Another Whacky Archdiocesan Press Release Upon Denied Bail


Click here to read: “Judge Denies Bail for Monsignor While Archdiocese Battles Its Own Lawyers Over Money for Appeal,” by Ralph Cipriano, Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog, August 6, 2012
Excerpt: “That prompted a bizarre two-paragraph response from the archdiocese public relations office that baffled the archdiocese’s own lawyers:

“Msgr. Lynn’s counsel is strongly convicted that there were many errors at trial and the sentence is disproportionate to other punishment meted out to administrators for this same charge. This strong belief and care for Msgr. Lynn and his family has resulted in Msgr. Lynn’s primary counsel, Tom Bergstrom, deciding to complete the appeal for Msgr. Lynn largely on a pro bono basis.”

“The Archdiocese has and continues to believe Msgr. Lynn is entitled to all the rights afforded him by civil law, including the appeal, and we noted when he was sentenced that we hope that the ultimate decision in Msgr. Lynn’s regard is just and merciful.”

You have to wonder who writes this stuff.”

 

Editor’s note: Is Brian Tierney is on vacation?

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180 Responses to “Another Whacky Archdiocesan Press Release Upon Denied Bail”

  1. This is too strange. Here is the wording of the archdiocese response: “Msgr. Lynn’s counsel is strongly convicted that there were many errors at trial”
    I say that if Lynn’s counsel, after accepting $750,000.00, says there were many errors, then they should be “convicted”!

  2. You not joking!
    Mr Bergstrom would have been welcomed down under, with open arms with that mentality.
    Special indulgences coming up for him that’s for sure.
    He may even receive a Special Dispensation or a Papal Knighthood.

    • Talk about a Freudian slip….the AD is ‘convicted’. Think things must be very muddled over there.

      And in very early September a particularly ugly trial, where a poor kid was apparently passed around from Spero to Englehardt to Avery for absolutely gross abuse, is about to begin.

      • its a rude awakening……..they still have not fully woken up to…………they were wrong……….and there are consequences for their actions……..if they don’t repent imagine the rude awakening they are going to get when they wake up in hell……….

      • Joan, I was thinking the same thing. Sounds like there’s a bit of turmoil at the AD! Lots of grasping at straws!

        Poor Lynn… he really needs to wake up and smell the coffee and find his own legal team. Looks like his employer isn’t standing by him for much longer…. or say, for only about $25,000 more.

        Here’s another article covering today’s events.

        http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/08/06/monsignor-lynn-will-ask-to-be-released-on-bail/

      • Ms Joan….just pointing out with no criticism-only to inform you that convicted means a “firm belief” ln this instance. It is used quite frequently when speaking about one’s “convictions”–(hardly a freudian slip)..we all miss it sometimes…sometimes it is age

      • Josie, I did google the word and the standard usage dealt with crime and punishment. There were other errors in that statement pointed out by Ralph Cipriano.

        I do think it was a Freudian slip and that the AD needs to improve its communication style.

      • Thomas Doyle’s 2008 comments in a recent citation by CW Whelan, perhaps explain AD and laity response to the Lynn conviction:

        “When victims or their families have “gone public” and engaged the Church in an embarrassing legal battle, the common response is defensiveness and denial.( and when a landmark case against church leadership is decided against the church, even more so)37

        Going public with a report of sexual abuse by a priest, especially a highly regarded priest often brings a strong backlash from the community. Victims are naturally bewildered and shocked that lay people, especially parents, would support a man who has sexually assaulted vulnerable children or adolescents.( or even worse, that a priest has assisted the institution in covering up vile abuse and passing on predators to abuse again for decades).

        The disclosure rocks the belief system of many in the (lay) community because it threatens the symbols that give them spiritual security. 

        They refuse to believe that a priest ( or the institution) has committed such a heinous act because they cannot believe it.

        There is often a defensive reaction whereby the abuse victim is treated as a criminal. His or her crime is not so much in accusing the sacred person of a priest, (or institution) but in threatening the security of the dependent spirituality of some members of the community. It is not so much that some lay people do not believe the abuse took place. 

        It is more that they cannot bear the emotional pain that comes with accepting the reality of betrayal by a trusted priest., (or institution). The same can be said of evidence of the institutionalized cover-up. Many simply cannot bear the emotional shock of betrayal by the institutional Church.

        My comments are in parentheses.

      • Joan that is such an insightful quote from Doyle. Jesus came to save us from sin not to teach us to tolerate sin as the AD seems to have done.

      • Beth. I am glad you liked the Doyle piece. I have a great respect for him and think that CW Whelan had it about right to repost that citation.

        There is a really long (26 pages) in the long version, much shorter in the abbreviated piece, where Doyle looks at the toxic spiritual effects of abuse on victims….it is ‘hands down’ the very best explanation that I have found anywhere.

        It explains so much of what I have heard from victims on C4C!!!

      • AND Doyle, again on the a ‘dependent spirituality’ that sets up victims horribly, and an institutional Church that ‘will not, because it cannot’ accept responsibility in a way that genuinely respects the toxic spiritual horror that it’s clergy have enacted on victims.

        “Lay Catholics are formed by the Church to believe that they should be obedient and docile and trust the clergy in all spiritual matters. This blind trust as well as the learned dependence on external symbols and rituals for spiritual comfort is the basis for a dependent spirituality. 

        For most people their formal religious education ended with adolescence, just as they were developing the capacity to wonder, critically evaluate and choose for themselves ethical and moral guidelines. There is only one acceptable way of imaging the Higher Power and His involvement in human life. 

        The childish and unrealistic concept of God as a kind of “super human” with likes, dislikes, anger and happiness is a powerful deterrent for the inquiring believer to move beyond and find in God not a Person who demands total obedience, allegiance and non-stop adoration, but a purely spiritual force of love. Because of the Church’s insistence that there is no other way to experience the presence and love of God except through the medium of the visible Church and its ministers, abused and betrayed Catholics have nowhere to turn. 

        Their religious “system” is severely limited by this dependent spirituality and thus unable to respond to the trauma of betrayal and loss.

        Once the shock of what has happened begins to wear off, a variety of emotions set in and one is anger. For some this naturally begins with anger and rage directed at the abuser but it usually extends to the Church leaders who failed to respond in a compassionate manner. 

        It becomes more firmly entrenched as the victims learn that the Church authorities actually enabled the abuser. The anger can be deepest and therefore most debilitating and controlling if it is grounded in the spiritual betrayal and resulting loss. For most Catholic victims the external Church, with its customs, devotions, absolute teachings and regulations exerted a powerful control over most aspects of life. This control does not evaporate even if the victim separates himself or herself from the Church. The tentacles reach deep into the emotions and the soul and thus enable the anger to retain such a strong hold.

        Affirming the Church’s responsibility.

        The institutional Catholic Church has thus far avoided accepting its responsibility for the culture of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up. Church authorities have made public apologies for “mistakes made” and have shifted the blame to others such as the media or the medical profession.44 Yet no public statement has given evidence of a full awareness of the causality of clergy abuse or of the damage done to those abused.

        Victim/survivors need to explore the substance of some of the official apologies and then come to an emotional as well as cognitive acceptance of the fact that the institution and its office holders ….will not because they cannot ……respond in a manner that would reflect full awareness and accepted responsibility. Some victims get “stuck” in an almost endless contentious process trying to get the official Church to realize the enormity of their actions. They need to come to a realization that the Church’s narcissistic self-concept of a perfect society renders its leaders incapable of comprehending that the responsibility is rooted in the very core of the institutional Catholic Church.

        The Church’s responsibility is directly related to the process whereby it has educated and formed Catholics from childhood to adulthood. The victims need to be able to see this as effective pre-conditioning that is related not only to the grooming for the abuse itself but also for their subsequent guilt and shame in responding to the violation of their bodies and souls.”

      • Joan: This is in respose to the following Doyle quote that follows:”Victims/Survivors” need to explore the substance of some of the official apologies and then come to an emotional as well as cognitive acceptance of the fact that the institution and its office holders -will not because they cannot- respond in a manner that would reflect full awareness and accepted responsibility”.I find this very disconcerting and hard to accept. These feelings may be more about where I am at than the truth of what Fr. Doyle says. It seems to me that what Fr. Doyle is saying is that we are basically banging our collective heads against the wall, waiting for The Church and its bishops to finally”get it”. They will not get it because they can not get it. Their chromosones are not built that way. How sad.

      • Jim, I don’t think it’s their chromosomes, I think it’s a very core issue, that Doyle is talking about. I think it’s ‘their narcistic self image of a perfect society (that) renders its leaders incapable

      • Joan,
        No wonder the Catholic Church hierarchy wants nothing to do with Fr. Tom Doyle.

        Jim, I believe Tom’s saying exactly what you summarized. He’s not saying they shouldn’t be pressured to reform. My take of his perspective is the layperson’s phrase, “Quit going to the hardware store for bread.”

      • Oops. Doyle quote cont to Jim …..’that renders its leaders incapable of comprehending that the responsibility is rooted in the very core of the Catholic Church’.

        Or, put another way, the reason the church does not see and deal appropriately with the ‘soul murder’ of victims is because to do so is to admit that the Church has actively participated in the ‘set up’, that claiming what Doyle would suggest is a ‘magical’ belief system, and reinforcing it with a guilt and shame based theology creates a ‘spiritual dependency’ where the laity is at best ‘Pre adolescent’.

        If I read Doyle right ( and I really encourage you to read those 26 pages) somehow a loving non judgmental God got lost in the translation.

        Jim, I really believe that horrible as the abuse mess is, and how profoundly it has hurt the most innocent amongst us, that it is in a sense the ‘canary in the coal mine’ that is opening up church examination of very very core issues that extend well beyond sexual abuse.

  3. “…largely on a pro bono basis.”

    That’s AD speak for the attorneys will charge them double then give them a 50 percent discount.

    Not enough care and concern to muster full pro bono?

    Fire the PR team immediately!

    • Supposedly the Arch was underwriting Monsignor Lynn’s legal fees and expenses. Could it be that Catholic Philly is contemplating a bankruptcy filing soon?

  4. So, there’s the $ cap, the firing of Lindy, and the bizarre PR statement. Who sits in those pews and listens to these clowns?

  5. This is not a whacky statement at all. It truly represents what the AD wants you and the rest of the Pew Sheep to believe. The Pew Sheep in DTown still believe Lynn should not have been convicted and are now looking to help support his legal fund.Looks like the crow flew by and the AD has turned on their man..Rather than “blog” complaints or whine about change do something yourself. We know Kathy did by pulling here child out of school and I / we did the same with our three plus we are now church shopping. That’s right going to non-Catholic church…Is the AD of Philadelphia ‘whack”?? If you truly believe in your heart of hearts the AD does not get it then why continue to support it? If you are going to run with the dogs you bound to get fleas……..Its easy to be Catholic and hard as hell to be a good Christian….

    • FYI – Kathy did not pull her children from Catholic School. I pulled my son out of Archdiocesan grade school, but my daughter attends a private Catholic high school run by nuns. I’m not passing judgment on choices of Church. I completely get it. However, I think it’s possible to remain Catholic without supporting the AD. Hard but possible. – Susan

      • Susan,
        Thanks for the correction. Please expand on your concept of remaining Catholic without supporting the AD? Believe we can all agree there is a problem within the Phila AD however this is just the tip of the iceberg. The assaults and cover ups go well beyond the walls of the Phila AD and have been tracked back to Rome who has turned a blind eye for hundreds of years. The difference now is we have the ability to not only publicize the events but also spread the word via social media cites like yours (thank you). I am not foolish to believe that assaults on children only take place in the Catholic church however I do know what total transparency is and the Catholic church will have nothing to do with that.

      • Susan says staying in the present institutional church is hard, but not impossible. I think I would argue that the  same advice that Thomas Doyle in 26 very heavily edited pages gives to abuse victims is oddly enough also applicable to some degree, to Catholics who choose to stay. See what you think.

        Doyle on the toxic trauma of clergy abuse:

        Catholic victims have often been led along a religious developmental path that requires unquestioning trust in priests which in turn is equated with trust in  God. ….When a priest-abuser betrays that trust the victims can easily feel that God has betrayed their trust. They in turn often cannot feel trust in the clergy nor trust in God because their spirituality is such that the two are intertwined. 

         The complex trauma begins with the sexual violation itself and extends to the shock from the deep sense of betrayal not just by a trusted person but by the God personified by that person.

        The betrayal by the clergy and the lay community is a powerful step in the complete disintegration of the victim’s religious world and spiritual system. In spite of the assault and related loss of trust in the priest-abuser some victims retained some faith in the community and looked there for support. The conviction of abandonment by God is deepened when the Church community isolates and ostracizes the victim.

        For most people their formal religious education ended with adolescence….

        The first level of response should be to the victim’s self-destructive belief  system, he or she needs to be aided and supported in shedding the magical notion that the priest is somehow the personal representative of God or the stand-in for God. The dependence of the victim on the priest and on the clerical system needs to be first challenged and then replaced with a deeply rooted sense of personal spiritual autonomy. This “adult spirituality” of the victim-priest relationship will bring freedom from the misplaced guilt that burdens so many victims.

