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Church elders let confessed abuser attend services; now judge has banned him

Victims advocate Jimmy Hinton, left, prays with relatives and supporters of victims of Clyde E. Brothers Jr. Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (RNS) — After a longtime youth minister’s recent conviction on corruption of minors and indecent exposure charges, a judge in this western Pennsylvania community did what the Uniontown Church of Christ’s elders refused to do.

The judge told Clyde E. Brothers Jr. to stay away from church services.

Brothers, 68, served for many years as the volunteer youth minister for the 100-member Uniontown congregation. Since at least the 1980s, he also interacted with hundreds of children as a founding board member for Camp Concern — a Bible camp directed and sponsored by members of Churches of Christ. Generations of parents entrusted Brothers with instilling Christian faith and values in their children in this city of 10,000.

Victims’ relatives say his case points to a problem that plagues not just the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention — both embroiled in major sex abuse scandals — but also the nation’s 12,000 autonomous Churches of Christ.

“It truly is an epidemic, such sickness,” said one victim’s mother, a former Uniontown church member whose name is being withheld to protect her son’s identity.

The allegations that Brothers used his volunteer church and camp positions to prey on young boys were traumatic enough, several current and former Uniontown church members said.

Former youth minister Clyde E. Brothers Jr. leaves a Fayette County, Pa., courtroom after being convicted of indecent exposure and corruption of minors in October 2018. Photo by Mark Hofmann/Uniontown Herald-Standard

But church leaders’ decision to allow Brothers to keep worshiping with the congregation made it worse, they said.

“I was told I had hatred in my heart, and I needed to forgive,” said member Debbie Williams, a former youth group sponsor who had traveled with Brothers and church teens to numerous Bible bowls and youth rallies.

Another longtime member said her son, now in his 30s, was one of four victims whom Brothers identified by name to the Pennsylvania State Police.

“It’s almost like Clyde is more important than the victims are,” the mother said about the perpetrator remaining in the pews.

Bob Coldren, one of the church’s three elders, stressed in an interview that Brothers twice came forward at church and repented of his sins.

“Just like anybody else who comes forward at church, is it my place to judge him on his sins … or is it God’s to judge him of those?” said Coldren, who is also Brothers’ brother-in-law. “If I judge him if he’s sincere or not sincere, I’m judging wrong because I can’t see what’s in his heart.

“I’m in the middle of a bad situation. No matter what I do, I’m wrong,” Coldren added. “So if I say, ‘Absolutely not, he didn’t repent,’ then God’s going to be on me. I’m not going by the world. I’m going by what’s in Scripture.”

Coldren said the elders had taken steps to protect children and ensure the former youth minister was “never out of anybody’s sight.”

Brothers was removed from his church leadership roles after the allegations surfaced in late 2016.

Asked if the elders supported the victims, Coldren replied, “Yes, we were very supportive of the victims, if they asked for the help. But none of them ever came to us for anything. What do you do when nobody asks? You can’t help somebody who doesn’t ask for help.”

The sign outside the Uniontown Church of Christ in Pennsylvania on a rainy day in February 2019. Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

More than two years ago, three of Brothers’ fellow board members at Camp Concern — conducted each summer at Raccoon Creek State Park, about 25 miles west of Pittsburgh — confronted Brothers at his home.

Brothers broke down and confessed to inappropriate behavior with “many, many, so many boys,” said Terry Lafferty, one of the board members and minister for the North Hills Church of Christ in Pittsburgh.

“He said, ‘I’m evil, just evil,’” Lafferty said of the December 2016 meeting. “And I thought that he was really going to open up and confess to all this stuff because there were a lot of names that started coming out.”

Brothers agreed to go with Lafferty, Richard Walton and Keith Wolfgong to make a statement at the Pennsylvania State Police station in this city about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.

By the time Brothers got to the station, though, he had become much less forthcoming, Lafferty said.

Some allegations against Brothers could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired, victims advocates said. Other claims involved alleged victims who were unwilling to testify.

