One of the more promising developments over the past year has been parish-based forums on clergy child sex abuse. We need more to do so. Some have held healing services, but I prefer “information forum” for several reasons. While healing is most certainly needed on all fronts, it seems that would come more easily after all other appropriate steps. There is little trust that the entire hierarchy is taking all those steps. In the meantime, information is critical. Bringing the issue into the light will enable the faithful to enforce efforts.
At a recent parish council meeting on whether or not to hold a forum, someone said this issue is best dealt with in private. What? Child sex abuse happens in private. Cover ups happen in private. The solution will be found out in the open. We must shine a light on this issue. Hasn’t Penn State, the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church and many other organizations proven that fact? The staggering statistics compel us to deal with this issue. This is not another person’s problem. This is our responsibility as human beings. We owe it to our children, our community and our God.
Kathy and I ask every pastor, every pastoral council, every parishioner to make holding a parish-based information forum a priority. I invite those who have held forums, survivors and advocates to contribute your thoughts on what worked and what didn’t in previous forums below in the comments. This will serve as an invaluable planning resource.
267 thoughts on “Hold a Child Sex Abuse Parish Information Forum”
An excellent idea if people have the fortitude for it. I will put a link on my healing blog.
I will post on my other blog also:
Catholicism in the 21st century at
“And a woman shall lead them…………….” Good on ya Susan Matthews. Since it was men in The Church who committed these sins and crimes, men who hid them and covered them up, men through their power positions in The Church (just as at Penn State and the Boy Scouts)who kept the crimes from seeing the light of day and their day in court, it seems to be up to a woman to see that justice prevails.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I wish I could offer some insight to a forum, we couldn’t get our foot in the door of our own church. I’ll be watching and sending links to this site, as there may be some Catholics in this area that will want to take the bull by the horns.
Reblogged this on From Hurt to Healing and commented:
An excellent idea if you have the fortitude, and the trust.
Thank you and CSA: LET’S FACE IT. You are bringing this further into needed open communications. I have endured the frustration of the lack of meaningful communication at the parish level. With the help of your blog, we will see more responses to this ongoing issue to get meaningful reform and changes in leadership of select bishops and pastors who are guilty of poor communications and cover up. I just sent a donation to CSA: Let’s Face It.
Integral to the success of parish information forums are the parish priests.
Theoretically, what priests need is a genuine, personal willingness to engage in information sessions and healing, knowledge of healing practices and processes, knowledge of the multi-faceted dimensions of child sexual abuse, and freedom to act independent of hierarchical confines, rules, and mandates.
Practically, as noted by the 345 priests representing 55 diocese in the U.S. at the June, 2012, Association of U.S. Catholic Priests’ meeting in Tampa, these “laments” were among those verbalized by priests regarding their ministries and the Church: recognition of a climate of fear, the distortion of Vatican II, the return of legalism and clericalism, the manner is which women are treated in the Church, stretching priests to the breaking point, struggles with the hierarchy, and loneliness. Indeed every one of the “laments,” either directly or indirectly, impedes the ability of parish priests to agree to parish forums and/or to act as formidable participants in them.
The extremely weak link regarding parish forums is the parish priest.
I know Beth and Vicky attested to Beth’s parish priest’s genuine engagement in the recent forum held at Beth’s church. I also know that the “laments” of priests are the “laments” of the vast majority of U.S. priests today. Their “laments” get in the way of their ministries, the degree to which they act with integrity, the degree to which they become personally involved in an issue, the degree to which they follow their consciences, and the degree to which they are willing to act independently of the forces they fear. Their baggage ultimately sabotages their full ability to minister effectively, relegating them to yes-men ministers. Sometimes, yes-men, on the surface, appear genuinely engaged but, in reality, their entire focus is on meeting the expectations of the institution to which they are yes-men or straddling some safe in-between where they simultaneously accomplish “a good show” but not at the expense of the institution’s expectations.
Parish priests are not up to parish forums on child sexual abuse even when they say they are.
Kate please pray for courage and humility for all involved including the parish priests you know they need it.
In addition to prayers, we need the Association of Philadelphia Priests, headed by Fr. Chris, to immediately and publicly condone and welcome parish forums on child sexual abuse, and to devise concrete means and methods that act to empower the role of the parish priest in them.
kate I copied the blog comment describing our parish meeting to their priest association weeks ago.It has been in moderation ever since.
Kate: I hate to sound negative about this idea. Where I see the major problem is as you stated “the freedom to act independent of hierarchical confines,rules and mandates.” As far as priests being able to gain the knowledge necessary to mininister to survivors,I feel that this is possible. The problem here is the ability of victims to trust priests,if they were abused by a priest. With the Hierarchy, I forsee even bigger problems. I would expect that many Bishops would sabotage such efforts, based on their prior history.They have yet to take responsibility for their part in this scandal. Until they do so, I would expect more of the same: protecting abusers by moving them around and denying that this remains a serious problem in the Church today. I know that Beth has had success recently with this kind of forum, but lets face it, how many people like Beth are as concerned about the plight of survivors as she is.But I certainly applaud Susan for trying to get the information out to those who remain in the Church.
I now know of at least 25 people or my parish who actively would like to support our survivors. That’s just the people that showed up at the meeting the word has spread beyond it. They might not be as passionate as myself but a connection has been made.
Jim, your caution is both understandable and prudent, but sometimes the prophetic trumps the prudent.
As I watch Beth, Vicky, Susan, Kathy, et al. propose moving forwards on various appraoches against “prudent odds”, I say to myself at times, “that will never work”. And time and again, they prove me wrong.
And what is the downside? Chaput and his ilk are great at micro-managing staged meetings, but spontaneous gatherings of survivors, and those who care enough to listen to them, are tough to “micro-manage”.
Once the brave survivor starts talking, often a dynamic empathy develops and that is all for the good. I hope Susan’s suggestion is followed and, even if the first meeting is a dud, try another.
Since the survivors have truth and justice on their side, it is only a matter of time before they connect with well intentioned, but overly docile, Catholics, as Beth has already shown us.
As to priests, I would consider inviting them as a witness, and if they come, fine. If not, also fine. Sooner or later the empathetic snowball will get some momentum, and the priest will be subject to pressure from parishioners to get involved.
The right to life movement, for example, started among laity and, only after it got rolling, did the clergy jump on board.
As usual a very intelligent and informative comment. I am writing this reply on January 2, 2013. I have not seen any of Jerry Slevin’s comment Online is several weeks. I am concerned that something has happened to Jerry. Can anyone let me know why Jerry has not commented on this site or others like National Catholic Reporter.
“…it is only a matter of time before they connect with well intentioned, but overly docile, Catholics…”
That’s my concern, overly docile Catholics. The “Ring Kissing” deference of the laity is deeply ingrained as a result of early indoctrination. I will continue to hope, but my optimism is guarded.
The Jesuits boast, “Give me the child for his first seven years, and I’ll give you the man.” They got that right!
I can’t wait to see how these meetings go in the various parishes. I know they’ll raise much needed awareness. “CSA:Lets Face It” looks very interesting as well. I would gladly support it.
I do understand some of the guarded feelings mentioned…It’s impossible to imagine a parish where this level of freedom of speech and assembly would be possible! I know from experience, that a meeting here, dealing with this topic is unfathomable and will never take place. This parish is currently micromanaged with an iron fist. As in any totalitarian regime, rather than tolerate the oppressive, joyless, uneasy environment, the more active and concerned members scattered. Since the school closed, the parish is now effectively a “ghost town”. I’ve grown to hate and avoid the place, and regret that my kids didn’t have a better experience.
Crystal no wonder you are so discouraged…….here is something to encourage you……Christ remains my joy and hope in all that God gives me….and in many cases takes away Peace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2KNvuscKRA
Crystal what you express is what has been expressed to me over and over in the past year. I think it was Rich who asked if we (Susan,me and others associated with this issue ) were looked down upon or harassed by other Catholics. Actually it has been the exact opposite and I think for Susan also. I have heard the anger of so many Catholics…fury actually.I have people tell me their stories of mistreatment by priests (not abuse) feeling like they have “been had’ ,questioning what has become of their generous donations over the years..just disgusted on many levels. As for believing the victims, they absolutely do. I think although most believe the abuse happened the story of what Beth mentioned since her meeting is what is so important at times..the connection to actually do something about it.
“Crystal no wonder you are so discouraged…….here is something to encourage you…”
Beth, How kind you always are. I appreciate that!
Kathy, I can only imagine that the misuse of donations is a real eye-opener for many.
You can introduce me to them, Beth.
Rich that’s the plan…….just remember they are me about a year ago and see how far I have come:)
Kate, now that I have read the whole blog….and liked your ‘laments’ post….but I think there was a missing piece. Do you recall that Deacon who posted on C4C on his way out the door?
He was supportive of our concerns and also mentioned that he had a safe retirement and could ‘afford’ to move on.
The lamenting priests are ‘kept’ by the Church….they are dependent, unless they are trust fund babies or inheritors of substance…at a very primitive level of finance, with relatively unmarketable degrees and that is not the only problem. I think you made the point eons ago about clerical conforming pressure and ‘shunning’ of guys who do not go along…
AND the AD is historically conservative with an exceedingly conservative AB…..I fear it would take the Second Coming to dislodge these realities…..Hope I’m wrong….though Beth’s and Vicky’s effort was terrific.
Our recent parish forum has lead to a steady stream of parishners asking how can we reach out to our surviors……we are now planning and organizing concrete ways to do this…..i believe in the power of connection not isolation.
Beth, is it wise for you to share with all of us the name of your parish where these efforts are being made?
Our Lady of Grace
The truth is too ugly for Catholics to hear. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome.” – Somewhere in the bible
The darkness hasn’t overcome Catholics because they’ve never lived in the darkness. I guess it’s ironic, because I’ve never seen the light, but I continue searching for it.
Catholics never want to search through the darkness for he truth. That’s where evil exists and demons and nightmares thrive there. It’s where I live.
Parish-based forums to talk about childhoood sexual abuse and ways to prevent it will only spread more misinformation and lies. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
If survivors are involved, then the misinformation might be held to a minimum.
People continue to come up to me and say Vicky speaking was the most powerful part of the meeting…….I believe it is because of her honesty. If anything I think many had a better understanding of clergy sexual abuse leaving then when they came in the door and definitely left more connected to the issue then detached. When people are asking what they can do to help that is never a bad thing…….indifference is…….
Rich, you speak with authority and must give all pause.
I wonder if in some cases, however, it is worth a gamble to speak at a welcoming parish as the general awareness of abuse and its horrible effects increasingly sink in, especially because of brave survivors who believe they are willing and able to talk about it, and, in some cases it appears, have in fact already done so with some positive results..
Each case, of course, has to be assessed carefully on its individual merits.
That said, I am not a survivor or personally close to a survivor, so I defer to those who know better than I.
Then are you suggesting those of us still in the church do nothing?
intergrity, Thank you so much for your donation to CSA: Let’s Face It. I prematurely offered the link. The organization hopes to officially launch it later this week. I will be posting more info soon.
I wrote a comment (a long comment sorry) but it’s “awaiting moderation.” Could you check that out please?
Peace out bean sprout!
Do nothing? I never said that. Every single victim I know, including myself, was victimized because other people chose to do nothing. They knew predators were so close to their prey and nobody fired a warning shot. Those with power and authority sat back comfortably, even though they knew that their decisions put children at risk. I’m not as afraid of the abusers as I am the people who protect them and advocate for them by concealing their past crimes and burying the truth. I’m mostly afraid of the decision makers who decided that Father McDevitt would be relocated again and again to roam the halls in search of his young prey. Nothing haunts me more than the panic I deal with every day, and when I am attacked by those memories of the past and that little boy inside of me cries out for help in a crowded room of strangers as he is attacked by his darkness again and again. That little boy keeps screaming for help, but nobody can hear him or see him because all you do see is this adult man in front of you. Nobody ever came to help him and “they” knew there would be more of us because of the decisions they made to protect the predator instead of the child.
Do nothing? Do something! Do something damn it! But why do it within the parish where many of us were abused? Get it out in the open. Come on. Let’s really talk about it. I’ll share with the world all the many gross details I keep to myself if I think it will change your minds about where you’re getting your information and who’s feeding it to you. Why does the forum still have to be on your turf? I was abused on the Catholic field, in the dugout, and the locker room. There’s no way to “level the playing field” Chaput, if you not willing to journey to the visitors’ arena. What about the rest of you Catholics? Are you willing to step outside of your Church to really listen to the facts? I find it amazing and dreadful that anyone can still find a reason to take one step into any Catholic building. I find it even more insane that parents drag their children to Mass and Catholic school. You’re feeding your children to the wolves, but don’t worry, guys like me will be around when they’re desperate, broken, heartless and looking for help to know they are not alone. When that day comes, I will be depressed and angry, because I didn’t do more to prevent it today.
Why do church paid, priest pedophile-treating psychiatrists get to speak to a room (half) full of Catholics and a few abuse victims about the differences between “pedophilia” and “ephebophilia” for more than 40 minutes, when he was supposed to be talking about his treatment of pedophile priests and what he has learned about them in order to educate us on how to stop them? Why was he given so much time to baffle and confuse the crowd like a magician, and a licensed therapist, who has treated hundreds of child sex abuse victims gets cut off after 15 minutes? Why was I only allowed to ask one question and why couldn’t any of us make a statement? I had a question, but I was far too angry at the “parish-based” and facilitated agenda to stick around any longer, but since I’m on the subject, I’ll ask my question here; “Who the fuck do you think you people are?” I interrupted Fr. Tom Doyle, who I respect very much, at a VOTF conference because I was tired of people asking stupid questions listening to Tom continually reiterating the same answers over and over to a crowd that just didn’t get it.
