Handing It Over

I was uncharacteristically cynical in my last post. Without hope, there is no reason to continue this blog. I still have plenty to spare, but will be careful where I place it.

I don’t know the details on every single Cardinal within the Conclave and shouldn’t make sweeping generalizations. But I do know of two – Cardinal Rigali and Cardinal Mahony. They are set to fully participate in the election of our next Pope. That gives serious pause to any informed Catholic.

It seems there is absolutely nothing we can do to about issues within our hierarchy. A priest, whom I very much admire, once told me, “Sometimes you just have to hand it over to God.”

Belief in God and His grace does not abdicate any of us from our duty. It allows us the spiritual strength to know God is on our side  – especially when we can’t control the free will of others.

63 thoughts on “Handing It Over

  1. Or make informed decisions based on information available. Maybe the voice of common sense that we hear in our private thoughts, when we do question something or feel unsafe…is the voice of God. I don’t post here much anymore, because many of you seem to hold out more hope than I do and I don’t think it’s my place to ruin that hope. My cynicism and hatred for something that use to bring me peace and comfort, is very troubling. It’s a struggle every day. I feel guiltyand ignorant for ever feeling that peace, knowing so many have suffered, for so long.

    So I’ll put my hope out there in all the survivors who have spoken up and those of you who still have the strength to still see some good in this faith.

    1. Deidre, your cynicism is helpful to many, so please keep posting. You are honest and out-spoken, which is too rare among docile Catholics.

      Susan and Kathy are too modest. They helped by pressing Seth Williams to act to bring Lynn to justice, That inspired LA Catholics and the media to press on Mahony. This all led directly to bringing down this evil Pope.

      Voting Cardinals will have Lynn on their mind when they vote. It will not be business as usual, trust me.

      Please read my new remarks, “A Next & Ex-Pope: Infallible and Immune? What’s Up?”, accessible at:


      1. Susan and I are very aware of how late we are to this issue as we have met countless,victims,families,advocates and law enforcement in Philadelphia who are the change makers. There is a great opportunity in blogging in expressing thoughts and ideas and also rallying for better laws to protect children. Also we have been fortunate in having so many victims share their experiences which is so important for all of us to better understand the issue. The victims such as the hearing impaired men in the documentary and all of the victims in Philly,LA and everywhere else are the people who have changed things and protected an entire generation of children. Blogging is necessary to shine the light on the situation but we are very well aware of the heroic efforts of those who have suffered and have been the force of the change we are all now witnessing.

    2. Deidre, when you posted: “My cynicism and hatred for something that use to bring me peace and comfort, is very troubling. It’s a struggle every day. I feel guilty and ignorant for ever feeling that peace, knowing so many have suffered, for so long”, I can only reply, “Ditto.”

      While I was one who always proudly proclaimed my Roman Catholic status to the world, I now tell everyone that I am a catholic with a small “c”. Still struggling with how I could have been ignorant for so long, and knowing that today I can not receive ashes on this Ash Wednesday and face the world. Guilt by association sends the wrong message for the many who have suffered. My faith is stronger than ever, and that for now sustains me.

      Susan, you and Kathy have been amazing and strong. God bless you.

      1. Donna Marie and Deidre, I feel the same exact way. Susan, I still keep up with this site and still hold you and the posters of this site in high regard. However, I have changed a lot since I started reading this blog a couple of years ago. I am no longer Catholic, and I feel guilty for abandoning the fight! I still contact legislators and write my blog but from the outside now, and I feel like those that are still on the inside will have more affect. So thank you. Thank you Sr. Maureen and Susan and Kathy and Gerry and all of you on this site. I am so honored to have heard the survivors like Vicky and Rich and others. I appreciate all that you do and I continue to believe the victims.

        1. momma0,
          what made you leave? I have been abused by a preist and only just recently left the church. My wife has not, she still takes the kids. This has caused considerable greif, as you can imagine. Just curious about other folks opinions….

