Your Hour of Convenient Therapy Is Up

If the institutional Church really wants to prevent child sex abuse, it can’t continue to rely on therapists whose theories and practices may fall outside the guidelines of the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations. Advice that had proven convenient in cover ups does little for real healing.

Let’s look at the case of Father Edward DePaoli who was arrested in 1985 for the child pornography he’d stashed at Holy Martyrs Church in Oreland, PA. I’ve abbreviated a more detailed account reported by Ralph Cipriano in his Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog post. Even after his arrest, Father DePaoli continued his porn habit. After being sentenced to a year’s probation, the diocese sent him to a treatment facility for sex offenders. Free to come and go, he was caught leaving an adult book store. A subsequent search of his room turned up more child porn.

Despite all this, Cardinal Bevilacqua didn’t want to end the pervert’s priestly ministry. He was sent to NJ where he got into more of the same trouble and worse. Memos reveal that Msgr. Lynn worried that denying Father DePaoli a place back in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia might have “a severe negative effect” on the priest’s chances of recovery. Never mind, the severe negative effect he might have on children.

So what did a Archdiocesan therapist make of all this? Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, who served on the Counseling Committee of Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Religious of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,”  said the priest had suffered “what I would view as a minor relapse.” He didn’t think Father DePaoli needed to be hospitalized again and that he “could function well in ministry.” Two years earlier, Dr. Fitzgibbons had pronounced, “I believe that Father DePaoli has made a complete recovery.”

Interestingly, Kansas City’s Bishop Robert Finn chose Fitzgibbons to evaluate Father Shawn Ratigan, another priest with porn issues. The choice has been criticized due to possible bias. Fitzgibbons is also an adviser to Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a controversial group that gives support to clerics who are accused or convicted of child molestation.

“What kind of therapist diagnoses an adult as “lonely” because he takes pictures of little girls’ underwear and private parts for years?” asked Mike Hunter, SNAP’s (Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests) Kansas City director. “….And what kind of bishop seeks out this therapist?”

“It’s what bishops have done for years – pay unqualified or unethical therapists who will call child predators anything except child predators so bishops can put them back in parishes,” said Hunter. “Then, in yet another cynical betrayal, bishops end up blaming those therapists for giving them ‘bad advice.’ And when the dust settles, and another allegation surfaces later against another cleric, bishops hired the same therapists again.”

Fitzgibbons’ bio lists him as a consultant to the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican. It also states he has given conferences to dioceses and religious communities and to seminary spiritual formation teams. It goes on to say he’s lectured on identifying and resolving emotional conflicts in children. I would guess sexual abuse by clergy plays into childhood emotional conflict.

More recently, Fitzgibbons has shifted his focus to running a suburban Philadelphia Marital Institute and healing same-sex attraction. An article in last year’s Philadelphia Inquirer on a sports camp held at St. Charles Seminary for those avoiding gay sex, outlined his professional view-point. “He has written extensively about what he calls healing homosexual attraction.”  It reports that in an Catholic Education Resource Center article he wrote that boys who are rejected because they can’t play sports “begin to identify with the female instead of the male.” So a lack of athleticism causes homosexuality? “Fortunately, Catholic spirituality, combined with good psychotherapy, can result in a complete healing of those with this disorder,” he wrote in a paper presented at the Conference on Family and Education in Toronto in 1996. This play the gay away camp was held again this past weekend. I don’t think NBA star Jason Collins knew about it.

I only took a few psychology and human sexuality courses in college, but I did learn these three things.

1. There is no cure for pedophilia.

2. The cause of homosexuality is scientifically unknown but professionals recognize there is little to no sense of choice.

3. There is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.

For more information, please visit the American Psychological Association. A Christ-like approach can work hand-in-hand with modern knowledge and common sense. Let’s insist our Church uses the proper resources going forward. Let’s insist that medical governing boards do not shy away from reviewing therapists who work in conjunction with spirituality and religious organizations.

74 thoughts on “Your Hour of Convenient Therapy Is Up

  1. Susan, you must be so tired of coming across this level of ignorance in the Church community, and in this case the psychiatric community. I applaud compassion for sinners but that should come privately, not in full view of the media when the focus should be on the victims, or at least wait until the process of justice and healing for the abused has begun and has received the public support of the Church leadership and all of its available resources…as if that would ever happen.

    We Catholics on this forum hold these three truths to be self-evident:

    1. There is no cure for pedophilia.

    2. The cause of homosexuality is scientifically unknown but professionals recognize there is little to no sense of choice.

    3. There is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.

    1. there is a storm brewing in Louisiana– not a wind kind but A COVER UP– In oct 2012 I first got the courage to talk personally to the church officials and tell them about abused by a nun at age 8 even poisened –thinking i would die for sure– in feb — they returned to offer me counseling-I did not take I had counsling in my life- 60 days later– I found out they lied about the nun– saying lies- and to me obstruction of justice–well NOW THE PRESIDENT OF CONVENT HAS BEEN TRANFERRED AND ALL THE EXEUTIVE COUNSEL HAS BEEN CHANGED– ‘STRANGE TIMEING’ –ALL CONCERNED– HAS BEEN REMOVED– 14 DAYS AFTER i REPORTED HER TO THE VAC FOR LIED AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE– NOW–THE COVER UP BEGINS–

      1. bonnie, I commend you for your courage and tenacity. Thank you.

        You could contact the newly formed group called Catholic Whistleblowers. One of its functions is to support whistleblowers and expose cover ups.

        I wish you the very best as you heal.

