Claims that Vatican and Pope Knew of Clergy Abuse Cover Up Emerge

The Vatican knew of a cover-up involving abusive priests, Pennsylvania AG says,” by Holly Yan, CNN, August 28, 2018

“Pope Francis Long Knew of Cardinal’s Abuse and Must Resign, Archbishop says,” by Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, August 26, 2018

Does anyone believe that the Pope didn’t know? Clearly many in Ireland believe he knew or stopped considering the Church altogether. Not surprising given the horrific abuses the faithful there suffered at the hands of the institutional Church.

“Pope Ends Visit To A Disillusioned Ireland, Where Church Authority Has Plunged,” by Frank Langfitt, NPR, August, 27, 2018

Speaking of disillusioned, Catholics In Action organized a gathering near the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul on Sunday, August 26.  Advocates, victims and their families met to share outrage, support and prayer.

“Philly Catholic group calls for action outside the Cathedral Basilica,” by Antionette Lee, KYW.com, August 26, 2018

38 thoughts on “Claims that Vatican and Pope Knew of Clergy Abuse Cover Up Emerge

  1. It is absolutely true that the RC Church has had a massive problem with immature, twisted and frankly sociopathic psycho-sexuality among its clergy (Priests, nuns, Brothers, bishops, etc) in our lifetimes BUT I must caution everyone. This is not a new situation. It has been with us since the days of Jesus. It is addressed by him directly in the Gospels.

    Here is the sad part. And I draw this from life experience in Catholic grammar school and high school, two seminaries (last year of high school and first year through beginning of third year of college) and then graduating from Mt. St. Mary’s R.C. Men’s College in Emmitsburg, Md,

    When I was at St Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and even before that when I was at St. Mary’s High School seminary in Bucks County, PA I saw a lot of this psycho-sexual dysfunction and acting out by psychologically immature people. I now believe that this is part of being Catholic. You can not separate this from the Catholic experience because Christianity as a whole does not have and has never developed an adult, workable, pragmatic and healthy view of sexuality. It really is this simple.

    The sacramental churches (Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Coptic) that have celibate priesthoods (at least in part) and celibate nuns and brothers suffer the most from this. It has been with us since the days the Church started when Christianity was still a Jewish sect in apparently fierce opposition to Second Temple Judaism. In the Gospels even Jesus talks about child molestation so obviously it was around in his time. This is not new for churches. or probably even religious groups.

    Matthew 18:6 “New International Version”
    “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

    Obviously then according to the Gospels Jesus knew all about the molestation of children or this would not have appeared in Scripture at all. He directly addresses it. Again, that leads me to believe that this problem has been inside the Christian community since the days when it was still Jewish.

    That was a very long time ago. We all need to accept this fact.

    Starting from that realization NOTHING surprises me about what goes on in the Catholic Church or ANY Christian Church. Unfortunately when it comes to sexuality the Christian viewpoint has no workable and adult and realistic psycho-sexual machinery available for a person to use. It is all bound up in mythology and childlike prayers and ‘avoid the near occasions of sin’ sorts of unworkable and frankly quite childish paradigms.

    Priests and nuns and Religious do these sorts of things because they are sick. It is that simple. For all of us to act surprised when there is clear, unmistakable and authentic Scriptural evidence that Jesus himself was personally aware of this problem within the Christian community is to make us all look like fools. We must be more adult than this to attempt to curtail this problem.

    We have given all of the power (ALL of it) within the Church to a so called celibate clergy (and I include nuns and lay brothers in the term clergy). They have no children. They have no spouse. They have no outlet whatsoever for normal, human, healthy, vibrant and loving psycho-sexuality with another human being with whom they can share a loving relationship. They live in rectories and convents like garrisoned soldiers in some sort of hunkered down bastion of Catholicism vs. the world.

    Their lives are empty of anything most of us would consider to be healthy on the level of psycho sexuality. We have forced them to be semi-human on that level because it is the demands of the church that they be this way. Unless they are truly saints the life breaks them. From my life experience this is not hard to see. In fact it is self evident.

    Now we ALL finally realize that we have had this horrible mess on our hands since DAY ONE of the Church and we decry it and look for answers. What are we looking to find that is not already right in front of us? They are living a life that is unlivable and then they strike out at children because the children cannot protect themselves. I do NOT find this hard to understand on any level.

    The entire structure of the sacramental churches must change AND a healthy, adult, workable, pragmatic system of psycho-sexuality must be accepted and entwined in Catholic teaching or this monstrous situation will never change.

    1. Yes, there are some sexually sick members of the clergy, now and in the past. I would think the problem was bigger in the past, as now homosexuals have more acceptance in general and don’t have to hide under a clerical skirt. Celibacy has never worked and will never work. Has any pope ever read the bible? “It is not good for man to be alone”, “I will make for him a fitting helpmate” and many other passages along that vein. Oh yes, the fitting helpmate was a woman, but why would the popes read the Bible when they just spout off any rules they wish?

