Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As Defense Rests, Big Mo Shifting

As the defense rested its case Tuesday in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse trial, the momentum in the courtroom appeared to be shifting. The question is whether it had moved enough to matter.

A month ago, the prosecution appeared so far out in the lead, they were paring down witness lists, and playing it safe, as they strove to protect a big fourth-quarter lead. Sure there were problems with the Father James J. Brennan side of the case, but the evidence against Msgr. William J. Lynn seemed stacked so high the only question was when the monsignor went down, would that giant sucking sound take Father Brennan along with him.

But then Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who had been pro-prosecution all the way, suddenly whacked two conspiracy charges off the prosecution's case. Next the defense stole the prosecution's alleged smoking gun -- that list of 35 abuser priests drawn up by Lynn and ordered shredded by Cardinal Bevilacqua -- and turned it around, using that same evidence to show that Lynn may have been just a patsy.

Yesterday, the last shoe to drop was Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington's anti-climactic finish to his three-day cross-examination of Msgr. Lynn, a performance that was toned-down from the previous fireworks. By the time Blessington limped to the finish, it sure seemed like the prosecutor had run out of steam. That's the risk you take when you stretch a cross over three days, but maybe the prosecution is still so far ahead, it won't matter.

The jury may decide that what happened to children in the archdiocese was so horrific that somebody has to pay. It may not matter that the district attorney's office sent the jury the equivalent of a corporal and a private to pay for the sins of a marauding army that evidence in the case showed had been raping and sexually abusing innocent children since 1948.

After all, the prosecutors didn't have the nerve to indict the retired general who oversaw the most recent crime wave, and they didn't charge anybody else in the general's high command who's still around, and should have to answer for what happened. Maybe the jury will be too angry to notice that bait and switch. But that doesn't mean the rest of us have much to cheer about.

On Wednesday, the jury will be home, but lawyers from both sides will meet in court to argue over the wording of the judge's jury instructions over the charges in the case against Msgr. Lynn and Father Brennan. Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday, and the case may go to the jury as early as Friday.

The national media has descended on Philadelphia, as excitement builds over the fate of Msgr. Lynn, the highest-ranking Catholic administrator in the country to be criminally charged in the clerical sex abuse epidemic. In recent days, The New York Times, National Public Radio and CBS news have all descended on Courtroom 304 in the Criminal Justice Center. Why if the story gets any bigger, maybe even clueless Fox 29 will show up with a camera crew.

The first order of business dealt with Tuesday was that Judge Sarmina had to rule on a motion filed over the weekend by the defense that attempted to whack two more charges from the prosecution case. This time, the defense targeted two endangering the welfare of children [EWOC] charges, one against Msgr. Lynn, and one against Father Brennan, over Father Brennan's alleged 1996 attempted rape of then 14-year-old Mark Bukowski. [The judge had recently struck down charges that Lynn and Brennan had engaged in a conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children.]

To anybody who could do basic math, the defense motion sure seemed to make sense. The law in effect in 1999 said that Pennsylvania residents had until two years after their 18th birthday to file EWOC charges. Bukowski turned 18 on Sept. 23, 1999, meaning that the commonwealth had until September 2001 to file the EWOC charges. The current EWOC charges were not filed until 2010, so it wasn't even close.

The prosecution, however, in its brief argued that Father Brennan had been engaged in a "continuing course of conduct" that began when the priest was "grooming" Bukowski and went on for 10 years, ending in 2006, when Father Brennan was removed from ministry. Thus according to the commonwealth's argument, the victims in the case not only included Bukowski, but "children both named and unnamed, that were supervised by Father Brennan."

The only problem is that no other victim has come forward to say that Father Brennan had abused him, despite a massive search by law enforcement authorities and the archdiocese. The campaign included articles in area newspapers, television ads, and 10,000 letters mailed to former parishioners and children formerly supervised by Father Brennan.

Alan J. Tauber, one of Msgr. Lynn's defense lawyers, told Judge Sarmina that the Commonwealth's miss of the statute of limitations was so egregious that it should trouble the judge's conscience. That, of course, was fighting words to anybody wearing robes. But Tauber pressed on, arguing that the judge should be "compelled to rule" that the two EWOC charges be tossed.

Assistant District Attorney Blessington dismissed the motion to dismiss as "another last-ditch attempt, a Hail Mary if you will" that was "out of bounds."

