Priests and Nuns Form ‘Catholic Whistleblowers’

Click here to read, “Church Whistle-Blowers Join Forces on Abuse,” by Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, May, 20 2013


Although they know they could face repercussions, they have banded together to push the new pope to clean house and the American bishops to enforce the zero-tolerance policies they adopted more than a decade ago.

The group began organizing quietly nine months ago without the knowledge of their superiors or their peers, and plan to make their campaign public this week. Most in the steering group of 12 have blown the whistle on abusers in the past, and three are canon lawyers who once handled abuse cases on the church’s behalf. Four say they were sexually abused as children.

34 thoughts on “Priests and Nuns Form ‘Catholic Whistleblowers’

  1. Good luck, “…to push the new pope to clean house and the American bishops to enforce the zero-tolerance policies…” you have to go right for the jugular! They be dealing with some tough customers.

    1. I just read that Tom Doyle is a member; they’re in good hands. He fully understands the viciousness of the lowlife creeps the group will be dealing with.

      1. I have often wondered why Tom Doyle has stayed in the rcc. I guess maybe this is the proper time he’s been waiting for. To get a LARGE GROUP behind him to get something really accomplished. I hope so. He’s been fighting for so long .It must be heartening for him to see so many backing all his work for the abused .Let’s pray hard for him to guide the believers.

    2. dr who I was thinking of you when I read about this group and how they could have helped you when you were on the inside and your efforts to expose a predator. I know you did that years ago and can only imagine that knowing there are other religious willing to take a stand may help others do the same.

  2. First positive move I’ve heard of – someone other than the hierarchy investigating and developing policies and procedures for the future.

    I would suggest that some of the devout in the pews be included in the group so that the laity and a few former victims also give legitimacy to the group’s work and findings and recommendations.

    A long time coming.

    All the best to parishioners and the devout.


  3. Praise God! Whistleblowers is a revolt of sorts. The kind of which I have desperately envisioned for decades now. The clerical and religious sister consciences are appearing. So important is the fact that the members of Whistleblowers will act as PUBLIC defectors– open and in plain view. This will formidably challenge the ingrained culture of fear, loyalty, submission, obedience, and “behind closed doors”– the incessant and destructive “stuff” of silence.

  4. Part of the problem, & one the ordinary pew warmer may understand & appreciate, is that these priests (except in @ 3 dioceses in the U.S.) remain financially dependent on their bishop even after retirement because their “pensions” are never, no matter how long they served, vested.

    1. You raise a practical concern but the money is slowly running out because of decrease in number of new priests, lawyer expenses and less parishes etc I have heard there really is no money left even for pensions. Now is the time for clergy , nuns etc to speak out……I as a layperson support you and you are in my prayers. Satan needs to be outcast out of the church now more than ever because in the end he is the real enemy and he works thru people just as Christ can work thru us.

    2. At What Cost? lpmulligan?The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is …..Integrity! You step up and you do the right thing no matter how it might affect you financially. Silence breeds consent. To do nothing, say nothing and just stand by as children are being raped and you know about it is a trasvesty. Fear breeds evil to exist.

  5. Wow I will stand behind them 100%. I am thrilled. When they clean house, the “bishops” will not be the Rigalis, Mahoneys, Bevilaquas and all who are in “charge”. Whistleblowers, like Kate said, Praise God”. YES!! Right after Pentecost, too.. I believe the victims/survivors. If God is for us, who can be against……Peace

    1. Vickie – I agree, if a priest, retired or not, knows of circumstances which puts children at risk, or of the conduct of a superior which did so, he must speak up.

      There are other situations – the play, Doubt, comes to mind – where the circumstances are ambiguous, less than clear. In those cases, a person, priest or lay, must make a choice. I am suggesting that in that situation, a better choice is likely to be made if the priest, in this instance, is not financially dependent on the superior who is likely to take umbrage w/ what he has to say.

  6. Among the members of Catholic Whistleblowers is C4C frequent poster Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish. Regarding the issue of sexual abuse in the Church, she has displayed overwhelming courage and tenacity in confronting it over the years. Her energy, knowledge, and experiences will be invaluable to Catholic Whistleblowers.

    Thank you, Sr. Maureen.

    An inspiration and a sister of integrity.

    1. Yes, I have met Sr. Maureen at the vigils her heart and soul are in the right place concerning our survivors and she is in my prayers. I pray for peace and courage for all the members of this much needed group.

  7. Whistleblowers in Victoria, will not be held to account so Archbishop Hart told the Victorian Parliarment Inquiry into abuse, but religious who stood by the church during the accusations of “cover-ups”, including the recent Inquiry in NSW [another Inquiry, this one into the Police’s handling of abuse], where a religious woman tipped off a clergyman he was going to charged, are left hanging out to dry.
    Angela Ryan CSB automatically comes to mind, I’m waiting to see her transcript, her credibility will have been compromised by these poor excuse of humanity, where their allegiance is to Rome, not to the country who pay’s their pensions, Medicare not to mention their tax exempt status, and everybody is expendable for the desired result.
    God help Australia if/when we become a republic!

  8. Congratulations to all the priest and nuns who are the courageous whistle blowers. I stand behind and with you 1,000%. This is a new Pentecost of fearless Christians. The Holy Spirit is at work here.

  9. All I can say is; it’s about time! Better late than never….but of course when the wind is blowing in the way of the survivors and all of us who are so, ” into getting this out ” to the “Pew People” they almost must take a stand for THE GOOD that is still in GOD”S OWN . They see “the writing on the wall “and don’t want to be left behind. God’s Speed to them and may more come into the fold. ASAP!