      2. Bonnie,
        Glad you came forward.

        The evil continues.

        As someone who has tried to deal directly with the Church to help it heal, my only suggestion would be to retain a lawyer. The rcc will go to any lengths to cover up.

        Document everything. Record dates, times, names of people you have spoken to. Everything and everyone. Trust me on this.

        May you have the healing you deserve.

  2. Dear Susan…I know how much you want “your church”(the rcc) to change. It isn’t going to happen! All the” we must insists” will never change the way the devil operates. He’s real and he lives within these very evil people. We the people of GOD, who believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins rose again from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit to live the the within us is;” The Church”…. that “can never be taken away! It’s different because “we do the thinking! We don’t allow some one else to do our thinking for us.

    1. Glorybee, I believe that we need to respect the choices Catholic people make. Some people put their heads down and continue to pray, pay, and obey. Others choose well when they leave the Catholic Church and find other spiritual paths that are nourishing for them. Still others know that We are the Church and choose to stop confusing the Church with the institutional leadership. Some of the latter try to change the institutional Church from the inside and others, like me, work actively to change it while we live on the margins. I chose to believe that everybody is doing the best that they can.

      1. I appreciate the quality philosophy in your post Sir. I would add that
        it will eventually be clear to most of us that God has His own “philosophy” if you will; and that is — when He reveals His will and His mind as to what’s what, He insists that we receive it and believe it.

  3. Kathy, unbelievable. I feel like I’m drowning in a river of sewage in this, our once beloved church. How very disgusting! It just goes on and on, with something new uncovered every day. And we called these men “Father” with great respect. Once upon a time.

  4. Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons……………….yes, the “go-to” psychological professional for all those in leadership and management in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I have followed, read and even listened to a number of his publications, presentations, etc. and Dr. Fitzgibbons will certainly not let the scientific method get in the way of his Catholic Faith.

    I saw that right away that Bishop Finn called on our Montgomery County, family-therapy expert to evaluate Father Ratigan.

  5. Joyce…How wonderful it is that we NOW KNOW that Jesus Christ is Lord and not what we used to think our beloved rcc( NOTHING BUT AN INSTITUTION). I was a convert at age 12 to bring my Dad back to the church. I was a devoted catholic my entire life , married 50 yrs in the church. That’s when I knew that all I had heard over the many years by relatives of ours who were in religious orders, had told us of the very deviant behavior of

    many of the clergy. I speak of , priest, nuns and brothers.
    So now I don’t feel like I’m swimming in this esspool of evil. God got thru to us inspite of all the evil in the rcc. HE knew our hearts even tho’ we would not know of the evil going on then We know now and are fighting for our beloved children. In the Name of Jesus

  6. Progammatic therapy for alcoholic, miscreant, sexual issues priests began in the 1950s when it was thought useful complementing reconciliation. I remember the annual conferences at my alma mater in the late 1950s as attracting even cloistered monks responsible for priest formation.

  7. One of the founders of St. Luke’s in Maryland that supposedly treats pedophilia died from aids. He was also a catholic priest. GloryBee is correct. The Catholic Church is filled with evil men, we just don’t know how many.

    1. You’re on point here Mike. “Amid allegations of financial indiscretion and an “inappropriate adult relationship,” Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault has resigned as head of a Maryland treatment center (St. Luke’s) for Catholic priests and religious.”

      These “Catholic” treatment centers certainly have had their problems. All treatment for pedophile priests should be independent of Church control.

      This is another one, “The Servants of The Paraclete.”

  8. When I left the seminary and came back to Philly, I went in search of a therapist who was familiar with seminarians and priests. I found two names, Fitzgibbons was one of them. I thank God I never went to see him. Years later, my mother did see him a couple times. She told me he suggested that a curse had been put on her family and that was the origin of the family history of mental illness. This sounded crazy at the time but this man now believes playing sports will chase the gay away.

    1. Chase the gay away? Well I hope they weren’t making basketball teams “shirts vs. skins” (unable to focus the shirts team loses 100-0), and that they banned speedos from swim events.

  9. I believe that the mindset of the church’s hierarchy is in ‘Disneyland” and if changes are to be made it must first start with eliminating the SOL and opening a Window for Victims. The changes in the Law will not stop abuse but it will slow it down and provide for criminal prosecution for the enablers, so the church will be compelled to conform or continue to fade into obscurity ! I find it interesting that chaput will be honoring richard mccarron and donna farrell who will be presented with two of the highest papal honors awarded to laypersons in the Roman Catholic Church during 6:30 p.m. Mass Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. What honors has the pope and chaput bestowed on the VICTIMS ? Hope to see you there on Sunday !

  10. Susan, thank you for this great article. You did a splendid job of presenting how sadly the hierarchy has chosen to deal with this issue. Surely this is a real tragedy. Pedophilia ia a significant sexdual addiction. Until the bishops realize that and treat this problem not as a passing phase but as a serious addiction and that the “priest” who does these actions is also a criminal, we will continue to allow coverups to prevail. Jeffrey Dammer has a real problem of killing and eating his victims. We recognize this as a serious mental problem, but he is also a criminal and needed to be kept away from any human person.
    When a pedophile is allowed to be back close to children there is no difference. The addiction is too strong. This person should be out of thepriesthood and needs to be registered with the civil authorities. The church has been significantly lax in this area, trying to protect the idea of “you are a priest forever”. That theology is out. Once one has crossed this line, that person is no longer a “protected” person.. Theologians speak of an “ontological change” in the person who is a priest. But I am sure that that theologiccal discussion is soley academic and really has no “fundamentum in re” (no foundation in reality).
    Again Congratulations to you Susan for this article!!!

