An organisation which represents more than 850 priests in Ireland have been meeting on Monday to discuss the future direction of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican has recently criticised leading members of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) for expressing views which contradict Church teaching.
The ACP meeting comes at a turbulent time for the Church in Ireland.
Its leader, Cardinal Sean Brady, is facing calls to resign over his handling of a clerical sex abuse case.
The ACP meeting, entitled “Towards an Assembly of the Irish Catholic Church”, has been taking place at hotel in Dublin.
It has been described as a first effort to bring people together to discuss the current state of Catholic Church in Ireland which has been rocked in recent years by a series of high profile child abuse scandals.
During that period, a number of priests have openly expressed their desire for change in Church rules on matters such as clerical celibacy, the ordination of women and the ban on contraception.
However, in recent months, some of Ireland’s most vocal, liberal priests have been disciplined by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
They include leading ACP member, Father Tony Flannery, and the broadcaster and newspaper columnist Fr Brian D’Arcy.
Fr Flannery, who is based in County Galway, was ordered to stop writing articles for a Redemptorist Order magazine to which he had contributed for 14 years.
Fr D’Arcy was told he must get prior approval to write or broadcast on topics dealing with church doctrine.
In the run-up to Easter, Pope Benedict warned that the Church would not tolerate priests speaking out against Catholic teaching.
Last week, a BBC documentary uncovered new revelations about an internal Church investigation into clerical child sex abuse in 1975.
It said a teenage boy who had been sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth gave the names and addresses of other children who were at risk from the paedophile priest to Cardinal Brady, who at that time was a 36-year-old priest.
He passed the allegations to his superiors but did not inform the police or the children’s parents.
Fr Smyth continued to sexually assault one of the boys for a year after that.
He also abused the boy’s sister for seven years, and four of his cousins, up until 1988.
The ACP recently commissioned a survey of Irish Catholics which found that 90% would support the introduction of married priests.
The survey also found that 77% of Irish Catholics want women to be ordained, while more than 60% disagreed with Church teaching that gay relationships were immoral.
At the time, Fr Brendan Hoban from the ACP said the results were proof that the perception of Irish Catholics as traditionalist, conservative and resistant to change was wrong.
Father George Smith: Corner Brook, Newfoundland courthouse (82 Mt. Bernard Ave.) – for arraignment on all charges.
I don’t have the start time but both of the last dates were scheduled for 10 am so there is a good chance it is 10 am.
I hope those with the time and within driving distance can make it to the courthouse, both to witness the proceedings first-hand and to support the nine or more complainants.
As always, keep the complainants in your prayers, and please pass on any news of the outcome
(2) Wednesday, 09 May 2012
Father Daniel Miller: 09:30 am, Renfrew courthouse (127 Raglan St. S.). I believe the new charges will be merged with the initial charges.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can not stop thinking about Cardinal Brady and that 14-year-old boy who was dragged in for interrogation without his father. I am floored by the questions put to the boy, even asking if he got to enjoy the abuse! What kind of demented mind thought that one up? And truth be told, what difference would it make if the child’s body did betray him in response to the unwelcome sexual stimulation he endured at the hands of a priest? Would that make the crime any less a crime? or the sin of the predatory priest any less a sin?
Although he admits having committed sexual assault against Frank Smith, the Redemptorist Raymond-Marie Lavoie believes that the damage alleged by the latter are mainly due to factors other than his actions.
leSoliel library, Pascal Ratthé
(Quebec) The Redemptorist Raymond-Marie Lavoie believes that the class action initiated by the victims against his community and himself are prescribed. He further contends that the applicant, Frank Tremblay, has not suffered the damage alleged by him and his troubles have nothing to do with the sexual assaults he committed against him.
This is the conclusion of the defense of Redemptorist 72 year filed the class action in Superior Court exercised. The Congregation of the Redemptorists, also covered by the class action implemented by Frank Smith, also filed a defense and the judge of the Superior Court handling the case, Claude Bouchard, issued an order banning publication and non- disclosure because of passages referring to the privacy of persons concerned in the proceedings. Its contents will therefore remain unknown, at least until the trial, if the case reaches this stage.
