Click here to read and watch: “Cardinal George Pell admits Church covered up cases of child sex abuse,” by Brigid Andersen, ABC News, May 27, 2013
Excerpt: Australia’s top-ranking Catholic has admitted to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry that some members of the Church tried to cover up child sexual abuse by other members of the clergy.
Please Sign For Christ’s Sake Initiative
by Tony Biviano for Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
Sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has been nothing short of an epidemic of catastrophic proportions. The devastation of victims, the ruination of priests and religious, the damage to a major world religion and its faithful are horrendous and incalculable.
Australian Bishops – Geoffrey Robinson, Bill Morris and Pat Power call on the new Pope to seize the opportunity of his appointment to not only sweep the Church clean but to put His/God’s house in order for all time.
ROYAL COMMISSION WILL NOT PREVENT SEXUAL ABUSE FROM HAPPENING – FOR GOOD.
Bishop Robinson identifies three major tasks to be performed in eradicating sexual abuse from the Church: identifying and removing all offenders; reaching out to, and assisting, all victims and survivors; and identifying and overcoming the causes of both abuse and the poor response to abuse by the Church’s hierarchy. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating the first two of these tasks however it does not have the scope or power to make the changes necessary to ensure that systemic sexual abuse NEVER happens again in the Catholic Church.
Bishops Robinson has considerable expertise, having been involved in these first two fields for eighteen years. He and Bishops Morris and Power firmly believe there is a desperate need to address the third element: preventing abuse from happening in the first place . . . for good! He is calling for nothing less than a Council of the whole Church, inclusive of the laity, to confront the issues that contribute to the causes of systemic sexual abuse.
MANY CATHOLIC GROUPS CALL FOR CHANGE.
There are many people and many groups around the world seeking change in the Catholic Church. Though they may have slightly different emphases, there are a number of changes, common to all groups. These groups are calling out for:-
1) Greater Inclusiveness – a Church that is as much for women as for men, for laypeople as for clergy, for the marginalized as for those in the mainstream.
2) Greater Openness – if there are scandals, it is better to bring them into the light and confront them rather than seek to conceal them.
3) Greater Participation – not taking away the power of the Pope, but asking for greater participation and consultation, so that the whole Church may have a more active role in the mission of the Church.
4) Greater Sense of Mission – a greater concentration on the person and mission of Jesus Christ rather than on authority, laws, obedience and theological conformity.
Bishops Robinson, Morris and Power believe it’s time to unite as one voice that the Vatican can no longer ignore.
IT’S TIME FOR ACTION
This global petition will give Catholics a collective voice. It will let the new Pope know the intensity and solidarity we feel in relation to the sexual abuse issue. It will show him that the whole Church wants to help him, to work with him on this issue of paramount importance. We want the new Pope to lead the Church into a future he and all Catholics yearn for – and the world needs.
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE – FIND YOUR VOICE AND GIVE YOUR SUPPORT
By signing this petition you are assisting every Catholic group calling for change. You are helping to create something very special: – the voice of the faithful. You will be helping to create a church for the future, free of sexual abuse, full of participation and inclusiveness–, a Church where loving God, through Jesus Christ makes us proud and full of the Holy Spirit. This is the voice we want the Vatican to hear.
So if you are Catholic and believe that it’s time for the Church to listen to its people; if you’re a Catholic who wants to stamp out sexual abuse from ever occurring again please sign this petition.
For Christ’s and our Church’s sake encourage your family, friends and fellow parishioners to do the same. Together, as Catholics we can make a change.
For more details on Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s action plan to end sexual abuse¬- for good, read his latest book, For Christ Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for good.
57 thoughts on “Cardinal Admits Church Child Sex Abuse Cover Up”
In the article Cardinal Pell speaks of attending court with a notorious serial abuser and likens it to Christ saying we need to be with the lowest of the low. In my opinion the victim is the lowest of the low, not the abuser, in abuse situations. He says he did not realize this would be an insult to victims. How anyone can define the abuser of needing the support rather than child/victim is something that is still mind boggling to me and has been over the past few years. Stand with the abuser and ignore the abused..what Gospel reflects these actions?
I had a similar interaction in hoping to resolve the situation of priests in treatment being allowed to freely roam a community . The response I received is these priests need help..yes they do, and children need protection..how one could ever outweigh the other is stunning.
“How anyone can define the abuser of needing the support rather than child/victim is something that is still mind boggling to me and has been over the past few years” (Kathy Kane).
RC prelates (silver tongued devils) are masters of doing exactly that.
drwho, I have been at vigils with victims/family members outside the Archdiocese building when priests literally avert their eyes,walk the other direction etc..The victims are right there in front of them and are ignored. It really is something I wish more people could witness, it is like a biblical story come to life. A Bible story where Jesus would teach his disciples right from wrong and ministering to those in need.
Kathy, the culture of the priesthood is directly responsible for blinding clerics now and for decades to the complex and irreversible damage associated with abused children. The remark made by Pell that clerics were, for a long time, unaware of how sexual abuse hurt children is just inconceivable. A person is compelled to ask why… why didn’t they know? In Christ’s name, how could clerics have been so utterly inept?
The culture of the priesthood is so disassociated from reality and the human condition that its “Otherness,” dangerously insular and myopic, continues to have the effect of rendering clerics thoughtless, oblivious, and ignorant. When the priesthood renders a man unfit to accurately read, empathize with, and be knowledgeable about the human condition, it is nothing short of a cruel abomination of “the priesthood of Christ.”
Beware, mankind, of the catastrophic failure of the priesthood!
