How Could Philadelphia Happen?

The New York Times brings to light several terrible stories about the church this morning, including the news of the record $166 million settlement by the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, which has declared bankruptcy.  As well, Laurie Goodstein's article on the anguish over the explosive situation in Philadelphia, where 24 priests were recently removed from active ministry, makes for essential reading.  Bishop Blaise Cupich of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB's Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, called the situation "confusing and demoralizing."  A key passage:

Church officials are also deeply troubled by how it is possible that in the bishops’ most recent annual “audit” — conducted by an outside agency to monitor each diocese’s compliance with the policy changes — Philadelphia passed with flying colors, said Teresa M. Kettelkamp, executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, which issues the annual audit reports.  “To have that level of compromise of our programs and our process, I was totally shocked,” said Ms. Kettelkamp, who spent 30 years in law enforcement and corruption investigations before she was hired by the bishops.


The main questions, then, are: How could this have happened almost a decade after the Dallas Charter was instituted?  Did the National Review Board, charged with auditing the dioceses's ongoing response to abuse, audit the files of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia thoroughly enough?  How could Philadelphia have passed "with flying colors"?  As the article points out, the independent review boards--unlike a grand jury--are able to audit only what the dioceses give them. 

Thus, unless I am missing something, there seem to be two possible explanations: First, the files given to the review board in Philadelphia were somehow "scrubbed" of incriminating evidence.  Or second, the review board overlooked key evidence of clergy abuse. 

Both possibilities are terrifying.

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7 years 12 months ago
LIKE THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS, we all want to point our finger at somebody else, until somebody reminds us that we're all complicit. How many levels of organization are there between the parish teacher and the bishop?

Seems that about 15 years ago (don't remember when) America published an article about how the laity staff members for parishes and the lay leadership gets entrenched in the dynamics of power, privilege and prerogetive, every bit as much as as the religious.

About six years ago, Reverand James Alison, at a conference of Catholics in San Jose, pointed out that we've allowed a culture of deference to permeate our church. How many people in the parishes choose to defer to the 'leaders' rather than act like adults who are quite capable of asking questions. If you can't ask about parish finances without being afraid of being called a trouble-maker, what else are you afraid to ask about?

I interviewed one of the co-chairs of the SF Zen Center's conflict resolution committee about the types of issues they dealt with. The resolution committee evolved out of equally horrendous events going on after the death of the founder. Interestingly, when the community finally confronted the 'new' leader of the Center, who'd been enamoured by his new role in the community they decided to form a conflict resolution component at the Zen Center.

The Catholic Church is very different, we are not like the Zen Centers, but just the same, some adult skills in questioning what happens in the parish, and a disinterested conflict resolution committee might be a healthy alternative. I know of no other way to deal with a culture of deference in a hierarchical structure.
Jack Barry
7 years 12 months ago
Stick around, Abe.  You may be needed again.
John Swanson
7 years 12 months ago
How can one not lose total faith in the system. I makes me want to cry. How can a parent expect their children to continue in this church?
Eugene Pagano
7 years 12 months ago
An error.  Three priests were suspended from active miistry, then 21 more, for a total of 24, not 37.
Anne Chapman
7 years 12 months ago
The only thing that surprises me, Father Martin, is that you are surprised. Those who have followed this story closely from the beginning are no longer surprised at anything - we have come to expect that the hierarchy continues to hide what it can, when it can, and to dissemble, and often even lie (calling it ''mental reservation), when necessary. 