Although he admits having committed sexual assault against Frank Tremblay while a student at St. Alphonsus Seminary and cons “some other students,” Father Lavoie, who is currently serving a sentence of three years in prison for these crimes, says that the damages alleged by Mr. Tremblay are mainly due to factors other than his actions.
Moreover, the respondent in the class action denies conspiring with other Redemptorists for sexually assaulting students, as alleged in the plaintiffs’ request. The septuagenarian said he never knew that such acts were occurring during the period when he worked at the seminary.
Limitation period expired
Regarding the prescription, it can be bypassed if the applicant proves that he was incapable of bringing his action until 2010, denies that Raymond-Marie Lavoie. He said the limitation period is also long overdue for each victim of his actions between 1960 and 1987.
Moreover, respondent points to the passage, “he exerted no threat, violence or physical or moral coercion with regard to one or other of the victims of his actions.” This is perhaps partly why it considers that Frank Tremblay has not suffered the damage alleged.
It seems that the examination for discovery of the latter confirms that grades have from the beginning of secondary school and before the charges against Raymond-Marie Lavoie, was below expectations and academic achievement in primary school . Its difficulties are then persisted throughout his schooling.
Moreover, adding Lavoie, interrogation of Frank Smith did not demonstrate difficulty adjusting to the work. Except for his last job in Quebec that would have caused problems and led to changes of career, Mr. Tremblay has always kept his job for long periods. According to the Redemptorist, these recent problems have nothing to do with him or his actions.
The many troubles of Mr. Tremblay, the respondent added without specifying further, are in any case unrelated to him. Its difficulties have other sources, would he related in his interrogation.
Despite the sympathy that the Redemptorist have said for all of his victims, he considers that the damage they claim are “grossly exaggerated” and, moreover, they are prescribed.
Recours collectif contre les Rédemptoristes: le père Lavoie nie les dommages allégués
Publié le 04 mai 2012 à 05h00 | Mis à jour le 04 mai 2012 à 09h58
(Québec) Le rédemptoriste Raymond-Marie Lavoie considère que le recours collectif entrepris par ses victimes contre sa communauté et lui-même sont prescrits. Il soutient en outre que le requérant, Frank Tremblay, n’a pas subi les dommages qu’il allègue et que ses ennuis n’ont rien à voir avec les agressions sexuelles qu’il a commises contre lui.
C’est ce qui ressort de la défense du rédemptoriste de 72 ans déposée au dossier du recours collectif exercé en Cour supérieure. La congrégation des Rédemptoristes, aussi visée par le recours collectif mis en oeuvre par Frank Tremblay, a également déposé sa défense, mais le juge de la Cour supérieure chargé du dossier, Claude Bouchard, a prononcé une ordonnance de non-publication et de non-divulgation en raison de passages évoquant la vie privée de personnes concernées par la procédure. Son contenu demeurera donc inconnu, du moins jusqu’à la tenue du procès, si la cause atteint ce stade.
Bien qu’il admette avoir commis les agressions sexuelles contre Frank Tremblay lorsqu’il était élève au Séminaire Saint-Alphonse et contre «certains autres étudiants», le père Lavoie, qui purge actuellement une peine de trois ans de pénitencier pour ces délits, affirme que les dommages allégués par M. Tremblay sont principalement dus à des facteurs autres que ses agissements.
Par ailleurs, l’intimé dans le recours collectif nie avoir comploté avec d’autres rédemptoristes pour agresser sexuellement des élèves, tel qu’allégué dans la requête des demandeurs. Le septuagénaire dit avoir toujours ignoré que de tels agissements avaient cours durant la période où il a travaillé au séminaire.
Délai de prescription échu
En ce qui concerne la prescription, elle peut être contournée si le requérant fait la preuve qu’il a été incapable d’intenter son recours jusqu’à 2010, ce que nie Raymond-Marie Lavoie. Selon lui, le délai de prescription est aussi échu depuis longtemps pour chacune des victimes de ses agissements, entre 1960 et 1987.
D’ailleurs, souligne l’intimé au passage, «il n’a exercé aucune menace, violence ou contrainte physique ou morale à l’égard de l’une ou l’autre des victimes de ses agissements». C’est peut-être en partie pourquoi il considère que Frank Tremblay n’a pas subi les dommages qu’il allègue.
