Saturday, January 11, 2020


How can bishops, individually and collectively, be trusted once again. If we, the clergy, are liars or perceived as such, what is the way out?

In terms of serial abuse in the Church, how was it kept secret by the laity? How is it that parishioners in these parishes did not speak of it, especially families affected, to others in the parish and word simply gets out through normal gossip?

For an example as a 26 year old ordained in 1980, I was unaware of the widespread examples of priests accused of this. In fact within the last year, the pastor I had growing up in Augusta from 1960 until he retired in 1971, my entire primary and secondary education, was placed on a list of diocesan priests credibly accused since the 1950’s. There was never, as far as I know, any gossip about this at the time and those of us who remember him are still shocked. How was it kept quiet by my fellow parishioners, especially those affected families? He died in 1980.

Press title for full article:

We used to believe bishops told the truth. What happened?

Catholic Herald
January 9, 2020
By Fr Raymond de Souza

One of the biggest stories of 2019 took place exactly a year ago. The Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington had, in fact, known about Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct, despite his claims to the contrary.

The revelations on January 10, 2019 were a mortal blow to the credibility of prelates, precisely because of Cardinal Wuerl’s prestige and well-earned reputation for being careful and exact. That loss of credibility has poisoned the relationship between bishops and priests. It began long before Cardinal Wuerl, but that he would offer misleading statements so brazenly on such a high-profile case had far-ranging consequences.

Indeed, the Cardinal Wuerl affair was part of a larger story. It was one of the most important of 2019, namely that even the Vatican no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. To the contrary, media outlets are now quite serene about stating flatly that Church officials are not telling the truth.

Recall the facts. In the summer of 2018, after the first allegations against Theodore McCarrick were made public, Cardinal Wuerl was asked what he knew. He insisted that he had no knowledge of any accusations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick. But he went further, insisting that he had never even heard “rumours” about McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians. He compounded his statements to the media by gathering his priests to tell them the same thing.

Yet in 2004, when still Bishop of Pittsburgh, he had heard complaints against McCarrick from a former priest, who alleged abuse by McCarrick when he was a seminarian. Wuerl, nothing if not punctilious about protocols, reported the matter to the apostolic nuncio, the Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed. In 2006, he was appointed McCarrick’s successor in Washington.


Robert Kumpel said...

One possibility: The legal system. In a vast number of cases, priests facing credible accusations of abuse were protected by diocesan "payoffs", which were essentially out-of-court settlements offered to the victims and/or their families. The price tag of these settlements is signing a confidentiality agreement in which the plaintiffs forfeit their hush money should they ever go public with their complaints. What's even more disturbing about this is that the folks filling the collection baskets never have a clue what some of that money is going for.

Need an example? Look no further:
forward to page 12

Anonymous said...

The "payoffs" Mr. Kumpel refers to were, at times, made at the request of the victims and/or their families.

Not wanting to expose a child or young person or a family to the rigors of a public spectacle, some chose to accept a financial settlement.

It is very convenient for Mr. Kumpel to complain about how much he has lost - it makes for a good tug on the heartstrings, not to mention the purse strings.

However, in the many, many cases, settlements are paid by insurers.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don’t know that there were pay offs at my parish. The priest is Nicholas Quinlan. I don’t know if victims came forward after 2002 when awareness exploded nationally. I fault the diocese in not giving more details, like when abuse was reported how much was paid by insurance or the diocese and the nature of the abuse without graphic details. For example in my mind abuse is way too generic, from inappropriate sexual language to inappropriate touching over clothes to rape and worse. Molestation in my mind is inappropriate sexual touching but not penetration or other more graphic abuse. Dioceses need to be more forthright about accusations especially against deceased priests.

Anonymous said...

Settlements usually include a non-disclosure element.

Therefore, more details, when the abuse was reported, how much was paid by insurance or the diocese, the nature of the abuse, with or without graphic details are not released by any party in the settlement.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The diocese then broke that agreement by reporting he was accused. Once the agreement is broken other information needs to be given without naming victims.

Anonymous said...

"The diocese then broke that agreement by reporting he was accused."

This is probably not the case. The name of the accused is rarely protected by a non-disclosure agreement while the victim, especially if a minor, usually is. We all know that Trump, the accused, has settled numerous lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and battery. He is named, the victim may or may not be named.

"Once the agreement is broken other information needs to be given without naming victims."

No, that's not how the law works.

Anonymous said...

How the heck did “Trump” end up in this storyline about clerics? Good grief...

rcg said...