        Once a clergy abuse victim begins to accept a Higher Power that is non- judgmental, non-vindictive and not under the control of the ordained office- holders of the Church, he or she will be able to move to the next necessary level of healing which is separating the visible, institutional Church from the Higher Power.

        The toxic belief that God will be displeased if the victim feels anger towards the Church must be dispelled and replaced with a more realistic belief that the organized religious body has actually been a barrier to a secure relationship with the Higher Power. Victims attribute spiritual power to the visible Church because it has been presented as the only pathway to God. Most Catholics are never allowed to progress beyond a level of spiritual and religious development that is early-adolescent at best. The recovery process from clergy sexual abuse offers a unique opportunity for spiritual maturity. This maturity will provide the emotional security needed for whatever choices the victims makes about the place or religion, worship or a higher power in his or her life.

        The traditional relationship with God was far too enmeshed with loyalty and obedience to the deity’s self-styled earthly representatives. When this is abandoned there is room for the transition to a spiritual relationship with a Higher Power or even an institutional Church that is not a source of pain, fear and guilt but rather enhances life and provides joy and balance. This non-toxic spirituality requires a healthy sense of self-worth if it is to take root and grow. The path to emotional and spiritual health is often long, always arduous and usually bewildering at times. Yet is can be traversed with an outcome that promises not only freedom from the spiritual pain but a new and hope-filled future.

      • To Joan: Thank-You for your amazing and insightful article. I was also on that “religious developmental path” which supposedly led to a closer relationship with God. I still wonder whether the ‘Superiors’ of the Order were passing on their own level of indoctrination or whether they were intentionally trying to take over my will, my mind, and my memory in a grooming process that required a disconnect from my conscience; my critical thinking; and my emotions. I have heard good people describe their display of emotions as “moments of weakness”. I managed to get out in time but there were others who had stayed too long … zombies in a group-think mentality … lacking compassion … unable to think for themselves … disconnected from self … a breeding ground for mental health issues. God was looking out for me and saved me from that Catholic Order. I believe the victims.

      • Speaking Up, first of all you are very welcome to my ‘wandering through Doyle’ I am fully aware of the fact that I did not do him justice, but his insights into the toxicity of clergy abuse on deeply religious children, the fact that the Church and perhaps therapists, we’re not dealing with the spiritual toxins….that he sees as necessary for healing….the ability to separate out institutional church from God….That personal religious autonomy/maturity.

        I think are critical, certainly for abuse victims, but also for all of us to one degree or another. The whole notion of ‘early adolescent faith’ at best on the part of the faithful….The call to ‘grow up’ in our religious life, not sheep, but adult Christians, who do not suspend our critical thinking, deliberative reasoning or mature judgement.

        And I take your point about that religious order. I lasted 6 months in a Pre Vatican 2 novitiate, that was attempting (unsuccessfully) to mold me to their image and likeness. In all fairness, I think nuns ‘formation’ in the more liberal orders, today…is adult, (which could explain Rome’s concerns).

      • I wish you all could have been at the SNAP conference in Chicago..and heard Tom’s speech…. He always say, “before you enter church, you leave your brain at the door.”.!!!

      • Judy. Is there a copy of Doyle’s Chicago talk available..I was working off one from 2008?

    • Talk is Cheap, I guess it comes down to how you define being Catholic. If showing up with envelope in hand to Church is how the AD would define a Catholic then I would not fit that criteria.I did that for 43 years but the past year had lead me down a different path. I have been to Harrisburg a few times advocating for justice for the victims of child sex abuse. I have been to meetings to try to figure out how to help the people who have been so harmed by the Church. I have been at the vigils,and at the Good Friday vigil outside of the cathedral prayed the Our Father and Hail Mary with victims and their family members. I have spoken with so many victims,family members and Catholics and listened to their accounts of their anger and betrayal. I went to a parish prayer service and distributed “victim’s statements” which were a collection of thoughts that people have shared on this site. I attended the trial to support the victims.
      There are many things that are being readjusted in my life, plans that will change in the future for my family as I don’t know the part the institutional church will play in my life. As far as being Catholic..everything I listed above that I participated over the past year,I believe comes directly from the teachings of the Church that I learned over the course of 16 years of Catholic education. Justice,mercy and compassion.
      So am I Catholic? In some ways I am more Catholic today than I was two years ago when my only task was occupying a pew for an hour a week. I have prayed on sidewalks, and realized what the nuns taught us is true, “God is everywhere”. As a Catholic I believe Jesus is present in the Eucharist but aren’t I also supposed to believe that Jesus is present in other people ? So in many ways I may be estranged but actually living out the Church’s teachings more than ever before in my life and how ironic is that?

      • Kathy, I would say my experience matches yours exactly. – Susan

      • Kathy and Susan, you are both more Catholic today than you were a year ago. God works in strange ways. You both set such great examples and personally have made me very happy I have gotten to know you. As the Brookly Dodgers use to say, the Philly AD “ain’t seen nothing yet!”

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 9, 2012 at 2:35 am

        Kathy, so well said. So to the core of Catholicism. Such an adult, informed, responsible, moral, and “lived” approach to faith. Utterly refreshing and inspiring. Thank you.

      • Kathy, Susan and all C4C folks….you are so right and so ‘adult’ about your faith, developed in the cauldron of vile abuse.

        The ‘pray, pay and obey’ model of Catholicism is what Doyle names as ‘early adolescent, at best’. Your faith is very adult, and so are your actions!. I think the best hope for the Church is the ‘adult’ model.

        Kathy said it very well, ‘So am I catholic? In some ways I am more catholic today than I was two years ago when my only task was occupying a pew for an hour a week’.

        But no one comes to this challenging place without some hard earned and painful experience. And it is out of that experience that we ‘grow up’ spiritually.

        Doyle said it beautifully, to victims. ‘The path to emotional and spiritual health is often long, always arduous and usually bewildering at times. yet it can be traversed with an outcome that promises not only freedom from the spiritual pain, but a new and hope filled future. Tom Doyle was speaking to victims, but really, I
        think he was speaking to all of us.

      • So true, Kathy….so true.

        Well said.

      • May the Lord , I pray, continue to be strong in revealing Himself to you in your journey to a greater revelation and relation with Him Kathy. Amen!

      • Joan said: “Tom Doyle was speaking to victims, but really, I
        think he was speaking to all of us.”
        **************************************
        Makes me realize-
        As Catholics/ex-Catholics, we all are victims in one way or another.

      • Thank you and well stated.. Like you, I believe God is everywhere however I lost my faith in the Catholic institution a long time ago. I am not alone either as there are more “no practicing Catholics than practicing today. Believe that says a lot about the Catholic institution and were it is going..

      • Kathy I try to read and listen to things that are encouraging and uplifting and I came across this video clip again from months ago it reminds me of what you were saying in your blog above that “we are the church” which Joan and Jerry and many others have mentioned before . The laity is important and we need to “go out to the people” because that is what Christ taught us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8BysNA_E4k

  6. Talk is Cheap: Well said! Good luck with your church shopping – that’s what I did. I’m an Episcopalian now and love it!

    • There is a “saying”-
      THE APPLE DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE
      That applies so well regarding the many “denominations” all spawned by Rome.

  7. I can see lynn going one of two ways, first he will keep his mouth shut and say nothing which will clearly demonstrate that he belongs in jail for his part in EWOC that showed callous disregard for the VICTIMS and confirm he is a company man who belongs to an organization that claims to represent a Supreme Being. Or if he is truly a man of GOD he will step forward and clearly define the system that the archdiocese had in place to defeat the VICTIMS , lynn needs to disclose everything, all the enablers and abusers !

    • Lynn still has his retirement to think about. He will be greatly rewarded for his “suffering” when he gets out.

      One never knows though. Prison can do some things to change a person’s mind.

      • Interesting to see what will happen to Lynn after prison. How can the Church keep a convicted felon in the priesthood if priests guilty of “boundary violations” such as giving alcohol to minors are kicked out (which they should be). Will they string him along about his future as a priest and then one day drop that bomb also? I have to say I thought it was a risky move that the AD seems to have cut him off. At one time he was Secretary of Clergy for the entire Archdiocese, he knows it all. Not just the cover up of the abuse but every possible ethical or illegal action of any priest probably came across his desk.

  8. Why not see if William Sasso, Chairman, Stradley and Ronon, is still available to help out the Archdiocese with their legal work and expenses? On board there is Mark Chopko, long-time general counsel to the USCCB, and he could surely pitch in with his expertise.

    Hey, the Phillies go to the bullpen when they need help late in the game. Go with these veterans of the war………Sasso, Chopko, Coyne, etc.

  9. Interesting that during the trial, it is my understanding that Lynn and his family were put up overnight at the Marriott suites from March until July. The Defense lawyers most likely used their account to pay that bill. That’s some cash being spent!!! Just wondering where this money came from? Fascinating that Lynn went from the suites at the Marriott and now resides in the “Big House” at Camp Hill.

  10. On the Priest Abuse Trial blog post that Susan cited above, the attorney “kopride” has written a very informative comment with his thoughts on this development of the AD backing away from funding an appeal.

  11. Dear Archbishop Chaput,

    I am very angry regarding your comments that child sex abuse in Philadelphia is a problem of the past. Reasonably, we both know this to be very untrue. If you say these words as something meant to elicit attention from the pulpit because you think the Archdiocese and the Catholic Church as a whole have recently implemented more serious measures to deal with a predator priest and to help his victim(s) heal and recover from such traumatic events, I applaud you. However, if your words are meant to brush aside the population of victims and activists who continuously fight to protect children within your institution and throughout the world, while you go on with business as usual by transferring known predator priests and concealing their crimes, I must simply express my disgust for those comments.

    My mother told me to protect other kids, and that is my single most important mission, Archbishop. Lately, I can’t keep my head on straight, and the last letter I sent regarding the Archdiocese providing psychological and psychiatric visits is a must if my life will continue to go on. Some of my friends (victims) tell me that you want me depressed, addicted, or dead, because you’d no longer hear my voice or see my presence. I won’t let you or John McDevitt kill me. I’ve travelled far too many years through the States of Depression, Anxiety, Panic, Fear, Distrust, Despair, Sadness and a list of many more occupied destinations. “I’m not letting you get rid of me. How ’bout that?!” – Jerry McGuire

    I only want what was promised to me, and what is right and fair. I want your church to be honest for a change, and stop throwing around the inappropriate words to keep your congregation intact, while hurting more of us who already hurt enough. I want you to stop your associates before they hurt other children. The world doesn’t need more people like me, and it certainly doesn’t need people like John McDevitt, who molested and raped young boys for his own deviance, and the world doesn’t need more men like Msgr. Lynn, who knew about the rapes and covered it up.

    I just cannot understand why grown men, or at least men who claim to represent God can just dismiss the sexual molestation and rape of thousands, if not tens-of-thousands (if not even many more than that) of children worldwide. The Catholic Church has already lost $3 billion [and counting] and still nothing has changed, so obviously it is not about money. Msgr. Lynn is in jail for protecting predators. Brennan will be tried again, as will Engelhardt and Shero. I believe most certainly they will all go to prison, as they should. I have to believe the victim, Archbishop, because I never met him and he told my story. I think you need to start talking about “child sex abuse by priests,” instead of disregarding the true facts by calling these actions “sins of the past.” It is “Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests.” I dare you to say it in any of your statements to your congregation or in any public forum.

    Stop running away from us and face this head on, like a powerful leader of a moral-based religious institution would do in a second to protect innocent people. In fact, I’ll offer up a private meeting between you and I and we can sit down like a couple of regular fellas and figure this thing out like men. Deal?

    I don’t understand this world anymore. People tell me there’s good and bad everywhere. Well bad, yes, but good I don’t know about. Is there not one person in the church who is ballsy enough to stand against the majority and speak up about how everything got so screwed up in the first place and what you can do, Archbishop, and what we all can do, to prevent more children from suffering?

    I wish the Catholic Church would stop lobbying in our State’s legislatures to prevent laws from being changed. If we victims of the past had an opportunity to seek civil ramifications, it would not be about money, but a way of publicizing our abusers. Right now, many of our abusers are teaching in schools, living across the street from playgrounds, working in children’s hospitals, and at least one I know of is a guard at a juvenile prison facility. I want the public to know who these men are so they can protect their children from being around these creeps that they otherwise didn’t know about prior to past victims identifying them to the world. I wish the Catholic Church would just do the right thing. It’s so easy to know what the right thing is too, because if you’re telling the truth and doing whatever you can to protect children, you don’t need secret files or high-priced, high-powered attorneys. Msgr. Lynn broke the law. He deserves to be in prison, as does everyone at Penn State who knew about Scumdusky abusing little boys, but looked the other way. I don’t understand that mentality. How can you not want desperately to protect a child you know is in danger?

    Bill Conlin claimed that most people talk tough and swear they would kill Scumdusky if they had witnessed what McQueary saw, but Conlin wondering just how many people would have the guts to intervene. One thing I know for sure, I’m not a tough guy and I never pretended to be one, but if I walked into a locker room or a church as saw a child being abused with my own eyes, my priority would be to protect that child first… to remove that child from the situation. Would I beat Scumdusky or the abusive priest to a bloody pulp? I don’t know, but I do know how to use a telephone and dial 9-1-1.

