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A few things which must be said….

Would those who wish and agree to contact each other please contact me privately ( and let me know that you agree to the release of your email address to whomever.  I believe there were some who wished to exchange email addresses in the last couple of weeks while I was both away and very busy.  I have lost track and would like to get that taken care of.

Also, would those who wish to engage in personal debates please arrange to debate privately.  If it becomes clear after one exchange that you have a strong difference of opinion on a topic and wish to pursue it further please make arrangements to continue the debate privately: ask those with whom you wish to debate if they would agree to have their email released to you and I will take it from here.

On another note, the one on one attacks must stop.  It is ridiculous to see those who are presumably fighting the sex abuse crisis in the Church and reaching out to help victims and their families who are struggling at each other’s throats, hurling insults and/or bickering away.   This accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Over the past few weeks I have spent many hours on the phone with persons whose  lives and families have been rent asunder by clerical sexual abuse and/or sex abuse within the Church.  I can not begin to tell you what it’s like to check the site on the heels of such conversations and see the nonsense which at times prevails in the comments.  It all seems so trite.  Surely there are more constructive ways to reach out to those who are hurting?  Surely there are better ways to hold those responsible for the crisis accountable than going after each other?

For the time being, and at least into the New Year, there will be a limit of five comments per day person.

Enough for now,


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19 Responses to Limits

  1. Tim Dooling says:

    Thank you for this, Sylvia. It has become like a kindergarten ! Tim

  2. Patrick McMahon says:

    I really did not and do not want to get dragged into the personal fights that seem to have become the new order on the site so I emailed Sylvia my thoughts directly. She is right of course that they should be posted though I only foresee further slings and arrows being loaded. Nevertheless here it is in it’s entirety – too long I am sure.

    Good morning Sylvia,

    I am sure you notice I do not post a great deal on your site. I do however visit it regularly. Perhaps I have been focused even more strictly on Hod Marshall and his crimes than I thought. I know I tend not to read new stories and discussions on most of the other new criminals and abusers you post. For me, it is too much to take in, too much to absorb when I have my own issue(s) to deal with. Perhaps that is selfish of me – only seemingly caring about my abuse and justice being served on my abuser but I certainly do not mean it that way. I can only deal with so much of this. Also, I hate the idea of posting as a survivor of abuse and possibly wishing to sound as if my opinions are somehow more valid or significant because of it. I post as a survivor of such evil in the hopes of helping others in the same position, and secondly, where possible, to contribute to as full an understanding as possible for everyone – victim or not. My personal perspective can never be the “correct view” or “victim’s input” as every perpetrator affects every child in a unique and sadly lasting way. I can merely offer my own insight in an effort to contribute to a greater understanding in aggregate as my input becomes melded with so many others and influences the input of others. Together, everyone ultimately creates a greater understanding and recognition though it is always evolving, as we learn, understand and appreciate more from each person’s contribution. It is a process more than a result and a never-completed, imperfect outcome. Of course what can be more human than our ever-evolving, collaborative but ultimately imperfect efforts?

    The point I meant to delve to directly and have now meandered to terribly is my reluctance, growing by the day, to participate in your site. Perhaps, in my narrow-mindedness regarding Marshall, I have missed that your site was always this way. But the recent fight (what else should it be called?) between Tim Dooling and Fr. Tim Moyle happened to be posted on a thread originating with an email of mine so I read it. As I posted at the time, I was disgusted and I believe rightly so. I hope my disgust was justified and accepted as not out of any concern with the subject specifically (whether me, my abuse, my abuser or anything of such nature) but rather with the personal nature of the fight. I do hope, but am never certain, that you and others less directly-involved would agree that personal insults, repeated attacks against each other ranging across threads/subjects and continuing over time are ultimately about nothing but the individuals involved regardless of what they may think. Worst of all, many on this site seem to think such attacks, insults and reluctance to allow all to contribute can be allowed by concluding one’s unkind statements with “God bless”, “I will pray for you” and so on. Such a closing does not make these statements respectful or well-meant and it does not make the speaker well-intentioned though it attempts to posit them so.

    The string of discussion I mentioned spurred me to read many of the others posts of Mr. Dooling and Fr. Moyle and others I see are frequent participants in such conversations though they are often far from what I like to consider polite conversation. I should pause and apologize in singling out the two gentleman as there are certainly many others engaged as well but they were the first two that came to my attention. And now having read through the site much more extensively the past few days, I would like to think that many other readers and participants of the site, as well as the two men themselves, could agree that they have (even if only momentarily) been identified as being somewhat representative of the interactions I am referring to. I by no means wish to identify them as the only ones. I merely wish to present this not as an attack on many but an observation on the whole and the activities, recent or otherwise, of this site.