      The only way anything will ever change is if the American Catholics grow up and refuse to give money to this corrupt organization. Money is the ONLY thing that will change the leadership, as money is the ONLY thing any bishop in Rome cares about, especially the pope. When the cash stops pouring in, the lavender mafia that rules the curia will change. I really can’t understand why US Catholics continue to give their money to this so-called church? Are they that stupid or just brainwashed?

      1. Baaaaa.Baaaa.Baaaa. The pew sheep continue to support a morally corrupt outdated institution that relies on fear and intimidation to govern it’s flock. Have you been to Rome and tour the Vatican? Take one hall and sell the art and the proceeds could help millions. This is sickening yet we ALL let these old men get away with it. You want change stopping giving the dollars and stand up to the local church establishment. Stop being a pew sheep, keep your money, they have plenty and have assets to sell. Like any cover up, follow the money and those who dole it out. It’s not their church it’s ours and untill Chaput and others get out nothing is going to change. So long a the pew sheep continue to blindly follow the wolves of the church will continue to eat them.

        1. I agree completely. The brainwashed stupid sheep will continue to throw their money in the basket every week. They can’t even think for themselves. They think they are buying their way into heaven. So sad that people can be that ignorant, but that is why the abuse went on. Clerical celibacy has never worked, it is a hiding place for sexual and social misfits who become power hungry and abusive. The worst of them were sexual predators looking for an easy path to victims, and the church handed them all they wanted.

    2. Tom I agree with you that it has been in the Church since day one. I also agree with your last paragraph. I always thought going back to even Genesis that men and woman were never meant to be alone.I always thought that older married men who’s children are raised and out of the house would make the best priests. I also believe that seems to be what stage most of the apostles might have been in. I might be wrong but it seems many were married that followed Jesus. Saint Paul seems to be the exception not the norm. Today’s priesthood is the opposite. Other cultures and religions also have child abuse and rape. Its just not limited to Christian cultures and in some cases much worse. I lived in India 6 months and as a 14 yr old I was grabbed with family members all around me in a train station and I could not walk in certain areas alone during the day. It was a shock coming from the US a Judeo Christian culture to a mostly Hindu/Muslim culture. I also was involved in putting a married child abuser in jail in the US. This issue is so complicated we could discuss it for months. As a divorced and annulled catholic and having a former spouse that was abused I have thought about this issue extensively. I also have a background in nursing that has shed light on this issue for me mostly through the experiences of people I have met and not just from the classroom. There are stages of child sexual development that people may get stuck in and so they don’t progress through the stages to adult maturity. One reason may include abuse as a child. I do think its time for catholic teaching to be more integrated with the whole individual. There has been much talk on the spiritual and temporal but not enough integration of the emotional, mental and and social aspects. Finding myself single after 18 yrs of marriage and 2 years of dating before that was a shock. Trying to navigate this and live according to the churches teachings is a challenge. Striving to be in the state of Grace is difficult but possible. It requires prayer, grace, confession, a deep relationship with Jesus but also support by those around you and understanding of the whole person(not compartmentalizing). Even with all the discussion of Theology of the Body I don’t think the church addresses how to break that down in every day terms.There is no simple solution. I think priests should have the option to marry. That may eliminate some of the immature sexual development but not completely solve the problem. I have alot of theories on this subject mostly from observations I have made and I do think a total overhaul needs to be made and open discussions aimed at intergrating and developing the whole person is necessary. Self awareness, openess,education, support and grace all factor into the equation. I think the lack of self awareness on mental, emotional and social aspects cuts one off from one’s self and others and makes these crimes more likely to occur. If you have no compassion for yourself how can you have compassion for others in a healthy way? How can you love your neighbor as yourself without a healthy acceptance of yourself as human while also acknowledging you are made in the image and likeness of God? Sister Katherine at Prendie had us say affirmations every morning before class one was “God loves me therefore I like myself”. I think that’s a great place to start but not the end there is much that needs to be addressed in the middle.

      1. Wow! You are so right! And I think your sense of things about the apostles in probably correct, i.e. much older men with many years of life and marriage behind them.

        I tend to look at this from the pt of view of a former seminarian. As far as I know there is still no adequate, pragmatic, boots on the ground sort of training for young men (seminarians and lay brothers) and women (nun novices and postulants) to live a healthy life in a meaningful way in a truly celibate environment.

        Buddhist monks receive actual training in living the monastic life that actually encompasses a very thorough and demanding regimen of breathing and meditation exercises to harness their sexual energy to achieve things in a spiritual sense that those of us in the West would find absolutely miraculous. Thomas Merton was aware of this regimen and as far as I know he tried to incorporate it into his life. I have personally known one Jesuit who attempts to live by Buddhist practices in this regard.

        Celibacy is a lifestyle that requires constant and never ending reinforcement. The East understands that. The West give it lip service.

