Shocking indictments in Philadelphia

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was most recently in the national headlines for the arrest of a Pennsylvania abortionist and his staff because of a little house of horrors they were maintaining in West Philadelphia. Today he announced some other alleged horrors out of Philadelphia in the indictment of three priests—68 year old Edward Avery, 64 year old Charles Engelhardt, and 47 year old James Brennan—and a parochial school teacher, 48 year old Bernard Shero. They have been charged with rape, indecent sexual assault and other criminal charges.

Shocking enough, but Williams has also arrested 60-year-old Monsignor William Lynn, the Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the assaults because of his handling of these cases and allegations which stem from assaults on two boys which took place between 1998 and 2000.

Williams said Lynn, who served as Secretary of the Clergy from 1992 to 2004, "supervised two of the abusers . . . knew they were dangerous and chose to expose them to new victims." I'm trying to think of another instance of this, but this may be the first time a diocesan official has been criminally implicated for negligence or obstruction.

"As a Roman Catholic myself, this is not a happy thing for me to have to do," Williiams said. "The criminal acts that occurred here are not representative of my religion. They are the bad acts of individual men. I recognize all the good that the Roman Catholic Church has done and continues to do in the world. But I am sworn to uphold the law, and I will do what is necessary to protect children." The DA called for improvements in the law to allow for more aggressive measures against people in authority who may have contributed to a cover-up for abusers. More worrisome is his suggestion that active pedophiles may still be lurking among the Philadelphia clergy.

"Even more troubling, the grand jury believed that many priests—dozens of them—have remained in ministry despite solid, credible allegations of abuse," he said. "It is time for the church to remove all credibly accused priests from ministry, and to put protection of children ahead of protection from scandal."

The investigation suggest there are as many as 30 active Philadelphia priests with allegations of sexual abuse in the past, a charge denied by Bishop Daniel Thomas. "There are no Archdiocesan priests currently in ministry who have an established or admitted allegation of sexual abuse of a minor," Thomas said.

The Grand Jury report is stomach-churning reading to say the least. You can also view Williams's statement. Along with approving the criminal charges, the Grand Jury also recommended that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia overhaul its procedures for assisting victims and for removing priests accused of molesting minors.

MICHAEL SKIENDZIELEWSKI
6 years 3 months ago
January 1, 2006…………..now FEBRUARY 10, 2011
Mr. William Sasso
Chairman
Stradley and Ronon
Philadelphia Office
2600 One Commerce Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Re: Legal Representation-Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Pedophilia/Sexual Abuse – Grand Jury Report
Dear Mr. Sasso:
As counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia during the grand jury proceedings, I am deeply saddened by all of the evidence, documents, statements, etc. that have been made public in the grand jury report regarding sexual abuse by various diocesan priests. In addition, I also call your attention to this paragraph on your website:
“Attesting to Stradley Ronon’s strength in this area, we have long served as general counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
I find this particularly disturbing that you and other members of your law firm have provided legal representation and advice to the executives in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over the many years of these documented claims of sexual abuse and pedophilia.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME………
6 years 3 months ago
Anne: 

You said:  They may have wanted to do the right thing, but misguided and misplaced loyalty to the institution seemed to have crippled their moral judgment and so they maintained silence.

And I think this distinction of motive between the hiearchial misdeeds versus the rapists' misdeeds is important.  I refuse to believe that any of the decision-making by the hiearchy in these matters was taken lightly and with any malice towards future victims.  But in reading the comments, people speak as if those in authority had no intention of stemming the abuse, but were actually condoning and encouraging abuse by providing new victims for the taking....shhhhh, just don't tell anybody.  Maybe that is true, but I'm certainly not going to jump to that conclusion.    


As for the priests who did the abusing, there I can find malice.  These are the guys that should be in jail.

Anne Chapman
6 years 3 months ago
So you agree, Maria.  Both prayer and the justice system are needed.

