First American Bishop Convicted of Covering Up

One word. Finally!

Click here to read: “Kansas City Bishop Convicted of Shielding Pedophile Priest,” by John Eligon and Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, Sept. 6, 2012

Excerpt: “The verdict is a watershed moment in the priest sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the church since the 1980s. Bishops have been eager to turn the page on this era and have put in place extensive abuse prevention policies, which include reporting suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities. But the Kansas City case has served as a wake-up call to Catholics that the policies cannot be effective if the bishops do not follow them.”

143 thoughts on “First American Bishop Convicted of Covering Up

  1. ‘I, Robert Finn, am sorry that I failed to report Shawn Rattigan to the police. And I am sorry that I was angry with Vicar General Murphy when he did report Rattigan to the police.”

    That is what he could have said.

    Here is what he said in a post-trial statement issued tonight.

    “Diocesan process and procedures in place at the time did not adequately identify the necessity to inform the Children’s Division of Shawn Rattigan’s behavior in a more timely manner. For this I am truly sorry…. I regret and am sorry for the hurt that these events have caused.”

    He is sorry about the diocese’s inadequate policies and procedures, sorry that events caused hurt. Could he distance himself any further from personal responsibility?

    1. Martin, you are so right…and Finn’s statement was so very typical of that hierarchical response that we have grown used to.

      He is blaming the ‘reporting failure’….6 months late and after subsequent abuse….on ‘diocesan process and procedures’…

      THIS is the kind of garbage that the USCCB has visited on us with their stirling Dallas Charter. If the good bishops had made it the order of the day in the Charter to immediately report abuse to civil authorities, the Finn case would never have occurred.


      1. Martin, from your link, Aileen’s comment says it all for me:

        “Here’s the thing about trust and credibility in relationships — it’s earned and developed over time… but can be lost entirely in a nano-second. After systematic abject betrayal, restoring lost trust — even when possible — is a long-term endeavor that doesn’t leave room for further screw-ups… not even for Catholic bishops. That’s how life works in the real world where naïveté and stupidity are not conducive to survival.”

      2. Martin: I now understand from reading the account from the Churchs’ point man on the sexual abuse crisis, that this is simply a public relations problem. The Church needs better P.R.. Obviously that approach is not working. Perhaps another approach would work better. Start with honesty. Then perhaps an apology. I don’t mean an apology where they claim they have done their best. I mean a sincere apology where they admit that they have done wrong. And not only an apology . An apology where they promise to help all the victims. Not just the victims who were abused by priests from their own diocese but anyone who was abused as a child while attending their schools or churches. These are the baby steps needed to start the process. Do I forsee this happening anytime soon? Unfortunately no. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

      3. Jim…what will probably happen is that Finn will stay put, KC Catholics will not be happy, prosecutors, nationwide will continue their efforts..LA should present some data with the release of archival files, and in the language of AA the church will have to hit a very low ‘bottom’.

        I think Thomas Reese has it about right ….it’s not about more non apology apologies, but rather it’s about a number of episcopal resignations or firings….and some very substantial church policy changes….

        My preference would be the firing by Rome, of any bishop who passed on predators (probably determined in trial proceedings)…will it happen, probably not, should it happen, absolutely.

        And until that happens, there will be the not so gradual erosion of the ‘faithful’ and a continuing diminution of church contributions, plus an increasing priest shortage.

        I hope I am wrong….

    2. He is sorry that he got caught in his own trap. He never mentioned being sorry about the victims. He is a laughing stock here, but we survivors are very pleased that he was found guilty, and it’s not over yet!

  2. Another example of the Catholic Churches sleazy Bishops and Cardinals. This guy is a piece of work. The Vatican if it wants to survive has to clean out this trash. Who wants to follow a church led by such losers!

    1. We’re taught to look to these morally bankrupt prelates for ethical and spiritual direction. They have nothing to offer, and we have no need for them. Most adults have a well established code of ethics; they know the difference between right and wrong. It’s just not that difficult.

      Following every conviction we know exactly how they are going to respond. I will continue to disrespect them whenever, and wherever I can!

      Can’t wait to read the ‘BS’ responses that Dolan and Donohue will be presenting.

    1. Dr. Who,

      A recently deceased cardinal agrees with you.

      From an interview published after his recent death, Cardinal Martini said:

      “The Church has to recognize its own errors and has to travel a radical journey of change, beginning with the Pope and the bishops. The scandals of pedophilia are driving us to undertake a journey of conversion. Questions about sexuality and all the themes involving the body are an example of this. They are important for everyone, at times they’re even too important. In this area is the Church still a point of reference or only a caricature in the media?”

  3. Keep working, prosecutors, to bring these criminal Catholic leaders to justice. You, legislation, and the media are our strongest weapons in fighting this huge problem.

  4. Personal accountability, personal responsibility?????………this is the 21st Century Catholic Church.

    But we do like the sound of that one word……….C-O-N-V-I-C-T-I-O-N. That word is long overdue for the sexual abuse victims and their families, here and around the world.

  5. When asked about Bishop Finn’s future… “You’ll have to ask Rome.”

    Don’t hold your breath for Rome or Dolan as head of the USCCB to decide Finn’s future. All eyes should fall upon Kansas City and the Catholics who occupy its diocese. Will they demonstratively voice their opposition to Finn remaining in the capacity of bishop? Or will they, too, fail victims and children?

    It’s a vicious, Catholic circle of moral failure.

    1. If ever there was an argument for beefing up clergy mandated reporting requirements in PA..the Finn case is it.

      Kathy what are the present requirements?…..I seem to remember that Marci Hamilton wanted much tougher laws with much tougher penalties!

      1. The mandatory reporting laws in Pa. apply to all ,not just clergy. The task force that was developed last year in the wake of the Sandusky abuse is examining the mandatory reporting laws. There is supposed to be a report issued in November..that is where the Bills having to do with mandatory reporting are at the hands of the task force. I think there were a number of Bills introduced right after the Penn State crisis became public. I believe one Bill calls for failure to report to be a felony charge,right now it is a misdemeanor 3rd degree in Pa.

        The trial for Englehardt and Shero has been rescheduled for October.

      2. Joan, no amount of “beefing up clergy mandated reporting requirements” or “much tougher laws with much tougher penalties” will fix the problem. The problem is the clerical culture. Until we fix it, offending clerics may land in jail thanks to tougher laws, etc., but the problem will persist.

        On the Kansas City news site it is reported that after Ratigan was arrested, Finn met with a group of priests, telling them, “I was trying to save his (Ratigan’s) priesthood”… meaning Finn’s loyalty to his clerical brother superseded his responsibility to report him and protect children. Additionally, when Finn failed to report Ratigan, the diocesan Vicar turned disloyal in Finn’s eyes when he registered his concern over Finn’s failure to report him. Finn responded by being “very angry with the Vicar” and the Vicar feared serious repercussions. Finn was angry about the Vicar’s disloyalty and unwillingness to go along with a clerical culture cover up.

        These are just two examples of how obedience to the clerical culture impedes clerics from doing the right thing, following institutional mandates, and following the law.

        The clerical culture is toxic. As long as it remains toxic, it will continue to emit toxic events, incidences, and crimes.

      3. No argument Kate….the clerical culture is just plain nasty….but stronger reporting requirements….might just scare these guys into a more prompt reporting….(or else face Finn’s lengthly and well earned..disgrace).And thus protect some innocent children…not a true solution, but a step on the way.

        I hope the laity really gets it…you are right…the clerical culture is the problem….

    2. The church is empowered by the Catholics that blindly follow orders. Wake up! There is no God in a place where children are abused and bishops lie to police. The best way to ring vatican’s deaf ears is to cut off the money!

  6. The indictment of Cardinal Rigali’s former Philly aide, Msgr. Lynn, in early 2011 was likely critical in Finn’s Kansas City case. Without clearing it with Finn, Finn’s aide, Msgr. Murphy, despite having kept Ratigan’s misdeeds secret for several months, reported Ratigan to the police shortly after Lynn was indicted, knowing Finn would be angry as he was. Murphy thereby avoided being prosecuted along with Finn, as confirmed by the prosecutor. With Lynn’s imprisonment now, other aides to US bishops have likely begun to read the writing on the wall. If you cover-up for your bishop, you will take the fall. Amen.