In at least one case, church members complained that law enforcement officials did not follow up on leads. Fayette County Assistant District Attorney Wendy O’Brien, who prosecuted the corruption of minors and indecent exposure charges filed against Brothers in March 2017, declined an interview request.

At Brothers’ trial in Fayette County District Court last October, a 38-year-old man testified that he was 13 or 14 when the Uniontown youth minister took him to a church event in Arkansas and inappropriately touched him.

At first, Brothers took him and other young people to fun activities, such as seeing movies and driving go-karts. But then the youth minister began showing pornographic movies to the boys, the man testified, according to the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Eventually, Brothers performed lewd acts in front of him and encouraged him to do likewise, the man said, reporting that this happened “at least 50” times.

“This man stole my son’s childhood as well as his innocence and basically ruined his life,” the man’s mother said in a victim impact statement. She alleged that the youth minister drugged and molested her son “on several occasions” and threatened to harm his family if he told anyone.

“I believe that Clyde Brothers deserves nothing less than the most severe punishment allowed by law, of course,” the mother told Judge Steve P. Leskinen before Brothers’ sentencing in January. “But I know in my heart that the more severe punishment will be the one that I pray God delivers to Clyde Brothers because he chose to prey on innocent children in God’s name.”

Another mother directed her victim impact statement to Brothers, who did not speak when offered the opportunity by the judge.

“Not one of your victims remain in church,” the mother told Brothers during the court hearing. “You have affected them in more ways than you could imagine. Were all these activities just so you could gain access to the boys? One is in jail. Some have turned to drugs and have trouble holding down a job. Counseling doesn’t help. And two have committed suicide.

“And all the while,” she added, “you have been walking around a free man while these boys are trying to deal with what you have done to them.”

Victims’ advocate Jimmy Hinton, left, with his mother, Clara Hinton, and sister Alex Howlett at the Somerset Church of Christ in Pennsylvania. Their father and husband, John Hinton, a longtime minister, is serving prison time for sexually abusing young girls. RNS photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

Jimmy Hinton, a certification specialist with the advocacy organization GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), blames “bad theology” for congregations allowing abusers to remain in the pews alongside victims and their families.

“Shepherds are to guard the sheep from the wolves with their lives. Most churches I encounter have never been trained to distinguish the wolves from sheep, so they invite wolves in under the guise of ‘forgiveness and repentance,’” said Hinton, who preaches for the Somerset Church of Christ, about 60 miles east of Uniontown.

Hinton became a victims advocate after his sister Alex Howlett confided to him in 2011 that their father, John Hinton — who spent 27 years as the Somerset church’s minister — had sexually abused her when she was young.

Jimmy Hinton’s report to authorities prompted an investigation that resulted in his father pleading guilty to sexually assaulting and taking nude photographs of four young girls, ages 4 to 7. John Hinton is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in a Pennsylvania state prison.

Discussing the Brothers case, Jimmy Hinton pointed to questions about whether the former youth minister has named all his victims, as well as Brothers’ decision to file a post-conviction appeal, as indicative of his heart.

Clyde E. Brothers Jr.’s attorney filed a post-conviction appeal, with some portions redacted before being made public.

“Forgiveness is conditioned upon repentance,” Hinton said. “A repentant sexual predator would name every victim, submit to the court authorities and would never do anything to retraumatize his victims or their families.

“Because they are wolves, they don’t care.”

Victims’ families say they are angry with Brothers but also angry at themselves for failing to notice warning signs — such as the former youth minister inviting boys on overnight trips with him.

“The anger that I feel, it just never goes away,” the mother of one victim said, lamenting that her son’s experience with Brothers caused him to give up on God and renounce his faith.

Others gathered around the table nodded their heads and reported similar experiences, saying their grown sons won’t have anything to do with the church.

Judge Leskinen sentenced Brothers to up to five years in prison. However, the former youth minister was released on electronic monitoring pending an appeal of his convictions.

