Forgive and Forget Archdiocesan Financial and Moral Debt?


by Susan Matthews

St. Catherine of Siena, patron Saint of Church Reform, pray for us. I write this with a sense of utter futility. The archdiocesan financial reports did not shock me.

Some financial experts are blaming it on the financial “ineptness” of Bevilacqua and Rigali. The former was far from inept. This very smart man knew exactly what he was doing in regard to both money and the sex abuse cases. And you could kiss his ring if you didn’t like it. I remember how lavishly Bevilacqua spent OPM (other people’s money). His helicopter rides from the diocesan rooftop, 100k plus conference table, Sotheby’s-worthy decor for a vacation home, opulent entertaining, top dollar advisers…. All while archdiocesan teachers and social workers were struggling to make ends meet with meager work budgets and wages. Rigali came aboard a sinking ship but jumped into his life boat. That captain wasn’t going down with the diocese.

I give Archbishop Chaput credit for transparency. However, I wonder how this would have gone down had Bevilacqua been alive. Archdiocesan CFO Tim O’Shaughnessy is to be commended for taking pains to point out that the financial woes can’t be pinned on child sex abuse victim compensation. That’s how it would have been spun in the past.

Our families, yours and mine, worked long and hard for the money they put in the baskets week after week. We entrusted it to our Church leaders. Much of it was stolen so a man could live like a king. Sure Philadelphia Catholics were still able to help the marginalized but how many more children could have been fed? How many more sick could have received care? How many more schools and churches could have remained open? Now pedophile priests are set for life on pay offs while innocent priests are left with a depleted pension funds. Is anyone angry yet?

This month’s transparency is of little comfort. Ed Hanway, who leads a foundation that manages the archdiocesan high schools, was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying, “I think it will ultimately lead to stronger support by the faithful.” He’s probably right. The past is the best predictor of the future. So, the Church will continue to mismanage morality and money and Catholics will keep funding it.

After all, somebody is bankrolling the Catholic lobby fighting the removal of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse in Pennsylvania.

Click here to read: “Archdiocese, with new openness, faces debt,” by David O’Reilly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 13, 2013

Click Here to Read: A_Higher_Authority (A charming article I wrote on Bevilacqua in 1998 – If only I could rewrite history and this.)

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95 Responses to “Forgive and Forget Archdiocesan Financial and Moral Debt?”

  1. Excellent comments but this miss-management of funds goes back as far as Cardinal Dougherty and all who followed were just as foolish with our donations.

  2. So Chaput does seem to have an area in which he excels. He appears to be doing a good job turning the finances of the diocese around. I believe he would have been good at what Mitt Romney excelled at doing. Going into a company , laying off hundreds of workers and fixing the bottom line. But what happens when the sex abuse crises comes home to roost.What happens when the Church has to come up with millions to settle abuse cases. Will Bankruptcy continue to not be on the table. Even the Archdiocese of Philadelphia doesn’t have enough real estate to pay for the settlements. I am not exactly surprised when Susan describes the life of luxury that Bevilaqua lived. I wonder how he would have taken to Pope Francis when he asked the curia to lower their standards when choosing an automobile.

  3. The “mismanagement of funds” leads all the way to the Vatican, Archbishops ++++ would not have the power to be complicit if they didn’t have the green light.
    Look at all the laundering from that part of the world, and the fatcats rolling in the dosh… not forgetting Marcial Marciel,…the il poverello image we’re being given is all very well there too, after the fact.
    All roads lead to Rome, as usual.

  4. ….David Skeel, who teaches bankruptcy law at University of Pennsylvania law school, agreed. “I was struck at how candid it was,” Skeel said of the audit report. “It does look like a serious effort to get their financial house in order.”

    Dr. Skeel……his opinion stated above…..is that from the perspective of a Protestant elder, a financial expert or a civil attorney?

    Dr. David Skeel is an elder of Tenth Presbyterian Church, in Philadelphia, PA. He was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his B.A., and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he earned his J.D. Dr. Skeel is currently serving as the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania.

    • In my opinion Dr Skeel is right on target and Archbishop Chaput and CFO Tim O’Shaughnessy are making the correct financial decisions. Hopefully one of their next decisions will be to order each parish to have an “outside” audit of the parish books done once each year. Sad to say parish and archdiocese finances are in tis poor condition because Rigali and Bevilaqua ignored the abuse case and our financial problems for years! It is very clear the Vatican only wants “good news” and had a policy to avoid any bad news related to finances and child abuse.

  5. margaretamurphy@aol.com Reply July 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Dear Susan, I want to thank you and above all, congratulate you on your COURAGE!!!!!! My maiden name was Matthews and I would like to claim relationship with you (and your husband?)!!!!

    Courage has been defined as ‘rage of the heart.’ And it takes incredible COURAGE to break the century old silence we were born into!! Few seem to be able to do it. I recently discovered The Silence We Keep by Sr. Karol Jackowski!!! Women like you and Sr. Karol empower me, a 77 yr. old grandmother, culturally conditioned by Boston Catholicism, to seek and speak the TRUTH. Thank you!

    Margaret Matthews Murphy Falmouth, MA.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Margaret. Matthews is my maiden name as well. I like your definition of courage. This site began because of a “rage in my heart.” I know Kathy Kane feels the same way. I will read “The Silence We Keep.” The conditioning that you speak of is so powerful and it’s just as prevalent here as in Boston. Some of it manipulated by others and some self inflicted (good old Catholic guilt). But like you, I really heard the Gospel message and I won’t ignore the contradictions. Thanks for reaching out to us. You can’t know how much it means.

