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For some Pennsylvania laity, being Catholic has become embarrassing and troubling

St. Joseph Parish, in Downingtown, Pa., is the second-largest parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. RNS photo by Elizabeth E. Evans

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. (RNS) — For 20 years, Kathleen Trazzera served Catholic parishes in suburban Philadelphia as a Eucharistic minister and a lector.

This past September, she and her husband gave up.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report released last summer was the last straw, said the 63-year-old registered nurse.

“It got to the point where I just couldn’t defend participating anymore,” said Trazzera, who said her husband made that decision first.  “We’re just not comfortable with supporting the Catholic Church.”

Kathleen Trazzera. Courtesy photo

The grand jury investigation, which looked into six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, found that approximately 300 clergy had been “credibly accused” of participating in the abuse of more than 1,000 child victims over seven decades. The grand jury’s report has left some lay Catholics wondering whether church leaders can be trusted to safeguard their children or even to tell the truth.

“I am outraged, I am embarrassed, I am mad. It has nothing to do with faith, and everything to do with the people running the church,” said 45-year-old Michael Garasic, who grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, one of the dioceses in the report.

Garasic, who has spent most of his career in public safety and now lives in Bradenton, Fla., has two children, ages 8 and 4.  The tipping point for him, he said, was reading the report and seeing what the clergy had done to children.

“That made me question every dollar I or my parents had given, everything I’d ever done for the church,” he said.

As he sat in church with his wife and daughters, Garasic said, he’d look at the priest dispensing moral instruction at the front of the sanctuary and shake his head.

“How can you talk to me and tell me how to act when your peers are doing heinous crimes and your peers are covering it up?” he said.

Garasic, who still attends church with his family, has written to his congressman, Rep. Vern Buchanan, suggesting that sexual abuse on church property be considered a federal crime. Garasic has also written several cardinals. He said that only Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston ever responded.

Michael Garasic. Courtesy photo

Kathy Kane, who co-founded the child-safety advocacy organization Catholics4Change in 2011 after a grand jury investigation into the Philadelphia Archdiocese, said the 2018 Pennsylvania report was impossible for many Catholics to overlook. She also pointed to allegations of abuse against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C.

“The coincidence of the grand jury report and the McCarrick (allegations) made the perfect storm,” said the 51-year-old Kane, a social worker in the Philadelphia suburbs.  

Kane said she is “estranged” from the church’s leaders but says she is “still Catholic 24/7.” But she finds it uncomfortable to sit in church, given the reports of abuse.

According to 2014 Pew Research Center data, Catholicism has experienced the greatest losses due to what the report calls “religious switching.”

“Among U.S. adults, there are now more than six former Catholics (i.e., people who say they were raised Catholic but no longer identify as such) for every convert to Catholicism,” said the researchers. Almost 13 percent of Americans identify as “former Catholics,” according to Pew.

Phil Heron, editor of the Delaware County Daily Times in Swarthmore, Pa., is one of them. He has written about clergy sex abuse, saying he too is estranged from the church. Swarthmore is part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which has been the subject of two grand jury investigations and has set up a reparations fund for victims of abuse.

“I now question whether I need a priest — or the church — to have a relationship with God. I miss the sacraments. But not a lot else,” he wrote last August.

Heron turned down a request to be interviewed

“The truth is I’m something of a lapsed Catholic at this point. I’m not quite sure what to make of my faith,” he wrote in an email.

Julie Byrne. Photo by Zack Lane, courtesy of Hofstra University

Younger Catholics may not be aware that prior sex abuse scandals happened at all, said Julie Byrne, a professor of religion at Hofstra University and author of “The Other Catholics: Remaking America’s Largest Religion.”

“What’s different now is that it’s reaching a different audience. It’s happened again for a different generation,” said Byrne.

In the case of older Catholics, even what Byrne called the more traditional “John Paul II and Benedict” variety, these new revelations may have “rocked their faith.”

“It made them think about it and we don’t know the effect yet,” she said.

Byrne and her siblings grew up near Lebanon, Pa., and had met four of the clergy on the list of alleged abusers, she said. Her family also knew some of the alleged victims.

Though neither she nor her siblings attend Mass regularly, “we all retain some skeins of Catholic identity,” she said.

But Byrne also sees the sex abuse crisis as a symptom of larger problems within the church, and within society, given that sexual abuse is more likely to happen in a family setting.

“Everyone wishes the Catholic Church would be better than it is, and unfortunately, it’s not,” she said.

“People would like the problem to be localized. If it’s about one institution, you can fix it. … Human nature is harder to fix.”

In the months since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was made public, approximately 50 American dioceses and religious orders have made names of priests who molested children public. Another 55 have said they will soon do so, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

This month, Pope Francis is convening a global conference of bishops to address the international crisis.

But, according to Pew, U.S. Catholics are increasingly less sure the pope can effectively tackle the problem.

“Even among regular Mass-goers, declining share give positive ratings to pope on addressing sex abuse” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

A religious studies professor at Villanova University, Massimo Faggioli, has written several books on the role of the laity in the Catholic tradition. In the United States, unlike places such as Germany and Australia, where there are organizations that represent lay interests, those who are not ordained don’t have an official voice, he said.

“There is no unified body that can represent the voice of the Catholic lay people,” he said.

The crisis has revealed a structural problem in the American Catholic Church, he said.

Though sexual abuse in the church has been discussed since the scandal broke in 2002, the revelations of 2018 may be a potential turning point, he believes. Change may come to the church.

But it may be too late for some.

“Very few Catholics believe what the bishop says. People are leaving because they don’t see change happening or happening in a short time. Catholics are leaving precisely when it is time to explore the possibility of change,” he said.

But things won’t change, said Garasic, until every misdeed is exposed.