As part of his ruling, the judge told Brothers to give up his firearms.

Leskinen also ordered Brothers not to attend the Uniontown church “until and unless there is a signed waiver of this provision … by the governing authority of the said Church.”

Judge Steve Leskinen ordered Clyde E. Brothers Jr. not to attend the Uniontown Church of Christ. Image courtesy of Fayette County, Pa. Court Records

In a post-sentence motion in late January, attorney Jack R. Heneks Jr. said Brothers’ convictions for offenses alleged to have occurred in 1992 and 1993 should fall outside Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. Heneks also asserted that the judge’s prohibition against Brothers attending the Uniontown church “violates the defendant’s First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and association.”

After Brothers’ conviction, church elders quickly announced a congregational meeting to discuss whether to provide the waiver and allow Brothers to return to the Uniontown church.

About 30 members attended the congregational meeting, Williams said, and “all but three or four said that we didn’t want him to worship with us and to go by what the judge said.” Some said the elders could take the Lord’s Supper to his home.

For now, the elders have not requested the waiver, and Brothers has not returned to church.

But eventually, the leaders will have another meeting with the congregation, Coldren said. They wanted to let a little time pass first.

“I’m not saying we are or are not going to let him back in,” Coldren said. “What’s the difference if he walks in our doors or if he walks in another church’s?”

(Bobby Ross Jr. writes for the Christian Chronicle, where this story first appeared. The original version of this story can be found here. This article has been updated.)

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Bobby Ross Jr.

97 Comments

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  • Forgiveness, for this type of offense, doesn’t mean you let him back in. Let him go elsewhere. From what I’ve read these monsters can’t stop themselves. It’s a shame he only got five years – not enough.

  • Once again proving that “Separation of Church and State” is a one way street. The State doesn’t often like to hold up its end of the bargain.

  • The reason why this does not violate the First Amendment (which does not contain the words separation, church, or state) is that the order is on the church – that would violate the First Amendment – but on Clyde E. Brothers, Jr..

    The judge can send him off to Botany Bay if he violates the terms of whatever he is out on.

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  • I am well aware of the logic pretzel that the State twists in order to justify their nonsense.

  • No logic pretzel – the court has jurisdiction over the person of Clyde E. Brothers, Jr..

  • The perv can believe what he wants. The perv can meet with adult members of the church at other locations. Apparently the disgusting pervert can even attend other churches.

    The perv cannot return to the place where he committed his crimes. This is a normal condition of parole.

  • Perhaps they should have dealt with this youth minister the old fashioned way:

    “Any clergy or monk you seduces young men or boys, or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publically flogged and lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting into his face, bound by iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week be put on barley bread given him towards evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months in a small segregated courtyard in the custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men for purposes of improper conversation or advice.” (Although often attributed to St. Basil the Great, the actual source of this disciplinary canon appears to be St. Fructuosus of Braga.)

    Those were the days! Christians serious about addressing sexual abuse by clergy!

  • I hate to admit it but Mark Connelly is right, women can and do abuse children. There needs to be better guidelines and supervision of as Lark62 said keep children out of churches!

  • Actually those weren’t the days. Calling for violence is never the “Christian” way to solve problems!

  • Unfortunately the “let him go elsewhere” is precisely the tactic used by the Catholic Church to handle abusive priests. They were shuttled off to other states or countries where they continued their abuse.

  • I actually agree with you and Lark about keeping children away from certain kinds of religious teaching. We all have to understand, however, that there is no secular “authority” which we could imagine (let alone construct) to enforce that otherwise-good idea. We don’t want to be accused of favoring secular totalitarianism or communism—–because, that’s a losing strategy on every conceivable level. Right now, we would be better advised to simply defend public secular education from religionists banging on its doors.

  • You are right. We can’t keep children out of churches. We just need to keep the churches out of a free public educational system.