    We now know about Conlin, Scumdusky, McDevitt, Lynn, Avery and so many more. We can find many of these creeps on specified lists, but I’m mostly worried about the priests, the sportswriters, and the coaches we don’t know about, who don’t appear on any lists, that are spending time around children. Doesn’t that worry you too, Archbishop?

    Rich Green (Victim)

    • V4J,
      When I read your letters I am like I love this guy he’s got guts………… and I am glad kids have you fighting in their corner. I wrote to Chaput recently it’s the only letter he didn’t answer. I asked him to pay for therapy because it’s the least you deserve.

    • No response . Maybe he is waiting to reply til after all the property is sold……..unlike him not to respond………….not surprised though

  12. I’m still waiting for a response from the archbishop to this e-mail sent several weeks ago:

    Bishop Chaput:

    For your consideration, from your archdiocesan statement re today’s sentencing by Judge Sarmina:

    First, Judge Sarmina, a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Indiana:

    As a Catholic college, Saint Mary’s cultivates a community of intellectual inquiry, liturgical prayer, and social action.

    And, second, a graduate of Georgetown University Law School.

    Mission Statement: And no matter where they are, Georgetown students and alumni demonstrate a commitment to others that is born of our Jesuit heritage.

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it remained ”committed to protecting children and caring for victims,” while adding that “fair-minded people will question the severity of the heavy, three to six year sentence imposed on Msgr. Lynn today.

    Many “fair-minded people” have been questioning, ever since the release of the first Grand Jury Report in September 2005, why archdiocesan leadership and management, both lay and clergy, chose to protect the leaders and institution at the expense of the innocence, beauty, health, spirit and mind of many young child and young adult victims throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The “sentences” imposed on the abuse victims are not only “heavy”, but life-long, debilitating, spirit-crushing, devastating and, in the most tragic of instances, lead to suicide attempts or actual suicide.

    Would that all of our elected and appointed public officials live their Catholic faith, heritage and tradition in the same spirit as exemplified by Judge Sarmina.

  13. Talk is Cheap, After much soul searching, I decided that for me (and I can only speak for myself) quitting the church would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water. The strong Catholic foundation provided by my parents, allowed me to develop a strong and discerning conscience. If everyone who is outraged by the abuse scandal quits the church, how will any degree of restorative justice come about? Pls. don’t judge me for deciding that at this point in my life, staying and challenging the hierarchy is what I am called to do. Realistically, can you be part of any organization, i.e. union, club, political party, where you agree with every position taken? I think that the way to effect change is from within. Don’t get me wrong, I have struggled with my decision, and appreciate that the AD’s handling of the abuse crisis is a worthy deal-breaker. I’ll be damned if they are going to take the faith of my fathers’ away from me too. We all have to go about things our own way. I think we both agree that enough can never be done to help the victims heal and I just thank God that I don’t have the AD’s bar tab when I die.

    • Thanks for your insight.. Exactly what I was trying to drum up however here is one thought to chew on… Empty pews will send a strong message as does not putting $$$ in the basket. My turning point came when one of Lynn’s assistants (He had three assistants over 12 years – the Rev. James D. Beisel, the Rev. Michael McCulken, and the Rev. Vincent Welsh) was transferred to our parish last month. In less than a month he has turned the place upside down thus resulting in a reduction of the weekly offering while driving more away.. In the end I do not need to be a Catholic to be a good Christian

  14. I would like to comment on what happened to me last week on this site. This may be a little lengthy and for that I apologize. I have waited this long because I wanted some time to think of my reply. About 10 years ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, telling my story of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest. The Daily News contacted me and asked if I would do an interview. I agreed to do an interview.I met with Jill Porter , who I had long admired for her down to earth writing style. I told my story, naming who ,where and what damage the abuse had done to me.Jill did some investigation and found that the priest who had molested me had died in 1989. I didn’t know this at the time. With the priest being deceased, and my not recalling the name of the other boy there wasn’t much of a story. She wrote one anyway and it appeared in the Daily News. What the date was I don’t have access to, although I did save a copy of the article. Jill chose not to name the priest or the parish where my abuse took place.She stated in the article that because the priest was deceased and there was no independent corroboration she would not name names. At no time was it stated that she did this because of possible slander or defamation. When I started posting on this site, I didn’t use the name of the priest who abused me. Eventually I started to use his name. I am not a lawyer. And I know ignorance of the law is no excuse. My reason for using his name was simple. I hoped that one of the other boys he had victimized would see the name and possibly come forward. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to know that there are others out there who were victimized by the same person and don’t come forward.As far as libel laws and possibly being sued, I have thought about this the last couple days. There is an old saying”you can’t get blood from a stone”. Financially over the last ten years or so, I have gone from middle class to lower middle class. My descent into poverty awaits. It is only one medical crisis away. So financially I am not overly concerned. Actually I think I would welcome the opportunity to tell my story in a court of law. For those of us who were molested decades ago, There most likely will be no other way.Even if a window is opened,those of us where the priest molestor is deceased and there are no other witnesses don’t really have much chance for justice. But and this is a big but, If i would be willing to go through a possible slander trial, I have no right to ask others, like the founders of this site to go with me. I believe ,like many others on this site that this is bigger than just the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and the subsequent coverup. I believe this is about childrens rights. Children have a right to grow up without the horror of sex abuse. I am old enough to remember the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement of the sixties. In fact I was there for the march on Washigton. Doctor King used civil disobedience[breaking a law] to publicize his cause. The Berrigan brothers broke into draft offices and poured blood on draft files[breaking the law] . I hope none of you need to do that but there are some of us who would be williong.

    • Jim,
      Your a brave man and its a sad world where children that have undergone the horror you have……have to worry about people sueing them just for naming the evil people that harmed them.

    • Jim I don’t think you need to worry about a libel suit. The pedophile hiders of the AD are on the run now —and they’re sure not looking for any more negative publicity. I think it was so brave of you to come forth as you did…if only others could.

    • Jim, I agree not to worry about slander …. they wouldn’t dare sue you, because they would have to open their files, and the truth would be exposed.. Church officials’ biggest fear is having document subpoenaed and having to sit on that witness stand and dare to tell the truth….
      They will do anything to stay out of court.

    • Jim, I also think you have no reason for concern, we just need to follow the advice given to us in order to keep doing what we hope to accomplish with this site. I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

    • Jim,

      “One who publishes defamatory matter about a deceased person is not liable either to the deceased person’s estate or to his or her descendants or relatives.”

      http://suite101.com/article/defaming-the-dead-a115193

    • 4 thumbs down, or just four people who would rather sleep downstairs with the children? Losers!

      I’ve offered before and I’m begging you now to identify yourselves or tell us what you disagree with. Email me Victims4JusticeNow@yahoo.com, or just continue your cowadice ways by clicking negative buttons and saying nothing.

      You losers must be part of that special club… ya know, the club that Scumdusky and Avery are apart of. Am I getting warmer?

      No sack!

    • Jim,
      The source of my greatest sorrow and in the past the source of my rage was my husband’s enabler being incapable of taking responsiblity for her lack of action over years of his abuse and her lack of empathy and compassion on it’s affects on my husband , our marriage and our children. After years of struggle I realize you can’t get blood from an stone(unless God does something amazing like knock them off their horse or they go thru years of counseling or both) and definitely not the remorse and amends that would be very helpful in heaing. In many cases I realized this in my personal life and in the church it seems to be the sad case also especially in leadership. I am sorry for the pain this causes as it is a very painful realization that some people just don’t care about you(especially since that is all they ever taught you in school….. love your neigbor ) or are incapable of caring for others unless they go thru years of counseling and that is only after they see how counseling would benefit themselves first and not out of true remorse.Which leads me to Joan’s comment about the canary. How can priests conduct pastoral care and be unempathetic and lacking in true compassion? It is just not possible. can you imagine Jesus as lacking compassion? …….there wouldn’t be any Christains ………which is sadly turning into the catholic church situtation we have going on now. Lack compassion and you are definitely not following Christ’s will for the church. If they are not capable of empathy and compassion they need to get out of the leadership and priest postions because it is just not “Christ-like” to be otherwise This is in response to JIm that they will never “get it” because they basically aren’t capable and Joan’s insight as this being the” canary in the coal mine”. I am noting my reply here as my computer will not let me blog under Jims earier comment. As an aside I was reading about St. john Vianney and he saw priests as a child as heroes because they risked their lives to say mass……sadly I am thinking ……….it is going to take drastic changes and perhaps persucuetion before the church reforms and we can again view priests as heroes

      • If they were true “Father’s” they would protect their children with their life………….

      • Beth, the NCR just did a piece on seminarians, and I cited the following stats, a few days ago…..Indicating that Vocation Directors and  seminary rectors valued a candidate’s 
        ability to be celibate very highly, 74 to 80 per cent and a candidate’s empathy abilities very low, 51 to 54 per cent…I said that CARA. ‘s own psychologists rated ‘genuine empathy’ as a key component for a suitable candidate…I made a comment …Oh great we have unempathetic celibates….which is pretty much what you are saying to Jim.

        The NPR piece:
        Additionally, 74 percent of rectors and 80 percent of vocation directors weighed “very much” the candidate’s capacity to be celibate, and 63 percent of rectors and 53 percent of vocation directors said the candidate’s sexual experience was a very serious consideration.

        Eighty percent of the psychologists participating in the CARA study said the candidate’s capacity for empathy should be considered very highly, but only 54 percent of rectors and 51 percent of vocation directors ranked it as a high priority even though the Program of Priestly Formation lists “genuine empathy” as a key component of a suitable candidate.

      • Joan,
        Wow. That explains alot. Thanks Joan as always…………you are a wealth of information……just validates the fruits of that kind of selection.

      • Beth: Thanks for your comments. Intellectually I understand what you and Joan are saying. Also I can understand intellectually what Tom Doyle is saying. The difficulty for me is going from the intellectual to the emotional or feeling part. As a child I grew up in an alcoholic household. Even before the abuse, my life was a horror. So I learned very early on in life, not to depend on my parents, especially my father.There was no one else in my life to turn to for help, particularly after the abuse. So i learned not to trust people. I am still, even after all these years still stuck emotionally. Therapy helps some.But I have so far to go.

      • Jim everyone heals in their own time in their own way.Even some couselors wanted to rush me thru……..this always back fires……..I just want you to know although I am not a victim I can understand some of the feelings you mention…..and it involves a pain so deep ……that you cant just”get over it” it’s a long painful process but there are rewards for doing the work also. There is freedom and compassion to yourself and others that comes with the work. You are in my prayers.

      • Jim, I am so damn sorry….I do ‘facts’ because I want folks reading this site to really ‘get it’ as to the horror of abuse…but your post says it so much better.

        Please know that I really care and I know C4C folks all do.

      • Beth and Joan: thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated.

      • Beth: I just looked up the definition of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s circumstances. point of view, thoughts and feelings. I cannot understand how anyone can abuse a child.When I was about ten or eleven a group of about four boys from my neighborhood were playing in a wooded area near my home. One of the boys decided he had to pee and he did so against a tree nearby.I think another boy followed suit. It was a completely innocent thing. A boy across the street from my house went home and told his mother that we were exposing ourselves in the woods.This mother called my mother and later that day I was beaten for almost an hour with a leather belt across my bare backside by my father. From what I remember. he told me he was going to beat the queerness out of me. Over-reaction.? I believe so. Abuse? without a doubt. For years, I couldn’t pee when anyone was around. For years, I couldn’t figure the beating out. Finally, I came to the realization that this wasn’t about me at all. This was my fathers’s problem=his homophopia. But as a ten year old, I didn’t have the ability or the knowledge to reason that out. There are different kinds of abuse and none of them are acceptable.When my two kids were growing up, I never hit either one of them. Partly, I think that was because of my own chilhood. And partly I think that was because, I could never hit a child. Eventually, with my son , he got much bigger than me, so it was self preservation.When I read the report about the level of empathy expected of seminarians I cringe. Child abusers have zero empathy for their victims. The Catholic Church has little to no empathy for victims. It is certainly understandable that empathy means so little when evaluating future priests.

      • Yesterday,I left a post, telling about an incident from my childhood, and got completely off course. What I was trying to say was that not only were we “set up” by the Church, many of us were also “set up by our parents. I believe that abuse begets abuse. My father was abused by his father, who was abused by his father.etc. etc. etc.It is multi generational. It can continue forever unless and until someone stops the cycle.But it is not easy. We tend to parent as we were parented. When I look at my daughter and see the love and caring she has for her children, I know that the cycle in my family has stopped. I wonder about the abuse by priests. Is it being passed down from one generation of priests to the next. I know that Fr. Brennan claimed he was abused as a child. By whom? I had a coworker years ago who had spent some time at the seminary in Philadelphia. One night when we were working, we got to talking about his experiences at St. Charles. He claimed that every night was an orgy. He had no reason to lie. I believed him. Of course, being molested as a kid is no excuse for molesting kids when you grow up, but there seems to be some connection. You would think that if you went through the horror of sexual abuse, you would be less likely to abuse, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I think there are still so many questions and so few answers.