    Finn had been a protege in St. Louis of Cardinal Rigali, along with NY’s Cardinal Dolan. Rigali’s rotten apples don’t fall very far from the rotten tree, it appears. The Obama Administration’s Justice Department likely pressured Ratigan to cooperate by throwing the book at him in the related federal child pornography criminal proceedings, which likely stimulated Finn to grab this soft plea deal, rather than having a messy trial before the November elections.

    Is it any surprise, Dolan rushed to Charlotte to bless the Democratic Convention, ironically within hours of Finn’s conviction. Too late, however. If Obama is re-elected, the US bishops can expect no more passes from federal prosecutors and Dolan, Rigali, et al. will reap what they have sown.

  7. Bishop Finn is responsible for the diocesan policies and procedures on the protection of children. His apology can be likened to a ‘I’m sorry, but’ the inadequate policies and procedures caused me to do it. The Vicar-General is second to the bishop. Was the bishop angry with the V.G. because he went over his head and did not follow the authority-morality? His apology for getting angry with the V.G. was, in itself, an admittance that he was trying to protect Rattigan and it was only given after he got caught. I do not think that the general public are treated with such leniency, but the clergy can change their statements because they do not take oaths. Only the other day, I had to take an oath to contest a traffic-ticket. Did the V.G. report to the authorities because he knew he would be the fall-guy if it went to court? I believe the Bishop did attempt to pass the buck onto him when he said that the V.G. was responsible for mandatory-reporting. Countless priests have been thrown under the bus to save their bosses or the reputation of mother-church. They are indoctrinated and manipulated into ‘accepting their crosses as the Will of God’ or ‘reaching heaven through Christ-like suffering or ‘being obedient to superiors’ etc. Hopefully this mind-set will change once the assistants are prosecuted, as in the case of Msgr. Lynn. Shameful leadership!

  8. This is a tragedy that has not come to an end in Philly. Hopefully, the archbishop will take more corrective action. Many thanks to Susan for the excellent updates, including her insight.

  9. Last evening, As I was reading the Inquirer I happened to catch a picture of Archbishop Chaput shaking hands with a ten year old boy at the new Mater Dei Catholic elementary school in Lansdale, Montgomery county.It seems that three elementary schools in the area[St. Stanislaus, St. Rose of Lima And St Maria Goretti]were merged to form the new school. Several things crossed my mind as I looked at the picture and read the story. My first thought as I was looking at the picture was apprehension for the young boys pictured there. These kids were about the same age that I was when I was molested.Also thoughts of Billy and the priest and lay teacher whose trial was delayed until October. The smiles on the faces of these young boys and the anguish of the many victims of sex abuse who were violated around the same age of these boys. It is very difficult to wrap your mind around these two diverse images. Also I wondered about why that particular photo was used. It almost seemed like a staged photo shoot, much like political shots of candidates with a select few in the background. Public Relations seems to be the way the Church counters all the bad publicity surrounding the sex abuse scandal. What better way to counter the sex abuse scandal than to show pictures of smiling young preteen boys with the Archbishop. Perhaps this is my own cynicism. Also the fact that three Catholic schools were merged reminds me of the way big business has eliminated jobs by merging companies and laying off excess employees.For many years, I lived in the Lansdale area. My kids went to the public schools there. My mother worked at St. Stans.,as a cook in the rectory. These schools at that time were vibrant middle class schools who seemed to be thriving. What happened? As far as Bishop Finn is concerned, it seems more like a slap on the wrist. Catholic clergy continue to get special treatment from judges , juries and courts. Saying that, I also fully realize that so far, the only justice imposed on the clergy has come through our legal system. I guess part of the pie is better than no pie at all.

    1. Hi Jim,

      I have been wanting to share this with you, but I hope it doesn’t upset you. My boys have football practice at St. John’s in Roslyn. While there watching them, I was looking around at the empty school building and the church/rectory and I was thinking of the story you shared about growing up in the parish. It was a palpable feeling of dread standing there, and I wanted to grab my boys and put them in the car and drive away. Even though they are only there for practice and not school, they do not leave my sight. Anyway, I was thinking of you and said a little prayer for you while standing on that field that I’m sure you used to run around on too when you were my son’s age.

      1. Catholicmom: yes, I also played football at St. John back in fifth, sixth and seventh grades. Nothing but good memories , playing football. One year we won the Keystone League championship in the eighty five pound division. I think I weighed all of about sixty five pounds. The following year, we lost in the championship game. I remember all the kids in tears after the game. I didn’t shed a one. I had other things to cry about. The previous June, I was molested by the good father and losing football games was hardly worth crying about. Take care of those boys. They are priceless.

      2. catholic mom and Jim… I think the comments that you exchanged were some of the most moving I have ever read on the site. Jim has shared the story of abuse with us and now all these years later,catholic mom finds herself standing in the very place Jim described and bears witness to his pain by saying a prayer for him and shares that story with him. It becomes clearer with each passing day that some types of healing may come in spite of the hierarchy of our church. I think we are doing just fine on our own.

      3. catholicmom and Jim,

        When the intersecting of three generations of people on the football field at St. John’s brings to consciousness and affords expression of a complex, it catapults “football practice” into an unlikely yet cathartic domain. Wow. And to think that hierarchical denial, cover up, and silence intend to confuse us so that we fail to recognize or ignore when we intersect, and ultimately come to believe that the ground on which we intersect is unreal.

        There is no confusion in catholicmom. Only stunning clarity.

      4. Kathy I think you are right everywhere I look I am reminded of our survivors.I look at a sign my daughter made that says “Jesus answers our prayers” or a beautiful picture we have of Mary holding baby Jesus and I think of Rich praying as a child that the abuse go away or think of him holding that baby girl and whispering in her ear. Or when I am in church I think of Jim who cant go into a church without fear of flashbacks or Vicky and so many others that cant go near a rectory for the same reason. I have gone by St. Michael’s and felt an unerving darkness and I now understand why……..something evil did happen there……I am haunted by what happened to all these innocent children and I will never be able to forget the stories I have heard on this site.

      5. This site has really increased my understanding of the depth of the suffering our survivors have undergone and I am glad for the exchanges that have happened on this site. If I had one prayer it is that none of our survivors ever feel alone or forgotten.

  10. If it’s difficult to put your finger on where you are as a Catholic, alive and breathing in A.D. 2012, you are in LIMBO.

    All the while we were indoctrinated to believe in limbo, it was a farce. Now that we have been officially limbo-deprogrammed, we learn it’s real, we’re living it, and it’s a living hell.

    To be Catholic is to be complicated.

    1. “..To be Catholic is to be complicated…”

      Kate, “complicated” is the word!
      It’s a near impossibility for those who look too closely at it and dare to tell themselves the truth about what they see. Staying aboard the RCC calls for an intellectual and emotional “contortion act.” Healthy people don’t stay in draining, complicated relationships.

    2. Sometimes, because of the experiences we are suffering these days, it happens that we just “outgrow” organized religion. I was really scared when it happened to me. It was a slow process, but it happened and I felt so much better (and safer) (and braver) after. Peace!

  11. Kate You are so right on…It has been a struggle the past years to be a Catholic. My spirituality grows ever stronger, but I struggle going to Mass. I look around at the pew sheep, and say I am not one of them. I look on the altar and think 20 years ago, my son was an altar boy…Then I think of the victims and my heart and soul cries for them I think of the priests, bishops, etc that I’ve met in my life and think did you know about the lies, deceit,cover-up,trips to the shore, pornography,abuse so horrible,the victims,the children,suicide,……….
    Billy will represent all of the victims and I pray that Jesus will hold him in the Palm of His Hands.
    I believe the victims! Peace.

      1. Joan,
        You know Jesus died on the cross because we were sinners not saints. He preached about repentance and what that truly looks like. He also preached about the devil and unrepentance. You cant judge his wife by his actions . But you cant help but wonder if it would have been Joe Pa’s name on there if the scandal did not happen …….it probably would have been……..I agree it would have been a better idea to name it after some of the victims to me that would mean they are starting to get it. I always have hope people can change if they want to…….maybe after the absorption of her loss and the victims loss and sufferings she will begin to understand …….one can only hope so..