The judge sided with Blessington, ruling that "the motion to dismiss is denied," handing the Commonwealth a victory that would trouble any civil libertarian. This on top of a prosecution case that went on for eight weeks, claiming that Msgr. Lynn and Father Brennan had entered into a conspiracy to harm children, even though the prosecution never presented one shred of evidence to support that. Observers were left to wonder why Father Brennan was even in the courtroom most days, as the vast majority of evidence in the case, and some 43 out of 48 prosecution witnesses, had absolutely nothing to do with him.

If the prosecutors believed Father Brennan attempted to rape Mark Bukowski, why on earth wasn't he tried separately? It would have been over in two weeks. With no connection between Father Brennan and Msgr. Lynn, it made absolutely no sense to try the two together.

From what little I know about the law, missing the statute of limitations on the EWOC charges may be heard in the future by an appeals court. The continuing course of conduct language is a holdover from conspiracy charges that no longer exist. Without the conspiracy charges, Father Brennan is accused of an attempted rape in 1996, but the applicable statute of limitations expired in 2001, and the Commonwealth missed it by 9 years. It's as simple as that. But maybe the judge is hoping the jury will do her dirty work for her, and acquit the two defendants on the EWOC charges, as in no harm, no foul.

Again, because the judge has a gag order up on this case that's been in effect all year, lawyers on both sides are prohibited from talking to the press. None of them can come out from the bunkers, and shed any light on the issue, thanks to that champion of the First Amendment, Judge Sarmina.

After the judge made her ruling, Blessington continued his cross-examination of Msgr. Lynn. Blessington inquired about a 1992 memo from the secret archive files written by Lynn that advised Father Robert L. Brennan [no relation to defendant James J. Brennan] to "keep a low profile" after he had been accused of inappropriately touching some 20 boys.

The investigation of Father Robert L. Brennan was conducted by Msgr. James E. Molloy, with Lynn working as his assistant and note-taker. Blessington wanted to know why Lynn and Molloy were telling that other Father Brennan to keep a low profile.

"We were telling him we were concerned about him, that he might be a danger to someone else," Lynn told the dubious prosecutor. "Everything was done in that context."

Blessington noted that such a concern was not expressed in Lynn's memo. "It's not documented anywhere," the prosecutor said. "You're just making it up now."

"Absolutely incorrect," the monsignor responded.

[Msgr. Lynn, Father James J. Brennan, and Father Edward V. Avery were the original defendants in this case. Avery has already pleaded guilty. But the judge also allowed the prosecution to present 21 case files from additional priests, such as Father Robert L. Brennan, for the purposes of showing a pattern of conduct in the archdiocese. Tellingly, the vast majority of Blessington's cross examination dwelled on the 21 additional priests.]

Blessington brought up the case of Father Michael J. McCarthy, who, besides molesting teenage boys, moonlighted as a travel agent. Blessington wanted to know why Msgr. Lynn didn't remove Father McCarthy from ministry after he was accused of such offenses as masturbating a teenage boy who slept over the priest's beach house in his bed.

"I couldn't do anything," Msgr. Lynn responded. The monsignor said that the cardinal had sent Father McCarthy out for psychiatric evaluation, but kept the results of that evaluation to himself. Only the cardinal had the power to remove McCarthy, Lynn said, and it couldn't be done without a diagnosis of pedophilia.

What got Father McCarthy into real trouble was when a rival travel agent complained to the cardinal that the priest was horning in on a business whose owner had just made a $25,000 donation to Catholic Life 2000.

The complaint by the rival travel agent prompted the cardinal in 1993 to order Lynn to do a "high priority" investigation of Father McCarthy. Lynn searched the priest's rectory room and found 13 gay porno videos and travel brochures promoting a gay cruise to Thailand.

Lynn argued that the two issues, Father McCarthy's alleged abuse of boys, and his travel business, "were not connected at all."

But when Blessington dared the monsignor to cite another case where he had done so much investigating so quickly, the monsignor said he couldn't recall one "off the top of my head."

When Blessington pressed the issue, Lynn smiled and said, "If I start naming cases you'll start saying I'm lying again."

Earlier in his cross, Blessington had repeatedly calling Lynn a liar, up to 14 times in one hour, or once every four minutes. But during 90 minutes of questioning Tuesday, Blessington only accused Lynn of lying a few times.