 You do agree, it seems now, that it is fully appropriate for those tasked with protecting society to indict those who appear to have either committed crimes against the young, or protected those who committed those crimes and placed other young people in harm's way.  You agree that it is their responsibility to explore the evidence, bring it before a Grand Jury,  to go to trial if indicated, and to render the appropriate civil penalties (which may include prison time) if found guilty.  And you agree that it is also fully appropriate for people to pray for the priests and the bishops so that they will repent, and sin no more.  And you agree also that part of repenting for those who are guilty of either the crimes against the young or in protecting criminals and placing them in positions where they could harm more young people, is accepting that they must face the legal justice system for what they have done. 

Not just prayer, and not just the legal system.  Both.  We are agreed, are we not?
6 years 3 months ago
I find it unfathomable that  some here try to minimize the actions of a grand jury.(Just ordinary (read uniformed) people they seem to argue - not my preconceived ideas.) A previous grand jury report in Philadelphia was fought vigorously by the hierachy there and their defenders. I hope we'll have simple honesty and accountability instead - not more spin!
Ms.Byrd seems very preoccupied I think with America's editorials and articles, because  the reports of Society of Jesus members wrongdoing have been widely reported.
Could her view be slanted?
I think it's enough to say that as continued news of sex abuse in the Church rolls out, shock is something past (except at precise details of wrongdoing) but the desire for better accountability and honesty, not exhortations to prayer or "visitations," as in Ireland, will satisfy most people.
6 years 3 months ago
Anne -

I'n not excusing anything; I'm just saying that we need to presume innocence, be careful in how our personal biases affect our rush to judgment, and try to understand the motives underlying the bad acts committed and prosecute accordingly.

Matt keeps referiing to grand jury reports.  Do you see who authored those reports?  The prosecuting attorney - the person rewarded for a conviction! - yet they read like statements of undisputed fact.  What happens, then, after the release of these reports, and media coverage, and misinformed bloggers and commenters, someone posts the current article and people think, "Oh, yeah; nothing shocking about that; these guys are definitely guilty."  And a whole institution is poised for destruction, done in, intentionally or not, by those with preconceived notions about who did what and with what motive.

Believe it or not, my first reaction to the posting of this article was, "Good.  Lock the bastards up and throw away the key."  Easy to feel that way.

Yes, let the truth come out.
Helen Smith
6 years 3 months ago
Michael Brooks:

Do you knowthe names of the lay and clergy members of the archdiocesan committed that evaluates the credibility of the accusations?  Sounds like they were derelict and should be held accountable.


Dominic Tomasso
6 years 3 months ago

David, you keep shading the facts. Rape, sodomy and molesing children are crimes. Cimes deserve to be punished, period. People that commit these crimes deserve to be punished no matter who they are.

Pray for the offenders but hold them responsible. The rules are the same for bishops, and sexual abusers.  

You don't believe that crucifixion is the only answer. You seem to believe that asking these criminals to be held accountable is like taking steps to crucify them. Get real David, how did you conclude that opinion?

Lets face it, if you do not believe that these criminals should be held accountable, what do you think would be the proper punishment.? Three Our fathers and one hail Mary.

Dominic Tomasso
Advocate For Bishops Accountability
[email protected]
Eugene Pagano
6 years 3 months ago
Rocco Palmo says Msgr. Lynn is thought to be the first chancery administrator to be indicted for the handling of abusers: 

http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2011/02/has-it-changed-enough-in-river-city.html

Not to start a digressive thread in the comments,  but I always disclose that i have left for the Episcopal Church when I comment on Roman Catholic sites.  This is not to gloat; the Episcopal Church has had its own problems in this area.
Michael Cremin
6 years 3 months ago
I'm curious as to why the author of the post calls these allegations 'shocking.' This has become par for the course in our church. Every few months, it seems, we learn of some 'shocking' crime involving priests and children and the hierarchy, either in America or somewhere else in the world. I am not longer shocked. I am simply disgusted, and ashamed. Yet another reason why Catholics are abandoning the Church in droves.
CATHERINE GREEN MRS
6 years 3 months ago
Q:   ''What does it take to get things changed in the church so  that abusers not just be transferred around?''

A.  Arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the transfers of abusers.


Or so it seems.   The Grand Jury report is stomach-churning indeed, and I've only skimmed it so far.  Also - look at their recommendation in future for victims - that they not be taken care of by the church.  That this needs to be done by civil authorities.    There's many sad things in that report, but that is one of the saddest.  The church which should be bringing God's love to children - is not considered fit to care for them.  



