more showed up for the afternoon session. I get why people would want to know and on the other hand at this point,no clergy are openly supporting victims so for me that says just as much as the clergy that choose to show up to support Lynn. No one is doing the right thing for the I think the legitimate question that anyone would have for their parish priest is “what are you doing on behalf of victims?”
      The clergy is as mixed a bag as the laity in Philly with their opinions on the trial,Lynn etc….but all could be asked about their efforts/lack of efforts on behalf of victims.

      1. Kathy,
        They all think that this is for victims assistance from what I can tell………not for them to personally be involved in…….just my impression…….it’s wrong.

      2. Beth I had a priest tell me ‘they have a victims assistance office that helps them”….so I guess no need for any show of pastoral concern or support?

      3. Kathy,
        I was talking to a nun yesterday and she said would you want to go to the AD for help? and she was asking if there were independent support groups setup for our survivors.

      4. Kathy,
        I understand what you are saying.

        I’ll add this…

        We’ve all known the priests do not support the victims or have been silent or they pass it off to their superiors or the victims’ assistance program or whatever other worthless excuse they may have in light of what has occurred right in front of their faces…that’s a given.

        BUT, for the pew catholics that are still hanging in the balance…still showing up and tossing into the basket or worse yet, handing over their children…they should know who publically stood up and openly supported Lynn. For those pew catholics who couldn’t attend the trial but are following this blog…they need to know. When Fr. “I Support Lynn” delivers his homily on _________(fill in the blank)…they need to know what he really stood up for.

        If anyone knows the names of the priests…it’s time to hold them accountable. THIS is what it means…

        So, the next time these priests think about defending a man who was so “powerless,” they, at least, will know the people in the pews are taking note and making changes. They had a choice and they chose to support a weak enabler and not. one. victim. They need to know who’s really consecrating the Eucharist.

      5. Beth I had some recent interactions with the victims assistance office and had positive results. The person in need of assistance was at a point that contacting the AD was the least of his concerns in many ways..while I realize this would also cause a tremendous amount of pressure/stress for others. When someone contacts them a report is also made to the Delegate so a record of the abuse/abusive priest is filed. Again the person I helped had no problem with any this. They reimburse the person’s own private therapist and also assist with prescription costs.

      6. Beth,
        There was a support group for clergy abuse survivors in he Philadelphia AD that was run by NOVAbucks. I am not sure if that support group is still in existence given the recent overhaul to the Office of Child and Youth Protection. Maybe you could contact NOVAbucks or Leslie Davila at OCYP to ask if the group still exists and post info about what you learn on C4C. It would be great to get info to survivors outside of the AD website.

  41. I’ve read all of the comments since my posting from yesterday and am still unclear on Monsignor Picards stance on all of this? Was he or was he not one of the 12 priests who stood in applause this week? It sounds to me from what I’ve been reading that he did not stand up in support of Lynn… But appears to have been a character witness for Brennan. Is that correct? If he was, this could certainly sway my previous opinions of him. I truly believed he was one of the few good priests left who stood up against Lynn and his superiors to try and put a stop to the corrupt priests being shifted around from parish to parish… But now I wonder if he’s doing what Chaput has asked him to do instead of fighting for his own beliefs? I still believe the victims!!! They will always have my support!

  42. I don’t know that I will be able to go to any Church in the Archdiocese without wondering if the priest saying Mass is a Lynn supporter. I agree with everyone, if they stand up publically and applaud, then their names need to be posted. As a parishoner at St. Joe’s in Downingtown, I already have trouble even going into the Church. Now with all of the “supporters” standing and clapping for him I don’t think I’ll be able to…. When all this started & was made public, one of the priests spoke at the end of Mass and defended Lynn — wondering if he was one of the 5 priests applauding in court.

  43. As a victim, the only thing I want to come of this trial is for these men (Brennan and Lynn) to be found guilty. It would be a major psychological win for every person who has ever been abused by a clergyman, or woman. It would also mean that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Catholic Church all around this country cannot go on everyday with the mindset of “business as usual.” Things need to change. My true fear is that the Catholic Church will adopt different strategies for covering up abuse cases in the future, rather than being open and honest about known abusers within their ranks. I am afraid that this institution is just like any average criminal who will conduct their activities differently and more secretly so they won’t be caught up in another Msgr. Lynn crisis.

