Pope Plans Visit to Philadelphia


The Pope has chosen Philadelphia as the site for the World Meeting of Families in 2015. Archbishop Chaput called this “a gift to Philadelphia.” Where’s the receipt? I’d like to exchange it for one that includes enforced policies on clergy child sex abuse.

As a Catholic mother, I know how important moral leadership is to families. Sadly, I can’t look to the vatican for it. The hierarchy has rendered itself irrelevant with misplaced priorities. They lost all credibility on the subject of family when child rape wasn’t appropriately addressed here in Philadelphia and elsewhere around the world.

Is this belated pep rally supposed to appease Philadelphia Catholics? Will the Pope meet with the families of the victims left in the wake of Cardinal Bevilacqua’s cover up. Will he help their families recover?

As a child, I was among the million Catholics lining the parkway for Pope John Paul’s visit in 1979. My father propped me up on a mailbox. The sea of people was a sight to behold – one huge Catholic family. I was proud to be a part of it then and I will fight for it now. But there will be one less Catholic there to greet Pope Benedict in 2015.

Click here to read: “Pope to visit Philadelphia in 2015,” by Diane Mastrull, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 3, 2012

105 thoughts on “Pope Plans Visit to Philadelphia

  1. I think the Pope does not have a clue. Why would we want him to visit Phila. The nuns should picket and we should protect. I assume that Lynn’s supporters will be clapping.

    1. Thank you Susan for sharing your honest feelings… ! You are so right..and who knows where this will be 3 years from now… I hope victims will be validated, and kids will be safe…! but that will take law enforcement to do a whole lot or investigating and more work..!!

  2. Susan and I share so many similar stories and situations growing up in the Philadelphia Archdiocese..although we did not know each other before this past year. I too was present at the outdoor Mass the Pope celebrated in Philly..I was 12 years old and as his motorcade passed by, my Father lifted me up so I could see over the crowds, I think there was a little girl sitting on a mailbox blocking my view 🙂

    1. I was in Philly, too, for that Papal Visit in 1979. It was thrilling. Such a fabulous sense of unity. When I heard the announcement the other day about the World Meeting of Families for 2015, my jaw dropped. I thought how could they possibly have the nerve to plan for such an event so far in the future when there is such a serious trial going on now. How did they have the nerve to talk about such a “gift” when there are so many victims out there who suffered at the hands of our clergy?

      What I see is the Vatican tossing a bone to the city and the AD. “Well done!” to the AD and their lawyers. Scratch the back of the city of Philadelphia by bringing in the tourism. A little icing on the cake to help schmooze over all this trial.

      They can all stay home as far as I’m concerned. The pomp, the circumstance, the show. No guaranteed either yet that the Pope will attend wearing his designer duds and special cologne. What I would rather see is a little humility, and what would be more unifying is if the Vatican would offer a sincere apology for the worldwide abuse that has occurred and a sincere attempt at cleaning house, from the top down.

      1. miimzyb, I agree… How about no leadership? I no longer want a leader(s)….all dressed up and infallible and judgmental…riding around waving from pope mobiles…disqualifying 50% of the population from their ranks, due to gender…Leaders have disgraced and mislead Catholics long enough.
        How do the Protestant denominations structure themselves?

        Quoting from S. Reid Warren’s post by Thomas Jefferson, “The care of every man’s soul belongs to himself.”

      2. I don’t know about no leadership, Crystal, but certainly not the leadership we have now. I agree. I’m turned off by the fabulous vestments, show,loftiness and judgement that goes with our present hierarchy.

        As for the Protestants, I’m sure they have their warts, too. I think they have more control in their local church because the church council interviews and hires/fires the pastor. There is more involvement by the people and the minister deals with pastoral duties. He’s not in charge of everything. I’m not sure if it works the same way, for all Protestants, but I do know many work that way.

        Bottom line is we need more accountability from the clergy and the laity need to be more involved. The people need to get their heads out of the sand, see what is going on and get actively involved.

  3. My first thought when I read of the Pope’s announcement of the Family Gathering coming to Philadelphia was, “Be sure you don’t bring your children!” When Cardinals question the medial about why more emphasis is given to the Pope’s butler than to the HHS issue, they only solidify the belief among many of the faithful that they still don’t “get it!” Their moral voice is GONE. One day they will wake up and all their people will be gone as well.

    1. Abby: You have reminded me of the great PR theme someone posted once:

      “Welcome Back, Catholics! Rejoice! The Bishops Have All Left !! “

  4. What a cowardly ploy by this shameless pope to try to help bail out Rigali and Chaput. This pope knows he will be out as pope by 2015, either by resignation, incarceration or interment, so he won’t have to face Philly Catholics’ jeers for the three disgraceful Philly Cardinals that he supported recklessly and that his equally complicit papal predecessors punished Philly Catholics with as purported spiritual leaders .

    Hopefully, by 2015, Philly’s current and recent spiritual leaders either will be really accountable to Philly Catholics or will be watching the festivities through windows that have bars in them as longtime guests of the PA penal system.

    Nor surprisingly, Chaput doesn’t want to be in town as his and Rigali’s sacrificial lamb, Msgr. Lynn, meets his fate.

    1. 2015 is a long way off you guys, take a deep breadth….I think by then things will be vastly clearer.

      1. Joan, I hope you are right, but I am sceptical. It has been a full decade since the Boston Priest Abuse Scandals exploded and little has changed it seems. Instead of being home to comfort Catholics as the Lynn jury returns, Chaput is in Italy trying on his new red hat.

      2. Jerry,

        I had no idea Chaput is in Italy. Are you saying it’s conceivable that he won’t be in Philly when the verdict comes down? Is it conceivable that he’s waiting on the verdict with Benedict so the two can commiserate once it comes down?

      3. Jerry…the Vatican is imploding, the nuns are exploding and prosecutors around the country are ‘checking things out.’ 2015 is three years from now….