Maybe priests are the authority in the imaginary world of make believe while purporting to speak the word of a man who lives in the sky, but you are still men, mortal just like me. You still breathe the same air as I do and your blood runs red just as mine. Who the f#ck do you think you are that you don’t have to obey the same rules as the rest of us? Who the f#ck do you think you are that you can rape us and hide away from the truth? I am no authority, just a man, but if I see you raping a little boy in a locker room or molesting a child in a confessional, I will have to answer to the laws of the land and the authority of the United States government, because you can be damned certain I am not going to leave that little boy in that locker room or the kid in the confessional, and once those boys are safe, I’m coming for you! I’ve had enough of being afraid in my life. It’s time you molesters and rapists and scum of the Earth know true fear, and feel real pain, and cry for help that will never come.
I’m exhausted from listening to Catholics who are going to fix everything within their own religion. You don’t know the half of it really, because victims don’t and won’t tell you everything. I’ve already stated many times that I am unwilling to talk about the details of my own abuse, and as revealing as Vicky, Jim, Bob and others have been on this site about their own details of abuse, you can believe that there’s still secrets we keep to ourselves. It’s probably the worst of the details we keep to ourselves. If Catholics knew the half of it, maybe they’d be more willing to listen to more of it and find better ways of stopping it. I can assure you it will not stop as long as it’s kept behind church walls and in forums that are “parish-based.”
This comment has become a rant and I apologize. Something inside of me has been festering and I’ve been writing like a complete mad man for several days now. I’ve spent at least 10 hours every day for the past week and a half writing and writing and writing. Last Thursday night, we spread my Mom’s ashes on the beach in Sea Isle City, in front of her best friend’s beach house, where she spent 62 summers basking in the sun. It was her favorite place and it was her wish to continue spending the summers there when we distributed her spirit throughout the incoming tide. It was an emotional day for all of us who were there and it seemed like a final farewell, and a turning point that now the rest of us can get on with our lives.
I know I must sound like a man who believes nothing is ever good enough for him, and the truth is “nothing is good enough” and it will need to constantly evolve and get better if we’re talking about protecting kids from sexual predators. All of us victims/survivors were abused in secret and in darkness, behind closed doors and in isolated places. I don’t want that anymore. Just like the parishioner who said the issue should be dealt with in private, please don’t do that. Please bring it out in the open. Talk about it openly with you family, your friends and your neighbors. I bring it up in conversations with new people and I usually advertise to everyone I know or may meet, at some point, I explain I am a child advocate. I tell them no serious details, but I do tell them I was abused and that’s why I’ve made my mission about protecting children now. I’ve said it enough and I hope I’ve been able to dig this into your minds, “The world doesn’t need more people like me.” Private meetings in a Catholic’s parish-based forum with the topic of priests sexually abusing children? Holy shit!
Rich, That “turf” was defiled by abusers. But it’s also a place of weddings, baptisms and funeral celebrations. People gather at Church to hear God’s message. Isn’t it time they heard this part? I also want meetings at Penn State. I want meetings at Boy Scout gatherings. I want to have meetings wherever there has been abuse. It’s not their turf. It’s our turf to take back.
I know I have a different perspective because I wasn’t abused. I completely respect yours. My religion may never be fixed, but my faith requires me to try – everywhere. Thank you for sharing your story about your Mom. That’s exactly what I want (except Ocean City). Keep writing. I’ll always read.
Thanks Rich. I didn’t think you wanted us to sit around and twittle our fingers……..I am just trying to figure out what you want from us(laity) that we can actually deliver? Sorry about your mom…..its hard letting go of those we love
After all is said , and said, and said and done; the answer remains the same. And that is, each and every heart [spirit] must be transformed. And it has to come from outside us because we cannot transform ourselves.
Can I say I’m sorry, not for you but what terrible hurt you have had to endure.
These are truly crimes against humanity and the more I read and hear of them the more I’m convinced, how can they not be?
There is nothing more moving than to hear the spirit of the child within a man cry out.
I have been reflecting on what Rich, Drwho13.Jerry and Kate have said. They have summed up the major barriers to having a productive meeting………ironically on reflection they were the very obstacles that needed and continue to be overcome in my parish. I have hope though ……not all the catholics were what I would consider docile at that meeting…..some where very angry, I am optimistic that this was not just a window dressing meeting for our priests and I am not a survivor but it was not a repeat of the omc meeting I attended as well as Vicky and Rich.Having therapists that treat offender priests with survivors at a meeting was a big mistake and something to be avoided. My advice is pray, push forward and get input from our survivors when planning these meetings they will keep us honest.
Rich and Martin you both suggested out of parish meetings . I was wondering where you plan on having them and how are you planning on getting people to them? I continue to work where I am at with what I have but am open to discussion. I really think we should just start having coffee and getting to together with our survivors etc.nothing formal and hang out and talk.
I have been wondering if others might be interested in starting a group that would offer speakers to parishes, folks like Vicky who are willing to speak. I would be willing to give time and effort to working with anyone who is interested in this idea. I have no need to lead such a group.
It could be a project of C4C if Kathy and Susan were interested and approved.
If we got endorsements, like your priests in Penndel, C4C based, etc. We could actively advocate for parishes to bring in speakers. This is very different from one person approaching a priest. Speaker should be paid something by the parish or group.
Would require a good deal of planning to think through risks and how to mitigate those. One quality control would be to have facilitators who accompany the speaker. This would avoid the OMC experience Vicky had. The speaker, pastor, the parish, and the audience would be protected from disrespectful exchanges. I am willing to train facilitators.
I said previously, personally – I am ready to do something beyond just talking…
We don’t live far from one another. I’m in New Hope. Maybe we can see if others are interested in having coffee just to talk (need not be about my idea above)
Wonderful idea, Martin. If the Dynamic Duo of Susan and Kathy risk becoming even more overstretched (their call, obviously), perhaps some other C4C bloggers in your area might volunteer to pitch in. Thanks.
Martin after the hurricane clean up. New Hope? Are you ok. It always floods there. Our wires are underground and all trees are small but Levittown and areas around nesh. creek are destroyed. Trees on every other house or car. My neighbor has all the old neighbors from her old neighborhood staying at her house because they lost power. I would be very interested in speaking to you about having productive meetings for all involved. I have had many of the same thoughts as you as far as these meetings. We are rather at opposite ends of the spectrum with other issues but I can tell you are as passionate as I am about protecting children and helping our survivors. Maybe Vicky and or others would come also.
I have been to three community meetings concerning child sex abuse. One was held at a fire hall, another a union hall and another at a YMCA. The total attendees at all three meetings was about 75…about 25 people a meeting. People are simply scared of this issue. Any meeting concerning child sex abuse is not a place for graphic descriptions of abuse because some in attendance are parents trying to educate themselves and other are victims themselves. I have been amazed at how many people have disclosed to me that they are victims of CSA. Another factor is family members of victims may be at such meetings. Yelling at people in a meeting who are asking questions,no matter how redundant the question is probably not the way to go. The fact that they showed up means they are trying to educate themselves. No question is a stupid question.
The survivors who helped plan these meetings to educate parents and the general public, did a great job..just a lack of people who showed up.
Kathy I had a mother of a sexual abuse survivor tell me if vicky was attacking or hostile towards the people she was talking to vickys message would have been lost and they really were amazed vicky was able to speak respectfully while at the same time speaking of her need for justice.
Beth: What you say about Vicky continues to amaze me. How any victim can be that calm and respectful amazes me. I may sound the same way when blogging here, but I’m afraid if I were in front of a couple men with Roman collars my calm would disapear, especially if they in any way discounted my experiences. I would like to comment on what Rich said about keeping many things quiet about what the abuse did to us. He is absolutely correct. We all keep things to ourselves, or maybe tell a therapist after they have gained our trust. Some of those things, nobody will ever know.We know as survivors that there are people who would use those things against us. Again it comes back to trust. For those of you who have not suffered the effects of sex abuse, you still have that ability to trust. For myself, trusting that such meetings in a church building would provide a positive outcome is very difficult to imagine.But who really knows? If such meetings occur, perhaps it could be the start of somethig much bigger .
I know it makes sense to not attack people or come across as angry or upset. I know. I know. I know.
But, something hits me when I hear that…because its like we expect victims to heal enough to a place where they can not upset anyone. What the hell? Kinda like they need to sanitize the abuse so no one feels uncomfortable? Kids were raped. All victims have is the truth…ugly, painful, angry truth. And some, the lucky ones might just get to a place where they are able to address a crowd in a way the audience needs it…it makes sense, but it’s a little backwards too. A little self -centered? It hits on why those rooms aren’t full. Scared? No way. Those rooms aren’t full because, just like the parents of the victims years ago, they believe this doesn’t affect them or their children, at least not in a serious, life-threatening way.
I hope the Philly Catholics can rip the duct tape off the silence/shame of clergy sex abuse from within their parishes. I pray for it. Truth is on their side!
Rich, I needed to hear exactly what you wrote. The people surrounding the predators scare the crap out of me too.
I would not be able to address a crowd calmly if I was a victim..I know that. However if people are coming to a meeting for information on how to protect their kids or for more information on abuse within the church or any abuse..if they are yelled at, you have lost them…simple as that. I don’t say this in a judgmental way but rather human nature. When I saw Vicky speak at a parish she was passionate about protecting kids,angry as she waved a newspaper in the air about the Sandusky case that broke that day and brutally honest about how the abuse by priests affected her for a lifetime. She was not angry at the people sitting in the chairs who came to learn about abuse.
Kathy: I don’t mean to sound sexist but the fact that Vicky is a woman, she would be perceived as less threatening than if myself or Rich were to speak. For me, I have always found it much easier to talk about this issue with women. They seem naturally more compassionate than men. Perhaps that is because my abuser was a man.When a man is angry, it just appears to me to be more threatening. I better stop before I get myself in trouble.
Jim I dont think gender has much to do with it. I studied social work for six years in college and grad school and we often had guest speakers..a parade of pain in many ways,hearing directly from the people the issue most affected. Drunk driving, rape victims, survivors of abuse as children,victims of gun violence.parents who lost children to cancer and many other issues. I also have helped organize seminars with guest speakers. I don’t think anyone is saying a victim of any issue or crime needs to speak like a robot or anything of the kind. I can say however that I have never been yelled at as an audience member..I didn’t abuse, shoot,drunk drive,cause an illness etc..I am just there to learn about the issue. So to me a big difference in what we talk about when we say showing anger..anger directed at people seeking to learn about an issue? I have never personally witnessed that.
I hear you and I understand what you are saying. I think people were angry and disturbed and upset and I dont think Vicky expected that amount of emotion coming from the people in the pews . Maybe she was just as surprised by our reactions as we were of her. I think justified angry is very healthy……
Actually Vicky’s speech was so full of emotion, justified anger,,betrayal, you name it…a woman sitting behind me was sobbing by the end. People gathered around Vicky at the reception. Anger,passion all of that is good..just when it is not necessarily directed at people who are trying to help,listen, and understand an issue that is foreign to them in many ways.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do to better educate Catholic parishioners and parents to help them protect their children from abusive priests. I thought that’s why I drove up to a Catholic facilitated meeting at OMC, but quickly I realized it was just more smoke and mirrors. I don’t know how to educate people myself other than to tell them that I’m a victim of clergy childhood sexual abuse and maybe I can shed some light on how I think my abuser groomed and manipulated me into thinking that I didn’t matter much, and how he stripped me of my natural defenses and instincts by reversing my normal and basic way of thinking. I think many people continue asking the same questions over and over, “Why I didn’t tell anyone while it was happening? Why I didn’t come forward sooner? Why I kept going back to the abuse?” Those questions are all very difficult to answer, but I can tell you that I know now that a child’s mind isn’t developed like an adult’s mind, and as easy as it is for adult’s to ask those questions of me over 20 years later, my child mind couldn’t begin to imagine why this was happening to me. It’s emotional and psychological overload. Mental chaos. Humiliation, fear, and confusion. Who would believe me over the word of a well-respected priest? How much responsibility belongs with me and what part did I play in this entire ordeal to let him abuse me? What was it about me that made him want to do that? I can ask myself thousands of questions. I can accept guilt on myself like no other, and most of the time I still feel like Father McDevitt is still controlling my life.
I don’t know where these meetings should occur, but it just seems wrong to me that they would be in or around a Catholic church or building. Hero #1, who started the investigation against Jerry Sandusky has written a book and he hopes to help other victims of abuse and educate adults and children of ways to spot grooming by predators, but I seriously doubt he wants to educate people on a platform from Jerry Sandusky’s basement. He doesn’t want to go back to that place ever again, the scene of the crimes, and neither do I. It pains me enough already to demonstrate awareness near churches and Catholic priests in their damn black suits. Someone wanted me to do a press conference in front of Father Judge recently and I turned him down, because I just can’t go back there. I walked into Father Judge as a 13 year-old boy, already living in darkness, and I walked out of that school mindf#cked and dead inside.
