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Glory be to Jesus Christ!!

Yesterday was an explosive day in the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The Attorney General of PA revealed the results of a two-year Grand Jury investigation of child sexual abuse by 50 former and present priests. The 147 page document is available online. The newspapers and local TV news are saturated with it all. The report criticizes our past two bishops as well. It's a mess. Sadly we have 50 priests named--almost as many as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which has 5 times the total clergy we do. And the descriptions of the abuse are plain sickening.

Please pray for all of us here. The disgust of so many faithful members of the diocese grows with each minute. And the criticism of our neighbors adds to our shame. The problem is, as always, attacking the teaching as well as the teachers and does not take into account the faithful clergy who are being tarred with the same brush.

I won't post any links because there are too many when one googles the diocese.

Asking for your prayers of all my brethren and for me,

Bob

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May God be with you and your Diocese during this difficult time. May the innocent victims find comfort and mercy. May the innocent and faithful clergy and laity stand firm in their faith and may the perpetrators be brought to repentance and justice.

Nelson

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As a fellow Pennsylvanian, I share your pain, and feel additional disgust because our utterly disgraced Attorney General (who may yet be impeached) may have deliberately timed the release not only to disparage the Church as her holiest days approach; but also (and, IMHO, primarily) to draw attention away from her own legal difficulties.

"Oh, what a good girl am I--I can still do my job even without a law license"

It would be a breach of the 4th and 8th Commandments for me to comment further.

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This is true evil!. An evil that has no borders. An attack on the very soul of an individual. It is way worse than bickering over politics. Which we as Eastern Catholics/Eastern Orthodox, more than once, tend to do. I pray for you and your Diocese and the innocent victims. As well as those good priests and laity who will undoubtedly suffer from the public stereotyping that will take place because of their faith. Caused by those priests and laity who chose evil over good. An evil that will have lasting effects on the Roman rite of the Catholic Church.

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Prayers for the diocese, the innocent clergy who will, as bkovacs notes, be stereotyped, and for God's people whose faith will be shaken and vilified. The understandable public reaction of horror and reprehension will, undoubtedly, tar the Church, the diocese, and the clergy with a broad brush. As my brother, Thomas, notes the announcement, while needing to happen was opportunistic for the Commonwealth's AG.

Many years,

Neil


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Yes, bad things happened in the past. The Church had and has sinners in it. What is going on there now? What has been fixed? What has been put in place to see none of this happens again? It is too easy to delve into the past and rake dead clerics over the coals. The positive gets lost in the negative. This is not to condone anything that happened, but the opportunistic who want money from the Church and those who think they can enhance their careers from the publicity will take full advantage of this. They always do.

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A hotline has been set up and the media report that it has been ringing off he hook.

Unfortunately, there seems to be very little that has changed. The only real change is that it took me SIX clearances to teach religious education and there are no substitutes in case one gets sick or needs to take off for family needs. The only reason they prevailed one me is that i needed half of those clearances for my professional license due to the Sandusky case. The state made funeral directors mandated reporters of child abuse, too.

The annual diocesan appeal for funds just started. Would anyone be surprised if they came up far short?

This problem reminds me of an exchange we had a few years back on this forum when our previous bishop silenced a priest who had been my former pastor--with the threat of excommunication and being defrocked if he spoke out again as he had at the trial of Fr. Luddy, our first abuse case. Seems he was called to testify before the Grand Jury this time as he was before.

Bob

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Bob prayers, for the diocese; consolation provided for those in need of it. We've had some run ins as a town, too, but likely not the magnitude reported in your locale.

Lord Have Mercy!

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Originally Posted by theophan
The annual diocesan appeal for funds just started. Would anyone be surprised if they came up far short?


By the time I hit Pennsylvania (2000), I realized that contributing to to the diocese was pointless--ultimately, it just contributed to the value of the ultimate settlement.

Ultimately, nearly every diocese will be wiped out and start from scratch financially; it's time for those that haven't gone through this to start a new legal entity, let the old one meet it's obligations until it runs out. This will involve selling assets, such as churches, to the new entity.

And thus ends the ugly lawyer's secular summary of this great evil . . .

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The Catholic Church -- and I'm referring to my own experience of this Church in the US although the issue extends to others -- is not one to advocate or condone loose morals. It also has a rigid, highly regulated and controlled selection process through its seminary approach to clerical formation.

So how did the problem develop? Who is/was responsible? Have the bishops of the US (my focus here) ever explained to the faithful what happened, the how and the why?

Are there any US diocese or eparchies that consistently did the right thing?



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The Catholic Church -- and I'm referring to my own experience of this Church in the US although the issue extends to others -- is not one to advocate or condone loose morals. It also has a rigid, highly regulated and controlled selection process through its seminary approach to clerical formation.

Some of my priest contacts tell me that many criteria were relaxed during the period after the Vatican Council because of people who thought that everything went out the window and everything was to be worked out on an ad hoc basis. If you recall, there were many men who left during that time and the bishops were willing to look the other way for some shortcomings of candidates for ordination. What escapes me is that I was taught back during that period that homosexuality was a canonical impediment to ordination, but it seems that so many slipped through that scrutiny.

Altoona-Johnstown seems to have been a place where the word was that this was a good place for those who might have been rejected elsewhere. We have only to witness the 26 homosexual priests who called for Msgr. Saylor to be silenced years ago for proof of that. Remember that this is a really small place, but we have the number of accused second only to Philadelphia where they have 5 times the number of clergy. Go figure.

Quote
Are there any US diocese or eparchies that consistently did the right thing?

Apparently not. Remember the book entitled "Goodbye Good Men?" It outlined many of the things that seem to have lead up to this stuff coming out--the seminaries that were corrupted and the places where orthodox candidates need not apply.

Bob

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At the time, it was seen as a matter of sin, more than psychology.

The bishops thought that it could be successfully treated, to the detriment of so many children.

*IF* you grant the premise that it was sin and could be overcome, the way it was mishandled can be seen as a pastoral response. The problem is it just ain't so . . .

hawk

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I think it was when psychology came into the picture that the idea it could be overcome came in. When it was considered sin, it was seen as an impediment to ordination and was cause for being defrocked if it came to light. Psychology overstated what it could do then and now.

Bob

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Very well stated, Bob.

Or, to borrow the title of a book by Psychologist Karl Menninger, "Hhatever happened to sin?"

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If memory serves--and sometimes it runs short lately--in the documents coming out of Vatican II, there was a recommendation that the Church should make use of the insights that the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry had come to. Unfortunately, the fathers didn't understand that these disciplines were not hard science but built on shifting sand. There is no more proof of this that the fact that the psychiatrists have since taken homosexuality out of their manual of disorders to be treated. And the John Jay study of the problems in the Catholic Church shows that the problems are not problems of pedophilia, but are centered on abuse of post pubescent males, meaning that it is a problem of homosexuality--something that political correctness will not allow to be stated.

Bob

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