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40 Professors: 'Attacks' on Pope 'Unjust'

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40 Professors: 'Attacks' on Pope 'Unjust'

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40 Professors: 'Attacks' on Pope 'Unjust'

Friday, May 07, 2010 7:00 AM Comments (154)
CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec

POPE ADDRESSES CATHOLIC EDUCATORS. Pope Benedict XVI addresses Catholic educators gathered at The Catholic University of America in Washington during his 2008 visit. Vincentian Father David O'Connell, president of CUA, is at right.

More than 40 professors and intellectuals signed a statement (available at the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars' website) supporting Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to deal with the sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church and decrying "inaccurate and unjust" media reports that portray the sexual abuse of minors as a problem particular to the Catholic Church or link it exclusively to priestly celibacy.

The statement was sent to Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, requesting that he forward it on to the Pope.

Statement: Sex Abuse, the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI: An Appeal for Perspective and Fairness

In light of recent events and media coverage concerning the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy, we, the undersigned, would like to express the following sentiments:

1) We condemn in the strongest possible terms any sexual abuse of minors by any members of the Catholic Church, especially the clergy.

2) We share in a collective sense of sorrow and shame for the harm done to victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.

3) We resolve to pray and fast for all victims of clergy sexual abuse and those who have committed these crimes.

4) We recognize that mistakes have been made in the past by Church authorities in dealing with the sexual abuse of minors, and we applaud measures to correct these mistakes by conferences of bishops throughout the world. We likewise support more rigorous screening of candidates for the priesthood, especially in the areas of chastity and adherence to Catholic moral teachings.

5) We express our gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his leadership and courage in dealing with the problem of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, and we condemn the unjust attacks made against him by certain elements of the secular media.

6) We condemn as unfair and inaccurate all efforts to link the sexual abuse of minors to the Latin rite Catholic discipline of priestly celibacy. We likewise affirm consecrated celibacy as a gift to the Catholic Church which, "in many ways, is in harmony with the priesthood" (Vatican II, Presbyterorum ordinis, 16).

7) We recognize the sexual abuse of minors as a grave problem that affects many segments of society. We reject, as inaccurate and unjust, all attempts to portray the sexual abuse of minors as a problem particular to the Catholic Church. We support all efforts of the criminal justice system to deal swiftly and effectively with those who sexually abuse minors in public or private settings.


Robert L. Fastiggi, Ph.D. Professor of Systematic Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Jane Adolphe, LL.B/B.C.L, J.C.D. Associate Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, Fl USA

Eduardo Echeverria, S.T.L., Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Board of Directors and Membership of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, Steubenville, Ohio USA,

Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. USA, Editor, International Philosophical Quarterly, President, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Th.D. Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA USA

Fr. J. Michael McDermott, S.J. S.T.D. Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA, Consultant, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine

Fr. Earl Muller, S.J., Ph.D. Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair in Theology/Christology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Ph.D. Professor of Theology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO USA, and Editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review

Fr. Dennis J. Billy, C.S.s.R., Ph.D., S.T.D. John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology, St. Charles Borremeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA USA

Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S. S.T.D. Associate Professor of Theology (emeritus), Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Ponce, P.R., St. Louis, MO USA

Scott Hahn, Ph.D. Professor of Biblical Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH USA

Fr. Richard J. Cassidy, Ph.D. Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Daniel Trapp, S.T.D. Professor of Theology and Graduate Spiritual Director, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Daniel Jones, S.T.D., Assistant Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Michael J. Byrnes, S.T.D., Vice Rector/Dean of Formation, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Michael Orsi, Ph.D., Chaplain and Research Fellow in Law and Religion, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL USA

Stephen L. Mikochik, J.D. Ll.M. M.A. (Philosophy), M.A. (Religious Studies), Professor of Law, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA USA and Visiting Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

Ligia De Jesus, Ll.M. Assistant Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

J. Brian Scarnecchia, J.D., M.Div. M.A. Associate Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

Peter Williamson, S.T.D. Adam Cardinal Maida Chair of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Astrid Caicedo, B.A. Assistant Dean of Studies, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Philip Blosser, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Mark S. Latkovic, S.T.D. Professor of Moral Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Daniel Keating, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Mary Healy, S.T.D. Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

John P. Hittinger, Professor of Philosophy, Thomistic Institute, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX USA

Mark Lowery, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Dallas, Irving, TX USA

Kenneth J. Howell, Ph.D. Senior Fellow and Director, St. John Institute of Catholic Thought and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL USA

David Moss, President, Association of Hebrew Catholics, St. Louis, MO USA

Anne Englund Nash, Ph.D. Book Editor and Translator, Cambria, CA USA

Carolyn R. Lemon, Production Editor, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA USA and Vice President, Guadalupe Associates, Inc.

Peter Pagan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, Aquinas College, Nashville, TN USA

Margaret Schatkin, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA USA

Judith Marie Gentle, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH USA

Dennis Bonnette, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy (retired), Niagara University, Lewiston, N.Y. USA

José V. Pereira, Ph.D. Professor of Theology (emeritus), Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. USA

James Likoudis, M.A. Catholic Author, Montour Falls, N.Y. USA

Damian Fedoryka, Ph.D. Center for Personalist Anthropology and Ethics, Ypsilanti, MI USA

Eugene R. Milhizer, Ll.M., J.D., President and Dean, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL USA

Bernard Dobranski, J.D., Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

Teresa Tomeo, Author and Radio Personality, St. Clair Shores, MI USA

Filed under catholic church, education, media bias, pope benedict xvi


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Why are 99% of the signers employees of a catholic institution?

Point 3 "3) We resolve to pray and fast for all victims of clergy sexual abuse and those who have committed these crimes." As a victim of clergy abuse I object to being bundled in with my abusers.

Don't you know, Bob?

They probably got a bonus in their paycheck.

Other than talk what, actually has Pope Benedict done?

This is like 40 executives from Enron saying that Ken Lay is a great CEO.

Thank you for publishing this - it is refreashing to see SOMEONE stand up to the base leval the secular media has gone to in reporting on the abuse that has been done in the Church.  And I am not saying that any part of the abuse was right - I'm just NOT agreeing with the media's coverage!  I also think the points made by those who signed were very good and balanced - they are not saying the abuse is right at all (read points 1,2,4 and 7).

To JohnBS1
I do not believe that when they say in Point 3 that they are praying for both that they are trying to "bundle" the victims with the abusers in a bad way – but rather realizing that both need our prayers (the victims for healing and the abusers for a change of heart)  Please do not take offence at this – to be prayed for by others is not a bad thing – I am sorry for what ever has happened to you and I will keep you in my prayers... please keep me in your prayers and God bless

Forty university or seminary-based professors have signed a document that makes sweeping generalizations without citing one piece of research to back up their findings.  They do not refute or challenge the decades-long and ongoing research into mandatory celibacy by Dr. Richard Sipe which has demonstrated that mandatory celibacy is a flawed policy.  They do not cite the statements of Pope Benedict himself that the leadership (hierarchy)of the Church has seriously erred in the handling of clergy sexual abuse.  They do not cite grand jury study after grand jury study from America and elsewhere that lambasted the criminal and immoral behavior of Church official after Church official (bishops, primarily)for placing kids at risk. 

And, these "learned" men and women promise to "pray and fast," when there is overwhelming research from the mental health professional community that indicates that survivors of clergy sexual abuse need "justice" and "fairness" and "apologies" in order to recover and not prayers and fasting. 

Perhaps the forty professors will publish the results of their corporate fast for victims?  How will we learn of theses results?  And, how will they "prove" that fasting has helped even one survivor of clergy sexual abuse?  And, how many prayers will be said corporately by these forty professors?  Will they quantify the effects of the prayers on the recoveries of clergy sexual abuse victims? 

Every day, I minister to clergy sexual abuse victims.  Prayers and fasting are "passive" responses to the crimes committed against these folks.  Perhaps the forty professors would like to "tithe" to Road to Recovery, Inc., P.O. Box 279, Livingston, NJ 07039 and put their money where their "pens" are.  When they realize they are paying the rent of a clergy abuse survivor or for medicine for another survivor, perhaps that's when they will realize that "faith without good works is meaningless."   

I wonder if these same "learned" individuals would accept a 40-person signed petition from their students supporting something in their seminary or university without a detailed analysis of the issue, including citations and "proof."  I think that petition would end up in the circular file, similar to the place best suited for this letter of support.

Ladies and Gentlemen of Academia:  come out of your ivory towers and place your hands in the wounds of the injured!

Man's problems are man-made... - paradoxically, they cannot be solved by man. I'm sure that neither they nor any one among us, feel that simply human means can resolve such deep wounds in the survivors of abuse. That is what makes prayer so important, as opposed to purely material cures. And besides, prayer disposes one to generosity.
I thank these courageous Catholic personnel for not abandoning a necessary spiritual stance at this time, and at the same time standing up for our Holy Father who (another paradox) has been feeling the backlash from confronting the reality of having wolves (abusers) within the fold and addressing the damages, if not by stopping what has already passed, by preventative prudence.

It is sad to see several signatures from Franciscan University, Steubenville, especially since this University hosts and sponsors several annual Youth Conferences, to which thousands of you teens attend at Franciscan, and throughout the USA, and spreading even world wide.

I fear that if anyone has been sexually abused by a clergy or employee of these teaching institutions, and they happen to read this letter which condemns the media coverage concerning the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy, they would feel threatened and unable to speak up.

In the USA, we have freedom of speech and freedom of press. Trying to put a stop to it is very unsettling, especially since it has been the secular media that has helped to open up the sex abuse and the cover-up within the catholic church

Victims now have a voice, and they are starting to speak up because they have learned that they were NOT the only one.

Please, professors, don't pray or fast for me (speaking as a victim of abuse by a priest).  I don't want or need your sympathy. As Rev. Hoatson said, take concrete action to support the victims.  And if you really care for us, as you claim, stop blaming the messenger.  Stop calling the reporting on the pope and the church an "attack."  Stop using the passive and tame word "mistakes" when discussing protecting and enabling child abusers (which includes the pope).  And why the need to assert that abuse is not "particular" to the church? I have never heard anyone, in the media or elsewhere, indicate that sexual abuse is unique to the church.  However, as we are currently learning more and more about the worldwide abuse, and the cover-up, it is responsible for the media for share the news.