After Lynn found the gay porno and gay cruise brochures, Father McCarthy was sent out for another evaluation. This time he was diagnosed to have "homosexual ephebophilia," an attraction to post-pubescent boys. In the secret archive files, the therapists who treated Father McCarthy cited his "sexual acting out behavior" with eight high school boys who stayed over his beach house, where the priest slept naked with his overnight guests.

Lynn said the problem was that Father McCarthy was challenging his diagnosis, and under canon law, he could have won an appeal to the Vatican. In the secret archive files, the monsignor paid lip service to checking up on the original diagnosis, but when he called the priest's therapists, they said they got it right the first time.

"I didn't expect the diagnosis would change," Lynn said. "I was trying to keep him out of ministry."

When Blessington challenged how Msgr. Lynn handled another pedophile priest, Msgr. Lynn responded, "I did much more than had been done previously."

Blessington read the names of accused abusers on Lynn's famous list of 35 priests. Lynn told the prosecutor that he gave that list "to my superiors."

"Now we're back to blaming the bosses," Blessington said.

Lynn replied that Cardinal Bevilacqua "wasn't going to remove anybody without a diagnosis" of pedophilia. "I was trying to do the right thing."

Finally, after three days of cross-examination, Blessington asked Msgr. Lynn about his co-defendant, Father James J. Brennan. A memo had gone to the monsignor that Father Brennan had boarders staying over in the guest room of his priestly residence at Divine Providence Village. First, it was a former high school student, then it was Brennan's older brother, who testified he was reeling from a divorce,

Meanwhile, Father Brennan in his own letters to the archdiocese had talked about how he had been unable to faithfully serve parishioners, and like the prodigal son, had squandered his fortune on riotous living.

Didn't language like, plus the roommates, set off any red flares, Blessington asked.

No, the monsignor said, that's the way priests talk when they're asking for a leave of absence.

Blessington asked about Father Edward V. Avery, a co-defendant who before the trial began, pleaded guilty to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old altar boy. When Father Avery was shipped out for psychiatric evaluation, Lynn told a parishioner the priest was resigning for health reasons.

That was a lie, wasn't it, Blessington asked, showing flashes of his former anger.

"That was the not a true statement in the letter," Lynn acknowledged. Once again, Lynn blamed the false statement on the late cardinal, who had a policy of not allowing the monsignor to tell parishioners the real reason why abuser priests were taken out of ministry.

"I was not allowed to explain why the priest was not at the parish," the monsignor said.

"Who was doing the bidding of the cardinal at every turn of the road?" Blessington countered.

"I was doing what I was supposed to do," Lynn replied. The monsignor said that Father Avery was transferred to another parish where "he did not have ministry with children."

That angered Blessington, who pointed out that at his new assignment at St. Jerome's, Father Avery occasionally said Mass a couple times a year to up to 600 to 750 children at a time. Father Avery was also allowed to perform as a disc jockey at a grade school dance, where he could "act like a pied piper," Blessington said.

"It happened once and it was stopped," Lynn told the jury about the dance.

Lynn conceded, however, that when Father Avery raped the ten-year-old altar boy at St. Jerome's, it was the one time on his watch that an abuser priest under his supervision had abused a child.

"Now you're sorry, after three days" of cross-examination, Blessington cracked.

"I was sorry when it first happened," Lynn said.


  1. Only the Catholic church would have enough money and enough despicable leaders to be able to get away with hiding rampant child rape.

    The laws at the time could not have foreseen that every one of the 10,000+ children raped by Catholic priests in the United States thought that they were the only ones raped by "Christ on earth", and hid and carried that emotional burden every day.

    The Catholic church knew it was rampant. They knew it was happening everywhere and they hid it, and they fought the laws that tried to extend the statute of limitations, but the public didn't know the truth until 2002 when this all exploded in Boston, and we found out that 10% of Catholic priests in the 70s and 80s were pedophiles.

    The way their leaders handled all of it was even more despicable, and that includes Lynn. I can't imagine someone being gutless enough (and anti-Christian enough) to move known child rapists around and protect them because my boss told me to do it. I'd be on trial for beating the hell out of my despicable boss, and I'd see if he had the guts to show up in court and say why I beat him.

    1. Neil, Thanks i agree with you completely.
      The Church has enough money and has controlled these rapes. Name any other group getting away with child rape. I can think of none.