  6. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    “The priests’ pension fund, which should have had assets of $90 million, has only $500,000.”

    Fitting punishment for the unconscionable silence.

    There is a God.

  7. How can one feel the financial picture will improve when we have been told within the last year that three leaders (Dolan -NY, Mahony-LA and Rigali-Phila) have all been tampering with cemetery funds? We think its extreme to say there would be a sale of St. John Neumann cemetery (Phila archdio.) where our son is buried and we would have to move him to another cemetery, but when you see archdioceses going bankrupt, like Milwaukee, we are very uncomfortable. Carolyn & John Heary

  8. Wow. What a mess….And this is just the part they’re willing to admit …How dumb do you have to be to want to send this operation more money?

    • Chrystal, it is a “mess” but to walk away and do nothing or offer no contribution is only going to lead to more fiscal problems. The correct people are NOW involved as shown by the financial statement, now we must trust in God, stay actively involved and work to make changes that follow Christ teachings.

      • Joe, i place zero trust in any catholic church official, and I don’t care about the AD’s dismal financial predicament. I now only care about the many people it’s actions have hurt.

        • I, for one, believe that to carry only negative thoughts and trust no one is not healthy or Christlike. If I see individuals who are trying to “right the ship,” I am willing to believe and try to help so our Church can be the faith Christ taught. If we want change we must be positive and work to accomplish the change from how the hierarchy has taken our Church.

          • unabletotrust July 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm

            Can you be more specific ? As long as you continue to donate things will remain the same with more ‘PR” to reassure the faithful that all is well.

          • .

            JOE, ..and I understand and admire your positive point of view. You must do what you feel is right in this.
            Trusting and investing energy and hope into the RCC is not an option for me anymore. If that sounds negative, or un-Christlike, I don’t mean it to be.
            Having the ability to simply walk away from the chaos that was my religion has been a great blessing in my life. It’s been an unexpected opportunity to grow spiritually…I can only describe it as a sensation of crossing over from the shadowy side of the street into the sunshine.

          • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) July 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

            Get a grip, Joe. These are the individuals you trust to “right the ship.” “Christlike” does not mean naive, needy, and gullible.

            http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2013/07/tavis-smiley-interviews-michael.html#more

          • Joe, I pray as much as I can for the gifts of the Holy Spirit for us individually and in the church God knows we need them…..Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. I admire your positive outlook we just need not forget just as Jesus exists so does Satan.

          • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) July 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm

            “We are each our own devil, and we make this world hell.”

          • Kate ,
            You are right in a way. It amazes me how we can cause so much suffering sometimes……how one person can cause so much destruction to so many people…….on the flip side how we have the ability to help so many people……its all in the choices we make or fail to make…..

          • Joe, you stated, “If we want change we must be positive and work to accomplish the change from how the hierarchy has taken our Church.”

            I agree; but to change the hierarchy, the Lay People of God must make the lives of the hierarchy very difficult and uncomfortable. I do this by not giving them money, openly disrespecting them, and encouraging civil authorities to prosecute the crimes they have committed.

            Joe, they are a self serving group, and only respond to punishment. If you have any new ideas for changing their behavior please tell us about them.

          • Survivor's wife July 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

            Joe, I agree! I am positive that Jesus is requiring me to not allow such heinous behavior from people who claim to represent Him. I feel so energized and positive and passionate that I get to be a voice for children.

            I believe there are so many trying to “right the ship” in the same way Jesus did when He turned over tables and threw the money changers out of the temple.

      • I am doing something, I no longer donate and look foreword to changes in the SOL laws.

  9. Susan,
    They didnt steal anything. Parishioners gave it willingly. Whether that was out of obligation, discipline, guilt, or from the heart, the money was given.

    This is nothing more than the high end version of giving a homeless man money and he uses it to get drunk. It just took longer for parionsioners to see what was going on.

    Angry at whom? These men who used the vulnerable for their own gain? Or ourselves for not paying attention…not questioning…not holding them accountable…and funding their antics believing the money was going to be used in more honorable ways? There is a personal responsibility with how WE steward our money.

    “When people show you who they are, believe them.” -Maya Angelou

  10. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Shame on Chaput, the totalitarian. Fearing that Fr. Helmut Schuller’s 15 city-tour, including Philadelphia, will “damage the unity” of the Church, Chaput has banned him from speaking in any parish or diocesan related facility. It’s hierarchs like Chaput who have “damaged the unity” of the Church. Schuller comes with solutions to the damage.

    We live in an age of information, reason, ideas, and critical thinking. I’m a normal person living within the age. Catholic hierarchical totalitarians react to it and me as tyrannical, medieval crusaders intent on controlling my mind and obliterating the age… or else! Gulp! I’m shaking in my boots, Chaput! Not.

    Can a Philadelphian tell me where Chestnut Hill College is, the venue that will host Schuller? Is it actually within the city? Thank you for any information since I plan to attend.

    You’re a disgrace, Chaput.

    • Kate, I’m a member of “Voice of the Faithful” and have been looking forward to Father Schuller’s visit for some time. I agree with some, not all, of his proposed changes and I am not pleased that the US Cardinals would rather “shun” him than allow his viewpoints to be offered in a Catholic setting. I have been planning to attend the address at Chestnut Hill College if I can clear something else off my calendar. The College is easy to reach by car, train or SEPTA – the college is on Germantown Ave east of Northwestern Ave, actually it is at the northwest end of Fairmont Park.Hope that helps.

