Archdiocese Continues to Wound Itself


Click here to read: “Philadelphia Archdiocese prolongs its own suffering,” by Karen Heller, columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 8, 2014

Excerpt: “Last month, the archdiocese suspended a priest who had been allowed to work for almost a year after multiple accusers alleged he had abused them. The church refused to release details. This came the day after the archdiocese released the fate of seven suspended priests facing abuse charges.”

Last month, the archdiocese suspended a priest who had been allowed to work for almost a year after multiple accusers alleged he had abused them. The church refused to release details. This came the day after the archdiocese released the fate of seven suspended priests facing abuse charges.

“The archdiocese is and remains firmly committed to protecting children and young people,” said a church spokesman in December. “It has taken various steps since 2011 to strengthen and reinforce those efforts.”

In other words, since the second damaging grand jury report because one did not prove to be enough.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140108_Archdiocese_is_still_harming_itself.html#Xw0iu6smHfluwccZ.99

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72 Responses to “Archdiocese Continues to Wound Itself”

  1. stilldisillusioned Reply January 8, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I read this article this morning. Bravo to Karen Heller for bringing this all out loud and clear.

  2. More of the same from the crew at 222……..

    “DEEPLY FLAWED THINKING AND ACTIONS”………..

    • “DEEPLY FLAWED THINKING AND ACTIONS”…… COME RIGHT FROM THE VERY TOP!

      “Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will not be extradited to his native Poland, despite accusations of sex abuse there and in the Dominican Republic, where he served as papal nuncio until his August 2013 dismissal.

      The Warsaw Office of the Prosecutor reported the Vatican had tersely replied to their extradition request, saying that “Archbishop Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican, and Vatican law does not allow for his extradition,” according to Catholic Culture.”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/10/archbishop-jozef-wesolowski-extradition_n_4577241.html

      Now that Lynn had lost 80 pounds while in prison, he could fit into a diplomatic pouch and become a citizen of the Vatican in about 8 hours.

  3. “That self-inflicted wound still appears to be festering.”

    Not a long article, but a very powerful article, and a very sad article too because it speaks the truth.

    Sooner or later that wound will be lanced and the true Catholics will be the sutures of healing, and Chaput and everyone like him will be looking inside from out.

  4. The question of Msgr Lynn’s guilt aside, we know from trial testimony and documents that he systematically moved priests, guilty of irreparable harm to children and their families in a most vicious way, therefore he should have been removed from the priesthood for his failed judgment and cover-up, accepting the fact that not all cover-up crimes are fully criminal, but are a basis to removed from duty permanently.

    I can not imagine going to Mass on Sundays at St. Williams knowing he is locked up there. A bed in St. John’s Hospice (for homeless men) in Phila. would have given him the opportunity to begin to show remorse while keeping him away from a parish. Its so tragic that he, and others who assisted him, were knowingly putting pedophiles in parishes, even when there was discussion they should not be housed in parishes. J Heary

    • John and can you imagine being a child getting dropped off for sports, PREP,or other activities at the parish. Children and teens do not have in depth conversation about child endangerment laws . They instead would be more likely to just know there is a guy on house arrest locked up in the rectory..having something to do with kids.

      Can you imagine the message this sends to kids who have already experienced an abusive situation in their life or will at some point in their childhood.

      I really feel bad for the kids and parents at St William who had no say in this matter..it really is just unbelievable.

      • I know Kathy. Why is he not living at St. Charles Seminary? There is plenty of room there.

        • Beth, Kathy and I realized that the Seminary is not within city limits. By court order, he must stay in Philadelphia. It seems his family resides outside city limits, too. However, I remember hearing of a Bishop with a private residence that would have fit the bill. Or, perhaps a Catholic shelter? Seems like St. William’s drew the short straw.

          • Oh ok. I see. Thanks for the explanation. Just would make sense to not have him at a parish but then no one in leadership seems to have any common sense anyway……

  5. I am sure Karen’s Email box is overflowing with pew sheep poop (sorry) as they do not like to see the facts in writing, especially in a paper that is no longer under the control of AD supporters. The article truly highlights the fact that NOTHING has changed in the Philadelphia AD in the past 36 months. The shell games continue while the lawyers make a killing and the victims are left in the “cold”…..

  6. Excellent information. Please keep it up.

    Bob McCaffrey spiritualdir@comcast.net

  7. This organization is so dysfunctional, it is almost hilarious. If not for the fact that innocent children are put in jeopardy, it would be funny. But I am not laughing. The Catholic Church continues to believe that it can simply out wait those of us who seek major change. They are counting on us to get weary and just give up.I for one will never give up. Their shenanigans make me even more determined to see this through to the end. And the comments made on this webpage by their apologists make me extremely angry.Instead of throwing Lynn out on his butt, They want to make a martyr out of him.All this entire episode with Father Lynn has done, is make victims suffer more. I have gotten past the point where every story brings back the pain.Now it just infuriates me.

    • Jim I will not give up either. I support law changes in PA and we are making progress. 7 laws so far………..and changes will only continue………as long as we keep fighting to protect all children……..years ago I felt helpless for change by myself but together amazing things are going to happen………….

  8. I don’t in anyway wish to bring the poison of other sites to Catholics4Change.But I found this quote on another site that made me choke.

    “In other words, Abp. Chaput is hardly “supporting” and “helping” Msgr. Lynn in any special way”.

    Maybe I’m not fully awake yet. But If I give 25K to a family who has been burned out of their home or I give someone 25K to post bond is that not HELPING ?

    People actually believe that statement.

    The word “supporting” I will not even dwell on.

