Philadelphia

It’s time for more purification.

Are you ready, Philadelphia?

It is time for us all to get tough and bear this Cross in the face of the mysterium iniquitatis.

Get down on our knees and pray and do penance.

The MSM is sure to keep pouring it on so that this is white hot around the time John Paul II will be beatified by Benedict XVI.

Pray for the Church in the USA and, especially, in Philadelphia.

My heart goes out to the faithful priests and lay people there.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Clerical Sexual Abuse of Children, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

111 Responses to Philadelphia

  1. I was going to ask what in the world this was about. Then I Googled “Philadelphia Catholic Church” and I got the answer.

    Sigh.

  2. mysticalrose says:

    This is getting sooooo hard to handle. Everyone PRAY FOR YOUR PRIESTS! And encourage them. It must be so hard to walk out the door with a Roman collar on these days :(

  3. Mike says:

    I have read most of the Grand Jury’s report–it’s a transcript written by hell itself. We must pray for victims, the priests involved, all priests, all bishops, and the Holy Father.

    I believe the crisis of this kind of abuse is very much related to the crisis in marriage. Contraceptive sex is a mockery of marriage, and divorce an affront to God. Priests need this purification because we laity need our marriages to be holy. You can’t give what you don’t have.

    Paul VI, for all his imprudent decisions, saw this all in 1968.

  4. motheroften says:

    At least there is a great clarity in the voice of the jury. They clearly lay out the different aspects of the damages done to individuals and lay the blame properly at the feet of all those responsible. Why is nothing ever done about these Bishops Fr Z. ? I just don’t understand?

  5. I was curious about whether the MSM was reporting the ages of the victims.

    From Reuters:

    Father James Brennan, 47, was accused of assaulting a 34-year-old boy in 1996 while he was on leave from a Catholic high school, prosecutors said.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/us-catholics-abuse-idUSTRE71A08Y20110211

    Not what I expected…

  6. Choirmaster says:

    There is one consolation to the Church of Philadelphia: it seems that the prosecuting attorney is a Catholic, and she has pledged to uphold the law, but does not have any appearance of unjust persecution.

    As for the MSM “pouring it on”, I say “bring it.” Remember the Beatitudes? If we bear their unjust hatred and persecution with a spirit of sacrifice and joy, that can be a not insignificant part of our penance, and promote the purification of the whole Church.

    Formal prayer and penance offered for reparation for the victims and purification of the Church cannot be left out, though, no matter what the MSM throws our way.

  7. Thanks, Father Z. I live in Philadelphia, and it was all over the local news. I am sick over it. And, yes, I am bracing myself.

  8. Hieronymus says:

    I saw this on the front page of the paper as I was walking by a newspaper stand here in Philadelphia today. Not good. We are still harvesting these fruits from the New Springtime. I don’t see why everyone who was involved in this coverup business doesn’t just come out and declare himself now and make a public statement that he is resigning to live out a life of penance. Just get the whole business over with so we can all move on. This slow trickle only guarantees that Catholics be burdened with this for the next few decades (or more).

    Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

    On that note: if anyone in Philadelphia is looking to honor our Lady suitably on this, her feast day, there is a Solemn High Mass and procession (inside) tonight at Our Lady of Lourdes in Overbrook. It starts at 7pm.

  9. Titus says:

    I don’t read many Grand Jury reports (criminal is not my practice), but it doesn’t seem to say much about whether Msgr. Lynn’s behavior was actually criminally illegal, as opposed to just generally malfeasant. A bit of quite cursory discussion at the very end, but the application of the statutory language they cite seems a bit tenuous.

    (Note that it’s not generally necessary to engage in any sort of legal analysis when discussing the acts of the various perpetrators, because the various impositions in which they engaged are, well, simply blatantly illegal: there are wide criminal prohibitions against sexual contact with minors. The only question is “did he do X?” Here there’s an additional question of “Is this actually X?”)

  10. Andy F. says:

    @ Louie: a 34 year old boy is a man.

  11. Dirichlet says:

    Let us pray for our Church. Post nubila, phoebus.

  12. Louie Verrecchio says:
    I was curious about whether the MSM was reporting the ages of the victims.
    From Reuters:
    Father James Brennan, 47, was accused of assaulting a 34-year-old boy in 1996 while he was on leave from a Catholic high school, prosecutors said.

    - Very odd. Very strange.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    Until the seminaries stop taking homosexuals, whether active or latent, this will continue to happen.

  14. Maltese says:

    This right on the heels of the abortion controversy there; very, very sad.
    And the aftermath of Vatican II certainly shares the blame in the wholesale shedding of holiness and Tradition on the part of many priests (whether because of the change in attitude, after Vatican II, or because of a fissure in the Church because of the novelty of the Vatican II documents themselves, is a topic I won’t broach here ). This was fomenting, of course, well before Vatican II (which is why Pope St. Pius X wrote so strongly against Modernism) but even then Cardinal Ratizinger, our Pope, acknowledges that things changed dramatically after Vatican II, he writes:

    “When I came home after the Council’s first session, I had been filled with the joyful feeling of an important new beginning. Now I became troubled by the change in ecclesial climate that was becoming ever more evident. I tried to sound a first warning signal, but few noticed it” (Milestones, Memories 1927-1977).

    Few would deny that priests committed pederasty before Vatican II; but fewer still that there was a groundswell after Vatican II. I agree with Supertradmum, but would go even further: we need a wholesale return to the Truth that true doctrine inspires, discipline, and a vehement call to holiness.

  15. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Monsignor William Lynn, was responsible within the Philadelphia Archdiocese for investigating sex abuse claims from 1992 to 2004.

    Charges were filed against Edward Avery and Father Charles Engelhardt for assaulting the same boy in 1998 and 1999 at St. Jerome Parish. Teacher Bernard Sheol, 48, was also charged with assaulting the boy there in 2000.

    Father James Brennan was accused of assaulting a 34-year-old boy [sic] in 1996 while he was on leave from a Catholic high school, prosecutors said.

    Clerical abuse was already a well known problem by 1996. We saw the scandals that arose in 1983 with Gilbert Gauthe, James Porter in 1992 and even the (false) charges against Joseph Cardinal Bernadin in 1993.

    People in charge knew reassigning abuser priests wasn’t working. I was in novitiate in Boston in 1992 and first studies in Chicago in 1993. It was already difficult to walk outside in clerics.

    This is a self-inflicted wound of the highest order, and entirely avoidable. The problem is – for God knows what reason – people who should have known better failed to act.

    Perhaps now that supervisors are being handed over to the authorities, the men who have allowed this filth to continue will have reason to reconsider their actions.

    May God have mercy on their souls.

  16. Fr. Zuhlsdorf, thank you for your prayers and good will. I am one of the lay faithful in Philadelphia.

    I am very concerned that many Catholics in Philadelphia — and, perhaps, beyond — will use these crimes as an excuse to stop going to Mass, financially supporting the Church, or obeying the Church’s moral teaching. Of course, they would not be justified. There are so many faithful ones. The Church in Philadelphia has a venerable history and does great good up until today. We have a fine leader in Cardinal Rigali. I have known many good priests in my eight years here.

    The criminals, including those who abetted them, must face justice. Traitorous behavior, however, does not warrant more of the same. I’m talking to you, Joe and Mary Sixpack.

  17. albizzi says:

    Instructions were given in 1961 by the Vatican to bar the homosexuals to enter in the priesthood:

    “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” was
    promulgated by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Religious on February 2, 1961. The same document is published in its entirety, in English, in the Canon Law Digest, Volume V (Bruce Publishing Co, 1963), pages 452 to 486.
    I quote: “Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers”.
    Unfortunately the council followed soon after and this document was despised probably as outdated and retrograde.

    Remember: 1961 The Vatican had the tools to avoid the ongoing scandal and never used it. Whom must be blamed?

