Philly Clergy Resorts to Spiritual Shaming

Click here to read: “Priests, parishes target Pa. legislators who backed sex-abuse bill,” by Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 8, 2016


One lawmaker called it “electioneering.” Another grew emotional as she recounted being snubbed by a priest. A third penned a Facebook screed that became the buzz of the House of Representatives.

Legislators expressed outrage this week after they said they had been named by priests at Mass, in church bulletins or in some other way rebuked by the Catholic Church for supporting a bill that would let child sex-abuse victims sue individuals and private institutions decades after the abuse occurred.

Editor’s Note:

  • Revolting;
  • Church should be a sacred spiritual refuge not a bully pen;
  • Does Pope Francis condone these shaming tactics?
  • Is this how Jesus would approach this?
  • Kathy and I applaud these state legislators who have stood up for children and victims. They are far more Christ-like than the priests who attempt to shame them.

38 thoughts on “Philly Clergy Resorts to Spiritual Shaming

  1. Folks please take a minute to call the legislators in this article and thank them. It is a sting that most who follow here have experienced..and until you are on the receiving end it is hard to explain..of course what the victims have described all along and to experience it drives it home.
    I hate that this happened to some good people who voted their conscience..maybe it will open some eyes to the tactics involved.
    As Rep Miccarelli says : “I would much rather be chastised from the altar, than to be damned for not allowing justice ”
    I have seen Tom Murt stand with/for victims..I have seen countless clergy walk by them as if they are invisible.

    1. …and how long will it take before you Kathy or Susan or any other catholic who comments here in favor of the changes in the SOL laws become subject of Chaput’s attack. The one who condones these action.

      With this article it will not only be us who know of Chaput’s true colors but everyone

    2. Kathy,

      Thank you for posting the names and numbers of those representatives who would like to see this bill become law. I will take time out today to either call them or email them to say thank you.

      But would you have the names of those who either oppose this possible new law or who maybe on the fence with their decision. These are the ladies and gentlemen we need to speak to.

      Unlike Chaput who used the pulpits in parishes around the archdiocese you do not have the very same advantage of speaking out to parishioners unless someone wishes the very real possibility of being removed by church ushers or having the police called on them, and most individuals don’t have the resources to fund a commercial should Chaput air his.

      1. Oh, yes. Can’t wait for that to start to happen…….being removed by church ushers or calling the police. Hard to imagine, given the position of archdiocesan leadership, the lobbying in Harrisburg against HB 1947 and the publishing of legislators names, who supported the bill, in Sunday church bulletins in parishes in the Philadelphia area. I almost forgot, it’s not OUR church, it’s the archbishop’s church.

      2. Dennis these legislators were House members who already voted and the Bill passed overwhelmingly. I encourage everyone to contact their local Pa. state senator as it is now in their hands.

  2. I am not surprised by any of this. This is the same behavior Archbishop Chaput displayed in Denver. Its also the same type of shaming our survivors have experienced for years. I find it interesting that the one church bullentin in this article said “lies” and “distortions” next to the legislatures name. I recently attended a meeting at Saint Charles Seminary that the AD spokeman apparently told the press was intended to be strictly a pray service. While inside the meeting the priest giving the presentation said the exact opposite. He said quit frankly the purpose of the meeting and primary objective was shooting a commercial to help block the 1947 Bill. Lies, distortion, spin? Have they looked in the mirror lately? I have stood outside the AD building on many occasions with survivors and their families. I have watched priests including Bishop Senior ignor and walk by our survivors. Truth? They can’t handle the Truth because that would involve coming clean, being humble and accepting the consquences.

    1. Everyone that was invited to that meeting was told of the ageda for the night. I knew about the commercial going in

      1. Yes Theresa the email and flyer I received said there would be a talk then commercial shooting then holy hour but the sequence of the meeting was changed because the AD was concerned that there would be disruptive protesters. Fr. Delacy told me this when I first got to the meeting because I had told him I was there to hear what the AD had to say but did not feel comfortable and didn’t want to be in a commericial. The meeting started with a holy hour . No commerical with a mass amount of lay people was shot and the orginal speaker for the night was canceled and Fr. DeLacy spoke briefly on the Bill after which he said people individually could be recorded for the video if they wished. What I am refering to is the news that night the press said they were told by the AD it was meant as a night of prayer. Fr. Delacy said during the presentation that the reason the meeting was setup was to shoot the commercial which they did just on an individual scale not with a mass of people.

      2. Absolutely, they wanted extras..the commercial was an important part of the flyer/email. We chose to not publish the email/flyer on C4C because of how offensive the wording of the literature was and got feedback from some victims/survivors who had seen the email. Beth I will try to find that news clip

    2. Beth,if I remember correctly as you said it was portrayed to the press as an evening of prayer..I have an email from an AD employee saying that the purpose was the shooting of the commercial..along with of course a Holy Hour after the presentation of the Bills speech and shooting of the commercial…hey everyone to the chapel to pray for these poor victims.
      When I watched the news that night and they flashed the flyer up on the screen I had to laugh…not that any of this is funny..but the AD has a mass email/flyer sent describing the event and asking for people to be in the commercial and the press has possession of the email/flyer and they tell the press it is a opportunity for prayer???