  11. Chestnut Hill College is located in Chestnut Hill, one of the Higher end neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia. I believe it is located on Willow Grove Avenue, near Germantown Ave. I usually get to Chestnut Hill by taking route 73 to Willow grove Avenue and going east toward the city. Chestnut Hill is a Catholic College, by the way. It does have a streak of independence.I guess Chaput has no control over them.

  12. Hey Kate, CHC is a small college in Phila. which is run by the Sisters of St Joseph. I guess they are having none of chaput’s bans on enlightenment. Judging by the SSJ’s I’ve known, I think they’d take to you right away! It’s located in the beautiful Chestnut Hill section of the city. Address is 9601 Germantown Ave, phila pa 19118.

    • Sisters of St. Joseph:) I had a lot of them and IHM and Mercy ones. I really like the Sisters that taught me…..most of them were very kind as I said before most of the priests were strange but a few made the predator list so that explains a lot. The Sisters I had taught me to respect myself and love my neighbor and a few had wonderful kind senses of humor…….overall they were very nurturing …..

      • Beth: I was taught by a St. Joe nun in 8th grade. Before that I was taught by Immaculate Heart of Mary Nuns. The majority of them were very good but we had a principal at St. John’s who was very old school .Spare the rod and spoil the child old school. She had a wooden pointer that she would use on kids outstretched hands. And she had a great over the head swing.I think I only got that once. Somebody had done something bad in our class and every boy got the pointer because nobody would admit to it. The day I was molested, I went directly to the convent, looking for the nun who taught me in 6th and 7th. grade. Unfortunately she was visiting her parents that weekend. She was a tiger, and would have taken on the priest who molested me. My aunt was also an IHM nun, who taught at St. Davids in Willow Grove for awhile.

        • Jim,
          Two days ago a friend from high school emailed us to ask if we remembered the affirmations our English teacher use to have us say before prayers. The first one was God loves me unconditionally therefore I like myself…the second I will not devalue myself thru destructive selfcriticism and we remember the rest I will post them here. A reminder this IHM sister cared about her students. I remember when my parents were fighting and I came to school one day with out my hair and makeup done she asked me if I was ok……yes this and many others at my high school were great…….I went to school in the 1980s no one got their hands hit with rulers just heard about that from my older cousins.Yes I know two IHMs that would be tigers also.

        • HI Jim – small world.

          I went to Saint David’s in the 50’s and remember most of the nuns. Do you remember your aunt’s professed name? I remember Sister Regina Coeli, Regina Assumpta, Rose Vincent, Marita Bernadette, Maria Crucis.

          • Joe; My aunts name was Sister Mary Agnes of Assisi. I think she may have taught there in the late fifties into the sixties.Guys I went to High School with said she was pretty hard nose. I can believe that. I don’t ever remember her smiling. She scared me and I was never in her class.

  13. Kate: this in regards to the reference to Michael D’Antonio and his recently published book, “Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime and the era of Catholic Scandal”. I am deeply into D’Antonios’ book and find it gives an historical perspective to the movement to stop the Sexual Abuse of children by Catholic Clergy. D’Antonio starts with the cases in the mid eighties in rural Louisiana and and traces the abuse crisis all over the United States into Ireland and into Eastern Europe.Most of what he writes I have read or heard before, but it is nice to have a year to year history of where the movement has been and hopefully[since I have not finished the book] some idea of where it is headed.

  14. Thanks to everyone for your input on Chestnut Hill’s location. It will be great to be back in Philly. The Lynn trial occupied my last visit there.

    Jim Tucker, I read D’Antonio’s book. His thorough articulation of the history of sexual abuse in the U.S. was mind boggling. Let me know what you think when you’re finished.

    Kate FitzGerald

  15. We have a troll messing with ours thumbs.

  16. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 18, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Fr. Helmut Schuller in NYC last evening:

    “There are bishops in this country [including Chaput] who have forbidden that I can speak to people like you. It is not sad that I should be forbidden to speak. What is sad is that you should be forbidden to listen.”

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/fr-helmut-sch-ller-kicks-catholic-tipping-point-tour

    The control behind it all is appalling.

    Kate FitzGerald

    • Kate,
      Thanks for posting that link. A lot of difference ideas on reform in that talk. Some are worth taking a better look at and some just seem like very protestant ideas to me. Seems like the most pressing concern in the article is that there are not enough priests and the laity has to be more involved and respected for what they can contribute. By having more laity involvement that forces clericalism to be looked at closely. Not much mentioned in article about child sex abuse in the catholic church . I am sure he would have interesting insights on change in that regard also.

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 18, 2013 at 11:45 am

        Beth, would you cite Schuller’s ideas that seem “protestant” to you?

        You could attend Schuller’s speech at Chestnut Hill on July 19. According to Manson’s article, he entertains a lot of questions from his audience. You could personally ask him about his insights on the Church and sexual abuse. It would be interesting if a C4C blogger would post and discuss his response.

        Kate FitzGerald

        • Kate,
          I would fine that very interesting. My nephew and Godson has his Birthday that day and its out of town so I will not be able to make it. I was watching a movie the other day about St. Augustine and how he debated many different religions heresies etc in a public forum and winning converts to the faith after doing so. I think there is a need for this today. I would love to see bishops and others openingly debating the issues and challenging each other. Leadership as well as the laity in many cases these days is weak in either character and or knowledge and lacks the zeal to defend their faith and position.