Kathy I have witnessed this myself and it was truly a light bulb moment.There is a “them vs us mentality” that has to be broken down or the church will never heal. A lot of education and interaction needs to take place to overcome this. (I got to witness 1st hand how done correctly and compassionately some progress in understanding can occur when we had our parish meeting a few months ago. Even Vicky said it was healing for her. This is just a beginning. I realize it just scratches the surface of what needs to happen))It didn’t get like this overnight. Years of coverup and not dealing directly with the serial abuse in many cases and continued coverup has led to understandable distrust from our survivors. The church needs to say we screwed up , we covered up here are our records and how can we make sure this never happens again and at the same time make amends to our survivors and if there are legal consequences that is reality and then stop covering up and shredding documents. Is this a painful process for the church yes but the survivors have had their share of pain they and their families have suffered tremendulously. The church talks about sacrifice and laying down their life for their neighbor……here is a chance they can practice what they preach………in the process many souls will be saved………problem is we have too many cowards in leadership………we needs saints……….it takes a lot of trust in God and humility to do the right thing when is is easier and more comfortable to continue with the status quo…..
A recollection from 66 years ago comes to me while reading of this situation: I was about 15 and some school friends and I were playing in the busy streets of Wash. D.C.,around Connecticut Ave.N.W. Somehow, one of the boys that had been among our small group of playmates had been accused of shooting and killing a policeman the same evening we had been playing together. The group of us were called to appear at an inquest in court. A newspaper photographer took a photo of the accused killer as he was being led out of the courtroom and had recognized me standing among the crowd. As he passed by me he stuck out his hand to me; obviously wanting to “shake”. I complied and the photo was printed on page 1 the next day with the headline “YOUNG SLAYER GREETS A FRIEND.” In addition I
was identified by name and the school I attended, which at the time was a Catholic Military H.S. (St. John’s Military Academy run by Christian Brothers.) Well, when I showed up for school the next day, the Principal took me aside and rather scornfully remarked “Shaking hands with some old killer — were you ?” Or words to that effect.
I don’t recall what I said in return; however, I suppose the reason I didn’t refuse the boy’s outstretched hand was simple compassion for his feelings, wheter or not he was a psyco or not. I was in no way implying he was innocent or not, nor was I downplaying the tragic loss of life of the police officer killed.
It is my personal belief that the inability of Catholic authorities and clergy to mend and heal the victims of clergy sex abuse is that the power to do so is not within their grasp. It is sad that the Cardinal didn’t
have the ability to make his intentions clear when it mattered.
Nichols ….I appreciate you and “the life in Christ” that you lead! The Cardinal could nore let his “real intentions” known, because he is incapable of doing so in the atmosphere he chooses to live in. Not sad but exactely what he wanted to say…. No TRUTH WITH IN him.!IMO
should read; ” no more, let his real intentions. known”
Gloria, I agree the Cardinal was bound up by “the atmosphere he chooses to live in” as you put it so well.
For himself and much of the church it is a case of REAPING WHAT ONE SOWS.
They don’t often “reap” immediately; often it takes a long time, but eventually they will all reap what they have sown.
Andrew Greeley, 85, Dead
Father Greeley had been an early and vehement advocate for victims of abusive priests at least since 1989, when he began writing articles in Chicago newspapers demanding that the church take action against pedophile priests. The public criticism angered the archdiocese and many fellow priests, but his outrage and proposals for reform were eventually recognized by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, among others, as prescient.
Reblogged this on Catholicism in the 21st Century and commented:
Read some suggestions for a positive, constructive, courageous and potentially healing church council.
This (above article) is a diatribe IMO.. These hierarchial puppets are finding out, the people are so completely sincere in their hatred for this evil, which is being pertetuated by the RCC’s, that they are willing do just about anything within the law, to stop this intrinsic evil. I do not believe any of these people who say they want change really want change. The “status quo” is what they want and will never change, until we get it done! And “we will get it done!”
Please sign Bishop Robinson’s petition. I’ve signed it and hope thousands more will. He is a holy man, whom I have heard speak in Philadelphia. Bishop Robinson was working on the sex abuse scandal in Australia and literally ‘hit a brick wall’ of opposition. He later resigned in frustration but continues to work to expose the failures and to promote healing. Be sure to read his book CONFRONTING POWER AND SEX IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Irene….”Speaking” is a very easy thing to do.!! And to listen to. “DOING is another sort of thing…..called ACTION! When you want something “actually DONE”, and not just talked about, you get someone who has a” track record” for doing just that. The RCC has no track record! All the books written by them, are just that, ” written” Ask the people that have been sexually abused by these wonderful speakers and writers what they think? You will hear, what you DO NOT want to hear. Don’t be so naieve and , think for yourself and do the research yourself.
Glory be,calm down and stop lashing out. I know Irene personally and she is the least naive and one of the most action oriented people I have met in the past 2 years. Please do not attack people on this site. Thank you.
I wrote a comment in reply to your “calling me out” :…where is it? Shame on you! Will you print this? I wonder? Typical catholic answer. Don’t answer what you don’t agree with or like.
Glory be, again calm down. Everyone is not going to agree with you 100% of the time 24/7. When they do not, calm down. Irene read a book.she liked it..end of story. I asked you to stop attacking people..period… and I asked respectfully.
Bishop Robinson is a big boy now and has been on both sides of the fence.
He never resigned in frustration he resigned due to his health, literally.
He was on the board of Encompass that saw clergy being let back into the community and the police were never told of their proclivities.
That would have taken courage then, to stand up and warn the faithful, in other words be a valiant whistleblower like Fr Morrie Crocker who was hit by a brick wall, treated like a leper and took his own life, being a voice in the wilderness.
I am very offended by Bishop Robinson’s quote,(above) which I consider a phrase”For Christ’s Sake”. used in cursing. I think it is a deplorable use of our Lord’s Name….I would NOT read it for just that reason. He has no respect for our Lord jesus Christ. He is dispicalble as a Bishop and uses that phrase to laugh at the “dumb sheeple” that listen to him.. IMO !……………………..
I was a Catholic for over 60 yrs and always called myself a “Christian Catholic” and when I recieved the baptisim of the Holy Spirit I called myself a a Catholic Pentecostal.
I understand you anger and frustration with the general condition of the RCC, as I feel the same. But, the proselytizing is annoying.
I just returned from the United Arab Emirates, and any non Islamic proselytizing is illegal there. They allow each person to believe whatever they want, however they also make it clear that you’re in a Muslim country.
