7 Shocking Takeaways from the PA Catholic Church Grand Jury Document

 

Today was a day that will forever change the face of the Catholic Church in America. The New York Times reported today:

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

I’ve read a great deal of the report, and have pulled a few interesting parts out of the 1,300+ page document. What is shocking about this report isn’t just the scope, it’s the fact that all of this remained hidden after the Church was broken almost beyond repair by the early 2000 sex abuse crisis originating out of Boston after the Boston Globe broke the story open. This report is only about part of one American state, Pennsylvania. How many more tales of abuse are out there? How much innocence and faith has been stolen, and can the Church ever recover?

It’s clear that the scale of the abuse is massive, and it will take massive steps to correct.

On Facebook a priest named Seamus Griesbach from Portland wrote what he wants to see from the Church in response,

I don’t want to read one more statement from a bishop saying that he is “deeply saddened” by the latest reports of clergy sexual abuse and cover up. Really? Who is advising them on this wording? It is only making matters worse.

They need to make a complete and utter break from this despicable and horrendous behavior. How about a statement like:

“The sexual abuse of a child is an abomination. It is a complete betrayal of everything that Jesus is and everything that he taught. It is an act that even the most immoral of people recognize as detestable and depraved. The fact that Catholic bishops and staff were too cowardly or institutionally entrenched to eliminate this kind of behavior and abuse at the first inkling is a grave and reprehensible moral failure for which there must be real consequences. We will root out this detestable rot that has struck at the heart of our family of faith. We pledge to not rest until we have brought to light every misdeed and coverup. We call on the Holy Father to demand the resignation of any bishop in our midst who tolerated or overlooked immorality within his presbyterate or sought to cover it up. We pledge to react resolutely and transparently to any accusation of immoral activity that comes to our attention today or in the future. Finally, as an outward sign of our repentance, bishops will wear only purple vestments and remove their pectoral crosses for the coming year as a sign of our misery and shame over this grotesque and diabolical scandal that has so deeply injured and betrayed the faith of those entrusted to our care. We ask that all men and women of good will join us in this time of prayer and penance, asking God to have mercy on his sinful Catholic Church and to grant her shepherds the grace of true conversion and renewal in holiness of life.”

Here are seven key takeaways from the massive document, and this is only scratching the surface. The commentary in bold is mine, the text below is quoted directly from the document.

    1. Those involved believe in nothing. Not celibacy, not the sanctity of life. Nothing. 

      In another case, a priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion. The bishop expressed his feelings in a letter:”This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.”But the letter was not for the girl.

      It was addressed to the rapist.

    2. This scandal is big. Bigger than the last and any before it. 

      This final section of the report is possibly the most important. It contains profiles of more
      than 300 clergy members, from all six dioceses we investigated. By comparison, estimates of the
      number of abusive priests identified since 2002 in the Boston, Massachusetts archdiocese range
      from about 150 to 250.

    3. The stories are heinous. 

      Even out of these hundreds of odious stories, some stood out. There was the priest, for example, who raped a seven -year -old girl – while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils out. Or the priest who made a nine -year -old give him oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water to purify him. Or the boy who drank some juice at his priest’s house, and woke up the next morning bleeding from his rectum, unable to remember anything from the night before. Or the priest, a registered psychologist, who “treated” a young parishioner with depression by attempting to hypnotize her and directing her to take off her clothes, piece by piece.

    4. And even when offenders left the Church, children still weren’t safe. And the Church didn’t care
      .
      Yet another priest finally decided to quit after years of child abuse complaints, but asked for, and received, a letter of reference for his next job – at Walt Disney World.
    5. This is far from a complete accounting of the abuse, sadly.

      We should emphasize that, while the list of priests is long, we don’t think we got them all.
      We feel certain that many victims never came forward, and that the dioceses did not create written
      records every single time they heard something about abuse. We also couldn’t fully account for
      out-of-state travel. Many priests who served in Pennsylvania also spent some of their careers in
      other parts of the country. If they abused children elsewhere, reports might have made their way
      back to diocesan files here. But we suspect that a lot did not.
    6. Despite turning over all of its records, reports the Church received are still missing. What else is the Church hiding, just in this small area of the country? 