        As a bellwether I use my conservative husband of 54 years who literally 3 hours ago raised almost all the points that are often mentioned on C4C….a site he has never seen.

        We live in a 24/7 news cycle that will doubtless have much to ‘report’ in the next three years…

        I am comfortable with a ‘deep breath’, some patience and trust in the Holy Spirit.

      4. Hadit, Chaput is in Milan today.

        Joan, as you must by now, I am already aware of what you mentioned, so I assume you are intending to inform others, which is fine.

        This is not a question of disclosure, of knowledge. It is a question of will, of action. The pope and bishops have little shame, are willing to be ruthless and have a lot of power and wealth left, plus an army of blindly loyal pew Catholics supporting them.

        I hope you and your husband are right, but as I say, I am sceptical.

        Until more Catholics close their wallets, use their brains and open their mouths, we have quite a lot to overcome. It will happen, but not by 2015 in my view.

        As to the Spirit, I have no idea of Her schedule.

    2. My feelings exactly, Jerry.


      What? Is this another PR scheme originating in the circus PR office in Rome??? Let’s announce the Pope will come in 3 years while the faithful await the verdict on our sins and crimes? Surely, THAT will distract and placate them!

      Utterly absurd!

      1. And late this afternoon an announcement of more parish mergers… and then there is the issue of the decisions on the suspended priests..I believe that as of May 4th, nine decisions were cleared to move froward..1 month and nothing. Parish closings, trial verdicts, victims and laity awaiting decisions on suspended priests….but hey,the Pope is coming in 3 years.


    3. Jerry, I was making those points for a larger audience…and I don’t think in 2015, that all the current church problems will be resolved.

      But by 2015, if today’s situation is any indicator, I suspect that the Church will be different than it is today. I think there will be fewer folks in the pews, that dioceses nationwide will be profoundly vigilant on issues of child abuse, that a number of ‘other Phillys’ will have occurred.

      I would not be surprised if there were some major employment ‘changes’ in Rome.

      I have always said that I think this whole ‘change’ issue is a marathon, not a sprint…but the momentum does seem to be shifting, in the direction of positive change.

      I, too do not know ‘Her’ schedule, but think She is much involved.

    4. Jerry,

      You pointed out that Chaput is in Milan, but you also want Catholics close their wallets? NO WAY! He’s got legal bills to pay.

      In addition, he’s in Milan to pick-up a few pairs of Gucci slippers and sunglasses, just like the ones his boss wears. This is no time to cut his allowance. Doing a little shopping will help him relax during this particularly stressful week. We have to keeps our prelates living in the style they’ve grown accustom to. Folks, don’t pay any attention to Jerry. KEEP THOSE LOVE OFFERINGS COMING IN!

      (Yes, I’m kidding – let him eat at the soup kitchen in Milan.)

  5. Think they will invite gay couples and their famiies?
    I think you are right it won’t be Benedict coming to town. Phili catholics beware of the collection basket money going to this affair. Wow what did I hear the Arch Phili spent on Lynn’s case? Not me!

    1. Rondre, Chaput is a leader of the pope’s “anti-gay marriage” election year ploy to get out more conservative voters in key close states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia and Florida.

      Please read the Manhattan Declaration, which both Chaput and Rigali signed with right wing Republican ideologues, at:


  6. What are the dates for this unwanted visit?? Want to make sure I am out of town that week……

    1. Today’s Catholic News Service piece regarding the Pope’s 2015 visit included the following:

      The pope’s announcement came the week after the archdiocese released what the archbishop had called a “sobering” report of its financial situation, which included a $12.3 million operating loss for the last fiscal year.

      The financial viability of parishes is “unclear,” dozens of Catholic schools are set to close or merge and it faces multimillion-dollar legal costs with the archdiocese’s response to a trial underway investigating how the archdiocese dealt with sex-abuse cases over several decades.

      Archbishop Chaput said he was contacted six weeks ago by the Pontifical Council for the Family and told it had picked Philadelphia as one of three possible cities for the next world gathering.

      The council wanted to know if the archbishop would be willing to host before it sent the candidate cities’ names on to the pope for the final selection.

      Archbishop Chaput said he spelled out very clearly to the council the archdiocese’s financial struggles, saying it could only host a significantly limited gathering.

      “We envisioned a gathering of 60,000 to 80,000 rather than 300,000” people, he said.

  7. I wish to complain about a few points that I am tired of seeing brought up here on this very worthy discussion forum:
    1. Please desist with the idea of all the nuns “exploding” in the hierarchies face. It is only a small so-called leadership group and not the sisters [nuns] at all.
    2. Abortion is murder and not a “talking point” to bash bishops. They are not the only ones against murder of the unborn.
    3. Stop calling the bishops “republicans.” They are demos and are with Obama on most issues. Get real on this stuff,please

    1. Also, the bishops didn’t “invent” the idea that two persons of the opposite sex getting “married” is abominable and revolting to almighty God. To be against that misshapen idea is not to side with the bishops on their obvious faults of commission and omission.

      1. amazed,
        I respectfully disagree with your opinions of marriage equality, the LCRW, and the Republican agenda of the USCCB. I also believe that life starts in the womb, however disagree with the Bishops not allowing contraception.

        I know we can all agree that the Bishops and many of their brother priests, have protected pedophiles, conspired to hide their crimes and have misappropriated funds to support these monsters. With that I think that many of us are forced to question everything they preach and rally against or for. I can not trust their judgement and therefore can not believe them when they try to tell me that certain things are “wrong.” The USCCB are on the side of power. They are on the side of control.

        So while we may not agree on some fundamental beliefs, we can at least agree on that.

        As many have said, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” I also say “Hate the belief, not the believer.”

        much love

    2. Forgive me, Amazed, but you started it.

      The pope and US bishops are “with Obama”, except they are all working hard to defeat him with their phony ‘religious liberty’ crusade.