        • Kate: I just finished reading D’Antonios’ book,” Mortal Sins: Sex Crime and the Era of Catholic Scandal”.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has doubts about the crimes that have been committed against innocent young children by some members of the Catholic Clergy and the Institutional response by the Catholic Hierarchy. From coast to coast and everywhere in between the story has been the same. Children have been abused and in most cases gone to the Church looking for comfort and caring. Instead. in almost every case, victims were met with comfort and caring for the perpetrators,the abusers, the priests.The Catholic Church has done everything within its power to deny justice for victims of clergy abuse. As D’Antonio points out in his book, the Vatican saw this as an American problem. As this scandal has spread to Ireland, and then to Europe, Australia and will eventually to South America,the Church can no longer deny that this is a scandal that will forever define the Catholic Church.Clericalism,as you have pointed out lays at the root of the Church”s problems. I recently ran across a definition of clericalism in my readings, written by Tom Doyle: ” Clericalism is the belief that clerics, and by extension members of religious institutes,are inherently superior to lay persons, and, because of their position, entitled to special deference, greater respect and special treatment.”I have heard the term used before but until I read this definition, I really didn’t understand the relevance to sexual abuse.John Salveson , in a recent forum talked about his belief that the Church sees the issue of sex abuse as an issue of “risk management”.As any corporate institution would, you attack anyone who wants to tarnish your bottom line. I look at it from a different perspective.I believe it is a question of asset management. Priests are a valuable asset to the Church.In my lifetime I have seen the number of priests decline in record numbers. As the number of priests decline, the value of those who are left grows proportionally. Even tarnished priests who have abused children, have more value than the child that they have abused.You may be able to replace the child but probably not the priest.And the sad part is the solution has been right under their noses.Joe Burch stated in one of his blogs that he left the seminary because he wanted to get married and have children. Why are these two things mutually exclusive. A married priesthood would provide for the lack of vocations and provide a healthier group of priests. Women clergy would also help to alleviate the priest shortage. Women are now and always have been the heart of the Catholic Religion. But this would all entail getting rid of this notion that male priests are inherently superior to the rest of us.

          • Jim in the old testament Jesus constantly challenged the Pharisees basically the Jewish priests etc. I think catholic priests will be judged harsher on judgement day especially the ones that lead people away from God and Christ.

          • I meant new testament long day:)

          • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) July 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

            Jim, your asset management theory is interesting and I think it is relevant in terms of why offending clerics are hidden and protected today. But what fueled a lot of the hiding and protecting in past decades, and continues to, today, is the ingrained compulsion to “save priesthoods.” Presumably, this is theologically rationalized by the perception that clerics are “in persona Christi.” Certainly, the fraternal nature of the priesthood plays a role, as well, in the compulsion to “save” fellow clerics. I think both of these inventive “excuses” are inflated and arrogant… forms of clericalism, if not the basis for it.

            If there are any former seminarians or former priests or priests who could further inform me regarding the phenomenon of “saving priesthoods,” I’d like to hear it. Thank you.

            Kate FitzGerald

          • Interesting Kate, don’t have an answer. Don’t know what you mean by preserving the priesthood. Do you mean sending young women to different countries so that priest don’t get AIDS from women they seduce(rape)? Protecting their own? I think the “in persona Christi” is interesting. So a priest asks a kid to “come to the rectory” during one of those forced confessions is he acting as “in persona Christi” while he sins. If a priest is forming intent while, saying mass, on what he is going to do to an altar boy after mass in he “in persona Christi”. When is the sin actually committed since if the intent is there and a parent comes in and foils the sin the priest still committed the sin if he actually formed intent and was only stopped by presence of another. So the priest is “in persona Christi” while celebrating a sacrament so is it “in persona Christi” for us so the sacrament is valid for us, but what is the priest at that moment? When does he change from “in persona Christi” to human. Since we are suppose to prepare before mass and actually pray after mass, what is the theological time line for a priest? Christ doesn’t commit sin, yet some priests are doing just that. I guess I know why my moral theology professor groaned when I raised my hand. Sorry don’t know the answers

            Jim, I thought that the need for Chastity( for religious)( I had a problem with obedience and asking questions like the above) is important as a religious – easier to fight for victims without a family and I have experienced the threats and violence related to reporting sexual assault with my family – non RCC and we didn’t know the victim – she didn’t press charges but that was her choice – threaten by her employer. Lost so many good ministers because of jealousy and other problems with church councils and ministers. Minister who married me, a few other churches and the church I have been attending lost ministers because of teenagers, too much alimony, and other family problems. Yes, a minister’s wife is very lonely – who do they tell their problems – don’t need that gossip. Of course a person is a priest forever so why not use married priests – link below about rent a priests and it is definitely related to abuse. On that site it states there are at least one hundred protestant ministers turn catholic priests that are married.

            We are learning more about the workings of the early church lost Gospels and letters – God chose the right moment to expose that. Jesus only wanted men as apostles, yet he had one person who was even closer.Mary Magdalene was one of the most misunderstood figures in church history. Was Jesus’ intent to “ordain” women or did the early church want to exclude women as was the possible intent of Paul? Or did Jesus have a higher purpose for women, but knew the men were not ready – are we ready now?

          • egunn3000g,
            You raise a lot of good questions. In receiving Eucharist if you are in mortal sin or receive it with the wrong mindset it says in the Bible you are committing a sin and will not receive the graces from the sacrament. You should therefore reframe from receiving communion til confession. I would think something similar would be the case with a priest if his heart is not right consecrating the host. Kate that is one of the protestant
            ideas I was referring to in the article of giving communion to non catholics I don’t understand. If we believe the Eucharist is really the presence of Christ and we ask a non catholic “Body of Christ” and they say Amen isn’t that a lie or at the very least a major misunderstanding if they don’t truly believe Christ is present? I know many non catholics do a symbolic gesture at their churches but Eucharist and it being the real presence is a main theological different bwt catholic and non catholic churches.