    My more extensive readings of the site continued with one of my first perusals into the “Dialogue” section and the recent postings there by many regular contributors. It was this recent round (and “round” is certainly appropriate) that has spurred this letter and my subject question. What has happened to your site? Was it always this way and I simply missed it in my narrow-minded attention? Or is it degenerating? If the latter, what can and what will be done to halt such an unwelcome degeneration? Ideally, everyone would temper their input appropriately, read my thoughts and even more importantly attempt to understand them as the words and thoughts of an imperfect person (and imperfect writer no doubt). Surely, somewhere in my always overly lengthy babble there is a sliver of intelligent message some can find useful? Can we not all try to take pause and ensure we are contributing and not taking? Can we not read the best into others where there is room for uncertainty of message and intent?

    Just as an example, the very first posting by Prima Facie regarding me and the thread entitled “So Much Pain”. (And my apology to James in singling him out.) I read the post and reluctantly will state, just to enable this discussion, that it did not mean anything to me. That is perhaps, regrettably unkind to state and I would have preferred to never have done so. While the words and message did not resonate to me, I did deliberately choose to accept the good intention I could read into the message and I also chose to recognize that perhaps writing such a message was helpful to the writer. Perhaps it was helpful to others who read it. I do not know. What I do know is that I saw nothing of value in attacking the writer, nothing of value in posting that I thought the message useless, self-serving, indistinct, poorly-constructed or anything else. (Please recognize that I am only choosing random adjectives and not specifically-meant ones.) It was sad to see others use it as a launching pad for personal battles.

    If everyone cannot temper their input in such a manner then I believe it is regrettable but necessary that Sylvia give much thought to her role as moderator and ultimately “authority” on the site. Does input or contributors need to be monitored? Do subjects, personal battles, or even certain persons need to be constrained, restricted or even removed? I don’t know the answer but I do think the subject need to raised. The site is to my mind incredibly valuable in raising awareness, and sharing information above all else. All these personal squabbles, debates and opinions are surely secondary to the importance of sharing important facts such as charges, abusers, guilty pleas, court dates and more. I believe the site accomplishes great things in those areas and all this bickering serves only to diminish the site and its purpose. It appears a great many regular contributors are engaged in this activity either deliberately by choice or are perhaps not realizing how they are being dragged into it. If that is what this site is to become, I hope an alternative is to rise somewhere to do the good work this site should be and was doing.

    I hope all will give this some sober thought and look at themselves rather than pointing fingers at others. Let’s try to assume the best of intentions in others, not feel it is our place to correct, cajole, censure or diminish anyone else and where necessary let something we may not agree with pass without comment. Would that really be so impossible? I hope not. Those are my thoughts. I hope there are many quiet readers of the site who agree with the point I am laboring to make and I hope they will say so. If I am wrong, and this site is indeed about bashing each other, proving yourself right, picking sides, and finding fault ….. I think we all know who benefits. I prefer to restrict my fight to those who abuse and those who protect and enable the abusers. I have no doubt that is where Sylvia’s intentions lie and I enthusiastically invite any and all to focus their efforts there.


    • C1 says:

      Certainly I agree with Patrick’s statements, I have only to add that perhaps people look to much for Sylvia to counsel them or advise them to me I have never looked to her for that other then the reporting she does on each and every case of abuse, there is no other site that does what she has does and the toll for her and the work load to me is unbelievable, one cannot hear our stories and not be affected emotionally. On the day of the Borne verdict I had the privilege of sitting with two men from the Prince trials for the first time in 30 years I did not feel alone and these 2 men were there for my testimony and C2’s in the short time we had waiting for the judge I felt comfortable talking to them and getting their input as sadly we belong to a club that no one else really or should be in. Tim Moyle has certainly let you all know what he is about if anyone is upset by the editoral in the Observer write an editorally to the Observer countering the views expressed by this Mr. Donahue which certainly are absurd, I have a mother and a family some still in Pembroke and Petawawa just as well thought of as the Borne family, Mr. Donahue like others will not even acknowledge Mr. Borne’s own testimony i.e. ” I have had sexual relationships with men but I am not homosexual” but yet he goes on to talk about Mr. Borne taking other kids on trips, the events that happened to me and C2 happened 30 years ago, Mr. Borne has not stopped his activities since, what did not come out in court was C3, C4, and C5’s stories. Look to what Mr. Borne’s testimony was and what the Judge’s comments were about his testimony. For those of you who have had confession with this man I feel for to know you were talking about your deepest thoughts and sins to this man when he was turning around and doing what he was doing is unimaginable for any of you to believe and that is why the catholic church has to change the way it does things but it does not the collection plate is the only way to get their attention.

