Accused Priest’s Inclusion In Yearbook Angers School’s Parents

Click here to read: “Accused pedophile priest’s picture included in Holy Spirit yearbook,” by Regina Medina, The Philadelphia Daily News, June 13, 2012

Excerpt: Parents and Packer Park community members are incensed with a parish decision to include a photograph of a smiling defrocked priest in the last Holy Spirit yearbook — next to a 1965 photograph of the eighth-grade graduating class. David C. Sicoli was featured prominently in the 2005 Grand Jury report, accused of molesting several boys during his 33-year ministry and was a former pastor at Holy Spirit Church. Sicoli was defrocked in 2008 after the Archdiocese logged 11 credible abuse claims against him.

76 thoughts on “Accused Priest’s Inclusion In Yearbook Angers School’s Parents

  1. Mixed thoughts here…

    “Regrettable” is all the Philly OCYP can come up with? I’m thinking more along the lines of “Careless” and “Oblivious.”

    If it wasn’t so offensive to the victims, I would say…put all the perps in the yearbook…give the parents a real account of the history they are passing onto their children. “This one was removed in 2001…and this one was sent for prayer and penance in 1995…and this one has a beautiful beach house in Florida…and this one abused girls…and this one lied about $, but he’s in jail…and this one here was removed for “health reasons,”…and this one…

    Whoever is serving on the AD OCYP…NEEDS to be FIRED. Catholic children in Philly are not the priority for the Church.

    Parents of Catholic children in the Philly AD…please storm your church right now and demand better for your children!

    1. The RESOURCES link at the top of this page on Sicoli, Grand Jury report 2011:

      Rev. David C. Sicoli
      According to a 2004 report by the Archdiocesan Review Board, Rev. David C. Sicoli was the subject of “multiple substantiated allegations [of sexual abuse] involving a total of 11 minors over an extensive period of time beginning in 1977 and proceeding to 2002.”

      Father Sicoli paid for tuition, computers, and trips to Africa and Disney World for parish boys to whom he took a particular liking. He invited several to live in his rectories with him, and he gave them high-paying jobs and leadership positions in the Church’s youth group, the CYO. In many instances, he sexually abused them and treated them as if they were his paramours.

      Between 1993 and 2002,Msgr. Lynn received numerous, credible reports from both victims and priests stationed with Father Sicoli that he had engaged in a series of sexual and otherwise inappropriate relationships with boys, two of whom were living with him full-time at his rectory. Yet Msgr. Lynn took no steps to investigate those allegations. He did not prohibit Father Sicoli from having unsupervised contact with children. He did not even warn the parents of the priest’s current victims.

      Instead, Msgr. Lynn followed his customary practice, carrying out the Cardinal’s wishes in such matters. The Secretary for Clergy prevented Father Sicoli’s predatory history from coming to light by lying to the Archdiocese’s own mental health evaluators about the nature and extent of the allegations against the priest.

      Msgr. Lynn’s solution to the problem of other priests complaining about Father Sicoli’s inappropriate relationships with children was to successfully recommend to Cardinal Bevilacqua that he be assigned to “one-man parishes,” where he would be the only priest. This meant that Father Sicoli, whose extensive reported history of sexually abusing children at his parishes was well known to Msgr. Lynn, would have exclusive charge of all youth activities in those churches, with no one to report, and possibly prevent, future abuse.

      1. ‘Regrettable’ is an adjective that I apply to social lapses….being very late is regrettable, forgetting someone’s birthday or anniversary, that kind of thing.

        Publishing a yearbook picture of a priest, whose behaviour is a matter of TWO Grand Jury reports and easily accessible (it took me five minutes to both download the report and post it….and was very recently used by the prosecution in the Lynn trial…

        Frankly, it defies credulity.

        I can’t believe that reasonable laity will not be addressing this issue…with just about everyone, starting at the parish/school level, and moving on to the AD level.

        And in closing, since we are still in the Lynn trial period, there are very clear related applications that the cited article notes:

        ..”The allegations against Sicoli were brought up by prosecutors in the case against Monsignor William Lynn, whose fate is being mulled by a jury. He is one of 21 priests whose secret files were shown to jurors to prove that Lynn ignored or didn’t investigate signs that priests were sexually abusing children. “

      2. I should have included the ‘defrocked but not convicted’ language in the post. To defrock a priest is a very big deal….serious sexual abuse, turned over to Rome, who ‘defrocks’……a pastor who defends this priest as not being ‘convicted’…should and I assume does know what ‘ defrocking’ is all about…No excuse….

    2. Survivors Wife, I AM ENRAGED! What in the name of God does it take to wake these people up? It just gets worse and worse. Rich and I with my therapist went down to Sea Isle City and let a ton of parents know all about Socoli as we handed out flyers that Rich had made up which by the way were terrific. I am so happy to hear all your doing for the safety of children in your neck of the woods, good for you. SW, I am just beside myself with how these so called men of God behave. Talk about living in your own world, the world of total entitlement and TOTAl disreguard for any survivor! My God, this makes me angry! What a message this sends!