The problems with the Bishops' accountability process have been apparent since the first John Jay study - it relies on the self-reporting of the diocese - only those records are released that the bishop says can be released. Can bishops who protected child rapists and molesters be trusted to turn over ALL their records to the researchers?  Probably not. The lack of cooperation from many bishops was apparent from the experiences of both Anne Burke and Frank Keating who initially headed up the National Review Board.  Anyone who cared to notice all of this couldn't miss it. Those who didn't - and still don't - wish to see it, didn't and don't. There is no surprise in any of this.  One short sample quote from one short report (you will find dozens of similar reports and articles on the subject by a simple goodle:

"The high-profile lay committee investigating the clergy sex abuse scandals was "manipulated" by the bishops, who used the 13-member National Review Board for public relations cover while withholding key information from the panel.
That charge was made in a March 30 letter from Anne Burke, the Illinois Court of Appeal Justice who serves as the Board's interim chair, to bishops' conference President Wilton Gregory
...Board members question the bishops' commitment to child protection, while some bishops charge the NRB has strayed beyond its mandate.
Burke's letter paints a picture of hierarchical deception and public relations maneuvering. While the letter bears her signature, it was reviewed and approved by the Review Board,"

Until there are policies in place that sanction bishops for hiding criminals and criminal behavior, and until the pope demands and accepts a few resignations, and until those like Cardinal Law are stripped of their positions, given to reward their loyalty for protecting an institution instead of young people, many of us will never again have even the slightest faith in the moral judgment and integrity of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church. How anyone can look to these men for moral and spiritual guidance, given what we know of their absolute lack of moral integrity (even those who did not protect child molesters have remained silent instead of demanding that their fellow bishops resign)?  So far, the hierarchy has been untouchable, both within and outside the church's legal systems.  If it weren't for civil law enforcement and a free press, we would still be ignorant of the almost incomprehensible level of cold, calculating efforts that went on for decades, and still go on, to protect the priests and hierarchy at the expense of children.
Anne Chapman
7 years 12 months ago
My apologies for the typos - I was in a hurry.
Jack Barry
7 years 12 months ago
3rd plausible explanation:  The USCCB and some members will say anything that suits their fancy and serves their highest purposes without reference to reality or truth.   The evidence we see is suggestive.   Implications for Truth should be grounds for concern.  

7 years 12 months ago
Recently I read a comment from a member of the hierarchy (maybe it was in something about Philadelphia) that deplored the behavior of the ''clergy''.  When will we get the full story on what the members of the hierarchy have done and are still doing?
Rich Oberdorfer
7 years 12 months ago
The Church's phobia of scandal needs to be routed out from the institution. This phobia has hurt and destroyed so many, from the innocents in these cases to the censored to the censured.
Stephen SCHEWE
7 years 12 months ago
In John Allen’s interviews with bishops for this week’s NCR report “On Philadelphia, bishops take wait-and-see stance,” none would speak for the record, even though they voiced a spectrum of opinion anonymously.  His unrelated but revealing weekly column described the “fortress” instinct informing many Church leaders’ reaction to criticism:
… Church/state clashes over abortion and homosexuality, coupled with perceptions that the church has become a scapegoat for a much broader social problem with sexual abuse, have fueled an increasingly defensive psychology. Many church leaders have become more prone to interpret disagreement as defiance, more cautious about contamination by secular values, and less inclined to explain themselves to people they believe don’t really want to understand.
Transparency is a prerequisite for accountability, and a “fortress” leadership culture will resist both.  Secrecy and punitive dismissiveness of critics have also been manifest in conservative reaction to John XXIII’s aggiornamento.  Because the current American representatives on the Congregation of Bishops (Rigali, Law, and Burke, according to another commenter from your last thread on Philly) all have personal reasons to inhabit this defensive psychology, in my opinion church leadership will likely remain in a destructive, dysfunctional loop.  At best, there may be priests and bishops like the Libyan colonel quoted at the end of the 3/22 NYT article “4 Times Journalists Held Captive in Libya Faced Days of Brutality:
 As we sat in an office, he murmured two lines of Yeats.
“Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love.”
ed gleason
7 years 12 months ago
The 'horror' will be revealed finally  when Rigali and his monsignor in charge of the priests are put on a stand and it is broadcast on Court TV and then cable TVed for the nation to watch, They are asked this question.
'What did you say or do when you found out that two priests and a lay teacher in the same parish passed around a ten year old for sex'. As a cardinal Rigali is a citizen of the Vatican .. this will happen and so he had better run..  if not..
Lets hope for a lawyer Walsh-like  statement as made to Joe McCarthy... "have you no shame cardinal?'
game set match.
Matthew Pettigrew
7 years 12 months ago
There are undoubtedly many reasons for what is happening in Philadelphia, and many people are culpable. But one name stands out: Cardinal Justin Rigali. There is a dangerous leadership vacuum at the head of the Archdiocese, and Cardinal Rigali proved in 2005 and continues to prove that he is the wrong man for the job. If he doesn't have the decency to resign, he should be removed. He should be replaced by someone who understands clearly and instantly that the role of an archbishop is to put the protection of his flock ahead of the protection of priests, other bishops, and himself.
Winifred Holloway
7 years 12 months ago
The composition of diocesean review boards - who appoints them, how long they serve, and specifics on how they actually function and how they evaluate evidence needs to be looked at.  On Friday, our local paper carried a horrific story on three priests, all retired but still in ministry,who had been placed on administrative leave.  All three had been accused by one alleged victim a few years ago.  They were all returned to ministry in 2004 because the review board deemed the charge not credible.  Another accuser, now 34 years old, came forward recently and all three have been placed on leave.  This man's abuse started when he was 9 years old.  His parents are well known and active Catholics in this diocese.  Particularly disturbing is the treatment he says he received from the review board's investigator, as in "do you want a pay off?"  The young man said he just wanted justice.  The story is at with the headline:  Alleged Victim: Priests used me as sex slave.
7 years 12 months ago
It seems to me until the Bishops and Archbishops are prosecuted for their part in the sexual abuse, especially its coverup. there will not be a major change. Just consider today's article in the NY Times about the Philadelphia Archdiocese. 