  • In reading the comments on related articles here over many months, a number of commenters have pointed out – some directly to you – that “let him go elsewhere” was a violation of Catholic Canon Law, and that the perpetrators were acting on their personal beliefs and preferences.

  • This is not the same. This would be an individual banned from this church. What he does afterwards is as a private citizen.

    The Catholic Church is not an issue here.

  • Whether it was a violation of Canon Law is irrelevant. The fact is that moving abusive priests out of one parish to another was frequently done.

  • I typed women abusers children into Google and these are from the first page of results:

    https://www{dot}news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/kids/why-arent-we-talking-about-abusive-mums/news-story/629b48b93abd22be2b63f1344c0c5de6

    https://www{dot}spectator.co.uk/2018/07/an-inconvenient-truth-about-child-abuse/

    https://www{dot}ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3154169

    https://www{dot}telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11899484/Female-paedophiles-Why-women-sexually-abuse-children.html

  • What you wrote was “the ‘let him go elsewhere’ is precisely the tactic used by the Catholic Church to handle abusive priests”, and so it is most certainly relevant.

    Had you written “the “let him go elsewhere” is precisely the tactic used by some Catholic bishops to handle abusive priests” it would be irrelevant.

  • The Spectator link is to a pay site
    ncbi.nlm is a ten line summary to an unreachable study site.
    news.au is a super short opinion piece with links to other opinion pieces.
    The Telegraph got my attention with links, details, current & related examples.
    I’d like to fin if a study has been done on the abuse by religious women. We know the awful rates of religious men who abuse.

  • Moving around sex abusing priests was a tactic widely used by the Catholic Church bishops in many countries, including the United States, some South American countries that we know about, Canada, many European countries, Australia. We don’t know enough about Asia and Africa to know how widely this practice was practiced but I would not assume it was/is less used So, it is not incorrect to say it was a “tactic used by the Catholic Church” because we have examples of it all over the world. More, we know it happened over decades. More, it was a tactic used by religious orders of priests and vowed religious, too, who haven’t faced the same heat diocesan bishops have faced – but I doubt have any better a record – at least if you look at investigations in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia. Awful stuff and the heads of religious orders moved sex abusers or just ignored the sex abuse just like bishops.

    My suspicion is that many at the Vatican knew exactly what was going on and tacitly, silently agreed to it. If the folks at the Vatican did not know, they started getting it publicly in the face in at least – was it 1985 that the Louisiana story came out? – Or could it be 1997 when the Dallas case hit the news, or surely when the Boston Globe stories came out in 2002. When the Dallas diocese was found guilty of letting kids be abused, was anything done by the Church to hold the bishop at the time or any prior bishop accountable to some sort of Vatican requirement he did not follow? Or when the Boston story broke, was Bernard Law held accountable for failing to follow some Canon Law rule? Truth is, if there was some Canon law requirement that bishops did not follow, we don’t know about it because bishops who knew about abuse and moved priests around were not treated as if they did anything wrong.

    In other words, if the Vatican had some rules, they weren’t very clear or they were ineffective in addressing the problem or the Vatican simply did not enforce them. Or, they didn’t really have the rules you think they had.

    I don’t buy it, Art. There are others who argue that the convoluted “rules” of secrecy and the processes bishops had to use to even try to bring charges/removal under Canon Law were a nightmare. The Vatican rules were either non-existent, not effective, or not enforced. Take your pick.

  • “Moving around sex abusing priests was a tactic widely used by the Catholic Church …”.

    Moving around priests accused of abuse, and priests supposedly cured of abuse, was a tactic used by some but apparently not a majority of the 5,500 bishops in the Catholic Church.

    In each case that bishop was acting contrary to his own denomination’s Canon Law.

    “So, it is not incorrect to say it was a “tactic used by the Catholic Church” because we have examples of it all over the world.”

    So, it is incorrect to say it was a “tactic used by the Catholic Church” because anyone doing it was violating his own church’s law.

    “My suspicion is that many at the Vatican knew exactly what was going on and tacitly, silently agreed to it.”