      1. Yes Vicky the message that would send to children leaves me cold…but look at the other message that was sent. The people at that parish stood up..I can only assume this story made it’s way to the newspaper because of their own anger at this..the media is now not looked at as the enemy ..and this story is now on the radio,in the newspaper etc..The message sent by the people was a loud “NO”. A gentleman who I have come to know over the past year who is a clergy abuse survivor,told me that we can change the laws which is so important but the other thing that needs to change is the the passivity of the people…that is changing..and that is good.

      2. Vicky,
        You and other survivors have known for quite some time how things go in the Philly AD in regard to children.

        I am encouraged to hear a parent speak up (Maria Capa…sp?) to a priest. And somehow…the media got involved. How does that happen unless the parent who complained was so upset by the pathetic response that she contacted the media? I LOVE THAT! Note to other Catholics…If the hierarchy won’t listen, call a news outlet. Then the media can start ringing the AD to get their version of the “story.” The 2 M’s…money and media…and they’ll listen.

        I want parents more than angry…I want them motivated to ACTION! I literally want to shake them, knock on their heads and ask if anyone is home? Too many will listen to the rhetoric…some pathetic excuse about how it slipped through the cracks…”it was a mistake…it won’t happen again…we’re learning…regrettable.” What will it be next?

        Vicky, the carelessness of these actions is a slap in the face to every victim who has been demanding better for children for years. I believed you then. I believe you now. You have a clear road map of how to honor children and keep them as a priority. This is a sign that they haven’t listened to the victims again (or ever).

        I hope the next story to come out will be how Catholic parents organized a yearbook burning in front of the church. They invited the media. They did it to let the church know this carelessness will not be tolerated and they demand the AD pay for their ruined yearbooks or a re-printed version. Now, wouldn’t that be an encouraging step in the right direction? Please tell me this generation of Catholics is going to be better than the last one? Is there any hope?

      3. “Regrettable?! Regrettable?!” The decision to include Socoli’s picture in the yearbook is unconscionable! I, too, am enraged and disgusted. Total disregard for victims. Fr. Mark Kunigonis’ comments add fuel to the fire. Absolutely unbelievable. Vicky, I know you and Rich went to Sea Isle to distribute flyers… it was the first thing that entered my mind when I read this article. Take some comfort in the fact that Socoli’s neighbors are aware of his horrendous past by your courageous actions. And kudos to Maria Capetola for speaking up… and bringing it to the attention of the media. Perhaps this will wake some parents up. A yearbook burning would bring more media attention. I hope people gather to make it happen!
        I believe the victims…

  2. This situation supports my belief that many RCC people do not take the abuse crisis seriously. Many say that personally they know a priest or a nun to be a good person and will not support anyone who accuses. Many will say that they go to a specific church for their own spritual renewal. From my point of view, these people are supporting the secrecy that has created the terrible situation that we have in the RCC today. I can’t understand why a parish would support the inclusion of a known predator in their yearbook. I just cannot understand behavior that ignores the suffering of so many. I am so sorry to hear this…

  3. Philly Catholics…

    Remember the name Fr. Mark Kunigonis. His response was, “Well, he was a pastor and he wasn’t convicted.” This was in response to a parent complaint about Sicoli (predator priest) being in the yearbook.

    Let’s put the dots close together here. If this is the response to a parent about the oblivious way the hiearchy treats victims (and current children), it translates to how they will handle the safety and protection of your children in other areas as well. What happens when they are making other decisions about what is best for your children when you aren’t looking? Or it isn’t even on their radar to begin with?

    1. OK! Now there’s a catholic parent!! Every parish should have a Maria Capetola to refuse to take one more slap in the face from the clergy sitting down…..and to decide that neither the pastor, nor the AD will have the last word about the way a parish or its school defines itself.
      What a disgusting, but perfect example of the absurdity of the state of affairs in the AD.

    2. …”He wasn’t convicted”? Seriously? He was DEFROCKED and WAS CONVICTED IN THE CHURCH COURT! I can’t believe he would say something so stupid.

    3. I just learned that Fr. Kunigonis is a new pastor in our parish so I looked him up which led me to this site…I don’t even know how to react. I was praying for progress and a fresh start with a new leader at our church but this news may make me consider going to another church.

  4. Insensitive, unaware, out of complete touch with what is happening around them.This is merely a small symptom of these( ha ha) holy, educated in holy laws, narsescistic men. This RCC. is unbiblical, unholy., and does nothing that JESUS CHRIST. would ever, in a million years, ever…or would even think , a person of God, would do. It is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit….IMHO. Which is; the. UNFORGIVEABLE SIN!!

  5. It just keeps getting worse! The callousness, the lack of care, the hurt perpetrated….. It is a horrible, vicious, cycle of depravity and sickness.

  6. If I were a Philly Catholic parent, I would demand answers to 1. Who was responsible for the decision to put the picture in the yearbook? 2. Who reviews the yearbook before going to print? 3. What adult employed by the AD allowed this to happen? 4. What policies or processes are in place for public displays of removed priests.5. Who is in charge of implementing those policies?

