Nine Victims File New Child Sex-Abuse Lawsuits Against Philadelphia Archdiocese

“8 New Child Sex-Abuse Lawsuits,” NBC 10, by Jackie Gailey, September 18, 2012

Excerpt: “Eight new civil lawsuits claiming the Archdiocese of Philadelphia covered up child sex abuse allegations are being filed in Philadelphia.

Two alleged victims of priest sex abuse spoke at a news conference on Tuesday, about their experiences and why they decided not to conceal their identities in the civil lawsuits.”


Editor’s note: This must have been a very difficult day for the two victims who spoke at the news conference. Their courage does so much for all the others who share their horrific experience. Keep them in your prayers. – Susan and Kathy



128 thoughts on “Nine Victims File New Child Sex-Abuse Lawsuits Against Philadelphia Archdiocese

  1. There are two videos with this link that are a must watch. The video in the center of the page and then another video towards the bottom of the page. Such courage and grace from Michael and Andrew shown today.They stood in their truth and showed more humanity and decency than has been shown to victims. Prayers and hugs.

  2. Susan. You might recall I reached out to you a few months back & you were so supportive! Thank you for doing all you can to shine a light on the continued abuses by the church and thank you for supporting all of the survivors of these terrible, terrible men!

    1. Andy, I am not quite sure what word to use that would capture what I felt watching the video of your speech at the press conference. Your words were so honest,moving and heart felt and knowing just a little bit about you and then seeing you speaking in front of the press made me really hopeful for you and so many others. You referred that maybe you are damaged goods..when I think of something that is damaged goods I think of something I would reject, something I would not want and that does not fit you at all. Your speech contained more truth in 3 minutes than I have heard in a long,long time. I would never reject or not want that.

    2. To Andy and all of the survivors, thank you for your courage. I believe you, and I will support you all the way.

  3. “Although the criminal statute of limitations has passed for all nine victims, Hamilton said, there is a basis for filing a civil conspiracy lawsuit because ‘the church’s cover-up continued right up to the start of the trial of Msgr. [William J.] Lynn.'”

    THIS IS BIG. I recall that conspiracy was used successfully in Wisconsin to overcome SOL problems with child endangerment laws. I heard Marci explain on the radio that the SOL lasts for two years and starts after the last event that was a part of the conspiracy is completed.

  4. Courage and strength exemplified by these men. I hope their ability to speak about their abuse helps other victims. It is time for all people to understand the lifelong effects of child sexual abuse, to stop denying that it has existed for many years, and to stand together to bring predators and enablers to justice. Victims need to be believed and supported and children need to be protected. Legislators need to feel the pressure and support legislation to protect children and people need to get angry if they don’t and vote accordingly. And Catholic leaders and priests need to learn how to REALLY emulate Christ, practice what they preach at us, and stop hiding behind their vows of obedience as an excuse for criminality.

  5. I read part of the article that basically says lawsuits dont promote healing…… do they know? Have they ever been in court and seen all the fear all the weight(they have been carrying around for years) come off a victims shoulders? Have they felt the imbalance of power that exists in abuse realigned so that things become somewhat balanced again…….that faith in good and justice in this world is somewhat restored? I think and believe it all depends on your intentions and your goal….are you out to destroy people? or are you out to protect children from future abuse?…..even Jesus had the tax collector pay back 3 times what he stole.Our God is a God of justice as well as love and repentance……yes lawsuits cost but love costs….. love requires sacrifices……in many ways maybe these men by coming forward are making the sacrifices required to make sure this does not happen to other children.

    1. Beth, by saying that a lawsuit is not the best way to have healing is just again the power dynamic playing out. Whose right is it to determine what is the best path for another one’s business and most people realize that and would never make such a statement. Some victims have no interest in legal recourse,others suggest that someone other than the victim knows what is best for himself is an unbelievable statement.

      1. Kathy I totally agree not everyone will decide that is the route they want to go and for some it might not help with their healing. But unless you are a victim how would you know and then everyone heals in their own way in their own time.

      2. “We believe lawsuits are not the best mechanism to promote healing in the context of the private and difficult circumstance of sexual abuse” another great statement from the Philly AD.
        They have no idea what is liked to be sexually abused and have no right to make that statement. Will they ever get? The victims want the justice they deserve for the horrible crimes that have for ever changed their lives.
        Michael and Andrew your courage and strength are inspiring. May you one day find the peace and justice you deserve.

      3. Kathy,
        Thanks for clarifying. I figured you were responding to the AD statement but it is good to point out while there might be some common themes…… that every survivor’s needs are unique to that individual.

      4. Joan, I sometimes forget Susan and Kathy are still busy raising kids, etc. and can’t jump when I would like. They usually give this old guy a pass and just roll their digital eyes!

        Please note the wonderful notes in today’s Robert McClory at NCR-Today from your friend, Sr. Simone Campbell.

      5. Jerry….you are right about Susan and Kathy, bless their hearts!

        I did note the Simone Campbell article and passed it on….it’s a ‘keeper’ and I worked in the same milieu with Simone years ago and was delighted with her ‘take’ on the Convention…the fact that there was unbelievable silence when she spoke is only right.
        The fact that the president called her after the Convention is not surprising….

        I get the Times a couple days late and there was a very nice editorial on her, as well!

    2. From the Archbishop himself…….
      “…………To be blunt, I don’t think lawsuits strengthen our community or protect victims. In most of these decades-old cases that such retroactive laws are designed to revive, the alleged perpetrator is long deceased and certainly the true facts are almost impossible to determine. What we do is shift large sums of money to a very few individuals and their lawyers, which in my experience does not lead to healing.”

      1. I would imagine that most victims do not walk away from a settled lawsuit feeling “healed”, but what “healing” takes place when a victim is denied or blocked from seeking justice?

      2. Kathy in that live news conference, Marci made the point that for some abused folks, there was a real sense of being proven innocent, when the law vindicated their claim. That victims might have had a sense of guilt…given how they had been treated and that the court decision was really helpful.

        I don’t think this is a total healing, but perhaps a step towards it?

      3. Well, Archbishop Chaput, what, in your experience, does lead to healing for victims of sexual abuse by clergy and religious? I am listening……waiting for an answer……..?
        Hmmmm… seems suing the pants off the Archdiocese is the only way to compel the AD to face the consequences for its despicable handling of the crime of sexual abuse of children by clergy and religious in this diocese.
        Will a lump sum settlement bring healing?….maybe, maybe not. It will, for sure, however bring accountability and justice. Maybe then healing can commence.

      4. Michele….I just made a similar comment, quoting Marci at that news conference,….which is being held. God knows why…but agree with you

      5. In my experience, a “large sum of money” should come in EXTREMELY handy when it comes to healing and patching up a broken life —it’s certainly a good start!
        Chaput is playing on the average, conservative catholic’s distaste for personal injury law suits. He’s reinforcing the notion that suing for compensation is an unnecessary, low-down thing to do… He needs his flock to view these lawsuits as fraudulent, aggressive, unchristian attacks, which will make trial lawyers rich, bankrupt the AD, and in the end, will compensate questionable, inconsequential plaintiffs who claim to have been molested by priests decades ago…and who really ought to be “over it” by now.
        Chaput might not like it much, but the victims of priests have every right to their day in court.