    Your suspicions to not rise to the level of evidence.

    “Truth is, if there was some Canon law requirement that bishops did not follow, we don’t know about it because bishops who knew about abuse and moved priests around were not treated as if they did anything wrong.”

    Truth is there is no provision in Canon Law for punishing bishops for violating Canon Law since each bishop reports directly to the Pope.

    “In other words, if the Vatican had some rules, they weren’t very clear or they were ineffective in addressing the problem or the Vatican simply did not enforce them.”

    In other words Canon Law by itself was not totally effective in preventing problems since it depended on the bishops to be the primary appliers of it in their own dioceses.

    “ Or, they didn’t really have the rules you think they had.”

    http://www{dot}vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

    I don’t buy it, Art. There are others who argue that the convoluted “rules” of secrecy and the processes bishops had to use to even try to bring charges/removal under Canon Law were a nightmare. The Vatican rules were either non-existent, not effective, or not enforced. Take your pick.

  • And your assertions are not met with evidence that such rules, if they existed and meant what you and some others claim, were in fact enforced. Bishop after bishop moved around sex abusing priests and faced no consequences for it – until Pope Francis. And Francis can only get them if they break the current requirement that bishops report cases to the police where civil law requires them to do so. That was a concession BXVI had to make to keep bishops out of jail.

    Was there one or two bishops removed for breaking Canon Law in how they handled sex abusing priests during the long pontificate/rule of JPII/BXVI. Certainly not Bernard Law. Certainly not the Dallas bishop. Not other U.S. bishops. Certainly not Irish bishops. Not Canadian bishops. Not Australian bishops, except for one I know of who was removed because he actually tried to do something effective that did not meet what Vatican claimed was Canon Law. (But, then, that case was investigated by notoriously conservative U.S. archbishop Charles Chaput and he was ousted for being pastoral rather than doctrinal.)

    Say what you want – the church has not enforced rules or they don’t have them or the rules were absolutely ineffective in addressing the problem of pedophile priests.

  • Why not mwheel him in in a cage, like Hannibal Lecter, with horse like blinkers and sometning to hold his neck in place so he could only look ahead? That would allow him to attend services, but make everyone else feel safe.

  • Wouldn’t that mean that the bishop should be put on trial in Rome and removed? Perhaps it did not happen because the pope was acting on personal beliefs and preferences? The main preference being to “avoid scandal,” and isn’t that directive in canon law?

  • He may not be getting moved in an official capacity, but the results are the same, so it’s still essentially the same practice/tactic. Excommunication from this faith would be a better solution, let him find another religion that will accept him.

  • Since this and similar forms of penitential spiritual discipline have in extreme cases been employed by the Saints and Fathers of the Church, these disciplines obviously ARE the Christian way to solve certain problems.

    It always amuses me when atheists lecture Christians on how they should manage their own internal affairs.

  • “…these disciplines obviously ARE the Christian way to solve certain problems.”

    I was unaware “the Christian way” is derived from “the Saints and Fathers of the Church.”

  • “…but their tactics certainly are.”

    And, more important, the prevert’s behavior, as you’ve suggested, is the issue. “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.”

    I agree with you and Susan.

  • “Let him find a church that will accept him.”

    Will another church’s acceptance be an INFORMED one? Therein is the real danger, just as in the case of the Church of Rome’s practice of sending prevert clerics to other local churches governed by distant bishops unaware of the cleric’s past behavior.

  • “…let him find another religion that will accept him.”

    Will a different religion’s acceptance be an INFORMED one? Therein is the real danger, just as in the case of the Church of Rome’s practice of sending prevert clerics to other local churches governed by distant bishops unaware of the cleric’s past behavior.

  • Actions speak louder than words, i.e., canon law. A law not enforced is not worth being a law.

  • I never said that the Christian way is “derived” from the Saints and Fathers of the Church.

    Rather, they are sound witnesses to the Christian way.