    Once you have those names and processes…then you will have an answer to who put children low on the priority list, and which policies and overseers (if there are any) failed your children.

    Parents should be outraged that a predator priest is their child’s yearbook because of how it hurts the victims first…but more so because it gives you yet ANOTHER warning about how the AD operates.

    1. Right on SW! A thought: If we are “blindsided” or “surprised” by this latest debacle, we need to examine whether we have really faced this thing as it really is.Just sayin’.

  7. I commend the parent, Maria Cepatola, who went to the pastor even though not a successful outcome. I have spoken to people within the Philly AD who say “parents need to speak up”
    I have spoken on the national level to the Office of Child and Youth of the USCCB and again ”People in Philadelphia need to speak up. I agree, and thank you Maria for doing just that. If we all sit in silence, file into church, drop the collection envelopes in the basket…why would anything change? Many people just leave..if so, make sure you speak up on your way out the door. If you stay in the Church…speak up. People are so year later after Susan and I went public with this blog… we still are. Maria went to the pastor,had her name published with the article..come on people..speak up,whether within your parish,your school, in newspapers ,internet sites.etc…and using your name only adds to the credibility..anyone can say anything anonymously…follow Maria’s lead …don’t leave those of us who speak up publicly hanging out here on our own…it is time for the kids…way past time.

    1. Thank you, Kathy. Speak up people!! Call and write to the AD offices–in whatever diocese you are located. Write to editors, keep this issue and the issue of RCC secrecy and lies before the public. BELIEVE THE VICTIMS. SUPPORT THE VICTIMS!!!
      Work toward true separation of church and state. Work for the repeal of the RCC tax exempt status.

  8. This is unbelievable. The only reason this priest was not convicted was because the Lynn and the others did not take action to convict him. How do these people function?? The Catholic church cannot change because they don’t think anything is wrong. As long as the people go to church and get their money, life will go on as usual. The Catholic Church needs to me burned down.

    1. I like your attitude Susan. Burn it down! Just like Michael said in another topic, “starve them by keeping your money in your pockets.”

      If Walmart employees were frequently molesting and raping children in the dressing rooms in their stores across the country and the world, and Walmart Corporation knew about the abuse for decades, and even since their first day in business, and did nothing to protect children and hand their employees over to law enforcement, the consumer would be outraged. Maybe some would burn down their stores. Maybe many would stop shopping at Walmart.

      Why is religion different?

      1. An interesting concept I recently came across is, clergy vestments are sacramental, that means they are set apart and blessed by the Church, to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion to those who see and those who use them.
        When vesting for the liturgy, the priest first washes his hands, praying, “Give virtue to my hands O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body”.
        The Alb, white, a symbol of purity, he prays, “Purify me, O Lord and cleanse my heart, that being made white in the blood of the Lamb, I may come to eternal joy”.
        The girdle speaks for itself, a sign of purity and chastity, “Gird me, O Lord with the girdle of purity,and extinquish in me all evil desires, that the virtue of chastity may abide in me”.
        I suppose the theory is, if they say it often enough, it will sink in, a little like learning your times tables, by rote and without thinking.

      2. I really loved your statements about Walmart. It makes so much sense. I was wondering what others are doing about tithing at church. I just can’t bring myself to give anymore money. You all have to know that its into millions and millions of dollars for these lawyer fees and settlement fees.

      3. Judas betrayed Jesus and then sold him for 30 pieces of silver! My church betrayed the victims of clergy sexual abuse and then sold their innocence, childhood and very souls for a COVER UP! What more do the people of the archdiocese of Philadelphia need to know about what the hierarchy willfully did to the sexually abused children of our church?
        I truly believe, that the pew sitters who sit there like bumps on a log Sunday after Sunday could care less about clergy sexual abuse until it comes to their front door! Now for the price tag of the dream team of Msgr. Lynn; we know it isn’t 30 pieces of silver. How about asking Chaput, after all it’s your money, if you are still contributing to the Catholic Church!

  9. I just sat down at my computer and opened up C4C and saw this topic and I laughed. Now, of course I don’t think this is funny by any means at all, but it’s just that sometimes anger and rage, panic and despair, come out as laughter, all the while I feel a sickness in my stomach. You just can’t make this stuff up! It just gets worse and worse in some creepy evil way.

    I was reading online last night about the terms we use to describe these human beings who groom, molest, and rape children. I’m so used to referring to these scumbags as “monsters, evil, inhumane,” but the fact of the matter is that these people are very human and I now find myself wanting to change how I feel about these people and what I might call them. The problem is that if we refer to them as monsters, parents will become more vigilant about the “monsters” that technically don’t exist. These abusers are human beings, and whereas some appear to be kind neighbors, trusting teachers, police officers bound by laws, abusers come in all shapes and sizes and many are family members, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and those closest to your child and your family. This is not news to me though. I know all too well that 95% of child sexual abusers are not strangers, but are most often someone the child and the family knows and trusts. Of course what these “humans” do to children is an absolute monstorous act. The child is also not the only victim. Many times the parents are also groomed so that the abuser can get closer to the child. I think parents need to be more vigilant of everyone and anyone who is spending time with their children.