  9. Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Archdiocese of Philadelphia… one, big, ongoing, clerical Culture of Insults.

  10. Thursday Morning, January 9th, 2014. Last night and this morning the national news has focused on “Bridgegate” and “Bridge backlash” over the possible implication of the NJ Governor in the Fort Lee Bridge events of September.
    It is fascinating that so much has been raised about the “culture” of the Governor’s office that would allow such an event to occur but the fact that so many seem to have denied their participation in this scandal and yet the “outrage” of the people in Fort Lee and the State is growing and growing.
    Now, the big question!! Which is worse, the closing down of lanes on a bridge causing a traffic jam in Fort Lee or the sexual abuse scandal of Philadelphia in which the clerical/hierarchical culture has caused thousands of children to be abused by predator priests and even to have families whose children have died because of this horrendous scandal??. The people of Fort Lee are outraged that their children were stuck on buses for hours but the children of this Archdiocese were abused over many, many years dating back to the 1950’s and before. This tragedy was known by the Bishops and their Culture- staffs.
    Again, where is the real outrage that should be felt by the victims of this Archdiocese???
    People are charging the “Culture” of the Governor’s office in allowing this bridge closing even to have occurred. What of the “Culture” of the Church which allowed the Monsignor Lynns to have access to this information and not make the moral decision to stop this tragedy. A true “friend” of the Cardinals and Bishops would have challenged them immediately . From 1994 – 2004, Monsignor Lynn was privey to this information. what did he really do to stop it?? 10 years later (2014) victims and parents are still suffering.
    They will be firing people in New Jersey. Who has been “fired” in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput Came to Philly to challenge the SOL in Harrisburg. Cardinal Rigali who was on the committee to choose bishops in this country knew that he needed someone who would fight against that SOL and Chaput had done in his diocese out west, (Colorado or Nebraska). Is there coincidence here?? Hmmmm.

    • “Archbishop Chaput Came to Philly to challenge the SOL in Harrisburg. Cardinal Rigali who was on the committee to choose bishops in this country knew that he needed someone who would fight against that SOL and Chaput had done in his diocese out west, (Colorado or Nebraska). Is there coincidence here?? Hmmmm.”

      There certainly is:

      http://www.awrsipe.com/turlish/8.%20Catholic%20leaders%20knew.pdf

      http://www.awrsipe.com/turlish/25.%20Victims,%20justice%20and%20the%20new%20archbishop.pdf

      • To save on expenses, Archdiocesan leadership ought to rent some office space near the Capitol building in Harrisburg since Archbishop Chaput has (and will need to) spent a great deal of time there on behalf of the safety of all PA children.

    • Father Jack
      I could provide a 10 point outline on my own thoughts about the lack of outrage about the abuse of children in the Archdiocese. First many people have left the church because of the abuse..I have heard others say it is an “excuse” people use to leave the Church. An excuse?
      That mentality I will never understand because if the raping of children and the cover up of crime is not looked at as something to be legitimately horrified about then what is? So, many truly outraged people are gone.

      Clericalism..the topic we have all learned so much about. People are afraid to be angry..as if they are going against God in some way. Again when you stop and think about that, it makes no sense. I do absolutely understand this and myself was guilty of falling under the clericalism spell for many,many years. It took a priest pointing his finger at me and telling me to “be quiet” when I was advocating for a child safety issue, to put a final end to be me being under that spell. But I had to experience that to really get it.

      Logistics..we are an Archdiocese of parishes and we exist within the parish. I have lived in this Archdiocese my entire life and had to look up the address for the AD building the first time I attended a vigil..only to find I had worked a few blocks away for many years. When things happen at a parish such as Fr Paul or Lynn now being placed at a parish, people do not even connect it could happen at their parish..it is more of a “that stinks for those people”, not realizing we are all a part of one large system. Until it lands on the doorstep of their parish, it does not affect them. I talk to people whose eyes glaze over and the comments they make are ten times worse than comment on this site, when I mention the Archdiocese. But they exist within their parish, something happening in another parish would be like something happening in another town.

      The victims..they are invisible…literally. I had a friend ask me one time “what are they like?” in reference to victims. People need a visual..not just in this situation..in any situation..You give people the visual of an abused child, a bald child going through chemo,or yes even a traffic jam in Jersey and they feel it. I had friends who attended a meeting of victims shortly after the 2011 GJ report and heard a few victims and family members stories. They left the meeting and started an organization that is still going strong to this day and they work tirelessly for the cause because they were so affected by the first hand accounts they heard in a meeting almost 3 years ago.

      These are just a few thoughts.

      • Great comments. You are right on. One take away from your comments is that we have to speak out (like C4C), and that is helping, but I feel we fall short on another other important step: let the leadership of the Church and politicians know we are not going away until there is adequate justice and reform. That means we, individually, have to do it.

        • John the other thing that I think plays into it is what you state…”letting the leadership and politicians know we are not going away” I can tell you that the Archdiocese may get a few angry calls here and there, but really not amounting to much.

          Social media is a double edged sword..it is great for sharing information,people being informed..but the down fall is that people think that by writing a comment on a news article site or a blog,that is actually accomplishing anything. Before people would have to pick up the phone or write a letter about an issue they cared about..now people can sit at home on a computer, write a comment and somehow think that has any effect on anything. It certainly is helping the person blow off steam and vent..but is changing nothing.