      • Jim,
        Sorry it took me alittle while to reply. I am still recovering from surgery. When I read your earlier blog…..the story you told about your dad was one that seemed to speak of possible abuse in his background and it spoke to me about the cycle and pattern of abuse and yes…..someone has to decide enough is enough and stop that cycle(just like the people who blog here are trying to do in the church) which takes alot of courage. I was reading about Noahs dysfunctiion family and how it passes from one generation to the next. If not actual abuse the fallout from the affects of abuse can still affect generations for years. You confirmed what i orginally thought in your recent blog. I also was reading something recently how the phyical distant of adam and eve from the garden after they sinned symbolizes the spiritual distance from God (who is love)and that sin drives us from the presence of God which lead me to think sometimes it is the sin of others that can drive us from the presence of God not just our own sin……….alot to think about.Jim you are doing good work…… God’s work in breaking the family cycle and it makes this world a alittle kinder because everything is connected.Just as the church has hurt so many families and the cycles and patterens that led to the abuse of children need to be stopped and reformed

  15. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Permit me to address an issue that I think Catholics and victim advocates find difficult to talk about and have never fully acknowledge or reckoned with.

    This week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), including approximately 80% of nuns in the U.S., is meeting in St. Louis. While the Vatican’s crackdown on nuns will be the focal point of this year’s conference, over the past few days SNAP and Bob Hoatson’s Road to Recovery have been extremely vocal about the failure of LCWR to permit victims’ of nun sexual abuse to speak to or engage in discussion with it. As much as LCWR presents itself as a “collaborative” entity, it has never collaborated with victims, rejecting, over the years, all requests by victims and victim advocates groups to engage in dialogue.

    Sexual abuse by nuns occasionally gets mentioned in C4C posts. I’ll be the first to admit that, when it does, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I always feel better when posts revert back to priestly sexual abuse. However, I always experience a lingering, unresolved, straining of my conscience. I’m not one to inhabit a mental domain involving a polarity that defies reason and sound moral judgment. In this case, I consider the polarity a betrayal of victims and child protection efforts. I’m disappointed in myself for failing to fully resolve the enormous conflict in creates in me.

    What are C4C bloggers’ thoughts and opinions on this matter? Can we deal with it openly, wisely, fully, and once and for all?

    Thank you.

    • Kate,
      I saw this post and thought “finally”! I have been wanting to address the topic of women as the perps. Sexual abuse by nuns has been overlooked and whitewashed by so many not only in the Catholic community, but also in the general community, I want to post more on this issue, but for now I wanted to say “thank you” and I am glad you had the insight to open this topic for dialogue.

      Michele

    • Kate, I think the nuns have been extremely disappointing in the abuse crisis. While Sr Maureen is out there with the victims, a group if nuns was “hiding’ off to the side of the AD building at one of the vigils..I guess waiting for us to leave.

    • Thank you for bringing this up. I brought up the topic some time ago about the abuse by nuns. The responses from some posters were more about the wonderful experiences they had with women religious. That’s great. But, it doesn’t acknowledge the fact that nuns knew so much and did nothing as well. I got called out for challenging the role of nuns in regard to the abuse issue…not having enough compassion for their plight. Not to mention the nuns who sexually abused. When you have cultural references that mock the mean-spirited behavior of nuns (whacking kids with rulers, beating them with erasers, and also, sexually abusing them), you know it didn’t come out of thin air. In order to have a bunch of heads nodding in agreement, there has to be an understanding that those acts were more commonplace than not.

      There are wonderful nuns, just like there are wonderful priests. No one denies that. BUT, they were part of a silence-inducing, ultra obedience- driven hierarchical system.

      Are people ready to handle some hard truths about women religious? What is their response to their victims? (From what I hear…it’s strikingly similar to how bishops handle victims).

      • SW, I remember that abusing nun debate, and I think my thought was that, yes there we’re abusing nuns, but proportionately it was minimal compared with abusing clergy numbers, think I found some stats to justify that premise.

        Where the nun abuse was truly horrifying was in Ireland, Canada etc where kids were dependent on the govt in those orphanages and laundries.

        As to being complicit in not speaking up when they knew clergy abuse was going on, I think you are right.

        What I didn’t find then, and just did, was that so many nuns themselves had been sexually abused….see 1996 St Louis University study, referenced above.

        And that reminds me of the whole third world scene where nuns (women) have no status and are clearly abused…Africa being a case in point.

      • We have this documented case of sexual abuse by a Nun in Philly. She was a former nun who was hired to teach in Catholic schools..this case happened not far from my own childhood parish.

        http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2005_07_12/2005_09_14_Phillips_FormerNun.htm

      • I suppose I should start archiving and bookmarking all the things I’ve read in regard to this issue. I don’t think there is a document, video or audio clip of Tom Doyle I haven’t heard. I’ve read some interesting things about the nuns, many different orders. I was aware of the alarming numbers of nuns who were also abused. For a long time, I felt this sense of protection for the nuns because I saw them as victims as well (and we know a number of them are). BUT, when you look at the numbers of pedophile priests and the proximity of those priests to nuns, particularly nuns who were school principals, or running Catholic hospitals…there is no way they didn’t know what was going on. Their silence has been deafening on this subject. For all the nurturing qualities in the name of Jesus these orders claim to have…NONE have been outspoken for the victims. Sr. Maureen is a gem. I’m sure there are others…but, where are they?

        I still feel protective of them, in a way, as I try to imagine what it must be to have to submit to these power-, ego-, money-, obedience-driven men. What a crock that is and yet, like Lynn, they needed to open their mouths and speak up for the children instead of listening to their superiors.

        I feel compassion for nuns who were abused. I fight for them just like I fight for all victims of child sex abuse. But, I give zero credit to nuns who knew something was wrong but didn’t do or say anything to expose the evil. Many were complicit.

      • Actually, SW it’s a large number of nuns that were abused, 1 in 5 have been sexually abused and 40% report some form of ‘sexual trauma,’ if we believe the St Louis University 1996 report.

        I am no apologist for anyone that knows kids are being abused and does not immediately report it to civil authorities.

        I would really like to hear from Sister Maureen on this subject.

      • Joan,
        I’ve read the report. I’m not up to date on it since I read it a while ago though.

        I’m sure my frustration is shining through, but when I learned of the number of nuns being abused, I thought, “Wow, and their response to victims has been THIS?” i can’t imagine Rich or Vicky, upon hearing the suffering of someone else, would act like nothing happened. I just don’t get it. Heck, Rich and Vicky didn’t even take vows to serve the poor, minister to the sick. Where are our heads that the nuns get a pass on doing their job?

        Many were victims…but many many more were running the schools, children’s hospitals, and fielding the complaints about the priests.

        Does anyone understand this? It’s the SILENCE of “good” people that has been so devastating. It’s the nuns silence on this subject that has been so hurtful. It’s like getting into social work and not wanting to do social work.

        Has anyone been following how nuns have treated victims and victims’ advocates?

    • I went looking for statistics on ‘US nuns sexually abusing innocent kids’ and came up with these references to the nuns themselves being abused! I agree with SNAP, the LCWR should have opened its doors to the issue, years ago!  Most of the other nun abuse data that I could find related to orphanages and laundries in Canada, Ireland etc.

      http://www.now.org/issues/violence/clergyabuse_girls.html
      Thousands of Nuns Sexually Victimized – A 1996 national survey conducted by researchers at St. Louis University and paid for, in part, by several orders of Catholic nuns, made another appalling finding. According to a 2003 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the researchers estimated that a “minimum” of 34,000 Catholic nuns, or about 40 percent of all nuns in the U.S. had suffered some form of sexual trauma.

      Some of that sexual abuse, exploitation or harassment had come at the hands of priests and other nuns in the church. The survey documented that the victimization often has had devastating psychological effects on the women, leaving many nuns with feelings of anger, shame, anxiety and depression, with some considering suicide.

      Survey responses were returned by 1,164 nuns representing 123 religious orders throughout the U.S. and involved questions about child sexual abuse as well as sexual harassment and adult sexual exploitation. One in five nuns had been sexually abused as a child, mostly by male family members, but about 9 percent related to priests, nuns or other religious people. One in eight nuns said that she had been sexually exploited — most by a priest, nun or other religious person.

      http://www.canadiancrc.com/newspaper_articles/AP_Focus_catholics_sexual_abuse_nuns_02AUG04.aspx

      A Boston lawsuit filed in May included allegations by nine people who said they were abused by more than a dozen nuns at a Catholic school for the deaf.

      Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney, said he has represented more than 1,000 people over 22 years in cases involving priests or religious men, but has only handled about a half-dozen involving nuns.

      “That tells you something,” Anderson said. “The whole phenomenon of nuns abusing is somewhat recent.”

      Anderson said many nuns who abused minors were exploited by male clergy themselves.

    • Seriously; why should anyone TRUST the LCWR “sisterhood” any more than the USCCB “brotherhood?”

  16. Jim,
    I’m sure you have absolutely nothing to worry about. The AD does not want any negative publicity. Rest well.

  17. You know, I have a heart.  This morning I was praying for some people who have been struggling and darn it if Lynn didn’t pop into my head.  I didn’t want to think about or pray for him, but I was led to do so.  I was overwhelmed with a wave of compassion for Lynn.  I couldn’t help but think of him in a cell, essentially being cut off from everything he’s ever known, publicly shamed for life, and facing the fact that he’s now being betrayed and cut off by his own.  I don’t understand how I can go from smiling about a man getting convicted and sentenced to feeling compassion for him.  

    Before anyone thinks I’ve gone soft…I haven’t.  He is exactly where his actions placed him…experiencing consequences that pale in comparison to what he turned a blind eye to for years.  As we speak, he’s being betrayed and he doesnt even have adequate counsel to tell him. (I know…his own doing, and a judge tried to warn him).  I wonder if he ever thought he’d be sold up the river on capped attorney’s fees?  Does he even realize it? I wonder if he is experiencing the isolation victims have been feeling for years?  Maybe he’ll stay true to those who are betraying him. I don’t know.   I pray for him though.  It’s not too late for Lynn to do something Christ-like…to get honest with God and himself.   

    • I had similar feelings when I heard the AD would not be funding his appeal. It was a feeling of maybe he now can have some understanding how the victims have been treated …strung along,betrayed in the end..so many times. My feelings were not
      angry ,more just curious. Does he now think about the people who sat in the rows behind the prosecutors at the trial? The people who saw him come in each day surrounded by attorneys,family and supporters . It is too late to turn back the clock and have Billy not put in the path of a predator like Avery, but it is never too late to try to do something to make a situation better..will he? And then the reality that he also may just be sitting in prison thinking he is being persecuted,which is so often the mentality of the Church in these matters. Time will tell.

    • Sw,
      Justice,compassion and the hope that people repent and make amends is “Christ-like”. Jesus came to save all of us. St. Paul killed Christians and see what Christ did with him………..No one is beyond the love of Christ unless they choose to be…….

    • SW, I feel no compassion for him. He’s not like us. Lynn doesn’t feel “shame”. He only cares about serving the church— and the church comes before children any day of the week. –How else could he have stayed in his shameful job for so many years?
      He’s content to be doing the “martyr thing” now….and because he is a catholic monseigneur, he’ll be well looked after in jail, and will be out soon enough. He’s not sorry. The AD is not sorry. The pope in Rome is not sorry. Nothing’s changed.

  18. Survivor’s wife, your entry above is just like you > compassionate. The word compassion means “to suffer with.” Like you, I too have found myself praying for Lynn, always at night when I put my head on the pillow. I find the saying,”if you do the crime, you do the time.” I do not wish evil on anyone, but the victims, my brother, my nephew and all those whose childhoods were taken from them, their innocence lost, their daily suffering and reminders of the atrocities which happened to them, makes Lynn’s incarceration right and just.

  19. God knows it wasn’t the pain of the victims, large pay-outs, or even public humiliation that could bring them to their knees. Maybe a jail cell will. Kathy, you are right…time will tell.

    Theresa, thank you. I more often find myself praying for the victims, who were/are helpless, vulnerable and innocent. Lynn was not any of those things.

  20. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Lynn was the quintessential “company man.” His entire 12 years as Secretary to the Clergy was about himself, about winning the approval of his superiors by being obedient and loyal, and in order to move up the royal, clerical ladder. All priests are “company men.” The brotherhood, in general, and its’ hierarchical system of merit, demands it. The evil Lynn was exposed to by his superiors was merely an additional layer to the layers of deception and evil that have inflicted the priesthood for centuries yet have remained obscure thanks to its cultish secrecy on the one hand, and blind, immature Catholics on the other. Priests are aware of all of the deception and evil that inflict their little kingdom, yet they are strangely attracted to it for an assortment of psychological-sexual-emotional reasons and dysfunctions. Who are these “company men,” who dutifully spew the company jargon and agenda, who dutifully act as yes-men robots, and who dutifully engage in the institution’s long history of manipulation, deception and evil, entailing pulling the wool over vulnerable people’s eyes and getting away with royal murder in the name of Christ?