      2. Joan: I currently live in central Pennsylvania, about twenty miles west of Gettysburg. I work in Carlisle. This is definitely Penn State country. I was never a big fan of Joe Paterno, even before the Sandusky scandal hit the news. Although Joe, to his credit graduated his players ,at times he seemed arrogant and above those who questioned his decisions. There is no doubt in my mind that Paterno, along with Graham Spanier and the other two amigos covered up ,not so much for Sandusky, but for the football program. Football was more important than anything else at Penn State, even the lives of innocent young boys. At one point, Paterno insisted that he should discipline his players, not the person responsible for disciplining the other students. When there was a fight between players and other students, Joe made the decision on punishment. The entire football team had to clean the steps in the stadium. Graham Spanier recently made the claim that since he was abused as a child{not sexually] , he would not have covered up the abuse. This argument carries no weight. Many people who were abused as children grow up and become abusers themselves. I believe that Jerry Sandusky, himself was probably abused as a child. From what I have read of Sanduskys childhood, he was a gym rat. I suspect that ,more than likely he was molested in a shower when he was around the same age as those he abused. This is no excuse for what he did. He was and should be accountable for his actions. So should Joe Paterno.

      3. Beth…I hope I am not judging Paterno’s wife….rather I think it is ‘tone deaf’ to name a catholic student center with the Paterno name given the range of clergy abuse in PA and the Paterno/Sandusky connection. I may be wrong, but think survivors would prefer some other name….It sounds to me like a resurrection of the ‘Paterno’ legacy….his wife’s maiden name might have been a better choice?

        Jim, to your point….I think sports are greatly over rated….sort of worshipped, basically a first commandment violation. Hence the Paterno/Sandusky connection.

        It would be a far better thing if we valued the safety of innocent children vastly more than football at PSU…..

        As a footnote, I once visited Gettsyburg, which must be fairly close…beautiful country!

      4. Sports are definitely not overrated for me, Joan. Without baseball and my grandfather’s stories of great baseball players, I wouldn’t have any good memories of my childhood.

        The Peterno/Sandusky/Penn State saga wasn’t a football problem, it was just another institutional conspiracy.

        If you happen to see anyone pissing on the Paterno Catholic Center sometime in the near future, I’ll stand in front of a judge, admit my guilt, and take my punishment like a man.

      5. Joan I didnt mean “you” to mean you. Just “you” in general. After I wrote that and was thinking I should maybe clarify that. I totally agree with you.

      6. Rich..I am glad you have great baseball memories…..

        And I want to tell you how much I share your birthday wish, and thank you for being so very very honest.

        I agree with Jim, I hope every parent reads your story, really reads it….

  12. Katherine L. Goodnow
    13850 West 91st Terrace, Apt 408D
    Lenexa, Kansas 66215
    (913) 851-1702 Home
    (913) 645-1089 Cell


    September 9, 2012

    Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
    Chair, Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    3211 Fourth Street NE
    Washington DC 29917

    Re: Bench Trial and Verdict, Finn/Ratigan Diocese of KC,MO / St. Joseph

    Dear Reverend Conlon:

    Verdict: Guilty! Result: Convicted!

    This Diocese if the only one in the United States of American that is led by a convicted felon. Both an honor (of being the first of what will probably be many) and humiliating experience, the diocese has now been shredded again.

    You must be aware of the worldwide coverage the media has provided along with the court records and depositions that are a matter of public record in this case. You must be aware of Canon 1389, the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children, the 2008 $10,000,000 settlement on 47 victims in the diocese and, most importantly, the non-monetary provisions that accompanied the settlement. Finn signed that agreement and we were violated again.

    You must also be aware of the photographs of the little girls Ratigan chose for his victims, their parents, their supporters and you must know that the damage done to them may be irreparable. You know that victims have committed suicide with weapons placed in their hands by priests and nuns, using God as a weapon of fear.

    You yourself rightfully stated that in order to regain even an iota of credibility, the attitude expressed by the bishops must make a drastic and immediate change. Finn is
    taking down with him the Fraternity of Bishops that lead all over the United States.

    The church has lost thousands of members due to loss of credibility.

    Surely the time has finally come to take action against the cover ups enabled by the authority of the church.

    Please, on behalf of the children, encourage Finn to resign. It’s time for a sign of hope from the American bishops to Catholics everywhere that truth, justice and the words of Christ are the reality of what the church must be.

    /s/ Katherine L. Goodnow

      1. The manufacture and distribution of child porn is a felony. Finn covered for a priest who has pled guilty and will be sentenced as a felon. I may have goofed in using the word “felon” and if I have, I apologize. To me he’s a felon of the worst kind, and he always will be, bishop or not.

      1. Thanks Martin, I sent an e mail to Bishop Conlon, suggesting that rather than trust that the fresh faces and voices of diocesan employees would improve the hierarchy’s ‘street cred’ in the abuse mess….that Thomas Reese was right and the resignations and firing of complicit bishops by Rome would be far more effective.

  13. I’d like to know Conlin’s email address too. Anybody happen to have his home address or does any know his whereabouts nowadays? Didn’t he claim the accusations were untrue and he would fight to clear his name?

    I am talking about Bill Conlin.

    1. Rich, this Conlon is a bishop, head of US bishops’ committee on sexual abuse. He says the bishops have no credibility. Martin

  14. I can tell you of an instance where Bill Conlin helped me get the Phillies to remove a convicted petaphile picture from the outfield memories area of Citizens Bank Park. The picture was Ed Bouchee who played in the 50’s era. After Phillies mgt told me they would not remove the picture, Colin sent an email at my request to change their minds. This year, they were supposed to put a permanent picture of Jack Sanford over top of the Bouchee picture; they only had a stick-on picture after Colin’s email of 9/7/06. I will inspect the site on 9/23, for they had ample time to remove it. I do not have a current address for Colin.

  15. “One of Conlin’s accusers is his niece Kelley Blanchet, who said her uncle sexually assaulted her decades ago when she was 7. Her brother walked in on the assault and told his mother, who told his father, she said.

    Blanchet’s father, Harry Hasson, said he angrily confronted Conlin, who broke into tears and insisted that he had only touched the girl’s leg. From that point on, Hasson said, the relationship between his family and that of his brother-in-law was strained.”

    There are cases where the parents have confronted, sportwriters, priests and other molesters. See how many people believe a seven year old child. One case five people heard the same story from a victim, yet would not act on it. Also, the same at the SVU unit in the 90’s – no action – kids not credible. That was a topic on this blog (adults not believing kids)- difference I was involved with it – not identifing my relationship to the victim..

  16. On Silk’s Spiritual Politics blog, in reference to the Finn CONVICTION (praise God!), Mark Silk notes the centuries old “special discretionary authority” seemingly imbued in clerics. In Finn’s case, he exerted it when he failed to follow his own institution’s mandate (2002 Dallas Charter) to report Ratigan, and, again, when he failed to report him to civil authorities as mandated by law. Why? He’s a cleric, which basically amounts to being a yes-man, especially to two things. Do you vow to be loyal to your fellow clerics regardless of the circumstances? “Yes.” Do you vow to cover up anything that, even in the slightest way, might tarnish or make scandalous the Bride of Christ? “Yes.” In these cases, clerics, at their discretion, are trained to act “authoritatively” regardless of their institution’s mandates and regardless of civil laws, which means regardless of us, including children. Indeed, if they don’t implement “special discretionary authority,” they’ll find their heads on the chopping block, their careers down the drain, their personal lives ruined, their retirement accounts emptied, their mothers’ weeping, and, certainly, the Christ-is-mad fear-factor comes into play in one way or another. Adios, mister. It’s a hard, hard fall. It’s a cult.

    Finn’s criminal conviction (and Lynn’s) acts as a secular, middle-finger of sorts to the cult. Society has put up a middle-finger to our beloved “in persona Christi” clerics and their culture. Shocking! Seemingly verges on sacrilegious.

    The cult-truth hurts, in more ways than one.

    Nothing, neither the sexual abuse crisis, the convictions, the legal bills, the victims’ payouts and their shattered or ended lives, the disgraced clerics, the Church in crisis, the pain, nor the sorrow, has led hierarchs to make a clear and concrete effort to reform the priesthood’s destructive, repugnant, and cultish culture. Instead, they respond as arrogant, theological verbalists, stressing ethereally foreign words above substance or reality in order to protect and defend an institution “200 years behind the times.” Dysfunctional chumps, in the business of defying reason for the sake of maintaining clerical feel-good.

    This woman’s got your number.

  17. I am sitting here thinking(maybe crying alittle) after all is said and done…… is the tremenduous suffering of our victims and those abused outside the church and those that love them that is left after all the talking and blogging and news reports and scandals…… lasts a lifetime………….it affects partners and spouses their children and relatives……as I write this I am in the process of trying to get some talks etc on the topic at my parish…….in the meantime my marriage is a causalty of this insidous cancer…… I dont want pity as much as people to know……..sexual abuse destroys people, families and marriages……and it needs to be stopped…….I live with this truth everyday. Sexual abuse of a spouse or loved one ends up affecting areas of your life you never thought possible……..but then suddenly it all makes complete sense in a bitter sweet way………and then you think if I had only known………..but then its too late………the damage is done……and you find yourself standing in ruins that once was your life….or what you thought was your life…….some try to pick up the pieces and for some it is just too pain to revisit…….

    1. Beth,
      Your words could have come from my own mouth today. This survivor’s wife is fighting day in and day out for her own sanity, our marriage, and our children. Some days though, I wish it would just all go away. I don’t want to deal with this “insidious cancer” anymore. Your posts and SW ‘s posts give me hope and I find solace in knowing there are others out there like me.

      1. Yes sanity I lost that a longtime ago:) Thankyou Michele…….. no you are not alone sadly there are far too many of us.You are in my prayers. I think sometimes my insanity is that no matter what happens I never want to give up on people ……..I always tell people God’s not done with us til we are dead and there must be some good reason we are still on this Earth…..I have seen amazing things happen and people change……even during their last days……..its just the waiting and not knowing you somehow have to find faith and hope and I find that in you and SW and so many others here…..

    2. Beth: you speak such truth. I know that my wife has suffered tremendously due to the fact that I carry this incredible hurt around inside of me. I think all relationships depend on trust. My inability to trust harms all of my relationships. Our lives are better now but I know I am still emotionally unavailable to my wife. It is almost like after taking care of myself, I have nothing left to give. If that seems unfair, thats because it is. I said on a different thread, that nobody truly can understand all the losses that victims suffer. Perhaps, the only ones who do understand are the victims families. As you stated, the losses are lifelong. That is truly sad.

    1. I’ve read the article Kate and the Saturdays NYTimes front page,with lengthly follow up and editorial on the Finn case.

      Canon law requires bishops to report to civil authorities sexual abuse matters …the NYTimes front page piece is titled, ‘Defying Civil and Canon laws, Church Dailed to Stop a Priest’….pretty much says it all.

      One wonders how many more bishops are ‘Defying Civil and Canon Law’….yes Bishop Conlon is right, the bishops credibility is ‘shredded’….

      If Finn is not pulled…the message to Catholics is truly ugly…Rome doesn’t care about innocent children and the faith of her followers…just about themselves and their sick system.

      1. And the NYTimes editorial:

        Justice Ventures Up the Church Hierarchy
        Published: September 7, 2012

        Kansas City Bishop Convicted of Shielding Pedophile Priest (September 7, 2012)

        The verdict was long overdue in the pedophile priest scandal, but a catholic bishop has become the highest ranking church official found criminally guilty of shielding a priest known to be a threat to children. in a brief non jury trial, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph, Mo, was pronounced guilty on Thursday and sentenced to two years of probation for failing to alert law enforcement authorities about a  predatory priest he knew was addicted  to taking lewd photos of schoolgirls.

        The conviction was evidence of the growing resolve of secular authorities, however belated, to venture up the hierarchical ladder in their search for accountability. The scandal has led to the dismissal and criminal investigation of more than 700 priests, even as their superiors have been spared — despite years of diocesan scheming to buy off victims and rotate rogue priests to new parishes.

        Bishop Finn’s conviction was hardly encouraging for the cause of reform, however, since it involved very recent misdeeds — years after church leaders promised tough new policies aimed at preventing cover-ups.

        The trial record established that Bishop Finn knew about a popular priest obsessed with taking lewd photos of parish schoolgirls. The priest privately admitted this to the bishop, but criminal law authorities were not alerted for five months, until the diocese’s vicar general grew nervous and sent word to local prosecutors.

        In court, Bishop Finn apologized and agreed that future allegations would be forwarded to the authorities. His misbehavior, however, is a setback to the hierarchy’s efforts to repair the church’s reputation. This task was underlined in a separate forum last month by Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Ill., the chairman of the American bishops’ committee for child protection. He said that despite considerable progress with reforms, “our credibility on the subject of child abuse is shredded.” At a minimum, Catholic officials concerned about church credibility should press for the resignation of Bishop Finn for having abetted the scandal.

      2. I have been critical of the Dallas Charter because bishops are not held accountable by anyone except Rome and they control the ‘information flow’ to Review boards and civil authorities. THIS is a perfect example.

  18. This is the most damning sentence in the NCR editorial as far as I’m concerened:

    “Robert Finn would not be allowed to teach Sunday morning bible study, but Bishop Finn remains spiritual leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese with exclusive and sole authority over all diocesan matters.”

    Our laws are supposed to reflect our shared social norms. By violating these norms Bp Finn has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted and rightly should be personally prohibited from working with children. Trust isn’t just a pleasant luxury. Here’s a need blog piece comparing the RCC to Toyota.

    A couple of good old fashioned firings would go a long way but I’m afraid that the monarchial system that is the background to the practice of the Catholic faith makes that impossible.

    My parish got a new pastor in my Bucks County parish this summer. I googled him and found an article in which he was interviewed by one of the local Delaware County papers. (He was the vicar for Delaware County in the past.) In the interview he waxed sentimentally about how much he owed to Cardinal Bevilacqua for getting him named as a Monsignor. The article appeared at the time of Bevilacqua’s death so you know what was appearing in the general news at the same time. Think about that fact that Rigali still serves on the Congregation for Bishops. Doesn’t give me much hope. Hope is a word related to trust.

      1. You are correct, Rigali is retired. The website is incomplete. B16 named home to the congregation in 2007. His roommate the Bishop of Knoxville says he flys to Rome twice a month.

    1. Mackerel,
      The only reason Finn is still the spiritual leader is because the pew Catholics allow it. B16 will do nothing…but the faithful could. Yet, there they are…content to sit on their hands and zip up their mouths. Get out some cheap poster board and some markers and let that Bishop know he does NOT represent Jesus, and he does NOT reflect what the faithful want for their children and the future of their church.

      Speak up or we will assume you are just like him…an enabler and deceiver.

      1. The “you” I’m referring to Mackerel was the collective “you” of Catholics in the pews, not you personally.

  19. Imagine where we’d be today if the Vatican had swiftly removed Finn on the day he was convicted. Instead of the mounting, negative press calling for his resignation or removal, and Catholics in a state of confusion, shock, and awe over the hierarchy’s ingrained compulsion to maintain episcopal immunity in the face of crimes, the world and all people would have witnessed a cataclysmic and momentous act saying, “We get it, we’re sorry, and a new day has dawned.”

    Over and over, we keep responding to the actions and inactions of our hierarchy with, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

    1. Sorry (hadit) as the site below points out, B16 (as did all the popes before him) knows all about it. The RC hierarchy is corrupt; if after all these years Catholics are still in a state of confusion, it’s not going to change.

      “We get it, we’re sorry, and a new day has dawned.” That statement will never be made by them. THESE ARE EVIL MEN. Reforming the RC hierarchy would be like reforming the Third Reich! You do it by placing them in prison.

      I’ll keep attacking them, but will seek God elsewhere.

      “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” – Movie Trailer.

      I can’t wait to see it, to be released in the US in November.

  20. Can someone get my clerical diatribe out of moderation lest I write another one? Thank you.

    1. Fish….that Pschology Today article is a real ‘keeper’ and addresses the frustration that most of us feel regarding church behaviour.

      We are way past non apology apologies, prostrations at the altar, etc.

      Our trust is long gone and only radical behaviour…ie firing bishops who pass on predators or fail to report etc may help to heal the travesty. I often quote Thomas Reese who has called for such radical behaviour…but without the physiological component….here is the part of your article I liked best!

            You can hear how inadequate apologies alone are, in the voices of Catholics responding to the Pope’s letter. Peter Isely, the director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said “It may make a few adults temporarily feel better. But it won’t make any kids safer. It won’t shed light on hidden truths. It won’t discipline wrong-doers. It won’t deter more wrong-doing. That requires courageous action, not a papal letter.”

            The psychology of risk perception has found that trust plays a big role in whether we are more or less afraid. That makes sense. The human animal is a social animal. We depend on the fellow members of our tribe for health and welfare, so we are exquisitely sensitive to signals about trust. When it comes to our safety, we have to know who we can count on and who we can’t. Neuroscience studies have found that levels of trust influence activity in the part of the brain where fear starts, the amygdala. More trust dampens signaling from the amygdala. Less trust turns amygdala activity up. The connection between trust and fear is deep in our biology.