      6. Crystal, as an experienced lawyer, I concur completely with your analysis. Chaput, now a Philly cover-up defendant himself, is desparately trying to marshall cash for Rigali’s and his defense, as they also watch in disbelief their phony election year anti-contraception crusade paradoxically drive women voters to the other candidate.

        Are red hats really worth all that effort? Now it is more about their survival, though, and red hats are less the focus than orange jumpsuits. Amen.

      7. Boy, do I agree with Crystal. We’re talking about one of the richest institutions in the world, and a hierarchy regularly bedecked in gold and silk (not to mention the “toys”). The opulence is decadent. However, we are to believe that monetary compensation for their crimes is anti-Gospel and anti-healing?

        Just another veil of guilt they intend to shackle us with.

      8. I, totally agree that ‘conservative Catholics’ find the idea of awards to victims as ‘distasteful’….but the point I keep harping on is that law and order types are missing the ‘justice’ issue.

        To molest innocent children is a crime, to pass on predators is morally horrible. The Church needs to make ‘restitution’ BEFORE it does any thing else….

        To not deal with these issues in a morally correct way, to let law enforcement, the courts, and civil suits dictate the result is something I sure would not want to face God with…on my conscience.

        And that applies to both the hierarchy AND the laity….

      9. Susan…I think there is a moderation ‘devil’…..

        Seriously, I just really liked ALL of Marci’s comments…and the response they evoked! Joan

      10. Michelle: So the Archbishop says” that the alleged perpetrator is long deceased and certainly true facts are almost impossible to determine” This is certainly what the Archbishop and those Archbishops before him were hoping for. If the alleged perpetrator dies, there is no case. That is why they continously press their politician friends in Harrisburg not to extend the statute of limitations or open a window for those abused some time ago. This Archbishop,like those who proceeded him want nothing to do with true facts. They still continue to coverup for their fellow priests. They still continue to treat victims like they are the enemy. Well. Archbishop, I do know my facts, I was abused in a Catholic Church in 1961, after serving Mass. I have suffered everyday since the abuse. So you can continue to deny all you want. But the truth has set me free.

  6. I think it’s only a matter of time before the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is bankrupted by victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.

    I’m a believer that these lawsuits and other civil actions against the Catholic Church in Philadelphia and around the world could’ve been spared financial ruin if they would’ve stood up in front of the media and admitted to their mistakes and promised to do better in the future. Instead, Catholic officials stand in front of the media and lie. They place known predator priests, who have already been removed as part of an investigation, back into circulation and around more children. I think if you’re one of 37 men removed from your profession for suspicion of abusing children something more is going on, even if you were placed back into your position. How often do you hear of 37 mechanics being removed until an investigation is conducted by NAPA? How often are 37 public school teachers waiting to be reinstated after a lengthy investigation into determining whether or not they abused children? Only in the Catholic Church, and only are Catholic officials brazen enough, and reckless enough to put those suspected right back into their comfy positions so they can prey upon and continue to abuse. I am disgusted by the Catholic Church, its’ employees, and anyone who sets foot into a Catholic church from this day forward. You are helping bad people do bad things. Even if you’re not giving them your money, you’re still showing up, which boosts their egos and allows the hierarchy to believe that “you still believe in them,” and that is not going to solve a damn thing.

    I asked for therapy and medications, which is not something out of the ordinary, especially when the Catholic Church claims on its own website to be offering such services to victims, and I am ignored. I never threatened to hire a lawyer or to seek any way possible to hold the Archdiocese of Philadelphia civilly and legally responsible, but what choice is left of me? I’m afraid that I too have to run out and hire an attorney who can take my case to the Victim’s Assistance Program and the Archbishop just so I can get what has been promised to me. Instead of acting like adults and leaders in a community, the Catholic Church pushes victims into a corner and my experiences with corners has never been good. You can only keep someone in a corner for so long before they come out fighting.

    Time-and-time again, the church spits in our faces and they’ll do whatever it takes to destroy us. Even though I don’t consider myself a Catholic anymore, and I’m still waiting for that application I sent for in the mail over 3 years ago to withdrawl my spiritual denomination from Catholicism, I was a Catholic and the church is destroying its own. The baby boomers are dying off and the under 40-year-olds aren’t buying into the bullshit of eternal salvation after years of rape and depression. If there was ever an example of how not to shoot yourself in the foot, this one comes pretty close.

    I hope these men sue the Archdiocese for every penny they can get. I hope the lawsuits contribute to the way in which Catholics conduct business, and eventually I hope they realize it wasn’t the money they should’ve been worried about all along. It’s the people who live and die by the decisions they make for an entire congregation. Liars, theives, and hustlers… and they are three kinds of people who are not allowed in my kitchen!

    To those nine victims: Go get the money. Sue them and take what you can get. Don’t back down. They were supposed to keep your names and statements confidential, but once again, as it’s well known, the Catholic Church lied. Liars need to learn lessons and if it’s money that rights a wrong, so be it.

    1. Rich,
      Your words remind me of something a friend of mine said a mere week ago. “I want an annulment from the Catholic Church. They have entered into this relationship under false pretenses.”.

      As far as the statement about lawsuits not bringing healing. The victim determines that, not some pompous know-it-all. From a track record perspective, I would say they don’t know much about what brings healing to victims.

      I agree Rich, these lawsuits could have been avoided. Not just by admission of guilt and a pledge to do differently. ACTION. Involvement of civil authorities, removal of abusive and questionable priests, and tangible support to victims (lifelong counseling), and preaching to the pews to support our victims….because they are our victims…we have a responsibility to them. Instead, they lied, deceived, and dodged responsibility…and they are still doing it.

      The victims have what no bishop, cardinal, or pope will ever have…courage.

    2. Rich, I think you should consult with that lawyer. The RCC is just a big business in a strange disguise. You can’t expect such an entity to do the right thing. It’s not going to part with one penny it isn’t legally forced to part with. Sue the bastards.

    3. Rich; I agree. The Roman Catholic Church has been morally bankrupt for some time. In the very near future they will be financially bankrupt as well. After they sell off all the real estate and sell all the abandoned schools what will be left? And you are very right. This all could have been avoided if they had only treated abuse victims hunanely. Instead they treat us like we are the enemy. They just can’t get it into their heads that we were the victims. Innocent children whose lives were decimated by the actions of their priests.

    4. Rich,
      I totally understand what you are saying .I don’t believe in “them’ but I do believe in Jesus. I go to church even though it has been a struggle and I get comfort knowing Jesus must have struggled with some of the same feelings……he wanted to worship his Father in his father’s house but to do so he would have to deal with the Pharisees who he knew one day would mock him ,kill him, kill his friends and abuse him.

      1. I guess what I am saying is I know the realities……..I want it to change…… should not and never should have been this way.