MAUREEN TURLISH SISTER
6 years 3 months ago
JOHN SULLIVAN
6 years 3 months ago
David,

There really is no need for a vocabulary lesson; we all know what an indictment means. It is, however, revealing that your immediate reaction is to impugn the DA and the legal process. Let's hope that the allegations are proved false, and pray for our Church.
MAUREEN TURLISH SISTER
6 years 3 months ago


FAILED CHURCH LEADERS

(I wrote the letter below in 2005 when the previous Philadelphia Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was released.  I see no reason to revise my opinions.  The state of the Church in the U. S. is worse now than it was in 2005.  Not one bishop in the United States has been arrested, sanctioned or disciplined for failing to protect children and, if anything could be worse, by their complicity, putting thousands of additional children in harm's way)


Letter to the Editor
Philadelphia Inquirer
By Sister Maureen Anne Paul Turlish
October 24, 2005

Re: "Abuse's 'enablers' still rank in church," Oct. 14:
As a woman religious who has chaired departments in two Philadelphia diocesan high schools, Archbishop Wood and Lansdale Catholic, I am appalled and sickened by the callous abuse of our children, the protection of abusers, the harassment of whistle-blowing nuns and priests and the lack of accountability of our church leadership.

The sad fact is that Cardinals John Krol, Anthony Bevilacqua and Justin Rigali, along with the "enablers," are far beyond the reach of the law as it presently stands.

Unfortunately, too, there are not even any sanctions that will be placed on them. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is impotent, and Rigali is hardly expected to slap the wrists of those who followed what were obviously his and his two predecessors' orders.

At the very least, the eight infamous administrators named in the article, along with Msgr. William Lynn, now a pastor in Downingtown, should be removed from pastorates and from the ranks of bishops and monsignors. If they were in the military, they would have been busted to private!

So, it falls to the laity, whenever they wake up, to hold all of them accountable.

Sister Maureen Anne Paul Turlish
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
New Castle, Delaware
[email protected]


__________
Marie Rehbein
6 years 3 months ago
People who commit crimes should be tried and convicted.  It doesn't matter what they do for a living.  In other words, it's about time.
6 years 3 months ago
"I am no longer shocked".

Michael: I agree. I think many of us lost the capacity for schock. Google Jesuit sexal abuse, It brings up 160,000 citations.
Charle Reisz
6 years 3 months ago
''America'' may find the indictment in Philadelphia ''shocking''.  Many of us, catholics or former catholics, sigh a breath of relief and say finally.  This is especially true with the charges against  Monsignor William Lynn who facilitated the crimes. 
Matthew Pettigrew
6 years 3 months ago
Anyone who read what was said about Msgr. Lynn in the 2005 grand jury report and in the report released today would have a difficult time agreeing with David Smith's statement to the effect that the district attorney is overreaching and playing politics with people's lives.
Molly Roach
6 years 3 months ago
Anyone who facilitates the rape of children should face trial.  Period.
6 years 3 months ago
Witness: South Bay priest injured in revenge beating on "list" of alleged and convicted molesters

www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_17341936
Vince Killoran
6 years 3 months ago
I'm not certain why Maria wants us to Google "Jesuit sexual abuse" but I did and, sure enough, there were about 160,000 hits.  I then Googled "Bishops sexual abuse" and there were over 2.3 million hits.

One of the most tragic aspects of this tragedy is that there are still predators out there, still being protected by Church officials.
6 years 3 months ago
The hesuits are not under the purview and scrutiny of the Bishops. If they were, a re-calculation would surely ensure...
6 years 3 months ago
Vince: Ever motice that America Magazine it is always about the other priests and Bishops and never about the Jesuits ?
Vince Killoran
6 years 3 months ago
Maria writes "A re-calculation would ensue. . ." Would that be a good thing? I don't think it would be.


It's difficult to formulate a response to  David's excuse that "The monsignor who was arrested. . .  has been charged only with 'two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the assaults"  Good grief. When endangering the welfare of a child is casually dismissed we are in deep, deep trouble.



