Archive for December 30th, 2013
National Catholic Reporter Names Catholic Church Abuse Whistleblower Jennifer Hasselberger It’s 2013 Person of the Year
Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it. Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice.
“People like Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle and former Benedictine Patrick Wall, who sacrificed promising ecclesiastical careers because they sided with the victims of abuse and not with those who would cover it up. Thank God for the recently formed Catholic Whistleblowers, a group of mainly priests and religious women, Catholic insiders dedicated to fighting the scourge of sex abuse and its cover-up.
“Finally thank God for Jennifer Haselberger.”
Click here to read this entire editorial in National Catholic Reporter.
As the judge set bail for Msgr. Lynn today, many are disheartened. However, justice isn’t the end game for many advocates and victims. It’s one of many means to an end. While many would like to paint victims as vengeful and money hungry, that simply isn’t the case for those I’ve met. Most lie awake at night worried that another child is enduring what they experienced. Protecting children is the victory.
Had Seth Williams not indicted Msgr. Lynn on child endangerment charges, no one would have seen the mountains of evidence proving a Church coverup of epic proportions. While Williams’ intentions have been called into question, they are irrelevant to me as a Catholic mother. What matters is that clergy child sex abuse will not continue completely unchecked in the Archdiocese if Philadelphia. At least now, many are carefully watching.
Now that we know there is a problem, we can…
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Reversal of Msgr. William Lynn’s Conviction in Philadelphia Conveys a Painful Lesson / National Catholic Reporter
“This week’s (Dec. 27) court decision that freed a senior cleric in Philadelphia who had been jailed for shielding an abusive priest was a symbolic setback for victims’ advocates but one with a substantial, and discouraging, message for their cause: None of the churchmen implicated in cover-ups during the worst decades of abuse will likely ever face charges …
“Nicholas Cafardi, a canon and civil lawyer at the Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh and former head of the Catholic bishops’ national review board on clergy abuse, said (Pope) Francis must broaden the mandate of the commission (on child abuse) to include his brother bishops.
“‘We have to insist that there be repercussions for any bishop who would re-assign or cover-up for a sexually abusive priest,’ Cafardi wrote in an email. ‘The church will never have closure on this issue unless the larger problem of hierarchical complicity is dealt with.’”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service, Analysis in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of Gibson’s analysis.
As a person commented to an earlier post on the blog, Msgr. Lynn’s conviction was overturned on a legality. As reported in The New York Times on Dec. 27, the day the ruling was handed down: “The reversal of Monsignor Lynn’s conviction turned on disputed interpretations of Pennsylvania’s former child welfare law and does not have legal implications for other states.” The same Times article quoted the appeals court as saying that “the state had provided ‘more than adequate’ evidence that Monsignor Lynn ‘prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.'” Click here to read Philadelphia Monsignor’s Conviction Overturned in Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse.