Clergy Sex Abuse Cover Up Impacts Core Beliefs


I’ve heard the argument that those who leave the Church because of the clergy sex abuse cover up are just looking for any excuse to not practice their faith. Why is it so hard to believe that some might find the horrible hypocrisy enough to question Church teachings as a whole? It certainly happened in Ireland. Many here on this site have struck the delicate balance of holding on to their faith while giving up on the hierarchy. But that leaves us without leadership and makes practicing with our faith community difficult or impossible.

Click here to read: “Catholic shifts at meeting: The Dublin conference opened with anger at child abuse and a decline in core beliefs,” by Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press, Philly.com, June 11, 2012

Excerpt: Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, president of the Eucharistic Congress and the Irish church’s leading voice calling for greater openness on past abuse, led a moment of silence inside the Royal Dublin Society Arena dedicated to those unknown tens of thousands of children molested or raped by priests.

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79 Responses to “Clergy Sex Abuse Cover Up Impacts Core Beliefs”

  1. When author Anne Rice publicly left the Catholic church and listed the response to the clergy abuse crisis as one of her main reasons for leaving, I felt so comforted. Finally! Someone, and not only someone, but a well-known someone, was taking strong action on behalf of all those of us who were victimized. Since she was not personally affected by the crisis, this was very meaningful and validating. It seems to me that this would certainly be reason enough to leave for any thinking individual with a conscience. Taking strong action, like Susan, Kathy and many of you have done, and choosing to stay is also encouraging. What is so disappointing is the large number of people who do nothing.

  2. Once a religious organization has betrayed ones’ trust, they are morally bankrupt, and have nothing more to offer. What’s left to go back to?

    • I was sent a story from CathNews New Zealand this morning, that due to documents siezed from the Vatican Banker Gotti Tedeschi by Italian police, the Holy See’s sovereign status is now being threatened.
      If this becomes a reality, imagine the falling pack of cards effect.
      Geoffery Robinson QC as previously mentioned, always maintained the statehood never stood up to the test which in turn affects it’s membership to the United nations.

      • L Newington,

        “Pacts, signed—the Treaty says—for King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister and Head of Government, and for Pope Pius XI by Pietro Gasparri, Cardinal Secretary of State, on February 11, 1929. The agreements were signed in the Lateran Palace, hence the name by which they are known.”(Wikipedia).

        At that time Italy was ruled by a Fascist government. The Holy See’s sovereign status certainly needs to be reconsidered.

      • The Vatican’s Sovereign Status should be threatened! She was given it by the wartime criminal Mussolini! We don’t honor Hitler’s treaties today, and we shouldn’t honor Mussolini’s either. Dr.Who13 made some really good points in his post. I shudder to think how little World History is taught in High Schools today. I used to think that my history teachers were “Anti-Catholic!” Then, one day, I was taught about the Inquisitions of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. From that day forward, my ears and eyes were opened! We need to educate the next generations.

  3. Actually Susan, and this is just one person’s opinion, I think the Church has been without meaningful leadership for a long time. The successors to the apostles, ie the hierarchy, have been a disgrace in the abuse situation, lawyering up like any corporation to protect their assets….treating victims horribly, passing on predators, designing a Charter that did not hold the bishops accountable, developing ‘Diocesan Review Boards’ that depend on what the local bishop chooses to reveal to the board, sabotaging legislation, using the individual Catholic Conferences that would protect not only catholic kids but ALL kids in a given state from further abuse….the list goes on and on.

    Having said that, I think I would argue as an adult who can discriminate between hierarchical ‘abuse’ and the value of the sacraments, that it is possible to walk that ‘delicate line’.

    Is it pleasant, absolutely not. Do I contribute, yes but only to groups that protect victims or the poor (many of whom are victims, too).

    AND as an adult, I am, sadly, not looking for leadership from the hierarchy….rather I am using my own conscience to determine both what I find acceptable in the Church, particularly a
    unified concern, politically for the poor…which I can support.

    And then, I need to be as responsible as I can, about what I CANNOT support, which clearly includes the whole abuse debacle….which is WHY I love your and Kathy’s efforts to get out as much truth as possible about these issues. Both in the hope that the laity will ‘get it’ AND that meaningful legislative change will happen.

    • joan I agree

    • Joan: Jesus gave us all, His sacraments, and He didn’t give them to us through a “Pedophile Priest Delivery System!” Jesus taught, “As you believe IN your heart, so it is!” If you want Communion, I strongly encourage you to consecrate it yourself or with friends, as they did in the Early Church, as evidenced in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. They didn’t drag a priest along with them, when they went to “home churches” to celebrate the Table of the Lord. Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testament, an “acceptable sacrifice” is done with “Clean Hands!” I don’t believe that a “Sacramental, Pedophile Priest Delivery System” is what Jesus had in mind, when he told His Apostles, to “Do Likewise!”

  4. The subject here is one I have been exercised with for many years, since after struggling th faith and
    doubt for 44 years as a “cradle catholic”, I heard and believed the gospel of Christ when it was preached
    on a TV program a “beleiver ” at work recommended. The identiy of the “preacher” wasn’t important-
    rather it was the combined effect of the scriptural Word and the help of the Holy Spirit aiding me in trusting
    what I heard— trusting my eternal destiny , and “meaning it” quite seriously at the time. When someone hears about the sex abuse of the Catholic clergy, and is moved to discontinue whatever “identification” they had held with the Church— it is a quite different affair. The difference is the point of my post.

    I would like to continue in this vein in a subsequent post. Thanks for your attention.

