Weekend May Bring News On Priests Removed From Ministry

Kathy and I have heard through several sources that internal investigations have concluded on most of the priests removed from ministry. These are the priests Cardinal Rigali temporarily removed from ministry  following the 2011 Grand Jury Report. Archbishop Chaput removed two more permanently and restored four in Spring of 2012. The Archdiocese continued investigations on others.  In some cases, the Pennsylvania statute of limitations for child sex abuse had expired during the archdiocesan coverup. The Archdiocesan investigators and review board made recommendations to Archbishop Chaput.

The announcements may be made at “affected” parishes this weekend after Masses. However, all Catholics and Philadelphia-area residents are affected by clergy child sex abuse. These priests may go back into the community with no Megan’s Law listing to alert neighbors. Until their appeals to Rome are finalized, they will receive stipends. If they choose a life of prayer and penance, the Archdiocese continues to care for their financial needs. All will receive their full pensions – even if they are laicized.

The Archdiocese does not share specific information on priests who were permanently removed from ministry. We know if they’ve chosen a life of prayer and penance, but don’t know if they are awaiting appeals to the Vatican or are living in our communities.

Meanwhile, there is no justice for the victims and no safety for children. Where does this leave the faithful, the innocent clergy, the future Church? Until the Archdiocese, Archbishop Chaput and Pennsylvania Catholic Conference support window legislation for child sex abuse – all apologies will ring hollow. Our leadership in the Vatican and Archbishop Chaput can not change the past but they can change the future.

15 thoughts on “Weekend May Bring News On Priests Removed From Ministry

  1. Thank you for comment and response. You and Kathy are so on top of this issue. Thank you so much for all you have done and do to keep this issue focused on responsible parties who are keeping this issue “under wraps”. Today is St. Lucy day and maybe some real light will be shinning on those who have been criminally negligent on this issue.

  2. As a survivor of childhood sex abuse by the clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I can tell you that history is manifesting itself in other ways. Under Red hats Krol and Bevalacqua priests were just shuffled to another parish, Now Chaput has set all his actors in place, arranged the lights and adjusted the stage to make it look like something really has been done. A life of prayer and penance will be the majority of recommendations with some assigned as a chaplain in a hospital. As I stated in a press conference in September 2012. ” Justice is the right thing to do today and for the future protection of our children”. Amy Hill stated once that changing the statute of limitations would …” not put one predator behind bars”. This statement alone is admission to the many that still exist in the religious life. Civil action WILL expose the predator, bring some closure to the victim survivors and publicly record their name with the clerk of courts. If this and many other diocese want to see a true faithful flock, then they must be true themselves an allow transparency a look at the damage done to the victims and collateral damage to their families.

  3. “……Now Chaput has set all his actors in place, arranged the lights and adjusted the stage to make it look like something really has been done……”

    Mike, perfect description and understanding for the current “management” of clergy abuse matters. Yes, indeed, our archbishop is the executive director and executive producer of this fine drama (aka dark tragedy) and last check, they’re having an very difficult time selling tickets to this debacle. Fiction of the highest order……..DIckens would be proud.

  4. Are we betting on a press release at 4:30 today? Only thing more devious would be 4:30 on December 23rd!

  5. Susan, Kathy, Rev., Mike and Michael,
    I am really trying to keep the faith here, but these horrible abuses and accusations never seem to go away. You are all helpful to me in thinking that things MAY change, and I thank you for that. Just a public, open RESPECTFUL discussion like this one is a God-send. I try to get over my anger, but it is very hard, when the Vatican, Archdiocese, my pastor, the accused clergy’s relatives,etc., speak around it, deny it, or even worse, blaming the victims, attacking their character and the like, How many of us would just feel better if they were totally honest and admit that the worst of the worst crimes DID exist, and quite often? (And, yes, we are intelligent to understand that not all clergy accused are guilty. It makes me cringe to hear that so many higher ups, or others state that so may of us think that all clergy are suspect.) It will be interesting to hear what news this weekend brings. (If I hear about one more priest at St. Jerome’s or Resurrection, I will go stark, raving mad,.but realize it is better to know the truth. Many, many thanks for letting me vent. It helps my state of mind, and allows me to comfort and take care of an immediate family member who was horribly abused.