          1. BFL, I have not been abused but know those who have. I grew up Catholic and after I had my children I started attending mass regularly again. I was a lector and a CCD (Prep) teacher. When it was time for my oldest to receive his first holy communion, my husband and I had a long talk. We felt that if we were to go forward with our children’s catholic process, we had to be all in. I was tired of feeling like a hypocrite. I was tired of going to mass and walking out angered and stressed. My husband would go to mass but felt very conflicted also. I can’t tell you what the last straw was, but we finally broke. We made the decision to not have our children get any more of the sacraments. They were baptized but that is where we stopped. I still don’t know if it was the right choice. I miss the feeling I used to get going to mass. But I can not find that feeling any more in the Catholic church. I explain it here in my first blog post http://www.mommaosmusings.com/2011/05/lets-start-with-something-heavy-and.html Good Luck BFL. It is difficult to walk away, but once I did, there was a sort of freedom that visited my heart. I am still searching for a church community, that I feel welcome in, but even if we don’t find one, we are all a part of Christ’s Love and that is a good thing.

          1. Jerry, in your “NEW GOSPEL” piece, you reference Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, dashing blue-eyed cover boy on an Italian edition of Vanity Fair, dubbed “Gorgeous Georg” and “The George Clooney of the Vatican,” and secretary to the Pope after he retires. On bilgramage.com a poster wrote: “People will talk…”

            I’d like to talk about that but since no one will talk to me about it, I’ll talk about something else about that.

            What inclines me to “talk” about Ganswein is that I read he single-handedly flushed out the butler as the person at the bottom of Vatileaks. (Does that fall within a personal secretary’s duties???) He was also a former lecturer at an Opus Dei university. It is said his views over the course of his duty as secretary to Benedict were strongly neo-conservative. It is said he has wielded a powerful political and doctrinal influence over Benedict (influencing as well his style, shoes, Twitter account, designer perfume, and the like,) the College of Cardinals (although some can’t stand him), and the Vatican itself.

            After his retirement, while Benedict is busy praying in his plush, 4-story, remodeled former convent on the Vatican grounds and living essentially disengaged from the world as he has said he will do, what, exactly, will the 54 year old Gorgeous Georg be doing? Certainly his secretarial duties which, at least on the books, amount to arranging meetings between Benedict and the sea of people, clerics, and dignitaries who want to meet with him, will be hugely reduced after the Pope’s retirement. Are we to expect that Ganswein, who is young and a mover and shaker in the Vatican, will revert to twiddling his thumbs in a contemplative care sort of scenario?

            The juxtaposition of quiet, prayerful, and removed Benedict in his retirement years and “in the prime of his clerical life” and “a real, LOOKER!” Ganswein should make people talk.

            We should talk about why these seemingly opposites attract.

          2. Kate, as openers, please watch the YouTube video of the pope’s “My Vatican” for the “strange relationship” here.

            Georg was made a complete fool of by a butler, as you will see by the video’s display of their tiny office.

            As to the “relationship”, Richard Sipe on his site reports his informal survey indicates that 100% of the Vatican people Sipe surveyed say the pope is gay. Draw your own inferences. I could care less, but I wish the pope would lay off attacking gay persons.

            We really don’t know yet why the pope is resigning. My bet is he wants to continue to run the Vatican by remote control from his refurbished convent where in Nov. he sent the last nuns living there for a one-way trip “on the Bus”!

        2. You haven’t abandoned the fight at all. You’re just going at it from a different angle. We each have our own faith journey. Thank you so much for your kind words about the site. Its value lies within the comments left here by visitors such as yourself.

  2. Susan, you have absolutely nothing to feel bad about or to apologize for. Every word you said is true, and I’m glad to see your spunk! God bless you for all the wonderful work you have done and are doing.

  3. I think the key words Susan used “informed catholic” says it all. I have been working on child protection issues in the Archdiocese for over 2 years. Last year I thought I was close to actually being granted a meeting but then the rug was pulled out from that. Recently I was asked to serve on a committee concerning child safety and information for parents in the AD High Schools. I turned down the invitation but will do everything I can independently. I will forward all my thoughts,ideas and suggestion to the staff and the committee but I cannot walk in that building at 222 where there are people still there who knew of a cover up. I know all the names and all the key players and what they did or did not do. I will not allow myself to be in a situation where I would have to smile politely at someone who I feel put children at risk. I know that I would probably stand up,say exactly what I know and walk out if I ever encountered one of those people. Maybe the College of Cardinals can sit with Mahony and Rigali and act like nothing has happened, I could never do that , it is not in my DNA.

