Dallas Has Philadelphia Archdiocese to Thank for ‘Brutal Abuser’ Ex-Priest


Click here to read; “From Philly to Dallas, ex-priest a ‘brutal abuser’ without remorse,” by William Bender, Philly.com, Jan. 29, 2014

Excerpt: (Rev. James) Gigliotti said he understands that civil and canon law may limit what information Philadelphia Archdiocese officials believe they can release about Bryski and other defrocked priests, but he said that doesn’t absolve them of responsibility. “They shoot themselves in the foot. There is an opportunity to be transparent here,” he said. “It’s a moral imperative. You have to protect the public, too, just like you have to protect the flock.”

Editor’s note: Other dioceses have handled this in a more responsible manner. I remember hearing of one that keep a Megan’s Law type list on it’s Web site.

“I was told to keep my mouth shut and that it’s being taken care of,” Gigliotti said.

Gigliotti said he understands that civil and canon law may limit what information Philadelphia Archdiocese officials believe they can release about Brzyski and other defrocked priests, but he said that doesn’t absolve them of responsibility.

“They shoot themselves in the foot. There is an opportunity to be transparent here,” he said. “It’s a moral imperative. You have to protect the public, too, just like you have to protect the flock.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140129_From_Philly_to_Dallas__ex-priest_a__brutal_abuser__without_remorse.html#c1xrQkQEEea1ZPWB.99

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81 Responses to “Dallas Has Philadelphia Archdiocese to Thank for ‘Brutal Abuser’ Ex-Priest”

  1. There are so many dimensions of the “church’s abuse”. This is the horrifying reality of the irresponsibility of the “bishops’ church” that refuses to guard young people and continues to place them in danger. Is this not an example of “endangering children” by allowing known child abusers to go out an live in unsuspecting communities?

    Can’t this part of the church abuse be stopped? See how clever Bryski is? He knows what to do…He is a wretched man and should be in an institution but not the catholic church institution. Open up the SOL. Lets get this much done!

  2. Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Just another appalling example of the “cult-brotherhood” taking care of its own at the expense of CHILDREN and the rest of us. The immorality of it all is shocking. The use of the faithful’s money to pay the pensions of these criminals is unconscionable. Gavin, have you no conscience? Sleep on that.

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Tell me, Gavin, tell me how you can sit at your desk this morning, read a story like that, and not feel that you are the spokesperson for, and in collusion with, the mob? Maybe Chaput will stop by your desk to hold your hand through this post. Please him by smiling at him like a mindless and pathetic child. “All better” now?

      Who are you?

      • Kate: Many of the names like Gavin, Gallagher, Garbarino etc. are names very familiar to those of us who lived in Roslyn and attended St. John Of the Cross Church. I suspect very strongly that Monsignor Lynn who also grew up in Roslyn had much to do with these people being hired.

        • Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

          Jim, this is off topic but, if I recall correctly, last year around this time, you and I were lamenting the fact that the Super Bowl is America’s human trafficking event. At no single event in the U.S are there more crimes associated with human trafficking. The Super Bowl has been, for decades, a human trafficking free-for-all. An inordinate number of children and vulnerable adults have been victimized over the years. It’s not just girls and vulnerable women, it’s boys and vulnerable men as well.

          This is the first year that a host-state has orchestrated a substantive effort to address the atrocity that we have essentially blinded ourselves to for decades. When our enthusiasm for football, nachos, beer, and clever commercials relegate human trafficking to insignificant background noise , we fail miserably as people and a nation.

          I applaud New Jersey!

  3. “Brzyski’s former neighbors in Dallas want to warn his new neighbors and their children, but they don’t know who they are.

    “We don’t know where he is now,” said Caster, his former neighbor at Crescent View.”

    After reading this article did anyone else get the sense that the urgency and concern was fully realized by a group of apartment dwellers in Dallas? Just a group of strangers connected by their living arrangements who seemed to have smarts, a computer, a conscience and a desire to protect kids from further harm . Thank you to the residents of Crescent View Apartments for your concern for the well being of children. This problem was literally dumped in your lap and you did more in a few months than others did for years.

    • Kathy,
      And may I point out the irony of the group of people who had smarts, computers, consciences, and desires to protect? A group of gay people the Catholic Church treats like lepers and calls perverted.

      The irony.