Kathy hasn’t declared non Catholic proselytizing illegal on this site yet, however it’s damn (cursing?) annoying! glorybe1929, I (not speaking for Kathy) believe you’re on a Catholic website.
dr who,you made me smile 😉 Many of us of course are angry,disgusted..you name it. I always have in the back of my mind, the average Catholic who comes to this site hoping to be better informed about the abuse issue, and do not want to scare anyone away.
You have done more than many of us in that you actually helped put a predator in prison,whether you choose to attend Church is none of my business ,you helped protect kids! I actually think it is the people in the pews that will make a large impact in this issue, and all are welcome here.
I nominate “change” as the most abused word in recent history.
Sent from my iPhone
How can it be called proselytizing when we all serve the same church of Jesus Christ our Savior? I don’t understand that or anything about it. The ARROGANCE of the RCC is so, NOT of our dear LORD , I find it difficult to find out where you and the rest, who say I am touting another Faith , are coming from. Do you still believe the lies they have told you and that no one but a catholic will go to heaven?????
Glorybe1929, At the rate I am going…I probably am going to hell in a handbasket:)I always want to follow my will not God’s. It’s a daily struggle. But one thing I think we can all agree on is that 1 in 12 apostles was a Judas and probably not much has changed since. I find it interesting that God chose a man not a woman to betray Jesus it could have easily been Mary Magdalene or someone outside the church. But Jesus picked Judas a man, a friend, apostle, early priest from within the church……gives one something to think about. Jesus talked about a church a church he founded a church that was “one” the Roman catholic church didn’t make that part up its in the Bible and passed down for generations. There were times Jesus didn’t approve of what the members of his church did and would do but they still were part of his church. Just like Judas we all have a choice to follow Christ or betray him. I need to be reminded of this daily.
I will be the first to say I don’t know why God did what he did and allows things to happen that he does. I guess we will have to ask him if and when we get to heaven.
Do you realize that capitalizing words means you are shouting?
Surviviors wife… Do you realize that that phrase “shouting or screaming ” was a rule that some one said so long ago that it’s passe’ in 2013. I think we all are able to do our own writing without being put down like we’re stupid. You and the rest of those who try to put people down should “get over it!should Thanks for the “old fashioned lecture”
Do you think that the Muslim religion is “Different” from the Christian Faith? I do. There is ONE GOD in all the Christian churches. How can a person proselytize to their own???? Jesus is Lord and that’s that! I’d really like an answer from some one, ON THIS SUBJECT, SINCE IT’S BEEN SAID SO MANY TIMES…Thanks!. AGAIN. agIN..
Where did my comment go?
I was disappointed by the phrase and a few other things too [unrelated and see it as a sales pitch I’m afraid.
glory be, No comments have been removed. I don’t know where your comment is. Feel free to submit again. I am the only person who has access to the system and do not remove comments unless they are a direct violation of our policy – even then I’ve let stuff slide.
Thank you Susan for getting back to me I find you very humble and caring ….I know you let a lot of stuff slide. Just like the Lord. We’re all sinners no matter our credentials. Some make it work better than others. Thank you for the untiring work you do and for Kathy being such a good friend, as to answer for her friend. Let’s put an end to the bickering. it’s not profitable for the Kingdom of GOD.! gloria .
glory be, Amen to that. All of us here just want a better world for children.
I’m sorry that my comment is gone and I’ll not repeat it. I find Kathy to be very harsh in her judgement of others.. Don’t you thinK others should be allowed to speak for themselves if they are offended? “glory be again, calm down” is not very respectful of my opinions. I don’t hear her speaking to Rich for using the “F” word. We are all trying to get through this life with the least amount of stress. I don’t need her stress at my age. I am very calm & think she has the problem.
glory be, When you type in caps it is like you are yelling at someone..that is the way it translates. My saying ” calm down” was because you seemed so worked up over Irene’s rather benign comment. So far you have called people sheeples,naive..typed in caps and very much are constantly reminding people how happy you are that you left the Church and question why they stay. The site is called catholics4change and there are many people who have left, are on the fence,or are still Catholic that visit and comment on the site…. all for the protection of children. I will not bash someone for choices they make whether to leave the religion or stay, frankly it is none of my business and not what the purpose of this site is for. If you find that harsh then you may want to reflect on some of your comments and attacks on others. That is all I am saying and hopefully we can go back to the real work here which is protection of children and not choices people make about their Faith.
I never post any comments here or on any other blog. I’m a member of AfterSilence.org, an online support network for survivors of CSA and ASA. I’m more comfortable having what I write read by people like me, who have experienced the same kind of nightmares. People who were not abused as a child or sexually assaulted as an adult can never understand why we are the way we are. I’ve followed the articles and comments on this website for over a year now and I’ve managed to become very dear friends with one of your regular contributors.
I know that many of you would like to better understand abuse survivors, and maybe some of you think you have a clearer image of just how devastated and destroyed a child’s life becomes after they are abused, but focusing on the demeanor of an individual survivor, and the written methods he may choose to allow ordinary people to peer into his soul and see the nightmares through his memories should be a listening and learning experience for anyone who truly wishes to understand how an abused child feels and who he grows old to become. I consider it offensive that anyone would dismiss the truth of his testimony due to the words he writes beginning with the letter “F” and realize he’s vomiting his story without even thinking of the words he uses to describe horror, fear, and pain because he believes writing about his tragedy can make a difference. On AfterSilence.org, our community would be more concerned by the words beginning with the letter “R,” because Rape is the word of commonality our community can agree on all too frequently. We would prefer to read more words beginning with the letter “F” instead of the constant words that begin with “R.” Survivors struggle to demonstrate in words formed from anger perpetuated by pure evil that births sadness within every heart and mind it touches, and for once in a million centuries a survivor decides to draw his path toward recovery outside of the lines others have drawn before him and suggest it’s the easiest way to go, and you dismiss it based on actual words that exist in the English language that flow from his heart and is translated into some amazing work, because you view a particular word as impolite. We at AfterSilence.org believe that the “R” word, as in Rape, is substantially less desirable to read in the testament of an indefensible little boy, who is courageously telling the world his story than most any of the words you find do not belong on a website even though its subject is about sexual abuse of children and rape. Nothing about that topic or the poor souls who have experienced it is polite. We cater to Catholics, Methodists, Jews, and whatever religious denomination a survivor is or is not. The subject is more important. I believe the shame should be lifted away from that little boy who speaks through the man and lowered upon those ordinary people who insult every survivor by claiming that the words available in his mind to tell his story in that moment are more important than his story altogether.