            So if we think a company cares more about its profits than our safety, we will worry about its products. If we think an organization responsible for the safety of our children cares more itself than about our kids, we won’t trust that organization with our children, nor give it our full faith. Until those organizations demonstrate with actions that they are truly ready to put the safety of customers and parishioners first, they will not be able to fully restore the trust that their own myopic self-interest has so badly damaged.

      1. Excellent explaination. Thanks Joan…….you always manage to come up with great information…….you are an information guru 🙂

  21. Trust; I have come to believe that of all the things abuse does to a person, perhaps the most insidious is it takes away your ability to trust. I suffered emotional and physical abuse, growing up in an alcoholic family. As a young boy, I would hide in a bedroom closet, trying to shield myself from the almost daily verbal battles being fought one floor below. No matter how quiet it was when I went to bed, I knew that my sleep would be interrupted once my father got home. I learned that I couldn’t trust my parents. For a child, that is the most frightening experience you can live through. Then, to make matters worse at the age of twelve, I was molested by a priest after serving Mass. The one place, I could have turned to for help with the home situation became another source of abuse. I think I have said before that I attempted suicide several times after the sex abuse. When I look back at it now, I think no wonder. After the sexual abuse, I completely isolated. I had no idea whom to trust, so I trusted nobody.This is not the way humans are suppose to live. After regaining the sex abuse memories some people suggested going to the Church. I thought about it but always came back to the same conclusion. I don’t trust them. So for me not trusting is almost innate. I know of no other way to live.

    1. Jim, I’m so sorry. Trust issues are huge for survivors. Im glad you are here to tell your story.

      You are wise not to trust the church for any help. Victim after victim after victim can recount their stories of re-abuse when they reached out to the church for help. Many will tell you it’s almost worse than the abuse itself…because you think they will meet you with compassion and instead you are violated all over again. The abusers did a number on the victims, and the bishops emotionally and spiritually raped the victims all over again. Trust your gut Jim. The rcc is never to be trusted with children until they come out of their denial, repent, and take every step possible to find the victims, beg their forgiveness, and do whatever it takes to help them heal. That would be Jesus. They just don’t have Him.

      My heart aches for you.

    2. Jim,

      Does it help you to know that we hang on every word you say, feel your pain, believe you, learn from you, and pray for your good health? Honestly, can you say what that means or does not mean to you? Thank you.

      1. Kate: One of the reasons that I feel I can share my memories is that I feel I can trust many of the people who post on this sight. For someone who has had such issues with trust, that is saying something. One of the most important things I think victims can do is let people know what the effects have been. The church, since the abuse scandal has become so publicized in the media, has consistently minimized the numbers of victims, as well as the effects on the victims. I can remember Bevilaqua asserting that there were only fifty some known priests who had abused children. We all know now that he wasn’t telling the truth. For me sharing on this site is therapeutic and it doesn’t cost a hundred bucks an hour. As far as sharing abuse that doesn’t involve the Catholic clergy , I am hesitant. My childhood was pretty bad. But I have come to the conclusion that as bad as it was, many people have had it worse. I also am convinced that like Jerry Sandusky, many of the clergy who abused children chose those kids ,like myself who they knew had parents who were not involved with their childrens life, Kids from single parent homes, alcoholic homes or those kids with troubled backgrounds.There are many things that I am willing to share here but there are some things that I will not. This is not the proper forum for those particular effects.For those things I need to pay the hundred bucks .

      2. Jim — Thank you for sharing what you do. It reminds me of why I left the church and why I can’t go back. Because there are those days that I miss the church…but then I remember you and others on this site. You have done a service to me and, for that, I thank you. I believe the victims.

      3. Jim,

        When I was 20, which was a long time ago, my abused brother’s psychologist called me and my siblings into his office. He asked each of us to describe a characteristic of my brother. When it was my turn I said, “he just doesn’t and can’t fall into the lap of anyone.” It was only later that I realized I was referring to his trust issue. My brother was 12 at the time. It made me so sad that such a young person, my brother, a child, had no lap he could fall into. Over the years I came to realize how vital it is to our existences to have laps we can fall into… regardless of our age.

        Thank you for your thoughtful response to my question. Praying for you.

    3. Thanks Jim that makes so much sense sadly and helps people like myself understand better…….I wish it didnt take a life time of suffering to figure these things out but it is good when we finally figure things out…..(I am speaking of myself also) there is so much I didnt understand that I now do that I wish I knew earlier……its like fitting a puzzle together and then you can see the whole picture

    4. Jim,

      My sanctuary as a kid was the parish church. I don’t know that anyone could ever understand how central the church was in my life. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if that had been taken away.

      Wish I had words to convey my admiration for your reslience and my sorrow for about the many, many loses.


  22. I just heard from a childhood friend that I haven’t talked to since high school. College, jobs, moves, etc. She and I did everything together. Same schools, same church, we practically lived at each other’s homes…we did a lot of catching up. You could have picked my jaw up off the floor when she told me she’s no longer Catholic and neither are any of her siblings. They are all raising their children in another denomination. If you would have asked me who I thought would have been loyal to the Catholic Church, I would have said her name and then her siblings. We had a nice long chat…she married “a good Catholic man” and then the scandals hit…and they became friends with a couple (the husband was a clergy abuse survivor). She said she couldn’t trust the RCC anymore after hearing how they treated him. She shared the story with her siblings (all scattered across the United States)…and one by one, they all left the RCC. I was shocked…but, not quite as shocked as she was when I told her our story. (She knew my husband, but didn’t have any idea about his abuse). Some of the things she remembered from our childhood priests I had forgotten about. But once she shared them, it brought it all back. Not abuse, just bizarre, strange behaviors.

    We both just started crying. I think it was one of the most healing conversations I’ve ever had.

    1. SW- your friend is so fortunate that her husband and family felt as she did, and joined her on her journey away from the RCC. I envy her. Leaving can very painful and difficult without this. It’s a strange sort of loneliness.
      Although C4C is truly a wonderful resource, family support along the way would be such a blessing.

      1. Family support is so helpful.

        The victims have had such a load to carry in terms of support from family or lack thereof.

        My friend was the one who stayed longer than her husband wanted her to. Her husband was a closer friend to the survivor than she was. She said the final blow for her came when her husband said, “If you even ask me to place our children in that school (they were considering Catholic preschool at the time), I won’t be able to do it.” She said the words that ring in her ears were of him saying, “These are our children we’re talking about!” She stayed in the church (much like I did) longer than she should have…but, eventually joined her husband and never looked back.

        The day my husband was going to go public…his Dad called him to say, “I’m not sure what you are doing is such a good idea. Are you sure you want to do this?” Don’t rock the boat. Don’t make waves (or enemies). Thanks for the support. I’m thinking it may have been better just to not call at all. While it never phased my husband’s decision to go public, he ended up dealing with someone else’s feelings about what was happening…you know…probably why so many kids never told. They knew their parents either wouldn’t believe them, definitely wouldn’t support them, or want them to get better quietly.

        I think of the victims. What has been the response of their families when they came forward? What family support did you have?

      2. Crystal,
        You’re right, leaving can be difficult. I fully understand that changing one’s Church is a personal decision…but for us it was a blessing. We joined a non-denominational Church and were welcomed instantly. In a matter of a few weeks, my wife was involved in children’s ministry and I was active in their food pantry mission. Follow your heart.
        My wife still (2 years later) hasn’t told her parents. LOL

      3. John,

        You’re right; there’s a time to go! Some move more quickly than others, but many are making the move. Why hang around for additional abuse? These demonic prelates have nothing of spiritual value to offer the flock.

      4. Crystal and SW; About three years ago ,I was at a high school graduation party for one of my nephews. Out of the clear blue sky, my older brother yelled accross the room ” you know We all have had to deal with PTSD , you should just get over it.” I was totally taken back by these comments. I very seldom talk about the abuse with family members. Usually we are together to celebrate a holiday or birthday or some other joyous occassion. To talk about the abuse , would show lack of good taste and ruin the party. I replied to him that anyone who grew up in our family was certain to have issues and let it go. But the more I thought about it afterwards ,the more angry I became. My brother and I have never been close, but now I refuse to even talk with him. I am still angry and still very hurt.

  23. All of this discussion regarding staying in the Church vs. leaving the Church, reminds me of the phrases used years ago to describe such movement to and from the Church:

    Those who left the Church were referred to as “fallen-away Catholics” and those who joined the church as “converts” to Catholicism.