  2. The persons who should be on trial are at a higher level than the monsignor. We need federal prosecution of about a dozen bishops.

    Neilallen, it's more like 70 to 100 thousand kids raped in the USA in past fifty years. At bishop accountability the number is close to seven thousand pedophile priests in the database so far. There are still new priests being discovered. They offend on average ten children, in a pedophile's life, according to statistics. So it's safe to say that 70 to 100,000 children were raped in the USA by priests in the last fifty years.

    And the bishops handled it the same way in every archdiocese in the country. We need to see federal prosecution of the bishops for there to be any real justice in this national crime spree.

    Ralph, you are in the courtroom early, then filing your stories late into the night. Amazing work you've been doing with this blog and reporting on this trial.

    Thank You.

    1. The number 7,000 doesn't even include the pedophile priests that the Catholic church found out about in the year 2003 and refuse to publish, obviously because the number is enormous.

  3. Amen! To all that Kay has said! I had no idea there were 7000 pedophile priests listed in the bishops-accountability web site, and I thought that I was on top of this story. A number so large should merit a Federal investigation. Maybe since the USCCB has effectively called war on the Obama Administration, he or Michelle might be called upon to launch a Federal investigation. After all, at this point in time, what does he have to lose, concerning "the Catholic vote!" That would assure his name in history, for sure!

    1. jeannie, the Church owns the government. Even the corporations have to pay lip service to the IRS. Not religion.
      A Federal hearing would be mandatory in any sane world; but in America religion rules all. the only reason they support separation of Church and state here, is because they make more money out of it.

  4. Just found this blog not too long ago and have tried to go back as far as possible. Wish I had found it sooner as it is an excellent source for information about the trial.

    I became a Catholic as an adult when I married my husband. The day I found out what was going on, my family walked away and will never go back. It turns my stomach to think of how many people still support that rotten church. I don't understand how anyone can walk into one of those churches now. There is nothing religious about that church.

    The church hierarchy clearly doesn't even believe in God or they would be shaking in their shoes. Yet they calmly continue to protect their pedophile priests and hide them and support them. Surely they don't believe a Hail Mary is going to cover them on this? It absolutely makes me crazy.

    I wish to express my great sorrow and anger to the victims of this so-called 'Church of God.' While I am not a victim, I have been increasingly enraged by the news coming out and the church's complete lack of remorse for what they have done. May you all find peace in your heart, even though you will never have justice for the terrible wrongs done to you.

  5. Lynn's bosses aren't on trial here. Lynn is. It doesn't sound like he's shown any genuine degree of remorse. I was hoping that by the end of this pornographic trial, Lynn would have at least conceded that in a few cases he should have called police. It doesn't sound like he's come anywhere close to that realization.

    The priests who raped children are insane. The people who covered up for them are not. That's what makes the coverup worse than the crime. We know that insane people do insane things and they must be removed from society. But it's the sane people we have to worry most about, the sane people who covered up the crimes of insane people.

    I don't think the jury is fooled by this weakling's empty statements on the witness stand. He didn't call police before. He won't call police in the future. He will let the statute of limitations run while he sits defeated by the fire. His Nuremberg defense is suffocating. Conviction is imminent.

    And they ought to take Brennan down too because ... he's a child molester.

  6. The actual development of the case – as reported by Mr. Cipriano – proceeds. The fracture-lines that were clear at the outset now become active and this installment of the series is acute in its assessment of them.

    At this point, it seems to me that the comments also provide some interesting material.

    Commenter ALLEN raises the point that it looks to him as if the Church has yet again managed to squelch pursuit once again. Yet the case was the prosecution’s to envision, develop, bring, and prosecute from the get-go. And Mr. Cipriano’s assessment of its extensive menu of choices limns the history of the choices the prosecution made. The Church neither prevented nor derailed anything here; the case was the prosecution’s and here we are.

    Further, ALLEN claims that “10,000+ children were raped by priests” – although this is not at all accurate from any extant material I know of and it is hard to know (since, as usual, he provides no evidence nor cites sources) where his number comes from.

    Further he repeats again this “Christ on earth” bit. I went through a complete Catholic education – and before Vatican 2 – and never heard the phrase from priests or nuns, nor did my parents ever mention it. That’s only my personal experience but there it is.

