How has the Pennsylvania scandal affected you personally?


#394

Yes. We also have to realize that once we set the precedent that not even Catholic clergy are above suspicion or above consequences for these grave offenses, there will be far less room for anyone else to claim an “out.”

As a Church, we have to realize that the policies and attitudes of the institutional Church also set the model for the Domestic Church, where this kind of offense is far more prevalent and yet sometimes also covered up out of shame or a feeling that no “decent” family could ever have someone in it who could do such a thing.

Yes, I mean the pastors and bishops have to be a model for wives and mothers and aunts and other family members who have the duty and authority to protect children who have been the victims of sexual abuse. What the bishops do not have the courage to do, the wives and mothers (or husbands and fathers, if it is not the head of the household who is the offender) will have more difficulty finding the courage to do. When the bishops can love the sinner and yet show no tolerance for the sin nor any lack of protection for the victims of the sin, then the families confronted with this problem will be better-able to confront it and deal with it immediately upon becoming aware of it.

Likewise, if churches of every denomination do their jobs with regards to protecting children and young people from sexual and even emotional predators, other organizations that cater to children and young people, such as special-interest clubs and sports leagues, will have a model to follow.

That is what victims need. We need to keep protection of the vulnerable, especially the vulnerable yet developmentally innocent and naive, at the forefront. While the premise that everyone is innocent until found guilty is very important, it is secondary to an abundance of care for those who cannot defend themselves. These situations must be dealt with charitably and with justice, always, but nevertheless they must always be dealt with and never ignored.

Yes. We ought to look at staying as being here to do our part to defend the Church in Her hour of need. This is an assault on the Church. The right response is not to freeze nor to scatter. It is to join together in one mind and to act.


#395

Yes, definitely.


#396

Yes. The dioceses (or archdioceses) of Louisville, Boston, Portland, Tuscon and Spokane might have been “surprised” about the gravity of this and how it must be handled. There was maybe some shred of “we didn’t know it was this bad” or “we were taking the advice of mental health professionals” possible.

That was back in the early 2000s, though. It has been over 15 years since the first version of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was put out by the USCCB. There is no excuse for any diocese or bishop not to have this cleaned up by now. It needed to have been the number one priority from the time the bishops admitted the disastrous consequences and betrayal that “handling things in a discrete manner” caused.

This matter is not just at the forefront in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. It is just the way things are done. People still complain about having to take the training and follow the rules, though. It just floors me.

When a priest who offends is caught and turned over to the authorities and pays the consequences for his crime by loss of ministry and prison time, it is extremely sad that it happened and yet if the signs are that he was turned over and dealt with at the first sign of this kind of behavior it is also a good sign. It means someone is being vigilant, someone is taking these dangers seriously, someone has the courage to act.

Let us take the example of Angel Perez, however:
Perez, a pastor at St. Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn since 2008, was arrested Aug. 13, 2012, after the boy spent the previous night at his home. The priest had asked the boy’s parents whether he could take the boy on a trip to the mountains, court documents said.

In the ideal world, if a priest ever proposes an overnight trip without other chaperones, the parents immediately see the problem with that and not only refuse the proposal but report the incident to the vicar of clergy. This was a well-liked priest, as I understand it. That shouldn’t matter. Sexual predators are often charming and personable, rather than obviously “creepy.” It does not matter if they are sociopaths with no conscience or tormented souls who are prone to grievous sin in spite of their best efforts. That is a matter for their spiritual directors, not the faithful as a whole. What matters is never letting the duty to think the best of others get in the way of protecting the most vulnerable among us from wolves in sheep’s clothing–or shepherd’s clothing, either.


#398

So, not sure if you realize but these are not new cases. Some of this goes back to the 1940’s. Most of the priests are deceased. I also believe not all were priests, some were deacons and some were lay people


#399

Thank you,

well said…


#400

Well, first of all, since the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People there is no excuse for any kind of predator being tolerated or even, at this point in experience, going undetected for an extended period of time.

As any priest in our archdiocese would tell you–I am from the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, and we went through a very well-publicized bankruptcy over this very same kind of “history”–it is not just the duty of the priests to avoid being offenders themselves. It is a sacred duty of their pastoral office to be protectors of every person under their care from every person under their authority, to the best of their ability. The priests I know take this very seriously. They do not allow any deviations from the protocols set up to keep children and young people safe.

As for what was going on in Pennsylvania, I haven’t been able to download the entire report. One of the good outcomes of our bankruptcy–and the change in policy and attitude has been a very good outcome–is that the Archdiocese has a Child and Youth Protection Office which employs a Victim Assistance Coordinator. There is a system set up for dealing with allegations and violations.

We may well have one because it was a condition of the bankruptcy and settlement, but every diocese ought to have one.

So here is the question: How have sex abuse claims been handled in Pennsylvania in the past 15 years? If you say there were none until this grand jury handed down indictments, that should be a red flag. Sexual predators do not just give up trying because there is a “zero tolerance” policy. If no one working in a large diocese, whether lay or clergy, is ever caught, not even taken out of ministry in an abundance of caution without an arrest being made, that is actually not a good sign. That probably means there are still places to hide under the radar.

Even so, if the bishops were aware of anyone with a credible claim for whom the statute of limitations had not expired, they ought to have alerted the civil authorities. They have a duty to help the civil authorities to keep children and young people safe from these offenders, not just to keep the Church from being tarred by their crimes.


#401

And it was still covered up!
This is the problem!

Teh cover-up! The fact that people who reported abuse were then victimized even more by being threatened with their immoral soul.

The system that allows this kind of secrecy is what needs to fixed.


