Saturday, December 19, 2009
Bishop Richard Malone should make room for child abuser priests to live with him in his 6 bedroom mansion.
All of these priests continue to be supported by the diocese. They are entitled to health care and pension benefits. They are provided with a housing allowance.
Bishop Malone does not require that these priests live together in a supervised group home where their comings and goings would be monitored. Instead, the bishop allows them to reside wherever they want - for instance, right next to a school.
We discovered that Rev. John Audibert is living in Foreside Estates in Falmouth. Foreside Estates is full of children. The bishop never even warned the local police about Audibert's past or informed them that Audibert is a safety risk to the community.
We want Bishop Malone to require that child molester priests whom he refuses to dismiss from the priesthood be assigned to a single residence with independent, outside monitoring and supervision.
We also want Bishop Malone to publish a database of child abuser priests and church workers on the diocese web site.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Bishop Richard Malone refuses to bear witness to the pain of a mother seeking justice for the unspeakable crimes committed against her son
Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
I’m saddened by the recent events in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, especially the inaction of Bishop Richard Malone.
As a spiritual leader, he should be an example of the virtues that brought him to his present position. His refusal to bear personal witness to the pain of a mother seeking justice for the unspeakable crimes committed against her son has caused more pain.
What is being asked is simple. I know this because I see it done on a daily basis. Sexual assault center advocates bring solace to people every day just by listening and validating.
In the 16 years of advocacy that I have provided, I have learned that those in leadership have the power to either contribute to healing or create more trauma for victims.
I have seen many leaders in this state be accountable by meeting with victims to answer questions and yes, provide the simple act of listening. It doesn’t mean that these leaders can always deliver on what is asked of them, in fact that rarely is the case.
What it does is much more powerful – it acknowledges and validates that the pain and suffering victims experience means something and is unjust.
Please, Bishop Malone, join the ranks of other leaders – DAs, attorneys general, police chiefs and school principals – and meet with Marie Tupper to bear witness to the pain and suffering of her family.
You can be a role model and rise upon your own discomfort to do what is right.
I know you can.
Executive DirectorSexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine
Will Bishop Richard Malone refuse entry at Christmas Eve mass to the mother of a clergy sex abuse victim?
Now it's signed by Marie Tupper.
Here's a copy of the letter sent today.
December 16, 2009
Most Rev. Bishop Richard Malone
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
Dear Bishop Malone,
I hope to be able to attend the Midnight Mass at the Cathedral next week. It is my understanding that you will deliver the homily.
I look upon my participation in this Mass as an “immersion experience.” I cannot resist having a front row seat to be able to listen to you preach about the unconditional love and compassion of Jesus Christ, yet, at the very moment you are speaking these words, you and I will both know that you have rejected me, the mother of a sex abuse victim, as unworthy of your time.
The Compassion of Christ calls us to be in communion with those who suffer, Bishop Malone. I will come in peace. But, if you happen to look my way from time to time, you may see me shaking my head ever so slightly (in disbelief), or my head may be in my hands as I pray for the tolerance to remain seated in spite of your hypocrisy.
Each time you see my face during the Mass, Bishop Malone, I want you to remember me, my 84 year-old mother, Claire Tupper, and my 35 year-old son. My son was sexually abused by Rev. Thomas Lee when he was a toddler. Have you ever wondered how my son and the rest of our family are holding up?
What a Christmas story you have to tell. At the same time that your houseguest, Rev. Paul Miceli, is warm and cozy inside your mansion on the Promenade, I will be standing on the sidewalk outside your home, shivering from the cold as I wait to meet with you.
Let’s not forget that while working as Secretary of Ministerial Personnel for Cardinal Law, your friend, Miceli, aided and abetted the sexual abuse of children by assisting in the transfer of abuser priests into unsuspecting parishes and schools.
On the other hand, my son was raped by our family’s parish priest during the time that my mother worked in the rectory as the housekeeper.
How ironic it is that you choose to invite Miceli, the very person who facilitated the sexual abuse of children, into your home yet, at the very same time, you slam the door on a mother whose only child was wrecked forever because of the harms and injuries inflicted upon him as a result of his child sexual abuse.
It will be a trying experience for me to hear you preach on Christmas Eve, Bishop Malone. Knowing what we both know, how will you ever be able to preach the gospel with passion and integrity?
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Monday, December 14, 2009
Third Sunday of Advent
Unlike Bishop Richard J. Malone, Jesus didn't have a B.A. in Philosophy, a Bachelors degree in Divinity, a Masters degree and Doctorate in Theology or a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) see below.
Instead, Jesus devoted his ministry to feeding the poor, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, caring for the sick and visiting the imprisoned.
Jesus stood in communion with the voiceless and the vulnerable among us. Jesus engaged the pain and suffering of the poor, those who have been rejected and disenfranchised.
Millions of Catholics have added additional insult to victims of priest abuse by their failure to stand up and demand redress for the sexual molestation of their children and the cover up of these crimes by bishops, priests and church officials.
Jesus entered this world in a most radical way. He came to us, not as the heir to a wealthy and powerful fortune, but as the son of a poor, gossiped about and often ridiculed unwed mother. As a child, Jesus was tormented by the other kids in town because his parentage was in doubt. He was forced to play by himself, wandering the foothills, speaking only to the much older shepherds who were tending their flocks.
From a very young age, Jesus knew what it was like to be lonely, despised and unwanted. His sad and unfortunate childhood experience became the foundation for his ministry.
The Compassion of Christ was born.
Once again, as yet another Christmas approaches, Bishop Richard Malone continues to refuse to sit in the same room with Marie Tupper, whose only child was sexually abused by her family's parish priest. Marie wants to work with the bishop to help protect children and reach out to those in her Boothbay Harbor community who were sexually abused.
We should all listen carefully to Bishop Malone's Christmas homily, just as Marie Tupper will.
She'll be sitting in the first pew.
Bishop Richard Malone, Th.D.
Bishop Richard Joseph Malone is the 11th Bishop of Portland. He was installed as Bishop of Portland on March 31, 2004 after serving as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston, South Region.
Bishop Richard Joseph Malone was born in Salem, MA on March 19th, 1946 and was raised in Hamilton and Beverly, MA. He graduated in 1964 from St. John’s Prep, Danvers and began his seminary college years at Cardinal O’Connell Seminary in Jamaica Plain. He graduated from St. John Seminary, Boston with a B.A. in Philosophy, a Bachelors degree in Divinity and a Masters degree in Theology. In 1981, Bishop Malone earned a Doctorate in Theology (Th.D.) at Boston University and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge in 1990.
Bishop Malone was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 20th, 1972 by then-Archbishop Humberto Medeiros and was assigned to St. Patrick Parish, Stoneham as Associate Pastor. In 1974, he was named to the faculty of St. Clement High School, Somerville; two years later he joined the faculty and served as chaplain at Xaverian High School, Westwood. He was appointed to the faculty of his alma mater, St. John Seminary College in 1979 where he taught religious and theological studies. He also served as registrar and academic dean during his tenure. During those same years, he was a part-time chaplain at Wellesley (Wellesley, MA) and Regis (Weston, MA) Colleges and taught at Emmanuel College, Boston. In 1990, the Bishop was assigned to the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student Center as chaplain at St. Paul Parish. He accepted the position of Director of the Office of Religious Education for the Archdiocese in 1993; two years later he was named Secretary for Education, the cabinet position which oversees all the educational activities of the Archdiocese. In March of 2000, he was ordained Titular Bishop of Aptuca and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, South Region.
The 11th Bishop of Portland has produced and hosted television programs for Boston Catholic Television; has been the archdiocesan liaison with the local Jewish community; and has lectured nationally on Catholic education.
Bishop Malone has one sister, Harriet Malone, who teaches art at St. John’s Prep., Danvers, MA.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
by Paul Kendrick
Bishop Richard Malone is still keeping secrets.
That's why we're just finding out that, from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, eleven more child sex abuse victims reported that they were molested by five living and four deceased priests.
Even as he reports the numbers, Bishop Malone won't tell us the names and whereabouts of the credibly accused priests and how many more children each priest abused.
When child abusers are identified, victims may learn for the first time that they were not the only one. Or, if it is now known that a previously accused priest abused a child in a different parish or school, this information may help other victims to feel strong enough to reach out for help.