  4. Nothing will change until the SOL is eliminated and Window Legislation is enacted, right now the enablers and perps enjoy a privilege of ‘privacy’, so how many more children have to become Victims in order for Harrisburg to act ?

  5. “GAVIN’S GALL”

    (Definition – brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence)

    “The Archdiocese has worked vigorously over the past three years to reform the way it protects the people it serves, including new policies and procedures, new standards of ministerial behavior, new Archdiocesan review board members and mandated reporter training for tens of thousands of clergy, staff and volunteers,” Gavin said. “All of the steps taken will continue to be announced publicly. Additionally, they exceed what is currently required by law in many instances.”

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

  6. Very good point Survivor’s wife. Oh, the irony. Hate that is heaped on people for being different, however rewarded among their own with freedom and anonymity. The church should be less concerned about the consensual sexual habits of adults, and more concerned about the depravity they are helping to cultivate and protect, among their own.

  7. OBEY – PRAY – PAY

    The pew sheep continue to bury their heads as do the leaders of the church…These stories continue to support my decision to get the hell out of the Catholic church…

    • Obedience is doing what you are told to do in spite of what is right while morality is doing what is RIGHT in spite of what you are told to do !

  8. Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 29, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I’ve read a lot of stories on this site. The noxious and putrid stench emitted by this one wreaks of Archdiocesan moral corruption and bankruptcy. When the sensibilities and consciences of Brzyski’s neighbors at Crescent View supersede those of the prelates and spokesperson at the Archdiocese, it provokes an astounding disgust. Utterly profane.

    “The Archdiocese has worked vigorously over the past three years…” to circumvent, redirect, survive, protect itself from, blame on anti-Catholic sentiment, and cover up its profanity in order to continue operating profanely. Yes, Michael S., the “gall” is an unconscionable sin against God and humanity. The bizarre and disturbing behavior brazenly forced down our throats by the Archdiocese inclines decent human beings to recoil in utter horror.

    Children. The word does not evoke a shred of respect or compassion at the Archdiocese.

    • Are you kidding me? How could one support the AD of Phila or for that matter the Catholic church as a whole. God and praying can only get you so far here. How many kids have to be destroyed before anyone steps in and says ENOUGH…”IF” this was a public institution, not a religious one, what do think would have happen?

  9. All that has been written above is correct. The Philadelphia Archdiocese has simply washed its hands concerning predators who should be in jail and not simply allowed to float freely in the community (anywhere in the US or otherwise) .
    As to retirement finances, I am surprised by Gavin’s remarks. In most dioceses of this country, there is no vested retirement plan for priest. If retired, one would receive financial support according to diocesan regulations. But this is not a question of justice in a legal sense. The priest could lose that any time the bishop would decide to cut him off. The priest has no legal recourse to gain back that loss of support. After 30 years, John Dear,SJ, has just decided to leave the Jesuits because they will not allow him to work on the Peace and Justice Issues that he has worked so hard to support over these years. He will probably get not pension from them. Father Roy Bourgoise, MM, a Maryknoll priest who supports the ordination of women, has been discharged from the Maryknoll and probably will get no support from them. I am a diocesan priest of Washington DC. If I were to suggest that I supported the ordination of women, I also would lose my “pension” ( a benevolent fund not vested) and healthcare benefits.
    My question is how can criminals who have done such heinous acts against children be allowed to receive compensation benefits, when those who simply disagree with teachings that are questionable can lose all support even after 52 years of service???

    Makes one think that there is no real justice in this institution which hides criminals and chastises those who challenge injustice.

  10. All the while, diocesan teachers and parish lay employees are having their pension plans frozen in the spring.

  11. Frightening article that once again leads back to St. Jerome’s where Brzyski was known because he was a good friend of the deplorable Pedophile, the deceased Fr. Lou Steingraber. Praying for all the victims, especially one who I know who was believed to be one of Brzyski’s victims.

    • When will someone try to help St. Jerome and figure out why one pervert after the other was sent there to steal children’s hearts. This parish is full of suicides among young ST. Jerome graduates!!!!!

  12. Archbishop Chaput CAN do something about this right now.

    Is the Msgr.John Graf currently in the Office of Vicar for Clergy the same John Graf who told Father Gigolotti to keep his mouth shut about Brzyski? If so, he should be removed. Today.

    • Correction. Apparently he does not serve in that office but it is place where his mail is sent.