“To be a Catholic is not only embarrassing but troubling,” said Garasic. “Where will it end?”

About the author

Elizabeth Evans

151 Comments

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  • They are finally lifting the curtain to see what is behind it. This was done in northern Europe 500 years ago. No need to change an institution beyond repait, just move on to those who changed on the right path.

  • The cure for the embarrassment is knowledge.

    The more actual facts you have, and the less you rely on popular media for “facts”, the less embarrassed you become.

  • Yes, they can see the homosexual network behind the curtain, Quislings like McCarrick, Bernadin, and Weakland.

  • So many networks, so little time. For instance, there’s a “network” of straight male TV personalities credibly accused of sexual assault against women: Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, to name but a few – ergo (by your “logic”) all straight male TV personalities are guilty by association. Wrong as usual, Bob Arnzen.

  • I left way before the scandals because it became obvious that the RCC and Christianity in general and if fact all religions are based on false foundations.

  • Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten
    seconds: Priceless !!!

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    There was no Easter i.e.Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    There was no Moroni i.e.Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on
    Buddhism.

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings
    (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that
    we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added
    details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups
    calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally,
    Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early
    philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely
    different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a
    shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a
    full grown wise old man. “

  • I left the CC in 1965 after i was abused by a priest my senior year in high school. Is the parish mentioned in the article St Joseph The Worker? If so my abuser was asigned here in the early 90’s. Henry Nawn who was listed in the Grand Jury report in 2005. I am at peace with my decision.

  • ““How can you talk to me and tell me how to act when your peers are doing heinous crimes and your peers are covering it up?” he said” As wrong as what those people did, are you condemning someone who may have nothing to do with the problem? So, if your next door neighbour murders someone, you should be held responsible for what they did? What if the neighbour is a serial killer – one’s psychic ability should assure you know about it? Give the pastor a break!

  • That’s another discussion.

    There is no accusation along those lines in Pennsylvania, or in the USA in general.

  • When people leave the Catholic Church, if they do, it’s important for the rest of us that they not go running into the arms of Conservative Protestants who are now doing more damage to their own members than even the Catholic Church did in covering up its abuse scandals. It’s important to remember that Pope Francis is telling more truth to the world right now than Jerry Falwell, Jr., or Franklin Graham, or Robert Jeffress, or Mike Huckabee, or Paula White, or any of the other Trumpism Preachers. It would be a compound error to abandon something which has a scandal of the past—–to go join up with something that has an even-bigger ongoing scandal of comprehensive lying in the present.

  • Disappointing but understandable (sort of). If you or someone you know is a victim; it’s reasonable that a person would want to leave.
    For some to leave because they have lost faith in the hierarchy; understandable as well, but less so.
    Taking that point of view assumes ALL priests are bad; all have committed crimes against children. This is shortsighted and incorrect. There are still holy priests who serve the faithful daily; who are just as disappointed and angry as the faithful – after all, they took a vow to mother church.
    Those who cannot separate the acts of some from the acts of many probably were not the strongest Catholics in the first place. My Protestant brothers and sisters on these pages probably roll their eyes when I mention the mass; the greatest prayer on earth.
    For someone to outright reject the mass and the sacraments because they cannot separate the evil acts of some from the holy acts of many is troubling and (for me), bewildering.
    It’s their choice; but I do pray they come back – and if not, they maintain their relationship with Christ.

    On a side note – when is RNS going to do some positive stories on the holy priests carrying on and serving the faithful? I can name a few on YouTube that are fighting against the hierarchy; not to mention the local parish priests.

  • You DO have problems with reading comprehension and following a discussion, don’t you?

    The article being discussed is ”

    For some Pennsylvania laity, being Catholic has become embarrassing and troubling”.

    The article deals with a single allegation in India, which was well publicized and known well before this.

    I do understand you love to clap your hands in glee and shout “Goody, goody!” if some dirt shows up on a church you hate.

  • I suppose I sympathize with lay Catholics who’re embarrassed by revelations of what their own Church has done. But, that sympathy only goes just so far. Being embarrassed by belonging to such a cretinous organization, is actually an easily-solved problem. And, it turns out, there’s more than one rather easy solution: 

    1. They can just leave the Church. Find another to join, or barring that, create another of their own. And that doesn’t mean they have to turn Protestant, Anglican, or Orthodox. As it turns out, there actually are independent Catholic churches out there. Yep … really! 

    2. They can stay in the Church, but coerce it to reform itself and atone for what it’s done. Contrary to what’s often been said, it’s not impossible for lay Catholics to exert power over their own Church. They actually possess the ultimate power over it … via the collection plate! The Church, and its dioceses and orders, may be wealthy, but a lot of that is tied up in real estate and isn’t very liquid. This means they depend on those weekly donations for the cash flow they desperately need. Starving them for donations will hit the hierarchs right in their wallets, which is something they can’t just ignore. Eventually they will have no choice but to capitulate, or liquidate. 

    In the end, I can’t say I’m impressed by lay Catholics’ whining that their own Church has made them look bad. The problem is theirs to fix. Either they can leave it behind, or they can force the Church to mend its ways and no longer be an embarrassment to them. It’s that simple. 

    As a side note, these little “protest networks” might be nice, but unless they levy proactive, coercive measures such as I described to force their Church to change, they may as well not exist at all. Time for them to grow a pair and take on their own Church, for once. 

  • In the end, I can’t say I’m impressed by your whining.

    Particularly detached from reality was “Starving them for donations will hit the hierarchs right in their
    wallets, which is something they can’t just ignore. Eventually they will
    have no choice but to capitulate, or liquidate.”

  • Given its staff, the answer to “when is RNS going to do some positive stories on the holy priests carrying on and serving the faithful” is the day after hell freezes over.