The bishops go out of their way to advertise and promote Bill Gavin's (Gavin Group, Inc.) past experience in the FBI as if this information, in and by itself, ensures us that diocese audits will be thorough and unbiased. Yet, neither Mr. Gavin nor the bishops will admit that the financial success of Mr. Gavin's company is dependent upon the goodwill of Catholic bishops across the country. If enough bishops become dissatisfied with the results of their child protection compliance audits, then Mr. Gavin will be shown the door in the same manner as was Governor Keating, former head of the National Review Board.
The very definition of "self audit" is "conflict of interest."
As an advocate for the protection of children and those who were abused, I spoke on the phone earlier today with Mr. Gavin. I focused on a single question; "How can you issue a report that states that Bishop Malone is doing everything he can to protect children when an admitted priest child molester, one who is still in the bishop's employ and remains under the bishop's supervision, is living in a Falmouth neighborhood that's full of kids and no one in the community knows about the priest's past history of abusing children?"
Mr. Gavin had a response on the tip of his tongue. He told me he conducts compliance audits that fall within the four corners of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, nothing more, nothing less.
In other words, if the child protection provisions of the Charter don't specifically state that a bishop must not put kids at risk by allowing an admitted priest child abuser to live anonymously in a neighborhood full of children, then Mr. Gavin and his auditors will ignore this child safety violation in their final report.
Thus, a bishop like Richard Malone gets an "A" for "ensuring the safety of children."
Reminds me of a question I asked a long time high school administrator about what has changed most during his many years in education. He used the example of a student who was caught setting fire to books in the school's library. The student was immediately expelled, causing the angry parents to rush to the principal's office. "Where in the school's handbook," the parents wanted to know, "does it explicitly state that a student will be expelled for setting fire to library books?"
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Bishop Richard Malone is still keeping secrets.
That's why we're only finding out now that, from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, eleven more child sex abuse victims reported that they were molested by five living and four deceased priests.
Even as he reports the numbers, Bishop Malone won't tell us the names of the nine accused priests and how many more children each priest has abused.
When child abusers are identified, victims may learn for the first time that they are not the only one. Or, if it is now known that a previously accused priest abused a child in a different parish or school, this information may help other victims to feel strong enough to reach out for help.
According to a statement issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, the diocese has been found in full compliance with the articles of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The independent audit evaluates the effectiveness of child protection policies and practices and reviewed the period from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009.
The audit was conducted this fall by the Gavin Group, an independent company of investigators led by Bill Gavin, who has nearly 30 years experience with the FBI
In April 2002, former Bishop Joseph Gerry turned over the names and files of all accused living and deceased priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland to the Maine Attorney General.
A database of accused living and deceased priests from the Diocese of Portland is posted on BishopAccountability.org.
Here's what the Audit failed to report
During the audit period, eleven individuals came forward with accusations of sexual abuse that date back from 30 to 70 years ago.
1) These claims involved nine priests of which four are dead;
--- What are the names of the deceased priests?
2) One priest was laicized (returned to the lay state) years before the complaint was received;
--- What is this priest's name? Where and when did the abuse occur?
3) Two had already been restricted from public ministry;
--- What are the priests' names? Where did the abuse occur? What years? How will additional allegations against these priests affect their cases?
4) One is unidentified (meaning the name provided could not be connected to any priest who ever served in the diocese) and;
5) One is in a religious order (this claim was referred to the religious superior for final resolution).
--- What is the priest's name? What is the religious order? Where did the abuse occur (parish, school, etc.)?
6) Nine of the complaints have been investigated and the process completed–six of the accusations have been substantiated.
--- What are the priest's names? Where did the abuse occur?
Monday, September 7, 2009
Old grudges, not bishop's home, at heart of complaints
The Catholic Church accepted responsibility and is moving on. It's sad if others can't.
September 7, 2009
Regarding Bill Nemitz's column in the Press Herald on Aug. 28, "Houses of worship close as house of bishop eats up cash."
Point No. 1 – The bishop's home has long ago been paid for. It does not belong to the bishop personally any more than do the church buildings.
It has been explained more than once that certain churches have been closed not only because of the expense of the "priests' scandals" but because there are not enough "practicing" Catholics to support them.
It does not make sense to keep six churches open (at major expense) when there are only enough people attending Mass to fill two or three churches.
Point No. 2 – I suspect that Mr. Nemitz's friend, Paul Kendrick, would not be satisfied even if our esteemed Bishop Richard Malone sold the bishop's home and moved into a homeless shelter. Let's face facts. Mr. Kendrick has a deep, personal dislike for our bishop which probably will never be satisfied.
Point No. 3 – Mr. Nemitz seems to have a very problematic feeling about the Roman Catholic Church, which incidentally has accepted responsibility for the past priest abuses. At this time, people of true faith want to move on from the "sins of the past."
We realize that in this world we are all sinners. Most of us are repentant and eventually we will all answer to God for how we live our lives.
Bill Nemitz and Paul Kendrick might be happier people if they concentrated on moving forward instead of dwelling on evils of the past. Mr. Nemitz is far more interesting when he writes about human-interest stories rather than working to keep the flames of hatred alive.
Point No. 4 – Mr. Nemitz, the Catholic Church will be alive and well long after you and Mr. Kendrick are no longer in the news.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Here is the text:
Leaflet - Page 1
Dear Cheverus Students, Faculty and Staff,
We are here today to call attention to the lack of justice and unfair treatment that has been provided to the sex abuse victims of Charles Malia. As a way of introduction, I am a graduate of two Jesuit schools, Cheverus and Fairfield University. I am joined by Mr. Harvey Paul and Ms. Marie Tupper. Mr. Paul is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and the Maine Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Ms. Tupper is an advocate for abuse victims and has a family member who is a victim of clergy sexual abuse.
It is documented that three former Cheverus students received financial reparation for the harms and injuries inflicted upon them as a result of their being sexually abused by former teacher and coach, James Talbot. Conversely, Cheverus officials have denied compensatory damages to ten or more former Cheverus students for the harms and injuries inflicted upon them as a result of their sexual abuse by former teacher, coach and admitted child molester, Charles Malia.
We hope you will join us in asking Cheverus officials to explain why the same measure of justice has not been provided to all of the former Cheverus students who were sexually abused.
We can only guess that Cheverus officials agreed to provide reparation for damages incurred by the Talbot victims when threatened with a civil lawsuit. On the other hand, school officials are taking advantage of a legal technicality (the statute of limitations) to bar Malia's victims from having their day in court or from taking any civil action. Talbot and Malia worked together at Cheverus for eighteen years. Cheverus officials insist on making the focus on when the abuse occurred rather than the focusing on the fact that the abuse did occur, a particularly frustrating and hurtful obstacle for the victims of Malia.
This injustice must not be allowed to stand, which begs the question: are Cheverus students taught to pursue legal and moral loopholes so they can find a way to avoid telling the truth and being held responsible and accountable for their actions?
In a recent letter to Cheverus students and parents about our presence here today, President Campbell wrote, “The first priority of this school community is to ensure the safety and well being of your sons and daughters.” Sadly, these were the very same expectations held by the parents of the former Cheverus students who were harmed and injured by Talbot and Malia.
In January 2003, the attorney who negotiated on behalf of Cheverus during the settlement process for the sex abuse victims of Talbot told a reporter that although she believed the civil statute of limitations had expired in one of the cases, Cheverus officials did not want to fight that argument in court.
"The school's goal was to work with these alumni rather than get involved in litigation. They wanted to resolve it, to help these men move on. That's what we were able to do," stated the attorney.
In that case the school saw the importance of making an exception in order to do what was compassionate, right and just. Why, then, are Cheverus officials refusing to provide this same measure of justice to the victims of Malia?
It can be said that all of us – students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni – are but temporary custodians of an education and tradition that teaches us that the service of our faith must include the promotion of justice. It is up to all of us to ensure that all the former students who were sexually abused while attending Cheverus are treated fairly and with equal respect and dignity.
In conclusion, we hope you will talk with us and each other, ask questions, seek answers and find solutions that will, in the end, provide justice for the sex abuse victims of Malia.
Anything less diminishes us all.
Paul T. Kendrick
Leaflet - Page 2
V. COMMITTED TO DOING JUSTICE
Part V of a summary of what the ideal graduate of Cheverus High School should look like the year of graduation.
