Monday, April 16, 2012

Prosecution Puts the Archdiocese of Philadelphia On Trial

Shortly before court opened Monday, defense lawyer Jeff Lindy was trying to make a point with the judge before the jury entered the courtroom.

"The archdiocese isn't on trial, the monsignor is on trial," Lindy asserted.

At issue was whether the prosecution was justified in treating current employees of the archdiocese as hostile witnesses, as was the case last week when Bishop Robert P. Maginnis testified. The retired 78-year-old bishop, the former vicar of Montgomery County, didn't seem to have much of a memory on the witness stand. He told prosecutors he couldn't recall many details about a 1985 incident where the feds raided a rectory in Montgomery County, and arrested a priest, Father Edward DePaoli, after they found $15,000 worth of foreign kiddie porn under his bed.

You'd think an incident like that would stick in your mind. The bishop, however, said he couldn't remember; the prosecution thought he was stonewalling.

"The archdiocese is not a hostile party, the archdiocese is not a party," Lindy argued. He was talking about the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William J. Lynn, Edward V. Avery and James Brennan, now playing in Courtroom 304 of the Criminal Justice Center.

Lindy is one of four defense lawyers representing Monsignor William J. Lynn. Technically, Lindy is right; the archdiocese of Philadelphia is not listed as a defendant in the case. But thanks to a favorable ruling by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, that's exactly what the prosecution has been able to do, put the archdiocese on trial in Courtroom 304. And it was never more in evidence than on Monday.

As the archdiocese's secretary for clergy from 1992 from 2004, Msgr. Lynn was in charge of making personnel recommendations, although for most of his tenure, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua had the final say on what priest was assigned to what parish. Lynn is charged with conspiring to aid his co-defendants, Father Brennan, accused of attempted rape of a 14-year-old, and Father Avery, who before the trial began, pleaded guilty to charges of raping a 10-year-old, and was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison.

A grand jury found in 2011 that Lynn had "abetted the perpetrators' crimes [Father Brennan and Father Avery] by systematically assisting sexually abusive priests to remain in ministry, where they had easy access to hundreds of children."  Prosecutors say Lynn conspired to shuffle Father Avery and Father Brennan  from parish to parish, while ignoring the risks to future victims, and not warning parishioners.

That's a bad enough case for the defense to argue against. But thanks to Judge Sarmina, the prosecution was allowed to bring into the case the histories of 21 former archdiocese priests previously accused of sex abuse. Those added cases date back to 1948, two years before Lynn was born, to allow the prosecution to show the jury an alleged pattern of behavior, namely giving abuser priests a pass.

In court Monday, the prosecution brought in three witnesses who testified that they were molested as minors by three of the 21 additional priests not on trial in the current case: Father Thomas J. Smith, Father Stanley M. Gana, and Father Francis X. Trauger. And the cumulative effect of that testimony was devastating.

The most powerful witness of the trio was a slender 45-year-old bearded priest who wore eyeglasses and a suit. Unlike other victims who have appeared as witnesses during this trial, the priest never shed a tear, raised his voice, or made wild accusations. He was chillingly calm, as if he had had plenty of time to reflect on his ordeal. And during the dispassionate, almost scholarly analysis that he shared with the jury, the witness had several chances to take shots at Msgr. Lynn, but he acted in a priestly fashion, and never did. As a result, his testimony was even more powerful.

The priest told the jury that he was born into a hard-core Catholic family with three older sisters and a younger brother. The family belonged to Our Lady of Calvary Church in Northeast Philadelphia.

"Our life revolved around the Catholic Church," the witness testified. His family had "great respect and admiration for any priest."

The witness was a 13-year-old eighth-grader in 1980 when he first saw Father Stanley M. Gana pull up in a station wagon at Our Lady of Calvary, where he had just been appointed as the new pastor. The first time the pastor spoke to the boy, he complimented him on well he read at Mass. The compliment "meant the world to me," the boy told the jury. As a boy, his deeply religious mother wanted him to be a priest. She was thrilled when Father Gana began showering attention on her son.

Father Gana owned a farm outside of Scranton, where he invited the boy to spend the weekend. To the boy's devout Catholic parents, "It was a no-brainer," the witness testified. "It was an honor to go."