    1. MC ,when Susan and I started out almost 3 years ago after the GJ report we were very concerned Moms who wanted to protect our children and any child within the Archdiocese. The fact that people who are victims or family members have found us and find even a sliver of comfort here has been an unexpected blessing.

      When I see the misconception of what people think of victims and their families as opposed to what people share here,it makes my head spin at times. Dennis shared a similar sentiment as you recently,and it made me thankful that we are all here, but also incredibly sad that this is sort of a ‘safe place” , rather than the norm of how it should be. We did not set out to create this safe place and if we had, it may have backfired..it was every person who came here who created what you find. To me that makes it even more special.

      1. Kathy: As someone who has found a refuge on this site, I cannot thank you and Susan enough for creating a safe place for myself and other survivors to voice not only what happened to us as children but also to express what the effects have been in our lives. For some of us the effects were even worse than the abuse itself. While you have been a voice for survivors within the Catholic Community, as survivors, we have gained much from the relationship. As someone mentioned earlier, as a survivor , I had pretty much given up on the religion that I had been raised in as a child. What was taught in my many years of Catholic Education and what was being done with regard to sexual abuse of children seemed totally incongruous and hypocritical. I have found on this site, people who actually seem to be living the Christian philosophy. While the battle is far from over.Much progress has been made.I hope that the year ahead will bring more progress in the struggle to rid the Catholic Church of this malaise.

    2. MC
      I would be proud to shake your hand !

      You must understand something though about me. I was abused by a priest from Father Judge H.S. almost 40 years ago. I do and I am being honest do consider all priests as potential abusers. I do that to protect myself and my family. I do not allow myself to be around priests. One example I can give is my wife and I went to a catholic hospital to visit a friend, although not keen on the idea I went. When we were on the elevator it stopped on a floor prior to ours. A priest walked onto the elevator, it felt like my heart was going to come through my chest. My wife took hold of my hand and we exited. My wife then told me all the color in my face disappeared. Do I know there are those priests out there who have received that calling and only mean to do good ? Sure. But abuser is not stamped on their forehead to tell them apart.

      You then speak about hearing about another priest from St. Jerome’s or Resurrection, I can feel the same thing you do. I went to St. Jerome’s for eight years. I grew up in that neighborhood. I can remember when Holme circle use to be a circle, I played at Pollack playground, and sled down Winchester Hill. When the charges came out about Engelhardt and Shero the pain that I thought I had minimized all came back.Then to learn about the number of abusive priests associated with St. Jerome’s alone, priests I knew who if maybe if I was not abused would have said like others “who him abuse a child, not possible” It was to close to home. The nightmares came back, the controlling came back, I was not a person you would want to be around.

      Like you this site is like no other therapy some Doctor can give you 3hrs a week. It allows me to vent and tell the pain that this old man feels decades later. I can tell you my abuser gave me a gift that keeps on giving. I can only hope and pray that we all can prevent another child from receiving the same gift I and so many others received.

      The catholic church and its clergy turned us into victims, with your help we all can change ourselves into survivors.

      1. Dennis, sorry to read about the abuse you suffered by The Oblates and Hermley He and at least two others have been involved with minors , one arrested and released, the other is at Childs, Md.. Tried to find the articles related to the release, but they are not available online. All three were assigned to Judge during the late 60’s and 70’s and mentioned by many students and teachers as being a problem. Those two were assigned with McDevitt at the summer camp operated by the Oblates. Even though I am a retired fed – very low level, I taught at a few schools as a sub and some of the names in articles about the Oblates and AP priests seem familiar. I tried to push for more info as I don’t know how many were abused in the Philly area or in Maryland. I don’t see the name of the Camp in any documents as far as assignments of those three. Your abuser was at Padua when I was there for a visit and I questioned why he was still active in ministry – apparently the Oblates continued to hide this sick man. He wasn’t at Padua during my visit and seem to be visiting the Philly area, just like others went to Delaware from Philly.