Reprinted from Cheverus Handbook.
1. Is more aware of selfish attitudes and tendencies which lead one to treat others unjustly and she/he consciously seeks to be more understanding, accepting and generous with others.
2. Is beginning to see that Christian faith implies a commitment to a just society.
3. Is growing in awareness of the global nature of many current social problems (human rights, energy, ecology, food, population, terrorism, arms limitations, etc.) and their impact on various human communities.
4. Is beginning to understand the structural roots of injustice in social institutions, attitudes and customs.
5. Recognizes the needs of some disadvantaged segments of the community through working with them in community service programs and has gained some empathetic understanding for their conditions in living.
6. Is developing both a sense of compassion for the victims of injustice and a concern for those social changes which will assist them in gaining their rights and increased human dignity.
7. Through reflection and study, is becoming aware of alternatives to public policy which govern the services provided for various segments of the community.
8. Has begun to reflect on public service aspects of future careers.
9. Is beginning to understand one’s obligations as a Christian to participate in the building of a humane, civic and ecclesial community in a way that respects the pluralism of that community.
10. Is beginning to see the imp ortance of public opinion and voter influence on public policy in local, regional, national and international arenas.
11. Is just beginning to understand the complexity of many social issues and the need for critical reading of diverse sources of information about them.
12. Is beginning to confront some of the moral ambiguities imbedded in values promoted by Western culture.
13. Is just beginning to realize that the values of a consumer society are sometimes in conflict with the demands of a just society and indeed with the Gospel.
Portland Press Herald
Bishop agrees to meet Tupper
He plans to apologize to the Boothbay Harbor mother, but she's seeking initiatives aimed at other victims.
By EDWARD D. MURPHY, Staff Writer
January 31, 2009
Bishop Richard Malone has agreed to meet with a woman who said her son was sexually abused by a priest, but the two have widely differing opinions of what the meeting's goal might be.
Malone, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said he envisions a "pastoral meeting" in which he would offer an apology and "spiritual benefit" to Marie Tupper of Boothbay Harbor, who has repeatedly asked to meet with the bishop.
Tupper, on the other hand, said she wants to talk to Malone about ways to "formulate initiatives that reach out to those who were already abused."
"I do not need or want the bishop's sympathy, mercy or 'pastoral care,' " Tupper said in a statement Friday evening after Malone's office announced that he would meet with her, although no date has been set.
Tupper declined to comment beyond the statement, in which she said Malone's decision to agree to a meeting "caught me by surprise because for the past two months, the bishop has publicly humiliated my family and me by his refusal to meet with me."
Tupper says her son was abused by the Rev. Thomas Lee while Lee was the parish priest in Boothbay Harbor from 1971 to 1985. The Roman Catholic Diocese said earlier this month that nine people told church officials that Lee had touched them inappropriately or violated their privacy, and church investigators said they have secondhand reports of five other alleged victims.
Lee, now 81, was a priest in Lyman from 1985 until 2003, when he was removed because of the allegations of misconduct. He was brought before a church tribunal in 2007, but that panel decided last year that the claims had not been proven. The tribunal said Lee's actions in the 1980s were "imprudent."
Malone said he was "stunned and disappointed" by the verdict and has appealed the ruling to the Vatican, which has not said whether it will hear the appeal.
Malone initially declined to meet with Tupper, saying that she had met with his predecessor, Bishop Joseph Gerry. In December, Malone said Tupper could meet with the Rev. Andrew Dubois, vicar general and a Diocesan Review Board member, but Tupper declined and asked again to meet with Malone.
Pressure on Malone to meet with Tupper has been building since then. Malone said in a statement Friday that he would meet with Tupper "after hearing from trusted supporters and the lay faithful, prayerful consideration regarding maintaining unity in the Church, and with hope that additional outreach to Mrs. Tupper will lead to healing."
Malone's statement went on to say that in pastoral meetings, survivors of abuse and family members could tell what happened to them, relate the pain they suffered and "realize that they are heard." He said victims deserve an apology, and added that he hopes "this meeting will offer a measure of relief and peace to Mrs. Tupper."
Paul Kendrick, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by priests, talked with Tupper after Malone's announcement. Kendrick said that falls far short of what they want from the meeting.
Kendrick said Malone's decision to meet with Tupper is simply a reaction to public pressure.
"He has, in effect, publicly humiliated not only Marie, but her son, and her mother – her son's grandmother – by his refusal to sit down and meet with the mother whose son was sexually abused by their parish priest," Kendrick said. "It's kind of typical of abusive behavior, where the abuser kind of kicks and beats up on the abused, and then five days later shows up with a bouquet of flowers."
Kendrick said Tupper wants Malone to identify priests who have been accused of sexual abuse and say where they are. She also wants Malone to go to Boothbay Harbor and relate details of the alleged abuse, such as where it was said to have taken place, in the hope of encouraging others who might have been victimized to come forward.
"People are sick and tired of meaningless discussions that are good for their (the church's) own public relations," Kendrick said.
Sue Bernard, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said the bishop has already responded to some of the concerns that Tupper has raised.
A release detailing the number of reports of abuse alleged against Lee was provided in December, according to Bernard. She said at the time that the alleged abuse involved inappropriate touching or violating privacy, such as going into an area where someone might expect another person to be undressed.
The diocese said at the time that the details were provided to counter a sense in the Boothbay Harbor parish that Tupper was the primary source of the allegations against Lee.
Bernard said she expects that Malone will try to meet with Tupper "sooner, rather than later," and said a pastoral meeting generally lasts 30 minutes to an hour. She said she doesn't know whether Malone and Tupper will be meeting one on one or whether others will be present.
Bernard said Malone is open to meeting with other victims or their families and said U.S. bishops have agreed to a charter that includes offering pastoral assistance as one aspect of the church's responsibilities to victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:
September 7, 2006
Carolyn Bloom, LCSW
Office of Support and Assistance Ministry
Diocese of Portland
Portland, Maine 04101
384 Court Street
Auburn ME 04210-4604
Dear Ms. Bloom,
By now, you have read enough of our group's letters and messages to know of our concerns regarding Bishop Richard Malone's failure to identify all priests, religious and church workers who have sexually abused children.
We are bewildered by your lack of action. You know that Bishop Malone is allowing children to be exposed to unidentified child molesters, yet you say and do nothing. We have never heard one word from you. Are you aware that our group's membership includes victims of clergy sexual abuse?
Please help us understand how a social worker such as yourself can have actual knowledge that child abusers are living anonymously in neighborhoods, that kids are at risk of being sexually abused, but take no action to help prevent these kids from being raped.
Sadly, we must conclude that if a child is sexually abused by any one of the child molesters that Bishop Malone is protecting, you will be complicit in the abuse by your silence.
I am sure you've asked yourself, "What can I do?" After all, you are not an employee of the diocese, rather, you are employed on a contract basis as an Independent Clinician for the Diocese of Portland Office of Support and Assistance Ministry.
You may say, "I have expressed my concerns about these issues to the bishop privately." In doing so, you're playing right into his hands. Of course, the bishop is pleased that you and others speak to him in hushed tones behind closed doors and say nothing to the public about your concerns. More secrecy. More abusers go unnoticed in neighborhoods.
According to the Diocese web site, your responsibilities are defined as follows:
"Providing support to victims/survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or other church representatives, creating support groups for those survivors who want something of that nature, arranging meetings for individual victims or groups of victims with the bishop as they request, and receiving first reports of allegations of abuse."
We are dismayed that there is nothing in your job description about "helping to prevent kids from being sexually abused." That task, it seems, is left to Bishop Malone and certain members of his executive staff.
We've told you over and over again that Bishop Malone is still protecting child molesters, that 1) he refuses to identify twenty or more priests who have been credibly accused of child abuse and 2) he refuses to tell us the whereabouts of another twenty priests, religious and church workers who have been removed from public ministry because of credible allegations. Where are they now? Do neighbors know of their history of abusing kids?
We must conclude then, Ms. Bloom, that the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Professional Code of Ethics provides you with enough latitude to be employed by (albeit on a contract basis) and accept money from an employer who is covering up for child molesters and endangering children.
What can you do?
-- You can resign from your position immediately.