    Interesting article on yesterday’s press conference. It gives info that Michael who spoke at the press conference plead guilty to defrauding the AD for payment that was not used for therapy bills. Stealing is wrong,we teach our kids that, and it is just wrong. The interesting thing is that both Michael and the former CFO have spent time in prison for theft against the AD while there are countless priests who remain free because of statutes of limitations of their crimes against children.
    I have met so many victims of child sex abuse over the past 18 months, clergy abuse victims and many others whose abuse happened outside of the Church by parents,coaches,etc… In the conversations they often mention behavior they have exhibited that has hurt other people and they own that behavior..every single time they take responsibility for their actions. They realize that although the abuse may have contributed to their behavior,the person on the receiving end, was an innocent victim of their actions. Taking responsibility although they as children were themselves horrendously victimized .

    1. Kathy,

      You know when the Oblates were providing me with therapy and medications and traveling expenses, they were for the most part flipping the bill on everything. They paid the therapist and psychiatrist directly, but I had to wait for reimbursement for the medication, which ran me about $1900 per month. Right around the time I came forward about all this junk, I had just started my own business, and if anyone knows anything about starting your own business, you can pretty much rest in the fact that you’ll always be broke until your business lifts off the ground. So naturally, nearly $2,000 was a lot for me have hanging out there, and sometimes they didn’t reimburse me for months, hence the only reason I went public about my abuse and filed a lawsuit.

      Anyway, the Oblates had promised to reimburse me the traveling expenses and the medication money, but every month they would add sometimes $20 or even over $100 to my reimbursement check. It used to drive me nuts. My therapist dealt with the Oblates for me and I used to tell her to tell the Oblates to stop overpaying me. Sometimes they’d tell my therapist to tell me, “Just keep it.” I told my therapist, “Hello no!” I’m not keeping something that isn’t mine, and anyway they’re probably setting me up for a scenario if I do keep the money they could tell a judge that they accidently overpaid me a few times and I wasn’t honest enough to repay that money.

      Each time the Oblates overpaid me, which seemed to be almost every month, I went home with the check, told my partner to figure out the difference, and write a check out to the Oblates so I could pay them this extra they sent. Even back then they were such bastards. They thought I wanted money! I never wanted to have attorneys on sue anybody. I just wanted what was right and fair, the same things I want know from the Arch. of Philadelphia today, and they can’t even do that. They are not trustworthy and they are the true thieves. Stealing old ladies’ social security money and stealing souls.

      The idea that a lawsuit win would pay me off is completely untrue. They’re not paying off victims. They’re paying victims for a lifetime of agony, depression, and hell that they caused. Justice comes in many forms and if taken their money in some sort of legal battle protects a child from being abused by a priest tomorrow, or maybe gives me some semblance of my own need for justice for what a priest did to me, I want every dime the church has in its bank accounts. But as for accepting “payoff money,” I don’t think so. I’m not compromising my personal standards and principals for an institution that helped and contributed to stealing my innocence and almost taking my life. F#ck them! They are liars and I will NEVER be held accountable for committing anything closely similar as to the behavior as the Catholic Church has lived by.

      The last thing I stole was a Butterfinger and a pimpleball when I was 6-years-old. Mary’s was a candy store around the corner from me and one day me and my best friend had this bright idea about how to get our pimpleball (which normally cost 25 cents) for free. He would go into the store and distract little old Mary and I proceeded to stuff the front pocket of my sweatshirt hoodie. When we left the store, with smiles on our faces because we were two feet from getting away with the crime, my sweatshirt pocket got stuck in the doorknob and ripped right open and all the goodies came falling out. I then tripped on the top step and fell fce first into the concrete pavement, with my nose bleeding and my lip cracked open, Mary grabbed us by the ears and marched us up the street to our moms. That was the last day I ever thought about taking something that didn’t belong to me.

  8. I usually tear-up when I witness the hope, courage and dignity of the human spirit, as I am witnessing with the nine child sex-abuse lawsuits. I feel a kinship with the victims. Fight The Good Fight.

  9. Michael, Andrew, and all who’ve been abused, who haven’t spoken up, who are afraid ,and to all who will speak up, I believe all of you. From the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, why do you choose to ignore these victims, and continue on as nothing has happened. Jesus knows all. I believe the survivors/victims. Peace

  10. Am I correct that the new, civil suits intend to collect monetary damages, alone, and that the defendants (Ragali, Chaput, Lynn, Avery, et al), if they are found guilty, will not face prison time?

    1. Think you are right….but their role in this disaster is going to get a lot more exposure….which it surely needs!

    2. You are correct. Jail time can only be imposed in a criminal trial. The standard of proof is lower in a civil suit. Criminal trials require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil litigation requires proof based on a preponderance of the evidence (you just need more evidence than the other guy). Acquittal in a criminal trial does not preclude the injured party from seeking damages in a civil suit. You might recall that this is what Nicole Simpson’s family did after OJ was acquitted.

      1. Well said, Mackerel.

        Of course, if the civil case leads to uncovering evidence that warrants and could sustain a criminal prosecution, such as clear recent evidence of conspiracy with criminal pedophiles or of wrongfully destroying evidence or suborning perjury, a criminal prosecution could still follow.

        Given the Philly AD’s clear record of secrecy, and earlier document shredding and false statements to grand jurors, anything is possible in this situation.

        Remember the “unshredded” memo in the Lynn proceeding only showed up in the 9th inning.

        Who knows what will yet be uncovered? Unfortunately, in other similar cases the dioceses often paid huge settlements to end cases to protect the potentially criminal evidence from being disclosed.

        I would not want to be in Rigali’s position at present. In OJ’s case he had already been acquitted and couldn’t be retried. That is not the case here.

        We must try to monitor as best we can what comes out in the civil trials.

  11. The only option abuse victims have is to go to court. The Bishop may think that court cases don’t help the victim but he is very wrong. When you can get to a place where you can tell your abuse story to a judge and jury, you have come a very long way to taking control of your life from your abuser and the Church that covers for him. I applaud the victims who came forward yesterday. hopefully their strength and courage will help other victims who have been waiting in the wings to come forward also. It is a very difficult thing to do. I remember I didn’t sleep for a week before I told my story to Daily News reporter, Jill Porter back in 2002. But afterwards I felt a great sense of relief, but also a sense of accomplishment. I wish all those who filed suit yesterday good luck and some sense of serenity.

    1. Jim, I have TWO moderated remarks on your point about the fact that taking the abuse to court can be very helpful? Marci said it in her press conference…thanks very much for your very informed input!!!

  12. I wanted to thank everyone for their support & kind words. I know I speak for Michael as well as all survivors when I say thanks for expressing yourselves & that by talking about it every chance you get, you are insuring that the church knows its not just survivors who are victims, it’s every single person who loves the church & wants the archbishop to know that none of us will tolerate this evil behavior going forward!