        From a Buddhist or Shinto or even Sufi (Muslim) pt of view there are actual breathing and meditation exercises that must be completed each day throughout the entire day to bolster the sexual impulse of the monk or nun toward a higher energy level that will enhance their spirituality and frankly strengthen their inner life with ‘powers’ that the West is unaware of. These people can be enormously powerful by the end of their lives having lived an entire lifetime harnessing their spirituality in a way that frankly we do not usually understand in the West.

        I have no problem with celibacy but frankly I think most of us in the West have NO IDEA how to successfully live a celibate life. We do not have the tools. We can learn a lot from Eastern monks and nuns on this level.

        1. Even Thomas Merton was in love, fathering a child and later falling deeply in love with another women. He was only human, and humans were not made to live alone. Celibacy does not work. As you say: “Celibacy is a lifestyle that requires constant and never ending reinforcement.” That statement alone shows that celibacy is abnormal. I’m married, and I certainly don’t feel that way about my marriage or wife. I’m happy, and it is a pleasure to be married to someone I love.

          Celibacy was the way for the ruling class of bishops to have absolute control over the priesthood, so much so that they turned men into virtual eunuchs to maintain the control. But now celibacy is a cover for homosexuals and other sexually questionable men.

          Sadly, this will never change as long as the church continues be given money by the faithful who keep their heads firmly planted in the sand.

          1. Michael back then the problem was married cardinals, bishop and priests were leaving church money, land and titles to their families and sons. Today the cardinals, bishops and priests are using money from the church for drugs, prostitutes , penhouses, golden tubs and gay lovers shockingly all these things have been mentioned in recent headlines. Both examples are similar as they exhibit an abuse of money and power. There needs to be checks and balances. In the time of the apostles getting martyred kept corruption in check. Meaning…..I don’t think half these corrupt men would have become priests if death in the near future was a certainty. Seems to me the clergy is corrupt because many were seeking money, power and easy access to victims. Not many seem to have faith in Christ or respect for the teachings of the church. Even with the option to marry there has to be some moral and financial accountability to the church members.

        2. Tom,
          I went to the Cardinal’s forum at Saint Charles seminary tonite. I wanted to see what Archbishop Chaput had to say. I think I need a few weeks to process it. You know how I was saying I think older married men would make the best priests? It just got confirmed in my mind.

  2. Thomas: i agree with you 100 percent. Many of the older priests who abused children went to junior seminary right out of eighth grade. They had no chance to develop any sexual identity or any sense of normal sexual development. During my working years, i worked with two men who had both been in the seminary. The older gentleman coincidentally attended Mt. St.Marys in Emmitsburg Maryland.The second man attended St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia. While the older man told me he saw nothing of a sexual nature going on at the Mount, the younger who attended St. Charles in the seventies described to me a Sodom and Gomorrah scene nightly at St. Charles.He told me there was sexual activity between seminarians and between faculty and seminarians.it was one of the reasons he left. The priest who molested me at the end of sixth grade in 1961 was the same priest who gave the boys in my class the “sex” talk in seventh grade. Talk about dysfunctional. I agree also and have stated that belief on this site many times, that nothing will ever change in the Catholic Church as regards to sexual abuse of children unless and until the Church makes major changes in its teachings on human sexuality.

    1. Beth,

      You and everyone here express realistic points, more toward acting on the principles of faith. It seems to me God wants this submission into faith, even within powerlessness, as Christ paradoxically created life in the powerlessness of his death. Naturally this powerlessness for Christ was at a high state of integration and an opening to a hidden depth. This Christ submission into powerlessness appears to be this leap from the known into the unknown. His quality of inspiration within his faith maybe felt mysteriously beyond conscious control, creating faith beyond and an opening to a hidden depth. There appears to be something in his faith that accepted his limitations and even accepting this painful truth of his death. His faith appears to allow his body to rest in hope.

      For me powerlessness communicates this place of being nothing to the world, nothing true or valuable to believe in. Powerlessness to my body creates this darkness and my ego mind wants to find security and power, yet my cells in my body communicate insecurity and powerlessness. From this view point, death is an enormous stumbling block, horror and uncertainty, and because I cannot enter into death’s presence it can be this intolerable idea. This physical powerlessness, death’s presence without the ability to die, naturally creates this agnostic and atheist mind. My ego mind will say the God who allowed this must be sadistic, an evil god, and my ego mind wants me to refuse involvement with this faith in my powerlessness.

      Because of these contradictions and then my sick body from cancer and this mitochondria disease this creates a deep sense of physical powerlessness. It is as if faith is all there is. This real faith I am writing on appears to have nothing to do with beliefs or even trying to convince myself that certain beliefs are true. This faith is the recognition of the actual support of presence. The inner essence of this faith lives in such truth it cannot be harmed and it cannot be lost. To me this faith feels like the sun coming up from inside and this unshakable confidence there is still life within death’s presence. This faith, which is beyond me, seems to create this inner freedom to respond spontaneously with whatever emerges in the moment. It seems this powerlessness will create a oneness. It is this consciousness of becoming one, as Jesus says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

      So, if God lives in powerlessness and within death than the church needs to die. It is where faith will be born and a great peace will come over the world. From my experience, this powerlessness is death to the ego and can be painful. It also creates points of infantile denial where I block everything out, withdraw into being numb, affectless condition, and completely dissociated from everything. For me, this ego death feels like losing a limb and I will deny it ever happen or I think it would grow back so I can be active in the world. I even have points I do not want to believe death is really happening. Death is precisely, a way of not living. The shocking awareness is this is the place of God. My faith is saying there is a meaning beyond and real faith allows this acceptance of suffering. Faith is the guide, the sun within, which creates this optimal action within this nothingness.