    • Gerald: I would like to say this respectfully and gently: “Faith Works by Love!” Personally, I haven’t seen too much “love” in the Catholic Church. Maybe it’s supposed to be “Trickle-down Love,” like Reaganomics’, “Trickle down Prosperity!” I don’t know. All that I know is that by the time both got to me, there wasn’t much left!

      • Not sure I get your point vis a vis my post; however, to continue my own post-
        Many church members today are finding themselves wanting to “reform” the institution of the hierarchical church because of the child sexual abuse and they are jumping on the “band wagon” of the progressive dissenters whose talking points center on issues like abortion, feminism, Gay issues, women priests, etc. The point is that this kind of “reform” leads NOWHERE in leading lost sinners to reconciliation with God.

  5. This is excerpted from a NPR interview with Anna Quindlen (former Pulitzer prize winning columnist for the NYT) a couple of weeks ago

    BEGIN
    Leaving The Catholic Church

    “The paedophilia scandals, the church’s reaction to them, and their constant obsession with gynecology — taken together at a certain point, it was probably two or three years ago, I said, ‘Enough,’ ” she says. “Every time I sit in the pew I ratify this behavior, and I’m not going to ratify it anymore.”

    Quindlen says she realizes that she doesn’t need a service or Mass to get what she needs out of her faith.

    “I think not going anymore made me realize how much of the good had been imprinted deep inside me, and how much of the rest I didn’t need,” she says. “I don’t have to listen to the Gospel on Sunday to know the stories of the New Testament. They inform so much of what I write that they’re practically like a news scrim that goes through my brain 24/7. And I don’t have to listen to a sermon to know what to think or feel about them. It’s almost as if I absorbed completely what mattered most to me, and the rest could go.”

    But Quindlen says she still relies on her faith.

    “I still walk around some mornings and look at the world and think, ‘Oh my God. This is so fantastic, and there’s so many opportunities to do good and to be happy,’ ” she says. “And I think that comes from some deep-faith place that started in religion and now transcends it.”

    Interview Highlights

    On religion and faith

    “I haven’t lost my faith, but I’ve lost my religion. I still believe in something so deeply. … I’ve never really gotten past that quote from Anne Frank in her diary, where she says that people are really good at heart. But I feel like the Catholic Church — no — the Catholic hierarchy has been disinviting people like me, and especially women like me, for so many years that I finally took the hint.”
    END

    When we recite the Nicene Creed at mass we say we believe in “one, HOLY, catholic and apostolic church.” I remember that these are the four marks of the church articulated in the Baltimore Catechism. This stuff sure makes a lot of folks doubt the holy part.

    • Fish…I can’t resist the Nicene Creed comment, and I am a fan of Quindlen’s.

      I was with a group of women theologians awhile back…and the ‘ one holy , catholic and apostolic’ language was being discussed.

      Two theologians sitting right in front of me, said to each other…we just don’t say that part of the Creed…Simply can’t.

      And this is totally frivolous…but you may remember that very old saw about ‘whispering when you get to heaven’….the reason ….’Catholics think they are the only ones, there’

      • Maybe, my frivolous adage about ‘Catholics think they are the only ones in heaven’ needs a bit of delineation.

        Several points…. the recent liturgical language changes removed the concept of ‘all’ are saved to language about ‘many’.

        Actually an order priest guest, recently said… They are saying ‘the many’ ….which I guess, means all, or the best these guys could come up with.

        I would ask Hadit to give us ALL, the very many many…an updated hit on who is saved! It better be EVERYBODY!

  6. The Maciel, Legionaries of Christ saga…this is when I started to get really ticked off.

    All the commentators on EWTN did everything to convince us that he really was the “efficacious model for youth” that JPII proclaimed. The brouhaha was just slander by liberal Vatican II nuts. Except…it was all true…plus he fathered a couple of kids and did a little embezzlement.

    In 2005 when the first GJ report came out EWTN and Bill Donohue assured us this was anti catholic bigotry. I bought it, until I figured out that Lynne Abraham had every reason to go fishing in the AD archives. Cardinal Bevilacqua was shoot his mouth off about how he had 35 paedophiles and had everything under control. Nothing wrong with the DA wondering if any of these guys had been referred to the police.

    So it is about leadership. Leadership is part of the institution. The institution is what you want to pass on to your kids. Except the leadership is bankrupt.

    From where I stand, unless the leadership is held accountable by the church, there is nothing to pass on. The leadership of the church has been unwilling to exercise its moral authority. Since the church has been unwilling to do this, the press and the legal system have moved in to fill the vacuum.

    • Fish, agree completely.

      Have you read pages 156 to 196 of Jason Berry’s, Render Unto Rome?

      Jason Berry is a remarkable and exceedingly competent writer. He took 4 years to write Render Unto Rome and it is very heavily documented….He has won awards for this book.

      The pages I referenced are Chapter 7, ‘Father Maciel, Lord of Prosperity’ ….they are devastating both as they relate to Maciel and as they relate to Maciel’s fiscal ‘relationship’ with the Vatican, to say nothing of Maciel’s ‘other’ relationships.

    • Paraguayan Presiden Fernando Lugo was one that blue my mind who as bishop fathered God only knows how many children while in service of the church.
      He was given a “dispensation” to lead the country out of some political bind of advantage to the Papal realm of course.
      I’m also inclined to think it was to get him out of the clutches of pursuing women with paternity claims saving the coffers of the church.

  7. http://commonwealmagazine.org/fog-scandal-1

    One of my favorite articles. Authored by Ana Maria Catanzaro, former head of the AD review board.