    1. Andy, just finished sending a thank you letter to a lawmaker who responded to my email concerning felony chages being dropped against a priest. That connection would not be possible without the courage of you and all the victims. The statements made have opened the eyes of many and the secretaries opening those letters with victims’ statement are moved. Don’t know if it will get by a certain commitee, but the courage seen on this site, other sites and in court compels us to act. Thank you.

  13. I for one agree with the opinion that bishops have no right to tell victims what will and will not help in their healing. I began communicating with my bishop back in 1996. First of all just to report my abuse to them. I continued keeping the bishop up to date with all the research and uncovering of victims in my family.Eventually he told me to stop writing to him and to communicate through lawyers. I had not voiced an interest in legal action. I did ask for help with therapy costs though. Their answer was that the diocese was legally a charity and i had no claim on them?!

    I have recently given more thought to a legal action as another application for assistance through the new vicitims advocate resulted again in a big nothing, even after the leader of the commission to protect children was assured they would not make me go though a long process without a commitment to help. She had the decency to be embarassed with the outcome.

    Bottom line…coming forward with the truth isn’t enough to make bishops accept any responsibility: legal action is the only way to induce a “moral” response.

  14. It’s amazing how catholic relief services will take up collections for Katrina and other natural disasters but has it ever considered we take up a collections for our victims? I mean really……Sw your point of they are our victims and “we have a responsiblity to them” hit me hard…….I take that statement very seriously. If a family loses a husband or wife to cancer a family loses their home to fire there is an outpouring to those families in our parish……..meals are sent, fundraisers are scheduled……funds are set up for their childrens education etc etc,…….why dont we do that for our victims? Why is there no emergency fund for this????? For therapy bills or whatever?????

    1. Have have to add my dad always taught us kids you take care of your own……when we were young my parent took care of us when he was dying from cancer we took care of him. Its that what Jesus calls us to do? Why are we not doing that? Why is that not even a consideration with the AD ? Its all legal this and legal that ……what about just reaching out and helping those in our midst that are suffering or have a family member suffering? Maybe that is what the parish should start doing if the AD doesnt for whatever reason. Guilt should not keep them from doing what is right now…….isnt that what Jesus taught?


    Bishop Chaput is in no position to be telling victims how to heal or that “lawsuits are not the best mechanism to promote healing in the context of the very private and difficult circumstances of sexual abuse”–

    Of course Chaput opposes civil lawsuits. they help unearth deep secrets about any on-going complicity of the chruch hierarchy in child sex crimes.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511.,
    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  16. Personally, I found going through the process of filing suit and receiving a settlement and other non-monetary demands was an empowering experience. It helped move me from victim to survivor to thriver. I found it very healing to be validated by our legal system. Many people have said I’m a stronger person now.
    Chaput is a self-serving person who impedes victims’ healings at every juncture: working to prevent SOL reform in Colorado, issuing offensive statements that support predators/enablers over victims, yada yada yada.
    Congratulations on coming forward: you are making this a safer world for kids.

    1. Right helps you to gain your power back, that was so viciously taken away when you were a kid. You were born with your power, and everyone needs to have their own power of themselves..!!

  17. On the front page of Thursdays Patriot News was another abuse story. It involved a William Jackson who was a music teacher at Bible Baptist Church in Shireemanstown.He was charged with twenty six counts of indecent assault involving seven boys who were either students at the school or private piano students.I understand that most child abuse occurs within families. Fathers and step fathers are more likely to sexually abuse children than priests or ministers.But it seems that most of the stories that hit the media involve some religious figure. I wonder why it seems that way to me. It could be because ,as a victim of clergy abuse I may be looking for those cases. Perhaps, Newspapers are more likely to print stories of abuse involving religious persons because they are more sensational. But newspapers give the readers usually what those readers are looking for. Does the public see sexual abuse by ministers and priests as more horrible than abuse by a parent?Or is there something else that I am completely missing?

    1. Jim, incest is ugly, all abuse is ugly, but with the clergy you have folks who are ‘stand ins for God’ and bishops and higher who are the apostles successors…..who pass on predators….I guess in the apostles name.

      There is a difference, a big difference!

      1. I appreciate all of your comments. Joan: you comments bring to mind something I read in one of the many books and articles I have read. Clergy abuse is incest. Because of the position the priest holds in our lives, he is a member of our family. That is why we call him “father”. Our parents entrust our spiritual care to these men and in many ways as Vicky points out, because of their position as Gods representative, sexual abuse by priests is even worse for the victim than parental abuse. As many of us figure out from a very young age, we know our parents aren’t God. By the way I love whipped cream, byut I am definitely not Polish.

      2. Jim and Vicky, your input about clergy abuse is exactly why I put that post in. A year ago, it was Snapjudy who first raised the ‘alter Christus’ issue on a very conservative blog and I took her seriously, and still do. I think it was Vicky who made that ‘clergy incest’ connection.

        And I want to thank you both!

        Sadly, my husband is quite ill right now and I need to ‘fuss’ with that….but it has been a real privilege to learn so much from so many of you! Joan

    2. Jim, incest is ugly, all abuse is ugly, but with the clergy you have folks who are ‘stand ins for God’ and bishops and higher who are the apostles successors…..who pass on predators….I guess in the apostles name.

      There is a difference, a big difference!

      1. Joan said: “Jim, incest is ugly, all abuse is ugly, “.
        Here us what I think we all (those wanting to protect the young) are up against:
        God looked upon lost and sinful mankind and in His infinite love and goodness made a plan to redeem us, so that we could again live in peace and reconciliation with Him. Out of fallen/sinful mankind He chose a people whom became Israel. God gave His law to Israel and it contained the prohibitions against sin (including incest). Though this Law was not given to the other nations (Gentiles) it also was effective to manifest that they were as guilty before God as were the Israelites.
        God has more plans for Israel which are now “on the shelf” while the Gentiles (us) have the opportunity to be saved by believing in the cross and what Christ did for us there (in brief here.)
        The way a family knows not to practice incest (child sexual abuse) is by the teaching of their rabbis, their priests or their ministers. In some cases by the civil authorities. What we now are faced with is that the family is falling apart, the religious authorities are failing to pass on God’s Word, and so both the parents and the church/synagogue fail to protect the young. That leaves us (those desiring to protect the young) with the task of teaching men and women/boys and girls what is right and what is wrong before almighty God. God’s plan for us TODAY is to believe the gospel of grace (the cross) antransformedormed by His grace into people not interested in the sinful ways of this world.

    3. Jim, I don’t know the answer. I think it’s easier for a reporter to gather the pieces for a story from abuse within an institution.

      In 1993 I was in the navy and was directed to serve on a court martial of a man who had been sexually abusing his son. This was uncovered after the kid ran away from home and was later found by the Honolulu police. After some small talk with a police officer that boy brought up the abuse. The matter was referred to the naval base at Pearl Harbor and that resulted in an investigation by NCIS and subsequent charges.

      This boy didn’t know where to go or who to tell. When the police in Honolulu found him, the abuse wasn’t the first thing he brought up, in fact it came up in the same way as someone might say “It’s hot out today.” I don’t think the child was any more than 10. This must have been so difficult for someone so young to process. How does a child come to grips with having to blow the whistle on dad? I think that’s also difficult for the average person to come to grips with. We just don’t want to deal with it.