Do any of our leaders read the Bible and what it says about civil authorites, sexual abuse, praying and fasting to pick good leaders, greed (even greed to eat animals as Nu 11:31-35), what happens when someone causes a little one to sin, etc....?
If our 'moral leaders' were praying, this would have never gone on for centuries.  Can't cover-up the cover-up any longer.  Jesus said that everything hidden would come into the light.  We will be held accountable for every creatures as Hebrews 4:13 states. 
Only trust the Holy Spirit who will teach us all things as the Bible says.
A good Bible study for our 'spiritual leaders' seems to be in order.
The Church is still trying to fight for the statue of limitations and anyone resisting the civil authorites resists God as Romans 13:1-7 states.
I don't recall Jesus needing a defense team or even a lawyer.
Trust only Jesus and don't support child molesters or those who support them.  I recall that Cardinal Law still has a nice job within the Vatican's walls.  When will they finally come to their senses and follow what the Bible says on how to deal with those who sin especially within the Body of Christ whom Jesus is truly the head of.
God's Creatures Ministry

I find it very sad to see how so many people have responded to this article in such a hard hearted manner.  It DOES NOT condone the evil that was done!  As a matter of fact it says several times that those signing recognize that the abuses were wrong and the need to reform.  Remaining hardened of heart to the past abuses and refusing to acknowledge what the Holy Father has done will not help heal old wounds.  As to attacking with NO charity whatsoever those who signed the petition – what did they say that was wrong?  If you are responding only to this article in anger – is that a good reason to post???  If you are struggling with this issue would it not be better to stop and say a prayer instead of lashing out?

I find the attacks on the gift of priestly celibacy by lay Catholics and non-Catholics to be lamentable by virtue of their ignorance.  But the same attacks put forth by those who present themselves as members of the Catholic clergy I find despicable.

God please purge your holy priesthood, not only of the homosexual deviants and child predators who have committed unspeakable crimes against innocent souls and undermined Holy Mother Church, but also of dissident modernist priests who seek to make use of these atrocities to do further damage to your priesthood and thereby the mystical body of Christ.

It seems that the petition, while it acknowledges the evils done within the Church heirarchy for decades, feels that the Pope is being unjustly attacked.  I think the media has been lenient and has laid off.  If it wasn't for the secular media reporting research done by the laity and reporting about the victims' experiences, we, the Body of Christ, would have never known about this disease/sickness/sin/crimes to the most vulnerable.  The petition is responding to 'attacks on the Pope'.  There should have been such a petition in defense of those abused, but the silence enabled the abusers to continue. 

I don't see great numbers of the truly great Catholic universities here.  In fact, most of them seem to be Sacred Heart Major Seminary and Ave Maria School.  Also, are book editors and publishers now considered professors??  Seems like they had to dig pretty deep to come up with 40 names...

These forty professors, do they honestly believe that popes, cardinals, bishops and priests who enable child raping priests, bishops, cardinals, etc. are making "mistakes?" Surely, some of the worthy professors must know the differenc between "mistakes" and heinous crimes.

I am 22 years old. For 12 years I have dealt with the repurcussions of being abused by a man training to be a priest. This "signed document," looks like the pope's minons backing him up. An overwhelming amount of objective evidence shows that the Church protects pedophile priests better than they do most innocent people! This is a long standing tradition in the Catholic Church. This is the truth. The Catholic Church has brought this upon itself.

To "Thriving in spite of abuse by a priest"

I admire you for posting your comment on this site..

thank you from many victims of clergy abuse.

It is easy to see why the church has nothing of value or benefit to offer many victims via its religious teachings or practices. It is an insult to myself and other victims to be offered the same things that were used to seduce us as children. I unreservedly reject all offers of pray as these are the tools of grooming used to seduce and rape thousand upon thousand of innocent children.

I personally would prefer assistance so my child can finish their education and so that we can pay for heating in the winter, a pair of new shoes when needed and regular food on the table. When those things and the right to justice for victims have been addressed with dignity there may be time for considering prayer. The unfortunate thing about prayers offered by Catholics is that they are inevitably a plea for forgiveness for the crimes they have committed. To someone who has had prayer and the word of god used against them whilst good Catholics added to that by offering nothing but prayers when they did learn of the abuses. There is is no greater insult to a survivor possible.

If someone in your family committed an abusive act, would you deem it fair and justifiable for people to treat you the same as they do the abusive family member?  Because that is exactly what is happening in the Catholic Church.  There is no longer any separation of good priests from abusive priests, but they are all painted with the same broad brush stroke.  As a Catholic, I want to see justice for not only the victims of abuse ~ meaning the removal of ALL priests who have in any way been involved in any kind of sexual abuse ~ but also, recognition that the majority of priests are good!  I also want to see the same attention given to bringing to account pastors of other denominations - along with doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, etc.  Because please people - don't say it isn't happening in these professions also, and that there is a whole lot of cover up going on.  I'm just glad that the Catholic Church is getting rid of those who have committed these disgusting acts, and I hope it won't be the only (organization) to do so.  God help us all.

I certainly feel terrible for any of you who were abused, but what is this level of anger i'm seeing going to accomplish? And refusing the prayers of others? What does this type of anger and bitterness ever accomplish? I pray that you will find God's peace and forgive your abusers, not for their sake but for yours. Because those who forgive those who have hurt them will find God's forgiveness for their own sins. And forgiveness we all need because we have all committed heinous crimes against our Creator. All of us.

And the great thing about prayer is that you can demand that people stop praying for you but we still will.

I'm a conservative Catholic convert (after attending a fundamental seminary).  The thing is, is that our moral leaders represent God, and the Pope who is our moral leader, hasn't apologized to the victims for what he did, said and didn't do.  Please do your research.  Yes, we all need forgiveness and we need to forgive those who trespass against us.  To forgive doesn't mean we have to trust them or that justice shouldn't be done.  Romans 13:1-7. 

It is not about not wanting prayers, (except that if you knew the many, many abuse victims who were being sexually violated with prayer included in the violation) just another form of control over them to keep them quiet and feeling guilty.

Prayers: are easy... Actions: to hold wrong doers accountable are hard, but that is what it will take to keep kids safe..

Prayers did not keep the victim safe, while he/she was being sexually abused by the priest who was praying over him/her.
Or was it good to say to victim after he/she was abused, "that what happened last night was wrong, so you need to go to confession"

Is there anyway that I can explain it to you, so that you get the picture?

I sure will try..
thank you,  Judy

To Lake Johnson. The psychological trap that you describe is what survivors learn to break through. It is offensive to offer them the same process that abused them. When you and other realize that a corrupt hierarchy teaches corrupt lessons which makes it followers corrupt and then you realize it is just what you describe that is problematic - that is why the abuse and coverup is called systemic. You or the church have nothing real to offer survivors - their is no genuine human empathy if your offer save to re-involve the victim in the processes used to abuse.

I have yet to read in any news media that said, "this sex abuse problem is unique to just the catholic church."

That is exactly WHY we need to removed 'statute of limitations' for sex crimes against kids, so that all children will be safe from sexual abuse.

It is mostly been the catholic conference and the catholic bishops who have been the major organizations, in every state, who fight with tooth and nail to prevent the statute of limitations of sex abuse of kids to be removed. WHY?

Thank you,  Judy

Thanks Judy Jones. Perhaps a dozen or so words from the pope to the bishops and Catholics on that would be most helpful. In fact in 20 words the use of the statute of limitations to protect abusive clergy could be brought to a stop. If they need help on how to write something like that I am more than willing to assist.

Pope Benedict is just a Human being who sins like everybody else, he is not higher than God, nor are his priests and Bishops, John Dew and Pope Benedict are very evil men.

how can this be put as gently as possible? We have made a mess of things.

By positing strawmen and then knocking them down, the authors reinforce the argument that all efforts to defend the church justify disortion of reality and misrepresentation.  The statement is unworthy of scholars or even honest debaters.  Contra factum non est arguendum., even with red herrings.

As someone who has experienced both types of priests (the spiritual consolation of the very good, and the horrific harassment of the sexually abusive), I deeply understand both points of view being represented in these comments.

That being said, I don't understand nor condone the one troll who types badly misspelled hatred above, submitted under false names.

The level of trust that is shaken and broken by an abusive priest is truly something that those who have not been abused cannot understand. The growing sense of terror, of abject helplessness in the face of power personified... I cannot blame a single victim for the hatred in their hearts for the institution which housed and nurtured their torturers.

On the other hand, now that the Church has finally been forced to begin to come to terms with the magnitude of the crimes committed by those who should have been the holiest within it, well, now is the time for the hatred to give way to reconciliation. Think of it, fellow victims, continued hatred will not win us any favors or concessions, but only continue to alienate us from justice and restitution.

I'm not saying we should be pie-in-the-sky about our ability to trust the man-powered good-old-boy-network of the priesthood (that bond may be irreparably severed, as we know), but ongoing hatred won't do anyone any good. Least of all us. Stress leads to heart attacks, you know.

Let the professors make their meaningless statements. They have tenure, they'll be all right. At least they feel like they're doing something from within.

We Love and Support our Dear Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and we also know that satan is attacking Our Holy Church.
We Are Also So Blessed That Jesus left us our Rock in Our Holy Father.
The Church Will Provail against any attacks from satan.
I am So Blessed to be Catholic.
God Bless Our Dearest Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. Our Rock.

I wonder how many of these academics can show that they are well trained in child trauma and its effects on victims, their families, partners and children; in social psychology and the damage done within offenders parishes and institutions; how many of them have been trained in worlds best practice in the systems needed to create safe environments.

If not, they have about as much credibility as my offering support for someone under criticism for their handling of a nuclear plant disaster.

Where are the real experts on this? They haven't been properly consulted by the Church in Australia, I don't know about elsewhere.

They are not as able to speak out as the media because the large media outlets have legal backup that matches the Church's legal backup. Many in the field that I have spoken to are appalled by the situation but dare not speak out against the Church.

Thus I am grateful that we do have a powerful media and that they do have the ability to ask the hard questions because without them nothing would change.

Well, I was trying to be reasonable above. Why isn't anyone else? I'll grant that the professors really had no business putting out this letter that doesn't change anything, but their intentions are fine. They promise to pray and to fast. Great. Let them. Can that do any harm? Can it do good? Civil dialogue has to reign here, folks.

I believe that all priests who committed these monsterous acts against children should be locked up with NO chance for parole EVER!

That said, many people are using this comments section to unjustly attack the Catholic Church and the Pope. Have they been brainwashed by the Church-hating media? What they say is not only usually untrue but it is just plain stupid!