        I want to stress the these (?) were highly manipulative and knew how to control their victims. Anyone looking at the assignments can see how they overlap. I have a difficulty with the system, your abuser was allowed to serve after parents complained, the judge put him on probation and John Hopkins cleared him for ministry. Thought when someone was caught at the camp and I confronted several about it that something would be done – but the only punishment was a transfer, that was in the early 80’s so I left the Oblates.

  6. I guess we have to accept the old saying “better late then never”. This is the very subject I questioned Chaput about in e-mails over a year ago wanting to know the reason for the delay in the Archdiocese findings. His response to my request was nothing short of a smug answer ” I don’t like to be pressured.”

    Keeping with Michael description Chaput and his lawyers/investigators have had plenty of time putting together a Oscar winning script.

    However, for me when Chaput speaks I hear what sounds like the teacher on a Charlie Brown cartoon. It makes no sense at all.

  7. ” I don’t like to be pressured.”……….from the leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Dennis, I seem to recall, and I’ll search my e-mails for the exact wording, that I received a similar, curt missive from the archbishop soon after his arrival here in Phila. If he doesn’t like to be pressured, he probably should have stayed out west.

    Speaking of west, wonder when the next time Archbishop Chaput will be going to Harrisburg and noshing being closed doors with his legislator buddies? Not to worry, he’s probably rallying support for the vital S-O-L proposals and reforms sitting under Marsico’s Christmas tree.

  8. MC- Even though I suffered abuse by two priests, one now defrocked (Francis X. Trauger) and one removed from ministry by accepting a life of prayer an penance (John P. Schmeer), I have learned that being a survivor means they can no longer hurt me. I am going to refrain on commenting on the clergy and trust issues. But I am a Catholic, recovering, but still a Catholic. Today I focus more on my spirituality which allows the energy I would have spent on anger transcend into living a life that is full and doing whatever, whenever I can for causes like CHANGE. May the Almighty bring you and your loved one who suffers some peace and know you are not alone and do not travel this alone. My Best, Michael

  9. Thank you all for your kind words. I do believe that this is a safe and caring environment, unlike a toxic blog that most of us are familiar with. I would NEVER taint this wonderful, warm support group by saying anything more about that.(and hope that I haven’t by mentioning it , but had to get that of my chest- my apologies.) I went to 16 years of Catholic school (one of them being St. Jerome also. My family has always been very devout. My religious schooling built upon the guilt that I was not like my parents and some of my siblings in their strong belief. After all these years, and as result of that shocking Grand Jury report (where, I coincidentally happened to know almost all of the players – one very well), I came to a wonderful, peaceful decision. I do not have to be Pro or Anti- Catholic,The disbelief, anger, shock, bitterness and depression almost brought me to hate the Church and clergy (I know how you feel, Dennis) However, even though my husband and daughter go every week, envelope in hand, I know that is their choice. I realized that the best action for me is take a vacation from the Catholic Church. I cannot put any of myself into any institution that acts like they do – hiding criminal behavior, which is condoning it, not caring about our children, not protecting them, not caring how profoundly it has ruined their lives, hearing a victim referred to “just another lying junkie that choses to be that way”, etc. I decided to take a break for my sanity, see what or how they reform, and take it from there. Sorry for the ramble. I needed to pour my heart and out to a kind audience…Have a great night!

    1. I keep reading all this about ST. Jerome Parish. Something is so strange that so many of these priests were sent to this parish. I’ve been in the parish many years and the suicide rate among young people is very high. Several of us have tried to understand why this is. God bless and protect our youth from the evil that is lurking here.

  10. For information on the crimes committed by pedophile priests and covered up by church hierarchy, elected officials and law enforcement agencies in the Pittsburgh Diocese visit my blog: http://mikeference.blogspot.com/.

    It’s a work in progress so visit it often and pass the address forward. It’s not fair that the the Philadelphia Archdiocese should be the only cesspool in the commonwealth of PA.

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