      On September 1, 2016, the Grand Jury issued a subpoena to the Diocese for any and all records related to clergy or church officials against whom complaints of child sexual abuse had been made. Records received by the Office of Attorney General from the Diocese numbered into the thousands. The testimony of the victims was cross-referenced with the records of the Diocese. Internal Diocesan records do not contain any information from Julianne’ s reports to Weasel or Murphy. [Note: Julianne was a victim who came forward to the grand jury separately.] However, it is evident that, once Julianne made contact with the Diocese in 2002, the Diocese and its attorney, Thomas Traud, attempted to undermine and discredit Julianne and her family.

    7. It wasn’t just faith destroyed. Lives were as well. 

      During our deliberations, one of the victims who had appeared before us tried to kill herself. From her hospital bed, she asked for one thing: that we finish our work and tell the world what really happened. We feel a debt to this woman, and to the many other victims who so exposed themselves by giving us their stories. We hope this report will make good on what we owe.

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  1. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Burr (View Comment):

    Chastity seems to attract a certain type of homosexual man to the priesthood. Why Catholicism have such a stronger connection to a particular type of abuse? Why is there so much tolerance for this within the church?

    Ansonia seems to have answered this question here:

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    And it also makes sense to me that the more unhealthy a seminary became, the more it would draw seducers and rapists.

    elaborating here:

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    I’m thinking a priest having, with a grown and consenting woman, a relationship that is inappropriate for a priest would feel himself to be every bit as much in a glass house when it came to calling attention to a priest who might be molesting children or teenagers.

    Apparently so:

    Important clues exist in the genealogy of abuse. I have bean able to trace victims of clergy and bishop abuse to the third generation.

    Often, the history of clergy abusers reveals that the priest himself was abused – sometimes by a priest. The abuse may have occurred when the priest was a child, but not necessarily.

    Sexual activity between an older priest and an adult seminarian or young priest sets up a pattern of institutional secrecy. When one of the parties rises to a position of power, his friends are in line also for recommendations and advancement.

    The dynamic is not limited to homosexual liaisons. Priests and bishops who know about each other’s sexual affairs with women, too, are bound together by draconian links of sacred silence. A system of blackmail reaches into the highest corridors of the American hierarchy and the Vatican and thrives because of this network of sexual knowledge and relationships.

    Secrecy flourishes, like mushrooms on a dank dung pile, even among good men in possession of the facts of the dynamic, but who cannot speak lest they violate the Scarlet Bond.

    Among more bohemian sorts — actors, musicians, academics… — decent people don’t feel bad for suspecting that blurring of the lines between mentorship and sexual grooming, coupled with providing the wider world some outward semblance of respectability (though for bohemians, it is less), might invite sexual abuse. I’ve even heard decent people argue that those who go into bohemian fields ought to know what they’re getting into, and if they’re abused, it’s really their fault!

    But among those supposedly dedicated to holiness? Yes, it feels crappy to suspect the same dynamic might be at work there. Moreover, decent people tend to be sensitive to the harm false accusations can do.

    Those in the know will keep each other’s dirty secrets. Those not in the know will have strong moral reasons to give the benefit of the doubt. And so here we are.

    • #61
  2. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Those in the know will keep each other’s dirty secrets.

    That’s one way to put it, here’s another from Peter Grant, an ex-priest and medically retired prison chaplain from whose blog I read regularly and have been quoting in comments to this post. 

    The Pennsylvania report describes, in horrific detail, how child rape was deliberately described as “crossing boundaries” or “inappropriate contact” rather than what it was.  Bishops and administrators actively took steps to hide such crimes from police, and/or to subvert their investigation by dealing with compliant (dare one say co-conspirator?) agencies and individuals….

    Such connivance has a legal name.  It’s called being an accessory to a crime.  It may involve elements of criminal conspiracy and/or criminal facilitation.  In the cases under discussion, these elements are arguably present before a crime when a Bishop or other church authority, knowing that a priest has already committed sexual offenses against a minor, reassigns him to a post where he can reoffend.  They are arguably present after a crime when Church authorities seek to minimize, cover up, dismiss, or obstruct the investigation of the offense(s) concerned.  Being an accessory to a crime means that one shares the guilt of the actual criminal, to a greater or lesser extent.

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Those not in the know will have strong moral reasons to give the benefit of the doubt.