    1. ” The church has been significantly lax in this area, trying to protect the idea of “you are a priest forever”. That theology is out. Once one has crossed this line, that person is no longer a “protected” person.. Theologians speak of an “ontological change” in the person who is a priest. But I am sure that that theologiccal discussion is soley academic and really has no “fundamentum in re” (no foundation in reality).”
      Amen. What complicates the issue of CSA when the perps are clergy is the issue of Faith.
      Faith isn’t a commodity that everyone understands , nor something everyone knows and experiences. Because of this, some men and women are brought into religious life not because they have believed God’s Word and been sealed by the Holy Spirit, but merely because they [or someone else, parent, friend etc.] decided to enter. The “street words” for it are: “they weren’t sent,they just went.” Talk of
      “formation” is just that— talk, as Fr. said above. I am sorry and sad to conclude that it is the false idea that religion can produce men and women without sin in their life that makes the CSA situation so intractable.

    2. Reverand John: First of all, I want to thank you for standing up for me and other victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.I also want to respectfully disagree with you as far as pedophilia being an addiction.Addiction, although extremely difficult can be overcome.I was addicted to alcohol. I stopped using alcohol some twenty five years ago.If I had not stopped, I would have killed myself or worse, somebody else. Pedophilia, on the other hand cannot be overcome. If the Church had realized this many years ago before it spent so much money trying to heal these priests, many innocent children would have been spared the suffering they experienced at the hands of these perpetrators. Pedophiles are sexually attracted to children.It is who they are, deep down inside. So what are we to do with them? We can store them in prisons for the rest of their lives. This is not realistic. Our laws do not support such action. One thing we can do is limit their access to children.Megans law and other similar laws try to do this, with limited success. But the one thing you can’t do with pedophiles is give them some limited therapy and send them back to interact with children. And this is what the Catholic Church has consistently done throughout its history. So if Pedophilia is not an addiction, Then what is it? I believe that pedophilia is a sexual aberration. What causes it? I believe that most pedophiles were sexually abused as children.But that does not mean that if you were abused, you will become a pedophile. It is estimated that seven to eight percent of sexually abused children, will actually develop this aberration. Unfortunately, our understanding of sexual aberration is extremely limited. Much more research is needed.So again, thank you for your help, it is much appreciated.

      1. Good post, Jim!

        I have researched the causes of pedophilia extensively and I still don’t understand how or why an adult would sexually abuse a child. Most of my adult life, I’ve wanted to know exactly what it was about me that caused grown men to want to abuse me as a child. It has been a devastating source of confusion, self-exploration, and even self-hate. Was I irresistible? Did I throw off signals? Even more importantly, how did they know they could abuse me and then keep me quiet? Exactly what was it about me that gave men the idea I was reasonable and susceptible target? I always thought I acted tougher than I was, but I guess they had the ability to see right through that disguise. I believe child abusers to be expert manipulators, but I also believe that there’s a certain characteristic in every victim that allows us to fall prey to their manipulation. I think many children become victims because there was something in particular we lacked and desperately needed to feel a hole within ourselves, something about attention or love or friendship we weren’t being shown by people in our lives, and those expert manipulators have a talent to hone in and provide whatever was necessary for us to feel like we were no longer being alienated and ignored. I think the only reason I kept going back and stayed silent was because the abuse was a conceivable trade-off to the constant bullying, family dysfunction, homophobia, and loneliness that surrounded my childhood. As twisted as it might sound, the attention I was given by my abusers in some way provided comfort and gave me the impression that I was important to some people, even though they were hurting me. Oddly enough, when I was finally free from the abuse I actually struggled with losing the attention I adored and was used to. I guess that’s just another sign that shows how screwed up the brain becomes from abuse.

        Pedophilia isn’t a disease, sickness, or addiction. I believe it’s an urge similar to a serial killer’s urge to murder people. I’m actually convinced that a person can be a pedophile, but not be a child molester. I’ve researched a ton of information supporting that actually the majority of pedophiles do not molest children. However, understanding research and allowing pedophiles to have contact with children is two completely different subjects and regardless of whether or not I knew someone was a pedophile and some sort of absolute proof that person has never and would never molest a child, I have my experiences and my reservations, and there’s no way I’d ever be able to find a reason to allow a pedophile around any children. I also don’t buy the idea that child sexual abuse is about power and control for the abuser. If that were the case, why wouldn’t they just overpower and beat a dog? I believe pedophiles have an urge, but child molesters have a dependence on physically abusing children in a sexual manner. Whether they are hardwired or hotwired with their compulsions once they decide to act upon that urge, they no longer have the right to breathe the same oxygen as the rest of us and walk the same streets and playgrounds where children play and where the majority of us who want to protect children live.

        I think that pedophiles, regardless of their actions or inactions, should be subject to a lifetime of supervision. It just isn’t worth taking the risk that a person with this urge won’t act upon it when we know that children don’t have the capacity to understand and are easily confused by the manipulation of these people. Prisons are overcrowded, but if society is willing to free the nearly 80% of people incarcerated for drug possession and drug addiction and provide them with the rehabilitation that has been proven to be successful then perhaps we would have more facilities to keep predators away from the most vulnerable and innocent in society which will only lead to the better protection of children.