    Of course, I would not be surprised if you were “unaware” of that either.

  • “And your assertions are not met with evidence that such rules, if they existed and meant what you and some others claim, were in fact enforced.”

    The existence of numerous dioceses with no lawsuits indicates at least some bishops did it by the book.

    You’re assuming guilt and demanding proof of innocence.

    “Bishop after bishop moved around sex abusing priests and faced no consequences for it – until Pope Francis.”

    Pope Francis was not Supreme Pontiff when Rembert Weakland got the boot, so that allegation goes nowhere.

    “Bishop after bishop” is a poor substitute for “x bishops out of over 5,500″ or some other bona fide statistic. It’s just another vague unsupported allegation.

    “And Francis can only get them if they break the current requirement that bishops report cases to the police where civil law requires them to do so.”

    There is no higher earthly authority in the Catholic Church than the Pope. He is the sole author of Canon Law, which binds him only if he chooses to be bound.

    Francis is completely unrestricted.

    “Certainly not Bernard Law.”

    It is not clear that Cardinal Law broke any canons. He was cleared of legal wrongdoing.

    He did make one mistake, which no one speaks of. He listened to psychologists who purported to be able to “cure” abusers, and after they were pronounced “cured”, put them back where they could offend. That was a huge mistake. He should have given them the boot.

    “Say what you want …”

    Let’s say what we can provide evidence for.

    “the church has not enforced rules”

    The lack of problems in various dioceses say otherwise.

    “they don’t have them”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

    “or the rules were absolutely ineffective”

    In which every diocese would be paying off lawsuits, and that is not the case.

    It is clear you have some sort of axe to grind with the Catholic Church.

    It also appears that you are unable to assemble an actual case.

  • Yes it does. All rights have limits. This pervert was convicted of a crime. In exchange for not putting his slimy ass in prison where it belongs, the judge said he can’t go to the spot where he found his victims and perpetrated his crimes.

    If anything, the reason his slimy ass is not in prison where it belongs is because of inappropriate deference to his past as a “Christian minister.”

  • I see your point, to a certain extent. However, the only way to eliminate this sort of contention is to eliminate the man himself, which is beyond the reach of the church (legally, anyhow). My main point, as a counter to Jim Johnson’s nonsense, is that as a faithful believer, the harshest punishment from his own religion is to be cast out entirely. What Clyde Brothers does from there is no longer the church’s concern.

  • Sorry Art you may object to my wording but my wording was accurate. Policies can be official and unofficial. In this case it was a widely used “practice” of the Catholic Church not just of a few Bishops. though it wasn’t an official part of the Canon Law! AND it was done for many, many years, perhaps even a century! You may not like the truth but that is tough!

  • But you and Rick are! Violence is never the solution to our problems. Perhaps it takes a non-Christian to realize this!

  • Glad you are amused. Perhaps you would be wise to listen to what I have to say. The Church fathers were speaking for their place and time. I speak for our place and time!

  • It has been going on for much longer. One of the jokes in New Mexico (and this came from Catholics) is that New Mexico was the dumping ground for wayward priests–not just pedofiles but also alcoholics. There was a retreat/monastary west of Santa Fe that was a detox center.

  • Similar tactics have been used in Protestant denominations–moving ministers around to avoid scandal.

  • Public education systems haven’t failed in their primary mission which was to create a public that could read, write and cipher! Americans are generally a literate people.

  • Good point! Plus there are plenty of personal tales of abuse by the Nuns in Catholic schools! Though the stories I have heard were about physical not sexual abuseI

  • No Mark. “The existence of numerous dioceses with no lawsuits indicates at least some bishops did it by the book.” They didn’t do it by the book. They did it my instinct. And for all you know they broke Canon law and just never got caught or never got called on it. There was no book or there was no book that had rules that were enforced.