    Think it may be time for new terminology to describe the “comings and goings”??

    1. Michael, about those who had fallen away and joined another denomination… the generation before me said: ‘they turned.” That was it; no other words were needed: “She turned.”

      We do need a list of new terms to capture the continuum from fully in to fully out. I refer to myself as having chosen to be “extra domus.”

      1. Michael and Martin, I prefer the simple term “Christian Catholic” as opposed to “Roman Catholic”. The emphasis is on the real essence–Christ–and not on Rome.

        The hierarchy has put the empasis in the wrong place.

        As far as I can tell, many C4C bloggers who “leave the RCC” are still Catholic. They are true Christian Catholics listening to the Spirit within them, and not to the latest self-serving mystical spin from the current monarch in Vatican City who appears obsessed with protecting pedophiles..

      2. Jerry and Martin: Yes I am “Christian” Catholic. BEST word to describe myself. Thanks!! Those words say it!!! The Spirit within guides all of us who are open to His Word…
        I believe the victims/survivors. Peace

    2. Some of us consider ourslelves to be “recovering” Catholics. Based on the precepts of AA, we let go and let God take care of deprogramming. Some once said that if we could be counted, we would probably be the seond largest denimination in the world. GRIN!

      1. Thanks, Kay, for those wise words. In truth, we are all “recovering”, which is mainly why Jesus came and left us his message. He knew we needed help, especially when He knew others, in sheeps’ (or bishops’) clothing, would mislead us.

        The key point is that it is a lifelong process, but we must listen to the Spirit first, last and always. Personally, I prefer the term “Christian Catholic” to “recovering Catholic”, since “recovering'” can connote we have fallen and are getting back.

        For many of us, if not most or all, I don’t think it is a question of “falling”. It is just that life can at times involve steep climbs, like moving beyond the bad experiences so many on this site have lived and are living because of selfish clerics.

        I think we may be just using different words to get at the same point.

        In a remarkable way, Susan and Kathy are creating a virtual community of Christian climbers who help each other up life’s steep hills, while working together to ward off the wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

      2. How about Re-formed Catholics, that is folks who for one reason or another have had to take a good hard look at the Church, have had to ‘inform’ themselves about abuse, hierarchical garbage etc and Re-form their understanding about everything from the role of the ‘Spirit’ in their Christian faith to their own understanding of what God wants them to do?

        Of course, ReFormed is not far from Reformation….

  24. I have started looking at the churches…When i am driving, I every church I pass, I think, how about that one…So I guess the process has begun. I always pray for guidance, think of “Footprints in the sand”, say OK. One day it will come..Lord i am waiting….
    Jim and all of the victims/survivors it just pulls at my heart. I shake my head, and can’t understand the pew sheep…
    I believe the victims/survivors. Peace.

  25. I came across this today and really made me think…….”When God solves your problems you have faith in His abilities…….When God doesn’t He has faith in your abilities”……..I believe because I have seen God do amazing things…..I also have come to times I feel God wants me to do something and I really don’t want to do it because it is hard or I lack the confidence but you push forward anyway……..usually after that you reach some insight or you see some purpose in what you are doing…….

  26. Can’t wait to get started on today’s Inquirer article from Monica Yant Kinney re Archbishop Chaput and his email responses to Philadelphia-area Catholics.

    Hey, nobody told me you’re not supposed to share the responses (READ wisdom, guidance) from your spiritual leader with others.

    As Monica points out, it appears, based on Chaput and his Denver PR campaign, we have another example of: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    1. Just proves the old saying “Never put it writing if you don’t want it public”… Look what happen in the Lynn trial, one copy of the secret list was not destroyed.. OOOps/// Once again Chaput’s true colors come forward fro all of us to see in today’s paper… OBEY – PRAY – PAY…After reading some of the comments on the Inquirer site I “glad” to see the Pew Sheep have not lost their faith I mean blinders…

  27. Praise the Lord!

    SNAP and NSAC (National Survivor Advocates Coalition), along with survivors and concerned Catholics, will demonstrate in Kansas City, outside its main cathedral, on Sunday, calling for the resignation of Bishop Finn. I’d give my right arm to be there! I wish there was a way to substantively include myself from afar. How can I, and other Catholics from around the country, say on Sunday (especially) that we are outraged over the Vatican’s failure to promptly remove a convicted bishop?

    1. Kate, here is the response I received today by email regarding the letter I sent by snail mail to Bishop Conlon at his DC and Illinois addresses.

      Deacon Bernard Nojadera
      7:59 AM (18 minutes ago)

      Dear Ms. Goodnow, Thank you for your email.Please kindly forward all correspondence to Bishop Conlon through this office. My information is listed below. Respectfully,Deacon Bernie Deacon Bernie Nojadera Executive Director Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection United States Conference of Catholic Bishops3211 Fourth Street NE Washington DC 20017-1194 202.541.5413 | Follow us on Promise to Protect. Pledge to Heal.

  28. Please write or e-mail, as often as you can to Conlon at the addresses above. Thanks for your kind words about our KC event on Sunday. We hope that it will be successful. Please send up strength and light.

  29. kay,
    I will be with you in spirit. Like Kate, I want to be able to fly to KC to show support. I will have to do so through other avenues.

    I will follow up with email.

    I know most people know this…but, it’s always a good idea to write to whomever you are directing your comments, but also cc the hierarchical structure (and for me, the media sources). I didn’t quite know how to interpret how the Deacon wanted you to correspond. Care to clarify? Was he requesting we write to him instead of Conlon or in addition to Conlon?

    If it’s the former, then that’s just a bunch of PR spin to control the flow of information. All correspondences should be sent to the person intended to receive it, their superiors, fellow bishops, and several media sources. My husband and I found that we received a much better response from bishops when they knew other bishops were watching as well as media sources.

    Just an fyi for those thinking of writing anyone.

  30. Archbishop Chaput,

    It’s been over a month since I wrote to you seeking the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to provide me with psychiatric services. Time-after-time, I am ignored. I did recieve one email from Leslie Davila in which she requests “more time.” I’ve kept my end of the bargain by giving her that time, but one month later and I expect to hear something, one way or the other. Instead… silence.

    My friends said I am a fool for contacting the Archbishop directly, that there’s no way on the planet that he would take my request seriously, nor would he grant me any kind of services, regardless of what is printed on the Archdiocese’s website.

    How do you sleep at night, Archbishop? I don’t sleep well. I have a guilty conscience, even though people tell me I have nothing to feel guilty about, but it’s difficult, to say the least, walking through this life feeling like a failure and wishing I was strong enough back then; back when John McDevitt was abusing me, to say or do something that would end the abuse. I constantly wish I would’ve said something sooner, and if I ever find out McDevitt abused a child after me, I think that will trump any feeling of regret I carry today. However, when I do finally relax and fall asleep, I can do it knowing that I was honest today and I gave myelf away to a cause that needs me most. I find peace in knowing that children are safer today because I chose to use my voice. Do you sleep at all, Archbishop?

    I understand the Archdiocese is busy nowadays. Several separate legal proceedings against Philadelphia priests is probably more important on your end than you granting me help that very well may provide me with a better life, or a better outlook on life in the hopes that I can escape the past one more day. Msgr. Lynn being found guilty of one count of child endangerment and hauled away to prison must be a thorn in your side, but he deserved the punishment he recieved. If I had been the judge, I would’ve sought another way to sentence Msgr. Lynn to well more than 3-6 years. He deserved life, because as victims, that was our sentence. We have no chance for parole. We are only liberated when we learn how to deal with the past abuse and live our lives so that it doesn’t affect our future. Our pasts liberates other defenseless and innocent children when we speak up of the horrors we encountered in our youth. Msgr. Lynn was probably aware of McDevitt, since he took office of clergy in 1992, and McDevitt taught at Father Judge until 1994. I believe those who know about abuse and abusers and do nothing are just as guilty as the abusers themselves, and should be held liable. Any other course of action is unfair to myself and the many victims who were abused while Msgr. Lynn oversaw abusive priests and continued covering up their crimes and transferring them to parishes and schools where they could abuse more children. It isn’t right. Is there no integrity within the Catholic Church, Archbishop?

    So… here I am. Another letter and still no answers. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia promises psychiatric services to victims of clergy sexual abuse. I reported my abuse to the District Attorney and the Philadelphia Police Department in 2009. I then reported it to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Oblates of Saint Francis De Sales. I was promised healing yesterday and today, but words are broken and nobody is honorable enough to help pick up the pieces and shape my life back together.