Il semblerait que l’interrogatoire au préalable de ce dernier confirme que ses résultats scolaires ont, dès le début du secondaire et avant les faits reprochés à Raymond-Marie Lavoie, été en deçà de ses attentes et de ses résultats scolaires à l’école primaire. Ses difficultés auraient ensuite persisté tout au long de sa formation scolaire.
De plus, d’ajouter Lavoie, l’interrogatoire de Frank Tremblay n’a pas démontré de difficulté d’adaptation au travail. Exception faite de son dernier emploi à Québec qui lui aurait causé des difficultés et amené des changements de carrière, M. Tremblay aurait toujours conservé ses emplois durant de longues périodes. Selon le rédemptoriste, ces récentes difficultés n’ont aucun lien avec lui ou avec ses agissements.
Les nombreux ennuis de M. Tremblay, ajoute l’intimé sans préciser davantage, sont de toute façon sans lien avec lui. Ses difficultés ont d’autres sources, aurait-il relaté dans son interrogatoire.
Malgré la sympathie que le rédemptoriste dit avoir pour l’ensemble de ses victimes, il considère que les dommages qu’ils réclament sont «grossièrement exagérés» et, au surplus, ils sont prescrits.
THIS is the letter that sensationally reveals that the Catholic Church KNEW a paedophile priest had “an unwholesome relationship” – 25 years BEFORE he was jailed for sexually abusing six boys.
James Robinson, who worked in parishes across the Midlands, fled to America in 1985 – days after police were first alerted by a victim that he had been abused by the ex-priest when he was a child.
Yet in October of that year a letter was sent on behalf of the then Archbishop of Birmingham, Maurice Couve de Murville, by Monsignor Canon Daniel Leonard, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, to Reverend Monsignor John Rawden, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The Birmingham Vicar General made no reference to the shocking allegations of child sex abuse that had been levelled against Robinson, and were later proven, in his correspondence.
Instead he wrote: “Father Robinson’s work as a priest has been highly regarded ever since his ordination fourteen years ago.
“He has shown considerable talent in recruiting groups of lay workers to assist in various capacities.
“For some reason he has always been interested in being a priest in the United States.
“Even as a student, he wanted to join the Diocese of Miami, but was not encouraged by the Archbishop of Birmingham at the time.
“Since his ordination he has regularly done summer vacation work in various American parishes and from time to time expressed a desire to join an American Diocese.
“The immediate reason for his being in the United States just now is that a few months ago he met a man with whom he had an unwholesome relationship about thirteen years ago.
“We have no reason to believe that there has been any recurrence of this problem, but Father Robinson says that he would feel safer a long distance away and untraceable by this man.”
Robinson, a serial child sex abuser, was sentenced to 21 years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court in October 2010.
The 74 year-old was found guilty of a string of offences involving the sexual abuse of children over a period of 24 years from 1959 to 1983 – including the man referred to in Monsignor Canon Daniel Leonard’s letter who gave key evidence against him.
Some of his victims, who are now aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s, were attacked after the “unwholesome relationship” referred to by the Vicar General.
Chillingly the court heard that the pervert was known as “Father Jim” and that he had “a dreadful weakness” for boys as young as 10.
Jailing him Judge Patrick Thomas QC said: “The offences you committed were unimaginably wicked and caused immense and long-lasting – we can only hope not permanent – damage.
“You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities you moved to and from. You enjoyed, I have no doubt, selecting your victims, choosing vulnerable children.
“You enjoyed doing your best to groom them into accepting what you did to them.
“You were and are sufficiently devious, manipulative and bold to have got away with a highly risky sequence of sexual encounters over a period of 25 years.”
The paedophile lived in California until 2009 when he was extradited back to the UK to stand trial.
Eight years after he moved to Los Angeles he was defrocked when the Archdiocese of Birmingham wrote again to their Californian counterparts to tell them that Robinson had been accused of sex abuse and that he was being recalled to Britain. But the paedophile stayed in the US.
Now campaigners, led by Robinson victim Geoff Smith, targeted by the fiend while he was growing up in Walsall, are calling for a public inquiry into the role the Catholic Church played in Robinson’s escape to America. They claim bishops tried to cover up child sexual abuse by their clergy.