      • Martin while I absolutely agree, the problem is this has been known since the 2005 GJ report. Graf is just one of many names in the reports and all those other priests are still in ministry..to take action would mean eliminating many priests and we know it won’t happen.

  13. What a travesty! I can see that, legally, he’s free to go wherever he chooses, with no warning to new neighbors–and he’s obviously still a terrible threat. There should be some way to get around this. Someone needs to keep track of him and warn his new associates, again and again as he keeps moving. Don’t even get me started on how this all came about, thanks to the scummy Phila. archdiocese. Now, he needs to be contained. Where is he getting his money to support himself?

  14. How many people have read this story and had a cold chill go down their back or the hairs on their neck stand-up ? The brilliance on Brzyski’s thinking. The thought process of how a rapist mind works. To get away with the abuse he did, the thought to change his name, and the thought to live in a neighborhood he thought he would fit into. His one problem was to speak about his perverted thoughts to people he thought were like him.

    I give the residents of the apartment complex a standing ovation for asking the questions that needed to be asked and taking action and the concern of WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

    I would bet he has abused more then the accusations when he was a priest, and I would not be surprised if he abuses in the future.

  15. I would think that if the law or anyone else really wanted to bring justice to Brzyski, they would only need to follow him for awhile. He’s bound to repeat himself. I wonder why the police are not doing this. He can’t be that difficult to find. I read the Grand Jury report and it’s sickening.

  16. Two word solution. Window Legislation. If the archdiocese cared even a little, they would get behind it. Instead, they use charitable donations to fight it. Everything else they say is meaningless.

    • Key word – MEANINGLESS…………That being said, why do individuals continue to support the Catholic Church with their dollars? Morally, as a Christian it makes no sense. Is it guilt? A belief that the church has changed? You have a Christian based institution that has allowed and continues to allow the abuse of children. At the same time this institution turns a blind eye to its former leaders. Based on this alone why would one subject him or herself let alone their children to this organization?

    • The AD has no incentive to change.

      SOLs remain the same; bishops and priests are not going to prison. The sheep still give them money, and the clerics continue to enjoy the lifestyle that they’ve grown accustom to.

      No one is turning the screws on these creeps. For most RC’s it’s still “yes Father, no Father, thank you Father. That BS is the result of brainwashing from an early age, and it’s not going away!

      • Katherine FitzGerald Reply January 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        Really, drwho13?

        This morning, the secretary at my former parish church phoned me, informing me that my mother’s car had a dead battery, and asking whether I could retrieve her from morning Mass. When I arrived, I went inside the church. The pastor was holding my mother’s hand. I looked at my mother and said, “C’mon, Mom, it’s time to leave this corrupt place.” The pastor blurted out an indignant, “Kate!” I said, “Shut it, Steve. I have a conscience and you guys strain it.”

        Outside, my mother said, “Good for you, Kate.”

        Every little bit counts.

        • Kate, I certainly do not include you or your mother as RC sheep.

        • Kate………..you obviously have not had the luxury of reading that very well-known book by Mr. Carnegie………”How to win friends and influence people”. It seems like you must have read the sequel……”How to lose fiends and confront clergy”

          • LOL! How to lose friends and confront clergy….still laughing.

            A few of us on this site may have read that book…or perhaps we wrote it!

  17. Susan: New here to some of the terms..what exactly is Window Legislation?

    • Window legislation is an opportunity for victims to bring a civil suit because the statutes for criminal and civil in the past were so limiting. Civil suits can name previously un prosecuted abusers. Criminal can not be retroactive. Window legislation has been proposed numerous times over the past 10 years in the state of Pa and has not been successful for many reasons ,one being the forces of opposition .

    • What is referred to as “window legislation” is best shown by what was done in Delaware in 2007. First of all the civil statute of limitation going forward concerning the sexual abuse of any children in Delaware was removed. Also, as a part of that bill, Senate Bill 29, a two year civil window was opened from July of 2007 through July of 2009 during which previously time barred cases of childhood sexual abuse by anyone could be brought forward in civil court. There is no possibility of doing the same thing in criminal court because criminal cases can not be made retroactively. Now, fortunately, in Delaware there are no statutes of limitation going forward on childhood sexual abuse criminally or civilly.