    More, I don’t buy that the few dioceses that had no sex abuse cases we know about were somehow being run according to Canon Law and that those with known cases of sex abuse by priests were not run according to Canon Law. This is obvious speculation on your part. And, if the bishops in all those dioceses broke Canon Law, why was nothing done about it? Did Canon Law say – don’t allow sex abusing priests but if you do, that is okay???????

    You know as well as I that JPII made a mess because he ignored what was happening, refused to look. I think BXVI played a role in just not looking while he was with the CDF and before he became Pope. Benedict took some important steps in issuing the Motu Proprio but he still did nothing to hold accountable those bishops you say did not act according to Canon Law.

    Admit it, Mark. If there was such clarity in Canon Law, it didn’t matter because it was not enforced. Time, after time, after time, after time, after time, … in country, after country, after country, after country, after country the supposed Canon Law was not followed and absolutely nothing happened to the bishops who allowed sex abusing priests to run rampant. I actually think there were some bishops, at least, who tried but couldn’t even get the Vatican to let them remove a sex abusing priest.

    You do not defend what happened in many dioceses around this country and in other countries by pointing to places where it appears nothing happened and claiming that Canon Law made the difference.

  • Amazing that the church couldn’t figure this out on their own, but needed a judicial order to do the right thing.

  • ”They didn’t do it by the book.”

    As usual what you seem to be lacking is evidence.

    And so we get “”my instinct”, “for all you know”, “I don’t buy”.

    To quote someone else “This is obvious speculation on your part.”

    “You know as well as I that JPII made a mess because he ignored what was happening, refused to look.” is also speculation, but I do know where you read it.

    “I think BXVI played a role in just not looking while he was with the CDF and before he became Pope.” is more speculation.

    “Admit it, Mark. If there was such clarity in Canon Law, it didn’t matter because it was not enforced.”

    I am not going to admit it because it is not true.

    Among the bishops who clearly stated what the Canon Law was, and followed it, were Bishop Bruskewitz in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Raymond Burke – who is a canon lawyer – when he was bishop in the Diocese of La Crosse and Archbishop in St. Louis.

    “Time, after time, after time, after time, after time, … in country, after country, after country, after country, after country the supposed Canon Law was not followed and absolutely nothing happened to the bishops who allowed sex abusing priests to run rampant.”

    That entire sentence is unsupported at all by the facts.

    I understand that you don’t really care – after all this sort of nonsense is not only acceptable by de rigeur at places like Bilgrimage and National Catholic Reporter – but it is simply personal opinion based on essentially nothing whatsoever.

    If you actually find some facts and an actual case, we can kick it around.

  • You lack any evidence that those bishops who created the scandal were doing anything the Church considered wrong in how they handled sex abusing priests. The bishops faced NO, NONE, NADA consequences because the were not doing anything the Church could pin on them – they did not break Canon Law. That, or the Church just didn’t care. Or, the Church could not admit that so many bishops in so many places around the world were picked by popes who screwed up so royally and were obviously unsuited to the powers they were given. Take your pick.

    I do think it is possible some bishops in countries like the U.S., Canada, Europe, who have not had the scandal hit them, may have actually done something that kept abuse from taking hold. But given that it is so hit and miss where there is no scandal, it is more likely something the bishop did on his own, something a little unique, different from the usual.

    Another thing to look at is what the Vatican was doing to make it possible for bishops to hold priests accountable, to kick them out when they needed to go, and why did bishops and heads of religious orders not report sex abusers to the civic authorities? This was part of the handcuffs that the Vatican put on bishops that did not let them respond effectively.

    Maybe, in 100 – 200 years from now, someone can be removed enough from the present immersion in scandal, to be able to look at how individual bishops dealt with it differently, who really did avoid deal with it well, how the Vatican impeded or helped solve the problem. We are too close to it now for that to happen and there is still more to unfold.

  • You can teach a child to read, write, and cipher at home from a book.

    However, on all three the scores in public schools have been trending downward.

  • I didn’t suggest violence.

    On the other hand, violence was a fairly good solution to the march of the Third Reich.