-- You can schedule a press conference with victims of clergy sexual abuse and members of child protection agencies to announce that you refuse to work for an employer whose willful negligence is placing children at risk of sex abuse.
-- You can become a public voice and advocate for the release of the names of clergy child molesters here in Maine and nationwide.
I hope you will contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.
207 838 1319
For immediate release:
Monday, July 20, 2009
On Saturday, a Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff served a cease and desist letter to Paul Kendrick at his Freeport home.
The owners of Foresides Estates in Falmouth, Maine want Kendrick, Michael Sweatt and other advocates to stop warning residents that, Father John Audibert, an admitted priest child abuser is living in Foreside Estates.
According to the attorney's letter, advocates will be sued for the cost of apartment rentals should residents move away because of Kendrick's and Sweatt's actions.
"Please be advised that to the extent Foreside Estates or any other property managed by Princeton suffers any business loss as a result of your past or future conduct regarding this matter that it is our intent to pursue you individually and anyone else associated with this unreasonable conduct to the fullest extent allowable under the law.
"Your irresponsible conduct threatens our business operations and will not be tolerated and we will be undeterred in undertaking all legal actions necessary to make ourselves whole."
July 17, 2009, Jeffrey M. Brown, Corporate Counsel, Princeton Properties
Altar Server Coordinator
Holy Martyrs Church
Dear Ms. Charest,
As long time advocates for those who have been abused by Catholic priests and other church employees, we know one thing for certain: child molesters (including priest child molesters) are cunning and manipulative.
In our efforts to help protect children, we are writing to express our concern about your decision to publish the names of minor children (altar servers) on the Holy Martyrs web site.
The altar servers' list provides child sex offenders with the first and last names of minor children, as well as where the children will be on certain dates and at certain times.
Although, there is no perfect solution for protecting children from child abuse, we must use every opportunity to erect safeguards.
You should know that we have made several pleas about this issue to diocese officials and your pastor, Msgr. Joseph Ford.
No one has responded.
Situations like this continue to point out that Bishop Richard Malone is not doing all that he can to protect children (as he so often articulates). We fear that Catholics like you are being lulled into complacency by the bishop's words regarding church policies and procedures intended to protect children. It is unfortunate that the bishop has placed you in this uncomfortable position.
We urge you to immediately remove the names of minor children from your parish web site.
Paul Kendrick 838 1319
Michael Sweatt 831 3791
cc: Bishop Richard Malone
Msgr. Joseph Ford, Pastor, Holy Martyrs Parish
Thomas Meschinelli, Director, Protecting God's Children Program
Deacon John Brennan, Office of Professional Responsibility
Sue Bernard, Diocese Public Relations Director
Rev. Andrew Dubois, Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia
Thomas Deignan, former Director, Protecting God's Children Program
Deacon Dennis Popadak, Holy Martyrs Parish
Debra Coppinger, Office Manager, Holy Martyrs Parish
Press and Media, forwarded
Msgr. Joseph Ford
Holy Martyrs Church
266 Foreside Road
Falmouth, Maine 04105
Dear Msgr. Ford,
During the past few days, we have notified both the Falmouth Chief of Police and the Falmouth Superintendent of Schools that Father John Audibert, an admitted Catholic priest child abuser, is residing somewhere in the 100 Clearwater Drive neighborhood of Falmouth.
Unfortunately, neither you, Bishop Richard Malone, nor any other Maine Catholic Church official has notified police, school, or town officials about Father Audibert's background and presence in Falmouth.
As you know, three years ago Vatican officials assigned Father Audibert to a "life of prayer and penance" for sexually abusing a minor. Bishop Malone has steadfastly refused to release information about other abuse claims that may have been filed against Father Audibert. However, we do know that a local television station received a signed letter from a family member of another alleged sex abuse victim of Father Audibert.
The letter states in part, "Years of abuse (by Audibert) drove my brother to slit his wrist and then hang himself." A copy of this letter was forwarded to Bishop Malone.
Msgr. Ford, we are writing to you with a great deal of skepticism. At the present time, you are a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit in which it is alleged that you and three other current and former high ranking diocese officials covered up child sex abuse allegations against a former Maine priest (Rev. Raymond Melville) who sexually abused children. Further, it is alleged that more children were abused in the ensuing years because of your negligence.
We urgently need your help to protect children and young people by informing the Falmouth community that a priest child abuser is living in their midst. Law enforcement officials agree that the first line of defense in protecting children from sexual predators is “identification and notification;” i.e., who the offender is, and where the offender is living.
Here's what you can do:
-- We want you to publish information about Father Audibert in your weekly parish bulletin, including news articles, a photo and Father Audibert's whereabouts.
-- We want you to post information about Father Audibert on your parish's bulletin board.
-- We want you to send letters to each and every parishioner with information about Father Audibert.
-- We want you to urge Bishop Malone to post information about Father Audibert and all other publicly accused priest sex offenders on the diocese web site.
-- We want you to provide a copy of this letter to members of the Holy Martyrs' parish council and parish staff.
Maine's Catholic parishes are mandated to participate in the diocese's Protecting God’s Children Program. What parent would not want to know that the man living next door has a history of abusing children?
Awareness and vigilance are the best defense.
We are available to assist you in any way possible.
Paul Kendrick, 838 1319
Michael Sweatt, 831 3791
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
It is not uncommon for middle-aged Catholics to get together and share war-stories about their experiences in Catholic schools. Many recall the physical punishments meted out by the seemingly always-angry nuns with a mixture of emotions. Some can laugh at it and others remain turned off by what we now realistically label as abuse.
The most sinister and harmful abuse by the nuns has not been bantered about by the alumni of Catholic schools. For the most part it has remained deeply buried beneath a thick cover of shame, fear, disgust and even guilt. The mainstream lay people and society in general remained unaware of this deeper and more disgusting level of abuse until very recently when courageous survivors have broken through the walls of fear and revealed not only sadistic physical abuse that went far beyond the boundaries of discipline, but debilitating sexual abuse.
Although sexual abuse by priests and brothers is accepted as a harsh reality except by the few who remain blinded by denial, exposure of sexual abuse by nuns is another story. Mention of it causes many to recoil in disbelief at something they seem incapable of emotionally and mentally processing. In spite of the denial that may be rooted in unrealistic or romantic stereotypes of "the good sisters," sexual abuse and harsh physical abuse have been a reality. The survivors of abuse by religious women have been struggling for years to be heard and believed. Now, with the publication of the Ryan Report in Ireland, the range of sexual and physical abuse has achieved a significant level of credibility. Survivors in our own country are being listened to more attentively. The pain and anguish is just as acute as that inflicted by perverted priests and uncaring bishops. The spiritual and emotional trauma is not only as severe but made worse by a thicker blanket of denial and a greater tendency to try to exonerate the "good sisters."
It matters not how much good religious women have done in our country or world-wide. That has nothing to do with the reality of abuse that was often systemic and certainly not exceptional in Catholic schools and Catholic orphanages.
My first encounter was in 1994. I was asked to assist an attorney who represented a number of adult survivors of sexual and physical abuse by the Sisters of Providence at St. Joseph's Orphanage in Vermont. An especially brave survivor, Joey Barquin, brought the sordid stories to the light in 1993. Through my experience with that case I was jolted into the harsh reality of the incredible degree of sexual and physical abuse inflicted on those innocent and vulnerable children who were literally imprisoned in the orphanage. Over the years I have met and worked with a number of other men and women whose abusive experiences came at the hands of terribly disturbed religious women. Again, it does not matter if the abuse was an exception or the rule. There is no excuse and there is no justification for ignoring those coming forward today.
My most recent in-depth experience has been with the victims from St. Thomas/St. Vincent Orphanage in Anchorage Kentucky. The tormenters were members of a religious order with the ironic name Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Attorney Bill McMurry of Louisville had the courage to take on the Order and the archdiocese to finally bring some measure of justice to the victims. Read The Unbreakable Child by survivor Kim Michele Richardson. It will fill you with disgust and anger towards the nuns and amazement at the strength and courage of the writer.
We all know how individual bishops and the national Bishops' Conference have treated victims of clergy. It may be stunning to some to learn that the authority figures (I won't call them leaders) among the nuns, especially those in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious - the LCWR - the nuns' equivalent of the Bishops' Conference, have been just as arrogant and insensitive toward the victims who have approached them. They have stone-walled any attempts at seeking justice by victims. They have treated them with disdain and coldness. The sisters in general may garner plenty of praise for work in bringing social justice to the poor, but the "poor" in their own household are surely not the recipients of any such unselfish concern.