Father Gana was a huge man, more than 350 pounds. He liked to play cards in his bedroom with the boy, because there was "more room to stretch out," the witness told the jury. "Why don't you take off your shirt," the witness recalled the priest telling the skinny youth. Next it was his pants.

"He was telling me he loved me," the witness said. The priest told the boy that he appreciated his hairless body. Father Gana introduced the boy to oral sex. "He tried to penetrate me anally many times," the witness said. "I could not tolerate that pain."

Father Gana would stop out of concern for the boy. "As a manipulator, he knew what to say. I was so trusting, and so naive," the witness said. But Father Gana persisted until he finally raped the boy anally. The priest would have sex with the boy three and four times a week, either at the priest's farm house, or at the rectory. The abuse continued for years, the boy said, because he was afraid of angering Father Gana. He also said he made the mistake of "believing that a Catholic priest would never harm me." The witness said he was also "afraid of losing his love."

Father Gana would reward the boy's family for allowing him to spend time with their son by dropping off groceries and cleaning supplies. "He bought in bulk," the witness said. The priest would drop off a case of paper towels at the boy's home and, "It was such an honor to my mom."

Father Gana would say, "I need [the victim] to run some errands. Can he go? And the answer was always, 'yes,'" the witness told the jury. Father Gana showed the boy naked pictures of another boy he was having sex with, something the victim hadn't done. "This is why you'll never be as good as him," the witness recalled Father Gana telling him.

Father Gana would have sex with one boy, and then tell the witness, "I'll see you after the 6 o'clock Mass." That meant it was his turn.

The abuse continued when the victim entered the seminary at St. Charles Borromeo in 1984, to become a priest. At the seminary, the victim made new friends, which made Father Gana jealous. The victim also told his new friends about what Gana had done to him. The next year, 1985, the victim confronted the priest, who was always showing up at the seminary. "I know what he's doing to me, and it's going to stop," the witness said he told Father Gana.

Father Gana started crying, and saying, "This is hurting me." The priest got angry, saying he had been good to the victim, and had done more for him than his family did. But the man on the witness stand said he was determined to break "the chains of the relationship that bound me."

The victim went to see Father William J. Lynn, who at the time, was dean of students at the seminary, and said he needed counseling. He made the request even though he didn't think that Lynn thought much of him.

"I just didn't think Father Lynn would be supportive of me," the witness said. But he was desperate.

"I knew that I needed help," the victim said. " I couldn't help but blame myself. With the physical act, comes physical shame. You feel dirty."

 The victim figured that without counseling, he might commit suicide or become addicted to drugs, to numb the pain.

But Lynn told the victim he was worried that people would start thinking that there was a problem at the seminary because so many students needed counseling. "They'll think we're all crazy here," the victim recalled Father Lynn telling him.

But the victim insisted on, and got counseling. In the 1991-92 academic year, his eighth and final year at the seminary, when he had been approved as a church deacon, the victim found that he was under investigation. The charges were allegedly having sex with another seminarian, and questioning church teaching. During the investigation, Karpinski said he told Monsignor James Molloy, vicar for administration, about the abuse by Father Gana. Also listening to the story was William Lynn, at that time the assistant vicar for administration.

The inquiry of the seminarian concluded that the charges against him were inconclusive. But that didn't mean he'd been exonerated. The man on the witness stand, who was viewed as spreading rumors about Father Gana, was given a choice by Cardinal Bevilacqua: seek another diocese to become a priest at, or the archdiocese would begin laicization, the formal process of busting the victim from deacon to lay person.

The victim transferred to the diocese of Bridgeport, Ct., where he became a priest in 1993. While the victim's family was planning his ordination, his father wanted to invite Father Gana to the ceremony. The victim said he told his father, "It's my ordination, and he's not coming."

By then his mother was dead. The man on the witness stand said he still could not tell  his father the reason why he didn't want Father Gana to come to the ordination. "I could never tell my parents," he said. "They loved the church so tremendously that I could never break their hearts."

In 1998, the victim, who was now a priest, heard that Father Gana was still ministering as a priest. He wrote a letter to William J. Lynn, then secretary for clergy, saying, "I had serious concerns about Stanley Gana's presence in the archdiocese of Philadelphia."