         ...the grand jury's charge that the Philadelphia Archdiocese allowed as many
    as 37 priests to continue service, despite an array of charges against them.
    Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia at first rebutted the grand jury's findings, 
    then changed course,  suspended three priests and ultimately 21 more...

How could so many priest still have been in ministry, without the Philadelphia hierarchy kowing and allowing it to happen, and theM to try to deny the charges?
Jack Barry
7 years 12 months ago
Numerous questions beg for answers.  To become a Roman Catholic cardinal, Rigali and brethren swear and promise before God and Pope, among other things, ''...nor to divulge what may bring harm or dishonor to Holy Church…''.  (Trans. by Zenit )   ''Dishonor'' is a polite understatement for the effects of what continues to be divulged through other channels.  Presumably this oath to higher authority still binds.
This oath combined with the long-established techniques of Mental Reservation for inducing listeners to believe a falsehood without technically telling a lie in the eyes of the Church give adequate reason to expect few answers from Rigali or others until significantly greater pressures are brought to bear.  (Catholic Encyclopedia (1911)
Frank Gibbons
7 years 12 months ago
Father Martin,

You glossed over the Jesuit scandal.  How did that happen? 
Crystal Watson
7 years 12 months ago
What Anne wrote (#3) reflects how I feel as well.
7 years 12 months ago
Jack: Thank you, Jack. I just wasn't up to it. It takes a special sort of moxie to bury the Oregen scandal in the first sentence of the post and then bewail the crimes in Philly, don't you think?
7 years 12 months ago
Post # 16 intended for Frank in Post # 14.
Jim McCrea
7 years 12 months ago
"To become a Roman Catholic cardinal, Rigali and brethren swear and promise before God and Pope, among other things, '...nor to divulge what may bring harm or dishonor to Holy Church…'. "

Sounds as if it was written by the Masons or the Scientologists.