To be charitable, I believe the bishops, Cardinals, and clergy generally were obeying the seal of Confession as well as hoping for Divine intervention to cure the sick person. The insidious attack is at the roots of Faith, causing people to doubt if there even is a God, much less a loving one, that allows this sort of thing to happen. I believe the Bishops were largely expecting someone else, namely God, to relive them of the responsibility to act and do the job for them. Pursuant to that inaction many were compromised either through blackmail for their own sexual experimentation, or for waiting for so many years to act that after rising to the rank of cardinal any exposé and correction on their part would have the same moral appearance as the deathbed confession of a Mafia don. So they hesitate further, out of fear and shame all the while their faith, and the faith of millions, falters.

All of this is a proof of how powerful the grip of sexual disorder can be. The cardinals that did not suffer directly from it were manipulated by those who did via a 24 hour campaign to satisfy a sexual urge. Every waking moment of the sex addict is devoted to shaping the environment to have sex, just as an alcoholic or drug addict does to their friends and family. The cardinals decided on inaction in a belief that the offender would grow out of it or that the cure was just around the corner. Eventually the inventory of cardinals was so full of men awaiting the cure themselves that they decided maybe this condition was not so bad after all, that it is natural and even desirable. They pervert the responsibility of dealing with a malady from seeking endurance and strength from on high to embracing it for the physical pleasure it brings as a gift from God.

The false dilemma they present us is that the only alternative is persecution of homosexuals and other sexual deviants. Yet the cardinals hopefully know that they shouldn’t place an alcoholic brother in charge of the wine cellar regardless of his knowledge of wine making. They should remove from ministry anyone that exhibits sexual predation of any sort to include homosexual acts. We might suffer their absence. But less, we have learned, than we suffer their presence.

Robert Kumpel said...

I did not post my comments and provide the link to complain or "tug" anyone's "heartstrings" about any worldly privileges, reputation or money that I have lost. I am far more concerned with the ongoing loss of credibility that our Church continues to suffer with its own self-inflicted wound of covering up the inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

"How the heck did “Trump” end up in this storyline about clerics?"

Easy. He's the President of the United States and has entered into many such "settlements" that keep the injured party silent.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and now you have lost money! The story lines gets more and more tragic.

Where are my tissues.....?

Dan said...

Anonymous is a very nasty person.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD asks, "In terms of serial abuse in the Church, how was it kept secret by the laity? How is it that parishioners in these parishes did not speak of it, especially families affected, to others in the parish and word simply gets out through normal gossip?"

Because all of the clergy denied anything happened. Laity who complained were silenced, ostracized, and were attacked as being a little off, or liars, or just troubled souls.

Look at Mr. McCarrick; to this day he denies he did anything wrong. Imagine a situation where it is your word against Fr. Wonderful's, who is so nice to the people and especially to the kids. Complaints to those in authority fell on deaf ears, and anyone who wanted to take further legal action were subjected to counter accusations and threats of lawsuits for slander and defamation. Most people were not going to take on the Church.

I would imagine if a parent got no action from the pastor or the bishop, having no other recourse they left the parish to avoid anything happening to any of their other children, and to protect the one who had been molested.

And in those days it was considered a sort of grave matter to speak against a priest, because he was "in persona Christi" and almost revered as a holy object. I'm sure in many sectors any gossip of this kind was considered too unbelievable to be true, since what priest would ever molest a child, or have sex? So no one ever repeated it.

The credibility and trust of the clergy at that time was very high. Too bad it has been so abused that it is now in shreds.

Well, one good thing. It's sure destroyed a lot of clericalism, which was fostered by the high opinion of the laity for priests.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Dan January 11, 2020 at 2:23 PM, said, "Anonymous is a very nasty person."

I was just thinking the same thing...

God bless.

Anonymous said...

No, Anonymous is not a nasty person. He just doesn't suffer fools gladly.

rcg said...

Why not? The rest of us have to.

Anonymous said...

rcg - your choice.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Bee@3:10 Jan 11:

You make excellent points. Prior to Vatican II for someone to accuse a priest of such a heinous thing, especially if there were no witnesses except for the victim and accused, there would be such outrage at besmirching a priest in such a way. I think fellow Catholics of the pre-Vatican II upbringing would be mortified discussing this with fellow parishioners or gossiping about it. Parishioners would correct others.

In Augusta, in my former parish, there was an African American school and parish,now closed and merged into my former parish. But when it was independent a religious order of priests staffed the parish. A few of these priests were credibly accused years later. Could you imagine a black child prior to desegregation in the south accusing a white priest of such a thing?

I know for my self, even after being ordained a priest, just the thought of sexual abuse of minors turned my stomach and I wouldn't discuss it either. Or thinking that anyone, let alone a priest, would do this would indicate I had the dirty mind or the problem. So one keeps quiet or kept quiet.