      What really needs to be done in PA is to pass legislation similar to Delaware’s removing all SOL criminally and civilly regarding the sexual abuse of children AND open a two year civil window.

      Call you state representative, write letters and send faxes to all of them. There is nothing better than having hundreds of faxes pouring out of their office fax machines!

      Sister Maureen
      maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

  18. Those of us with older children ,come to see our children mature into young adults .One of the ways that maturity manifests itself is that they start to accept responsibility for their actions and inactions.They no longer blame the dog for eating their homework . They stop blaming others and accept responsibility.The Catholic Hierarchy, many of whom are well past their prime are still blaming the dog.They continue to blame others for actions and inactions that they have failed to take. They continue to blame other things for the sexual abuse crisis. The sexual revolution, homosexuals and homosexuality are two of their favorite targets. I have heard them blame parents for letting their children associate with priests And perhaps the most disgusting of all, I have heard them blame victims for enticing the priests who molested them. The Church hierarchy accepts no responsibility for the monsters that they have created. The story from Dallas is thoroughly disgusting. But the Archdiocese accepts no responsibility. That would take a level of maturity that they haven’t reached yet..

  19. One of the points that the Church often brings up is that the screening process has improved over the years for seminarians. Obviously someone in the past, like Bryzkski, no matter how troubled he appeared was accepted.. no questions asked. So even if screening has improved it doesn’t take into account that many of the current priests were ordained back when basically anyone who claimed to have a vocation was welcomed into the seminary.

    I have met my share of emotionally troubled priests..not abusive.. but troubled enough that they might be rejected these days..but nothing is done about them because they made it ‘in’ years ago.

    • Really Kathy?

      What new screening process? I beg to differ considering the few new vocations I’ve seen “accepted.” One is a pathological liar, the other two are very nice young men that couldn’t quite “fit” with the rest of society. If/When one of them comes out of the closet, the only people who will be shocked are church officials.

      1. I don’t believe they have a new screening process.
      2. If they did, they would be sharing it with everyone, touting their accomplishment.
      3. Who would create that screening process when all the players can’t even identify their own sicknesses?
      4. I’d trust their screening process now like I’d trust their ineffective Charter.
      5. Think of the corrupt hierarchy designing a screening process? It’s almost laughable. What would their standards be given the crimes THEY’VE committed? God help us.

      Please contact me if anyone is able to get tangible information about specifics regarding screening processes for seminarians.

      • Screening process, my foot.
        In 2014, there are no “guaranteed heterosexual”, psychologically healthy boys of average intelligence, who would EVER consider the priesthood of the RCC…except as a joke, or to scare his mom….There’s just no such thing.

        • There but for the Grace of God go I. My mother would not allow me go into the seminary when I was 14 years of age. God Bless Her and Rest Her Soul. I would have been going from one fire into the next. Yup,abused at home,at parochial school,and in church.But I believe some seminary still would have accepted me.
          I was not psychologically healthy,and would either have smelled the roses,left the priesthood,or stayed and been an odd duck,who could not have saved anyones’ soul.
          Today,I am grateful that I have survived!

  20. survivor’s wife, Your are right and of course what I found gives no real info. Of course any screening done “in house” is the biggest part of the problem..In googling this topic I came across an article from 2003 about a Commission that Bevilaqua appointed to study the problem of clergy abuse and give recommendations. The number one recommendation was to have outside secular investigators do the investigating of allegations..so of course 11 years later we have the establishment of an “in house” Investigation Dept. of the Archdiocese. Yep… there you go.

    • And of course all the well intentioned people who served on the Commission and gave their recommendations back in 2003 while Bevilaqua knew all of the time bombs that were planted throughout the Archdiocese waiting to go off…sickening ..These people are trying to come up with preventive ways to combat abuse as Bevilaqua knew all the names on the infamous shredded memo and all the secrets in the secret archives and where he had planted these abusive time bombs ticking away in the parishes.

  21. The diocese of Helena Montana has filed for bankruptcy, because of lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by their clergy. This diocese is the 11th in this country to file for protection under bankruptcy laws. This proves two things. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere. And the Church is going financially bankrupt to match their moral bankruptcy.

    • Jim, you said, “The diocese of Helena Montana has filed for bankruptcy, because of lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by their clergy.”

      No. The diocese of Helena Montana has filed for bankruptcy because their hierarchy allowed their brothers to rape children all while deceiving their funding source. Said funding source has decided they don’t want to make good on their silence either…so, they slither through a legal, financial loophole along with their hierarchy.