Gee, do you think .....???
Jim McCrea
7 years 12 months ago
For how much longer does the hierarchy in this country think that it can continue to mouth platitudes and soporifics that they *think* will placate the sheep and hope that things will be OK? How darned dumb do they really think people are?
Harry Bridges once said: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory over forgetting.”
Maybe these (a friend coined this word which think is appropriate in these cases) bitchops think that memories are so short that people will forget quickly. And maybe a lot of good loyal pew potatoes will forget because they don’t want to believe the truth of what is continuing to happen. But the story is too commonplace anymore. There is too much evidence to be overlooked. And by evidence I mean the complicity of silence, cover-up, lies, half-truths and general obfuscation that most of us have come to believe is the general response of the hierarchy to this ongoing, mind-numbing saga of case after case of child abuse by those from whom we never thought would be guilty. But they ARE, Blanche, they are. And so are these bitchops who continue to fight the wrong battles.
Until they accept that “the truth of a thing is the *feel* of it, not the *think* of it (Stanley Kubrick,” they will continue to lose more and more credibility because they continue to display an ever-decreasing sense of integrity.
7 years 12 months ago
THANKS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, NORMA. But a woman I respect and admire greatly once said, "If you can't afford to leave the church, you can't afford to stay in it!"

I left the church at the age of 11, then returned some 40 years later, slowly. Then I left again, in 1997 or so - again, angry. Then I returned the Sunday after 9/11 (2001) out of a need to be with people steeped in Jesus - regardless of the hierarchy.

Eventually, when we "grow up" we return to the church we've left, and we're stronger for it, and the church grows stronger everytime that happens. We strengthen the church when we challenge one way or another. And, yes, now I serve the church in my own way as a lay person. And I remember the sting of power misused, and authority misused, and Jesus' words misappropriated. And I pray that I will always reflect on how that stings, and try to be a better person in my role as a servant. This is what I would expect from all Catholics, and people of faith in Jesus. And yes, again, the Church knows I'm a bit of a rebel and a little bull in a china shop. But, they can't do much 'bout it.

Peace to you, and keep faith!
Jack Barry
7 years 12 months ago
David Smith - 
Please identify the sources and references on which you base your assertions about many and most laity.   If you collected all the data yourself, where is it published?
If your assertions were true, it would make inexplicable the extraordinary steps being taken at present by Cardinals O'Malley and Mahony and others to conceal abuse-related information known to exist.  
When conflicts of interest and authority involve felonious behavior, prison is a time-tested method of resolution preferred over committees.   Forgiveness will pass through the bars.   
Matthew Pettigrew
7 years 12 months ago
Can anyone, besides the writer of comment no. 22, really doubt that a child being forced to engage in sexual activity with a priest is terrified?
Vince Killoran
7 years 12 months ago
Matt, Jack, and the rest of you guys are wasting your time: there are a few people on IAT that insist on generating a range of excuses to avoid facing the raw and tragic truth of the sex abuse scandal.  Blaiming the laity is a fairly new one though.
John Barbieri
7 years 12 months ago
Sexual abuse is a crime.
Its' perpetrators and accessories are criminals.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church simply doesn't care.
The only justice available will be that brought about by criminal and civil prosecution.
If convicted after fair trials, the priests, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals involved will fully deserve criminal punishment - i.e., long prison terms. 
Even after that, will anything change?
The current structure of the church virtually builds in abuse.
7 years 12 months ago
"Norman, Vince, Jack, I'm only pointing out something fairly obvious - that turning a few bishops - or the entire hierarchy, if you're inclined - into scapegoats is simply skirting a deeper problem.  It involved the entire Church, not just a few people.  A few people directly, of course - the offending religious and priests - but it also involved everybody who kept silent."

I'm totally baffled, Mr. Smith, both by this comment and spirit of your remarks.  In light of these very serious allegations in Philadelphia, on top of the systemic abuse in Ireland that truly threatens to topple the entire Church, in light of the experiences in the US revealed by the Boston Glode and others, how can you suggest that this all just "scapegoating"?!?!  They are sherpherds, for Pete's sake, yet shamefully have tended to circle the wagons too frequently, causing even greater harm and greater scandal.  And I don't see how you can characterize it any other way.  ANd how on earth can you suggest that children who were serially raped, and perhaps more troubling, spritually abused, were not "literally terrified"???

