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A year in the life of the Twin Cities archdiocese


A year in the life of the Twin Cities archdiocese

Madeleine Baran · · Dec 26, 2014
From the link: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/12/24/archdiocese-cover-up

One of the biggest stories of 2014 was the MPR News investigation of the clergy sex abuse cover-up in the Twin Cities archdiocese.

Archbishop John Neinsted

Archbishop John Neinsted

 

A year ago this month, a Ramsey County judge forced Archbishop John Nienstedt to release the names of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children. In the months that followed, the archdiocese faced new revelations about how deep the cover-up went and who was involved.

What’s the current state of the scandal?

Much is still happening behind the scenes. Indications are that the archdiocese will file for bankruptcy, though it claims that it hasn’t decided yet. If the archdiocese does file for bankruptcy, all of the church’s finances would be under scrutiny by a federal judge. We don’t know where that would lead or how much money victims would end up receiving.

Has the archdiocese put procedures in place to ensure reform?

Not as far as we can tell. Over the past year and a half, the archdiocese has announced a new task force and appointed various priests and lay people to advise the church on handling abuse complaints, but the structure of the chancery remains the same. The archbishop holds all the power, and does not have to follow anyone’s recommendations. The structure that allowed this cover-up to happen is still in place.

It’s also important to note some context. This isn’t the first time this archdiocese has faced a clergy sex abuse cover-up. Each time, the scandal starts with an allegation that church leaders covered up abuse. Then the archdiocese apologizes, announces new policies, meets with victims and stresses the idea of healing and moving on. Bishops in the 1980s and ’90s said the same things that church leaders say now.

Is Archbishop John Nienstedt still in charge?

He is, but more of his subordinates are making statements and granting interviews on the scandal. In some ways, he is no longer the public face of the archdiocese.

About a year ago, Nienstedt authorized an investigation into his private life. It’s still not over. Nienstedt has promised transparency and accountability, yet the public knows almost nothing about this investigation. We recently learned that the archdiocese has hired another attorney to continue the investigation, but no one at the chancery will tell the public why.

What’s happened between the archdiocese and plaintiffs’ attorney Jeff Anderson?

No one had been a louder critic of the archdiocese for its handling of sex abuse cases than Jeff Anderson. He conducted news conferences where he condemned the leaders of the archdiocese and held up photos of priests accused of abuse. That’s not happening anymore. At a news conference, he shook hands with church officials and announced a new era of cooperation. There’s a more or less orderly process of working through claims from abuse victims.

What are victims saying?

We’re just halfway through a three-year window that allows victims of child sexual abuse a chance to sue for older claims. That window closes in May of 2016.

MPR News gets calls from victims who say they haven’t told anyone that they were abused, let alone decided whether to file a lawsuit. A lot of these people are men in their 60s, even their 70s and 80s. Almost every victim says he cannot understand why parishioners aren’t up in arms over the cover-up.

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A MESSAGE TO “FATHER” LEON GAULIN, ST THOMAS MORE PARISH IN DURHAM NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH


A MESSAGE TO “FATHER” LEON GAULIN, ST THOMAS MORE PARISH IN DURHAM NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Hey Leon, you pedophile psycho!!! How has been your life you disgusting piece of shit? Oh I know how your life has been. The investigator for Peter Hutchins told me quite a bit about your sorry ass.

Gee…like I know, unlike myself, you never missed one single meal, or had to worry where your next meal came from. Myself? Sometimes I had to dive into dumpsters and eat canned cat food.

I know how you NEVER had to worry about a roof over your head. While I have slept under bridges, houses, in parks, being homeless sometimes for months at a time.

We’re your dreams sweet Leon? Did you ever dream or have a nightmare about what you and the others did to me that night? I know now there were others with you Leon. I know why you gave me that drink of water. Funny how I do not remember pretty much anything after that…but I know something more horrifying happened to me at the hands of you and other priests that night. Did you dedicate me to the service of Satan? Did you sacrifice my soul on your altar? Is that why I felt I was a demon afterwards, so much so that I took the name of Damien from The Omen movies as my name? Why Leon, does Desmonds name stick in my head? Was he there? Did he rape me too along with a few others? I remember Desmond from St Charles. So tell me Leon, did you all seriously have to destroy everything about me that night? Do you feel proud of all the pain, suffering, horror that you brought and caused in my life?

As for myself Leon, I wish you could experience some of my nightmares, where I am in hell, being gang-raped by priests, and the very demons of hell. Typically Leon they end with you. See you now have the face of a demon, but I know it is you. You come over, rip off my dick and eat it. I feel EVERYTHING in these nightmares Leon. I sure wish you could experience them like I do.

WE KNOW YOU DID IT LEON GAULIN…WE KNOW IT. I KNOW WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL YOU RAPED ME, THAT EVERYTHING I SAID YOU DID TO ME THAT NIGHT, THAT NIGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO KEEP ME SAFE FROM HARM, THAT YOU FORCED ME INTO DOING THINGS THROUGH YOUR FUCKING PERVERSE USE OF YOUR PSYCHOTIC RELIGION. YOU RAPED ME LEON GAULIN, YOU SUCKED MY DICK TO SUCK THE DEMON OUT OF ME, YOU FORCED ME TO SUCK YOUR DICK TO TAKE YOUR SACRED SACRAMENT AND THEN YOU RAPED ME ANALLY WHILE FORCING ME TO DO PENNANCE WHILE YOU THREATENED ME WITH THE FIRES OF HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY IF I TOLD ANYONE ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL HEALINGS.

YOU PROVED YOUR DAMN GUILT THE MOMENT YOU DISCONNECTED YOUR PHONE AND PUT YOUR HOUSE UP FOR SALE IN MAINE AND LEFT FOR FLORIDA WITH YOUR HUSBAND, ESPECIALLY RIGHT AFTER THE INVESTIGATOR SAW YOU.

Here is my whole point of this Leon Gaulin and St Thomas More parish and all of you there, and to the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophiles along with that nasty, disgusting Bill Pig Face Donohue of the Catholic League.