    I’ll spare you all an essay and leave you with this quote:

    “So why haven’t they gotten it? In a word, clericalism. In his book Clericalism: The Death of the Priesthood, George B. Wilson, SJ, articulates “unexamined attitudes” typical of clerical cultures: “Because I belong to the clergy I am automatically credible. I don’t have to earn my credibility by my performance.” And: “Protecting our image is more important than confronting the situation.” And: “We don’t have to be accountable to the laity. We are their shepherds.” Over the past few months, that’s how some Philadelphia Catholics and review-board members have perceived the attitude of Philadelphia’s bishops. When will bishops exemplify the teaching of Lumen gentium that laity and clergy are equally responsible for building God’s kingdom on earth? What will it take for bishops to accept that their attitude of superiority and privilege only harms their image and the church’s?”

  8. No excuses needed here. I just DO NOT believe!

    I can’t help that I was baptized. I was like a year old. What choice did I have? First Communion, Conformation? I didn’t ask for any of it.

    The only thing the Catholic Church gave me that really matter was heartache!

    Screw ’em!

    • How do you think I feel, I chose to be a Catholic, bringing my beautiful family with me, only to be offered a life beneath contempt.

      .

    • When I was about 8, my mother lost our 5th child in miscarriage. My dad was out on the road, trucking, to feed his family, so my Mom brought me into bed t comfort her. As an 8 yr old, I held her as she cried, because our baby would never go to heaven, because it wasn’t baptized! She would never see Jesus or Mary or any member of her family in eternity. This filled me with grief and anger. I was upset and mad at God. Later, I learned that a loving, merciful Almighty God wouldn’t do such a thing as invent a place called Limbo. Since I learned this practical life lesson, I have been filled with RAGE! Later, I discovered that a brother had been raped by a priest, one who I knew! The Roman Catholic Church has given me nothing but heartache, anger and rage and often overwhelming bitterness! She also gave me an insatiable need to study the history of the Church, World History and the Bible. Now, I have an outlet for it, and my goal is to educate all Catholics, who are still inside of the Church as to the reality that they are worshipping “The Whore of Babylon,” and fulfilling her agendas, rather than those of Christ’s!

      • Jeanne ,our goal is to protect children and help victims..all are welcome whether they are practicing Catholics or fallen away,conservative or liberal. We want to educate and inform people to understand the magnitude of the abuse. What they choose to do concerning their faith is their own personal decision, not one we are trying to influence.

      • Jeannie, and so you should be!
        The rules and regulations we are/held to and the concept of God, hell and damnation doesn’t apply to them, with “special dispensations” metted out to protect the establishment.
        Imagine the power to be able to refuse a father clergyman his rights, (whether a diocesan or religious), yet a Papal rescript can ligitimize his child.
        So much for the creative elemant between one man and one woman.
        There is nothing in scripture that mentions “threesomes”, apart from the Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, God The Holy Spirit.
        Not God The Vicar of Christ.

  9. But I could be wrong about the church’s leadership and willingness to exercise its moral authority.

    Consider the USCCB and “Our most cherished liberty.” The church is under attack and the Bishops want to lead the charge.

    Hmm. The bishops note that several states have passed laws that prohibit “harboring” undocumented immigrants, “and what the church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to those immigrants.” They point in particular to Alabama’s 2011 law targeting the undocumented as “perhaps the most egregious.” Yet they fail to inform us that the Obama administration immediately challenged the Alabama law on the grounds that it conflicted with federal immigration law, which is far more humane. A federal district court quickly issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of those aspects of the statute to which the bishops objected. Seems like the Bishops think only part of the story is important.

    Ah, but there’s the HHS mandate! For most people, being exempt on moral or religious grounds from directly taking part in some action, like bearing arms or performing an abortion or eating forbidden foods or undergoing forbidden medical procedures, is quite different from paying taxes or insurance premiums that fund a wide variety of social measures for others, including some measures one finds morally objectionable. Quakers may be exempt on religious grounds from fighting in combat; they are not exempt from paying the taxes that support the Defense Department. Jehovah’s Witnesses may be exempt from participating in the classroom Pledge of Allegiance; they are not exempt from paying school taxes. The bishops are blurring a common-sense line in a way that may come back to haunt them.

    Nah. I think I was right the first time. Everytime I want give the benefit of the doubt I find the institutional leadership wanting. Hoopla like “our most cherished liberty” is a distraction that avoids dealing with a long and ongoing and serious problem.

    • I agree mackeralsnapper! It seems that the complexity of issues these days is more than many of us are willing or able to deal with. I only counsel that we ought to at least try our best to know the issues. Few make the effort.

  10. Catholic doctrine maintains that the Pope is infallible when he speaks on faith and morals due to him being God-enlightened and God-inspired. It teaches that bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles and that the Pope is the successor to St. Peter. Theologically, it all means that the magisterium is endowed with historically authentic and divine authority.

    Enter the sex abuse crisis, the magisterium’s other, present crises, and its long history of crises, marked by crimes, sins, mismanagement, collusion, conspiracy, lies, cover ups and
    silence. Does it seem like the magisterium really consists of men imbued with historically authentic and divine authority? How irresponsible and irrational it would be if we failed to explore the “Truth” of magisterial authority through the lenses of reason and the events of reality. All of the doctrines of faith have come through the magisterium. Considering the men of the magisterium, the doctrines beg that we critically think about them, particularly inquire into what may have fueled or generated them, and question the validity of them.

    Isn’t that what the Irish are doing?

    Are we to swoon and faint over the idea of critically analyzing the validity of our faith doctrines? Should the idea induce a guilt and fear based paralysis? Are we fundamentally hell-bound should we tread there?