Lynn met with the victim and told him that Father Gana had not been classified as a pedophile, and that he was not a risk in his present assignment as chaplain to a Carmelite monastery of nuns. He said the priest had been found to be stealing money from his former parish. The victim told the jury that he had "a very pleasant conversation" with Lynn, and that he felt "Father Lynn respected and believed me." Lynn also told the victim that the investigation of him as a seminarian "would have been handled differently" if it had been done in 1998.

In 1999, the victim heard from his sister that Father Gana was working as a substitute priest in the archdiocese, saying Mass at St. Catherine of Sienna, and that she saw him in the sanctuary with altar boys. The victim spoke to Lynn again, and Lynn told him that the mother superior at the church knew about Father Gana's past, and kept an eye on him to make sure that he was never alone with the altar boys.

"He doesn't need to be alone with those boys," the victim said he told Lynn. But Father Gana went on saying Mass.

In 2002, the Boston pedophile priest scandal exploded, and victim realized he had not been the victim of an isolated incident, but an epidemic. When a grand jury in Philadelphia began investigating sex abuse, the victim was summoned to testify. It was "a very very emotional experience for me," the victim said. He also realized, "selfishly," he said, that Father Gana was still continuing in ministry in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, the same archdiocese that did not want the victim as a priest.

Soon, the witness said he came to another realization. "I could no longer represent an institution," he said, that would not protect children. "I could no longer represent an institution that did not protect me."

So the priest asked for, and received, a leave of absence. "I knew I needed to distance myself from the church."

When it came time for cross-examination, Thomas Bergstrom, representing Msgr. Lynn, asked the victim about a letter Lynn had sent him that said, "I do not act independently of Cardinal Bevilacqua." The victim agreed. Within ten minutes, he was off the witness stand.

Also testifying Monday was a second victim, a 50-year-old man, who told the jury what happened when he was in seventh or eighth grade. His family was "very close with Father Smith. "He was at our house many times for dinner." He also took the second victim and another boy on a trip to Hershey Park.

On the way to Hershey Park, the priest's RV developed mechanical problems, so they had to stop at a hotel.

In the hotel, the priest drank whiskey and gave the boys whiskey mixed with soda while they played cards. The boys were wearing t-shirts and underwear. "He started chasing us around the room," the second victim said, and then the priest stuffed ice in their underwear.

When it came time for bed, the priest told the boys they couldn't sleep in wet underwear. So the boy took off his clothes, and got into bed with the priest, while the other boy slept on the floor. During the night, the witness testified, he woke up and, "I was on top of him naked ... I had an erection and so did he."

"His eyes were open; so were mine," the witness said. The priest let go. The rest of the night, "I just laid there staring at the ceiling."

"Did you say anything," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington asked.

"No," the witness said. "I've asked myself that question for years."

Jeff Lindy, representing Msgr. Lynn, had only one question for the witness on cross-examination. When the victim finally told a detective representing the archdiocese his story in 2004, did he know that it was two months after Bill Lynn had stepped down as secretary for the clergy?"

"No," the witness said. And then he was dismissed.

A third victim, a 43-year-old man with a shaved head, told the jury about what happened back when he was 14, in junior high, and a member of the swim team and the track team.

His family looked up to Father Trauger like a "a trusted family friend," he testified. So that's why the priest was allowed to take the 14-year-old to the priest's cabin in the Poconos, so he could do some chores for the priest like mow the lawn.

The priest wanted to camp out in the yard, in a small tent. The boy had his shirt off and wore jogging shorts; the priest wore a t-shirt and shorts. What happened that night in the tent, the prosecutor asked the witness.

The witness turned to the jury. The priest tried to "take advantage of me," he said. Father Trauger began by putting his hand on the boy's knee and offering to give him a massage. Then his hand moved up the boy's thigh. "He tried to fondle my penis. I told him to stop," the witness said, while crying. "It seemed like forever."

The boy ran out of the tent and into the cabin. He had a pen knife with him. "I swore if he came in, I was gonna kill him." The boy stayed in the cabin. The next day the priest acted like nothing happened. The priest drove the boy home to his family's place in the Poconos. When they got there, his parents weren't home, and the boy ended up on the floor watching TV, with his dog.

