Correction: Bishop Lee Retires for Health Reasons

I was contacted today by Martin Long, director of communications at the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, on behalf on Bishop William Lee. He shared Bishop Lee’s statement which explains his resignation was due to serious health reasons that have recently worsened. Long states that Agence France-Presse Foundation (AFP), which reported the original story, gravely defamed Bishop Lee in their coverage. He goes on to say that AFP acknowledges their mistake and has apologized. They have since removed the story from their Web site.

As a blog, we frequently link to press stories and broadcast reports. When we find that those outlets have pulled their coverage due to inaccuracy, we will follow suit. We have no interest in furthering lies. The laity has had enough of that. There is no shortage of horrible truths to expose.

He goes on to share an independent audit published by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic in Ireland. Click to read report. The content includes comments such as, “The review team strongly commends Bishop Lee for his personal commitment, leadership and absolute desire to keep children safe.”

According to IrishCentral, Bishop Lee publicly apologized in 2010 after admitting his “response to child abuse allegations in the mid-1990s was ‘seriously inadequate.'” We are happy the audit showed progress in the protection of children.

That’s where I would have liked to have ended this post. But Long continues with another request to “publish an apology to Bishop Lee in a phrasing to be approved in advance” by Long on Lee’s behalf. He continues, “Your website is available in Ireland on the internet and accordingly your defamatory statements are subject to the laws of Ireland. Bishop Lee has consulted lawyers in relation to this matter. His instruction to me is that he would wish that the continuation of the grave wrong done to him be halted by you immediately in order to avert further damage to his reputation. The effectiveness with which you act will determine his next steps. Your response is demanded before 10.00am (Irish time) tomorrow.

Do you really want to talk about grave wrongs? You’re going to approve an apology from me?

Hmm. With public relations prowess such as this, it’s no wonder the Catholic Church pews are practically empty in Ireland. Demands and threats – that’s the way to influence people and spread God’s message of love and forgiveness. I’m sure Pope Francis would be proud.

On behalf of Ireland’s clergy sex abuse victims, you can kiss my Irish (rhymes with lass).

69 thoughts on “Correction: Bishop Lee Retires for Health Reasons

  1. Good for you, Susan. You are a brave and courageous and wonderful woman. What nerve they have to demand an apology from you, after the bishop admitted his “inadequacies” in the first place. If only the hierarchy could be as brave as you are, and stand up for what is right and moral and best for the children.

    1. Joyce, I believe this hardball approach is what you will get from Pope Francis.

      Underneath the smooth style, is a tough guy.

      Look at his record in Argentina in pulling out all stops for predatory priests. It is on BishopAccountability today.

      He may be more appealing than Chaput and Rigali, but the Cardinals picked him for a reason.

      Read my recent essays at for more evidence.

    2. Joyce, You are far too kind. When I read the unnecessary heavy-handed wording at the end of the correspondence. I imagined victims on the receiving end of this kind of Diocesan bullying. I think any mother would react the same. The hierarchy might want to consult a few.

  2. Susan,while I can understand him wanting the correction which you have done. A thought that occurred to me is that Jesus was too poor, too humble and too trusting in God to need a lawyer.

    1. Beth, You make an excellent point. I totally understand the request to remove the post and I was happy to comply. Of course, I would share the rebuttal to the link and Bishop Lee’s statement. The rest of the communication was just so unnecessary.

      1. Beth and Susan: Please go easy on lawyers. lol

        Some work for free.

        Susan, you just saw first hand how the bishops and their proxies intimidate victims of abuse.

        Many of the victims are already distraught and lack your education, connections and grit.

        I am really sorry they tried to upset you. Their hardball tactics are unfortunately too common among lawyers.

        I am so proud of how well you stood up to Long.

        I have been resisting Long for over three years now and he never replied.

        He saw you were a young woman and thought he could run you over. Big mistake!

        Up Donegal !!

        1. Jerry I was going to say something along the same line. I recently witnessed first hand how the AD seems to treat people like a big business. I attended a mass and gathering after for 12 parishes in 2 clusters that are presently scheduled to merge. It was a nice idea and the Bishop circulated around talking to people etc But, priests and employees all recently were informed they had to resign and the sentiments of the people ranged from shock to upset to ok this is the way it is but not happy. It’s not that the merging is occurring its how the individual parishes were informed that the clergy and employees had to resign.It seems it was done rather coldly. After some comments I thought to myself now they know how our survivors felt to a small degree. I love my faith and I feel the priests at my parish are doing the best they can to live the message of Christ in our parish. I just agree with Pope Francis about the narcissism of the court I believe he called it in his recent interview.