    Lynn’s sins and crimes resulted from his willingness to be a “company man.” ONLY when he publicly advocates for reform in the priesthood, and ONLY when he attempts to eradicate the “company man” syndrome, will he deserve our compassion. As long as he fails to do that, he permits the priesthood to continue to harm priests and people. He may be locked away and he may seem harmless now, but, in reality, and as before, it is in what Lynn fails to do that he continues to harm us.

  21. I know that this comment is off the current topic but I think it is about time that all Philadelphia Catholics begin to seriously consider the possibility and likelihood, given the current legal, financial, ethical and leadership problems in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, that those in power at 222 N. 17th St. are likely making preparations for a bankruptcy filing, sometime in the near or somewhat distant future. This approach to “solving their problems” has been the course of action for many dioceses throughout the nation facing the kind of overwhelming legal and financial challenges that are in front of Archbishop Chaput and his administration.

    • Good point, Michael. Aren’t there 9 civil abuse trials coming up to say nothing of the next abuse trial in early September?

    • From what i am hearing from my cofidential inside source, I think you are very right. I would guess sometime in early fall. The recent layoffs were a precursor to that action. I also understand that money going from the parishes has been reduced to a trickle. The recent trials may not have gotten those in the pews up in arms yet, but the money flow has certainly been interrupted.

      • Jim, I think ‘money flow’ is one way folks express their concerns.

        My strongest hope is that folks still in the pews will really ‘get it’ about just how spiritually horrible(to say nothing about the physical or emotional pain) it has been for clergy abuse victims and how very necessary it is for folks in the pew to be strongly supportive of victims.

      • Less in the basket Reply August 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

        Less Dollars in West Chester
        July 31, 2011 $25,732.04
        July 22, 2012 $20,400.80
        July 29, 2012 $16,659.75

  22. Convicted priest Monsignor William Lynn deserves bail Reply August 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/christine_flowers/20120810_Convicted_priest_Monsignor_William_Lynn_deserves_bail.html?cmpid=124488459

    Christine M. Flowers
    Philadelphia Daily News
    Email Christine M. Flowers
    A Philadelphia judge denied a motion for bail pending appeal for Msgr. William J. Lynn. FILE PHOTO
    A Philadelphia judge denied a motion for bail pending appeal for Msgr. William J. Lynn. FILE PHOTO
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    THE LAW is not always just. Sometimes, it can be downright spiteful.

    Take the case of Monsignor William Lynn, the first (but probably not the last) high-ranking clergyman to be convicted of child endangerment.

    To our knowledge, Lynn never laid a finger on an altar boy, never downloaded porn to his computer, and never did any of the other horrific things that we now know happened over the past few decades. But he is being held responsible for those who did those things, because he didn’t do enough to protect the innocent from in-house predators. I get that there is a desire to hold someone accountable for the pain and grief caused by ignorance and omission.

    What I don’t get is how a law that was never intended to apply retroactively could be used to convict a man who had a right to due process. The D.A.’s Office stretched it to its definitional limit by applying it to a supervisor like Lynn, particularly since the law in effect when the defendant was supposed to have looked the other way never contemplated that kind of prosecution.

    But cases against Catholic clergy seem to receive special treatment by zealous and politically savvy prosecutors.

    That was on view all over again this past week, when Judge Teresa Sarmina denied a defense request for bail during the pendency of Lynn’s appeal. Let’s set aside the fact that this appeal has a fairly solid chance of success before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Let’s ignore the fact that Lynn is beyond retirement age, is not in the best of health and has no prior criminal record. Let’s shut our eyes to the fact that the D.A.’s Office made a political statement with this prosecution.

    Let’s just look at what you’re supposed to look at when deciding to grant bail: whether or not the defendant is a flight risk. And if you answer that question with some honesty, you realize that keeping an elderly clergyman locked up when drug dealers routinely get (and make) bail is preposterous.

    In denying Lynn’s request, Sarmina cited the fact that “technically” under the law someone who is sentenced to more than two years in prison is not entitled to bail. But bail has always been a discretionary matter, and the judge could have decided to grant release based her own determination that the cleric wasn’t going to hightail it out of Dodge. She could have confiscated his passport. She could have set the dollar amount at such an exorbitant rate that forfeiting it would have been out of the question. She could have considered that Lynn has lived in this area for decades, was never before convicted of a crime, had come to court every day during his trial, and had numerous character witnesses. She could have looked at the fact that he was as unlikely to flee to the Vatican as the president of the American Atheist Society.

    But she didn’t. And that made Patrick Blessington, the lead prosecutor in the matter, quite content. Responding to the request for bond, he said, “This is absolute ignorance of the law … it’s literally a waste of the court’s time.”

    But apparently, Sarmina agreed that it was a waste of her time, because she decided that Lynn had better get used to his new digs in Camp Hill.

    Normally, I have little patience with defendants who claim they’ve been treated unfairly by the system. But every now and then I find myself arguing on behalf of a convicted criminal. And I do it this time because I’m fairly certain this criminal was convicted at least in part because he represented a church that people have unfairly come to see as the symbol of institutional abuse. I suppose that’s understandable. It might even be OK to those who see abusers behind every confessional curtain.

    But I have to wonder when we’ll start treating people as individuals and stop making them pay for the sins of others.

    Maybe we can start by letting a priest post bail.

    • Lynn is like a crossing guard that let the kids cross even though the traffic was coming and they got run over and killed.Was he the one to run over the kids no…….did he fail to protect those kids you bet your life on it.Without making a clear example that this behavior will not be tolerated it will continue. How many kids have addiction problems committed suicide and have trouble functioning because of his lack of action? What is the average cost to us the taxpayers?How many souls have been ruined?

      • From the Flowers article:
        “What I don’t get is how a law that was never intended to apply retroactively could be used to convict a man who had a right to due process. The D.A.’s Office stretched it to its definitional limit by applying it to a supervisor like Lynn, particularly since the law in effect when the defendant was supposed to have looked the other way never contemplated that kind of prosecution.”

        All I can think of is a scene from A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.

        Wife: Arrest him!
        More: For what?
        Wife: He’s dangerous!
        Roper: For all we know he’s a spy!
        Daughter:  Father, that man’s bad!
        More: There’s no law against that!
        Roper: There is, God’s law!
        More: Then let God arrest him!
        Wife : While you talk he’s gone!
        More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
        Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
        More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
        Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
        More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?
        This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down (and you’re just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

        Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  23. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Way to go, bro!

    My brother owns an awning company. He makes them and installs them.

    16 years ago, Mike made and installed the awnings for my family’s parish church (to which only my mother now attends). He gave the then pastor a 60% off deal. Over the years, Mike returned 3 times to make repairs on the awnings. He gave the same pastor 60% off deals.

    Last week, the relatively new pastor called Mike, asking that he give him a quote on new awnings. Mike gave him a quote at full price + 40%. The pastor phoned him, telling him how the parish appreciated his 60% off deals over the years, that his quote seemed “reasonable,” but that, this time, he was wondering if Mike “had it in his heart to consider doing the job for free?” Clearly, the pastor did not have it in his heart to think about the struggles of a man owning and running a small business in a poor economy, and having to support a wife and three, young children.

    Mike told the pastor that his quote, at full price + 40%, was hardly “reasonable” and that he had tacked on an additional 40% because “in his heart, he doesn’t care to do business with a corrupt church run by a bunch of silent creeps.”

    Then, my brother phone me and said, “thanks for taking on the Church. Kate” And I said, “thanks for taking on the Church, bro.”

    • If everyone had the guts to do this, things would be happening. Seems like people are no longer putting priests on a pedestal. This just shows how the pastor feels a sense of entitlement. Your brother would have been indirectly paying the legal fees for the abuse.

    • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 11, 2012 at 4:08 am

      PART TWO: Priests who think they are entitled to deals and free stuff:

      Tonight, at my family’s cottage, 27 of us toasted Mike, our courageous “Priestly Entitlement-Buster.” Then, my mother informed us that Andy P. had repaved the church parking lot for free last year. I went to my senior prom with Andy, ages ago. Inspired and made courageous by way too much wine, I phoned Andy and inquired into why the hell he had paved the church parking lot for free??? Get this! He did it because “my father did it for 51 years.”

      Do you have any idea how many of these multi-generational, free-based-on-priestly-entitlement, scenarios exist out there? Clerics have been nurturing and feeding off of them for centuries. Mike and I “woke up” Andy! Trust me, he will never “sleep” on a church job again.

      WAKE UP, folks! End priestly entitlement!

      The blue-collar boys are OVER the white-collar ones!

      • The church of my youth had a new roof put on years ago by relatives of mine. Two generations later, a new roof is needed and the priest contacted my brother in law (now the descendent of the company that generously donated their labor the first time around). Sorry priest, my brother in law knows how you and your brothers treated my husband. They won’t be giving a discount, because they won’t even do the job. My brother in law is such a good man who does not like to make waves, but he’s making them now. When asked why he isn’t doing the job, he tells them my husband’s story and then says, “I don’t trust them.”.

        Times are changing. The hierarchy was very short-sighted.

      • My Irish-twin sister was buried today. Before the funeral Mass, I asked the undertaker when family members were given the opportunity to share memories – before the Mass or after Communion. She looked at me in shock and said: “Did you ask Father?” I said: “No.” I felt like we were back in the fifth grade. I was not asking for permission; I was asking when. This was a reminder that some act like it is still the 1960’s when we feared Father’s wrath.

        At the last funeral my sister attended another priest gave some warning about who should and should not come up for communion. My sister turned to my niece and said: “I don’t care what he says; I am going to communion.” The last time I personally heard this warning about who is entitled to go to communion, it was at my grandmother’s funeral , from James Dux, the diagnosed pedophile that started William Lynn investigating priest perps. What I did not know then – it was that right around the time of that funeral Dux was busted for kiddie porn.

        My cousin told me about putting a new roof on both school buildings for cost. He and his sons went to the AD and offered to do this in return for keeping the school open for 5 years (St. John’s, Manayunk). They had been doing heavily discounted roofing work at St. John’s for years. Well, the AD did not keep its promise and shortly after they completed the school work there was a rectory roof job that was given to someone else. He longer no attends that church.

        I worried that the priest might say something stupid today, especially because my gay friends and Jewish in laws were at the Mass. Odd, I felt protective of the church and did not want it to look bad. Thank God, he was fine.

      • Martin,
        I’m sorry about the loss of your sister.

        In this diocese, the “Communion-worthy” reminder is given at all weddings, funerals, and any holiday where more than the typical number of attendees are present. Father has never allowed anyone to give eulogies or anyone to get the microphone at any time. Not even an option. Oh, and the drama over hymns. Control, control, control. What you described is commonplace where I live.

      • Martin, losing a twin sister must be hard, and I am sorry! But glad the service went well!

        As to the regional differences in funeral services, I attended one in March where the deceased a week before death, wrote the homily himself (for years he had been critical of length and content of sermons) The guys in charge were gracious enough to read it and the community gave it huge applause.

        I haven’t been to a ‘strained’ funeral in years, and am helping with one in two weeks.

        The concern has always been to do what is the very best for the family.

      • Martin, I’m so sorry about your sister. I understand about feeling “protective” of the church in front of those we care about. —-It’s like when a teenager cringes as her parent says something “like totally awkward” in front of her friends. Being “raised in the catholic church” was such a huge part of who we are today. –And there were many good things about that upbringing (no thanks to the hierarchy of the RCC).

        One thought about the undertaker.. They all try to suck up to the local churches…. Gotta keep “Father” happy so he sends referrals. Same old, same old.

      • Martin, for reasons truly beyond my understanding the following comment is still in moderation.

        I am really sorry about the death of your twin sister….think a Sister’s death would be hard in any circumstance, but a Twin’s death, even harder.

        Here, God willing, is the moderated comment:

         0 0 Rate This
        Martin, losing a twin sister must be hard, and I am sorry! But glad the service went well!

        As to the regional differences in funeral services, I attended one in March where the deceased a week before death, wrote the homily himself (for years he had been critical of length and content of sermons) The guys in charge were gracious enough to read it and the community gave it huge applause.

        I haven’t been to a ‘strained’ funeral in years, and am helping with one in two weeks.

        The concern has always been to do what is the very best for the family.

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        Martin,

        I’m sorry you lost your Irish, twin sister, and I extend to you my deepest sympathy.

      • Martin, My sympathy and prayers on the loss of your sister. I’m glad the Mass went well and it wasn’t made more difficult for you. It’s clear you own your faith rather than merely belonging to someone else’s version of it. That must bring real peace and I admire your perspective.

      • Thank you for the condolences. C4C has become an important community for me. Your words mean a lot. Martin

      • Martin, I always value your insights, you help to make this site ‘special’. Joan

      • Martin,
        I am sorry for your loss. The communion of saints mean so much more to me now that my dad has passed. I find we are still connected to those we love just in a different way because real love never ends. Peace and comfort to you and your loved ones…………

  24. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Oops.

    Then, my brother phoned me and said, “thanks for taking on the Church, Kate.” And I said, “thanks for taking on the Church, bro.”

    • You know, while we have been talking about an adult response to abuse in the institutional church, in St Louis, this week, I think history was being made.