The religious women in the U.S. are getting a lot of support and sympathy as a result of the upcoming investigation by the Vatican. The sisters are justifiably complaining that the imperialistic Vatican cabal has acted with arrogance rooted in clericalism, yet they must look at themselves and ask if they have not displayed to the victims of abuse by their own with the same arrogance as the bishops they criticize. The LCWR needs to clean up its own act and acknowledge the disruptive elephant in their own convent parlor before they can justifiably tell others how to act with justice.
The most moving experience I have had in relation to abuse by religious women was a few years ago when I was speaking in Boston. After the talk, which by the way took place in one of the vigil Churches, an elderly lady approached me and took my hands. She looked into my eyes and said in her soft Irish brogue, "I was one of the Magdalenes. All I want Father, is to know what my real name is." I left that encounter in shock and in tears. It is one thing to hear or read about the unconscionable abuses perpetrated by clerics or religious women. It is quite another to meet it face to face.
This gentle victim of the Magdalene nightmare is one of countless people who bear these terrible scars. If we really are a "People of God" we will bury our denial, banish our unrealistic deference to clerics and religious, and join in the quest for true justice and honest compassion.
Thomas Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.
August 27, 2009
Bishop Richard Malone ignores Vatican directive to eliminate every hint of vanity from his possessions.
Canon 387 of the Code of Canon Law mandates that bishops practice “simplicity of life.”
On a trip to the United States, Pope John Paul II told U.S. bishops they should adopt a lifestyle that “imitates the poverty of Christ” so the Church can better identify with the struggles and suffering of the poor.
The Vatican’s Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops says each bishop should “be poor and appear to be poor.”
45. Affective and Effective Poverty
In order to bear witness to the Gospel before the world and before the Christian community, the Bishop, in his deeds and his words, should follow the eternal Shepherd, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9) (129).
He should be visibly poor, he should be tireless in giving alms and he should lead a modest life which, without detracting from the dignity of his office, nevertheless takes account of the socio-economic conditions of his flock. As the Council says, he should seek to avoid anything that might in any way alienate the poor, and even more than the other disciples of the Lord, he should seek to eliminate from his possessions every hint of vanity.
He should furnish his home in such a way that it never appears unapproachable, so that no one, even the humblest, is ever afraid to visit it (130). Simple in his bearing, he should seek to be affable towards everyone, and should never indulge in favouritism on the basis of wealth or social standing.
He should behave like a father towards everyone, especially towards those of lowly condition: he knows that he was anointed by the Holy Spirit, like Jesus (cf. Lk 4:18), and that he was sent first of all to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. “In this perspective of sharing and of simplicity of life, the Bishop will administer the goods of the Church like the ‘good head of a household’, and be careful to ensure that they are used for the Church’s own specific ends: the worship of God, the support of her ministers, the works of the apostolate and initiatives of charity towards the poor” (131).
Monday, August 31, 2009
Why does Peter Verrill, Chairman of the Diocese of Portland Finance Council, think it's OK for the bishop to live in a $1.2 million mansion?
September 1, 2009
Peter Verrill of Cumberland Foreside is Chairman of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland Finance Council.
In a letter published on the diocese web site, Verrill explains that his responsibilities include assisting the bishop "in achieving openness and transparency in diocesan financial reporting."
That said, we want Mr. Verrill to explain why the diocese financial report for the period ending June 30, 2008 was not published on the diocese web site until two weeks ago (and only after intense pressure from a small group of Catholics), even though the report was completed seven months prior, in November 2008.
We want Mr. Verrill to explain why he and Bishop Malone will not publish (on the diocese web site) the names of the other eight laypeople who serve on the Finance Council (Mary Arnold is Chairperson of the Budget/Audit Committee).
We want Mr. Verrill to explain why he said and did nothing when Bishop Malone utilized a legal defense known as the "Charitable Immunity Doctrine" against a victim of clergy sex abuse. Malone attempted to avoid financial reparations for the harms and injuries inflicted upon a 12 year old boy by claiming that the diocese didn't have any money.
Finally, we want Chairman Verrill to explain why he supports Bishop Malone's decision to use Church funds for the purpose of the bishop residing by himself in a $1.2 million, 7,000 sq.ft., 16 room, three story brick mansion that includes six bedrooms, four full baths and a three car garage.
The bishop's $19,620 property tax payment is more than many Mainers make in an entire year.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
August 30, 2009
One can only hope that Rev. Mark Hession, the homilist at Senator Kennedy's funeral mass, was able to hear his own words as he spoke about Senator Kennedy's never ending compassion, love and understanding for the least among us.
In 2003, Rev. Hession was asked about the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. In an interview published in National Catholic Reporter, Hession said, "I can’t wait to get off the sex abuse piece of it.” He added that there are many other issues that need attention. “And when we put all the numbers together in this particular crisis, it’s almost indecent, frankly, that we are still tearing at it ourselves.”
In September 2007, Rev. Hession refused to meet with and speak to a small group of victims of clergy sex abuse and supporters who held a morning vigil outside Rev. Hession's parish in Cape Cod. The advocates were calling for Rev. Paul E. Miceli, a former high ranking archdiocese official and part-time pastor at Hession's parish, to apologize for his role in reassigning accused abuser priests to parishes and schools.
By his words and actions, Rev. Hession has inflicted additional insult, hurt and injury upon those who were abused and their families.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
August 28, 2009
The more the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland shutters its churches and puts them on the real estate market, the larger the question looms: Should Maine's bishop still be living in a million-dollar mansion?
It's on Portland's tony Western Promenade. According to city tax records, the 6,970-square-foot, three-story "mansion" has six bedrooms, 4 baths, an 840-square-foot garage and an assessed value of $1,126,000.
In short, pretty nice digs by anyone's standards. Too nice, according to at least one perennial thorn in the side of Bishop Richard Malone.
"It's not about Richard Malone," said Paul Kendrick, a Roman Catholic who for years has publicly decried the church's handling of the sexual abuse of children by priests. "It's about 'What kind of church is this?'"
Kendrick fired off a mass-distribution e-mail this week after hearing that five churches – Notre Dame de Lourdes Church in Saco, St. Mary of the Assumption and St. Andre churches in Biddeford, and St. Joseph and St. Patrick churches in Lewiston – will close this year and next because of shrinking congregations, growing costs to maintain the buildings and the need to protect religious programs and services from ever-increasing parish deficits.
"Bishop Malone wants Maine's Catholics to cut costs, spend less and do without," observed Kendrick. "Everyone, that is, but him."
Tough words, to be sure, from a man who last year was threatened with official church sanctions (not to mention police arrest) if he didn't steer clear of Malone.
Still, it's not the first time in recent years that the opulence of a bishop's residence has raised eyebrows – and in a few cases, led to "For Sale" signs.
Six years ago, as the Archdiocese of Boston struggled to pay for legal claims by those sexually abused by priests, Cardinal Sean O'Malley sold the palatial cardinal's residence in Brighton, Mass., and moved into the rectory of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End. The move, which caught many by surprise, won O'Malley widespread praise, even from the archdiocese's harshest critics.
Last fall, Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh put his residence up for sale and moved into a seminary to be closer to those studying to be priests. The Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese, said this week that the property, valued last fall at $1.5 million, is now under contract and will likely be sold within the next few weeks.
Zubik told the media last fall that his decision reflects "more pressing concerns" facing the diocese as it struggles to make ends meet and at the same time fulfill its basic missions, including "reaching out to the poor."
"People think it's good that he is moving in with the seminarians," said Lengwin. "And that it's good for the church."
Then there's the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, where Bishop George Murry put his suburban residence on the market for $339,000 three months ago and moved into a smaller home in the city. Murry also announced that many furnishings from the stately five-bedroom home would be donated to Catholic Charities.
Diocese of Youngstown Chancellor Nancy Yuhasz said Thursday that although the property has not yet been sold, Murry's decision has been "received very well by the parishioners and the clergy." The old residence "is so large and such an expense," Yuhasz said. "It shows we're trying to be good stewards of our resources."