      A principal way to avoid abortions is to make contraception options available inexpensively for sane family planning for all couples, yet the pope and bishops oppose this as well.

      The bishops push the “costless” (to them) issue of the unborn, but look the other way at protecting the “born” from predator priests.

      As to the popes attack on American Sisters, FUHGETABOUTIT!

      Please read my NCR comments on these issues, since C4C bloggers may not want to read more here on this issues.

      Now you were saying?

    3. amazed

      The Leadership Council of Women Religious is defined by Wilkipedia, thusly: The conference has more than 1500 members, whose congregations in 2011 represented 46,451 [1] (or 83%) of the 55,944 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel.

      This is NOT a small group…rather, it is the congregational leadership teams from 46,451 women religious in the US…83% of all US women religious.

      Since the recent Vatican statements to these women, these teams have been for several months determining with their members, their response to the Vatican. They delivered it several days ago and it has been noted in the media worldwide. To put it mildly, the good sisters disagreed.

      They are sending two top members to Rome in a week or so to discuss their position with the CDF.

      You may not interpret this as an ‘explosive’ situation, but I do.

      1. I agree, Joan, it is explosive and I suspect the American Sisters may leave behind in Rome with the macho curial bullies an “ecclesiastical grenade” with a slow fuse.

        Of course, that assumes the Vatican doesn’t “leak itself to death” before the Sisters arrive.

        The Spirit may indeed be acting through the Sisters, since they constitute one of the few counterweights to the Vatican’s otherwise unaccountable power.

        Another counterweight is the rule of law, which we have been watching in Philly, slowly but surely, being applied to the imperial papacy’s princes for almost a decade now.

      2. Joan, I agree this has “EXPLOSIVE” written all over it. Stand back!..The noise of it might wake up a few pew sleepers. It’s such an interesting showdown! — Surely the Vatican types know that most people will side with the nuns in this. It’ll be interesting to see how they present themselves to avoid the bad PR.

        This has been smoldering for a long time. I have an 80 yr. old relative who is an SSJ here in the Phila suburbs. For 2 decades she’s been telling us of the anger within the order for the leadership and tone of the RCC.

      3. I really think that all of the religious orders in the LCWR should withdraw ALL of their funds from the Vatican Bank, the IOR! That would get the Vatican’s attention. In March of this year, JP Morgan closed the Vatican Bank’s account! That should speak volumes to the Sisters and give them another tool, with which they can negotiate…….. at least better interest rates! ; )

  8. Two thoughts come to mind about the pope’s visit
    — “too little too late” and “who cares?”

  9. So many people who post on this site are filled with rage which blinds them to the fact that so very much has changed in the Church regarding child safety. The pendulum has now swung in the exact opposite direction from the time when the majority of the abuse occurred. Priests are now automatically presumed guilty when a charge is made. I firmly believe that the clergy are treated like second class citizens whose civil rights are almost nonexistent.

    If anyone thinks that the hierarchy does not enforce their policies regarding child safety, that individual is willfully choosing to ignore the truth. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of the abuse occurred decades ago. The majority of the priest perpetrators are either long dead or well advanced in age.

    Additionally, I wish people would stop acting as if the bishops who covered up were still in charge. They, too, are long dead or well into their retirement. The present bishops in the United States were not responsible for the coverup.

    Stop allowing dissent, masquerading as compassion and justice for victims, blind you to the facts. Those of you who have pronounced the Pope and the hierarchy as evil men and the Church as irrelevant do not know history nor have a deep enough faith in Christ’s words to Peter: “You are rock and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Pray, do penance and make reparation to God for these sins. In such fashion the heart of God is consoled and the gifts of the spirit come upon us.

    1. Larry, Priests have been put in the “guilty until proven” innocent position by their leadership’s refusal to remove the priests who harmed children. Regardless of their age (which varies), they were in ministry until the 2011 grand jury report. LAST YEAR. They were still in a position to harm children as of a year ago. Rigali just retired! How short a memory do you have? Bishop FInn. Shall I continue? I never said the Church was irrelevant. We need it more than ever. We need each other. We need God. I’m calling the current hierarchy irrelevant. You are the one who needs to embrace the truth.

      1. Susan, without the 2011 Grand Jury report, those priests would STILL be ‘in ministry’…

    2. Larry ,can you be more specific on the policies of child protection that you mention.I am not referring to Safety Environment training or mandatory reporting, but rather specific child protection policies.
      Also up until February 2011, 27 possible abusive priests were still in ministry with access to children,.Some of the early announced decisions were made which removed some, and more final announcements are coming. This happened under Card. Rigali and I do believe he is still alive. So yes,not good things involving child protection over this past year..that is current, not in the long ago past. And Bishop Finn who is being charged in Kansas City with failure to report is still very much the Bishop of Kansas City.

      1. And in case anyone is wondering..Susan and I never discuss our comments.We often post or send each other emails expressing the same thoughts at almost the exact same time.The little girl on the mailbox and I seem to share the same brain (and Irish temper 😉 )

      2. Hey, Kathy, please leave the Irish out of this lol. As you and Susan well know, I have some of that temper too.

      3. And Kathy, without the SOLs extensions, there may very well be unknown predator priests and other molesters who are a danger to PA kids, STILL operating, below the radar.

        When California opened a one year SOL, 300 unknown predators were uncovered, many of them priests who no one knew about.

    3. Larry O,

      Fr. Avery raped a 10 year old boy in 1999.
      Frs. Abaya, Henry Caboang, Valentine Tugade, Sylvio Lacar, Victor Balbin, and Angelo Cruces, passed around and sexually abused a 16 year old girl in 1984, one of whom fathered her child.
      Fr. Abruzzese, convicted of molesting a 16 year old in 1993
      Fr. Ahern, convicted of raping a 14 year old in 1994
      Fr. Andries convicted of sexual battery of a 16 yr old in 2001
      Fr. Arakal molested a 13 yr old in 2001
      Fr. Arceneaux in possession of child pornography in 2004

      I am just at the beginning of the “A’s” Shall I go on? Because there are so many more and not “decades ago,”

      You should pray and do penance for ignoring the truth and deliberately causing pain with your words.