I have yet to read a post by David on the sexual abuse scandel where-even in the face of news that a priest has been found guilty-he doesn't spin out an excuse to absolve the Church hierarchy of blame. 
Matthew Pettigrew
6 years 3 months ago
David Smith downplays the charges against Msgr. Lynn by saying that "he's not charged with anything more than not doing enough to stop the alleged assaults."  Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that he is charged with violating the most sacred duty owed by someone who stands in a position of moral and religious authority, namely, to protect our children?
Molly Roach
6 years 3 months ago
It would be accurate to say that Msgr. Lynn was charged with actively contributing to the endangerment of children by assigning the priest predators to parishes and treating it like any other clerical assignment, ie-not notifying pastors of the realities of the situation. And yes Matt, it is a violation of the most sacred duty.
How these men can present themselves as teachers of the Gospel leaves me gasping for breath. 
6 years 3 months ago
I agree with David Smith as far as the importance he places on not judging until all of the evidence has been heard; innocence until proven guilty is the hallmark of our legal system, a sytem designed with the very fact that it is easy to be sucked by "momentum" into the guilt - or innocence - based on hearsay and the bad acts of others. 

So, yes, by all means we must not, can not, judge these individuals who were indicted.  And to the extent that we want to consider evidence of guilt by cultural influence, we must remember that such evidence cuts through both sides: that is, there have been some big paydays for those who claim to have been molested.  The lengths that people will go to collect on a lawsuit (think people who jump onto buses after an accident) should make anyone think hard about which individuals should be believed. 

Greg Bullough
6 years 3 months ago
What is ''shocking'' is that action has finally been taken against an individual who allegedly protected and abetted fellow clergy's abuse of children. We'll see if it sticks, or if, as with Bp. Walsh in Santa Rosa, it's a ''traffic school'' offense.

What would be more shocking is if any member of a religious congregation were to publicly acknowledge the railroad-tie in their own institutional eye.  Even those who've made somewhat a name as advocates for abuse survivors. 

I don't expect to see full disclosure in a Diocesean newspaper. 

I don't expect to read a lead story about the Los Gatos scandals or about the legacy of John Powell SJ in America. 

Nothing, it seems, pierces the wall of clericalist loyalty...which is one reason Catholics must continue to treat with circumspection any priest or religious when talking about abuse issues that happen to be close to them.

The handful of priests and religious who've been critical of priests of their own diocese or members of their own congregation have had institutional punishment (note that I do not say ''justice'') meted out to them, and visibly so.


 
6 years 3 months ago
Just want to qualify my previous comment with my belief that maintaining a presumption of innocence does not mean that a relentless investigation and pressing of charges should not be sought to smoke out the truth.

I think the focus on the hierarchy's alleged cover-up is misplaced.  The focus should be on the offenders who put the hierarchy in the position of having to determine how to handle the situation in light of all of the various interests involved.  But for the degenerates who took advantage of the innocent, what guilt would there be of the hierarchy?

Part of what we're seeing here is the seizing of an opportunity by those who seek to destroy or undermine the authority of the hierarchy; those who seek to protect their own by diverting attention from themselves and placing it on those whom they would be happy to see vanish.



Anne Chapman
6 years 3 months ago
Reading some of these posts is as sad as reading the reports of abuse and protection of the worst sort of crimes by bishops and Rome. Why are some Catholics so unwilling to open their eyes to the Truth instead of making excuse after excuse after excuse in a futile attempt to whitewash the abhorrence of these crimes, including, and maybe especially, those committed by the hierarchy, defending the indefensible.  Just as the hierarchy enabled child molesters, some enable the bishops, ensuring that the church will continue to wallow in darkness and be unable to be the light of Christ to the world. Too many of the men who claim to lead Christ's own church literally caused thousands of children and young people to become victims of known sexual predators - when they could have stopped the predators and spared the children. Coldly and callously, they chose to protect the molesters and an institution. Jesus weeps, not only at the evil to the young that resulted from these men's actions, but weeps for those who so blindly support this in the name of the institution also.

