One Degree of Separation in Priest Trial

Those who say the coverage of the Church sex abuse scandal is rooted in anti-Catholic media bias couldn’t be more wrong in regard to Philadelphia news coverage. Most of the reporters I’ve dealt with, both in print and broadcast, are Catholic and grew up here. The sensitivity with which they approach this subject is only matched by their objectivity. These assignments take an emotional and spiritual toll and yet they remain professional. John Martin is certainly one of those reporters. Thank you to all the news providers. Your work is so important.  – Susan

Click here to read: “Church Scandal Hits Close to Home,” commentary by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 2012

158 thoughts on “One Degree of Separation in Priest Trial

  1. This Archdiocese has seemed very smaller than 1.4 million Catholics, since everyone seems to have some connection to the priests in the 2005 and 2011 GJ report. I had only known Susan a few months when she called to tell me that the priest who married her,baptized her children etc,,was now suspended. I asked his name..he was my high school chaplain.
    The Fr Cannon that was mentioned in this article was the priest at my parish when I was a child. I disagree with one thing John Martin wrote ,when he quoted someone saying “we all knew about Cannon” . He was put in charge of the altar boys at my parish AFTER the Archdiocese “knew all about Cannon” and the abuse of kids in the late 1960’s. We “knew nothing”…just another group of kids who were sitting ducks.

    1. Fr Cannon was my math teacher at Cardinal O’Hara in 1980-81. Surely that was long after the AD knew something about him.

  2. The lack of action by lynn Confirms that the sin of omission can be greater than the sin of commission.

    1. I would like to add just because someone seems “nice” and they are “well liked” does not mean they are incapable of turning their back on the most innocent in their time of need. “Times like these test men’s souls” George Washington

      1. Beth: I think that you hit the nail on the head. Sure, many people are going to reflect and say a Pedophile Priest or one, who covered up for them was “nice” or “well-liked.” We all wear different masks, and even though many look similar we change them frequently, often several times a day. We have the mask that we meet the public with, another for our close friends, and yet another for relatives that we can’t stand (often a different one for each irregular relative). Usually we have an entirely different set of masks for our jobs, which usually require many changes throughout the day, as in the mask we put on when dealing with subordinates, the one we wear when confronted by our boss, and the one we wear when we meet our clients, etc. Given the above reflections, it’s easy to see how a pedophile priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal etc…… would seem “nice,” or “well-liked,” depending upon the mask they’ve selected to meet with the public, their parishioners, etc. It’s the other mask that they put on when dealing with Pedophile Priests that makes the entire picture incongruent. The public allows each of us to wear all of the masks we so desire, but when it comes to putting on the “Mask of a Criminal” or one who “Supports Criminal Activity,” is where the public should draw the line on morality, and often does!

      2. A rule of thumb comes directly from the Word: “all have sinned.”
        This warns us that everyone is CAPABLE of sin— any sin.

        Few good people are really cognizant of this unfortunate state of affairs, but God insists that we BELIEVE what He has told us in His Word; including that ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. In other words– one is always taking a chance when committing a TRUST to any individual.

        Our trust must be in God alone, and His Word.

  3. I’ve been reading John Martin’s articles throughout the abuse crisis and trial. This, as far as I have ever read, is the first time he actually revealed his link to Msgr. Lynn. He did a great job reporting objectively on a topic which, surely, he held many personal feelings about. I, too, am appreciative and hope that he and others will continue to keep the Church issues in the news. This problem has just been uncovered……it is far from over, though the Church would like to think it is… is just the beginning.

  4. When you click on the article from the link ,it begins on the second page..the first page of the article is very interesting. So many of the prosecutors and investigators on the 2005 and 2011 GJ reports are Catholic. For the Church to have claimed anti Catholicism after the 2005 report is ridiculous. And it even mentions that Blessington is a Catholic school grad and his family member a former driver for Bevilaqua and Krol. Having been in the courtroom, I felt that Blessington’s rage was concerning what happened to children, I know mine was.

    1. Martin’s “blanket of red pushpins” imagery is good…. So many red pushpins, so many communities, for so many years…(eight accused Philly priests in my ’78 HS yearbook)…so many victimized people.
      I hope John Martin’s reporting about these events becomes even harsher and opens the eyes of more catholics. It’s very hard to accept that only one official serves only 3 1/2 yrs in jail.

      1. Crystal: I’m a firm believer that “Prayer Changes Things!” This game isn’t over by any long shot! I believe and predict that others will stand trial and they will include some big names of arrogant men, who feel they are above the Law, because of their anointed position in the Church. They are in for a rude awakening, and I hope it will happen when they are in jail!

      2. jeanieguzman1,
        “arrogant men that feel above the law because of their anointed position in the church” …..I don’t know why but when I read the phrase I got a vivd picture of an angel that had the same problem…….who was also arrogant…… and thought he too was above the law ……..lucifier

      3. Luciifer means “light bringing” or “lightbearer” we must not forget that…………..or we will not see those he works thru clearly

    2. Does anyone know if Blessington’s uncle was the man who received a payment from the AD as a result of the distress he suffered working for Bevilaqua? That case was mentioned this week in relation to Bevilacqua’s lavish spending habits on the house in Ventnor. I’ve never seen the man’s name mentioned but the thought jumped out to me as I read that about Blessington’s uncle. Might explain Blessington’s passion about the case.

    3. I thought Blessington’s rage was due to Lynn’s lying. Lynn just kept on lying and was behaving like he had no power to do anything.

  5. I am a member of a parish where Lynn was the asst pastor ; I am appalled that not one of the priests and especially the Bishops have addressed the trial, the sentence or anything pertaining to the fact that there is much collective culpability to go around. When will the hierarchy admit their role in this? When will the clergy stand up and say something meaningful from the pulpit ? I just came from mass and not one prayer or word offered for the victims, or in fact for anyone who has suffered because of this scandal. I applaud John Martin for his intelligent, objective reporting..It is difficult for a practicing Catholic to be in the position of rendering the information in a fair and balanced way in the professional manner that he did.

    1. I am appalled that not one of the priests and especially the Bishops have addressed the trial, the sentence or anything pertaining to the fact that there is much collective culpability to go around. ”
      I can understand and almost feel the pain you and others have when you have the expectation of a better response than you get from your clergy.
      I imagine it is similar to the hurt children feel when their parents don’t respond to their feelings as expected. Think of kids whose parents do things that hurt their own kids deeply, and then go on living as though nothing was “wrong.”

      1. I too appalled that they the Hierarchy Bidhop has has been silent. .I guess this is sending a message to all the priests of philadephia regarding there new leadership . In addition we all know that this now Bishop will be a Cardinal soon.Maybe we should look into seeding him back to Denver.We would like to send one we have in Newyork back to Milwaukee. Whst do think about that.

    2. The deafening silence on the part of the archdiocese concerning this verdict could be why Cardinal Rigali was whisked off of the scene and Archbishop Chaput was brought in to take his place. Rigali had knowledge of far too much that was going on in the Archdiocese, and the Church knew that the press would confront him incessantly, during the trial, the verdict and the aftermath, if Rigali had stayed in Philly! So far, Chaput has been “off the proverbial hook,” because he’s an outsider, supposedly (don’t kid yourself) without any knowledge of the in-workings of the Archdiocese prior to his arrival. Also, I believe that Chaput doesn’t want to say too much after revealing that $11,000,000 had been spent on the defense of Lynn and two others, because NOW Chaput is probably going to get the case repealed, and that is going to cost the parishioners of Philly millions more (in Tax-free money!).

      1. Chaput is very hands on and detailed oriented……..he is in the middle of adminstrative, banking changes etc……….he knows more than anyone what went on and what needs to change……

      2. The question is will he do what is necessary for protecting children? If he continues to lobby against law changes the answer is a very firm NO.

      3. In regard to revealing the monies spent on mgsrLynn defense sure it’s a lot of money.But we need to remember that Mgsr was the middle man in this situation and his legal costs should be taken care of as he was working for the Church @ Diocese

  6. During the trial, I met and spoke to John Martin. He was very unassuming and honest when asked about the trial. His outstanding coverage throughout the trial co-written with Joseph Slobodgan was fair and unbiased. Those who continue to sit in the pews as if nothing has just happened are in LaLa land, still drinking the kool aide.

  7. Martin’s “blanket of red pushpins” imagery is good…. So many red pushpins, so many communities, for so many years

    If there were someone/somewhere to turn to in order to get this idea, i.e., “blanket of red pushpins” on paper or on the computer, I believe that such a project would produce a powerful result, image and message. The information relative to the credibly accused clergy, locations and multiple locations occupied by each credibly accused clergy would put the facts right out there for everyone to see.

    I’d be really interested in any comment, feedback or suggestions regarding this idea.