  18. Supertradmum says:

    albizzi,

    And, same stricture was reiterated in 2005 and 2008, and still, in some places, in America, ignored today.

  19. Jon says:

    Novus Ordo delenda est.

  20. FredM says:

    I have liked and respected Cardinal Rigali for many years. However his response to the grand jury report is very disturbing. He said, “The report states that there remain in ministry archdiocesan priests who have credible allegations of abuse against them. I assure all the faithful that there are no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.”

    “Credible” is not the same as “admitted” and is not the same as “established”. He is twisting the question in such a way that he can deny it.

    The day after the report the Cardinal has three great ideas. Why the day after? Where were these ideas last week, last month or last year? If it took the report to inform him of the need for these ideas, then it shows he is terribly out-of-touch.

  21. Denita says:

    I wonder if poor St. John Neumann is spinning in his glass tomb yet? So sad :(

  22. St. Jerome’s is a parish very dear to my heart. Both my parents grew up there, were married there, my older sister was baptized there, and I attended there quite frequently as a young child and teenager visiting my grandparents who lived less than a block away, and were still there at the time this appears to have happened. I don’t recall the priests by name, but I would very possibly have been to Masses celebrated by them.

    Very hard news. May the blessings and mercy of the Almighty God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother of Consolation, bring healing to all the victims, and through the intercession of St. Monica, may all abusing priests and all bishops who have covered up their crimes truly repent of their sins and seek the mercy and forgiveness of God.

  23. becket1 says:

    I wonder how those (speaking of the 140 theologians) who think the Roman Catholic Church should ordain gays and have same sex blessings would respond.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/02/07/european-theologians-call-for-end-to-priestly-celibacy/

    Quote from article:
    The theologians, who also called for the Church to welcome same-sex couples and divorced and remarried couples, said their statement was issued to open a discussion about the future of the Church.

    Are not same sex couples homosexuals and lesbians?.
    Seems like we need to get rid of liberalism and that ideology from the church first!!.

    Maybe if we followed the model of the Eastern Churches in regards to celebacy, and who should be and not be celebate, we wouldn’t have these issues.

  24. Maybe if we followed the model of the Eastern Churches in regards to celebacy, and who should be and not be celebate, we wouldn’t have these issues.

    Celibacy is verifiably not related to sexual abuse. That argument needs to be dropped. It’s irresponsible and unhelpful.

  25. S. Murphy says:

    Louie Verecchio: people make typos – I’m sure they meant 14.
    Becket1: But if we blessed gay unions and lowered the age of consent to NAMBLA standards, there’d be no scandal…

    Seriously, though, this is very sad. I will add my prayers for the Church in Philadelphia.

  26. benedetta says:

    I think it is important to combat conspiracies which carry out evil against innocent children as much as possible so I think attention by the mainstream media will ultimately assist the Church’s necessary purification. Would also like the media to go one step further and shine the spotlight on the media’s complicity with the trend towards general sexualization of children through numerous insidious ways in mainstream popular culture.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    Celibacy for the priesthood has absolutely nothing to do with either pedophilia or the other types of sexual perversion, including homosexuality. Pornography does have something to do with these horrible sins. The amount of pornography available to anyone is astounding, especially child pornography. Again, part of this problem in the self-selection of such perpetrators in seminaries, in positions of authority, choosing such persons for the next generation of abusers. The Visitations dealt with “cultures of homosexuality”, stating that orders had more problems than the secular priesthood, but “cultures” can be hidden by the individuals who maintain the lifestyle and pass it on.The more we tolerate the culture of homosexuality and pornography in our society, by protecting such people either in civil unions or in the name of “artistic freedom”, the more our priests will, sadly, reflect that culture.

    Yesterday, I was talking with a seminarian who has a pastoral question on a test about what to do with a person who thinks they have a vocation but is into the gay lifestyle. I simply said that God would not call a homosexual, especially one who accepts the whole gay thing, to the priesthood. One is not given a vocation unless one can meet the criteria, and God would not torture someone who has a cross to bear with an impossible dream. This is a problem in our Church, confusion as to sexual “tendencies” and sometimes hidden lifestyles, and until the hierarchy deals with this problem, it will not go away.

  28. becket1 says:

    Good luck trying to stop pornography in a secular liberal Western Society. It’s the oldest profession in the world. Also look at Italy. I highly doubt the pervert Burlessconi will leave office. He has money, and power. He can have anything he wants, so he will not be thrown out. And you can tell he is guilty, because if he had nothing to hide, standing trial wouldn’t be an issue. The old saying. “Money is the root of all evil”. Girls and guys wouldn’t be into pornography if it didn’t pay big bucks!. Were talking millions!. And when you have money you have power. Even in the Catholic church. Maybe these pedophiles should be sent to a cave in the Middle East to do their penance and live out the rest of their lives as reclusive monks. That would help them. Them and God only!.

  29. Catholictothecore says:

    Our prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families and friends. To the people of Philadelphia and to all the members of the Catholic Church, let us remain steadfast in our faith, let us not allow this storm to toss us about.

  30. don Jeffry says:

    The saying is not “Money is the root of all evil”, but rather it is “the LOVE of money is the root of all evils.” See 1 Timothy Chapter 6:9 Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” For the record… Best, don Jeffry

  31. Ralph says:

    One Church One People
    Philadelphia, your burden is ours
    Our prayers are linked with yours
    We will all get through this together
    This too shall pass and the Church will come out stronger and more pure
    Perhaps in the future our children will reap the benefits of our current trials

  32. robtbrown says:

    I must admit that I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, this is a terrible tragedy for the victims and the Church.

    But on the other, 40 years ago the supernatural character of Catholic life was siphoned off, the liturgy was wrecked, the seminaries were turned into boys’ clubs, theology suppressed, replaced by social justice, and good men chased out of seminaries and religious order. In that situation, the scandals are simply a manifestation of Divine Providence.

  33. Sister Marie says:

    I’m a religious sister teaching in Philadelphia right now. It is heartbreaking to watch our church be continually assaulted in this way.

    In school, we were not permitted to speak to our students about anything that came out this week. When my middle school students asked me I felt so sad for them. They are in a constant struggle against what our world presents as “normal. Then the place where they should feel safest and really loved changes.

    I really believe that God is allowing us to be purified and that the students I look at each day are the hope of the future Church. I just tried to speak to them from my heart, that when God allows things to happen to our Church, He always calls strong and holy men and women to live the Gospel radically and it requires hard work, prayer, and sacrifice. We had been talking about sacrifice in Religion with Abraham and Isaac and each of the students decided on one small sacrifice of will that they could make. My students decided to offer their sacrifices for the Church in Philadelphia without my prompting. I know that God is working even in the midst of this tragedy because it is by His grace that those kids offered their heartfelt and sincere sacrifices for our Church.

    Please continue to pray for us.

  34. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    Augustinianheart,

    As a married Eastern Rite priest I can assure you that we do not have these problems in proportion because the majority of our priests are married men with families and would never commit such types of offensive and deviant behavior in proportion to the unverifiable amount of homosexual Latin Rite priests . A married priesthood is the East’s surest way to ensure that only a limited amount of homosexual men enter the celibate diocesan priesthood. There was a study I cannot presently locate done by the Ukrainian Catholic Church that showed how much lower homosexual abuse was in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. While I would in no way tell my Latin Rite brethren they need to change their traditional discipline, I would simply say look at the results. It may be time for the Latin Rite Church to bar MOST homosexuals from the diocesan priesthood. If a homosexual man feels a call to the priesthood he should go to a serious monastery where a life of asceticism and repentance can better prepare him to overcome his passions, and with God’s race, and his spiritual father’s direction, he could one day serve God in this most holy way. Homosexuals are still made in the image and likeness of God. I think a wholesale bar of them from the priesthood is not in line with the Church’s tradition of repentance, transformation, and salvation.

  35. APX says:

    Supertradmum says:
    Until the seminaries stop taking homosexuals, whether active or latent, this will continue to happen.