Ninety percent of children abused never muster the courage to disobey the evil giants they were abused by. They were fearful children, and that hurt child resonates throughout the history of their lives, and he is always scared, because fear came first and it was always a sure thing, and he remembers how fear made him feel during the abuse and it will always last until he is dead. The young man grasped that fear with both hands and took a chance to discover whether or not the threats from evil giants would come true. Ninety percent of children abused will never know of healing, because those in the majority are still blaming themselves more than finding fault in the lies and secrets of evil giants. Ninety percent will never know the difference between being captive and being free. They will never know they did nothing wrong, that they were children, and the other ten percent have a better chance making it through alive.
My dear friend, Rich Green is most definitely in that ten percent bracket. Quite noticeably, he may very well be in a one percent bracket. Most survivors, even in the ten percent category, do not become as proactive as this young man. I stood by and waited for the light to shine. I told Rich that I wanted to write something and post it here. He asked me not to and I promised him I would let it go. I’m breaking that promise, because I cannot stand by any longer and imagine that this young man is not appreciated for the strides he’s made and that some here believe “his blogging does not protect children” and it isn’t enough. I want to set the record straight.
If Rich only blogged in the way he always has here and on other websites it would be more than what most people do to protect children. You may consult the many thousands of people he emails his stories to every Wednesday and ask them if they think his words are helping to protect children. He has a remarkable talent to be able to put into words exactly how so many of us feel. I couldn’t begin to count all of the comments from his readers who have suggested he should write a book. I have seen Rich on the news being interviewed and responding to questions about his abuse, the justice he seeks, and his never-say-die attitude of speaking out to protect children. His emailed stories are always ended with a plea to write letters to politicians to change the current laws to better protect children. He offers a pre-written letter to politicians in the Tri-State area so that people don’t even need to write their own letter and can just sign it and drop it in the mailbox. He has called me at least once, every week since I met him at a Voice of the Faithful conference in Chestnut Hill to make sure I’m all right. He has been my rock and always answers the phone and has time for me when I need a listening ear and some encouragement.
Rich called me last week and asked if I wanted to hand out flyers in Sea Isle City to alert parents of a pedophile priest living across the street from a very large playground. While we were handing out flyers and talking to about a dozen parents two drunk men pushed Rich against a chain link fence and then down on the sidewalk. He has a very badly injured back and he wasn’t able to keep himself from falling down and several of the parents we were speaking with helped him up and two lovely insane women screamed those two drunk lunatics down the street while threatening to call the police. Rich was holding a few hundred flyers in his arms when he was pushed down and as it was also a very windy day on Saturday, the flyers were blown all over the ground, down the street, and across the ball field. Some passersby tried helping us grab as many as we could and Rich told us not to bother. He said it was nice that two men came by to help us distribute the flyers so fast and easily. Rich isn’t a planner. He’s a doer.
I was abused by four adult men in my family. I was passed around. My cousin was an adult in his mid-20s at the time he had been abusing me and he is the only one of the four still alive. I broke my silence some years ago, but I have never officially reported the abuse to the police. I’ve spoken to Rich many times concerning my fear since I know my cousin has grandchildren and I witness him with three of his grandchildren in the lobby of a movie theater about a month ago. Rich has given me the encouragement to believe I can make a difference and I can protect children too. On Tuesday I filed a report against my cousin for abusing me when I was a little girl. Like Rich and many other survivors, I too have been left behind and my cousin’s grandchildren unprotected by the laws, but because of Rich I realize I’m doing everything in my power to protect my cousin’s grandchildren and any child who may come in contact with him. Maybe a hero never rescued you, Rich, but I know you’ll be the hero the world needs to save the day.
Catherine,thank you for posting. I am very interested in your comment about the words people use because I think when we say “sexual abuse’ it is a whitewash..people hear that word and not much registers..it is a benign way to describe the sexual violation of a child. It makes it easier for people to dismiss. Recently I read read an article about a person that was arrested for child porn possession and in the article it graphically described the child porn..2 and 3 years old being raped. It was shocking but necessary to read and usually does not happen..we hear “child porn” but not about the images and abuse associated..again it is a whitewash.
I appreciate all you do and all victims and Rich. if you see our logo it says protect kids and that is how this site started,having victims come to the site was an unexpected gift..we were just a bunch of concerned ,upset Catholics. I have learned from many victims on this site. I have said many times on this site that I got involved in this because of the abusive clergy that remained in ministry..I was concerned for the kids..to be honest it was not the victims that motivated me. It was at my first vigil that I met some victims that I even thought about those who had been harmed..they were an invisible group in my mind. We also do not hold ourselves out to be experts in child sexual abuse.
This site attracts many people and although victims post on our blog, it is not at all anything like other sites that are for victims. We have a wide variety of people who come here, some just dipping their toe in the water for the first time to try to understand the abuse in the Catholic church. My thought has always been that you don’t take that person and hit them over the head with a hammer,but may have to take their hand and take baby steps with them..the end result being more people involved in the cause..the more people involved the more kids are protected. it is a chain reaction. This is nothing like other sites for victims and we have never held it out to be. I can absolutely understand the friction that occurs at some times because of the variety of people we draw to this site.