    “Reasons wrongly couched in moral terms,” perhaps. Peter Grant again:

    Some will reject what I’ve just said.  They’ll point to spiritual rather than temporal issues, and claim that one’s duty to God must necessarily include fidelity to his Church.  To them, I can only say that I think they’ve never experienced serious abuse as children.  The reality of that abuse in the hearts and minds and souls of the victims is simply indescribable.  I invite all of you to try to put yourselves in the shoes of a child as he or she (in the context of the Catholic crisis, usually he) is stripped naked, fondled, abused, raped . . . and then told, by the perpetrators – those he’s been taught by his parents are spiritual authorities – that it’s his fault, or that he mustn’t talk about it, or that God will be angry if he doesn’t allow future abuses.  That reality is so ghastly, in the mind of a child, as to defy description.  Is it any wonder that so many victims grow up permanently warped and twisted, psychologically and spiritually, by that experience?  Is it any wonder that some of them have been so deeply, profoundly scarred by the experience that they’ve never been able to live normal lives with their spouses, and have handed down their trauma and damaged psyches to their children?  Is it any wonder that some have taken their own lives, rather than live with the shattering effects of past abuse?

    • #62
  3. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Burr (View Comment):
    Chastity seems to attract a certain type of homosexual man to the priesthood.

    I think that that is an important point. One can be homosexual and chaste and I have no doubt that there were and are such priests.

    There have also long been unchaste, priests, bishops, etc., and even corrupted seminaries and other institutions. That fact hit the sexual revolution and here the Church is.

    • #63
  4. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    The whole thing is sad and maddening.  I have found it interesting watching the atheist left trying to condemn the church for the behavior of the mostly homosexual priests and trying to condemn religion and the Colorado baker once again for his religious stance against certain sexual practices.  

    • #64
  5. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Burr (View Comment):
    Chastity seems to attract a certain type of homosexual man to the priesthood.

    I think that that is an important point. One can be homosexual and chaste and I have no doubt that there were and are such priests.

    There have also long been unchaste, priests, bishops, etc., and even corrupted seminaries and other institutions. That fact hit the sexual revolution and here the Church is.

    If a man feels genuinely called to be a priest, does not support the Gay agenda or the heterosexual agenda of fornication, is chaste and knows how to avoid situations of temptation that could jeopardize his resolve to remain chaste, I don’t think it matters what current he would more often run on if instead he snuck around having sex.

    • #65
  6. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Re: # 64

    Yeah, I have to talk to my husband about us making a donation to Alliance Defending Freedom before the day is out.

    We all can’t afford to get so sleepy and distracted that we stop fighting these endless attempts to take away our religious freedom.

    • #66
  7. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Those in the know will keep each other’s dirty secrets.

    That’s one way to put it, here’s another from Peter Grant, an ex-priest and medically retired prison chaplain from whose blog I read regularly and have been quoting in comments to this post.

    Calling them just “accessories to a crime” misses something important, though, I think:

    The problem seems to have gotten as bad as it did not just because people were keeping each other’s dirty criminal secrets, but because they were keeping each other’s dirty secrets, period.

    Sexual exploitation, provided everyone involved is of age, is typically not a crime. It may be immoral for mentors to sexually groom their non-minor proteges, and it may be against sound policy in many institutions, but it’s not illegal. Most (all? I don’t know the exact age requirements) seminarians are legally of age, and vast amounts of grooming appear to have taken place in seminaries. The dirty secrets most commonly kept in that scenario probably aren’t actual crimes. But they foster an environment of looking the other way, even when actual crime is involved.

    • #67
  8. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Re:# 67

    Like Like Like Like Like………

    Exactly.

    • #68
  9. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
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    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Sexual exploitation, provided everyone involved is of age, is typically not a crime. It may be immoral for mentors to sexually groom their non-minor proteges, and it may be against sound policy in many institutions, but it’s not illegal. Most (all? I don’t know the exact age requirements) seminarians are legally of age, and vast amounts of grooming appear to have taken place in seminaries. The dirty secrets most commonly kept in that scenario probably aren’t actual crimes.

    I don’t think it’s either/or in most cases. Do you think that most of the  denizens of the corrupted seminaries restricted their special relationships to partners of legal age. I doubt that most of them did. So yes. Crimes. Criminals. Particularly those in positions to run the coverups.

    • #69
  10. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    This might be tangential to the subject, but by the way, did anyone notice something that looks like witchcraft in one of the cases ?  I’m thinking of the urine and menstrual blood one priest collected from girls he molested or raped.