        I’ve heard different statistics regarding the cycle of abuse. Some research shows 5% of victims become perpetrators. Other research suggests the numbers are much higher and I’ve read as high as 25% of child victims will grow up to abuse children. I have never been able to comprehend just a little bit of how anyone could experience anything similar to what I have, and then grow up to recycle the pain and the same disgusting acts that were forced upon us. How could anyone forget how horrible our own abuse was and how dreadful our ensuing lives became when the abuse ended only to repeat those same acts on another child? It disgusts me and there isn’t a day that I’m not thankful that something so reprehensible and evil didn’t invade my mind and that I could never imagine in a million years and after consuming a million shots of pure alcohol that I could ever have the ability to do what was done to me to another child. Furthermore, if I did have such a propensity I’d take myself to the police department and beg them to lock my ass up and keep me there, or commit me to some hospital where I would never have contact with children, and if that all failed I’d probably blow my head off quite willingly. That’s the problem with pedophiles and child molesters. They won’t take responsibility to how screwed up their brains are and that they need to be removed from any environment where they would have contact with children. I’ve always been disturbed by the idea that some childhood sexual abuse victims don’t have the complete opposite thought process from their abusers like I do when they grow up and would not desperately want to exhaust every ounce of energy and obligate themselves to do whatever it takes to prevent what happened to us from ever happening to another child. I’m miserable and angry when I read reports of children being sexually abused. I know what they went through, and it’s not really about the physical pain it creates during the abuse (though during my abuse it was beyond painful), but what really triggers my anger is that another child felt how I felt, and tried navigating through the worst confusion and fear, and that yet another child has a similar life like mine to look forward to, and I know the child might not get the help he or she deserves because there is such a limited number of professionals with expertise in treating childhood sexual abuse victims. No matter how you weigh it, slice it, figure it, or balance it there is absolutely nothing positive that ever results in a child being overpowered, forced, coerced, and manipulated into a sexual relationship with an adult. It’s rape!

        Here’s a statistic you may not have knowledge of; according to RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network), studies conducted between 2004 and 2010 show that close to 90% of the approximately 11,700 victims and perpetrators who contributed to the study said that the abuse was surrounded by the perpetrator’s use of drugs and/or alcohol. In most of the cases the perpetrators admitted to being intoxicated themselves or having plied drugs and/or alcohol to their victims. That’s staggering! Of course RAINN isn’t suggesting, nor am I that anyone who uses or has an addiction to drugs or alcohol is more prevalent to abuse children. Over-consumption of alcohol makes a person an alcoholic. Overuse of drugs makes a person a drug addict. Neither alcohol nor drugs make anybody a child molester. I believe this research shows why pedophiles and child molesters should be banned from buying and consuming alcohol, and that criminal penalties should be considerably harsher when the perpetrators are found to have added drugs and alcohol into the situations when they had abused.

        Alcohol and drugs also release chemicals in the brain that produce anxiety and fear. Pedophiles who don’t abuse children, but obviously have the predisposed sexual attraction to children, while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol might do something they wouldn’t otherwise do if the drugs and alcohol had not been involved. Alcohol and some drugs also release endorphins in the brain. I will admit, while having consumed quite a significant amount of John Jameson and Telemore Dew Irish Whiskeys, that many times I noticed certain women suddenly appear to be somewhat attractive men.

        Anyway, that’s just my two cents. I know I got a little carried away with this response, but I think it’s one of the more important topics that should be discussed and researched more, “why abusers abuse and how society can limit giving predators more tools to abuse.” I also think that at some point, even though I can’t imagine how difficult it might be and I certainly don’t want to be involved in it myself, that we have to somehow remove the “taboo” attitude we have for pedophiles, child molesters, and childhood sexual abuse. I wonder if pedophilia wasn’t so taboo, and was thought to be a problem that could be managed with therapy and supervision that maybe non-offending pedophiles would seek the help they need to prevent themselves from offending. I also think that the child who is hotwired by their own abuse and for whatever reason decides as an adult they could or will abuse a child “deserves” the treatment necessary to prevent them from acting upon their confused attractions. Honestly, I would have a lot of respect for any pedophile who has never abused a child and has always sought help to keep himself/herself away from children. Regardless of whether or not a person who is sexually attracted to children has never abused, will never abuse, or has indeed abused, it’s better to keep all of them from having contact with children than suffer the consequences. I’d rather be wrong about confining 20,000 innocent men and women with “certain attractions” they have never acted upon than one more child falling victim to these cowards because the adults in society couldn’t agree on measures to protect those innocents.

        Peace out!

  11. Jim, thank you so much for your response, but I do have to say that an addiction is an addiction, is an addiction. People who have significant problems with pornography on computers, etc, are addicted. Treatment does not really cure these addictions. Look at Etoh and drug addiction and realize how many trips to rehab programs have ended up as failures. When I was working with homeless patients ( as a Physician Assistant) in WDC, we saw many, many persons who were addicted to all kinds of substances. We always felt that they had to try to break the cycle but too often that was a failure.
    We have learned a lot over these 30 years about pedophilia and we continue to learn. What is the real problem is the fact that “priests” are considered a “class” apart from the rest of the people. Bishops feel that they have to “protect the priesthood” at any cost. That cost has been the lives of thousands of children, girls and boys, and now suffering adults.
    John Paul II and Benedict XVI did everything they could to “protect the office of Priesthood” and so kept hundreds(thousands) of priests in ministry.
    We have suffered enough from this insanity of the hierarchy. This is a criminal addiction. It needs to be handled as such. Civil authorities first and removal from any office of priesthood.
    If the leadership persists in protecting the criminals, they also need to be removed and prosecuted under EWOC.

