Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Silence Of The Archbishop And The Inquirer

By Ralph Cipriano

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has called for an investigation of the local district attorney's office. He wants to know if any prosecutor had a financial stake in the criminal convictions of three priests and a former Catholic school teacher.

In response, the disciplinary board of the state Supreme Court has assigned disciplinary counsel Donna M. Snyder to investigate.

Meanwhile, the National Catholic Reporter, the paper that led the way in exposing the national scandal of clerical sex abuse, has run an editorial questioning the credibility of the district attorney's star witness.

Here's what NCR had to say about the witness responsible for putting three priests and a former teacher in jail: "The discrepancies between Billy Doe's accounts to the archdiocese and later to the grand jury are not minor, they are utterly different versions of reality."

The NCR editorial also called into question the conduct of the district attorney's office: "Years of elaborate deceptions by Catholic leaders are hardly avenged if the response is more cunning deception by civil society." That's why NCR labeled the D.A.'s prosecution, which may have relied on a phony plea bargain, "a shallow victory." The newspaper called on Seth Williams to answer the questions originally posed months ago by this blog, questions that the D.A. continues to stonewall.

So we know where a couple of national institutions stand on the local district attorney's self-described "historic" prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

What about two local institutions that have not been heard from?

There's a prominent leader of a local Catholic organization who continues to publicly remain silent about the convictions of the three priests and the school teacher: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

We're also wondering why The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city's paper of record, is snoozing through yet another news cycle involving the district attorney's flawed investigation, suspect star witness, and error-filled grand jury report.

Thanks to another ploy by the Catholic League, that slumber should end on Monday.

Chaput, as he has in the past, declined to talk to

"While we appreciate the opportunity, the Archbishop will not be commenting on those convictions," Kenneth A. Gavin, the archdiocese's director of communications, wrote in an May 14 email.

Back on March 23, I sent the archbishop an email outlining the case that the credibility of Billy Doe might be lacking. The next day, Francis X. Maier, special assistant to the archbishop, responded in an email by saying that Chaput was "grateful for the information. As was the case in Denver, the archbishop is committed to respecting and cooperating fully with law enforcement and the courts."

"Nonetheless, the archdiocese does have concerns about what happened in these trials," Maier wrote. "The archdiocese is doing everything appropriate within the criminal and civil legal systems to seek a just resolution for all involved, with the guidance of good legal counsel ... I hope this helps. Have a blessed Holy Week."

I'll say this about the archdiocese; they may stiff you, but they sure are polite. When you're getting stonewalled by the district attorney's office, his spokesperson doesn't even bother to respond. The end result, however, remains the same -- you wind up with no answers.

Donohue, the outspoken president of the Catholic League, said Chaput knew the Catholic League was going to get involved in the controversy over the local D.A.'s prosecution of the archdiocese.

"I didn't confer with him," Donohue said of Chaput, "I just told him, after we got together. I have been corresponding with him for years on all sorts of things -- he gets back faster than any bishop I've ever dealt with -- and his terseness on this issue speaks volumes. I'm sure he would love to talk, but simply can't."

Archbishop Chaput has visited Msgr. Lynn in jail at least twice. Last July, Chaput stopped by the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia, to see Lynn, who at the time, was in protective custody. The archbishop met with Lynn for 90 minutes, but what they talked about was not divulged.

"Their conversation was private," Gavin, a spokesman for the archbishop, said at the time.

Chaput is not known to have any contact with Father Charles Engelhardt, one of the convicted priests. That makes sense because Engelhardt is a member of an independent order, the oblates of St. Francis, and reports to a different boss.

Chaput, however, has met with Father James J. Brennan, the only defendant in the archdiocese prosecution to beat the rap. A jury hung on two charges last year against Father Brennan, including an 11-1 split for acquittal on the main charge against the priest, of attempted rape. Father Brennan is scheduled to be retried Oct. 21.

Brennan's lawyer, however, William J. Brennan, no relation, was not happy with how the archbishop has treated his client.

The archdiocese shelled out at least $75,000 a week for four lawyers to defend Msgr. Lynn during a trial that lasted 13 weeks, which amounts to at least $975,000 in legal fees. But the archdiocese refused to contribute a nickel toward Father Brennan's defense, his lawyer said.

On the eve of trial, William Brennan says, he asked a lawyer who represents the archdiocese to get the archbishop to simply call Father Brennan and "wish him well."