      The LCWR, yesterday, did not respond in anger to the Vatican’s critique, but rather, responded as dignified and caring adults who agreed to ‘continue a dialogue’ with Rome. They set some clear parameters, and submission was not in the game plan.

      Tom Fox, another Tom I have a lot of respect for, just did an assessment, http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/lcwr-response-offers-new-vision-being-church

      See what you think.

      • Joan,
        Very nice article.

        I’m going to let it marinate awhile.

      • SW, while you are letting that marination process occur, you might want to add this article to the pot

        http://ncronline.org/news/lcwr-president-sisters-be-fearless-vatican-mandate

        There are many more NCR articles as well, as close to a thousand ‘related news articles’…It’s a very big deal!

      • AND a statement of Sister Pat Farrell’s in my second citation on the LCWR conference, has a particular relevance to the abuse discussion …..we have been having. The ‘sense of the faithful’ that I think we hear on this site, so often…relating to abuse, victims etc. is ALSO a concern of the nuns. I hope will give us a ‘heads up’ on the subject, theologically….but here is Sr. pat Farrell…..

        “Does the institutional legitimacy of canonical recognition empower us to live prophetically? Does it allow us the freedom to question with informed consciences? Does it really welcome feedback in a church that claims to honor the sensus fildeum?”

      • Oops, would Kate give us a theological ‘heads up’ on the sense of the faithful….Sr Pat Farrell noted it in her address to the LCWR…..and I think it has a real relevance in our abuse discussion, as well.

        Sister Pat Farrell: “Does the institutional legitimacy of canonical recognition empower us to live prophetically? Does it allow us the freedom to question with informed consciences? Does it really welcome feedback in a church that claims to honor the sensus fildeum?”

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

        Joan,

        Here is a nutshell-version of what is happening in the Church, today, with “sensus fidelium.”

        The Spirit has always “spoken” to the faithful. Today, however, the wisdom of the Spirit falls upon an informed and educated laity. The synthesis of wisdom and knowledge results in substantive conclusions on faith and morals. Theologians typically articulate the sensus fidelium of the laity, yet they are suppressed and persecuted by a hierarchy dutifully echoing mandates from Rome. The result is one, authoritative voice on faith and morals, paralyzing the faithfuls’ right to sensus fidelium.

        http://arcc-catholic-rights.net/sensus_fidelium.htm

      • Thanks Kate….am I wrong in assuming that the sense of the faithful is needed to confirm church teachings….I particularly think of the contraceptive issue where the ban on contraceptives is clearly ‘not received’ by somewhere around 85 to 98 per cent of sexually active catholics….or the growing awareness of the rights of the gay community…

        And aren’t the nuns efforts for the marginalized (and the national and international support for them) or our efforts for abuse victims…or the exodus of one in three catholics ALSO a sense of the faithful…..even without the theologians work?

      • A bit more Sr Pat Farrell…. Her presidential address to LCWR…..it’s a keeper! I think there is much in it for all of us…..And she worked the tough stuff in San Salvador/El Salvador….with the poor…not the wealthy landowners and some hierarchy.

        https://lcwr.org/sites/default/files/news/files/pat_farrell_-_presidential_address_1.pdf

      • When thinking about Sister Pat Ferrell, one needs to understand just what ELSE she has done, besides that outstanding address to the LCWR….she has risked her life in Chile and El Salvador…no ‘sissy’ this woman…here’s the story:

        http://ncronline.org/news/women-religious/vatican-showdown-latest-chapter-sr-pat-farrells-life

      • AND the next most logical question is why am I bothering with all this LCWR and Sister Pat Farrell stuff on a site whose agenda is clergy sexual abuse and protection of innocent children?

        And its a good question.

        The best answer I can come up with is that C4C is Catholics for CHANGE and right now, in the larger Church world, CHANGE is in many ways in the hands of the LCWR nuns as they interact with Vatican appointed ‘monitors’ who have questioned their loyalty and fidelity to the bishops teaching authority. The bishops say the nuns have spent too much time on the poor, not enough on the bishops agenda….you know the drill… The ban on contraception, same sex marriage, abortion.

        The nuns prayerfully say that their contemplative and congregational insights place them on the ‘margins’ with the most vulnerable amongst us…And that experience, along with a lot of prayer causes them to be what they are and do what they do.

        The NCR has characterized this ‘intersection’ as a major historical occurrence…with conservative vs progressive Catholics, worldwide, watching. I think they are right.

        THATS why I am doing the LCWR, ister Pat Farrel stuff.

      • I think if Susan had known that this site would become so popular she probably would have named it catholics4children. There was an article that referred to us as church reformers..oh no,no no..not at all. Just trying to protect kids and help victims,have no interest in reforming the Church,other than how it deals with the abuse issue and even there the real hope is through laws.. I understand all the issues are related in a sense because of the power issue but I choose to focus on what has happened to children within the Church..all the other issues have advocates to fight for them and what they believe. Plus I think we draw a pretty eclectic crowd here on C4C and think the other issues would have many differing opinions..children and victims we can all agree on that.

      • Kathy, no arguement on the importance of dealing with clergy abuse and the protection of innocent children from hierarchical predator passing on…and I too, think changes in laws are totally key.

        But, no matter how this nuns thing turns out, I suspect the bishops/Vatican are going to take a hit….and that may well be very helpful to victims, and a further push towards just legislation.

        The more discredited the Church is, the more prosecutors and legislators will have a ‘clear field’ for their efforts on behalf of innocent kids….

    • It’s a simple but common sense solution no rewarding bad (evil) behavior anymore they need to make things right……nothing should be taken for granted anymore……

  25. Could we please have a post on SNAP? It seems to me that SNAP has been doing a good job of keeping the news focused on abuse in the church. However, there are a few people suggesting that SNAP is not what it claims to be. I think it would be helpful to hear a range of views on this.

    I became aware of this by a post from a victim survivor named Jim, who runs a website called Victims of Silence at BulletinBoards.com. Jim says that SNAP runs the show and silences individual victims, and keeps all the information about victims, making it a very powerful group. Jim says that SNAP has some hidden ties to the hierarchy, and he produces documents to show that SNAP was founded by the church. Then there’s the matter that the brother of one of the main leaders of SNAP was a priest pedophile, and this was covered up for a long time. The list goes on.

    Then Kay Ebeling, someone with credibility on the topic, had this thoughtful piece that follows. And I wonder if C4C were to do a post, it would give room for productive discussion. Here is what Kay wrote,

    “Criticism of SNAP by survivors is not a case of hating the advocates at all. It’s questioning the legitimacy of the professional advocates, questioning who is really behind them, and what is their real agenda.

    Why do the same two people always show up, always have all the travel budget they need to appear and make a statement wherever this story is breaking, and the statement is then always published as “speaking for victims”?

    Look at how widespread these crimes are and how many victims there are. Then look at the size and effectiveness of the only advocacy group that has survived.

    Something does not add up. Where did the rest of the activists go? A lot of us got silenced, not by the church, but by SNAP itself.

    It’s very hard to explain this to reporters and friends of the movement, as they always see it as some kind of infighting or jealousy. That’s not it. Many of us have been trying for years to get someone to realize:

    Something stinks here.

    Otherwise there would be much more activism and much more being accomplished for and by the thousands of victims of pedophile priests. Instead we get the same 2-3 people making the same press statement over and over again.

    It does not add up. Something is not right here.

    My theory: Only one group knew in 1985 that there were about a hundred thousand victims, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and they knew something had to be created to control the victims and manage the outflow of information about the crimes. So they created something similar to “sweetheart unions” during the early 20th Century labor movement, groups that appeared to be advocating for the workers but were really working for the owners. They always showed up, always looked just right, and always stomped down the genuine demonstrators while appearing to be part of them.

    So by the mid-1990s Linkup got wiped out and SNAP rose out of the ruins.

    Something is not right here. Too many really active people got shot down and shut up when they were in the middle of creating something on their own after giving up on SNAP. Like me.

    The victims of pedophile priests do not have genuine representation, there is no real network, and except for a few exceptions on a local level, there is no advocating organization.

    Those of us who have seen what’s going on from the inside Really Wish that some reporter with an investigative nose (like Ralph Cipriano?) would start looking into what some of us see as a counter-intelligence group that says it’s one thing but is really another and the end result has been a nullification, so to speak, of any genuine victim advocacy.

    Of course individuals like SarahTX and Judy Jones are sincere. The stink comes from the very top. Just ask one question. Who is the “we” referred to in Barbara Blaine’s press statement above? When has SNAP ever done any kind of survey or asked the thousands of survivors what we want an advocacy group to do?

    Never.

    They operate in a cocoon out of reach or communication with the victims. They seem to have a preconceived agenda and be taking orders from someone somewhere. It’s a very eerie experience for those of us who have had it, and we keep wondering when, oh when, will some reporter dive into this yet untold part of the clergy sex crime cover-up story.

    I know, from my own experience, what happened to me while I was doing City of Angles blog. I wasn’t harassed or stifled by the church, per se, I was silenced by SNAP.

    What appears in SNAP press releases is not the same as what the victims at the grass roots level experience.

    Sorry to have to write this again. I wish the story had not gone this way. I’ve written my whole experience with SNAP as best as I could describe it at City of Angels 2.
    Suffice it to say, pedophile priest victims do not really have an advocacy group at all. We have a hologram that is run by someone, but not by the survivors.

    Wonder who is really in charge …”

    • Mark, i often read negative comments about SNAP’s true motives. Does it act as a “double agent”? ( It’d be so hard to imagine such corruption associated with the RCC!)

    • Mark,

      I will never attend anything having to do with SNAP ever again. They are liars and fakes, and if you really think they’re doing good work, listen to the many victims it excludes from it membership.

      When a Catholic priest confronted me outside of a church in NE Philly and physically assaulted me and I got in the priest’s face, SNAP commanded me to back off. They said their most important rule is not to argue with any priests or parishioners. I said, “I’m not here for SNAP. I’m here for kids, and if I have to scream from the rooftops that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

      Not too long after that confrontation with Father Patrick McCormick, who was arrested for soliciting prostitutes in North Philly, an email was sent out to every SNAP member by one of the organizations 3 officers, stating that I was not the right material for SNAP and people should just ignore me, never email me, or invite me to a protest. I sent this letter to Bob Hoatson at Road-to-Recovery.org and he can verify everything I’ve said here is true. Once SNAP places you in the backseat, you’ll never get any help from them again. They are run just like the Catholic Church.

      It is true, one of the founding members of SNAP has a brother who is a priest and a convicted child sexual predator. It is also true that this SNAP member got information from local police that his brother was going to be arrested, and SNAP leadership did the unthinkable. The SNAP officer called his brother the night before a warrant was to be served and gave him a heads up. Because of this information being recovered months a year ago by myself and other victims, we will not go to another SNAP event again. We are NOT one of their 10,000 members worldwide.

      For everything SNAP claims to stand for and stand against, I have often seen the opposite. I have seen SNAP treat victims worse than the church has treated us.

      Furthermore, SNAP also recieves hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations every year. Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy, and Barbara Dorris are the only paid SNAP members. When SNAP visits a city to get their pretty little faces on TV or in the papers, they often stay at some of the most expensive hotels in the city. They have travelled the world spending donations on first class, fine dining, and sightseeing. Not one penny of their donations is spent on helping victims. NOT ONE PENNY! Bob Hoatson and Road-to-Recovery is the only organization I’m aware of that actually uses its donations to help victims.

      SNAP is a misrepresentation of who I am, as a victim of clergy childhood sexual abuse, and they are more interested in promoting their org, rather than actually helping victims recover and protecting future children from abuse. Any moron with any sense at all can start a 501 not for profit organization to make money for themselves.

      Just keep in mind: Some of these people are uninterested in protecting children. Some actually protect the predators.

      • Rich: I don’t know about the history of SNAP . Ireally don’t care. All I know is that their focus seems to be on the money.Every time I have contacted SNAP, I get bombarded with requests for donations. I wish I could make a large donation, but unfortunately I don’t have the financial resources. As a kid growing up in the church, I remember the rich people got much of the attention from the church. I think SNAP is pretty much the same. A few weeks ago ,I went on their website and volunteered to tell my story. After telling my story, they asked me to answer some questions. i was completely honest in telling my story. Evidently when they found out the priest that molested me was never charged or reported, they decided my story wasn’t good enough. That part is ok. But what really bothered me is they then contacted this site and told them my abuser was never charged. I have a really hard time with organizations trading information about me over the internet. It may not be illegal but it certainly is unethical.

      • Jim no one ever contacted us .I googled the name and checked on the AD and Bishop’s Accountability website . I think you had said the name before in the past..not the full name and it is a common name. So when you wrote the full name I simply looked it up myself. This having nothing to do with SNAP but there are very serious ramifications that can come with naming anyone (not just clergy) as an abuser without any documentation..something that we on C4C and other organizations as well as newspapers need to be careful.

      • Kathy; I am sorry about my jumping to conclusions. I tend to get paranoid at times.,thinking the whole world is after me,.

      • No problem Jim,I am glad I was able to clear that up for you.

      • Jim, they are a not-for-profit. The computer generated mailing lists,emails, etc. about money are a common practice for all organizations. Or were you saying that the leaders asking you personally for money?