    1. Your message shows hope because you are trying and not calling it a lost cause. I can not say we will turn this around, but by God, we have to keep trying to remove those who are to blame.

      1. I will do everything in my power to keep the children in the Archdiocese protected..everything. Someone in a comment said something to the effect of why would anyone communicate with the Archdiocese. While I understand the sentiment, if no one speaks up,nothing changes. I do know that my ideas and thoughts will be used because they already have been used in another area of child protection within the Archdiocese. I will never walk away from these kids,no matter what my personal feelings or opinions are regarding some people still affiliated with the AD.

    2. Ms Kane, your use of the phrase “…put children at risk” is exactly what I will adopt in my future communications to clergy, rather than refer to the nightmare as a “cover up”. Your phrase rings with greater urgency. It keeps the issue where it belongs, at a crisis level. It is unconscionable that group (Bevlicqua, Rigali, Cullen, Lynn, Beisel, Cistone and Molloy, among others) involved in the destroyed list of 37 in 1994 sat back knowing they PUT CHILDREN AT RISK, and yet continued with their priestly duties when anyone of them could have prevented more abuse of our children.

      1. ICC, please note Lynn’s original list had several hundred priests on it, almost a quarter of all then Philly priests, with sex abuse allegations.

        Most, if not all, of the remaining three quarters of Philly priests had to have been quite aware of the pervasive and ongoing risks for innocent kids like poor Billy.

        Lynn winnowed out those whom he thought were protected by statute of limitations’ bars. To this day, only Chaput and Rigali, and maybe Gina Smith and her law partner and ex-Philly DA, Ed Rendell, really know how much risk remains for Philly children.

        Kathy and Susan cannot be too suspicious–the scope of Philly’s pedophile priest paradise is beyond belief. And yet Rigali gets to pick the next Pope. Truly astonishing!

        1. It was Msgrs Lynn and Beisel that went into the “secret archives”. These files were in hiding for many years. I am confident there are still many good priests out there. I saw a pastor msgr kneel down and cry before his faithful. This does not mean there are not many out there who need to be punished. I know about the numbers reported. Msgr Lynn and Beisel jointly put together a list of suspects stored secretly at the Philadelphia archdiocese; only 37 out of 323 complaints/inquiries on sexual abuse managed to make “the list”, plus there were many more files with complaints in other wrongful matters reviewed.

          1. I am sure there are good priests; how many is debatable. You don’t need to see a pedophile’s file to know what he is up to. Taking young boys to one’s bedroom or on “trips” would send of alarms for most adults, for example.

      2. integrity, yes putting children at risk is what happened across the AD. When I was in court last Spring and heard Lynn testify concerning Avery’s stay at St Jerome’s, the prosecution asked him something about the appropriateness of Avery having heard the children’s confessions. Lynn very calmly explained that the children went to confession with Avery “out in the open” in the Church,not in the confessional box. He explained it in the manner that you do when you think something has been misinterpreted.. “Oh no they were not alone with him,they were out in the open where everyone could see them” type of response. As if that makes sense to anyone, having children go to confession,let alone be in the same room as a known abuser. It would be like a Little League team with a known coach abuser and a manager of the League explaining in court that they let the known abusive coach practice pitching with the kids out in the open, but did not allow him in the dugout. As if that would make sense to anyone.

        1. Ms Kane, Your input about the trial helps me recognize how tragic this is. With that kind of mindset, no one could support Lynn. This is valuable information I can use to make the blind Catholics I know understand they have to demand those who have PUT OUR CHILDREN AT RISK be removed. Thanks for your input.

        2. Very interesting Kathy. I had not read that. Could a monseigneur really be that much of a moron?
          If that level of reckless disregard doesn’t scare the daylights out of catholic parents and teachers, then I don’t know what it takes to do so.

          Sending little children to confess their “sins” to grown men, so that they may receive communion?? I wonder if there is any movement afoot in the cath. schools or prep programs to remove this step from the curriculum?