ALL OF THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CAUSED ME? I DON’T WANT IT ANYMORE!!! I DON’T WANT THE NIGHTMARES, I DON’T WANT ALL THIS EVIL YOU HAVE BROUGHT TO ME AND SCREWED MY LIFE WITH. I AM NOT THE DEMON, I AM NOT THE SATAN, I AM NOT THE ONE WHO WILL BE BOUND TO YOUR HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY. NO, NO MORE YOU LOW LIVES….NO MORE YOU SCUM….NO MORE YOU PEDOPILES, YOU DEFENDERS OF PEDOPHILES AND YOU WHO DARE CALL THEM HOLY MEN OF GOD!!!! NO MORE DO YOU FREAKING UNDERSTAND ME!!!

ALL OF THIS, ALL OF THIS EVIL YOU BROUGHT INTO MY LIFE, ALL OF THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING, ALL OF THIS TORMENT, ALL OF IT…..NOW BELONGS TO YOU LEON GAULIN, TO YOU THE OTHER PRIESTS OF ST THOMAS MORE WHO PARTICIPATED IN MY RAPE, ALL OF YOU PARISHIONERS OF THAT PARISH WHO STAND UP AND DEFEND THEM, ALL OF YOU PEDOPHILE PIMPS, LIKE CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ET AL, AND YOU BILL DONOHUE OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE….ALL OF THIS IS NOW YOURS!!!!

YOU WILL ALL NOW SUFFER JUST LIKE I HAVE BECAUSE OF YOUR ACTIONS AGAINST ME. YOU ALL WILL NOW RECEIVE ALL THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING YOU CAUSED ME IN YOUR LIVES. ALL OF IT…..AND ALL THAT GOOD YOU ALL GET? THE BEING FED, HOUSED AND NEVER HAVING TO WORRY AGAIN ABOUT THOSE THINGS? NOW COME TO ME.

ALL OF THIS EVIL NOW RETURNS TO YOU ALL A HUNDRED FOLD. A THOUSAND FOLD. YOU ALL WILL NOW SUFFER THE NIGHTMARES I HAVE. YOU ALL WILL NOW SUFFER THE GUILT, THE PAIN AND THE EVIL I HAVE….IT NOW ALL BELONGS TO YOU. IT NOW ALL BELONGS ON YOUR HEADS, ON YOUR HEARTS IN YOUR SOULESS BODIES.

I CURSE AND CONDEMN YOU ALL, UNDER THE POWER OF RIGHT AND GOOD AND BEAUTY!!! I CURSE ALL OF YOU FOR STEALING MY LIFE AND GIVING ME ONE OF INCREDIBLE PAIN AND SUFFERING. I CURSE ALL OF YOU WITH THE VERY SAME THINGS YOU ALL DID TO ME. ALL OF THIS EVIL IS NOW YOURS…A HUNDRED FOLD, A THOUSAND FOLD…AND IT IS NO LONGER MINE. I REFUSE IT, I REJECT IT, I SEND IT ALL YOUR WAY, NEVER TO RETURN TO ME EVER AGAIN IN THIS LIFE OR ANY OTHER.

YOU ALL STAND CONDEMEND…BY THE POWER OF LIGHT AND RIGHT…..YOU ALL STAND CONDEMEND BY MY OWN POWER OF BEING MY OWN GOD!!!! I SEND THIS TO ALL OF YOU, TO YOU LEON GAULIN AND TO YOUR DISGUSTING PRIESTLY PSYCHOPATHS WHO RAPED ME THAT NIGHT. I SEND THIS TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF MANCHESTER…FOR DENYING ME MY RIGHT TO JUSTICE. I SEND THIS TO THEIR LAWYER….WHO USED A DISGUSTING LAW TO AVOID PAYING FOR THE CRIMES OF RAPE AND TORTURE AGAINST ME. I SEND THIS TO BILL DONOHUE AND CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN AND ALL THE REST OF THE PEDOPHILE PIMPS OF THE UNHOLY CHURCH, WHO KNOWINGLY COVERED UP THESE CRIMES AND PROTECTED AND DEFENDED THE RAPIST OVER US.

I RETURN ALL OF THIS EVIL TO YOU ALL, A HUNDRED FOLD, A THOUSAND FOLD, FOR IT IS JUST AND RIGHT FOR ALL THE LIVES YOU HAVE  RUINED. FOR ALL THE CHILDREN RAPED, BEATEN, BRUTALIZED, FOR ALL THOSE YOU MURDERED, THROUGH YOUR FOUL DEEDS AND CRIMES. FOR ALL THE VICTIMS OF SUICIDE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF YOUR CHURCHES DISGUSTING ACTIONS I CONDEMN YOU ALL.

YOU STAND CONDEMEND BY THE LIGHT AND THE POWER OF A GOD YOU HAVE NO CLUE OR UNDERSTANDING OF. FOR I AM THAT GOD, AS ALL OF US ARE, AND I STAND IN THE LIGHT, NOT THE DARKNESS AS YOU DO AND I CONDEMN YOU ALL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!!!!

YOU STAND CONDEMNED, UNTIL YOU ADMIT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE AND YOU PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES!!!! OR WHEN YOU DIE? YOU WILL FIND OUT THAT HELL IS REAL AND THAT IS WHERE YOUR SOULS WILL BE UNTIL YOU ADMIT THERE WHAT YOU DID WRONG AND PAY FOR IT. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL YOUR SOULS BE RELEASED FROM THIS CURSE, THIS CONDEMNATION OF ALL OF YOU.

FOR I AM THE LIGHT, I AM NOT THE EVIL YOU ALL ARE….AND I NO LONGER ACCEPT YOUR JUDGEMENT OF MY BEING SO. I THROW THIS BACK AT ALL OF YOU, WITH POWER AND MIGHT AND LIGHT THAT NONE OF YOU CAN EVER OVERCOME OR DEFEAT. FOR YOU ARE CURSED BY THIS LIGHT, BY THIS POWER BECAUSE OF YOUR EVIL AGAINST CHILDREN AND AGAINST MANKIND. YOU ARE JUDGED EVIL BY THIS LIGHT AND AS SUCH, YOU MUST PAY FOR YOUR EVILS AGAINST THE WORLD.

YOU CANNOT OVERCOME THIS. THIS BELONGS TO ALL OF YOU AS YOUR KARMA. FOR AS YOU SOW….SO SHALL YOU REAP.

YOU SOWED HORROR, YOU SOWED PAIN AND SUFFERING, TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF US AS CHILDREN AND TEENS AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO REAP WHAT YOU HAVE SOWN. NOW IT IS TIME, FOR ALL OF THIS HORROR, ALL OF THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING OF MILLIONS FALL ONTO YOUR SHOULDERS. ONTO YOUR HEADS AND INTO YOUR LIVES.