    Of course, for you radical types out there (including this writer), take the stored map/image to a company that can emblazon t-shirts with this picture, wear them at appropriate (yes, and inappropriate) times……who knows?

  8. I have this horrible feeling that at least one child in every single parish in the USA has been sexually abused by a priest, nun, or religious brother… In my parish in southeast Ohio, there are dozens, and still counting.. ! This is scary—— and I can’t even fathom the red push pins around the world..!

  9. John Martin’s article certainly hit home with me. Monsignor Lynn was in The same grade as one of my younger sisters at St. John of the Cross. in Roslyn, Pa. Back in 1961 ,when myseklf and another altar boy were molested by Fr. Daniel Doyle after serving Mass one saturday in June., the priest who said the Mass that day was Fr. Albert Kostelnick. Father Kostelnick ,of course, was well known for molesting young girls at the parrish rectory. When Doyle showed up in the sacristy after Mass, Kostelnick actually tried to stop him. The two priests argued for a short time, before Kosdtelnick left. Father Doyle had his way with me and the other boy.Years later I would work for a short period of time with one of Monsignor Lynn’s brothers. He was one of the nicest people I ever met. This is all so difficult for those of us who trusted the Catholic Church and it’s priests. So difficult.

    1. Jim,

      I’m sorry you and your friend had this experience. I used to live in a neighboring parish (Saint David’s in Willow Grove).

      Did you or your friend refer the matter to the authorities? If so, what was their reaction??

      1. The other boy was a few years older than me. After the abuse occured, I first ran to the convent, located in the front of the church. I rang the doorbell and asked for the nun who had taught me in 6th grade. The nun who answered the door told me that Sister Honore Marie went home for the weekend. The other boy was still in the Church. Next I ran home, and tried to explain to my mother that the other boy was still being hurt. I finally convinced her to call the rectory. Whoever answeered the phone convinced her that it was my imagination. I talked about it for two days ,mostly with my siblings( I was the second oldest of seven}. My mother got tired of hearing about it and told mew to be quiet or else. In my mothers defense my youngest sister was only six months old and I was twelve. She was overwhelmed and had little support from my father. My mother was also extremely religious and when it came to believing her son or a priest, a priest wold win every time. These were the times we lived in back then. Come to think of it. I have heard the same thing from more recent victims. After I recovered the memories some 30 years later. I went to my mother and asked her about it. She had no memories of this. A few weeks later I was told by one of my siblings that her parish priest had convinced her that I was making this up because of my disagreement with the church over many of its policies. Needless to say ,my relationship with my mother was never the same. How many families have been torn asunder by this horror?

      2. Jim,
        If we learn anything from your tragic story is to really listen to our children and that horrible stuff can and does happen. Again I am so sorry no one listened to you and you were so brave to try to get help for your friend……

      3. Jim,

        I’m very sorry for happened to you. What you say, we keep hearing over and over, that mothers (and fathers) listened to clerics before listening to their children. We can consider this a huge failure, a huge betrayal on the part of our parents, but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand it. When the Boston Globe broke the sex abuse story, the first thing out of my mother’s mouth was, “If that happened to my child, I would call the police.” Then I said to her, “When Sr. Margaret regularly hit me and my classmates with a flyswatter, you said ‘you must have deserved it.'” Granted, sexual abuse is an offense far greater than being hit by a flyswatter. But most, if not all, of our parents, back then, could not even conceive of a cleric or sister hurting a human being. Your mother’s mindset was not far off from the mindset of many other mothers back then. While it’s hurtful and painful, you are not alone. So many of us were hurt to varying degrees by the same mindset.

      4. Hi Jim,

        Well, perhaps one of the results of the two recent trials is an increased sensitivity on the part of parents, caregivers and others to contact the authorities immediately in similar situations.

        Do you know what happened to the older fellow?

        Were any reports ever made to the Archdiocese by you or by him / his family?

      5. Joe, hopefully another result of the trial is that the Church will keep child predators away from children so that there are no reports to be made.

      6. Joe One didn’t go to authorities with this kind of claim. Most of the police back then were Catholic. I couuldn’t get my mother to believe me. How would I ever get the police to believe. Priests back then we were taught were GOD’S REPRESENTATIVES ON EARTH. I believed that with my entire being. You didn’t go to the police and tell them God’s representative just molested you. The other boy who served Mass with me that day, I didn’t know very well. He was two years ahead of me in school. In fact it was very strange that we served together, usually one was pared with someone from your own grade. I suspect that we served mass together because Fr. Doyle for some reason chose us. He was in charge of the altar boys and made up the schedule. Premeditation? After i recovered the memories of the abuse, I thought about going to the church. I talked to someone from SNAP and he advised me not to do this. I did talk to an assistant DA from Philadelphia within the last two years. But since my case was so old and the statute of kimitations hjad run out, there wasn’t really anything she could do. She suggested I contact the Church if I wanted them to pay for therapy but I really havn’t had anything to do with the church in many many years.

      7. Jim,

        Thank you very much for your honest reply. Thinking back to when I was in grade school (in the 50’s), I can see how this could have happened and then ‘written off’.

        I sincerely hope that you have found peace, both for yourself and for your family members.

      8. The story of Mr. Tucker is so, so very similar to mine. I could go on in detail but that is enough. As well, as the red pushpin concept on a map, you will or would need to include Lancaster County as well. Again, I could go on in detail, but again, that is enough.
        Some have written about the concept of…the priests, “back then”, were almost revered “above” the police. I don’t normally, if ever, speak for my mom, however, what Mr. Tucker wrote in relation to how mothers would or did react to these situations, is very true.
        Mr. Tucker, I am sorry. Also, I did notice you wrote your letter of explanation at almost one o’clock in the morning, interesting because, I feel, this sexual abuse situation within the Church, has no time limit. I feel the only time limit is coming from the “people written laws of our government”, which are archaic, in the least.
        I believe I have written enough, and, well again, I need to reiterate that the pushpin concept of reported abuse allegations from within Philadelphia, is ( to simply factor every abuse story, or abused to be counted in this southeastern Pennsylvania region ), is going to need to include the Lancaster County region as well. Though Lancaster County does fall under the Diocese of Harrisburg jurisdiction.
        Jurisdiction?… Isn’t that LARGELY a legal term?

    2. Jim………..that is all so sad and also shows how everything is connected……….sorry for what you have gone thru. My cousins went to that parish. I hear from them it is a ghost town now.

      1. Jim, I’m so sorry for what happened to you and I’m glad you are telling your story. You probably know that the pastor of St John of the Cross, Fr Reardon, was suddenly removed last year… The parish school was closed in 2009. (the parish borders on mine)

        The AD saw fit to send that parish, Fr. Doyle, Kostelnick and Reardon ….So that makes three “redpushpins” stuck right into the heart and soul of that small, peaceful Abington Twp. community …decades of hidden child abuse, courtesy of the catholic church.

        Jim, We Montgomery County catholics and non-caths would do well to remember that the AD’s clergy abuse happened here too….not just in Phila…We were all endangered…and continue to be so…Maybe it would be useful to stop into the Abington Police station and tell your story again…It might not be meaningful legally, but it might help raise more awareness and concern–and anger at the local level of law enforcement.

      2. Jim Tucker July 3, 2012 at 1:25 am
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        “Joe One didn’t’t go to authorities with this kind of claim. Most of the police back then were Catholic. I couldn’t’t get my mother to believe me. How would I ever get the police to believe. Priests back then we were taught were GOD’S REPRESENTATIVES ON EARTH. ”
        I am reading a book “City Of Scoundrels” which is about Chicago in 1919 and relates how race riots turned the city into a shambles. The police were mostly “Irish American” and were therefore inclined to attack blacks and give a “pass” to whites in their efforts to stem the violence in the city. Now, think about the above related situation where those identifying themselves as “Catholic” are favoring the priestly clergy over the victims of abuse. Can there be anything of God in that situation? I think not!
        The undeniable truth is there for anyone to see if they will not be blind.

    3. Jim: Your story could have been written in my family. When I read it, it was like PTSD, all over again. It broke my heart to read it, because something very similar happened in my family. My mother went to her grave without telling her son that she believed his accusations of priest pedophilia. “It was all in his screwed up head!” Not to have his parents give him the affirmation that they believed him did mess him up emotionally and psychologically and those problems showed up again in his children. When parents don’t listen to their children after they’ve been molested, raped, sodomized, etc….. the after-effects last long after they are buried……. into eternity!

  10. Watched an HBO film from Netflix last night titled: TWIST OF FAITH. It gives a first hand presentation of one man’s, his wife’s and his child’s trials as they try to maintain a marraige and raise a child in the RCC and grapple with the man’s history of childhood rape by a priest. Devastating, heartbreaking and factual.