      This is my experience with faith and maybe the church cannot go here. Powerlessness is too much for the church and it takes such deep serenity and such deep acceptance the center of this faith becomes difficult to describe and observe. Possibly this faith will become a new being and a new force is entering the world, faith within powerlessness and even faith in hopelessness. I even wonder if this faith within powerlessness is what will create a deep compassion, this nobility, and this unshakable inner peace for the world. In a sense, this faith allows everything to dissolve and then Divine Love will sustain and create satisfaction in embracing all that life brings.

      1. Syd, I hope so. I believe so. Unfortunately right now the hierarchy seems more like a cult then followers of Jesus where the Canon law and its distortion is used as a weapon. Where control is a god and powerlessness is despised.

      2. Syd you have so many amazing insights and you have such a gift being able to put your experiences with faith and powerlessness into words.

        1. Thanks Beth and the symbol of my words is my attempt to reach for a vision that is beyond us. I also feel this faith is within you, especially within your serenity I feel in your spirit. Your serenity appears to move you to action, which gives you this ability to help and support others, but also appears to give you this acceptance of the conditions you are working with. Your serenity within action is also expressed in you being compassionate. Your compassion is soothing and you offer a certain flow in your compassion and strength. The virtue of your serenity appears in your ability to allow the energies of life flow through you and appears without resistance or needing to be in control. Your faith within your serenity appears to communicate everything really is “in God’s hands.” What a precious gift and may this fill your heart with joy and warmth because truly your own faith is a star.

  3. I hate to say this, but I think it is time for Pope Francis to resign. Perhaps if we Catholics go back to the time of the early church when Mass was celebrated in people’s homes this will bring us back to a time of more devotion.

  4. I just got to the place in the Grand Jury Report where the Bishops say how much they regret the sexual abuse of children. They write about all the good things the Church does as if that should excuse raping little children. They write about how the Church has made all these changes since 2002. They fail to mention that the changes that were made they fought against to the very end. As far as Pope Francis is concerned, of course he knew. The truth is they all knew. Every pope knew and every Bishop knew. Most priests also had knowledge of what their fellow priests were doing. There were a few who tried to do the right thing but they were told by their Bishops to mind their own business.This dispute between the conservative Bishop and Pope Francis is pure politics.They all knew.

    1. Jim, I do not think you realize how correct you actually are. When I was a seminarian at St Charles Borromeo seminary (1970-1972) and even before that when I had left Bishop McDevitt H.S. in Wyncote at the end of my junior year and attended and graduated from a Marist Father’s high school seminary in Penndel, PA for my senior year I was amazed at the network that existed among priests and seminarians as to ‘who is who’ in the Archdiocese / Order and ‘who was doing what to whom’.

      In effect the CIA has nothing on the clergy of the U.S. Catholic Church. They know virtually everything that everybody or anybody involved with the clergy is doing. It is stunning to think of the depth of the organizational memory of individual priests and seminarians. When that is combined with the personal recollections of all the priests and seminarians, brothers and nuns working in any particular diocese you have a living, breathing, incredibly detailed chronicle of ‘dirt’ on any given priest, nun, brother or bishop in that diocese or Order. It is like something out of a movie.

      I am not kidding. In fact, in clerical culture (and I include nuns and lay brothers as Catholic clergy) collecting and talking about ‘dirt’ in the diocese or Order is almost a sub-cultural prerogative. Some of the most vicious, detailed and malicious back biting comments I have ever heard from one professional leveled at another professional come from Catholic clergy talking about other Catholic clergy. Some of the things I heard about priests while I was a seminarian I refused to believe until later when I was in my late forties and finally understood that everything I was told probably actually took place. I won’t repeat anything here. You would almost certainly not believe me.

      Sexual abuse of children, parishioners, seminarians, novitiate and postulant nuns, and novitiate and postulant brothers, monks, friars and consecrated men and women is as old as the church itself. We are fooling ourselves if we continue to believe differently.

  5. Tom: I graduated from Bishop McDevitt in 1967. Talk about a small world. My best friend from grade school [St. John of the Cross in Roslyn] just retired as president of Mcdevitt.I had a sister who graduated in 1969.Of course with the Iron Curtain at McDevitt , it was not possible you had classes with her. I was molested by a priest at the end of sixth grade.I cannot use his name because he died before the memories of the abuse returned. I couldn’t see pressing charges against a dead man. Monsignor Lynn was in my sisters class at St. John of the Cross.I never had much use for school after I was abused. I arrived late and left early.