SO BE PREPARED LEON GAULIN AND ALL THE REST. CAUSE HELL IS COMING FOR YOU. PAIN AND SUFFERING WILL BE YOUR LOT. YOU ALL WILL LOSE EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR….JUST LIKE YOU ALL DID TO US. YOU ALL WILL PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES AGAINST US. YOU WILL KNOW THIS WITH A FRIGHTENED HEART AND YOUR DEAD SOULS WILL KNOW IT TOO. YOU KNOW IT NOW.

SO ONE MORE TIME…..

ALL THE EVIL THAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ME, ALL THE PAIN AND SUFFERING, ALL THE HORROR, ALL THE NIGHTMARES, AND THAT OF THE MILLIONS OF OTHERS SO HARMED BY YOUR DISGUSTING PEDOPHILES…..NOW LEAVES ME AND MY LIFE AND THEIR LIVES AND COMES TO YOURS LEON GAULIN, AND ALL THE REST OF YOU. FOR IT  IS NO LONGER MINE OR THEIRS….BUT YOURS.

SO MOTE IT IS….SO MOTE IT BE!!!!

¿Cómo han actuado otros papas ante los casos de abusos en la iglesia?


¿Cómo han actuado otros papas ante los casos de abusos en la iglesia?

From the link: http://www.lasexta.com/programas/el-objetivo/noticias/como-han-actuado-otros-papas-casos-abusos-iglesia_2014121400101.html

Javier Paz

Javier Paz

Históricamente, la pederastia no ha estado entre las preocupaciones de la iglesia, hasta que la verdad comenzó a ser pública. Esa verdad obligó al papa Juan Pablo a romper décadas de silencio, pero la iglesia española no se dio por aludida. El papa Benedicto tuvo que admitirlo y pedir perdón, sólo entonces el discurso de la iglesia española comenzó a sonar diferente. El papa Francisco es quien ha decidido firmemente enderezar los renglones torcidos.

 

Javier, víctima de abusos: “La iglesia me ofreció dinero a cambio de mi silencio”


Javier, víctima de abusos: “La iglesia me ofreció dinero a cambio de mi silencio”

From the link: http://www.lasexta.com/programas/el-objetivo/noticias/javier-victima-abusos-iglesia-ofrecio-dinero-cambio-silencio_2014121400107.html

Javier Paz

Javier Paz

Javier Paz sufrió abusos por parte de un párraco de Salamanca desde los 10 años hasta los 20. Marc Campdelacreu ha estado con él y ha escuchado su historia. “Mi memoria se desbloquea con 28 años, estando en la Facultad de Educación. Hasta esa fecha ni recuerdos ni nada”. Asegura que el proceso de denunciar fue muy doloroso, “porque vas recordando poco a poco”. El acusado confeso siguió trabajando con menores, hasta que fue apartado por sentencia canónica a raíz de la denuncia pública.

Javier Paz, víctima de abusos: “Lo tienes todo en contra, la sociedad y la legislación”


Javier Paz, víctima de abusos: “Lo tienes todo en contra, la sociedad y la legislación”

From the link: http://www.lasexta.com/programas/el-objetivo/noticias/javier-paz-victima-abusos-tienes-todo-sociedad-legislacion_2014121400128.html

Javier Paz

Javier Paz

Javier Paz fue víctima de abusos sexuales por un párroco de Salamanca desde los 10 años hasta los 20. Decidió denunciar a los 28 años, cuando empezó a recordar lo ocurrido. “Lo tienes todo en contra, la sociedad y la legislación”. Presentó su denuncia al obispado con la intención de que, desde dentro, ‘movieran’ ficha. “Es la propia iglesia la que tiene que limpiar la casa de arriba abajo”. Sin embargo, su agresor confeso, previa jubilación forzosa, continuó trabajando en otra parroquia con menores.

Rev. Charles Newman, sentenced for theft, robbed everyone


Rev. Charles Newman, sentenced for theft, robbed everyone

June 1, 2009 11:52 PM MST

The former president of Archbishop Ryan High School, Rev. Charles Newman, was sentenced on Friday, May 22 to 3-6 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of theft and two counts of theft by unlawful disposition.

Originally indicted by a grand jury in December of 2007 with six counts of felony theft and one count of felony forgery, Newman is believed to have stolen $331,000 from the school and $550,000 from his religious order, the Franciscan Friars.

The money, which Newman claimed to have “given away”, is believed to have been used to pay off former students he had sexually abused.

One former student, Arthur Baselice, received $54,000 to purchase illegal drugs, alcohol, and as payment for his silence.  Believed to have been introduced to illegal drugs by Newman, Mr. Baselice died at the age of 28 of a drug overdose.

In spite of the evidence of sexual misconduct and abuse, charges could not be filed against Newman because the statute of limitations had expired in the case of Mr. Baselice, and other known victims have not yet come forward.

At his sentencing, Michael J. McArdle, the current president of Archbishop Ryan High School, read a Victim Impact Statement denouncing Fr. Newman’s actions and expressing the depth of the harm caused by his crimes.  “The damage is deep,” McArdle said, “Archbishop Ryan has worked hard to rebuild trust in the wake of this tragedy.”

This may be the understatement of the year although there may not be words in the English language that could adequately convey the full magnitude of the harm that was caused by the actions of one individual.

The loss of the life of Arthur Baselice – father to a baby boy, mate to a grieving widow, child of loving parents, is already a monumental tragedy that will have a lifetime of repercussions on his family and friends.  Added to it is the betrayal of students, parents, faculty, colleagues, and religious brothers who placed their trust in a man whose appetite for destruction consumed everything and everyone in its path.

As a former student of Archbishop Ryan and as someone who knew Charles Newman before he entered the Franciscan order, I’d like to be able to say the warning signs were always there.  I’d like to be able to say that Newman’s defective and warped character was as plain as day and that those who had authority over him should have known and prevented all of this from happening.

Unfortunately, like the other men whose names appear on the DA’s list of abusive priests, there was no indication.  There’s no special mark, no common peculiarity, no defining characteristic that makes the abuser stand out from anyone else.  Their apparent normalcy is their costume, and it’s what they rely upon for protection.  I cannot claim to be able to see through the disguise.