Many people are doing the best they can to help kids whether they are victims or just concerned citizens ,parents. However when someone takes my words and twists them, misrepresents me, critiques me and on and one , I know when to stand up for myself and will continue to stand up for myself . I have met many victims over the past few years and have worked side by side in meetings,phone calls, seminars, press conferences etc..and our relationships are friendly, courteous and productive. There is a division that exists in some people’s minds that doesn’t not exist in others..I never said I was a victim, understood what it was like to be a victim, presented myself as anything other than a concerned parent,citizen trying to protect kids and for the overwhelming majority of victims that I deal with that is just fine..for others maybe not ,and to be honest I can’t get stuck worrying about that, there really is too much to do. We are a site that seeks to protect kids,not a victims blog like other sites. I have learned the most from Rich and his comments ,than just about anyone else over the past few years. He is a gifted writer and the further his message can spread the better in my opinion. I have a great appreciation of him, I don’t think he does of me,but that is okay. I will continue to work on protecting kids and not get caught up in what others think about me or what I think of them because in my mind it is about the kids.
Catherine I was thinking of an analogy to offer to try to bring some clarity. I don’t know if you are a parent or not but for the sake of this analogy, pretend you are not a parent.
Maybe you see something on the news one night about pediatric cancer and it touches your heart. You decide to become involved in the cause of pediatric cancer. You have no personal connection other than it touched your heart in some way.
You meet many parents of children who have died from pediatric cancer and forge relationships,work on projects etc…it does not matter to them in the slightest that you have not lost a child yourself, they are just happy others are joining the cause.
But there is one parent who is always questioning you..critiquing you…you are not a parent, you have not lost a child..you don’t understand this…you have not experienced this tragedy and on an on. You are condemned by this person of not doing enough to help kids with pediatric cancer in India, China, all over the world because there are kids dying everywhere. Nothing you can ever do is enough and you are knocked continually for even trying. You don’t know what you are doing,you are not a parent..my child died..you have no idea …… And you never said that you did..you just wanted to help kids with cancer realizing that you could not save the world. Then you are called a “so called” child pediatric cancer advocate..At one point you are even accused of “making money” off of your involvement ,when in reality your involvement has cost you financially. You never know what to expect, what insult or critique will be coming next when all you are doing is trying to help some kids with cancer. Do you deserve that? This parent’s pain and anger is obviously from losing a child and is understandable but you did not cause his child to die..you are trying to help other kids and families and you will never ,ever be able to bring his child back, you will never be able to take away his pain and he will remind you every chance he gets. At some point you realize that because you did not experience this same tragedy you will always be looked at as different, you will never measure up..nothing you do will be enough. But there is a whole group of other parents that experienced the same tragedy who treat you completely different and do not take their anger out on you,do not insult, or condemn you for trying to help a situation that you personally did not experience…you were just trying to help kids.
I heard something the other day that made total sense to me. A psychiatrist said that when a child is sexually abuse, especially at a very young age, that the brain stops evolving and does not continue growing as the body ages. Maturity, intelligence, emotions, and the ability to solve simple tasks and mental confusion is stalled. While the child ages into his teen years and even into adulthood the mind is stuck at the age he was when the abuse first occurred. The psychiatrist said that’s why it’s so important that adult victims connect with their inner child to heal him in order to progress to the current age he is today. I have spent most of my adulthood ignoring my inner child even at the advice of professionals and friends.
I don’t hate you, Kathy. I don’t understand why a post I had written right after the Boston terrorist attacks was taken so offensively by Nichols1, and then I watched as you and others jumped on board to agree with him, and it felt as if everybody was ganging up on me. That’s how it felt to me. You said something along the lines of “no politics and religion discussion on this website,” which I thought made no sense at all since the name of the website clearly affirms that religion, Catholicism, is an absolute part of this website. If that’s not accurate, why wouldn’t the website have been named “People4Change?” Also, there have been many topics dedicated to political agendas such as, writing letters and emails to certain senators asking for them to change the laws. I just can’t understand how somebody can claim politics and religious discussion isn’t welcome here when that’s a complete contradiction of the many topics that have been posted by the facilitator of this website. Furthermore, if religious discussion is banned from this website, then shouldn’t Nichols1 be banned too, since he’s a walking bible thumper? Practically every comment he posts is a bible verse. Anyway, how many times has he announced to everyone here that he was leaving the site for good? Instead of just quitting his commenting he had to announce it like he needed attention. Pretend you’re trying to help kids with cancer, but you can’t talk about doctors or a cure. How will you save them? Suppose a child was diagnosed with cancer, fought cancer, beat cancer, and was trying to recover, would you demand he also prove to you every day by writing it on a blog that he did everything he could to get away from cancer, recover and heal from it, and list the ways he’s helping other kids with cancer? Will you tell that cancer surviving child to get off his high horse?
“Here is what I want you to do. Each day post the concrete thing that you did to protect these kids you are always speaking about. Not blogging…blogging does not save kids, I am talking concrete action plans and then come and throw stones my way.” How do you think that made me feel, Kathy? But you don’t care. You’re so innocent, right? It’s only about what I wrote, right? You get the thumbs up and I get the thumbs down, but to be honest, I don’t really give a shit! I never much cared for the stupid thumbs. I knew when I got 3 thumbs down for posting that “fire trucks are generally red” that the thumbs were stupid and meaningless.
I don’t understand how you could appreciate anything I do, Kathy, when you made it clear that “blogging does not protect kids,” and because you demanded I post my activities every day about what I’m doing to protect the kids “I’m always talking about,” obviously you believe I do nothing. That’s fine. I wasn’t being sarcastic when I wrote that I haven’t done anything that has protected kids, because the laws are still the same as the were the day I reported my abuse, but that also reinforces that you, Kathy Kane, have also done nothing to protect kids.