The priest suggested they wrestle, and have a tickle fight. The boy told him he wasn't interested. "I ran out of the house crying," he said. He stood outside until his parents came home. Then he told him what happened. His father, a Philadelphia police officer, went inside and confronted the priest, who left shortly thereafter. The victim's father went down to the archdiocese and told them what happened. The father later told his son that the priest "was being sent away.

In 2003, after the pedophile priest scandal in Boston, a detective from the archdiocese of Philadelphia showed up to take a statement. "Twenty-one years after this event, was the church interested in what I had to say," the witness said.

His cross-examination lasted two minutes. Jeff Lindy tried to ask the witness a question, namely was it in 2003 that you first contacted the archdiocese? But the witness didn't want to answer that question with a simple yes or no. Instead, he kept repeating, while staring at the jury, that the archdiocese had waited 21 years to question him. After a few go-arounds, Lindy angrily gave up. "I think the jury knows what's going on here," he said, before sitting down.

It's an old rule that when a witness is killing you, get rid of him fast. The defense got rid of three witnesses Monday with a total of less than 15 minutes of cross-examination. But that was after the trio had inflicted heavy damage.

As the nun with the cross around her neck who left the courtroom said, "The archdiocese of Philadelphia is on trial in this case." And for the defense, the worst thing that could happen is if the jury starts wondering why Bill Lynn didn't do what the first victim did, namely the seminarian who became a priest, and then decided he couldn't be a part of it anymore. Why, the jury might ask, didn't Bill Lynn at some point just walk away?


  1. I'm wondering ...

    Is the longer trial - with more witnesses and accusations - actually working to the prosecution's advantage? Or could a longer trial slowly be creating doubt in the jury's mind?

    I'm wondering if a better strategy for the prosecution would have been a quick two-to-three-week trial featuring their "strongest" witnesses.

    I'm thinking of instances where high-profile trials that are long and drawn out actually work to the advantage of the defense.

    Anybody else have any thoughts on this (without calling me nasty names)?


    1. Edit 4th graph to read:

      "I'm thinking of instances where high-profile trials that were long and drawn out actually worked to the advantage of the defense."

    2. The trials that are long and drawn out where the prosecution loses, are usually cases that are very circumstantial. In other words, there are few witnesses that can actually offer direct evidence of what happened. So the prosecution puts on lots of evidence of motive or state of mind; and there are lots of experts who can be cross examined about their opinion. A better analogy in this case is a mob Rico case or a political corruption case. In those cases, there is lots of testimony about how the defendant functioned within the organization and his contacts with victims or relevant witnesses. In many of those cases, the cumulative effect of the evidence is devastating. In my opinion, the Philly DAs office is putting a Rico style case against Lynne. Essentially they are portraying the AOP as an indifferent enabling organization that assisted criminals; and that Lynne was a key enabler. Since the underlying predicate acts are a failure to report criminal child abuse and even to discourage good faith reporting, this evidence is devastating to the dense. Bergstrom is the best defense lawyer in the business. If he only kept this guy on the stand for a few questions, that tells you everything you need to know. Bergstrom could get most people to confess to the kennedy assassination.

    3. The real thing themediareport and Dave Pierre are concerned about is, "Will this affect my book sales?", since book sales about the innocence of pedophile priests don't sell well when a group rips secret archives out of the hands of the Cahtolic church, and then finds that they were hiding and moving known child rapists, and didn't care.

      Yes, this will have a negative effect on book sales for a long time, and the more evidence that comes out, the more guilty Lynn and every other Catholic co-conspirator will look in their protection of child rapists instead of children.

  2. It seems to me that the trial is being used as a lever to break open space for some larger plan.

    The Archdiocese is not a Party Defendant, the trial was framed as having to do with ‘rape’ in order to maximize a certain mindset in the public eye but then the charge was suddenly reduced in a maneuver that raises even more questions, and the primary victim presents oddly as having amassed a largely disreputable past yet as being a balanced, mature, articulate individual.

    Clearly there were priests who should never have been permitted to continue in public ministry. I still can’t get my mind around the fact that the Ordinary – if he did nothing else – didn’t simply break the ‘fire triangle’ by removing the priests to forms of ministry where there would be no temptation.

    But the case at bar is not ‘current’ in the sense that the charged acts are recent; rather, it has to do with ‘historical’ acts, from quite some time ago.