Even though Father Brennan is "a fully ordained Roman Catholic priest who looks to the bishop as his spiritual father," William Brennan said, "that request was denied."

William Brennan says he also doesn't understand why anyone from the archdiocese never inquired about either Brennan's perspective on last year's trial. If not out of compassion, how about from a "pragmatic standpoint," William Brennan said, because the archdiocese remains liable in a civil suit filed by Father Brennan's accuser, Mark Bukowski.

The archdiocese is treating another one of his clients the same way, William Brennan said. He was speaking of Father Andrew McCormack, a suspended priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in 1997.

William Brennan says he remains puzzled "why the archdiocese freezes out ordained priests in cases with sole accusers, where the accusers have a lot of bad baggage and shaky stories."

The lawyer said he would continue to aggressively represent both clients, whom, he said, are still presumed innocent.

You'd think somebody at the archdiocese would be curious how William Brennan, working for peanuts, was able to pull off something Lynn's million-dollar defense team was unable to do -- get his client off. 

Meanwhile, the Inquirer, which has refrained from reporting on the controversy over the D.A.'s prosecution of the church, is about to be drawn into it anyway.

This week, the Catholic League tried to take out a two-page ad in the Inquirer that would have been published on Monday, May 20th. The ad, which would have cost $58,000, was intended to draw public attention to the D.A.'s flawed prosecution of the Philadelphia archdiocese. The newspaper, however, refused to publish it.

William K. Marimow, editor of the Inquirer, did not respond to a request for comment.

Donohue, however, says he will have plenty to say about censorship and media bias on Monday, when he talks to reporters.


  1. Ralph is there truly any difference between the DA's office not answering your questions or Chaput ?

    Then you have the statement that Donahue made stating that Chaput knew he was going to get involved. Then in the very next paragraph it states Donahue did not confer with him. They must have conversed telepathically ?

    It only gives strength to a statement or should I say question I posed on the last blog. Has Chaput given Donahue the right to speak for him ?

    I also bring this point up is where is the honesty the catholic church has promised everyone of being FORWARD and no longer hiding things under the rug ?

    1. Dennis, just an Fyi: as a family member of a falsely accused priest, I have been answered by Chaput but not by the DA.

    2. I hope your family member is a free man and enjoying the world around him. I also hope the individual who accused your family member will or is being prosecuted by the law. Those individuals do nothing for the real victims/survivors.

      Chaput answered my questions in the beginning until, I will quote this now " I feel pressured"
      So What ? They are the ones who promised to the world they would be forth coming.

    3. Anonymous @8:13am.
      I am really sorry to hear of yet another false accusation against a priest. I truly hope your relative has been spared the worst. Falsely accused priests are caught between a rock and a hard place. The Church has understandably taken draconian measures to root out the issue with homosexuality among clergy and the pederasty that has resulted historically. Accused priests have often been unfairly cold-shouldered by their superiors. Yet we have to understand that those superiors have to make tough decisions given the disgraceful circus that has been created by the unprofessional media/unethical lawyers/hysterical "victims support groups"/law enforcement/ and a cancerous legal system. The courts need to be coming down really, really hard on the liars and those who aid and abet them. I make a point of plastering the names of the false accusers all over the internet as a warning to others - and as a warning to those who may unknowingly come into contact with such filth, and thus themselves be at risk. The above described constellation (an axis of evil) has made it so easy for false accusers to gain from lies (and destroy lives) that, now that Catholic clerical abuse has all but disappeared, those liars will surely look elsewhere for new, soft targets.

    4. Definition of homosexuality (n)
      Bing Dictionary
      [ hmə sekshoo állətee ]

      1.attraction to same sex: sexual attraction to or sexual relations with somebody of the same sex

      Definition of pedophile (n)
      Bing Dictionary


      [ péddə fl ] with sexual desire for children: an adult who has sexual desire for children or who has committed the crime of sex with a child.

      Now out of the two which best describes clergy members world wide in prison ?

      Not that they need my defense. But stop insulting gay or lesbians. They are homosexuals. Priests who rape children, well I will let the definition speak for itself.

      Be on the look-out justone1618, they too were created in the image of God and a homosexual family might move in right next to you. Buy your moving boxes now.