    I need there to be a “guilty” verdict in this case. It will put to rest a lot of demons that we victims live with each and every day. It will certainly be justice for all the children who were abused by priests under Msgr. Lynn’s watch, but it will also mean justice for those of us who were abused before Msgr. Lynn took his seat in Office of the Clergy. It will mean that no matter your rank or your reputation within any organization, you can be held accountable for choosing to ignore what is the right thing to do.

    We victims have done everything we’ve been asked to do. We’ve sat through depositions and court hearings. We’ve answered their questions, while never getting answers to our own. It’s time to stop questioning us and start questioning the criminals! For myself personally, a guilty verdict would be a League Championship. We need the laws changed so that we can have a chance to tell our stories to a judge and jury, and expose and eliminate our abusers from ever being around innocent children again. I want the chance to get into the World Series, because I know once I’m there, I can’t lose. I’ve got the truth and they’ve got nothing but their constant lies and deception.

    Msgr. Lynn = Guilty. Father Brennan = Guilty. And let’s not forget about Father Englehardt and teacher, Bernard Shero, who I believe will be appearing in court later this summer, and I should be good to go to see them in court.

  44. I’m just curious if any of the regular commentors here let their kids read this blog? I mean, do you have teenagers or younger kids, mainly children who attend Catholic school, church, or those who are ever around priests?

    I only ask because I’m curious what their take is on all of this, and if any ever read my posts, or Vicky’s, or James’, and are able to take something away from what we write? Do they understand what we have been through and do they realize we are trying to protect them from becoming like us?

    Do any parents here ever speak to their children about sexual abuse by a priest or another adult? For those parents who have been on camera and in the spotlight, how have your children handled that?

    Have any of you parents ever changed the way your child interacts with a priest or any other adult because of our stories?

    I’m just wondering if by us telling our stories… if we’re making a difference?

    1. Rich, Here’s my answer. Due to the callous and criminal disregard for all children, I am moving my child out of the archdiocesan school system. Sitting in court listening to Lynn was the nail in that coffin. As a product of parochial education, this makes me very angry and sad. While I believe in the teachers, principals and mission – I will not contribute to the archdiocese in any way. It will either be public or private (non-diocesan) Catholic schools taught by Christian Brothers or nuns. My daughter is 15 and this effort is the ONLY thing I do that doesn’t embarrass her. My son is very uncomfortable with the issue but I’d rather have be uncomfortable discussing it with me than the alternative. I no longer trust that people are good based on their position, personality or relationship to me or my family. Nor do my children. You are most certainly making a difference.

      1. Susan, it is so sad. So very sad. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to pull my kids if I had known then what I know now. But I did shadow them when they served mass and they didn’t go on any overnights with altar servers, or any such. I was most grateful for the Boy Scouts in our parish, my sons were lucky to have excellent male role models and leaders in the scouts, along with their own dad.

        And I had “the talk” about safety and good touch and bad touch so much that my youngest would say in the car…oh no mom not the “talk.” And I was sure to comment that it was possible for any adult to be trustworthy or not, even priests and teachers. I guess I at least did that right.

        I don’t envy you your decision. But it is the right one in Philly, it seems.