    4. Jim, Anything, Anything done in the name of God is, my belief, the most tramatic for a child. Everything we are taught is that the priest is a direct representative of Christ himself. When this priest uses his hands ( which have been consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders) to rape or molest or sodimize a child, the child believes God has punished him and must hate him, to have ‘allowed” this most holy priest to do the things that words cannot explain. I hope this helps to answer your question.

    5. Jim, I think most people consider no abused child to be less important than another. To many people, the entire topic of sexual abuse is a fairly new one and shocking one–and folks are horrified.. it’s just that simple. As the media blasts these stories, the public is being educated in leaps and bounds about the nature of sexual abuse. Awareness is being raised and the subject is being presented and discussed in ways it never has before.
      The RCC abuse news is so captivating at present because of disclosure of the massive, and previously unknown size of the problem of clergy sex abuse…But more importantly, because the public (including the catholic faithful) find the hypocrisy and deceit of this arrogant, “holy” institution to be so shocking and disgusting.

      Perhaps also, many of us are drawn to the news of this unfolding horror because we feel complicit in the scandal in a way. By supporting our churches and schools, we’ve helped enable this particular form of child abuse. We feel responsible for what happened to these children.

  18. During the Lynn trial, we repeatedly heard about offending priests engaging in “playful” wrestling with their victims. We learned that the wrestling was hardly playful. It was psycho-sexual in nature, a form of grooming, and a testimony to the maturational level of offending priests. What was particularly disturbing was the number of parents who believed that the wrestling was normal and healthy, indeed, it was “special”.

    Today, I read an article about a school in southeastern Poland. The headmaster, a priest, has a long-standing tradition of “initiating” the freshman high school students (boys and girls). The initiation entails teens individually licking whipped cream off the headmaster-priest’s knees while he wears shorts and is seated in a chair. Apparently, at no time over the years did the students, or their parents, or school personnel sense that anything was remiss (or bazaar). This year, however, pictures of the students and headmaster participating in the initiation were placed on Facebook. Kudos to the Polish government spokesman who remarked: “This is very disturbing!” The Polish government has formed an inquiry into the matter. The parish inspector who oversees the school responded to the inquiry with: “It appears to be a storm in a teacup.”

    Offending priests will play offensive games. But parents, children who are teens, and school personnel who, in 2012, are unable to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate priestly behaviors are extremely worrisome.

    Many would argue that the incident occurred in southeastern Poland where the lay Catholic mind, for various reasons, may be more trusting than ours. But I would argue that our Catholic schools and churches are filled with children, teens, parents, adults, and personnel, many of whom are informed and not inclined to blindly trust, but who are completely and utterly unskilled at encountering, engaging with, working with, and being mentored by “Father,” compromising their ability to scrutinize him, his behaviors, and his games.

    The reason the laity is dangerously unskilled and compromised is because the priesthood will not reform itself. Authentic engagement, compeer relationships, and mutual respect are two-way streets that clerics will not travel. In their stubbornness, we are relegated to vulnerable, bumbling idiots. Ultimately, their games hurt us.

      1. oh geez Kate… those photos are gonna stay with me a long time. Yuck..I’ll never blissfully eat whipped cream again.
        What is the state of mind of catholic Poland with regard to clergy sex abuse?
        Just how much hold does the RCC have over the gov. of Poland? I have a feeling that the “Ireland-esque” conditions in the Polish cath. church amount to a ticking time bomb –set to go off soon.

    1. Kate, you said, “The reason the laity is dangerously unskilled and compromised is because the priesthood will not reform itself.”

      I’m not sure where you are coming from with this. The very premise of your statement is that the laity is victimized by the priesthood. I agree. BUT, the reason the laity is dangerously unskilled and compromised is because the laity refuses to look to their Lord instead of their man-made leadership. The priesthood is the way it is because the laity have allowed them to be so. Your statement is still part of the problem…the laity waiting for/demanding the reformation of the priesthood. How can you serve The Church? How can the priesthood be reformed? It’s time Catholics quit looking at their priesthood and start looking to their Lord. The dangling of Sacraments by priests is the ultimate sacrilege. Reform the priesthood and you still have a laity that is compromised and dangerously unskilled. It’s the very premise of the Catholic Church.

      1. Very astute SW!
        “Churchianity” went awry long ago, away from bible truth and very few will face this. Most are in deep denial of the truth.

        In my age (now 80) I am coming around to believe the sexual abuse is in family context as well as in church, school, etc. etc.

        We do live in what the bible indicates is a “sin-cursed world” and, ultimately the only thing we can turn to to be saved is God’s truth.

      2. SW,

        There’s the practical matter that the Church is an organization of people led by clerics loyal to clericalism. The laity (including children) encounter the loyal clerics in schools, churches, and communities. The encounters, themselves, are real and concrete however their nature, quality, health, and authenticity are compromised by clericalism. It’s impractical and organizationally incorrect to suggest that the laity should leap to the Lord under the circumstances. The organization, its members, and its dysfunction are real, requiring real and practical solutions.

    2. Kate; I just clicked on the site that you mentioned about the headmaster who had incoming freshmen lick whipped cream off his knees. As those from the school stated this could be just innocent fun. Or it could be grooming for further physical contact. Until we are able to read other peoples minds, we simply don’t know. The same goes for priests wrestling with young boys. It could be completely innocent fun or it could be a precursor for something else.The fact that the headmaster was holding a rod on his lap has me more concerned. What was its purpose? The truth is that I think whipped cream should be saved for the sundaes[if they have sundaes in Poland] and wrestling should remain the domain of brothers, friends and dads.

  19. Now wait just a minute………If the practice described in the NY Daily News article is a “Polish tradition”, then it’s about time for this writer to change his last name.

    Michael Skiendzielewski

  20. Any abuse of children is horrific and personal ,know matter who the perpetrator. I don’t think trying to figure out if abuse by priests is worse than abuse by parents…they are both crimes against humanity and nature. There are many survivors of abuse that follow this blog and I don’t want those abused outside the Church to somehow think we are suggesting that abuse by a priest is somehow worse than another abuse child deserved it no matter who the abuser and every victim has to deal with the lifelong affects no matter what role the abuser played in their childhood.

    1. Kathy, I understand your point.

      I’m a survivor, and my husband is a survivor of sexual abuse by a relative and then a priest.

      Abuse is horrible no matter what. AND, I would add…there is a dimension to sexual abuse by a priest that is unique. I knew when my perp was abusing me, he wasn’t God. My husband knew when he was abused by a relative that the relative was a sick person. BUT, when he walked into that confessional to confess the abuse he had suffered at the hands of a relative (toxic shame)…believing that PRIEST was going to absolve him of that “sin” (in his young mind he thought he wouldn’t feel any more shame or “dirty”)…he believed that PRIEST to be God Himself. So, when that priest sexually abused him instead…he felt like he was raped by God. Children can associate parents/caregivers/relatives to God-like status, and even believe there is no God when the abuse was allowed to happen. Children may even pray to God for it to stop and when it doesn’t, they then don’t believe in God anymore…at least not a loving one. BUT, when you believe the priest to BE God…there are hurdles my husband has had to jump that I never had to…and it’s because he was spiritually raped as well.