A website – www.stopchurchchildabuse.co.uk – has been set-up by an alliance of charities, victims and lawyers who want the Government to further investigate the Church. It has been backed by Birmingham Perry Barr Labour MP Khalid Mahmood.
And child abuse campaigners in Los Angeles have called for those church staff involved in Robinson’s move to America to be held responsible.
Mr Smith said: “There has to be a public enquiry into this.
“The Catholic Church allowed Robinson to escape serious allegations of sexual abuse and move to America where he could have potentially abused more children.
“The Church must answer questions on this and admit what it has done.
“I have spoken with four of the other victims who also want a public enquiry.
“They have covered up rape and abuse.”
Mr Mahmood told the Sunday Mercury: “There should be a public inquiry.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that the Church was involved in this sort of subterfuge.
“This is the worst kind of hypocrisy and we should root it out and finish it.
“It ruins people’s lives.”
A spokesman for the US group Survivors of Those Abused by Priests said: “It is extremely disappointing that Catholic officials were aware that allegations had been made against Robinson, yet allowed him move to America and praise him.
“Church staff in England and in California should be ashamed and held responsible.
“To us this is a clear cut case of negligent child endangerment.
“LA church officials wilfully put children at risk when they failed to inform parishioners and parents of the dangers posed by Robinson.”
Robinson, who was brought up in Brownhills, Walsall, left a career as a professional boxer to train in the priesthood in 1963.
He worked in Midland parishes including the Holy Family in Small Heath, Birmingham, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at Rednal, Our Lady of Lourdes at Old Hill, Wolverhampton, and St Elizabeth’s in Foleshill, Coventry.
Last night Archdiocese of Birmingham spokesman Peter Jennings said the Church had new policies to deal with allegations of abuse since the 1980s and that Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville and Monsignor Canon Daniel Leonard, Vicar General, are now dead.
“The Archdiocese of Birmingham has co-operated fully with the police in their investigation into the allegations made against James Robinson,” he said.
“Those involved in the management of this matter in 1985 are no longer alive.
“Robinson was convicted and sentenced during October 2011 and it is not appropriate for the Archdiocese of Birmingham to make any further detailed comments at the present time as there are civil cases pending.
“The Catholic Church now has robust and effective policies and procedures in place to ensure that all allegations of abuse are reported to the police immediately.”
Church officials in Los Angeles said they knew nothing of the sex abuse allegations facing Robinson until 1993.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles spokesman Tod Tamberg, said: “We did not receive any claim that Robinson abused anyone before he came to Los Angeles, and we have received no claims that he abused anyone during his time at three parishes in our archdiocese.
“In 1993, the archdiocese received a letter from the Catholic bishop in Birmingham alerting us that Robinson had been accused of sexual abuse of children, and that he was being recalled to England.
“Upon receipt of the letter, which indicated that a crime was being alleged, Robinson’s priestly faculties were revoked, and he was sent home.
“Fifteen years later, in 2008, we received an anonymous phone call saying that he was managing a trailer park in Southern California. We turned that information over to the police.
“Given the penchant of child molesters to manipulate and lie in order to cover up their actions, it could be that Robinson lied to his bishop about a great many things, including possibly, his supposed relationship with another man.”
Dr Martin said Smyth’s victims were owed such an inquiry
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, has called for an independent international commission of inquiry into the crimes of paedophile priest, the late Fr Brendan Smyth.
Dr Diarmuid Martin said Smyth’s victims were owed such an inquiry.
It would be in the public interest that the full story came out, not bits and pieces, he told RTE Radio 1 on Sunday.
His comments follow a week when the Irish Primate came under pressure over his role in a 1975 inquiry into Smyth.
A BBC documentary accused Cardinal Sean Brady of failing to pass on details of children being abused by Smyth to police or parents.
The programme focused on a 14-year-old boy who had been sexually abused by Smyth.
Archbishop Martin calls for abuse probe
The Irish Examiner
Sunday, May 06, 2012 – 04:05 PM
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has called for an independent investigation into past allegations of clerical sex abuse.
As Archbishop Martin spoke out against the past failings of the Church, another bishop defended Cardinal Sean Brady, whose involvement in a secret 1975 probe into allegations of abuse has come under fire.
Archbishop Martin said a commission should be set up to examine all accusations against paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.