I’m not a screamer, but when someone gets in my face and threatens me or my friends, the rules don’t apply. Most people who know me well and have been at my side during demonstrations, I think would tell you that I normally stand silently, maybe appearing uncomfortable, and I hope my signs do the talking. I’ve never really wanted much interaction with people in the Catholic Church. I’ve always wanted to be as far away from it as I could get. The sights bring back too many unwanted memories of horror, and people say some of the most cruel words, usually from the mouths of those who claim to be good Christians. Why would I want to subject myself to that kind of crap? What? Round 13? No thanks. However, somehow I managed to bury my past for an hour or so and stand outside of many, many Catholic buildings and in many neighborhoods hoping to expose the Father McDevitt’s and Jerry Sandusky’s of the world. I think I’ve done a good job in that regard, probably better than I ever thought I was capable of doing 4 years ago. I just hope there is substance in what I’ve done and the activities I’ll continue to participate in doing; awareness, education, prevention, and a little bit of revenge mixed into it all.
I think there are other venues more appropriate for this subject than in and around Catholic churches. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe that’s the only way to get parishioners to a meeting about preventing child sexual abuse, but if those parishioners are not willing to drive to a YMCA (as a venue Kathy suggested), then how much do they really care about the worldwide epidemic of childhood sexual abuse?
My comments on this topic have been regarding how I feel about the subject of sexual abuse being discussed in a church or a Catholic classroom. I’m just trying to point out how inappropriate such a place is for me and I’m confident would be for other victims. If you find a non-Catholic forum to discuss these issues, I will stand up in the room and tell my story. That’s a promise. I just don’t believe the Catholic people or their leaders can change themselves from within their own walls. There’s already too many secrets within those walls.
Rich, no matter what setting you choose to tell your stories, know that you’re the worst thing to happen to the hierarchy and all its dirty secrets since Martin Luther.
I can’t think of anything more barbaric than making cruel comments to a person who is already hurt. Those ugly reactions and questions you get … You’re not the only one affected by them…People on the sidelines of this issue are observing those people and forming opinions about what it is they are seeing and hearing.
Consider the indecency and hostility the best possible free advertisement for the truth about the RCC sex abuse scandal. It might be slow, but change is inevitable here.–and it’s all because of the determination and courage of people like you.
I went to a meeting that was held because a man who had been a long time Little League coach and teacher raped a 4 year old chid..he had been a beloved figure in the community for over 30 years. If that does not hit home to show people it can happen to them I am not quite sure what will hit home. There were 25 people who showed up for this meeting that was widely advertised within the community.There should have been thousands..people are scared of this issue. So if they are scared they would run to a meeting to find out how to protect their kids…right? No, because there is no guarantee that they can protect their child and that makes them avoid the issue entirely. I am sure that there are many people walking around thinking this could never happen to their child ,but there are also a lot of scared people out there.
Kathy I think you’re terribly correct about people being afraid of the issue –and fear keeps them in the dark about how prevalent the problem is. Don’t you think the Penn State scandal forced some understanding of the topic for many people who previously ran from it? If they could only realize that knowledge is power and possibly even freedom from the evil effects of CSA.
Two people very close to me, refuse to read any accounts of the RCC survivors or the GJ findings–They claim that delving into the crisis is too upsetting for them and they have too many other scary things to cope with while they raise kids. Although short-sighted, they’re right to an extent. Understanding the topic of sex abuse takes mental energy and it hurts…It really does have a ferocious impact on our outlook…It’s not for wimps. Every time their kids come home safe and sound, these lazy wimps ought to thank those in society who DO expend the energy and courage to deal with this topic.
I think it is also extremely important to know the focus of the meeting. Is it addressing clergy abuse and the Church’s response? Is it a seminar to teach protection of children? Huge differences between such different meetings. The meeting where I heard Vicky speak was at a parish addressing the crisis in the Church. She spoke along with a disgusted/upset Catholic and a family member of a victim.
The community meetings where survivors spoke were about protecting children. Those survivors spoke along with law enforcement,pediatricians etc..their approach was instructive using some of their own experiences to help parents understand how this can happen. Not any anger or passion but more of that as an instructor guiding people through this issue.
These are a few of the obstacles that get in the way of Catholic churches being viable venues for child sexual abuse information and healing forums:
1. The Catholic Church remains in the business of denying and covering up its history of sexual abuse. It continues to dodge transparency and accountability. It is more concerned with salvaging priesthoods and protecting its assets than providing justice to victims. Its frame of mind is unsuitable for entering into partnership efforts intended to inform and heal. Clerics at every level, regardless of their personal feelings and positions on the issue, are expected to support, protect, and foster the frame of mind. They will, or else… Even when parish priests agree to forums, foremost and central in their minds is loyalty to the mindset.
2. Churches are perceived as sacred places. The issue is about children, priests, adults, and sex. The issue is profane. To place oneself in a climate where profanity and the sacred are juxtaposed is inconceivable to many.
3. Parish grounds– churches, rectories, and schools– are the “places” of incidences of sexual abuse. When parish members gather for information and healing forums in their beloved parish “places,” what they hear forces them to view their parish grounds in a different light. It’s difficult and disconcerting to learn or imagine what happened or what might have happened in the familiar and beloved structures on one’s parish grounds.
4. Chaput will intervene if parish information and healing forums get off the ground. A wave of forums will be perceived as threatening. He will put a stop to it, just like he has attempted on several occasions to suffocate the efforts of the Association of Philadelphia Priests.
Yes Kate, those are obstacles.
But, I think of Mother Teresa’s quote and I believe it applies…
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa
So, all of the clerical obstacles remain…challenge them anyway. Do what is right anyway. Tell the truth anyway. Hold the forums anyway. Gather anyway. Distribute literature anyway. Educate anyway. Support victims anyway.
SW, I completely agree with you that the wise, Christian, humane, just, and moral thing to do is to forge forward, to challenge the obstacles, which, first, requires acknowledging and understanding them.
SW, Thanks. I love that saying.I read alot about Mother Teresa when my dad was dying and she answered my prayers a few times…….it was pretty amazing. I took care of a Sister of hers at a Hospital in NJ and met the Mother Superior..That is what I am trying to do its not that I dont see the obstacles….it has taken a yr for our parish to even have a meeting……but I guess one thing my dad taught me was to never give up be persistant and pray…….I move forward even though I have no clue where I am going and how it will turn out.
“…Chaput will intervene if parish information and healing forums get off the ground. A wave of forums will be perceived as threatening. He will put a stop to it, just like he has attempted on several occasions to suffocate the efforts of the Association of Philadelphia Priests…”
I’ll bet you’re right about that, Kate. If Chaput doesn’t find a way to stop the forums, I worry he’ll find a way to take “ownership” (or the appearance of it) and control of these forums. I can certainly imagine the AD, for its own benefit. manipulating and spinning the truths told and the events occurring in the meetings.
Crystal, forget about Chaput, please. He was going to keep Lynn out of jail too. He is a small, frightened man who can, yes, still hurt some people sometimes, but he is fighting a losing battle and he knows it. Beth is right. Look how she has grown, how many of us have grown, in the past year. We must forge ahead and trust in God, to hell with Chaput and Rigali! If he tries to stop or coopt a gathering, it can just be moved. The curtain has been lifted on the Philly Wizard of Oz and we didn’t even need Toto’s help. Welcome back to Kansas, Crystal!
I am not wasting any energy on bishops. I hope Chaput would try to stop this. We could shout that from the rooftops. This is the little mouse who went to Australia, investigated a bishop, and never told the bishop whatr he found.
Jerry is right… a little man who is losing power in dramatic ways. Note that recently Chaput said something like ‘I can’t speak for all Catholics, but I do speak for the Catholic Church.’ People who all themselves Catholic reject the bishops’ positions in one publc opinion poll after another.
I want to talk with people in the pews.
Just wondering— after this forum has been here this long, why are there practically no clergy, Catholic or otherwise contributing/posting? And , in particular, what ever happened to Fr. Chris Walsh? … Just sayin’.
Fr. Chris is on pilgrimage at least that is what his automatic response email to why my comment was still in moderation a week later.
Nichols, Where indeed have all the clergy gone? Long time passing…!….
(Actually, I always find Rev. Wintermyer’s and Sr. Maureen’s inspirational words here, to be very helpful and interesting.)
Because those who would support this site have left long ago. They are known as ex-catholics, fallen catholics and the RCC has lost many.Had several ready to answer God’s call until one saw a camper being abused. I watch as priests who abused friends were cleared for ministry and the fall out was the loss of Good Catholics. How could anyone continue in ministry without speaking out when the RCC continues to support abusive priests? There are a few like Tom Doyle who finally realized the problem and stopped supporting the status quo. Others like Patrick Wall needed to break from the RCC completely. They and others like them understand the devestation caused by this crisis. God has sent vocations – the church and these predators wasted these gifts by abusing them and others . How many are willing to spend time with any of these victims and deal with hell on earth? The anger on this site is a just anger not one of those deadly sins, but a need for justice.
Are there any priests willing to minister to these brave souls? If three new priests are willing to minister on this site to Vicky, Rich, Beth, Jim or any other victim, I would be willing to go back to the RCC . I am not writing about just prayers, but real ministry – healing the pain caused by other priests.
Ed, for me- the fact they are not able to minister here, or elsewhere , to victims and their families, and victim’s supporters gives evidence [if I needed any more] of their false promise, false hope and true nature.
It is interesting to see what is happening in the social media world today. A 12 year old girl from New Jersey was missing for a few days and tragically her body was found not far from her home in a trash canister. People on FB,twitter etc are outraged,as they should be. Just like after the Sandusky story broke…outraged. Within a few days that will stop and everything will return to normal while predators roam free and innocent children are at risk. Another tragedy will happen in a few months and some more outrage but always silence in between the tragedies.
Yes I saw that…..wonder if the predator in CO stayed in CO or traveling around the country. So sad……..makes you want to hug your kids tighter.
I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it was for me to stop abusing alcohol some twenty five years ago. Booze was my lifeblood. I needed it to survive. When I went to see a counselor from an Employee Assistance program, he told me I needed to go to a treatment center to stop drinking. I refused to go and told him, I would go it alone, with his help. And I did just that. Looking back, I was just being stubborn. I would have been much better off if I had gone for treatment at a rehab. Perhaps I would have recovered the abuse memories at that point. But I did go to AA meetings . Many of those meetings were in Church basements. Some two years after I stopped drinking,the memories of the abuse came back. I started talking about the abuse at AA meetings.Looking back, I realize that this was also a mistake.After awhile,I couldn’t go to AA meetings anymore. They started to remind me of Church.I really believe that I would have started drinking again, if I continued to attend meetings.That sounds very strange but I believe it . When my granddaughter was baptized in a Lutheran Church some four years ago,I had a flashback. We were seated , in the very front of the church, and I literally had to leave before I did something totally irrational.When my grandson was baptized, I didn’t attend. People don’t understand my reaction,. Hell, I don’t understand it either. So,for me, attending meetings or forums is not something I could do.
Jim it really struck me the other day listening to Rich and you again tonite that for many of our survivors asking them to come to a parish based forum is like asking you to return to the scene of a crime. I really am sorry for everything
(Jim)”…When my grandson was baptized, I didn’t attend. People don’t understand my reaction,. Hell, I don’t understand it either….”
So you avoid churches because of what the traumatic memories do to you emotionally and physically… Sounds right to me!! Who could question the decisions of a person who has successfully fought to overcome the difficult things that you have?
Maybe the survivors who unlike you, are able to speak in a church, were traumatized in other settings –or their memory of the event is not quite like yours.
Jim, there was a conversation on the Association of Catholic Priests (Ireland) about how priests should not expect survivors/victims to go near a church and how priests should not tell those folks they had an obligation to attend Mass. I was impressed by the sensitivity to wanting to raise awareness around how NOT to minister to survivors/victims.
Jim, You and Rich and others are already giving all of us so much, just by blogging so honestly here. It has benefited many of us and for that we are all very grateful. I think the idea of trying a forum approach is just one idea among many. For those who can do it, fine. If it works, fine. If not, something else might work. The important thing is to keep exchanging experiences and ideas and not just be reactive to Chaput’s latest PR bull.
Thank you for sharing. Victims continue to educate me as to the struggles and 25 years – glad to read that. After reading this I wonder how someone like Arthur Baselice reacted to the therapy and meetings he went to. Also, the loss you have in not being able to enjoy events many of us take for granted. I thank all of you for your sharing.Plan to discuss these issues with a few D&A therapists I now.
It was not until my pastor lied to me and others in my parish, and was supported by the archbishop, did I dig deeper to find out what kind of people they are and how can they behave this way. It led me to read the grand jury reports that have been available to me for years. I have truly had my head in the sand. Before reading the reports my impression of the clergy sex abuse issue was that it was a small percentage of bad priest. I’m guessing that many catholics have the same impression as I had. My faith is such a fundamental part of me and I have to say that life was much easier before it got rocked by my lying pastor and the horrible things I’ve learned about the clergy since. This is evil, real and present. My heart breaks for the victims and their families. I wish my thoughts, feelings and prayers could heal. I attended October’s first Friday vigil, although I arrived late, and hope to attend November’s vigil. I want to help.