It was a culture not only of the Catholic Church but society in general, but our Catholic ethos at the time may have magnified the problem.

Dan said...

Nasty people think most everyone besides themselves are fools.

rcg said...

Yes, and you’ll understand the choice when you start shaving.

Robert Kumpel said...

When the first wave of sex-abuse scandals broke in the press in 2002, USCCB spokesman Wilton Gregory, then the bishop of Belleville, Illinois, made a rather desperate statement along the lines of, "We are not what you think we are." He was right. In many cases they were worse. It's no accident that about a year later former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating resigned from the USCCB's window-dressing lay board of sexual abuse investigators, likening some bishops to La Cosa Nostra. McCarrick's proclivities were a poorly-kept secret even then, but it took more than another decade for the story to break in the mainstream press. If even 10% of what Archbishop Vigano has divulged is true (and many credible Catholic bishops have suggested that he IS telling the truth) there is a good bit of swamp-draining left to be done.

When WHO you know trumps WHAT you know is right and just, the foundation for corruption is in place. Unfortunately, if our bishops had spent half as much time, money and effort on actually cleaning up their mess rather than their PR campaign to convince that they were doing so, we would not be having this discussion.

Anonymous said...

FRAJM, your 9:58 comment is an excellent synopsis of the background of the problem. Kudos for your honest analysis. Much needed.
I had wrangled yesterday with my own explanation of the times past, but you and Bee hit the nail.

As for the always-nasty, snarky Anon here, I was tempted to respond, but rcg summed it succinctly and best last night—he speaks for me.

rcg said...

In my mathematical mind I don’t see the set of abusers the fifty or even hundred year prior to Vatican II being typical of all of that era. In fact, when you make a review of history from the beginning of the Church forward the difference appears to be primarily in the way the abusers were addressed. There are comparable scandals including high ranking clergy participation in protecting select individuals. The difference is twofold: first that the protection and syndication of the protection was a power play on the part of certain groups. The second is that they did not attempt to create a theology, sociology, or psychology parallel to human history that discovered that these activities are normal or loved by God. They admitted they were wrong but forgivable when committed against a certain class (servants, slaves, etc.) or a political enemy.

Yes, successfully accusing a priest of sodomy with a child would be very steep hill In the 20th century but I believe that was because the seminaries were already pipelines (no pun intended) for homosexuals bent on overthrowing the Church. So rather than address it for the scandal it was they covered it up to protect fellow travelers under the pretense of avoiding scandal.

Robert Kumpel said...

RCG: You might want to check out Randy Engel's book, Rite of Sodomy. It is now available as a PDF download online and presents an exhaustive examination of the history of the problem that has all but decimated our Church. It can be discouraging to read, but the problem will never go away until it is properly exposed for what it is.

Kettle said...

"Nasty people think most everyone besides themselves are fools."

I don't. But when I am presented with foolishness, I'm going to respond.

You do the same. So, Pot, welcome to the club.

Dan said...

Kettle/Anonymous/Paul, so now your racism even shows by your allusion to the pot calling the kettle BLACK. How did you know I am an African American. You really are a terrible human being.

Anonymous said...

If Anonymous/Kettle is who I think it is, he is not a racist, just a very bitter person who fancies himself more intelligent than the rest of us. It's best to just ignore his name -calling and remarks, as they only distract from the conversation.

Anonymous said...

"Because all of the clergy denied anything happened"

ALL of the clergy? Painting with a broad brush aren't you Bee?

"The credibility and trust of the clergy at that time was very high. Too bad it has been so abused that it is now in shreds"

My, My. No credible priest to be found anywhere?

R. Ellison said...

Dan, You're black? News to me.

Your attempt to smear someone, get him added to the black list, get him black-balled, turn him into some bete noire, is silly.

The TERRIBLE human being is the one who makes baseless accusations in order to make himself look better.

I'll nominate you for Best Actor, in the category "As Unhinged As MJT." Good Luck!

Oh, Anon at 8:05 - you're giving Dan a pass on the name calling I see. No surprise there.


Anonymous said...

Again, all the name-calling and remarks only serve to distract from the conversation. Maybe we can all take our itty-bitty hurt feewings and our need to have the last word, pack them away and focus on the actual topic?

Dan said...

Oh my God! Now you are actually USING the b-word, rather than implying. How horribly offensive

rcg said...

Robert K. Thank you, I’ll check it out. I have a certain sympathy for the bishops in those days because I believe that the faithful ones were honestly praying for the conversion of the others without knowing the subversive ones didn’t want conversion. My sympathy for the afflicted bishops is in knowing that what we thought was trust, for them is facilitating temptation.