          • Jim,Kate ,Ed and Beth..the questions you are raising have been my own over the past few years. Beth as you refer to the state of grace to receive sacraments. The very first time in my life that I was a godmother I had to offer proof of my good standing in the Church etc…this was about 20 years ago. A few days after the baptism the priest who officiated was arrested for soliciting prostitution, I believe it was at a rest stop on a local highway. An elderly family member asked the priest at her parish if he would bless the baby because she was so upset that the priest who had officiated was exposed as well…a criminal? The other priest at the neighboring parish yelled at her “A priest, is a priest,is a priest!” So there you go.
            The family and god parents had to offer all the proof of being good Catholics prior to the baptism.The priest turns out to frequent prostitutes and a family member gets yelled at for questioning anything about it. You want the real clincher..I believe the “perturbed” priest who was asked to “bless the baby” landed on the suspended list of 2011.

          • Kathy google is eucharist valid if priest in state of mortal sin. EWTN has a in depth explanation from 2005

          • These are the Bible Verses I was referring to 1 Corinthians 11 : 27-28 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and so eat the bread and drink the cup” 1 Corinthians 11 :29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

    • For the bishops, control is everything, but they have only as much control as the Lay People of God allow them. They will never give up their power; it must be taken from them. Stop kissing rings!

  17. Tonight, 7/19 I had the good fortune to attend the “Catholic Tipping Point” conversation with Father Helmut Schuller. He provided an excellent overview of how his efforts got started in his native Austria and then focused on the “Appeal to Disobedience” which is the title he and his fellow priest and Catholic Citizens (the name he prefers for the Lay) His efforts to reform and up-date the Church are centered on the Vatican II!

  18. After hearing Father Schuller tonight I must make it a point to learn more about the priest in the USA who are also part of his efforts for reform. His efforts have spread around the world with priest except in Italy.

    • Clearly the bishops don’t want him on their turf, and that’s a very good sign for “Catholic Citizens”!

  19. Yes two articles on the front page, one that is what we are discussing and the other about the collapse of the building downtown. Both our religious and political systems continue to fail, especially with the poor. I know of the struggle of the SSJ nuns as they begged for rides to Chestnut Hill, the need for at least one car to educate themselves to teach our children. I remember the sister at Children’s Hospital in DC, unable to give sacramental comfort to those parents. The parents that had multiple heart surgeries, tubes hanging from their body and others struggling to deal with their child’s cancer. Wouldn’t been nice for that sister to comfort the parent by saying I will remember you at mass. That sister in the early 80’s did more ministry than most priests I know. I know the power the clergy held over the nuns – several congregation/orders held their ground or left – the church’s loss.

    Before this article my mom – she is still fighting for the victims at her age- mentioned a conversation about Lynn. She flew off the handle after a comment about why is he in jail. Can still see Frumanski standing 20 feet away – and I was worried about other sex offenders while my kids were at a church fundraiser – didn’t know how many priest offenders were being transferred at that time.

    Hope that the RCC is not using that political tool of pitting the parishioners against the victims. When I read about that person making the comment at the vigil I hope it wasn’t someone protesting the closing of parishes – put the blame on the right people. Krol and the priests made it difficult to retain vocations as well as those who followed them. Do catholics really think that those who know of abuse didn’t tell others? I know of one instance of many “fallen” catholics that rejoiced when a certain priest was arrest, still can’t find that article. They were upset when the charges were dropped.

    Can’t they see that the church is abandoning the poor, elderly and others who don’t have the resources to travel to another parish. They have abandon the victims in so many ways – only the victims can tell us of the hurt. Jesus died on that cross, He had no thought of self preservation – maybe the church needs to trust in the God they preach about and rediscover their mission and stop breaking those commandments – both the two from Jesus and the ten from Moses.

    • Things are hopping at the Vatican these days. Seems not many honest people in the Vatican. Three commissions setup most recent group of lay people that bypass the present curia and report directly to the Pope. Seems the priest he picked to cleanup the Bank has a shady past according to many eyewitnesses priests sisters etc. I wouldn’t want to be the POPe he cant
      trust his own guys. He should fire them all and clean house.

  20. What do you mean when you say Protestant? . I think that is a word, that I like very much. As far as I am concerned, that is what we are all doing…..Protesting the status quo of the RCC.
    Thank God for Martin Luther. Altho’ I would never, ever, go to a Denominational church, no matter what it was. The Non Denoms are truly run by the Holy Spirit , if you get a good” non denom” as we have in Colo.

    It took over 8 yrs, after we left in 2001, to be able to go to another church….
    . Beth, that’s nice of you to pray for the Pope! He talks a good story about the HS. I don’t think that satan would allow it. Talk about brainwashing the young, to get them into the sticky spiders web, that we were all in. God got thru to us tho,’ no matter what!
    HE knows our hearts…I wonder re; the Popes heart? I know HE can do anything. But maybe HE doesn’t want to! .A person has to have a willing heart.

    • Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, etc., “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      Sectarianism violates the commandments and gets people killed everyday.

      Acting as if “my religion is better than yours” is nonsense. You’ll know them by their love.