      2. Rich,short answer YES. And now for the long answer. I became involved in this for my kids,to be honest even a year ago still not thinking too much about the actual victims. When the 2005 GJ report came out my kids were too young to explain it to them and like most people I thought “well that mess is cleaned up,nothing to worry about now” When the 2011 report came out,a whole different story. Now my kids were older,saw it on the news etc…I could not sit back and do nothing.I envisioned my kids as adults asking me what did I do during this time..and if I answered them that I did nothing..then what would they think of me?
        My kids know of the abusive priests I encountered in my life . They know that people I knew were harmed. They know about incidents of abuse ..they know some specifics such as the “perverted passion play” and a few other cases. They understand what is meant when we refer to ‘sexual abuse”.
        They have seen my anger,frustration and despair at times..I don’t hide these emotions or force them on just is what it is. I tell them what happened at the trial on the days I attended. On the day of Billy and James testimony I told them about the two brave men who spoke in order to protect children.
        They have learned so much about personal safety and why there are situations I will not allow them to be in. My eyes have been opened with the stories all the survivors have shared over the past year on C4C and also all the survivors I have come to know through justice4pakids. I have to be responsible for where my children are and who they are with, but even that is not fool proof so they know if they are ever in a situation that even feels ‘weird” or “uncomfortable” they have my permission to walk out. Even if a teacher,coach,volunteer,or any adult in charge tells them otherwise..they can remove themselves from that situation with my full permission…because I am the one in charge of them…no other adult has that authority.
        They have made signs for me to bring to the vigils. I tell them stories about all the victims and how brave and courageous they have been all these years when people paid them no attention or worse mistreated them for speaking the truth.
        And of course a few times my speaking up/speaking out has probably caused them to cringe, because after all they are teens, and the mere fact that I breathe or exist can be a source embarrassment. When that happens I just tell them that Susan’s kids are the same age and they can all form a support group for kids of outspoken Moms 🙂

      3. Susan, I know this issue of having kids in archdiocesan schools has been discussed before. Congratulations on the decision you made. I know you’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into it. I can practically feel the relief in your posting. I’m not in the Philly AD anymore, but it’s the same MO all around. I have felt for years that the RCC is gradually trying to get out of the education business anyway, and perhaps it is a good thing that they do considering their lack of regard for the children

      4. Susan and Kathy: Trust me, despite some occasional teenage awkwardness, your kids admire and respect all you are doing and will admire it even more as they grow older.

        As to switching schools, after we sent the first three to Catholic schools through high school, my youngest switched to the public schools in the third grade. I was concerned, but it was one of the best moves for us. It made me wish I had switched the others earlier.

        I value Catholic education, but it is only a small part of our children’s spiritual education.

        The Gospel example you to are setting for your children, far outweighs what your children would get out of a catechism.

      5. Susan,
        I know this must have been a very difficult decision for you and your family. This is something I struggle with every day. I pray for your family.

    2. Have not hid one item from my six kids. As a matter of fact my three oldest (24, 21, 19) remember Avery playing DJ at their First Communion and 4th of July parties… Like Susan with are pulling our younger three kids out of Catholic school at the end of the year… We have issues of trust as our Monsignor was on the Blue Ribbon panel that has closed schools and also has some “roots” in this mess…. My wife and and I have also been attending an Episcopal church for several months now and quiet frankly I am starting think they might have gotten it “right” of course this depends on your definition of right..

    3. Rich,
      I read every word you write and I am a changed person because of it.

      I hope I’m doing the right thing with my children. The middle and youngest child were baptized Catholic, but we left the RCC before middle child was to have First Communion.

      I’m a survivor and my husband is a clergy abuse survivor…so, yes, we talk to our children about a lot of things…without trying to scare them or have them live in fear either. Our stories don’t have to cloud their childhoods.

      We don’t openly “bash” the RCC or priests or Catholics in front of our children…but, we also try not to speak of priests in hushed voices either. I have openly said that I do not trust any system that doesn’t hold children in the highest regard and that includes the Catholic Church.

      Our children do not visit this site…because of age, because of content, and because they are blissfully unaware of how ill and dysfunctional the Catholic church is. That makes me very happy…that their childhood has not been marked by spiritual corruption. I hope I’m raising them to determine what’s real, what’s dishonest, what’s authentic, what’s of Him, how deception works…so when they bump into it in their lives they will be able to identify it and move on or advocate to fix the ills in the world.

      Your words, an expression of who you are and were and want to be…it makes a tangible difference.

      1. Vicky and Rich, thanks again. Your courage just continues to inspire so many of us.

      2. SW, given what your husband and you have been through, you are doing superbly with your children. They are blessed to have such courageous and caring parents. As a father of four, I have no doubt about that.

