Out Of The Woodwork (CCR)

“You have become a Johnny One-Note. Are there no other topics? Move on. These people come out of the woodwork.”
That one got to me, salted the moral ache that festers. The meaning was clear. “These people come out of the woodwork.” Mistrust of motivation. Blaming the victims. Protecting the abusers by saying that the woodwork people worm out to join the bandwagon.

In defense of this person, there are no TVs, newspapers or news magazines in the home. Current events are the day-to-day drama of over fifty seniors, age 62 plus, living in an apartment building. The outside world is too filled with bad news to allow in–so ignore and pretend it doesn’t exist.

It does exist. It is real. The abuse tolerated, perhaps allowed in the belief that the church required that depth of protection. The cover-up hid the truth and gave permission for abuse to continue.

Mike Hunter of Kansas City is the volunteer director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. David Clohessy of St. Louis is the executive director of SNAPNetwork.org, the same organization. Hunter and Clohessy co-authored As I See It, an opinion piece for the Kansas city Star Newspaper. The final paragraph of their piece offers the only solution that holds promise.
“That’s why we’re desperately hoping police and prosecutors will step up. While our justice system isn’t perfect, it can often unearth the truth in such situations and punish the guilty, thus deterring recklessness, callousness and deceit in the future.”


Soul Weary, Heart Sick and Justifiably Angered (CCR)

Theresa, a Gentle Reader,  took me to task over whether the first or second in command, Bishop Finn or Robert Murphy,  actually read the letter regarding Ratigan.  Now the information about communication referencing Ratigan dates back to  2006.

So what, Theresa?   Does is matter if Finn or Murphy continued the orchestrated cover-up?  Read the Kansas City Star, Friday, June 3, 2011, Front Page.

Soul weary, heart-sick and justifiably angered.

Two articles, Gentle Readers, on the structured and sanctioned cover-up for and by Catholic priests, protecting other Catholic priests and the corruption within the institution are on the front page of The Kansas City Star, June 3, 2001.

Soul weary, heart-sick and justifiably angered.

Perhaps there will be more to say later, but today?  I hope Archbishop Dolan is revisiting the physical reactions to abuse scandals.

A Time to Sow And A Time To Reap (CCR)

A correction prompted by the May 27 issue of the Kansas City Star which I just read, the day after I viewed the Fox 4 newscast.  The principal of St Patrick’s School, Julie Hess, sent the letter in question to the Vicar General Robert Murphy.  Murphy, according to the newspaper article, met with Ratigan and outlined the parameters of Ratigan’s behavior.  At this point, I do not know what Murphy, Finn’s principal deputy,  communicated to Finn.  I suggest that this Kansas City Star story be read in its entirety.  Friday, May 27, 2011, front page,  Alan Bavley and Glenn E. Rice


Friday, May 27, 2011  Fox 4 News  6:00 PM

Bishop Finn, Spiritual Leader and so-called Shepherd of The People held a news conference.  Head down, eyes averted, Bishop Finn read a prepared statement.

I did not attend the news conference so am writing of what I observed on the Fox 4 news.  During this past week, I have written about the Ratigan situation that culminated in the May 27 statement by Finn.  My blogs are summary of articles in the Kansas City Star, The Leaven and my personal reactions to the stories.

In 2008, civil law suits filed against the diocese headed by Bishop Finn, hopefully raising the shepherd’s awareness of danger to the children of his flock.

In May, 2010, the principal of St. Patrick’s School, (where Ratigan had access to the children) wrote to Finn expressing her concerns over Ratigan’s behavior towards the children.  (Correction noted…the letter was sent to the Vicar General Robert Murphy–second in the chain of command.)

The principal worked the chain going to the man expected to take firm action.  Finn admitted to receiving the letter.  Ratigan was not removed at that time.

May 2011  Finn stands before television camera to admit that:

1.  A year earlier Finn had the principal’s letter.  (May 2010)

2.  Six months earlier Finn had the images from Ratigan’s computer.  The diocese returned that computer to Ratigan’s family.  (Dec. 2010)

3.  During those six months, Finn was aware that Ratigan was not adhering to the rules laid down by this shepherd’s monitoring of Ratigan’s behavior.