      • Where in the ten commandments does this quote come from? It sounds to me like a quote from the Baltimore Chatechism of the RCC??. Not the Biblical 10 Commandments.
        You are right, God is God to all religions but if you do acts which are not in HIS WILL that would not be atrtributed to HIM, that would be wrong. . You will know them by their “fruits” is also Biblical. GOD IS LOVE. You remember your lessons of long ago well.

        • Matthew 22:37-40
          King James Version (KJV)

          (gloybe1929, Far from the Baltimore Chatechism, I provided you with a non-Catholic version)

          “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

          38 This is the first and great commandment.

          39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

          40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

  21. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    egunn300g, when Finn was speaking to a group of diocesan priests following his failure to report the child pornography activities of one of them, he defended his actions by saying he was trying to “save his (the offending priest’s) priesthood.” Presumably, Finn believed his defense would go a long way with his fellow clerics, that they would understand his actions in a theological light (“in persona Christi”) and in a cultish, fraternal (loyalty to the “boys’ club”) light. The two defenses, in tandem, are extraordinary, powerful, and compelling in the lives of clerics (and sheep). Not only have the two defenses resulted in clericalism, but they have had the effect of dictating and skewing matters of the clerical conscience and morality. Saving themselves supersedes saving children… and so on. Furthermore, the clerical compulsion to save the appearance of the Church, as well, supersedes the welfare of children. In the end, the entire moral authority purportedly imbued in clerics centers on themselves and the appearance of the institutional Church. Human beings (including children) are relegated to invisible Others.

    Beth, thank you for your input regarding non-Catholics taking the Eucharist. You make an excellent point. But the belief that the Eucharist is, literally, the body and blood of Christ is just that, a belief, a matter of faith. We believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, we have faith He is, but we do not know that. In permitting non-Catholics to partake in it, we give up our dogmatic and authoritarian approach to matters of faith. We admit that, while we believe, we do not know. Additionally, in reality, the number of non-Catholics who partake in the Eucharist is small. What brings or inspires a few non-Catholics to even want to partake in the Eucharist should not be judged by us. Rather, a Christ-like approach would be to embrace them, to take the mere fact that they have presented themselves to the Eucharist, regardless of their intent, understanding, or frame of mind, as a profound, personal gesture of longing for something. Shall we ignore this longing because it may not fit the strict tenets of our faith? Or shall we nurture it, inform it, embrace it, and love it as Christ would? Have you ever been lost? Have you ever been searching for something? If you have, you can understand the “shoes” worn by non-Catholics who take the Eucharist. How can we defend closing the door in the faces of people reaching out to us?

    Kate FitzGerald

    • Kate I have been reflecting on how to response to your questions. When I read the following line I have to admit you made me smile. “We believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, we have faith He is, but we do not know that” In my personal life I have recently moved from belief to faith to knowing at the deepest level from my head to my toes that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and with that knowing comes a peace and joy….despite my circumstances………I love Jesus more than anything and despite my fears I am learning to trust him and he is making himself known in amazing ways……..I had a discussion with my brother a few years ago about the Eucharist ( he had stopped going to mass but now goes to mass) I told him I tried to wrap my mind around the Eucharist for many years trying to understand it and after much wrestling decided I would never understand it but would believe it because that is simply what Jesus said and I will understand it once I get to heaven:)Definitely we should “nurture it,inform it, embrace it and love it as Christ would” Yes I have been lost and we should encourage people to study and explore our faith.I don’t see having to wait to receive communion til they fully understand the Eucharist as “closing the door in the faces of people to us”. If anything to me it seems it would create a deeper appreciation for when they do receive the Eucharist.

    • Katie, how can anyone justify that position, The church we have was organized well after the apostles were dead. Same as the time the Gospels were written – well after the death of the apostles. Very few of the words are what Jesus actually said and most have gone through several languages until we arrive at the version we read. So “in persona Christi” is a word that we have arrived at after much thought and discussion. Parents and spouses will protect their children/spouses when accused of rape. They will also attack the victim. Seen a parent convince a parent of a rape victim that her son, a rapist, was not at fault. So the RCC hopes that their explanation will convince their followers – hopefully they don’t buy it.When we discuss “in persona Christi” we expect a Christ like response to a victim, not a protection of the institution. Considering the immense universe we live in that continues to grow, the church seems to believe God made it special – like the earth centered view of the early human race. Maybe this was the only planet that humans(name we gave ourselves) sinned and God sent his Son as a poor Jew to show us. The loving God I believe in Would not protect these evil priests, nor allow a church claiming to follow His Word to protect those abusers .I can’t resolve “in persona Christi” and a rapist – can’t be both.

      The anointing of a few oils does not give enlightenment. Joseph may have been a great carpenter as Jesus could lengthen, shorten or straighten any board. Also, when He was a kid he could breathe air into clay pigeons and watch then fly away.( yes the gospels written with these stories were rejected) Did Jesus die as a human or as God. When did He actually believe He is God? Did Jesus believe He was above others and needed to be protected – such didn’t preach like that. Jesus Learned of His mission in stages When I translated verses in the Old Testament, I needed to use my German because most of the articles regarding the pieces I worked on were in German. I also had to understand the culture at the time is was written. So my understanding of the Supper(Word/Eucharist) is different than the Mass. With 16 minute masses and knowing the priest was only interested in getting out ” in persona Christi” has a different meaning. Since I have served in several religions including time I was a religious, my experiences are vastly different than most. My wedding was at an United Methodist Church because of the attitude of Catholic priests/not catholic priests and the Eucharist. Yes, my activities were a problem – Vatican II and the universal church – RCC, but other religions may be stronger in individual areas. I know some believe in the actual presence – just “protesting against Rome and its failures” My Grandmother’s service was at Goldsteins – yes a convert from being a Catholic to a Jew and yes I remember not being able to enter a relative’s house during holy days and other strict Jewish customs mentioned in the bible. Yes I am different.