    • Patrick: Graciously written and sage advice. I thank you for believing enough of me to demand better from me in these threads. I apologize and ask your forgiveness if the manner in which I’ve conducted myself here has caused you discomfort or pain. That was never my intent… but as they say, ‘the road to hell….’ I should and will do better.

      Fr. Tim

  3. F. J. Konce says:

    You say your site is about sexual abuse by clergy of minors. Why do you mention priests who steal/mismanage funds? Stick with your limited topic…this lends you credibility and avoids critics who say that you (and your readers) hate priests and want to bring up all the “dirt” you can on any one of them. SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS needs to be your priority: stay focused.

  4. just another victim says:

    I write seldom, but read often. I have the greatest respect for any victim/survivor that comes forward and tells their stories. C1 and Patrick McMahon you are brave individuals. I don’t know you but sadly I belong to the club of victimization, I feel your pain and the hurt you endured and will live with life long.

    Patrick no need to apologize for not being able to read more, I so understand that overload feeling and many times I am only able to tolerate a bit here and there. That is a sad price victims pay. You have to take care of you first.

    As for this site Sylvia does an amazing amount of work and does a great service to everyone. There are victims that likely thought they were the only ones until they found her site and their abuser appeared. She is a dedicated person to a cause that needs to be heard. I applaud her. It saddens me that some believe it can be their person dumping grounds on others. Sylvia do what you feel is best, whatever that is you have my support as do all victims of clergy sexual abuse.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Patrick. I asked you to post your email because I believe that what you have to say has merit. I didn’t want to drag you into the fray, but I did want people to hear what you have to say. You said it well. It is food for thought, for all of us.

    Let me first say that I take responsibility for allowing things to degenerate as they have done in the past two weeks. I am still searching for that fine line between allowing people to vent, and stopping things before it degenerates into mayhem. This is part of the never-ending learning curve of operating a blog such as this. I am still learning. Be it learning about the horrific impact of child sex abuse, or the manipulative techniques of a molester, or the ability of people to bury their heads deep in the sand to ensure they see no evil and hear no evil, or the art of controlling a blogsite, … I am still learning.

    Now a few thoughts….

    I have said time and again that emotions run high on a site such as this, and, indeed they do. For all of us.

    I have come to know many who blog on the site personally. I can say without hesitation that those whom I have come to know know are good people who want to do something to protect children, something to bring the scandals, deception and cover-ups in the Church to an end, and something to let victims know they are not alone – there are people who care. Because I have the good fortune of knowing and speaking to many of you, I know both something of your ‘story’ and of your good intentions. Others, however, do not have that privilege, hence there is often mistrust, suspicion and skepticism by some regarding the motives and intentions of others. Unfortunately, when emotions run high – as they certainly have done since Borne’s conviction – this can give way to striking out at each other and bickering back and forth.

    It isn’t healthy. It just isn’t healthy. Dare I say it surely can be of no comfort for those who are struggling to summon the courage to come forward? or. witness Patrick’s words, of no assistance to those who already have?

    The question then is: How do I keep blogs from degenerating into bickering? I really don’t want to inadvertently hurt or insult anyone. It’s dicey.

    I need to time to think this through and sort it out in my mind. What is the best way to carry on to ensure that we don’t do back down there again? And, perhaps more to the point, how can I prevent things from getting out of control in the first place?

    As I think about I am coming to the conclusion that there is need for some very simple “Rules and Regulations.” I plan to think this through over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, between now and the New Year, I will hold everyone to the five blogs/day and ask that those who wish to debate make arrangements to do so privately. I also ask you to treat each other with respect.

    Finally, I need your help. I am looking for suggestions. Many heads are better than one. I need to hear from you. My questions:

    (1) What can I do to keep the blog and bloggers from degenerating into a free-for-all?

    (2) Do you think there is a need for Rules and Regulations?

    (3) If “yes” to the above, what should they be?

    I won’t necessarily implement all suggestions but I will definitely take them all into consideration.

    Thank you Patrick for speaking up!

  6. Reality Checker says:

    The Commandments:
    I. Thou shalt comment using your real name, not keywords.