 There is no doubt that Jesus would have gone into the temples (the chanceries and the Vatican) and turned out the those who permitted the continued defiling of his church by letting the worst kind of sexual predator loose on innocent young people – with most of the crimes occurring within the temple walls.  Those who blame the victims, who blame the lawyers, who blame the media, who blame everyone except those who knew and were in a position to act - and didn't - risk becoming passive participants in the same sins or risk becoming so in the future by not demanding policies from Rome that ensure that bishops do not ever protect criminals again. Some people's faith is  misplaced -  invested in an institution which they have put in the place that is God's alone– their loyalty should be to God and not to an institution and its human leaders, both of whom have often shown themselves to be un worthy of either loyalty or trust. 

 Pray that those who persist in stubbornly defending, and thus enabling, those who protected the evildoers will someday have a conversion of heart and begin to work to clean up the church they claim to love.
Matthew Pettigrew
6 years 3 months ago
Michael Brooks suggests that the focus on the hierarchy's alleged cover-up is misplaced.  I respectfully recommend that anyone who believes that should read the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, which can be found on the Philadelphia D.A.'s web site [http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/PDFs/clergyAbuse2-finalReport.pdf].  The report not only forms the basis for the indictment of Msgr. Lynn and the others, it all but indicts the Archdiocese for its ongoing mishandling of child abuse matters since the previous Grand Jury report in 2005.  According to the report, for example, "By the Archdiocese's own account, at least 37 priests remain in ministry despite reports that they have engaged in improper behavior with minors."  According to the report, these priests "include pastors, parochial vicars, chaplains, and retired priests who fill in and help out at parishes throughout the Archdiocese.  They are not included on the Archdiocese website's list of known abusers.  And, for the most part, none of their parishioners know they have ever been accused of molesting children."  There's much more, including detailed descriptions of the appalling process the Archdiocese follows to investigate accusations, a process that was adopted after the 2005 Grand Jury investigation.  Just reading about that process is horrifying enough, without even getting into the details of the examples of abuse. 
6 years 3 months ago
A grand jury does nothing but determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial.  It does not mean that the evidence meets the standard of guilt.  No matter how grisly the allegations may be -and a good prosecutor will make sure that the allegations are as grisly as possible to assure that a case goes to trial - the allegations are still just allegations until a trial is held and a verdict under the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard has been reached.

According to the report, according to the report, according to the report....  all adds up to just allegations and accusations.

Surely my liberal friends here are familiar with the movie, "The Wrong Man"?  The Salem witch trials?  The number of prisoners released based on DNA evidence?

I'm not claiming that anyone is innocent; but all of those accused should get what any of us accused of the grisliest bad act would expect in this country: the presumption of innocence and a fair trial. May those how disagree with this be judged by God using the same standards they choose to apply in this case.
6 years 3 months ago
Anne - What is "the Truth" that you speak of with respect to the accused individuals in this indictment?  Do you know something that the rest of us do not; or are you drawing your own conclusions based on what you've read, heard, had preconceived notions of, want to believe, etc....?
Kang Dole
6 years 3 months ago
"I think the focus on the hierarchy's alleged cover-up is misplaced.  The focus should be on the offenders who put the hierarchy in the position of having to determine how to handle the situation in light of all of the various interests involved.  But for the degenerates who took advantage of the innocent, what guilt would there be of the hierarchy?"

This just sort of bew my mind. I've reread it a few times, but I still can't get pass the "what the hell?!" response stage. I mean, I'm sure there are lots of people who wouldn't have committed heinous crimes had it not been for some Himalayan butterfly beating its wings, but beat its wings it did.

I mean, come on!!!! Herp derp! Right, if there hadn't have been abusers in the clergy, then nobody would be responsible for dealing with them. But there were/are abusers, so the responsibility also exists.

Good grief!



Anne Chapman
6 years 3 months ago
Michael,  I am not referring to the current Philadelphia case only.  However, I have few doubts based on my earlier study of the Philadelphia diocese crimes that these charges will hold up, as tragic as that is.