    4. Rich, your contributions here ( and others, too) affect me deeply and affect how I have dealt with this horrific nightmare with my children. Your input absolutely has helped me in protecting my children. My children are teens and younger and I communicate with each of them differently and on different levels about this. But all of them are educated about what has happened and about how widespread it is. I have talked to them all about grooming vs. “stranger danger” and how both of these are dangerous situations. They know that anything they have to do to get away from someone that they think may hurt them will be defended by their parents. If they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation with someone that has always seemed “ok”, I’ve told them to follow their instincts and remove themselves from the situation. I’ve given them some ideas as to how to do that as well.

      My children have seen the compassion I have for victims and the harsh judgment I have for those who have committed crimes or turned the other cheek. They have seen me walk out on sermons and they understand why. They “get it” and it is largely because of what I have learned here and passed on to them. I feel that, though I am not naive enough to think that I can fully protect my children from harm, I have been able to” arm” them much better than many children have been “armed” in the past. They are empowered with information and the knowledge that they have the right, no matter who they are defying, to protect themselves. I’ve also, I hope, made them feel that, if anything were ever to happen to them, they need to tell us….not suffer silently. This, I may need to address more with them.It’s tough.

      As Kathy said, with teens, you walk a fine line between saying enough to get through to them and being tuned out by them! It is also a challenge to educate them without traumatizing them, so that they can lead normal lives, but are fully aware.There are 2 very important things I have learned on this site….that we have to be there for our victims and do all that is possible to prevent more victims.

      Every time I look at my fun-loving youngest my heart aches for what was taken away from so many of you at such a young age. I think one of the greatest gifts I have received here is a true understanding and compassion about something that I was really, I am ashamed to say, much too ignorant about. As heartbreaking as it has been to face the reality of what has happened to you and so many others, I am thankful to know and understand now. My eyes have been opened which is what they need to be.

      I hope this answers some of your questions, Rich. Thank you for asking and for all that you do.

    5. Rich, I have been thinking about this question all day. My children currently attend catholic school. We talk about this often. I want them to be aware of what is happening in their church. I want them to know they need to be careful around priest as well as other adults at their school. My child has had personal experience with this being a victim. I find it very hard to continue to send them to Catholic school but the reasons they are there is complicated. My child has a very good group of friends that has been the best therapy. So I continue to what is best for my child even though it is a big struggle for me. They have read a few of the blogs, but I don’t want to give them too much information because they are young. It is a difficult balance. I believe my children understand this. The other day my child and a group of friends needed to help out in the rectory (They have been told to never go alone.) They all felt nervous being there and shared concerns about this among them selves. They don’t look at priest the same way we did growing up. They are cautious around them and some what creeped out. My children and I are very open about this, but I think this is do to our past experience. I know some of there friends parents discuss this with their children.

      Rich, I think your stories do make a difference. They help parents to understand why it is so important to protect our children. When we send our children to school we believe they are safe. Most of us believe something like this could never happen to our family. I have read your stories and they have personally helped me see what it is like to be a victim. I feel some of your pain. Please continue to write your stories they have a very powerful affect!!!!

    6. Rich.
      My kids don’t read this blog but we talk about personal safety and the priest abuse trial when it somes up in conversation. Being kids they usually want to know how my day was and what i did today etc. If I went to the trial or the vigil I tell them. Sometimes they ask questions. I think I do talk about personal safety more because of you Vicky and the other survivors on this site. So the answer is yes you have made a difference.My daughter made the comment the other day “why is everything happening to kids?” I asked what she meant and she said they are merging and closing schools , priest are hurting kids and Obama is for abortion etc……it really made me think “why is everything happen ing to kids? Why don’t we value children like we should? Jesus did.

  45. If only we could get the truth……….

    Lynn: You want answers?
    DA: I think I’m entitled to them.
    Lynn: You want answers?
    DA: I want the truth!
    Lynn: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a church that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with collars. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Bishop Senior? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the victims and you curse the Archdiocese. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the victim’s abuse, while tragic, probably saved others. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves others…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me behind that wall. You need me behind that wall.
    We use words like father, son, Holy Ghost, obedience…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very faith I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you put money in the collection and sit in a pew. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!
    DA: Did you order the shuffling of these priests who abused children?
    Lynn: (quietly) I did the job the Bishop sent me to do.
    DA: Did you order the shuffling of these priests who abused children?
    Lynn: You’re goddamn right I did!!