I couldn't agree more with Mike.  As to your 'comments' Ian, maybe you should consider that your foul words in what is supposed to be an adult discussion shows that you are not only hateful, but are trying to breed hatred.  It's please don't see yourself as someone who should be throwing any stones.  As to allowing vile words to be used in this discussion, shame on you NCR!  There is certainly no need for that kind of language to be used in order for anyone to make their point.  Most of the comments on this thread both sadden me and sicken me.  It doesn't appear that the majority of the people who have written here really care about the abused ~ but rather are just using it as a platform to express their hatred for the Pope.  No good can come of a discussion that goes down this road.  Thanks be to God there are some people here who have contributed useful and helpful commentary ~ words to meditate on - and work to eradicate child abuse in all it's ugly forms - no matter who is doing it.

satanic attacks, here we go again, who's Next.
Some of you cannot get it into your heads that we Love and Respect our Holy while you bash, we Love Our Pope More and More

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking our children and youth to use their critical thinking in deciding if what is being covered by the media is true or false.
If anything, why aren't we more thankful for the way things are handled now in the Vatican?
That didn't just "happen" that way there were people behind it.
This is one reason why I can not join SNAP in all cases.  As thankful as I am for what they do, they still do not have the ability to see and acknowledge when something "good" was done. 
Can SNAP see past the pain and acknowledge that the moving of all cases from the diocese to CDF was a good thing and there was a specific person behind that (Ratzinger)?

I have to ask why is it so important that restitution and justice for victims comes down to their having to recognize the good work done - it is the very fact that there was horrible work that was done that victims are saying to folk like yourself - acknowledge and repair the harmful work and people will acknowledge that as good work.

Another way of looking at that - lets say I recognize the good work - (that appeases you - does nothing for me - in fact that can be psychologically harmful) the usual next step is then to ask for forgiveness etc. by the end of that there is no crime - thats called minimization and failure to recognize the harm caused to individuals. This is due to an inability to empathize naturally. When looked at structurally the religious ideal or method is proffering what our understanding of humans shows us to be harmful. The process you suggest I imagine would have been thrown back at you many times =- mostly because people find it offensive to be asked to re-involve themselves in the very processes which were deliberately used to harm them and which was deliberately used to keep congregations from acting when the crimes were disclosed. You are asking victims to look at it from your perspective - they originally had your perspective and that is why they were able to be abused. What you ask is not realistic or beneficial for them

Rebecca, this is only the tip of the iceberg!! Would you rather the media kept quiet on this sordid saga as in the past?

That saddens me John because I have found healing and I pray that I am able to determine what is defendable and what isn't, what neeeds to be changed and what is OK.

BTW I am one of them.

And acknowledging something that is true and correct is not the same as asking someone to have "trust" or nice warm fuzzy feelings.  No one is asking that.

Thank you NCR and Berry for all the work you do and to allow this 'dialogue' to happen.  As a licensed counselor who is on the victims' side (after following this scandal since it broke from MA), I think an objective mediator would be great in a public forum (Dr. Phil? Well that would take a season's space).  But, I really agree with those who say that while it is fine to say, thank you for all the good done, (by the way I don't think reporting the cases to the CDF was all that good - it continued the secrecy in an intelligent way).  So, yes thank you for the good that has come about because of the uncovering by the laity and the victims bringing this evil into the light.  It is nothing to be exalted about - it had to happen in reaction to the public getting wind of it through the secular media.  There were good Popes and bad Popes.  Jesus said to call no one good (I believe he even included himself).  Only God is truly, and purely good and he called everything He made 'good' before sin entered the world. 
I wish those who signed this document saying that they support the Pope since he is being unjustly attacked, would really know what has happened for the past couple of decades.  I don't know all the facts, but it would be good for someone to do a detailed account of what the Popes did and didn't do before saying that they are being unjustly accused of covering-up.  I believe the secular media more than what comes out of the Vatican and I'm a conservative Catholic convert. 
The media should be someone who knows the Bible very well.  All you need is a concordance and look up immoral person (it explains what to do with them), Mt. 18:15-20 tells about disciplining people, Ro 13:1-7, etc.....
Jan Fredericks, LPC, MA
Licensed Counselor
Christian Educator

Jan, this whole process of abuse and cover up has been an ongoing issue within the Holy Roman Catholic Church for centuries and not decades as you state. History will show that an Irish American priest Father Flanagan in trying to expose the inhumane treatment of children in Irish institutions in the 1940's suddenly died of a heart attack on his return to the USA!! Systemic, endemic whatever adjective you want or need to apply to this will never, I say NEVER afford us the whole truth and nothing but the WHOLE truth. Centuries of experience in corruption and putrid behaviour is only now coming to light. Believe me, there is an awful lot more waiting in the wings!

"I don't know all the facts, but it would be good for someone to do a detailed account of what the Popes did and didn't do before saying that they are being unjustly accused of covering-up."
Here is one response
But they have been responding, against the advice of others who think that the Vatican and others need to be quiet and not say anything.
You have a mixture of those Bishops who truly should have been asked to resign and those who didn't do anything either, who were on the victims side.
Also, in society, we do the same thing.  Abuse in families are rarely talked about and swept under the carpet too.

The inference of Ms. Fredericks comments that she is on the "victims side" is troubling to me. I thought we all were on the "victims side". As a Catholic Christian, I am truly with these victims as their brother in Christ. This is why Ihave trouble with the Rev. Hoatson's dismissivness of the ACTS of prayers and fasting offered not only by these 40 signatories, but by many other faithful Catholics. To some commentors on this board, these wonderful and time honored traditions of our faith are simply ignored or worse yet looked at as useless compared to the abiliy to talk with a Dr. Phil or some other material action. This is a sad. Our Lord Jesus Himself prayed and fasted as did many of the Church's greatest saints. Our Blessed Mother in authenticated apparitions often calls for prayer and fasting as reparation for sin. Isn't it said that outside of the Mass, the greatest weapon against evil is the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary? This focus on material works not matter how well intentioned by those on the "victims side", without any attention paid to the effects of spiritual healing that can aboslutely be brought about through prayer and fasting is shortsighted. There is no doubt in my mind that while the horrible acts committed by the clergy and covered up by the bishops were physical in nature, their genesis was spiritual and evil. Complete healing for all therefore cannot come soley through physically acts. In fact, I would say that complete healing must first begin with spiritual healing which can only take place through interceding to God in prayer and fasting.

Prayer is not a "process" or a "psychological trap." Using these psychological terms unclearly obscures what prayer is: communication with God. Just because some priest may have abused this for his own evil gain does not change what prayer is. If victims truly want to heal they will have to recognize the difference at some point. Obfuscating the issue with a bunch of psych mumbo-jumbo was how we got into this mess: Bishops though they could send abusers to therapy and all would be well. This is a spiritual sickness and without prayer the abused will be violated twice: once by the abuser and once b/c they can never find true healing without God. Anger and refusal to forgive will give way to bitterness and hatred no matter how many sessions of therapy you have. Some of you should also look carefully at what this "justice" is that you are demanding. If God were to have only justice for us and no mercy none of us would have hope of salvation.

To those who wrote rejecting the value and need for prayer and fasting:
Did Jesus pray and fast? Please re-read the Gospels. Jesus showed us how to live by His example. If it was suitable for Jesus to pray and fast, then it is certainly the right thing for us to do, especially in times of great trouble. Don't reject the teachings of Jesus in your anger.

I agree that mercy, prayer and fasting (which should be done privately by righteous people - not broadcasted to the world), and justice (God is just as well as merciful) is in order.  Healing is a wonderful thing, but those addicted to sexual abuse of minors, is a crime.  Someone said that they (clergy who have this lust) should be kept in a monastery, but who would be paying for their lodging?  It's not fair that the laity should pay (as well as pay for all of the legal fees, etc. which we are in some way). 
Thanks for pointing out about the abuse in Ireland that has been going on for centuries.  I've seen it on TV how the religious abused orphans, but didn't know how long ago it was.  I've read that the Police even help cover-up. 
The statue of limitations should be lifted- it's all about money.  I think the gold at the Vatican should be sold (just a suggestion).


First, yes it is a crime but there is a reason for the statute of limitations here. Unfortunately most of these cases are the word of the accused against the word of the abused and a crime has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is not easy to do in this case, and the difficulty of proving a crime gets very difficult and unreliable after decades of time. Human memory is notoriously inexact and our legal system's first priority is making sure people are innocent until proven guilty. I suspect that many of these old cases would be thrown out of court or not prosecuted due to lack of evidence, not lack of money. Think of if you were a prosecutor how difficult or impossible it would be to prove a case 50 years old based solely on memory of one person when all the witnesses and evidence are long gone. What the church has been doing lately is removing the priest from active ministry with just reasonable suspicion, which is a very much lower burden of proof than a conviction.
Second, think of the money used to house an abuser at a monastery as money used to protect minors. This addiction does not go away when an abuser leaves the priesthood. Then they have no supervision at all...they are unconvicted of a crime and left to wander looking for more victims. At least at a monastery you can keep tabs on them.

One thing on the statue of limitations in the Church, although it is stated for youth, 10 years after they have reached 18, that is not enforced nor is it being enforced.
They are allowing and encouraging those that were well beyond this.


Good question.  It shouldn't be up to the Bishop to offer his resignation, (or anyone else), it should be up to those (who have the mind of Christ and follow Biblical principles) to clean out the Church (which should have been done all along).  If our leaders were chosen from truly prayer and fasting through the Holy Spirit (not of worldly wisdom), a lot of suffering of children would have been prevented.  If St. Paul was around (he wasn't even the Pope or a Bishop), he would have taken control and admonished the leaders (hopefully they would have listened).
He can still be listened to by reading his letters.  1 Cor 5 is a great chapter which says alot about what to do with an immoral person within the Church.  I wonder if our moral leaders ever read this?

Judging from the comments about this article, one can see how the professors point of media exageration on Church abuse is vindicated.
Many of these comments are not only sladerous of the Holy Father but beyond civil discource.
It seems that the New York Times has done their job, drudge up old stories of scandal and try and paint the Holy Father with this dirt and low and behold some of the dirt sticks.... as evidence of the already assumed guilt of the man.
The Holy Father has been a good pope, he is doing his best to clean up the filth in the Church and those people who are so scandalized to find sin exist in all areas of life, need a reality check.
I pray the Holy Father lives long enough to continue his plan of restoring order and morality within and outside of the Church, effectively counteracting the insanity allowed to enter the Church since the hippy days of the 60's.

The real architects of this disaster are the so-called psychologists and 'experts' that convinced the Bishops to show leniency and that the abusing priests could be rehabilitated.
If the Bishops from the 1950's till now weren't so eager to court the approval of the world they might have implimented the already existing policies to deal with priests that stray from the vow of celibacy, particularly those that commit crimes.
Also the silence of the psychologists on this controversy is strangely telling isn't it?