      ( I know I should not be responding to trolls, but I just couldn’t help myself. We should really ignore these kinds of comments, he is obviously not on the site “Catholics4Change” to do anything but insight anger. Shame on him and shame on me for responding)

      1. Michelle, I wish Larry was present in court the day that Billy testified. Billy is the victim that Avery plead guilty to abusing..When he gave his year of birth,it sent a chill up my spine..his year of birth was 1988 . That is not the year he was abused Larry, that is the year he was born.

    4. Larry: Where were the priests to support victims of their confreres’ abuse at Lynn’s trial?

      Why doesn’t Chaput report all abuse claims promptly to the police? Why doesn’t he have a truly independent audit of his own program?

      When will Chaput tell us about the remaining two dozen suspected priests Rigali suspended 15 months ago who are floating around Philly unsupervised? When he gets back from his Milan vacation to plan the 2015 “Philly Family Games”? How about having a 2012 “Philly Fortnight For Survivors” gathering instead?

      I agree Chaput appears to be denying some priests their civil rights, but you should lodge your complaint with Fr. Chris’s feckless Philly Priest Ass’n, not with C4C bloggers who are still recovering from Lynn’s insensitive priest Cheerleading Squad.

      1. Jerry: I do believe that Chaput is convinced that he is above the law of the land! For the record, Chaput answers all of his emails, and his secretary will give anyone his email address. At least he used to when he was in Denver. Should you or anyone else pose questions to him, as to why he hasn’t turned all of the paperwork regarding suspected Pedophile Priests over to the police, I’d sure like to see his answer. I have my reasons for not continuing my correspondence with Chaput!

      2. I am wondering where the comments about Chaput not turning over paperwork or not reporting abuse claims are coming from. I have heard the opposite to be honest and I say this as someone who is beyond disillusioned with things in Philly. I have never heard anyone even suggest that he is not reporting. I just like facts..if this was reported somewhere than provide a link. if anything some of the suspended priest decisions are being held up because their cases were turned over to law enforcement .I am hearing more announcements may be coming Friday. The announcements don’t mean much,the priests are not going to prison..they will still be out there just as they are now. But again,never heard a word about Chaput not reporting things

    5. Larry,
      I was similar to you once and then I talked to victims, archbishop Chaput, my priests and some people at the AD. Exteriors superficiallly have changed mostly to prevent future lawsuits . The interiors are what i am looking to changing…….hearts……..I see people too afraid or to hardhearted to change…….and that is why sexual abuse continues…….people too afraid or hardhearted to do the right thing……..some just uninterested. I just resigned from all my parish positions as I can’t continue with those til we have made things right with the victims……..the survivors are now my priority……… they were once catholics too ……..why have we abandoned them?

      1. Beth, you said, “the survivors are now my priority……… they were once catholics too ……..why have we abandoned them?”

        So Christ-like…the Shepherd leaving the herd to find the one lost lamb.

        I’ve stated before that my husband will never go back to the RCC, ever…and yet, when in the midst of his struggles to stay or leave…he shared this with me as he explained why he couldn’t stay…”there are no shepherds going after the lost lamb.”

        Beth…such a heart of gold.

      2. Beth,

        I commend you for following your conscience, resigning from the parish positions you held, and making your priority the victims and survivors. I know that entailed a lot of reflection. I know it wasn’t easy. You have clarity, faith and courage, very powerful attributes for affecting the lives of survivors. Thank you.

      3. Joan, Hadit, SW,
        I didn’t know how to respond yesterday…….but today I was thinking about something my dad said……we were in the Doctor’s office waiting for an ambulance to come take him to the ER as he was in respiratory distress(one of many times he was in crisis) He looked at me and said”I am not good at saying good byes but I want to say you are all good kids…..good people and I am very proud of you all’ When Jerry mentioned the other day that kathy and my dad would be proud of us……I was touched because I know he would be. My dad was very academic being a PHD he had been all about school and status etc but before he died what he was thankful for was not that we had college degrees, prestigous jobs and big houses etc but that we “were good people'” I will consider myself lucky to have raised “good kids’…….kind kids……I have been told they are and so far they have been………..so with that perspective I thank all of you. I am trying my best to do the right thing….

      4. I guess what I am saying is I was alittle embarrassed by your comments just like I was when my dad said something in front of all the doctors staff but in doing so he reminded me of what is most important just as you all have……that people are important not things or status or money etc.

      5. Beth, you are so sweet. When Jerry mentioned my dad would be proud..all I could think was my Dad would have gone “Blesssington’ on these guys.

      6. Kathy: If your Dad would have gone “Blessington”, then I know I would have liked him as much as I like his “Blessington” daughter!, which is saying alot.

      7. Jerry , My 87 year uncle,my Dad’s brother is still alive,now living in a nursing home. A good Irish Catholic guy just like my father. I brought my kids to visit him and he pulled out a collection of newspaper clippings of articles that I have been interviewed or my name mentioned. Each time I speak to him the first thing he says is “you’re still at it right, Still giving it to them! Maybe the Blessington’s, O’Neill’s and Slevin’s, are all branches on a family tree somewhere.

      8. I wouldn’t be on this site, today, if my father hadn’t told me for 34 years to “give them hell!” Move over. FitzGerald is on the tree as well.

      9. SW,
        Your husband he was right . Please tell him I am sorry and with God’s help I am going to try and “find that one lost lamb”. Please pray for me and others God moves to seek these “lost lambs”. Peace

    6. Know your history — a good rule of thumb. Inquisition, priests bishops and popes fathering children or buggering altar boys…just read all the councils and their repeated protestations against child abusing priests or priests with “wives” and children.