I know as someone who loves the Church, it is painful and hard, but the truth is that this is more than simply the isolated acts of a few perverts.  After Dallas & the Charter, I had thought (together with lots of other Catholics) that this couldn't occur again; we are sadly wrong.  I have come to agree with Anne Chapman and others - we need criminal prosecutions of not just the abusers but those who aided them.  It seems the only way to me to impose some discipline.  And the story of the Philly DA who has indicted these priests is a interesting couterpoint to Rigali's "Romanita" - a poor, African American devout Catholic.

Finally, I think some of the comments at Fr. Martin & the Jesuits are totally unfair.  He acknowledged the Oregon settlement; and globally the Jesuits have been upfront and candid in addressing the abuse by their Members.  It seems a smear tactic intended to avoid the difficult questions to suggest Fr. Martin is avoiding these topics.
7 years 12 months ago
With the obfuscation, and, indeed, impermeability to change and acknowlege their own responsibility on the part of hierarchy, Vatican officials and even some clergy, perhaps what is now needed is a ''youth rebellion'' such as we are seeing in
Tunisia and Egypt.
7 years 12 months ago
 @ Jeff

Largest settlements in the abuse scandal

Archdiocese of Los Angeles: $660 million
Diocese of San Diego: $198 million
OREGON PROVINCE of the Society of Jesus (NW Jesuits): $166.1 million***
Diocese of Orange, Calif.: $100 million
Archdiocese of Boston: $84.3 million
Diocese of Covington, Ky.: $79 million
Diocese of Wilmington, Del: $77 million
Archdiocese of Portland, Ore.: $71.5 million
Archdiocese of Los Angeles: $60 million
Diocese of Oakland, Calif.: $56 million
OREGON PROVINCE of the Society of Jesus (NW Jesuits): $50 million***
Diocese of Spokane: $48 million
I don’t know, Jeff. The Society won third place. If one factors in the $ 60 million dollars worth of claims settled prior to the their filing bankruptcy, they move up to second place. Seems worth more than one declarative sentence. How on earth can one, with any credibility, voice outrage about Philly?  
One of the 500 victims in the Oregon Province scandal, Lawrence, who died a week prior to the settlement, said that he was scared to tell anyone about the abuse because all of the boys were told repeatedly that "men of God don’t talk. We were scared that if we uttered even one word, we would go to hell."
7 years 12 months ago
Why isn't this post entitled, "How Could Oregon Happen?"

Oh, those clever Jesuits know how to play the game: Make an offer of settlement to prevent the dirty details of their actions from being revealed, then try to elicit sympathy over the province's bankruptcy.  Then, find a scapegoat in a diocese currently under mob attack to take the attention away.

I would think that a Jesuit publication would be more interested in defending the actions of its own than attacking the actions of others.
david power
7 years 12 months ago
I agree with most of the comments above and those of Norman and Chris are excellent.
Norman gave truth but Chris gave more. What can we do? Is there an action or set of actions that will set the Church on the right path again?
 I hope that on the 1st of May the voices of the victims are present in Rome.
They will of course be drowned out on the day but God will be with them.
Every day of the year we celebrate the Saints maybe we could mark out one day to remember the sinners.
A tree planted by the Pope to commemorate the victims and to remind future generations of the cover-up would be a small gesture but could be a positive one.Groups like VOTF have no chance of getting into the clerical mindset and limiting the depravity therein.
Could journalists like Dowd be asked to forward proposals to bishops like Dolan? An annual audit of each bishop and his handling of clergy abuse by a laygroup?The framework is needed to correct this.Trusting bishops to do so is madness.  
If the laity  are not organized and armed with proposals then it is all just hot air.
7 years 12 months ago

@ Mr. Swanson: The enemy wants you to give way to despair. Don't.

And I say also unto thee. that thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.(Matthew 16:18).
All of you practice humility towards one another. For God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in the time of visitation. Cast all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you. Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your brethren all over the world (I Peter 5:5-8).