  46. Can anyone comment on this – where is the outrage at the local parish level? I don’t see it among the parishioners or the clergy at my church. I so much appreciate this site and the comments of everyone, but I wish there was more we could do to get the day to day happenings at the trial out to the local parishioners. I’ve just read about Cardinal Dolan in Chicago being named as giving payouts to priests accused of abuse. The payouts were given to priests in exchange for them leaving the ministry. It just gets more despicable with every passing day.

    1. I have tried leafletting at parishes and our Cathedral, just sheets with facts, no inflamatory rhetoric, just plain facts. And I have been spat upon had the sheets thrust back in my face, called names. The last two times I stuck leaflets into the Clarion Herald Catholic Newspapers in the back of the Cathedral.

      My retired Parish priest actually invited me to do a book reading and signing in the parish hall. That was amazing. But very few came from the parish. People just don’t want to know. There is so much magical thinking about the church, priests and the pope especially. People can’t allow themselves to see the truth because it would take all that away…they would see behind the curtain and the wizard would be
      the “Emperor with no clothes.”

      Yesterday we heard it in the news: writing to the Pope was understood to be communicating with God. That’s a difficult attitude/culture to break up.

      1. Thanks, Mona. I am just so angry at the archdiocese that they’ve allowed this to go on. Every last one of them should be punished, those who actually abused the children and anyone at the AOD who turned a blind eye and enabled it to go on.

    2. Don’t look for any of the Catholics you know, or those in your family to ever give the slightest sign they know about Philly, nor speak to the situation. I don’t think my family who attend mass each Sunday are aware of Philly and if I were to bring it up, it would be most likely taken as
      “hate speech.” Sorry, that’s just the way it is, at least around this parish.

  47. I can only reiterate what I relayed about Picard.

    Brennan the attorney called Picard as a witness for the defense of Brennan the defendant. he testified as to the relationships that Brennan the defendant had with two families at St. Ann’s. Picard, in response to a question from Brennan the attorney, said that Brennan the defendant had a good reputation.

    Blessington noted that he had also testified for the prosecution, and Picard smiled and said, “it’s a learning process. As they say, Ya can’t make this stuff up.

    Brennan the attorney also used Picard’s testimony regarding Brennan the defendant as a pillar of his closing argument this morning. He stated that he called Picard in defense of Brennan to make the point that even this strong priest who stood up to Bevilacqua, had a favorable opinion of James J. Brennan.

    1. he was called as a witness. I was getting confused because I was wondering why the prosecution would be interacting/questioning a character witness.

    2. Jack and/or others,

      What does Picard’s remark… “it’s a learning process”… mean in your opinion?

    3. Jack… correct me if I am wrong (again). When Picard was called to testify on behalf of Brennan’s character, Picard did not emerge from the spectator area as did most if not all of the other character witnesses who testified for Lynn and Brennan on Tuesday. Rather, Picard emerged through the main doors of 304 as the various witnesses have throughout the trial. I assume there is a “witness holding area” beyond the main doors. Then, after Picard testified, he did not seat himself in the spectator area, he exited the courtroom just as most if not all of the other witnesses did over the course of the trial.

      1. So it seems he was a witness called by the defense and answered the questions asked. Every single witness I have seen has entered and exited the court way you describe. Hadit asked if it changes people’s opinions of Picard..if he was called to testify and answered the questions under oath..that is what any other citizen has to do..and also what he had to do..I don’t think there is much choice when you are called to testify..if I am wrong and any legal people out there can clarify..just seems like Picard did what the other 60 witnesses did over the past few weeks.

      2. Kathy,

        I’m still unclear as to whether Picard was a witness for the Brennan defense or a character witness. I’m under the impression that a witness MUST testify, but a character witness has a choice. Does anyone know what kind of witness Picard was, and whether he had a choice if he was a character witness?