          1. I, too, believe our parish priests and they are doing the best they can. What sustains me is receiving the Eucharist, my faith, and prayer.
            I believe the victims/survivors.


        2. Jerry said,
          “Susan, you just saw first hand how the bishops and their proxies intimidate victims of abuse.

          Many of the victims are already distraught and lack your education, connections and grit.”

          This statement hit me. So true.

          1. Since you have been threatened with legal action in Ireland, please consider a review of the Irish Statute Book–Defamation Act of 2009—AND a consulation with an Irish barrister, who is an expert in the law of defamation, regarding your legal vulnerability, if any, and the monetary cost to you, if a civil action is filed in Ireland.

        3. I agree that I just experienced it firsthand. However, I think many of the victims came from the same educational background – Catholic grade and Catholic high school before college. And God knows many have proven they have grit by merely surviving their abuse. As for connections, one C4C survivor’s uncle was Cardinal O’Connor. The only difference is that I think it’s hard to be an advocate for oneself. Too many emotions.

          1. Susan,

            Lately, I’ve been thinking (rather hoping) that I may have been adopted and obviously I couldn’t be Cardinal O’Connor’s nephew.

            Peace out!

  3. The worst thing you could have done Susan was report that last part. If only they could have controlled you and silenced you! I’m so glad you gave a glimpse of what they will do when things don’t go their way.

    I’m very happy you withdrew the post as well. I will be praying for Bishop Lee’s health and for any negative thoughts to vaporize. If they do not, then I pray for the hierarchy to summons the courage the victims have had to in order to withstand any and all discomfort that would come from it. Perhaps they will be drawn to compassion for victims in a new way, a deeper look at their actions and how they have contributed to this very unhealthy dynamic.

    The bishop, his team of lawyers, which included the Chancellor, requested my husband (who hadn’t retained an attorney) sign a statement and all would be well. The statement, fabricated by the diocese, was full of lies…essentially, he’d have to agree that he wasn’t sure he was abused and when he told the hierarchy, there was a misunderstanding! When my husband said he couldn’t sign the document because it wasn’t true, they came unglued! Intimidated, threatened, name-called, screaming…I wish it had been recorded because Catholics in the pews would have never believed it. They told him to get a lawyer if this was the way he was going to act. They didn’t know what to do with my husband because he was so calm and in control as they were spinning out. “No, I’m not retaining an attorney. The way I’m acting??? I’m not the one screaming at a victim, calling him names, and asking him to lie to protect myself. This is simple…you agree to the counseling you started paying and promised to pay. As a victim, I intend to hold you to your word and I have your word in writing in the ways you sent them to me.” Then their wheels really came off!!! How do you control a victim who won’t get an attorney, is well connected and has documented proof that you promised counseling? They tried though.

    Then, damage control…”Before we agree to anything, what do you plan to do from here?” (This was their version of, “Are you going to tell anyone or go public?” ) My husband’s response, “I’m going to give myself some time to breathe and take each day as it comes.” Not the answer they were looking for.

    He got his counseling paid. The check was delivered on the day before he was going to file a small claims case against the bishop and the diocese.

    Pre-approve an apology statement? The arrogance. The intimidation…”consulted lawyers in regard to this matter.” I’m not surprised in the least because the victims who talk about how the church has treated them, tell very similar stories.

    I believe the victims.


    1. Sw,
      I also will be praying for Bishop Lee. I believe from my own personal experience with physical and emotional suffering that many times suffering when united with the suffering of Christ can bring about good. Also that suffering causes us to rely less on our own abilities and more on God. I watched my dad who suffered for 10 yrs with cancer go from self reliance to child like trusting in God it was a beautiful gift to see. My dad had not gone to confession probably in over 40 yrs and he finally did and what a change in him. He died in his sleep peacefully. His illness was terrible but he turned his purgatory here on earth into a blessing to ready his soul to meet his maker….


    3. Wonderful to hear from you, SW. As I told Susan offline. Philly is first in my heart, but Pope Francis now is first in my sights.

      I still have my spray paint can primed just in case1

      Take care, Jerry.

  4. Susan: Would you mind posting Martin Long’s and William Lee’s e-mail addresses so that I might also ask them to pucker up as well. They are both embarassments to every person of Irish ancestry and the embodiment of why the Irish Catholic Church is now an empty shell of itself. Thanks!