One more recommendation based on St. Peter’s injunction. Be strong in your faith. This is not a pious cliché. It means that we exercise our faith, courageously undertaking what we believe God wants us to do and not be afraid of the consequences. The faith we need is the faith of living martyrs in our day. We are to be witnesses of the power of Christ as a divine exorcist and never allow ourselves to doubt that God’s grace in our lives is more powerful than all the demons of hell.
(John Hardon SJ)

7 years 12 months ago
Litany of the Saints Tom Maher:

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,


hear me.

From the desire of being



   preferred to others,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being


deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may
    increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others become holier than I,
    provided that I may become as holy as I should


O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.



Cardinal Merry del Val

Eugene Palumbo
7 years 12 months ago
In comment #11 above, Winifred Holloway provides a link which doesn't work.  The correct link is
Jack Barry
7 years 12 months ago
How many of those tens of thousands of ''good priests'' have we heard from as to where they stand on the years of coverup and abuse in progress?   Should we take silence as consent?   In 2002, 58 Boston priests found the virtue and courage to write publicly to Law calling for his resignation, joining the voices of the outraged laity.   Are there that many in Philadelphia or the US who would do the same in 2011?
7 years 12 months ago
How many of you commentators or you lurking readers have taken the time to read the John Jay study on the original 'crisis'?
I did. And I read with keen interest how, of the 10,000 accusations against 4,000 priests (4% of the 109,000 who served from 1950-2002), 81% were male. Of the 8,000 or so victims, 78% of them were from the ages of 11 to 17. In other words... it wasn't a "pedophilia" crisis as much as an ephebophilia (teenagers) one.
Now what happens in the secular world when Public school teachers (or certain Congressmen from MA) are caught with teenage boys? Are counties or municipalities bankrupted by the billion dollar lawsuits? Are statutes of limitations removed? Is there a hue and cry for blood, not just for the criminals but their institutions? No. Of course not, because in America, it's long been established that teenagers will be sexually active and at most this is 'illegal'. So we have sex-ed that assumes highschoolers will be sexually active. We allow teenage girls to get abortions without parental knowledge. If Planned Parenthood is caught ignoring statutory rape...there's no similar cry of 'cover up' and demand for punitive civil damages.
Much print is wasted in the culture war by the LGBTQ lobby and their allies huffing and puffing about how pedophilia is not a gay thing. That those priests were not gay. OK, fine. As far as it goes, the 16% of Catholic victims who were genuine minors ages 6 to 10 were most likely NOT harmed by gay priests. Now, what about the others? Are we as a society really going to claim that gay men are NOT attracted to young men? Really? Then why do they celebrate high schoolers who "come out" and establish gay-friendly high schools? How exactly would an 11 year old know his orientation without some form of acting out? Seems to me there's a huge double standard going on and we're not addressing it because we continue the fiction that 'the church scandal' is exclusively about little boys and no one else.
Or that society is perfectly mature and the law perfectly just when it comes to sex among teens or between generations or people in positions of authority over their underlings (or interns) but the Church alone is guilty of coverup and dastardly lack of care for children.
We as a society justify abortion and infanticide. To the point that many of us vote for candidates who are vocifercously pro-abortion on the premise that their 'other' positions balance it out.
We as a society not only accept teenagers 'will have sex' we facilitate it, praise it, pay for it, etc. and those institutions and companies that thrive on it are not pariahs.
Let someone's uncle or cousin rape their teenage boy and what happens? Is it blown up for the New York Times to know and hype....or kept in the family and 'dealth with' quietly? Should it be hyped and the uncle's family be made to pay? Because if what the Church is being asked to do, and the criteria of judgment leveled agains the church is how things should be, then I would suggest we start being consistent.
Let the chips fall where they may, and I think we'll see that the Catholic Church will be the only institution left standing after the guilty are made to pay for their sins and crimes. But that's too difficult. It's much easier to just use this as 'another' reason to disobey the bishops and Pope, to despise the Church who proposes things we don't like to hear, and to claim we're "for the children" when we sure as heck aren't 'for the children" between conception and 1 year old, and then again from 11 to 18!
Anne Chapman
7 years 12 months ago