  12. I recently came across some articles about OCD and one of the most common intrusive obsessive thoughts for adults is the sexual abuse of a child. The fear that they will sexually abuse a child. Totally different from the conversation about pedophilia that is being discussed,but wanted to share this info because it is important. The OCD sufferer has no sexual attraction to desire ..are repulsed by the thought of sexually violating a child . Where a child predator seeks out and grooms children ,the OCD sufferer isolates themselves from children. It is similar to people who have a fear of driving because they could kill or harm someone in an accident..they are probably the safest driver on the road.

    I read some articles that distinguish between an OCD thought and the sexually disordered thoughts of predators and can understand how an OCD afflicted person could be scared to share their thoughts for fear of being misdiagnosed. One of the most common OCD thoughts for women is that they will kill their children and for others it is that they will sexually abuse a child. Of course many OCD sufferers will never have either of these thoughts..but it is crippling to those who do.

    1. I’ve never been diagnosed with OCD and I don’t believe I have OCD, but that is an actual fear I’ve always had, more so before I had started therapy and speaking about my abuse. I didn’t know how a person becomes a child abuser or if someone could go to sleep at night perfectly content on their attraction to adults and wake up the next morning with a sudden sexual attraction to children. There were also some events within my abuse that actually made me question whether or not I was an abuser, and I struggled to climb out of that nightmare and understand that an adult had forced me to do things that I never wanted to do.

      I have two other friends who were abused as kids and they have admitted to having the exact same fear, that somehow they would just wake up one day with that desire. It’s messed up. I’ve heard othe victims talk about it and I know I’m not the only victim who has researched how someone becomes a pedophile because we so feared that perhaps someday we would become that way too.

      The problem is that the statistics constantly point to the “cycle of abuse.” I meant to write in my response to Jim but forgot that I read somewhere that nobody really has any idea of the actually percentage of abuse victims who become abusers because the statistics are only gathered from abusers who have been caught offending. We all know that most child abusers are never exposed, so that would definitely screw up the actual statistics. Also, the experts stated in that article that something like 99% of child molesters report that they too had been abused as children, but not because they are telling the truth, but more because they are using it as an excuse, when in fact many of them who claim they were abused factually were found to be lying about it.

      The cycle of abuse is so publicized on many of the outlets victims seek for help that I know I’ve really gotten trapped in the thinking that maybe someday I will wake up and continue the cycle. There’s just so much misinformation and I think it’s greater than and overshadows the proper information.

      I can’t begin to tell you how many people asked me if I had attractions to children after I came forward and reported the abuse. People in my own family had the nerve to ask me that shit. I have an uncle who sends me a letter every week telling me how I destroyed the O’Connor name and the legacy of Cardinal O’Connor and how disappointed he is in me and if my grandfather was still alive he’d never want anything to do with me. When my mother was dying, my cousin and her husband visited from Pennsylvania and brought their four kids. I found out later on that my uncle told my cousin that he didn’t want his grandchildren around me because he didn’t know what I was capable of and he believed all kids who are abused grow up to abuse other kids. The cycle of abuse crap is thrown around so much that people who are uneducated and don’t know shit about anything else associated with sexual abuse always use that stupid idea to dominate how they feel and how they treat their nephew. I didn’t destroy the family name. Uncle Jack (what we called him) better know as Cardinal John O’Connor for all of you is responsible for destroying the family name. I have documents to prove he knew of priests abusing children and just like every other scumbag in the church he was also part of the cover-up.

      It’s bad enough that I’ve always feared that someday I would just develop that sick attraction and sometimes have been consumed by my fear of it, but then I have to deal with idiots who place the same fear on me and wouldn’t even trust me to be around their grandchildren even with their parents in the same room. What’s up with that? Meanwhile these kids will probably be abused sadly because Uncle Numbnuts is looking in the wrong direction!

  13. This is how my friend explained it to me. She is a fantastic mother to her kids . Do you remember the Andrea Yates woman who killed her children? I think 5 of them..drowned the younger ones and then killed the older ones. After that happened and it was all over the news ,my friend began to think about what would happen if she harmed or killed her children…her thoughts became so obsessive that she convinced herself she was capable of harming her own children. She had her husband remove all of the knives from the home..she refused to be alone with her kids,always had another adult family member with her. She was convinced she was turning into some kind of monster until she began therapy and the therapist explained to her that if she wanted to harm her children, she would want to be alone with them for the opportunity to harm them..she would welcome that opportunity rather than avoid it. He also asked her what she was feeling when she had these bad thoughts about the kids and she said she was horrified..he explained that if she wanted to harm them then those thoughts would not be horrifying, but would actually bring emotions such as relief. She had herself convinced that she was turning into a homicidal Mother and in fact she was suffering from OCD.
    I read an account of a man who had OCD thoughts that he would sexually abuse children and arranged his life so that he had no interaction with children. He actually thought he was a pedophile, he did not understand what was going on with his thoughts. One day he used a public bathroom and encountered a young boy in the bathroom which caused him to go into a panic attack. He finally sought therapy, realizing he could not live his life like this , successfully completed treatment and can now be in the presence of children without having that fear.