Have you ever read the court documents on Philadelphia from the earlier attempts to obtain justice for victims? Not the news stories, but the documents? They are available online and some of them should literally turn your stomach, just as some of the court documents from the Boston cases make most people feel sick. But, I am not referring only to Philadelphia.  I am referring to the overwhelming body of evidence of the pattern of complicity of bishops and Rome in protecting priest molesters around the world - in the US,  including a few years ago when Cardinal George tried to protect a priest in Chicago after he had been credibly accused of molesting young people post-Dallas; the reports from Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Germany, this week's new report from the Netherlands, reports from Italy, from Latin American countries, letters and statements from Cardinal Hoyos, including the one praising the bishop in France for protecting a molester, the scorn shown to victims by some bishops, notably a couple in Belgium. Etc, etc, etc.  It is (tragically) literally impossible at this point to summarize it all. Only those who choose to look away from the truth (I will remove the capitalization if you wish) of the systematic efforts of the church's leadership to protect the institution and to protect child molesters (some of whom were actually child rapists) thus creating situations where far more children were molested than would have been otherwise, are actually enabling those who hide crimes and criminals and who are harming the church as well as the victims. It's gone far beyond a few isolated incidents and a few bad apple bishops. Even those bishops who apparently tried to get Rome to help them out, and met a stone wall, did not then turn over the criminals under their supervision to the authorities, nor have they ever spoken up about their fellow bishops who did hide crimes and criminals. They may have wanted to do the right thing, but misguided and misplaced loyalty to the institution seemed to have crippled their moral judgment and so they maintained silence. And, as we know, it was a pope who protected Maciel. High level cardinals in the curia who stymied investigations. Another pope  finally exiled Maciel to pray and repent, but did nothing else to him. Those who spoke up early, for example, Father Thomas Doyle, who uncovered much of this early on at the request of the bishops, and who duly and honestly reported his findings, was punished and the bishops took no action even when confronted with the evidence. He has been vilified and is a pariah - for telling the truth.  The truth eventually comes out. And when it does, over and over and over again, in places all around the world, it is up to each of us to consult our own consciences and ask if unquestioning loyalty to those who facilitated the abuse is what Jesus asks of us as his followers?  Jesus asks us to follow HIM!  And often that takes moral courage - including enough moral courage to demand that the leadership of the church stop defiling it.
6 years 3 months ago
Abe -

There is a lot of talk about the hierarchy, almost to the exclusion of the actual perpetrators of the abuse. 

Who's more culpable, the man who rapes the young boy, or that man's parents who stood up for him because they refused to believe in the cupability of their son, who feared having their family name soiled on the basis of potentially fraudulent allegations, who feared the retribution that their son might be faced with, who believed that if their son received counseling that he would never do such a thing again.

It's hard for me to imagine how a grown man could do what has been alleged in these cases; but knowing that it had been done I can't see how we skip over the perpetrator and jump to the superior for punishment.  Blaming the hierarchy is like blaming our court system for giving parole.  No one is screaming to dismantle our prison system, yet many are only too happy to call for the dismantling of the hierarchy's choices in handling these matters.

I'm not saying there is no guilt on the part of the hiearchy, but for Christ's sake, first and foremost you have to look at the acts that have been committed and who committed them.
Anne Chapman
6 years 3 months ago
Michael, you have to consult your own conscience.  If you wish to continue to excuse the widespread and deliberate and systematic cover-up of the most heinous crimes against the young by those who claim to speak for Jesus himself - then continue to do it. You are the one that has to live with your conscience. But think about this - in supporting them in the face of all that is known, do you also risk becoming an enabler?

A lot of prayer, a lot of reflection, and an openness to truth, as hard as it is (it was very hard for me. I tried to deny the ugly truth for years), might lead you to realize that many of the sexual predators' crimes would not have happened if they had not been protected by the institutional church who facilitated crininals instead of protecting the innocent. This was breathtaking moral cowardice in those bishops who knew it was horrible, petitioned Rome, got no help from Rome, and so (dutifully) shut up.  If they had not done that, and in effect becoming criminals themselves (it's possible that in civil law they could be chargd as accessories after the fact if all of this had been exposed earlier), then thousands of children could have been spared the horror of sexual abuse by those whom they had been taught to respect and obey. 