    • #70
  11. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Sexual exploitation, provided everyone involved is of age, is typically not a crime. It may be immoral for mentors to sexually groom their non-minor proteges, and it may be against sound policy in many institutions, but it’s not illegal. Most (all? I don’t know the exact age requirements) seminarians are legally of age, and vast amounts of grooming appear to have taken place in seminaries. The dirty secrets most commonly kept in that scenario probably aren’t actual crimes.

    I don’t think it’s either/or in most cases. Do you think that most of the denizens of the corrupted seminaries restricted their special relationships to partners of legal age.

    Yes. Apparently, the incidence of celibacy violation among the priesthood and seminarians is shockingly high. If most were also committing these crimes with the underage, I wager this scandal would be several orders of magnitude worse than it already is.

    I doubt that most of them did. So yes. Crimes. Criminals. Particularly those in positions to run the coverups.

    Is it possible you underestimate the greater lack of celibacy going on, and the culture of sexual duplicity it fosters?

    • #71
  12. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s either/or in most cases. Do you think that most of the denizens of the corrupted seminaries restricted their special relationships to partners of legal age?

    Yes. Apparently, the incidence of celibacy violation among the priesthood and seminarians is shockingly high. If most were also committing these crimes with the underage, I wager this scandal would be several orders of magnitude worse than it already is.

    I hope that you are right, but from what I heard from people with contacts in one of the worst of the seminaries in the throes of the sexual revolution, the also was definitely in play. Talking about ephebophiles wouldn’t be part of the rationalization and coverup if that weren’t the case. Whether it was most, I don’t know.

    • #72
  13. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    It is good that posts on this horrific crisis in the Church are on the Main Feed here at Ricochet. We Catholics are filled with disgust and shame at what our priests and bishops have done at what they continue to do and what they seem to not want to do. I myself have written three posts on this an am glad that others are outraged as well – it is healthy to vent our anger. The Church must be held to a higher standard than others and our anger and calls for action and justice must continue.

    It would be nice and respectful to us Catholics if your anger and venting was done without so much ignorance of what the Catholic Church is and holds as doctrine and what the root cause of this crisis is. This has nothing to do with married priests or celibacy – it is a huge scandal of sin and lack of chastity in the priesthood, perpetrated predominantly by predatory homosexuals.

    Vent all you want. I will continue to do so as well. Bash me if you want. But at least take a few minutes to learn something about the Church while you are doing your venting and bashing.

    Chastity exists so that lands would not be passed to sons, and increased the power of the Church in the lands it owned. Priests used to get married and have families.

    As Scott asked in an above post, why don’t you look into why the Church teaches what she does before you jump in to criticize? There are good reasons for a celibate priesthood. Why don’t you do some research on the subject before you weigh in?

     

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Re: 44

    I think Bryan G. Stephens might have meant that the church insisted priests would not marry so that lands that belonged to the church would not be passed to sons. (I don’t know if there was or wasn’t a concern about lands. I did hear there was a concern that the job of being a parish’s priest would become hereditary if priests continued to marry.)

    Yes. that is exactly what I meant.

    Well then you are talking about celibacy, not chastity. I have linked above in comment #44 what the CCC teaches on chastity. Celibacy is covered in the CCC in #’s 1579-1580, and 1599. And as I said in #37:

    This has nothing to do with married priests or celibacy – it is a huge scandal of sin and lack of chastity in the priesthood, perpetrated predominantly by predatory homosexuals.

     

    I have researched it. I can cite all sorts of reasons, many of which predate Christ walking the Earth. Sexual energy has long been linked to many things. It makes sense, because sex = life. 

    Priests used to get married and have families. That was still going on in 1000 AD in places. I am not being mean or uninformed to say so. I am not even saying I think the practice is wrong. I am saying that it is spiritually tied to crimes of a sexual nature. Not a cause. 

    I am sorry if I used two terms (based on what I can spell) that should not be conflated. The fundamental points are:

    1. Priests are not supposed to have sex. 
    2. This has not always been the case
    3. There is a serious sexual abuse issue 
    4. The two things are related spiritually in an Jungingen sense

    None of that is an attack on any of the practices. 

    • #73
  14. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Chastity exists so that lands would not be passed to sons, and increased the power of the Church in the lands it owned…

    Priests used to get married and have families. That was still going on in 1000 AD in places. I am not being mean or uninformed to say so. I am not even saying I think the practice is wrong. I am saying that it is spiritually tied to crimes of a sexual nature. Not a cause.