    That leads to several observations. First, there were apparently no sufficiently grave ‘current’ acts that were available – according to whatever strategic parameters the prosecution has determined. Which is not to ignore the aforementioned significant reduction in the charge of rape in this case.

    Yet – hardly unpredictably, given the various legal derangements peculiar to sex-offense cases, especially if the trial judge is properly predisposed – this trial has provided a handy vehicle for introducing assorted historical assertions by persons not Party to the case. Perhaps this was the tactical objective all along – to find some pretextual means of introducing ‘evidence’ that isn’t actually quite that. In this type of case, after all, the ‘story’ is pretty much everything.

    And yet – if assorted advocacy claims are taken as accurate – there are numerous ‘rapes’ being perpetrated in the Philadelphia jurisdiction even as this trial continues along its path; and the majority of those rapes may very well be in venues other than the Church. One can only hope that the prosecutor’s office is directing sufficient resources to those current rapes.

    Why would the prosecutor’s office divert energy to a trial of ‘historical’ issues under such conditions? Perhaps the whole thing is an effort to establish a precedent for such trials of Church administrators both legally and in the public mind and Philadelphia at this point somehow provides a convenient and sufficient platform for the launch.

    But if so, then wouldn’t almost all subsequent trials also be of ‘historical’ cases, since the number of ‘current’ allegations against Catholic clergy is extremely low and the number of current ‘rape’ allegations lower still? (I base this thought on the assorted Reports extant that have actually done the math as to the nature of formally recorded allegations; I do not credit mere assertions of vast numbers of current Catholic clergy rapes that seem to me to shade from un-grounded ‘opinion’ into outright rant.)

    So why would the prosecutor’s office go to all this trouble if the cases are mostly ‘historical’, if all the research and formal Reports indicate a problem that was – in terms of rapes – not large to begin with and has been improving significantly for a decade, and if there are most likely substantial numbers of rapes taking place in venues other than the Church?

    The Correct come-back is that ‘even if only one’ that would justify such a substantial outlay of increasingly limited state resources; and perhaps that through the alchemy of extrapolation (of dubious statistics to begin with) that there must be tens or hundreds of thousands more Catholic clergy rapes.

    That’s the way advocates might see it, but it’s not the way prosecutors’ offices see these things. So what’s up there? Why has this prosecutor’s office gone to all this expense and diverted so much of its resources?

    1. Yet another (paid?) pedo-apologist heard from.

    2. This trial is showing that the Catholic church is the world's largest, organized, pedophile protection program.

      Lynn was the mafia lieutenant, moving the child rapists to new locations. Bevilacqua wa the mafia Don, running the whole operation the was that every other Catholic organized crime family ran it in every other city.

    3. Now might be a good time to re-read the Grand Jury Reports. They can refresh our memory regarding rape reporting. There are never a lot of "current" rapes because victims do not report it, sir, not until they've matured enough to even be able to articulate this pornography that took place in their childhood at the hands of Catholic priests. Does the concept of "children" figure into your lengthy argument in any way?

  3. I keep hearing about RICO cases and the assertions that the Church clearly and surely qualifies for prosecution under that statute.

    But why then hasn't there been such a prosecution? Why isn't this a RICO case?

    1. Cowardly DAs, more concerned with re-election than justice.

    2. Its simple. There are a billion Catholics, and they are driven by what their bishops say.

      If a DA tried to prosecute the Catholic church under RICO, the bishops would make their sheep revolt, and would instruct the sheep to vote against that DA forever. As long as Catholics refuse to seek the truth, and continue to follow thier bishops instead of Christ, this will continue.

      However, God gave us the internet and social media for a reason. Now Catholics can learn the truth from people who don't lie (as opposed to Cardinal Bevilacqua, Cardinal Rigali, etc), and as they see more truth, more Catholics can push for a RICO investigation.

    3. Can't do it cause it's a religion. States can chase out small cults, case in point, Texas and the polygamists. But this is a national cult. And they must obey or jeopardize their salvation. I don't think a non-Catholic can even conceive of how entrenched Catholic children are in the need for obedience. reverence and secrecy. Hence, the endless cases of children who couldn't tell anyone, least of all their parents.