A reporter attending the news conference asked Finn if he planned to resign.  According to the news story, Finn responded that he was looking towards the future–and then Finn left the room.  (May, 2011)

Perhaps Archbishop Dolan can control that nausea thing and welcome Finn to  New York.  (May 26 blog referencing The Leaven, May 20, 2011)

Perhaps Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s concluding prayer gets tweaked a bit to “Pray for” the Catholic People “that they  not grow weary or discouraged” despite the horrors of the ongoing revelations of the abuse and cover-up scandal that allows sexual and physical harm to children to go unpunished. (The Leaven, May 20, 2011)

Perhaps Bernard Law has an opening at the  Church of  Mary Major in Rome.

By Association (CCR)

The Leaven is the diocesan publication led by Archbishop Joseph R. Naumann.  The May 20, 2011 issue had Naumann’s article reprinting and commenting on a March 18 blog by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.  Dolan is the president of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Thought I have met Archbishop Naumann numerous times, it is always the first introduction for him.  I am simply an entity to whom he nods and moves on so I claim no personal connection nor conversation with Naumann.  He is a busy man and I am another face in the current  crowd.

Archbishop Dolan’s blog retells his encounter with an outraged and courageous man, a baptized Catholic, who took advantage of the symbolic collar to confront the sexual abuse.  The man was not accusing Dolan of abuse but was expressing his contempt for the abuse scandal and the cover-up by the church.  In the second paragraph of Dolan’s blog he says, “..left me so shaken I was near nausea”.


It is good that Dolan was near nausea as are many of us each time we read another recounting of a priest physically and/or sexually abusing a child.  The nausea often gives way to vomit when we further read of Bishops and Archbishops covering for the pedophile.

And the victims?  If only they could vomit away the fire-brand scorching their being as they “…staggered with shame and anger from the damage of the wound…inflicted…”.   (Page 2 Column 1, May 20, 2011, The Leaven)

Memory preserved in stress is often skewed.  Fight or flight alters perception of a very public situation.  Dolan’s reaction was “What to respond?  Yell at him?  Cuss him out?  Apologize?  Deck him?…I staggered with shame from the damage of the wound he had inflicted with those stinging words.”   Flight or flight.

One of the surest and most effective techniques in advertising is the use of the expert, the famous person, the cultural icon as association to the product.  Spread the affirmations and heighten the acceptance.

Upside down displays that ugly underbelly concept.  Guilt shared is guilt diminished.  Teachers, Scout leaders, family members abuse, so abusing priest have companions thereby sharing the guilt.   Searching from earliest memory I have no recollection of confessional moments when a priest asked me if anyone else forgot morning prayer or took an extra cinnamon square from the confectionery on the corner.

In the third column of Archbishop Dolan’s blog, the The Leaven reprints the following:

“Notwithstanding the happy ending, I was still trembling…and almost felt like I needed an exorcism to expel my shattered soul, as I had to confront again the horror this whole mess has been to victims and their families, our Catholic people like the man I had just met…and to us priests.”

Dolan calls the ending ‘happy’ because the Denver airport scene ended with a handshake and a joke about exorcism.  Dolan’s words place the horror …to victims, families, Catholic people and priests…in the same bundle.  With all due respect,  Archbishop, you and your priests only stand at the edge of the hell lived by victims.  You only smell the smoke of the cover-up while much of the church is consumed by that stench.

Archbishop Naumann’s ending comments include a request for prayer for priests “…that we might strive to be shepherd after the heart of Jesus Christ.  Pray that we have the courage and generosity to lay down our lives in love for the good of the people we are privileged to serve.”

The Jesus Philosophy is a thing of richness of spirit while dressed in physical poverty.  The story goes that the man, Jesus, did lay down his life for the good people.  He was laid down in blood and pain, stripped of the meager garment and rope sandals.

Perhaps the good people, the people clinging to hope in their Catholicism, don’t want the death of their priests as evidence of service.  Perhaps  being “troubled”  (Bishop Finn/Ratigan/Troubled? The Bishop Is Troubled? ) isn’t enough.  Perhaps excuses and justifications by associations are bogus enough to be left with the other baggage.

Perhaps privilege to serve demands opening the doors wide enough for good people to be privy to  records, to documentation, to  resources, to  information, to every incident of cover-up.  Perhaps the good people served do not want the death of their priests but rather want their priests to live the life of  the Jesus Philosophy.

Archbishop Naumann concludes:  “Pray for our priests that they not grow weary or discouraged despite the challenges of their ministry.”

How odd.  Once again, the focus is directed towards the priests–their weariness, their challenges, their discouragement.  How very odd.