      How could I work with rape victims in a Catholic Hospital? Most of the victims are escorted elsewhere – so the hospital I worked in did perform abortions(yes was working on “Protestant certification” – enough of their ministers knew how to minister and the certification was widely accepted). I see so much of that avoidance behavior – don’t address the problem – as Kathy’s example – just state that the baptizer was a priest, not the fact that the priest was an evil person or at least one who committed a mortal sin and the parent worried that her child’s immortal soul could be lost. Imagine working with a cancer child with a Catholic parent and one parent that doesn’t believe in infant baptism. Been there and much much more.

      • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        egunn300g, only reason and knowledge can overcome the intoxicating effect that the irrational elements of our faith have on us. As long as we permit them to excite our imaginations, relegate us to children, and paralyze our intellects, we are co-conspirators in deception.

        Thank you.

        Kate FitzGerald

        • Kate and Egunn3009
          Just as the Pope is redoing the Vatican laws. I think cannon laws should be examined and clarified. There is suppose to be proper matter, intention, form and valid male priest for communion….the questions you raise about being a rapist and same time ” in persona Christi” needs to be looked at.

        • Kate,

          “For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments” (Chomsky, Noam. “Propaganda, American).

          • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) July 28, 2013 at 12:49 am

            drwho13,

            “Indoctrination” is often distinguished from “education” by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the religious doctrine or political ideology they have learned. Fear is used to get the indoctrinated person to acquiesce to blind acceptance of it lest they sin, question God, not be “saved,” face arrest, or die.

            Richard Dawkins wrote that the process of subjecting children to complex religious doctrine and rituals before they are able to critically assess them is “cruel.” I have often wondered to what degree this common practice might act to arrest our religious psycho-emotional maturity whereby we “do” religion for the remainder of our lives as children. Right where the clerics want us!

            Kate FitzGerald

          • Drwho13 & Kate; I would suggest that subjecting children to complex religious doctrine before they are able to reason is beyond “cruel”. I think it is but another form of child abuse. From others that post here, religious training has changed a great deal since I attended Catholic schools back in the fifties and sixties. So I can only attest to what I was subjected to as a child.Child abuse was present in the home,at school and most damaging at Church.My wife and I decided on no religious training for our children whatsoever. I didn’t want them subjected to what I was as a child and my wife, who was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, certainly didn’t choose to have them indoctrinated in her families choice of religion.Both of my children who are adults now suffer no long lasting effects of being brought up with no religious training, unlike their parents who will forever suffer from those effects.

  22. Gloria Sulllivan Reply July 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Dr who13..You are so right! Forgive me for jumping to conclusions…gloria

    • No problem Gloria! Agree or disagree, I enjoy the material you bring to the forum.

      • I agree with Drwho13, this discussion is wonderful, helpful and hopefully some priest and bishops are reading. I just read an excellent article in National Catholic Reporter by Jamie Manson – it was his interview with Father Helmut Schuller. Thought provoking and hopefully action generating.

  23. Speaking of financial debt, an article in today’s Inquirer reveals the abysmal returns from the archdiocesan real estate auction held yesterday. The monies realized in this process should be just enough to fund Archbishop Chaput’s current travel and lodging at the World Youth Conference in Brazil. Any leftover money would be used to fund an hour or two of legal fees of archdiocesan attorneys at the current depositions in civil matters relating to clergy abuse litigation.

  24. Pope Francis made a powerful statement to 300 Bishops/Cardinals today about the Church and Catholics – “Perhaps the Church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas. Perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions. Perhaps the Church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age.”

    Reform and change are coming under his leadership, but it will be slow..

  25. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    A more powerful statement would have been:

    “Perhaps hierarchs lost all moral authority in shuffling pedophile priests who took the innocence and souls of beautiful children, in colluding to cover it up, and in failing, still, to provide justice to them. Perhaps the hierarchs, themselves, and not the world, have made the Church a relic of the past in order to maintain and sustain their own comfy and arrogant self interests. Perhaps hierarchs are weak except when it comes to themselves and their careers, not really concerned with the human condition, cold, caught up in power and control, and loyal only to their brothers in a cultish and unChrist-like priesthood. Perhaps the hierarchical modus operandi of deflecting new questions with threats, no Eucharist, and excommunication, relying on inane doctrines like infallibility to prevent critical thinking, and black listing reform-minded thinkers from addressing the new questions in diocesan facilities, provoked humanity to distance itself from the Church. Perhaps I (Francis) need to go. Perhaps in ending the monarchical and patriarchal history of the Church, a democratic Church can evolve, one that recognizes the dignity, worth, and full participation of all people.”

    • Kate: you are absolutely right on target, as usual.Polls taken of Catholics during the process of electing the new Pope showed that the overwhelming concern among Catholics was the sexual abuse scandal and the role of the Church Hierarchy in covering up these crimes. Has anyone heard Francis devote even one sentence to the abuse crisis since he was selected?It seems to be more of the same. Ignore it and hope it goes away There will probably be no better time than the last week during his trip to Brazil to discuss the abuse of Catholic Youth by members of his clergy. Instead the sound of silence is loud and clear. Catholic Youth should go out and evangelize the world, just be careful of who is sleeping in the next room.