      1. Kathy if you get a chance could you post the news clip on the meeting I am refering to. I think it was on channel 10.

  3. Why would we expect anything else from Charles Chaput. Extortion is what this is called and the Church has been doing this for years.They hold themselves up to be morally superior to the rest of us yet they hide known child rapists,cover up crimes that have committed by their priests and resort to extortion to block necessary changes in laws to protect our children and grand children.They should be ashamed of themselves. May they all rot in hell.

  4. Outrageous. I’m just flabbergasted. I didn’t think they could sink any lower. I guess one should never underestimate how low these “religious” church leaders can go. I can’t understand why there isn’t a general revolution (parishioners as well as moral priests and nuns) with all that has transpired. The only thing I can figure is that people are just not aware. Thank you, Susan and Kathy, for doing your part to bring these things to light, and trying to change things for the better.

  5. We need more people to stand up and take a firm position against Chaput and his bully tactics. I had contacted him long ago expressing my thoughts on the treatment of victims, hoping more charity and understanding would be given them. But no, what I got was a reprimand from Chaput telling me what a poor Catholic I was. I have no respect for him as a man. I have less respect for him as an Archbishop! I am not surprised he was run out of his western home. Unfortunately we are now stuck with him. Our supposed leader, a total disgrace to Christianity!

    1. With all respect Mr. Kaufmann you are not stuck with him. There is no better time to stand up to Chaput and tell him you are tired of the way he runs and represents your church. Your tired of what I can only describe as a dictatorship. The its my way or your a bad catholic, going to burn in hell mentality from the man. You can either do that or do what so many others have already done and that is to find salvation elsewhere. The love of God does not only shine down on the catholic church but his love is all around. You only have to find what fits you best. I will admit it was one of the hardest decisions I had to make but for me it was the best decision. The actions of the church and people like Chaput stole my catholic faith away along time ago and maybe that is a good thing because there is no way I could hold my head high today and say I’m proud to be a catholic.

      1. The only power that leaders have is that which is granted by the followers. The people stood up to the bishops in Minneapolis-St, Paul and Kansas City. They were removed. The former bishop in MN later showed up in a parish to work as a priest. The people were outraged, he was taken out of the parish. He cannot even find work as a priest!

      2. Dennis for the record. I did speak out at the meeting at St Charles. I said if the AD was so concerned about child protection and fairness for all survivors why didn’t the AD lobby for a fair law?They have lobbied for human trafficking laws and abortion restriction laws in Harrisburg. Why not lobby on this issue basically for changes in statute of limitations? I asked Fr . Delacy this as well as to his knowledge was he aware if they had done so and he said he didn’t know the answer to this but he didnt think so. I asked him to research that and asked him to let me know and I gave hI’m my contact information. I said why couldn’t the AD be proactive instead of defensive and collaborate with survivor groups on this issues. I also pointed out this wasn’t a public school vs private school issue as this would protect victims in families and else where. He agreed that most sexual abuse survivors he counseled were abused in family situtations etc. Knowing this why oppose and try to block the Bill as unfair? Why not lobby for amendments to make it more fair instead of trying to shoot down the whole Bill?

    2. I agree Martin and we need people like John Kaufman who are in the pews AND speak up. I am always so encouraged when I hear of fellow catholics who do not confuse their faith with blind obedience and speak out for victims and children..if they all left then what would be left in the Church? What would be left is exactly what the Church would want..sheep.
      Look at how their tactics are failing. Not only did these Catholic legislators vote for the Bills but they spoke out in the press as to how they were you see a change? i sure do. It is the exact change that is needed. For as boisterous as Philly is portrayed in the news on many occasions, we have been sheep in this clerically steeped Archdiocese..even when it came to our children.

      1. Kathy, As a life long catholic I am very upset about the deception around this meeting. The discrepancies between what Fr, DeLacy a priest I knew and like said and what the spokeman said to the press. I have said on this site many times my catholic faith helped me put a predator in jail. Even at the St. Charles meeting when I spoke I made that point. I told them that I went to adoration a million times to get the strength to fight this predator. I felt at times I had nothing but Jesus. I would lay on the floor in front of Jesus at adoration and ask him to help me and show me His Will. The events that followed were amazing and many saw how Jesus intervened. The truth came out and he went to jail and has life parole. I have had 2 priests help me so much during after this time. My catholic faith means the world to me.