    By the way, in 2010 when LeBron James left Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat, fans in Cleveland littered the streets of the city by buring LeBron James’ jerseys, because of the way in which he left Cleveland. In my opinion, James deserted the city and that sports franchise after making many promises to bring an NBA championship to the city of Cleveland. Maybe students and parents should burn Holy Spirit yearbooks in front of their school to protest the appearance of a “human being,” who groomed, molested, and raped children?

    1. I have said it before— if a significant number of Catholic parents came out of their comas and realized what is going on—
      it would resemble the villagers with staves, torches and pitchforks storming the “castle” where the Vampire and the Monster dwell.

    2. Rich, GREAT IDEA! Now let’s see if they do? Don’t bet your money on it. I have to say it again, I am ENRAGED BY THIS! The pure insensitivity of it all. They don’t CARE about your children!!!

  10. Wow!! Defrocked but not convicted……… !!!!!!!…. It literally blows my mind. It’s a confirmation of the thoughtlessness, uncaring, ruthless…….sick manner in which The AD and all associates,pope on down, react to such horrific crimes against innocent children. Morally bankrupt, amoral. No morals, no feelings. My God!!!! This represents Jesus on the earth….No i don’t think so. Satan is alive and well…. I BELIEVE the victims/survivors. My faith in God has never been stronger, and it is the Spirit inside that sustains.

  11. What the sexual abuse by the priests, nuns and brothers in the RCC are doing to the children, the handicapped and marginalized and the laity(parents) is what is so completely foreign to what CHRIST teaches us, is.. …THE UNFORGIVEABLE SIN. Not the picture in the yearbook. It’s Symptomatic of the evil that has penetrated and found fertile ground to perpetuate it’s “whoremongering” in people and finances, throughout the Catholic world! again….. in MHO!

  12. “Defrocked but not convicted… it blows my mind…” Really? Call your legislators and find out why our abusers will never face the long arm of the law or see the inside luxuries of a prison cell.

    1. V4J I should have said what a reason to put a picture in a parish booklet. Of course i know the reason why they won’t see the inside of prison walls. C4C keeps us informed of it all. Peace.

  13. Anyone find the irony of this?

    While a jury deliberates after 10 weeks of horrifying testimony about how the clergy of the Catholic Church raped children and lied about it…the following plays out…

    On this C4C site, a recent post asked the simple question, “What Do Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Want?”

    …at the same time…

    The Philly AD OCYP…when faced with upset parents about a pedophile priest’s picture in their childrens’ yearbooks…responds with, “Regrettable.”

    Who is living the gospel?

  14. Every once and a while, someone makes a quiet reflective comment that draws all things together, goes right to the core and speaks to the Spirit in empathy.
    There was such a one, posted yesterday on Eureka Street, a Jesuit publication sponsored by Catholics.
    It was submitted by “Aurelius” and I know it will find a home here.
    The best way to crush the human spirit is to render the core of someones being invalid-thereby making even that which causes them to suffer to be non-existant.
    It’s a very cunning form of cruelty.

    1. Permit me to take a stab at the “Aurelius” quote. First, let me take a stab at “Aurelius”.

      I believe the blogger-name “Aurelius” is a shortened version of Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), the fourteenth Roman emperor, and a devout Stoic or follower of the philosophy called Stoicism. Stoicism is enjoying a resurgence in popularity these days. There are numerous websites catering to Stoic appetites. Most likely the blogger, “Aurelius,” is part of the lively, modern, Stoic movement, today.

      Any number of ancient Stoics could responsible for “Aurelius’s” quote, maybe it is from Marcus Aurelius, himself, or Epictetus, Zeno or Seneca. What I do know is that the quote unmistakably conveys Stoic philosophy, and what the quote means is NOT what C4C folks think it means.

      For a Stoic, the “human spirit” is the locus of emotions. Stoics are especially concerned with the emotions of pain and suffering. They can make life miserable. Especially disconcerting is that we have no control over pain and suffering, just as we have no control over the events in our lives that cause them. Life is fated, and stuff, particularly, bad stuff, happens, according to Stoics. It’s a given that the bad stuff will cause us to experience pain and suffering.

      However, humans can exert their minds and wills in ways that effectively detach them from the experience of pain or suffering, according to Stoics. Indeed, we have the capability of mentally “turning off” or “invalidating” or rendering non-existent the human spirit’s caldron of emotions, and we can will or choose to altogether ignore them. If we do, the very thing that causes us pain and suffering is rendered non- existent.

      Stoics render invalid the very core of their being in order to enjoy happy, content and peaceful lives. They don’t consider the invalidation of their core to be cruel. What’s cruel for Stoics are their fated lives, rationally controlled by a “cosmic mind” called the Logos, and the resulting pain and suffering. Like “good” world-guests, they accept everything that fate puts on their plate without becoming bitter and broken, then they use their minds and wills to detach from it.