    1. Hi Peter, Thanks for reading and commenting here. I don’t have William Lee’s and it’s our policy not to post email addresses unless they’re public. However, it seems they read Catholics4Change, so I’m sure they’ll get your message.

  5. Good going Susan, you trapped them in their own game of intimidation. Bloggers on this site have the horror stories of hierarchy intimidation. Thank God they have steeled themselves against this “hardball” activity. The greatest part of this discussion is that you acted correctly and they have acted the “bully”. No more “bullying” from these bureaucrats in chanceries. They have played this “game” long enough. After I criticized a bishop in he Midwest for celebrating a “tridentine Mass”(Latin and all the falderol) , priest, deacon, sub deacon, arch priest and wearing a long(18 foot) cappa magna train, his chancellor went after me justifying the “insanity” of this show piece.
    great work Susan!!

  6. He goes on to share an independent audit published by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic in Ireland. Click to read report – can’t seem to find this link broken ?, but could find this

    Thanks Susan, guess the truth hurts. You hit a nerve.

    BTW, we know there are some good lawyers fighting for us, but so many have ruin the lives of so many victims and fought against the laws we need to protect them(victims). Some victims are abused by the system and the abuser as they come forward and face their terrible past. Certain lawyers tear at the very soul of the victim to win a case while the truth is secondary.

  7. What amazes me is that in negotiating the minefield of the Philadelphia Archdiocese for the past few years…with GJ reports, criminal trials, children at risk, tempers flaring, concerned parents, angry parishioners etc..the relationship with the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Communications Department. The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People and even with Archbishop Chaput, have been civil and cordial. They have answered questions, communicated clarifications, engaged in dialogue..never once demands or even requests for apologies or reviews of posts. Most communications from them end with a thank you for the efforts in protecting children.
    It is shocking that a link to an article can bring such a response.

    1. Yes. I agree. I’ve always had professional and polite dealings with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Communication and Archbishop Chaput. Not once, have they demanded or dictated. They are always responsive and respectful.

    2. Right, Kathy. They smile nicely, as they close your churches and schools and sell off your nursing homes and cemeteries.

      You really haven’t learned much since you first promoted that priest mole.

      I know, you have a U Penn social work degree. Stay with the social work, please, while Chaput sells off the archdiocese’s assets, with his wonderful smile.

      You will always be naive about how ruthless power is applied.

      1. Jerry, I think you misunderstand Kathy. She is under no illusions about the job they have to do. She is just saying they do it professionally and with a smarter style than Long. Kathy is one of the least naive persons I know.

      2. Jerry back off. Susan is not the only Irish woman who can put someone in their place . You are a pain in my irish (rhymes with lass) . Don’t speak down to me Mr Slevin I am not your daughter although that is the analogy you like to make..My father respected women..sorry no takers here. You will have a few temper tantrums before you threaten to leave again..and no one will beg you to stay as you seem to wish..and then you will come back again and again. Since “I promoted that priest mole”..seriously your conspiracy theories are comical and you do make me laugh and feel sorry for you at the same time. Yes I do have an Ivy League education however I don’t need to mention it all the really does not define me.

        1. Speaking of the Irish and my Grandparents on my mothers side immigrated from Ireland as children, has anyone taken notice to the large percentage of Catholic Priests whose names predominate on the Bishops Accountability. Org list of priests accused of sexual abuse of children. My guess would be that over half of the names are Irish names. Now I do understand that for many generations the priesthood was the most honorable professions that an Irish kid could choose. But still, the numbers seem overwhelming. When I was a freshman in High School, my mother underwent a radical mastectomy to treat her breast cancer. She was never the same after that,physically or mentally. This was in 1963. Just two years ago my neice, who was in her thirties underwent the same surgery. It turns out that a gene that causes cancer of the breast had been passed down through my sister. As I have stated many times, I suffered from Alcoholism, up until the late eighties. My father as well as his father suffered the same illness. How far back it goes is any bodies guess.My cousin, who did some research on our ancestry, found out that one of my fathers ancestors, who owned a large plantation in the Baltimore area lost his plantation gambling, while on an alcoholic binge. Could genes have something to do with pedophilia? Or maybe its something in the potatoes. Just food for thought.

          1. Mare: The only Janzen that I am familiar with is Father James M. Janzen, from Davenport, Iowa. He was accused of sexually assaulting 36 youths over three decades beginning in 1953. As I recall, several of those young men committed suicide in their twenties or early thirties. Very sad. I do not now or have I ever believed in predestination or predetermination or any such philosophy. I once believed in the theory known as “tabula rasa” or blank tablet but over the years I have found that ones genetics play a large role in both your physical and mental well being.The one thing I know for sure is that no matter what your genetics, if you are sexually abused by a Catholic priest, you will suffer for the rest of your life.