Yes it’s evil!
While in seminary/religious order, I found out just how creepy and freaky some of the clergymen truly are. It’s like a magic show; once you know how it’s done (what’s behind the curtain), IT’S NEVER THE SAME. It simply can’t be. I was once a true believer; but once you’ve tasted the apple of good and evil, “you can go home again.”
Roseanne glad to hear that. As of now I am planning on going also.
Roseanne, I ignored it for too long also, and am where you are now . I share your heartbreak for the victims and their families and have a special empathy for the mothers of the victims of the catholic church. As a mother myself, I can only imagine that their anguish is indescribable.
For a while I deluded myself that there was a way to compartmentalize the things I was discovering about the church, but I find I can’t disassociate the clergy abuse scandal from the big picture of the Roman Catholic religion. Others are able to isolate it and stay aboard, but this is not something I can do ethically. Now that so much truth is available, there are too many things about the RCC that I refuse to be associated with anymore.
…and coming back to the word “ETHICS”… There are many Catholic pediatricians in the Phila. area. I often wonder how they juggle their loyalty to their church, with their duty as an authority dedicated to pediatric health and well-being?
Has there been an official collective statement or outcry from the Pediatric Medical community in the AD, PA or the US about the extraordinary statistics pointing to the institutionalized problem of sex abuse in the RCC? -Or about the way it is so badly handled?
“Hold a Child Sexual Abuse Information Forum”
There is no institution on the face of the earth more riddled with a history of child sexual abuse, going back centuries and centuries, than the Catholic Church. No institution in the history of Western civilization is responsible for more victims of sexual abuse than the Catholic Church. The enormity of the Church’s history of child sexual abuse is nothing short of an atrocity. Its ongoing cover up and denial are obscene. The priestly silence and “safe performances” are unconscionable.
For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone could find a Catholic church to be a suitable venue for child sexual abuse information forums.
Like Kathy said it all depends on the focus of the meeting……information, education, awareness etc etc. If one person from a parish meeting shows up at a vigil or makes efforts to reach out to our survivors I consider that a success….
I respectfully disagree, Beth. The greatest informative piece of information we can offer people is, because of the Church’s history of child sexual abuse and its to-date denial and cover up, its venues are not suitable places for child sexual abuse forums; and the greatest act of healing we can offer victims/survivors is to emphatically reject the Catholic Church’s churches as long as it rejects them.
There are a host of other, far more suitable venues for forums. Stop clinging to a diabolical institution whose efforts are completely antithetical to yours. And I mean completely.
Beth, it does not “all depend on the focus of the meeting…” There is a higher, loftier principle to consider which is the structure– the church– that contains the forum’s people, and what that structure represents. It represents a Church that colludes and conspires to deny justice to victims. Does that matter to you?
Of course justice matters to me……it has from day one.
Kate: “For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone could find a Catholic church to be a suitable venue for child sexual abuse information forums”.
If ALL the members of the “family” were represented, including the priests, it could make sense IMO.
Kate I don’t think you quite understand me… I am not afraid of Satan because I know Christ.I am fully aware of what is going on.
Kate, you make sense, but I don’t think Beth is advocating even a tacit endorsement of the church. Ideally, if you can get people to come elsewhere and somewhere else is available, it would appear that would always be preferable. But sometimes you have to play the hand you are dealt and see if you can “draw” a better hand. If not, you fold your hand and try somewhere else. Beth is a realist, a brave one at that, as are you Kate. While there risks in doing anything, you have to assess what’s feasible some times and just take a chance, it seems to me.
“you have to assess what’s feasible some times and just take a chance, it seems to me.”
And also “assess” to what end?
It gives the appearance that the Church is authentically interested in information and healing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its interests are protecting its assets, salvaging priesthoods, paralyzing SOL reform, et al. Even if a parish priest is personally and authentically interested in information and healing, his effectiveness in forums will be necessarily skewed and tainted by the overriding agenda of the Church. He will be loyal to it before he is loyal to the forum.
If it works for your moral radar, so be it. It does not for mine.
I agree with your assessment of clerical loyalty.
And, that will be evident to those listening to the truth of what happened to victims, and the response to them during those forums.
The pendulum swings…at one point Catholics were bragging to the world how “even the Pope is saying he’s sorry.” It gave the illusion that the worldwide church was repenting. Ask the victims what that apology meant. Then more crimes were uncovered. Then the chain of deception was exposed all the way to Rome. It requires time, education, information…and those appearances crumble.
Are you suggesting that the only way to hold a forum is outside parish walls? How do you intend to educate those who won’t go elsewhere?
I’m all for letting people sit in their own filth until they’re ready to do differently, but not when it means their filth is putting children at risk.
My moral radar says, “wherever, however, whenever” if I’m advocating for them.
Kate we are the church and we should starting acting like it. I think as a community we can accomplish more than individuals protesting. Remember For where two or three have gathered together in My name , I am there in their midst
Kate, I agree with you about parish priests. My point is to use the church facility to meet with interested parishioners if there in no better venue available. I said if a priest comes, fine, but only as a witness. If he inteferes or spins, he can either be challenged or the meeting terminated by the survivors present or by their friends. If the only alternative is no meeting at all, it may be worth a try in individual situations. Most steps forward involve some risk of falling backwards.
You’re correct; “…we are the church and we should starting acting like it.”
However, give the fact that we are the Church does not mean that we have any power to change the organization. Through the ages layman have never influenced policy in the RCC, and it’s no different now. By definition, if laymen had a voice in creating RCC policy, it would no longer be the RCC.
Layman are a rag-tag band with differing points of view on how the RCC should be changed. Conversely, the clerics have a unified front, and the discipline of a military force.
I hope we prevail, but I bet the bookmakers in Las Vegas would put it at 500 to 1 in favor of the prelates. The Church is the house (casino), and the house always wins at the end of the day!
(Beth:) “Kate, WE are the church and we should starting acting like it…”
We’ve been trying to convince ourselves of this forever… When shall we admit that this is a nice thought, but it isn’t true? –and it never can be. The most WE can ever be, are the subjects and the victims of the church.
There ain’t no “we” in “Catholicism”– it’s all been rigged by our “betters” so that there never will be.
Although I feel the talks could be held wherever people will listen, I can see Rich, Jim’s and Kate’s point. I understand why some feel strongly that a church location would compromise the content and the implications of the forum. I can see why symbolically and strategically, these forums are better off held in a secular location where “WE” the laity are not “subjects”, where rape and torture are actually considered crimes… where we have a voice and the right to assemble without a clerical babysitter…and where the many survivors who suffer with the effects of PTSD can attend and be as comfortable as anyone else.
I’ve been trying to imagine how a struggling survivor feels when he/she reads that parish priests have a role in the forums and that we need to reach out to them, and inform them, and bring them into the discussion– because now they care about victims and are suffering too and could even have a hand in “healing” them.These are the same hands that gave Msgr Lynn a standing ovation in Blue Bell a year ago, for his service to them. Frankly, this talk of priests must sound like nails on a chalkboard to some survivors and loved ones. Their reality is that priests are not part of the solution to the problem. –They ARE the problem.
I agree Crystal, that the venue needs to be “neutral”. I also believe that outside of church property, any clergy that attend are likely sincere in wanting to help in the cause.
Crystal, you make sense as usual. Can we agree the preferred order is to meet offsite with no priest; next onsite with no priest, and third onsite with a deaf, dumb and blind priest. Whoever organizes has to make the judgment and be cautious and be wary in any event. And if it is onsite, priest or no priest present, it risks legitimizing the Church, which should be avoided if possible.
Jerry, agreed. lol!
Option 4: We skip the judgement and caution.. move the deaf, dumb and blind priest offsite, have the forum meet onsite, change the locks on said site.. and declare that we’ve taken back our church.
Love it, Crystal! Wonderful idea. Occupy the RCC!
I so agree with” hadit”, you have put it perfectly! None of us are afraid of the devil but we don’t want to entertain him either.. Jesus Christ. of course, is with us and the Holy Spirit guiding us. The place where you hold your meeting is important so that there are positive feelings & no evil or negativel thoughts coming from anyone.The place needs to be blessed by prayer..with the love of the Father before the people arrive.. “HE” MUST BE THE SOUL FOCUS of the meeting and place. After all HE is in charge of the entire purpose of informing and healing , not us.
When the purpose of those attending a meeting is the glory of God and His righteousness, it doesn’t matter WHERE the meeting takes place.
I consider the Catholic Church a mission field on this topic. They don’t really know what they are doing or how to handle it…clergy and most of the laity (with the exception of a growing group of catholics), as evidenced by the the victims and how they’ve been treated by both.
With that line of thinking…you go to the people. I don’t expect people who are poor to drive their cars to the surburbs to learn about how to rise out of poverty. I go to them, right where they are. I’m assuming the idea was to inform/educate/raise awareness/open this topic up right where it happened. If Catholics sit in the same pew pretty much every Sunday…even getting them to stretch to a location to learn more about something “uncomfortable” is not going to bring people together. This isn’t about getting people to leave the church (and even though I wouldn’t stay in a church that does this to their young and then lies about it and denies it and minimalizes it)…I do respect the fact that many want to correct things on the inside.
Part of the equation though is that the forums NEED the victims’ truth. They need to hear it from them firsthand. If you have victims that would be willing to step foot in a church, that’s great and while Vicky is an incredible speaker and can tell her story in a church…something is missing when a fuller picture of the victims’ truth cannot be shared. (I’m not saying that to offend or minimize you Vicky…you are one powerful woman!!!!)
I would start those forums IN the parishes. Go to the mission field. These people are lost on this topic. They are doomed to repeat this cycle unless they change what they are doing. Once the forums are established, consider ways to branch out to include more victims who can’t make it to a church. Once the laity hears the stories…they will never be the same.
I believe the victims.
Sw wish you lived closer thats exactly what is happening. Our parish is now looking to attend the vigil to reach out to our survivors and hopefully that will lead to other things..taking it.step by step .Please keep us in your prayers
“Jesus let our love for you move us
physically emotionally mentally and spiritually forward in pursuit of your will”
Rich said something so important that I can’t believe no one else picked up on it. If you were abused by Jerry Sandusky, would you want a meeting. held in the basement where you were abused? That says it all for me!
Glorybe1929 I heard Rich loud and clear. I just think like Vicky noted many dont seem to know what to do with the betrayal anger people in the pews parish meetings can be the catalyst to get the people out of the pews and into the community to meet survivors.
I am reading through the comments and one point that seems to be overlooked is that their are victims and family who are still practicing Catholics. In all of the clergy abuse victims I have met ,there are many that remain. So people really need to consider that also. Before people start weighing in with opinions on victims who remain…it really is no one’s business what path someone chooses.
Yes Kathy that is true.
Another possibility for the kind of forums that Kathy and Beth are talking about is hospitals. Many hospitals hold meetings for support of many groups of people, concerned with a variety of helpful issues. These support groups vary from medical issues to addiction and to other mental health issues. Many hospials have community rooms available during off peak hours. I don’t know how this would go over in Catholic hospitals but it could be worth looking into.
That’s a real possiblity.
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/10/24/archdiocese-scraps-plan-to-build-new-school-in-bucks-county/ Jerry here……change of topic…….
Thanks, Beth. A bit sad, as someone who happily went to a Catholic high school with Rudy Guiliani. The old days are over, Amen in many respects though, as we all now know better.
Chaput will be shedding a lot more committments and assets to pay his lawyers, etc., before Jeff Anderson et al. are finished making the Philly AD pay for some of their priests’ outrages. Hopefully, Seth Williams will be paying close attention to Jeff and Marci Hamiltons’s efforts.
Yes, I really loved my catholic high school also but you get to an age that you realize people are whats important not buildings or money or status none of that will get you to heaven…..its sad but necessary.
Thanks, Beth, well said. I am not worrying about getting to heaven. I know you are praying for me. If that doesn’t do it, I will tell St.Peter that he better let me in or I will ask Kathy or Kate to speak directly with him. That should do it!
I loved my Catholic high school too, until the day I learned my husband was abused while on retreat there as a 10 year old boy. I still have good memories, but evil was going on at the same time which clouds things. I feel the same way about Catholic Churches. When you learn children were getting raped in these sacred places, I learned they weren’t so sacred anymore.
It’s about the people.
I’m with you all the way.
When I entered religious life in my early 40’s (2nd career) I had high expectations of those I was going to be working with, expecting morally top notch people. Some of them were while others were not. The some of the ones who were not were criminals (felons). Experience had shown me that corruption within the Church is widespread. I simply no longer trust the RC organization, and no longer have a relationship with it (apart from Mass with my wife), once burnt, twice shy!
I certain wouldn’t allow my children to be alone with any of them.
SW me too. i had fond memories of my now closed, AD high school.
These memories are worthless now that I know that 1 out of 4 of the 30+ priests there were child molesters. Who knows how many more priests and teachers just never got caught? Nobody will convince me that the archbishop, administration and faculty didn’t know what went on there through the years. They were supposed to be professionals and yet they knew and said nothing. When I think of the kids who paid the price for their silence, I can barely drive by the place.
I went to St. Andrew’s in Drexel Hill I now know that I was living in a parallel universe where my experience was probably so different than sadly many of the boys……always something ominious about that school and church. Alot of vandalism ….Mary’s head knocked off on statue outside and bee bee holes in windows etc it now makes sense why I had those feelings and probably why the vandalism. Fr. Cannon and Fr. Smith were priests there.