      The fact that raped children grew up and were able to point to their perpetrators isn’t the reason a diocese goes bankrupt. They should be commended, not blamed for the financial ruin of a corrupt institution.

  22. Jim,

    I don’t think bankruptcy should be an OUT for archdioceses to use to protect themselves against claims awarded to victims. If you remember many years ago the story about the African American woman who won a claim against the klue klux klan. Her award was in the millions and since the kkk had limited funds she was awarded the deed to the property the klue klux klan owned. I remember this case because here is a black woman now owning the property of people who wanted to bring harm to her.

  23. I wrote a poem yesterday about stillness. I share it because I am rather surprised I can feel grounded in stillness because of the deep hell getting here. I never thought I could break this tormented consciousness and I always intensified into a consuming self-hatred. In my 27 years of AA recovery I have been extremely high-strung, my nervous systems is tuned to a high pitch. Yesterday, though, I let myself create an opening to stillness and I wrote this poem. My ending is still shocking because I almost became an atheist in my rejecting attachment to everything. I just send it as a refreshing breeze for all our horrors, incongruities and inexhaustible complexities.

    Stillness within Stillness

    When I observe my personality
    there is this deep self-consciousness.
    The more self-conscious I become
    I am increasingly
    drawn to contradictory and irrational feelings.
    My personality wants me to
    sort out my feelings
    before I dare express them.

    Something is missing in this self,
    something I cannot quite put my finger on,
    but missing nonetheless.
    I want to introspect my feelings,
    as there is tension between self-awareness
    and self-transcendence.
    It feels like needing to build a bridge
    between the spiritual and the animal.

    In my wanting to be true to myself
    there is a double vision about my human nature,
    between the devil and the angel.
    It is like this ego personality needs
    support and reinforcement,
    otherwise its unreality will be revealed.
    This ego agenda needs to sustain itself
    in anxiety as a particular identity.

    My self-awareness is consciousness
    of myself, of the world, and of other people
    by the way of unconsciousness.
    It is seeing how these experiences affect me
    and I discover my own dimension.
    The note it produces
    strikes my soul.
    I also feel profoundly cut off from the creative flow,
    the ground of Being.

    But when I slow down and rest,
    feeling stillness within stillness,
    the Supreme Being becomes my identity.
    Being itself is my origin.
    I, therefore, cannot do anything to be myself.
    The moment I create an image,
    the more I lose contact
    with the rich, delightful contact
    with my true self as Being.

    The Supreme Being is breath
    within my breath.
    It is a creative flow that cannot be otherwise.
    The feeling is a delicate choice,
    simply resting in
    and being with my true identity.
    God within God,
    breath within breath,
    stillness within peace,
    where there is no emotional reactions.
    Just the richness
    of bringing the subjective world
    to the light of day.

    This is the richest part of my consciousness,
    a life outside of my control.
    It feels like God’s breath,
    a breath within breath,
    a stillness within stillness.
    A creative flow of the Supreme Being
    allowing unselfconsciousness
    be innocence of being fully,
    deeply human in its simplicity.
    The innocence that awakens the heart
    that the Holy Spirit is my Holy Origin.
    This living Presence is
    a breath within breath,
    a stillness within stillness,
    Supreme Being within Being,
    living as God’s breath.

    Sydney S. Orr
    2-1-14

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply February 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Syd,

      Let me see if I understand you correctly.

      You thirsted for stillness but you never thought you could break your high-strung and tormented consciousness. Then, the idea of “living in God’s breath” provided you with a place of stillness. There, you are still yet, in your stillness, you cannot forget that you almost became an atheist which would have deprived you of your place of stillness.

      If you focus on what you did rather than on what you did not do, I think you might find pure stillness.

      • You are right Katherine because what I have seen as evil also excluded the good. Stillness use to make me high strung, as I was suspicious of it, like I was suspicious of those who had power over me. Stillness is discovering something totally new. This is a new faith and feels like this place before I fall into self-consciousness and alienation. It feels strange finding God in my atheist mind and yet it seems stillness opened me to my hidden depths: God in my breath.

        Thank you for your presence Katherine.