    This is a common misconception. There has been so much research completed on pedophilia that this ideology should be extirpated.

    Pedophilia is a mental illness. There is often the misconception that homosexuals are; however, pedophilia is more related to the offender’s age preference than sexual preference.

    Unfortunately there is no cure, but with proper treatment they can learn to control their urges. Without proper treatment, they are still pedophiles and are likely to re-offend. What does this mean? It means that it is not enough to simply remove priests from the priesthood. They also must have a thorough psychological evaluation completed and receive proper treatment, as well as being removed from circumstances which would put them at a higher risk to re-offend.

    If the Church keeps with the ideology that barring homosexuals from the priesthood is going to put an end to this, it is mistaken. Pedophilia is an issue of age preference, not gender preference.

    Pray for everyone involved, even the guilty parties.

    This is beyond sad, sick, and disturbing. These victims and priests need help.

  36. Joseph-Mary says:

    As far as homosexuals being made in the image and likeness of God…I do not think that stands as an argument for admitting them to the priesthood. Women are also made in the image and likeness of God! Male and female He created them.

    Celibacy and chastity are very important aspects of the all male heterosexual priesthood. That total giving of self cannot be given by a married man who has given himself to a woman which in some way leaves a divided heart.

  37. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    All evidence demonstrates the majority of these cases in the Latin Rite Church were clinically homosexual and not pedophilia.

  38. Catholictothecore says:

    Yes we must pray for the Priests, the Bishops, the Pope, all of us, that we’ll come out of this united and stronger than ever in our faith.

  39. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    A homosexual can be as chaste and as celibate as a straight man, I know two such honorable priests who are. The famous Priest Mathew Kelty OCSO was one who publicly wrote about it (see MY Song Is Of Mercy…Celibacy and the gay).

    I first gave my life to my wife and then we consented together through my bishop to give my life to God as a priest. I am happy and blessed to be a married priest. I gave my total life to the priesthood as a married man, it can be done and the Church honors and blesses it.

  40. Malateste says:

    And the aftermath of Vatican II certainly shares the blame in the wholesale shedding of holiness and Tradition on the part of many priests ….

    I must say it’s a little horrifying to hear of revelations so painful, so shameful, so potentially deeply damaging to the faith all of us share, and then to come here and see that a non-trivial portion of commenters are primarily interested in using this as an excuse to trot out pet liturgical hobbyhorses.

    The Novus Ordo is not responsible for the molestation of children by priests. Human sin has been around for far longer than any sincerely well-meaning (if arguably misguided) reform of recent years. Ideally, shouldn’t we be able to quit sniping at other Catholics for long enough to come together in shared sorrow for the wrongs that have been done, and will continue to be done, both to the victims and to our Church as a whole as a result of these actions?

    As various people above have pointed out, this is a time when we need a strong community of faith more than ever, and like it or not, traditionalist and Vatican-II Catholics are still each other’s community. Intensifying infighting in these circumstances, in addition to being in extremely poor taste, has the potential to augment this harm even further. Let’s not help finish the work Satan has started here.

  41. becket1 says:

    Philadelphia needs an young Archbishop who isn’t from the same class as retired Archbishop Mahoney.

  42. Stephen Matthew says:

    I am not sure the DA being Catholic is any help. If I were the DA, and I am Catholic, I would be even harder on these cases because it involves the Church in such a way.

    I wish we could bring back the Inquisition, even in its harshest forms, to deal with these cases, and to do so in the swiftest and harshest manner possible.

  43. Margaret says:

    Oh my word. I think I knew Fr. Engelhardt as a child. Is it possible that he was in the Diocese of Rockville Centre (Long Island, NY) during the 1980s?? The one in the news stories seems about the right age, and the picture could plausibly be him all these years later.

  44. robtbrown says:

    APX says:

    This is a common misconception. There has been so much research completed on pedophilia that this ideology should be extirpated.

    Pedophilia is a mental illness. There is often the misconception that homosexuals are; however, pedophilia is more related to the offender’s age preference than sexual preference.

    This has been dealt with here more than once. Most of the cases were not pedophilia but rather ephebophilia, which is an attraction to those who have begun adolescence.

    Pedophilia is not gender specific. Ephebophilia, however, is–and most of the cases were homosexual attraction.

  45. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Until the seminaries stop taking homosexuals, whether active or latent, this will continue to happen.\\

    Homosexuality is NOT the same thing as pedophilia, though that might be a distinction too subtle for some people to grasp.

  46. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    No Malatese I was simply responding to a previous provocation if you were referring to me. I care vastly for the Latin Rite, and if it wasn’t for such solid priest as Watkins, Bramlage, and Schnippel from Cincinnati, I would not be an Eastern married priest. I owe so much to the Latin Rite for my formation which is why I care about it in the depth of my soul; but when ignorant Latin Rite Catholics dismiss that our tradition I will defend it, because, the Latins were the one’s who encouraged me.

  47. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Maybe if we followed the model of the Eastern Churches in regards to celibacy, and who should be and not be celibate, we wouldn’t have these issues.

    Marriage is not the solution for abuser priests. Priests that want to have sex with young men will not change their behavior because they married to an adult woman.

    As for the pedophile vs. homosexual debate, a pedophile possesses a primary sexual desire toward children between 1 and 13, with the victim being at least five years younger than the perpetrator.

    An ephebophile possesses a primary sexual desire toward children between 14 and 17, with the adolescent victim being at least five years younger than the perpetrator. This category becomes especially complicated when the victim is a 14- to 17-year-old boy, because the adult male”s attraction might be one of homosexuality rather than ephebophilia.

    Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90 percent of all abuse was with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17. Much of it was not, therefore, pedophilia, but rather ephebophilia committed by homosexual men.

  48. Tony Layne says:

    From the grand jury report:

    “The present grand jury, however, is frustrated to report that much has not changed. The rapist priests we accuse were well known to the Secretary of Clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again. The procedures implemented by the Archdiocese to help victims are in fact designed to help the abusers, and the Archdiocese itself. Worst of all, apparent abusers – dozens of them, we believe – remain on duty in the Archdiocese, today, with open access to new young prey.”

    I would be more than happy to pray for the people and priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Especially for the wisdom, prudence and alacrity to FIX THE PROBLEM. NOW.

  49. becket1 says:

    Who was the Secretary of the Clergy at that time?.

  50. becket1 says:

    http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm
    Look at all of them. No wonder the Archdiocese needs our prayers.

  51. becket1 says:

    http://archphila.org/protection/index.htm

    This must make it pretty hard for an Exorcist!. Especially if the possessed is a young boy and has fits of rage. The acting priest might be charged with abuse of a minor.

  52. Joanne says:

    “Girls and guys wouldn’t be into pornography if it didn’t pay big bucks”

    I know or have read the life stories of many, many women who have been in stripping, prostitution, and porn, and while of course the money is a draw for many, the sex industry is mostly a place where people who have been sexually abused go to live out in adulthood what they knew in childhood, ie, sexuality expressed in inappropriate ways. It’s not simply a matter of selfishness or greed. I hope this post doesn’t seem too off-topic, because really it isn’t – in a world with no sexual abuse, there would be little to no sex industry.

  53. paulbailes says:

    Dear Malateste,

    I think you are being unfair on those who draw a parallel between abuse of liturgy and abuse of children, especially when you ascribe as a motive “an excuse to trot out pet liturgical hobbyhorses”.

    Two things to consider:
    1. the same authorities who seemed to be indifferent to liturgical abuse also seemed to be indifferent to child abuse (by which I mean to include allowing seemingly indifferent bishops to remain in place).
    2. it doesn’t seem at all surprising to me that the revolution in liturgical morality represented by the NOM etc. should be accompanied by other kinds of revolutions in morality. If it’s OK to have (take your pick of things that were forbidden pre-Vat-II) communion in the hand, altar girls, meat on Friday, protestant-style Pater Noster, etc etc etc, then it seems anything goes.