Beth: This area is where I have spent a great deal of my adult life. My kids went to public school in the North Penn School District. Just recently three Catholic elementary schools , St. Rose of Lima, St. Stanislaus in Lansdale and St. Genevieve in Hatfeld were combined.Now, the new Lansdale Catholic High School which was to be built in Hilltown has been scrapped.This new school has been in the planning stages for years. It started over ten years ago when I still lived in the area.At one point these were thriving Catholic Schools. One has to wonder where it will end.And when will those people who still support this failing institution rise up and demand change. There have been many comments about how people enjoyed their high school experience. I hated my experinces in High School at Bishop McDevitt. I would be hard pressed to decide who were the biggest bullies,my fellow students or the priests. One priest who taught me algebra had us fill out our own flunk notices.He would place a pad at the front of every aisle and pass them back. he told the three or four who were not getting them to skip filling them out. My class probably had forty kids.This was really great for a kid suffering from extremely low self esteem. Another priest who later became principal at Roman, would walk around the room and unexpectantly smack kids on the back of the head with no explanation or reason.This is what they called discipline.There were also some really good priests, many of whom left the priesthood. The kids could be just as bad, picking on those who were weaker or not athletic or just not cool enough. When I look back at High School, it was certainly no picnic. But when I compare it to Richs’ experiences at Father Judge,maybe it wasn’t so bad.
Jim that does not sound like a good experience at all. I had mostly nuns and all but one were very kind …she just yelled every once and awhile. Looking back the priests were rather odd and creepy but many turned out to be predators. The priests at my parish now seem to be the kindest most normal priests I have known in awhile.
Just caught your post this morning.
Like you and your wife, we raised our 3 kids in the North Penn School district where they received a fine education. We attended Mary Mother of the Redeemer Church in North Wales prior to moving to the Allentown Diocese 12 years ago.
Also, like yourself I went to Bishop McDevitt for 2 years (1959 / 1960) prior to entering Saint Charles Seminary. However, I cannot remember one incident where the ‘discipline’ of the time was applied either randomly or without just cause. I never encountered any bullies.
Father Thomas Horner (now deceased) taught us algebra and geometry.
For me, it was a good experience.
You just confirmed my inference. While you were having a Bing Crosby experience at St. Charles, and while you were swooning in spiritual ectasy, Bevil the Devil was importing many dozens of pedophiles from outer space that were invisible to devout seminarians like you???
Sadly, these predators assumed the forms of human, no “inhumans”, upon ordination to descend like locusts on defenseless Philly children.
Please spare us this shameless defense of a shameful institution.
I had suggested C4C bloggers find a deaf, dumb and blind priest to invite to their survivor listening sessions.
You may do!
Joe, you’re one of the lucky ones that didn’t get raped, bullied, or violated. I’m sure there are many more with similar experiences as well.
Amen, SW. I hope Susan releases from moderation my response to Joe. It is both delusional and insensitive, giving the shameful exploits of so many “graduates” of St. Charles Seminary, for him to tout the Seminary, especially on this site. It just proves Kate’s frequent point that we have so far to go to cleanse my Church of its cult-like culture,
So Joe Burch, I’m sure Jim Tucker is simply delighted to read that everything went swimmingly for you at McDevitt and St Charles’ Seminary!
How haughty and unkind can you get? Shame on you.
I’ve never read a post of yours which showed any true empathy or willingness to understand the plight of the victims of clergy abuse. Your sugar-coated ambivalence toward our victims is magnified here on this site where they are meant to feel validated and supported.
Why don’t you go find a site dedicated to denying and hurting survivors of clergy abuse, instead of coming to C4C? I’m sure the AD could help you find one.
FYI – Just to clarify, I didn’t ‘graduate’ from Saint Charles, I was half way to ordination when I left. At that time, Cardinal Krol was the newly appointed Archbishop, not Bevilacqua.
Simply put, while Jim said that he had a bad experience – mine was just the opposite. My comment was not meant to be haughty or unkind – just a factual synopsis of my 2 years there.
Joe: I made avow to myself awhile ago that I was not going to respond to your attempt to minimize my experiences. Since you mentioned Fr. Hoerner, who was a very intelligent math teacher and a very insensitive jerk, he was the one who gave out the flunk notices in my first semester at McDevitt. I never did well in math after Fr. Hoerner taught me Freshman algebra. He was extremely gifted and knowledgeable but had a hard time imparting that knowledge to others. Imagine , if you had been molested by a priest at the age of twelve and this priest gives out flunk notices , which you had to fill out yourself. His intent was very clear. He wanted to embarass every kid who was flunking.Instilling fear in the students was the goal of many priests at McDevitt.While I am menrtioning names, It was Fr. Cahill, who would walk around the classroom and smacked kids on the back of the head, without reason or warning.Anyway you cut it these priests were abusive. There were many others who didn’t act like these two.I suspect you were in the highest academic level at McDevitt. It was very different at lower levels. I also had an older brother at McDevitt who became a major target of bullies there. I know what I experienced,both as an altar boy who was abused and as a student.Do not deny me my truth.
Nice try, Joe. Most of the 300 cases on Lynn’s 1992″shredded” list of “bad priests” were from Cardinal Krol’s era. I now understand, though. You were “blind” to the St. Charles’ widely reported perverse culture for ONLY 2 years. I stand corrected.
This reminds of so many of the pre-World War II Germans, like our pope, who were oblivious, they claim, to the sudden disappearance of all of their Jewish neighbors in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Nobody seemed to notice that either.
Even if you were completely oblivious about the Seminary’s perversions, which is not credible to me, how can you now, knowing what you now know, go out of your way to try to make the Seminary appear to have been normal?
You didn’t have to challenge Jim!
Have you no sense of compassion or decency, Sir?
Crystal, Joe’s experience was so great at St. Charles Seminary, he left after just two years, never to return it appears. But they were “wonderful years”.
Look at all the Christian charity he learned, as well as how to shill for Chaput.
It makes me sick!
I hope Susan and Kathy expel him for pointlessly trying to undercut a survivor’s witness.
That type of behavior doesn’t belong on C4C!
Jerry and Crystal,
If you go back and read what Joe wrote…I think you may be reading into it.
The fact is…not everyone had a bad experience in the rcc…if all of this were in person we’d be able to read things we just can’t pick up on through a computer.
So, Joe, I read your comment…I didn’t see it as anything more than the experience you shared. What I did pick up on though, was absolutely no mention of compassion toward a man who was violated within those same walls you loved.
Joe, your sharing didn’t bother me. But, I “see” Rich, and Vicky, and Jim, and my husband when I type here. I hope you’ll consider the same.
I understand Joe’s position based upon his seminary experience. While I was at a major seminary in the mid-west I was never aware of anything immoral or criminal taking place, and as far as I know the place was clean.
If it weren’t for my experience within a filthy religious order, I might think along the lines that Joe does. Only after I actually saw the corruption did I have a change of heart.
As the regular readers of c4c know, I played a role in putting a pedophile priest in prison. My relationship with the RCC has never been the same, nor can it be.
My problem is that since that priest was imprisoned, I feel frustrated. I vent here on c4c, but have not done anything tangible to change the corruption within the RCC since, and I’m not sure I can.
Does anyone else feel frustrated about being impotent when it comes to changing the way the RC organization conducts business?
Yes DrWho13. I do. I think we need to push to do what we can where we are and connecting with others that feel the same way is powerful. I feel the same way I was never abused at my school and over all it was a good experience but I now believe many of the kind boys I went to school with were probably molested in grade school….just from things I have heard recently about questionably behavior ,,,,a priest predator asking boys to look at trains in the rectory etc, so many grooming behaviors etc. Makes me sick that was going on while I was living a relatively normal l childhood so to speak.
Joe you were not molested neither was I. But does it hurt you that so many were? You might not be aware how you come off but a suggestion might be to show some compassion to our survivors before you say how great your experience was with the catholic church. Mine has been good ….that’s why this abuse and cover up is so heartbreaking to me…..it should not be this way. I was a good kid that didnt have trouble grade wise or behavior wise and I thank God for that because maybe that kept me out of harms way…..did you ever think of that for your self also?Just wondering.
For once, SW, I must disagree. Context is almost everything, as you usually well know. C4C is not the St. Charles Seminary Reunion Blog.
It is quite evident, to me at least, especially in light of Joe’s earlier postings here, that he knows exactly what he is doing. Jim apparently understood what Joe was intimating, as I expect did many others.
Joe upset me even though I don’t even have any personal experience with child sexual abuse. Blessedly, many courageous survivors and their loved ones on C4C, including you, SW, have taught me a lot.
I stand by my earlier comments about Joe!
Jerry: You are absolutely correct. When I first started blogging on this site, Joe Burke conducted an “Inquisition”. There are still Catholics fully capable of that. At first, I thought that Joe was the hit man, trying to weed out the phonies. Shortly thereafter, I realized that Joe was the phony. As far as bullies are concerned, there are bullies in every high school that ever existed. Thankfully ,today there is a concerted effort to try to stop the bullying that goes on in our society. Recently, we have witnessed the tragic consequences that can happen if we ignore it. Many victims ,seeing no other way out, committ suicide. Others go home and get dads gun and provide their own justice. Neither option do I find acceptable. Back at McDevitt, there were priests who bullied sudents and there were priests who ignored all the bullying that was going on.It kind of reminds me of the fact that there was sexual abuse going on by some priests and the vast majority of the others ignored it.Such was the culture. I actually think Joe would have made a very typical priest.Ignore what is right in front of you and when asked assert later you had no idea it was going on.
Jerry: you mention a list of some three hundred bad priests that was shredded back in1992. I am a little confused. I know of the list that came out right after Bevilaqua died. That was a much shorter list., around forty some names. I didn,t know about this other list. I suspect very strongly that Monsignor Lynn knew about the priest who abused me. I can’t mention his name. Lynn went to the same Catholic elementary school where I was abused. He was in the same grade as one of my younger sisters., two years behind me.If Lynn was an altar boy, he would have had direct contact with this priest.Could Lynn have also been abused? So many questions, so very few answers.
Thanks, Jim for the brave comment and thanks also to you and your family for so prophetically standing together and speaking out in the hopes others may be spared your and your family’s deeply painful experience.
Joe is responsible for his blogging that tends to minimize what went on at St. Charles and its aftermath. Until the Dynamic Duo, Susan and/or Kathy, my favorite Philly “adopted daughters” tell me, as they sometimes do, to pipe down, I will try to call out Joe until he stops or is stopped.
As to the prevalence of sick treatment received by too many in Catholic schools, I spent 16 years there, and my eight siblings and four children spent a lot of time there as well. While I wasn’t aware of sexual abuse when I was a student (after all, it was a mortal sin to even think about sex!), I saw a lot of sick behavior on the part of priests and religious that I now understand was, in some cases at least, a form of sexual deviance in a sadistic sense.
Jim, as I learned from Joan, among other wonderful things, C4C’s diligent and thorough statistician, in 1992 Bevilacqua gave Lynn as an early assignment files of over 300 active Philly priests who had been the subject to some kind of sex abuse allegations. In 1992, that was approximately 25% of all Philly priests.
Lynn then culled the files and identified about three dozen priests apparently that had not yet been “saved” by the expiration of the statute of limitations. A copy of the list, I believe, with the smaller number was the one that turned up last year because Molloy put it in a safe instead of shredding it.
You should be able readily to find more on this either in Joan’s earlier comments here, on BishopAccountability.org and/or by searching Phillynews.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website.and there
As to the possibility of Lynn himself having been abused, nothing about Lynn would surprise me. He is a man without real empathy for survivors. There likely were things in his early life that created such an unfeeling person. Who knows?
Jim, There are manu questions and this article may have some interest.
In fall 1984, a young seminarian was fulfilling a lifelong dream studying to become a priest at the Brisson Seminary in Center Valley.
But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare for the 18-year old, who told The Morning Call he was sexually assaulted by a priest at Brisson in January 1985
soirry poster (ed) Quote from article accidently got on the poster line – electric surge today after an update and my main pc is out two differet views from the same incident. One was the victim the other a member of the religious community. Sorry again, Ed posted this – was in the middle of editting this and it posted somehow
Any relation to the therapist who treats priests that attended the OMC meeting? Wasn’t his last name Nines?
Yes, Beth… the seminarian Ed referred to is the same Dr. Joseph Nines who presented at the Our Mother of Consolation parish forum held last spring.
Thanks Kate. I must be losing brain cells after so many kids:) I kinda remember us talking about that before. Still interesting.
In Phoenix, Az. ( where I lived for many years) at St. Thomas the Apostle Church (on 24 th St.) there was a hall named for a very prominant priest, Fr John Dorn, who named their hall after him.,called Dorn Hall. The The boys who had been molested and sexually abused by him yrs before ( now men, when it was published he was a pedophile in the. Az Rep.newspaper) called the diocese to have the name removed and it was within a week. They used 24th St. to drive to work and it was a constant reminder of their abuse by him. So once it is a known fact, things can be done to remedy the evil standing there.. They won’t. take down the church but who knows, maybe it will be one they close. Crystal you are such an amazing person. Much Love to you!!’ gloria
The works of two C4C bloggers are highlighted on bilgrimage today!