  14. Rich: To blame you for destroying the family name continues the cycle of abuse in your family. In your earlier post, you questioned what attracted the priest to pick you and not others. I often wonder about the same thing. Why me? I honestly believe that abusers pick those who they think they can get away with it. I grew up in an alcoholic family, large on the number of children and short on the attention payed to those children. In many ways I was a sitting duck. Add on the devoutness of my mother and her belief system as far as priests were concerned and I really didn’t have a chance.The priest who said Mass that day was Albert Kostelnick who went on to molest countless young girls. He actually tried to stop the priest from molesting me and the other boy. But in the end, he gave in and let the good? father have his way with us.This was 1961. Can you imagine the number of children who would not have been put through what you and I were put through if the Church had tackled the problem back then.And Nobody will ever convince me that the Hierarchy didn’t know then that they had a serious problem on their hands. They chose to bury their heads in the sand.

    1. Reading this just reminds me why I was at an Episcopal Church this morning discussing Christ’s love….

    2. Regarding this issue, there are some questions that have never been answered to my satisfaction. Why is it that the vast majority of sex offending priests are involved with boys? Why is the RCC’s official position so hard on homosexual behavior? If all the homosexually active (with adults) priests were removed today, how many churches would close?

      1. I have no problem when I get a thumbs down, however would you please address at least one of my questions? Evading the issues does nothing for the learning process or for solving the problem.

      2. Drwho13,I have wondered those things myself. The only offender I helped put in jail was married and later admitted to being gay in college and married for selfserving reasons although he preferred to molest boys a female stated he had attempted to molest her when she was a child but she was vocal and stopped him before he did as he was not “violent” but a “groomer”(apparently that’s why his parole restrictions got reduced he is not “violent” is that nuts or what)

        1. The one thing that scared the hell out of me in talking to this predator was that he saw no difference bwt being sexual with an adult or with a child it was all the same in his moral thinking even if the law said something else.That is part of what scares me with the catholic church they seem to lump all “sexual sins” together . Sex with a child to me is a sin and a crime because there is an imbalance in power, maturity and development and just plain wrong on so many levels much more damage than some illict affair bwt adults whether the partner is male or female. Its seems the church leadership does not get this on a gut level.

  15. I don’t really know where to start with Dr. Fitzgibbons and his theories on homosexuality. It seems to me that he reached a conclusion and then worked backwards trying to prove his conclusion. He certainly is no Kinsey when it comes to research on human sexuality. His evidence seems to be based on patients that he saw in his practice.He uses every stereotype about gay people that has been used for ages to back up his conclusion. If one were to accept his theory there is not a single happy gay person in this world. They are all people who hated their fathers and overly connected to their mothers. His comments about playing sports and not playing sports determining ones sexual orientation would be comical if not for the context he uses it in. I would like to know if playing football and basketball make you more heterosexual than playing tennis and golf. After all everyone knows that golf and tennis are more gay sports. And of course, it is no wonder the Catholic Church uses this guy to back up there claims that it is gays that caused the sex abuse crisis. I wonder how much money this guy received from the Church? Better to give it to him and not to victims whose lives have been destroyed. As for me, I’m thinking about putting up a shingle and treating left handed people. Most of the left handed people I know are a little off psychologically. Maybe with a little therapy I can convince them, that I can make them right handed.

  16. “He was an extraordinary man and a gift from God to the Church at a time of great confusion over morality, especially sexual morality,” said his longtime friend and co-worker Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons. “He was a light in the darkness.”

    can’t remember if Sipe, Wall or Doyle or all three called the late Father Harvey an enabler of abuse in the RCC. Read the yearbooks of Salesianum and compare then to the names on Bishop accountability. Remember giving them name, page and “family tree” of the abusers, Same congregation as Father Harvey and related to another doctor who wrote a paper on this congregation and abuse

    1. Funny how the founder of Courage the “pray the gay” away group of the RCC was an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales. Moreover, Father Benedict Groeschel was also a founding father of Courage. What a trio–Harvey, Groeschel and Fitzgibbons!

          1. Michele……I’ve given up trying to understand Dr. Fitzgibbons a long, long time ago. Here’s a quote from the article you have just cited:

            “…..In treating priests who have engaged in pedophilia and ephebophilia we have observed that these men almost without exception suffered from a denial of sin in their lives….”

            Hello, Dr. Fitzgibbons, do you think this statement just might apply to the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE, i.e., a denial of sin in their lives? ALL of us do that on a daily basis…..that’s what makes us human.

        1. Yea I know this comes from “Wikipedia.” But, “On January 11, 2004, Groeschel was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Orlando, Florida. He received a head injury and broken bones and over a four hour period, had no blood pressure, heartbeat or pulse for about 20 minutes. A few days later the trauma triggered a near-fatal heart attack.”

          Years before his accident I communicated with Fr. Groeschel, seeking advice on “bagging” a pedophile priest. He provided excellent advice, and put me in touch with a couple of morally sound members of the RC hierarchy. With his blessing a pedophile priest ended up in prison.

          Did that head trauma change his ability to reason? I don’t know; but when he advised me, he had NO sympathy for the pedophile priest.

          1. Dr. Who13

            Actually I knew Father Harvey well and had many discussions with him. He was a kind and compassionate man, but only once would discuss the “gay problem” – he sent a person with a question as I enter a van to leave the congregation – I was working with a gay community at the time – we were not on the same page. 1982 he did listen as opposed to Father Doyle who had no time for the gays and the problems of sexual abuse – according to the sems that block my access to him. Things change and it is possible that the damage could have affected him (Fr. Groeschel), but Father Doyle did change for the better, while the other two have made statements that insult rape victims and seem to follow old school psychology about treating gays.

            In 1982 Hermley was sent to John Hopkins for evaluation, he passed and was cleared for ministry. I know of a few examples where the Oblates did send abusers for evaluation outside the RCC, just far too few.