        I may not be popular for saying this, but some of the reasons listed for not liking SNAP (not just here), are because those contacting SNAP have very specific expectations of what SNAP could do for them and how they functioned.

        Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Looooonnnnnnng before many came forward, SNAP had done the work (with no $ in sight) of taking on the Church. We are standing on the shoulders of what SNAP has done (along with many others). The reasons we can see and know what we do today is because of their work.

        Was the first telephone what we have today? No. But, it changed everything. SNAP has its limitations, but they have changed the landscape and paved paths for victims that never would have been.. While I may not agree with everything, I respect and am grateful for their efforts.

      • Just a few thoughts not particularly about SNAP, more along the lines of non profits. Rich, I disagree about any moron being able to start a non profit and make money for themselves. I have worked in non profits my entire social work career and this past year have been involved with the start up of a 501 c4 and in the near future hopefully a 501c3. It is an unbelievable amount of work. There is endless paperwork from the state, need for legal representation, board of directors, officers, policy, by laws and on and on. It is simply an overwhelming task at times, nothing easy about it.
        The other thing is that people are reimbursed for their services working with many populations such as the terminally ill, battered woman, prisoners ,abused children etc.. People who work in these fields and with non profits receive a paycheck, often a very measly one in return for the amount of work they actually do. There is nothing wrong with receiving payment for helping people. I have many friends working in the field of social work who are doing so for a fraction of the money they could make if they chose to use their time and talent in another career . They have mortgages,college tuition,bills etc.. Actually not only should they be paid, they should all make more money. Society simply does not value the career of assisting others..sad but true.
        I have seen a lot of criticism about SNAP and can’t add to the conversation either way since I am not a victim who has interacted with their organization. I exchanged a few emails and spoke on the phone one time with David Clohessy, but that was over a year ago. The one thing I noticed when reading comments about SNAP was that people complain about what they are not “allowed” to do ,or feel limited by SNAP. My reply to that is the same I have had to people on C4C at times, and that is to “do it yourself”. I don’t say that with any sarcasm or in a condescending way,I actually mean it. If people don’t like the way something is being done than they should form their own organization or group rather than spend the energy complaining about not being “allowed’ to do something under another organization’s rules.

      • Kathy, YES starting non profits is a monumental headache, been there done that. It’s enough to make one give up the project, although hopefully,not.

        As to SNAP always seeking donations, that has not been my experience.

        I contacted a SNAP worker about this,and I have weeded out the personal comments and the name of my friend, but here is her response:

        ‘…we have, since the beginning of this year sent out monthly newsletters. The purpose of them is to keep donors informed about our activities and to let them know how important they are to us without making any kind of an ask. At the close of each newsletter there is a thank you for all their support but no request. This was something I insisted upon as I never want to leave our donors with the impression that all we do is ask and ask again.

        We have two major asks throughout a calendar year: one in the Spring and one in the fall. This year was a bit different because of the legal attacks in Kansas City, however it is by no means the norm.’

        SNAP did send a special request for funds because of the KC situation….the only one I have ever received.

      • And Kathy, to your point about society not honoring and paying properly those who assist others, particularly the poorest and most fragile amongst us, I remember eons ago receiving a non profit award, (paper certificate) in a church basement while my husband was being wined and dined at the top of one of New York’s finest hotels, as one of the top 32 folks in the nation for his real estate related activities,….on the same evening.

        Nothing wrong with what he had done, but the irony was not lost on me then, or now.

        Our culture rewards what it values. And very very sadly we don’t value innocent children, the poor, the violated, the most vulnerable amongst us.

        Rather, we value powerful organizations, especially if they promise us a heavenly reward, as well.

    • Mark,
      I have had good experiences with SNAP and I’ve experienced their weaknesses too. I’ve seen some of the wonderful things they’ve accomplished for victims and I’ve seen their limitations. I applaud their efforts to challenge a church hierarchy when no one else would touch the rcc with a ten foot pole.

      I believe there needs to be some new blood, a fresh perspective, new PR language, and changes to their methods. They can’t do it all…they’ve never claimed they could…but there’s an expectation that these (at first, volunteers) would be able to meet the diverse needs of so many victims coming to them. I’m not sure they were adequately prepared to handle it all…and grappled with trying to keep things moving forward while still trying to maintain a focus.

      Given the enormous task of taking on child sex abuse in the Catholic Church (and elsewhere) I’d say they aren’t perfect (hence the need for other support networks, bloggers, supporters)…but something was better than nothing.

      I understand not everyone feeling supported by SNAP, but I don’t think it’s evil or that its premise is a conspiracy with the rcc.

      • SW,

        Respectfully, I think you’re way off base and you clearly haven’t dealt with SNAP enough to make an assessment.

        There’s “new blood” that contacts SNAP everyday or participates in protests, conferences, and leaflettings with them, but if they are not a regional director or one of the three big wigs, they’re expected to stand silently while these “others” speak. That’s not fair. None of us should be silent anymore.

        They’re not perfect and neither am I nor you, but at least I can admit it. At least I know where the line in my limitations is drawn. At least I can admit my failings and faults, and more importantly I don’t take another’s money to use for my own self satisfaction.

        I don’t think SNAP is evil. I think they are inadequate, fame-driven, religious lunitics who care more about their own popularity than helping the victims they claim to support.

        SNAP wants more victims to add to their list of membership. I want no more victims, period!

        I do, however, respect SNAP leaders like Judy Miller in Wilmington, DE and her husband Chuck, who I believe have done far more for victims than any other SNAP leader I’ve seen or heard of.

        Bob Ski in Wisconsin is a good man and does a lot of really awesome work trying to expose predators.

        I only know of Judy Block Jones from her comments here and in news articles I’ve read, and she seems pretty functional as well.

        Pat Serrano in North Jersey is the first SNAP leader I ever spoke with and she has always been sincere and very accomodating of myself and my friends.

        Joelle Castix is nice, and was actually at the protest when Father Pat McCormick assaulted me and physically threatened me. However, I think she sent an email about the events of that day to SNAP leaders, but I don’t think she expected the outcome it left on my shoulders.

        Other than those people, SNAP can stick it! They are not helpful except in creating more anger, depression, and silence of victims.

        SNAFU

      • SW makes some good SNAP points.

        But I would add a few more. It’s SNAP who initiated the worldwide ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ suit at the Hague.

        They deal in 55 languages on their web site with abuse in many other countries.

        They were started by a very small group of survivors who operated then and still do on a fiscal ‘shoestring’. I saw their, I think 2009 tax statement and if memory serves the total was in the $400,000 range. They do pay a few folks salaries but that kind of income for what they have accomplished is amazing. Most SNAP folks and there are a great many, are volunteers.

        They have been the target of Church response recently, with huge demands for their records…KC being a case in point.

        They were never conceived as an organization that distributed funds to victims, rather they direct victims to therapists, or do some direct counseling, they establish victims support groups country wide.

        But most of all, I think it’s their agenda to use media aggressively to counteract Church ‘spin’ and to bring forth more victims both to help the victims get on the road to recovery and to protect innocent kids.

        Are they perfect, no, are SW’s suggestions good…I think so.

        But the question that comes to my mind…is where would be now, 10 years after Boston. Without them?

      • Rich,
        Clearly, my experiences haven’t been your experiences with SNAP. That doesn’t mean I’m off base and don’t know enough to make an assessment. However, I believe you when you say SNAP left you hurting even more and you don’t trust them.

        By new blood, I meant new, innovative leadership.

  26. Joan,
    I don’t get the warm fuzzies when I read about nuns standing up TO to the Vatican but not standing up FOR the victims…even when victims’ advocates are begging for intervention and support from them.

    I’m jaded though and might care more if it were my church. I still see the same pattern and dynamic…the Vatican holds the power and it makes news that an entity is challenging them.

    • I agree, as usual, with your views SW. This all is shaping up in my view as a struggle for gaining “the high moral ground.” Practically everyone has their own pet issues and opinions.
      The Roman Pope, curia, hierarchy and clergy have traditionally had much of the “high ground” because in many instances they did enshrine some true moral stances, e.g., things that agree with the bible, God’s Word. It is all the other things they have wrong, have perverted that will finally condemn them. Sadly, human nature being what it is, some who are intent on stopping the existence of some moral restraints, cleverly
      point out the failures of Rome in their quest to overcome the few “true moral stances” mentioned above.
      It seems to me that if one has a purely singular desire to save children[
      “catholics4children” ] he/she would keep their children away from the influence of all those engaged in any false “morality.” For what it’s worth.

    • SW, I don’t get the warm fuzzies either….and your point about news being made because someone is standing up to the Vatican is a good one!

      But, at least someone IS standing up to the Vat…which is a first in my experience.

  27. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/beachfront-home-philly-priests-auctioned-16995072

    Old news, but new to the AP wire.

    Maybe to prepare the pew Catholics for the upcoming strategic bankruptcy plan?

  28. How About Children At Camp Brisson, Northeast, MD?

    #26

    [url]

    [-]

    Posts: 1

    12/12/0618:23:11

    In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Oblates like John “Jack” McDevitt, Patrick Shannon (removed from ministry in 2005) & Joe Becker (arrested for solicitation in the early 80’s) spent their summers at a summer camp run by the Oblates. Although I was never abused in any way, nor can I prove any misconduct, I witnessed McDevitt holding young boys, ages 7 – 15, on his lap. Taking pictures. Making pins with their images ostensibly for their parents. He insisted that the children call him “Uncle Jack”.

    Might be worth looking into if there are any victims out there. The Oblates sold the camp some time in the mid 1980’s I believe.”

    http://snapsurvivorsnetwork.yuku.com/topic/2440/Oblates-Of-St-Francis-DeSales?page=2

    post 26

    • I remember the pins, how he demanded I call him “Uncle Jack,” and I remember a whole lot more about Rev. John M. McDevitt. I remember too much!

      • Rich I am very sorry for all you have been through. I also want to thank you for standing strong and sharing your pain. I wish I could write like you. Your words are often what I would use if I was able…. THANK YOU!

      • V4J,
        The thumbs down person is heartless or a predator. They want you to be quiet. I am glad you are not.

      • They didn’t listen in 81 when an oblate was caught at Camp Brisson, the arrest of Becker was dropped – mcdevitt, killion, grant,o’neil and the person of interest now – Engelhardt were all in Wilmington in the 80’s. Doyle knew of the sems and how they took candidates to a certain bar in Georgetown to see if they were “compatible” . Lost too many vocations because of that.

        As a victim you experienced too much. The church and the system failed you. I know you don’t believe in God, but I still pray for you and still ask Him why did He allow this.Enough people fought, but who would listen? How many roman catholics still don’t believe the victims?

  29. Thomasina Monahan Reply August 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I saw this quote today and it reminded me of Lynn…
    The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Read more at http://ww

    • Thats a great quote basically you cant stay neutral either you further the good or the evil in the world. I thought about this idea alot and the answer helps me when making decisions especially is me sitting back and doing nothing going to help make the world a better place and protect kids? It;s so easy to sit back and let “other people” handle it but then how do you answer when you die and God Asks what did you do for the least of mine? I don’t think “nothing” is going to cut” nor I just was following orders or I just stood and watched.

      • “Another bail request by Lynn’s lawyers today!”

        I’m sick of hearing about this worthless individual. I hope his time in prison is closer to six years, as opposed to three.

        As Lynn wastes away behind bars, lets get on with investigating the other freaks in the AD; past and present, (Good Morning Seth!)

      • He could use about six years of 24/7 living with the types he unleased on our children. they did show mercy(only three to six years – always had a sentence after confession no matter how old the sin. Guess priests don’t serve sentences and don’t have to confess if the sin is too old. Tell that to the husbands and wives families and individuals who are living with the results of those sins – try to collect those feathers from a pillow and make them right. Ask why they have two beds or why the parent is so depressed. Seeing the face of a perp on your loved one – not what a person wants to see when trying to have children.

      • Ed,
        You “get it” that’s for sure. Thanks.

      • Beth, don’t understand why others don’t ie AD , lawmakers, and members of all faiths and those without faith, There is a trial in Bucks where victims were 4 years old – what kind of life will that child have? A ring that sexually abused infants and toddlers was just busted. People need to wake up. As others have stated we can’t just sit on this, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  30. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I’m at the Chautauqua Institution in south-western NY studying Radicalism for the week. On Monday, Rabbi David Gordis, professor of religion at U. of Albany, NY, and president emeritus of Hebrew College, spoke. The theme of his speech was how religions based in absolutes distance themselves from modern science, culture, and human experience, becoming increasingly irrelevant and dooming themselves. The religions believe that their faith doctrines and traditions trump everything else. As far as I am concerned, Catholicism is a classic example of one of these religions. I think the LCWR is attempting to bring Gordis’ point to the attention of the Church. While the Church hierarchy remains embedded in doctrine and tradition, the nuns are saying, hey, wait a minute, modern science, culture, and human experience matter and must inform theology. Over the past 30 years, the nuns have transitioned to a more radical faith. A more radical faith does not mean that a religion necessarily gives up its doctrinal traditions and rituals but it does mean the religion is passionate about transforming the world into something better than it is now and, therefore, is always open to change. A religion that does not contain that passion to try to transform the world into something better is worth very little, Gordis said. To create a better world where religion enhances human experience, rather than hurts it, he said, people must let go and redefine their claims to exclusive religious truths.