        • Katherine FitzGerald Reply February 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm

          Syd, I like your atheistic mind because I think it helped you fashion a God whose breath you can live in stillness in. I think your atheistic mind denied the God fashioned by men in their own image and I’m glad because I don’t see stillness emanating from such an unprofound and depthless anthropomorphic view of God.

  24. Syd, you are not moving into the realm of “Atheism” so much as into the realm of mysticism, that deep and personal awareness of self-consciousness which finds the deepest reality of the world. As we challenge the institutionalization of religion, we also destroy those images of power which have been “theologized” into a “human divinity” who judges and punishes and terrorizes humanity because of “sin” another word created by the institution.
    May I please suggest further reading to help you on your journey to wholeness through your mystical experience of stillness: ” In Pursuit of Slowness” Carl Honore ( Describing how time has made us slaves to “work” and how we need to back off and “slow down”. “The Theology of Fear” by Fr. Emmett Coyne. ( This book would not be appreciated by any Catholic cleric because he challenges everything and encourages an adult approach to faith) Finally, Diarmuid O’Murchu “The Meaning and Practice of Faith” 2014 Orbis. (Diarmuid encourages all of us to be adults and to not allow the power of ecclesiastical clerics to control our lives. Diarmuid is a catholic priest but he calls us to “challenge” everything.

    Syd you are part of a fantastic growing number of Catholics who are awakening to the real meaning of adult faith and it does not necessarily include the Roman Catholic Church nor many of the other mainline Christian churches.

    • Yes, and thank you Fr. John Wintermyer for your insight. Breaking these institutionalized beliefs is a shock to my ego, just like money is no longer a yardstick I can measure my success in life. My ego inflation was always important and I did not back down because pride was at stake. Now the care and feeding my ego with attention a gardener gives his prized flowers is no longer important. Stillness is naturally faith and to my ego it feels like horror and uncertainty, which turns on my atheist mind. So it makes sense we are “awakening to the real meaning of adult faith” which is beyond any belief and learned procedures.

      Your presence is a living faith Reverend John S. Wintermyer and a significant presence that offers hope, like the warmth of the sun. Thank you again!

  25. drwho13
    Thank you so much for that link. I am so computer illiterate that I can not do what should be done in such a follow up. THANK YOU.

  26. Syd I so agree with you. We share so many of the same feelings and reactions
    Suz

  27. Susan & Kathy and everyone else,

    I was trying to do my best in keeping an open mind when it came to Pope Francis. A hope that sexual abuse survivors could have a feeling that Pope Francis would do everything possible to right the wrongs Catholic Clergy have done for years turning innocent children into victims.

    However after reading a story in NCR I can see it will never change and it will always be us against them. I leave you with a quote from the article.

    “I want to thank you for your dedication to dealing with the delicate set of problems concerning the so-called most grave crimes, in particular cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics,” Pope Francis said in a written speech Friday.

    Once again we see the words so-called crimes. As if there is a doubt what children had to suffer.

    I invite the Pope to my house when I awake out of a sound sleep screaming because of the memories his clergy left me with. He can experience the same screams my wife and little girl have to experience because of the SO-CALLED crimes of his clerics.

    The hope is gone.

  28. Anyone watching Downton Abbey and viewing the impact of rape on the lady’s maid Anna might realize how the trauma of violation touches every part of your day. The hierarchy should have to before and after scenes. It was hard to view her last night seeing the long term impact almost worse than the violation itself

  29. Dear Syd,

    I thank you for sharing your deeply moving poem, which reminds me of the mystical poetry of St. John of the Cross. May I offer you some possible help and encouragement culled from my life as a spiritual theologian.

    1. You clearly express your (and everyone’s) moral tension between good and evil. While we always live and act at the moral level, our deeper, graced movement toward spiritual maturity takes us from choosing between good and evil toward choosing between good and better. I see your AA experience as a clear example of how you have moved in this graced direction,

    2. Your spiritual journey has brought you face to face with the challenge of working with your images of God vs. your desired personal experience of God. The great medieval German mystic, Meister Eckhart, prayed, “I pray God to rid me of God.” While he rightly saw his images of God (e.g., Father, Shepherd, King), along with his everyday thoughts, desires, etc., as the way we experience God, he more deeply saw them as obstacles between himself and the closest possible experience of God that he was seeking. I see you feeling the same spiritual impulse to be closer to God that Eckhart felt. So along with Fr. Wintermyer, I do not see you as having approached atheism, but as having moved closer to true, graced self-transcendence and mysticism.