  48. From today’s Philly News….

    “This man, who never touched a child but documented the evil that other men did,” Bergstrom said, raising his voice and pointing toward his client at the defense table. “He held more than a candle to their shame. He put a spotlight on their shame.”

    What “spotlight “is he referring to? The “list” he compiled and then did nothing about??!
    Except to play pedophile priest shuffle and tell some of the worst offenders to “keep a low profile”? Ignore complaints from a nun regarding regular deliveries of violent child pornography to Father Murtha? Keeping victims and parishioners in the dark? Perhaps we have different definitions of “spotlight”.

    I know we should expect such from the defense, but OMG…

    Vicky… I had tears in my eyes reading your last post describing how Lynn did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for you.

    1. Forthechildren, Thank you! I barely made it through. I was a thorn in his side, lynn’s. He is the one who also called me an empty well! Yet he says victims have said he helped them? Find me one victim he helped with a sense of compassion and sincerety. I am so glad I was not in that courtroom on Tuesday afternoon, I* did attend the morning session, if I’d had seen those people standing up for Lynn I would have lost it. I am appaled by this behavior and it put one more knife in my body.

      1. Vicky, your point about “finding one victim he helped” is solidified by the fact that not one victim was called to the stand on behalf of Lynn. If they could find one to speak about how “helpful” he was, you know they would have had him/her on that stand. Where were all those victims he helped when it was time to stand up for him? Nowhere….because they don’t exist. There is no one to vouch for him but those in his own “club.”

      2. Vicky – I’m sure I speak for everyone here… you are greatly admired and our thoughts and prayers are with you and all survivors. I am glad you were not present to see Lynn’s supporters stand up for him. As strong as you are (and you are!) there is only so much a person can withstand. Lynn’s supporters are in denial and have their heads in the sand. I seriously doubt one of them has read the Grand Jury reports or his deposition from years ago. Anyone with an once of compassion or Christian morals would not support him. They can place blame on deceased Devilacqua, and Rigali hiding out in TN… never considering the actions Lynn should have taken. I am beyond appalled.
        On another topic brought up earlier… I have a 17 year old son who attends a private Catholic school. I was appalled (there I go again) last year when he told me his Religion teacher told his class there was “no cover up” within the RCC! Yes, there certainly was, I told him. People are capable of terrible things… and although child sex abuse is not confined to the RCC, the manner in which it has been handled is a disgrace, a sin beyond mortal. I told him changes must be made… and those involved must be held accountable… priests, bishops, cardinals, perhaps even the Pope. The look on his face said it all… how could these men commit such horrible acts? I could go on, but it would take up too much space here.

  49. I sit here writing this with a knot in my stomach just thinking “what if” these men get off? I am not a victim, but I worked for one of the most notorious abusers named in the 2005 gj report. I know, first hand, how the AD ignored constant letters and telephone calls from concerned parishoners that something was not right. And I know first hand, from comments the AD has made in the media, that they are liars!!! I have not been to Mass for the past 6 months. I have tried and tried, but I cannot pray there anymore. Thankfully, I, like WR have found a home in the Episcopal Church. I pray that this jury makes the right decision and allows the victims the justice and some kind of closure they so deserve!!

  50. Court lasted until 5:20 p.m. today During the morning session, Lynn’s and Brennan’s attorneys gave their closing arguments in that order. We broke for lunch from 1-2. Blessington began his closing argument at around 2:05, finishing up at around 4:50. While Blessington’s closing could have been more organized in my opinion, and was unnecessarily long, it was by far the strongest of the three closing arguments. He has what I would say a “special” connection with the jury. They seem to like him, his language, and his style. They connect with him far better than with the defense lawyers. Blessington was an excellent mix of emphatic and controlled, today. No over the top. Just really at the top and on key. At 10 a.m. tomorrow the jury will be charged to deliberate.

    1. Hadit does the judge do the jury instructions tomorrow, and will you be there?

      Think of you as quintessential reporter!!!…Also hope you have noted just how much your favorite cardinal Dolan is in….great USA article on him to say nothing of loads of others….tipping point time, perhaps?