  11. For a few dollars, you can purchase these excellent films, “Deliver Us From Evil”, and “Our Fathers”. They capture much of this.

      1. Our Fathers is $1.97 for purchase of a used DVD at It is probably the best film on the topic. With Christopher Plummer, a very serious deliberation. Deliver Us From Evil also is extraordinary. It’s $1.45 for a used DVD. Remarkable presentation of the cold, hard facts.

      2. Mark you would think they would have learned by now ……..eery how real life is just like a movie but worse.

      3. The clip here from “Mark”, unbelievable, …now,…believable. Big names in the Hollywood film. Ted Danson, One of the Baldwin brothers, Ms. Sturgeon, Brian Dennehey..on and on. One would suspect this subject matter has hit Hollywood too? Oh, we DO have a problem here. ( I did not write that line of my comment out of cynicism )…Seriously, could we get Ballywood to pay attention also? That crosses the oceans, on either side of the United States.
        Possibly if Ballywood has or might pick up and distribute this film for the European & African & Australian & Asian people…this film could have an impact that could very well reach the attention of the Holy See, ” Our Pontiff “.
        Again, the statements above are not written out of cynicism, rather, out of awareness. You see, I believe, there is ONE PERSON MISSING out of all of this mess here, in the States, as well as all over the world…His Holiness.
        I would like Rome to make a worldwide announcement, of a speech by his holiness, with closed captioning, “the deaf get abused”, ALL languages of the world with a translator there, ” this abuse has happened in every country of the world”, and broadcast in sport arenas and large community spaces, all over the world. I wish for His Holiness to speak of truth, healing ways, protective measures and “things to look for, for abuse victims, or for those yet to be abused. Allow him to be graphic, when need be. Simply allow the Pope to say & ACT, THAT WHICH NEEDS TO BE HEARD AND FELT BY …. ALL FAITHS….OF THE WORLD. (SIDENOTE…it has been researched and proven that many other religions see His Holiness as a sort of “dictator, or spokesperson, for almost all religions, and in the name of God “. Once I left the Catholic religion over sexual abuse, yet still desiring to hear God’s word, I learned this through the Mennonite Religion, very similar to the Amish religion, which btw, also has abuse issues within its own doors as well.
        God Bless All Victims…in all ways, always…however, I was taught
        by the nuns, and occasionally by a “father”, that the Holy See is OUR DIRECT LINK TO THE ALLMIGHTY….JUST, WHERE IS HE IN ALL THIS?

    1. To all out there: Just in the last few days there was a Documentary in Australia called, “Unholy Silence!” It’s about Altar Boys, who committed suicide years after being abused. The Documentary opens with a comment made about the LYNN TRIAL in the STATES! Yes! Australia was listening and following this trial. The inference was made that 3 priests, who knew about a Pedophile Priest, whose criminal actions resulted in the deaths of these altar boys should be held accountable in court! Here is the link to the video documentary:

      1. Thankyou for sharing that link. The video documentary was well done and certainly worth watching. They could have easily been talking about any archdiocese in the world their were so many simliarities. It heartbreakingly also showed that the affects are generational. My heart goes out to the victims family and children.

      2. Jeannie; I just finished watching ‘Unholy Silence’ It truly amazes me that the same story is repeated over and over throughout the world. The names have been changed to protect the guilty but the story remains the same. How can anyone truly believe that the response to chilhood sexual abuse is not being orchestrated from Rome. What happened to those men in Australia is truly heartbreaking. Unfortunately suicide has always been an option for those of us who were abused. Hopefully we can find other options.

      3. Beth and Jim: Please spread the word about this documentary. Things are really heating up over in Australia, particularly because of Cardinal Pell’s recollection of events as outlined in this documentary (in his own words). Now, the Church is pressing for “An Internal Investigation!” Another DAMN Internal Investigation, which we all know will lead to the Church’s innocence and additional lame apologies. Please spread the word as this is part of the aftermath of the Lynn conviction in Philly!

  12. Martin is a fair reporter. He should be commended for his fine job. I found it interesting what he says about how people identify with their parishes as to where they are from. I am not from Philly originally,and that struck me as quaint when I moved here 14 years ago… it speaks for the way this entire area was founded and the strong Catholic history behind the Greater Philly region. Due to this strong history, we are quite blessed to also have strong DAs representing our area. Without the dogged work of Lynn Abrams and her fine team there would have been no grand jury reports. Seth Williams should also be commended for putting his religion aside to not cloud up the waters and let facts speak for themselves. Advocates like Sister Maureen who have been advocating FOR YEARS should also be commended. For all the scandal and all the scum, there is light at the end of this road.

  13. At different times, five, now removed, pedophile priests served in the parish church that was connected to the Catholic elementary and high school I attended. The priest that married me was removed for sexual abuse. The priest at the church in the river community were my family spends the summer was removed for sexual abuse. He married my two sisters and baptized my two nephews.

    What Martin and many others are saying in their posts is that we are part of the Catholic sexual abuse story. While we may not have been victims, our proximity to pedophile priests over the years certainly threatened our well being. It also had the effect of tainting what were meant to be innocent, special, memorable, indeed, holy moments, times, and occasions in our lives. I’d call that a kind of victimization… a significant one at that.

  14. I have to commend John Martin AND Joseph Slobodgen for their excellent work during the course of the trial.

    One day in 304, during the second week I attended the trial, I had an image of the two. It was as though they were running a relay race. Martin, it seemed, was the starter, “racing” to record the trial events. Then, Slobodgen would arrive on the “track.” They’d have a few words, and then Martin would “pass the baton” to Slobodgen. Then, Slogodgen “raced” to record the events of the trial. Then, Martin would arrive back in on the “track,” and the “baton would get passed” again… all day, back and forth, day in and day out.

    The two words I would use to describe the team of John and Joseph are humble and efficient.

    Thanks John and Joseph.

  15. Kate, you are spot on! Like you, I found John Martin and Joseph Slobodgen valid, humble and dedicated to the entire courtroom debacle.

  16. There are so many here in Australia who have had their eyes on the progress you have made and deep down, there would be those still hesitant to to break their misplaced loyality to the church.
    I know Melbourne lawyer Judy Courtin doing her Phd on the handling of abuse in the church here has had her finger on the pulse, being kept up to date.
    I seem to have come to the conclusion there has to be a parting of the law and spirituality, when dealing with civil cases relating to religious, otherwise there is a terrible inner conflict when in fact it should be the opposite.

  17. On page A10 in today’s Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer was a picture of Chaput with Benedict XVI. It stated that “Philadelphia’s Charles J. Chaput is greeted by Pope Benedict XVI as Chaput and 43 other new archbishops received palliums, woolen shawls that Benedict said symbolized their ties to heaven, earth,Christ and the pontificate. Friday’s Mass was at the Vatican.” The two men were beaming at each other in the photo. This whole thing just sickens me!!

    1. The pallium could well be Archbishop Chaput’s, One-way, all expenses paid, entrance ticket into Hell. (“If a man gains the whole world and loses his soul…………

  18. OUR FATHERS can be rented through netflix. Just watched it this evening. Riviting. Cardinal Bernard Law has a cushy job in the Vatican. So much for justice.


  19. I look at all this religious freedom and “culture of death” stuff and even Chaput in Rome and think how are we suppose to “fight ” these so called battles when mauraders in the church itself are “raping and pillaging our towns(parish donations) and children”

    1. Beth: Please spread the word that Chaput is paying for the $11,000,000 Lynn trial with TAX FREE Donations, given as sacrificial offerings by his parishioners, who probably NEVER intended that their donations would be spent to defend alleged Pedophile Priests and one who (allegedly) covered up for them! The cost of this trial hardly constitutes the idea as an example of “Catholic Charity!”

    1. Oh and Hadit………I really like the part about leadership really being with the pastors………..really? are you kidding me? did the pastors vote whether or not to spend 11 million dollars to defend Lynn…….I dont think so……..

      1. Beth, in a way, pastors are the leadership. They lead the sheep to drink the kool-ade. Everything about the Church relies, first and foremost, on hooked sheep.

      2. hadit,

        Crystal noted in another thread that “Few people anymore really believe in the supposed magical powers held by the clergy…”

        I’m with her on almost all her posts, but NOT this one.

        A lot of pew sheep believe in the clergy’s magical powers, and they include MD’s, PhD’s, JD’s, EdD’s, MinD’s, etc. Education only provides limited immunity when it comes to belief in the “magical powers” dispensed by RC clergy.

        If this were NOT the case, why do people believe that they need RC clerics for salvation?

        Superstition is not uncommon in educated individuals.

      3. Drwho13 & Crystal,

        Good Evening.

        I’ve seen several references now to the ‘supposed magical powers’ of the clergy.

        Would one or both of you kindly enumerate and describe them?