    1. Jim, I would have been McDevitt Class of ’70 but left at the end of junior year for H.S. seminary in Penndel. That place has been closed for years now. I attended Queen of Peace school in Ardsley. I left St Charles at the very beginning of my third year, worked for a year, transferred to Mt. St Mary’s in Emmitsburg and took my first degree from there. I can tell you from personal experience that twisted psycho-sexuality is a characteristic of modern Catholic life throughout any place in the world that I have been in contact with the Catholic Church. For a long time in the 1970s and 1980s the Dominican Order (men) in North America was banned by the Vatican from taking in postulants and novices. They were raping these young men en masse. It was a nightmare for them. Our experiences with clergy in the Catholic Church (that includes nuns and brothers) is not unique. Once ALL of us realize that we can go a long way to healing the wounds that come from this.

  6. Prayer and reflection are not going to fix the problem nor are a bunch of old caucasian men who live like princes. It is an insult to the victims to even float out the idea that prayer and reflection will fix the problem. To create change here one will have to give up that small parish thinking that has been ingrained in your brain. Being Catholic is dirty folks, sorry to be the bearer on this news. You need to look at church as a large corporation and you are a shareholder. When the company does something you don’t like or agree with you can do a number of things: stop buying their product or services, boycott them, sell the stock, vote management out, or participate in a company buy out. Want to make your voices heard here? Stop supporting the church financially and stop attending. Are you breathing? No this is not crazy and guess what God will be good with it. Look, you have fallen in love with your pariah and your local priest but quiet frankly when was the last time on a job application you were asked what parish are you from? You are going to have to chop the head off the snake to kill it and the only way is to not participate and cut off the financial support. As for going forward, put a strong woman in charge as the males who have been running this have failed us all. Until this done we can continue to add to the number of Catholics who are not practicing and who out number the ones who are today. Fix the priblem and join the 21st century and we will be back, I promise. Signed, a former pew sheep.

    1. Actually you are correct….but much more than you may realize. I am going to tell you a secret that virtually every priest, bishop and oligarch from every sacramental church in the world is painfully aware is true. The Gospel stories are largely….metaphor and allegory. There is a very big and very real chance that NONE of these people that appear in the Gospels actually lived in the flesh.

      Go to Youtube and watch the videos put up by Robert M. Price a former Baptist minister and present day seminary professor and also Joseph Atwill who is a Jesuit educated researcher on Gospel reality.

      There is a fairly high but outside chance the entire thing was set up by Roman Patricians and especially the Piso Family in order to keep the poor in place and docile without the use of expensive Legions occupying the entire east end of the Empire. The Piso Family was related by blood and marriage to the royal families of Rome and Palestine (i.e. the Flavian dynasty and the Herodians).

      Now for the sake of argument, assuming that this is true and that the overwhelming majority of priests, bishops and high level oligarchs from sacramental churches (i.e. the oldest churches in Christianity – the original ones) know or suspect that this is the case then you have answered virtually every question there is to ask. They do not believe if they think it is all a fairy tale devised by Rome to keep the poor down.

      IF this is true (I do not know if it is true) then Christianity is essentially a con job foisted on the poor of the Roman Empire to keep them docile and controllable. Let me quote some Scripture for you.

      Ephesians 6:5 states “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”

      Colossians 3:22 states “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

      Are you beginning to understand now? IF THIS IS TRUE (I do not know if it is true) then priests and nuns and brothers who do not believe makes sense. They have inside information the typical believer does not have.

      IF the entire thing was set up by the Romans and their vassal kings throughout the Empire to blunt the anti-Slavery paradigms of Second Temple Judaism then Second Temple Judaism was a direct threat to Roman economics and law and order because traditional Judaism sees slavery as an abomination before the One God.

      Rome’s very existence and socio economic system depended upon slavery. Rome sacked the Temple and dispersed the Jews in 70.C.E.

      Do you get this now?

      If this is a correct reading of early Christianity (especially the power of the Piso Family and the Flavian Dynasty in Rome setting up Christianity) then this was the greatest national security ruse ever foisted on the world.

      If the entire Jesus story as told in the Gospels was specifically designed to control the bottom of the wealth pyramid in the Roman Empire and if the clergy of the original Christian churches (i.e. the sacramental churches) know this, then ALL of this craziness makes perfect sense. ALL OF IT.

      Why not rape children and perform all sorts of terrible things if what you are preaching as a priest, nun or brother is one big con job to keep the poor down? I do not know if this is true or not but more and more biblical exegetes in 2018 are beginning to take a much more jaundiced view of Gospel research.

      If what I have just outlined is in fact true or even partially true….then everything bad we have experienced from clergy of all types makes sense. They do not believe the Gospel story if they know it is a fairy tale. Why follow it?