      Then there was good old Leo bought positions in the church by daddy, he was made pope in his 30s not yet a priest, never received any kind of theological or monastic training, went on to bankrupt the church with his inauguration and then established the selling of “salvation” in the form of indulgences. Yes, I love history. It is a great foil to the view that we should never question our religious leaders. Some of our popes have been corrupt, others- like Leo- completely spiritually and academically bereft of qualification. There have been good ones too, even saintly, but to distinguish between them is important. A person of faith should never relinquish their critical thinking.

      1. “A person of faith should never relinquish their critical thinking.”
        Indeed! And regarding “know your history.” One should go even further back, back to St. Paul when he addressed the Ephesian elders whom he knew he would never see again:
        Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

    7. Larry, You write, “Additionally, I wish people would stop acting as if the bishops who covered up were still in charge. They too are long dead or well into their retirement.” Ah, sorry but that is just not so. Who is the bishop in Ireland who refuses to retire and is not being pressured to. And, When the veil is pulled from the church in Africa and Asia, oh what a soul murder mess in an un-bloody and a bloody manner. In the Netherlands the bishops were 100% owners of production company that included pornography (all of these are still active bishops). There is still much that has been done in darkness soon to come into the light (three dioceses in Florida for example). I sincerely doubt any mother on earth (including the biological mothers of the bishops) believes there was ever a time when men did not know that recycling predators was not good for families. Still prayer, penance and reparation for sins is a good idea. And separation of predator from prey, not promotion to bishop or to the basilica of St. Mary Major if he is already a bishop or left venerated as living saint for over 60years and hugged by the pope and protected by the secretary of state of vatican city/state if he is the founder of a money making religious order, is also a good idea.

      1. I believe that you are referring to Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of ALL Ireland. It was Brady, who allowed the notorious Pedophile Brendan Smyth to abuse OVER 100 children in Ireland, as well as the United States. You see, Father Smyth was in the Church’s unofficial, but never-the-less real, “International Priest Pedophilia Exchange Program!” Cardinal Sean Brady should be brought into World Court at the Hague for his part in allowing Smyth to stay in the priesthood! Cardinal Brady isn’t about to be removed by the Pope, because to do so would set a precedent and he’d need to remove other Cardinals! That’s why it will never happen! The Pope would rather lose the Church in Ireland, rather than to lose Cardinal Sean Brady!

    8. Larry, use your head. Stop allowing apathy and cleric-worship to masquerade as “faith” and “holiness.” Rather than slinging gospel quotes around .. have the courage to learn about and face this growing situation in your church.

      When you read the thousands and thousands of individual accounts and the systematic cover-ups for them, here and abroad, you’ll begin to see the true picture of WHO has control of your church –and chances are, you too will be angry… and demanding of change.

    9. Larry, Susan is right on when she replies that it is you that need to do what you ask us to do: “know history and have faith in Christ’s words.”
      The passage of scripture you cite about the church Christ will build is one of only a “hand full” that the Roman magisterium have pronounced their “final” and supposedly infallible “interpretation” upon, and it was done blindly and blunderingly attempting to solidify their own powers of religious suppression. Those who study (II Timothy 2:15) know that Christ in that passage did not refer to a later development/phase of God’s plans— the Body of Christ— made of both Jew and Gentile— which we who believe are a part of. No, Christ refers to the reborn nation of Israel, over which He will rule on earth for a thousand years, from the “throne of David inJerusalemm.” Simple bible knowledge!
      And, the gospel knows nothing of what you refer to as “penance.”

    10. Larry: When I was in Catholic School in the 50’s, we were taught to call the RCC, “The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!” I guess that our teachers were misinformed, about the “Holy” and “Apostolic” part! And if you could please tell me, which of the Apostles of Jesus Christ dressed in rich brocades and carried jewel-encrusted croziers, drove a Mercedes Benz and had practically a limitless income? I haven’t a clue. Do you?

  10. I was there on the parkway in 1979. I was 27 years old…I had felt a Renewal in the church, I know I felt the Spirit…The Charismatic Renewal was so much a part of my daily life, and it still is today. I am a born-again christian, and I am catholic… I know who Jesus really is, and I feel His heart is broken by what He sees going on in this evil world today. The people (priests, bishops, cardinals, pope,) that are suppose to represent Him on this earth, have turned to evil; I just can’t understand how the RCC can pretend that this is not happening….and the pope is coming to Phila in 2015. His eyes don’t even have any depth, they are dark…I pray that Jesus will see that the victims will be free of their nightmares of the past, and feel the presence of our Lord in their hearts. I BELIEVE the victims….. Peace

    1. Denise: I really wish that we could describe the early days of the Charismatic Renewal and the indescribable joy of the Holy Spirit that was present when Pope John XXIII was alive. I actually thought that the Church was going to change, rather than to retreat back into the Dark Ages! Now, looking back on it, most of my friends have left the Church, along with myself, because we found better teaching and more understanding of the workings of the Holy Spirit, outside of the Church rather than with in it! I respect you for staying in the Church, but I encourage you to read the 17-19 chapters of the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine. If you see the metaphors, relating to the Whore of Babylon, I would heed the words of Jesus, who said: “Come out of Her, My people!”

  11. I was also in Philadelphia on the Parkway when Pope John Paul II came in 1979. I was 7 years old and my father put me on his shoulders. So I could see. I too was blocked by a little girl on a mailbox (lol) 😉 My grandfather was given a special place near the front in honor of his long service to St. Charles Borremeo Church in Drexel Hill as an usher. My then future husband, who I did not know at the time, was with his 2nd grade class of St. Cyril of Alexandria in East Lansdowne to greet the Pope at the airport. My husband remembers the Pope laying his hand upon his head. I remember being very proud to be apart of such a large community. At the age of 7 I am not sure if I was aware that we were all Catholics. I just remember feeling proud that my Pope was in Philadelphia. Now in 2012, so much has come to light. Ratzinger is not my pope. I can not be apart of his establishment. I only feel Catholic in this group here and with others who are as questioning and searching as I am. No where else. Thank you for this group. Thank you for the sense of Community I feel here. And to the survivors, I am humbled by your words and I continue to believe the victims.