The first is Jerry Slevin’s excellent piece inquiring into where we’ll be regarding the issue of child sexual abuse AFTER the elections. Who is more likely to foster our interests to protect children and provide justice to victims: Romney or Obama? We can detach ourselves from the politics of our concerns, or we can open our minds to how politics can help us achieve them.
The second is a piece written by Bill of bilgrimage about Fr. Emmett Coyne’s new book called The Theology of Fear: When Religion Takes Leave of Spirituality. Fr. Coyne has posted on C4C and his work is extremely important. If the Catholic Church is in many ways unrecognizable to you, today, Coyne shows how its departure from spirituality has resulted in a theology of fear, leaving us either trembling or exiting.
Thanks for the kind words, Kate. C4C bloggers will find that Fr. Coyne, an occasional C4C blogger, and a prophetic priest for a half century, explains well and simply in his new book, The Theology of Fear, (reviewed at Amazon.com), much of the background on how we got to the bad place many of us are as Catholics.
He also appears in a recent TV interview accessible at:
In my legal experience, there is nothing that gets the undivided attention of senior management faster than the criminal conviction of one of their own!…………..Jerry Slevin
Ah, yes, Jerry, this tactic is surely one that is an attention-grabber. Since many Church officials have spent many years clothed in red and purple, such convictions give those who are held criminally liable an opportunity how they will look in “prison orange”.
Mike, As a law enforcement pro for many years, I expect you know even better than I do the message that a simple set of handcuffs send when they are clasped on to manicured male wrists. Amen!
JOAN… so missed.
Prayers and best wishes to you and yours.
Kate; I second that emotion.
I third it!
Miss Joan a lot and am praying for her and her husband.
I fourth it.
I miss Joan.
I also miss Catholics who lurk. I guess I just want to hear their thoughts, even if they disagree.
Thanks to you all for the very kind thoughts and prayers…my husband has stabilized for awhile and I think your prayers have helped…kept me calm in some tough circumstances!
My last post was to say how much I liked the successful meeting that Beth and Vicky developed!
And I know the discussion has continued.
I am wondering if this link to Peter Isely and Fr Connell in Wisconsin would provide you with some help, or even contacting these remarkable men for advice/support?
And I miss you all, too!
And thanks for those prayers…think they may have helped stabilize my husband’s health…( and kept me calm) …
Have tried four times to send you all a link from Jim Connell and Peter Isely on their work in Wisconsin with victims …..have encountered a few difficulties, Think their efforts have a lot in common wIth Beth’s efforts…..wonder if contacting them would be helpfu?
You guys are kind and I really appreciate the prayers and good thoughts….think they really helped us.
Have tried repeatedly today to both say thank you AND pass on a link to Peter Isely and Jim Connell’s very recent citation about their work in Wisconsin with victims, clergy and I think laity.
I am going to omit the link (which violates my conscience, but I think it’s what might be holding up this post). I think their work might have some relevance to Beth’s very fine efforts….was wondering if they could be contacted for some assistance?
You can find the citation in today’s Abuse Tracker, and it’s well worth checking out!
That link. http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20121028/SHE0101/310280201/New-mission-The-Rev-James-Connell-has-made-it-his-duty-to-reach-out-to-victims-of-clergy-abuse?odyssey=tab%7Cmostpopular%7Ctext%7CSHE0101
My apologies for the repeated thank you messages…there should only have been one, heart fully felt…but Susan and I were figuring out a spam problem which has, thankfully been solved!
Here is a piece of a Jounal Sentinel article in December 2011
Priests join victims in call for justice
Father James Connell and three other priests have forged a union with a survivors group independent of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, calling on victims of abuse to come forward and urging more transparency from the church.
By Mark Johnson of the Journal Sentinel Dec. 27, 2011
A joint statement from priests and abuse survivors appeared in the Tuesday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel calling for abuse victims to come forward and more transparency from the church.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which faces more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. As the case proceeds, we’ll have updates, analysis, documents and more.
Go to section
Calling it a historic chapter in the history of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a group of victims and priests has banded together to call for more transparency from church officials and to urge other victims to come forward and file for restitution in federal bankruptcy court before a Feb. 1 deadline.
The priests and victims have been meeting quietly for roughly a year since Peter Isely, the Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, approached Father James Connell after a news conference.
At a news conference Tuesday at Plymouth Church in Milwaukee, Isely said the idea for the alliance between priests and victims was inspired by the Gospel.
“In the Christian story, which I believe in and have faith in, the truth may seem buried and dead, but there’s always a way the truth will come back to life,” he said. “I’ve always had a deep conviction that survivors and priests of integrity can turn the corner on the sexual abuse crisis. It’s not going to be the bishops who do it.”
Connell said that as the priests and victims listened to one another what emerged was “a sense of hope. . . . This hope is something to be kept alive.”
The four priests involved forged the union with the survivors group independent of the archdiocese.
Serious good wishes go to you all in the ‘storm’ areas…deeply hope it is bearable and not too devastating!
Wonderful to hear from you Joan.
So good to hear from you, Joan!
The small group of Milwaukee priests had the courage to act independent of the archdiocese, forging, on their own, authentic healing relationships with survivors. The autonomous priests are testimony to how the agendas of bishops and dioceses disempower, impede, or altogether prevent healing. There is not a priest in the U.S. who does not “get” that. The question is why only four have the courage to overcome it?
For Gods sake, where are the priestly heroes in Philly??? Rev. Wintermyer had to travel from Maryland because there were no heroes during the Lynn trial or when survivors, their family members, and advocates waited for the verdict. That is nothing short of unconscionable.
The ineffectual priesthood in Philadelphia is appalling. Healing is way over their little heads.
Kate, the thing of it is that those Milwaukee guys had an agenda, in that in the midst of a bankruptcy situation they were banding together to help with both transparency in the archives and the bringing forth of more victims.
This not to in any way diminish their generous behaviour.
Poor Victorian’s faithful, (Australia), they are just coming to grips with how they’ve been betrayed and for so long.
I have noticed a change in the way I have been greeted since the Parliamentary Inquiry has begun, and the public statements in the media which makes me feel worse on their behalf.
It seems a long time ago since I came across your home, and reminds me of how far there is to go here.
SW said—“Jerry and Crystal,
If you go back and read what Joe wrote…I think you may be reading into it.,,,
Joe, your sharing didn’t bother me”.
For what it’s worth: Without “reading into” Joe’s post, I think a newcomer reading it would not find it offensive, so I agree with SW. I came up in a RC environment— St. Matthews Cathedral parish in D.C. [where JFK’s funeral took place.] If it were not for the fact that SOME escape bad experiences in that kind of environment— would the RCC have lasted? The only “abuse” I incurred in 9 years IMO (other than vigorous face slapping by the Nun who was School Principal), was learning a lot of false religious thought and practice that I needed to jettison later in life in order to be reconciled to my loving Lord and maker.
Thanks for the interesting and irrelevant background, Nichols, but we are talking about St. Charles Seminary, the prime breeding ground of the highest percentage of pedophile priests in any U.S. diocese reported so far.
Lynn in 1992 found almost 25% of Philly priests had bad records.
We are not talking about anyone’s parochial school experiences here. We all have great stories to tell, but that has little to do with the subject at hand.
Again, I stand by my earlier comments.
Listening to different inputs is fine, but sometimes one has to stand up and say; “Enough of this evasive nonsense!”
Children still remain at serious risk, while Chaput rants against contraception and gay marriage, instead of completing his latest whitewashing of priests Rigali suspended 18 month ago!
Well, excuse me please for living! Does that mean you regard the previous posts I agreed with as “irrelevant ” as well?
It was a great first day. With the exception of several students, most did not know what to do if they suspected abuse. That isn’t surprising though. The biggest issue we discussed was ethical responsibility versus legal responsibility. We discussed warning signs, grooming behaviors. A couple of students were crying when I started talking about children younger than 4 being the population most neglected and abused. When asked why they would be the largest population, students started listing reasons…I added that very young children are not as verbal, can’t pick up on social cues as well as an 8 year old, etc. then I put it into “I” language. “I see Mom walked in the door and got into a fight with sister, I better hide, make myself invisible, protect my sister…”
I do continuums in the classroom…where I throw out scenarios or statements and then they stand somewhere on the continuum. They then have to explain why they are standing where they are. They can change where they are standing at any point if they hear something from someone else that resonates with them. When it’s done near the end of class, it’s a great informal assessment of whether I communicated the material in ways they could grasp it. Allows students to reflect and apply information. One statement: Tickling is a sexual activity.
Wow, the discussion that provoked! It accomplished every aspect of abuse i wanted to being up…boundaries, grooming, unwanted touching, who determines “inappropriate?”…then the next part…”is it abuse if the child is unaware?” The discussion! It was powerful and at first I thought they would meander in directions that would not get the truth to light…but they got there. I guarantee they are talking about it tonight. I hope they are bouncing it off everyone they know.
This is in the wrong place, and was in response to Kate asking about class today.
SW – what you described is a beautiful piece of work which will do much to spare subsequent generations from heartache and suffering.
My sincerest congratulations.
Joe, those students were open and willing. I know they were changed by today’s class…they are to be congratulated for their willingness. Not all students are so ready to embrace the ugly truths. This group was exceptional.
It took me 40 years, on my own, alone, through my own studies, inquiries, and experiences to learn what you’re conveying to these students. I wish someone had taught me!
Thank you for your excellent work.
Oh boy, here we go again! Care for one but not another. I’m OUT!
I recall some of Joe Burch’s previous posts, and I disagreed with them because they were “defensive of the behavior of the hierarchy” as I recall; however, in this case some here were “analyzing” Joe’s latest , and SW among others I presume, found the post “neutral” as it were. Shall we “judge” posts by previous posts, or judge them as they stand? Jerry: It’s not a biggie; you have your opinions and I have mine.
Right! And Chaput, Rigali, Lynn and Burch have theirs. Everyone can have their own opinion, but if they contradict one another, they all cannot be right opinions. You and Joe expressed yours and I expressed mine. The truth will prevail in the end. SW surely knows that.
I saw Joe’s sharing as nothing more than that. Neutral? Not when he lacked the compassion or tact to consider the sharing by Jim. Part of my problem is that I don’t remember any of Joe’s previous posts. I have no intention of filtering through to find out what he’s said to offend in the past either.
I have better things to do. Tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be teaching a room full of future teachers about child sexual abuse and mandated reporting. I’ll talk about the changes that have occurred in reporting laws in our state…the addition of clergy…and most will know why that position was added. I’ll get to discuss the effects, their ethical responsibility above any legal responsibility…and I’ll discuss PA laws right now too and what’s hanging in the balance. oh, there will be so much to discuss and learn…and invariably they will teach me more as they share what they know and still need to learn.
Jim, Vicky and Rich…this class will be in your honor…a room full will know more than they ever wanted to know about child sexual abuse and how to prevent it, look for warning signs, and how to respond. I will be thinking of each of you every minute. May they never turn a blind eye.
Survivors Wife: Thank you for sharing what you will be doing the next two days. The work you are doing is extremely important and I feel honored that you will be thinking of myself and other victims.
I, too, thank SW for her important work.
If you are so inclined, SW, will you tell us about your experiences?
There is no right or wrong in an opinion….it’s an OPINION! Look up the word!
I am speaking to Jerry re: opinions. We are not looking at legal opinions here but the opinions of regular people who blog here. You are a lawyer , I am surmising, so we don’t mean “legal” when we speak of “opnion”. here. Am I wrong?.
I understand you Gloria. On C4C an opinion should be just that— an opinion, not a decision from “on high.” nichols1
That’s part of who Jerry is, Gloria. To ask him to offer perspective and then require him to “not know” something is not accepting the fullness of who he is. (Not that Jerry needs me advocating for him either). My opinions are shaped by my life experiences, personal and professional. Just like everyone else.
Today I was reading about the Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney and his new film “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” which will be released in mid-November. It’s about the 200 deaf children at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee who were sexually abused by a single priest there. The priest’s crimes were known to the Milwaukee AD and the Vatican. Neither did anything accept to “move him around.” Gibney writes regarding clerics and especially the Vatican then and today: “… there is very little sympathy for victims. Instead, there’s this resentment that people would attack the Church.”
I can barely wrap my head around the “resentment.” What did Catholics do or not do, or what do Catholics believe or not believe, that led to the “resentment?” How, exactly, did it come to be? Something profoundly dangerous is at the root of the “resentment.” What is it?
Kate, to your point, a judge just oKed the plaintiffs fight in Milwaukee and the final line of Jeff Anderson’s press release, could be a C4C banner……..it is:
We are grateful to each of the survivors for their courage and are mindful of how difficult this has been, and remains, for each of the survivors. Until there is truth there can be no justice and until there is justice there can be no healing.”
AND, the federal judge made that decision for Milwaukee plaintiffs based on ‘fraud’….
Jeff Anderson & Associates
Federal District Judge Allows Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bankruptcy Cases to Move Forward
Statement of Jeff Anderson
Contact Jeff Anderson: Mobile 612.817.8665 Office 651.227.9990
Contact Mike Finnegan: 651.227.9990
“The Order of Judge Randa allowing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy cases to move forward on the basis of fraud is positive news for all those survivors seeking relief from the horrors they endured as vulnerable children, and for that reason, we are pleased.