            Wish I had some advise like your did, Seems like It worked out well and Fr. Groeschel did some good. The Doctor I was referring (original post) to was Dr, Joseph Nines who has a very close relationship with the Oblates.

  17. ………..”Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons is a psychiatrist who has spent years treating sexually abusive priests. “Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia,” he said earlier this year. Instead, they have found a “relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.” So are all of these psychologists and psychiatrists wrong? In fact, “Fitzgibbons says, “every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.” Notice he didn’t say “some” priests. Three months ago, the New York Times ran a story on Leslie Lothstein, another psychologist who has treated abusive priests. He concluded that “only a small minority were true pedophiles.” Is he wrong, too?”…………


  18. “In fact, “Fitzgibbons says, “every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.””
    Just have to love the wording in that sentence..involved with children sexually. I wonder how involved the kids were in being raped.

    1. What does involved with children mean? Does he mean raped? Is he saying that our priests are members of NAMBLA like Shanley – those priest who abuse? Is he defining adult relationship as over 14? Or is he mean those relationships with two men who shared a boy – pass the victim in ways that at least one victim has described in detail. Asking for what the other guy got from a kid who looks at a priest as God? My kids didn’t admit what happened until the police officer was in jail. Not a sexual situation, but the problem with power and the fear my kids had – I was still confronting him as I always did – only adding the last statement to allow others to know my anger and needs can affect the needs of victims and families. So as a side point, please be gentle – the posters could be a parent a victim who may still need their church and need some support from people on this site also, there are times we fight it out as stated by others same goal – different means. I will always learn from all victims and their families and the most frustration part is that we can have this conversation about the abusers yet know the most important need is to minister to the victims and their church. Where do the victims fit it Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons?

  19. James 5:16

    “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you maybe healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” I read this today and was thinking if the predators and leadership did this…….confessed their sins to one another and most importantly to the laity and our survivors what healing this would create …..isn’t it in the end saving of souls that matters? and that children aren’t hurt? I do believe there should be legal consequences also. I am not naïve this will happen but it will not stop me from praying for it anyway. My hope and trust is always in Jesus no matter what…………

    1. Interesting the homily today was about sin and the priest was saying sin needs to be dealt with the 5 c’s conviction,confession,contrition,compensation and correction. I think he is on to something………

  20. Beth,
    Not sure how it has gone down elsewhere, but here confession to each other has been their excuse of why they are absolved of their sins and cannot tell anyone anything. It is their excuse when they are being grilled by attorneys…that whatever unfavorable sexual secret they don’t want the world to know…is “privileged” information and they are bound by their vows and the confessional.

    Heck, our former family friend priest (did jail time for his crime) confessed his “relationship” to his spiritual advisor for years. That spiritual advisor couldn’t say a word for years. It took the victim being forced into therapy by his parents…then the therapist was mandated to report.

    Or, how about the bishop who has had group meetings about how to handle these men who abuse….again…they claim those conversations/meetings are “privileged” because they really are confessions.

    I think you want men of the cloth to be men of integrity by repenting, praying for each other, exposing their sins for others to pray for them, etc. it really is what honest people do. Our experiences have been more about the brotherhood confiding in each other to cover, evade, and lie. I don’t see that changing anytime soon without unrelenting outside pressure.

    I’m in for the long haul.

    1. Yes I totality agree the thing missing is that the “leadership” does not confess their “sins” to us and that’s were clericalism is the problem.

      1. I do believe in all the sacraments but even Paul confessed his sins openly look at the Bible readings from this past Sunday. Paul and the apostles didn’t care about jail time or dying a horrible death all they cared about was getting souls to heaven……


          I still have problems trusting anybody. Were these victims eligible for compensation? I hope things are better in Philly, they weren’t for the people I know and care for. I wonder why clerical abuse was not taken seriously?

          No, I didn’t give a negative, but know people who tried to get compensation. Trust is easily lost, in some cases it is an appropriate response to lose trust in the system. I am sure many have been help, I just don’t know any.

      1. The yellow beth is from my cellphone. Anyway. I was shocked to see this sign in a bathroom in a catholic church but its good if it gets one person help or thinking in the right direction……some will say too little too late but its still some change in the right direction. My husband once said he wished someone would have told him what was going on was wrong because the whole thing was so confusing and you doubt youself when it is a parent or person in authority that abuses you. So yes I think anything that says this is wrong and don’t stay silent is good and any change however small is good. Many hospitals and doctors office also put signs on the walls of their bathrooms for victims of domestic violence which is good also.

    1. From that Knights Of Columbus Link:
      “Sadly, for the regular consumer of pornography, confession and contrition are normally not sufficient to break from pornography because, like drug abuse, pornography is not just a bad habit — it is often an addiction.”

      A notable amount of food for thought!

  21. I remember those gay bars and that sex shop in Georgetown. The one visited by so many religious. I remember “watching Richard Grant” being told not to let him out of my sight as well as several other priests in Wilmington. Remember the camp with Mcdevitt, Shannon and tweety bird as the priests in charge. Which one should know about the abuse there? Did report suspected abuse to the nurse, she dismissed those signs. one article –

    “Two former seminarians at Brisson who spoke to The Morning Call said the religious training there in the early to mid-1980s was overshadowed by a sordid, sexually permissive atmosphere that included harassment, inappropriate touching, suggestive and lewd comments, and sex among priests and seminarians. In one instance, an oblate priest placed his male companion — a young adult not enrolled in the seminary — in a room next door, where he lived for months, the seminarians said.”