    If we want the truth, we will ask the questions.

    • Hadit..want to take a whack at the ‘primacy of personal conscience’…ala the Magisterium

    • Hadit,
      I believe also if you search for the truth you will find it…its a process.. in understanding …….ironically the more I have lived the more I believe the churches teachings are very wise but difficult to follow……..but Jesus never promised easy…..just heaven for those that follow him..

      • The churches teaching are very wise but difficult to follow:
        Yes but to be a teacher you have to first be a witness and the Scriptures have much to say about being false ones.
        Another misconception is that charity covers a multitude of sins.

    • hadit,
      The scripture that tells us “all have sinned” theologically defines for us that absent intervention of
      sovereign outside power , “all” [tragically] are deserving of eternal [unending] separation
      from our loving creator [God.]

      These same scriptures [bible] go on to assure all that by FAITH alone in the provision made through God’s
      action [death, burial and resurrection] ANYONE may [after death] enjoy eternity in heaven with their loving creator.

      The scriptures deliver this GIFT to the world, and RELIGIOUS “AUTHORITIES” oppose and persecute
      the spread of knowledge of the saving Word of God.

      • To continue the subject of my last— the AUTHORITIES are ineffective in transmitting the saving gospel of Christ because their reason for being is the opposite, they do not comprehend nor believe the Word of God and therefore fill the role of opponent
        of the truth and transmission of it. They make up rules and dogmas that deny what God has said.

        Then you ask: “Whom shall I believe?” Believe the Word of God, test and try it. The Word itself explains the Word. Teachers can help if they are rightly “dividing the Word of truth” as Paul instructs in II Tim. 2:15.

  11. http://m.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2004/01/greeley.htm

    This is an article by Andrew Greeley that addresses what we can expect from the church’s leadership in the future. My favorite quote is “Today’s young priests tend to want to restore the power that the clergy held not only before Vatican II but also before a large educated Catholic laity emerged as a powerful force in the Church after World War II.”

    This is precisely what got us into this mess. And it looks like we’re about to get even more.

    Back when I was working on my MBA I can recall reading an article entitled “Escalating Commitment to a Failed Course of Action.” Escalating commitment to a losing course of action is usually attributed to a need on the part of decision makers to maintain the illusion that they have not erred.

    But why not. The magisterium is infallible.

  12. Hadit Catholic, I like your comments especially the end where you say, “If we want the truth, we will ask the questions.” Many questions need asking especially those pertaining to how the Catholic Church has approached and taught human sexuality and celibacy over many centuries. The hierarchy seems to want to remain in the Dark Ages.

  13. After the first Philadelphia Grand Jury reported, a light was switched on inside me and for the first time in my life I saw that the Gospels are the record of Almighty God’s living a human life that taught us: we are created in His image and likeness, that an integral part of knowing that is knowing that the Kingdom of God is here now, within us; and that institutions like the Pharisees and their ilk and their inane customs and rules do definitely stand in the way of knowing the Truth of the Kingdom. His confrontations at the Temple are there for us to see as the perfect analogue to what the Imperial Church has become, to really see the mortal threat their system of rote, fear-based belief poses to our spiritual growth.

    From that point on I understood that prayer and knowing myself were more important than the supposed Transubstantiation, done at the hands of pedophiles. That event simply could not be! Most importantly, I came to understand that most of these clerics did not themselves believe in the sacraments. Had they ever actually believed in the Power they tell us only they can channel, they would never have done the vicious and brutal things they have done.

    So if they themselves don’t really Believe, I certainly will no longer do so.

    Since then I have come to understand that one of the most nefarious things they have done through the centuries is teach us that they alone are close enough to God to broker His grace on our behalf. That lie has ensured centuries of servitude of the Faithful, built material empires for the clergy, and obscured the most basic Truth meant to be revealed to us by the life, death and resurrection of Christ- that having been made in His image and likeness, we have been given His same power and ability to create and do good, providing we stay with Him.

    The Catholic nuns taught me about God. God taught me to see the Truth about the Catholic Church.

    Ten years ago I was an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. I helped run an Alpha For Catholics program for several years. Now I take the Church at its word, by its example and I see it as void. The mass is a weekly history lesson, a weekly repeat of the Collection. They never taught us how to understand God and how to keep that Truth in our hearts, how to stay in touch with Truth as our lives progress. some priests did so, certainly. But most told us to do, obey and question nothing.

    Now I see why they did that. They did not themselves know the truth, and it was to their advantage to keep the Faithful on the hook.

    Did I lose my faith? No, the leaders of the Church revealed themselves for what they really are. I lost nothing. Did I make a decision to leave, to make a break? No. I just saw the Truth. I know it is Truth because not only do I no longer feel “guilty” for rejected the “Infallible” teachings, I am closer to God than I ever was when I was part of The Machine.

    • mwest,

      Correct me if I’ve misunderstood…

      When you saw the Truth of the leaders of the Church and their “infallible” teachings, you left The Machine (the Church), retaining your faith in God, and relying on yourself and Him, alone, to maintain and sustain it.

      That’s my faith journey, so I want to be careful that I don’t read it into yours.

      • Exactly right.

      • mwest,

        Once someone asked me what the greatest challenge was in my faith journey, described so well by you.

        For me, it was trusting myself and my conclusions. It was coming to feel and believe that I was competent, capable, informed and mature enough to make the decisions I made, to reinvent and articulate a faith apart from the Church, and to act as a viable and integral participant in it. I also had to pass the faith onto my children. I had to say, “I’m ok, and I can do this well.” When I was a pew Catholic, I often felt that arriving at Church was like saying, “Ok, I’m here, do it to me or lay it on me.” When I exited the Church, I, personally, had to do the work of my faith. I became my own cleric. The ownership is transforming, and the resulting faith is real, deep, meaningful, and true.