          1. Crystal, confession, especially for the young, is a late development in Catholic practice. It works to instill guilt and docility at an impressionable age, as so many of us here know too well.

            It is a practice that can and must be changed.

            In the meantime. parents must “self correct” and put their kids’ safety and sanity first.

            It will change, sooner rather than later. Please see my, “The Next Pope Will Fail Too … ” at http:/wp.me/P2YEZ3-qj

          2. Crystal, I attended a few days of the trial last year,heard victims testify and graphic testimony and evidence. When I sat there listening to Lynn explain that the children were going to confession out in the open to the abusive priest ,so that made sense,is when I nearly lost it. Kate was there that day I believe. Something about the nonchalance of explaining that little children were lined up to go to Confession to an abusive priest was what put me over the edge. I remember looking around at people’s faces..does this make sense to anyone? I had braced myself when I heard the victim accounts, I let my guard down for the Lynn testimony ,maybe that is why I was so upset. These children meant nothing to them..line them up for confession to a known abuser. Lynn was genuine in his testimony, I honesty believe even sitting on the stand in the midst of a trial he saw nothing wrong with it.

          3. Kathy,

            When Finn met with a group of priests after he was charged with failing to report the pornography-priest, he explained his actions by saying, “I was trying to save his priesthood.”

            That’s exactly what Lynn was doing in permitting Avery to hear, openly, the confessions of children at St. Jerome’s. Lynn’s job was provide the conditions under which Avery could continue his priestly ministry. Private confessions weren’t going to work. But who would argue with public ones? (Any normal person would.) Lynn’s main and only objective was to save Avery’s priesthood. He accomplished it by permitting Avery to hear confessions openly, not privately, saving his priesthood. Saving the children did not even enter the equation.

            The cases of Finn and Lynn illuminate the lengths priests will go to save each other’s priesthoods.

          4. Kate, I just read an article that refers “saving the priesthood” as you mention. Saving the priesthood no matter how damaged the priest and no matter how much damage the abusive priest caused. It made sense because I know that priests (non abusive) are not always treated so well by their superiors so I have been amazed at the lengths gone to at times to keep the abusive ones around..it is not about the priest it is saving their priesthood as you stated. Children do not factor into that equation.

          5. Ladies, priests are the bishops’ low paid, but essential, celibate male parish fundraisers, “selling” a weekly “unique Eucharist”. The bishops will always try to salvage their key salesmen, no matter what. They will even send foreign priests that are often unable to communicate in understandable English, but they know how to count like their U.S. counterparts.

            Also, it appears that some in the Vatican may be trying to exile the Pope. Could someone check with Lynn to see if there is room in his cellblock for a quiet guy who likes to write?

            For more, please see: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-qY

    3. Susan and Kathy –

      While I have not agreed with everything that I’ve read on this blog, I hold you two ladies in the highest regard. I would characterize your activities as patient and persistent, and your motives as truly sincere and genuinely selfless.

      You’re undoubtedly following the advice offered by Saint Augustine who once said ‘….

      Pray as though everything depended on God.

      Work as though everything depended on you”.

      Sometimes we all just have to Let Go and Let God.

  4. OK, thanks for the clarafication. I am back onboard with C4C. It is frustrating, but we have to work, as you are doing, at finding solutions to regain our Church.

  5. I thought your last post was short, sweet and to the point. I posted it to facebook saying just that. It is difficult not to become cynical, when we are asked week after week to just sit there, shut up, and take it. When people are given the opportunity to speak out, they remain silent. Keep it up. What you write reflects what many are thinking and feeling.

  6. Cardinal Mahony voting at the Conclave is a sicking.thought. This creep has no shame; a respectable person would recuse himself. B16 could still toss him out; it would make his legacy more credible.

    I’m handing it over to God, but the buck stops there. I not handing my money over to the RCC. The archdiocese’s fund-raising campaign is falling short, GOOD!!