    I intend to prove that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is liable for the abuse I sustained at the hands of Rev. John M. McDevitt, along with the abuse of at least seven of my friends, whom all have asked for help and their emails and telephones calls have not been returned. I intend to hold you upon your word, of what you publicize through the media in regards to offering victims of clergy sexual abuse – help. You have broken your word every day I have not recieved a reply email or a telephone call updating me on the status of the services you pretend to provide victims. Archbishop, you are accountable, just as I and everyone else, when you make promises you continue to break. This is just another example of why the relationship between church and victim will always be severed, and it’s proof that those who claim responsibility are only giving the microphone and camera what it wants to hear and see. I can only hope that the dwindling few who currently exist within your congragation will listen to the truth, our truth, the only truth, and protect their own innocent children and move on to expect justice for those of us who were once innocent children.

    My intention is to develop a course of action that would publicize the church’s inability to keep promises and act out on their own words it prints on its own website. My late mother used to say, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” I am, Mom… I’m telling the truth. Just one question; Who is the devil?

    I have never considered giving away my story publicly. I have a drawer filled with business cards from reporters and writers, but I have never called any of them. I have thought about it recently, since myself and seven others have not and can not get what we as victims have been promised by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I think it might be time that clergy abuse victims and Catholics alike hear the truth. I think it is long overdue that people know that the Archbishop of Philadelphia and other members of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are not telling the truth. I think it’s time that our stories are told. Promises should be kept.

    Very Sincerely,

    Rich Green (Victim)

    1. Rich,

      One of the things I have learned about you over the past year and a half is that you have an altruistic side. You always seem willing to offer help freely. Your side is in sharp contrast to the disrespect the AD is showing you regarding your request for help.

      Disrespect. When we are not given the respect we deserve, our self-worth erodes, our egos are bruised, our self-esteem is damaged, and we feel belittled and devalued. Disrespect has a habit of opening up psychic wounds. A person falls into mentally replaying his hurt. The hurt eats away at him.

      Has anyone in the AD– Leslie Davila or Archbishop Chaput– thought for one moment how their disrespect acts as salt in altruistic Rich’s psychic wounds?

      Cruel and unusual punishment.

      Breaks my heart.

  31. How can you make someone a promise and not keep it? Doesn’t everyone understand the power of your word?

    If you tell me you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, you’ll never be a friend of mine. You can bank on it!

    1. This is exactly where my husband had our diocese over a barrel Rich. Promises are broken everyday all over the world. But when you are a supposed moral representative that publicly states you are cleaning up messes you are responsible for making, you can’t break your word.

      It shoud be that we never break our word, but it is complete ignorance to the needs of victims to ignore the pain that silence (shunning) brings to them. Breaking your promise to a victim is abuse all over again. Where in the hell is the “expert” victims advocate to advise the AD about what it means to communicate with a victim? Even if its the fact that they are still discussing things…call the victim to let them know.

      What I believe is happening is they don’t know what to do with you Rich. They don’t want to set a precedent (probably at the advice of their lawyers). Every word to a victim they see as potential liability. If they ignore you. This isn’t so much about you as it is about what they want and need…just like the pedophiles, they are no different. Whatever is in their best interests.

      Take your story public. Organize the people who are willing to share how this AD is treating victims in real time. Publicize it. Time to make them dance Rich. They have called the shots long enough.

  32. “The event would not have happened without its moderator, the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and prolific author who has made it his mission to remind Catholics that there is no contradiction between faithful and funny. His latest book is “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.” Fr. Martin appears regularly on the Colbert Report.

    Mirth? I’m not too sure how funny the RCC is these days…but who knows..Maybe this “comedy” angle will help distract some remaining pew sheep at Fordham from the truth about their church.
    I wonder if Fr. Martin finds any humor in the details of his Jesuit Order’s sex crime spree in the Pacific NW —among the Northwestern Native American children. I’d agree that the Catholic church would be terribly funny, were it not for all the children it has destroyed.–This puts a damper on the all the merriment for me.

    From what I’ve seen of him, I doubt that Colbert is an authentic pew sheep. But it is disappointing that he chose to share a stage with a leader as complicit in the RCC cover up as Dolan.

    Here are some “reports” Colbert has done on the issue of RCC sex abuse:—forgive-and-forget

  33. I was abused by Rev. John M. McDevitt at Father Judge High School for Boys which is within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Out Patient Counseling Services

    The Archdiocese is dedicated to reaching out to victims/survivors with a sincere commitment to their emotional and spiritual well being. The Victim Assistance program provides support and assistance for adult survivors, child victims, and their family members who have experienced sexual abuse to access mental health services. The information below provides an outline of the process to obtain mental health services, any questions should be addressed to the Victim Assistance Program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Summary of Procedures
    1.To be eligible for payment of out-patient counseling expenses the abuse must have occurred within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and have been perpetrated by a staff member, volunteer or member of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    2.Victims/survivors must seek treatment from a licensed therapist. The Victim Assistance Coordinator can assist in locating a counselor/therapist.

    3.All counseling/therapy that meets the eligibility requirements is approved for a period of 12 months. After ten months the Victim Assistance Coordinator shall notify the licensed therapist providing the service that they must complete the Mental Health TreatmentCertification form prior to the consideration of an additional twelve months. Upon receipt of the certification form, an additional twelve months of payment may be approved by the Victim Assistance Program.

    4.You are not required to utilize private insurance for payment of these services.

    5.If you choose to utilize private insurance, you can receive reimbursement for the portion not covered by your insurance. You must submit an invoice that reflects the amount you have paid as co-payment or out-of-pocket expense for services rendered.

    6.If you choose not to use your private insurance, all invoices for services must be submitted by the therapist to the Victim Assistance Program and payment is made directly to the therapist. Your therapist must submit invoices to the Victim Assistance Coordinator on a monthly or quarterly basis.

    7. The Archdiocese does not pay for missed appointments. Please review the mental health service provider’s policy for cancelling appointments.

    Out Patient Counseling – Related Expenses
    1.Medications related to mental health treatment are reimbursable with an itemized receipt.

    2.Psychiatric services are reimbursed in the same manner as those outlined for providers in the above Summary.

    3.Mileage reimbursement and other reasonable transportation expenses, such as taxi, bus, or train, which are related to attending therapy sessions are payable upon receipt of the invoice from the therapist (receipts must be provided for taxi or train rides). Arrangement for payment of these travel expenses must be discussed with the Victim Assistance Coordinator.

    4.Childcare expenses up to $10.00 an hour for one child and $15.00 an hour for more than one child are reimbursable for childcare expenses related to attending therapy sessions. Arrangement for payment of child care expenses must be discussed with the Victim Assistance Coordinator.

  34. Dear Mr. Green,

    My name is Leslie Davila and as Director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection I oversee the Victim Assistance Program. Archbishop Chaput has forwarded your e-mail to me and asked that I follow up with you.

    I am very sorry for the abuse that you suffered by John McDevitt and for the effects that this abuse has had on your life. I am going to look into your request and will get back to you as soon as possible.


    Leslie J. Davila, M.S., C.V.A.
    Director, Office for Child and Youth Protection
    Archdiocese of Philadelphia
    222 N. 17th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    215-965-1743 phone
    215-587-3711 fax

  35. Mr. Green,

    Archbishop Chaput has forwarded your recent email dated August 15th and asked that I respond since this office handles such inquiries and requests. I apologize that it is taking some time to review your request since some of the individuals involved in this discussion have been unavailable due to various obligations.

    Also, I am sorry to hear that you were physically assaulted and threatened by Father Patrick McCormick. Per office policy, I have forwarded this information to the Office for the Delegate for Investigations. This office was created last year to receive, report, and investigate misconduct by Archdiocesan clergy.

    Please know that your request is being considered and I will contact you once I have further information.

    Leslie J. Davila, M.S., C.V.A.
    Director, Office for Child and Youth Protection
    Archdiocese of Philadelphia
    222 N. 17th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    1. I am hoping they are just waiting til they sell off all the property. Rich call me optimistic but I think things are changing because they have to………the trials have started the ball rolling things cant go back to the way they were because “we” the public, the laity, survivors know too much………the silence is broken…….because brave people like you spoke up……….and continue to speak up……….I admire you and our survivors greatly……

      1. I just want to clarify my point is not that many priests who owned summer homes abused children, but that children were abused at privately owned homes. I don’t know of any other summer homes the Archdiocese owns other than the Ventnor property which was just auctioned. I believe that children were brought away on vacations and abused..I just don’t think the properties were necessarily owned by this Archdiocese.