    Run it past Mark Silk ……

  • Mark Connley: Who could he report to? The bishop – who probably already knew and transfers the priest repeatedly? His parents – who would box his ears for slandering the ‘good father ? There was no one.

  • I can summarize why people are leaving the RCC in droves in one scene from a movie. In Philadelphia, PA’s most famous movie, Instead of taking a dive in the second round, Rocky hangs in there for 16 rounds. Between rounds, his opponent’s trainer says to Apollo ‘ He ( Rocky) doesn’t know its a damn show. He thinks its a damn fight’. We who are now called ‘lapsed Catholics’, thought it was a damn religion.

  • Sandi in El …No I am condemning everyone that had something to with the acts of molesting children AND those that cover it up. If your neighbor commits murder and you know about it and cover it up you go to prison for accessory after the fact and obstructing justice. Furthermore, is your neighbor in a position of power where they is their position to lure and groom children? If so that is abuse of authority. Did you know about it and were you part of the conspiracy to commit crimes? I give no breaks. But double down on your support and let them babysit your children or grandchildren.

  • My facts are accurate Mark the grand jury reports don’t lie. The number of people I know that were affected by these crimes is unsettling at best.

  • I sat on my secret for over 20 yrs. There were 3 priests in my immediate family. One was recently removed as a ped…so i kept my mouth shut..went to Vietnam in ‘66.. came home and joined the DC Police Dept investigating Child Abuse cases for 7 yrs…retired and became an advocate for abuse survivors. Mr Comly what service do you do for your community?

  • The Grand Jury report was a one-sided prosecutorial narrative derived from a process in which one side was given free reign and the other side was excluded.

    Dead people cannot defend themselves.

    If grand juries were the final word, after indictments trials would be unnecessary and we would proceed directly to sentencing.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recognized that when it ordered stricken from the report the names of living clergy who had never been given a chance to refute the allegations.

    Secret trials are contrary to basic American safeguards.

  • Given that most dioceses did NOT have problems, and some – like Lincoln, Nebraska – had zero lawsuits because without exception they investigated allegations and pitched offenders out of the ministry and off to law enforcement, ” who probably already knew and transfers the priest repeatedly” reads like an excuse.

    I believe you’re slandering his parents.

  • Factually, and I know that’s a new concept to some commenters, people are NOT leaving the Catholic Church in droves.

    95% or better of Catholics have had pastors who were not abusers, bishops who take abuse seriously, and recognize that even Jesus had one of his twelve Apostles turn out to be a disciple of Satan.

  • Seriously? A professional law enforcement agency interviewed 1000 victims whose stories were corroborated by similiar stories of victimization while interviewed separately. It was a criminal investigation that has resulted in 17 grand jury reports being started and 45 total states attorney generals requesting information on victims. The Catholic Church hides files in the Vatican and conducted secret trials of their own in Australia recently. Nothing that has been done is secretive in America accept what the Catholic Church covered.

  • You sir have no idea what I have been through…walk in my shoes then we can compare life experiences…

  • So, you didn’t report it.

    That, of course, does not involve me walking in your shoes, comparing life experiences, or anything of the kind.

    We call this “getting our facts straight”.

  • That explains why this wonderful “criminal investigation” in Pennsylvania led to zero indictments.

    So, let’s cut the posing and face the fact straight on that – facts or not and previous history or not – you’re now an anti-Catholic.

    I am going to head for facts and let you take the low road.

  • So, you want play hard ball.

    Okay.

    Do you feel any personal responsibility at all for any of the young people who might not have been abused had you not sat on telling anyone for two decades?

  • I can’t wait until the Federal GJ in DC hand up an indictment on Wuerl and his buddy MCCarrack…a little inside baseball…what say you?

  • But, you don’t know who has done it and who hasn’t. That was my point. You are condemning those priests and they may not have the faintest idea of who did what.

  • Phil Heron, editor of the Delaware County Daily Times is/was a Catholic??? The Daily Times is a leftist rag in every sense of the word. Mr. Herron supports the Party of Death, the DNC, 100% and is fine with abortion up till birth. Why? His loyalty has never been to God; the DNC is his and his paper’s ultimate higher power.

    The paper never fails to put CATHOLIC on the front page, even when it ‘s not about the clergy. Recent front page: “EX-BONNER Teen Charged with (insert sexual crime here). Bonner is the local Catholic high school. Not “Upper Darby Teen” like every other headline. Mr Herron’s paper takes any and every opportunity to bash Catholics and I’m not referring to clerical abuse which absolutely deserves glaring headlines.

    I have so much more to say to Mr. Herron and the permanent damage his paper has done to Catholics and the community at large in his support of the DNC”s (Moloch) agenda (especially Unions) but it’s off topic. What’s on topic, is don’t use fake Catholics to bad-mouth the Catholic Church. It makes me wonder about the others mentioned in the article.

  • I say you should have gotten professional help some time ago.

    If you are in fact the survivor of abuse which you failed to report, the unresolved guilt and anger have become misdirected at a Church and its teachings which the abuser himself gave the one finger salute.

    If you are not in fact the survivor of abuse but simply a garden variety anti-Catholic, well your comments are completely understandable.

  • Uummm you made the point about my neighbor being a murderer which I refuted. Do you trust priests and bishops to be alone with your children? If these crimes were committed by anyone else they would be in prison. The problem is so wide spread in the church that yes I have to assume that everyone knows what is going on and they are not doing anything. They are all accessories to the crime from the time they know about it. Would you ask an out of shape person who eats fast food how to work out and eat healthy? No why would I accept them telling me how to live when they molest children?