However, as an observant Catholic, I can claim it to be my responsibility to continue to demand transparency from Church leaders, and pray that those who have been victimized by Newman or any other person find the courage to shine an unwavering light on their abusers so they can no longer hide in anonymity.

For A. J. Baselice: Sins of the Father


For A. J. Baselice: Sins of the Father

Father Charles Newman, once head of the largest Catholic high school in Philadelphia, sits in jail after stealing nearly a million dollars. But as one family knows, he committed acts of evil far more chilling than that

From the link: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/sins-of-the-father/#OdpPfGKqspzyICMw.99

WHILE THE FAITHFUL and holy gather in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Art Baselice stands outside, bearing witness in his own way. He isn’t interested in prayers for Bishop Joseph Cistone, who is leaving Philadelphia to run a diocese in Michigan. He isn’t hoping to shake hands with the cardinal and all of the archbishops, who have come together on this summer afternoon for Cistone’s farewell benediction.

Surrounded by a handful of priest abuse victims and their advocates, he holds a sandwich-board sign bearing photos of his son, Arthur Baselice III, and two clerics, Brother Regis Howitz and Father Charles Newman. As a pair of clergymen head into the service, Baselice raises up his billboard. They look over for a moment, then move on. “See what I get?” Art says. “There’s a man of God. He turns his head.”

Back home in South Jersey, the ashes of Art Baselice’s son sit in a marble urn, surrounded by trinkets and photographs, as if part of a funeral that never ends. The man Art holds responsible is Father Charles, the former president of Archbishop Ryan, the largest Catholic high school in the city. With his wife and two children, Art would attend Saturday mass, and walk up the aisle to Father Charles, who would place the Holy Eucharist in their outstretched hands or on their tongues. Art is mostly bald now, and stocky, with the meaty hands of a prizefighter. He rarely smiles, and when he speaks, there’s an edge to his words, like he’s spitting them out — partly the South Philadelphia Italian in him, partly the ex-city cop. But his sharp cadence is mostly a reflection of what he can’t stop thinking about. “He started grooming Arthur the day he met him,” Art says of Father Charles. “Not only Arthur. He groomed us.”

That Father Charles was sent to prison in May for stealing more than $900,000 from his religious order and high school gives Art little comfort. In his mind, there are crimes for which the priest, and the Philadelphia archdiocese, haven’t been punished. His son is dead. So is his faith. As Bishop Cistone and his holy brethren worship inside the cathedral, Art tightens his grip on his sign, trying to make sense of how he — the ex-cop, the devout Catholic, the father — ended up here, and when his healing will begin.

This isn’t a story like so many that have surfaced since 2002, when the Boston Globe’s reports on Catholic clergy abuse tore apart that city’s archdiocese. Since then, tales of pedophile priests have been told by the hundreds, as other cities, including Philadelphia, began to examine the church in a way they once dared not. In 2005, a grand jury investigation launched by district attorney Lynne Abraham culminated in a 418-page report. The revelations it contained were horrifying. One priest molested a fifth-grader inside a confessional booth. Another raped an 11-year-old, then took her to a clinic for an abortion. Sixty-three priests were named in all, and the scores of children they violated would grow up battling addiction, suicidal thoughts and mental illness. But there is another group of victims and survivors — the families whose lives were ruined by depraved men cloaked in priests’ vestments.

 

Art and Elaine Baselice are among the forgotten collateral damage from Philadelphia’s clergy-abuse scandal. In the early 1970s, the Baselices were like a South Philly fairy tale, two young Catholic kids in love. Art, a Bishop Neumann grad who served in the Air Force, married Elaine, a pretty Maria Goretti alum from the neighborhood. Despite the cost of Catholic education, their kids, Arthur and Ashleigh, would grow up the same way they had, with the discipline and moral guidance of the church. Fortunately, Archbishop Ryan High was less than a mile away from their new home in the Northeast.

Arthur Baselice didn’t stand out among the rest of his freshman class when he arrived at Ryan in 1992. He wasn’t a straight-A student, nor a delinquent, partly thanks to the discipline at home from his father, who had worked hard years in homicide and narcotics. Arthur loved rock music and sports, especially football, playing tight end at Ryan. Still, he was more of a goofball than a macho jock, always quick to crack jokes and laugh. He didn’t seem destined for Princeton or the NFL, but Arthur’s parents were proud. He was a good kid.

Elaine Baselice first met Father Charles at Ryan’s annual mother/son dance during Arthur’s freshman year. The priest approached her and asked if she was Arthur’s mother. “What a fine-looking son you have,” Father Charles said. It was a strange introduction, but dressed in his brown friar robes, with glasses and a round, soft face crowned by thinning hair, he certainly looked harmless enough.

Father Charles wasn’t a typical priest, though. He’d joined Ryan’s staff in 1978 as a lay teacher in the English department. There, he was drawn to the spirituality of the Franciscans, who lived at the friary on Ryan’s campus and worked at the high school as teachers and administrators. Newman left to join the seminary, and when he returned in 1985, in his mid-30s, he had become Father Charles.

As an adviser for the school theater group and chorus, Father Charles was a talented organist and well-liked. In the hallways, though, he was a disciplinarian. It was his business-like manner, not any schmoozing with the archdiocesan elite, that would ultimately lead to his promotion to principal. He was also appointed treasurer of the friary — not an important job, it seemed, for priests who’d taken vows of poverty, as the Franciscans do.

In his private life, Father Charles was more likely to stay in his bedroom than have a beer at the friary’s Friday happy hours. One friend of his, Brother Regis Howitz, was a custodian at the school. Otherwise, Father Charles didn’t have an obvious social circle. Like a method actor who was always “on,” he maintained a holy aura at all times and was rarely seen wearing anything but his habit. Father Charles seemed to be a man who fully understood the power of the priesthood. So when he began calling Arthur Baselice into closed-door meetings, no one thought to question him about it.

FATHER CHARLES WAS promoted to principal before Arthur’s sophomore year, and though Arthur wasn’t in his class, and wasn’t an actor or a singer, something drew the priest to the boy. In the hallways, Father Charles would call him “Elvis,” a playful reference to Arthur’s sideburns. He summoned Arthur to his office and adjusted his grades to spare him from summer school. The priests at Ryan were revered, and Arthur thought the most respected of them all, his principal, was also becoming his friend.