“I know it’s not fashionable to talk about commissions, but I believe an independent commission to investigate the activities of Brendan Smyth would be in the public interest, as to how he was allowed to abuse for so many years – north and south, church and state,” Archbishop Martin told RTE.
He said it was the least Fr Smyth’s victims deserve.
But Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Colm O’Reilly said while the abuse carried out by Fr Smyth was appalling, Cardinal Brady should not be forced to resign.
A documentary last week revealed that Cardinal Brady, who acted as a note-taker during the probe into allegations against Fr Smyth in the 1970s, had a list of children’s names who were being abused but failed to inform gardaí and the children’s parents.
He has refused to step down from his position as Primate, despite increasing pressure from politicians north and south of the border.
The cardinal gave the information to his superior bishop, but no action was taken against Fr Smyth and he was able to continue abusing children for a further 20 years.
“I feel he should not stand aside,” said Bishop O’Reilly. “I think what he did, he did conscientiously. I have no reason to doubt that. I have great respect for Cardinal Sean Brady.”
The bishop added that had Cardinal Brady, then a teacher in Armagh, given the evidence he had obtained to gardaí, they would have referred him back to the Church.
“I’m not sure the authorities would have been able to take it on themselves,” he said.
The 1975 private probe involved interviews with then 14-year-old Brendan Boland. He told investigators at least five children had been attacked by Smyth.
Fr Smyth continued abusing for a further two decades and it is feared at least another 30 children fell victim to him.
The paedophile was eventually convicted in 1994 in a Belfast court of 17 counts of sexual abuse.
He pleaded guilty to a further 74 counts of child sex abuse three years later in Dublin. He died in prison in 1997.
Archbishop of Dublin wants Smyth inquiry
The Archbishop of Dublin is calling for a full independent inquiry into the activities of paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth.
Published Sunday, 06 May 2012
It comes in the wake of this week’s BBC documentary, centred on All-Ireland primate Cardinal Sean Brady’s role in the church’s initial investigation in 1975.
The programme included claims that then Fr Brady failed to adequately protect children against the notorious child molester.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says a full commission of investigation should take place, covering both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Cardinal Brady has been facing increasing pressure to step down after it was revealed he had the names and addresses of five children who were abused by Fr Smyth.
He acted as a note-taker during interviews with two of Smyth’s victims. Reports of sexual abuse were not passed on to police are parents.
Some mass-goers at Dublin’s Pro Cathedral on Sunday felt the Cardinal has been left with no option but to give up his role as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
One man said: “I think he should resign as I don’t think he really has the moral authority anymore.”
Another woman said: “I’m really sad about it because I like the man – but it is probably best if he does go, under the circumstances.”
Earlier this week, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore called for anyone who did properly deal with allegations of child abuse against paedophile to step down.
The Labour TD said: “It is my personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority.”
Young and old alike were signing a national petition launched on Friday by concerned local people in Donegal calling on Cardinal Sean Brady to resign from his post as Primate of All Ireland.
The online version of the petition has already been by people within Ireland, but also in England, Spain and the United States. Aside from individual concerns, no specific organization or group was behind the initiative, which comes at a time of social and spiritual uncertainty in the county and the country.
Entitled the “Peoples’ Petition,” the campaign was launched in the town of Falcarragh in the western part of the county, an area where multiple instances of child sex abuse by priests has taken place over the years, especially at the hands of convicted pedophile and former priest Eugene Green, found to have abused more than 26 children.
Sean Hillen one of the leaders behind the initiative, explained the reason for what he termed the “Peoples’ Petition.”
“With so much uncertainty about the future, probably more than at any other time in its history – Donegal , indeed Ireland – requires leadership of the highest moral level, but Cardinal Brady has failed to do that, has let people down badly and needs to leave or be removed from his position,” he said.
“Just as people spoke out strongly on civil matters with the recent, ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay,’ campaign, so ordinary people are speaking out on matters that touch on the spiritual. This petition launched today calls for the immediate voluntary resignation of Cardinal Brady, whose failure to act in an acceptable moral fashion, contributed to the continued sexual abuse of a number of young Irish boys and girls for many years by Father Brendan Smyth.”