      1. Yes, the judge will instruct the jurors at 10 a.m. on Friday. No, I won’t be there. I’ll be flying back to NY then.

        Just spoke with Chris for over an hour on the phone.

      2. hadit I just read that DA Seth Williams was “in the house’ for the closing arguments.

      3. Yes, Seth was in 304. He was pointed out to me. Several people from the DA’s office were there. Marci Hamilton was pointed out to me. I also met Barbara Blaine from SNAP.

  51. To first Mona, one of my perp priest after 20 some years left the priesthood and i found out he got involved with the BOY SCOUTS! Of course, no one knew his history. I called the Boy Scouts of America in Texas and spoke to the head master and told him about richard dolan. He said he would red flag his name and alert all the organizations across the states.
    Susan and kathy, I first want to thank Rich for the beautiful and sincere way he asked his excellent questions about are we here making a difference. To read both of your responses tears welled up in my eyes. This for me is when I feel truly heard then people take the next courageous step in protecting their precious children and do the moral and right thing by them. Both Rich and I NEVER want another innocent child to suffer on a daily basis the torment we endure. I only wish my parents had the insight and courage to have taken me and my 3 brothers out of catholic school but instead my mother forced me after 3 hours to finally admit I was just telling a lie. By your actions in protecting your children you have safeguarded their souls and that means so very much to me.

  52. I am pleased to learn that Speaking Up is doing well. Speaking Up, I think you bring a unique and important perspective–from having had the full measure of indoctrination by your involvement in one of the more severe Catholic religious groups. Please let us hear more from you, especially your thoughts on what you’re observing and learning. Your observations are waiting to be heard.

    My sincere thanks go to Hadit and to the two lovely ladies who greeted me, their names I did not get, when I attended today to hear a portion of the closing arguments.

    I thought that the defense closing arguments were strong, in particular that of Brennan for Brennan. Lynn’s lawyer railed on the theme that Lynn cannot be guilty because he did not do nothing, he did something; and he listed instances where Lynn sent letters to priests saying they would not be returned to service.

    Certainly I stand a high chance of being wrong, but I predict a verdict that will find Brennan to be guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, and not guilty of attempted rape. His lawyer made a strong argument for finding reasonable doubt. His most memorable quote, “If you convict on that I swear to God I’ll shave my head.” He’s quite a talker, and it likely was that attitude of certainty that won him the business in the first place.

    As for Lynn, I think he will be found guilty of whatever the lesser charge is in his case; I haven’t been following closely enough to know what that is. My predictions could be completely wrong. Regardless of the verdict, similar situations seem to exist in other dioceses and have yet to be addressed.

    On a tangential note, this week “A “serpent-handling” West Virginia pastor died after his rattlesnake bit him during a church ritual, just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before.”–abc-news-topstories.html

    As sad as that story is, it shows that people will do anything if they can be convinced they’re doing it for God. Anything.

  53. I spoke with Fr. Chris for about an hour and twenty minutes this evening. Thank you, Kathy!

  54. hadit…. Knowing what I do about my pastor, Msgr Picard, I have to believe he was asked to testify as a witness to the Brennan defense and answered the questions presented to him under oath about Fr Brennan to the best of his ability. I do not believe Picard willingly testifed as a character witness for Brennan…. it just doesn’t add up! I just hope I’m right about him! My faith is already in jeopardy because of all of this…. So I don’t want to let go of the little bit of faith I have left in my parish priest 🙁

  55. TZ,

    Maybe the best way to arrive at some clarity is to ask Msgr. Picard, himself, about his testimony. Is that possible?

  56. Kathy
    I am just mentioning what a nun had said. What she said surprised me and her question about an independent support group etc because she was a religious person. I have heard some things have changed for the better in Victims assistance and I am glad your experiences with victims and victims assistance have been positive. and I talked to the Judy Rich mentioned and she seemed to listen to what I had to say. But it is more important that she listen and get back to our survivors because after trust has been broken so much they deserve follow thru.