    Regards
    Paul

  54. Traductora says:

    Sister Marie’s touching post shows us how the shockwaves of this destructive event rumble out only across the diocese, but over generations. It sounds as least as if the children in her classes have been taught to respond in a genuinely Catholic way, but it is so sad that they even have to consider these things. Prayers for her and for them.

  55. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    becket1 -

    That list you posted is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. The sheer number of priests is simply staggering. Lord have mercy.

  56. albizzi says:

    1/The number of boys being abused much exceed that of girls.
    2/ The number of postpubescent abused boys much exceeds that of prepubescent ones.

    Conclusion: The number one problem comes with the homosexual predators in the priesthood scandal. Should they have been systematically barred from entering seminaries as per the 1961 instructions (stayed dead words until now) the scandal never would have come to such an extent and anyway much easier to struggle with.

  57. PostCatholic says:

    My heart goes out to the faithful priests and lay people there.

    With respect–does it go out to the victims? Does it go out to their families? Does it go out to those who aren’t faithful because the wound is so painful?

    It’s an interesting thought you have, and a creditable one, but perhaps it shouldn’t be your first angle of sympathy.

  58. cmm says:

    Maybe Fr. Z has read newspaper articles about this but not the grand jury report itself. The report is almost unbearable to read.
    “Monsignor William Lynn was the Secretary for Clergy under Cardinal Bevilacqua. In this position, he acted as the personnel director for priests. It was his job to review all reports of abuse, to recommend action, and to monitor the abuser’s future conduct. Be fore Billy was raped — four years before — Monsignor Lynn learned that one of Billy’s assilants have previously “wrestled”, “tickled”, and groped another boy during an “overnight”. The priest in question was Father Edward Avery. Avery took the boy to his bed on at least two other occasions and again fondled his genitals. After the abuse was reported, Avery was secretly sent to a sexual offender program run by the Archdiocese. While he was there, Monsignor told parishioners to disregard any untoward reports concerning Avery’s absence as mere “rumors”, and reassured them that Lynn knew of nothing but compliments a bout their pastor. Avery was discharged from the sex offender program on condition that he have no further contact with adolescents. An “aftercare” team was supposedly set up to watch him. Monsignor Lynn, however, did not send Father Avery far away from boys. Quite the opposite: he recommended an assignment at a parish with a school. Cardinal Bevilacqua then assigned Avery to St Jerome — the school where Avery later found, and raped, Billy. The “aftercare” team was a farce: Monsignor Lynn was repeatedly advised that the team wasn’t meeting. He didn’t do anything about it. In fact, he never even told St Jerome School that he had just sent them a child abuser.”
    It only gets worse after that.

  59. Andrew says:

    APX:

    You say these people are ‘sick’ and they can’t help themselves.

    I have a huge problem with your comment: it sounds like moral law does not apply to certain individuals. Or like our spiritual nature, our will, is not the guiding force in our lives. I have a completely different perception of what it means to be human.

  60. What people are missing is that it’s a follow-up to an investigation that occurred in 2005…Pray for us in Philadelphia, the victims, and clergy.

  61. frjim4321 says:

    In the late ’70′s and mid ’80′s the seminary in PHI provided safe haven for those who found their territorial seminaries not to be traditionalesque enough. PHI had the reputation as being quite extremely retro in those days. It seems that many of those pictured are products of that seminary. Not to cast aspersions on any preference group (trad vs. contemporary), this observation cuts the legs out from beneath arguments that ’70′s “progressivism” was the cause of the problem. Sadly there are priest abusers at all points of the trad-contemp continuum.

    In the last couple years in the seminary I had some very serious discerment moments during which I was considering whether to continue toward ordination or not. To this day I wonder what effect it would have had on me if I knew at that time that priests were abusing children. It certainly makes me appreciate the determination of those today who remain in the seminary and continue toward ordination knowing that the status of the priesthood in society has greatly deteriortated as a result of abusive clerics.

  62. brianvzn says:

    I just finished reading the Grand Jury report. I want to warn everyone that it is VERY graphic, I literally almost got sick within minutes. I made my way through it painfully. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I praise them for their courage to come forward. Their abuse influenced them to lead lives of sin for quite some time. As Jesus said, “those who cause my little ones to sin, it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and cast into the sea”. While I hope that the “priests” who have abused children will face earthly justice, we can rest assured that they will face Divine Justice when they are called.

    We all know a large number of Priests left after the Second Vatican Council. Perhaps the Church ignored Pope John Paul XXIII’s policy against homosexual ordination because they simply wanted to ordain as many as possible to make up for the number that left? Also, I know the infiltration of the Church is looked upon as a crazy conspiracy theory by some, but pretend for a moment that it is a fact that the Church was intentionally infiltrated by Freemasons, Satanists, Communists, Pedophiles, etc. Are we not seeing the effects of such an infiltration? 1) sexual abuse 2) liturgical abuses 3) watering down of the Faith 4) outright heresy by Bishops & Priests 5) False Ecumenism, etc. The best way to harm an institution is from within. Personally, i do believe that Holy Mother Church has been infiltrated by all of the above. For those of you that think this is a crazy opinion, I would please ask you to at least consider that if it did happen, what would be the consequences? And then compare them to realities we face today.

    Finally, let us pray for the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests, that they may maintain the One True Faith and not fall prey to the Evil One.

  63. irishgirl says:

    This is sad-and sick.
    St. John Neumann must be spinning in his glass-covered coffin.
    I often wonder-where were the parents of these boys when these things happened?
    If I were a parent, I’d keep them at home after school!

  64. Subdeacon Joseph,

    With all due respect, I don’t think the Eastern Church has any idea the extent of abuse that may or may not happen. There is an entirely different atmosphere in the East, and full examination just has not happened. Furthermore, you missed the greater point. The rates of sexual abuse of children are verifiably as high and often higher in religious organizations, including Protestant communities (meaning not just limited to Eastern Rite Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), where celibacy is not enforced for clergy as it is in the celibate Catholic priesthood. Furthermore, the rates of sexual abuse in non-religious settings with married professionals (teachers, parole officers, therapists, etc.) are typically higher than the rates of abuse than exists among Catholic priests. The sad and tired and entirely unhelpful argument that celibacy as a discipline is a factor in sexual abuse needs to be dropped. These sorts of arguments take our eyes off the ball and prevent us from being able to focus on areas that actually need to be addressed in order to protect our children.

  65. MichaelJ says:

    “The Novus Ordo is not responsible for the molestation of children by priests.” No real disagreement with this statement as it stands, but ‘responsible’ is the key.

    If you replace your vaccine with pure water – hey it’s “not harmful” – don’t be surprised when you get sick.

  66. Sorry, by celibate Catholic priesthood, I meant celibate Latin Rite priesthood.

    I want to be clear that I fully respect the decision for married clergy in the East, and my point has nothing to do with wanting the East to embrace celibate priesthood. Rather, I simply want to point out that encouraging a married priesthood in the West would do nothing to prevent sexual abuse. The sexual abuse of minors is not the result of men who simply are in need of sexual gratification, nor is it the result of a need for the intimacy, emotional and otherwise, that comes from having a spouse. Rather, it is the result of a serious aberration and pathology of one’s psychology and sexuality, and married or not, such persons will always need to find young people on whom to prey and whom they will sexually abuse.

  67. benedetta says:

    Agree with Joseph-Therese and Andrew as far as treating this horrifically violent criminal behavior as a “mental health” issue. The Grand Jury obviously concluded from its investigation that in addition to the criminality of the abuser/child rapists, the supervisor who referred them for this supposed “mental health treatment” and then simply returned them to status, authority and opportunity for more of the same is also going to be held criminally accountable for the predictable outcomes of further rape and abuse.