      Not arguing, just wanted to add what I’ve witnessed in clergy abuse survivors.

      1. SURVIVORS WIFE I totally agrede. This is what i was trying to say, however, you expressed it so much better. Thank you for truely hearing

    2. Kathy,

      I respectfully disagree. As Catholics we are taught to believe that when a man receives the sacrament of Holy Orders his soul is ontologically changed. IF one believes this is true, it would seem to follow that these men have a greater responsibility to humanity, and sexual abuse committed by them is worse.

      A “…comment about priests being “ontologically different” is pure clerical ideology. That is the kind of self-serving mindset that makes anti-clerics of the best of us. There was much grace of the rest of his talk. But that comment nearly made me get up and walk out. I fear for the mental health of young seminarians having to assent to that kind of inflated view of the priesthood—a form of magical thinking, really.”

      I agree with that statement; if there is an “ontologically different” without some external change in behavior we’re left wide opened to be hoodwinked. The link below presents the opposing point of view.


      1. DrWho13,
        Thats interesting. How is that different from confirmation, Baptism or anointing of the Sick? I mean we are taught with get grace thru all sacraments etc Wondering how they explained that? Priests sin obviously and therefore can go to Hell if out of a state of grace at death etc

      2. Beth,

        Canon 916 of the Code of Canon Law states: “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.”

        It’s likely that pedophile priests celebrate Mass frequently while in a state of grave sin. So, what’s the deterrent? Only one mortal sin is required to get you a place in Hell.

        That bring me to another question; If a seminarian enters preparation for the priesthood for the purpose of its cover for his pedophilic intentions, is his vow of holy orders valid?

      3. DrWho13 interesting question……makes me think of annullments was everything there necessary at the begining to be valid?

      4. Drwho13, regarding the author and articles in your link .. Ugh. There’s such a priggishness to the way he explains his mystical fantasy about the priesthood… You’d think a grown man (a Harvard Law grad.?) could hear himself babbling like a groupie, in awe of the “ordained ones.” How irresponsible of the laity, in 2012, to continue teaching catholic children such nonsense about priests. No wonder incidents like the one in Poland, happen right under parents’ noses. No wonder so many kids have been harmed.

        “….Last Saturday, ten men were ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They weren’t being accepted for a job, they were being configured to Christ Himself. It is no accident that, during the ordination ceremony, they lay on the floor with their arms outstretched — as if placing their bodies on the Cross with Christ…”

      5. Crystal, you mention the incident in Poland with the children licking the whipped cream off of the priest’s knees. I just saw the pictures of that and it is bizarre. It was stated that it was a long standing tradition..well there are many odd traditions out there but this was beyond odd. What adult would sit in a chair and have children lick any part of their body…any normal adult would be appalled. The pictures were more than troubling.

      6. Thanks, dw13, Beth, Crystal and Kathy:

        Please don’t blame Harvard Law School. I never studied the “ontology of whipped cream” there. The author Crystal refers to also studied at a NY seminary.

        The Polish priest story of children licking a priest’s leg just reinforces the sick clerical depravity so evident in too many survivor stories. The anatomy changes, but the sick theme remains.

        So many of these stories are so obscene as to seem unreal. Horrorifyingly, they are too often understating the really shameful details.

        Is Seth Williams listening? Or is he still enthralled by his Eminence?

      7. Kathy, I think it’s safe to say that the “long standing tradition” in those photos is pedophilia. Imagine all the damage done there.

        Jerry, lol! I wonder if they offer that course at St. Charles.

  21. Worse for who ? We went down this road one time on the site and a comment was posted that was hurtful to many,many victims. If a child is raped by their father do you think the feeling is one of relief that “at least is wasn’t the priest who raped me?” I understand what you are saying on one level. When I hear of abuse by an organization such as the Boy Scouts, I am outraged. When I of hear of abuse within the Church I am outraged and with that the realization that the Church is preaching the Gospel,posturing themselves as a moral authority ,so it is a double whammy in many ways. But to a child whose body has been sexually violated by a trusted adult, the pain is real and horrific and I am not going to split hairs about who sexually violated a child. I know people who are not Catholic who have been abused outside the church and each day for them is a struggle…they don’t care about a priest being a representative of Christ or “ontologically different”, someone they trusted violated their body as a child…not a priest, but a trusted adult.
    The coverup and response to the cover up in the Church has been horrific..Penn Sate showed the Church within a week what the Church should have done all along. I think that if I was abused by anyone as a child, I probably would not have told one person..if I was abused by a priest, I KNOW I absolutely would not have told one person. I am not arguing in any defense of the Church..I am saying that I don’t want to go down the road about if abuse by a priest is in any way worse for a child because I have met far too many people abused outside the church who are suffering. My friend was repeatedly raped by her Uncle from the age of 5 to 9..her Uncle was her favorite person in her life, the most trusted person..she does not think about Catholic priests when she tries every day to deal with the affects of a violated body and a violated trust.
    Maybe because of what happened before I am being overly cautious, but there were comments made on the site that were very hurtful, listing how abuse within the Church was so much “worse”. I think it was Rich and Beth that responded in a manner that cleared that issue up pretty fast.

    1. “Worse for who?”

      It’s worse for all Catholics. No matter how bad the priest, the RC Church always falls back upon their position that the priest is “ontologically different” (better than the layman, only slightly below the standing of the angles). Then we see their behavior, and come to believe that this so called “ontologically different” is just so much nonsense. This is evident from the fact that so many people are leaving the Church.

      For the actual victims there is no difference; rape is rape To them talk of “ontologically differences” is clearly irrelevant.

      Again, for me, the “ontologically different” is junk theology perpetuated by the RC Church to enslave the People of God. Keeping them dependent on RC clerics is essential to retaining their power, and that’s everything for them!

    2. I understand what you are saying. A Boy Scout Leader or Little League coach is just a neighborhood guy doing a volunteer job..if he turns out to abusive it is shocking, but he is not holding himself up as the representative of Jesus Christ on Earth and he is not preaching morality from the altar each week.
      Always interesting to get different perspectives. I was talking with a woman and it seemed we were on different pages about the abuse within the Church. I thought she was making excuses for the clergy “they are just men etc…” It turns out she was abused within her family. Her family(parents) knew and did not protect her and she as a child had to protect the other children within the family. She is not shocked about the abuse/cover up within her faith (catholic) because she was betrayed by her own family. She said something to the effect of “if my own mother would not protect me,I am not shocked that a bishop sitting in an office would not protect a child” She had great compassion for clergy abuse victims but her own betrayal took away the shock that many Catholics feel. She wasn’t saying they “are just men” as an excuse..she was saying ‘ they are just men” and we all better realize that.