      I wonder if any survivors could benefit from all or parts of Stoicism? What about folks sad, hurt and disillusioned by the Church? If Brennan and Lynn do time, could Stoicism help them through their

      1. Well then, it is in the eyes of the beholder.
        I saw it as the voice of the inner spirit in consolation to the humanity of man, crying out at a time of isolation. A place where many have found themselves at the hands of others.
        I love it, if not for myself, then for other’s.
        Receive it in the spirit it was given.

      2. thats one on me– I thot “stoic” was somebody who keeps on goin to the “sto” all the time.

    2. L. Newington………..all I can say is wow……… sad and so true a statement……….

  15. L. Newington – I love that quote by Aurelius. I had someone treat me in this manner and I would argue with this person to see my point but it never happened. Yes, it’s a very cunning form of cruelty.

  16. What can you expect from the current pastor, he was probably among the priest who applauded for Rev. Lynn when they had a meeting several months ago. These guys do not get it, from the Vatican (pope) on down to the many deacons in the AD of Philadelphia. The only way they will realize that they are offending the victims will be for the local DA’s Office start to bring criminal charges against all of the people involved in this coverup and sexual scandal. Many of those who committed these crimes against our catholic youth need to be in jail.

  17. What about Kathy or Susan contacting Maria Capetola and inquiring into whether she would like to write a blog piece for C4C or simply post a blog on her thoughts, feelings and experiences. Her participation in the public conversation would bring further attention to the incident, further enlighten folks, and might trigger other folks (particularly Holy Spirit folks) to join in on the conversation.

    1. Hadit, I just spoke with maria! She is terrific! I told her about this website and she will get on and read this topic. We spoke for about 45 minutes. I felt so good after talking with her. I told her how much she had healed me about what had happened and my rage left me. She is quite a fighter and will not be silenced. I hope kathy or Susan get to talk with her, she is so supportive of the survivors and “gets it”.

      1. Way to go, Vicky! There you go again, reaching out at just the right time, and always for the right reason. You are amazing! Thank you so much.

        I look forward to hearing from you, Maria. Thanks for having the courage and decency to speak up.

      2. Vicky – so glad to hear you reached out to Maria and had such a positive conversation!

  18. Copied from Voice from the Desert…

    Philly pastor publicly honored a defrocked pedophile priest, SNAP responds


    We call on Philly Archbishop Charles Chaput to harshly discipline the pastor who just publicly honored a defrocked pedophile priest. (see below)

    Apologies and words aren’t enough. When church employees hurt and insult thousands of betrayed Catholic parishioners and hundreds of suffering abuse victims, action must be taken.

    Over and over again, we see Catholic staffers – high and low – making reckless, callous and deceitful decisions in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. Most times, some church public relations professional then issues a short, vague, tepid semi-apology. And the recklessness, callousness and deceitfulness continue.

    Our hearts go out to Philly Catholics – at Holy Spirit and elsewhere- who are again reminded that their church officials care more about their peers than their parishioners.

    And our hearts go out to Philly abuse victims and their loved ones, who are again reminded that little is changing in that corrupt church hierarchy.

    Chaput can’t “un do” what’s just happened. But he can – and should – take firm steps to prevent it from happening again.

    At the same time, however, we believe this kind of callousness is Chaput’s fault. Within a month of taking over the archdiocese, Chaput presided over a meeting at which a criminally-charged colleague, Msgr. William Lynn, got a standing ovation.

    By letting a credibly accused serial wrongdoer bask in enthusiastic applause from his peers, Chaput sent a clear and irresponsible and hurtful signal – child sex crimes and cover ups are no big deal.

    Now, Chaput – and sadly, his flock – are reaping what he’s sown.

    In the Daily News article, a new, low level church staffer (Leslie Davila) calls the pastor’s mean-spirited move “regrettable.” But it’s Chaput, not her, that sets the tone and expectations for the archdiocese. Chaput must act – quickly and decisively and publicly, if this unhealthy, hurtful climate in the Catholic church is to improve.

    Catholic staff who have NOT abused kids but who HAVE hurt victims and parishioners through callousness must be punished. Otherwise, such callousness will keep happening. It’s happened in Texas and Connecticut and few other places. It needs to happen more. And it needs to happen now in Philly. And it needs to come from the top.

    Bishops pride themselves on being “teachers.” By taking stern action or by timid inaction, Chaput will teach Philly Catholic employees about acting with compassion or with callousness. We hope he chooses the right course.

  19. As director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection, Ms. Davila will oversee both the Archdiocesan efforts to protect children and young people and the efforts toward healing and reconciliation for those sexually abused as minors.

    Ms. Davila believes that her experience acting as a source of guidance and knowledge for Philadelphia’s victims and witnesses will be essential in her new role with the Archdiocese. “I will be a vocal advocate for adult survivors of sexual abuse as well as for the children and youth of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

    Regrettable???……………..from a “vocal advocate” for adult survivors of sexual abuse. Is such a comment indicative of her “efforts toward healing and reconciliation for those sexually abused as minors.”