    Though many different types of criminal behavior can be traced to “mental health” etc, that does not change the necessity for simply referring accused to police for arrest and trial. Many prison systems have taxpayer funded resources which provide programs for various mental health issues and let the criminals while paying their time avail themselves of those programs offered. No more referrals to “spa pedophile”. Child rape is a horrendously violent crime. Why should child rapists who happen to be clergy get the spa treatment while any other person accused of violent crime has face the criminal consequences of their acts first and foremost? When will the hierarchy get it, that it is not just like alcohol addiction?

    Finally, as far as what APX says, if this criminal behavior is not a manifestation of post-60s gay culture I don’t know what is. Read the Grand Jury report. The modus operandi for these child/adolescent rapists was to look at gay porn, they presented their heinous acts in terms of “sessions” and “turns” as well as other sickening distortions and perversions of what human sexuality, which is in fact considered sacred, is all about. In carrying out their violent criminal behavior, they directly tapped into an insidious gay subculture which is permitted to thrive and does exploit adolescents to this day confused about their sexuality. I would even submit here that the tendency to minimize these crimes as somehow mainly mere facets of “mental illness” which call for, as a priority, the “treatment” of the offender, is itself a sort of propaganda advanced by this same subculture.

  68. Supertradmum says:

    Subdeacon Joseph and others,

    After the Visitations by Rome into the seminaries, and some of seminaries are conducted by monastic orders, the results were that the orders had a higher rate of homosexuality than the secular priesthood. Do not wish those homosexuals and pedophiles to go into monasteries, as that will make things worse-the culture of homosexuality becomes hidden more easily in those places.

    Secondly, to those who say there is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia must be looking at liberal data. I know all the fine distinctions in language, which others have posted, on sexual deviancy. The abuser grooms young men and children and makes them like himself. This is a truism in schools, in the old minor seminaries, and in the major seminaries. There is a connection.

    At the famous Bishops’ Conference, in 2002, which I watched on C-Span when in Canada, many years ago, when the news started breaking, both Cardinal George and then Bishop Burke, and maybe then Bishop Bruskewitz, wanted to discuss homosexuality in the seminaries and in the priestly culture, seeing the connection between the “philias” and homosexuality. They were rudely told to sit down after attempting several times to bring this up. You can look at the videos somewhere. Bishop Wilton told them to basically sit down and not bring up the subject.

    I have much personal experience with these problems for many reasons. I do not need to go into detail, but when I was taking theology classes for my degree, seven of the seminarians were practicing homosexuals, chosen by two homosexuals who were in charge of the seminary. Some of these men were abused as children by priests and others. Self-selection. The data is there. Many of the child pornography rings which have been broken up internationally by police have included homosexuals, including couples, who are involved in pedophilia. Michael Hallman is absolutely corrected by stating that these people will always seek out someone to abuse. Also, correct are those who knowthat this is a cross, and if enacted, a serious sin. The rule from Rome is clear. No one with tendencies to homosexuality should be in a seminary or be ordained, period.

    The modern world wants to make these sexual desires “normal”. And, the problem with some seminaries is that such a culture has been normal. I even worked with a nun many years ago, who was part of a seminary selection team. She and one of the deans both told me when I pointed out this problem, that the fact that some of the seminarians were homosexual “didn’t matter” and “so what if they are homosexuals”. These men are in graduate seminaries today and will be ordained. I did what I could on both the seminary and diocesan level and was shot down. This is for the hierarchy to deal with severely, now.

  69. Henry Edwards says:

    “The sexual abuse of minors . . . . the result of a serious aberration and pathology of one’s psychology and sexuality”

    No, it is the result of a willingness to repeatedly commit the most serious of mortal sin, to live in a state of continued mortal sin, compounded daily—in the case of priests—by sacrilegious celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I recall viewing on EWTN the entire meeting in Dallas that the USCCB devoted wholly to the abuse crisis after it broke in 2002. In 3 days of discussion of crime and legal issues, of pathology and treatment, I heard not a single bishop mention sin and repentance. I wondered how it was possible for an entire national episcopate to appear oblivious to any requirements of Catholic faith and morality. I still do.

  70. albizzi says:

    Brianvzn,

    You are right when you say:
    “The infiltration of the Church is looked upon as a crazy conspiracy theory by some, but pretend for a moment that it is a fact that the Church was intentionally infiltrated by Freemasons, Satanists, Communists, Pedophiles, etc…”
    But one must add that without the help OF SOME IN THE HIGHEST CIRCLES (I weigh my words) of the Vatican this infiltration wouldn’t have succeeded to the extent we see today.
    For example, there are rumours that Card. Achille Lienart confessed on his deathbed that he was a freemason before entering the priesthood. He was quoted saying that in his opinion “the Church humanly is lost”. Fortunately for us the Church has a divine essence too.
    Another example is Fr Alighiero Tondi SJ who was a close collaborator of Mgr Montini at the Secretariate of State before he became pope. It was proven this man was an USSR’s spy. He was defrocked and he married a communist woman. Later on pope Paul VI took him again (!) in the Vatican’s administration.

  71. I look at this thread with regret.

    I asked for prayers for the people in Philadelphia.

    That doesn’t seem to be foremost on some people’s minds.

  72. Supertradmum says:

    I am praying very hard and with tears.

  73. For the record… re: Reuter’s report of a “34 year old” victim

    “people make typos – I’m sure they meant 14.”

    I knew that when I posted Reuter’s error. This topic doesn’t lend itself to levity, but that seemed to be as close as it gets given that the MSM is loathe to report in ways that reflect the fact that the overwhelming majority of abuse cases involved homosexual men acting on their disorder desires by molesting post-pubescent males.

    I’ve only read thus far about victims aged 9/10 and 14 in this case; in other words, one case of pedophilia and another of what is more properly called ephebophilia.

  74. brianvzn says:

    @ albizzi….I agree with you. We know from exorcists Fr. Amorth & Fr. Malachi Martin that Satanists infest the Vatican.

    @ Fr. Z….Yes, we must pray for all involved, but also please understand the level of disgust we feel and also the continued scandal these actions bring to Holy Mother Church. [Of course I get that!] We need to discuss the realities of Homosexuality, Pedophilia, and the “anything goes” attitiude that seems to permeate our society. Please do not feel your request was unheeded. I believe many of us are praying for the people of Philadelphia, but we must also pray for the thuth to be exposed and that the evil that has infiltrated Holy Mother Church will someday be exorcised. God bless you Father. We are fortunate to have a Priest such as you. [Thank you for your kind words.]

  75. PghCath says:

    Praying through the intercession of Sts. Katharine Drexel and John Neumann.

  76. servusmariaen says:

    No it seems everyone would rather point fingers and sit in judgement than pray. It’s sad but true.

  77. We will have a opportunities for a long time to has and rehash. I think our first step in dealing with this horrible matter is to pray. Pray for healing, forgiveness, patience.

  78. Supertradmum says:

    Dear Father Z,

    Thank you for posting this. We laity love the Church and the Diocese of Philadelphia. We also have been hurt, bewildered, and made angry by these continuing situations. Please understand that we do not have places in which we can express ourselves. We feel safe here on this site and also we feel that you understand that we are praying, as well as trying to come to grips with these terrible crimes. We should all pray for each other. We shall pray and do penance for our brothers and sisters in that large diocese. These events effect us all everywhere.

    With sincerity and gratitude…

  79. Titus says:

    re: the 34-year-old

    This is probably simply sloppy writing: the man is likely 34 now. Although, this would have made him 19 in 1996. That doesn’t clear much up.

    re: Eastern Disciplines

    I don’t think you get apples to apples comparing Eastern and Western societies and statistics simply by dropping clerical celibacy out of the picture. The cultures, histories, and social norms of these two groups of people is greatly different. This is why it’s important to have Eastern Christians in union with the Church, because they embody and carry the traditions and insights of an entire Christian culture from which our Western culture can learn. And I would say that the opposite is true as well, that East can learn from West (at least the West’s traditions, if not the West’s current pathologies). So when talking about the influence of clerical celibacy, it may be worth considering whether there exist other, more cultural influences in the East that work to discourage individuals from engaging in certain depravities. I would be very willing to believe this is the case.