  22. In some ways I agree with Kathy. When we talk about which is worse, clergy abuse or parental abuse. Perhaps this is simply splitting hairs. As everyone has said, all abuse is horrible and unacceptable. Perhaps what some of us are saying is that clergy abuse is more damaging in that it obliterates our spiritual selves. If we are abused by a stranger, we can go to our family and Church for spiritual assistance. If we are abused at home, We can go to our Church for spiritual assistance. But if we are molested by our priest to whom do we ask for help?Some would say family. But for many of us,our families didn’t believe us when we told them. I think one of the reasons it takes so long for many of us to come forward with our stories of clerical abuse is that as children there was nobody to turn to with our horrible stories. The abuse was horrible but not being believed and having nobody to turn to made it worse.

    1. Jim,
      I read an article a yr ago that pretty much sealed the deal for me as far as I had to do something anything to reach out to our survivors so that they knew they were not alone and abandoned and that at least I believed them. It was about a victim that was abused in grade school and high school and then the AD basically did not believe him and he committed suicide. Forgive me for not knowing his name …..I have never been good with names but I see his face (figuratively) in every story and in every victim I have meet since then. I have talked and emailed my priests every chance I get about our survivors and our need to reach out to them. This Wed at 7pm Our Lady of Grace is holding a forum on all that has been going on in the church especially the sexual abuse by clergy and they asked me to talk alittle about what I have witnessed in our survivors and our need and responsiblity to reach out to them. Please pray for me and those that attend the forum that our hearts are open and God’s grace is poured out on us. I am hoping this is just the start of understanding and a commitment at least at our parish level to live and act like Christ to those suffering in our midst. Both in and out of the church.We are are hoping this is the start of many discussions and expressions of concern for our survivors. Privately many have told me they have been weeping for our victims I hope that we can focus this compassion for good.

      1. Beth: Thank you for sharing this info with all of us. There are many people both inside the Church and outside who are coming to a better understanding of the magnitude of this problem and a greater understanding of the long term effects on survivors. I believe that this site has added greatly to that understanding, and I want to thank Susan and Kathy for giving us the forum to spread this understanding. I wish you success with your meeting this wednesday. My sister, who I will not name publically has been involved with a group at her church doing a very similar thing. She has also helped with a prayer vigil for victims at her Church. I know things are changing, at least at some level but the process is so very slow.

      2. Thankyou everyone that prayed for the meeting it felt like this blog. Everyone got a chance to express what they are going thru and how they have been touched by clergy abuse. Nothing went the way we planned but God had a better plan 🙂 Thanks Vicky for coming and sharing you made an impression and gave a face to sexual abuse survivors everywhere.Peace.

    2. JIm.
      I believe you and I am sorry for all that you have been thru. You and our survivors teach us so much about what Christian love is and isn’t. You challenge us to dig deeper, take a good look at ourselves and love like Christ which isnt easy.

      1. It seems that I have started some discussion. Some of you understand and some of you are having some difficulty in what I expressed. I am a very compassionate person, a protector of children, and no one can get as angry as I when I read that any child has been sexually abused by anyone. Please allow me to further explain my personal feelings as a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. I was first raped by my father at age 1 and it continued until I was 13. I have first hand experienced severe sexual abuse from a parent and from 4 catholic priests. For me, the sexual abuse from spiritual fathers was much worse. Their is tramatic abuse that I suffered which Fr. Doyle describes as spiritual trauma. I suffered unexplained emptiness, a void if you will, that was left. A kind of trauma bond was established with these priests when fortified by religion-based beliefs and fears. A betrayal of a priest is for the victim a betrayal of God. Every core of our being, mind and spirit is effected by this abuse. Again, I speak for myself, the worst pain I have suffered was not by my father, but by the representative of God, what Hope did I have when even God betrays. The best way to crush the human spirit is to render the core of someone’s being invalid., there by making even that which causes them to suffer to be non-existant. It’s a very cunning form of Cruelty!

      2. Vicky what you describe is hell on Earth……….to take all ones hope away and make you feel like nothing……..that’s the exact opposite of what Christ taught……Christ taught we are made in the image and likeness of God……. you are such a courageous women….I hope you now know how special you truly are and how much you help people that read this site…….you have a gentle wisdom rooted in an inner strength that comes from a person that has suffer much ..I am at a loss for words….

      3. Beth, Thank you for your compassion and emempathy. Jim, because you are a survivor, your words mean a lot to me especially since we were abused around the same time and wqe understand how the “cultgure” was back then. We didn’t stand a chance of being believed. As Dr.Who13 points out the priest was set up to think he stood next to God and wer as kids were taught the same thing. Boy, what hog wash. We were duped big time. It was so bad, I didn’t even see them as human because I didn’t see God as human. Also, Jim, that priest with the whipped cream should be taken to task. To have children on their knees come up to him and lick the whipped cream from his knees is sick, sick, sick. Their is NOTHINg funny or innocent about it. This priest should seek help. Dr. Who 13 thank you for your comments especially about my explanation concerning holy orders. I think people forget that I was taught that the priest’s hands were sacred because they had been blessed with oils. To think of what some of them did with those sacred hands to me would make most of you ill. Kathy, thank you for your take on all this. I agree, if we were all together talking about this I know we would meet at least half way if not more. I sometimes forget to say when I blog this is my take on things, or my experience, or I speak for myself.
        I haven’t blog for a while because I experienced a lot of loss over the summer. I lost one of my dear friends to illness, I lost one of my dogs I cared for throughout her illness, A couple that I love very much moved to Florida just 3 days ago, another dog who would run up to me whenever he saw me died a few weeks ago. I had an awful leak in the house that went from my bathroom all the way down to the livingroom. OK, I said to God, I have now reached my tolerance level. I am on my knees what do you need of me. I got the answer, I needed to finally get to the “core” of my abuse and allow myself to do what I have needed to do for a very long time, cry! So I am sharing with everyone that the next several months in therapy will be difficult however, I will finally know freedom. Peace will enter my spirit and I can relax in the light. After all is done, I am going to write a book. I want it to be positive. So please keep me in your hearts and prayers as I enter my final journey to wholeness!

      4. Vicky and Jim, you didn’t stand a chance of being believed that is for sure. The one thing that is even slightly hopeful for the kids in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is that myth has been shattered and thank God. These kids have grown up knowing that priests have been abusive,it is in the news accounts,talked about in homes (hopefully). I am not naive to think a child being abused within the Church in this current generation would still not face the many issues that come with disclosing abuse but I can tell you these kids absolutely do not think the way we did, and we have all the victims who have spoken their truth to thank for that.

      5. Vicky, you are in my prayers. I pray that the therapy provides healing and energy for your spirit. Martin

      6. Vicky: I sense from what you have written that you are a “dog person”. I have found that my dogs over the years have made up for not having too many people in my life.I lost my latest best friend last New Years Eve. She was a little Shitz Tzu. She followed me everywhere and she knew when I was due home from work, and would wait at the door til I arrived home. I miss her terribly.I cried more when she died than I have for any person I have lost. The best thing about her was her “attitude”. She took no crap from anyone or any other dog. I think I’ll wait to get another dog til I retire.