    1. It was such an event..I think the schools were closed for 3 days and we all watched on TV and attended various events. I understand what people say when they mention feeling ‘such a part of something”. Even though I was young I really remember that feeling and now just so different. If someone told me back then that in the future I would be helping to lead a group concerning children being sexually abused by priests..well just unimaginable

  12. Thank you Denise for bringing us back to the victims. C4C is a forum..all opinions welcome but it is easy to see how things can quickly turn from the protection of children and justice for victims when politics etc..enter the conversation. Fair warning you all may get busted by our Mother Superior . This is not meant to censor anyone in any way and obviously some issues involving power and authority can be intertwined with the abuse issue but I do see that what 99.9% of commentors agree ,is concerning children and victims and we have been able to gather so much support by remaining true to this important issue.. Democrat,Republican devout Catholic,fallen away..everyone welcome here for the sake of children and victims.

    1. I hear you Mother Superior. I will do my politically colored comments elsewhere. When the time comes to vote, we all will have to assess which candidate will better try to protect children, among other important considerations to assess. We see sadly in the PA legislature that who is in office makes a difference for SOL reform. Amen.

  13. I too am at a loss for words.
    I know past Franscican Provincial Stephen Bliss, his friar on his deathbed, never rescinding his request for a rescript of ligitimation for his child and mother, virtually begging it be granted experditiously before his death and he could’t have cared less.
    Children are treated as rags, their own and everyone else’s except the one made of clay, laying in the crib Christmas Eve with no voice, expectations, or inheritance rights.

  14. I am so saddened coming to your site. Learn to trust in God and work together. It is extremely crucifying to see the sins, the filth in the Church. But you don’t tear down your mother because there is something wrong with her; so don’t tear down, creating division when you can pray and suffer for the Church, not condoling just like Jesus on the cross did not say sin was OK. I pray that you have the strength of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom and the patience to work for the Church, the Beloved of Christ.

    1. Anna, We are working together to build up our mother Church by shining a light on the truth. Jesus calls us to bear witness to the suffering of others.

    2. Anna,
      If coming to this site saddens you…then spare yourself the agony of knowing what the victims have endured.

      There is so much to learn from so many here, Anna. I’m sure it’s a shock to the system to read anyone share their anger at the hierarchy.

      Glad you are here Anna. This is a really tough topic to navigate.

    3. Anna, I pray God will remove the scales from your eyes and ask you to observe carefully how ‘mother Church’ can permit over 100,000 American children to be abused, without one bishop yet being called to account in a court of law for permitting such outrages to go on for so long.

      The Church may be the beloved of Christ, but these bishops are not the Church. We are!

      1. Jerry: I used to be a Catholic, because I was taught “Outside the Church there is NO Salvation.” Then I grew up and started to study history and the Bible! My studies have extended for 30 years after college graduation, and I am continually amazed that the Church still calls Herself, “The Bride of Christ!” If the Priest Pedophilia Scandal and the Vatican Bank Scandals haven’t removed “the scales from the eyes of faithful Catholics,” I don’t think that anything, short of the Second Coming of Christ will do so! Then, they will see who is the real “Bride of Christ,” made up of believers from all denominations.

    4. Anna, I am sure you have read the New Testament and perhaps the Old Testament as well. So you know that Jesus not only spoke of love and mercy and compassion for all….but was extraordinarily critical of the ‘institutional’ church of His time….The Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Good Samaritan, the money changers in the temple…’the whitened sepulachers”…Jesus used very strong language…..was crucified because He threatened the ‘institutional church’ of His time.

      C4C is a site for victims of clerical abuse, those who support them and all of us who very much want to protect innocent children, from further abuse. C4C is an acronym for Catholics for Change…as in there needs to be CHANGE.

      Uncovering ugly church truths is part of that change. Sadly, without the disinfectant of sunlight, evil will continue.

      To assume that folks on this blog are not prayerful is a huge mistake…

      You have a perfect right to your point of view, as to how to help Mother Church…….but so do every single commenter and reader of C4C!!!

    5. Anna,
      When I think of a Mother I think warm and comforting. Have you been at a vigil and watched priests etc ignor the victims? Not one priest has come to a vigil or to the trial to comfort a victim. Time and time again I have heard from victims and families of victims that when it was made known they or a family member was abused the parish priest did not come or call to ask if they were ok or needed anything. basciall y once you say you are a victim of clergy child sexaul abuse its like you fall off the face of the Earth in their minds.. and at the same time the AD is lying and saying they don’t know of other victims mean while they have secret records that say the exact opposite.Do you know what it is like to write emails, letters and phone calls to the AD and be ignored when all you are trying to do is make sure a predator is not violating other kids? I don’t but can you even imagine? Do you think a good Mother ignors her children(especially those most in need or at risk?) and lets them be violated?………As far as I am concerned the priests and heirachy caused this division by not being compassionate like our mother Mary..They are the ones that will need to bridge this gap(if that is even possible) not the victims….I am glad phillycathpriest has blogged and another Priest is trying to attend a vigil but where are the other priests ??????If the church is our Mother where is the concern, attention and compassion? I pray alot and lately I have been praying lying face down on the floor at adoration saying the Memorae because I know our Mother Mary hears us and i want her to know how serious I am and how much I love her son who I see in the survivors.

    6. Anna, it’s sacrilegious to refer the institutional church as a Mother and the image it evokes.
      The Lord knows how many have been spiritually and physically abused and abandoned to survive in the world they warn us to be aware of.
      Whether through abuse or birth.
      In Melbourne Australia, a system was well established by the hierarchy for clergy who couldn’t maintain the required discipline of their vows, coercing disorientated mothers to offer their newborn up for adoption with willing Catholic lawyers in many cases, to preserve the “Royal priesthood” and said son’s of the Mother Church.