  80. Denis says:

    I will offer a prayer to St. Michael, always useful when dealing with this sort of evil.

    “Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos…”

  81. cmm says:

    A prayer with the victims of sexual abuse by clergy:

    17 Lord, how long will you look on? Save me from roaring beasts, my precious life from lions!
    18 Then I will thank you in the great assembly; I will praise you before the mighty throng.
    19 Do not let lying foes smirk at me, my undeserved enemies wink knowingly.
    20 They speak no words of peace, but against the quiet in the land they fashion deceitful speech.
    21 They open wide their mouths against me. They say, “Aha! Good! Our eyes relish the sight!”
    22 You see this, LORD; do not be silent; Lord, do not withdraw from me.
    23 Awake, be vigilant in my defense, in my cause, my God and my Lord.
    24 Defend me because you are just, LORD; my God, do not let them gloat over me.
    25 Do not let them say in their hearts, “Aha! Just what we wanted!” Do not let them say, “We have devoured that one!”
    26 Put to shame and confound all who relish my misfortune. Clothe with shame and disgrace those who lord it over me.
    27 But let those who favor my just cause shout for joy and be glad. May they ever say, “Exalted be the LORD who delights in the peace of his loyal servant.”
    28 Then my tongue shall recount your justice, declare your praise, all the day long.

    Psalm 35

  82. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    I read the Grand Jury Report. I will offer a Rosary for the two survivors who came forward. It breaks my heart that a 10 year old boy was passed on from one priest to another. I hope more people will develop the courage to take action and protect children, especially when a particular instance may cross their path. From my own experience, I’ve found that sexual abuse is simply not something most people want to deal with or do anything about, whether they are Church hierarchy or otherwise. God, make us more generous and protect and help people.

    When it comes to sexual abuse, I’m sick to death of Church literature including comments about forgiving and showing mercy toward abusers. I recently read a pamphlet on Sex Trafficking sponsered by the U.S. bishops that included a statement about having mercy on sex traffickers. I’m sick to death of that nonsense. Let the clergy and people counseling the convicted abusers concentrate on that. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be part of the discussion. To do so is to lessen the appearance of the gravity of the crime. Sexual abuse must be stopped at all costs! The abusers can be offered forgiveness and mercy and help behind bars. It reminds me of the priests who told us to forgive the men responsible for Sept. 11th only weeks after the horrific event occurred. There’s a time and a place. Sorry for the rant.

  83. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    The charism of celibacy is not the issue here, and I say this as an Eastern Catholic who supports a married presbyterate.

    Rather, I think the scholarly research of Dr. Conrad Baars and Dr. Anna Terruwe was sadly ignored by the bishops and the Catholic Church in general has been paying a price for it:

    “Dr. Conrad Baars and Dr. Anna Terruwe presented a scholarly paper to the 1971 Synod of Bishops at the Vatican and to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Citing 40 years of combined psychiatric practice treating about 1500 priests, they concluded that 20-25% of U.S. priests had serious psychiatric difficulties and 60-70% suffered from emotional immaturity. They concluded that the psychosexual immaturity manifested itself in heterosexual and homosexual activity. ”

    Here is a link to their report:

    http://www.richardsipe.com/Docs_and_Controversy/1971-11-Conrad_Baars_Paper.pdf

    (Note: I was only able to locate the report on-line at Richard Sipe’s site. I am not familiar with him or his research, but am grateful that he posted this important study.)

  84. I think it is most important to remember that sin is sin no matter who commits it. It is a cause for alarm and more importantly for prayers of repentance and forgiveness by all of us who profess to be Christians. May our Shepherds guide us through the Grace of the One Shepherd of Souls. My prayers are with all of you who suffer from this great human tragedy.

  85. Girgadis says:

    Philadelphia, where I live, seems to be the epicenter of moral decay. The news certainly hasn’t been good. This morning I got into a rather nasty confrontation with someone who used the latest news to attack me. I could barely get a word in edgewise but what I did try to say is that regardless of the failings of some of the men who make up the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, Christ is unchanged. Jesus Christ is the same regardless of what those consecrated to Him do, and not only are these allegations deeply offensive to anyone with a heart, they are an outrage against Him. I am personally acquainted with many, many holy and faithful priests. They already carry a heavy burden in trying to lead souls to salvation. That the ruin came from within is a kick to the gut of every priest who faithfully lives out his vows of chastity and obedience. I do feel for the victims, but I also feel for my friends who will bear the brunt of this attack while the culprits and their accomplices are hidden from view. Please pray for these priests, that God will help them with their burdens and that they will be kept safe from harm. And pray that God will provide healing for those who were driven into despair and possibly hell by the despicable acts of sex offenders.

  86. marthawrites says:

    Each morning I pray a chaplet of Divine Mercy for conversions of all sorts. Today I designated–for an indefinite time–one decade for the conversion of all priests and bishops living in serious sin. In the same week in which I learn of these monstrosities against our young, I also learned about three people in their 20′s–former high school friends of two of our daughters–who are becoming Catholics at Easter, so there is always HOPE and always reason to remain loyal to our Holy Mother Church. Today’s Mass was offered in honor of Mary, the image of the Church–what rich images that produces for reflection. Yes, I pray, even while I am horrified by such evil.

  87. StClair says:

    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says:
    I look at this thread with regret.
    I asked for prayers for the people in Philadelphia.
    That doesn’t seem to be foremost on some people’s minds.

    FWIW I made an extra effort to go to Mass Friday with time before and after for prayer. The LOTH has been strained since the announcement, but I’ve bulled through. The prayerful may be more likely to be on their knees rather than commenting on blogs.

    I converted to the Church in Philadelphia this past spring (also from Lutheranism), and this was a bit of a sucker punch. I guess I thought the wave had already passed through Philadelphia, or I just didn’t think about it very much. It’s easy to be philosophical about those other poor diocese with all the problems. This hits right at home. That’s OK, though. You don’t really understand brokeness until you experience it yourself. And everyone needs to know that the devil really can be at work in anybody, even in the Church. Kyrie eleison.

  88. Malateste says:

    I just got done reading the grand jury report. Not a lawyer, so I don’t know how polemic these documents generally are, but it certainly does paint a horrifically grim picture.

    This thread is tapering off, but I wonder if anyone here has any insight at all into what could have been the motivations prompting the cover-up in this case? Pedo/ephebophilia themselves are tragically easy to understand– it seems as though testosterone + childhood trauma do the job pretty effectively– but after reading the report I’m honestly completely mystified as to what anyone could have stood to gain from shielding these priests from detection or legal consequences.

    The Cardinal and his staff were apparently given a report in the mid-’80s detailing the true clinical nature of these disorders, so it’s not just a case of simple ignorance or wishful thinking. What on earth, then, could the motivation have been? Was there some blackmail involved? Some clerical honor code that laypeople couldn’t possibly understand? Some horrible legal catch-22 where the hierarchy honestly believed that counter-action would somehow leave them open to still more liability?

    I believe in human fallibility and sinfulness, but even sinful behavior generally has some intelligible rational or motive behind it. This just seems senseless. What’s the piece that I’m missing?

  89. Janine says:

    To those who asked where are the parents – I assure you the abuser builds up trust with the family, the parents think that the children are safe and there is perhaps some sort of threat made so that the child is afraid .. or even ashamed to tell…Who would think that a priest of all people would do this???
    I can tell you that the abuse is well-hidden from the parents. Or even denial once they are told.. One of the victims I know is still angry and places the blame in the church or even on the Lord and not the man responsible. This hurt is deeper than you realize – and the wounds of the victims are difficult to heal. These priests represented the church…
    Philadelphia, you are in my prayers, I weep for what has happened – it is horrifying. I pray for the victims (and even those responsible – may God have mercy).
    May God heal the wounds that have been made.