    Such a mischaracterization, however, does serve a certain agenda and does serve a handy rhetorical purpose: it makes it seem as if Catholics were raised to see their priests as ‘semi-divine’ (surely not a theological element in genuine Catholic dogma) and thus also supports – as it were – the claim that because of this the Church is “unique” and thus the usual legal principles should not (and indeed must not) apply … and perhaps the prosecution bought into that line as well.

    Further his comments indicate that this trial is - in the view of some or many - apparently indeed not about the Charges against these particular accused but rather is envisioned by many interests (and perhaps by the prosecution as well) as merely and primarily a vehicle for putting out all the ‘information’ that those interests would like to see publicized. As I have often said, to use criminal trials for such a purpose – especially when that requires bringing so flawed a case as Mr. Cipriano describes – is a highly suspect gambit.

    1. Pertinax misses many points once again, and I don’t type as much as he does, so let’s highlight a few:

      1) what this case proved beyond a doubt is that the Catholic church hid and moved dozens of known pedophile priests, doing its best to avoid the law and the truth, and bullying children that were raped. It also proved that the Catholic church will buy the best lawyers in any city to protect their soldiers in their war against children, , Christian values, and the most basic human decency.

      2) The “10,000 children raped” number is the amount the Catholic church admitted to in their own John Jay report of 2002, the signature document where they admitted 4,392 child sex abusing priests. Of course, the Catholic church lied, and the number is now much larger, but in that document, that’s what they admitted. If you aren’t familiar with that document, you are not even trying to find the truth, which is very Catholic.

      3) “Christ on earth”, or “In persona Christi”, is the famous line every Catholic child hears about a priest. I don’t believe you when you say you are a Catholic and never heard of it, but then again, I don’t believe much of what you say.

      4) I have no idea what your last paragraph means, but this trial absolutely proved that the Catholic church is an organized, deliberate, calculated child rape crime organization, and Lynn was one of the most informed members in Philadelphia. He took orders and carried them out, always saving the child rapist rather than the child, even accusing a 10 year old boy of “seducing” one of his 40 year old pedophile priest pals. The only question is whether the church’s lawyers can help him and others get away with it.

      If this was a Chucky Cheese restaurant, and employees were raping children, and the managers moved them, and the public found out about it, men would be running to beat the pedophiles and pedophile protectors in the city square. The Catholic church can’t be expected to raise itself to the standard of Chucky Cheese, and there are no real men in the Catholic church, but they at least ought to do some of What Jesus Would Do just to keep up the façade.

      This isn’t a Christian church, and God proved it in this trial, and Catholics can’t even tell basic right from wrong anymore, due to these Catholic leaders.

      Catholics now protect money and pedophiles instead of children. Its that simple.

    2. Most everyone else already knows the cite for the 10,000+ children. It's called the John Jay Report commissioned by the USCCB. The Report was done way back around 2003 and compiled the results of self-reporting by most dioceses in the U.S. Of course, many more cases arose in the decade since the Report and following the Boston Globe's reporting in 2002. Also, self-reported data is always undercounted. So the number is much higher.

      The Vatican held a Symposium earlier this year in which it was reported to the Vatican that the number of American children defiled by priests is much closer to 100,000. John Allen Jr. reported on that Symposium.

      So it appears that somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 damaged children have grown into damaged adults due to the deviance of Catholic priests. Of course, we'd have to deduct the number of damaged children who didn't grow into damaged adults because they committed suicide (my cousin being one of them). We don't have good estimates on the suicide numbers, but, judging from local news accounts in the Clergy Abuse Tracker and from comprehensive data at, the number is higher than most Catholics would ever want to contemplate.

      Knowing the data helps one to understand the anger of survivors, the anger of commenters, the anger of Blessington, and the general all-around anger of child advocates everywhere who are inured to being called Catholic bashers. It means nothing to us. We stand for the dignity and innocence of American children. Now and always.

    3. Amen, Sarah. Well said. So sorry about your cousin. A childhood friend of mine committed suicide because of it, too, and for decades, no one ever knew why he became such a different kid.

    4. Of course, I'm biased, but I do think the suicide issue should be next up in the examination of American Catholicism. It's another taboo topic which needs study and reflection. I guess we could say we thank the Catholics for unwittingly causing the unspeakable to become speakable. Perhaps one day they will stop their practice of slapping children in the face and telling them to never speak of this again. Pertinax will pretend he never saw this happen, but the rest of us remember it well.