  10. I would like to believe the Holy Spirit has been with us all the time. It just takes some people longer than others to hear HIM call their names. HE is still working on a few of my relatives..My prayer is for God to open their eyes and ears and have the compassion that the SPIRIT GIVES THEM ABUNDANTLY as long as they are open to God’s Spirit that lives within them.

  11. Glad to see a force of freedom and justice within the Catholic Church. It is indeed a new day when the new W.B.’s (Whistleblowers) challenge, refute and denounce the old-guard W.B.’s (Windbags).

  12. It did not take very long for bill donohue to try and discredit this group so they must be on the right track !

    1. I recently read a sign that “compassion was love in action” I have never seen this in Bill Donohue but one look into Sr. Maureen’s eyes while she was walking up and down the street past the 222 building in Philly handing out flyers and you can see the compassion in her soul. I remember one day before she knew me she handed me a flyer and looked at me and said”its about children” and I knew this brave lady was genuine.

    2. I just read the article. I cant believe this guy is for real. He hasn’t talked to the people in the streets its obvious and if he did his heart wasn’t open to them.The stories I have heard from victims have left me in tears for days and the horror of realizing many in church leadership did and still don’t care about our survivors is appalling. I have heard things from certain leaders that leads me to believe they are very jaded because they have and continue to deal with clergy abuse over many years. We need new members of leadership that hearts are open and are moved to action by the discovery of the suffering still taking place not the status quo held in place with men who s heart have grown stone cold. So many are victims that don’t go to the police even when they are adults it doesn’t mean they were not victims just that its not on paper. Their lives were still destroyed in many cases and they are trying to put the pieces back together.

  13. So many insights can be extracted from the suicide note left by child sexual abuse victim Bill Zeller. We know that an inordinate number of sexually abused children ultimately attempt to or succeed at taking their own lives. Suicide. What, exactly, were they thinking and feeling? Why???

    In his own words, what Bill Zeller was thinking and feeling… Why.

    1. I have just read Bill Zeller’s note and it is heartbreaking , I am at a loss for words

      1. Yes so many people don’t understand how this has the power to isolate the survivor and destroy future relationships. So many times it is the spouse or significant other who see the devastation up close and that’s if the survivor is even able to expose that part of themselves to another. Being exposed in this way and being vulnerable they see as a weakness because its their vulnerability that was exploited by the predator as a child.It might seem selfish to those that don’t understand but I wish spouses of survivors could also sue predators for the pain and suffering they and their spouses go thru because its real and very very heartbreaking.

        1. Beth, I know that the heartbreak experienced by the spouses of suffering survivors is real and I believe it, too, merits justice. Spousal pain and suffering is a victimization of sorts.

          Speaking of victimization… Another kind includes children, like myself, who attended Catholic schools (in my case, in the 60’s) where pedophile priests served at the connecting parish churches. In my case, the pedophile priest, young and newly ordained, was completely responsible for ministering to the school children. While he abused children, the older students (7th and 8th graders) at the school were privy to discussions and chatter implicating the priest in abusive behavior with our own classmates. No one told. No one said a word. The weight of that on our young, Catholic shoulders and at such a tender age when our own sexuality was emerging utterly confounded us. Today, we feel guilt and shame.

          At so many levels there was and is victimization…

    2. Kate: I just finished reading Bill Zellers’ suicide note and it left me feeling numb. I can relate to so much of his story.I lived in that dark place from the time I was molested at age twelve, through my teens, twenties and thirties.It wasn’t until my late thirties, after I had stopped using alcohol to numb the pain and after my family doctor prescribed anti depressants after I finally told him what I was feeling inside. I believe I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And this was after seeing therapists for a few years. They never knew how sick I was because I never really told anyone how I felt . I attempted suicide as a twelve and thirteen year old. Nobody knew because I didn’t succeed. After that, I avoided letting people get close to me. I built up these huge walls and let nobody inside. Bill Zeller writes in his letter:”Most of my life has been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up.”Boy does that sound familiar. It is so sad that he decided to end his like at such a young age.I believe that if you can get past those two decades of your life, it tends to get easier. Bill being raised by two fundamentalist parents didn’t help his situation either. When parents put unrealistic expectations on a child,the child puts pressure on themselves to be perfect. I remember the first semester in high school,getting four F’s. I came very close to running away from home, because I knew what I faced at home. The only acceptable grade in my house was an A. Anything lower than that, you were a failure. And this from parents, one of whom made it through eighth grade and the other graduated from high school. For the most part, I don’t contemplate suicide anymore. Like most people who suffer from depression, there can be difficult days. Besides the antidepressants the thing that has helped me the most is self acceptance. No matter what the flaw or blemish, I accept myself today. Relationships are still very difficult because of my inability to trust people.All in all, It saddens me greatly to see the pain and anguish caused by childhood sex abuse, no matter who was the abuser.

  14. Jim, to hear you speak so honestly and authentically about yourself and your struggles, I can’t help thinking what a wonderful friend and/or partner you would be. While you have reasons for being vulnerable and mistrusting, on C4C you have the habit of overshadowing them with your constant strength and composure. Don’t forget this wonderful and courageous side to you, a side that, for a long time now, has won the admiration of your many C4C friends.

    Thanks, Jim, it’s a pleasure knowing you.

    1. The little guy taking the fall……but progress……Myers needs to resign……..then we would know he took this seriously……..its very difficult for the powerful to be humbled………God humbles me frequently I don’t like it either………but that’s what Christ was about humility and love………….that’s what made him strong…………


    1. Very true Bonnie,we have had some victims abused ny nuns comment on the site and I hope one of them reads your comment. It is an often overlooked population when abuse in the Church is discussed. Thank you for reminding us.

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