There is a front page story in today’s New York Times about the explosion in the priestly sex abuse crisis in Philadelphia.  It it as bad, if not worse than Boston.

A grand jury indicted four church people, including a senior monsignor, on criminal charges related to sex abuse.  Thirty seven priests guilty of sex abuse were said to be still active.

The Cardinal, Rigali, issued a statement in which he flatly said there were no priests in ministry suspected of sex abuse.

Yesterday the Cardinal issued another statement flatly contradicting his first one.  He suspended 21 priests from ministry which means they cannot say mass, wear the Roman collar or hear confessions.  Other priests are expecting the axe.  This is the largest number of priests dismissed in one shot in American church history.

Questions are now being asked about  what Cardinal Rigali knew and when he knew it?

Should the Cardinal resign?

Do Cardinals lie?

Will the church sex abuse crisis never end?

What do you think?


  1. 1

    Hmmm. Let’s see what’s going on first. Why did he change his position so quickly…could it be that, with good intentions, he took the “guilty until proven innocent” approach, and then discovered that the parties were, indeed, guilty as charged?

    The fact that he did the about-face is in itself refreshing relative to years of steadfast denial that various localities of the Catholic church has practised in the past.

  2. 2
    zeusiswatching Says:

    Perverts and criminals will never go away. Unless there is a formula we can put in the water, pervs and creeps will be with us forever. Preventing them from harming us is what we can do.

    What can change is the notion that a religion, or large corporation, or powerful politicians and government officials, are somehow to be given a benefit of the doubt, or given a shield behind which things like this can happen for years, generations even. Privilege was abused, and we might want to revisit what privileges, if any get extended in the first place since we have seen what has happened.

    This was my take on this about a year ago.


  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    What is really remarkBLE about the Philadelphia sex scandal is that Cardinal Rigali goes into the pulpit and tells his congregation how sorry he is when in fact he should be resigning.

    Never mind with the sorry bit. RESIGN.

  4. 4
    John Says:

    In an organization where one of its foundational principles is of a sexual nature (virgin birth) and its operational principles are of a sexual nature (celibacy), it should come as no surprise that its transgressions are also of a sexual nature and that it’s powerless to deal with them.

  5. 5
    Neil McKenty Says:

    een ab
    As you imply, it really is astonishing that over 2000 years the Roman Church has never been able to come to grips with h uman sexuality. Perhaps one of the reasons is that the Church is run from the top down by agroup of septuagarian male celibates.

  6. 6
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    Maybe it is time to rethink the celibate part.

  7. 7
    baronsternberg Says:

    I challenge everyone here to read this.


    and also to re-read Matt 19:12.

  8. 8
    joe agnost Says:


    It’s not just the Catholic Church that hasn’t come to grips with human sexuality – it’s all the Christians, and don’t forget the Mulsims!

    They all hold absurd positions on human sexuality – all of them!

  9. 9
    John Says:


    The writer of the article calls the following “a profoundly troubling observation”:

    “The Catholic Church has become the safest place in the world for children, but the most dangerous place in the world for our priests.”

    Does he not realize that given this or the reverse, the vast majority of Catholics would choose the above.

  10. 10
    baronsternberg Says:

    I’m sure he does, but it’s hardly an ideal situation. Wouldn’t it be better if it were safe for children AND one where priests’ rights were respected as well?

    What hurts a good but wrongly-accused priest hurts parishioners, too.

  11. 11
    baronsternberg Says:

    This post was made in answer to a question in a forum at Catholic.com that seemed very relevant to this discussion here.

    Today, 5:34 am
    Forum Elder

    Join Date: September 7, 2004
    Posts: 31,137
    Religion: Catholic no adjectives
    Re: I know this is a very sensitive topic, but….
    Originally Posted by dje101
    Coming from a protestant background and considering coming to the Catholic Church, I just need to know. What is the Church’s take on the priests who have molested children, and what has the Church done in response to those priests’ actions? If possible, could anyone provide any links to cases that the Church has dealt with as well as any public statements that they’ve made regarding the subject? Thanks.
    every diocese has a link on their website called “child protection” or “what we are doing to protect children” or something similar which can tell you the policy in your area. the link will also direct you to the official who receives and initiates investigation of complaints–and all are investigated–and how they provide assistance for victims. In addition any diocese who is involved in litigation will have a link inviting new complaints that should be heard and updates on that situation, and on financial settlements.

    the us bishops also have a link on their site.

    there are a couple of ongoing independent sites that track complaints, investigations, who has been charged, convictions, credible cases and dispositions of such complaints.

    When the trickle of reported cases became a flood about 10 years ago the US Bishops hired independent consultants first to come up with a plan to investigate, stop and prevent abuse, and another to research causes and extent of the problem. That latter report, called the John Jay report, was released 2002=04 and is searchable on line.

    The treatment of priests so accused is governed by canon law, and by civil law if their is criminal activity. Do bear in mind that even as recently as 10 years ago some states, including those where some of the most notorious serial abusers did their crimes, had no mandatory reporting laws, which are now in effect in every US state. There is also not much that can be done with a person against whom no criminal complaints have been filed or no convictions obtained. The civil authority also has some responsibility in this problem. Also there is a moral obligation on the part of victims to report but at times the church and civil authority have made this so onerous that reports were no made in time to prevent further abuse.

    Also recall that once a priest is dismissed from the clerical state (laicized, removed from the priesthood) the Vatican or local bishop has no control over him, and unless he is a registered sex offender with the government, no way to track him if he moves elsewhere. This is the underlying reason why in the past, and even now, the preferred method of dealing with such a priest is to assign him someplace where he has no contact with children, rather than simply dismissing him. Unless the civil authority makes a credible case and obtains a conviction, that may be the only way to prevent him from striking again.
    Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135

  12. 12

    “… it really is astonishing that over 2000 years the Roman Church has never been able to come to grips with h uman sexuality.”

    Neil, that’s because they keep trying to control it, rather than accept it! Mother Nature will go along with a joke for awhile — she has a sensahumor like all other beings — but after awhile, she stops laughing and starts dishing it out. Payback, I mean.

  13. 13
    John Says:

    Wait a minute, baronsternberg…..

    Are you saying it’s better to send offending priests to other parishes because it’s easier to keep track of them? That’s so bizarre, I don’t even have a rational reponse.

  14. 14
    baronsternberg Says:

    Well, absent a conviction by the secular authorities in the case of a person whom the Church has reason to believe is a bad risk, what else could they do? Laicize him and thereby release him from any decent restraint whatsoever?

    I realize this goes against the grain of the way most of us have been conditioned to think (especially the media), but the Church is not a government with temporal judicial or law enforcement powers. Perhaps that was different in parts of Europe during the Middle Ages, but that’s far away and long ago.

  15. 15
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Imagine if the church drummed all offending priests out of the clergy:
    Interviewer: I see that you were once a Catholic priest. Why did you leave?
    Former Priest: I molested some altar boys.
    Interviewer: Sorry, but we do not hire pedophiles and perverts.
    FP: Then what will I do?
    Interviewer: You could join the Republican Party and run for Congress. Nobody seems to care who they screw.
    And it’s goodnight from him – CTZen

  16. 16

    I can believe it happen in the house of fathers. will it be any end?
    billions of dollars will never end this. for sure! because man always need woman.

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