  7. I agree with Neil above. You're not even trying to find the truth. Perhaps you feel that if you were to access the known facts and data, you would be too blown away to remain in the cult. And then you might be bereft as to how you're going to get into heaven. Hence, ignorance is bliss.

  8. The replies to my two comments are even more revealing.

    Commenter ALLEN slyly whines that he doesn’t provide cites since he doesn’t write so many words as I do.

    He then refers to the John Jay Report, as if it were the proof-cite for what he had originally written, although he slyly doesn’t use “raped” now but only “child sex abusing” (since the John Jay Report actually doesn’t support his “raped”).

    He then has to claim (perhaps through another of his revelations received from Beyond, through his holy-tin-foil hat) that I am not a Catholic because the “Christ on earth” or “in persona Christi” line is one that “every Catholic child” during his/her education “hears about a priest”.

    Alas for all the money he spent on the tin-foil, I am a Catholic. And if his assertions were anywhere near correct, then the Church has been misrepresenting itself for a millennium since it has never held that human beings can be divine or semi-divine. Perhaps he meant “represent” Christ, but that’s a long way from “being” Christ or “another Christ”.

    I was also taught that the sitting President was a successor to George Washington, but never that the sitting President was therefore another incarnation of George Washington.

    Once again, his voices or his gods fail him, since there is no documentation anywhere that can justify his global assertion about what “every Catholic child” is taught. But – accurately enough – he offers no evidence in support of his unsupportable assertion. So I am happy to just let it hang out there to twist in the wind.

    But as always for him, “it’s that simple” – which to his mind it may very well be. But having read all of his comments on this site, and then also his replies right here, my opinion is this: he has demonstrated (somewhat to my surprise) that he is indeed capable of more than agitated and globally assertive ranting, but – alas – when he does deploy some mentation it’s simply to slyly weasel out of his own assertions when he’s called on them. Soon the basis of his published remarks here I revise my personal assessment of him from whackjob-ranter to sly whack-job ranter.

    1. For someone who is so Catholic. It amazes me how unkind you are? What, did you miss the part in Church about kindness?
      Hating child RAPE and it's enablers has nothing to do with your FAITH. Believe away. I can gaurantee there is not one doctrine of your believes that would ever be questioned in any court. It appears that you believe Catholicism is under attack here. Not true.
      (One of SNAP's purposes was to make Catholics see their faith as under attack: Demonstrating and leafleting at mass. etc. thereby renforcing a divide between victims and faithful that is the exact opposite of what any real victims movement would want. But this works perfectly for the Church. Driving people who should be prosecuted for crimes into the center of a frightened religious group. and the Bishops, as they adjust their vestments, sadly hear the sounds of demonstrators (SNAP)And the road show continues.)
      It seems Pent, I know that's not your moniker, but apt none the less, that your the one who connects being anti child RAPE to being anti-Catholic. You are the one that equates the two as one. No one else here believes that but you. Wake up.

    2. That's true, SNAP created the image that pedophile priest victims are attacking the church. Some of my best friends are Catholic people.

      The criminals are in the hierarchy. Higher than Monsignor Lynn...

      Been offline a few days. Just got back from some traveling, it's Monday after noon, waiting for the verdict now...

      But this story is in no way over...

  9. She also spins a connecting web between “suicide” and clerical – to use her today-word for it – “deviance”. If anybody has clearly established a causal (and not simply temporal) connection between abuse and suicide I haven’t been able to find it.

    As a scientific proposition it would be extremely difficult to accomplish: first, the claim of abuse would have to be established beyond doubt; second, the abuse would have to be definitively established as the cause of the suicide and not simply as something that happened afterward in – third – an otherwise well-functioning personal make-up.

    All of this may seem – to a certain mindset – mere obstruction to acknowledging what “everybody just knows”. The scientific complexities, to this mindset, are as irritating and as the legal complexities (ask the Philadelphia DA’s office) and to this mindset demonstrate nothing more than proof-positive that some people ‘just don’t get it’ (to use the old saw) and just don’t want to get it because they are a) demonic, b) deniers, c) in collusion to ‘protect’ abusers, and d) are probably abusers or rapists themselves. All of which cartoon thinking passes for the height of illumination among a certain type of mindset.