  • 13% of Americans identify as lapsed Cartholics. I know of many youth, including the entire pastoral assistance team at one parish, who have left the Catholic church for evangelical churches who are either silent of hot button issues (e.g., same sex as legitimate or illegitimate) or disguise their conservative doctrines. The reason. The evangelical worship is more entertaining AND more participatory. Lay pastors are given much more authority and initiative at these evangelical churches. The big decline in the number of white Catholics is partly offset by the increase in Latino Catholics. But that is changing. I lived in a neighborhood where most Latinos (half the population) never attneded church, and where the teenagers did not even identify as former Catholics. And, as they hoped. conservative Catholics are succeeding in drivng out liberals, especially the children of liberals, from the Catholic church.

  • You’re really a bit short on facts there.

    For example, when you write “If these crimes were committed by anyone else they would be in prison” after your “defense” of the PA Grand Jury “report”, the first thing that came to mind was “If these alleged crimes were committed by anyone in a jurisdiction with competent law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys they would be in prison”.

    The second thing that came to mind was “We should have a fair trial before we hang’em.”

    Buzz LightYear purports to be a retired LEO.

    I don’t think so.

  • Mark Connelly why would you resort to picking on a victim? That is low and you clearly have no idea what victimology is or how plays in the scheme of recovery. Keep your mouth closed about the victims because you have no idea what they went through.

  • I believe that “picking on a victim” should read “picking on an alleged victim”.

    Nor am I picking on him.

    I am trying to parse whether anger and guilt for sitting on this for twenty years has been misdirected at a Church which teaches against what happens, or whether – as is common – someone is posing to advance an agenda.

    Keep your mouth closed about others’ motivations unless you personally know all the facts and who the parties are in reality.

  • I live in the real world. I am not anti-catholic..i am in favor of cleaning up the “lavender mafia” starting with Wuerl and MCCarrack..also clean up the seminaries that are breeding grounds for pedophiles and other deviant predators that are taking your money on Sunday…how do you think they got rich?

  • Hahahaha what facts have you found the reason for there being no arrests is because the abusers beat the statute of limitations the ones that were still eligible were prosecuted. Speaking of the low road though dude going after an adult survivor of child sexual abuse is the grossest form of low road I have ever seen. You display the far right wing stay pray and pay that you love so much and no I am hardly anti catholic. I am pro child safety and still love my faith. I dispise humans running it that hide their crimes. If you think you will attack my stance with goading comments like you did with buzz fuzz your blowing smoke because you have taken up in defense of pedophiles instead of defending victims good work dude. Your awesome.

  • I am hardly short on facts.Do you have any idea of the amount of time the hierarchy spends covering this stuff up with secret agreements and hush money? The same money you give them! It had nothing to do with competent law enforcement because 95 percent of the time they were not notified! The Catholic Church does not have to notify because canon law does not require them to do so once they know a crime took place. Canon law and constitutional law do not intersect and clergy are required to be loyal to canon law. Double down on your claim of them being innocent and let them babysit your children or grandchildren

  • You make one interesting point regarding the entertainment value of the mass. Many/some Catholics complain about the mass being boring and have the desire to be entertained.
    If a Catholic truly understands the holy mass (which is a re-enactment of the crucifixion); and realizes with humility that the real presence of the body and blood of Christ occurs through transubstantiation during the consecration of the bread and wine – they will realize there is no need for mega-screen TV’s and praise bands.
    Add the reverence and mysticism that occurs with an orthodox or Tridentine mass and no catholic should wantingly look elsewhere.
    But, most Catholics have been poorly formed, do not continue to study throughout their lives, have only been exposed to the irreverent novus ordo mass and lack the humility and reverence to know that they are there to worship God; not be entertained by him.
    Just another way Vatican II and the unholy priests of that time period have damaged the church.

  • ” my neighbor being a murderer which I refuted. ” and I furthered it with: “one’s psychic ability should assure you know about it?”
    I wouldn’t trust anyone alone with my children today – it is an evil world and we need to be wise.
    As I stated the crimes are horrible, but what you are doing is painting them all with the same brush and that is what I called you up on. If those men were not involved in the mess and have no idea of who did what, then they don’t deserve to be condemned – which is what you were doing

  • Mark is a LIAR and will always defend the RCC, by diminishing or hiding the REAL numbers of sexual abuses, abusers, perverts, and instances of immorality against children, women, and nuns by Catholic clergy. MANY dioceses have these problems, dating back almost 2000 years. He falsely insists that educators, other churches, and other organizations in the USA share the blame, but this is not the case. The RCC wins HANDS DOWN in the abuse and cover-up department.

  • Mark, stop the LYING and victim abuse. The angels in heaven are taking notes for GOD for your final judgment.

  • Factually, Catholics ARE leaving the church in droves. The 95% statistic above is false, and the fact that Judas was deceived for silver was well-known by Jesus before it happened. The TRUE disciples of Satan are the 1000’s of RCC
    clergy who have abused children, women, and nuns for almost 2000 years. The apostle PETER, Mary, the mother of Christ, and Christ himself NEVER had anything to with the Catholic church. SATAN LIED, like you, Mark

  • “How can you talk to me and tell me how to act when your peers are doing heinous crimes and your peers are covering it up?” he said.
    Because the moral teaching of the Church does not proceed from sinful man but from the Sinless Man. Also since much of this abuse was from their dead peers, I hardly think the many good priests need to be ashamed. The Churches have been full in my PA town. I’m sorry that good people are so misled by the media, and the loss of a sense of history.

  • What might be more to the point is to find out how many people are coming into the Church. Lot’s of pro-life Catholics out there.

  • Really?

    Tell us more.

    There are a handful of folks who have a fixation on handles in Disqus. All of them couldn’t argue their way out of paper bags.

  • https://www{DOT}catholicnewsagency.com/news/whats-driving-the-growth-of-catholic-churches-in-the-bible-belt-91435

    https://www{DOT}worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/is-the-catholic-church-experiencing-exponential-growth-or-declining

    Michael, you’re just another anti-Catholic like Jack Chick.

