Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, February 12, 2011


There's a post at dotCommonweal about this story in the news - Philadelphia Priests Accused by Grand Jury of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up.

As Paul Moses writes in his dotCommonweal post, Priests’ supervisor charged with endangering abused youths, ...

A monsignor who formerly headed the Archdiocese of Philadelpia’s Office for Clergy was charged with two felonies today for not protecting children from sex-abusing priests he allegedly knew were a danger. In a stunning development, a new grand jury report assailed the current assignments of 37 priests for whom there is allegedly substantial evidence of sexual misconduct, and also said that “for the moment,” there would be no criminal charges against Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, archbishop of Philadelphia from 1988 to 2003.

You can read the report released by the grand jury here - Investigation of Sexual Abuse by Clergy II.

The comments to the dotCommonweal post are interesting. Here are a few I cherry-picked ....

Lynn is thought to be the first chancery administrator to be indicted for the handling of abusers:

These news are a relief. Since the church is incapable of facing the cover-ups by church authorities and recognizing that those who have responsibilities must be accountable, the American judicial system is finally stepping in to help make this happen and force change. Pope Benedict wrote to the Irish bishops: “I therefore exhort you to renew your sense of accountability before God”. Nothing better than accountability before earthly jutice to help develop that sense!

if other grand juries were held with the same level of detail and accountability, you would see these same results in Chicago, LA, St. Louis, Miami, NYC, etc. One of many interesting insights is the grand jury’s summation about the archdiocesan safety program – it is basically all smoke and mirrors – it never addresses either pedophile priests nor their cover-ups by clerical administrators. (BTW – this is the same national safety program that the USCCB uses to show that things have really changed in the church)

I just read Part I of the report. Horrifying, indeed. It’s the kind of story that makes me reconsider whether to stay Catholic. If this was my birth family, wouldn’t I break ties with them? And if I were ready to cut myself off from a family that would act in this way, then perhaps I should do the same with the Catholic church.

I direct my contributions to SNAP, VOTF and I am worn down with disgust at the lack of input the laity has. And yes, the “system” is dysfunctional, even criminal in some respects. Benedict will not speak up, no matter what. Vaticanese, Romanita, and la bella figura forbid open, transparent disclosure. The Vatican goes to enormous linguistic lengths to protect Benedict from any blame, the better to avoid any hint of liability. And, yes, Gerhard Gruber clearly took the fall for him in the Hullermann case. Even Gruber’s friends acknowledge he said as much. I survive in the church by dissociation from hierarchy, except those exceedingly rare examples of personal courage (e.g., Robinson in Australia, Dowling in South Africa). Otherwise, they are mostly impediments to my faith, to be ignored accordingly ..... My heart goes out to the brave priests who see the reality but still hang in there.


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