Back here in Portland, diocesan spokeswoman Sue Bernard said it would be a mistake to assume a connection between what it costs to run the diocese – including, for example, the $19,620 annual property-tax bill for the bishop's residence – and the ongoing efforts to bring various parishes' property more in line with their current needs.
(The diocese's operations are funded from a variety of sources, Bernard said, including a 12 percent levy on each parish's total revenue and a bishop's fundraising appeal made directly each year to Maine's estimated 200,000 Roman Catholics.)
Malone's charge to the parishes, Bernard noted, has been to determine "What do you need? Take a look at what you need and see if there's an excess there."
But might the same challenge be put to the bishop? Considering that he lives alone, does he truly need six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a three-car garage?
Bernard noted that the mansion, which has served as the bishop's residence since Bishop Joseph McCarthy purchased it for the diocese back in 1939, is used to entertain visitors to the diocese and for other social functions.
"He lives there by himself," she said, "but he isn't the only one who uses it."
What's more, Bernard said, while it's in a "lovely neighborhood," the interior could use some work. "There's wallpaper coming off in some places, peeling paint."
So why not sell it and move into the rectory at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Maine's bishops lived before 1939?
In addition to generating, say, a million dollars from a sale and saving another $25,000 or so in annual operating expenses, might not such a downsizing send a powerful message to Maine's Roman Catholics about living within one's needs in these austere times?
"I'm sure there are people who would agree," Bernard conceded.
Starting, of course, with Kendrick, who titled his latest missive "Do Catholics in Biddeford, Saco and Lewiston know about this?"
"We're talking about the parishioners' money," Kendrick said, "and there's too much else to do with it."
Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:
Bishop Malone's decision to live by himself in a million dollar mansion is a symptom of a much larger problem in the Church
- "What does Jesus (really) expect of us?"
- "How does every decision you make affect, enable or involve the poor?"
- 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
- When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
- When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
- And he will say to them in reply,
- Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
August 16, 2008
I became part of the “regiment” as a Dominican priest in May, 1970. I first became aware of the reality of sexual abuse of minors by priests before I was ordained through rumors and stories about certain priests in the Order who “liked altar boys.” I never knew that “liking altar boys ” went far beyond touching until after I was ordained. I learned the disgusting extent of “liking altar boys” in 1984 when I was working at the Vatican embassy and first became involved with the whole issue of clergy sex abuse. That was when I was asked to manage the file of Gilbert Gauthe, the notorious priest from Lafayette LA. My direct involvement increased with each month and each year and continues today.
Let me start out by offering my conclusion. The “regiment” truly is dishonored. It is dishonored in part by the thousands of priests who have raped and abused innocent boys, girls, men and women…..and in doing so have ravaged their souls and the souls of those who loved them. But the regiment is dishonored even more by the bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes, who have enabled, covered up, lied, manipulated, ignored and responded in anything but a Christian manner. They have really dishonored the regiment because they have knowingly turned their backs on that which the regiment is really all about, namely following the example of Christ. They can’t fall back on the excuse that they suffer from a sexual disorder or are impaired by substance abuse. Their impairment is a moral impairment and there is no excuse for that. Two recent examples: the first I will cite is the total lack of hierarchical integrity in Chicago! Cardinal George is a criminal and a traitor to the regiment……but will the members of the regiment who are so concerned about its honor step up and call him on it? No! Why not? Fear, timidity, irrelevant respect for the office? Pick one. They are all irrelevant to the facts. The second example is the famed Msgr. Wally Harris is New York. The hero of Harlem was interviewed by the John Jay Study people and complained about the number of false accusations…..all the while knowing he was guilty himself.
The regiment has also been dishonored by the thousands of priests who knew that others were abusing children and did nothing. It is dishonored by the thousands who looked the other way and failed to speak out in support of the victims. It is dishonored by the many priests who stood by in silence while their bishops ran roughshod over victims, lying to them, lying to the public and lying to the clergy because of their obsession with their image and their power.
The regiment is dishonored by those priests who have spoken out but only to voice their self-centered concern about priests’ rights and the tarnished image of the priesthood brought on by “a few.” It is dishonored by those who have complained about the bishops’ lack of concern for priests, manifested in the provisions of the Dallas Charter and their on-going lopsided response but who have never complained about the bishops’ dishonest, unchristian and criminal response to reports of the denial of the victims’ rights. The regiment is dishonored by the priests who whine and complain about the shame brought on them by the minority of abusers. The shame is not only from them but from the silence and complacency of the majority.
The regiment is dishonored by those priests and bishops who keep trying to shift the blame to anyone but themselves with idiotic claims such as that of Madison’s Bishop Morlino who recently announced that the whole problem was caused because people didn’t obey the 1968 anti-birth control encyclical Humanae Vitae.
I’d like to share some of my own experiences which have led to these conclusions. When I first became involved in this issue in 1984 I was shocked to learn that former priest Gil Gauthe had raped dozens of children but I was even more shocked, scandalized and confused as I quickly learned that the US Catholic Conference and the bishops who knew about the abuse were only concerned about covering it up. When cover up was impossible due to the lawsuit filed and the criminal charges against Gauthe that came as a consequence, the response from the leadership of the Bishops’ Conference was as if this was a nuisance that would go away much more quickly if I stopped pushing it. A couple priests on the embassy staff told me that it would be best if I back off because “we don’t air our dirty laundry in public.”
The Gauthe case and the others that came to light back then did not go away. I don’t remember anyone at the time showing any concern for the victims with the exception of Fr. Mike Peterson. No one from the Bishops’ Conference or from the embassy staff ever mentioned the victims. All they worried about was containing the problem and managing the negative publicity.
After I left the embassy I was approached by the media several times. I spoke honestly and shared as much as I knew. I was criticized by priests because I opened up the brotherhood to dishonor as one put it. I still recall being at a Canon Law convention in Florida in the late eighties. Just prior to it I had given an interview that was widely quoted. At the convention I was attacked by several priests and was accused of betraying the brotherhood. Not one priest asked about the truth of the matter and no one was concerned about the problem itself or about the victims……they were only concerned about the bad publicity for the “regiment.”
In spring of 1986 I had organized an all day seminar in the Chicago area. Presenters included psychologists and attorneys who would provide information on responding to the problem and to the victims. We invited bishops and chancery officials from around the U.S. Not long before the event Cardinal Bernardin called me and urged me to cancel the event because he felt it would draw undue attention to the problem and would “sensationalize” it, to use his words. I refused. We held the seminar to a full house but not one priest from Chicago attended. Why? Because the Cardinal had let the word out that it was to be boycotted. Best to let the problem get worse rather than dishonor the Chicago branch of the regiment.
In 1992 I attended the first major gathering of victims in Chicago, the Vocal (later LinkUp) conference. I met three priests who were there because they had been ministering to victims. All three had spoken about the evil of clergy sex abuse from their pulpits and all three had been silenced and disciplined by their bishops for drawing undue attention to what one bishop referred to as a “minor problem.” I might add that since then there have been annual gatherings of victims sponsored by the two main support groups, LinkUp and SNAP. The clergy have never flocked to these gatherings to show their concern or support for victims. True, a few brave men always show up, but never more than a few. Only one bishop has ever attended and stood in solidarity and support of the victims, Bishop Tom Gumbleton. Where were the others?
In 1988 Bishop A.J. Quinn of Cleveland wrote to my former boss, the Vatican ambassador or nuncio as he is called, and complained about me. He was upset that I was magnifying the problem by speaking to the media. He told the nuncio in his letter that the “pedophile nuisance” would soon go away. To his credit the Vatican ambassador, Cardinal Laghi, sent me a copy of the letter and told me that he did not agree with Quinn’s statements.
Between 1984 and 2002 I do not recall a single instance where a priest or a group of priests spoke out publicly in support of victims other than the outstanding speech Andy Greeley gave at the 1992 conference mentioned above. I do not know of any who have publicly criticized the way bishops were responding. I don’t know of any priests’ senate ever saying anything publicly. The Canon Law Society of America had a couple seminars about the issue but has never done anything worthwhile other than express concern over priests’ rights. Nothing about victims or victims’ rights!