  26. Trying to get back on list to get updates. Will this work?

  27. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply July 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    On Mark Silk’s blog, Spiritual Politics, he notes several instances in Brazil confirming Francis’s return to “The Spirit of Vatican II.” The “spirit” of John Paul II, Benedict, and Catholic traditionalists is over. Did you hear that, Opus Dei Chaput? Over.

    Silk writes, “In an interview with NCR’s John Allen last week, Archbishop Charles Chaput said ‘the right wing of the Church (Chaput’s wing and his route to career-glory)… generally have not been really happy about his (Francis’s) election.’ Silk writes, “After the Pope’s visit to Brazil, they’ve got to be less happy.”

    How does an unhappy, traditionalist archbishop function in a top-down organization where his religious-political persuasion diametrically opposes his boss’s? Because he has vowed obedience to his boss, does he simply assume his boss’s religious-political persuasion, considering it God’s? Theoretically it is possible but practically it would be difficult (at least it SHOULD be difficult). How can any respectable hierarch, or person for that matter, ignore, silence, or “turn off” his religious-political persuasion? Are hierarchs that malleable and wishy-washy? Will Chaput straddle a “safe” place in the hierarchical, religious-political game for the sake of, say, collecting his retirement benefits? And how effective can a malleable, wishy-washy, and “out,” traditionalist shepherd be to Philadelphians in the mean time?

    • Kate: Are you saying that Chaputs’ path to the college of Cardinals is effectively blocked? That would be hard to believe. Even if he effectively, blocks SOL legislation in the legislative halls in Harrisburg? His reward of being made a Cardinal would still not be there? He has done such great work in Colorado and here in Pennsylvania, blocking legislation that would give some kind of restitution to those molested by Catholic Priests. This is his legacy. Life can be so cruel.

  28. “Chaput and his Red Chapeau”……….HBO is considering a mini-series for this saga.

  29. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” James 4: 6

  30. If the justice system can charge a Penn State U president, they might be able to catch up with a bishop soon.

  31. I have been going thru a lot in the past few days and I went to adoration yesterday and asked Jesus for healing for everyone including myself and prayed the Memorare many times. Today I got an email saying that yesterday my parish Our Lady of Grace was informed that Archbishop Chaput will be saying mass at our church on Sunday at the 10am. Vicky I want you to know I will attend the mass wearing the crucifix you gave me.I had Fr, Dooner bless it and I took it to adoration months ago and touched it to the exposed Blessed Sacrament and I wept.I don’t understand anything but I feel the Holy Spirit working.

    • God constantly humbles me…..I was not able to get up from the shore to attend this mass ……..long story but ironically the church I did attend was none other than St. Augustines……….

      • I can venture a guess that you were in Ocean City, NJ. The Christian Brother House there has a really nice Mass, too. It’s wonderful to have the sound of the ocean in the background.

  32. But sir, so many children abused in the Church!

    Pope Francis “Who am I to Judge?”

    Did not the Lord give you authority! and what about the many countless victims? no justice for them!

    Pope Francis ” Gay clergy should be forgiven and their sins forgotten”

    • Challenge: Make sense out of the above post!

      • “By now, the basic outline of the story has become depressingly familiar: a needy, socially isolated boy (sometimes girl) falls victim to a charming, manipulative priest…” (NY Times).

        Does this make it more clear, or am I missing your point?

  33. To make any sense out of anything that the rcc says to ” all it’s people(WHETHER CLERIC OR LAY). is an IMPOSSIBILE CHALLENGE for any” thinking /Christian Adult”. Can you imagine what a child’s mind would do when this “God figure” says it’s “ok” for them to allow this touching etc. “? ” Where is the mind of the priest, nun or brother? OMG

    The euchrist ” is only what “You” make it to be.. No man, woman or whatever, can “change” the bread and wine to ( what the rcc calls ) euchrist. It is what You believe it to be! ” You do it in REMEMBERANCE OF ME” The priest does” nothing” to change it and he knows it. If it turns to flesh and blood in his hands it is beccause HE HAS BELIEVED IT. God does not make some people greater than others, to Lord it over them as the rcc has perpetuated this FALSE SACRAMENTAL DOCTRINE for millenium(s) to the extent that people are so FEARFUL OF THE LIVING GOD that they will never leave this
    church.
    JESUS CHRIST IS LORD and is LOVE PERSONIFIED.
    “THE LORD HAS NOT GIVEN YOU A SPIRIT OF FEAR BUT OF POWER LOVE AND A SOUND MIND”
    No Christian person could even make this stuff up it is so incredible (,but partially biblical) and very unbiblical( if you’ve studied other than a rc bible, ten you know). Just like the devil quoted scripture to Jesus, it wasn’t the “real scripture…But a bastardazation. of it. Give credit where credit is due. You know who gets it? I’ts not “ourJESUS ” HE wouldn’t even walk into the Vatican, let alone, like so many of us did and thought” how great this is”….then again say, it belonged to HIS FATHER. The land under it , the bricks and the motar maybe but the “evil does (as Shakespere said ) live LONG after”…..

    OUR GOD MADE THIS UNIVERSE AND HAS OTHERS BESIDES US. So where are we going?? to HIM who lives within US? NO PLACE OTHER THAN IN US, on the Mountain top, in the ocean, on the housetop, in the basement, HE IS THERE WITH US. The hour is growing late.! Lot’s of “Glory stuff ” happening right now, notice? HE IS HERE!

  34. Beth. The Holy Spirit is working. In. You! Remember Jesus said you are the priests of your households.

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