Saturday, June 2, 2012

Waiting on the Verdict and the Millstone

The trial of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William J. Lynn, Edward V. Avery and James Brennan has come to a close. We are now awaiting the verdict. I followed the trial closely. There is a man named Ralph Cipriano who is a veteran reporter and one of 30 journalists accredited by the Philadelphia district attorney's office to cover the case. He has been reporting on the trial daily on his blog sponsored by the Beasly Firm.  I read his blog along with the articles in, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and the AP. Ralph's blog was by far the most concise, independent, and non biased account of the trial. I really respect his insight and his candor. Ralph raised many concerns about both the defense and the prosecution's cases. One being that the prosecution seemed to be a bit long winded, with so much evidence and information, that it may have been too much to digest, for the jury. The other being that the prosecution had hammered Msgr Lynn too hard on cross examination. In the words of (kopride) one of the commenters on his blog: "nobody likes rats, but if you watched a kid tie a string to a rat, and torture it for hours, you would start rooting for the rat." Yet another problem for the prosecution was their "smoking gun" - the 1994 list of pedophile priests composed by Lynn and ordered to be shredded by Cardinal Bevilacqua - was also being used by the defense. The defense was using it to show that Lynn was just a patsy, a scapegoat, and the real guilty one is, the conveniently dead, Cardinal Bevilacqua.

That was the defense's mantra all along. That Lynn had no real power to do anything to the pedophile's in the Archdiocese. Accept of course, recommend that they get treatment or hand them their assignment to the next unsuspecting parish. When parishioners wrote, called or sat down with Lynn and told their horrific stories to him, he had a hand written note in front of him, telling him, "Never admit to victims that there are other cases."  And he didn't. He never told these people that they were not alone. That Fr. Gana, or Dux, or Sicoli, or Avery or Brennan, had other victims who were suffering just like they were. He quietly listened, and told them that he would take care of it. Then did nothing. And more children suffered.

There are some things that the trial showed that hopefully the people in the pews will take notice of. Priests stand together. They make a vow of obedience to their superiors. They are moved higher in the ranks when they play by the rules and don't rock the boat. But, in the real world, if an HR manager had a file of 35 employees whom were accused of raping children, and some of them even admitted it; wouldn't the moral, legal and ethical thing to be done, would be, call the police? If the statute of limitations passed wouldn't you at least get these men away from children? Wouldn't a normal person tell parishioners to be extra careful and guard their children? Maybe even have some sort of counseling for the possible effected families? In the real world most would even risk losing their jobs to make sure that innocent children are protected from these monsters. But Lynn did not live in the real world. He lived in a much safer world. Mgsr. Lynn’s lack of compassion and empathy for the powerless and his reverence and awe of the powerful are what this trial has shown, (if nothing else.) The difference of him standing up to his superiors and speaking out for the victims (either by going to the police/parishioners/press/screaming it from the rooftops!) and someone in the secular community doing so is that HE would not loose his job/livelihood. HE is a priest and guaranteed a job, a home, food, a pension, insurance and PROTECTION! So he stood to lose NOTHING by standing up for what was right. For standing up and saying I WILL NOT STAND BY AND ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN UNDER MY NOSE. Not to mention that he is a PREIST and supposed to do that ANYWAY, regardless! That is his CALLING! SO I can feel no compassion for his decisions. I can feel no compassion for his situation. It was a lack of even a shred of courage. Because he did not stand to lose anything, accept, being in the good graces of his Cardinal.

Is what he did/didn't do criminal? In my opinion, Yes. Is what he did/didn't do immoral? Absolutely Yes. Will the jury come to the same conclusion? I really don't know. I would not be surprised if they didn't. But no matter what the outcome, the work of exposing the truth in the Catholic Church is not done. The light needs to be shown bright on everyone who knew and did nothing when children were being raped and tortured.

A newer story just surfaced. Cardinal Dolan, when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee and who is now cardinal archbishop of New York and head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, paid off pedophiles! What is better than moving a pedophile to another unsuspecting parish? Give him $20,000.00 and release him to the public with a clean record. Oh and cover his health insurance.  It makes me sick. Substantiated allegations of child rape and molestation were made against priests in Milwaukee. The solution in Cardnial Dolan's mind was to give them money to leave the preisthood. Hell, it was cheaper than paying all those victims and then the priests were not his problem. He could very biblically "wash his hands of it." After they paid off their "problem priests" they filed for bankruptcy so they would not have to pay the victims. Apparently this is the m.o. for most Archdiocese when faced with a lot of troublesome lawsuits against their brother priests.  They file for bankruptcy and then claim they don't have the money to pay the abuse victims. They then bounce back and are off scott free! All the while, the money keeps rolling in every Sunday. And for all those that still think that unscrupulous people are lining up for a payday; Fewer than 2 percent of sexual abuse allegations against the Catholic church appear to be false.

So I can not even venture a guess as to the outcome of the first Catholic official prosecuted and brought to a jury trial on criminal charges of endangering the welfare of children by failing to investigate and report allegations of child abuse. I hope it is just and swift. But I am not holding my breath. The next trial that will be like this one is coming up against Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn. Interestingly enough, he is blaming Msgr. Robert Murphy, who is Lynn's counterpart in Kansas City. Lynn blames Bevilacqua, Finn blames Murphy.... NO one in the Church is taking responsibility. Everyone is passing the buck, closing ranks and protecting their own brother priests. Who is looking out for the vulnerable?

They better start listening to Jesus. He said, "'Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me; and whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the open sea! Woe to the world because of snares! For there must be snares, but woe to the person who sets the snare!..... See that you never despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually seeing the face of my Father in heaven." Matthew 18,5-11

Since they didn't listen to the big man, they better get their swim trunks and millstones ready!


JudyJones said...

Great article..The reason that dioceses file for bankruptcy,
(most often a day or two before they are set to go to trial) is because no church official ever wants to have to sit on that witness stand and dare to tell the truth...if they lie, they go to jail for perjury... they have no problem paying out tons of money, (which is donated from loyal Catholics) they do not want to land in jail..!!They are in it to protect the church and themselves...

Momma O said...

Thanks Judy. I appreciate you reading and your comment. Thanks for all you do for the victims. You understand, better than most, the hypocrisy and the legal maneuverings orchestrated by the Catholic Church when dealing with priests accused of harming children.

Kay Ebeling said...

Wow, very informative, Momma. Good analysis and I really appreciate your perspective. You go, girl. I'm a mom too, just got an empty nest a few months back and it's great to see you writing this blog!You are one smart lady. -kay ebeling of city of angels blog ( )

Momma O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Momma O said...

Thanks so much Kay! I appreciate you reading and your comment. I will be sure to check out your blog as well. We Moms have to stick together! (Congrats on the empty nest!)