  7. A man who lies about one thing will lie about another.The Roman Catholic church is not based on the word of God that is found in a Christian Bible but on mans word. When you let the devil in the devil takes over. Martin Luther would not transcribe what was in the original manuscript which was the Bible. He would not delete or add to it as the Roman priests wanted him to. Hence the Protestant Church was born. When you let Satan in Satan takes over. As you can plainly see now substituting God’s word for man’s word wasn’t such a good idea after all, was it? Attend a bible believing bible teaching church of your choice this weekend. Accept Christ as your ONLY Lord and Savior and see how quickly your life will change. Or log on to http://www.calvaryftl.org for a Wednesday night bible study streamed live at 8::30 Pm or on Sunday at 8:30 AM 10:15 AM or 12:30 PM, Blessings and warm regards, Kurt Gladsky calvaryftl.org

    1. Thanks, Kurt, for the well intentioned advice. Luther fought hard to save the Catholic Church he thought worth trying to reform. He was forced out.

      None of us are worried about being burned at the stake, so I for one will stick around and recover my Church from Roman bandits, with all due respect. With a younger generation like Susan and Kathy, we will finish what Luther started.

  8. Okay, enough. You’re going to have to calm down. As per James Maguire in Sunday’s Inquirer, let’s not get our noses out of joint since they just released a grand jury report. Yes, indeed, that statement ranks right up there with the fact that Roger “the Dodger” Mahony will be voting next month in Rome.

    By the way, Kathy, sure would be something if we could get a photo op of you walking into 222 N. 17th St. If you go that route, may I suggest extra medication (no, not for you, buf for those you’ll be meeting with) and certainly several bottles of holy water and oil (for your own spiritual protection). I’d join you but something tells me that have certain photos of personae non gratae at the security desk and office.

  9. “cyn·i·cism (sn-szm)
    1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others:”

    Well, I was all in favor of your cynicism, Susan! I think it was called for, and well placed. Powerlessness leads to cynicism… but this doesn’t necessarily mean we have lost all hope and have stopped working for change…It means we are trying to cope with a bad situation, while being honest about its severity, and that we well understand the opposition and the odds.

    1. crystal I totally agree with that. I will trust them when they prove that they are trustworthy………Susan I think your cynicism is healthy considering the state of the church.

  10. This blog has been a great thing for me. I was abused as a child by a priest who abused kids in multiple churches before me. My anger is unmeasurable.

    1. Confused and scared. I am so sorry for all you have been thru. I am glad you are able to voice that here with us. We heard you and you have every right to that anger. You are in my prayers and motivate my actions to reach out to others and help make what connections and changes that may be possible .

  11. Confused and scared you have every right to have unmeasurable anger. C4C, I feel is a wonderful site, very informative, an ear for listening, validation,non-judgemental, resourceful, and know that you are believed and respected.
    I just heard pope B. was in the hospital “secretly” over the past year. He had his pacemaker adjusted. What?? Alot of people with pacemakers have to have them adjusted.
    Mahoney and rigali part of the “conclave”…..
    I believe all of the victims and survivors and continue to pray for all. Peace!

  12. ‘Sometimes you just have to hand it over to God.’

    What fearful and unimaginative priests say when they can’t bring themselves to say that the Church is not a democracy, that the faithful are utterly powerless to affect its affairs, and that it’s an injustice. Good Catholic girls (and boys) will ‘hand it over to God,’ sacrificially acquiring the stance of docile sheep prayerfully awaiting divine intervention.


    Inform yourself. Then, pray to God for the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it.

    Then, do it. (Which is the ongoing elephant in the room for priests, leaving them powerless to recommend anything other than ‘hand it over to God.’)

    1. Kate, I think you misunderstand. I had been observing this particular priest handle an overwhelming amount of stress with no complaint. I had asked him how he dealt with it. That was his response. Belief in God and His grace does not abdicate any of us from our duty. It allows us the spiritual strength to know God is on our side especially when we can’t control the free will of others. I think we agree. I do see how that phrase could be manipulated. I’ll try to clarify in the post.

    2. Yes Kate it says in the Bible the gates of Hell will not prevail guess who is suppose to charge the gates? Us……….

  13. Susan, you were not at all cynical. If anything, your words forced me to not be lulled into thinking a new Pope will be like a magic pill to cure all. It reminded me that there is still so much work to be done. It gave me hope that people like you kept the spark of justice aflame while people like me wanted to give up hoping that David could beat Goliath. I can’t thank you enough for your bravery and informative blogs. You have made a difference.