I’d like to know where you were Kathy, when a scumbag priest was physically assaulting and threatening my life. Where were you when a tyrannical woman was throwing coins and stones and me and some others? Where were you when I was being spit on, told to go fuck myself, called a money-hungry leech, antichrist, faggot, and told to get a fucking life? Where were you? I didn’t see you in the crowd of 30 or so people who drove to Trenton to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to persuade politicians to change the laws so they better protect kids. I didn’t see you in Harrisburg either. Did you protest Father Fugee, or do you just blog about him? Have you written 3,000 letters, as of this past Wednesday, to lawmakers, church leaders, media outlets, and others demanding for the protection of children? Have you written about the most humiliating secrets of your life for all the world to read? Have you volunteered your entire life under a microscope, had you name printed next to the most embarrassing acts a man did to you as a child? Have you ever had a panic attack just once, in one day in your entire life? Have you ever had 150 panic attacks in a week and at 37-years-old, were you so scared and ashamed and felt like a little weak kid all over again? Are you afraid of the dark? Do you hide in closets? I severely damaged my spine. The best neurosurgeon in the country reports I need total reconstruction of my lumbar spine, and partial reconstruction of my thoracic spine. Yet, I haven’t stopped doing anything of the things I’ve been doing since the day I reported my abuse, even though I can’t walk or stand for longer than 5 minutes without severe physical pain. The doctors are amazed I could deal with it this long, but they don’t know shit about pain! Physical pain is nothing compared to what I could compare it to. I’m not writing all this to appease you and show everybody that I do what I can. I never posted my schedule before and I’m not going to list anything more after today. By the way, other than gas and tolls, I didn’t need to spend money to do any of this.
So where were you Mrs. High and Mighty?
Cath told me she wanted to post something here and I told her not too, but I thank her for saying what she said. I can take care of myself. I don’t like anybody trying to defend me, because it’s a sign of weakness. It gives people an advantage to use me, like McDevitt did.
If I decide to post here again, maybe you all shouldn’t try treating me like an adult. Just treat me like a child and maybe there won’t be any more of this arguing.
If you truly want me to treat you like a child, than I would say this, “You are strong. I can see you are hurting. It isn’t ok for you to call people names. I have wounds too. I want you to heal. Your pain and hurt doesn’t scare me away. We are all responsible for our words and actions no matter what has been done to us.”
Kathy and Rich: I find it very disturbing to see you two lashing out at one another.You are both very strong willed people who basically share the same goal: to stop the sexual abuse of innocent children. Although you both share the same goals, you seem to differ greatly on how to achieve that goal. From my perspective, Kathy seems to want to limit the focus of this blog to protecting children from the abuse perpetrated by the Catholic clergy. At the same time, she wants to affect change in the laws of Pennsylvania that will protect all children. Rich on the other hand, sees abuse of children as inter connected. What happened in Newtown Conneticut to those innocent children is another form of abuse. He seems to feel that the movement to protect children needs to ally itself with other groups to actually affect change.Social movements, throughout American history have faced the same problem. To stay small and focused or to expand nationally,with the hope that your goal doesn’t get placed lower on totem pole. It is not an easy question to answer. Just remember one thing:you are both fighting to stop abuse of children.
Rich, I will try my best to answer your question. You asked where I was when you were being abused. I saw in another post recently you mentioned the years of hell under McDevitt were 1990-91. I was in grad school at Penn studying Social Work, learning about every social problem that exists in society and being absolutely clueless that kids in Catholic schools and parishes in Philly (and everywhere) were being sexually abused. When I saw you wrote 1990-91, my first thought was “I was an adult (22 years old) I could have helped Rich.” It was the same reaction I had in court at the trial last year when Billy was giving details of his abuse . I was a Mom by the time he was abused ,I had the same thought “I could have helped him”
When you wrote about working in Sea Isle in the summer making hoagies so you would have enough money for the pervert who made you buy the prolife roses or charged you for other things, I was spending my summers in Sea Isle probably even stopping in your store after a late night at the Springfield or OD, having no idea that the kid behind the counter was spending his summer trying to make some money to avoid a horror from a pervert at a Philly Archdiocese high school. In my mind if I had known I would have been your hero and swooped in and saved you from it all. It is easy to be a hero in hindsight, but I didn’t know about you or any of the other kids. If I did know maybe I would have been a coward or a failure and run the other way from you, because in life we fail people time and time again. But I didn’t know.
I have been to Harrisburg a few times with various victims and advocates,maybe we were there at different events and never crossed paths. I have never been to Trenton.
I have had a few panic attacks in my life and cannot imaging having them everyday ..cannot even imagine what that would be like.
I have never had to disclose anything publicly about my life that would be embarrassing or humiliating..never had to do that. Cannot imagine the toll that takes.
I have been ridiculed publicly in online comments with newspapers articles and that is tough and something my kids have seen, but nothing on the scale of what you have..nothing close.
The religion and politics..that is tricky. There have been many times that the conversation gets off course and people discuss things like women being allowed to be ordained and other things they would like to change about the church and I can see where the name catholics4change would have some believe we are about all of that, but we are not . Those are the comments I try to moderate because if you ever follow those comments, the conversation turns away from the abuse and turns into what everyone wants to happen in the Church.
Politics. We absolutely post about legislature and various politicians to contact and those who support or block better laws for kids. The political comments that I try to moderate are those that again get off base from child protection and also bash political parties. If you follow those comments you will see what I mean..it gets ugly fast.
Faith. Some people have bashed others for still attending Mass etc..while I would say that 80% of people I have attended the vigils with are practicing Catholics.
I never want someone to come to this site and feel that if they are a certain political party or still Catholic..that their head will be handed to them. That only pushes people away and the one thing that the issue of child sex abuse needs is more people involved.
When comments get overly political or focus too much on Faith/catholicism..it is a 3…2…1..effect. Someone gets insulted and the conversation and comments go south. After 2 years of helping with this site, I can accurately predict how quickly things will spiral. So discussing religion and politics is not at all forbidden,hopefully it is in the context of abuse in the Church or abuse in society and things remain on track.
Blogs …a great communication tool however everyone reads comments in their own tone..not necessarily the tone of the commenter. If we were all having a face to face conversations there would probably be some bumps along the way but not have as much friction,confusion,or anger at times. It is easy to take things out of context when the words are written rather than in a conversation.
Catholics4change is a forum,we are not an organized group that espouses one way to produce change although we have our affiliations with various victims and advocacy groups. My thought is always that the more people working in various capacities,,the better,especially better for children. Sometimes people want us to be a more organized group but our value is remain a forum to blog,post and collect information on the abuse crisis,so that people have a central point to come for information. Information is key,and I know it has been for me, I was pretty oblivious up until a few years ago about the abuse in the Church and society.