      4. Joe Burch,

        Sure can Joe. Only a cleric holding the rank of priest or higher can forgive a person of a mortal sin. I classify that as a “magical power.” If I believe that this is true, and only a pedophile priest was available, I would have to confess to him or go to hell.

        Another example, the pope has a direct line to God, thus he has the power, by decree, to determine what action or inaction is a mortal sin. Missing Mass and eating meat on Friday were once mortal sins. Now only missing Mass is a mortal sin.

        If I personally accept that axiom, I believe that I am involved in “magical thinking,” based upon my belief that the pope has “magical power.”

        Philosophically when one uses the word “believe,” one acknowledges the possibility of error. If one were certain they were correct, the word “know” would be used in place of the word “believe.”

        I do not believe that the pope has the power to decree whether an action is a mortal sin, nor do >90% of Catholics when it come to the papal decree on contraception.

      5. Joe, I can’t recall exactly what i wrote, but i believe by that remark, i was referring to the root cause of the RCC’s clergy abuse –which is “Clericalism”.
        briefly, what i mean by clerical “magic powers” ..are the mysterious powers supposedly granted by God to catholic clergymen, essential for certain vital events which are central to the practice of our cath. faith….ie, consecration, marriage, last rites, teachings on matters of faith and dogma, forgiveness of sins,…For all these things and more, clergy involvement is an absolute ” must”. These powers put a catholic clergyman in the position of being the indispensable middle man between God and us—-A priest is perceived to be, and is meant to perform on a higher level in the eyes of God than a non-ordained person… and for most men, this is an unnatural, unrealistic and unhealthy load of responsibility….and it contributes heavily to many of the problems we see all over the Catholic world…one of which is sex abuse by clergymen.

      6. Joe, you can Google “the powers of a priest” or “The Sacerdotal Mystery” for more info. In reading some of the info, I learned that laicized priests retain their powers or “graces,” although they are not permitted to use them or act upon them. Therefore, once a priest is imbued with his powers via Holy Orders, he retains them for his lifetime. Also, laicized priests are not alleviated from their vow of celibacy, unless they ask for a special dispensation. Integral to the sacerdotal powers and graces bestowed via Holy Orders is no sex, regardless of whether a priest is in good standing or laicized, unless, of course, a laicized priest seeks and is granted a special dispensation. Can anyone tell me why sex is not compatible with sacerdotal powers and graces in Catholicism? And if sacerdotal powers and graces are not compatible with sex, why, then, are 50% of clerics at any given time having sex (as reported by NCR)?

        More hypocrisy, fraud, lip service, sex-mania, and quackery.

        Will they ever get it right?

      7. Joe I may be mistaken about this..if I have this wrong please let me know. I think a few months ago you said that a priest could hear confessions in emergency or dire situations ,even if the priest has been laicized. Since our focus on C4C is abuse..I am assuming you were referring also to abusive priests who are laicized. I ran this past a priest and he said technically that is correct but he himself would not go to confession to an abusive laicized priest in an emergency situation..he would instead choose a good private act of contrition. He explained how a priest is marked at ordination much like we are marked at baptism.
        The problem I have with this is the abusive priest from Philly who was put on leave before being officially laicized and ended up working as an overnight cashier in an Atlantic City casino. So I am supposed to believe this man who abused children and now is working night shift at a casino, is a representative of Christ because he was ordained?

      8. To DrWho13: Many “educated people” in the Catholic Church have never studied the Bible and the Epistles of Saints Peter and Paul, who both taught the concepts of “A Priesthood of ALL Believers,” and St. Peter’s revelation, “Ye are a royal priesthood,” speaking to all of us! There was little doubt of “A Priesthood of ALL Believers” in the Early Church as evidenced in the Book of Acts, where believers went from home to home to celebrate “The Lord’s Table!” Each group didn’t drag a priest along with them to celebrate the Eucharist. They did it themselves, “in remembrance of Christ.” No priests were necessary then, nor are they necessary today!

      9. Kathy, what if a doctor, with all of his “powers and graces” (skills, expertise, experiences, degrees) murders 12 of his patients, resulting in life in prison? Based on his murderous actions and status as an inmate, has he lost any of his “powers and graces”? No, he still retains them (even if a medical board strips him of his right to practice medicine), just as the sex offender priest retains his. Once a doctor, always a doctor. Once a priest, always a priest. I think what you are saying is that it’s conceivable that one would continue to possess the “powers and graces” of a doctor, but it’s inconceivable that a sex offending priest would remain being a person in persona Christi. Indeed, the idea seems a sacrilegious abomination based on the standards of many people. When priests, through their criminal actions, defy the theology of Holy Orders, are the faithful to accept the glaring incongruity, continuing to view them in persona Christi?

        There are disconnects between what our our faith would have us believe, and what we actually believe. The disconnects are multiplying as the faithful become more informed and more willing to be critical thinkers.

      10. Kathy,

        One a man is ordained, he will be a priest forever. That is, he will retain the indelible character on his soul for eternity just as we are marked by our Baptism and have the special character of Confirmation on our souls.

        Any laicized priest who ‘left’ the priesthood – voluntarily or involuntarily – has the obligation to attend to a dying penitent, to absolve him or her of their sins. As a matter of fact, this obligation is spelled out in the laicization document that ‘defrocked’ priests receive from Rome. I’ve actually seen one signed by Ratzinger before he was elected Pope.

        You mentioned a priest friend of yours who said he would prefer a sincere Act of Contrition at a time of dire need rather than going to Confession to a priest who had been laicized because of confirmed sexual abuse. Personally, I think this might not be a wise decision.

        For myself and for my family members, I would seek and welcome the ministry of ANY priest were I ever in that situation. As your priest friend undoubtedly knows, the efficacy of the sacrament is in no way diminished by the worthiness (or state of Grace, for that matter) of the ministering priest. The Church – in Her goodness – has provided this life-line assurance. So, in common parlance, ‘why take a chance?’

        As another example of the goodness of our Church, did you know that even an atheist can administer a valid baptism to an infant who is near death? All the ‘minister’ has to do is to comply with the Church’s wishes and use the valid ‘matter and form’ (words and water). That’s it!

        With regard to laicized priest who is working at the casino, we would all agree that he still retains his priestly powers, right? Now, in the sense that he is able to help his fellow employees, welcome customers, etc he is – in a manner of speaking – still representing Our Lord as we do in our daily interactions with others, at home, on the street, in the stores, at our day jobs, at the gas pumps, etc.

        Furthermore, he may well have the opportunity to hear a dying person’s confession. Almighty God will make use of his priestly faculties (i.e. the powers received at his ordination) at the proper time.

        We learned in school that ‘Grace Acts on Nature’. Since we have free well, we can either accept of deny that Grace. Perhaps….just perhaps this fellow is doing his level best to make amends for his transgressions by responding to the Graces that God is passing along to him.

        I’d truly like to believe that’s a ‘safe bet’.


      11. Joe, I tend to think of these things in biblical terms, as if they were happening in a Gospel. Personally I do not believe that Jesus would continue to call someone a disciple if that man abused children. I would go the route of saying a good act of contrition rather than having an abusive priest (meaning his hands violated a child’s body) hear my confession. I have had abusive priests (meaning their hands violated a child’s body) administer sacraments to me in the past..not interested in that anymore thank you.

      12. Joe Burch,

        You stated, “As a matter of fact, this obligation is spelled out in the laicization document that ‘defrocked’ priests receive from Rome. I’ve actually seen one signed by Ratzinger before he was elected Pope.”

        From your statement it’s clear that you believe, and personally comply with, any document presented to the laity by Rome, and you’re certainly free to do so.

        Many of us no longer give Rome carte blanche simply because the Holy See has produced a document, Papal bull, Papal encyclical, or any other decree.

        Rome has deceived and betrayed our trust too many times! By its own actions, and in other cases, lack of actions, the credibility of the institution has been rendered null and void.

        Joe, believe whatever you wish, but the ship your on will sail without me.

    2. Archbishop Chaput: ‘It’s Going to Be a Long Fight’

      Well, Bishop Chaput, I really don’t think you know what a “long fight” really is. It indeed has been a “long fight” for the victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, their families and the survivors, to attain justice for the evil and criminal conduct of certain clergy. Their “long fight” has been going on for many, many years.

      A significant battle was won last week in the criminal courts of Philadelphia when Msgr. William Lynn was convicted of endangering the welfare of children by allowing a known pedophile priest to be assigned to a parish with an elementary school and young children.

      Speaking of “long fights”, Bishop Chaput, when are you and the PA Catholic Conference going to stop fighting the efforts in Harrisburg to extend the statute of limitations and to open up a two-year window during which time past victims can file legal action, regardless of the location or organization where the alleged offense was committed?