  4. Interesting insight. And this is the same criticism of the RICO cases against the mob--when it was already a shadow of its former self; and prosecutions against Fumo, which was basically, look how this rich politician is so greedy that he needs to expense his tools. Yes, every day there are violent crimes committed by the powerless against the powerless. Poor people treating other poor people badly. There is a certain hopelessness to the cycle of street crime and senseless violence. City kids killing other kids because they felt disrespected. The catholic church prosecution is different. It is the story of a rich politically powerful organization that was able to play by its own rules; and cover up crimes. There is something about a historical reckoning against a previously immune institution that is compelling.

    The decline in "church-related" rapes is related to the decline in the church. The stories told by the last generation of catholics could have only occurred in a world where the church totally dominated the lives of its members. It was where you sent your children to school, where they played sports, and where they socialized. The clergy were the absolute gods of these communities. They had absolute unquestionable power on certain matters. And the adults were dominated by these same petty tyrants.

    If today, a priest announced that he was going to take little Johnny on a sleepover, it wouldn't happen. There are few altar boys left, as opposed to a time when a typical 6th grader at catholic school might serve 2 masses and a funeral a week; and spend hours with priests being trained as a an altar boy, singing at mass, or cleaning up the church grounds. And there are fewer priests and they are much older. But nothing has changed about the church leadership.

    The church heiarchy didn't wake up some day and say, we need to take clergy abuse more seriously. It was pulled kicking and screaming to finally confront its past. The press, courts, and now prosecutors have played a role.

  5. I read this sentence hours ago and it has stuck in my head, as one of the victims: "In 2002, the Boston pedophile priest scandal exploded, and Karpinski realized he had not been the victim of an isolated incident, but an epidemic."

    That is why thousands of us never said a word before 2002. We thought there were only a few of us. We didn't realize until recently that there is an estimated hundred thousand victims. Bishop Accountability has close to 7000 priests in its database, from reports over the last 20 years, and most pedophiles have dozens of victims.

    Pedophilia among Catholic priests was an epidemic. Keep telling the whole truth here, Mr. Cipriano. I am a dedicated daily reader. Wish you'd write more!

  6. A couple of points.

    The RICO statutes – if I understand them correctly – are aimed at organizations that are primarily set up to conduct organized crime; they may have a ‘front’ business (so, for example, Don Vito Corleone’s olive oil importation business was just a front for the organized crime operation).

    To assert that the Church is RICO-liable, is to necessarily insist that for 2000 years (or since 1787, if you want to go back only to the Founding of the Republic) the theology, the sacraments, the ministry, the Gospel and the whole works was simply an elaborately organized ‘front’ for ‘pedophilia’ (however defined).

    Now it is legitimate to make such an assertion, and some folks – including commenters on this site – have done so. Fair enough. But they need to be upfront about just what their assertions entail; they have to be upfront to themselves and then to everybody else to whom they make that assertion.

    It’s not my way to get into yes/no catfights with commenters in the webverse and I won’t do it here. But I point out for educational purposes that the type of cartoon thinking that goes If You Even Ask A Question About What We Want Then You Must Be One Of ‘THEM’ … that’s the type of cartoon thought-process that helped get this Mania stampede going in the first place and keeps it going. And it’s also queasily close to the Bush-Cheney mantra: you are either with us or you are against us – and that type of thinking didn’t work out well for anybody at all.

    But I will also note in that regard that it leads one to wonder: is t-h-i-s the type of thinking that is influential in victim-groups when they get together to ‘support’ each other? I have seen this type of thinking far too often in comments here and there to think it is simply a random occurrence. It’s not going to genuinely help struggling folks – therapeutic support should strengthen maturity, not intensify immaturity (whether in thought-process or emotion).

    1. You're wrong.

      Look at Google and wikipedia, which states in the first paragraph that "it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually do it."

      The Catholic church's prime crime is rampant child rape, committing at least 10,000, and by this year's vatican estimates, over 100,000 child rapes in the US alone. No one knows due to omerta, the Catholic mafia code of silence.

      As far as the rest of your comment is concerned, there are two sides to this argument:

      1) you protect and fight for the pedophile priests
      2) you protect and fight for the victims

      However, most remaining Catholics think they can do nothing, and God is so stupid He would be cool with that.