    Noble families found it useful to place younger sons and sons born on the wrong side of the blanket with the Church so that said sons would find outlets for their ambitions that would be less likely to cause the family trouble and more likely to keep the property in one nicely entailed piece. Further, in a win/win outcome, there was a reasonable likelihood that said noble family would then have relatives in high places in the Church, able to arrange for Church positions for scions of other noble families.

    This sort of networking didn’t mean that the vocations of those so placed were not sincere.

     

    • #74
  15. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    O’Malley,

    If you mean Cardinal O’Malley, you would be incorrect to include him. He is one of the good guys. He is a dear friend of Mitt Romney. They became friends over the gay adoption battles and later the gay marriage battles that nearly blew up Massachusetts.

    He has been a stalwart defender of the Church against the excesses of the gay movement in Massachusetts.

    He replaced Bernard Law when Law ran off to Rome.

    • #75
  16. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s either/or in most cases. Do you think that most of the denizens of the corrupted seminaries restricted their special relationships to partners of legal age?

    Yes. Apparently, the incidence of celibacy violation among the priesthood and seminarians is shockingly high. If most were also committing these crimes with the underage, I wager this scandal would be several orders of magnitude worse than it already is.

    I hope that you are right, but from what I heard from people with contacts in one of the worst of the seminaries in the throes of the sexual revolution, the also was definitely in play. Talking about ephebophiles wouldn’t be part of the rationalization and coverup if that weren’t the case. Whether it was most, I don’t know.

    From what you hear about one of the worst seminaries, the also was in play. Key word: worst. 

    Seminaries can be insular institutions, but not typically so insular that outsiders have no idea what’s going on. So, what would keep outsiders from intervening and exposing?

    Perhaps knowledge of their own transgressions, even when their own transgressions are much lesser. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and so on. Being more mortified by one’s own sins than one is by rumors of others’ sins is, in most circumstances, the right thing to do. Obviously, not in every circumstance. Moreover, because the sin we personally witness is much more vivid to us than that which we don’t, it’s easy to wonder whether the scandals we’ve witnessed are just as bad as scandals elsewhere, which tends to minimize the scandals elsewhere when they really are egregiously bad:

    “Oh, that seminary. Ridden with scandal nobody likes to talk about.” “Huh. Well, over here, it’s an open secret the hermeneutics professor sometimes hooks up with the religious history professor. So I guess we’re full of scandal nobody likes to talk about, too. How bad, really, can the other place be?…”

    • #76
  17. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Re: # 73

    Let’s say a pastor in a Lutheran church in the 70’s is having an affair on his wife. (I found out about one such case, from another pastor, after the adulterer had been confronted, had admitted to it, and was no longer a pastor.) Let’s say this pastor also suspects a member of his church might be abusing children. And let’s say, after the possible child abuser sees the pastor observing him interacting with a child in a way that would create or increase an observant person’s suspicion of child abuse, he says something to Pastor that could be him obliquely letting Pastor know  he knows Pastor is having an affair. I think the pastor then might be tempted to look away from what might be child abuse. But the temptation would definately be greater if the possible child abuser had as much status as the pastor, or if a few people, fellow pastors, say, equal to or greater than the pastor in status, seemed to be telling the pastor they knew about his affair on his wife; and also seemed to be saying, in a general way, that it isn’t good to be nosy, jump to conclusions about people, or think the worst of them.

    Of course such a thing isn’t likely to happen to the pastor. But not because he could, if he wanted, have sex with his wife. I think something like that did happen to some of the priests who looked away.

    • #77
  18. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
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    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Re: 44

    I think Bryan G. Stephens might have meant that the church insisted priests would not marry so that lands that belonged to the church would not be passed to sons. (I don’t know if there was or wasn’t a concern about lands. I did hear there was a concern that the job of being a parish’s priest would become hereditary if priests continued to marry.)

    Yes. that is exactly what I meant.

    Well then you are talking about celibacy, not chastity. I have linked above in comment #44 what the CCC teaches on chastity. Celibacy is covered in the CCC in #’s 1579-1580, and 1599. And as I said in #37:

    This has nothing to do with married priests or celibacy – it is a huge scandal of sin and lack of chastity in the priesthood, perpetrated predominantly by predatory homosexuals.

    As this outside observer understands it, at one time celibacy was recommended for the clergy but not mandatory. Celibacy would at that time have been expected for unmarried clergy, and marital chastity for married clergy; both would, I think, have been considered chaste behavior.