You’re exactly right, Joan. Why belabor the whys and hows of the senseless and immoral deeds and attitudes of the perverted hierarchy? What does it matter? Instead, bring it to a court of law where truth and justice prevails and matters.
Kate, I really wish that the church would simply open up its files, take the hits and (in the language of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops when first instituting their abuse strategy in the late 80’s) ‘Restore Trust.’
But 25 years later, we have learned, the hard way, to place our ‘trust’ in law enforcement, the Courts, those very functional prosecutors and the Marci’s and Jeff’s amongst us. AND the media!
Joan: It is so great to have you back.I really missed your posts. The quote from Jeff Anderson “Until there is truth there can be no justice and until there is justice there can be no healing” says it all for me. Hopefully this model of priests and survivors working together can be a model for the rest of the country. The rain and wind are pounding against my window.It is expected to get much worse tonight. The grocery stores have been depleted. Batteries, bottled water, you name it-the shelves are empty.Flooding is a real possibility as are power outages. Some one hundred seventy thousand in Pennsylvania are without power. This storm is so huge, it could take a week to restore power. I live in Fayetteville, not too far from Gettysburg. One of my brothers who lives just west of Philly has lost his power. Most schools were closed today and will be again tomorrow. Just an update from centralPa.
Jim, you are a peach ( my latest form of approval) and I have missed you, too and all of C4C. Sadly my husband has had some very serious medical challenges and the late summer was a mess, for us. Thankfully, he has stabilized…think C4C prayers were a part of that!
I am glad you like Jeff’s comment…I do too!
You guys on the east coast have my really best wishes that ‘this too will pass’ and soon!!! I know your area from one visit to Gettysburg…where a disparate group was visiting the battleground. My husband, a civil war buff was wondering around in the museum, when a son in law with a view of retrieving him took the mike and said he was lost and should come back to his family….this is often referred to in the family as Alan’s Gettysburg Address.
But on to serious stuff. Jim Connell in that citation on page two noted above, which won’t ‘paste’ said, under a heading: The Guts To Change the Church, said: “Connell insists that the Church can do better,including waiving their privileges so diocesan attorneys can testify about whether they advised bishops to conceal abuse”.
Connell went on to suggest several bishops whose record was ‘clean’ who could do this….I purposefully did not add them as have some concerns about it… But the idea that bishops would allow their counsel to tell the truth about the bishops directives…is very much what I was saying to Kate…..if only these guys had the guts.
And the price they have payed for their gutless behaviour….in terms of lost laity, scandal everywhere and most importantly the ongoing damage to victims is incalculable.
Love Jeff Anderson’s quote!!!
I have encountered this also…..its kinda like dont attack my security blanket……it works for me……I have recently ran into catholics that dont want to read the grand jury report and it turns out they were molested by family members and they cant handle that abuse happens in the church also and that it would be covered up. I myself identity with the teachings of the church and Jesus but know even at the last supper Jesus had Judas….where good is Satan is ever more present.
Kate: The “resentment” that you mention, I think comes from the hierarchy in the Church. It is passed down to those who still sit in the pews. How dare anyone question what they have done in response to the sex abuse by Catholic clergy.I think they believe that they have adequately answered the sex abuse crisis in a positive way. Of course those of us who were victimized and those who truly support the victims know otherwise.They resent us for continuing to demand more. More contrition by those who covered up for the offending priests more support for victims, more prosecutions of those who violated innocent children. and more laws passed to put all child molesters behind bars. They will continue to resent us as long as we ask for more.
Can you guys pray for me and my husband. He has in the past been angery and acted out because of his abuse which lead to alot of hurt in me which lead to me being angery when he was healing. Our timing has always been off.I am hoping we finally are at the same place. I feel to heal I need to forgive a few people but I am not quit sure how to do that.Sexual abuse of children isnt just abuse of kids but reaches its tentacles into the adult they become and the future spouses and partners.
While my husband is not a survivor of sexual abuse by a clergy member.The reason why I am so concerned about sexual abuse in the church is that……I cant imagine……enduring lifes sufferings without faith in God which so many survivors of clergy abuse say is hurt or lost.
Beth, I am praying for both you and your husband. And I have good news as well: It is not inevitable that “faith in God” be “hurt or lost” with clergy abuse; because faith in Christ really is independent of men/women or clergy.Nichols1.
Yes Nichols you are right……they can’t believe for you……you have to do that yourself……Thank God I do. Thanks for your prayers.
Beth, you are always in my prayers,I will pray for both of you and a special one that you will get the support you need. Your story reminds me of a yong woman whose husband was abused in a non – RCC school – a Christian school. At that time she was struggling with his anger and the fear of what she she didn’t know. There are so many of us who are protecting victims identity and struggling to protect others from the same fate. You have done much – we need you, but please get some support and hopefully your husband can find someone who he can trust also.
Sorry, I can’t reply or post., had to borrow this laptop after reading your post.You need our support.
Oh Beth….I hear you and offer prayer for your husband and you.
From your reply……I know you understand. Thankyou……you are a rock of wisdom and strength.
Yes, I will gladly pray for you and for your husband throughout this November, the Month of the Holy Souls.
Getting married is a life long commitment in which both partners agree to help one another through life’s ebbs and flows. While everyone brings some baggage into a marriage, it must be very difficult for you dealing with the repercussions of what your husband experienced.
Beth, you are a gracious and gentle lady of great faith. I’m confident that God will continue to partner with you and your husband.
Whenever we were able, my wife and I enjoy touring cemeteries to view the epitaphs on the stones. We’re in our late ’60’s now and are starting to think about making some ‘reservations’.
We saw one that I’d like to share, and it said ‘….I Finished the Work You Gave Me Lord…’.
So, we take the ‘hand’ that God has dealt us and try to make it better. Will it ever be absolutely perfect in this life, probably not…but we keep trying while allowing God to gradually heal us along the way. He does and He will.
We also keep close to our hearts the sure and certain knowledge that eternal peace and perfection awaits us in heaven.
Kinda reinforces the notion of ‘lived happily ever after’, doesn’t it.
God Bless – Joe
Thanks for that…..that saying has alot of meaning for me “I Finished the Work You Gave Me Lord” and it gives me great comfort.
Beth – here’s another effective prayer:
Thanks Joe been thinking about my dad lately because of All Souls. He was a proud very intellectual man who became very humble and kind hearted and returned to a childlike simple faith of trusting in God which was beautful to see. His suffering made him more holy in away because it peeled away everything til all that was left with him was God and him. He recieveed co.fession after 40 yrs of not doing so and anointing of the sick. He prayed to st joseph for a peaceful death and he did just that he died in his sleep.His suffering and death was a gift in so many ways because it taught me about turning back to God and not fearing death because Jesus has defeated death and satan. It was beautiful at the end because he felt his angel holding his hand and felt surrounded by his loved ones who had passed away before he died and though sad and difficult we felt a holy presence
Beth, it’s a privilege to pray for you and your husband!
And thank you for the gentleness and decency you have brought to this site. Joan
Thankyou Joan you were missed……I have been praying for you and your husband also,
This site has more love and wisdom than any one could ever imagine. The heartfelt love and anger all seems to come from a true belief that our Lord is helping us through this terrible heartbreak we have all felt. The evil we have found, in what we thought was a near perfect church….has devestated us all . Now it all comes to one place c4c, where we vent those feelinngs and it’s cathartic for us and seems to be even a place of Forgivness of our venting.Thank you for your love and care for us..we need it.
John Shuster says:
October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm
(John has a very good understanding of how it works!)
“The Roman Catholic priesthood is a predominantly closeted gay profession. The previous poster, John, hit the nail on the head. Seminarian Eric will either be shocked or relieved to discover this reality. Three types of people are drawn to the priesthood: idealists, closeted gay men, and predators. Most of the idealists have left because they came to the realization that they built their vocation to the priesthood on a sexual toxic dump, and had little power to change this rich and powerful two-faced culture. That leaves easily extorted closeted gay men having to deal with cunning predators who know how to play the system. And you, good Catholics, end up paying for it all.”
Are you aware that John Shuster is a married, Catholic priest living in the state of Washington? He attended seminary and he was a priest for four years before he exited and eventually married. Today, besides working, he ministers as a Catholic priest as well. There are thousands and thousands of these married, Catholic priests, many of whom would like to be in parishes and ministering to Catholics. The Vatican will have nothing to do with them, and their former, fellow priests follow.
It’s interesting the various groups of people that the Vatican essentially rejects. Among them, former priests, married priests, women, nuns, gays, victims of sexual abuse… The rejection is so hurtful, unchristian, inhumane and anti-intellectual.
kate: My daughter was married in an outside ceremony at Peddlers Village near New Hope. The man who performed the ceremony was an ex Catholic priest. He also was married. I was not in a very good place at the time but it would have been interesting to talk to him. I don’t mean not in a good place as far as my daughter getting married. It was a beautiful day and my daughter was beautiful.I have had many people, friends and relatives tell me it was the most beautiful wedding and reception they have ever attended.
A married priest from Syracuse, NY, about an hour south of me, spoke in one of my classes last year. Once my students came to understand the depth of his faith and his genuine desire to, again, officially minister to Catholics in some capacity, they became impatient with, if not angry with, the Church’s stance on married priests and especially the cruel rejection imposed by in-house clerics on exited ones. When you’re out of the cult, you’re OUT! The spouses of these married priests attest to the hurtful exits and recoveries that these men go through. When my friend, Doug, left the priesthood to marry, he said he was “broken”… broken by his fellow clerics. These are the same men that Catholic people and families look to for guidance, strength, and healing. I don’t trust them to know what is right, healthy, holy, or moral.
I did not know; thanks for the info, very interesting!
A bit of a change of topic….but am concerned as I hear CNN and hope our C4C folks in the storm area are OK….wonder about Jerry and Long Island?
Really hope you all are ‘intact’.
Thanks,Joan. I just got my power back after 6 days. Many Long Islanders are really hurting, so I have little to complain about.
Jerry, am really glad you are ‘reconnected’…..today’s NYTimes had a picture of storm troubles in Long Island.
It’s ‘off topic’ but I can’t help but think that ‘Sandy’ is a punctuation mark in history….global warming, a huge challenge to rethink our ‘coastal’ strategy…and the devastation is horrific.
Wonder if historians will mark this as a ‘turning point’.
So much in that statement and how that has affected this crisis
.”. That leaves easily extorted closeted gay men having to deal with cunning predators who know how to play the system. And you, good Catholics, end up paying for it all.”
extorted by those above(superiors etc( and the predators. Between gays who knew the victims and trying to identify 7 year old victims the task is huge. How are these kids, now in their thirties, dealing with their lives. How many felt they had to sign agreements to spare their child the pain of telling their stories?. How many went foward and told their stories and where not believed? Yes, there are long term abuse victims who still support the RCC. Hopefully, if they share their stories and why they stay we can accept them as we shouid every victim.
Are we ready to accept gay priests that are willing to come out of the closet or we going to group them with the pedophiles they abhor. Could they be the link to airing out this crises? It was a problem in the 70 and 80’s when I was in DC and I know in Center Valley. Doyle and Harvey were concerned with the gays, while the gays were concerned with the pedophiles.The victims were able to get Doyle involved in outing pedophiles, Harvey would not.
No doubt many C4C folks are off-line and dealing with the effects of Sandy. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
I just read that PA prosecutors are preparing to charge former Penn State president Graham Spanier with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the Sandusky sex abuse case. Imagine how applicable the same charges are based on the actions and/or inactions of innumerable priests, bishops, and archbishops over the years. Is it easier to go after members of secular institutions than religious ones? Why can prosecutors seemingly get to the bottom of the Penn State scandal while key players in the Catholic Church scandal remain untouchable?
Beth… I’m praying for you and your husband.
Link to Attorney General’s press conference re new charges vs. Spanier, et al. As you listen to this 12-minute video, it is very easy to apply the decision-making, conduct, obfuscation, etc. being described to the conduct that was presented in the GJR’s against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In my opinion, it would be very easy to remove the names of Curley, Spanier, and Schultz and substitute certain names in archdiocesan management who committed similar acts, made like decisions, and obstructed official inquiries into those matters affecting the investigation of child sexual abuse.
It is indeed quite scary to listen to the conduct of these PSU officials and recognize how similar their conduct is to what we have experienced in the Philadelphia-area Catholic Church and its leadership.
It’s the Catholic Church in suits. And right about now, the board is clicking their heels that they didn’t keep these jokers on the payroll.
Maybe all they need is to be moved to another university? Or, to be sent to a life of prayer nd penance? Oh, no… They need to be promoted!
No, in the real world, people get fired and law enforcement comes into the picture. This is a perfect argument against their flapping about religious freedom.
In light of the “new” regulations posted at http://www.catholicphilly.com concerning the archdiocesan reporting and investigation of allegations of sexual abuse, the following is offered by this writer:
Honestly, why would an alleged victim (child or young adult) of sexual abuse by an employee of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia choose or wish to file a complaint with the leadership and management of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding such an alleged criminal matter?
In all other allegations of criminal offenses, doesn’t the victim or those advocating on his/her behalf file a complaint with the local law enforcement agency responsible for the jurisdiction where the alleged sexual assault occurred? Those in law enforcement, particularly investigative and detective personnel, are specially trained to investigate these allegations and incidents with the resulting findings forwarded to the local district attorney for review and consideration of criminal charges being filed.