  20. 4thechildren,

    Clerical loyalty obstructs and arrests wise judgments and decisions, thus the callousness, inability to “get it,” and the psycho-emotional disconnect. I don’t see this changing. It’s deeply ingrained in clerics, it’s expected and rewarded. It’s literally the name of the game. Disloyalty entails serious punitive measures. Clerics have been trained and threatened to be loyal. Much of the reason why Chaput is archbishop is due to his loyalty capacity, so to think he can remedy the callousness is far fetched.

    1. Hadit – I agree with you regarding Chaput and that Barbara Dorris is a bit too optimistic in her regard here. I believe the majority of the RCC hierarchy is morally bankrupt.
      I find it extremely unfortunate (understatement) after all this time, national “scandals”, irrefutable evidence of cover-ups in many archdioceses in the US as well as other countries, after the Phila. Grand Jury reports and the current trial, etc. that this “regrettable” yearbook incident took place.
      Either it is the height of ignorance, or the church thumbing its nose at all who believe and support the victims. After reading Fr. Kunigonis’ reply to Maria, I suspect it is the latter.

  21. HaditCatholic……..that assessment is right on the money.

    Clerical loyalty obstructs and arrests wise judgments and decisions. However, not just “wise” judgments, but also moral, compassionate, sensitive, caring, Christ-like, empathetic, selfless and loving “judgments and decisions.”

    The comment by Fr. Mark Kunigonis leaves one speechless. And to think, he and this writer graduated from the same archdiocesan high school, Cardinal Dougherty. It was my understanding that all high school students at CD received the same Catholic theology principles and concepts in the religion courses.

    1. Clerics would have to be de-programmed and re-programmed if we expect to accomplish a compatibility of thought between us and them. The degree of clerical allegiance and loyalty is not “like” cultish, nor does it “approach” cultish, it IS cultish. While “cultish” triggers red flags in you and me, clerics are psycho-emotionally empowered by it, relishing the intrigue and their inclusion in it. Quite frankly, the climate is a “turn on.”

      1. hadit,
        I absolutely laughed after reading about “clerics would have to be de-programmed…” I left the priesthood and my wife and best friend, who saved my life, (and continues to do so), de-programmed me and continues to re-program me…10 years later. THANK GOD!
        Sadly, I agree 100% with your assessment.

      2. Jerry,

        Let it be known that I’m watching how things go with the priesthood. If things get bad enough (as if it could get worse), and enough decide to exit, I’m quitting my job, and going into the business of de-programming and re-programming priests. So, please, if you come across any, send them my way!

  22. Would we ever see an article like this written by the clergy ? There are so many things that need to happen, justice through the courts, support of survivors and acknowledgment of what happened by those who were close to the situation.

    The football player who wrote this piece did nothing wrong, but still offers a sincere apology for simply having been in the situation with Sandusky and the child victim.

    1. Kathy this is real compassion and concern. No lying no denying no fluffy language,,,,,,,,,,,,and he seems genuinely sorry to the point he is determined to change his actions in the future…….what a breath of fresh air

      1. Beth, we hear the apologies within the Church for the “evil that has occurred” that type of thing . But has any priest sought out children/adults who he may have known who could have been victims? Has any priest written anything saying “I used to be stationed at St X and now have found out children were harmed there, I am am heartbroken” Did any priest write anything after the 27 priests were suspended condemning the AD for having abusive priests in ministry until Feb 2011? As you said this essay contains real compassion and concern.

      2. He also recognized the child was in pain but thought it was because of his home life. He would ask the child “how are you doing” “Why are you always mad?. I have a friend who was abused as a child and her life took a dramatic turn in the teen years, grades nosedived, risky behavior etc.. Adults around her asked “what is wrong?” She said she didn’t know how to answer that question. Was something wrong with her? She recently read an article that said it is better to simply ask children the question “what happened?” She said honestly she doesn’t know if she was asked that question if she would have disclosed the abuse but can see why asking that “what happened?” rather than “whats wrong?”, could possibly illicit more conversation from a child.

      3. I just read over this blog and the many very fine comments.

        And in many ways this post is a microcosm of ‘institutional church,’ today.

        In the midst of an internationally covered, ‘landmark’ case relating to church gross mismanagement of abuse issues, where the prosecution has cited 21 hideous examples of abuse to establish the ‘pattern’ of hierarchical ‘management’…..featuring Sicoli, as a prime example, of the defendant Lynn’s ‘management’, a…serial offender, deemed by the Prosecution as a classic example of predatory horror…and all you have to do is scroll up this page and read the Grand Jury report, for verification..

        AND this priest, Sicoli is one of the very worst offenders, ‘defrocked’ by Rome in 2008, I think. A fact that absolutely has to be both known and understood by the Archdiocese, the AB, AND Father Kunigonis……SIcoli would not be defrocked without the active intervention of both the AD AND Rome. The Philly ‘clerical grapevine’ was well aware of Sicoli’s behaviour and ‘defrocking’.

        For the pastor to say that the published picture of this man was somehow OK in a yearbook, because Sicoli had been a pastor and was not ‘convicted’…, I think either unbelievably naive onthe part of the pastor, or, perhaps an effort to defend this rank stupidity, I guess, assuming that the ‘laity’ will not know or understand the ‘defrocking’ issue’.