  • I have never suggested that every instance of abuse was a homosexual, speaking of wearing blinders.

  • Cardinal Wuerl was the poster-Bishop for his attempts to clean up this type of thing, until the Grand Jury report. Then he became a villain for round 2. I’m waiting to see if there’s a round 3.

  • Michael is a card-carrying anti-Catholic.

    I’ll stick to the facts and leave the broad sweep allegations to him and the other readers of Jack Chick comic books.

  • The Grand Jury report lied about a priest that was totally cleared in civil court. Why? Because he got angry when accused. That is why so many are not prosecuted. Because there is NO EVIDENCE.

  • Actually, you are short of facts.

    You are long on allegations.

    Among the unsupported allegations in this latest post:

    – the amount of time the hierarchy spends covering this stuff up with secret agreements and hush money?

    – canon law does not require them to do so once they know a crime took place

    I’ll add those to the fact that not one indictment, not a single one, resulted from the touted PA Attorney General and his massive political stunt.

    You’ve become an anti-Catholic.

    Fair enough.

  • You are, I am afraid, about to be blocked.

    Beyond name calling and unsupported allegations, plus an obvious load of anger misdirected at people who do nothing and people who want facts not smoke, you really have nothing to say.

    Calling asking for facts “defense of pedophiles” indicates lack of even a de minimis sense of objectivity.

    https://help.disqus.com/commenting/user-blocking

  • To this point you offered not a single fact.
    You left the Church in 1965.
    You’re entitled to your biases and anger.
    You’re not entitled to fabricate facts or expect acquiescence to them.

  • It’s really hardly happening anywhere.

    It has made a handful of attorneys and some media that should know better a boodle full of money.

  • Wuerl is one of the three types of problem bishops that should be rooted out: the corporate weasel.

    In Pittsburgh he was soft on abusers EXCEPT for one who had the temerity to try to defend himself and get due process.

    That wound up in Rome where they handed him his miter on a platter.

    Then he REALLY got upset and made it a project.

  • Your motivation is pretty clear. A guy says he was a victim of priest abuse and you try to drive it home by trying to goad him into web of insults and lay guilt on him. You stand up for pedophiles but lash out at victims. It is pretty clear cut and I won’t keep my mouth closed. No one really wants to be a part of that fraternity of unwilling participants. You aren’t parsing anything you call everyone anti catholic that is standing up against crimes being committed by priests so as to defend clergy’s actions. The facts are real simple. There are 17 active AG investigations going on and in some of those states there are no statute of limitations.

  • What town in Pa Do you live in the PA AG found evidence of pedophilia in every diocese in PA. Are you referring to it not happening just today?

  • Your motivation is pretty clear.

    This article is what they call in the trade a “plant”. I don’t have the time right now to dig it out, but I smell SNAP, Call To Action, or the like.

    Elizabeth E. Evans was more or less handed it pre-assembled, did a bit of editing, and Voila!

    Among the tip-offs are loud protestations about “standing up against crimes being committed by priests” while at the same time touting a supposedly thorough Grand Jury investigation that LED TO NOT ONE INDICTMENT.

    Yes, I am sure you’re surprised to get pushback.

    No, I am not going to be bullied by loud accusations.

  • Every diocese in my previous state of residence was under investigation and they implicated 300 hundred priests. Currently every diocese in my current state of residence is under investigation and the state of Illinois has implicated around 300 priests as well. At what point do you say enough is enough? You are clearly willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and I clearly am not.

  • Mark they can’t indict because the statute of limitations expired I have said this twice now. There was 1 or 2 cases where the statute of limitations did not expire and they prosecuted. Please pay attention I have made this point twice now.

  • Mark Connelly “You smell SNAP” what diocese do you work for. The fact that SNAP exists based on the amount of clergy abuse present should be a strong indication that pedophilia among clergy is pretty prevalent.

  • So, you are saying that these cases are so old that they can’t be prosecuted. Of course that’s true when the alleged events took over a half century.
    Of course you left out the fact that one reason indictments were not forthcoming was that the alleged offenders were deceased.
    Let’s have the name of the one or two indictments, which I take it you believe were within somewhat recent times and actually could be supported.

  • What name calling and unsuppprted allegations are referring to I produced the widely accepted grand jury report and I the subject of the article you are arguing. Your funny at best.

  • They were not prosecuted because the statute of limitations expired the court doesn’t care about how angry anyone is.

  • I think you realize that whatever you hoped to accomplish, and whatever the effect this article has when it lands here, there, and the other place besides this discussion, here it’s taken on water and gone pretty much nowhere.

    There is no legal standard called “widely accepted”.

    The article is a piece of propaganda, as your comments have been.

  • No, it’s pretty good indication that David Clohessy and Barbara Blaine were getting kickbacks from attorneys making money shaking down dioceses.

    I don’t work for a diocese, nor am I an mergency medical technician, a rescue extrication technician, or a juvenile psychiatric correctional officer.

  • That’s nice currently I am in law enforcement in the state of Florida and it is well documented if you are going to troll please be effective at it.

  • Kind of like the point of you trolling my resume on linked in dude your true colors are showing. You hate anyone that stands up against what you believe and that’s fine but the evidence is very very clear that pedophiles in the church are wide spread and it is a huge problem that has been swept under the rug. The only point I was proving was that if you are going to look me up get your facts straight.

  • I’m not surprised to get pushback at all. The only person bullying anyone would you bullying a guy that said he was victim and then you turn it around to be the victim. Classic.

  • I am not a subscriber to Linked.

    You are inadvertently accurate: I believe every American citizen is entitled to a presumption of innocence, a chance to confront accusers, and an absence of Star Courts and secret hearings.