      1. Tom that’s very interesting. That’s not a surprise if it’s true given the leaderships current actions. It’s sad actually to think they don’t really believe anymore.I disagree that Christianity is a fairytale though.My uncle and my dad were both historians. My dad had a Fulbright in India studying the slave routes from Africia to Asia. My family had a lot of interesting conversations at the dinner table to say the least. Religion, politics, history were debated and discussed in my house:)My uncle and dad were well traveled also. Madras in India was were St. Thomas was martyred. That s where we lived most of the 6 months because my dad had access to the archives describing the Indian trade routes there. Jesus was a well documented historical figure. My dad was educated and taught at University of Penn. Many of his classmates and colleagues were atheists. I had a very interesting childhood. I watched this highly educated man return to a childhood faith over the course of 10yrs while he struggled w cancer. Heaven reached out and touched Earth on more than a few occasions. Faith is a delicate thing it needs to be fostered and nutured everyday in the correct way or it dies. Science more and more is proving Jesus did exist and so did the Apostles. Take for example the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I visited DC with my kids this summer. We went to the National Geographic museum. They had an exhibit on restoring the church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was fascinating because with advanced technology they were able to term the age etc of Jesus tomb. Was absolutely amazing to read and see it. Brought tears to my eyes.There are similarities among all the major religions that is true but only one says the Son of God became human and died on a cross for us. It’s sad that the hierarchy has over thought their faith that they have lost it. Faith involves trust and hope. Without trust and hope there is no faith. Prayer is is talking to and listening to God. Rarely does God give us what we ask for. Miracles are even rarer. I don’t understand God’s ways. I do know evil comes to this world through the Devil. God gave us free will unfortunately many men choose pride and the Devil. They want control and power rather than submitting to God’s will. Right now I think that’s the case with the Pope and corrupt Cardinals. It’s sad because knowing and encountering Christ is absolutely amazing. He is so good.

        1. Tom alittle under the weather so some of my thoughts might be alittle disconnected but my point is Science and History continue to validate Jesus and the Apostles did in fact exist. It’s not a myth or fairytale. I also have experienced and encountered God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that at times it leaves me speechless. I see signs of God and from God all the time. I have been truly blessed I know my Savior loves us and is with us. I know heaven exists. I know he wants to be with us always. The times that he has answered prayers for me has been when I prayed for someone’s soul to be saved. The ironic thing was this made the devil angry and he followed me around a few days til Jesus got rid of him for me. I might sound crazy but it happened to me and I absolutely believe now there is a war between the Devil and Jesus for our souls.

          1. Beth thank you for your very thoughtful reply. I am on the fence as to whether the Gospel characters existed or not. I have a Bachelors in History and a Masters in Secondary Ed Social Studies and I taught High School (albeit business). I also have Masters degrees in Human Resources Management and one in Human Performance Systems. I never finished my PhD in Adult Basic Ed. I think that PERHAPS a sort of Jesus character or even many of them may have existed in first century Judea but I really hesitate to jump in and claim that the Gospels stories fulfill even the most basic requirements of modern day Historiography. To be honest, they do not.

            I am not sure if the Gospel characters existed or not. Most religious Jews who are Torah experts see the entire New Testament as being based on various literature in Jewish sects that opposed the Judaism prevalent within the Second Temple and many of these Jewish scholars have never really fully accepted Jesus as historical. I tend to side with them. I am not sure but I have a very difficult time accepting that there were magic people living in a magic time doing magic things. That is well beyond the human experience. However, I am open to the fact that I could be wrong.

            The real point here is that IF I am correct and IF the clergy have known this since the beginning of the Church then all of this rape and lying and stealing and harassing of the people in the pews and the never ending power plays by officials in the Church makes perfect sense. They do not believe and they use other people’s face to take advantage of them. We see that everyday in modern life that has no connection whatsoever with the Church.

            You are approaching this from Faith. I am not. I want evidence. I have been researching this since I was 16 or 17. Trust me, no creditable biblical exegetic scholar alive today would stick his or her neck out among other scholars and call the New Testament history. It is not history. It is something else….perhaps Roman propaganda. That is well established now.

          2. Tom I agree the Bible was never meant to be a history book. The Bible isn’t everything though. There is Tradition as well. Also writings of the Founding Fathers. Jesus has been documented by historians of other faiths not just the Jewish and Christian faiths. I understand about wanting evidence. Science is finding that slowly but surely. I only have a BA in English but started out as a Biology major so I understand the need to investigate and look into things. I am consistently doing that also. I later went into Nursing and realized that there is so much science, history etc will ever explain. My patients taught me about faith, courage and the strength of the human spirit especially when connected to God. So as much as I love investigating and digging deep to find answers and evidence I also realize there are some things I will never be able to wrap my head around on a mental level but their are many things on a spiritual level one comes to know and understand and sometimes that knowing starts with a leap of faith and trust.

        2. Beth,

          You write, “I watched this highly educated man return to a childhood faith over the course of 10yrs while he struggled w cancer. Heaven reached out and touched Earth on more than a few occasions. Faith is a delicate thing it needs to be fostered and nutured everyday in the correct way or it dies.” Could you describe more how you saw your father move into realistic faith? Because of your father’s cancer and because he was well educated did your father become antagonistic towards God and others? Did you experience your father’s mind going haywire and then gradually fell into his faith and serenity? Did his realistic faith communicate security? Did you ever observe your Father living in such profound faith that his death communicated mystical overtones?

