Where From Here?

I hope Judge Sarmina sentences Msgr. Lynn to the maximum of seven years. I want the District Attorney’s office to pursue all possible avenues of prosecution in regard to all involved. I want state legislators to improve laws regarding child sex abuse. But what do we want from our Church as this point? I want the Pope to take a position of culpability. As the head goes – so goes the body.

14 thoughts on “Where From Here?

      1. It depends on PA law, which I am unsure of. Usually, it means at least three, with the possibility of parole after that.

  1. You are right as usual Susan. The church as an organization has sinned, and it must repent and do penance. If it does not then the manifest lack of morals by church leaders means that the church forfeits its right to speak with authority on matters of faith and morals. If it loses that authority then it ceases to be the Catholic Church. It could take a page from some of the early response by the Penn State leadership who, immediately asked all victims to come in with their attorneys because the university wanted to do what it could for these victims. Archbishop Chaput reacted to the Lynn verdict essentially by saying that it didn’t happen on his watch, the statute of limitations has expired and should not be extended, and we need to get back to talking about school vouchers, gay marriage and contraception.

    If the church wants to atone, they must acknowledge that they have broken a number of lives through their actions and inaction. They must do what they can to minimize the damages to these individuals. Colin Powell once said “If you break it you own it.” The church has broken these lives and owns a lifelong debt to these individuals. At a minimum they must:

    1. Provide lifelong availability of psychological counseling as needed by the victims.
    2. Provide substance abuse and marriage counseling to the victims and their families.
    3. Provide job counseling and recovery programs.
    4. During periods of disability related to the effects of sexual abuse they must provide
    financial support.
    5. Reimburse victims and their families for money already spent on victim rehabilitation.
    6. Financial support for survivors of those who have died due to suicide or substance
    abuse caused or promoted by clerical sexual exploitation.
    7. It must do this in a way that the church can fund the services, but does not control the
    services, similar to the way an company provides health insurance.

    Right now I need reasons to continue to call myself a Catholic. If the church does this, then I will be able to stay. If they do not, then I believe I will need to go elsewhere because I will realize that the Holy spirit has left the basilica. I have sat and waited for the archdiocese to do something right. My patience it at an end.

    1. Paradox, I love the Colin Powell quote that you shared. And, your number 7 is critical. The diocese would claim that it is offering victim assistance but it can’t claim that it does not control the services.

      1. How about a #8, sponsoring Statute of Limitations
        extensions, (rather than fighting them with the catholic conference) thus providing ALL abuse victims to seek appropriate relief in civil suits and helping name unknown predators?

  2. I want all those things too, Susan. From our church, I want reform. I want the church to shrink down to a very humble state of being.. I want it to be the most open, transparent, simple, loving religion on Earth… .No more popes, No more vatican city, no vatican bank, no archdiocese, no cathedrals, no church-related businesses, no “rock star” leaders meddling in civil affairs, no clergy as we now know it… Rewrite the nonsensical teachings….Change the mass…Change the oppressive rules. Change the name too…It carries with it too much shame.

  3. While I want what is suggested above, I think we, the Body of Christ (of which the hierarchy is >1%), have to learn from our history. Failed leadership in the church responds to calls for self-reform much as failed leadership in the secular world, circle the wagons being a frequent 1st step. I think we need to follow the example of past reformers such as Catherine of Sienna, which means we must think long term & be practical. One way to do that is at every opportunity, demand transparency & accountability. Where those attributes are not present, refuse to participate. When we have a leadership position on the lowest of positions, such as membership on a parish council, model what we are asking the larger church to embrace.

  4. Right on, Susan! One thing we need to do is be prepared for the potential papal visit to Philly in 2015. Should we hold a counter rally? Or, would they try to do something to give us bad spin? In any case, we should all continue to check in here at C4C no matter what happens.

  5. MJM – please don’t take this the wrong way but > forget the pope’s 2015 visit. I would rather attend a Bruce Springsteen concert or Jimmy Buffet, or else meet members of C4C and celebrate our non-institutional “church” BEING together.

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