  14. mwest,
    Your comment mirrors exactly where I am today on my faith journey. The shock for me is how long it took me to get here after sixty-one years as a cradle catholic. The reward is my relationship with God without the middleman!

  15. IMPORTANT SUGGESTION for demonstration outside of the courthouse in Philly: Does anyone remember the opening words to the old Requiem “Black Mass?” They are “Dies Irae, Dies Silla!” They are very important! They mean “Day of Judgment, Day of Wrath!” I suggest that someone in Philly get a loud speaker and a copy (CD) of Mozart’s Requiem Mass and play it out in front of the court house! It is absolutely terrifying to hear, and it is one that the Church could finally relate to, as it applies to Her, rather than to the poor people who bought indulgences and paid for Masses for their beloved Dead, so after passing from a long, hard, sometimes agonizing illness, they wouldn’t burn in the flames of Purgatory!

  16. The Inquirer seems to suggest that the continued deliberations center on Fr. Brennan. Cipriano took the same take in his piece, yesterday. Wednesday the jury is off. If it doesn’t happen today, maybe Thursday? If the jury is finished with Lynn, they are carrying around that verdict. I wonder how it feels?

    • Hadit…I was glad to see the Jury really checking out Brennan’s ‘canonical trial’ which has been going on forever.

      The fact that there WAS a canonical trial speaks volumes about Brennan’s previous history…and having Quirk “read in” some data about the canonical trial….well…So good marks for the prosecution to get the canonical trial submitted as evidence!

      I am impressed with this jury….convicting and jailing folks is very serious business…and my impression is that they are taking it quite meticulously….

  17. I just read an article about the Sandusky trial…the testimony of victim #1 is absolutely gut-wrenching.

    Is there a blog, similar to the Cipriano blog about the Sandusky trial? Any blog about the Sandusky trial?

    • SW, two things….I get 4 newspapers a day, 2 local and the Journal and NYTimes…all are covering the Sandusky case….and while I too wish there was more national coverage of the Lynn trial…at least folks are learning about abuse, and that’s awfully important!

      Second thought, I am posting a link for today’s BiLGRIMAGE ….in it there is a link to the Dallas Morning News spread on the bishops as they arrived in Dallas, in 2002. Two thirds of the bishops are noted with their pictures and brief descriptions of abuse on their watch. THEN the bishops created the Charter.

      I am no fan of the Charter, but am very grateful to the media, in this case the Dallas Morning News….

      http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/06/catholic-bishops-meet-800-pound-gorilla.html

    • I don’t know about any blogs on the Sandusky trial, SW, but I’ve been watching it all day since Monday. It’s a lot to take in. PA law prevents cameras from being in the courtroom and I think I’m happy about that. I’d rather hear the testimony from a third person. I don’t think I could keep the TV on if I had to listen to the victim talk about it.

      Victim 1 is 18 years-old and just recently a high school graduate. His own mother reassured the boy that it was okay to have a relationship with Sandusky, but I don’t think she had any clue just what kind of relationship that really was. His mother also invited Sandusky to stay the night at their house even though the boy didn’t want to be around Sundusky. It’s all pretty horrible, and I’m sure the boy’s mother feels guilty about having placed a predator in the presence of her son. She just didn’t know.

      Victim 1 also told a school guidence counselor that Sandusky was abusing him and the counselor didn’t believe him. You see… we all think that no one would believe us if we spoke up about the abuse. Here’s the proof!

      Mike McQueary claims that he did more than was first reported when Sandusky was arrested. He said it was “too much for his mind to comprehend.” Bullshit! He’s making excuses for why he didn’t do more, and even worse it seems like the media and people in general are starting to side with McQueary. How ridiculous! If you walk in on a little boy, who you believe in being raped by an adult man, even though you don’t see penetration, but it’s clear he is raping a boy as he has already admitted to, and you do next to nothing, you are just as complicit. I have no sympathy for anyone who can witness something like that, turn around and leave the room, and report it the next day. Coward McQueary!

      McQueary reported it the next day to Penn State president Graham Spanier, and if you watched the cover yesterday you’d tend to believe that Penn State officials decided to play the allegations by the book, by the Catholic Church Playbook that is. Files admitted into evidence yesterday showed that top officials of Penn State knew more than they told the grand jury. Graham Spanier kept a “secret file” (does this remind anyone of another organization?) that documented allegations and witness accounts of Jerry Sandusky abusing little boys and then covered it up. Gary Shultz, in charge of campus police, also knew and covered up the allegations. Is this not the definition of “conspiracy?”

      Jerry Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was said to have walked in on her husband abusing a little boy in a hotel room. While little boys slept in the Sandusky’s basement, at least one screamed for help, but Dottie never entered the basement while boys were in the house and Jerry was with them. When will Dottie be charged with endangering the welfare of children? When will Dottie be charged as a co-conspirator?

      Victim 4 is a Iraq war combat veteran. Reporters say that he sounds like he’s been dealing with this for a long time and has probably gotten some help along the way, because he just seems more confident on the stand, whereas 18 year-old Victim 1 is still frazzled, because really this was like recent for this kid. The abuse for Victim 1 only ended recently. How do we treat our veterans, again?

      Last night on CNN, Dr. Drew compared the cover-up by Penn State officials “exactly” like the cover-up by church officials in Philadelphia.