        To note that Sicoli wasn’t ‘convicted’ assumes that the laity doesn’t understand WHY Sicoli wasn’t convicted…Readers of this blog are well aware of the fact that Sicoli slipped through a lot of cracks, thanks to Bev and others….The fact that Sicoli wasn’t convicted is something I suspect will require a lot of accounting when these enablers meet their Maker.

        And for the AD to term this publication as ‘regrettable’ when they too understand the magnitude of Sicoli’s behaviour and ALL the implications of ‘defrocking’ is, I think insulting to the laity….who are somehow to be comforted the term ‘regrettable’.

        I don’t think the laity is naive or stupid, tired perhaps, frustrated, for sure.

        It’s my hope that laity involved in this matter will thoroughly question at the parish and diocesan level…..relative to ‘defrocking’, relative to lack of ‘conviction…AND WHY there was no conviction,…and relative to publishing one of the worst perverts picture next to innocent children.

        The only heroine in this saga is that lovely women who spoke up, the media who covered it and perhaps parishioners who will speak up as well.

      4. ‘Has any priest written anything…’

        Kathy, you’re not going to see individual priests writing apologies or taking positions based on their independent thought. They aren’t permitted to, they have vowed not to, it’s not their style, it’s not culturally correct, and it could easily lead to punitive measures being taken.

        Clerics are comrades, associates, co-mates, confidants, cronies, partners and pals. They belong to a fraternal order that is difficult to comprehend from the outside. They function as a unit. Their approach is always a unified one. IF any apologies or points of view come forward, the likelihood is that they will come from some priest association or coalition. Obviously, a lot of these are springing up as priests become disillusioned, if not infuriated, with the hierarchy’s mismanagement on the issues, and the state of the Church in general. The associations and coalitions afford the protection necessary for alleviating priestly fears.

        We can go at individual priests, begging them to exert their personal consciences. We can go at the priest associations/coalitions. We can go at the clerical culture that suppresses both independent and unified thought. We can do all three. But what we should do is reinvent the priesthood. The entire institution is an aberration.

      5. Joan,

        At the risk of stating the obvious, Rev. Kunigonis

        1. Is acting as an apologist for Sicoli
        2. Appears to have high regard for civill courts (conviction as his standard)
        3. Appears to have low regard for church court (apparently being tried and laicized doe not convey much)

      6. For a 4th time, I will be in Sea Isle on Saturday, June 30th at 1pm to hand out flyers to parents at “Play By the Bay” playground, which is located directly across the street from David Sicoli’s home. I plan to litter the streets with bright yellow flyers announcing “Former Catholic Priest & Child Sexual Predator – David C. Sicoli.”

        It’s time we expose this creep to the 130,000+ shoobies who will spend their summer vacation in Sea Isle City and may be unaware that such scum lives across the street from the largest playground on the island.

        Exposing these bastards is just another “5 Minutes of Heaven.”

      7. Oh Martin, you are a treat! I laughed when I read your comment…and there ISINT much that is funny about all this.

        I don’t know Fr Kunigonis from Adam….but really don’t like his style.

        I don’t like it when laity is treated dismissively, disrespectfully et al…especially when the issues are so serious.

        Sicoli is a profound predator,if the Grand juryis to be believed…one of the worst. There ISINT a doubt in my mind that Kunigonis was very well aware of the issues….including the ‘defrocking’ which of course is the Vatican ‘conviction’.

        This is NOT rocket science, just a minimal amount of ‘due diligence’…God help those poor parishioners….may they be treated way more respectfully in the future!!!

    1. It should doubtless come as a comfort to C4C bloggers that the bishops feel they need to improve their communications style….

      Perhaps we need some help with PR, say Catholic bishops in U.S.
      ATLANTA (GA)
      Los Angeles Times

      By Mitchell Landsberg

      June 14, 2012
      ATLANTA — There’s no doubt that America’s Roman Catholic bishops have had their share of what might quaintly be called bad press. The priest sex-abuse scandal, a Vatican crackdown on nuns, a head-knocking fight with the president of the United States over contraceptive coverage — none of these would qualify as good news.

      On Thursday, the bishops said they’ve had enough. It is time, they said, to beef up their public relations arsenal.

      “We need more help and sophistication in our messaging,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who decried the “latest debacle” of bad PR over the treatment of American nuns (which involves an investigation by the Vatican, not the American bishops).

      O’Malley observed ruefully that when John Jay College released a landmark study last year of the causes and handling of the church’s sex-abuse crisis, it “should have been a good moment for the church, and yet it was another black eye.”

      1. And in the spirit of a discussion of the Bishop’s PR concerns, SNAP responds, thusly:

        National- Bishops launch public relations drive; SNAP responds
        America’s Catholic bishops, Reuters reports, are launching a major new public relations campaign.

        It’s ridiculous.

        Each bishop has long had a PR department. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has long had a PR department. Almost every Catholic institution of any size – school, university, non-profit – has long had PR staff.