  8. Since the current comments touch on the Office of Communication for the Archdiocese, I am trying to determine if the rules presented for the Archdiocesan Review Board require a victim or family member on the Review Board. I believe I had seen that fact on the website but cannot locate it now. In any case, the list of themembers of the current Review Board does not include a victim or family member. Any thoughts, input or clarification would be helpful.


      On the top of page 18

      1103.7.1 states, “1103.7.1. Policy The Review Board shall be appointed by the Archbishop and consist of
      seven to twelve members of outstanding integrity and good judgment. At least five members
      shall be lay Catholics in full communion with the Church who are not employees of the
      Archdiocese. At least one member shall be a priest who is an experienced and respected pastor
      of the Archdiocese. Members shall include a licensed psychiatrist, a psychologist or social
      worker, an attorney, a parent, and a victim or parent of a victim of child sexual abuse. At least
      one of the members should have particular expertise in the treatment of sexual offenders. (Cf.
      USCCB Charter, art. 2, and USCCB Essential Norms, #5) (see USCCB Charter and Norms).

      1. Thanks for the link and information. The list of current members on the Review Board does NOT include a victim or parent of a victim of child sexual abuse (unless, one of the other professionals of the Board, in addition to their official capacity, also fill the category of “victim or parent of a victim”). Who does one check with to verify this information?

        1. Michael, I contacted the Office for Communications this afternoon and asked about this. I also asked for an update to Archbishop Chaput’s Spring 2012 press conference on priest removals. Who chose prayer and penance? Who chose appeal? Who chose laicization? And status of remaining investigations…I will post answers.

          1. Susan, this isn’t the first inquiry re this particular issue. Some time ago, I had discussions with Leslie Davila about the victim/family member position on the Review Board and basically she said that she would be unable to confirm or deny whether or not a person that fits that category is on the Review Board because of confidentiality. So, here I go again, trying to chase down the same info…………I’m sure the response (aka as “222 SPIN” will be the same)

  9. It’s worth checking out the above link. Following the membership piece, are definitions of what it means to be in full communion, etc. The rules how someone is nominated, etc. should make people very nervous.

  10. was hoping this month to make the 1st Friday vigil tomorrow 10/4, but my Rheumatoid disease has flared, and I know I won’t be able to walk. I will be there in spirit. Go C4C.



    check out this link…………….the picture of Charles and Thomas in the middle of the article says it all. To Jerry Slevin’s credit, archdiocesan leadership simply does not care what the faithful have to say but Charles surely doesn’t mind trips to Harrisburg in order to get what he wants. Interesting word, “FAITHFUL”……….we’ve been here for OUR church from our births until now…….that’s what faithful means, doesn’t it?

    Hey, when Corbett was elected, was our archbishop even a citizen of Pennsylvania at the time? Isn’t the Governor supposed to be listening to ALL the citizens of the Commonwealth?

    No, Corbett makes the time for Chaput, Sasso, and NO TIME for the rest of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

    Let’s close with a smile or two, since the picture of the dynamic duo of “Charlie and Tommy” in Harrisburg is indeed annoying and infuriating. First, the other photo at the link, Bishop Zubik from Pittsburgh………fine track record for abuse victims and their families????….but where the hell did he get those glasses? Ebay?

    Second, every time I see a picture of our archbishop, I am reminded of the Paul Simon tune, “Slip, Slidin’ Away” and the opening lyrics:

    Slip slidin’ away
    Slip slidin’ away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you’re slip slidin’ away

    Rumor has it that Rhymin’ Simon wrote this for our archbishop when he takes a moment to wonder about the “red chapeau” in the future…………………

    Chaput – chapeau —————Paul Simon would certainly approve.

  12. I received an email from Voice of the Faithful. It would appear that they, along with Justice4PA Kids is sponsoring an event to further along push new legislation in Harrisburg to promote better protection of Pennsylvania’s children. It all sounds good even when you continue scrolling down to the synopsis that details the motorcycle ride and dinner, but the good news abruptly ends when the email states, “The celebration of the Anniversary of SNAP on October 21st will be a Fundraiser, with music and nibbles and lots of friendly people. Do join the party! Bishop Gumbleton, Fr. Tom Doyle, and Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP will be honored.”