I think it is wonderful in an age of pointing fingers that people are standing by the Holy Father who is clearly doing his very best during this terrible period for Christ's church.  I am sure the angels are recording those who are attacking the Catholic church for evil reasons and those who are so filled with anger and hatred that they cannot see let alone be open to the truth and those who have the courage from the Holy Spirit to stand and defend Jesus Christ and his church.  Praised be the Lord God and his most Holy Mother Mary.  Lord have Mercy on those poor reprobate who have no clue or life of grace within and are blind to the truth.  Let us pray for them to have conversions and be open to the truth

What is happening in the media is not an "attack" on the pope. It is our global free press that is bringing the truth of these cases to the light of day, along with the courage of the victims who are coming forward and speaking up. My son was a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest. The priest just received his felony sex abuse conviction in Nov. 2009: This issue is not old news. It is still happening. Thank God for the courage of the victims and the free press.

The Pope is a good man and by the way Christ on earth and infallible in matters of faith when speaking from the chair of Peter.  No other mortal man or woman has that promise from God.  Let us stand tall and defend the Pope and we will one day be rewarded for our fidelity.  This is coming from someone who was very close to this crisis and who's friends were molested and the priest responsible was eventually recently defrocked a few years ago.  I am still loyal to Holy Mother church not to the few priests who were sick and warped but yes to the Holy Father and those Bishops. priests, and laity who are united to him.  Let us stand with the Pope we will not regret it.

I remind all those who falsely accuse our Pope and show such disrespect, that blasphemy is also a grave sin.  Jesus said so. When the pharisses accused Him of being possessed, He answered that "blasphemy against the holy spirit" (the spirit of truth) is a grave sin.
I also remind you that one of the abuse victims who met Pope Benedict in Malta recently said that he was a SAINT. - So all you that spew false accusations against the Pope are breaking the 8th commandment - uttering lies.

Toni M - I am sorry your son was a victim and I hearby promise to pray for him and his family to be healed by this terrible crime!  I escaped abuse only by the grace of God but I still saw pornography in the priests bedroom and my best friend was molested for several years along with several other altar boys!  This priest was in my home - I am disgusted and sick at heart to think of all the harm and devistation this one man has caused.  I have cried and wept along with my friends over this abuse but I do know the devil is taking advantage of the crisis to try and bring down the church and especially the papacy.  Be careful who's side you are on Toni - The pope is innocent - accept the truth don't be blinded by the pain caused by some priest - there are 40,000 priests in America - 2,000 have been removed but the vast majority are not abusers!  There are more abusers in the public schools - where is the press on this?  Who's side are you on Toni - can't you see that the devil is really trying to destroy the church and the faith of the many.  Pray for discernment and enlightenment.  I will pray for you!  Yours in JMJ, Ted

By the way for anyone who is getting counseling from Jan Fredricks - God help you!  She is in it for the money and I think she actually might be profiting from this crisis.  We are all siding with the victims Mrs. Fredricks but I think you are not being honest and I really don't believe you are a conservative Catholic convert.  I will definitely be praying for you!  I will also pray that God opens your heart to his truth and you will hopefully soon come to the conclusion that the media is not on our side but merely a tool used by the devil to inflict as much harm as possible on humanity.  Some of the media is accurate and fair and balanced but he majority is not and for you not to know this tells me that you are not in the truth.

I read Fr. Robert Hoatson's comments with some degree of sadness. I knew Father Hoatson as a fellow student at Essex Catholic H.S. in Newark, N.J. I am very sorry that he would post cynical and sarcastic remarks about fellow Catholics offering to pray and fast for victims of sex abuse. This is very disappointing coming from a priest who should know the biblical basis of prayer and sacrifices on behalf of others (1 Tim 2:1-2; Jas 5:16; Col 1:24). Moreover, prayer is a spiritual work of mercy.

Father Hoatson also criticizes our statement for making sweeping generalizations without research to back up our findings. A statement of basic resolutions, though, is not meant to be a research report. Those of us signing the statement have done enough study to realize that the efforts of people like Dr. Richard Sipe to link the sexual abuse to priestly celibacy is refuted by many studies that show children are more likely to be abused by stepfathers, uncles, cousins, siblings, mothers' boyfriends, and even their own biological fathers than they are by priests (cf. Wade F. Horn, "Common-sense about abuse," Washington Times, Feb. 6, 2001, p. E1). Moreover, Dr. Philip Jenkins in his book, Pedophiles and Priests (Oxford, 1996), shows that Christian denominations with married clergy have rates of abuse that are actually higher than those reported within the Catholic Church (see pp. 50-51 and 81). Father Hoatson is correct that we need to do more than pray and fast, but very little is served when people try to use the sexual abuse of minors as a reason to attack priestly celibacy or to write unfair stories about the Pope (as the New York Times did in its March 25 and 26, 2010 issues). Yes, we should ask forgiveness from the victims (as the Pope and many bishops have done), and we should assist victims in their psychological and material needs. But we also must be people of justice and truth. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that more than 60,000 child sex abuse perpetrators were reported in 2008, but within the Catholic Church in the USA, there were only 21 new accusations of the sex abuse of minors by Catholic priests in that year (cf. The Michigan Catholic, April 23, 2010, p. 20). Now, that's 21 accusations too many, but these statistics show that the stricter sex abuse norms within U.S. Catholic dioceses are having a positive effect.

I commend Father Hoatson for his efforts to help victims of sexual abuse, but he is wrong to say those of us who signed the statement are only coming from "ivory towers." I myself once experienced unwanted sexual advances by a Catholic priest as a youth (though I was over 18 at the time). I never mentioned this to anyone until I learned that the priest had died. Prayer helped me to forgive and be healed of this painful experience. This is why it hurts when someone like Father Hoatson express cynicism about the power of prayer. I hope he will pray for those of us who signed the statement, and we promise to pray for him.

Dear Ted ?,
I am not counseling anyone.  I just like truth, honesty, etc.
Didn't Paul correct Peter?  No Pope was perfect, but I think everyone should be seeking truth.  I am not seeking money from this.
Thank you for open and honest dialogue.  It is an emotional issue. 
I think we all love Jesus and His Church and want the light of God's love to shine on all. 
(Miss) Jan Fredericks

Miss Jan
The Pope isn't above correction if it is warranted.
He saw filth in the Church and he has done everything, so far, in his ability to address.
The cases now being move to the CDF instead of being judged in each diocese is because of him (2002). Before then, only certain cases were heard there.  I agree that it makes me feel better to have it moved outside of the diocese.
He has made it easier for a Bishop to lacitize a priest.  Up to a certain time, they had to request this on their own if they left.

If it is warranted, I am sure he would be glad to get suggestions on what he can do to make this better and to eliminate it.
That is not what is being said in most MSM.

What is forgotten, is the Bishop has authority in his own diocese.  Although some things are similar to a corporation or institution, the Bishops' power is not borrowed from the Pope.  It comes from God on the day of his ordination and the Pope views the Bishops as his brother Bishops...not necessarily their Boss.

To learn facts about clergy abuse:

See the "Abuse Tracker" and review actual church documents.

Ian. Nice sentiment, however a rather foolish statement in light of the facts - thousands of children have been let down - unless of course God wanted them to be raped by clergy. If that is the case I recommend you look for a more appropriate god to follow. A very in-depth and well thought our totally unrealistic response to the global abuses against children. When it came down to choosing between children or the church you chose a broken child rapist infiltrated church.

What people dont understand is, the nerve of some priests that call people evil and "now" we find out pope benedict has covered up sex abuce. They should not be pointing the finger and calling others evil when they themselves are in sin, thats for sure

Media spins...outright lies...intentional distortion of the truth....

The public school system has a 4% sexual abuse rate.  Why isn't the media screaming from the rooftops?  Where is the outrage?

The protestant churches have a 1.2% sexual abuse rate, and the Catholic church has a 1.07% sexual abuse rate.  But sexual abuse is caused by celibacy, and the Pope is evil???? 

Are people not able to think for themselves, and see this smear for what it is?

Judging from many of the posts here, apparently not.

Very sad.

Couple of points from Very Sad's comment.

The issues really are in regards childrens safety and justice for victims. Your point about teachers is valid and may be associated. How many of them have had a Catholic/Christian education. There may well be links that can help provide some answers. These of course would be done as a matter of course if there were a proper criminal investigation. It seems to me that there is an amazing amount of digression, defense, denial etc with little of it going towards establishing what would normally be done if this were found in a corporate organization.

Many had hoped that the lessons from the understandings that come from knowing that the state law must come first. It seems that much of the conversation is about whose authority should hold sway. While Catholic church canons have laws which relate to civil matters there is no proper separation of church and state. These are known and identified problems as a result yet none of these things has received a mention. What are the views of the many Catholics here in regards these matters and a range of other similar issues?

I came to realize that there is a huge difference between what is discussed here and what is discussed in survivor circles. It seems there is a whole perspective and a whole set of events taking place which are as a result of and which are a part of the coverup and they do not get a mention here. For those who which to say they have a more complete understanding of this issue they can see the following links to show what is being discussed in the survivor community. I urge each on you to visit and hopefully become involved in supporting them. ?id=6945&ref=professors1 ?id=695&ref=professors2

40 Professors 1
40 Professors 2

JOHNBS1 shut your mouth

oh Please this is Just a Free for All for people to be coming down on their Ignorance and hatred.
The bashers don't have a mind of their own they actually Believe Lies.
Do Not Insult my Pope
Insult me but Never my Pope.
Tell Lies about me But do Not Lie about my Pope.
Go ahead make up a "Big Sensational Scandal" about me, But then no one would be Interested as I am not a Public Figure, Oh You Sad Silly people.

One day those who find themselves calling victims and those ostracised by the Church itself 'sad, silly people' will have to answer for their attitude to one who said ...

'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Matthew 25:45-46 (NIV)

Just like the pharisees - who thought they were the righteous ones - those who think that being a good and vocal supporter of the Pope and the Catholic Church make them a 'righteous one', may just find that Jesus aligns himself with the victims, whose experiences he shared, and their words are just as surely being said to him.

The Gospels show very clearly what Jesus thought of those who lacked empathy for the downtrodden. I sometimes wonder what could have happened that those who profess to be Catholics should be able to speak out so strongly in a manner that Jesus in the gospels expressly condemns.

You may not feel comfortable with the anger of those most harmed by our Church but ask yourselves what Jesus might say to some of your comments. Ask yourselves if he might not expect you to listen, show empathy and take action to align the Church's actions to those in congruence with the teachings of the gospels.

I believe your anger is misplaced and I believe that the victim's anger at the Church is justified.