    7. Anna, ..THE CHURCH IS NOT A MOTHER…It’s a wealthy, powerful, corrupt religious institution, which is responsible for centuries of rape and torture of hundreds of thousands of helpless children. (100,000-300,000 kids in the US alone, since 1950) It has earned our criticism and our anger. It needs cleaning up and further worldwide criminal investigation

      I, however, AM A MOTHER,… and I will not tolerate or forgive crimes against children, by the questionable men who run this institution.

  15. Just wanted to send positive thoughts to those of you in Philly awaiting the verdict. Regardless of the outcome your support of victims has proven very important on this site. I am glad some of you have found each other in the flesh and forged friendships. I hope you continue to support each other. I don’t know what our church will look like in 2015, but I know I have lost my faith in our American bishops since 2002. It has been 10 years and still admitted and identified priest abusers remain in positions of authority around vulnerable children. I am not hopeful for 2015.
    On the other hand I attended a parish mass today in a black catholic inner city parish. I felt unthreatened by the priest who was Nigerian because he didn’t look like my abusers … Middle aged white priests in black suit or cassock. I was even able to stay through the whole mass without a Xanax or Kleenex. So maybe there is hope for me and the church continuing in some kind of relationship.
    Sorry to be talking too much tonight.

  16. P.S. My mom mailed a letter to the Pope while she was in Rome that I wrote and I pointed out the same things.

  17. I have read Kathy Kane’s caution about “political” viewpoints not being part of the vision she and Susan Matthews have had for C4C and I honor that because I also “believe the victims”
    and want the blog to succeed.
    In closing my remarks on the subject I brought up and received replies to- I don’t believe that
    it is accurate or honest to say or imply that nuns in high numbers agree with the stated political goals of organizations like LCWR, e.g., making abortion more acceptable and available, supporting the Gay marriage agenda, or supporting one particular political party in the 2012 election for a perceived “he is more against child abuse than the other.” I see that kind of thinking as a sad result of those who do seek to “DIVIDE AND CONQUER” the people of this nation. Not that I want agreement with my beliefs here, only fairness in sticking with the purpose and leaving out the campaign issues as far as possible. Thanks.

  18. It would have been interesting if B16 had made his Philadelphia visit to room 304 in the criminal justice center. But which side of the courtroom would he choose? How would he reach out to those on the prosecution side?

    Well, maybe we’ll hear something from the jury today. Whatever the outcome I’m more at peace in my own life than I’ve ever been because I had the opportunity tell my story in court. It’s something that too many survivors continue to be denied because of the SOL. This must change. This case brings about some needed closure for me on a personal level but shows how very much needs to be done.

    1. I’m grateful you have some peace…

      Thank you for your courage to tell your story…

      I believe the victims.

    2. James, thank you for so many things, your shared comments before the trial, certainly your testimony, and your just plain decency.

      I think we have all profitted from ‘knowing you’ in cyberspace. I am sure your patients love you and that large family! It’s been a privilege and I am happy that you have found peace, God knows you deserve it! Joan

    3. For Pete’s sake, what coldness lies in the heart of a person who would “thumbs down” this posting of James@15!!
      You may be anonymous here, but God knows your heart.
      Thank you, James@15, we support you!

      1. Maureen, “You may be anonymous here,but God knows your heart” Well said. In some ways I feel the same way about the verdict,of course for the sake of justice for the victims I want guilty verdicts and accountability but I could not help but think when I was in court last week,that ultimately they will be judged by a higher authority.

      2. Thanks for the support but at this point the thumbs down really don’t matter to me. I had an awful experience that affected my life in profound ways but does not define me. I told the truth about events that really happened, if there are those that can’t accept that so be it. The truth is what it is and I won’t stop telling it as long as I draw breath from the air. I believe that God’s power and love for us is bigger than our human attempts to contain and explain it through our religious traditions and it is certainly bigger than this “scandal” which is the result of acts of both evil and cowardice. My faith is in God who so loved the world that he gave his son, our savior, our hero and our perfect exemplar. Before clicking thumbs down ask yourself, where does your faith lie?

    4. James,

      Ghandi said that, as human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world (or to remake institutions like the Catholic Church, or to remake SOL laws, or even to “remake” sick patients, etc.), but rather in being able to remake ourselves.

      I don’t know your remaking journey, I only know that its resulting closure and peace are testimonies to your courage and greatness.

    5. James@15, I didn’t realize you were one of those who gave testimony. As a victim I have found that whenever I give a public talk or statement I am plagued with nightmares and struggles with self-harm. I hope you are surrounded by nurturing friends and are able to take very good care of yourself, especially after the verdict. Because whatever it is you may experience an internal backlash or at the very least an emptiness. I certainly don’t want to assume you will have a hard time, but I just want you to make sure you take good care of yourself?

      1. Mona,

        James’s awful experience did not define him, he said that, nor will the verdict define him. Nor will the verdict define the people on C4C, or their efforts. The truth, and continuing to tell the truth, is what defines him and us. Therefore, the verdict, regardless of what it is, will not hurt us. It will not cause an “internal backlash” or an “emptiness” in us. No time is a “hard time” when we speak the truth. The truth “takes good care of” us.

        1. Great! Not sure why you sound defensive though. My abuse doesn’t define me either but it continues to hurt me. If you are a victim too I am totally delighted that you are stronger than I. I can only speak from my own and my family and friends experiences.

      2. Mona, Thanks, you wouldn’t have wanted to see me the night before testifying, I think i wore a hole in the carpet of the hotel room. The aftermath has generally been better though I appreciate that the verdict may not be as anticipated and may be difficult. I certainly didn’t mean that all was ice cream and unicorns in my all too well compartmentalized interior world. There is much for me to do in becoming fully human but that is the beauty of this journey we are on. We get to keep trying.