I hope this answered some of your questions.
When I wrote “where were you when a scumbag priest was physically assaulting and threatening my life,” I wasn’t talking about Father McDevitt. I was talking about Father Patrick McCormick outside of St. Tim’s in NE Philly, who confronted me, shoved me, threatened me, and tried to recruit parishioners to assault me. I wrote about it on this blog when it happened and coincidently, Susan posted an article several months after my initial comment about McCormick being arrested for soliciting prostitutes in Kensington. McDevitt physically assaulted me as well, but mostly in a sexual sort of way or for his perverted sexual reasons.
I don’t want to fight with you or anyone. My whole life has been one long battle that never ends. I fight to stay above water every day and piling on arguments with people I respect isn’t helping much. I tend to believe that had you have known I was being abused you would’ve saved me. I really do believe that!
On the other hand, if I’m being completely honest, which I always am anyway, but sometimes very blunt as well, part of me does blame the mothers and fathers and adult parishioners who are much older than me and were completely clueless as to the level of abuse occurring right under their noses. I blame my own parents, so don’t think I’m singling anybody out. Consciously I know there’s no way you or anyone who would’ve helped me and others knew about it, but it’s constantly a struggle for me to understand how adult parishioners didn’t see what was happening, even though I’m very confident that I portrayed myself as a kid who was not experiencing any kind of abuse. Looking back I find it pretty amazing how good we get at hiding those secrets from our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and people in general. I’m also amazed how shocked people will be when we finally speak up about the abuse years later and they genuinely had no clue. Maybe I should’ve been an actor. I know that blaming you or anybody else who had no knowledge of the abuse while I was being abused, or knew about the people placed on the same path as me who were known to be abusers, is as much your fault as it is mine. Sometimes I just can’t get over how good, caring, and protective adults thought so highly of the clergy and were completely brainwashed to be blind to what I believe was at times pretty obvious. But that’s my problem, not yours. I think we victims blame ourselves so much that at some point we start pointing the finger at other people who also had no fault in the situation.
I don’t want to fight anymore. The positive side of suicide I had always seen when I thought about killing myself was the idea that I wouldn’t have to fight anymore, and I wouldn’t have to feel the way I do on the worst days. I’m just glad I stuck around long enough to find out that it gets better.
I don’t dislike you or hate you. I like and respect you. I don’t love you because you’re just not my type. However, if you have a Nigerian uncle who wins the lottery maybe we can work something out. LOL
Rich,yes McCormick. I don’t like to wish bad things on anyone,even when they behave horrendously,but will admit that big dose of Karma to read of his arrest did give me a moment’s pleasure. I don’t like to think that way,but sometimes people deserve what they get.If I do ever win the lotto you will have to take that up with my teenage son..he has already put first dibs on the winnings 🙂
It’s good to have friends like Catherine….I don’t see it as a weakness people standing up for us but a show of genuine respect and love. It makes me angry that people could walk by and treat you like that drunk or not many people are uncomfortable in their own skins and that is their problem they project on others. Anyway I got a new laptop amist recovering from my July surgery and had lost your email address but I wouldn’t mind meeting you sometime soon to talk. I might be having yet another surgery soon at the end of the summer and you have been on my mind since I met you awhile ago. We never got together for coffee to talk etc. Let me know what you feel up to either way. I believe you still have my email.
Cathy, you said, ” I told Rich that I wanted to write something and post it here. He asked me not to and I promised him I would let it go. ”
You posted anyway.
As a survivor, I am sad to read this. It means you did the very thing we are never to do to victims, violate their boundaries.
SW, thanks for pointing that out, but please don’t presume Cath intended to violate my boundaries and break her promise with me. We had numerous conversations before she eventually posted that letter. We talked on the phone for almost 5 hours last night and she also told me she had conversations with Susan also. We all have our trust issues.
I’ve always viewed “trust” as my religion. The words itself, without any action behind it is a sacred word to me. It’s my most important attribute and my favorite word in the English language. I am a very honest person and I expect people to be honest with me and to abide by the promises they offer and agree to. My ability to always be trustworthy and loyal to my friends are just about the only characteristics I have that I’m very proud of and wouldn’t compromise for any amount of money or fame, or to get whatever I want. Trust and loyalty are two words worth more to me than anything else.
But not everyone is like me and it doesn’t make them bad people. They have their own qualities that make them good, honorable, exceptional people. I have known Cath for about three a little over two years, though I think she is confused about when and where we first met. I’ve found it difficult to sometimes listen to female victims talk about their abuse, because they really talk about it. They get so detailed specific about their abuse that many times during conversations I’m dry heaving on the other end of the line. My therapist has told me that this is common with female victims and they are usually much more open about the physical acts of sexual abuse than men. I guess it’s because sexual victimization is thought to be more humiliating and shameful for men, especially when they were little boys and abused by men.
Catherine didn’t write what she did to intentionally defy the agreement we had with each other. I still wish she had written it and posted it here because of my own personal issues with people defending me or trying to protect me. She did it because she felt her friend was hurt by what transpired and she felt it was more important to break a promise than to do something that gives me even more comfort in calling her “my friend.” She is just that type of person and I respect her more because of the commitment she has to her friends. I’m privileged to know her.
I think everybody was wrong in what transpired among several topics in the past few weeks. I accept responsibility for whatever I wrote that offended and hurt other people here. Sometimes I forget that writing here is not the same as when I write on my word processor and because I write so much it’s difficult to sometimes keep the two separate. It has never been my intention to offend anyone or create such disdain that people would stop contributing to the more important subject this website was created for in the first place, and if I knew that my words had driven away a person who wanted to protect kids then I would truly regret even knowing this website existed, let alone having posted my words on it.