          If I may, my Dad passed away last year on September 27th, also from cancer. I saw him a couple months before his death and he was telling me he was going to beat his cancer. It was as if he was determined to beat his mortality. In my view, his ego inflation kept wanting him to emerge as the victor, the superior person. My Dad thought of himself as a big shot and he had a “larger-than-life” image of himself. Yet he could not escape his mortality, as he had to submit to death and ultimately the judgment of others about him. Maybe he found his center of his faith and from this could find strength in not acting.

          I said my goodbye a couple days before he died and never went to his funeral. I was just too sick to attend and the enormous dignity for him now is just faith. This light and the darkness, Being and non-Being is all One for him now, no alienation and no separation. It just seems faith offers this profound liberation and this inner peace, no matter how he abused his power. Faith offers this wonderment of a child, being fully and deeply human, in the simplicity of faith itself. It seems my response to my Dad now is sincere and heartfelt. Faith, this profound communion in this natural world, just seems to open up this wonder at existence.

          If these questions are too hard for you to answer you do not need to respond Beth. And I am sure you recognize the support of Presence in your own faith. I am just writing because I truly believe Catholics4Change is a faith beyond beliefs and doubts. Faith is with us all and faith is our guide, even in death’s presence.

          1. It is not my place to question any one’s Faith or non-Faith. They must live the reality that they see and experience. As for me….I am with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin the great scientist and Jesuit thinker, writer and paleontologist. This is from the living hour org website and speaks to how I see Faith in myself and in others.

            “The 20th century Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a remarkable figure in that he was both a highly trained scientist and defender of the Christian faith—someone who realized that the entire structure of Christ’s mythology had to be reworked to fit new scientific discoveries. Having forged that new structure through the crucible of his own experiences and knowledge, he not only strengthened his faith in humankind’s divinity but his faith in the Father’s kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven.

            “Unlike most of his Catholic contemporaries, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin did not see the world as something inherently corrupt (as being in a fallen state) but as inherently good. By viewing the world in such a way, Teilhard was less likely to experience those crises of faith that so often afflict more orthodox Christians, whose Christ mythology demands that they leave reason at its doorstep. For Teilhard not only are you and I “the light of the world” (Matt. 4:14) but the world is a light unto itself.1 The following quote is a profound summation of his faith:

            “If, as a result of some interior revolution, I were successfully to lose my faith in Christ, my faith in a personal God, my faith in the Spirit, I think that I would continue to believe in the World. The World (the value, the infallibility, the goodness of the World): that, in the final analysis, is the first and the last thing in which I believe. It is by this faith that I believe. It is by this faith that I live, and it is by this faith, I feel, that at the moment of death, mastering all doubts, I shall surrender myself.”

          2. Syd, are you local? If you ever wanna meet for coffee let me know. As for my dad he was stubborn and traveled and lived alone for 10 yrs with Multiple Myeloma. There were many ups and downs and medical crises. I was always concerned he would end up dying in some foreign country and even got a passport in case I needed to travel to reclaim his body somewhere like India but then I realized if he did it was his choice. One day he even said “what should I do just lay down and die?” He didn’t complain much even though he was in a lot of pain. He made up his mind he had got extra time with his illness and he was going to continue to live fully til he died. At the same time he prayed more especially the prayer the nuns had taught him as a kid.. The prayer to St. Joseph for a peaceful death. My dad had the comfort thru out his cancer that he was loved by God. I think it made a huge difference.I had been reading about pain and suffering and how Mother Teresa managed to do the work she did surrounded by suffering. Her strength came from adoration and spending time in front of Jesus and so one day driving in my car I cried out to her to help my dad if it was Gods will and if not to comfort him. A week later I walked into a patients room who was one of Mother Teresa’s nuns and she told me she was praying for me and my intentions. She explained to me that she was from the contemplative branch in NJ. Later that day she said she wanted me to meet someone she said this is “Mother Superior from Calcutta” and the Mother came over to me looked me in the eye and gave me a Mother Teresa prayer card and a miraculous medal and asked if I ” would pray for miracles”. I was frozen to the ground because I had just asked for a miracle a week before. I told my dad this story and it was a great comfort to him and he ended up living 10 yrs with cancer not the 6months to 3yrs the doctors had originally told him. His faith journey was a long painful one but he always knew nuns were praying for him and he was loved by God and was a witness to faith in Christ to many of his atheist friends as well as people he came in contact including the nurses and doctors that cared for him. His friends asked me who the man on the cross was in his hospital room on one occasion, a Hindu nurse at a catholic hospital had seen me and my sister praying and was touched enough to tell my dad once when he came off life support. Even at his funeral a Muslim friend commented on the Crucifix on my dad’s coffin.He had not realized how religious my dad was because he was quiet about his faith but from the look in his eyes and from the words he said I could tell the light bulb went off in his head. He said “your dad has helped hundreds of people”. Refering to my dads work in Indian in the Peace Corp and beyond, helping relocate Vietnamese refuges etc. So many instances how his illness and faith impacted people that they wanted to know who Jesus was. Towards the end his mind started to wander and he had pain but he also felt his deceased family members and an angel were with him. Maybe the work of some of his medications I don’t know but he died in his sleep and had went to confession the first time in 40 yrs and a priest came and talked to him for hours one day. So would he have loved to keep living yes but he also was spiritually healed and knew there was a God that loved him and he believed in heaven. I to believe in a God that loves me and in heaven and my dad;s suffering and death was a gift to me as it helped me get through some of the worst times in my life. I have been persecuted for me my faith since then and if I hadn’t experienced what I had with my dad I wouldn’t have been able to handle what came next. In the end what is most important is peoples souls. There is a fight bwt the Devil and Jesus every day for souls because we all have free will. My dad was a protector and I never doubted once his love for me. That’s what a good father does. So for all the bishops they need to resign because they failed to protect but also they fail to convey their love to all of us.

