Sr. Maureen Invites C4C Site Visitors To Prayerful Protest May 6th

There will be the usual First Friday Vigil on May 6th from noon to 1 p.m. in front of the Philadelphia Archdiocesan offices at 222 North 17th Street in center city.

All of welcome to participate in prayer, picketing and protest.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Victims’ Advocate

For more information, email:

Publishers note:

Lets’ get out to support victims, protect children and renew our Church!!! There is a parking lot at 18th and Vine. Suburban train station is just a three blocks away. Bring signs if you’d like. The protest includes a procession, short prayer vigil and petition signing.

Our Request for Truth in Action

We didn’t get answers to our questions. (See the Cardinal’s response here.) Now we ask for action – not words. The following actions are necessary for restoring faith and renewing the Catholic Church in Philadelphia.

1-    Direct pastors to hold open meetings with parishioners on the issue of Church response to the Grand Jury report. Give pastors the appropriate support to have such meetings.

2-    Announce the names of any suspended priests and the nature of the allegations against them.

3-    Create a customized charter of child protection, as was done in many other U.S. Dioceses.

4-    Remove the disclaimer language that precedes the Standard of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. These disclaimers are not found in other U.S Dioceses.

5-    Establish a special collection for clergy sex abuse victim support groups with all the money going directly to those charities.

6-    Fund a victim assistance program run independently of the Archdiocese and its lawyers.

7-    Publicly support legislation that suspends for two years the civil statute of limitations on sex abuse claims. Support the abolishment of the statute of limitations for sex offenses against minors.

8-    Use independent providers for the evaluation and treatment of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

9-    Follow all recommendations made by Gina Maisto Smith and her team.

10- Send every new allegation received by the diocese to Gina Maisto Smith and her team. (Victims should contact the DA’s office. Please see resources page.)

It’s time for us to be the Church. We must unite ourselves with victim survivors. It is up to each and every one of us to protect children, bring victims justice and help our priests of integrity retain the respect they deserve.

In solidarity we become the living Gospel this Holy Week. Please spread this information by sharing this Web site with every Catholic you know this Palm Sunday. Let’s show them we are not a weak voice but a powerful force of faith.

Breaking the Silence

by Nancy Buck, guest blogger

Written after the Grand Jury Report Release in Jan. 2011.

> We heard the news; we read the carefully crafted damage control statements. We
> gritted our teeth and drew taut our lips. We dropped silent tears for children
> so young, so scarred, so betrayed. Some of us renewed our warnings to our
> children.  This week we met at CYO games, in church vestibules, bus stops, and
> school activities.  Through it all we sounded a murmur of disapproval;
> sometimes refusing to write that offertory check or vowing not to attend
> church, feeling helpless to do anything else.  But until we raise our voices,
> like a practiced choir in a communal cry of “ENOUGH!” then we have failed the
> victims of clergy abuse, just as surely as our church officials have.  So why
> then are we so silent?
> Like many faithful in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, I attended church this
> past weekend skeptical, disappointed and curious as to how the leaders could
> respond.  As it turned out, some addressed their congregations with petitions
> for prayers, or at one, a substitute priest addressed the church, as their
> pastor stands accused of a crime.  Still others, like the church I attended in
> Exton, remained silent, but for the reference to a terse statement from
> Cardinal Rigali, left in piles in the vestibule.  Granted, many innocent
> clergy grapple with their own response, and many faithful may be fearful of
> “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”; but to remain silent is to give
> credence to the way the hierarchy of the church continues to handle these
> cases—shielded from view of society and its own congregations, a puzzling
> response, in view of a basic Catholic catechism.
> The church, we are told from first lessons, is the PEOPLE—the body of
> believers.  As such it is our duty to call for reform, demand a voice, protect
> our children and join with other voices of concern, like those of the
> Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), who stood on the wintry
> sidewalks of the City of Brotherly Love with only twenty-five strong, while we
> kneeled in the warmth of the churches by the hundreds, unaware of their
> painful plight.

Catholics join in the thousands in support of children whose
> voices are silenced by abortions; yet for these victims of abuse, our church
> community musters merely silent prayer. Through shame? Through embarrassment
> for our church?   How different it might be if we collectively stood by these
> children, now men and women, and joined hands in demanding reform, instead of
> relying on Seth Williams and a grand jury to be their only defenders.  The
> next time these victims brave the cold, from both Mother Nature and from
> within the church, we, lay and clergy alike, should march beside them.  The time has come
> to raise our voices, plan mass demonstrations, withhold funds, overturn the
> moneychangers in the temple and pass the word, “ENOUGH!”

Don’t Bother Raising Your Hand: It’s Time to Rally

The second grand jury report underscores the need for change within the Catholic Church. Before some folks start screaming leftist radical Church destroyer at me, let me explain what I mean and don’t mean by change.

I don’t mean to change doctrine.

We need to change the way Church leaders deal with the laity on important issues. We need to create a system of meaningful communication between the laity and Bishops.

Around the world, millions of Catholics are outraged by the handling of sex abuse cases involving clergy. How do we make our voices heard? How do we demand action? What is our recourse?

I don’t want to stop putting money in the collection basket. While it might hurt the archdiocese, it would also hurt my parish and those closest to me. I believe in supporting the services it provides. I don’t want to pull my children from their school. I believe in Catholic education. And I don’t want to walk away from my faith. I believe in God.

Is this what the Church leadership is counting on? If so, they should read the comments on this site. Others are not as torn. And I don’t judge anyone’s reaction to this complicated situation. I can understand them all. We need to hear each other.

There is no “Comment, please” box in the back of Church. Too many letters to the archdiocese have gone unanswered and too many meaningless letters from the Cardinal have been read. Time and time again I hear from all of you, “They just don’t get it.”

In Catholic school, we had to raise our hand if we wanted to speak. Then, you waited to be called on. By this point, I think we’ve all realized the Cardinal isn’t calling on us.

That’s why I created this site – to give everyone a place to speak out. And boy have you! I’m amazed and affirmed. To think a few short weeks ago I thought I was alone in my anger. We’ve begun the conversation; now let’s find the solution.

Join us in the first step. Meet me on Friday, April 1st at noon in front of the Archdiocesan administration building at 222 North 17th Street, Philadelphia. Create signs and invite friends. I’ll have extra signs, too. As advocates for all laity, Catholics4Change will join and support the victims advocacy groups that regularly hold vigil there.

I know this is difficult for some, but it’s time to protect our children and the future of the Church. This will be my first protest, but probably not my last.

Stay Tuned: Archdiocese to Remove Priests

The Philadelphia Archdiocese may have finally suspended accused priests from active ministry, according to credible sources. The number is unclear, but could range from 25 to 34. According to the grand jury report and an article in The New York Times, there are as many as 37 credibly accused priests in active ministry.

The announcement may take place later today. This action was most likely prompted by media coverage, pressure from the D.A.’s office and the threat of more costly civil suits.

Morality and common sense would have dictated immediate removal of all credibly accused priests. Apparently the Archdiocesan hierarchy falls woefully short in this area.

This action is far too late for countless victims. Putting our children at risk for even an additional day after a credible accusation is inexcusable. Will they name the 37 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse and harassment? Will those parishes and institutions show their outrage at being put at risk. I pray they will.

Typically, the archdiocese makes these announcements late morning. Check your local news stations at noon.