      Can you please tell me the internet sites you have plastered the names of these false accusers. I would like to review it. If you do not wish to post here. I will give you my e-mail address -

  2. Wow, Ralph, once again you are at the forefront of the BIG story. You make the Inquirer look lame and irrelevant They are not interested in investigative reporting lest, lo and behold, they stumble upon the truth. But as you say, they will soon be awakened by Bill Donahue's morning call.

    P.S. I hope that Archbishop Chaput speaks with you sometime when he is able. He is a very wise, forthright and tolerant man who has had, as you know, quite a busy agenda 1 3/4 yrs in Philadelphia. His has been perspicacious in making all the decisions that he was presented with. As his spokesperson said, he has respect for the legal authority and has waited until thorough investigations were done before he has had his reviews take place. Most people are aware that he is just and would not want to offend a legitimate victim. On the other hand, can you imagine how a just man could look away if an innocent priest has gone to jail. I am sure most individuals would not want his job. He has made tough decisions. And of course, as good a person as he is, he gets criticized by the extremely ignorant. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

    1. Lame and irrelevant is a good description for that newspaper.

    2. I'm from Denver and know the false humility of this man. He has no more reason to do anything good for the abused than the rest of the rcc.

    3. Glorybe, Gloria have previously stated elsewhere that you are from Arizona, New Mexico, California? Of course, if you are 84 years old as you have stated many times, then you could have lived in various places. It's a little confusing. However, you do not know the Archbishop of Philadelphia. You may know from reading blogs that he opposes changing the statutes in PA as he did in Denver for good reason;he has voiced those reasons-the same as most legislators. You say you have been blogging for 10yrs since you (a convert) then left the Church with your husband. It is most unusual, I will say for a convert to be so terribly critical of the Church as you are. You don't seem to understand the basics of the faith at all whereas again most converts (even an older generation)are a different ilk. In any case your frequently capitalized rantings about the Church are specious. There is nothing false about Archbishop Chaput. He has garnered respect for his being forthright. His humility is actually a standout. You are completely off target with your remarks. You know squat.

  3. Ralph does this not remind you of the old days.

    Chaput says nothing. The Inquirer says nothing.

    The good part about this is you do not have to worry about having that knock on the door.

    @Josie - I hope Ralph does not hold his breath waiting on that interview.

    Oh Charlie the apple does not fall far from the tree does it ?

  4. Chaput does not have to speak. His lawyers are handling civil cases as well as the appellate case for Msgr Lynn. They told him not to speak to anyone. And that is good advice. Lest lines get blurred, Chaput is very careful with whom he speaks to including priests out of the Catholic order.

    Lest anyone think Chaput is a pushover, he has barred more than half of the suspended priests from the priesthood. Most of those issues involve boundary issues and even after cleared by law enforcement, CHaput chose to revert to the mantra commonly used by the US Military - " Lack of confidence in his ability to command."

    This is a very powerful statement as it evokes that since you used poor judgment, you are not to be considered fit to command at all. Which means that you have to use good judgment 100% of the time at all times. Chaput has set the pace he expects all priests under him to follow and has outlined the consequences of not following church policy the right way.

    This has drawn the attention of many people from all walks of life and they see the way Chaput has ruled, they will have more confidence in him to make the right decision when called to do so and to continue on to protecting children entrusted to the Archdiocese's care while participating in church activities. No parent would leave his or her child in their care if there ever was concern about their safety. And Chaput knows this well.

    1. Great points, James (and Josie above).
      Absolutely agree. Chaput should not be speaking.

    2. Very well said James. You are on the ball. Also, some priests are probably a little upset with him because of his handling these cases so meticulously and strictly, with some of those "boundary issues" accusations. We have a wise and strong Archbishop who knows what he is doing. And Dennis, why not read about Archbishop Chaput-get to know him through his writings etc. I assume that you don't just spend your day on blogs. Right now you have NO CLUE. And it would not surprise me(he is very sure of the truth and outspoken in nature) if he would talk to RC one day but you would not be abreast of it.

    3. Is it just me. Silence is not golden when it comes down to sexual abuse. Is that not how the catholic church ended up in the situation it is now ?

      Then another individual agrees Chaput should follow the Military mantra. Has this individual not been following or reading any media coverage in the past two days. The military right now is the last organization Chaput should be following the ways of. My flag that I am proud to display everyday even has a black smudge on it. I am even thinking of flying it upside down to get the help the victims of the military need.