    3. Concerning stillness, Eckhart said that nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness. In the same context, poet T. S. Eliot wrote, “at the still point of the turning world, there the dance is.” Spiritually speaking, this is an inspired, poetic view of the pregnant Divine Stillness that is the Source and Wellspring of all reality and life–a view of the “dancing,” creative, healing and world-transforming God who is silently and lovingly present, “whispering” to us from the stillness within today’s noisy, fast moving world–and within all the problems, sufferings and hell that we experience in our lives. And Teilhard de Chardin famously said that God’s presence is so complete and pervasive that we live within a “divine milieu.” I rejoice that in your own way, you are so wonderfully seeing God this way.

    I wish you continued success on your God-inspired, self-transcending spiritual journey. May you move ever forward toward fulfilling your greatest and highest, graced possibilities.

    Anthony Massimini, Ph,. D.
    May I suggest my blog, http://www.the21stcenturyamericancatholic.blogspot.com, particularly the pages, “Experiencing God Today,” and “The Spiritually Mature Person,” as possibly helpful to you on your journey.

  30. SOME GOOD NEWS,

    The California teacher who was confronted by her victim and filmed the conversation has been arrested on 16 counts of sexual abuse, held on 5 million dollar bond and faces life in prison.

    This is a developing story.

    May our thoughts and prayers go out to these two victims who are now survivors who gained the strength to no longer live in silence.

  31. Certainly is the wrong place, wrong time but I had to get the information out to those who post and visit this site. Most of us are committed to the objective, Catholics4Change. It is for this reason that I just wanted all to know that Archbishop Chaput will be headed to the Legatus Summit this week in Orlando, FL. For those unfamiliar with Legatus, the following is copied from their website:

    The only organization in the world designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business leaders and their spouses. In a dynamic way, Legatus brings together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business – connecting two powerful realities, the challenge of top-tier business leadership and a religious tradition second to none.

    The particular reason for this special notification at C4C is the location of the summit…..The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando………….http://the-ritz-carlton.grandelakes.com/

    Closing schools, consolidating parishes, freezing archdiocesan teacher pensions, skyrocketing legal fees to defend clery sexual abuse claims, both civilly and criminally……click on the link and get a picture of the facility, amenities, luxury and excess that will surround not only our wealthy Catholic patrons but also the US religious leadership from around the country down at the Orlando Ritz-Carlton

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply February 5, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Chaput’s a uber-Catholic. So are the $$business people$$ who are gathering at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando. Everyone’s biggest fear right now is Francis. When Francis tells priests that they should be “shepherds living with the smell of sheep,” the rich uber-Catholics and their attached-at-the-hip hierarchs act out, stay the rich uber-course, and defy the new papal emphasis on the poor and anti-clericalism.

      It’s tough when your ship goes down but it helps if you can party through it.

  32. (CNN) — In an unprecedented report, a United Nations committee slammed the Vatican’s handling of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and accused the church of protecting itself rather than the victims.

    The Vatican should establish an “independent mechanism for monitoring children’s rights” to investigate complaints and work with law enforcement, according to the report, which was released Wednesday.

    • It will NEVER happen!

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply February 6, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Dennis, I think we should work to altogether dismantle the Vatican and the papacy.

      • Miss Fitzgerald,

        I wish I had the gift to put into words my thoughts.

        I don’t believe anyone has to break a sweat to dismantle the Vatican or the Catholic Church. We are all seeing the foundation being removed brick by brick.

        The question I have been asking is the people operating the crane only clergy members, or can it be the parishioners who are standing by watching ?

        I don’t have the answer, but I do know I am also seeing other parishioners who are running back and forth trying to pick up those bricks that have fallen and trying to put them back in place.

  33. Thumbs downer,
    Don’t like the news about the RCC? Call your local hierarch and commiserate about it. LOL

  34. The “bricks” have been strewn everywhere and the “hierarchs” have no idea how to replace them. Their “plan” lies crumbling on the ground. Pope Francis has offered an “architectural design” but most of the “ecclesial engineers” have already rejected that plan. These falling stones are piling up fast and “Humpty Dumpty” will not be put back together any time soon.