    1. Beth, What are these changes you mention in your blog concerning the victims assistance? Why does it take months for Rich to get any help if the changes in the Victims assistance is so positive? Also yes they pay for therapy but they ONLY pay for what your health insurance for pre scriptions don’t pay. In my case that amounts to 4.00!

      1. Hired new person, delegate is new ……. Kathy maybe you could expand on changes you have seen and your positive experience. Vicky I was replying to Kathy’s above blog. This blog is in the wrong place.I will call them and find out Vicky. I don’t know the answer to that .They might not even talk to me either. Maybe that would be a good story for the news. Why doesn’t victim asistance get back to the victims.

  57. I related what I saw regarding Picard very quickly earlier since it seemed urgent. i hope that it did not come across as correcting you Hadit. I actually wasn’t sure what I had witnessed, and I thought that maybe you were correct.

    I entered the room at some point, and Picard was already on the stand. He was questioned and responded as was described earlier. He exited the courtroom after he was dismissed by Judge Sarmina.

    Today, Brennan the attorney, no relation, clarified it by stating in his closing that he had called Picard as a witness to testify regarding James J. Brennan’s relationship with two families at St. Andrews, and regarding the fact that James J. had a good reputation at St. Andrew’s. I incorrectly stated earlier that it was St. Ann’s.

    His learning experience comment is somewhat cryptic, and I agree that the only way to get an explanation is for someone who knows him to ask him directly.

    What is clear though is the fact that William Brennan used Picard’s testimony as a critical piece of his closing argument. the notion is; here’s this guy Picard who stood up to Bevilacqua to block the transfer of a priest with a bad reputation, testifying that James J. had a good one.

    It would appear on the surface that Picard must clarify in order to save his. I hope this helps.

    Thanks for the mention earlier Kathy. It was nice meeting you.

    1. A few points. Thanks to all of you for the trial update, etc. As to Picard, he clearly voluntarly permitted himself to be used, probably to make up to Chaput for his earlier challenge to Bevil, which helped the prosecution. “Learning experience” was, in my view, just a nervous reaction from a guilty person. He should have spoken out when he challenged Bevil, so he was part of the conspiracy of silence.

  58. TZ I copied and pasted this from Cipriani’s blog for you..offers some explanation about Msgr Picard..he was called by the defense:

    “Brennan recalled Picard as a defense witness. It was Picard who had been Father Brennan’s first boss when Brennan was a young priest in Picard’s Bucks County parish. Picard drafted Father Brennan because he was young, promising and energetic, the defense lawyer said, the cream of the crop from the seminary. The implication was that if Father Brennan had a pedophilia problem, that whistle-blowing Msgr. Picard who had the guts to take on the cardinal would have nothing to do with Father Brennan.

    Instead, Picard came back to testify to the jury on Father Brennan’s behalf, and to also report that the Bukowski family had come to him in 2005, shortly before they went public with their allegations against Father Brennan, to say they needed money.”

  59. Susan! Do NOT send your children to schools run by the Christian Brothers! They have probably the WORST record for abuse of any group! Please research this and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    I logged on because it always makes me feel better to read how you ladies really get what we who were victimized went through, and it does my heart good to see you fighting for us. I am 54 years old. I refuse to allow what the priest did to me define me or rule my life- I say that after many sessions with a gifted therapist and help from others in my life. But I also accept the fact that there will always be things I have to deal with because of it.

    It initially hurt me deeply to see the callous disregard most Catholics display about this situation; the hurt turned to anger and finally disdain. It does make me happy to see some people in the church where I grew up are truly living the gospel and entering into the pain in the way I believe Jesus would have us do.

    Thank you so much for all you do, and especially I’m thankful to hear, “I believe the victims.”

    1. Thanks, Janet. As you suggest, I’ll research. I realize that children are at risk for abuse in many situations (school, sports, camps, family, etc). My issue is with the institutional cover up.

  60. The Christian Brothers have been notorious offenders in California and Ireland, I know. Their ability to cover up rivals the Jesuits, whose tactics are beyond evil.

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