      Then you have a young lady who so much likes to ride the coat tails of others, cannot speak one original word of her own. Go ahead honey no one will yell.

      Then the last individual who I believe thinks he is the second coming. The protector. Deep down inside I believe he thinks if he repeats himself enough people will start to believe what he is saying.

    4. Dennis

      The military mantra is a serious reminder about using good judgment at all times lest questions are raised about your competence to command. That does not have to be engaging in a sexual affair with a willing woman but can involve a myraid of other offenses.

      About sexual abuse in the military, they do deal with each case individually. And they do take seriously allegations about such misbehavior lest it affects one's ability to command. Such individuals who get involved do have their careers cut short and are drummed out. Allegations are not evidence until they are sorted out and shown as credible evidence. Finally, sexual abuse in the military is unacceptable like in civilian life. That is why it is brought to attention by members of Congress who are hot under the collars and demand action be taken. Ultimately, the military will have to do something - educate new inductees and continue reinforcing the mantra what is considered acceptable and what is not considered acceptable. And keep in mind that the military adheres to a social code that may remind you of the 50's.

  5. I applaud Ralph Cipriano and his unbiased, investigative reporting as should all others who live in a Democratic Society!! It comes as a great relief for me to see that there are still those, such as Mr. Cipriano, who have the ability and courage to use the power of words that are based on facts as opposed to feelings. Justice should know no boundaries regardless of ones race, sex, economic status, religion etc. We should all be appreciative and strive for "....justice for all" as Mr. Cipriano continues to do!!
    A Concerned North Carolinian

  6. Chaput should not be speaking?........

    Hope that he holds to this policy when it comes to the archdiocesan efforts in Harrisburg relative to clergy sexual abuse.............

    Oh, I get it.......he's been to Harrisburg at least twice and he goes there and says nothing to the lobbyists and elected officials.

    My mistake, those who support Chaput, the Silent Man, only expect this to apply to the thousands of Philadelphia-area Catholics that he leads spiritually and morally.'re either silent or you're not.

  7. Oh, by the way, anybody have any idea what the "lying sack of shit" at the root of all this is up to these days? Sunning himself in Florida still? On a cruise, perhaps, courtesy of the DA's office, or the good old Philly Police Dept?

    1. The last thing I heard AVERY is still serving time in upstate Pennsylvania. What makes you think he was sent to Florida ?

    2. Dennis - your last comment was beneath reproach.

    3. Only stating facts. The only person I know at this time who can be charged with perjury is
      Avery is it not ? So when justone1618 was asking about the "lying sack of shit" One can only assume that he is in deed speaking about Avery.

    4. No, Dennis, you are not "stating facts"-you are being deceitful. You know that Justone was referring to Billy Doe in Florida as the "lying sack.." It is comments like that one that lead me ever so closely to not believing you at all. I will keep reading what you say and make observations to others aware of the off the wall, self-absorbed (somewhat belligerent) nature of those comments. Just what is it you do for victims anyway as your life seems to include nothing else????? You are in your 50's, in adulthood, correct??

    5. I state fact, I speak the truth, so how am I being deceitful ? Because justone1618 decided to use his free will of putting his foot in his mouth using a poor choice of words is not my fault.
      If you wish to speak for yourself answer this one question, Who out of the trial may face a perjury charge ? Because the fact here does not fall within your agenda and you can't turn this truth around is no need for you, justone1618 or joe1944 to continue to lie to yourself.

      For you believing me. I don't care ! Those days for me are over. I now question if you are the same Josie who posts on the other blog site (TheMediaReport) where I made that point very clear. If it is not you, you should take a peek.

      Now if I truly thought you are interested in what I do for survivors I would have no problem punching these keys until I set them on fire. One thing I will tell you, the people I do talk to I don't warn them about people like you because I have never seen anything to warn them about, but I do tell them there are people like you out there.

      I like you better when you are DEFENDING Chaput but justone1618.

  8. On the plus side, things obviously are going so great down at the formerly bankrupt Inquirer that they can turn their noses up at $58,000 in new ad revenue.

    1. That truly does give one pause, doesn't it? I used to be a daily subscriber, but it got so bad, and was too much to recycle. Now, I'm just a Sunday subscriber, but mostly for the comics and crossword puzzles...I don't even care about the columnists anymore. It's really gone downhill!


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