I recall when I was on active duty with the Air Force being called by a priest who worked at the Archdiocese for the Military Services. He advised me to stop speaking to the press and also told me that the archbishop was considering issuing me an order to stop testifying on behalf of victims. He assured me that they were concerned about the problem but that there was a better way to handle it. My response…….doesn’t waste your time and effort because I am not going to stop.
Many priests have told me over the years that if the church had only followed Canon Law we would not be in this mess. Nonsense! Canon Law is what the bishops want it to be. It has never been effective in protecting the rights of lay people. It has been totally useless in bringing justice to victims. It’s not that the canon law system lacks the provisions for action. But law has to be applied to mean anything and the people in charge of making Canon La w work are the bishops. Need more be said?
After 2002 things changed and people were speaking out all over. For the first time the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, an independent group, started making noises. They were concerned about priests’ rights in light of the Dallas Charter and the zero tolerance policy of the bishops. They had never said anything before this and expressed concern only about themselves and not about victims. They still have done nothing to help the victims.
Since 1988 I have reviewed several hundred priest-personnel files. In my work as a consultant and expert witness in civil cases and grand jury investigations I have also reviewed several hundred depositions taken from cardinals, bishops and priests. Many of these are available for all to see on several websites. In most of these depositions when asked about their knowledge of sexual abuse by accused clerics, the deponents either could not remember or they simply denied the abuse. While there were certainly cases when these clerics did not in fact have any direct or indirect knowledge, in most it was known from other sources that they did know about the abuse in question. How can one explain the denials and the memory lapses? My conclusion was that these clerical deponents either suffered from some form of cognitive disorder, or brain damage in plain English, or they were lying. Either way, these clerical deponents could have assisted in the search for the truth and supported the victims. They did not. They covered for the abusers even under oath. They chose to bring dishonor to the regiment.
The Knights of Columbus take great pride in their loyalty to the Church and to the bishops. They regularly show their support for priests and announce their love for the Church. They shell out barrels of money to the Vatican, to bishops, to seminaries and to other causes in support of priests. The Knights of Columbus h ave totally missed the boat. They have supported priests and bishops in their moral bankruptcy and in their destruction of the bodies and souls of the victims of abuse. They have said and done nothing to support the victims. Remember the words of Jesus: “If you do this to the least of my brothers you do it to me.” It looks as if the Knights and the bishops they protect have somehow missed that verse.
In the early days Andy Greeley spoke out publicly in support of victims. Over the years several priests have reached out to victims and survivors and some have even stuck their necks out, going public with their criticism. They were punished by their bishops and usually hammered or isolated by their “brother” priests. Since 2002 I have become aware of a small number of heroic priests who have placed their Christian commitment before the “brotherhood” or the image of the regiment and in so doing this small band of brothers has brought honor to the regiment. I’d like to name a few because these are the men who really live what Christian pastorship is all about: Ken Lasch, Bob Hoatson, Bruce Teague, Dave Hitch, John Bambrick, Gary Hayes, Jim Scahill, Tom Gumbleton, Geoff Robinson, Pat Powers, Pat Collins, Ron Coyne, Don Cozzens, Walter Cuenin, Bob Bowers……to name some but not all. Some quietly support and others provide direct pastoral care. Ken Lasch and Bob Hoatson, through Road to Recovery, have provided more pastoral care to victims in one day than all the bishops combined in 20 years. There are others whose names I cannot recall right now.
There are also the 58 priests from Boston who signed the letter asking Bernard Law to step down. In the clerical world, where priests are often treated like indentured servants, that was an incredibly brave act.
There are priests who complain about the many false accusations and the lack of legal representation and due process for accused priests. In the first place there are very few false accusations….10 that I know of out of thousands of cases. Those who make this charge have produced no credible evidence beyond rumor and hearsay. There is however truth to the complaint that there is little effective canonical-legal representation for accused priests….just like there has NEVER been any canonical-legal representation or due process for the victims of clergy abuse. Why is this so? Because the bishops do not believe in objective due process for anyone but themselves.
Perhaps the most sickening charges use the words “Catholic-bashing, priest-bashing or anticlericalism.” If there is shame attached to being a priest today it’s because the priests and bishops have brought it on themselves. If any group is responsible for anti-Catholic sentiment it’s the bishops. Their self-serving response to the victims of abuse is about as anti-Catholic as one can get. If being a good and orthodox Catholic means essentially being a good and faithful Christian, then the bi shops are the largest single group of dissenters and unorthodox heretics in the Catholic Church. They have sacrificed charity for image and institutional power. They have redefined orthodoxy to mean mindless obedience to their obsession with themselves and their power.
There is nothing magical or mystical about the priesthood that justifies any special treatment in the face of committed crimes. If we look at the gospels we find nothing that even remotely justifies setting priests on a pedestal or granting them “above-the-law” status. On the contrary there is abundant evidence that Jesus showed plenty of anger towards the church men of his time because they had lost their way and abused the people whom they were supposed to serve. There is ample scriptural evidence to justify a priesthood that would devote itself to the care of the marginalized, forgotten, abused and rejected. In our era the marginalized have been made so by the very clergy who have been ordained to protect them. Why then does it seem that the hierarchy and so many of the priests are so adamant in defending a priesthood that looks and acts more like a latter-day aristocracy in an anachronistic monarchy?
Perhaps one reason is that priests are formed from the beginning into a clerical culture that teaches them that God wants a “regiment” that is set apart and special. Perhaps yet another reason is that priests are formed in a culture that rewards docility, unquestioning obedience, intellectual mediocrity and total loyalty to the papacy and hierarchy while it dismisses and even punishes originality, creativity, independence or loyalty to one’s conscience.
I have heard more than one diocesan priest describe his state as “economic servitude” while complaining that the bishop held him in total captivity with the power to suspend his salary, health benefits, retirement, residence and ability to work. It is pathetic but true that fear is major component in convincing many priests to stay loyal to the brotherhood.
In spite of what appears to be a very bleak picture, I believe it is unfair and inaccurate to write off the entire priesthood as uncaring, weak or dishonest. In my travels I have either met or heard about many men whose essential loyalty is to the mission and ministry of Christ and not to the adulation of the papacy or the hierarchy. They serve unselfishly and often among those whom they serve are the victims and survivors of sexual or spiritual abuse inflicted by priests or bishops.
On the other hand it is dishonest and destructive to try to minimize the incredible damage that has been done by dismissing it, saying it is the result of a minuscule number of “bad apples.” The actual numbers are certainly not minuscule. Far more s hameful is that fact that the number of bishops who have lied, covered up and enabled is not a minority but the majority. Priests and bishops have to wake up and face reality. There has been immense dishonor and shame brought to the “regiment” because the “regiment” has been subjected to self-delusion. Its members, at least some of them, have actually believed they were part of some sort of elite fraternity and in so doing have lost sight of the fact that it’s not a “regiment” at all but a group of men whose calling is not to be “special” but to be compassionate reminders of the compassionate Christ.
One final shot and it’s at the nuns who have arrogantly and stupidly tried to frame sexual abuse as a “male” or “clergy” problem. Sex abuse by nuns has been covered more deeply and has been more difficult for the general public to swallow…but it is a major element of the overall nightmare. The dishonor to their regiment and the ruination of countless boys and girls, men and women brought about because of the physical, emotional and sexual abuse by women religious has been just as horrific as that perpetrated by the clerics. The nuns’ major organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, has responded to the victims with just as much arrogant and imperious disregard as have the bishops. The nuns have shown themselves to be just as clericalized as their male counterparts. They have brought just as much dishonor to their regiment as the clerics have to theirs.
Together the priests, bishops, nuns and brothers who have sexually abused minors and adults and those from these ranks who have looked the other way, denied, lied, covered up, revictimized and enabled, constitute a disgusting, sorry mess that has brought great dishonor not only to their respective regiments but to the Body of Christ.
1. They're afraid of what their bishop will do to them.
2. They're afraid that parishioners will think them unloyal and disobedient to their bishop.
3. They're afraid that the weekly collection basket will return more empty than full.
4. They're afraid their fellow priests will scoff and reject them.
5. They're afraid to speak out on behalf of survivors because Silence is the number one "Golden Rule" among clergy.
6. They're afraid their families and lay friends will think them "radical dissenters" within the church.
7. They're afraid to support survivors because doing so is a sure ticket to no advancement within the clerical hierarchy.