Arthur later detailed his experience in a court complaint he filed against the archdiocese, as well as in statements to investigators and letters. By his junior year, he was seeing Father Charles every week, first in common rooms at the friary, then upstairs in his bedroom. While Arthur wore the priest’s black socks, Father Newman would sniff his feet and masturbate. In return, he would give Arthur alcohol and $200. After a few months passed, Father Charles pushed his victim further, performing oral sex on him while Arthur wore his socks. Drugs followed, with the priest’s bribes escalating from booze to pot, cocaine and OxyContin. Father Charles made Arthur urinate on him. According to Arthur’s complaint, Brother Regis also abused Arthur — sometimes in the presence of his friend, Father Charles, and other times alone.

Silence, it seemed to Arthur, was his only option. Along with the shame and confusion he felt, there was Father Charles’s warning: If Arthur ever spoke of what happened between them, the priest would kill himself. But as the rituals continued in secrecy, Arthur’s parents began to notice changes in their son. His grades fell. His cheerful attitude soured. He was spending more time with his girlfriend, Noelle Millar, after school. The summer after his junior year, Arthur made a stunning announcement — Noelle was pregnant. Angry and desperate to straighten out their son, the Baselices threw him out of their house and withdrew him from Ryan. Noelle’s parents took him in, and the Baselices thought Arthur was attending public school in the fall. They didn’t realize that Father Charles had told Arthur he would personally cover his tuition at Ryan.

After learning that Arthur was still at the school, his parents brought him home and agreed to let him stay at Ryan. It was a victory for the priest, in more ways than one. He kept Arthur close and drew his parents into the mythology he’d created for himself. They believed he was as concerned for Arthur’s future as they were. Why else would Father Charles visit Arthur and Noelle in the hospital after the birth of their son? Or take Arthur to Colorado for a hockey trip? He even brought Elaine a handbag after a visit to San Francisco. It made it easy to ignore the odd moments, like the time Elaine heard Father Charles say to Arthur, “See you later, stud.”

The sexual torture finally ended in 1996, when Arthur graduated and made up a story he told the priest about contracting a venereal disease. But Father Charles found another way to control his favorite pupil — with money. Arthur said that what began as casual drug use with his priest was spiraling into ­addiction, first to coke and pills, then eventually to heroin.

Arthur broke up with Noelle and over the next several years seemed to be adrift, struggling with community college, wandering from one odd job to the next. The only constant in his life was the drugs, and though Father Charles had pledged a life of poverty, he managed to fund Arthur’s habit for years with envelopes of cash, sometimes thousands at a time, and checks in Arthur’s name, one of which was for $10,800. When Arthur needed a lift to a local bar where he’d score coke, Father Charles would take him. All of that money could have sent Arthur to rehab, but what if, in his cleansing, the boy exposed his molesters? By Arthur’s account, Father Charles kept him stoned and silent.

Living on his own helped Arthur hide the depth of his addiction from his parents, who thought their son was simply partying too hard. As their concern for Arthur’s health grew, so did their suspicions about the priest. Whenever Arthur was pressed for cash, he always found work thanks to Father Charles — odd jobs around the school or friary. When the family moved to South Jersey, Father Charles came to bless their home. Why was he still so interested in their son? One evening, Art Baselice paid a visit to the friary with that mystery in mind.

Father Charles led him into a dim, wood-paneled meeting room, where the air was thick and stale. “I asked him point-blank — ‘What is your relationship with Arthur?’” Art recalls. “‘Are you giving him money?’ He would never answer my question. And because of my upbringing, the way I’ve been conditioned that a priest is a representative of God, I never pursued it.”

Art knew how to interrogate, thanks to 13 years with the Philadelphia police. This man, though, was a priest — his priest. Art had been baptized, confirmed and married by men like Father Charles. In the spiritual chain of command, Father Charles stood at the top: “It was like asking God a question, and He doesn’t answer.”

Art set aside his role as inquisitor and again became a humble congregant. As he’d done so many times before, he asked Father Charles to offer him penance.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Art said. At the end of his confession, Father Charles said, “Say three Hail Marys for your lovely wife,” and granted him absolution.

ARTHUR AND HIS PARENTS weren’t the only ones whose faith was manipulated by Father Charles. In 2002, the priest was promoted from principal to president of Archbishop Ryan High, which put him in charge of the school’s finances and fund-raising. By now, Arthur was a full-blown heroin addict, and the priest was in the perfect position to bankroll Arthur’s self-destruction. From his first days in the new job, those who worked with Father Charles noticed unusual withdrawals and checks. Like Arthur’s parents, they were initially hesitant to doubt the priest. But after six months, three staffers reported their concerns to Stephen Pawlowski, of the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education. Pawlowski — a layman who was Ryan’s previous president — thought Father Charles was just handling his business differently and deserved some leeway to learn on the job. Six more months of curious activity passed before Pawlowski notified the archdiocese’s finance director of Father Charles’s suspicious transactions.

On November 24, 2003, the archdiocese announced that Father Charles had resigned from Ryan after an internal audit revealed “financial irregularities” at the school. An investigation turned up a five-figure check written to Arthur Baselice, who was then seven years removed from Ryan. A private detective working for the church contacted Arthur and asked about his connection to Father Charles. For the first time, Arthur felt compelled to release what he’d been holding inside for so long. He confessed the abuse to the detective, who in turn spoke with Art Baselice. “Your son,” he said, “needs help.”

Arthur decided to give his parents a letter he’d written years earlier but had kept to himself. The lines run together with the panicked urgency of someone who’s afraid that if he puts his pen down to consider his thoughts, he may never pick it back up again.

Dear Mom and Dad,

First of all I love both of you very much. I was going to tell both of you what set my compulsive behavior off a couple months ago but chickened out afraid of what people would think, but I can not go on living like I am and hurting the ones that love me the most. You wonder why I would rather see a shrink than go to NA or AA, that’s because I need professional help. When I was 17 … I was a desperate young man and I was taken advantage of. … I went to Father Charles for advice, and on numerous occasions he got me drunk and high and taken advantage of me at the time it seemed right I mean I did not know any better. … He is the one who started me drinking and gave me the money to buy drugs so he can have his way with me. I truly believe in my heart one hundred percent he made me the person that I am!