    Both the article and your posts are an affront to those beliefs.

    The evidence seems to be that there are abusers among clergy (not just Catholic), school teachers, and parents.

    In this particular church the incidence appears to have peaked some years ago (this no new indictments) and the guidelines of 2002 appear to done what they intended to do.

    What I am really interested in is what organization(s) you’re fronting for that wish(es) to continue this witch hunt.

  • To this point your entire shtick appears to be allegations.

    Strike this self-righteous pose with someone who doesn’t know better.

  • Your the one arguing. My point is valid. The grand jury reports don’t lie and there will be more to follow. If you want to defend pedophiles and that is your game cool, I don’t and that is my stance. Trolling my resume though is a weird tactic and kind of stalkerish in an argument but whatever dude. I choose to stand where I stand. If you don’t like it don’t read it.

  • I’m not affiliated with a single person or organization that has anything to do with the fight for justice for child victims. I stand where I stand on my own. You really don’t need to be a member of LinkedIn to find my resume.

  • When I read an article that states that A is in “law enforcement”, and then read A writing “the grand jury reports don’t lie”, something smells fishy.

    No competent attorney or LEO who is even vaguely familiar with the process would makes such a claim.

    Prosecutors’ reports are invariably one-side.

    Prosecutors pick the witnesses they present to the Grand Jury.

    Defense lawyers are not allowed to appear with their clients, or to present witnesses they might contradict the prosecutor’s witnesses or arguments.

    Prosecutors are not required to provide exculpatory evidence, even if they are aware of it.

    Nor need they interview witnesses that might contradict their narrative.

    That is why it is generally considered unfair for prosecutors to issue “reports”.

    Normally prosecutors announce a subject has been indicted, or not, without further comment.

    I can assure that I did not troll through your resumé. The fact that you think so says a lot about your lack of qualifications.

    You can stand wherever you want to, but the article and your comments are a mass of unsupported allegations, and with some long experience in the field, my conclusion is that an organization as I suggested, or a law firm with cases pending in PA lobbying for suspending the statutes of limitations, actually lies behind.

  • Let me assure once and for all I did not look at your resumé.

    If I were to do further investigation, I would only do so to find out what kind of organization would hire someone who characterizes making unsupported allegations “fight(ing) for justice for child victims”.

  • What long experience in the field do you allegedly have? Canon lawyer? Again your the one that trolled my employment history so yeah I brought it up. I really don’t care what you think of my qualifications at all because you have no real idea who I am except from this article. I am all for fair trials and the exercise of the Constitution however it has to be both ways and the church only uses it to their advantage not in equality. You want to defend the church that is great by all means do so but the media keeps divulging more and more claims of abuse that are substantiated every day. Who pays you to engage in these conversations? I really don’t care actually but the fact is I have a stance on an issue and you don’t like it because it goes against your fundamental beliefs and you are willing to try to crush and silence everyone that disagrees.

  • Cutting through the long-winded crap:

    – you have no evidence.

    – you level allegations at “the church” when in fact every perpetrator was acting on his own, in contravention of its teachings and its Canon Law.

    – I want to defend fact finding, not mud slinging.

    – yes you have a “stance”. It’s based on allegations and opinions, not facts.

    My very first comment was in favor of Catholics familiarizing themselves with the facts as a remedy to being embarrassed.

    Doing so will allow them to deal with the mud slingers, who invariably detest facts.

    You’re the one who should be embarrassed.

  • The evidence is all over the country. I find it interesting that you refuse to answer my question about who you work for which means I am spot on Canon lawyer getting paid to defend. If you are part of the problem of pedophilia in the church or know people that are and have not said anything… it is embarrassing. The faith does not embarrass me the people running it are an embarrassment. You want evidence? Bishop accountability kind of stands out as evidence. When someone can create an entire website of priests and bishops that have abused children it is pretty evident that the problem exists.

  • “The evidence is all over the country.”

    The allegations are all over the country. The number of indictments is small, the number of convictions smaller. Both are rapidly decreasing.

    We’ve seen this before – Senator Joseph McCarthy.

    You are part of a witch hunt, not part of a solution.

    Bishop Accountability makes zero distinction between facts, allegations, and imagination.

    Apparently neither do you.

  • What propaganda? The pope admitted it was a problem that needed to be dealt with. He still has not come up with a solution except to tell everyone to pray and do penance. If the pope is admitting pedophilia is a problem that is an end game.

  • As I suggested I was going to block you and we’ve come to that point.

    You personally have no solutions. That may be because you also have no facts.

    Serious people get their facts first, and then analyze the facts to propose solutions.

    Running around making allegations while screaming “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” is singularly unhelpful.

    And that, unfortunately, is what you’re doing.

    Doviđenja.

    https://help.disqus.com/commenting/user-blocking

  • Your funny the pope himself said there was a problem. They have meetings about it. They accomplish nothing. Then have more meetings.

  • You may be interested to see this:
    https://pantheon-live.religionnews.com/2019/01/10/former-new-york-times-reporter-slams-grand-jury-report-on-clerical-abuse/
    You are right, the AG of PA doesn’t care how angry people are — the accused, the victims, or the laity. They just cobbled this together, to avoid doing something across the board. Since they cannot lift the statute of limitations on only the Catholic Church, the legislature has not exactly geared up to pass any new laws.

  • No, you misunderstand me. The parishioners are not leaving in droves. This is because most of the priests named are dead, or out of ministry. There have been some highly publicized cases, lately, of priests still in ministry, but it is not enough to shake the faith of most people, who go to Church to worship.