  90. becket1 says:

    I just read the report. Pretty sick and disgusting. A purification of the whole Archdiocese is well in order. Thank God there are Eastern Churches in the local area.

  91. albizzi says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
    Of course we pray all for the church of Philadelphia.
    But that shouldn’t prevent us to expose the truth. If that wasn’t the the truth certainly would you cancel my post and you would be right in doing so.
    I am sorry if my post went a bit astray from the direction you intended.

  92. stbasil777 says:

    A few comments:

    1. A few comments keep speaking of homosexuals as if that is simply what they are, were born that way, and will always be. It is a deviant sinful behavior, indeed grave, but much like any habitual grave sin it can be repented of and one’s life can be reformed (contrary to the modern thought that they were born that way and cannot change).

    2. These things – homosexuality or pedophilia – are not mental illnesses. That is ridiculous. They are habitual behaviors based on choices to sin. When one gets involved in sexual immorality or when one is raised with serious confusions in certain areas of life they can end up in gravely sinful behaviors but that does not a mental illness make. Once again, the behavior can be repented of and their minds purified and hearts cleansed by the great mercy of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician of the sick.

    I just wanted to add those two comments because often time it seems we single out certain immoral behavior and either identify the entire individual with it or else make it sound as if it were a chemical reaction in their brain. These are disorders of the mind, heart, and soul caused by sin – grave sin.

    As for the church at Philadelphia, have courage and seek God to be your strength. It is sad that the few have caused such reproach to Christ’s one true Church but it is part of the purification process. It’s not easy and it is very, very sad indeed for everything involved. Be strong in the grace of Our Lord.

  93. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I pray for the victims, their families, the parishioners of the churches where the abuse occurred, the people of the Archdiocese, it’s clergy & it’s religious. Miserere nobis.

    I shall pray the Divine Praises in reparation for the horrific evil that was perpetrated by those claiming to act in God’s Name.

    As for those responsible, may God have mercy on your souls. Repent – for the Lake of Fire, where the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched, awaits you.

  94. I have just now offered up an Ave Maria and petition to St John Vianney for the Priests of Philadelphia.

    As far as those perverts who touch children sexually – may God show you great mercies, and may the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System show you none at all.

  95. EWTN Rocks says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, family members, parishioners and priests in Philadelphia.

    becket1, thank you for including a link to the Office for Child and Youth Protection’s list of the accused clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. When I first looked at it I was shocked and horrified at the number of priests listed. However, it dawned on me that it’s possible that some of the priests on this list may be innocent. In many organizations, injustice (and in this case, immoral injustice) leaves behind a sense of doubt and lack of trust resulting in occasional false accusations and “witch hunts.” I imagine that priests accused but not guilty of pedophilia would be forced to carry crosses of shame and humiliation for the rest their lives.

    In addition to the rosary I plan to say for the bishop this weekend, I plan to say rosaries for the two wonderful priests assigned to my parish.

  96. FredM says:

    Father Z,
    Your initial post contained some of your thoughts before requesting our prayers. As we think through this may we benefit from the thoughts expressed here that are helpful or informative and ignore any that aren’t.

    Thank you for reminding us of the need for prayer.

  97. frjim4321 says:

    “Healing, Forgiveness, Patience.” – Rev. Z.

    I agree, those are good things to pray for.

    “Understanding” might be another one, because right now there seems to be very little with regard to this problem.

    It seems that many of these incidents took place long after the problem was known. We had a diocese-wide seminar about this in 1984 or thereabouts. Whatever happened to “the vast majority of these incidents took place years ago.” Did Philadephia not get the message? Or was there an atmosphere of entitlement there (“East Coast Clerical Culture”) such that they thought the rules did not apply to them?

    It seems like their ex-vicar for clergy is arrested even though he did not personally commit the abuse. Is his the first such arrest? Will part of the fallout be the extradition of Crdl. Law from his elegant Roman house arrest?

  98. Neal says:

    “The MSM is sure to keep pouring it on so that this is white hot around the time John Paul II will be beatified by Benedict XVI.”

    And why not? Pope John Paul II was the highest authority in the Church at the time this and countless other similar crimes were being committed. It is well known that he either chose not to believe the reports (e.g. Fr. Marcial Maciel and the Legion) or sided with the coverup (e.g. the infamous letter of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos). Either he is only a figurehead when it comes to disciplinary matters in the Church, or he should bear some responsibility for the rapes of tens of thousands of children by thousands of pervert priests. Anything less is an ecclesiastical whitewash.

    Or am I missing something?

  99. Supertradmum says:

    Neal,
    I think you are overlooking two important points. Firstly, John Paul II lived underneath the Nazi Reich, which purposefully developed a campaign of lies about child abuse against priests throughout the Reich in order to both undermine the authority of the Church and to persecute the clergy who were criticizing the German tyranny. That John Paul II would be hesitant at first makes sense. Secondly, most of the cases old and new, as earlier as the 1950s through his Pontificate, came out under him and were being followed up as the crimes came in. As early as the mid-seventies, crimes were coming out into the open. However, the problem was the reliance on secular psychologists,who thought these priests could be “cured”, which we all know now is untrue. and also the reliance on bishops to deal with the problems locally, as the usual order of the Church. Only when it was clear that the Bishops had not done their jobs did the Vatican have to step in.

    I live in one of the dioceses that has gone bankrupt over sexual scandals, and I had four family members abused for years by a priest, who has been dead for a long time (may God forgive him), and yet, I would never blame John Paul II for such crimes.

    The problem in Philadelphia is part of the systemic problem across America and elsewhere, and not a Vatican problem. Pray for all of us. Pray for Philadelphia.

  100. APX says:

    @Fr Deacon Daniel
    Thanks for posting the link to that report. I was reading an article on the American Psychological Association’s web site that briefly mentioned emotional immaturity, which left me seeking for more information it.

    stbasil777 says:
    2. These things – homosexuality or pedophilia – are not mental illnesses. That is ridiculous.

    I don’t recall anyone calling homosexuality a mental illness. If you want to believe that pedophilia isn’t a mental illness then that’s your perogative. However, through the course of my studies these past four years, I’ve read numerous graphic court documents and case studies on a wide variety of criminals who committed heinous crimes against humans. It’s very difficult to believe someone who is not suffering from grave psychological disturbances could commit such acts.

    Yes, it’s sin, but I’m too knowledgeable in this area to just write it off as such and expect the person to be able to repent, pray and just make the choice not to do it again. These are ill people who need personalized treatment of maximum quality and effectiveness so they can be reintergrated back into society as rehabilitated people. That doesn’t mean they are not to be held legally accountable for their actions. It just means it’s not enough to give them a jail sentence and expect them to fix the problem on their own. These priests need help and support, not condemnation and shunning.

    Anyway, I’m out on this topic. Some people’s attitudes are making me feel what I felt when I became a devert, and I don’t want to go down that route again.

  101. JonM says:

    If you replace your vaccine with pure water – hey it’s “not harmful” – don’t be surprised when you get sick.

    Precisely.

    If we enter a permissive mentality and dilute chances for grace, sin will overcome us. So many today adopt a disposition that ‘everything is good’ and forget just how real evil is, how horrific it can be, and that any person is capable of unimaginable acts.

    We need general penance and a reworking of society so that it orients to God, not our whims.

    And why not? Pope John Paul II was the highest authority in the Church at the time this and countless other similar crimes were being committed. It is well known that he either chose not to believe the reports (e.g. Fr. Marcial Maciel and the Legion) or sided with the coverup (e.g. the infamous letter of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos). Either he is only a figurehead when it comes to disciplinary matters in the Church, or he should bear some responsibility for the rapes of tens of thousands of children by thousands of pervert priests. Anything less is an ecclesiastical whitewash.