    Catholicism holds us hostage in an alien doctrinal and traditional world and requires us to believe in it. It makes belief rather than action the pinnacle of our faith, yet, only through action can people transform the world into something better.

    Rev. Wintermyer has addressed this idea on a number of occasions. Belief does not improve the human condition, action does.

    • Kate, it’s the nuns who have been involved in the ‘action’ activities that ‘transform the world into something better’.

      Take healthcare reform, it was NETWORK that was the ‘tipping point’ …..take poverty and budget issues, it was the Nuns on the Bus that toured 9 states with the Ryan budget in hand, to visit appropriate legislators, look at the Statute of Limitations ‘window extensions’ and other legislation that would assist abuse victims, it’s been the bishops who are opposed.

    • Kate — How interesting! I would say that the RCC seeks to transform the world…but totally and arrogantly, and on its own terms….using a lot of mystery to explain itself. It is a religion set up for white, European males, which is way past its prime. The nuns find it hard to exist within its parameters… I really don’t see how it translates to other cultures of the world –let alone thrives in these.
      It’s good to observe that my kids have no such sense of being “held hostage” as we once were at their age…They have an ingrained sense of freedom about spiritual matters. esp. as contrasted by my mother’s all consuming religious practices and beliefs.–this sure puts me in an strange position in an extended family!

      • The Economist is a very highly respected economic journal who just published a devastating critique on church finance, the abuse issues, their costs and the way the US church is managing them….see what you think:

        http://www.economist.com/node/21560536

      • joan, good article. I hadn’t heard the term ” parish suppression” used for the process of closing parishes. Good one.

        “…. Nobody becomes a priest, monk or nun in order to spend their professional life as a financial manager, so no doubt part of this money shuffling is down to innocent incompetence…”
        —I don’t for a second, believe these acts are innocent.

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply August 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

        Joan,

        The Economist did a stellar job investigating the financial picture in the American Church. Between the lack of transparency, fiscal mismanagement, irregular movement of funds, thefts, and conspiracies, how can any rational person continue to contribute to such a corrupt institution? Copies of the article need to go in every pew, in every church, on Sunday.

        For all of those silent priests out there, silent for the purpose of landing softly on retirement, what retirement?

        Nothing like getting screwed by a bunch of inept and unscrupulous men purporting to act like, and know the mind of, Christ.

        You can’t make this stuff up.

      • Kate.. I totally agree that this article should be in the hands of every parishioner…One reason I do such long pieces where I edit out some key points is to try to get this info out. 
        I am doing a three post effort, on this article.

        Post 1 The problem:

         the finances of the Catholic church in America are an unholy mess. The sins involved in its book-keeping are not as vivid or grotesque as those on display in the various sexual-abuse cases that have cost the American church more than $3 billion so far; but the financial mismanagement and questionable business practices would have seen widespread resignations at the top of any other public institution.

        The sexual-abuse scandals of the past 20 years have brought shame to the church around the world. In America they have also brought financial strains. By studying court documents in bankruptcy cases, examining public records, requesting documents from local, state and federal governments, as well as talking to priests and bishops confidentially, The Economist has sought to quantify the damage.

        The picture that emerges is not flattering.

        Thousands of claims for damages following sexual-abuse cases, which typically cost the church over $1m per victim, according to lawyers involved, have led to a liquidity crisis. This seems to have encouraged a pre-existing trend towards replacing dollars from the faithful with publicly raised debt as a way of financing church business

        The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures)…. with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart).

        The American church may account for as much as 60% of the global institution’s wealth. Little surprise, then, that it is the biggest contributor to head office (ahead of Germany, Italy and France). Everything from renovations to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Pontifical Gregorian University, the church’s version of West Point, is largely paid for with American money.

      • Post 2. Church money….how it is being spent and redirected

        On the revenue side, donations from the faithful are thought to have declined by as much as 20%. The scandals probably played a part in this: few people want to donate money that will go to clearing up the damage done by predatory priests. 

        Various sources say that Cardinal Dolan and other New York bishops are spending a substantial amount—estimates range from $100,000 a year to well over $1m—on lobbying the state assembly to keep the current statute of limitations in place. His office will not comment on these estimates. This is in addition to the soft lobbying of lawmakers by those with pulpits at their disposal. The USCCB, the highest Catholic body in America, also lobbies the federal government on the issue. In April the California Catholic Conference, an organisation that brings the state’s bishops together, sent a letter to California’s Assembly opposing a bill that would extend the statute and require more rigorous background checks on church workers.

        The vast majority of parishes that commingled their funds with those dioceses now in bankruptcy lost all their investments. In some cases they were misled into believing that the money would be kept separate from the main diocesan funds, and thus safe in the event of bankruptcy. 

        Plaintiffs’ lawyers have raised questions about financial transfers in dioceses threatened with bankruptcy. These tend to go the other way—moving money out of diocesan accounts and into parish accounts, trusts of various sorts and any other receptacle at hand. According to an independent report commissioned by a bankruptcy judge, at one point priests in San Diego were taking cash out of accounts and putting it in safes in the rectories because they wanted to keep it out of reach of plaintiffs

        Over the past eight years, a combination of these stresses has driven eight dioceses (including San Diego, Tucson and Milwaukee) to declare bankruptcy

        Some dioceses have, in effect, raided priests’ pension funds to cover settlements and other losses. The church regularly collects money in the name of priests’ retirement. 

        Richard Vega, who recently stepped down as president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, estimates that 75-80% of clergy pension schemes in America are underfunded. He says that only a small minority of priests will have set aside enough of their net average salary of $25,000 a year to cover themselves. Others will be less fortunate.

      • Post 3
        The clergy and its creditors

        The principle of separation between church and state in America means that religious groups are not required to file tax returns, list their assets or disclose basic facts about their finances. Some dioceses do publish accounts, but these tend to provide an incomplete picture. Though lawyers for dioceses facing bankruptcy have fought to keep most financially sensitive documents sealed, the process has forced the church to let in unaccustomed light.

        The vast majority of parishes that commingled their funds with those dioceses now in bankruptcy lost all their investments. In some cases they were misled into believing that the money would be kept separate from the main diocesan funds, and thus safe in the event of bankruptcy

        Plaintiffs’ lawyers have raised questions about financial transfers in dioceses threatened with bankruptcy. These tend to go the other way—moving money out of diocesan accounts and into parish accounts, trusts of various sorts and any other receptacle at hand. According to an independent report commissioned by a bankruptcy judge, at one point priests in San Diego were taking cash out of accounts and putting it in safes in the rectories because they wanted to keep it out of reach of plaintiffs

        Creditors in the Milwaukee bankruptcy case, which is still in progress, have questioned the motives behind a $35m transfer to a trust and a $55.6m transfer from archdiocese coffers to a fund for cemeteries. Cardinal Dolan, who was Archbishop of Milwaukee at the time, authorised both transactions. The creditors think the movement of such large amounts had more to do with shielding cash from sexual-abuse victims than with the maintenance of graves, calling the manoeuvre fraudulent. 

        As “debtors in possession”—entities that have filed for bankruptcy yet retain their assets—bust dioceses have an obligation to enlarge their assets to satisfy their creditors. On the contrary, “we have seen a consistent tactic of Catholic bishops to shrink the size of their assets, which is not only wrong morally but in violation of state and federal law,” says Ken Brown of Pachulski Stang, a California law firm that has represented creditors in eight of the ten Catholic bankruptcy cases.

        One way to reduce costs is to reduce the number of parishes. There are two ways to do this. The first is to merge one parish with another parish and combine their buildings, congregations and finances. The second, more controversial way is to “suppress” the parish, which involves the transfer of all of the assets to the bishop, who reassigns parish priests as he sees fit. The funds in the parish bank accounts are placed in the general treasury of the diocese, as are the proceeds of land sales, none of which is subject to disclosure.

      • And, my personal favorite.Post 4.

        The taxpayer as good Samaritan

        Growing financial pressures have encouraged the church to replace donations from the faithful with debt. According to figures from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board over the past decade, state and local authorities have issued municipal bonds for the benefit of at least 50 dioceses in almost 30 states to pay for the expansion and renovation of facilities that would previously have been largely paid for through donations. Overall church muni debt has increased by an estimated 80% over that period. At least 736 bond issues are currently outstanding.

        California is the biggest borrower. Although funding for religious groups is prohibited under the state’s constitution, a series of court rulings has opened the door to bond issues. Catholic groups there have raised at least $12 billion through muni bonds over the past decade. Of that, some $9 billion went to hospitals. In one case, in San Jose, the money went to buy chancery offices for the bishop.

        The dioceses back their bonds with letters of credit from banks. Among the most active guarantors are Allied Irish Banks (AIB), US Bancorp and Wells Fargo. None of the banks was prepared to discuss the financial terms of these contracts.

        Muni bonds are generally tax-free for investors, so the cost of borrowing is lower than it would be for a taxable investment. In other words, the church enjoys a subsidy more commonly associated with local governments and public-sector projects. If the church has issued more debt in part to meet the financial strains caused by the scandals, then the American taxpayer has indirectly helped mitigate the church’s losses from its settlements. Taxpayers may end up on the hook for other costs, too. For example, settlement of the hundreds of possible abuse cases in New York might cause the closure of Catholic schools across the city.

      • Thanks Joan and you other distinguished ladies. The Economist article is unique and outstanding.

        Please note that it mentions that the FBI doesn’t follow up on US attorney referrals of church fraud. I wonder why? If the US attorney makes a referral, it usually means there is clear Federal jurisdiction.

        Given the beating Obama is currently taking from the bishops, it is puzzlingly why his FBI isn’t more active on crimes involving dioceses and bishops.

      • Joan,
        Extremely informative article.

    • Kate that is very interesting. Do you think that actions spring from our true beliefs and thoughts then? in some cases some people just don’t want to think to hard? and therefore never search or take things to heart? I am interested what your view on natural law is? Does that change in your view? Does it not exist? Interested in your insights. I think that if people truly valued others and especially children they would act to protect them but we seem to be very narissictic as a society. We say one thing do another in our actions…..so our beliefs might not actually be what we say……….I am learning to trust people by their actions not their words and that in many cases you know what they truly value by their behavior and actions

      • The second post from the Economist is being held for moderation….why 3 can get through and 1 not is a bit of a mystery….it dealt with Church revenues, Dolan, the movement of Church funds during bankruptcy, and priests pension funds, to which Kate alluded…75 to 80 % are apparently ‘underfunded’.

      • SNAP on the Economist article:

        The Economist analyzes Catholic wealth; SNAP responds
        POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON AUGUST 16, 2012 · FLAG
        Church officials handle money the same way they handle predators—“it’s our business, you stay out of it.” Catholic bishops want the benefits of money from the government but refuse to be clear about or held accountable for how it is used.

        It’s important to understand why “the finances of the Catholic church in America are an unholy mess,” according to the Economist. It’s because that’s what bishops want: they want parishioners and the public to know very little about the church’s vast wealth.

        We agree with The Economist, which says evidence suggests that “maladministration in the Vatican goes beyond mere negligence.” And we’re grateful The Economist notes that the church’s “national charitable activities” are “just 2.7%“of its overall spending.

        We’re troubled by the bishops’ “trend towards replacing dollars from the faithful with publicly raised debt as a way of financing church business.”
        The Economist, however, mischaracterizes the motive for diocesan bankruptcies. It’s not about money. It’s about secrecy.

        Bishops seek bankruptcy protection to safeguard their reputations, not their assets. Bishops know that bankruptcy effectively stops the disclosure of damaging documents obtained by victims in litigation. Bankruptcy halts the discovery process and shifts the debate from “how much did church officials conceal heinous crimes” to “how does everyone who was hurt by predator priests and complicit bishops get compensated.”

        We should remember three things about church bankruptcies:

        First, dozens of bishops have threatened bankruptcy over the past 15 years, often on the eve of a trial when shocking secrets about church cover ups would have been disclosed.

        Second, essentially the same bishops who for years have claimed few priests molest and no cover ups occur are now asking us once again to believe that they’re strapped for funds.

        (It’s easy enough to find out whether bishops are honest about finances. They should open their books to independent third parties BEFORE even discussing the possibility of bankruptcy. Until this happens, we must view any threats and filings of bankruptcy as public relations maneuvers and defense posturing.)

        Third, tens of thousands of innocent children’s lives were shattered because people put blind faith in bishops, and took what bishops said purely at face value. Common sense and common decency demand that we not make the same gullible mistake again. We must insist on true openness.

        Read the whole story here… 

  31. Just thought I’d let people know that I attended my faculty in-service before the semester begins. Our state passed a law (late June) that requires all Higher Education (colleges and universities) employees to be mandated reporters. It’s a class A misdemeanor if we fail to report.

    Great discussion followed. I had an opportunity to speak.

    I thought of the children who were abused, those who remained silent or covered up.

    Tangible changes are taking place states away.

    • Every employee has to go through training and have documentation of that training placed in our personnel file.

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