          Susan and I both saw an eruption of fury in the local area in scanning social media and news articles concerning the recent events with the Archdiocese bailing Lynn out and then placing him at a parish..how many people contacted the Archdiocese? Probably very few and believe me they use that with local press..this has not generated any tension..this has not upset many people etc..this is a non issue…etc. I can tell you that first hand from a situation that I was involved in. And why wouldn’t they use it? of course they would.
          For every issue that concerns me that I write about on this blog..I also call or email the Archdiocese. Many would say why bother..I would say why not bother. They can sit back and do whatever they want and not even have to hear from people? No..that is continuing a dangerous cycle.

      • Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        Kathy, thank you for your insightful thoughts on some of the “whys” that have shockingly and sadly contained the outrage of people. It would be interesting to develop a parallel list of the “whys” that have shockingly and sadly contained the outrage of clerics. While I can think of many, one, in particular, so offended and alienated me that it became one of the main reasons I exited the Church. Too, I think it is one of the main reasons clerics cannot bring themselves to express outrage.

        In advocating for abused children over the decades, I had the opportunity to talk and meet with innumerable clerics, none of whom were ever able to genuinely and deeply identify with or get to the heart of the psycho-emotional lives of children, the maternal feelings mothers have for children, the “child voice,” the “female voice,” the vulnerability of children and their well-being, and so on. Mothers, women, children… the distance between them and clerics amounted to an abyss so great and alienating that it led me to disassociate myself and family from clerical input and influences. When a thoughtful mother with two children feels like a stranger in a strange land, she does not hang around, permitting her history of indoctrination or infantile fantasies to paralyze her or render her incompetent.

        • Kate I agree but what amazes me even more are the people who are parents and involved in this clerical culture and lose all sense of the “parent code” . An employee I spoke to a few weeks ago about leaving priests in ministry while being investigated ,assured me that there were no priests in ministry that he felt were dangerous..that HE felt were dangerous. I don’t recall decisions about other people’s children being a decision other than the parents. What he may find dangerous and I feel dangerous could be vastly different.
          Kate as a mother have you ever taken away another parents right to make a decision about their child? Would it ever even cross you mind? It amazes me..so I agree about the clerics but the people who are parents involved in these situations puzzle me more. And believe me in the past 3 years I have been in many situations.

          • Katherine FitzGerald January 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm

            Kathy, the points you’ve made on this topic are excellent and important. You should write a unified piece on the subject for C4C, get it published elsewhere, and take it on the road. Confront the people who are “lost” and who have forgotten who they are!

            Thank you.

          • Survivor's wife January 11, 2014 at 1:09 am

            Yes Kathy…do it! Then I can be your roadie.

            I don’t mean to take away from the seriousness of this topic, because what you are saying Kathy makes sense!

          • Survivor's wife January 11, 2014 at 1:23 am

            “Kate as a mother have you ever taken away another parents right to make a decision about their child? Would it ever even cross you mind?”

            I guess when it comes to the safety of their children, parents are ok abdicating their rights and decision-making to the rcc.

            I’m not sure if it’s a show of ignorance or arrogance.

          • survivors wife, I am not sure what it is like in your Diocese but it is an ever changing dynamic going on in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Catholic schools. One of our past commenters used to bash “catholic robot ” types but many of the parish schools in the city are serving students who are not even Catholic..some as high as 60-70-80% non Catholic students. The Philadelphia public school system is a catastrophe in many ways..from test scores to violence..
            In the suburbs many of the Catholic schools are losing students with parents making the switch to public schools…many parishes have more kids in religious education (CCD, PREP) than they do students attending
            the school. It has been amazing to see the changing dynamic in the past 10 years ..they can blame the economy but I imagine that 2 Grand jury reports had a lot to do with the drop in student population in the suburbs.

          • Kathy,
            In our area, people are pretty much drinking the Kool-Aid. They believe much of what they are told. But the numbers are dwindling greatly. The Catholic schools are very much for Catholic students. The percentage of non-Catholic students is very low. They’ve created such a climate of elitism that a non-Catholic would have to have skin made of leather to deal with the isolation.

            The numbers are dwindling, I believe, because people are leaving the Church and therefore not sending their children to the school. Also, in our area, our public schools are good with a lot of opportunities for students. The Catholic schools are operating on a shoestring. There are pros and cons to both for sure.

        • Kate: As a male, I hate to say this but the overwhelming majority of those who support the Catholic Clergy and attack victims are male. Why is that? Surely there are fathers out there who believe that protecting children is the job of males and females. Outside of victims there are very few who seem to connect with victims of clergy abuse. If you look at those who post on this site, you see very little concern. Sure there are some who do this but the majority of protectors are female. As you point out in a positive way,only females are mothers and that special bond that exists between a mother and her children is undeniable. A mother of one child becomes a mother to all.I can’t help but think that part of the problem is that in many cases here, we are talking about young male children being abused by adult males. This is an area that makes males queasy in the stomach.I believe it is a problem that goes back to the way boys are raised in our society.Any kind of softness, gentleness or other female? qualities are frowned upon. When it comes to young males being abused by priests, coaches, boy scout leaders etc. , the first question asked of the victim is why did you let him do that to you.And the questioner is usually male.

          • Katherine FitzGerald January 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm

            Thank you, Jim, for your insights.

            On the flip-side, who has the greatest control and influence on a child’s Catholic formation? Mothers do. Too many mothers are willing to blind themselves to priestly sexual abuse, the plight of victims, hierarchical colluding and corruption, Church injustices and dysfunction, etc., because they taint “the product” they deem “good” for their children.