I too have read the John Jay study numerous times, and have a copy of it on my hard drive.  However, as the mother of three (now young adult) sons, I strongly disagree that the majority of victims were not pre-pubescent.   Eleven, twelve and thirteen year old boys are still children.  A few boys reach physical puberty early, but even those boys are still boys at 13.  I agree with the following:

First, John Jay researchers did not measure the pubescence of victims. They collected two sets of data about victims. One, the “Cleric Survey,” recorded the victims in the following age groups: 1-7, 8-10, 11-14, and 15-17. Researchers presumed that victims aged 11 to 14 were postpubescent; according to the Cleric Survey, 50.9 percent of victims were aged 11 to 14. That’s why on page 56 of the “Nature and Scope” study the researchers claim that “the majority of alleged victims were postpubescent.” It’s not clear to me why John Jay would make that claim, given that researchers didn’t collect data on victims’ pubescence and that the DSM-IV defines a pedophile as someone with recurrent sexual desires for prepubescent children “generally aged 13 or younger.” The American Pediatric Society actually says that for males the onset of puberty–not its conclusion–usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 14. So why would John Jay presume that victims between 11 and 14 years of age were postpubescent? What’s more, according to the Cleric Survey, nearly 73 percent of victims were 14 or younger.
More at
Kang Dole
7 years 12 months ago
Wow. Juan. Wow. I mean... damn.

I have no idea why I started reading and commenting on this bog, but I do know why I'm not going to anymore.
Vince Killoran
7 years 12 months ago
Oy vey! We've been over this many, many times. The sex abuse scandal cannot be blamed on gays.

No amount of evidence from the APA et al. is going to shake bloggers who persist in peddling misinformation.
Anne Chapman
7 years 12 months ago
For those here who are almost gleefully commenting about the egregious failures of the Jesuits not stepping up to the plate any better than the bishops, you may find this blog at NCRonline to be interesting. Excerpts below.

Personally, I am horrified by sexual molestation and rape of children (and teenagers) regardless of whether diocescan or order priests were the molesters. I am as horrified when the leaders of religious orders such as the Jesuits or Christian Brothers or Franciscans (all of which have been guilty ot hiding criminalss) hide these crimes and protect child rapists as I am when bishops, cardinals, the members of the Curia, and popes hide them.

From the blog.

I don’t know what the problem is with clerics admitting fault, but we sure seem to have an institutional problem with that. ....
I’m exhausted by my Church failing to act like Jesus in these horrific events....
Quit dancing around the issue and using excuses like “the best advice we had at the time” and fighting lawsuits with fear mongering: “How will we continue our many good works in universities, missions and parishes if we are bankrupt?” ...
...n the consistent back peddling all too frequent among Church higher-ups, the spokesperson for the Oregon Province said the Jesuits wouldn’t comment on the settlement announcement “out of respect for the judicial process and all involved.”
Really? You think the Jesuits are really worried about disrespecting the judicial process? Disrespecting victims?
Seems to me respect would be shown more fully by standing shamefaced (and, being Lent and all, perhaps in sackcloth and ashes,) in front of the media and any victims wanting to be present and confessing....
It's also time for those who want to either change the subject or to blame everyone but those responsible for this to start facing up to reality also  - this includes all of those who want to blame the laity, blame the media, blame the "anti-catholics," or who simply keep trying to change the subject to public schools, other denominations etc.  Until the Catholics in the pews accept that they too are responsible for the actions of the leaders of their church and begin demanding accountability from the bishops and Rome (and Rome has oversight of the orders, although, as John Paul II's regime proved, they too ignore malfeasance on the part of the heads of orders whom them favor), the settlements and papal on-camera crocodile tears, and bishops' statements are meaningless words and gestures.  It's fine to fingerprint the CCD teachers and CYO coaches and do background checks, and fire those who come up with problems but it is not nearly enough. A start. But, it seems it takes the civil judicial system to ferret out the truth that bishops continue to hide.
Matthew Pettigrew
7 years 12 months ago
Abe:  Without your adult supervision, can you imagine what mischief we might get into?
david power
7 years 12 months ago

How could you have read what others like Anne Chapman and Norman Costa wrote and come out with that statement?Are you worried that the Pope is not being obeyed? The Pope can handle it and if he cant he should not be Pope.  