OF course the sexual predators should have been punished. They should have been turned over to civil authorities, but this did not happen because the institiution and those who led it chose to protect it/themselves instead. So Rome played dumb and the bishops lied - sometimes overtly, sometimes by "mental reservation,"often by simply saying nothing.  This is sin.  And this sin must be recognized for what it is.  We pray for forgiveness for what we have done and for what we have failed to do.  The bishops and the curia and the pope sinned against the young and, more importantly against God in countless ways, and have yet to do penance either for what they have done or what they failed to do.  Until they do, the church will remain in darkness.
ed gleason
6 years 3 months ago
Michael Brooks with his too many posts seems to think that we should all shut up and 'presume innocence'. Michael. this is the stance the jury ,judge and defense attorney should take. The lead detectives and prosecutors would be stupid to take that stance. And we will not shut up because more indictments like this will happen next week. next month, next year, sad no????????  say hello to LA Ca Federal Grand jury.
Anne Chapman
6 years 3 months ago
Michael, as I said earlier, it is not this one case, this latest indictment, that implicates the structures and leadershlp of the church up to the highest levels in Rome - it is the pattern that has been shown to exist - at this point, dozens of court cases, inquiries, letters, etc, etc, etc.  in city after city, diocese after diocese, country after country.

 Have you ever read any of the documents that were submitted in court cases in Boston and in Philadelphia?  There are thousands, and few outside the legal system have read them all. But, you don't have to read them all.  A few are enough to make most people back away in disbelief and horror at what too many members of the hierarchy did to protect sexual predators.  If you truly want the truth, then maybe you should read some of them.  And is it not the job of prosecuters to bring forth evidence - to discover and then lay the facts of the case before the courts and let the legal system determine if those facts prove criminality?  Is it not their job to protect society and try to bring criminals to justice?  Do bishops get a free pass from this process simply because they are bishops?  You are objecting to the very process itself, it seems, objecting that there even is an indictment.

Lent would be a good time - sincerely pray, sincerely reflect, sincerely open your mind and ask God if your loyalty to the institution is truly being loyal to God and to THE church - understanding that THE church is not limited to those who wear a Roman collar, live in chanceries, rectories, and Rome.   How does unquestioning loyalty to the institution impact THE church? Can those who so quickly lash out at the prosecutors who are trying to protect society ever see God's face in the child who has been sodomized by a priest who was transferred to his parish by a bishop who knew that this priest had done this to other young people in other parishes?  If that 12 year old boy was the  12 year old boy who stayed in a temple 2,000 years ago after his parents had left for home, and he was molested by a priest in the temple whose superior knew that this priest had molested children before, would you be so slow to demand that not only the priest who molested that 12 year old be brought before the justice system, but also the priest's superior who knew that the priest was a molester - and yet did nothing to protect this victim - in this theoretical case, a 12 year old boy named Jesus, who came from Nazareth.
6 years 3 months ago
Ed -

Too many posts - Just replying to those who've addressed me.

Silly me, I thought we all were supposed to presume innocence.  Now where's my pitchfork? 

I said I'm fine with the indictments; just treat them as such. Peace.

My last post on this. 
Mike Evans
6 years 3 months ago
And so, 10 years later, the cover ups continue and the perpetrators are protected and still being reassigned. Perhaps this 'shocking' revelation will become a serious wake up call to actually address the problems so long swept under the rug of secrecy and even criminal negligence.
Dominic Tomasso
6 years 3 months ago
It's getting easier and easier to understand and believe that so many of our clergy have preformed criminal acts and have gone unpinished due to the protection of bishops, They too, are just as guilty if not more so and should be tried by civil law. How can supposed men of God hide behind the staute of limitations. Bless me father for I have sinned, I had sexual relations with my neighbors wife But it happened 11 years ago and the statute of limitations is 10 years. Give me a break.
david power
6 years 3 months ago
Ed is right. The most amazing part of all this is that we still underestimate the problem.
Maria says that America only prints stories about non-Jesuits who have abuses children ,this too should change.
There is a true sickness in our church, we must be brutally honest and admit that the structures are invalid. The structures of clericalism lead to more insidious sins such as mendacity and in general we are afraid to go to Christ with the true depth of our sins. The minimizing is the fruit of the Bishops who continue to hope that it will all pass soon.
Where are the Saints? Is it only Jason Berry and Tom Doyle  who have been seeking out the truth? In every grave moment in history there have been holy people giving some solace in the pain.Where were they during the last 40 odd years? Does anybody have any names of people who can show us how to confront this evil?      
Dean Goddard
6 years 3 months ago
Shocking?? You must be kidding me. This behavior has existed for decades if not most of the last century. My best friend grew up in Ireland where child abuse by christian brothers clergy was the norm. He has a brother who is deaf to this day from being struck on the side of the head causing his left ear drum to rupture. What is most sickening to me is how religious zealots will defend their native religion to the end in spite of an enormous body of evidence manifest of violence and sickening abuse. Wake up folks, there will never be peace in the world until religion, in all of its incarnations, becomes extince. 
Dean Goddard
6 years 3 months ago
To Michael Brooks ........ 