  • I think you are mistaken, again. And this is interesting, because it appears to be a case of “revisionary history,” that I saw with my own eyes. Days before the report was released (You realize it was held up by a suit of those who said they were named unfavorably without being given due process), the media, across PA was speculating on those priests that then-Bishop Wuerl had refused to allow back into ministry. He was seen favorably as a pioneer in this regard. Within days, he became a villain, along with every Bishop and ex-Bishop in Pennsylvania.

  • I think less corporatism in the Church would be a good thing. But I still think Cardinal Wuerl was singled out, after the report, because he was a cardinal. I noticed that they did not go after Bishop Persico of Erie in quite the same way. He made a point of going out during news conferences in front of the diocesan offices, to talk to people. That was a good example of not hiding in the office!

  • Are they like the majority of the ones in the Report from Texas, that are actually dead? Yep. They beat the statutes of limitations? Believe me, there are no statutes of limitations at the particular judgement.

  • Wuerl was always slick, polished, with just the right words for the public.

    His priests’ take on him was somewhat different.

  • I have already read the report by steifen that you brought up. I have read both sides of the situation. Unfortunately he is a far right wing guy that doesn’t analyze enough data or do enough research on the topic. So I am not really interested in it when New Orleans had an 11000 page grand jury report and the LA diocese and the Galveston diocese have very active investigations. The pope himself admitted there is a problem. Cardinal dinardo allowed priests to say mass when he knew of the allegations and the majority of those from western pa knew what went on because they were all in it together. I am tired of pedophiles in the church you may be more tolerant of it. I chose my side and I still love the faith but I will defy those that dress in robes as sheep but prey on children like wolves.

  • You have your opinion and I have mine. It seems you are simply trying to take your turn after watching my interaction yesterday. Have a good day.

  • Buzz,
    I am truly sorry that you had to live through all of that. Kudos to you for the work that you do.
    Bob Arnzen, AKA Mark Connelly, AKA ….. (he has used a number of names over the years) doesn’t deserve your attention. I have finally blocked him, so am mercifully unable to read the venom that he spews.
    I wish you the best.

  • You think we’re taking shifts here? That’s kind of flattering. Apologetics in shifts. You also have a good day.

  • I’m tired of those who despise children, as well, hence my avatar and moniker. The AG of Pennsylvania is very selective in which children he defends. I am disgusted with pedophiles everywhere! Why aren’t you?

  • We’ll have to put this aside for the moment. I am engaged in talking to Mr. Garasic, and he thinks we are in collusion. Don’t destroy his illusion! 🙂

  • Dude really? I am in law enforcement and have been dealing with them specifically for over 10 years of my career. You are now grasping at straws and it shows. The AG got the report about what went on and acted on it. With 1000 victims in one state in 50 years it is kind of their job to do something. From that 17 other states have spun off of that investigation with inquiries and now 45 states have taken some sort of action. I am guessing you clocked in at 5 for this and are thinking about what cheap shots you can take for the next 6 hours. You have your opinion and I have my opinion. I was publicly vocal about it and stand by it. If you want to do something about your opinion and have it heard then contact the right people and do it instead of arguing on here.

  • I have made appropriate contacts, but hearts and minds need to be changed, as well. The AG of PA ignores the public school students who are in this turmoil. The laws the legislature passed through the House had a different level of proof against those public entities. This made it harder for victims to sue in civil court. Very few of these old cases are able to go to criminal court. The AG of PA supports the ultimate child abuse of abortion. I think this is a public forum, and I therefore have now been publicly vocal. For someone in law enforcement, you seem to know very little about the Pennsylvania case.

  • Hahahaha you can sling mud all day long with pithy comments. I read it cover to cover and read steifens rebuttal. What contacts have you made I looked up tiredcatholic and couldn’t find any of your work. Let me know when something comes out that you were a part of and I am happy to read it. How is it you start out discussing pedophiles in the church, move to public schools and then to abortion. That is three very different topics with very different solutions. I find it funny that you know so much about the topic but switch off to other things to deflect the argument. Stick to the topic the public school system has nothing to do with pedophiles in the church. The AG SUPPORTS the constitution. Therefore he has to suppprt roe v wade as a federal guideline because state law does not supercede federal statute. Jeez man that is basic stuff even if you aren’t in law enforcement. See how easy it is to sling mud? If you want to have a respectful dialogue great I can talk for days respectfully but if you want to resort to slick comments I can do that too

  • Pooh. So did Steifens, apparently. He says that in the article.

    1. If you read it, why didn’t you admit there was a page on a priest who got angry?
    2. The AG knew nothing about the State Constitution when he did not give due process to those named whose reputations were besmirched, without any kind of hearing.
    3. Abusing a child is the same if a person does it in a church, in a school or in the womb.
    All you have to do, now is call me “dear,” like Sharon did, and I’ll give you some freedom from my speech. Go ahead, call me that…

  • Hahahahahaha listen if you want to sling mud with pithy comments great I can too. But for someone who professes to know so much how do you bring up public school issues and abortion in the same conversation? These are three different problems requiring three different solutions and the problems are not even remotely connected. The AG supppets the constitution of the United States and roe v wade was a constitutional decision and state law does not supercede federal law. Public schools are part of a township in pa township and county law enforcement deal with that at that level. What contacts have you made? I looked up tiredcatholic and didn’t find any of your work. If you want to decent and respectful I can too and we can talk for days but if you are going to be slick because you are behind a keyboard you can end it now because I am not interested in it. See how easy it to be slick on this end too.

  • Are you OK? I think my response was quite lucid. The AG of PA should also support the PA constitution, since he is the attorney general of the State. He railed against those who took the opportunity to use its safeguards. And yet the state can make laws about state schools. I really don’t feel like looking up the bill for you. It died in the State Senate Judiciary Committee, where they didn’t want to touch it because it was unconstitutional both on the State and Federal Level. Slick? Are you mimicking Jimmy Cagney? I wrote to my senator about the bill, I wrote the Cardinal about the upcoming meeting. If you are looking for a member of the Catholic clergy, most of whom are fine men, I am flattered you think me to be one. Good night!