"I think we'll see that the Catholic Church will be the only institution left standing" , old women will pray, children will be baptized , the gospel will be preached. Those who put the institution above children are agents of the devil. Are you one of them Juan? I am sure that you are not but you must say it out loud "The institution is worth nothing compared to the innocence of a child" .
So many catholics treat this as a blip. The bishops want us to see it as a waiter who spilled a bit of beer on the way to the table rather than one who laced the drinks with arsenic.
The pathologies that were all the rage up to 5 years ago are dying slowly. Many conservative catholics are like a page out of the book I am reading at present."Inside the Third Reich" by Albert Speer.Speer was a good man and convinced of his own goodness.He regretted many things ,but you get the sense that what he truly regretted  was that he and his lost.

This is a wonderful examination of conscience .
Most of you need not view it but Juan it will do you no end of good.

Jesus wept.        
7 years 12 months ago
@ Mr. Power 
"An evil bishop, a bad priest, a layman in grievous sin are dead members of the Body of Christ, and therefore not true members, if we understand 'member' in the strict sense of an integral part of a living body. However, these same 'dead members' are very vital members if we consider them as instruments of activity within the Church. So that the Pope and bishops are real heads, the teachers and preachers are real eyes and tongues of the Body of Christ, even when they have fallen from the grace of God. For while it is true that a Christian becomes a living member of this Body through charity, yet in the Providence of God the instruments of operation in the Church are constituted by the power of orders and jurisdiction, which can be obtained and exercised even by a man who is personally an enemy of God.
"Hence the great difference between a physical body, in which a dead member cannot serve as a vital instrument, and the supernatural Mystical Body, where this is not only possible but actually happens. To explain the paradox we should recall that in natural bodies their work depends entirely on the health and soundness of the organs by which they act. But the Mystical Body of Christ can operate independently of the virtue and vitality of its members, because the soul of this Body, which is the Holy Spirit, can function equally through good instruments as through bad, through instruments that are alive as through those which are dead

De Ecclesia Militante St. Robery Bellarmine
7 years 12 months ago
Sorry, that is Saint Robert Bellarmine.
david power
7 years 12 months ago
Thank You Maria,

very interesting indeed!
Anne Chapman
7 years 12 months ago
#62, Maria

And what do you think are the practical implications of this? 

Jim McCrea
7 years 12 months ago
"Chris, you want, I want, everyone wants a laity that can stand up to the hierarchy and make a difference.  It has failed.  It has not worked.  It will not work.  But not for any shortcoming on the part of the laity."


Of COURSE the laity in general are VERY complicit!  Praying, paying and obeying might be an easy way to get the weekly ticket punched, but it is a far cry from making a difference in a church that relies on the complicity of a majority of slack-jawed pew potatoes!
Jim McCrea
7 years 12 months ago
Threegay  celibate seminarians asked a favorite prof, “We want to announce that we are homosexual and celibate and want to remain in priestly ministry.  What do you suppose would happen?”  “You’d be kicked out,” he said.  “Because we are homosexual?” they asked.  “No,” he said, “because you are crazy!”
7 years 12 months ago
@ Anne: They deleted my post; however, the content of that post remains my answer to your question: we are to practice penance and reparation for not only our sins, but ALL of the sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Myself? I have taken to sincere, ardent fasting in an effort to rid the Church of the "filth" to which the Holy Father referred, some time ago...


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