      This is an easy one, Bishop. Get on the side that knows that the protection of all Pennsylvania’s children is the top priority of any organization.

      1. I read today the bishops started a “texting campaign” for “religious freedom” …………what about our children?

      2. Michael: Did you see the ridiculous news article on a couple of days ago, where the author claimed in the aftermath of the Sandusky and Lynn trials we shouldn’t RUSH to change laws as they exist? The piece looked as if it could have been written by Chaput’s office, AND to add insult to injury, they didn’t even have a place for readers to make comments. (This really enraged me!) Coming from Colorado and seeing Chaput’s expensive lobbyists successfully fight our Statute of Limitations from being extended, for the last 2 years that he was in Denver, I know that Philly is going to have another battle with Chaput. Hopefully, the trials of Lynn and Sandusky will show the people of PA how necessary it is to remove the Statute of Limitations for a 2 year period in PA. Don’t expect Chaput to change! He won’t!

  20. In John Martin’s article today it also stated that, from what Martin had heard, Lynn was angry at the prosecution for choosing him as the one to take the fall for the acts of everyone. Msgr. Lynn, when are you going to get mad at the right people?! The prosecutors aren’t the ones who put you there and hung you out to dry…..your wonderful bosses are! They covered their tracks and left yours completely visible…….that’s just how they wanted it. Now, they are more than content to shut their mouths, hang low, and let you go to jail. Yes, there are others who deserve to go, but your anger is displaced. The prosecuters were on the side of what’s “right”. You, Msgr. Lynn, and your counterparts fell (and fall) on the other side. It’s time to face it and stop blaming the prosecution for seeking justice and protection for children.

    1. Jackie,

      Couple Lynn’s apparent anger over the prosecution making him the fall guy, and another comment made by him during the house arrest phase of the trial when he said, “the AD wasn’t even speaking to him” (meaning it would hardly assist him in hiding out in the Vatican).

      Lynn should be out of jail on Thursday, under house arrest. His sentencing is sometime around Aug. 13. What are his options up until then? Could he decide to abandon his AD dream team, hire another lawyer, and attempt to get a lower sentence by agreeing to be a whistleblower on Cullen, Cistone, and the like? Or will he fuss and fume internally, incessantly turn red-faced, and remain loyal to the bitter end? Loyalty has been his nemesis all along. We keep seeing Lynn, the loyal, dough-boy priest. Will be ever see Lynn, the intelligent, bold, and decent man?

      If anyone has insights into Lynn’s legal options between now and his sentencing date, I’d like to hear them. Thank you.

      1. Hadit you are right …….Lynn could help clean house if he had a change of heart. I think that is where I will focus my prayers for now.

      2. Kate, I don’t know about his legal options now, but I’d imagine from what we’ve seen so far of his legal choices, and his character and personal financial situation, that Lynn will dutifully stay the course…

        It’s really not so bad…He’ll serve out his easy sentence in a protected area of the facility, where he’ll be visited and well-supported by his fellow priests and family..Lynn will lose some weight and get healthy…. do a lot of reading… …and before he’s 64 yrs old, he’ll be whisked off to a nice diocese far away, where nobody cares what he did to our children here in Philly…maybe in Knoxville TN –like Rigali.

        –It’s just not enough…and I can’t accept it.

      3. Kate, I was wondering about his legal options as well. Is it still possible for him to get a deal for a lesser sentence if he provided prosecutable information or is that possibility over? Anybody know the answer to that? In any case, my guess is that he’s going to stay on his present course, hoping that the appeal will be successful. I doubt he will ever talk.

  21. Thank you for this post. I was very impressed with John Martin’s reporting, and his ability to bring readers into the court room. Of all the reports I’ve read about the trial, Martin’s made me feel that I was there, even though I’m almost 3000 miles away. I was touched by his compassion for every innocent person, from the children who were abused, their families, parishioners whose trust and respect for priests they had looked up to, and his colleagues who were obviously shaken by heinous crimes they had to listen to day after day. Susan is right about the caliber of the reporting.

  22. Had they done what they taught, none of this would have happened.
    Growing up in a totally RCC environment in New York City, I was happy and secure. I had a loving family that strived to do the right thing in all aspects of life; we even prayed the family Rosary during May and during October. We went to morning Mass in Lent. We knew of God’s love and God’s forgiveness. There was nothing that God would not forgive. We were raised to love the truth of our religion. We totally believed in that truth.
    I distinctly remember being told by Sister Thomasina, GNSH, in eighth grade at Blessed Sacrament School in Jackson Heights, NY, that even if we saw a priest doing something wrong, we were to say nothing because he was a priest of God…That did not jibe with the confidence in God’s forgiveness that we had been taught…That was the first real disconnect…
    Had we been made aware that priests sinned as we all did, there would have been no scandal in my world. We would have acknowledged priestly humanity, forgiven, and moved on. It is possible that we would NOT have been in the thrall of the priesthood as we had been—and I guess that is the rub—but we would have answered the call to heed and put into practice the greatest gifts Jesus gave us: the forgiveness of sins and the love of one for another. Understanding priestly humanity would cause our relationship with our clergy to become one of brotherly acceptance rather than king-subject. How much better off would all of us have been?

    1. SNAP is calling for Lynn’s defrocking, and even though I totally agree with SNAP, I don’t think that Chaput will do it, because it would mean also defrocking Cullen, Cistone and perhaps someone higher up, on the Archdiocese’s Food-chain, in the event they are brought up on charges of aiding Cardinal Bevilacqua’s dream-team of Pedophile Priests, by not reporting their criminal activities to Law Enforcement!

    2. Elizabeth: You had your Sister Thomasina, I had my Sister Dorothy Marie. I came from a parish, which had 3 distinct waves of Priest Pedophilia, over the period of 20 years or so. I clearly remember the day during “Religion Class” where we were told that some of our classmates were saying that a priest was doing BAD THINGS!” If we heard any stories, we were to report them IMMEDIATELY! We were also told it was a “Mortal Sin” to even listen to stories that priests were sinning! I was the one dumb enough to ask, “What bad things?” Of course we weren’t told. 30 years later, I discovered that my brother was one of students our priest abused! I always have felt that our nuns aided and abetted our Pedophile Priests and they were a big part of the Church orchestrated coverup. We were afraid of the nuns and causing them to get mad at us. We were even more afraid of priests!

      1. Jeannie: For years I couldn’t remember what happened to me as a twelve year old altar boy at St. John of the Cross in Roslyn. Now I can’t forget it, even for a day. I sometimes wonder which is worse. I had an aunt who was an Immaculate Heart Nun. I understand from classmates who went to St. Davids in Willow Grove that she was very demanding, and an extreme disciplinarian. There were nuns at St. Johns who were very cruel. I remember one principal, Mother Mary of Good Counsel, One day she lined up all the boys in my class[4th or 5th grades] and had us hold our hands out while she swung her wooden pointer from over her shoulder., hitting our outstretched hands. I don’t remember what the offense was but until one of us confessed, she continued to go down the line swinging her deadly pointer. There was also a lay teacher who was dismissed because she locked kids in a closet for misbehaving. In many ways I think the nuns did prep us for the sexual abuse that followed.

  23. Since the trial ended, has anyone noticed how Ralph Cipriano’s posts on his blog have “evolved.” He’s got some demons, and rightly so. The demons are seeping out of the Ralph-woodwork. First, John Martin told of his uncomfortable, personal associations with the trial. Then, C4C bloggers talked about the roles they played in the Catholic sex abuse story. Now, Ralph’s edge is being laid out, full force, no holds barred, on the table. Everyone has a story. Everyone is saying my story is DISTURBING in my personal world! How dare you clerics!

    Check out Ralph’s recent piece: Warning! He’s angry as hell.

    1. Well if he can remove bishops for issues other than child sexual abuse and coverup he can certainly remove bishops covering up sexual abuse.

      1. This certainly looks like an employer/employee relationship to me.

        Hasn’t the Vatican denied the existence of such a relationship in the past in order to avoid certain types of legal action? The removal of a bishop by the pope seems to open a door.

        Jerry, would you give us some insight into the legal implications of the pope’s action?

  24. What are the minmum changes in the Catholic Church that C4C, Catholics For Change, stands for? What is the maximum time to implement the changes?

    Without knowing our minimum threshhold of change, there is no way to know when or whether we succeed. Time is also key. What they bishops traditionally have done is tell the people jibberish, “The Church thinks in centuries, our thoughts are far above yours.” And a few decades later, the silly layperson who thought she could effect change is dead, and the church just keeps on its same old ways. So, what are your thoughts? What changes MUST be made? And HOW LONG do we give them?

    Have a happy 4th. Declare your INDEPENDENCE! I did, and it feels great.