    But I will say that beyond the shadow of a doubt in my opinion: any time humans interact with each other they create consequences in other humans. This holds true for personal interactions and for web comments. The highest responsibility has to be accepted – preferably beforehand – for ensuring that any such actual or virtual encounter is as honest and clear as is possible. To the extent that any priest or any care-provider or anybody in authority over another human being fails in that huge responsibility, then they make the world that much darker a place. Ditto with virtual encounters: make them as accurate as possible so as not to contribute – for whatever fancied ‘good’ purpose – to confusion and lack of clarity and accuracy.

    And since “knowing the data” is precisely what SARAHTX2 has precisely not demonstrated, we are then given a bird’s-eye view of how all this “anger” gets rolling in the first place: people hear and accept inaccurate information, think they have heard truth, and get all worked up.

    Which still doesn’t justify years-long wallowing in such misinformation, but humans – as I have said before in comments – are like tuning-forks and can set each other off, for better or for worse. So often, I think, from what I have seen in comments on this site, for worse.

    But SARAHTX2’s sly effort to excuse “anger” does not do so, and surely does not ‘justify’ the continued wallowing in misinformation and cartoon thinking. Humans have free will and minds, and those powers have to be used and used as well as possible. And no amount of piously declaimed noble sentiments – standing for dignity etc – justify anything less.

    Thus, when she wraps up with a further comment that I’m “not even trying to find the truth” I can only inquire: what ‘truth’ might that be? Because hers and ALLEN’s, among a number of others, turns out upon examination and thought to be no truth at all.

    1. I can't do your work for you. The evidence of suicide among children defiled by priests is abundant. When one doesn't want to see, one tends not to look. Fair enough. The rest of us will do the hard work on behalf of children while you obfuscate. Lynn will either be found guilty or he will not. In any event, next up, Kansas City and Bishop Finn. There's always another case coming up when it comes to deviance of Catholic priests.

      Who knows, we may even reach a point where Catholic parents will be held liable for criminal neglect of their children. Bukowski's mother comes to mind here. It's not gonna end anytime soon, Pertinax. I'm sure you've read that the second largest demonination in America is ex-Catholics. We ex-Catholics don't like what we saw done to our brothers and sisters, in God's name, and we aim to stop it. Good luck to you in your defense of a dying breed.

  10. I knew you'd read John Allen's column. And I'm glad you did. You're getting informed now, Pertinax. Maybe you'll even go a step further and inform your cohorts at Mass that there's trouble in River City, so to speak.

    Next, you might want to check out what's going on in Ireland and perhaps listen to the Prime Minister's rousing speech rebuking the Vatican. Now there's a Catholic who cares about children. I wish he would school the rest of you.

    And then we could take a look at the mess in the Netherlands, the confusion in Australia, the catastrophe in Canada, and the stolen babies in Spain. After reading about all these, you may well consider that deviance is the best word to use for the practice of adults seeking sexual gratification from children.

    Yes, Pertinax, it's worse than you thought. It's a world-wide calamity. Still, it's better to know the facts than to just guess at them. Thanks for getting in there and giving it the old college try.

  11. Once again with "evidence" that is "abundant" but no actual information as to where this abundant (I'm going to reserve judgment on ‘reliable’) evidence might be.

    No explanation as to how SARAHTX2's assertions don't jibe with John Allen's article.

    But in the world these people operate in, the myah-myah one-liners and snark apparently pass for insight, knowledge, and accurate information. And tuning-fork speaketh unto tuning fork and the beat goes on.

    Apparently, in the interests of the party-line and groupthink, accuser Bukowski's mother – who in the conventional scripting of these things should be greatly sympathized-with as the deceived and distraught mother of a victim - is now to be classed with the enemies of the revolution for not playing along with the game. The possibility that she knows better than the groupthinkers what's going on with her son ... nope, that couldn't possibly be.

    Should the case not go well for the various interests, no doubt the prosecutors will also be denounced as gutless, incompetent bumblers. And if the case doesn’t go well, I expect variations on two themes: a) the Great Idea-Poor Execution excuse that was deployed to try to get around the failure of the grossly-misconceived Iraq invasion and b)the insinuation that somehow the all-powerful Church managed to ‘reach’ the judge, the jury, the prosecutors, or all of the foregoing.