          • Kate: A rather personal story from this last Christmas morning. I have worked in retail all of my adult life. Those of us who struggle through the long hours, the grumpy customers etc. do not embrace Christmas like many other people. I for one can’t wait for the holidays to be over. Usually I am totally exhausted. This past Christmas morning, I traveled about two and a half hours to my daughters house in northern Montgomery County to celebrate Christmas with my daughter, son in law and two grandchildren.When we arrived, we exchanged gifts and my daughter proceeded to make breakfast. As the kids played with their new toys, I sat on the couch and zoned out. I was not a happy camper. My grandson who is four, sensing that everything was not ok with me, got up from his toys and came over to the couch and snuggled up next to me.I put my arm around him and held him tight.This was the best Christmas present ever.After a few minutes , he went back to his toys.Thinking about this later I wondered about how long it would take for this little boy to lose that sense of caring. How long before he looked around to see who was watching before he would make a move like that. Somewhere between the age of four and adulthood, most males lose that sense of compassion. And that is a very sad thing.

          • Katherine FitzGerald January 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm

            Jim, I assume you’re saying they lose it because to exercise it is emasculating?

    • Father John: I am a political junkie. It amazes me how politicians can go from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the ditch. They keep making the same stupid mistakes. None of them ever seem to know history. Very few follow it. It always seems to be the same fault found in most humans:hubris. Chris Christie was so far ahead in the polls. He didn’t need the endorsement of some obscure Democratic mayor. It brings to mind Watergate and the botched robbery of the Watergate building. Richard Nixon was far ahead and this was simply overkill.Speaking of Watergate, I just read a quote from U.S. attorney Frank Tuernheimer who served as an associate special prosecutor in the Watergate investigation: “You know criminal statutes have to be interpreted narrowly;you just can’t extend them beyond their wording. And frankly I can’t think of a statute which makes political retaliation per se a crime”.I couldn’t help but think of the Lynn case when reading that quote. The problem with depending on laws written by men is that they are simply not capable of forseeing all the possible ways that people hurt other people.New laws have just been passed in Pennsylvania. Are they better than what was on the books before? Without question. Are they perfect? Hell no. I can’t help but thinking that twenty or thirty years from now, someone will wonder why they didn’t include some violation of a child unknown to us now..

      • Kate: Absolutely! The idea that our society pushes on males is that to show caring is a feminine trait. Somehow we need to get through to young males growing up that being concerned with others, caring for others can be a masculine trait as well as a feminine traitLook at the priests who molest kids, as well as the Bishops who protect these abusers.None of them seem to show that sense of caring that my grandson did on Christmas morning I believe that this is learned, not something we are born with. I hate to paint all males with the same brush. But it has been my observation that we,as a society are missing something.Many women end up raising their children with no male presence for the kids. I believe the children are missing something, but those absentee fathers are also at a loss. Like the priests who never know what it is like to raise children, many males who abandon their kids also don’t have that knowledge.. .

        • Kate: One other thing I would like to say before I get off my horse. Can you see the abuse of children having lasted so long or the coverup ever happening if there had been women at the higher echelons of the Catholic hierarchy. I frankly don’t care if Pope Francis or his successors ever decide to let women be priests. But until that happens there will be no real change in the Church.

          • Katherine FitzGerald January 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm

            Jim, I have heard that argument for decades now… had women been in the hierarchy, the sex abuse crisis would never have happened. While I want to believe it, I don’t. I think women are just as susceptible to cult indoctrination as men are, and I find the hierarchy/priesthood to be a cult.

        • Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

          Jim, I think that even good and attentive fathers wrestle with straddling a safe “place” of emotional bonding with their children, one that is, and will be perceived as, loving and attentive but NOT construed as emasculating. I think that finding the safe “place” enters the minds of most, if not all, fathers because the fear of emasculation has been infused in them from a number of influences and forces.

  11. My impression of the Archdiocese with Lynn is this need to prove they cannot be pushed around. The Archdiocese is dividing people according to those are “for us” and those “against us.” This is not a sign of true strength. It is more this need to overcompensate in a way of feeling superior to others and harming people. They are merely making life difficult for people and contradicting their beliefs as Christians.

    The Archdiocese has done worse harm and they are still avoiding responsibility for their poor decisions. From this I have felt extremely cynical of the Catholic Church and there is even this strong pleasure debunking the church. It feels like I want to prove the church is completely rotten to the core. Yet I also feel myself throwing out the baby with the bathwater: faith, hope and love.

    Because I do not attend church anymore I do not feel my spirit being nourished. I have been searching for a new source to Christ. It feels like I am searching for new nourishment beyond any beliefs and learned procedures. I will no longer sustain my identity as a Catholic. Being away from church now for two years I have begun to pull Presence into my emptiness. There is a profound stillness and peace, even with this feeling of having holes in my soul. There is an unshakable confidence and support here. It feels like the immediate contact with my true self as Supreme Being.

    From becoming aware of God in this new way there is a creative flow and serenity. I also write this because if we are searching for change it seems like we will need to center ourselves into a new authority. It feels like God is teaching us to find a new authority from within. It even feels like learning to live by Presence this creates genuine security and a new authority, even within uncertainty and ambiguity. This is realistic faith. There even seems to be an opening to allow me to no longer be reactive, but mature, and my own person. I just offer this faith as genuine security, as I feel our children need this realistic faith.

    I also write for my own clarification of mind and maybe this is the Holy Spirit teaching a new faith.

  12. Syd, may I mention 2 books which may help you on your path to a deeper sense of spiritual oneness with our world and our lives.
    Emmett Coyne : The Theology of Fear (2012)
    Michael Morwood: From Sand to Solid Ground (2011)

    Both are found on Amazon

    • Thank you Fr. John and I will order them. I apprecaite your help!