        The problem is a lack of substantive reform, not a lack of professional spin-meisters. If bishops would listen more often and take more decisive action – especially in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases – they wouldn’t have to worry about public relations.

        If bishops, as Reuters reports, are worried they “are perceived as too confrontational,” then here’s a suggestion: stop attacking victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and others who expose child sex crimes and cover ups.

        (When a Bronx priest was arrested last year for repeatedly abusing a 16-year-old girl, Cardinal Timothy Dolan posted on his blog a statement essentially attacking her and questioning why she didn’t immediately quit her parish job when the crimes started. Dolan’s callous post is still up.

        We disagree with Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, who reportedly urged his brethren to not “always be overly sensitive about criticism.” In our view, far too many bishops – who answer to virtually no one – ignore and discredit criticism, preferring to quietly and unilaterally make decisions with little or no real input.

        But Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is right that last year’s bishop report on abuse, done with the help of a few individuals at John Jay College, was no public relations coup for church officials. That’s because it was largely a “garbage in-garbage out” document, devised and done primarily with public relations in mind.,0,563501.story

        An honest, independent accounting of the crisis – paid for by bishops but conducted entirely by independent professionals – would certain be “good PR” for the prelates. But we’ve yet to see that and no one’s pushing or planning for that.

        O’Malley’s posting the names of predator priests on his website is a perfect example. He delayed doing this for years (though two dozen of his colleagues had already done so). Then he promised to do so but delayed for years. Finally, he belatedly and begrudgingly posted a very partial list with minimal information, using hair-splitting excuses for not being more prompt or thorough.

        This delay and deception protects predators and keeps kids vulnerable. It was a problem of priorities, not public relations.

        Here’s the bottom line – you can’t ignore, minimize and conceal thousands of heinous child sex crimes for decades, then expect that a good public relation staff can magically make it all better. You can’t cause massive scandal, repeatedly promise reform, aggressively backslide, and then blame inadequate public relations for your troubles.

        In truth, on children’s safety, the bishops’ problem is too much public relations and too little real reform.
        Read more here:

      2. Joan,

        The PR article implies, at least to me, that the Vatican was totally behind the nun debacle. Really? No! While the Vatican initiated the investigation, it was U.S. bishops who whined to the Vatican that the sisters weren’t supporting their agendas, were not wrapped around their fingers, and were behaving as “radical feminists,” encouraging the Vatican to investigate them and restore “order.” At least that’s what I’ve gathered from what I’ve read. I read somewhere that Mahoney and others pushed it. What do you know?

      3. Isnt that going to cost money……..our money? Why don’t they just start acting like Christians and preach and live the gospel in the streets? They can come see how the peasant laity live:)

      4. Hadit, the Vatican behind the nuns issue is the PC ‘story line’ documented in an interview with Levada that John Allen just published,

        My own guess, and that’s all it is, is that the Nun’s Story was resurrected…in part because those pesky sisters have been supportive of health care issues that were opposed by the hierarchy. Certainly, naming NETWORK, is a case in point.

        One of my relatives once worked for a huge international PR firm and he was always being called in to ‘clean up bad press’ and ‘spin’ better press.

        I feel confident that the bishops have access and use these guys….what I think has gotten ‘away’ from them are three things….the 24/7 news cycle….the sheer volume of horrifying church data, starting with the Vatican, and a far more sophisticated clientele.

        You may still be able to sway a docile, and uninformed pew holder, who is computer illiterate….but there are fewer and fewer of those guys around.

  23. For a 4th time, I will be in Sea Isle on Saturday, June 30th at 1pm to hand out flyers to parents at “Play By the Bay” playground, which is located directly across the street from David Sicoli’s home. I plan to litter the streets with bright yellow flyers announcing “Former Catholic Priest & Child Sexual Predator – David C. Sicoli.”

    It’s time we expose this creep to the 130,000+ shoobies who will spend their summer vacation in Sea Isle City and may be unaware that such scum lives across the street from the largest playground on the island.

    Exposing these bastards is just another “5 Minutes of Heaven.”

  24. Rich, I will invite maria if she would like to distribute flyers and I will bring hopefully some friends. I am assuming you know who I refer to as maria. How have you been and how’s your back?

    1. Yes, I know Maria.

      My back sucks, but I can deal with it. I passed by Play By the Bay last night and there may have been, easily, 500 kids and their parents at that playground. There were parents and their kids walking the street directly in front of Sickoli’s house. I saw his car out front so I know he was home. June 30th will be basically the beginning of the summer and I expect the playground to be loaded with kids and families, and we can probably have a good day up on the boardwalk as well.

      An open invitation to anyone else on this site who wants to join us on Saturday, June 30th in Sea Isle City, NJ to alert the community of a known child predator priest, David C. Sicoli (Sickoli) by handing out flyers detailing his “alleged” crimes against children and talking with parents about how important it is to safeguard their own children.

      These guys can run, but they can’t hide anymore. Parents and children in SIC deserve to know and need to know about the people who are so close to them.

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