Years of being silenced and ostracised, refused meetings with bishops or told by Church officials that they are 'mad' or 'liars', told by welfare people, politicians, lawyers and health professionals that they have their sympathy but they could not possibly help them because the Church is powerful and it might cost them their jobs etc.

Small wonder they are angry.

You cannot know what you are talking about unless you have been on the receiving end. You may think you know but you don't - and you are answerable for that.

Thank you Rev. Hoatson for the good work you and Fr. Lasch are doing.  I heard Fr. Lasch speak many years ago in NJ - a very compassionate man. (I also heard Scot Hahn, a signer of this proclamation speak about his conversion to the Catholic Church.)
Thank you JohnBS1 for the survivors' websites/info.
Thank you Sadie for posting the Bishop accountability website.
Thank you Pam for your insightful perspective.

I do remember Robert Fastiggi when we were fellow students at Essex Catholic High School in Newark, New Jersey.  In fact, we were fellow orators and debaters at that school and spent many days together at speech and debate tournaments.  At that school, a cousin of mine was sexually abused by a Christian Brother (my cousin committed suicide at the age of 29 leaving a wife, two sons, and a devastated extended family).

I was sexually abused and/or groomed by 5 men of the Christian Brother order, including two who were my superiors in formation.  One Christian Brother had me placed in his honors class in senior year of high school so I could be closer to him.  I was also propositioned in the major seminary of my Archdiocese at the age of 42.  I wonder how much "sexual" acting out is going on in the seminaries staffed by some of the men and women who signed this letter of support for Pope Benedict, who himself has been responsible for transferring at least one abusive priest to a parish in his diocese.  Based on my experience, there is a lot of sexual acting out taking place in seminaries, even today.  I don't support Popes, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Monsignors, Priests, or Deacons who abuse children or participate in the facilitation of the sexual abuse of children by clergy and/or religious. In 2003, during testimony before the New York State legislature, I publicly called for the resignations of any bishops in the USA who covered up sexual abuse by clergy.  Three days later, I was fired from my ministry by my bishop for using inflammatory language regarding clergy sexual abuse.

Dr. Fastiggi:  you still have not refuted Dr. Sipe's research regarding the flaws surrounding mandatory celibacy.  To cite research claiming that abuse is more likely to happen in families and society in general says little to nothing about mandatory celibacy.  Simply put:  mandatory celibacy is a misguided and unhealthy policy that contributes to the development of a culture of clericalism.  Clericalism creates all sorts of problems (including sexual dysfunction)that are rooted in "abuse of power." Sex abuse is a crime of power, and priests are some of the most powerful people in the world.  Abuse of power oftentimes manifests itself through sex.  It is rampant in a clerical culture such as the Catholic priesthood and it will continue unless and until the clerical culture is dismantled and restructured. 

The 21 new cases last year of clerical sexual abuse are coupled with the 300 cases of abuse reported last year.  In other words, there may have been only 21 NEW cases reported last year, but the "old" cases continue to be reported, and as an advocate who works in the trenches with victims every day, I can confidently claim that we still are "just scratching the surface of clergy abuse."  Imagine 21 NEW cases of clergy sexual abuse occurring in 2009, seven years after the "Boston explosion" and at a time when priests have been made aware of policies, programs and procedures that are supposed to curtail the abuse.  And those 21 cases are the ones that were reported.  My experience teaches that there were many more cases in 2009.  The victims will not be able to report them until they are well into adulthood. 

Victims, most often, cannot report claims until they are well into their adult years.  After all, Dr. Fastiggi, you are a survivor of clergy abuse, but I bet you have not reported your abuser to relevant authorities.  To be propositioned as you were by a priest is clergy sexual abuse, whether you acknowledge it to be or not.  My bet is that you would lose your job in the seminary if you attempted to pursue your abuse and abuser.  I was fired from my job for speaking out about my abuse.  You will find out what the Church does with "whistle blowers" who are also employees as soon as you report your abuse.  In addition, your abuse will never make the "official rolls" because you were considered an adult when the move was made on you.  My bet is you didn't feel like an adult when the priest was propositioning you, did you?   

I don't know where you got the idea that I do not favor prayer and/or fasting.  I think both are excellent means to a deeper spirituality and connection with God...except in cases of clergy sexual abuse of children.  I can't think of any other "sin" or "crime" that Jesus addressed so dramatically.  While he forgave adulterers and thieves and others, he was very clear about what should be done with child abusers.  Three Gospel writers "quote" him as saying child abusers should have millstones tied around their necks and be thrown into the sea.  That's a very definitive prescription.  He didn't say child abusers should fast, pray, give alms, and he didn't call for prayers and fasting for victims.  He prescribed a very clear path to justice for childhood victims of sex abuse.  In modern terms, perhaps Jesus would say child abusers should go to jail for the rest of their lives. As a parent, Dr. Fastiggi, what would you favor as a penalty if a priest abused one of your children?

Enough for now!


Of course their anger is justified or at least understandable, as are the bitterness and pain. That doesn't mean it is healthy however. If normal anger is not dealt with properly it can devolve into hatred. I've not been abused, but i have known injustice and seen people go from anger to hatred in a short time and when that happens they have trouble forgiving and loving and trusting. As hard as it is, people who are the victims of abuse or injustice eventually have to pray for themselves and forgive their abusers and trust that God will one day give them comfort and trust God to handle their abusers in His infinite justice and mercy.

Pope Benedict is doing what he can. To angry people, I say remember the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Sometimes they have to be let to be together for a while, but the weeds will eventually be tossed out.

Also it seems like Benedicts call for a smaller church is likely to be realized, judgeing from the responses on this blog.

Jesus turned over the money changers tables in His Father's house (lots of different commentaries about why he did it). He wanted His Father's house to be a house of prayer.
If we did anything like that today, we would most likely be locked up.

It's good to have righteous anger, it shows you are not lukewarm.

I am a priest (still) and have been involved in one way or another with the academic world in a variety of areas for about 35 years. Over the past 20 I have discussed the clergy sex abuse issue with countless scholars and their response is almost uniformly critical of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and of the complicity of passive lay people.  This document and the allied defensiveness of the pope as well as the focus on the criticism of the pope and the hierarchy are clear indicators that the fundamental Catholic message of justice and compassion missed the mark.  It has been covered over by a mish-mash of magical thinking, superstition and cult-like behavior.  Just looking at one statement by Jesus (who was neither a cardinal, bishop, priest or professor) about leading little children astray, it then becomes fundamental that no church office, from the papacy down to the head altar-boy, is so important that it justifies the sacrifice of the spiritual, emotional and physical integrity of just one child.  It is sickening when hierarchs or anyone preface their statements with declarations of how evil child sex abuse is and how much they pray for victims and then go on to blindly defend the very men who are directly responsible for the the plague of abuse in the Church.

Father Doyle,

Perhaps you and I are reading different versions of the above statement but I really don't see where these people are defending the men responsible for the abuse crisis. Could you state specifically which parts of the 7 part statement defends the abusers?

To Lake Johnson:  you are right to say that anger needs to be dealt with, especially the anger that is an outcome of having been sexually abused by a priest.  Many times, the perp priest told the child not to say anything or else (and the "or elses" range from "I will kill your parents if you tell anyone," to "God approves of this kind of sex we are experiencing").  If the victim is able to eventually tell his/her story, usually as an adult, it takes years to process and deal with the anger.  It is a long, arduous process for victims to name the abuse, tame the abuse, and forgive the abuser.  It takes a lifetime to recover from "soul" murder. 

My suggestion:  the professors and others who signed the letter of support for Pope Benedict XVI have not, as far as I know, reached out in any tangible way to victims.  Perhaps they could convene an international symposium of survivors, their families, their therapists, and their advocates at one of the major seminaries to learn about the causes, contexts, and results of clergy sexual abuse and the cover-up by the institutional church.

I would think it is #5 about the Pope.  No mention of any fact that he promoted secrecy, etc.  Secrecy and cover-up is what allowed this evil to spread like a cancer in the Body of Christ.  I'm sure the Truth will come out sooner or later.  I do appreciate that the cover-up is no longer being covered-up as it has been with all of the facts coming out. 

Fr. Doyle, I heard your name mentioned recently in a good way, and wanted to thank you for your work.  It seems you have lots of experience and information.  Respectfully, Jan

How many of the accusations against priests are true, or have some kind of evidence to back them up? What if some of the accusations have just been made up to excerpt money form the Church or to make the Church look bad? he vitriolic hatred against the Church shown by many people (including some commenters to this post, as well as the easiness with which Pope Benedict´s guilt has been accepted, in spite of the lack of evidence makes me wonder.

Child marriage, which is a form of child abuse, is common among Moslems. Where is the liberal rage? Where is the coverage by the "free media"?

"For those who believe, no proof is necessary, for those who do not believe, no proof is possible."


In another blog, I read a post about a woman accusing Bill Ayers, his brother and a friend of theirs of having raped her. The liberal commenters to that post complained that there was no evidence backing the accusations. So, when a left-leaning terrorist such as Ayers is accused of sex abuse the liberal stance is that he is innocent until proven guilty, but when a Catholic priest is accused of sex abuse, or of covering up for sex abusers, then it is all the way around. And they dare talk about hypocrisy.

Do not misunderstand me. I feel sympathy towards those who really have suffered some kind of abuse from priests. I would also like that the priests who are found guilty of abuse, without any reasonable doubt, are put behind bars. But when I see that the devil and his followers want to use the child abuse scandals to destroy my Church, I stand firmly with my Church.


The devil is IN the abuse, the abusers, and the ones who covered it up, NOT the abused.  Should Nazi Germany have been spared despite the fact that millions of innocent Jews were killed?

let us pray for the Pope, who is innocent.

Dear Sergio;
"Do not misunderstand me".  Apparently I am.  I'm not a "devil" trying to destroy the church; myself and two brothers and three sisters were sexually abused as little as young as five years old.  Within several weeks of my going public 22 other victims of the same priest contacted me.  I'm not destroying the church...the church is destroying itself.
And along those lines:  "Book of Revelations"...that is the Revelations of Jesus Christ; chapter 2 &3. Christ through John talks about established churches at the time.  Christ spoke favorably about the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia; of the Laodicean church Christ said this:  "...thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth."
The churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia taught the Word of of Laodicean did not.  I submit to you the church today does not teach the Word of God.

Mr Regan:

I certainly feel terrible for what your family has gone through, but I'm not sure what you mean by today's church does not teach the word of God. What specifically does today's church teach that is godless when compared to what yesterday's church taught? Certainly today's Church does not teach that it is ok to abuse children...some sick members of priesthood decided that their vow of celibacy and every church teaching regarding protection of the weak and innocent was not for them. But i still fail to see how that makes the teachings of the Sacraments and the death and resurrection of Christ invalid. Or were those not the teachings you refer to?