      • Syd, You so beautifully articulated exactly how I feel. Was a member of a secular order for over 20 years until I woke up and connected the dots realizing that most what I thought were sins of pride were in fact classic responses to a violated person EG the need to get the highest grades in school, the workaholic, the intense need to achieve, over preoccupation with pleasing others. Violation can destroy feelings of self worth and make the void a bottomless pit
        My faith has always been the center if my life. I have mentioned in he past that it’s hard to be at church due to PTSD triggers. Just haven’t found another place to be fed. And I know in my heart of hearts that it is foolish to think we can do this alone.
        Maybe we will discover how to let the void inside be filled again Hanging in there by a thread
        suz

        • Thank you, suz for embodying the real. Your truthfulness, even “hanging in there by a thread,” appears to be simply you being you. What greater thing than to feel this profound connection with your truth and with you. This connection is truly being you, simply and genuinely. Your truth is precious and offers this moment of hope. Nothing could be more satisfying from you and allows this moment to unfold, hope, and this is your hope you offer me. Wow!

  13. Syd When you mention the Holy Spirit, I feel the same as a guidance to everyday life. We were given the 10 commandments and the beatitudes to live by. along with all of that we have “free will”.
    I just do not understand the Cardinals, Bishops, priests that continue to totally ignore the crimes that have been committed against our children. the technical release of Lynn..The money spent by the A of P…….. on and on….Morally where are they??? I’ve met survivors, parents of children that have committed suicide because of the abuse by priests, it tears at my heart and soul. Doesn’t it do the same to them?? If it did we wouldn’t be asking these questions? My faith hasn’t been lost at all, my belief in the “Catholic Church” ………. My belief in the Eucharist is what keeps me going. I have a wonderful pastor. It’s the reason I go He is spirit filled, I wonder how he stays. If Lynn were residing in my parish, I woud not attend anymore.
    Where is the Holy Spirit in the church?? The Spirit of Jesus? The A of P truly does not represent Jesus.
    I am going to order the suggested books.
    Peace.

    I believe the victims.

    Denise

    • Denise, I want to thank you for your faith and the strength in your faith. I feel strength in your faith and your unshakable confidence. Your faith is experienced like the sun. Your faith is supporting me/us and I appreciate being a part of it. Your sun like faith is what gives me hope and you made all the difference. Wow!

  14. Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 10, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Syd, no words have penetrated me more than yours since I exited the Church in 2006. Thank you for affirming A Way apart from the clerical way. Your words breathed new life into me.

    Thank you.

    • You are welcome Katherine. I appreciate your words and being firmly within your own center. A new force is entering the world. It seems like we are learning a new innocence of being deeply human in its simplicity. And we are part of this unfolding of the Divine.

  15. Any suggestions which of the 2 recommended books to order first. Looking forward to reading these. Sounds like just what I need. Thanks!

    • I think it’s amazing that someone would say thumbs down to a request for a recommendation for a book!
      Maybe it’s the comic relief in this thread

  16. Susan & Kathy,

    The battle to open the eyes of those who believe the Catholic Church is an innocent party to clergy abuse is far from over.

    Recently on another site (TMR) that defends the Catholic Church for its actions and a site that I leave my thoughts, I was accused of being a ANTI-Catholic Church hating bigot. A claim that not only I have been called but others who speak the truth. Today, however after being once again given the title I posted a comment to my accuser that if I admit to being a anti-Catholic church hating bigot if they would let it go and stop calling others the same because it was getting old.

    I posted a open comment to the moderator and told him to post on his banner that Dennis Ecker is a anti-Catholic Church hating bigot, I went as far as changing my sign on to that site as anti-Catholic church hating bigot.

    Now, recently when I signed on I took notice someone changed in probably out of anger their sign on to Fr. Hermley Fan Club Member. If you remember from past comments here Fr. Hermley is the Father Judge priest who raped me.

    At first seeing that I was angered but within a short amount of time I began to feel the strength build inside, one being that what I was saying people are reading and listening and second Fr. Hermley is no longer a threat to me and if dedicated to see the wrongs corrected I should expect the cheap shots.

    I write this because the person who took on the title of my rapist claims to think those at Catholics4Change are also anti-Catholic church hating bigots. Something we ALL know is not the case.

    Becoming a survivor from a victim sometimes is not easy because there are people out there who feel because we speak about the hell we have been through at the hands of clergy it is a personal attack on them.

    I hope and pray anyone here who may experience or have experienced similar attacks only gains strength and will have it back fire on people like Fr. Hermley Fan Club Member.

    STRONGER THAN EVER

    • Dennis,
      You demonstrate a truth my mother said to us as we approached the teen years…”No one defines you…not the hater or the charmer.”

    • I want to support you Dennis in that you say, “people are reading and listening and second Fr. Hermley is no longer a threat to me …” From this it appears he no longer belongs to you and you know longer belong to him. What I like about this transaction is your strength seemed to totally accepted not-knowing the outcome of things. You appeared allow the unfolding to happen. You appeared solid and your faith appears realistic.

      I enjoy your faith being an unshakable confidence. I think it is important to recognize what I feel is your realistic faith. I experience you faith as your support both for you and us. I just feel your faith arising with inner strength naturally. Even if the sky was falling your faith is solid and real. Thank you for your faith and your true Authority within you.

  17. Dennis there are some people who will never believe you. Some people on the site you mention may take a piece of what you are saying and learn something but I worry about you engaging with people who would change their name to your abusers name. Actually although one or two people may learn something from what you write..a site that allows a commenter to change their name to an abuser’s fan club is probably not a good place for a victim/survivor to be spending time or energy. If I told you that it isn’t your responsibility to change the minds of everyone and that it will be impossible for you to change some people’s minds..what would you think?