Anonymous said...

Dan, I won't try to WHITE wash your silliness. Even using WHITE Out won't help. (Do they even make that any more?) Maybe you should go to the nearest bar and order a WHITE Russian, taking your WHITE elephant "offense" with you. The bartender may have some sage advice. If you don't know where the nearest bar is, check the Yellow Pages, the WHITE pages won't help you.

Yes, let's all be offended. OLE !

Dan said...

So as not to be offensive in the future, please refer to me as being a member of the 'un-cracker peoples' or 'that non-honkey.'

Your compliance is appreciated, and possibly even mandatory, now that your offensiveness has been noted.

Anonymous said...

"So as not to be offensive in the future, please refer to me as being a member of the 'un-cracker peoples' or 'that non-honkey.'"

Don't hold your breath...

Anonymous said...

Is this the same anonymous that started distracting us way back in the second post by getting snarky with the first poster? If so, congratulations. You've managed to completely derail this conversation. You're also on the verge of giving your identity away.

Anonymous said...

"You've managed to completely derail this conversation."

"The conversation" - the same conversation - has been going on here on this blog now for years. And the same disgruntled few, led by the disgruntled blog owner, have hashed it out and hashed it out and hashed it out repeatedly.

Is it really necessary to hear again, "Their credibility is gone," or "Mr. McCarrick," or "Clericalism?"

No, it's not. But some people get their kicks from pointing fingers and sniggering and making catty remarks about gay priests and their "friends."

Seems to me "The Conversation" has pretty much gone to pot, and long before this thread began.

So, for some this little corner of the blogosphere is a place to vent and rant and reopen wounds. I just take a different approach.

Dan said...

Anonymous, you also culturally appropriated "Ole." I will find this offensive tomorrow on taco-Tuesday, when I am Hispanic. You see, I identify as trans-racial, and frequently seek to accompany those of other races and religions.

Most Sabbaths, I am an Ashkenazi Jew from Skenectady.

Anyway, my point is, you always offend me.

60's Survivor said...

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls is "gravely disordered". Anonymous 3:42 calls it "catty" when we agree.

Anonymous, if you find us so darned offensive, then why bother wasting your time and ours? I'm sure there is no shortage of blogs out there that will agree with you about how backward traditional Catholics are and congratulate the heck out of you for being attracted to the same sex.

Otherwise, you come across as nothing but a miserable troll. Don't get me wrong, you're free to troll and try to spread your misery as much as you like...but at what point do the returns diminish.

60's Survivor said...

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls is "gravely disordered". Anonymous 3:42 calls it "catty" when we agree.

Anonymous, if you find us so darned offensive, then why bother wasting your time and ours? I'm sure there is no shortage of blogs out there that will agree with you about how backward traditional Catholics are and congratulate the heck out of you for being attracted to the same sex.

Otherwise, you come across as nothing but a miserable troll. Don't get me wrong, you're free to troll and try to spread your misery as much as you like...but at what point do the returns diminish?

Anonymous said...

I never said you were "offensive." And I really am rarely offended by anything I read here.

Since everything I post here gets a response, I think you and others must enjoy feeling miserable since they join right in.

That was, after all, the gist of my post about the repetitive posts on clerical sexual abuse. We've read it here dozens of times. "Terrible," they say. "Horrible," someone chimes in. "Inexcusable," we hear. But...folks seem, to me at least, to enjoy being apoplectic about this and other topics. So.....

Consider me the loyal opposition. I'm not miserable. I am having fun.

Prosit, Dan and Survivor.

Anonymous said...

You've just revealed yourself and your pain-in-the-neck tactics. Thank you.

You disagree with what we say? You are tired of what we say? Fine. Take your cheap shots.

It's inevitable that a blog this old would have "followers" like you. You're just another Mark Thomas--derailment bait, if you will.

Now we know what to do.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:36

I do disagree with some things said here. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

But, correcting errors in fact is not "cheap shots."

Pointing out that doctrine is nuanced is not "cheap shots."

Noting that the development and evolution of doctrine 1) has been part and parcel of the Church's way of being since Day One, and 2) continues past Pope Pius X, is not "cheap shots."

Having a decidedly Traditional, but non-traditionalist, approach to liturgy and liturgical theology is not "cheap shots."

Taking issue with the blog owner's germ-o-phobia is not "cheap shots."

Maybe when you re-think what a "cheap shot" really is, you might consider your own baseless accusations, and those of others, against me and others like me who do not share the traditionalist, integralist view of some who post here.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

off topic comments are closed now!!!!!!