  • The diocese in 2018 received a single complaint against its vocation director.

    Monsignor Leonard Kalin, that director, is deceased and there is no way to resolve the veracity of the allegation after a thorough investigation.

    It received an additional allegation regarding Father Charles Townsend who was involved in a non-sexual drinking relationship with a 19-year-old
    male. Father Townsend was sent for treatment for alcoholism and dismissed from parish work.

    No suits. No payouts. No “wave”.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along.

  • From your own source: “These [public school] educators represent such a tiny fraction of all those certified to teach in Pennsylvania that to quantify it as a percentage would require a decimal point followed by multiple zeros.”

    See also

    https://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-nws-sex-abuse-hotline-calls-surge-20180820-story.html

    https://www.npr.org/2018/08/21/640438007/pa-officials-scramble-to-keep-up-with-clergy-abuse-hotline

    As it happens, many of these cases cannot come to court because of statute of limitations issues. New York recently changed their statute of limitations for sexual abuse and other states are considering similar changes. These changes should apply both to public and private schools.

  • I find it hard to believe that the majority of the calls now coming into the PA abuse hotline are from 50 years ago. In any event will take some time to sort through all the calls as the volume is greater than the state was initially prepared to handle.

    https://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-nws-sex-abuse-hotline-calls-surge-20180820-story.html

    https://www.npr.org/2018/08/21/640438007/pa-officials-scramble-to-keep-up-with-clergy-abuse-hotline

  • Martin Luther early on became aware of the criminality of the RCC – as we see it today.

    He did the right thing.

    He condemned the criminally corrupt RCC, and created an organization with Christ back at the center of it’s teachings.

    It’s called the Lutheran Church.

    I have (former) Catholic friends who were disgusted with the RCC, quit, and joined their local Lutheran Church.

    They love it.

  • “Kane said she is “estranged” from the church’s leaders but says she is “still Catholic 24/7.” But she finds it uncomfortable to sit in church, given the reports of abuse.” Think how uncomfortable the many good priests were, after it, who had no idea of this abuse. Further, I wonder how many threats of violence were received based on this spurious report.

  • I find it hard to believe that ONE entire indictment leads you to believe there is a vast reservoir or that

    https://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-nws-sex-abuse-hotline-calls-surge-20180820-story.html

    a significant portion of these calls don’t dealt with public schools and other venues of abuse.

    The NPR article incorrectly calls it a “clergy abuse” hotline, but it is the child predator section hotline.

    The NPR article also makes it clear many of the calls are for information, not reporting abuse.

  • “These [public school] educators represent such a tiny fraction of all
    those certified to teach in Pennsylvania that to quantify it as a
    percentage would require a decimal point followed by multiple zeros.” is also true of clergy. The PA report found 300 over 70 years.

    And this is just the tip of the iceberg since school boards and unions go out of their way to move teachers and hide abuse.

    It’s a pile on by media with blinders on to where the real problems lie. Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable American bigotry.

    Statutes of limitations are in place for a reason – it’s impossible to defend yourself 20 or more years later.

  • https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/new_mormon_policies_meet_the_reality_of_a_contracting_church/#comment-4247685009

    I am glad you’ve taken time out for your normal schedule as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints to post roughly three dozen comments to me personally pointing out alleged failures in the Catholic Church in the last two months.

    In particular it took a lot of work to dredge up items from 2018 that went nowhere and led to nothing.

    And your quote from a commenter has all the value of a random quote from the comments on an RNS article.

    Are you simply a provocateur?

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/redefining_religious_freedom_as_religious_privilege/#comment-3868885481

  • So which synod do you belong to, patrick?

    Do you have friends who joined the Church of Scientology and love it, too?

  • This from the lady who is still ranting about those “Covington Catholic boys” long after everyone acknowledged they were the victims of a social media hoax:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/bilgrimage/bilgrimage_covington_catholic_pro_life_maga_boys_a_canadian_catholic_educators_perspective/#comment-4322798756

    What venom!

    If you’re going to be that detached from reality, it helps to block people and keep the tape over your eyes and your fingers in your ears.

  • “For some Pennsylvania laity, being Catholic has become embarrassing and troubling.”

    No kiddin’.

    “But Byrne also sees the sex abuse crisis as a symptom of larger problems within the church,…”

    No kiddin’.

    “In the United States, unlike places such as Germany and Australia, where there are organizations that represent lay interests, those who are not ordained don’t have an official voice…..’There is no unified body that can represent the voice of the Catholic lay people’,,,,,The crisis has revealed a structural problem in the American Catholic Church…”

    No kiddin’.

    The U.S. Catholic hierarchs — certainly those promoted to the episcopate by JPII and B16 — are loathe to acknowledge any critical decision-making role for the laity. I mean, God forbid!!! It would mean ending the U.S. Catholic Church as we know it. Can’t have THAT! For example, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, former head of the U.S. bishops’ conference and a Pennsylvania native, will not allow expressions of disagreement in HIS weekly church organ, THE RECORD. I recall the vitality in the Louisville archdiocese decades ago, including readers’ letters to the archdiocesan newspaper (it was a newspaper back then; today, not so much).

    Starve the Institutional beast. It’s the only way to try to renew the Church of Rome (ecclesial renewal was the main theme of Vatican II). God knows, JPII and B16 damn near destroyed any legacy of the council.

    God, let this Institution implode. We beseech Thee.

  • We don’t know what we don’t know about the Lincoln diocese. Maybe there were more complaints, maybe not. I never trusted Bruskewitz who kept Catholics guessin’ about the true picture of clerical sex abuse in HIS diocese. Gotta’ wonder…..

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