    Perhaps “Violence is never the solution to our problems.” is simplistic, even perhaps pablum.

  • No, you wording was inaccurate.

    You attributed to the organization itself that which was done by a minority within the organization contrary to its rules and beliefs.

    With 5,500 plus bishops, the case can hardly be made that “it was a widely used ‘practice” of the Catholic Church.

    I will grant you that you in general hate religions and particularly dislike the Catholic Church.

  • Thanks for your clarification, but your earlier statement, regardless of your intention to the contrary, attributes “the Christian way” to “the Saints and Fathers of the Church”. I suggest you exercise care in writing.

  • Actually they aren’t trending downward. Educators realize that people need more than basic literacy if they are going to be productive in this 21st Century. Science and more than basic math, history, geography, civics, health education, are all needed. BUT there is still more that is needed. They need to understand how people work and social systems work–psychology and sociology. They need to understand basic economic theory. AND they need to be well grounded and basic concepts of morality and civil behavior–basically how to get along in a very diverse world.

  • Most of the stories I run across are quite positive about the sisters (nuns are cloistered and do not teach in schools).

    https://www{dot}nytimes.com/2019/02/16/opinion/sunday/catholic-school-nuns-feminism.html

    https://www{dot}philly.com/philly/columnists/ronnie_polaneczky/philadelphia-nuns-shortage-catholic-school-archdiocese-women-priests-soloam-wellness-bernadette-kinniry-20180426.html

  • https://www{dot}theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/04/-american-students-reading/557915/

    “Math scores have been flat since 2009 and reading scores since 1998, with just a third or so of students performing at a level the NAEP defines as ‘proficient.’”

    “They need to understand how people work and social systems work–psychology and sociology.”

    The research seems to support a conclusion that home is the primary forum for children becoming well-grounded in basic concepts of morality and civil behavior.

    The schools need to tackle getting them to read and do simple math, eh?

  • Well, bother Brothers brother in law said he was conflicted. That ought to count for something.

  • Not as huge a problem as it is within the religious conservative vermin community.

  • I agree Art that home is where children should get their basic concepts of morality and civil behavior. BUT as we see everyday far too many adults never got such a grounding and how can they give their children such a grounding when they never got it! Just look at the supporters at Trump rallies to see adults who lack basic concepts of morality and civility.

    AND what do we do about those children that learn hate and fear of the “other” (all of those that aren’t like them) from their parents?

    This is why schools need to step in and fill the gap.

  • The schools are incapable of stepping in and filling the gap.

    That’s one of the reasons that parents push for vouchers.

  • Actually Art it didn’t work for the Third Reich, they lost! For someone like you I admit that “violence is never the solution to our problems” is too difficult a concept for you to understand.

  • No, they got in power.

    Admitting you’re wrong is too difficult a concept for you to understand.

  • Sorry Art they were defeated. You need to review your history there is no exscuse for your ignorance.

    The secret to success is to stay in power!

  • “The secret to success is to stay in power!”

    In that case no one and no country in the world has been a success.

    There is no excuse for spelling “excuse” “exscuse”.

  • My experience with abusive clergy is that they talk a good game, but accept their apology and you’ll find them back at it in no time flat. That certainly was the case with the spiritual abuse I experienced at Grace Episcopal in Alexandria, including the rector’s demonstrably false perjury in our subsequent legal ruckus. So, good for the court fo sparing victims this further indignation.

    Note, too, that I do not favor clergy tossing people out of church. But if someone has been an abuser, it may be that they have to be escorted, or only receive pastoral visits at home. Under no circumstances should an abuser have unfettered access.

  • So now since you have lost the argument you decide to pick at my typing errors. Grow up Art! Since the US is still in power, the jury is still out on whether our experiment in a Democratic/Republican form of government is still out. The verdict has been delivered on the 3rd Reich.

  • “Grow up Art!”

    Isn’t that a standard phrase of yours?

    Your verdict has been delivered.

    That’s one.

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