Across three handwritten pages, Arthur’s conflicted feelings toward Father Charles are laid bare. “I feel guilty saying something,” he wrote, “because I think he really cares about me.” On the final page, he changed course: “You always thought I liked Father Charles the truth is that I hate him.”

The Baselices already had their suspicions, but they weren’t prepared for what they were hearing from their son. The priest’s comments and behavior, all of those clues that they’d submerged over the years, suddenly became buoyant.

His parents’ anguish only deepened when Arthur moved back home in 2004. Arthur couldn’t hide the abscess on his arm, or his swollen, bloated hands, like those his father had seen on the heroin junkies he used to lock up, and in the halfway houses he still patrolled for the New Jersey parole department.

The Baselices had reached their breaking point. Determined to show the church firsthand what Father Charles had done, they dragged Arthur — colorless and gaunt, sick from withdrawal — into a tense meeting with counselors for the archdiocese. “The only thing I want is my son back the way you got him,” Art Baselice said. “You broke him. I want you to fix him.”

The counselors took detailed notes, then passed the Baselices along to the Franciscans for help. Since Father Charles wasn’t a diocesan priest, they reasoned, he wasn’t the archdiocese’s responsibility. At the Baselice kitchen table a few days later, Arthur and his father met with three Franciscans, including Father Thomas Luczak, the regional head of their order. Before Arthur told them his story, Art excused himself. He couldn’t bear to hear the details of his son’s abuse by a man he’d once shared dinner with in that same room.

The Franciscans agreed to send Arthur to rehab. Less than a week into his stay, Arthur received a $50,000 offer from Luczak in exchange for a waiver of his right to sue. Arthur returned home without signing the agreement. “You know, Dad,” Arthur said one night, “I think Newman wanted me dead. I think he was trying to get rid of me.”

THE BASELICES CONVINCED Arthur to talk to a lawyer. Civil court was their only recourse for justice, since the criminal statute of limitations had already expired; that’s also why no criminal charges were filed in the wake of the 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report about priest abuse. Charlie Gallagher, the assistant district attorney who led that investigation — and, later, the one that would send Father Charles to jail for his thefts — wasn’t sure he believed victims who waited a decade or more to come forward with their stories. The grand jury investigation changed his mind. The same patterns of abuse and cover-up that had emerged in other cities were unfolding before his eyes. “Someone coined the phrase ‘soul murder,’” says Gallagher. “These victims I dealt with — their soul was killed, their spirit was killed, their faith was killed.”

Gallagher first met Arthur Baselice after Arthur filed a civil lawsuit in June 2004. He no longer resembled the young man from his high-school football photos. The drugs had cut him down below his normal weight, and there was an emptiness behind his blue eyes, making it hard to tell whether he was seeing what was in front of him or replaying the past. A year later, a state appeals court would dismiss Arthur’s suit and 16 others, not based on merit, but because the complainants came forward too late.

Still, there seemed to be reasons for hope. On the final Wednesday of November 2006, Governor Ed Rendell expanded the state’s criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes and made other changes to the law that were a direct result of the grand jury’s recommendations. It was too late to help Arthur legally, but he seemed to have already turned a corner. After violating probation on a drug possession charge, he completed six months in court-mandated drug rehab and a halfway house. He returned home and held down a job, installing granite countertops. At 28, he was spending time with his son and staying clean. For the first time in a decade, the Baselices had their boy back.

On the night that Rendell signed the sex crimes bill, Arthur ate lasagna with his mother, gave her a kiss, and left the house for a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Elaine didn’t know that earlier in the day, her son had called his sponsor. That old feeling was back, and it scared him. No one is sure why Arthur left NA and drove to Camden. Perhaps he was fighting the urge to kill himself, like the time he nearly jumped from a ­second-story window in a drug-fueled frenzy. Maybe, as he wrote in one of his letters, he’d had another nightmare that he was wearing black socks with Father Charles.

The next morning, a man stirred in a Camden apartment around 4th and Royden streets. He looked over at Arthur, who was on the floor, leaning back against a chair where his hooded sweatshirt, phone and keys sat. His skin was cold to the touch, and his nose and mouth were caked with a foamy fluid. Seeing that Arthur was dead, the man took a shower, called the police from a pay phone, and walked away.

That afternoon, Art Baselice answered his doorbell to find two Camden officers, their faces as grim as the news they carried. He realized his son had died in the same drug-infested neighborhood he combs on his parole beat. “That,” he says, “is what we get for being good Catholics.”

 

IN HIS FIFTH-FLOOR office in Center City, Bishop Joseph McFadden, who oversees Catholic education for the archdiocese, is dressed in black, bearing a cross around his neck and a look of heavy concern on his face. The only archdiocesan or Franciscan priest who agreed to speak on the record about clergy abuse and Father Charles, McFadden expresses his sadness for the Baselice family and other victims. He also points to a study that suggests there are more predators in public schools than in Catholic ones. As for what the church has learned after decades of inaction or subterfuge when predatory priests were accused, McFadden says it’s “not only a learning curve for the church. I think it’s a societal learning curve. … We have to listen clearly to children, with a much more discerning ear than before, which I think sometimes we used to dismiss. The church has learned we take this seriously now. So what did the church not do back then? We did what society did. Sometimes we didn’t pay close enough attention.”

And so, 13 years after the passing of Megan’s Law, six years after Boston’s scandal, and four years after the grand jury report that Cardinal Justin Rigali discouraged Catholics from reading, the church refuses to accept responsibility in unequivocal terms. In the wake of Father Charles’s thefts, the archdiocese sued the Franciscans, their longtime partners in faith, for damages, and accepted a $488,631 settlement. Yet it settled only a handful of claims with abuse victims after the grand jury report. No high-ranking church officials stepped down.

Instead, it’s largely business as usual. Consider Joseph Cistone, the bishop whose farewell mass Art Baselice protested this summer. The grand jury report cast him as an enabler who shielded Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, then head of the archdiocese, from firsthand contact with abuse allegations. Monsignor William Lynn, who is named hundreds of times in the report for his flawed investigations of accused priests, now runs a parish in Downingtown. Arthur’s parents were told the church was praying for their healing, and the archdiocese agreed to pay for Arthur’s medication before he died, as well as therapy for Elaine and Ashleigh. But the church’s lobbyists continue to block legislation that would give victims a chance to face their abusers in court.

