Saturday, June 23, 2012


   Yesterday, a church official was convicted of the crime of endangering children.  Msgr. William Lynn, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, can serve from 3-l/2 to 7 years in prison.

   The archdiocese released a statement apologizing to the victims and then saying that from now on they will work to make the church safe for all people.  I don't believe them.  

   Everything happens in a context.  The only reason that the church officials want to make the church "safe" is that they got caught.  They got caught covering up priests' sins and crimes against children.  So, what they really mean is that they will do everything possible not to get caught again.  The pressure on the church is coming from the outside, from the world that bishops and the pope consider a place of secularism and sin, "the culture of death"--a world that ordinarily they ignore or condemn.   

   Inside the church, the context is different.  Lynn was convicted of obeying his archbishop, Cardinal Bevilacqua.  Obedience is built into the church structure.  At ordination a priest promises obedience to his bishop, and a bishop promises obedience to the pope.  When a Cardinal receives his red hat from the pope, he promises never to publicly express anything that will make the church look bad.   

   I know many Philadelphia priests.  I count them among the finest men I have had the privilege to know.  And I know they are personally grieving for the children.  They are also grieving for their perpetrator brothers and for the church.  I don't know Archbishop Chaput, so I don't know how he feels personally.  In any case, it doesn't matter. It doesn't officially matter.  The priests and Chaput are divided men, separated from their personal feelings by the official structure that runs their lives.  It is reported that some priests attended Lynn's trial and applauded him while ignoring the victims who were there to testify.  As I note on the, THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE PERSON page, a spiritually mature person is a whole person.  As spiritual as these men may personally be, they are officially not whole persons.  

  So when the archdiocese issues an apology and a "promise" to do better, they may personally mean it but they don't officially mean it.  And, "officially" is what counts.  What counts is the church organization, and its authority/power structure that is at the heart of this calamity.  If the official church really cared, it would change its power structure.  But it is not about to do that.  As I posted earlier, in Ireland Pope Benedict XVI publicly stated that the whole sexual abuse situation is a mystery to him.  No bishop said, "Hey, Joe, it's no mystery at all.  We're working in a spiritually corrupt structure."  

   But they kept quiet.  And Benedict is keeping quiet.  Surely, he has expressed his personal sorrow to the victims.  But when it comes to changing the structures that helped create those victims, he is silent, deadly silent.  And so the bishops are obediently silent, despite Vatican II's teaching that they run the church with the pope.  So nothing will change except that the archdiocese will try harder not to get caught again by the civil authorities.  A dawning bright note is that through cases like the Lynn case, the Spirit of truth is cleansing the church of what is not of God.  In the meantime, we cannot trust anything the authorities officially say.    

  And also in the meantime, we have a society to uplift and transform, as well as we personally can, individually and with others, in the Spirit of Christ.  People are suffering.  Waiting is not an option.     




  1. God is not done with PA, just yet.

    Some very interesting articles at this site.
    I would like to talk to any survivors from western PA who may have filed a report concerning clergy sex abuse to Douglas Nowicki when he was the head of catholic schools in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

    I can be reached at 412-233-5491 or email me at

    Mike Ference

  2. Good work! One of the best commentaries I have read!
    I especially agree with this:

    As spiritual as these men may personally be, they are officially not whole persons.

  3. "So nothing will change except that the archdiocese will try harder not to get caught again by the civil authorities." Survivors are now strengthened, more will come forward, DAs are strengthened, states are changing their laws, parents are learning that their church is led by liars who support predators; a lot is changing and will continue to change. Don't doubt it for even a moment.

  4. Gabrielle Azzaro1:05 PM, June 25, 2012

    So very well stated. This is why the past apologies by popes, cardinals and bishops ring so empty. They are not about to change. They are so out of touch with their people, they probably wouldn't know how to anyway. When I was in the religious life, we vowed obedience, and although it was to God, in this particular order - VERY close to the Vatican, in fact, the mother general is the one who conducted the "investigation" of the American sisters - it was understood that the superior was God's representative on earth, that God spoke through her, that we were to blindly obey her in all things. Frightening, isn't it?

  5. This is just the beginning.. Lynn chose obedience over protecting kids. and hopefully others in the Philly Archdiocese, who enabled and covered up child sex crimes, will also be charged for child endangerment. Until they are punished, they have no reason to change, and kids are still very much at risk of being sexually abused within this secret archaic institution.

    Also many other dioceses need to be investigated for enabling and covering up sex crimes against kids.
    The Philly Archdiocese is not unique in how they handle child sex crimes, all other dioceses have secret archives and many bishops are still not removing credibly accused predators or making them public.

    It is time to start protecting children instead of protecting predator clerics.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511.,
    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,) is the worlds oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word priest in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc.

  6. These men above Monsignor Lynn, (the hierarchs) are such cowards....they could have stood up for Lynn but chose not to. They were all equally guilty, so it proves, " there are no fruits to know them by." THE SPIRIT IS GRIEVED . The Spirit of God is not in this institution!!!! IT IS A FAUX CHURCH, USING OUR BLESSED LORD, TO DO EVIL!

  7. Pauline Salvucci6:47 PM, June 28, 2012

    I continue to wait for the federal government to begin to charge priests with the federal crime of sexual trafficking. Bishops and their henchmen have also been complicit in this. A "troubled" priests gets sent to Costa Rico.... a "troubled" priest from India is sent to an unsuspecting parish in the US and lo and behold, abuses kids. A case can be built for trafficking these pedophile priests, and down go some bishops and cardinals. It eventually will happen.

    In the case against Doug Perlitz, Perlitz acknowledges that he traveled to Haiti for sex with minor boys. That's trafficking. It's no different from the former priest, Paul Shanley, like traveling to Thailand or anywhere else for sex with minors. The RCC lay leaders and a priest is also part of the Perlitz story. Please read these resources:
    For more information:

    CNN - Anderson Cooper ---- Orphan Predator : Haiti Street Orphans Abused.