        After looking at your blogs I can see that you have experienced losses that as a parent I have difficulty getting my head around. I look forward to your book discussing grief and loss and the existential crises they create in our lives. There is much to be done in learning to help ourselves and each other through the loss and the search for meaning that follows. I wish you much peace on your own journey.

        Bob Fisher

    6. James,
      I wonder the same thing…………….I have no doubts Jesus would be on our survivors side. Thankyou for your courage. I am glad you have more peace and I hope you get justice also. I believe the victims and I support SOL changes and would like to especially see a window. Peace

  19. You certainly did tell your story in court James@15! Your soft voice boomed like thunder in that packed room. The peace that you wished for the man who harmed you has been visited upon you! The courageous action that you have taken, and your mother’s letter will weigh heavily on the jury’s deliberations, in my opinion. Way to go!

  20. Oh “Happy Times ” When the Pope comes to visit? All is forgiven, Give me a break, this sleasy act from the vatican is a joke while they hide perverts. Also, the current Pope will probably be dead by 2015. The show must go on.

  21. The pope coming to Philly? Really? This sounds like 70’s American politics public relations. He’ll end up eating a Cheesesteak, touring the avenues with a 76’ers cap and then addressing the Knight of Columbus at some venue. Of course the ticket prices will be costly and only Catholics of the movers & shakers crowd will be permitted to attend. I wonder if he will plan to visit Lynn while serving his time in PA state prison?

    1. Let’s see if I ve got this right….The AD has a 12.5 million dollar shortfall and at least 11 million in abuse related costs that don’t seem to count the Lynn trial. A substantial number of civil abuse trials are pending. To say nothing of parish, and school finance problems

      The Pope is coming…though apparently the Pope mentioned that he would be 88 in 2015.

      The AD is now raising money for the Pope’s arrival…the Lynn verdict is pending, and Brennan and Spero and Englehardt are, too.

      Today’s PI reported thusly on these matters :

      On Sunday — the same day Benedict announced Philadelphia would be the 2015 host city — parishes across the archdiocese received copies of the archdiocese’s fiscal report. In an accompanying letter, Chaput noted the “extraordinary events of the past 15 months,” and paid particular attention to the devastating Philadelphia grand jury report of February, 2011, that asserted the archdiocese had three dozen priests in active minisitry who had been accused of inappropriate behavior with children.

      The archdiocese’s investigation of those allegations and other abuse-related expenses cost $1.6 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, Chaput reported in his letter, and he estimated the costs for the fiscal year ending this month would exceed $10 million. He was installed as head of the 1.5 million member archdiocese in September.

      “It’s a great sadness that people were hurt and that the costs would be so great,” he said Tuesday.

      He also reported in his pastoral letter that nine individuals who say they were sexually abused as minors by archdiocesan priests have filed lawsuits against the church, and noted that archdiocese’s former chief financial officer was recently discovered to have “embezzled nearly $1 million over a period of years.” The lawsuits have not gone to trial pending a decision in the landmark criminal trial against Lynn, who is charged with having helped assign abusive priests and conceal their crimes while he served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

      Although Lynn’s defense and the archdiocese’s internal investigation of the accused priests are being paid for out of reserve funds and the sale of archdiocesan property, “the gap between our apostolic [i.e., ministry] needs and our available resources is sobering,” Chaput said in his letter.

      The archdiocese reported an operating loss of $12.36 million for fiscal year 2011, nearly $10 million more than the loss reported for 2010. In an accompanying statement it reported that the 2011 loss is “primarily attributable to an increase in legal and professional fees of $2.4 million, and increase in ad debt expense of $3.4 million, an increase in self-insured loss reserves of $2 million, and other cost increases.”

      At Tuesday’s news conference in the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Chaput said the Vatican had told him in March it wished to hold the 2015 World Day of Families in North America, and told him Philadelphia was one of three host dioceses under consideration. He said discussed it with other archdiocesan leaders and that despite “concerns about our finances, we said we’d be very, very happy to welcome the Pope.”


      “I think it’s a really great thing…great for us, great for the country,” said Chaput, adding that Benedict told him he hoped he would able to attend but reminded him he would be 88 in 2015, and that health considerations might bar him from attending.

      1. Thanks Joan for filling us in! I don’t think that Chaput is at all concerned about the finances needed to host a Papal visit and to face the mounting debt of the Lynn trial, as well as subsequent “Appeals” if Lynn loses. Also, if the Pope comes to PHilly, it would be a great time to make Chaput a cardinal! In that event, there will be even a bigger bill for new vestments for everyone, mounting into the hundreds of thousands of dollars! I suppose that Chaput thinks the city fathers will pitch in, because of all the business that the Pope’s visit will bring into Philly in “tourista dollars!” Maybe the big Arch, Chaput, will host 3 years of BINGO to bring in the cash! He can call it “Gambling that the Pope will bring holiness to the city!”

  22. Perhaps the 12.5 million dollar figure includes the 11 million dollar related to abuse costs…can anyone clarify?

  23. Talk about putting public pressure on the jury! I hope that the jury is kept away from this kind of news! The timing of the Pope’s visit to Philly is more than a little suspicious, given that Monsignor Lynn and a Pedophile Priest are both on trial for child endangerment, among other things. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Archbishop, probably soon to be Cardinal Chaput, had a finger in the choice of his city! If Lynn goes down, it will have repercussions in every Archdiocese in the States, so the Church is pulling out all stops, from the Vatican on down, to influence the outcome of this trial, even in subtle or not so subtle ways. If anyone really thinks that the Church want to help “the family,” I’m sorry but they are misinformed! Look at the Church’s track record…….. just in Philly! How can any sane person believe that the Church has pure motives in regards to children and the family unit? It simply boggles my mind!

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