    II. Thou shalt only comment if you are contributing to the conversation.

    III. Thou shalt engage the author and other readers in conversation.

    IV. Thou shalt not post spammy self seeking comments.

    V. Thou shalt only link to highly relevant content.

    VI. Thou shalt not put affiliate links in your comments.

    VII. Thou may disagree and participate in civil debate.

    VIII. Thou shalt not start a flame war or troll.

    IX. Thou shalt proofread your comments.

    X. Thou shalt comment in the same language as the blog

    Bonus: XI. Thou Shalt not comment until you have read the post from the beginning to the end.*

    • Suzanne says:

      Perhaps the the bloggers should tick off a waiver saying he/she will abide by the guiding principles of the site….&/ some of Reality Checker’s Commandments could be posed as questions…. eg…Are my comments constructive to the on-going dialogue? …. Whatever approach is taken; Sylvia; your task is one that definitely needs reflection and input from all….. it would be nice to hear some input from the “lurkers”(I include myself here) as there are many who are reading and keeping abreast of the issues….they have much to offer; but maybe they keep their distance because of fear of being pounced upon… just my thoughts…thank you; Sylvia; for your on-going hard work..

  7. Reality Checker says:

    I don’t really agree with commandment No. I because of the nature/content of this Blog. There are those that do not feel comfortable using their real names and that is certainly understandable – maybe first name only is the way to go ?????

  8. Tim Dooling says:

    If No. 1 is your choice, Reality is a strange first name

  9. Reality Checker says:

    The topic of this thread is LIMITS. I would not normally respond to your post Tim Dooling but in this particular incidence I feel I must.

    What does your last post have to do with the topic of LIMITS???

    Read the post – the entire post – Sylvia has asked for input in setting limits and asking whether rules and regulations are needed on her blog.

    You sir – threw a flame!!!

    That’s the kind of nonsence Sylvia wants STOPPED on this blog. Go back please and read what she posted and please try to stop throwing the FLAMES!!!

    Thank you

  10. 1yellowknife says:

    Sylvia, suggested measure for judging what is suitable dialogue on this site: Allow anything you would allow in your living room or around your kitchen table (with no kids present). No shaming and blaming; civil conduct etc. If it does not meet those standards, do the ”Oh, look what time it is” and END the conversation. Hit the delete button.

  11. JG says:

    Everyone who gets to comment here should have to look at an abused child’s picture as they open to comment…to be reminded of the reason we came here in the first place…

    I said I was going away on the 03Dec because of comments by “Reality Checker”…
    ”he!he! Sylvia! just here to look after you…”, “what should my next name be…” “he!he! fading back in the woodwork..” Go ahead! If you are Sylvia’s friend, I caution her to be very weary of her enemies!!!
    Please tell us which of your ten commandments, “Unreal coat-tail Rider”, should apply to “YOU”…!!!??? Maybe you should fade back into the woodwork, or the door frame like a termite…
    This is the second time I have felt your self serving ego”testicles” intervention irk my sense of propriety, so , here, you have it…
    Please explain your “commandments”…and wait for the answers! ..and remember the mirror on the wall, fairest wannabe of them all!
    You want interaction …and I always counseled myself not to get into a pissing contest with a skunk!…
    First of all, stop hiding behind this “Reality” pretense, phony!!!
    Explain the “background” to your commandments….
    I am just a “lurker”, OH! wise one …impart my useless person with your all seeing, all knowing wisdom!!!….

    Jean-Guy Theriault

  12. Sylvia says:

    Bury the hatchet Jean-Guy.

  13. JG says:

    If there are to be some backroom deals as has been suggested, the rest of us should be at least be informed of those “limits”…I came here at your invitation, on the subject of child abuse by clergy…If you and associates are going to play games with the rest of us, maybe more than the hatchet needs to be buried….
    The important words in my last post were in the first paragraph….the rest of it was just to illustrate what it was like for the “newcomers” to read the “old guard” verbal diarrhea in the past few weeks…
    I have tried to be “circumvent” with my comments previously….but it seems everyone understands only black or white …Time for reflection is minimal!!
    Maybe another suggestions would be to take at least 30 minutes before replying to a not so conciliatory comment…
    There is no hatchet!…just a game!! He!he!he! disappearing back into the woodwork!!!
    No wonder “the church”, the ‘pedophiles’ are having it their way…
    …Absolutely respectful of the “X commandment”, as suggested!…and what is that all about???..
    Lets trade a “hatchet” for some “honesty”!

  14. Sylvia says:

    No back room deals jg. I know you in the same capacity as I know others. I have no group of “associates” working in the background. There are no games. I am trying to find ways to allow people to blog freely without comments degenerating into ad hominem attacks. This does nothing to help anyone. I put limits on until the New Year until I sort out the best way to handle it.

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