“For a young, innocent boy such as Brendan Boland – barely 14 – to be questioned so crudely and in such a humiliatingly fashion by 36-year-old priest, Sean Brady (since promoted to Cardinal), on behalf of an organization which has no legal basis to do so about his own sexual abuse by Smyth without even the boy’s parents being allowed in the room shows a severe lack of moral decency,” Hillen added.
“For Father Brady, (now Cardinal), also a canon lawyer, to then make the boy swear to secrecy on a Bible and not even inform the boy’s parents or relevant civil or legal authorities about the abuse, displays standards of morality that are simply unacceptable in any normal society. Even though Boland give exact details of the other abused children and their addresses and contact details, Cardinal Brady nor his colleagues neglected to notify any parents or social protection agencies. As a result of this action, or more accurately, inaction, a number of vulnerable young boys and girls were abused for many more years by Smyth, a member of the Norbertine Order, leaving them in severe mental and physical pain and emptying them of any sense of self-respect well into adulthood.”
Hillen continued, “In signing this petition, many people here in Donegal – ironically, where Green, another convicted pedophile priest abused more than 26 children – are showing just how deeply disturbed they are by the corroborated evidence that has emerged about the Cardinal’s behavior and the anguish these children went through. Smyth ended up abusing more than 100 children in Ireland, the US and elsewhere. Cardinal Brady vowed three years ago to resign if any action by him contributed to the sexual abuse of children. He should follow through on that promise. While the Church, as we have learned recently, may have silenced certain priests from speaking out, it should not be allowed to silence the voice of the ordinary people of Donegal and Ireland upon whose very support it exists.”
“We cannot stand by and just be dictated to, whether that is by a priest or a bishop,” said Joanna Quigley, who signed the petition. “People must stand up and speak out and this petition is one way to do that. We must take it upon ourselves to protect our children. It is our duty. After what the Cardinal allowed to happen to those poor kids – including 14-year-old Brendan Boland – who were so badly abused. Not doing anything to stop the sexual abuse is utterly unacceptable. He must resign.”
GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) – A priest convicted of sexually assaulting a child while with the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay will be released from prison early.
In 2005, Donald Buzanowski was sentenced to 32 years in prison after being found guilty of sexually assaulting David Schauer. The abuse took place when Schauer was a student at Green Bay’s Saints Peter and Paul School in 1988.
Brown County Judge William Atkinson accepted a deal Friday that will allow Buzanowski out of prison as soon as next week “It was very frustrating to hear that after all of the difficult work and difficult time I had in testifying, but I would still do it all over again. It has made an enormous change in my life and I know it has made a difference in the lives of other children,” Schauer told FOX 11.
FOX 11 reports special prosecutor Vince Biskupic said the deal was a joint request from both himself and the defense.
Biskupic says deal was made because of a conflict regarding recent changes to appellate law versus the statute of limitations. He says the alternative would have been to let Buzanowski appeal his conviction and possibly walk away free and clear.
Under the agreement, Buzanowski’s conviction is upheld and he’ll be on probation for 7 years. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
Schauer and his family are now asking if there is anyone out there who was victimized by Buzanowski after July 1989 to come forward. A law signed by Governor Walker this spring now allows for prosecution on any alleged abuse since that time.
Meantime, Buzanowkski will likely move into a group home, and he will be monitored there.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput on Friday announced the fate of eight Roman Catholic priests who are among 26 suspended early last year while officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reviewed complaints against them of inappropriate behavior with minors.
Three of the completed cases involve priests who had once served in Delaware County. At least nine suspended priests with Delaware County connections are among 17 still awaiting decisions on their futures. They include the Rev. Paul Castellani, pastor of St. Philomena Church in Lansdowne, the Rev. Msgr. John Close, pastor of St. Katharine of Siena Church in the Wayne section of Radnor and the Rev. Mark Gaspar, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Charity Church in Brookhaven.
“The task of investigating past allegations of sexual misconduct is complex and time-consuming. It cannot be hurried or abbreviated without violating the whole purpose of the review,” said Chaput who claimed a gag order legally limited him in what he could reveal.
Child abuse watchdogs decried Chaput’s delay in decisions about the bulk of the suspended priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
“The priests were kept quietly in ministry for years after the allegations and then were quietly investigated for another year while the statute of limitations clock continued to tick,” said Terence McKiernan, president and co-director of BishopAccountability.org, the world’s largest data center focused on the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis.