    2. Once again with the blanket assertions.

      Google and Wiki are not the statutes, which perhaps might be more of an informed source for blanket assertions or even merely accurate ones.

      There is no evidence of “rampant child rape” and indeed every published Report that does not simply assert but actually displays all of its findings, numbers, sources, and methods indicates that.

      And again with this gambit: if I don’t agree with some people, then I am merely “protecting” pedophile priests. This is cartoonish.

      And – more vitally – if it is indeed the mindset of certain, perhaps influential, circles among ‘advocates’ that in order to ‘protect’ they can dispense with the obstructive formalities of serious and accurate thought and deliberation, then you have to wonder what goes on in those meetings and – frankly – what goes on in the minds of these people.

      This is precisely the cartoon thinking that got this country into Iraq and it has also now been enshrined in the current government claim that it can invade anywhere on the planet where it deems it has a ‘responsibility to protect’ (the so-called R2P doctrine). Thoughts, even cartoonish ones, have consequences and take on a life of their own.

      And recall Thomas More’s point made in Bolt’s 1966 play and film, “A Man for All Seasons”: If you flatten all the laws to get at the Devil, and then the Devil turns round on you – how will you hide, the laws being all flat? I will go further than Bolt: what happens to YOU when you engage in a flattening of the laws – do you not turn into some sort of devil yourself in the process? (That ‘YOU’ is meant in the general and the abstract; the commenter to whom I am responding is not a devil, but perhaps something far less.)

      Which is a worry not assuaged by the final blanket assertion that “God is so stupid”. Which I can do no better than allow to stand as written by the commenter.

    3. gee, ya think? because i know that they know that it's all a a lie. including the bible that they wrote, or more accurately rewrote from buddhist and zorastrian sources, to suit their criminal enterprise. the catholic church is the mafia and it always has been.

      this is so much bigger than a few boys being abused. this is about prostitution and blackmail just like penn state. RICO certainly applies, and for that matter it should be used in happy valley too. it's like RICO was written for the purpose of WAITING until the right time to strike the catholic church. and i really hope now is the time. my children shouldn't have to grow up in a world with a catholic church.

      it would be different if their religion was just harmless mythology meant to uplift the soul and promote justice throughout the world. but it isn't harmless, much less "true." rather their philosophy is designed to promote the powerful over the weak and to create false "sins" like homosexuality to cover for their real crimes, like rape, torture, human trafficking, contraband smuggling, and war profiteering. it's a blame-the-victim culture. men are to be forgiven but women and children are to be punished. so are any men who dare to stand up to their sadistic lavender syndicate.

    4. On top of everything else, you also know the best therapy for those who were raped as children? I'm confused. Are you talking about children at all in any of your long drawn-out comments? Or are you conducting a class in beating around the bush?

  7. As to why neither DA’s nor US Attorneys have brought RICO charges … ‘cowardice’ is one possibility. Another possibility is that they know the Church isn’t liable under RICO statutes. (Yes, a victim group some months ago filed a Complaint with the International Criminal Court in the Hague; but that Complaint is going for ‘crimes against humanity’ rather than RICO, and it remains to be see what that Court is going to do or whether the Complaint will even get off the ground.)

    Some folks have mentioned the Church abuse issue in the past tense (“was”) and that is one of my points: the Church problem (and to whatever extent it existed, and it did not by any known facts include many cases of ‘rape’) has been addressed with clearly increasing efficacy over the past 10 years.

    That pressure had to be brought is granted (does anybody think the US government is going to be backing off torture any time soon without some sort of pressure?) and I consider it a sad reality of humans and their institutions.

    But what intrigues me is that in the face of demonstrable evidence that things are now improving, the pressure-groups (if I may) are becoming increasingly agitated and angry.

    Lastly, I’d like to remind non-Catholic readers that the Church has never presented herself as a direct heavenly outpost in the frontier land of this earthly creation. That is to say, the Church is not a German outpost in Occupied France; for the Church to be that, she would be staffed literally (and not metaphorically) by angels, by members of the Angelic Choirs.

    Rather, God chose – in Catholic theology – to erect a Church made out of the same crooked timber of humanity that she was to minister to.

    If crimes have been committed, then let the law enforcement process take the steps it deems justified (keeping in mind, as I said in other comments on this site, that some of the recent legal changes have been nothing if not regressive).