    1. Yea Mark, “What the bishops traditionally have done is tell the people jibberish.”

      Your right, but people still keep giving them money. Why change when you can do anything you want and not be held accountable?

      Bishops will continue to ‘Live Large’ for the foreseeable future!

    2. Mark,

      My “minimum threshold of change” would entail reforming the priesthood. As I’ve said before, it’s the curse of our Church; it’s at the root of most if not all of its problems; it’s toxic, dysfunctional, and immoral. I’d get people like Tom Doyle and Richard Sipe to articulate a new vision. I’d get someone like Sr. Maureen to enforce it. I’d completely overhaul seminary education so a priest emerges as a gifted minister in tune with the human condition, possessing a superior theological education that is paralleled by a mandated expertise in, say, finance, health care administration, technology, public relations, human resources, communications, the social sciences, et al. I would not permit the seminary experience to unfold on insulated campuses. I’d put seminarians in classrooms where their peers model and live out the reality of the human condition, and where their questions and ideas act to counter indoctrination and promote critical thinking

  25. The lowest level of acceptable change is to allow priests their “natural law right to marry.” They have a natural right to do so, and it is abnormal, unnatural, and twisted for B16 and JPII and the other similar ones to demand otherwise.

    The next level is women priests, this will be necessary, too, but first we have to allow priests to marry.

    What do you think? And what else?

    How would an effective Catholic Truth Commission be structured?

  26. There are several “sub-threads” within this lengthy topic in the Catholics4change blog. This is regarding the thread about changing the Roman Catholic church.

    I believe Catholic “reform” or if you will “Catholic Change”
    Not worth the time or attention if not Spirit led.
    “Spirit Led” means: God, the Holy Spirit is sovereign and only if/when the Spirit desires to open a heart [spirit of man/woman] will they be “converted” to the truth about Christ. This truth is contained in the written Word of God; however, only the Spirit can open a heart to receive the Word. Otherwise, the Word is of no impact on a heart.
    This factor is KEY to any genuine renewal, reform etc. It Cannot be avoided by misguided attempts e.g., American Catholic Council, or liberal forces or groups. And “conservative/traditional” forces are likewise ineffective in any real reform.

    occurringccuring theme of “we trusted Father so-and-so because we were taught that a priest was … etc. etc. ” is telling us that to abet or support in some way – that paradigm is a sin and should also be a crime. Where in God’s Word can you show me that God has ordained that believers have such an attitude of worship or even reverence toward ANYONE other than Christ Himself?
    QUESTION: At what point does a cult group break the law simply bexistencexistance and activity? Can a cult that misrepresents themselves be prosecuted?

  27. A cult recently was prosecuted by the State; one of its key operators is set to be sentenced soon. Higher ranking officials of the cult are being considered for prosecution as we speak.

  28. Mark you must be irish answering a question with a question but I like it. I will respond later I’m tied up at the moment. Happy 4th of July!

  29. Jack, I believe that the “fake followers”-that is, the hierarchy and those that blindly follow them–believe that blind obedience is their highest virtue. I have declared my independence from such misleading teaching–I am free to follow my conscience in all that I do. How about you, are you blindly obedient like Lynne, or are you free to follow your conscience? What would you have done if you were in Lynne’s position? WWJD? What would Jack do???

  30. Allowing priests to marry isn’t the answer to curbing sexual abuse of children by priests. Like their married lay counterparts, married priests with a proclivity towards sexual abuse of children will abuse children wherever and whenever they can – – their own, yours, mine – – and would not be stopped just because they have society’s permission to engage in sex with a spouse. If the reverse were true, married men would never commit incest.

    The only solutions are criminal prosecution for sex crimes against children, and those who protect the perpetrators, and a willingness for every human being to do what needs to be done to protect children from harm.

  31. laney, if it is a requirement of God that priests be celibate, then why did Jesus select married men as Apostles? If it is not a requirement of God that priests be celibate, then why can’t priests be allowed to marry?

    laney, Roman Catholic Priests, by and large, are NOT celibate, but are engaged in homosexual or heterosexual relationships. The lie that they are celibate is no longer acceptable.

    laney, you claim that married clergy are just as likely to engage in sex abuse as non-married clergy, but that’s not what the facts show. Why is there so much more sex abuse by Roman Catholic Priest Pedophiles than by clergy of ALL other denominations?

    “According to the John Jay report commissioned by the U.S. bishops, allegations of sexual abuse were made in 1950-2002 against 4,392 priests. The number is generally believed to underestimate the problem. A few bishops have released the names of accused priests, but no official list exists of U.S. priests who have abused children and vulnerable adults.”

      1. Marie, this article is clear and useful and thanks for posting it!.
        JP2’s and others’ writings explaining priestly celibacy sound ethereal, positive and even beautiful, but they must be recognized by responsible, thinking catholics in 2012, as fantasy. The subject matter actually requires the application of God-given common sense, and a little biology and psychology.
        An honest look into RCC history reveals that mandating celibacy is a way for bishops to control priests…and it serves to attract psychologically unsuitable men to the priesthood.

  32. Marie, Jesus was God. Priests are not God. Jesus chose MARRIED men to be priests. At some point a few hundred years ago, men changed the teaching of God. If your argument is to follow His example, then you should do so. Priests were allowed to be married well into the Middle Ages. It’s time to do so again. The Holy Spirit is calling. Is anyone listening?

    1. Mark I think priests should have the option to marry or not marry. St. Paul I believe was not married and I think as Marie said there should be something to strive for…….not that you can’t be holy and married also……in many ways marriage may be just as challenging as single life. Everyone has different crosses to bear. That being said I believe as Laney said that just because you are married that does not solve the problem completely as many fathers and stepfathers abuse their own children. I do think that giving priests the option to marry may attract priests that are healthier and more well adjusted in their sexuality. I do believe that many pedophiles were attracted to the priesthood because they had easy access to children. I actually would like to see more middle age married men become priests. They would have more life experience including how to maintain a marriage without the responsiblity of children while ministering to the laity. I see a strain on protestant ministers and their kids trying to juggle family and minstry .

  33. I’m very happy to read, today, that the bill to allow experts to testify at sex abuse trials was passed in PA. This bill is so important. Take for example, Mark Bukowski. Some have remarked that he was not a “credible” witness. In reality, Mark exhibited many of the conflicting and complex signs and behaviors of a sex abuse victim. Much of the truth he told in 304 came via his demeanor, his outbursts, his run-ins with the law, his addictions, etc. Jurors, especially, need this kind of information to make informed decisions. The passage of the bill is a win for all victims/survivors.

  34. Good news in Judge Sarmina’s denial of house arrest for Lynn.

    Mark- Thanks for your explanation of your declaration of independence.That’s what I thought that you meant.

    However, not everyone can vote with their feet. Many well-intentioned folks simply cannot muster the strength to get up and leave. There are many reasons for this, but essentially in my opinion, the church still has something that they want.

    I believe that we should defer to the victims in what they have said in unison over and over again; that we focus on the salient issues in this crisis.

    Legislative reform notwithstanding, those concerns as we all know, are protecting children who may be in harm’s way now, supporting our friends and family members who have been victimized in the past, and encouraging those who have been abused to come forward.

    When a guy like Rich states that he may be able only to befriend fellow victims, we are diminished. We do not have to agree on every aspect, but we should respect each other, and not drive others away from the discussion. Sadly, we have done just that more than once.

  35. Kate, I appreciate your commitment, and know that you are passionate in your support for the victims in this tragic crisis. I have benefited from many of the links that you have provided, and concur with you on many of your positions.

    I’m not aware of others who mentioned credibility vis-a-vis Mark, so I would like to take this opportunity to clarify. It did occur to me that it might have appeared to have been my opinion that his testimony was incredible.

    At the time, I was responding to Rich who was lamenting the fact that there was no guilty verdict for Brennan. My comment was that the Jury had an issue with his credibility. I was paraphrasing the jury foreman.

    I saw Mark’s second day of testimony, and found him to be believable. I was so enthused that day that I wrote something like, “Mark if you are out there, Way to Go Baby! I thought at the time, that a conviction was inevitable.

    What I was remiss about, is the fact that some on the jury did believe Mark, or the verdict would have been a completely disheartening, “not guilty”.

    The new law, as you point out, would have served Mark’s case well. As would the emergence of an additional Brennan victim.

    We do not know the mind of the DA, but we will find out soon if the case will be retried.

    P.S. Mark if you are out there. My sentiments remain; Way to Go Baby! You Were Great!
    Also, have you considered balancing Brennan’s public comments with some of your own? Just curious. I’m sure that there is a way for you to be heard while retaining your anonymity.