    Suzpt mentioned that someone gave her a thumbs down on a comment requesting information on a book..that is because people come here in anger and simply “thumbs down” any comment. They have put thumbs down on comments that have nothing to do with the Catholic Church. It is an angry person sitting at a computer feeling powerful by pressing a thumbs down button. If you spend your time trying to convince that person..you will be fighting a life long uphill battle.

    It is important for survivors to share their experiences and we have many who have followed this site silently for months and even years and then comment that they have learned so much from the victims who have opened up and shared their experience.

    It was not your responsibility to protect other kids when you were abused..it is not your responsibility to try to change the minds of people who will lash out at you. Choose where to share your experiences..I can guarantee you there are people following silently on this site who are on the fence and seeking to understand this crisis better …your words will reach them.

    • Kathy: I too have wandered onto a couple of those sites. What a bunch of losers. Their hatred for anyone who disagrees with their position is palpable. I made a few comments and was vociferously attacked. I was a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy. I spent much of the time since then contemplating suicide. For a period of time, I was going to school in center city. To get to my train to take me home, I walked over a bridge over the sure kill river. I contemplated jumping almost every day. That is what sexual abuse did to me.I no longer take that route and for the most part don’t contemplate suicide.How could a so called Christian attack victims of clergy abuse?.

      • Jim, There are people who have very good experiences growing up in the Catholic Church so it is difficult for them to imagine other wise and that makes sense. But those people do not “attack” others.
        Think of the priest who cursed,yelled and shoved Rich for distributing leaflets outside of Church. When Rich wrote about that experience ,my immediate thought was “what’s that priest’s story” there is something there. A year later he was arrested for soliciting prostitution and drugs. Rich was a huge threat to him because he needed everything to appear “fine” at his Church. Rich was not at the Church because of this priest but obviously knowing he had his own secrets, he took Rich as a threat.
        A priest I knew told a woman after the first GJ report that teens seduce priests and it happened to a priest friend of his. What a bizarre statement..well it turns out he sexually abused a child and now is removed.
        Some people will defend the church..but the attackers?..that is not defense of the Church..that is something going on with them.

      • Jim Tucker, How? Because you bring them face to face with the scary, humiliating truth about the church…..Because deep down they totally believe you…and they’re too weak to do anything about it. It’s easier to try to beat you down and hopefully silence you, in order to continue to live the lie.

        I think your truth needs to be told on those sites. Nothing is more powerful than a victim simply telling what happened to him.
        Do as the AD does….say what you need to say and pay no attention to the response you get.

      • I am glad you did not take such a permanent step. You being here with us serves such a better purpose. Your words maybe read by someone who feels the same way you did and says to himself if Mr. Jim Tucker can do it so can I.

        Those other sites believe for some reason we are out to destroy their church only because people are speaking up and telling the truth of what they had to experience. I will no longer try and understand the thinking of those who post comments and attack victims. I do believe though the authors of those blogs are the ones who stoke the fire.

        I am very guilty of falling into the traps of those sites and cannot believe some things I have wrote but when I come here my demeanor changes so much for the better.

        Thank you for staying with us, and may we always keep in our thoughts those who left us because of the pain they suffered.

  18. When I commented about the comic relief it was because I thought it was silly that someone would rate something without reading the content. Now I am saddened to consider that someone is has so much anger to spend their energy sitting at their computer pushing a button.
    The fruit of their faith is to take this direction. They feel it’s a better fruit just because it’s stuck to the tree. Anyone who has picked fruit know it is riper when not so firmly stuck,

    We as survivors often are at the base of the tree searching for the sweet, nourishing unbruised pieces. We hope to be nourished by this fruit so that we can grow and have the fruit of our faith be something sweet as well, The shade of the tree protects us but all we often see are the shade it provides and believe it is instead darkness

    I have not been able to pray for ages, but this morning threads of a psalm keep repeating

    … For you I long, for you my soul is searching, my body pines for you like a dry weary land without water…I gaze upon you..to see your strength and your glory…..

    Just can’t do this “in your sanctuary” the building that is like the one where I was violated just now.

    Today for the first time I was reflecting that my wounded ness from the violation. Perhaps the open wound is a gate to grow in the ability to surrender. Survivors often have tried excessively control aspects of their lives and relationships to compensate for the lack of control we felt when victimized. It is a false control that I thought for a long time was pride. It was survival. But to grow in faith surrender is vital, surrender to something we can trust.

    Today for the first time I was reflecting that my wounded ness from the violation. Perhaps the open wound is a gate to grow in the ability to surrender. Survivors often have tried excessively control aspects of their lives and relationships to compensate for the lack of control we felt when victimized. It is a false control that I thought for a long time was pride. It was survival. But to grow in faith surrender is vital, surrender to something we can trust.

    At least victims of abuse know they are damaged. How sad for the angry ones who don’t see they are damaged in a different way that makes them lash out in such anger.

    Let us pray for the people who don’t know they are damaged.

    Still hanging on by a thread, but the thread feels stronger today.

    suz

    • Suz, what you write touches me deeply and is just this moment to move from chaos to serenity. You express you have not been able to “pray for ages” and then you express a psalm. From this you express your growth from your wound to surrender. I deeply appreciate your acceptance and even your acceptance of painful truth. Your description of us as survivors at the base of a tree, hoping to be nourished by its fruit, truly expresses a living faith in its darkness.