      • I haven’t followed the Sandusky reporting closely, just getting bits and pieces.

        If the victim told a guidance counselor out right, then the counselor needs to face the consequences of not reporting! He’s mandated.

        Sandusky’s wife reminds me of some of the loyal pew Catholics…they just can’t believe it, so they don’t…they look the other way and lie to themselves…and children get raped.

        All these people who knew and did nothing…makes me sick.

      • I can’t get over how much I hear on TV news about the Sandusky trial when I hear nothing about the Lynn trial.???????????????

  18. Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply June 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Dear Susan,

    What if there is no lack of leadership? Want a leader? Look in the mirror. This is not intended to be flattery. You and Kathy started a blog, people followed you, and based on their experience of you gave you leadership authority. Whether you ever intended this, you are a leader in the Church.

    Many others who visit this site are taking action and providing leadership starting with the victims and survivors who spoke up and told the truth. We are following them too. Every time someone says “I believe the survivors” they acknowledge their leadership and authority. Some survivors want no part of the Church; I respect that. I don’t want to impose any demands on them. I am grateful for the truth they told; this was a gift to those of us who want to have a Church rise out of the ashes.

    We have to look to one another for leadership and stop wasting time hoping that the institutional leaders can change. More of us need to follow your example.

    “The Power of a Dying Hierarchy is an Illusion,” by Joe Orso:

    “[T]he church hierarchy looks to me like a senile old man, babbling, impotent and chastising anyone within earshot. What I struggle to understand is why anyone with a congruent perspective still listens to the old man. Why do thinking Catholics become outraged by the absurd actions of a hierarchy that holds little moral or practical authority in the world?

    The Vatican has already forfeited most of its relevance in the larger world; in responding with anger, shock or moral platitudes about the injustice of Rome’s actions, we Catholics also sacrifice some of our own relevance in that world.

    As a body of people, we reveal ourselves to be sorrowfully distracted. The hierarchy wastes its energy trying to rein in American prophets and elevate a top-down spiritual path. The people in the pews follow their lead, either reconciling their lives with the strange demands of the robed men or else simmering with frustration over how absurd those demands are. Either way, it’s all a waste, all a distraction, and Catholicism’s irrelevance grows….

    From where I stand, it is clear to me that if Catholicism is to thrive as a cultural force beyond its own echo chamber, at least some Catholics must not only realize that the hierarchy is a fading ghost, but live in a way that responds to this reality. For example, instead of venting our frustration to each other about the Vatican’s actions or the ultraconservative pastor who has hijacked our parish, we need to realize these men have no power over us, individually or communally, and to respond from that freedom, creating new forms of relationship and religious practice not dependent on the pastors.”

    http://ncronline.org/news/women-religious/essay-power-dying-hierarchy-illusion

    • Martin….on target, yet again…..I went back and read the Orso piece and found it shocking that Dennis Coday at the bottom of the article said he had received so many ‘vile’ comments on the article that he pulled them all….I have never seen the NCR do that.

      Perhaps what elicited the comments was the critique of hierarchical leadership. I see the vile comments as a measure of the ‘threat’ they evoke.

      Yes, Kathy and Susan are leaders….and the forum they provide has a power of its own. Finally a place where folks can support survivors, learn about abuse, exchange ideas.

      A place where C4C folks are treated AS ADULTS, …..WITH RESPECT!

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply June 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        Joan, I had not seen that the comments were pulled; thanks.

        You said: “I see the vile comments as a measure of the ‘threat’ they evoke.”

        Touching a nerve, eh? This is very insightful. The vile comments are thus validation of potential potency of Orso’s counsel. Thanks. Martin

    • Martin, Thank you. I’ve found powerful leaders in so many, including yourself, who have commented here. That essay made for really good reading. Joan, I did catch that bit at the end, too.

    • Martin,

      WOW! That says it all.

      “…we need to realize these men have no power over us, individually or communally, and to respond from that freedom, creating new forms of relationship and religious practice not dependent on the pastors.”

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply June 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        I agree. They have no power over us, only the power we give them. Wish I had said it, drwho13! Martin

  19. They, the institutional church have done a good job on us… They almost pulled off the greatest stunt of humanity! They have distorted the gospel in ways that some cannot even begin to imagine. And some of us still can’t believe it!!!

    From my own humble view, the message that Jesus suffered and died for, is as relevant today as it was then. It’s just that the packaging it’s in now, with all the warning labels, reminds me of the Pharma Industry. “Talk to your doctor about taking “‘the-latest-crap”, you’ll be glad you did! But Warning…don’t take this if you breath, have ever had sex or have ever seen a car, as a few instances of people losing their minds have been reported.”

    I’m sorry to say, but many of them are still warmin’ the pews so to speak. But, I can given them a break, as I think we can all agree, eternity and hell, especially combined are very powerful cult like incentives.

    But the greediness, self-betrayal and flat out arrogance is what has finally begun to let some air out of their balloons. Don’t get me wrong, if you think they, the pope, the curia, et al, are going to give up all of the power and money that goes along without a fight, well, you just might be wrong! ‘Cause they are going to fight like all hell to maintain the lifestyle and adulation that they have become accustomed to.
    Maybe the Holy Spirit is alive and well. Just not working on our timelines….
    I’m just finishing a book “The Pope’s War” by an (Ex) Priest/Theologian who was silenced for saying what he thought was right. Apparently some 91 Theologians have been silenced by the current pope and previous administrator of the office of Inquisition… oh, I mean office of doctrine and faith…
    A quote from his book;

    every day I am afraid
    that he died for nothing
    because he is buried in our churches,
    because we have betrayed his revolution
    in our obedience to and fear of authority
    -Dorothee Soelle

    • Today’s trial report…and a bit of confusion:

      http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/06/read-back-jury-frustrates-judge-lawyers.html

      Cipriano says the canonical testimony was not a part of the trial data….the prosecutors say something else…..