      2. Catholics that speak up can make a difference. After I spoke at the meeting a woman came up and held my hands and said you spoke the truth and don’t stop what you are doing. She hadn’t though of things the way I presented them. We all need to do this and I admire the catholic politicians that voted for what is right and not what their Archbishop wanted them to vote for. God told me on many occasions I have been following His Will and I am to follow His Will and this is what he wants and if that puts me in opposition with my Archbishop so be it. I am suppose to disobey my God?

        1. That should read Am I suppose to disobey my God? Working off my cellphone not my lap top and my eyesight is going.

  6. It is still in the judicial syllabus that sex offenders are criminals obviously

  7. I would like to add additional evidence of the lack of insight. I told my pastor, Joseph McGowen of my distress after the 2005 report because my children had been exposed to, but not assaulted by 3 pedophiles. His initial response was that “It would be a shame to lose a lot of good men because of one mistake.” When he was unable to sell that he explained that many of the men were “ephebophiles” and this was less serious and likely was the result of homosexual urges. The matter lay there until the 2010 report was issued, by which time he had been transferred to another parish. The result after that was that he became a monsignor and I became a Lutheran.

  8. Does the archbishop not understand that the original sin here was putting self interest over the care for the Other. Abusing perps who treated young people like things protected by bishops more interested in protecting the organization than caring for those who experienced soul murder… the patten continues. The organization is more important than basic human decency let alone the Gospel.

    Pope Francis eliminated the statute of limitations in Canon law for these kinds of crimes. But, Chaput ignores Francis in every other way so he is consistent here.

    Charles Chaput acts like the market manager for a multinational rather than a pastor.

    Only three more years and three months before he must submit his resignation.

    1. Martin, but let us see how many Philadelphia area Catholics call him out publicly in his appearances around the archdiocese during that time. Many opportunities remain for Philadelphia Catholics to challenge Chaput on his outrageous, mean-spirited, hubris-laden and institution-centered selfish conduct and behavior. I think that covers it all.

    1. Fr. DeLacy at the meeting said they wanted to finish the video asap so it could be sent to each AD in PA and possibly used on a media campaign. Sounds likes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing or is someone lying?

      1. Basically it sounded like they had a specific plan for the video/commerical seems the spokesman has no idea what’s going on. Could that be possible? What is he getting paid all that money for? Whole this is ridiculous. I actually liked Fr. DeLacy. I met him at a retreat and also he came to a few “at the well” meetings. I just feel because he’s approachable etc the AD used him as a “fixer” to smooth things over at the St. Charles meeting.

        1. I just reread the article. ” nothing has been created so far” . Are you kidding me ? Fr. said they had been working on the video at least a week or so and wanted to get it done asap.

    2. So is Ken Gavin now publicly blaming the email/flyer on the volunteer who payed for the commercial.?? ok sit back and get a bowl of popcorn at this point…
      For any who are confused by the comments on this thread please see the link Mickelga provided. There was an event a few weeks ago where a presentation of the Bills,the filming of a commercial about the Church/Bills and then a Holy Hour was to take place. An email was sent from the Office of Evangelization of the Archdiocese with attached flyer describing the event. In inquiries I made both in email and by phone to that office I was told the filming of the commercial was a main point of the event.along with Holy Hour. The email/flyer could not be more self explanatory of what would take place at the event. So it is now all the fault of the volunteer who at first was praised for stepping forward with the donation, and then blamed for the wording of the flyer/email. Okay I am sure that went over real well.
      Beth no one knows what the other is doing/saying that is obvious from your report of what was said at the meeting. I had the same experience on the phone. Interesting what happens when you talk to people whose aren’t usually in the position of spinning things. And as horrendous as that flyer/email was, it was honest..,in all its misguided and awfulness it was the truth..protect the Church

      1. When I saw that I wanted to say what about the kids? Who is trying to protect the kids? Why hasn’t the church lead a campaign like this for our children and to change the statute of limitations? I sat in an office a few days ago and met yet another mother who lost her son recently that was a victim of clergy abuse. Her son was in his 30s. Last time I was in Harrisburg I met a distraught mother who had just lost her son on Good Friday. When is it going to stop? This isn’t events happening in the past this is recent. The affects of child sexual abuse go on for years and its not just people in their 70s and 80s which is horrible but it young men in their 30s. The church is the members of the church not buildings, things and money. If the church had treated survivors properly and put the predators in jail they would not be in the situation they now find themselves. When I see “protect the church” church=our survivors and our children to me and that’s who I am going to do my best to protect because they are and they were the most vulnerable of all of us in the church.

  9. The Archdiocese is worried about the loss of millions of dollars? The assumption seems to be that they will lose at trial. If that is their concern, then I would assume the “faithful” would ante up more money to support the mission of the Church. Maybe the fear is that the “faithful” would not be so faithful, given the crimes that were committed. Besides, how much of the donations of the “faithful” goes to the lobbying efforts of the PCC?

Leave a Reply