Thursday, January 10, 2019


Commonweal has a very thorough article by Peter Steinfels who is a very, very respected journalist disputing the Pennsylvania Report of the State's Attorney General.

Press the title for the full article:

The PA Grand-Jury Report: Not What It Seems

It’s Inaccurate, Unfair & Misleading
Here is a brief excerpt from the long article:
Investigating grand juries

It is ironic that people raising perfectly legitimate questions about the accountability of bishops should overlook questions about the accountability of investigating grand juries.
Grand juries are legal entities deeply rooted in common law and incorporated into the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Their purpose is not to determine guilt or innocence but only whether there are sufficient grounds to bring an indictment and trigger a trial. The trial is where guilt or innocence will be determined by all the adversarial procedures of examining evidence and testimony presented by both sides under strict supervision by a judge. Grand juries do not operate under those rules. They hear evidence ex parte—that is, with no representation from those under investigation. They operate in secret. And in practice, they operate almost completely under the direction of a local, state, or federal prosecutor, a district attorney or attorney general, whose conclusions they almost invariably rubber-stamp.

For this reason grand juries have become controversial. Whether indictments are obtained or not may depend on the political needs of elected prosecutors, an issue raised by minority communities in regard to killings by white police. Investigating grand juries, like the one in Pennsylvania, has also proved problematic. Stanley H. Fuld, a noted jurist who was chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, once pointed out that an indictment “is but the first step in a long process in which the accused may seek vindication through exercise of the right to a public trial, to a jury, to counsel, to confrontation of witnesses against him and, if convicted, to an appeal.” On the contrary, a grand-jury investigative report, “is at once an accusation and a final condemnation, and, emanating from a judicial body occupying a position of respect and importance in the community, its potential for harm is incalculable.” As a judicial document, a grand-jury report, Fuld continued, “carries the same sense of authoritative condemnation as an indictment does, without, however, according the accused the benefit of the protections accorded to one who is indicted.”


Dan said...

Free book in pdf form.

rcg said...

The summary of the grand jury system is correct insofar as the risks to the citizen. However, the jury is composed of citizens who are empanelled for the sole reason to monitor that power and can reign it in with a simple show of hands. I was forman of a federal grand jury for almost two years and it was made clear to us that we were the overlords of the federal prosecutors and agents, protectors of our fellow citizens. Fortunately they almost always had a strong case based on witnesses, physical evidence, etc. We received extensive training in the topics before the presentation of evidence. I have very strong confidence in every indictment.

To a great degree this may have been due to the relativly limited political opportunity presented in this part of the Midwest. A prosecutor may have a prejudice against the Church, e.g., but except for his own satisfaction there is no reward in this area that would encourage him to express it. This went for racial, ethnic, or political axes, as well.

I took the task to keep the prosecutors honest and asked auestions and demanded to see evidence, often disturbing and revolting. I am still impressed with their professionalism, intelligence, and integrity.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald, thank you for your post.

Please understand that none of the following is offered remotely in gloating fashion. All the credit in regard to having exposed the Pennsylvania Report for the utter garbage that it is goes to Catholic League president Bill Donohue.

As far as I am aware, Bill Donohue was the first, and all alone (attacked verbally) in having read, then exposed, the report as utter trash.

Spurred by the information disseminated by Bill Donohue, I read page after page of the report.

But I give Bill Donohue all the credit for my having realized that the Pennsylvania Report was/is utter trash...trash concocted to bash Holy Mother Church...

...trash that the secular news media employed to attack the True Church, as well as His Holiness Pope Francis...

...trash that unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Pope Francis' haters within the Church employed to attack our holy and great Culture of Life Roman Pontiff.

As is the case in such a situation, thanks the initial massive wave of lies in regard to the report, millions upon millions of folks within and without the Church believe the initial nonsense that was reported in regard to the Pennsylvania Report.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Will the Pennsylvania Report-inspired lynch mob that formed within and without the Church — the lynch mob that spewed venom at His Holiness Pope Francis, as well as additional Churchmen — apologize to Pope Francis, as well as additional Churchmen, who were bashed as the result of the garbage in question?

They won't apologize.

Beyond that, consider the massive amount of ink spilled by the secular news media, as well as the right-wing, anti-Pope Francis/Vatican II/Novus Ordo lynch mob within the Church, to attack Pope Francis & Company in relation to the garbage Pennsylvania Report.

At best, only a few folks, such as Peter Steinfels, will expose the anti-Catholic lies and defamation related to the trash Pennsylvania Report.

Therefore, only a microscopic amount of ink will be spilled to counter the horrific damage that the anti-Catholic Pennsylvania Report helped to unleash within and without Holy Mother Church.

We are dealing with the "Pope Venerable Pius XII Was Hitler's Pope" Syndrome. The initial massive wave of lies in regard to Pope Venerable Pius XII in relation to his wartime (WWII) record gained traction throughout the world...even within the Church.

Now, to millions of people, holy Pope Venerable Pius XII is linked to Hitler — Hitler's Pope.

Now, to millions of people, holy Pope Francis, our great Culture of Life Pontiff, is linked to the anti-Catholic garbage Pennsylvania Report.


Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...

Mark Thomas

The PA report was deeply flawed and in part motivated by malice; it was also presented by a grandstanding and ambitious Jewish lawyer/politician who had no cause to love the Catholic Church. Some of the anecdotal evidence was so far-fetched as to beggar belief; it might well have been made up by Dr Goebbels. It was also a misuse of the Grand Jury process.

However, to dismiss it as 'trash', 'garbage' and 'lies' (your usual reaction to views with which you disagree) is both extreme and intemperate. You are quick to castigate 'extremists' yet don't admit to being one yourself. Some things in it have substance and the problem of cover-up is wider than the US Catholic Church and extends to the top. Ignoring it won't make it go away.

rcg said...

Just like hope is not a plan, naïveté is not a virtue. When you get in a ring you have to understand two facts: you can’t get hit if you aren’t open and the only reason the other guy is there is to hit you. The bishops have to intentionally put the Church in a good position so that she is safe or at least defendable. Right now they have their eyes swollen shut.