      “The complete testimony wasn’t read aloud to the jurors during the 11-week criminal trial, but prosecutors had submitted the canonical trial transcript with other pieces of evidence.

      Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said jurors had a right to hear that testimony, just as they would any piece of evidence. “It’s an admitted exhibit,” he told the judge.

      Brennan’s lawyer was incensed, contending that it amounted to letting the priest’s accuser testify anew without facing cross-examination.

      “With all due respect, how many times are we going to try this case?” he said.

      Sarmina said jurors would be allowed to hear that testimony Tuesday afternoon, as well as testimony from Jack Rossiter, a former FBI agent who investigated the allegation against Brennan for the archdiocese.”

  20. So… I have a question for you die hard Catholic parents. If you had to choose between your belief in God and your child’s innocence, which would it be? Come on, is God really that important?

    I cannot begin to express my disgust with religion and some people’s belief. Just have a look at this crap!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/north-dakota-measure-3-religious-freedom_n_1589998.html

    What the hell is wrong with this world? How can a bill be heard to allow for children to be abused, but we can’t get a bill heard to protect children?

    I’m going back to Canada!

  21. Txman mentioned it in his post (thank you), but greater attention must be brought to the fact that the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict actively and aggressively sought to silence discourse in the public arena. Among the formidable voices that were rendered speechless include a host of contemporary, Catholic theologians, writers, and scholars. It has led to a decades long, ongoing, Catholic, intellectual holocaust of sorts. Thinkers who thought outside the “party line” box are not with us any longer. The papal choke-holds placed on Catholic thinkers should alarm us.

    And I mean alarm us.

    It should alarm us that fresh thought has been absent from the Catholic landscape for over 40 years. It should alarm us that, in the name of power, control and authority, the silencing effectively shielded Catholicism from critical eyes, suppressing advancements in truth and arresting relevancy . As thinking people, as members of a democratic society, and as people living in an information age, the suppression of inquiry, freedom of speech, and information gathering should alarm us.

    Also alarming is that this silencing modus operandi is antithetical to social documents of the Church, namely Pacem in Terris (1963), Dignitatis Humanae (1965), and Justice in the World (1971). The documents clearly permit and promote inquiry, freedom of speech and information gathering. The discrepancy between the documents and reality should alarm us.

    But what should alarm us most is the silencing, itself. Silencing is a tactic of megalomaniacs, dictators, totalitarian regimes, and cults. It is malicious, self-serving and evil. Many of the atrocities of our time entail silencing. In short, it is not civilized, permissible, acceptable or moral.

    The issue of silencing greatly affects me. As we speak, there are people in the world rising up, risking, and losing their lives because they will not tolerate being silenced. The lengths people will go to exert free thought is staggering. In Cuba, a year ago, I spoke with a group of female writers who, in describing what it is like to pen silenced thoughts, wrung their hands and displayed the most disturbing, contorted, and anxiety-ridden facial expressions I have ever witnessed in my life. I witnessed the effects of silencing in post-revolution Sierra Leone, and in Haiti as well. It is such a cruel affront to our dignity. It is such a horrible crime against humanity.

    In occupying a Catholic pew, a person is saying, I am willing to tolerate it.

    • Hadit,
      So eloquent…

      Because of the silencing, there is complacency…and because of the complacency…children are raped.

      A thinking Catholic would never tolerate the abominable acts of its hierarchy. EVER. They wouldn’t cower, defend, or support such immoral criminal behavior.

      Yes, Hadit…the consequence of their silence is the raping of children.

      In the Catholic Church, the laity are “allowed” to feel badly for the victims, some are able to pray for them. But the moment they think for themselves, and connect the dots that their hierarchy, not only tolerated the sexual abuse of children, but orchestrated it and begin to demand accountability…they, too, will be shunned, discredited, or silenced.

      Call me anti-Catholic …it’s a compliment. I think and act according to my God-given conscience. When Catholics do the same, we’ll see a very different church and children will be safer.

  22. Host of ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC Chris Matthews (Susan Mathews’ Uncle), pointed out yesterday the power graphic testimony has on people in the Jerry Sandusky trial. Chris noted that we are adults, and the words used to describe sexual abuse should be graphic. I certainly agree. Using graphic words makes it clear just what a filthy pig Sandusky is. And, it’s all being covered by the media, (NO GAG ORDER IN SANDUSKY’S CASE). Why are RC priests treated differently?

    The RCC loves to use words like ‘boundary issues,’ ‘inappropriate touching,’ when in fact sodomy (oral and/or anal sex), or buggery (in the United Kingdom) are actually what took place, and those words should be used to describe the crimes these priests have committed.

    Using graphic words in the case of priests sex offenders, and those who cover for them should always be the rule. By doing so, we made it clear that these priests are NOT holy men of God. These PRIESTS are FILTHY CRIMINAL PIGS!

    Why should these filthy priest pigs be described any differently than Jerry Sandusky is being described?

    Why should these filthy pig priests receive any different (preferential) treatment than that filthy pig Sandusky is receiving? Priests who rape and sodomize children should be referred to as rapists and sodomites. THEY ARE NOT HOLY MAN OF GOD! They are not men with ‘boundry issues.’