Rev Hoatson,

I certainly appreciate that it is a long and painful process for people that were abused, and of course it is easier to say to forgive than to do it when it happens to you. It's hard but eventually a person has to master their emotions and surrender to the peace of God.

I am sure our Pope has not responded perfectly in every situation, but from what i've read he has long been working hard against considerable resistance to purge this evil from the Church. Could he have done more? Most likely, but i would like for those attacking him to name someone in the hierarchy who has done more.

I admire the passion and work you put into helping the victims, but i do offer the unsolicited advice from a non-expert such as myself that passion can go overboard and comparing the Catholic Church to Nazi Germany is simply an irresponsible thing to do and frankly it isn't a very good analogy at all. It also kind of discredits you and makes meaningful dialogue difficult.

Some perspective - the following was sent to a local region recently - I leave it to yourselves to understand the implications of this.

Recently we became aware your area may have been the target of break and enters, theft and other low level crimes.

Unfortunately some of these crimes may have been carried out by survivors of priestly abuse as it has now become the only means available to them to provide for their families as a means of survival.

On behalf of those sexually abused, forgotten and abandoned by the Catholic church and your government we offer our most sincere apologies.




And what proof do you have that the Pope is innocent?

I bet all of these people voicing their hatred are also Pro Baby Murder.
You All go with the media and believe lies about The Church, You Delight in pointing fingers, I see you squirming like satan relishing in your fear and hatred of The Catholic Church.. and when it comes to Baby Murder, Hey if it's "Alright" with the media, it's "Alright" with you, Murder the Innocents as they Cannot Speak for themselves, Revel in bashing the Holy Father Benedict XVI as your Issues are not with Him, Your Issues are in What the Teaching Of The Church Does Not Permit,  But it makes You feel Better when You Commit Adultery or Murder an innocent Baby, yes keep pointing Fingers as Long as the Finger is Never Pointed at you.

I am glad that Father Hoatson remembers me from our high school days. I was not much of a debater, but the experience helped me to overcome shyness and it provided good training for my future work as a teacher/professor. I am deeply sorry to learn of the suicide of his cousin, and I also am saddened by his own awful experiences as a student brother. I would not compare my own experience to what he or his cousin went through and even less to those who endured sustained sexual abuse as minors. I am happy that Father Hoatson sees spiritual value in prayer and fasting. The promise to pray and fast for sex abuse victims is something all of us can do to show our care and concern for them. Not all of us have the time or the training to counsel sex abuse victims, so I once again commend Fr. Hoatson for his work "in the trenches."  It is unfair, however, to assume that those of us who signed the statement are not involved in various ways with the issue. Some of the law professors are advocates for the rights and protection of children. Seminary professors, who uphold Catholic sexual morality and provide spiritual training for chaste celibacy, are doing invaluable work for the reform of the priesthood and protection from future clerical abuse.

If Fr. Hoatson would go back and re-read our point #7, he would see that "we support all efforts of the criminal justice system to deal swiftly and effectively with those who sexually abuse minors in public or private settings." So, he and some others confuse the issue if they think we're merely suggesting prayer and fasting for those who sexually abuse children. All of us signing the statement believe those guilty of such crimes (whether priests or others) should be punished according to the full extent of the law. Also, I don't think any of us who teach at seminaries or other Catholic institutions would be fired or punished for reporting clergy sexual abuse. Fr. Hoatson seems to projecting his own perceived experience on every other situation.

With regard to the research of Dr. Richard Sipe on "dysfunction" within the practice of mandatory celibacy, I think an important distinction needs to be made between failures to enforce or live out chaste celibacy and seeing clerical celibacy as "per se" linked to the sexual abuse of minors. In its December 15, 2008 general report on the 2005-2006 apostolic visitation of U.S. seminaries and houses of formation (available on the USCCB website under "vocations and priestly formation"), the Congregation of Catholic Education acknowledged that in past decades U.S. seminaries suffered from difficulties in the area of morality that usually, though not exclusively, involved homosexual behavior. Unfortunately, Father Hoatson (and others) were victims of these moral problems. We need to be honest in admitting that some seminaries and houses of religious formation were negatively affected by homosexual behavior back in the 1970s and 1980s. This was, indeed, "abuse" even if those affected were usually 18 and older. The good news, though, is that the report of the apostolic visitation states that in almost all the institutes where such problems existed in the past (at least in the diocesan seminaries) the appointment of better superiors and rectors has ensured that such difficulties have been overcome. I know it must be difficult for people like Father Hoatson and other victims of sex abuse to believe that bishops and Pope Benedict XVI are taking the necessary steps, both spiritual and practical, to bring about reforms that will do much in protecting the Church from the horror and pain of clerical sex abuse. The Holy Father's recent letter to the Catholics of Ireland is a sincere attempt at such reform. At this point, Catholics should be united with the Holy Father in his efforts rather than attacking him based on unjust and distorted reports from the secular media.

Thank you for posting Rev. 2&3 information about the 7 churches.  I think the warning to the Church of Thyatira is worth reading.

I like what Fr. Hoatson suggested earlier today: "My suggestion:  the professors and others who signed the letter of support for Pope Benedict XVI have not, as far as I know, reached out in any tangible way to victims.  Perhaps they could convene an international symposium of survivors, their families, their therapists, and their advocates at one of the major seminaries to learn about the causes, contexts, and results of clergy sexual abuse and the cover-up by the institutional church."

Maybe Fordham or Seton Hall?

Dear Lake Johnson?
In all due fairness, please read this article.  The Church has rightfully apologized (in their own way) I believe.

As I read the responses, I'm struck by what appears to be the perspective of an "outsider looking in."

People are saying "why hasn't the Pope done anything."

Most of these sexual abuses happened in the 1970's and 1980's.  The largest percentage of victims started coming forward in the late 80's (and the resulting awareness of the problem.)

Under the direction of Pope John Paul II (with Joseph Ratzinger as an adviser,) programs designed to protect children were MANDITORILY put into place.  As a CCD teacher, I was not allowed to be around any children until I had completed the VIRTUS "Protecting God's Children" program.  It was a very comprehensive program, and I took it about 15 years ago.  In this program we learned things such as:

1) No adult is EVER to meet alone with a child
2) Watch the other adults.  Any adult that shows a tendancy to want to "find an out of the way place," to take the children is considered suspect, and turned in.
3) All adults have to be screened to make sure they don't have a criminal record.
4) In the event a single child is not picked up in time, the teacher is to have the child wait in the parking lot in the teacher's car, while the teacher stands outside the car to wait for the parents.
5) The person who is abusing children is very often a liked and respected member of the community.  You have to be vigilant with everyone!

In other words, our last 2 Popes have put programs into place to "weed out the filth."

2 Priests in our diocese have had allegations made against them.  In a court of law, they were found to be innocent.  They were still dismissed from the Priesthood.

To say that Pope Benedict supported child sexual abuse is a lie.  The media just keeps repeating the lie often enough, hoping people will believe it.  Apparently they are right.

This whole Professor statement stinks to high heaven ! In fact I'm SHOCKED any professor would make such a statement nonetheless sign such.

Here is where the 40 show their true inability of understanding or seeing the Gravity of the Criminal Situation regarding the RCC...

4) We recognize that mistakes have been made in the past by Church authorities in dealing with the sexual abuse of minors,


            IF YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO
                AND YOU DON'T
                WHAT ARE YOU ?


Today my child went to school with no breakfast and no lunch money due to my being forced into poverty as a result of the abuses by the church and its failure to address the wrongs committed against us.


I don't know your individual story, but i am having a hard time not being skeptical of your claim that your child has no lunch money b/c of the church's abuses. You seem to have enough money for the internet? And your child went to school on sunday? Regardless of whatever abuse you might have endured, you are responsible for your children and their welfare. Since you brought it up, it's fair to ask the personal question of how the Catholic Church caused your poverty.

Tim Walsh:

Try to set aside the rhetoric for a second and understand that "mistake" in this context is the same thing as "crimes" or "sins" or whatever you want to call it. Your complaints about strength of word usage is akin to complaining about the signers not using enough exclamation points.

The problem with some of you is that nothing the church and the pope could do is strong enough to satisfy you.  You insist on hanging on to your bitterness no matter what because you want to. I get the feeling that to some of you nothing less than the Pope offering himself up for martyrdom and the Church disbanding would be enough. Well for those of you who feel this way i suggest you prepare to be disappointed b/c it won't happen.

Today is Monday in Australia. My internet is provided by my past employer (a non Catholic). I have had a claim lodged with the Catholic church which has acknowledged my abuse at the hands of Kevin O'Donnell in Melbourne since 2002. Father Kevin O'Donnell is possibly the worlds most notorious abuser having abused more than 2000 children. The process I have been involved with has been documented to have carried out medical and legal malpractice with the bogus commissioner repeatedly notifying abusive priests of police investigations. (all available to you via Google news search). My claim is currently 'held up' (3 years) due to the corrupt commissioner (highest survivor suicide rate in the world) wanting to define the difference between the word 'live' and 'lived' in regards an aspect not associated with my abuse. The full details of my claim are available online. To give you an example of the nightmare engendered vistit here for 1 example. This young mother has 6 children - she has been abused by local clergy and abandoned along with her children - no amount of pleading or communications has been successful in obtaining assistance for her via the church here in Australia. I can provide full documentation of the 8 years of my claim should you deem that necessary.

I suffer from PTSD as a result of the crimes committed against me. I am deemed unemployable as I live in a Catholic city (no Catholic will employ a known clergy abuse survivor). I am unable to obtain a proper pension which leaves me on an income of $AU45 per week after my rent is paid.

A friend puts fuel in my car once a fortnight (non Catholic) and helps me maintain it. My brother sends me money when he can (he was abused by a Catholic priest and struggles enough to maintain himself). Friends visit a local food bank (Catholic operated) as they will not serve me due to the fact that I speak out against the abuses.

I lost friends to suicide here as a result of the corrupt 'healing' process set in place by the Melbourne process which is known as the most repressive and corrupted process established anywhere by the church. I am related to the local bishop through my ex-wife - he is an abuser and sits on the justice council. A friends son suicided as he was unable to see any prospect for himself in a country where both his church and his country had abandoned him.

When I get spare cash I send what I can to a lady who has been abandoned in Los Angeles - she lives in a slum amongst bedbugs and whatever else - she was abused by a bishop at the age of 5.