    Now that the sacraments of marriage and holy orders are not simultaneous, (with rare exceptions proving the rule) the rubrics of chastity and celibacy have seemingly diverged. It is certainly unusual in the public square to encounter the phrase “chaste wife,” yet that is not a celibate state.

    • #78
  19. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    I think priests should be able to marry, but not because I think it would prevent this kind of abuse.

    • #79
  20. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    so….what is it about Catholic youth instruction that fosters the one-on-one intimacy during which these priests molest children? 

    Here is the thing, it is not a part of Catholic youth instruction. I was raised Catholic, current Lutheran. 

    I was never, ever alone with any Priest. The only one on one time was in a confession booth with a wall/window between us. 

    This is not caused by the Catholic Church teachings or structure. This is predators finding away to get alone time with children. The same methods could be used by a neighbor or a teacher or a doctor. 

    • #80
  21. Nerina Bellinger Inactive
    Nerina Bellinger
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    MarciN (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    O’Malley,

    If you mean Cardinal O’Malley, you would be incorrect to include him. He is one of the good guys

    Unfortunately, Marci, I don’t think any Bishop is getting out of this scandal with their reputation completely intact.  Even, O’Malley (who, to his credit has backed out of what promises to be a complete farce in Ireland next month), is on the hook.  He fundraised with McCarrick AFTER being notified of the Cardinal’s predatory behavior.  The seminary in his archdiocese is also troubled.  This is how devastating this whole thing is – can ANYONE in the hierarchy be trusted?  And where, or where is Pope Francis in all this?

    • #81
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Nerina Bellinger (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    O’Malley,

    If you mean Cardinal O’Malley, you would be incorrect to include him. He is one of the good guys.

    Unfortunately, Marci, I don’t think any Bishop is getting out of this scandal with their reputation completely intact. Even, O’Malley (who, to his credit has backed out of what promises to be a complete farce in Ireland next month), is on the hook. He fundraised with McCarrick AFTER being notified of the Cardinal’s predatory behavior. The seminary in his archdiocese is also troubled. This is how devastating this whole thing is – can ANYONE in the hierarchy be trusted? And where, or where is Pope Francis in all this?

    I’m not sure what level of priest supervision you are calling for here.

    At any rate, O’Malley has been fantastic at steering the Massachusetts Catholic church through its own ordeal, which is what the Pennsylvania churches will be going through now. There will be a lot of money given to victims now. Someone like O’Malley will have to pick up the pieces.

    O’Malley has been a very impressive force for good here.

    I don’t know the story with McCarrick, but I trust O’Malley completely, and I’m sure he had a good reason to do what he did.

    • #82
  23. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    This might be tangential to the subject, but by the way, did anyone notice something that looks like witchcraft in one of the cases ? I’m thinking of the urine and menstrual blood one priest collected from girls he molested or raped.

    I wonder if possession is at play here. If I were Satan, I’d go after priests.

    • #83
  24. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Nerina Bellinger (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    O’Malley,

    If you mean Cardinal O’Malley, you would be incorrect to include him. He is one of the good guys.

    Unfortunately, Marci, I don’t think any Bishop is getting out of this scandal with their reputation completely intact. Even, O’Malley (who, to his credit has backed out of what promises to be a complete farce in Ireland next month), is on the hook. He fundraised with McCarrick AFTER being notified of the Cardinal’s predatory behavior. The seminary in his archdiocese is also troubled. This is how devastating this whole thing is – can ANYONE in the hierarchy be trusted? And where, or where is Pope Francis in all this?

    There are bishops that I trust. Burke, for one…As for Pope Francis, he’s too busy worrying about climate change. We can probably be grateful for that.

    • #84
  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Jager (View Comment):
    This is not caused by the Catholic Church teachings or structure. This is predators finding away to get alone time with children. The same methods could be used by a neighbor or a teacher or a doctor. 

    True, where children are concerned. I do wonder whether there’s something about spiritual mentorship among adults, where one adult is often quite young (say, in seminary) that’s conducive to the kind of non-criminal sexual misconduct which ends up providing cover for criminal misconduct, though.

    I don’t blame the Catholic Church for this specifically. I think it’s a danger any time intense mentoring can happen, religion being one of many disciplines susceptible to it.

    • #85
  26. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    MarciN (View Comment):
    If you mean Cardinal O’Malley, you would be incorrect to include him.