    This is my perspective. I know many people who are very genuine, well-intended, and less given to sin than me – and who also are practically incompetent, therefore not fit for accolades in leadership.

    It isn’t a simple case of liberal media bias that these horror stories are likely to gain attention leading up to May 1st; there is a very practical problem that even secularists find in giving the highest honor possible to the final (earthly) authority in Church matters a time when sexual predication soared.

    The previous pope’s extreme closeness with Marcial Maciel, the ‘punishment’ of Cardinal Law, failure to crack down on the panoply of bizarreness in Los Angeles, etc. etc. all point to at the very least a neglect of basic and proper administration.

  102. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    It seems like their ex-vicar for clergy is arrested even though he did not personally commit the abuse. Is his the first such arrest?

    I don’t know, but for some time I have thought there should arrests of seminary rectors, those on formation teams, etc., who knowingly recommended people with known problems for ordination. I doubt that indictment on conspiracy is possible, but perhaps something like reckless endangerment might be.

    Will part of the fallout be the extradition of Crdl. Law from his elegant Roman house arrest?

    I’m no fan of Cardinal Law (IMHO, he is a shallow careerist). Before the sexual problems were revealed, he created scandal by giving Communion to Ted Kennedy. But I know of no extradition treaty between the US and the Vatican.

    BTW, my understanding is that Cdl Mahoney matched the Law behavior in this sorry episode, but the LA press was in his pocket.

  103. stbasil777 says:

    “Yes, it’s sin, but I’m too knowledgeable in this area to just write it off as such and expect the person to be able to repent, pray and just make the choice not to do it again. These are ill people who need personalized treatment of maximum quality and effectiveness so they can be reintergrated back into society as rehabilitated people.”

    “It’s very difficult to believe someone who is not suffering from grave psychological disturbances could commit such acts. ”

    Well I think this type of approach does not really understand the depths of fallen human nature. When we say “I cannot believe someone would do such a horrible thing unless they were mentally ill” then we’re not realizing the depths of evil that is within us. People can choose to do very heinous evil actions and it doesn’t mean they are mentally ill, meaning they could not choose to do otherwise, but it does mean they have given themselves over to evil. When we do not want to acknowledge the deep potential for horrible evils that exists in each one of us then we often jump quickly to think it mental illness or some chemical imbalance. It’s the influence of the ascendancy of the medical model I am sure but people can, through their own free choice, commit heinous acts without being chemically imbalanced.

    I did not mean my post to be an attack, APX, and if it came across that way I apologize.

    God bless you.

  104. DHippolito says:

    Pope John Paul II was the highest authority in the Church at the time this and countless other siimilar crimes were being committed. It is well known that he either chose not to believe the reports (e.g. Fr. Marcial Maciel and the Legion) or sided with the coverup (e.g. the infamous letter of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos). Either he is only a figurehead when it comes to disciplinary matters in the Church, or he should bear some responsibility for the rapes of tens of thousands of children by thousands of pervert priests. Anything less is an ecclesiastical whitewash.

    Neil, you are absolutely right! The fact that Karol Wojtyla lived under Nazi and Communist regimes is no excuse. Clerical sex abuse has been a problem at least since 1049, when St. Peter Damian published, “The Book of Gomorrah.” Every Pope, no matter how “holy” or “orthodox” he might seem to be, has a responsibility to be aware of Damian’s work.

    The previous pope’s extreme closeness with Marcial Maciel, the ‘punishment’ of Cardinal Law, failure to crack down on the panoply of bizarreness in Los Angeles, etc. etc. all point to at the very least a neglect of basic and proper administration.

    Exactly. Catholics can’t have it both ways. Catholics can’t praise the hierarchal, papal system as the ultimate expression of apostolic succession and give the papacy a free pass when it comes to confronting (or failing to confront) heinous sexual sin.

    Blaming secular culture, pornography, the “Spirit of Vatican II,” contraception, etc. is nothing but offering excuses and indulging in non sequiturs. Let’s not forget that the men who perpetrated these acts and the superiors who enabled and sheltered them are responsible for their own actions. A holy, righteous God will hold them accountable far more than anybody can here.

    Here’s the ultimate question: What does God want? The prophet Micah put it best: To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Given these latest revelations and the whole myasma of the past decade (at least) concerning this issue, the Church has done anything but.

  105. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    In the late ’70?s and mid ’80?s the seminary in PHI provided safe haven for those who found their territorial seminaries not to be traditionalesque enough. PHI had the reputation as being quite extremely retro in those days. It seems that many of those pictured are products of that seminary. Not to cast aspersions on any preference group (trad vs. contemporary), this observation cuts the legs out from beneath arguments that ’70?s “progressivism” was the cause of the problem. Sadly there are priest abusers at all points of the trad-contemp continuum.

    Mostly, I disagree. In the past 40 years the best seminaries and religious houses of studies could at best be described as neo-con. No matter their fidelity to doctrine, there was still the imposition of Progressivist, expressionistic liturgy.

    Having said that, I think the main cause of the sexual scandals (among those who actually wanted to be priests–not members of a boys’ club) was that priests feel isolated and alone. Anyone who is to be celibate must have a certain psychological independence, but seminary formation encouraged dependent personalities via various ways: One was the existence of phony community, which included the aforementioned liturgy.

    Your comments about your discernment the last two years of seminary are telling–and very important to your perseverance. Seminaries must do two things: First, they must provide an atmosphere in which a real decision must be made about whether they want the priesthood. Second, they must provide the means by which a priest can persevere in his vocation. And the two are not mutually exclusive.

  106. becket1 says:

    What the Archdiocese of Philadelphia needs is a young vibrant Archbishop that the youth of the Archdiocese can look up to, instead of a product of the 60′s and 70′s and progressivism. Someone who won’t think twice calling the authorities when sexual abuse happens. Someone who spends most of his time in the Archdiocese, instead of Rome. One who follows Pope Benedict XVI’s liturgical examples, and spiritual advice to the tee, and forces his clergy under him to do the same with no questions asked. Someone who turns the secular clergy back into actual priests and nuns. Instead of priests and nuns, who you can’t even identify by the clothing they wear in public. Anyone care to add more.

  107. becket1 says:

    A couple of more things to add. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia also needs to bring back religious orders of men, like the Dominicans and Benedictines. Like the Benedictines of Clear Creek Monastery, and the Dominicans of Black Friars Oxford as examples. No progressive Benedictines and Dominicans. It’s a shame that the Norbertines of Daylesford are not as vibrant as those in California. But than again the Norbertines in Paoli are mostly of the 60′s and 70′s crowd. They even offer Yoga classes at the Abbey from time to time. If you get my drift. Can’t you tell that I’m from the Philadelphia area.

  108. Neal says:

    I suppose it’s possible that Pope John Paul II ignored the clerical abuse crisis because of his experience of the machinations of totalitarian regimes and his trust in the latest psychological theories. I have trouble understanding how this would therefore absolve him of responsibility. He was by all accounts an intelligent man; he doubtlessly could distinguish between the political systems and aims of the United States and Europe and, say, Soviet Russia. The trends lasted decades and were widespread; at some point you would expect him to take them seriously. And how trusting dubious secular psychologists over the Church’s centuries of wisdom and prudence makes him blameless is likewise unclear to me.
    Supertradmum, I am very sorry to read about what happened to your family. It is lamentable.

  109. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, Neal

    and none of those, three women and a man, all children under the age of 10 when this happened over a period of years, none sued the Church and all are practicing Catholics. Praise God for mercy and forgiveness. Pray for them and pray for the priest who perpetrated such horrible crimes. He is long dead. The victims in my family were not the only ones, either, as he was the chaplain of a large orphanage in St. Louis.

  110. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    Perhaps our former Holy Father was hesitant to believe bad reports bc he was a very saintly man. To the pure all things are pure. Holy people think well of others and always find the good in people. Most normal people don’t suspect others of sexual abuse, let alone a very holy, good person who knows very little of personal sin. Just a thought.