the problem with your defense here Michael Brooks, is that for decades the catholic church intervened under canonical law to self-servingly protect itself and prevent its clerics from prosecution by the criminal justice system. Thousands of boys, now men, some in their sixties, have had their lives ruined as your pontiff sports red Prada loafers,  Religion, my delusional friend, is evil. The catholic church is the most evil criminal enterprise of them all.
6 years 3 months ago
David: The Cross weights heavily for all of us...It crushed us sometimes. Fr. Hardon SJ, in his bio of Fr Gerlad Fitzgerald ( Fitzgerald first warned the Vatican 60 years prior to the sex abuse scandal that priests should not be sent back into ministry-and was ignored-he wanted priests sent to an island where they could do penance) states:

At the core of Father Gerald's apostolate to priests was this desire to repair for their sins. And those who were to follow him as Paracletes or Handmaids, he urged them to be "dedicated to reparation." They were told "little by little, learn to disdain the ordinary satisfactions of life." Why reparation? Because "this devil in the priestly heart is cast out only by prayer and fasting." (D-129, 130). Not by prayer alone, but by prayer and mortification. This need not mean extraordinary bodily austerities. But it does mean the patient endurance of whatever trials the Lord may send; or the withdrawal of the pleasures and satisfactions previously had; or the silent endurance of rejection and mistrust; or the quiet bearing up with a painful illness, disability or wasting disease. What form the mortification takes is secondary. What is primary is the will to expiate. And this will should become imperative: "Progressively and always with the restraint that is guided by humble obedience to spiritual direction and to superiors, 'way down deep we must develop a thirst, for reparation; and it will come logically in the supernatural order, as we grow in the love of Jesus Christ." (D-130.

All of this makes sense only on the premises of faith. The more deeply a person believes that all sin demands expiation, and the sins of priests are especially odious to God, the more readily will he want to repair the damage done to the Church and to souls by voluntary reparation. All the while the believer knows that, not only is the divine honor vindicated but the sinner himself, here the priest, is showered with graces of divine mercy to become reconciled with God.
Anne Chapman
6 years 3 months ago
Do not forget, Maria, that what these men did was both sin and crime.  Let the church provide spiritual direction, which is its realm, but  the church should not faciitate new crimes and new sins by protecting sexual abusers from the legal authorities.  In doing so, many bishops also sinned and may also have committed crimes.  If there is insufficient evidence to determine guilt, then the priest might go free.  But, it's not the bishop's job to determine legal guilt or innocence - it's the job of the civil legal system.
6 years 3 months ago
Anne: Whether there is sin and or crime, guilt or innocence, still, our power is the prayer and penance we offer, the reparation we extend to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that is wounded, by the sin in the Church.  The Enemy seeks always and everywhere  the destruction of our Holy Mother Church. How does the Enemy do this? He goes after priests. I can't control the courts or control Bishops, but I can offer myself to Him and unite my sufferings with His and beg Him to protect His priests and our Church...
Matthew Pettigrew
6 years 3 months ago
I believe the conversation on this thread has been pro-children and pro-victim.
Denise Gilmore
6 years 3 months ago
Are we to believe that Monsignor Lynn acted on his own? Anyone who's been around a diocesan chicanery office knows that is highly unlikely. 

The hierarchical church has failed completely in the matter of sexual abuse in every corner of the world. Some system of justice should hold the perpetrators and their protectors accountable. They have ruined people's lives.

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