    But it can’t be continually insisted that the Church is somehow to be thoroughly disbelieved because she falsely presented herself as being Divine and has proven not to be. The Burning Bush will be subjected to the flames, but it will not be consumed but rather the wood will be tempered by the flames. That’s how it’s been all along with the Church – even through the Renaissance papacy and the Borgia pope and all of that.

    The US government tortures and assassinates. Do we dissolve it because of that? Do we abandon the Framing Vision because some of those sworn to preserve, protect and defend it have chosen rather to ‘walk on the Dark side’?

    1. It can easily be believed that this isn't God's church.

      Jesus said 2000 years ago that He created "the one, holy, and apostolic church". He didn't say that after it fragmented into hundreds of types of Christian churches, the one that was financially richest would be that church.

      God wouldn't let His church be the richest on earth while 15,000 people die of starvation every day. He wouldn't let His church commit organized child rape and child torture, organized lying, and organized bullying of victims, in His name, to save money.

      This is a God's test, and He made it simple - this isn't God's church.

  8. One other point.

    If the Church allegedly has enough power to direct its myrmidons to resist a RICO prosecution, then why has the Church not deployed that power to prevent this case at bar or, indeed, the whole past 10 years of allegations, lawsuits, and such trials as there have been? This seems to me, surely, to require the old Sherlock Holmes 'Dog That Didn’t Bark'.

    Once again, commenters are within their rights to make any assertions they care to in the webverse.

    But if by any chance I am right in my surmise about the content of thinking that goes on in so-called support groups, then I can’t at all consider the amplification of such deficient analysis as being therapeutically helpful to genuine victims in need of useful comradeship, empathy, and maturity-strengthening support.

    To simply blastfax such deficient analysis all around and claim it is solid thinking and adequately reflects reality is simply setting a lot of genuinely needy people up for disappointment.

    Who would actually want to do that? And why?

  9. ‘It can easily be believed” is perhaps more accurately stated in the first person-active voice; as a universal assertion it would require rather substantial demonstration which is – not surprisingly – missing.

    I am not familiar with any quotation of Jesus that includes “the one, holy, and apostolic church”. And at the time He conducted His earthly ministry, why would He have used the concept of “one” in the first place?

    Given the mysteries of Divine Providence in the past two millennia, I’m not sure how any of us humans can say with any assurance at all just what God would and would not permit. And if the idea is that no god that allows people to starve can be a god, then what religion on the planet and what god can stand?

    Thus by the same token, if God is testing the Church, and His idea is to demonstrate that this isn’t His Church, then what church is? (Remember, the commenter has already implicated God in the starvation of 15,000 people a day, so is this really a real God we are speaking about here?)

    And again, I point out that serious matters (and serious and coherent thought) are not really ‘simple’ at all. And the only way to make them simple is – like the proverbial primitive undertaker – to chop pieces off until the subject fits the box he cobbled together before he took any actual measurements.

    I take the time with all of this because it becomes increasingly clear here how certain thought-processes can appear – in the webverse – to be knowledgeable merely by the insistent and repetitive use of assertions that apparently are so ‘clear’ that they need no discussion or substantiation. That’s the internet and there’s nothing for it.

    But to what extent, I can’t help wondering, does this type of presentation prevail at support-group meetings ostensibly run for genuinely troubled people who are looking for consolation and constructive help in mastering their lives and their experiences?

    Lastly, I note that in today’s ‘New York Times’ there is an article investigating lawyers who locate businesses that are not in compliance with Disability laws’ requirements, and then they “aggressively recruit plaintiffs from advocacy groups” – apparently with some collaboration from the groups themselves. If that scheme rings some sort of bell among readers following the instant matters here, I would encourage further thought about it.

    1. All your verbosity and deflection fool no one here. Whatever you're being paid, it's too much. Thirty pieces of silver, perhaps?

  10. Well, it’s nice to see that I’ve not been inaccurate in my assessments.

    What we see here is precisely what I have been talking about: Thinking is ‘verbosity’; thinking is only designed to fool people; and if you don’t agree with us then you are being ‘paid’ (and – marvelously – that I am a Judas … to what, the Church? Christ?)

    I urge every reader to read the ‘hrh’ comment and reflect seriously on what’s going on in so much of all this.


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