  7. Prayer and silence. When all else fails, go back to your original scheme. Prayer, ma.er without success, that is insane.I used to believe in prayer. As a young child, I would pray for my parents to stop fighting one floor below as I hid with a pillow over my head late at night in my bedroom closet. My prayers were not answered. When my local parish priest locked me and my fellow altar server in a storage closet while he went around and locked the doors of the Church before he molested both of us, I prayed to God.I prayed that this was not happening to me. But it was. So, I don’t much believe in prayer.

    1. There was a well known Philadelphian who owned a one time media company and a newspaper who was Jewish and an atheist. He told me 23 years ago that prayer and faith would not change the outcome of ones life. If there is a higher power why do we have so much pain and suffering. Personally, I just want to cover all my bases “just in case” my old friend is wrong…..

  8. “So, I don’t much believe in prayer” is a satisfaction for me. I too do not believe in prayer. Your being locked in a storage closet and then tortured must have felt like God had no concern. You may have felt you had to resign to your fate. Your prayers having no meaning, then overwhelmed and violated, it seems would have created a mass of contradictions for you. Naturally, I want to say I am sorry for this pain and suffering this created for you, which is something you have heard over and over. Because I cannot even begin to touch the pain and suffering you have had to endure Jim I just want you to know I appreciate your inner springs of courage within you now, the strength and security you communicate to all of us. You are effective because you know what it is like to feel insecure and to look for someone else to help. You make this site comfortable because you show this ability to be comfortable with yourself. With this said, your inability to believe in prayer is a healing force for me because it is not merely incidental to who you are, just a moment of healing that is offered with directness and authenticity.

    As a side note, I called God “Buck-Hole” in AA and who could wonder why.

  9. Syd: I went to hundreds of AA meetings the first two years of my sobriety. I stumbled over the steps but still managed not to drink. What I learned by going to AA meetings was that it was possible to not use alcohol.The old timers shared their experiences using old cliches’ that somehow helped them stay sober. After awhile going to AA meetings started to remind me of going to Catholic Church as a young boy. Many of the women reminded me of some of the nuns that had taught me in grade school. I began to realize that if I went to another meeting , I would need to visit the bar downstairs after the meeting. I haven’t had a drink in some thirty years. I now know that everyone needs to find their own path in recovery. Whether recovering from addiction or sexual abuse, the path is whatever works for you. You write about the pain and suffering that I have gone through but I am beginning to realize that what we endure in life, prepares us for what comes next. So that growing up in an alcoholic family and dealing with that gave me the strength, to deal with what came next: my own addiction, the sexual abuse and whatever else may come my way. Unlike you, I have not had any real medical problems but know that could change at any time.I sense that you and I are kindred spirits.

    1. Thanks Beth and thanks for telling me about your Father’s faith. Your Dad’s faith was realistic, especially in connection with cancer, and his faith appears to have affirmed your faith in the depths of your soul. The dark side of life, and the knowledge that it will end in death, appears to have made it not so terrifying for him. It appears this allowed him to embrace his faith and allowed you to embrace your faith. Your faith appears to give you a value which endures. I enjoyed reading how the incredible richness of your Father’s faith is now the richness of your own faith. I am awed by your writing.

      I am sorry for the intense suffering you had to endure because of your faith and the torment you had to experience. It is unique how you and Jim both describe your experience given to you was not merely incidental, but took you both to a deeper self. Your testimony about your Dad, the recognition of your own faith and even Jim’s strength given to him from the abuse offers a quiet satisfaction. Jim and you both offer a satisfying quality, as if we are part of a Plan. For me, I never had this unfolding in life and what felt like a Plan. Because I have hit hopelessness and despair every ten years, and getting through without killing myself directly or indirectly, my faith has finally surrender to my powerlessness.

      Faith in the journey is more satisfying for me now, as it is for you. Thank you for your real faith Beth and thank you Jim for your inner springs of courage.

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