      You express your faith living under the shade of this tree and you express excessive control was used to compensate for a lack of control. You express this false control was pride. Then in the next sentence you turn this around by saying, “But to grow in faith surrender is vital, surrender to something we can trust.” What I like about your words is your pride and your ego is not accomplishing something here. I feel your mind is not defining and dividing your experience into different categories. This confidence to rest in serenity and be with the tree with her shade is truly resting in hope.

      In my recovery from chaos, abused sexually, emotionally, and physically by my parents, I always felt this chasm of inner darkness opening up inside to a black hole. This hole drained life out of me. I was unable to shake myself free of my self-accusations and feelings of hopelessness plagued me for years. My tormented consciousness and intense self-hatred turned into bed wetting for thirty-nine years. After wetting the bed on my honeymoon and my wife accepted my stinking sewer I never wet the bed again.

      After being married for a year my chaos broke out into feeling this inner light going out once again. I felt it could never be rekindled and everything seem futile and dying. Something greater than me kept me in my 12 step program, AA, which kept me form killing myself directly or indirectly by alcohol or some other means. After being married 5 years and during my recovery meetings, I felt like I was coming home from a war. Surprisingly, I felt God as omniscient person was totally an intolerable idea. This recovery from war and evil was an enormous stumbling block and from this horror it felt natural being atheists.

      From my atheists mind, I just sat under the tree and took in the shade, like your describe. I arrived home from my internal war, a true sense of peace, and then gradually life cut my tree down. I felt there was nothing in the world which I could identify with, nothing true or valuable in which I could believe in. God was a dirty rat, feeling more insecurity and powerlessness, and I could feel this terrifying attraction to darkness.

      The darkness became perverse and demonic, seeing only evil which I also exclude the good. I had no place to go and talking with others about this atheists mind was complex and exhausting. I gradually realized my faith being nothingness was the same message my parents communicated to me, my value was nothing. My faithlessness was creating this polar opposite, identification with others and a rejection of them, love and hate. Because I felt raped from my innocence as child and no foundation of trust I could observe my faithlessness and nothingness being a refusal of being involved with such a God. .

      Just this last year I gave myself radical acceptance of my nothingness and evil being an enormous stumbling block with God. And like you this acceptance has helping me to move from chaos to serenity. I just need to say coming home from this war, needing to leave, and then returning has been intense horror. I feel like I am recovering from recovery and even recovering from God. From this I want you to know your faith touches my faith and your serenity is like a refreshing breeze. This is sobriety. It is a clear and open consciousness, falling into nothingness with a sober and receptive consciousness. This movement is fruit from your tree and is with the quality of your presence.

      Your fruit is love itself and is having a dynamic affect on my soul. Your love is not static, just fruit hanging there, but is the fruit from the Garden of Eden that gives life. It is from this transaction with you I consciously plant a new tree in the ground. From you I call my tree Hope and the source of my true identity. It is authentic thing to do and faith will allow her to grow into Holy Hope.

      Thank you deeply suz for your center and planting seeds of your own interiority, your own feelings. Thank you for your garden of hope, Holy Hope!

      .

    • Suzpt, You know what happens when you take a single thread and wrap it with another and another ? It only makes it stronger. Consider me and others here those other threads.

  19. Thanks Dennis and Syd, if you asked me a few months ago about what I thought of religion I would have said #%^!!! There have been some awful dark times when I have told my therapist that I’ve been sucked into the vortex which is like a swirling pool of quicksand.
    Am trying to switch focus and look at the void as a container that can hold something precious rather than the muck that I’ve been drowning in. The change of perspective has reminded me of the light and goodness that I threw out for a time. The baby was tossed with the dirty bath water.

  20. I am a church going catholic who is deeply distraught at what is being poured out here. I am very saddened that you continue to hurt from the reactions of folks who do not believe and for those who have tried to make a mockery of your pain.

    I am so, so glad that Jim did not give up. It is very good that Dennis can openly blog here and that Sister Maureen of Delaware and Fr. Wintermeyer (Retired) can be here as well rooting this on. This site is where an understanding can happen from the many who come from various corners of experience and so there is a common spirit seeking understanding. Thanks to Kathy and Susan for this forum.

    I am one of those people Kathy spoke of who just sat back quietly and read the stories posted by Jim and Dennis and Supt and everyone else and never participated, except to pray for all of you as this lays heavy upon my heart.

    I was very afraid to join the conversation, but I don’t know why.You all are helping others to understand what has happened here and what continues to happen. You need to believe that.

  21. victims sister, thank you so much for sharing. I think people forget how many people follow this site silently..and silent is fine..this forum is for however people want to use it. Look at the number of site visits on the right hand side of the page..over 800,000 .There may be about 20-30 regular commenters but countless others reading and following along.

    I cannot tell you how many times over the past few years I have been in situations where people tell me that they follow the site..sometimes not the people who you would expect. Susan has experienced the same. Keep writing ..keep sharing..the audience is wide and varied.

  22. I want to share a poem I wrote a few months back and I am not sending it for recognition. Rather this poem is about my faith and it is a faith I experience from each of you. I wish to recognize your faith from within you with this poem. Your faith appears to have nothing to do with beliefs, learned procedures or even doubts. There is just this simple realistic faith I experience here. Your faith is the recognition of the actual support and it is felt as true courage.

    . A House with No Doors

    In this house with no doors I do not put on mask
    or hide my doubts and my weakness.
    I do not deceive anyone about my feelings
    no matter how unseemly or unflattering they may be.
    In this house I reveal my flaws
    and my irrationalities to others.
    This house is my essence,
    not merely incidental,
    but communicates the whole of me,
    the bad with the good,
    doubts with my certainties.