  23. Vicky: I hear you loud and clear. To have gone through what you did and to be still able to talk about it, I find utterly amazing.You are an extremely powerful woman. You have described for many of us what happens to your soul after you are abused by a man of God. Many call the abuse” soul murder”. I think you and I can agree on the use of that term.

    1. Jim, Thank you for your kind words. Your humanity touches me because you truely understand what it feels like to lose your friend. Her name was kayla, she was only 8 years old. She lost the use of her back legs, but I was able to get wheels for her which gave her 2 more years until her front legs went this past August. I also have a black and white beagle, Bentley who looks and acts like snoopy. Your right, benny gives me such comfort to say nothing of what a great listener he is. I hope that when you are ready, you get another dog. We are dog people, it’s hard to not have one in your life. A short note to martin, Thank you martin for your kindness towards me as well. My therapy is very tough but I see the light within reach. I had to fall to my knees with all this loss so I would be vulnerable enough to stop and listen to what I have needed to do for myself for a long time. I need to put myself first and work on me. I am so grateful for this site and so appreciate all the positives I hear on how much we, as survivors help people to understand more fully the trauma and pain of sexual abuse. In my humility, I know, that I am a walking miracle and I could not be where I am today with out the guidenance of God and a exceptional therapist. In so many ways, I am blessed.

      1. Vicky, you ARE blessed! With these goofy beagles it’s all about love (and food-thievery!) Mine’s 14, and as upbeat and devoted a friend as ever.

  24. I think if we all were talking face to face we would all understand each other much better. A few months ago someone made the comment on this site that those abused outside the Church was simply the case of a situation of a besotted teen giving up her virginity to the high school coach. It was awful and hurtful to many.
    Vicky I was present for your speech at OMC where you waved the newspaper in the air and passionately denounced the abuse of children. The “Sandusky” story had just gone public that day. I know how the protection of children is a driving force for you,no matter where those children are at risk…family,school, sports,church etc..
    I have spoken to so many survivors of CSA over the past 18 months and their stories of betrayal ,many abused outside of the church. I know many follow this site in solidarity of those abused within the Church and just wanted to make sure that the comparison of abuse being “worse” was not getting confusing. Every situation of abuse has dynamics personal to that situation and all abuse of children in horrific. I know that is something we all agree.

  25. I read today that there is what I see………..what you see and what God sees…….and in another place “when men can sin knowing that God sees all, it shows that the heart is fully set in them to do evil”…..something I was reminded today is that the devil entered Judas at the Last Supper and while he went thru the motions of breaking and sharing bread with Christ he ultimately rejected the Bread of life Jesus.

  26. THE LINK:
    “Last Saturday, ten men were ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They weren’t being accepted for a job, they were being configured to Christ Himself.
    It is no accident that, during the ordination ceremony, they lay on the floor with their arms outstretched — as if placing their bodies on the Cross with Christ.
    In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul spoke of the new life in Christ that had come to him in Baptism and faith, but it has special relevance to what happened at the Cathedral on Saturday, and what happens to every man ordained to the priesthood:
    I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
    That’s no accident — that’s an ontological change.”

    And Crystal posted:
    “Drwho13, regarding the author and articles in your link .. Ugh. There’s such a priggishness to the way he explains his mystical fantasy about the priesthood… You’d think a grown man (a Harvard Law grad.?) could hear himself babbling like a groupie, in awe of the “ordained ones.” How irresponsible of the laity, in 2012, to continue teaching catholic children such nonsense about priests. No wonder incidents like the one in Poland, happen right under parents’ noses. No wonder so many kids have been harmed.”
    Crystal, I want to agree and identify my own opinion with your’s about that “ontological change” nonsense. And the use of Galatians 2:20 in support of Roman ordination is egregious and insulting to the Lord Jesus Christ in my estimation. That verse is my “signature verse” and I trust that the Lord has given me a fundamental understanding of its meaning; and it doesn’t refer to men whom study to deny the faith of those who trust that their faith in Christ’s death on the cross saves them,without being in submission to the errors and pretentions of Rome.
    Using that verse from God’s Word for false pretenses has really riled me up, and that is why I am posting this rebuttal.

    1. [“…I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
      That’s no accident — that’s an ontological change.”…”]

      Sure Nichols, I can understand why this riles you up. I don’t think you’re the first non-catholic christian to feel the way you do about a catholic cleric’s interpretation of the Bible.
      The problem I have with this statement is that in reality, ordination has not brought about any supernatural change in the new priest’s being. Certainly he has been educated to help bring others to a better understanding of God, but he has not been favored by the Lord with some special magic which sets him above the laity. All that has changed is that he has received a degree, a title, and has taken a vow. He still has the same human needs and shortcomings, and he still on the same level as the rest of us slobs in the eyes of God.. For the church to fill a young man’s head with false and grandiose ideas about his state of being, is wrong and dangerous.

    2. nichols1,

      The ontological change refers to the changed (by grace) SPIRITUAL nature of a man having received the sacrament of Holy Orders. Still, however, the ordained man retains the human nature he possessed prior to ordination. His human nature, “a nature inclined to sin,” is not affected or changed by ordination. However, his changed spiritual nature is expected to affect or influence his “inclined to sin” human nature, although not necessarily.

      The ontological change is considered a profound mystery. How clerics are able to identify, unravel and articulate profound mysteries is a mystery to me.

      1. It’s all a big mystery.

        Kate, do you believe the reformation of the priesthood is a practical solution?

      2. SW,

        Yes, I do think that priestly reformation can be accomplished practically. However, I don’t want to imply that priests, themselves, will necessarily accomplish it or accomplish it alone. The fact of the matter is that the priesthood is undergoing a reformation as we speak, and we don’t need Rome to acknowledge it because it won’t. Every time an offending priest is incarcerated, or a statute of limitation is extended, or a priest testifies against another priest at a trial, or a person blogs or Sr. Maureen writes a piece against clericalism, or a diocese declares bankruptcy, or someone like Cipriano divulges the arrogant and extravagant habits of formidable clerics, or when clerics catch hell for supporting offending clerics in court instead of their victims, et al, the priesthood and its culture are brought to light, and people measure them in the light of reason and against the laws and standards of society. Reason and the laws and standards of society act as practical chokeholds on the priesthood and its culture. The priesthood can permit the social chokeholds to force reform, and/or it can participate as viable partners in reform. Presumably, one, or the other, or both will lead to reform. However, it would not stun me if the priesthood took the stance of “untouchable” which, ultimately, translates to death-wish. I can see it perceiving dying as being more noble, True, and holy than reforming. Martyrs to clericalism. I would not put it past clerics to lay this on us and our Church’s history.

  27. Whether one is Catholic or non-Catholic, my point is that there isn’t any place in the bible that either explains or mandates priestly ordination or “ontological change in a man”; and certainly not in Gal.2:20 which is meant to express an aspect of the “change” that takes place in a sinner by grace through faith.

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