    • John, maybe the rich and powerful Catholic CEOS and religious leadership are putting the pieces back together again down there at the Ritz-Carlton this week in Orlando, Florida at the Legatus Convention.

      Check out the organization description from the LEGATUS website:

      The only organization in the world designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business leaders and their spouses. In a dynamic way, Legatus brings together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business – connecting two powerful realities, the challenge of top-tier business leadership and a religious tradition second to none.

      John, I don’t think they’re reserving any seats for you and I at this convention…….it’s only for dysenteries (er, I mean dignitaries).

      Wait a minute……what about our “religious tradition”? How is theirs “second to none”?

  35. Michael, I also worked with the homeless in WDC as a physician assistant and we spent a lot of time in shelters and on the street and under bridges and on street corners and in rain, cold and snow, so I do feel that I understand what homelessness and the tragedy of that experience is. I spent from 1977 – 2011 in this “ministry”. I guess that I do support Pope Francis and do not exactly understand how the bishops can accept this type of program. But then, I guess I am some type of rebel and trouble maker. I am not looking for a seat at the “table”. And I cannot even expect to receive the title of “monsignor”. How sad!!!

    • Reverend,

      I believe sometimes one or many must be so-called “rebels or trouble makers” to see changes happen.

      It maybe the only way world wide Catholics for a change will see anything happen.

      What a great name Susan picked for this site.

  36. Anyone watching Downton Abbey and viewing the impact of rape on the lady’s maid Anna might realize how the trauma of violation touches every part of your day. The hierarchy should have to before and after scenes. It was hard to view her last night seeing the long term impact almost worse than the violation itself.
    I agree with how Syd feels so very much!

    • Who could make thumbs down for a comment that there is long term pain from a rape? !

      • Suzpt,

        I too have asked the same question. However, it’s not something I will allow to keep me up at night.

        It does however from time to time make me question the make-up of such individuals.

        The sad truth is victims/survivors are hated by the same people you may share a pew with. We are looked at as a threat compared to who the real danger is to the Catholic Church.

        These are only my thoughts though.

        • So true Dennis! It’s just it’s hard to fathom how people can be so disconnected with the suffering of someone who thought they were part of a family or community

      • “Who could make thumbs down for a comment that there is long term pain from a rape? !”

        A sex offender could. They likely monitor this site while staying in the shadows. Interestingly we seldom get a response from the thumbs downers.

  37. http://ncronline.org/blogs/faith-and-justice/un-committee-report-vatican-abuse-missed-opportunity

    “When it comes to the historical record, the church deserves to be raked over the coals. It went through at least three stages of responding to abusive priests all of which proved to be DISASTROUS.

    I think those who will read this link will read what they already know deep down inside. The events of the past and present are only doomed to occur in the future.

  38. :Here is the link to the NGO Report that was submitted in February by The Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

    Sister Maureen

    FIGHTING FOR THE FUTURE

    https://www.ccrjustice.org/files/SNAP%20Shadow%20Report%20to%20UN%20CRC.pdf

  39. Katherine FitzGerald Reply February 8, 2014 at 3:38 am

    John Allan, at his new job at the Boston Globe, wrote a piece saying that the UN report could backfire on groups and individuals who advocate for sexually abuse victims… that means us. In other words, the Vatican could use the report to minimize its sins and crimes whereas we are under the impression that the report magnifies them and acts as definitive proof of them.

    One of the problems in the report, according to Allan, is that the UN lumped the issue of sexual abuse in with Church culture issues like abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, etc. In lumping it in with these culture issues, it presents the issue of sexual abuse as a culture issue as opposed to a crime. When sexual abuse is perceived as a culture issue as opposed to a crime, the Vatican can point to the sexual revolution as it cause. When a cultural phenomenon is perceived as the cause, its criminality gets lost in the shuffle.

    I have the utmost respect for the UN. But imagine if a person like Tom Doyle had consulted and advised the UN panel throughout it proceedings with the Vatican officials and during the time that the final report was written. You have to know how the Church operates. You have to know the clerical culture. You have to know the Vatican. You have to know the culture issues. You have to know the difference between culture issues and crimes. Who on the UN panel knew all these things and more? Who knew the Church like the back of their hand?

  40. Kate..I was dumbfounded in reading an article that described the other issues that were lumped into this report…WHY? I have to do more reading on this report to fully understand but I agree with John Allen and it is something we have worked so hard against on this site.

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