During a press conference Friday at archdiocesan headquarters in Philadelphia, Chaput said all of the cases were first referred to the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams whose February 2011 grand jury report triggered the archdiocesan review launched by former Philadelphia archbishop, Cardinal Justin Rigali.
“Six of the 26 cases have not yet been cleared by law enforcement, so our own internal investigation has not begun. In two more of the 26 cases, we’ve just recently received clearance from law enforcement and our internal investigation is now proceeding,” said Chaput.
Nine other cases are awaiting either examination by an archdiocesan review board headed by former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Gina Maisto Smith, or a decision by Chaput who was installed as Philadelphia’s archbishop last September.
The suspended priests are among 37 named in the 2011 grand jury report as causes of concern for alleged incidents that apparently were no longer within the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution. One priest was already on administrative leave and two are incapacitated and out of active ministry. Two are members of religious orders and no longer serving in the archdiocese, but their superiors have been notified by archdiocesan officials about concerns over the abuse allegations. Initially eight cases were found by Smith to warrant no further investigation.
Smith and her team of law enforcement and child abuse experts are reviewing allegations that range from exceeding acceptable boundaries with language or touching, to sexual assault of minors.
Smith said on Friday that the review board has gathered more than 400,000 documents, interviewed more than 225 witnesses in the United States and foreign countries and visited many parishes in an effort to corroborate allegations of abuse.
“Our overarching objective was to determine whether a priest was suited for active ministry when viewed through the lens of protecting children,” said Smith, a mother of five who prosecuted sex crimes for almost 20 years before joining the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr.
While they are on administrative leave the clerics are not permitted to publicly exercise their priestly duties, reside at parishes or have any parish responsibilities. They are required to live in private residences. Chaput makes the final decision on the suspended priests’ dispositions.
“Three priests have been found suitable for ministry. Five priests will not return to ministry although they have the right to appeal this decision to the Holy See. A ninth priest is now deceased, and his case cannot be concluded,” said the archbishop.
McKiernan said on Friday that Chaput missed a crucial opportunity to deal with allegations of sexual violence against children in a transparent way and repudiate the failed policies of his predecessors, Rigali and the late cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and John Krol.
“Instead he has given us more of the same. He has reinstated three priests, and removed five others, who now can appeal to the Vatican. One deceased priest’s allegations were deemed ‘inconclusive’. But he has given us absolutely no information about the alleged crimes or about how they were investigated,” said McKiernan.
The Rev. Daniel Hoy, who served at St. Joseph Church, Collingdale from 1964 to 1969 and at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Morton from 1971 to 1979, died at age 89 last July 25 so a full investigation of sexual abuse allegations against him could not be completed.
Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against the Rev. Msgr. Michael Flood were found to be unsubstantiated and he was determined to be suitable for ministry. The 72-year-old priest was on staff at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Marple from 1969 to 1974. Ninety-two-year-old Rev. Philip Barr, who served at Holy Saviour Church in Lower Chichester in 1952 and 1953 and at Our Lady of Fatima Church in the Secane section of Ridley Township from 1958 to 1962, was also cleared of sexual abuse allegations by Chaput.
In addition, the Rev. Michael Chapman, 56, of Philadelphia, was deemed suitable for ministry after allegations of violating boundaries were determined by Chaput to be unsubstantiated.
The Rev. Robert Povish, 47, who was on staff at Archbishop Prendergast School for Girls in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby from 1992 to 1996, was found unsuitable for ministry for violating the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.
Among suspended priests serving in other counties who were found unsuitable for ministry because of violating boundaries are the Rev. George Cadwallader, 56, the Rev. Msgr. Francis Feret, 75, and the Rev. Thomas Rooney, 61. The Rev. John Reardon, 65, was found unsuitable for ministry because of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
The priests who were determined to be unsuitable for ministry will have the choice of a supervised life of penance and prayer or laicization which means they would be defrocked by the Vatican and removed from the priesthood. Chaput noted that it is easier for archdiocesan officials to monitor those who remain in the priesthood, but are out of active ministry.
Counselors from the Keystone Crisis Team are expected to be on-site this weekend at parishes served by suspended priests who have been found suitable for ministry, as part of a new archdiocesan support program called “Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese,” headed by Mary Achilles.