Unfortunately, I think the Catholic Church is probably sitting back and laughing at how much we argue with each other. It just goes to show that this subject is very passionate for many people and everybody has their own opinion about implementing better ways to protect children. Maybe we can at least meet on the middle and common ground that as long as we’re focused on protecting children then there’s no wrong way in how we do it. I think it’s the culmination of the collection of ideas that’s important instead of the one solely idea, and everybody should be heard. We might disagree, but I’m starting to understand that it’s okay and I don’t need to get upset if people don’t see things the way I do. I come from a position of direct experience with abuse and interpret my thoughts differently from anyone who may not have been directly or indirectly affected by abuse, and that’s okay too, because if we’re all committed to protecting children in different areas of society then today we are giving all children inside and outside of the Catholic Church a better chance at innocence and growing up normally and naturally without ever knowing the word “abuse.”
It’s very important to me to prevent what happened to me and my friends and so many others, too many others, from ever happening to any other child. Believe it or not, but this is the only daily occupation that I haven’t quit and still have a passion for with the flame still burning bright. I’ve never had a job or hobby at any point in my entire life that if I didn’t quit doing it within a couple of years, then I absolutely lost the passion I had to begin with and usually dreaded every day I had to return to that job or play for the team who counted on me to show up for the game. I think it’s because when the abuse was actually happening to me it was, at the time in my young life, the single biggest influence and life altering experiences I had ever been through. So when I started this journey over four years ago, I realized that breaking my silence and speaking out was again a life altering event and served to make sense of the confusing experiences during the abuse and the life I had led, up to the moment I was sitting in the District Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.
This battle has become the most important mission of my life. When I began therapy and had made friends with people who were also abused, and I began talking about my abuse and listening to others talk about their abuse, at some point it clicked and I finally realized that without a shred of doubt no part or act within the abuse was my fault. I finally realized that I could stop blaming and punishing myself because I own no responsibility in what evil demented cowards made me do. When I was shocked with that epiphany the first thoughts that rolled around my mind were the knowledge that this sort of thing was still happening to other kids. Honestly, I really believe Father McDevitt was the only priest who was abusing young boys. On one hand I had an idea that this sort of thing happened to kids, because I just thought it was normal and this is something kids go through, but on the other hand I was shocked when I really opened my eyes and discovered how widespread child sexual abuse was and that it had become an epidemic all over the world.
I’m screwed up in the head. My best friend’s wife told my friend and I that she doesn’t understand how we can find conversation from a topic that relates to our abuse when non-victims could never in a million years have found such material in the same topic. I think a lot of people are blind to the things we see that are so obvious to ourselves. We just think differently. We examine people and things, and we reexamine them until we’re comfortable with the outcome. I guess some of us are just effed up in the head. At least I know I am!
Nuff said Kathy ! , Let’s get back to ” bashing the devil” he needs it more than I do, at almost 84!
PS I’ve been “on line since 1975”, when I got my 1st. computer. Capitalizing letters is “not (considered) screaming ANYMORE, as it was way back then. . It is called “emphasizing a
thought or word. I ask your forgivness if I have offended you or anyone. gloria
“Father Greeley was exuberantly combative. He could be scathing about the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops; at one point he described them as “morally, intellectually and religiously bankrupt” and called for the retirement of “a considerable number of mitered birdbrains” if the church wanted “to salvage American Catholicism”” (NY Times).
He had a way with words, “…mitered birdbrains” I’ll miss him.
I didn’t know much about him apart from one or two books written by him.
He was honest, something sorely missing within the church today, I was surprised to read he was such a grand age.
““Sometimes I think that we as priests and bishops have done everything we possibly could to drive away the laity during the last 20 years,” Greeley wrote in his book Catholic Contributions: Sociology and Policy, published in 1987.”” (Calgary Herald – DON BABWIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS).
Rich….I liked what you said and I agree with you. t’s a Catholic ARROGANCE THING! That makes people feel they are better than you and know more than you. Jesus Christ says just the opposite! No one who belives in the Christian tenets is proselytizing. Where on earth they came to that conclusion is beyond me. Rich, you have more wisdom in your little finger than most who post here.. Susan is is so humble and caring.
This is the kind of action we need. We must keep the faith, but continue to do all we can like signing petition to remove those in leadership who cover up these crimes. I sent the following to friends, including clergy: Cardinal Pell says he recently learned that former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns had destroyed documents to hide cases of abuse
What’s this? No, its not the Phila. archdiocese, its in Australia. O yes, the Phila. cardinal authorized the shredding of documents in ’94; a list put together by Msgr Lynn & Beisel, and witnessed by the current bishop of Saginaw. Now more cover-up stories are surfacing. Last week, it was a msgr. in Newark that resigned. A few months ago, it was a cardinal in LA. who was told to step down. O, there is more, we just can’t keep up with them, yet some of those who participated in the putting our children at risk are still in leadership positions. The continued lack of discipline of guilty leaders just adds to the cover up.
I loved your sweet letter back to Rich… . It was very humble and caring. We all learn from others what we need to do in life. It’s a hard road to hoe but HE makes it known to us what we need to do and undo. I know, I was a very “uppity one” in my younger days. HE had to show me that HE loved even the lowliest of beings(that I thought were), that would come into my circle. I knew HE loved me and and “all mine” but not all the rest .Oh, what a revelation that was, that HE cared for ALL people, just as much as me. I’m sure Rich in his caring heart will forgive anything any of has said that has hurt. I know, I am able with HIS help, to forgive and forget. That’s what it’s all about for each of us on C4C. gloria Amen?
I just read something and I can’t remember where it was but Jesus said…”Don’t you know that your Body is the Temple of the HolySpirit?”
That said it all to me! When I have said that I think these clergy have committed the Unforgiveable Sin,” The Sin Against the Holy Spirit” , I guess that’s where I got it. (Scripture). .I’d sure like to get some discernment on that because .people have said” we’re forgiven no matter what” & I said “no” I think this sexual abuse against the innocent, is the” Unforgiveable Sin”. Let’s hear from you! “g”
I have seen plenty of speculation on “the unforgivable sin” and I have some thoughts on it. I invite you to my site for discussion of it, if you are interested. Nichols1