    I'd have been happy if SARAHTX2 had done her own work in backing up her comments, but she slyly prefers to change the subject and wonder about my work. As so often in the comments on this site, concepts don’t matter: only the spin. It’s a shame: a site like this about a case this significant could have been so much more – but it hasn’t turned out that way. Like the case itself, there seem to be dynamics beneath the surface. It is what it is.

    Rather than go back and look at any of the issues I raised as to her credibility, she simply spouts off a list of where the piñata-game has now broken out in other places. In a world where national economies are rapidly declining – if not worse – it isn’t hard to imagine what it would be like to hold forth to all those people visions of the sugar-plum fairies that would accompany the American civil-lawsuit piñata opening for business down the street.

    We’re seeing something here; we’re given a look at something as if a curtain were being drawn back to reveal the machinery behind Oz – something, oddly, that a number of commenters on this site seem to have in common. It’s almost as if they all know each other or trade notes or participate in the same mindset and use the same talking-points. More amazing coincidences, no doubt.

    1. Group thinkers? Group thinkers? Who are you Howard Roark and we're all Elsworth Tooey?
      Ayn Rand come out, come out, where ever you are.
      You write more than anyone else here. For what reason? If you could possibly limit your answer to a few sentences. I would deeply appreciate it.

  12. dear Sarah could you please lighten up? Don't give up your beliefs Pertinax loves the sound of his or her own keyboard.
    Most of us victims needed defense when we were children. Most of us didn't get defended.
    Believe it or not we can defend ourselves as adults. That's the problem we are too defensive as adults.
    What we need is organized help in regards statutes of limitation. Sarah, what are you doing about that in your state? If only the energy spent here debating nonsense year after year, could be used to change laws; then you could say your doing something for victims. Until then, I lost count of how many angels are dancing on pins? But I know someone here will be keeping count.

  13. Jim, that's a good reference about angles dancing on pins. Our friend Pertinax reminds me of those medieval theologians who spent endless hours debating how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. He has written thousands of words that dance around the legal and moral issues, and yet not once have I seen a sincere expression of remorse for the victims. He would rather debate the numbers, and quibble about the definition of "under reporting" of statistics. The fact is, as I said before in a previous comment, even if the victim's rights groups are wildly inflating the statistics, there are still thousands of proven cases of sex abuse or rape by priests, and that's just unspeakable. And Pertinax's comment that he never was taught that priests are God's representatives on Earth is just laughable. I was in Catholic school in the 1950s and 60s and you'd better believe we were effectively taught that the priests were above us common folk. You can say all you want about what the Church really taught, but the fact is that in a child's mind, based on how he saw his parents, the nuns, and other adults acted in the presence of priests, the message was that these were "semi-divine" beings. We were indoctrinated to treat them with the utmost respect, never to question them, and to believe that they were God's representatives on Earth. For a person in that position to do what some of these men did is an utter horror.

    I just want to say, though, that after reading comments on this site for weeks now, I have to separate myself from Catholic haters like nellallen76. These are ugly times for the Church, and there is a lot to be ashamed of (not least the fact that there must have been thousands of priests who kept their mouths shut when they knew something damning about their fellow priests). However, it is just wrong to make statements that paint the Catholic Church as an evil organization. I know it's silly to try to debate haters like you, but this is a Church that has educated millions, provided health care and social services for millions, and has been a force for good in the world for thousands of years. Yes, it has caused evil also, but to make blanket statements about "Catholics" as if we're all either evil or mindless robots is just cretinous. And you know what? It alienates people and makes you lose all credibility. If you sincerely care about the victims you should not be making such ridiculous statements, because people will label you a kook and stop listening to you. I know that you won't listen to a word I said, and you'll post a reply about how I'm evil like all the other Catholics, but at least I got that off my chest.

    1. John, Pent is the turd in the punch bowl at all sights referencing the clerical rape of children. The grand high obfuscator (read PooBah)
      Many Catholics have been placing themselves at these sites or were placed at these sites to keep conversations misdirected. And so far they have succeeded. You've seen the poles of conversation appear over and over. SNAP is attacking the Church vs. SNAP is helping victims. Gay priests are the problem vs. not. YAWN! All camoflauge and misdirection. Where are the victims? SNAP and the Church controls all. We have no way of meeting each other. SNAP with the Church's money has seen to that.


Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.