    1. Jack,

      Actually, I read about the “credibility” question of Mark Bukowski and his testimony in newsprint accounts of the day he testified. I didn’t read it on C4C. Certainly, the defense tried to provoke questions about his credibility via bringing to light his record, addictions, psychological issues, et al. Defense teams, in the future, will be less successful at accomplishing that once experts can inform a courtroom as to the “profiles” of many sex abuse victims.

      1. I get so angry when defense lawyers use the effects abuse victims suffer against them. Ammendola tried the same thing in the Sandusky trial. As some one who turned to alcohol to help the pain of the abuse , I know all, too well why I drank. Somtimes I wonder how many alcoholics are out there self medicating due to sexual abuse. I know one thing for sure. I never would have recovered the memories of the abuse if I hadn’t stopped using alcohol. In the Australian news documentary that Jeannie mentioned, Several men committed suicide . These men had been molested as 10 and 11 year old altar boys. How many suicides by adult males are the result of sexual abuse suffered as a child?

      2. Jim,

        My brother was abused when he was 10 and 11. When he began talking about it at the age of 26, he already had a record, had been in and out of drug rehab facilities, and had flunked out of three colleges. Because of his history, authorities considered him not credible… even some of his counselors were skeptical of his testimony. Only my family believed him. He spiraled downward until he took his life at the age of 36. Before he died, people would always say, “what’s wrong with Billy?” “He’s a victim of sexual abuse,” I’d say. And they’d say, “what???”

        We need experts to inform the public.

      3. Kate, I did not know about your brother. I’m so very sorry. If only the experts were able to inform the public back then… If only.. so many things …
        I’m not sure, but I really think the public is listening now …There’s no going back to those dark days…There’s no need for any of us to suffer in silence.

      4. Kate, a couple things….couldn’t agree more that it’s hugely important that’expert witnesses’ be able to testify about the effects of abuse….the fact that PA JUST got around to that law is one more example of what a troglodyte type of place that pathetic state is in terms of abuse legislation.

        But your brothers story makes my heart ache….I know you are part of a family that must have done just about everything possible for Billy….his pain….his death…you and your family’s pain…it just makes my heart ache ….Joan

  36. “Real love involves real hatred: whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to drive the sellers from the temples has also lost a living fervent love of Truth” Fulton Sheen………..something to think about……

  37. That’s cool Kate. Although you weren’t referring to me, I’m glad to have the chance to clear any possible misconceptions. By the way, was Mark’s last name publicized as well?

    1. Yes, Mark’s last name was used by several media outlets, also by Ralph, which doesn’t mean I or others should use it. Thanks for the reminder, Jack.

      I believe I read that the jury foreman, on a morning talk show, said that there was some division among the jurors on the issue of Mark’s credibility. It’s very possible that an expert witness could have brought the jurors to a better understanding of how Mark’s history and difficulties fit the profile of many sexual abuse victims . The public, including the faithful, would have equally benefited from some expert testimony.

  38. That’s ok Kate, I didn’t realize that the name had been mentioned so many times. I wonder how the family feels about that.

  39. Mark, How do you feel about the denial of the house arrest request? Do you think that the pressure upon the family will prompt them to, “Flip their Lynn”?

  40. What does everyone think about the NOT GUILTY verdict that came down today in the trial in CA… the victim of child sexual abuse (now an adult) who beat up his Jesuit perp?

    Jack, how will Lynn “flip” if he’s only exposed to his AD financed defense, dream team? I wish he were privy to other legal counseling. Is the dream team promising a win on appeal, and ignoring the perks that go with “flipping”? Certainly, the AD doesn’t want a “flip”! I think winning an appeal is a shot in the dark.

      1. An interesting quote about appeals from the Cipriano piece cited above

        “Outside the Criminal Justice Center, Jeff Lindy was holding court with the press. He said the defense is planning to appeal the case once Lynn is sentenced. But the problem is, by the time the appeal is decided, Lynn may have served his sentence.”

      2. AND in Oregon an insurance company is requiring the following:

        OR- Insurer requires church to take unusual abuse prevention steps
        An insurance company is insisting that an Oregon church

         –disclose to its members the identity of sex offenders who attend,

         –let those offenders attend only one predetermined service each week,

         –assign them an escort while they’re at the church, and

         –bar them from participating in any child or youth programs.

        We applaud the company’s decision. We urge other companies to do likewise. And we urge other institutions – religious and secular – to do likewise.

        Let’s start with the tragic fact that one in four girls and one in eight boys will be sexually abused in childhood. Given those devastating figures, it should be clear that the status quo is extraordinarily risky for kids.

        (Imagine what adults would do if one in four cars were stolen or one in eight homes were burglarized.)

        Obviously, something must be done. What better place to start than in churches? The rest of the week, parents must worry about teachers, babysitters, neighbors, relatives, coaches, tutors, day care employees and those giving music, chess, or ballet lessons. Shouldn’t parents have an hour or two on Sunday morning where they can be assured that their kids are safe?

        If someone has sexually assaulted a child, is it really too much to ask that they have an escort for an hour or two once a week?

        And is a sex offender joins a church for the right reason, wouldn’t he or she want their fellow church-goers to know about his or her crimes, so the congregation could help him or her stay “on the straight and narrow.” Surely even child molesters who hope to avoid re-offending know that secrecy is unhealthy for everyone involved.

        The pastor argues that the move will cause more sex offenders to “go underground.” If that happens, perhaps the decision should be re-examined. But for now, that’s just speculation.

        But the fact that thousands of kids are being molested is not speculation. That’s reality. That’s what should be our paramount concern. And while we’re glad that statistics suggest the rate of child sex abuse is slowly going down, we can’t be content with this. Kids are being hurt, something must change, churches should lead, not fight, those changes.

        Read more here: 

      3. In the spirit of giving you a bit of ‘west coast balance’ and since both CA and Oregon factored in today’s news….here is the breaking news ( also today’s report) out of the state of Washington:

        Jury awards $8 million in Catholic sexual abuse case
        It will be reduced to $6.4 million, however
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        St. Benedict School in Seattle

        Web reporter
        Q13 Fox News Online
        3:48 p.m. PDT, July 5, 2012

        A jury has awarded $8 million to a former student of St. Benedict School in Seattle in a lawsuit against the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a worldwide Catholic religious order of priests.

        It is believed to be the largest monetary judgment against the Catholic Church in Washington state, the plaintiff’s attorneys said in a statement.

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        Justice System
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        The jury found the plaintiff, identified only as “S.O.,” was sexually abused on a weekly basis between 1961 and 1964 by Daniel Adamson, a former teacher and principal at the Catholic school.  S.O. testified that he twice asked the Oblate pastor, the Rev. Henry Conrad, for help, but the priest ignored him.

        At the time, St. Benedict was owned by the Seattle Archdiocese and run by Oblate priests.  S.O. filed suit against both entities, but settled with the Seattle Archdiocese last year. 

        The jury also heard from two other students who testified that they also told Conrad that Adamson was abusing them, but the Oblate priest allegedly told them to stay quiet. 

        The total verdict was $8 million, but it will be reduced to $6.4 million because the jury found the Seattle Archdiocese and the Dominican Sisters, another religious order who staffed the school, to be 20 percent responsible. 

        Each of the three former students testified that Adamson, who was single and lived with his parents, had an elaborate train set that he used to lure them and other kids into his basement where he would abuse them. 

        Adamson died suddenly in the mid-1970s, while he was still principal of the school.  In 2002, after nearly 100 years, the Oblates returned control of St. Benedict to the Seattle Archdiocese. 

      4. Joan it would have been alot cheaper to do the right thing in the begining…….but my question is why can’t people do the right thing in the first place because it is the right thing to do period?

      5. Beth,

        You ask, “…why can’t people do the right thing in the first place because it is the right thing to do period?”

        On surface the RC organization gives the appearance of being benign (followers of Jesus, right?). This serves as a perfect cover for those who have no intention of “doing the right thing.” It provides an ideal environment for pedophiles to thrive, thus by its very nature it attracts child predators. The same applies to boy scout leaders, ice cream truck men, youth directors, coaches, etc.

        These vocations and avocations all require strong moral supervisors, and a system of check and balances. The RCC has neither, and is very resistant to put these measures in place.

        That why we have to FORCE them to “do the right thing!”

  41. I know. I guess I’ve seen too many episodes of Law and Order. My wife said that his time to deal has come and gone. He rolled the dice with the jury. It’s interesting though that no priests were there last week. I wonder if any were there today. What a pathetic crew.

    I like the verdict in CA of course. I’m surprised that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. My view is that the lack of physical retribution against these predators is an indication of the nature of the victims themselves.

    Many have said that they came forward in an effort to save other kids from being harmed. They were not seeking money, nor were they interested in lawsuits. The last thing that they contemplated was more violence.

    It was the church’s inept response and aggressive indifference which led many to take action. They were left with no decent avenues of recourse. I don’t think that they get enough credit for this aspect of their actions.