  36. kay4justice,

    Can you report on the SNAP and NSAC sponsored demonstration held in Kansas City, today (Sunday), calling for the removal of Bishop Finn? Thank you.

    1. Sorry to be so slow in responding to this. First, on the Wednesday and Thursday just preceeding the NSAC event, SNAP was present for the filing and press conferences about two new suits against KC priests. That in itself was very big news because Finn is being watched very carefully. The NS event was great, about 20 survivors, supporters and/or angry Catholics. Best sign: “I did not abandon my church, my church abandoned me.” All 6 TV stations, two radio stations and two print media were there. We got to meet each other which was great. Most of the coverage made the Abuse Tracker or the NSAC newsletter. Then there was a silent march in front of the cathedral where a Mass of Recognition and reception was happening for the bishop. Unfortunately, one on the sheeple started a verbal debate and one of our people made the mistake of responding…

  37. While there is a lull in news regarding the issues and concerns of C4C and, therefore, no new discussion posts for bloggers to respond to, it would be interesting if some “friends” of C4C were invited to write commentaries. For example, Sister Maureen, JusticeforPAkids, Fr. Chris, Rev. Wintermyer, PA lawmakers, Ralph Cipriano, someone from the DA’s office, Judge Sarmina, a Lynn family member, our NC physician-survivor… the possibilities are endless. They could be invited to express their views on things that are relevant to C4C and matter to them. Thank you.

  38. I have a question and it’s way off topic, but I’m hoping to get some feedback anyway.

    Are you afraid to die?

    I have absolutely no fear of dying. There’s things and people I’ll miss, but as for taking the big dirt nap, I have no fear. In fact, part of me wonders if there’s peace in the next place.

    I’ll miss my partner, but he’s young enouh to find someone better than I have been or could even be to him. Maybe he could find someone who has all their shit together.

    I will miss my books. I’m have over 7,000 of them and I will miss writing in my journals, but they are filled with misery anyway. I think I’ll miss the History and Discovery Channels.

    I’ll miss the conversations I have with my friends and other victims.

    Don’t worry, I have no plan of offing myself, and as far as I know I don’t have some kind of inoperable deadly disease that will end my life shortly.

    I was in grade school, St. Martin of Tours, when Heather Coffin, a classmate I sat across from was raped and murdered in her own bed by an intruder. She was just 10 years-old. I like to think that she’s in some special place being a child and innocent. I think about her at least once per week. In 2003, a man already incarcerated admitted to raping and killing Heather. DNA tests confirmed his story.

    Does anyone else have no fear of dying?

    My late mother used to say, knowing she had the kind of brain cancer you don’t want to have, since it’s pretty much considered a death sentence, she’d say “It is what it is,” and “this too shall pass.” That was her motto. I admired her strength because I thought she had a lot to live for, and I’m still searching for my placement in this life. I guess that’s why the thought of death doesn’t worry me.

    So I’m serious to know who is afraid of death and who is not afraid?

    Peace out!

    1. I’m not afraid to die. At all.

      Elders have said that the only reason I’m not afraid is because I’m not 90+ and facing death. That isn’t true. I have faced death, personally. And, I’ve lost loved ones, young and old, in sudden, traumatic ways as well as long, painful suffering deaths. I’m not afraid to die. I appreciate each breath I take. Every day is a gift I cherish and God willing, I live each moment to its fullest. But, I think it’s harder to live in this place than what I believe to be in store for me after I die.

      1. I agree SW. I dont like pain physical or emotional and I don’t like watching loved ones suffer at all. I bought a statue of Mary cradling the dead body of Christ and it helped me tremendously when my dad was dying because she knew what is was like to watch a loved one suffer. My dads spine slowly collasped from cancer it was agonizing to watch and I remember thinking his death and suffering must have been so simliar to Christ’s agony on the cross. When I had my surgery recently and was in so much pain and my little one brought all the fairies and angels, family pictures and even the statue of Mary holding Jesus to a table in front of me. She never knew her grandfather that well because she was so young and she brought all these items from around the house. I never asked what she was doing but I think instinctively she was trying to comfort me which she did in her quiet way. My kids never cease to amaze me and i am proud of the people they are becoming.

    2. Rich,
      I am not afraid to die.I came close to death during my first pregnancy……I had two more children since then. I have experienced great suffering and watched loved ones suffer greatly. I do believe we all have a purpose helping each other (souls to heaven) and maybe these souls will help us in the process………I find the latter to be especially true…….I absolutely believe in heaven because of what I have experienced…….many times I see the face of Jesus or the hand of Jesus in the people I meet….

    3. Rich: I just had a conversation with my wife about this exact question. There have been times in my life that I wanted to die. Depression does that to you. Today I am ready to die for completely different reasons. My life has not been a bed of roses, but I would consider it a blessing to die without prolonged suffering from disease or illness. I kind of feel that I have done my fair share of suffering. I hope to stick around to see my grandkids grow up some. But when my time comes I will welcome it.

    4. No Rich, I do not want to die, and yes, I am afraid to die. I cherish every day of my very ordinary life, despite the occasional bad times. And you deserve to be able to feel this way about your life too.

  39. Rich, I will break the rule of always trying to keep people on topic and dive in to answer your question. I believe that the people who I have lost are in a good place,I believe they are at peace. So the one answer to your question would be that I do not fear death. There is a big “but” that comes with that answer. My father became ill when I was in high school and died when I was 18. My husband had the exact same experience with his mother being ill when he was a teen and she also died when he was 18. We bring everything from our past into our present, and my kids are now approaching the age that I was when my life was turned upside down. I think I am much more aware of death and think about it much more now than at any other time of my life..can’t help it…it is what I know. You mentioned a few weeks ago the overwhelming emotion that you felt when you held a baby,wanting her to be safe from abuse,wanting to keep her protected. Those emotions are so real for you because of your own experience. I would not have those same feelings/thoughts holding a baby..just like I don’t think most of the parents I know think they might die when their kids teenagers. It is a double edge sword. Your abuse has made you so aware of protecting kids that you sometimes may feel abuse for children is inevitable. The same with me..I wonder if something will happen to me now that my kids are teens and that is when illness and death first reared its ugly head into my life. It brings a lot of dark thoughts and time worrying about something that probably won’t happen..but it is what I know, what I experienced, as did my it is natural that I would frame things in that manner. That stinks..there is no way around it, but with the worry comes an awareness that everyday counts, that everyday moments are important .I think people who experience pain are more tuned in to other people..more aware of suffering..again a double edged sword..I am jealous of people who seem to live their life not expecting the other shoe to drop..that is foreign to me. I do think though that our experiences bring us to a deeper level of understanding that life is not always perfect for people and we can relate to people’s pain..maybe too much at times but the alternative would be that we were selfish people..finding the balance is the tricky part. So to answer your question..I don’t fear death in general but give me the next years of health until my kids are in college and you will be talking to a much more relaxed,happier person.

  40. My partner and I had some friends over last weekend and I don’t know how the subject of death came up. Maybe it had something to do with my friends asking me how my Mom handled the situation, knowing she was going to die from brain cancer in just a matter of months.

    I said that I have no fear of death. My friend Martin said,” Get out of here. You have to have some kind of fear, otherwise you’re just full of it.” Well I’m full of a lot of things, but fear isn’t one of them. Personally, not speaking for any other victims, the way my life has gone and the things these eyes of mine have seen, and the horrible pain my body felt, and the crushing idea that nobody would ever believe my story, I fear nothing. After all this time, death is just another step in my life. Certainly I’ll miss my partner, my dog Jameson, my beloved Phillies, and some of my friends, but other than that, death can come knocking and most of the time I’m home.

    I think if you’re someone like me and you’ve spent years wishing for some kind of death to come your way, you lose fear in what death actually means. To me it seems peaceful.

    1. How could any one who know Heather not understand the void caused by the loss of a friend, neighbor or child. As an adult I had difficulty dealing with the murder of such a young child, how hard it must have been for you. I will never forget the sadness her father carried as he walked on my street,as all of her family did, then to find out that a worker he fired did that. That parish and neighborhood was never the same. 16 years to finally have some closure. lived a few hundred yards from Heather’s house.

      There was also a 4 year old that was murdered two miles north on Castor avenue in 1989 Barbara Jean Horn. Another sad case.

      Just one more reason to continue this fight for all the victims and their family and friends.

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