    Don’t misunderstand, I’m always up for a good ole’ fashioned shindig, but I refuse to serve myself from the same punch bowl or rustle up a few potato chips from the same buffet that Barbara Blaine has already roamed her sneaky claws through. I don’t think people have any idea what “honor” truly means. If I have choose between betraying the cause and betraying my friends, I think anyone who knows me, even if they don’t know me very well, knows I will never betray my friends. I will never betray another victim to protect even my best friend if it’s apparent that my friend is in the wrong.

    Barbara Blaine wrote a letter in support of a child sexual predator, Dr. Steve Taylor, a child sexual predator, who was charged and convicted with possession of child pornography. Dr. Taylor falsely presented himself as a man interested in protecting children, even sat in meeting rooms and listened to the disturbing details victim’s shared of their abuse, and helped facilitate vigils for abuse victims who committed suicide. If I had ever been to any event with this Dr. Taylor, or spoke in a group about my own abuse and Dr. Taylor was present, I’m not sure I could even fathom the weight of betrayal I would probably feel crushing down on my shoulders. It would be betrayal on top of betrayal. If Dr. Taylor’s title and name had instead been Father Steve Taylor, I’m certain Barbara Blaine would’ve exploited every media outlet in the world to expose what Fr. Steve Taylor had done.

    Barbara Blaine even insisted, in writing to the Louisiana Medical Board, that Dr. Steve Taylor was “a friend and advocate of childhood sexual abuse victims.” I hope you can all hear my words when I write, “This scumbag, Dr. Steve Taylor, is NO friend of mine.” Furthermore, Barbara Blaine is a shady, self-diluted, perpetual liar! Even more disconcerting is that every SNAP regional director in the country went right along with the betrayal as if it was no big deal. Shame on them! (I already posted the letter Blaine wrote to the LA State Medical Board in support of Taylor and another letter she wrote to SNAP leaders trying to weasel her way out of what she did, which she knows was wrong and fallacious, in a post 3 weeks ago. The fact that nearly every SNAP leader’s contact information is listed before and after Blaine’s transgressions should only serve to prove that these people choose popularity over truth and justice.)

    Millions of people can fight furiously for any cause, but it only takes one lousy domino to unravel the foundation that too many victims built from suffering, shame, and fear. That single lousy domino gives the opposition of our cause more ammunition to abuse more children, cloak their crimes, stall our lawmakers, and continue doing it over and over and over again. How am I supposed to react, as a man who suffered sexual abuse in his childhood and have continued trying to keep my head above water since the abuse ended, when I learn conclusively that someone who swore to speak for me instead chose very willingly to speak gently and pleasantly for the kind of man who created the darkness that exists inside of me? Can any one of you look Arthur & Elaine Baselice in the eyes, or the countless other families of victims who killed themselves and admit that you don’t care that their abused son is dead and you don’t care that a person who purported to speak for silent victims of abuse rather spoke up for the predators? If you can look these people in the eyes and support such betrayal then it’s ever so obvious to me that you have a far superior darkness that exists inside of you.

    Laws are not imposed to eliminate crime. Laws are enacted to deter crime and hold criminals accountable. I do believe that House Bills 237 & 238 would serve society for the greater good, as these bills will help expose currently unknown predators and those who protect them, but make no mistake about it, the behavior will not end. The criminal will only improve alternatives of covering over their crimes, and as long as people continue supporting persons “who do at night what they would otherwise shun in broad daylight,” innocence can’t, won’t, and will never have a chance in hell! Evil will flourish.

    Peace out!

    (Maybe my post has little or nothing to do with the original topic, but nevertheless I believe it’s just as important.)

    1. Rich I will check for you but I don’t think the motorcycle event held by justice4pakids has anything at all to do with is being held on october 12th Maybe the other event is something separate between VOTF and SNAP? I will get back to you

      1. Just to clear up any confusion the motorcycle event this Saturday has absolutely nothing to do with SNAP . It is the same as our justice4pakids 5k event..volunteers, advocates and survivors working for legislation in Pa..we don’t partner with other organizations on this ,we do all the work ourselves and donations stay with the organization. I hope people come out and support this event.

    2. Rich I understand what you are saying today Arthur was at the vigil as well as Sister Maureen and a few others and myself.

  13. Rich. I’ve thought the same thoughts over the years that snap was an arm of the rcc. I STILL Don’t know. I can see how you feel. The RCC has been so deceitful for so many years, so cunning,that I wouldn’t’ t put anything past their arrogance. & pseudo intellectual ways of trying to demean the laity by their ability to out talk us. Not you though. You’ ‘re good!

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