It’s no wonder the Baselice family feels they were as much betrayed by the church as they were by Father Charles. “I don’t believe anybody in the hierarchy knows what to do,” says victims advocate Father Tom Doyle. “To them, spirituality is obedience to them and to liturgy. I don’t think they understand the damage, nor do they want to understand. They say, ‘Go back to the church. We’ll heal you on our terms.’ You’re asking people to go back to Auschwitz for dinner.”

FATHER CHARLES NEVER stood trial over his relationship with Arthur. At his sentencing hearing for theft, he denied giving drugs to Arthur, claimed they only had sex once (when Arthur was 18), and said the money he gave Arthur was to help pay gambling debts. But in his disjointed remarks, he never explained what happened to the $900,000 he stole. “You’re not telling the truth,” the judge responded. “I don’t even know if you’re admitting to yourself what you really have done.”

Upstairs in the Baselice house, Arthur’s bedroom has been faithfully preserved, like a museum display. His workout schedule and a pack of Marlboros sit on his nightstand. A football jersey hangs on his closet door. It gives Elaine Baselice some small comfort. She can’t bring herself to join Art when he stands in front of archdiocese headquarters with other survivors, holding his sign. This has become his crusade. He knows there are more victims. Arthur told Elaine he once walked in on Father Charles while he was molesting another boy, but refused to give up his fellow victim’s name.

With Father Charles in jail for three years, Art has tried to arrange a meeting with Brother Regis, who is still a Franciscan but restricted from service. “I want to know why he did what he did,” Art says. “Are you happy that my son is no longer with us?” But in September, Art was informed that it wouldn’t be in his best interest to meet with Brother Regis.

Art scours clergy abuse websites and jots down movie quotes about justice and revenge on index cards. If a priest walks into a restaurant where he’s eating, he’ll demand a table far away. Somewhere deeper inside, there’s also the anger he feels toward himself, for being too clouded by faith to save his only son.

His wife sits on the living room floor, leafing through a binder filled with Arthur’s letters. Art walks over to the white urn bearing the boy’s name. “This is what I get to kiss and touch every day,” he says, his jaw beginning to tremble. “It’s not warm. I can’t smell his hair or his cologne. That’s what I got.”

Perhaps their only hope for healing lies in Arthur’s son, whom they see every week. At 14, he loves rock music and football, just like his dad. He’s still too young to understand what his father endured, or how he himself, just by being, may lead his grandparents to salvation in a way no priest or church ever will.

St. Louis Archdiocese Dismisses Victim’s Abuse Claims as Lies, “Personal Issues” (VIDEO)


St. Louis Archdiocese Dismisses Victim’s Abuse Claims as Lies, “Personal Issues” (VIDEO)

Immaculate Deception


Immaculate Deception

Some dirty little secrets followed Archbishop Raymond Burke from Wisconsin to St. Louis

By Malcolm Gay Wednesday, Aug 25 2004

From the link: http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2004-08-25/news/immaculate-deception/

Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Raymond Burke

 

When Pope John Paul II tapped him to be Archbishop of St. Louis last December, Raymond Burke took yet another stride along the ecumenical fast track. Ordained as a priest in Rome by Pope Paul VI in 1975, Burke had studied canon law in Italy. In 1989 he was appointed to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the church’s highest court, and six years later the pope named him bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Now, at age 55, he was taking his place on the national stage.

The local press described him as the ultimate Vatican insider, a conservative who was said to follow papal decrees minutely. His hard-line stances often spilled over into the eccentric: He’d pulled his diocese out of Church World Services’ annual Crop Walk because the agency advocates birth control. He’d criticized J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series of children’s books. He’d spearheaded a controversial $25 million shrine in La Crosse honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. Most remarkably, he’d ordered priests in his diocese to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who supported euthanasia or abortion rights.

One controversy, however, appeared to have missed Burke entirely: the clergy sex-abuse scandal, which for two years running had rocked the moral underpinnings of the Catholic Church.

While other dioceses reeled amid thousands of allegations of abuse by priests, the Diocese of La Crosse had recently reported that from 1950 to 2002 a mere 10 out of a total of 705 clerics had been found guilty of sexual misconduct — a rate of 1.4 percent. By contrast, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops reported a national average of roughly 4 percent during the same time period. All told, only 31 allegations of clergy sexual abuse had been substantiated in La Crosse. Only three of those cases had made headlines in Wisconsin. One involved a non-diocesan priest, Timothy Svea, who was part of a religious order (see accompanying sidebar); the other two priests are dead.

Burke, it seemed, had tended his garden nicely in La Crosse and was well poised to minister to the fallout of the scandal in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Whereas his predecessor, Justin Rigali, had drawn fire for ignoring victims of abuse, the incoming archbishop was tidily insulated from the problem. So much so, in fact, that when St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris asked him to name the most pressing issue facing the Catholic Church here, Burke replied, “How to organize our parishes and our Catholic schools.”

But some members of Raymond Burke’s former flock paint a far different portrait of the erstwhile bishop of La Crosse. If cases of clergy sex abuse were few and far between, they say, it was because Burke was a master at keeping a lid on them. Several victims who claim they were abused by priests in La Crosse tell Riverfront Times they were stonewalled by Burke, who declined to report their allegations to local authorities. And while some of his fellow church officials nationwide were reaching hefty settlements with victims, Raymond Burke was unyielding in his refusal to negotiate with victims’ rights groups. He declined to make public the names of priests who were known to have been abusive, and he denied requests to set up a victims’ fund. Most strikingly, Riverfront Times has learned, while bishop in La Crosse Burke allowed at least three priests to remain clerics in good standing long after allegations of their sexual misconduct had been proven — to the church, to the courts and, finally, to Burke himself.

His critics say Burke’s ability to conceal the diocese’s dirty laundry was abetted by Wisconsin’s unique civil code, which makes it virtually impossible for someone to sue the church for the actions of an individual priest.

“He stands with his fellow bishops in Wisconsin as having had the ability to just rebuke and ignore our victims,” says Jeff Anderson, an attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota, who specializes in clergy abuse cases. “He has a long history of making pastoral statements that they care, that they want to heal, that they want to help. They are very long on words, but very short on actions.”

“We don’t exist, for him,” seconds Peter Isely, a Wisconsin leader of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “Loyalty to the church is of the highest order for him, and his response to victims’ claims has been lethargic and slow and reluctant and bureaucratic and impersonal.”