Sorry to hear about what has happened to you JohnBS1.  How awful.

Lake Johnson, there is a difference between innocent mistakes and crimes.

I provide support via the Internet to survivors across the world thanks to the assistance of non-Catholic people - I do this via SKYPE and email as there is no place for these people to go as it seems most are outraged over other theological aspects and fail to see the harm caused to children by these crimes and by the failure of the church to assist those who have been harmed in this way.

I manage better than many of those others I am aware of. For each survivor we make contact with via the internet we estimate there are 7 who are homeless or simply do not have access to the internet.

We have a number of websites telling of people stories and the horror of their lives - we also have a donate button which has never been used - most Catholics are it seems simply unable to look at the reality of what this does to thousands upon thousand of innocent people. Their interest is survival and education for their children - is there any wonder they become angry when they encounter disbelief, skoffing, evasion, digression and denial whenever they attempt to point out the misery that has been caused by the failure of the church and its followers to tend to those abused.

There are many ways in which these people can be assisted. They have learned much about surviving and coming to terms with their abuse. The lack of any centralized or co-ordinated program (anywhere in the world) to assist in the day to day lives of these people is to me the greatest crime the church can commit. There seems to me to be little other than argument over responsibility with no real actions taking place. Here in Australia more than 80 of victims will die without ever having received assistance or acknowledgment from the church or having had an opportunity to bring their case to court. Their children suffer as a result - not just once but each and every day of their lives.

Can you give a couple of websites that ask for donations? 

This is the style of Catholic church survivors deal with across the world. This is their everyday life. The reality of these survivors is far worse than what I describe here. The pain this causes these people each day is simply horrendous and it becomes worse as more and more catholics become more strident in the defense of the indefensible crimes committed against children.

september12009 . com
mybrokensociety . com
molestedcatholics . com

You will have to remove the spaces as the form identifies these as an attempt to SPAM - have tried 6 or 7 times to submit his

cabaction . com

Thankyou Janice JohnB

Thank you for sharing about yourself and the needs of others.
I visited one website so far.  Thank you again JohnBS1.

I started 5 years ago in an attempt to get a conversation with responsible aspects or authorities within the church. I have taken that up across the world that is really why I am here. The story of what is happening to survivors in their daily lives must be told and understood so that that part of this horror can come to an end.

While on the one hand, I most certainly condemn the harming of any child, in any way.  Sexual abuse being the worst way to harm a child.  ANYONE (priest, neighbor, grandfather, mother's boyfriend, etc.) proven guilty of sexually abusing a child should be thrown in prison. Period.

On the other hand, why is there such a double standard in how we look at the issue if it's the Catholic church?  The sexual abuse incidence is FOUR TIMES higher in public education.  JohnBS1, where are all the web sites for victims of public school sexual abuse?  They are all lumped into "victims of sexual abuse" sites.  It's not sensational to hear that a school teacher abused a student (but it SHOULD be!)  Where is the outrage that all the Principles in these schools "knew about it and covered it up?"

Where is the "see, we told you educating your children was evil!"  (?)

Some of my very best friends are my beloved Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ.  PLEASE don't take this the wrong way...sexual abuse of children is higher among Protestant ministers than Catholic Priests.

Where is the "see, it's just evidence that Protestants are not following God's word"  (?)
(as posted about Catholics by Ken and Ian.)
[And again, I reiterate...I DON'T believe that sentence.  I only use it to show the lack of logic when used against the Catholic church.]

Pope Benedict has done MORE than any one to "weed out the filth" (his own words,) than any Principle, Protestant group, and leader of any organization.

"And the gates of Hell will not prevail against it."

There are many sites attempting to deal with teacher abuse and child abuse. I don't have all the answers for you in this forum, however there are many proven and known standards. Unfortunately our research shows that the coverup mentality is associated with a past religious education - often Catholic - this is not limited to catholic education. The abuses you find in scouts, schools and others appears to suffer from the same mentality (it is an learned attitude as those who come to grips with their actions will attest) - this mentality is the same - the methods may change somewhat, however the basis is the same. None of these aspects has yet to be raised by a bishop yet they are the very basis of how our society works. No research and no gathering of statistics is carried out in regards survivors and made available to the public and parishioners. All known research by the church is in regards the perpetrators.

I find it to be a very sad response when someone says see the numbers are higher/lower here etc. Yes those points may be accurate, however they are not relevant to the issue of what the church is actually doing to provide access to legal redress, compensation, standards across the globe and education of Catholics in regards the necessity of observing the law of the country before the law of the church as that amounts to an invasion of the rights of those who do not wish to believe in or follow the Catholic faith. It has been those actions which have permitted these abuses to go on for so long and to have been able to deny so many their right to justice in their own country. The clergy sexual abuse crisis is not one of faith it is one of social failure and I find it irresponsible that people should wish to digress or engage in discussion or theological point scoring while further crimes are engendered and people remain injured harmed and untreated.


I can't really speak to sexual abuse as a victim, but I can speak to alcoholism as a victim.

I can say that "don't talk about it," and "pretend it's not happening," and "pretend this is normal," are all part of living with an alcoholic.

Not just in a region, but all over the world.
Not just Catholics, but Protestants, Agnostics, Athiests, and everything in between.

****"coverup mentality is associated with a past religious education"****

I would say "coverup mentality"  is associated with dysfunction.  Everyone in Al-anon used "cover up mentality," and the religious backgrounds (or complete lack of) were all over the map.

I really do not think there is a link between "cover up mentality" and religious education.


Appreciate the explanation, i hate asking personal questions but some of your statements needed clarification so thanks. The problem is that people who haven't been abused can't understand what it was like so try to understand that we aren't trying to be uncaring. We can say a lot of things about how we feel terrible for the abused, and its true, but most of us can't understand the magnitude of betrayal by these trusted clergy. Betrayal of the children, parents, good priests and worst of all betrayal of God. Also is crazy to me that you are not able to be employed because its a Catholic city? I've never been to Australia so i can't really see why that is happening. Just understand that people are not trying to be insensitive, but it is natural to support your church or group against a media that always attacks it already, generally for stances on abortion, gays, etc. I for one am limited in what i can do but i will check out your websites and certainly look at making a contribution to help the abused.  My prayers are with you and all involved in this mess at all levels,

p.s. i agree with your statements that it is a social failure. Too many people in the church, laity and sadly clergy, somehow decided that the catechism and the Bible were simply not for them and have failed miserably as catholics. The reason it gets into a theological discussion is b/c you have posters who say things like "don't pray for the abused" and that the "Catholic Church is not teaching the word of God." Those are theological statements. You absolutely have to be able to separate the evil actions by flawed people in any organization including the church and the central truths of God handed down via the church. We have had popes who by all accounts were very bad people but they were not allowed by the Holy Spirit to teach heresy. So the word of God can and is passed on by very flawed humans.

Were the thoughts and wishes of survivors to have been the purpose of the original article they would have said something like the following.

We would like to see funding provided directly to survivor groups for designated purposes - direct financial support programs, counseling, education and connecting up survivors. Drug and alcohol dependence programs (not Al-Anon) designed by survivors.

The development of a knowledge base of survival techniques, recommended counselors etc. Programs to bring survivors in touch with one another.

Ensure that Catholic charities are able to provide direct support to survivors (this is often blocked by the local bishop requiring that all references or issues to do with clergy sexual abuse are redirected to him. Often survivors will be referred back to a broken process of which there is no means of complaint or consultation).

Funding for survivor managed and directed statistic gathering and victim support.

Survivors should be provided with the means to develop their own programs of healing based on the knowledge of those who have successfully survived and successfully supported others.

The survivor support industry should be regulated as many survivors are re-abused due to the inexperience and personal agendas of support group instigators.

Petty Gossip.

A friend just contacted me to say that she would like to say that it is demeaning and denigrating to her that her life and the lives of her children and all other victims, their well-being and their safety should be the bargaining chip in this discussion.

She finds it immeasurably painful to consider that her existence should be the bargaining chip of 40 professors and yet her voice can not be heard in the discussion. There is no dignity and for her children for them to be the subject of this type of trading.

John have a coffee, or I'm going to eat your afternoon tea as well....and I ask all these 40 professionals if they ever played scrabble you can take all the laetters out of qualified, educated, skilled, proffessional,artistic,you still cant make inteligent. tech school dropout (placebo)

rev. robert hoatson writes: "Robert:

And what proof do you have that the Pope is innocent?"

What proof do you have that YOU are innocent?

To assume that anyone is guilty simply because they may know someone who was guilty or was an associate of someone who is guilty is the stuff of witch-hunts and totalitarian government.

There is nil to very scant evidence that Pope Benedict was actively involved in any cover-up and he has no onus to prove anything about his "innocence". One of his duties is to handle these issues, removing the weeds from the wheat as best as possible.

Actually I do not like the word "innocent" because nobody is truely innocent. Assuming you are a priest-confessor you should know this. And you should know that few are as happy as they seem to be and nobody ever truly grows up.

Dear JohnBS1,
I heard a Bishop I believe from Australia speak (we had to hear him in a Lutheran church) who was a contact to help the abused there.  He wrote a book (I forget the name).  He shared about the obstacles he faced.  He was courageous and told the truth in spite of what he faced from 'the Church'.  Do you know of him?
I appreciate all of your information.  Perhaps you can compile a book for publishing as well of what is happening there.  I think there is a lot on the websites, and perhaps if these experiences are in book form maybe someday they'll be available inside Catholic institutions of academia (which I would hope the profs would advocate for).

ps.  Ignore the ignorant posts.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson. He was ostracized by both Australian and American bishops. I understand there is a lot in those sites - thanks for being able to review them. Hopefully you are right in that one day this information will be available and discussed in Catholic education as ensuring that this never happens again is a major reason why we continue to speak out. We can only tell of our experience and of the lessons we have learned from that. Thanks once again. JohnB

The title of the Article is: 40 Professors: 'Attacks' on Pope 'Unjust'

The main point of the article:

"supporting Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to deal with the sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church and decrying "inaccurate and unjust" media reports that portray the sexual abuse of minors as a problem particular to the Catholic Church or link it exclusively to priestly celibacy."

So when someone says ***I find it to be a very sad response when someone says see the numbers are higher/lower here etc. Yes those points may be accurate, however they are not relevant to the issue***

I have to dissagree.  That is exactly the point of this article.  Our Beloved Holy Father is being dragged through the mud in the media for things he is not guilty of.

I'm sure if it was a beloved member of your family being set up for a murder charge that they were innocent of, you would find it relevant then.

***Drug and alcohol dependence programs (not Al-Anon) designed by survivors. ***

I am wondering why you designate (not Al-Anon)?  If it was my earlier post, then I need to explain myself better.

Everyone who CAME to al-anon used "cover up mentality" because that is human natures response to dysfunction.  The purpose of Al-Anon is to get RID of the "stinking thinking."  To take control of your own response to this trauma, and not allow what's been done in the past to cloud your thinking now.  Al-Anon teaches you to get rid of the co-dependant response to the trauma.

I would think an Al-Anon based program would be a perfect way to help victims of sexual abuse.

I already find it relative due to my own rape at the hands of nuns and priests and the rape of family members at the hands of nuns and priests and for the rape of friends at the hands of nuns and priests. The issue really is about the sexual abuse of children and it has become about the ability to call it whatever else and to discuss whatever else and to digress and be outraged at whatever else. The sexual abuse of children and their rights is hijacked by these theological discussions. When are the 40 professors going to address the humanitarian issues rather than digressing via an argument over who should or should not be supporting whom. The fact is that there are no requests for properly established funds and services for to be provided to victims. Their focus is certainly not on justice for the children, nor is it on the safety and the protection of the children - instead these men choose to discuss all else except the social issue which is causing the most harm possible to a large number of people as a result of clergy abuse. If it was not about the sexual abuse of children these 40 professors would never have come together.

re Al-Anon. Simply based on feedback from other survivors - they did not find what they needed via Al-Anon. It would take a proper study to determine precisely why that is.

JohnBS1, sounds like you and everyone you know has been "raped at the hands of priests and nuns".

Neither I nor anyone I know has been "raped at the hands of priests and nuns".

Either one of us is lying, or else we live in different worlds.

I know some people have been "raped at the hands of priest and nuns". But they are as scarce as blue moons; about 1 person in every 30,000 or so (assuming statutory rape as I understand it) between 1950-2002 in the U.S.

Yes, that is too many and too frequent. But it is not so frequent that it can not be taken care of. If everyone you know is in this statistic you may want to find a new crowd to pal around with.

Ok, let's go back to the beloved member of your family being set up for a murder charge that they were innocent of.  Let's say the murder was of a beautiful family.  Husband, wife, and 2 small children.  Stabbed to death by a person who broke into their home.  It's shocking, horrifying. Our hearts (of course,) go out to the victims and their families.
Say your brother is FALSLEY accused of the murder.  In the media coverage, you are trying to show his innocence.  But family members of the deceased just keep shouting louder and louder "don't you care about what happened to my family?  Don't you care that my family members are dead?  What about my little niece and nephew?  You are so heartless."
And you would want to respond, "DON'T YOU CARE THAT MY NEPHEW DIDN'T DO IT?"
This discussion is about the unfair media coverage of Pope Benedict's role in the sexual abuse cases.  He is not guilty of the things the media is trying to pin on him.
NO ONE else could be smeared with such hatred in the media the way Pope Benedict is, and let the media get away with it.
When you keep saying "but I was raped, don't you care?"  the answer is yes, we care.  If you were in the United States there are ALL KINDS of outreach programs. 
BUT, this article is about the Pope, who is also a victim in this.

The Register apologizes for the profanity in its comboxes. We are attempting to put in place an approval mechanism for posts to avoid this kind of deplorable situation in the future.
Once again, we apologize.

@Jan Fredricks
You said "the Pope who is our moral leader, hasn't apologized to the victims"

Pope Benedict HAS apologized time and time again.  What media outlet are you listening to?  I suspect secular media that won't report anything good about our Pope.  Read the article here about Pope Benedict meeting with the abuse victims in Malta.

The Article is titled "Pope meets abuse victims in Malta."

Tom, while you're at it, can you filter out the trolls advertising for and promoting dissident organizations that advocate for the total destruction of the Catholic Church as Christ established it?  Just asking.

JohnBS1 and others:
The problem I have with some of the websites listed to help survivors of abuse is they seem to be more focused on attacking the abuser or the abuser's bishop or the Catholic Church in general etc and not on actually helping the abused; this makes me think they are just anti-Catholic vehicles using the abuse crisis to further their own agenda. I understand the need to make sure that abusers are called out and are taken out of a position to harm children, but these sites seem overwhelmingly negative. I personally would love to help abuse victims how I can but i will not be a party to calling out specific bishops. The reason for this is that I simply do not know which abuse accusations are credible and which are not...someone's word is enough for me to help them but it is not enough for me to attack the name of a bishop or priest unless I know for sure they are guilty. And how do you know the people who signed this don't do various other things to help abuse victims? It would be better for all involved to stop their vicious attacks on the Pope and the Church in general and instead focus on the plight of the abused.

Lake Johnson, I agree 100% with what you said.

In addition, look at what happened after the earthquake in Haiti.  Everyone wanted to help, to donate money.  The problem was that you had to be very careful to donate to a legitament organization.  So many imposter groups cropped up, and a lot of money donated lined the pockets of con artists.

On May 7th I said 'the Pope who is our moral leader, hasn't apologized to the victims for what he did, said and didn't do'
I know he apologized to the Malta victims and others for what the Church failed to do.  I was referring to what he personally did, didn't do.  I also realize that people think that he didn't do anything wrong.  So, time will tell what the Popes did and didn't do.  The secular media - at least here, has been very fair I feel, but I'm not an expert. 
Leading my example is the best way to teach.  Don't you think?
I hope what the '40 professors' started bears some good fruit for the victims.

Jan, the thing is we don't what know he personally did or didn't do. Most accounts that i've heard say that of high-ranking cardinals, Benedict did more than most or all of them when it comes to fighting this scourge, at least as far as he could in his former position. There really is no credible evidence linking him to any of these cases personally. Most of this happened under the watches of the previous popes, and i think it's likely that John Paul II for one didn't know the extent of what was happening. There are many layers of authority in a huge organization like this and its pretty hard for one man to know what is going on everywhere.


If you had people making outrageous false PERSONAL claims against you, would you publicly "apologize" for your PERSONAL connection to it?

Of course not.

I'm going to take flak for this, but another point i'd like to make is that we should be praying for the abusers and those that enabled them as well as for the abused. There is a tendency to just write abusers off as evil and condemn them, but it should be remembered that God loves everyone and can forgive every sin with proper repentance. It is terrible to see the abused have their souls and minds damaged severely by this evil, but it is also terrible to see abusers essentially suicide their own soul by perpetrating this. We need also to pray for the whole Church b/c despite the evil actions of some members, the Church is Christ's body on earth and it is vital for the world that it continue to perform the sacraments. Christ can take this evil and turn it around for the eventual greater glory of the suffering abused, a martyrdom of sorts; the greater tragedy however is if the abused people and others leave the Church and sacraments b/c of the abuse; the Sacraments are what heals ultimately. So there is a greater theological issue at play here like it or not.

Lake Johnson,

You make a very valid point.  As I was reading your post, I remembered that most child molesters were molested as children themselves.

Perpetrators have to be put in a position where they can no longer inflict abuse (Prison, for the majority of them,) yet at the same time you are right, we need to pray for them.  Otherwise, how will they come to the point of repentance?

Spiritually, maybe we should apologize for something we didn't do (or did) to keep the peace instead of trying to prove that you are right or that you didn't do anything wrong. 

1 Cor. 6:1-10


You keep putting bible quotes with your posts.  However, they (when put in complete context,) support the opposite of what your post states!

For example, you are chastising Marty that the Pope should publicly apologize, and say he is guilty of something he didn't do.  And yet, here is the bible verse you quote:

1 Cor. 6:1-10
  1 How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy ones?
2   Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you unqualified for the lowest law courts?
3   Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not everyday matters?
4   If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the church?
5   I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers?
6   But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers?
7   Now indeed (then) it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?
8   Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.
9   2 3 Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites
  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Jan, how do you get "Pope Benedict should lie, and say he did something he didn't do" out of 1Cor 6:1-10?

@ Jan
Spiritually, maybe the Holy Father should just ignore the smear campaign in the media, and attend to the real matters at hand.

He has neither apologized for something he is not responsible for, NOR has he "tried to prove that he hasn't done anything wrong."

He has, instead strived to present himself as a minister of God.

2 Cor. 6: 4-9

Judy Jones: "That is exactly WHY we need to removed 'statute of limitations' for sex crimes against kids, so that all children will be safe from sexual abuse."

Your dishonesty is astounding. Your organization fights for legislation that targets the Catholic Church ("private organizations") but EXEMPTS public institutions like public schools, where the abuse has been far, far worse!!


@ThomasDoyle who wrote, "Just looking at one statement by Jesus (who was neither a cardinal, bishop, priest or professor) ..."

1. Your ignorance of the identity of Jesus is truly sad.
2. The statement doesn't "defend abusers." Again, your dishonesty, Father!!! Please stop!

I suppose the "apologists" for Pope Benedict and the institutional Church will read today Benedict's remarks made on the plane ride from Rome to Lisbon.  Benedict admitted that the Church is rotting NOT from the outside but from the inside (so let's stop blaming the media, survivors of abuse, and critics of the Church...what they have said is essentially true).  The Roman Catholic Church needs a cleansing from top to bottom (mainly from the top).  So, I would recommend to the "apologists" that they stop defending the indefensible and start the cleansing process.  Perhaps we need a Vatican Council III to get the ball rolling.

robert hoatson,

Would you be so kind as to reference what remarks Pope Benedict made?

I would like to read his remarks for myself.

As far as our whole discussion here, NO ONE has said that the abuse should just be allowed to go on.  Priests who sexually abused children (directly violating their vow of celebacy,) have acted against the law, and against their own religion. As Pope Benedict has said the Church needs to "weed out the filth," and has taken measures to do so.

***so let's stop blaming the media, survivors of abuse, and critics of the Church...what they have said is essentially true***

Our discussion HERE has been that Pope Benedict has been calumnized by the media, a FEW survivors of abuse (others have called him a Saint,)and the critics of the Church.  What they have said about POPE BENEDICT is essentially UNFOUNDED, UNPROVABLE, AND UNTRUE.


You can't shed that "apologist" coat can you?  Take a look at any "googled" article about the Benedict's remarks and you will find them (NY Times, Lisbon papers, South Africa papers).  You can't miss them. 

Are you convinced now?

Jan Fredricks,

I just googled your name, and came across a whole assortment of posts you have left different places.  First, I admire the fact that you are brave enough to use your real name.  Second, I would like for you to be brave enough to identify yourself with your core values.  You said in another blog:

"I don't trust Canon Law made up by the Vatican and I'm a conservative Catholic -  Jan Fredricks"

My dear, you are neither Conservative, or Catholic.

You are a dissadent, left wing, looney.

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