8. They're afraid to support survivors because they believe that reconciliation and forgiveness of clerical perps takes precedence over compassion and justice for survivors.
9. They're afraid because they believe that revealing additional sexual abuse scandals will destroy the church.
10. They're afraid because they are more concerned about themselves than those they are ordained to serve.
Pauline Salvucci of Maine is a former religious sister who now advocates for church reform and accountability.
Jesus as Pastor
by Rev. Thomas Doyle
The Catholic theological tradition has portrayed Jesus Christ as the Eternal High Priest, the epitome and model of the priesthood and the archetype upon which all priests should model their ministry.
Hence we would expect that every priest, when faced with any decision that involved the spiritual welfare of believers, or a dilemma over whether to follow a gospel imperative, would ask the question that has almost become a mantra for some: "What Would Jesus Do?"
Yet it is ironic that in his three years of public life, Jesus did little if anything that a traditional, clerical priest does.
He did not conduct services. He did not chair committees. He was neither a fund raiser nor an administrator. He was not worried about his career progression nor was he concerned about the quality of the robes he wore. He did not have an office and he was hardly worried about whether his style of ministry with the people pleased or displeased the leadership of his church.
Anger, whether expressed by Jesus or directed at him was always from or about a single issue: the abuse of power by the religious leaders of his day and their failure to respect the believers.
Jesus did little that the priest, a clerical "organization man" does.
However, he imprinted on history, by his life and actions, the authentic model of priest as pastor.
He took the incredible risk of looking beyond his own security in order to fulfill his mandate to make real the love of his father for all, especially the disenfranchised, the marginalized and the powerless. He incurred the anger and even rage of the religious leadership of his time because he risked everything to call them to account. He completely confounded and perplexed them because he was in it, not for himself, but totally for others, a concept totally alien to the religious establishment of the time.
Bishop Richard Malone recommends to pastor that he lie to parishioners about the reason for a child abuser priest's sudden departure from the parish.
Bishop Malone's memo can be found on pages 43-44. The memo is transcribed below:
Office of the Regional Bishop
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
FROM: Bishop Malone (initialed)
DATE: January 26, 2002
SUBJECT: Father Daniel Graham, Father Robert Monagle
I. Father Daniel Graham
I met this morning with Father Daniel Graham and informed him that, because of the new policy of the Archdiocese with regard to past instances of clergy sexual abuse of minors, Cardinal Law was asking him to resign as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Quincy, effective immediately.
I assured Father Graham that we are very aware that he has been giving excellent service as pastor of St. Joseph Parish and as vicar forane, and that absolutely no one is questioning the integrity of his behavior at this time. I told him that we know he had received very good psychological assessments and that the archdiocesan review board, under the former policy, had in the past agreed that he could appropriately serve in active ministry. I reiterated the recent change in the policy, and reminded him that the Cardinal has been giving the assurance that as far as we know, no priest with a past history of sexual abuse of a minor is currently serving in ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston.
While he was shocked with the suddenness of this decision, he seemed to understand the reason for it. He did not fight it in any way, but accepted it in a very sad but manly fashion.
I told Dan that he was not to appear at any Masses in the parish from this weekend on, despite the fact that it is Father Bob Monagle's good bye weekend.
I offered him the opportunity of being admitted to St. Elizabeth Medical Center this afternoon for a full health and pschological workup. I told him that the Cardinal had arranged for this with Dr. McDonald. Dan declined this option. He would prefer simply to go on health leave and move home with his elderly and ailing father. He did say that one good thing about this miserable situation is that he will now be able to attend better to his own health challenges, and also be able to spend more time with his father, whom he does not expect to live much longer. He expressed the hope that he might be able to celebrate his father's funeral Mass. After consultation with you, Father Higgins, I told him that I did not have an answer to that question at this time.
I also told Dan that it is important that he arrange right away with his own physicians to have a full examination, including the psychological dimensions. He nodded in agreement. He told me that only one priest, a close friend, Father John Malloy, knows of his past abuse allegation. He will be in contact with John about this recent development right away. I also assured him of the Cardinal's and my own care and esteem for him, and that we both find this to be a very painful thing. He appreciated that, and knows that we are willing to help him in any way that we
I told Dan that I would be talking to Fr. Bob Monagle about this situation right away. Dan did not have a problem with that.
This was the most difficult thing I have had to do as a bishop and, perhaps, in 30 years as a priest. But, with God's grace, it is done.
II. Father Robert Monagle
After some difficulty, I was able to contact Father Robert Monagle. Because he was preparing to go to a burial, and I to a parish visitation, we had tom speak on the phone in a confidential manner. I informed him of my meeting ewith Dan Graham, and outlined for him what I had communicated to Dan. Bob had no knowledge whatsover of Dan's past abuse allegations. I explained that he and Dan should talk as soon as Bob returned from the burial, and determine what will be said to the parish during the weekend Masses. I recommended that they announce that because of some health problems, Dan has taken a health leave, effective immediately. That will later turn to retirement, but that should not be mentioned at this time.
Bob said there is no problem covering the weekend Masses, since there are several priests who assist at St. Joseph's. He needs no help at this time.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Father Michael Doucette is an admitted child abuser. Neighbors must be vigilant. Doucette lives at 177 Carver Street in Waterville, Maine
Vatican Confirms Disciplinary Actions
The Diocese of Portland has received a decision from the Vatican confirming the disciplinary measures the Diocese imposed on Michael Doucette who has been out of priestly ministry since 2002. When a victim came forward in 1991 with a claim of having been abused in the early 1980’s, Doucette admitted to the abuse, was removed from ministry, and was immediately sent for treatment. He was placed back in ministry in 1992, but was removed again in April of 2002 when another individual complained of improper sexual advances, which took place before Doucette’s treatment in 1991.
The decision from Rome confirms that while Doucette remains a priest, he cannot have any public ministry; cannot present himself as a priest or wear clerical garb. Doucette lives in-state.
Doucette was ordained in 1975 and had the following assignments:
St. Martin of Tours, Millinocket 1975 St. Andre Parish, Biddeford 1976 St. Louis Parish, Fort Kent 1980 Campus Parish, University of Maine at Fort Kent 1981 Sacred Heart Parish, North Caribou and Mission of St. Theresa, Stockholm 1984 Auxiliary Chaplain, Loring Air Force Base 1985 (in addition to Caribou assignment) 1985 St. Thomas Parish, Madawaska 1991 St. Charles Parish, St. Francis and Missions of St. John, St. John and St. Paul, Allagash 2000 St. Agatha Parish, St. Agatha and Mission of St. Joseph, Sinclair; St. Luce, Frenchville 2001.
Why are Catholics in Biddeford, Saco and Lewiston so upset?
Bishop Malone says he is closing their parishes because the cost of operating and maintaining the churches has been on the rise.
Wait a minute. What about the rising cost of operating and maintaining Bishop Malone's 7,000 sq. ft., three story brick mansion?
Does everyone know that the bishop lives by himself in a 16 room home that includes 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a 3 car garage?
The mansion and surrounding property is assessed by the City of Portland at $1 million.
Property taxes alone amount to more than $18,000 per year.
The bishop won't say how much it costs to heat his 7,000 sq. ft. home.
Here's the bottom line. Bishop Malone wants Maine's Catholics to cut costs, spend less and do without.
Everyone that is, but him.
Diocese Plans to Close Five Churches in Biddeford, Saco and Lewiston
MPBN The Maine Public Broadcasting Network
The Diocese says the churches are too expensive to operate and maintain in the face of a decline in parishioners.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says it plans to close five churches in Biddeford, Saco and Lewiston. The Diocese says Notre Dame de Lourdes Church in Saco and St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Biddeford will be closing as of December 31st of this year, and St. Andre Church in Biddeford will close in December of next year.
The Diocese says the Catholic population has declined, and over the past five years, the parish has seen twice as many burials as baptisms. Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining and operating the churches has been on the rise, resulting in a $48,000 deficit for the fiscal year that ended in June, and a projected $170,000 shortfall for next year.
The Diocese says plans are also in the works to close two churches in Lewiston -- St. Joseph and St. Patrick. A task force recommended the closings in March, concluding that the churches were too expensive to maintain and operate in the face of a decline in parishioners. Under the plan, the churches would be closed this fall and put on the market, along with their rectories. The plan requires the approval of Bishop Richard Malone.