  14. Jerry,, Susan and Kathy’s efforts have been downright heroic in my opinion. Theirs was the voice of sanity, along with everyone else here, when all else heard in my community were those singing Lynn’s praises. I give them all the credit in the world for doing battle with some of the biggest bullies the world has ever seen. But where the church is concerned I have to admit to being “a glass is half empty” sort. I see progress here in knowing that the ugly walls are coming down and their dirty secrets are being uncovered.

    1. Thanks, Deidre, Kathy and Susan are heros!

      Seeing a half full glass/Church isn’t so bad. These days most pastors would jump to get even half of what they once had.

  15. Can anyone explain Jesus Christ creating the Roman Catholic Church and being unable to make it truly an instrument of His love, in 2000 + years? Protect all our children, don’t try to change what will not be changed.

  16. “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”– F Scott Fitzgerald

    Susan, don’t be so quick to judge yourself. I read your comments as observations about the system, not individual men, and, as such, they are deadly accurate. There is no reason for hope. The governance structure (monarchy) and culture (clerical) of the institutional church are powerful forces that will maintain the status quo. They are the source of the power abuse that enabled the sexual abuse of children. In my opinion, it would be hurtful and misleading, maybe even abusive, to encourage anyone to expect something new in the next pope. It would also undermine the urgent need to take action to change the system. We have to work to change the structure and culture, work as if everything depends on us – “take charge.” Once upon a time you said something like: ‘This is just me being Catholic.’ I loved that comment. It filled me with hope – I am not alone. We are the Catholic Church and will not be told we are not.

    And yet, God is not limited by reason. So I can maintain hope where reason would rightly lead me to despair. I believe we have to pray as if everything depends on God – hand it over.

    So, I am taking charge AND handing it over.

    “Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary,
    that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
    implored your help or sought your intercession,
    was left unaided.”


      1. Gerry,

        It is my all time favorite prayer. It conveys an optimism and a fundamental orientation to life — the existential trust that is at the heart of Catholicism… what I love about being Catholic.


        1. You are so right, Martin. It seems to me to get to the heart of Jesus’ message given to a world where life was difficut for most, namely, take a deep breathe and know there is a God whose Son through the image of His Mother cares–simple mandates, including one to protect kids, no ontological nonsense–trust and hope. Is it any wonder the prayer is so powerful?

  17. Those in the Vatican and many of the Cardinals have long sense gone deaf to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.in their determination to maintain status quo primarily the clerical culture that puts them above the rest of the Faithful. I am encouraging Catholics4Change and other progressive Catholic organizations to take the opportunity afforded by Benedict’s resignation to launch a “Catholic Spring”. Call for Catholics who have left or are considering leaving the church due to crisis of conscience over what has (and has not) come out of Rome beginning soon after Vatican II to storm the College of Cardinals, their bishops, and the Vatican with their indictments.

  18. Hi,
    Just found this blog and am loving it! It’s nice to see that there is a place for faithful to come and debate and question their leadership without questioning that which God has already laid before us and which we know to be true (before mankind came and mucked it up)!
    We must continue to question, to agitate, to pressure.
    I don’t know that this next Papal election will bring about the changes we want to see. But I *do* have hope, faith, if you will, that change will come, and sooner, rather than later. Because our ‘ace in the hole’ as it were, is our loving God. So I think change, when it comes, will come in a thunderclap (because it has been repressed for so long). It will be because we will have a Pope will find himself elected, find himself inspired by God, and be the product of a loving mother (Mother Mary), foward thinking friends and family — and who will recognize the great give that he has been given: that with a word, with a decree — he, the new Pope — can change *everything* for so many of our faithful around the world, now and forevermore, and be *remembered* that way for all ages to come!
    Let us pray that this day is soon, and that the Holy Spirit inspiries one of these ‘men’ who will gather soon in the Vatican to be more than he is today, and be what our Lord intended him to be for all of us!

Leave a Reply