It will be up to the priests Chaput has exonerated to decide if they want to return to their former posts and if they want to share the nature of their investigations with parishioners.
“The decision is in their hands and, of course, the parishioners will have a voice. Initially some may want to go back, some may not want to go back,” said Chaput.
Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Friday she was shocked that only eight cases of the 37 mentioned in the 2011 grand jury report, were resolved.
“This weekend Chaput should start visiting churches where the three priests with ‘unsubstantiated’ allegations worked. He should beg victims, whistle-blowers and witnesses to come forward, share information and get help,” said Blaine.
The 26 priests’ suspensions came on the heels of a scathing Philadelphia grand jury report released Feb. 10, 2011 — the second in six years — that accused archdiocesan officials of mishandling clerical sexual abuse cases. The grand jury investigation resulted in the arrest of two priests, a former priest and a male Catholic school teacher for the alleged sexual abuse of boys, and an archdiocesan official who Williams maintains endangered children because he did not turn over known pedophile priests to civil authorities.
The Rev. Msgr. William Lynn, who served as the archdiocese’s secretary for the clergy from 1992 to 2004 and is the first American Catholic church official charged in connection with covering up child abuse, is now on trial in Philadelphia with one of the accused child abusers, the Rev. James Brennan, a former faculty member at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
Within days of the grand jury report’s release, the reverends Joseph Gallagher, Stephen Perzan and Joseph DiGregorio were removed from active ministry. Gallagher served as assistant pastor at the former St. Michael’s Church in Chester from June 1970 until October 1974. Perzan was assistant pastor at St. Pius X Church in Marple from June 1974 to June 1975. DiGregorio was associate director of the regional Catholic Youth Organization from April 1968 to June 1970. Twenty-one more priests were placed on administrative leave March 8, 2011, and two retired priests were suspended around March 30, 2011.
Five Philadelphia priests sanctioned in sex abuse probe
4:32 p.m. CDT, May 4, 2012
By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., May 4 (Reuters) – Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput stripped five priests of their duties and apologized to their victims on Friday following an investigation into a pedophilia scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic archdiocese.
The sanctions come as the archdiocese nears the end of its investigation into 27 priests who were put on leave when a January 2011 grand jury report raised questions about their
possible involvement in abusing children.
Chaput said five of the cases were substantiated in the investigation, and those priests would be barred from public ministry, meaning they can no longer perform duties such as
saying Mass. They can appeal to Rome, and later could be defrocked.
Another three priests under investigation were cleared. One priest named in the grand jury report has since died.
Chaput, who said he has spoken with those priests whose cases have been resolved, apologized for a scandal that has rocked the church.
“I have in the past and will here today share my deep sadness and offer my heartfelt apology on behalf of the Archdiocese to all victims of clergy sexual abuse,” he said at a
“The process of reviewing these cases was designed to ensure that the decisions announced today reflect our commitment to protect children, assist victims, restore the integrity of the priesthood and provide evidence to the broader community that they can have confidence in these outcomes,” he said.
Among those caught up in the broader scandal is Monsignor William Lynn. He is standing trial on charges of child endangerment and conspiracy over accusations he covered up abuse allegations against priests, many of whom were simply transferred to unsuspecting parishes.
His trial is in its sixth week and testimony is continuing. He faces 28 years in prison if convicted of all counts.
Chaput said the investigation into the remaining cases brought up by the grand jury should be concluded within weeks.
Chaput’s predecessor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, put all 27 clerics on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
…it’s not terribly difficult. I use a “Feed Reader” called Feedly. It’s free to use, although there is a paid option. Feedly offers apps for phones and tablets as well, which will all sycnchronize
These instructions apply to the desktop (PC / Mac) version:
* Set up an account at feedly.com. When your account is ready, you’ll see an “add content” button in the top left corner. Click it.
* Type in or paste the URL of this site (www.theinquiry.ca/wordpress).
* Two results will come up. One is for the posts to the site (which Sylvia makes); another is for comments on posts (made by anyone). You can add those to your Feedly feed.
Once you have done this, new posts and comments will be fed to your Feedly page each time there’s something new. You can read them there and mark them as read afterwards, or click through to the actual post.
You can do this with almost all websites. It’s a great way of getting through lots of information in a short time.