Then again, if success is measured in money saved and avoidance of scandal, Raymond Burke possesses a sterling record. At a time when dioceses are reaching million-dollar settlements with individual victims and filing for bankruptcy, Burke reported in January 2004 that between 1950 and 2002 the Diocese of La Crosse paid out a grand total of $15,807.38 to victims seeking counseling for clergy sexual abuse.

Ex-Seminarian: Certain Clergy Have Embraced Demonology


Ex-Seminarian: Certain Clergy Have Embraced Demonology

By Matt C. Abbott
Renew America
June 28, 2006

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/abbott/060628

I received the following (edited) e-mail from Tom Barnes of Alexandria, Va.

I am a left-wing lapsed Catholic whom you would not agree with theologically, but I read your column every time it is posted on the Web site for the National Catholic Reporter Abuse Tracker. I am very impressed with your research and writing style. You have a lot of good, solid things to say and your point of view is usually right on.

I am 53, a grandfather, a retired Coast Guard warrant officer and retired federal worker. I was physically and sexually abused by nuns when I was a child, and later, as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (I was pursued by a nun when I was a seminarian). My best friend from childhood is today a priest serving in Kentucky. He was the best man at my wedding and we attended high school and college together.

I attended high school seminary my senior year and went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary from my freshman year of college until the beginning of my junior year. I transferred to Mt. St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg and got my first degree there.

You are pretty close to being right most of the time, but you are just a tad off on taking a bearing on the problem as a whole. Your navigation is good enough to get you back to port, but you are just a degree or two off the beam on some issues, mostly on what is driving all of this sexual perversion among priests and bishops — and it ain’t sex. It never was. It is power.

The whole perverted sex thing with priests and bishops — and maybe with nuns — is about power, but even more than that, it is about demonology (in a psychological sense; I am not talking about theology here). You have to understand what the power of God does to the psyche of a human being who is accepted as a ‘priest’ by the people in the One True Church. He is, in the end analysis, a god. And he knows it. If he is emotionally stable and somewhat normal in his psychology he can rise above the abnormal psychology here that comes with being a god. If he is not, well, other things happen.

When a young man enters seminary, even today, he spends a few years in awe of his surroundings, the priests on the faculty, the occasional visit by the occasional bishop, the attention he gets from other people, and the odd, new way his own family treats him now. He is, in reality, different from the person he was when he entered seminary. The entire world treats him that way. To make a very long story short, this one thing changes his psyche. If he is even a little bit ‘off’ in his psychology, he begins to see himself as others see him: godly, different, powerful, and, most of all, entitled.

He is a priest or a seminarian and he is now entitled to the perks of that calling — and here is where the problem starts. What would those perks be? Whatever the faculty and mentors who are training him say they are. Period. And the training rarely takes place in the classroom. It is personal mentoring, usually taking place in the faculty wing of the seminary in the faculty member’s room. Now, it can be holy, wholesome and completely open and Christian — or, it can be something else. Whatever it is, thqt is where the young man learns about the priesthood. End of story.

Are you starting to see now how this continually gets passed down from generation to generation? ‘Classroom training’ in seminary is not where one learns to be a priest. One-on-one mentoring, usually in the faculty member’s room, is where most of these ‘priestly traditions’ get passed down to the next generation of priests, and there is more to consider here.

If the human psyche is willing to accept a special place in it for the Voice of God in the seminarian/priests’ life and the perks that go with that, how much more powerful would you be if you split the difference and also became a priest of satan — in other words, a demonologist?

I am not sure how many priests and bishops in the U.S. are in fact Black Mass participants or ‘demon priests,’ but I do know this: Child sodomy and forced child rape are sacraments in the demon church. So what I am saying is simply this: In my opinion, based on my own limited experience as a seminarian (from 1969-1972) in the Philadelphia area, I believe, at least to some extent and to some degree, demonology (in the psychological sense) is at the heart of this wave of perversion among Catholic priests and bishops.

One very famous and powerful American cardinal from my days in seminary was even noted by Malachi Martin as a well known demonologist who held black ceremonies in the Vatican. I do not know if that is true or not. I have no idea. But I do know one woman about my age who claims he sodomized her in the seminary basement during a devil worshipping rite attended by priests. This could be true, or this could be fantasy in the mind of a dying woman. All I know is, she told me this completely unsolicited and she does not know who Malachi Martin is or what he wrote. She told me of an incident that would fit with the profile that Martin outlines in his novels.

I have no facts. I cannot write a book or even an article. I moved on with my life after I left seminary and never looked back. But I hold five degrees — three of them are master’s degrees — and I have 26 credits toward a PhD in Education, so I am no dope.

And I have to tell you, even when I was a young man and a seminarian, I felt something was wrong with most of the priests I met. Not all of them, and even the ones I suspected of being grossly unbalanced, I could not really describe adequately what it was I feared about them. It was more of a ‘feeling’ than something I could elucidate. And it usually had nothing to do with sex. It was about some sort of soul-sucking, mind-wrenching perversion of the heart that they were involved in, a sort of psychological trap they seemed to be laying for us seminarians that I could never quite wrap my hands around.

To be sure, there were odd incidents of priests hugging seminarians too long and for odd reasons. There were also all male costume parties at Halloween that I found disconcerting to say the least. But there was no overt homosexuality I can actually state that I saw or heard about. It was more like an aura, an enveloping attitude about some of the priests and selected seminarians.

One of the most infamous child molesters in Philadelphia Catholic history, Father Jim Brzyski, was a year ahead of me in seminary. I remember him as a jovial, hale and farewell type who was always laughing and carrying on. I had no sense that he was the monster he apparently is — so much for my sense of insight.

Priests and nuns get drunk on ‘god’ power in their psyche, they get bent, and their minds, their souls, their lives can take a very bad turn. And because they affect so many people because of who they are and what they do for an avocation, they can do tremendous damage to an entire community. That is without perverted sex even entering the picture. Once perverted sex enters the picture, a bad situation turns downright evil.

Focusing on the sex is a start, but it is not the real story. The real story is that these men have literally sold their souls to the devil. They know it, and they would do it again if they had half a chance.

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)
Alexandria, Va.

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to RenewAmerica.us, TheConservativeVoice.com, MichNews.com, Catholic.org, Opeds.com, and Speroforum.com. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.