    That is what I initially thought Marci.

    But:

    As I point out here and from this article, Cardinal O’Malley seems to have used PR/lawyerly language to protect himself:

    Recent media reports also have referenced a letter sent to me from Rev. Boniface Ramsey, O.P. in June of 2015, which I did not personally receive. In keeping with the practice for matters concerning the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at the staff level the letter was reviewed and determined that the matters presented did not fall under the purview of the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston, which was shared with Fr. Ramsey in reply.

    Rev. Boniface Ramsey O.P., was the priest warning everyone about the predator McCarrick. Notice that Cardinal O’Malley doesn’t say he didn’t know about these warnings, he just says it wasn’t personally given to him. And he used weasel words about it not in keeping with the practice of protecting minors (as if protecting seminarians from that horrific predator McCarrick was something he didn’t care about). If he is the man we would hope him to be, he would have looked in to this. Instead, like all the bishops involved in this horror show, he decided to turn the other way. I find that revolting, disgusting, and pathetic. All of these men involve in this need to be called to account. 

    • #86
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I understand how people feel. I just can’t join in here. Cardinal O’Malley was our bishop for southeastern Massachusetts before he was made archbishop and finally cardinal. He said mass for my son’s confirmation. His homily moved me very much, and I thought to myself, “He is going to be a great leader in the church.” I was not surprised to see him on the short list for pope when Benedict announced his retirement.

    In replacing Bernard Law and seeing our diocese grapple with the sale of so many parishes to pay reparations to the church victims, he did a wonderful job. He also guided the Massachusetts Catholic church through a most contentious time of the gay marriage and gay adoption legal battles. Politically, Mitt Romney was on the wrong side for this state, and O’Malley was a steadfast friend. And it was O’Malley who apologized to the victims here and pursued justice for them. And it was O’Malley who instituted new rules for protecting children.

    I understand your thinking here. It’s just that I have admired Cardinal O’Malley for more than twenty years. If he did something wrong, I think it was most likely just a mistake.

    I don’t expect others to react this way. For me, it’s just that I feel as though I know this guy. I used to read his blog every day. The story that is coming out now just doesn’t fit what I know of him.

    • #87
  28. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    So how many of the 1000 victims are male ? How many of the male victims were molested between the ages of 12 to 18 ? How many of the females were in the same age range when they were molested.

    • #88
  29. Nerina Bellinger Inactive
    Nerina Bellinger
    @NerinaBellinger

    MarciN,  I completely understand where you’re coming from.  I hope Bishop O’Malley is deserving of your praise and adulation and I’m glad you feel he has been a good shepherd for the faithful in Massachusetts.  I am hoping my Bishop is one of the “good guys” in this too.  I’m just being very cautious before doling out praise at this point.

    • #89
  30. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    If you mean Cardinal O’Malley, you would be incorrect to include him.

    That is what I initially thought Marci.

    But:

    As I point out here and from this article, Cardinal O’Malley seems to have used PR/lawyerly language to protect himself:

    Recent media reports also have referenced a letter sent to me from Rev. Boniface Ramsey, O.P. in June of 2015, which I did not personally receive. In keeping with the practice for matters concerning the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at the staff level the letter was reviewed and determined that the matters presented did not fall under the purview of the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston, which was shared with Fr. Ramsey in reply.

    Rev. Boniface Ramsey O.P., was the priest warning everyone about the predator McCarrick. Notice that Cardinal O’Malley doesn’t say he didn’t know about these warnings, he just says it wasn’t personally given to him. And he used weasel words about it not in keeping with the practice of protecting minors (as if protecting seminarians from that horrific predator McCarrick was something he didn’t care about). If he is the man we would hope him to be, he would have looked in to this. Instead, like all the bishops involved in this horror show, he decided to turn the other way. I find that revolting, disgusting, and pathetic. All of these men involve in this need to be called to account.

    That is disappointing, to put it mildly.

    I want to see real acts of penance. I want to see some evidence that these bishops actually fear the wrath of God for what they’ve done. I want to see the “lavender mafia” called out – yes, I know that it’s not culturally or politically correct to say anything negative about gays, but frankly I want them out, out, out of the clergy. And I wish some bishops would have the guts to say so.

    The Church is going to get a lot smaller, as Benedict XVI predicted. This isn’t how I expected it to happen, but maybe that’s how it’s going to happen here.

    • #90
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