    This happened in DC and Allentown. The founder of “Courage” was well aware of what was happening in formation. He also used the “Gay Report” in some of his papers. –,005.htm
    A casual survey that anti gay activists seem to quote as fact – may be more of what I experience as a religious, but not with mature gay men.
    Using that as a theory shows why these are “educated guesses further proven” as opposed to Classical Physics and math that discusses laws which are rarely broken.


    A case involving a homosexual priest who has been suspended by a Bishop following the discovery of his sexual activity with a juvenile or adolescent. In this hypothet, the priest is a Gay Liberationist and as such retains the services of a Gay lawyer, the support of Gay organizations . . . and strikes back at us, suing to show, among other things, all sexual skeletons in our closet across the country. There is a strong Gay ministry movement as evidenced by the literature and this hypothetical confrontation can occur.

    The following are select questions which should be considered in dealing with these kinds of cases. They are divided into the following categories: criminal law questions; civil law questions; canon law questions; clinical or medical questions.”



      We should first expose the common lie presented by the media.

      They keep talking about paedophilia among clergymen, while it is
      most often the case that the problem is ephebophilia, which is a
      perversion consisting in adult homosexual men being attracted not
      to children, but to pubescent and adolescent boys. It is a typical
      deviation related to homosexuality. Basic knowledge about that
      reality includes the fact that more than 80 percent of cases
      involving sexual abuse by clergymen reported in the U.S.A. were
      cases of ephebophilia, not paedophilia!”

      I don’t get it. So what? If a adult is sexually involved with a minor they’re criminals.

  22. Pope Francis pointed out that a gay lobby exist in the Vatican, and there’s a stream of corruption in the Roman Curia.

    From my experience the gay lobby exist through through-out the Church. They made up the majority of voting members in my former religious order. I viewed many of them as thugs and bullies.

    As adults, legally they can do anything they want with other consenting adults. I don’t care!

    The problem is blackmail. If they blow the whistle on a pedophile priest they’re finished, so the cycle is unending.

    We need woman and married RC priests now! That would end the gay lobby, and stop the blackmail that allows pedophile priests to remain undercover in the Church.–gay-lobby–remarks.html

    1. Dr. Who13 Still remember religious that weren’t gay not able to find a priest to say mass on Sunday in the summer. That was in the 80’s. Yeah, tell me about our prayer life and community life.

      Still remember my confidential info (info about seeing a shrink about the abuse issue) being leaked after telling someone the options outside the Oblates and church when he observed sexual abuse.
      Yes, it seems that not only did priests housed lovers, but the lovers preyed on others( yes Oblates – the pass key). Was given a long story about that – there weren’t religious – yeah the lover of one of the religious.

      I also, spent a year in a minor seminary as a day student when I was 14 – Marist – what a trip.

      Beth, its a world wide problem that society does not want to face. Easier to blame the victims. Still remember the pentagon suspended my ministry in the 70’s – did have support from the RCC in that case so I was reinstated- no one wants their dirty laundry exposed- Glad there is an active site so we can express ourselves and hopefully educate others.

      1. “The unsourced reports, in the Rome daily La Repubblica and the news magazine Panorama, said details of the scandal were laid out in the secret dossier prepared for Benedict by three trusted cardinals who investigated the leaks of papal documents last year. Benedict left the dossier for Francis” (ABC News).

        “At the time, the Vatican denounced the reporting as defamatory, “unverified, unverifiable or completely false”” (ABC News).


        1. One more point. “The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Tuesday the audience was private and that as a result he had nothing to say” (ABC News).

  23. Pope Francis is taking on the Curia; that’s courage! Watch you back Holy Father. Does anyone want to volunteer to his “food Taster?” Remember Pope John Paul I?

    1. Drwho13,
      These are dangerous times but then so were the times of the early Christians………..we need brave leaders that are willing to lay down their lives for their neighbor………no vica versa which seems been the case…..throwing our children to the wolves………..

  24. Drwho13,
    It’s amazing what you can find out when you just talk to people many people are afraid of talking about sexual abuse in and out of the church but when they do if frees people that have felt kinda trapped on a mental level for so long and a kind of ripple effect occurs also people begin to change…….come out of their denial and or shame . Privacy and secrecy within the church isn’t going to help anyone heal.Talking and being public leads to empowerment…….secrecy to shame

  25. “The statistics are staggering. Over 20 million women, or 18
    percent of all women in the United States, have been victims of
    rape, and each year approximately 1,100,000 more women are
    victims of rape. The statistics show that 28 percent of the
    forcible rapes have victims under the age of 12, and 27 percent
    of forcible rape victims are in the ages of 12 to 17.
    Reportedly, only 18 percent of forcible rapes are reported to
    the police.”…

    Rape is a heinous crime, second only to murder in severity.
    Sexual assault survivors who have come forward to report the
    crime are entitled to be treated fairly and with dignity. If
    police do not regard complaints of rape as crimes, then there
    is no investigation or arrest, thus further endangering the
    public as sexual predators remain free to continue to rape
    other victims, and in some cases murder them.

    Mr. Berkowitz. Sorry. And since many reports do not lead to
    an arrest and many arrests do not lead to a conviction or
    prison time, the bottom line is that only about one out of
    every 16 rapists will ever spend even a single day in prison.
    Just one. As long as rapists have about a 94-percent chance of
    escaping punishment, they are not likely to be deterred…

    Now, let us go on to the victimization study. It does not
    include children under the age of 12, and that is a large
    category of rapes, about 25 percent.”

    When will they act, when will we act?

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