    For years upon years my mind devoured me.
    I became obsessed with defending myself
    from potential threats of my environment.
    I only saw evil
    which also excluded the good.
    My emotions were lush,
    locked up in a hothouse,
    a hothouse of self-absorption.
    Everything became a source of torment
    and the whole of life became
    this unbearable reminder of my alienation from it.

    After years of overcoming my farfetched and eccentric ideas:
    I let go of my self-hatred and self-contempt.
    I let go feeling that I am inadequate and defective.
    I let go of the fear that I am unimportant and undesirable.
    I released my fear of being violated and overwhelmed by others.
    I released all feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness.
    I released being secretive and hiding from people.

    This transformed my life into something higher.
    My quality of awareness
    became this extraordinary clarity.
    The quality of my awareness
    gave my experiences satisfying quality.
    The quality is now the awareness of Presence.
    The satisfying quality is
    being awake, sober and in clear contact
    with my immediate experience as Presence.

    The awake-ness and the knowing-ness
    is experiencing the unfolding of the Divine Will.
    It is a refreshing breeze, a crisp morning
    in a clear consciousness.
    This illumination is the quiet
    satisfaction of stillness and peace.
    A peace knowing my soul
    can transform all my experiences
    into something worthwhile and valuable.

    There is no false perception of doing and functioning
    or that my ego is needing to accomplishing something.
    My observation
    is living in the unfolding
    and this flow with life.
    The confidence in this house
    is there is no agenda
    to sustain or create a particular identity.
    My immediate contact
    with my true self as Being
    is the core of my true identity.

    This profound truth is the simplest,
    but is the most difficult to grasp.
    It creates this vulnerability,
    a quality of awareness
    that is transforming all my experiences,
    even my pain,
    into something beautiful.
    This is courage,
    also called fearlessness,
    in this house with no doors.

    The satisfaction is the quality of this home.
    The home is illuminated and clean,
    a delightful contact with Being itself is my identity.
    The immediate contact with this richness of being home
    is simply resting in the delightful contact
    with my true self as Being.
    The openness to Beingness
    is the unfolding of Divine Will.
    The transparency of the Divine
    is living in a house with no doors.

    Sydney S. Orr
    10-18-13

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Syd,

      Are you familiar with and/or have you been exposed to the modern religious movement called Catholic Charismatic Renewal? Its goals are healing and self-transformation. Fundamental to these is how the movement encourages a redefinition of the nature of self. It attributes a sacredness to it. Every time I read “Being” in your poem, I sense you attributing a sacredness to your self… your lowercase “self” evolves into a sacred and dynamic uppercase “Being,” empowering you to heal, save, live with, and love your Self-Being. The ontological change for you, it seems, and Catholic Charismatic Renewalists is divinely inspired, supported, and willed.

      • Katherine, thank you and yes I am familiar with the Charismatic Renewal and I have participated in it. I am now mainly house bound because my cells cannot produce energy. I get exhausted with normal walking and groups of people take to much mental energy. The specific name for my disease is mitochondria. The mitochondria are part of the cells that combine the calories we consume with oxygen and turn this combination into energy that runs everything in our body. Because of being overwhelmed for many years, in many different ways, my cells are shot.

        I realize I could ask for healing, yet if I died today I would welcome it. Most of my spirituality is learning to die before I physically die. It seems this is the paradox of God, faith in faithlessness and hope in hopelessness, even enormous dignity within worthlessness. This may be a strange language, but my realistic faith can ask no more questions or ask for healing. I know this thought could be argued, yet this is the principle I feel my faith is the deepest and is deep satisfaction. My heart is at peace with death and will be a gift.

        Thank you for your presence Katherine.

  23. Syd your poem touched my heart and spoke of so many things that I have not been able to articulate. It is a gift to us all. I will be using it to help communicate my feelings about my situation with my therapist who is helping me with the PTSD . Bless you!

    • You are welcome suzpt. I appreciate you receiving help from a therapist for your PTSD. You make me realize this poem is written about my faith and even the faithfulness to break free of my own PTSD. My PTSD always made me feel vulnerable and unsure of myself. I felt this constant self-questioning, terribly confused and racked with self-doubt. For some reason I felt I could not have meaningful desires because I did not want to hurt anymore. I would feel fatigued, apathetic, alienated from myself and others. The result was I would suddenly block myself from all my feelings. Then I would sink into an emotional paralysis and unable to function.

      I look at this now and this need to sink was heavy guilt. My guilt was a painful self-consciousness, socially inept and uncomfortable around people. I projected an aura of silence and aloofness. It was all attempts to disguise my emotional vulnerability. This guilt was if I was physically wounded and was bleeding to death. Guilt meant love because if I felt guilt I was doing the loving thing.

      I cannot believe how much guilt tormented me and even mocked me. Right now is this moment I experience a crossroad and I feel transcendence from my guilt. This moment is like a key to unlocking this ego activity of judging and judge parts. In another sense I do not want this key to unlock my ego activity because of my sensitivity. And yet my faith believes I cannot be harmed here. It feels like this faith is the recognition of actual support of Being, the Supreme Being living as Presence.

      This Presence is my connection and is a connection with your presence. This site serves as an emotional anchor for me. This is almost a spiritual event, difficult to describe, and seems to be self-surrender at a profound level. There is an acceptance and peacefulness. It is even feels natural. Of all things yielding my self to this natural order, satisfied to be a part of it, is allowing Presence to be. Faith is supporting us, is felt with you and everyone. She could do no other.

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