In other words, how does a victim or complainant benefit from filing a complaint of alleged sexual abuse or assault with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? Is it in the best interests of the victim to do so? If the victim files the complaint with the local law enforcement agency, the archdiocese will eventually be contacted in the course of the investigation and appropriate information shared with the leadership of the archdiocese.
One of the reasons for my concern in this issue is the following comment offered by the Office of Child Protection at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: (in an accompanying, related article of this website)
“Although we care about victims the main goal of our office is to see that the community is protected.”
One of the reasons for my concern in this issue is the following comment offered by the Office of Child Protection at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:
“Although we care about victims the main goal of our office is to see that the community is protected.”
When legal counsel is retained by an organization to provide legal services, isn’t the primary responsibility and ethical responsibility of these attorneys to act in the best interests of their clients? Is acting in the best interests of their clients (in this case, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia) the same thing as acting in the best interests of the community (the protection of the community)? What happens when acting in the best interests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia conflicts with acting in the best interests of the victim reporting the alleged sexual abuse?
Well said. Just like Penn State, there is Cardinal Bevilacqua, who appears to be the architect of the modern cover up, with his directive to destroy the list of 37 in Lynn’s memo of 2/18/94 in which he and Msgr. (then Fr.) Beisel spent an entire year “working the list”. As in the Spanier criminal charge, it appears to be a “conspiracy of silence” by the Church as noted in the AP story. Is it not time to rename the Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center in Kensington where it is said on the website it is ” a safe place for community outreach”?
I like the way you refer to Devilacqua’s cover up as the “modern” one, implying that, due to the profusion of them, an ordering based on age or era is merited.
“In the mid-1980s, Doyle wrote an extensive report on predator priests and was troubled by the church’s lack of response. So he met with Bevilacqua, then bishop of Pittsburgh.
“He was the guy to go to when I was disheartened,” Doyle said. “He encouraged me not to give up.”
Doyle said, “Deep down inside, I believe Tony is a good man,” but “something got lost. He wasn’t raised to be a prince, but the hierarchy creates its own aristocracy. They walk around in medieval robes and sit on thrones.” With regard to the cardinal’s dealing with sex abuse, Doyle faults him for choosing businessmen rather than compassionate priests.
“His loyalty to the church was the very thing that caused him to forget the people he was there to serve.””
That’s easy. The archbishop is the lawyers’ client and the one who pays their bills. The lawyers will always put the archbishop’s’ interest ahead of victims’ interests, as was made very clear throughout Lynn’s trial and remains clear as Chaput tries to whitewash as many as possible of the suspected priests that Rigali suspended over a year and a half ago..
The only reason Chaput wants victims to report first to the Archdiocese is to give Chaput’s agents a chance to bury the victims reports.
How many would have supported this victim in 2005? Still remember going to confront a priest in 96, my wife had to confront the priest by herself – legs xouldn’t carry me. Less than a month later I had a brain stem stroke. With the problem in the Philly school district,(teacher had her clothes ripped off her in front of her first grade class) what was happening in my parish and the pressure of my federal job, my brain finally brust. I had a stroke with no feeling below my neck – brain stem.
Yes, so many thank us for confronting these and other issues, but no real support. Please support each other and definitely the victims.
Ed, I am putting in a Monica Yant link as think it would be a good post topic and it addresses the issues being discussed right now on C4C….
Yes, you are so right. We do need to keep the pressure on the political front on both parties for this important issue. This is only the tip of the iceberg of abuse in the state of PA. Have to write an email and remind her of the other institutional abusers in this state as I hope others keep the pressure on their states. I am well aware of how each party decides how to approach child sex abuse within their own party and yet read of priests accused in several states go to trial in only one state. Problem is that I lived with a few – guess the students I asked if they were abused where either afraid of the Roman collar or were not abused. .
Those of us in PA (Philly) maybe lucky as the races now have set the seeds to continue the fight to stem the epidemic of child sexual abuse. Both parties believe they have done enough(execept for a few lawmakers in Philly) but we know better.
Do they really understanf how to draft a bill?
“But to qualify for that exclusion, the woman must prove she reported the crime and identified her attacker, if he was known to her”
Jerry Slevin has another fine and extremely informative essay on bilgrimage, today. The history and extent of the corruption and political manipulation in the Catholic Church are just overwhelming. Lay empowerment and hope, however, lie in becoming informed.
I must strongly disagree with the premise “another fine and extremely informative essay etc.”Mr. Slevin continues to make suspect use of the CSA fight to further his democrat campaign to elect Obama. Shameful!Nichols1
Again, Nichols, I disagree with another of your opinions, but respect it nevertheless. Who is in charge of faithfully executing our laws that protect children, and who might enhance them, is very critical to preventing future priest sexual abuse of children and to curtailing pedophile protecting bishops’ cover-ups of such abuse. That is a fact and not opinion.
Romney and the “tea bag party” will do nothing to enhance the the safety of children. A vote against Romney and those of like mind, is a vote against worthless RC bishops, including the Bishop Rome.
Send them a mesage; get out there and vote!!!!
The absence of any connection between child sex abuse and the POTUS is what indicates that trying to USE the honest struggle to protect children [like C4C or others]to promote a particular political party/candidate is dishonest and shameful.
Jerry Slevin, The election of a thoroughly immoral man, whom you favor cannot possibly help in the fight this forum is involved in. If it were not so serious , I would have to laugh at the idea. You are entitled to your opinion and can believe as you want; however, it is abhorrent to try and generate political power under the guise of the legitmate struggle against child sex abuse.You are the side in this that is implying that Republicans are guilty by some sort of “association.” It is just not acceptable to do so.
Nichols1:Who are you to judge who is moral and who is immoral?What is immoral to you maybe completely immoral to somoene else. I firmly believe that if Romney is elected any chance of justice for those who were abused will be out the window. But of course that is not your agenda . Your agenda has to do with spreading your extreme religious beliefs here that have nothing to do with Christ or Christianity.
I see your colors now Jim. Beneath responding to IMO.
Nichols1: I ask again, What is your purpose here? As a victim of sex abuse, I have read not one word in support of victims, not myself, Rich, Vicky or any other victim who posts here.You have posted many things against the Catholic Church, but nothing specifically about abuse of children and how to stop it. Again, what is you purpose?
At our press conference last October a Republican Rep spoke in support of the Bills 832 and 878 that were introduced by his Democratic Rep colleagues.
I am pleased to hear that Kathy, and am not surprised. There are good and bad politicians in both parties. My comments and the links to my articles relate to one choice in one election of either Obama or Romney. I am generally not political and share the same law school as both of them. But I have to make a choice and have chosen Obama absolutely and tried to explain why. Unlike some who use unsubstantiated slurs, I have stated my case.
It matters, I believe, as to whether we ever bring Rigali, Chaput, et al. to justice, who is President!
I think Rigali and Chaput “get it”, which is really why they are clearly so fearful of Obama’s re-election.
I point out that Jerry Slevin is the first person to introduce on C4C any reference to favoring one or another party; and implying that one is more/less favorable to the C4C cause. THAT is objectionable.
Kathy, that’s great news…is there a link?
AND Monica’s piece is good…any chance it might be a C4C post?
Sure wish Monica’s editorial was a C4C post.
bottom of the page. Not enough action there. Why?
Jesus said if you love me you will keep the commandments. We are to judge people by their fruits. I think if the country continues on this path their are going to be alot of martyrs…I don’t trust either candidate but I know I can’t support a president that openly supports the murder of innocent children.
Beth: There are many ways to destroy innocent young lives. You obviously think that abortion is one of them. I see a much worse evil in this world. That is bringing children into this world when as parents, you have neither the emotional, loving ,or economic means to take care of them. And you do that because your Church tells you that any form of contraception is morally wrong. And then those same Church leaders condone and coverup the sexual abuse of children. You have obviously struck a raw nerve. I was one of seven children. My parents had neither the ability or the means to take care of those children.And why did they keep having children? Because the Church told them it was a sin to use birth control.I waas sexually abused by a priest of the Catholic Church. I was set up for that abuse by my parents and the Catholic Church.
Jim I felt sad reading your blog because your pain is palpable. I understand what you are saying…..I was one of 4 and my father was away with work for months at a time researching and it was hard on my mom looking back I believe she may have suffered from post partum depression after my brother was born..I also have had some experiences that were polar opposite of yours and it still lead to suffering. Having money sometimes is a curse also. I think their is alot of misunderstanding of what and why the church teaches what it teaches. At one point in my life someone relentless tried to pursade me to have an abortion it lead me to study all the teachings of the church. many dont realize what theology of the body is all about or NFP or that the pope that wrote it thought the perfect number of children to have was 3.
I agree with you. The Church teaches that every life is precious, that all parents must be receptive to its procreation, and that God has a plan for all of His creation. Each human being is given unique, distinct and essentially unrepeatable gifts to share with his / her fellows for their mutual benefit. Whenever a child is aborted, we all suffer in one way or another. The ones who suffer most seem to be the mothers.
Aborting an innocent, defenseless child is a truly barbaric act that cries to Heaven for vengeance. The current administration supports a ‘pro-choice’ platform – an over used euphemism for permissive abortion-on-demand. .
Some on this blog speculate that Obama will aggressively ‘crack down’ on the sexual abuse of children more than the Republican contingent is likely to do, if elected. They may be right – I don’t know.
But, when we Christians ‘vote our consciences’ tomorrow, we will have to decide whether we want to begin to stop abortion dead in its tracks, taking a chance on Romney’s willingness and ability to curb the sexual abuse of children, or simply re-elect the incumbents, live with the ongoing slaughter and hope for the best.
Guarding both the unborn from certain physical death and safeguarding living children from the torment of soul death caused by sexual abuse are important, complementary goals. We should lobby that effective remedies be pursued collectively and concurrently by both sides of the aisle in Congress, no matter who wins.
After all, we’re talking about America’s children.
Joe, another nice try. The most effective way to curtail abortions is to make contraception affordable and accessible. That is a fact. The pope and the Republicans object to making it accessible. You don’t have to take a chance on Romney. If he opposes accessible and affordable contraception, and he has repeatedly said he does, he favors abortion. Case closed!
Put the Pope aside for a moment.
One can buy affordable and accessible condoms in most any supermarket / pharmacy.
Does Romney plan to ban their sale?
Who knows what he really plans? It changes every time he opens his mouth.
Jerry you might be very right about the laws for sexual abuse although Kathy points out members of both parties can and sometimes do support the changes you are mentioning.
I have already voted for RR and I believe the only good thing that could come from an Obama 2nd term would be the complete annihilation of the Catholic Church.. He would love to do that and I would like to see the same thing happen. Just as I would like to the same thing with the Muslim faith. The Kingom of God is within you. Jesus said that and no one can take that away from you but you. I’ve said this before… .
Kathy and Susan have been so faithful in keeping C4C on track with a huge concern for victims of abuse and a desire to see innocent children protected.
We are in a hot political race where I suspect that folks on this site have varying political preferences. I would suggest that NCR is a good place to express those as they have a multitude of posts, where indeed, folks are expressing their voting preferences.
Frankly, I don’t think this site is the place for them. But by all means VOTE, people have died to give us this opportunity.
OK, Mom! lol Got the message. Good to see you back so forcefully, Joan. You were missed.
P.S. NCR has threatened to blacklist me because of my resistance to an influx of traditionalist trolls pre-election that NCR failed to monitor adequately.
No problem. With Lynn in jail, Jeff Anderson on Dolan’s, Rigali’s and Chaput’s cases and the elections over, I can more effectively resume my research for my book about Church reform, etc.
You and the other intrepid C4C bloggers have things well under control. Kathy and Susan know I will always be available for them if they want my help.
Jerry…at 74 I am sure not your mom….and am glad to be back.
Hope you will stick around….Joan
Please don’t misunderstand, Joan. My writing a book will be more helpful to survivors and defenseless children, I believe, than playing more verbal ping pong with some C4C bloggers who, in my view, go astray or with traditionalist trolls at NCR.
I had planned to slow down blogging as soon as the election was over and just took your fair comment as an opening to say so. I had no problem with your comment and expected it.
Many, especially Tom Doyle, have been encouraging me for some time to take my piecemeal arguments and try to write an effective book instead, that might reach a broader audience. I have been doing research for it piecemeal for two years now, but thought Lynn’s conviction, the election,etc. were more pressing priorities.
Your return just makes it easier for me since I am confident that your experienced and wise hand will guide the Dynamic Duo on those rare occasions they may need the wisdom of years.
Jerry: Good luck with your book writing. I, for one look forward to reading your thoughts and hopes in a book form. It is difficult to do that in individual blogs. Pleases let us know when your book is published. I understand your reasoning and I too feel frustrated that we keep fighting fights that most knowledgeable people settled long ago. Fights that were long ago settled have come to the forefront in our society. We are waisting valuable time. Children will never truly be protected, if other issues divert our attention.
Jerry….I, too want to see your book!
But I wouldn’t mind an occasional ‘Jerry post’….mature Joan!
Of course, Joan! Done! I just added teo today tothe new threads.
glorybe1929: The Catholic Church does not need any help in its annihiliatilon. It is doing a very adequate job on its own
At this point, I am concentrating on prayer for the outcome of the election. Grace and peace to you all.