    • I totally agree with with drwho13. By using these words “boundary issues”, etc., we are still giving these filthy pig priests the respect of a respectable priest. Those supporters who came to support Lynn and Brennan should have been made to listen. I bet those older people in the court would need to be drawn out of their denial. With all of the evidence of the grand jury, why would that have been a gag order? Just goes to show that things have not changed very much.

      • Susan the gag order is for the respective attorneys (defense and prosecution,and witnesses) to not speak to the media.There is no gag order on evidence or the way it is described..at all.

    • drwho ,there is a gag order in the Sandusky case and has been for the past few months. The testimony presented in the AD case was very graphic..how news organizations choose to report it is there call. Maybe the national networks feel “safer” than the local TV affiliates in reporting the graphic abuse..I don’t know …but it is not because of a gag order. I have been in the courtroom with very graphic abuse reported and press is there,what they do with the story is up to them..up to their editors.

      • Kathy,

        “…there is a gag order in the Sandusky case…” Thanks for that information; I had no knoeledge of it.

        I wonder if the local press is intimidated by the AD.

      • drwho13,
        Intimidated by the AD or financially pressured by them?

        The RCC influence is far and wide.

      • drwho, I am sure the worry about people complaining, canceling subscriptions etc…effects the local media more than the media on a national level. Also I do think the Sandusky trial is a game changer,and I hate to use that word in relation to abuse of children. I think the eyewitness testimony of McCreary has shocked an entire nation, after hearing the description of what he witnessed..maybe more open to more graphic details in news accounts?

    • You bring up Chris Matthews: I don’t know of one PEEP out of him on the Philly AD abuse.

      • Amazed,

        Last night on ‘Hardball’ Chris Matthews mentioned the RC priests’ sexual abuse scandals. But, on second thought I can’t remember if he specifically mentioned the Philly priests’ on trial, just can’t recall.

      • Chris Matthews again mentioned the RC priest scandal at the close of MSNBC ‘Hardball’ – 5:58 pm EDT Wednesday 6/13/12.

      • Seth Williams was interviewed by Chris Matthews( full disclosure Susan’s uncle) right after the 2011 GJ report, before the gag order was in effect.

  23. drwho13,
    I agree.

    On a sidenote…comparing the approaches to the trials (Sandusky and Lynn) …

    I was cringing and wincing when reading the account of portions of the testimony of Victim #1 in the Sandusky trial.

    I’m certain the testimony of the victims in the Lynn/Brennan trial was just as gut-wrenching.

    However, the Sandusky trial opened with large pictures of innocent children violated on day 1 and on day 2, a victim is on the stand sharing detailed, traumatic sexual abuse they survived. It’s like a “Saving Private Ryan” intro…where the system is completely shocked and you just want to look away. It’s the truth and needs to be told, but I’m wondering if the victims are being “used’ for an end result? Do they have a say in how this all goes down or are they left trying to survive the trial as well? The boy testifying yesterday was 18 years old, right? I pray he does not have to get back on the stand…for his sake. And 61 year old Lynn thought his cross-examination was rough?

    I’m not judging what should or shouldn’t be happening. I’m just thinking about the victims in all this.

    • Today’s Reuters coverage of the bishops in Atlanta, and the report on their abuse management behaviour had an interesting quote relative to the bishops who had passed on predator priests,…and this quote deals with the topics that are germane to ‘Lynn trial issue’

      “Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Illinois, said the bishops had no intention of looking back at allegations of abuse years in the past and holding church authorities responsible for ignoring the reports or transferring accused priests to other parishes.

      “I’m not sure there’s any effective way… the Conference of Catholic Bishops is going to address that,” Conlon said.”

      • The link for the Reuters quote awaiting moderation is:

        http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wbfo/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1937467/US/Report.praises.U.S..bishops’.work.to.stop.child.sex.abuse

        • Joan,

          Thank you for posting this link. I read it. I’m not surprised.

          This little excerpt is worth sharing here:

          “One bishop, rising to express frustration midway through Notzon’s presentation, said he was not clear why victims’ groups “continue to be very critical of the bishops” and urged the lay board to reach out to them to explain “the extraordinary work you’ve done” in shaping the church’s response to the crisis over the past decade.”

          Not clear why victims’ groups continue to be critical…? No clue why?

          Maybe because you passed along priests to RAPE them, then lied about it or defended those who did…and ONLY when THEY demanded you do things differently, you brought in your lawyers and told them they were liars. Maybe because you had pit the laity against them so you wouldn’t feel so shameful about what you did and knew when they weren’t paying attention?

          Perhaps, instead of delegating the role of “explaining” anything to victims…you climb out of that tower, get in touch with the common folk, and find the victims you and your band of brothers have betrayed and let the victims EXPLAIN to YOU exactly what you need to be doing!

          Sitting around with their self-appointed lay boards is all just too much. Children will not be safe with people like this running dioceses.

  24. SW …I have a comment that is waiting moderation…..that quotes a bishop who is not interested in checking out bishops who passed on predators….“Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Illinois, said the bishops had no intention of looking back at allegations of abuse years in the past and holding church authorities responsible for ignoring the reports or transferring accused priests to other parishes.

    “I’m not sure there’s any effective way… the Conference of Catholic Bishops is going to address that,” Conlon said.”

    • I’m all too familiar with victims that hail from Joliet, Illinois. If it’s any indicator, the bishops before Conlon, Bishop Sartain, and retired Bishop Imesch, were a real treat too. I can’t share what victims have shared with me in confidence, but I can tell you the mind-set is all the same among the clericial culture.

      As of the fall of 2011, Conlon serves as the Chair of the Committee of the Joliet OCYP. Do all bishops hold this position?

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