    With the Philly verdict and all of the related developments around the world, we could be approaching the tipping point of awareness for the victims, legislative reform, and consistent justice. I hope.

  42. Crystal, thanks, you nailed it–
    “they must be recognized by responsible, thinking catholics in 2012, as fantasy. The subject matter actually requires the application of God-given common sense, and a little biology and psychology. An honest look into RCC history reveals that mandating celibacy is a way for bishops to control priests…and it serves to attract psychologically unsuitable men to the priesthood.”
    Excellent analysis! Responsible, THINKING … in 2012 … Requires COMMON SENSE, biology and psychology. An HONEST look reveals that mandating celibacy is a way for bishops to CONTROL priests … and it serves to attract psychologically unsuitable men to the priesthood.
    Brilliant, correct, and unrebutted.

    1. I, too, like Crystal’s reality and knowledge-based analysis on mandatory celibacy. The one part I don’t get is the assertion that celibacy is a way for bishops to control priests. What does that mean, exactly?

      I look at celibacy as a discipline intended to set priests apart and above the rest of us, to elevate their status, as though a celibate existence were higher, better, holier, or more sacred. To say one’s existence is higher or more sacred because one neither marries nor engages in sex is misogynist and a degradation of sex. The discipline of celibacy is fundamentally about skewed views on women and sex; it’s intended to foster and maintain power and patriarchy.

      1. Kate i agree with what Jack says here about lack of control.. I understand that the church officially enforced celibacy sometime around 1100, in order to ensure that monetary donations and tax exempt church land and assets (often gained by hustling salvation) could not be passed on to a priest’s or a bishop’s relatives upon his death — an arrangement which had been making for some very wealthy bishops, and many unhappy kings and popes…

        As for how the celibacy rule imposes control over priests today….The RCC pyramid of power thrives only because of the obedience and undivided loyalty of it’s components. The church knows that when a man is not required to be celibate, his life very quickly becomes “complicated” by all sorts of human relationships… (significant others, wives, ex-wives, offspring, in-laws ) Maintaining these relationships requires him to wear many different hats… These relationships make blind obedience to a bishop very difficult. Consequently his attention and loyalties are challenged and divided…and the church stands to lose out… It’s far more effective (in a self-serving way) for the church to commandeer a priest’s entire being…including his sexuality.

  43. Jim and Kate,
    I am so sorry for your pain. I want to validate what you are saying.I observed on a psych. floor for dual diagnosis patients. All the patients had an addiction and also a mental illness diagnosis a large percentage of them had been abused as children when will society face the facts child sexual abuse affects people for a lifetime and is the source for many addictions and mental illnesses.

  44. Kate, I believe that the control issue with celibacy is actually a lack of control. A married priest would be subject to the legal ramifications associated with divorce and inheritance. If you consider their financial problems now, there is NO way that they would open themselves up to these additional potential liabilities, in my opinion.

    Also, check out this blog entry by KYW’s Tony Hanson.

  45. He explained how a priest is marked at ordination much like we are marked at baptism.
    The problem I have with this is the abusive priest from Philly who was put on leave before being officially laicized and ended up working as an overnight cashier in an Atlantic City casino. So I am supposed to believe this man who abused children and now is working night shift at a casino, is a representative of Christ because he was ordained?=K. Kane

    J.Guzman-“Ye are a royal priesthood,” speaking to all of us! There was little doubt of “A Priesthood of ALL Believers” in the Early Church as evidenced in the Book of Acts, where believers went from home to home to celebrate “The Lord’s Table!”

    Hadit- The disconnects are multiplying as the faithful become more informed and more willing to be critical thinkers.

    Joe Burch-One a man is ordained, he will be a priest forever. That is, he will retain the indelible character on his soul for eternity just as we are marked by our Baptism and have the special character of Confirmation on our souls.

    Kathy Kane-Joe, I tend to think of these things in biblical terms, as if they were happening in a Gospel. Personally I do not believe that Jesus would continue to call someone a disciple if that man abused children. I would go the route of saying a good act of contrition rather than having an abusive priest (meaning his hands violated a child’s body) hear my confession. I have had abusive priests (meaning their hands violated a child’s body) administer sacraments to me in the past..not interested in that anymore thank you.
    drwho13–Joe, believe whatever you wish, but the ship your on will sail without me.
    I see it as important that questions raised here be definitively answered according to a ”
    standard” and though some of the answers, as quoted here, are in my opinion headed in the right direction [e.g., K. Kane, and drwho13] the “standard” should be what the Word says.
    There is no scriptural basis for the idea that any form [dunking, sprinkling, pouring] of water “baptism” leaves any “mark” other than wetness on a person. It is only the Spirit we drink into and are baptized by the Holy Spirit “into Christ.” I ask those who may question this one question: If the scripture says “one baptism” as it does — then which is the One Baptism? Clearly it is the Spirit baptism, not water [a Jewish ceremony and one which was eventually abandoned by the mostly
    Gentile Body of Christ.] That water bapism survived in Christendom is because of the general turning aside from the gospel Paul preached after he was commissioned by Christ.
    In turn, there is no “mark” on a man ordained a “priest” simply because under grace, there are no priests, no sacrifice to be offered. Christ alone by His death and resurrection for our sins, is the only “priest” and head of the Body of Christ. When Peter wrote of a “royal priesthood” he was writing to his Jewish flock, and not to Paul’s Body of Christ audience.
    Likewise, Paul never wrote to either “sheep” or any “priesthood.”

    1. Amazed,

      I disagree that the standard should be what the Word says. Presumably, you believe that scripture or the Word is the word of God. I don’t. I consider scripture to be the writings of ancient communities of people who wrote down what they believed in order to get others to believe it. Have you ever explored the Jesus Seminar? You can Google it.

      1. Kate FitzGerald (hadit)ReplyJuly 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm



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        I disagree that the standard should be what the Word says. Presumably, you believe that scripture or the Word is the word of God. I don’t. I consider scripture to be the writings of ancient communities of people who wrote down what they believed in order to get others to believe it. Have you ever explored the Jesus Seminar? You can Google it.

        In reply to Hadit (Kate Fitzgerald)
        I appreciate a lot that you posted so honestly when most people either hide their true feelings on the bible, or are so confused by what they have read or heard about the scriptures that they don’t know what to think.
        Personally, my Catholic upbringing taught me to distrust and be very uncomfortable about the scriptures. Catholicism, in my judgment fosters this distrust in order to make its TRADITIONS seem more certain and “reasonable.”

        But no one can make anyone into a bible believer except God, and it is only by the Word of God that one may hear God— that is the way God has decided upon and He is sovereign. Before the bible was available to the world in print, God had prophets and apostles who passed His Word to mankind and now only the Word of God in the bible is our way to be reconciled and saved for eternal life.

        At this point I introduce a question for all whom will listen:
        Your CONSCIOUSNESS— Now I ask you to imagine unending eternity with consciousness also never ending, and the absense of a loving Creator in that consciousness!

      2. “… it is only by the Word of God that one may hear God.”

        People can “hear” the Word of God through prayer and in the faces of the least among us, the sick, the suffering, the downtrodden, and the forgotten. While “hearing” it is nice, it’s what we do about what we “hear” that honors and glorifies our God.

      3. Yes, God knows all about what is goodness; however, He has said:
        “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”(Hebrews 11:6)
        Faith simply stated is believing what God has revealed.

      4. Kate…without getting into a scriptural discussion…I very much liked your seeing the face of God in those suffering amongst us…for me that has always encompassed Matthew 25…right before the Passion…the standard Jesus defined.

    2. Amazed –

      Hey, I’m amazed too!

      I’m not a Biblical scholar by any means, but I do recollect some verses, viz John, Chapter 3:

      ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God’…or, in Latin…

      ‘Nisi homo renatus fuerit ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, non potest introire in Regnum Dei…’

      Perhaps it would be beneficial to ‘bounce’ some of these questions off Tony Massimini as he is a very intelligent laicized Catholic priest who studied in Rome and taught at Saint Charles Seminary.

      He is certainly very well qualified.

      1. Perhaps it would be beneficial to ‘bounce’ some of these questions off Tony Massimini as he is a very intelligent laicized Catholic priest who studied in Rome and taught at Saint Charles Seminary.

        He is certainly very well qualified.
        I don’t know — maybe so. I don’t know anything about the gentleman; but I know what the Word of God says. What do you think Christ Jesus was speaking of when He said to the Jew Nicodemus: “Water and the Holy Spirit?”

  46. Kate: i am truly sorry to hear about your brother. This horror has caused so much pain and suffering for thousands of victims and their families. And still no credible apology from the bishops here in the U.S.or from the pope in Rome. How can men of God ignore the suffering of so many?

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