#402

I had an experience with a member of the clergy. He did a lot of things that would never be allowed now, but the behavior that crossed the line from grooming to abuse was one time. I was a teen at the time, and I blamed myself. When I read of the accusations against him, it dawned on me that it was not me. It was him. It was a pattern, and it was a long-standing pattern. In retrospect, the pattern became far more clear than it was at the time. When you have been taught what to look for, you see things you never would have seen when you didn’t know. (This is why I am such a big advocate of education and vigilance for the laity.)

The clergy I have told about this could not have been more supportive. One responded to my letter about this with “as we go through this” not “as you go through this.” He was as good as his word. There was no way in which I ever felt alone as I went through getting through that. So while there was one priest who was an offender there have been many others who were unquestionably my defenders. They weren’t looking out for themselves. They were looking out for me.

As for the priest who did it, yes, he really does have faith. He is a very confused man, though. To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t do anything that would get him a prison sentence, at least not a lengthy one, but he did do things that ought to have gotten him removed from the ministry far sooner than it did. If it happened now, that is what would happen. People know each other in this archdiocese, and people know the priests. People are no longer afraid to talk about these things. People are taught what to look for and taught that they have a duty to report rather than feeling it is some sin of detraction to report, because they are taught that communication is necessary in order to deny offenders the opportunities, the benefit of the doubt and the privacy they need to offend. Moving a priest with a history like his simply would not be tolerated any more. That is the way it should be.


#403

Flagged as off topic. This isn’t a thread for the usual laundry list of Rad Trad complaints. Please start a new thread if you h*ll bent on posting on that subject.


#404

I couldn’t agree more.


#405

Please tell me you aren’t conflating liturgical abuses with sexual attacks on children. The two are very different.

You may have a discussion–such as whether or not some people who report liturgical abuses are also troublemakers, since the two are hardly mutually exclusive any more than it is mutually exclusive for a priest to be both liturgically orthodox and a sexual offender–but that discussion doesn’t belong in this thread.


#406

Perhaps you could start another thread about that because I didn’t read that in the report but I didn’t get very far in it. (Don’t want those images from the report in my mind)

Also, that isn’t what the reports focus was


#407

The way this report affected me the most…so many things swirling. I feel a deep sadness for the sweet sisters that taught me in school. My principal who was so very loving and supportive, who cried with me over a time that she unintentionally hurt me. The way she swooped me up and sheltered me after a bad experience in confession that left me in tears. The way she stood up to bullies that preyed on weaker students. She was such a good woman. I feel they (and especially her) are being betrayed and their names run through the mud and it is so unfair to them. I am struggling with where to go from here because I just am unable to believe the magisterium is being “guided by the Holy Spirit in matters of faith and morals” or else this would never have occurred. This is going to take me a long time to move on, and if transparency and true contrition does not occur soon, I’m not sure that I ever will be able to reconcile my faith in Jesus with remaining in Communion with these bishops. This culture of victim shaming and covering up is disgusting.


#408

Good article, @Joe_5859, thanks.

I’ve been quietly absorbing and trying to figure out my response to all of this.

But I will say this: I am normally quick to conclude “it’s old cases, just being reported now, but the problem has been addressed in the last 15 years”. Part of that reaction comes from being in a diocese (St. Paul/Minneapolis) that has gone through all of this already and implemented safeguards.

However, the 2014 anecdote given in the first 9 paragraphs of that CNA article really gives me pause. Conclusion of the section:

"In fact, Bishop John Barres, then Bishop of Allentown, relied heavily on Szatkowski’s canonical advocacy in a 2014 letter written to stave off the possibility that the Vatican might laicize Lawrence.

This extraordinary turn of events bears repeating. In 2014, a bishop allowed a priest who had been charged with criminal sexual abuse of a child to serve as the canon lawyer for another priest charged with criminal sexual abuse of a child. Apparently no one in Szatkowski’s religious community, the Diocese of Allentown, or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith questioned the wisdom of that plan.

Anyone who finds it difficult to understand the anger and resentment of Catholics toward their bishops in recent weeks need look no further than that story."

Ugh. I’m going to have to dig in and plow through the report.


#409

We have the guarantee that they will not teach what is false, not the guarantee they cannot do what is wrong.

It is not unknown for the Lord to ask us to follow what teachers of religion teach but not what they do:
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice…
Matt. 23:1-3

Notice He did not say, “Don’t listen to them, because they don’t do what they teach.” It was the teaching was certain, not the teachers.


#410

He also said you’d know his church by their fruit


#411

Largest charitable organization in the world. Countless orphanages (where children aren’t abused), hospitals, etc. The Eucharist. Millions of good and holy priests, nuns and laity. I dunno, from where I sit the fruit looks just fine. We got some bad fruit that will be pruned but that doesn’t mean all the good should be ignored.


#412

It is possible that a bishop might need to be removed, yes, not only for teaching false things but for seriously failing his duty. This is true. We aren’t given the guarantee that no mistakes will be made.
“…when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all, “If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Gal. 2:11-14

(Note Peter was not teaching something incorrect, but but being a hypocrite about how he modeled it.)


#413

The passage refers to teachers individually, not the Church as a whole:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
Matt. 7:15-23

That is not to say we should judge anyone in the eternal sense, but just to know that while good people will make mistakes there is a limit. Those who stand by grave offenses instead of doing their best to protect the innocent have to be taken out of positions of trust, no matter how many other seemingly wonderful things they do. There aren’t enough virtuous deeds to keep someone in the clergy when he has shown he could violate a child.


#414

I agree with that. My point is the Church itself has good fruit. Individuals WITHIN the Church are not guaranteed to. We must judge each individual on their own.

I do believe the poster was trying to insinuate the Church isn’t the TRUE Church because of this scandal.


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