By Jake the Snake
I am disguising my identity due to my standing in a group that aids and assists the Catholic Church where I worship on Sundays due to my status as the 3rd highest ranking officer. The opinions in this blog represent one man’s experience and opinions, not those of the Blog Father or his other contributors. Additionally, some graphic nature of this blog may be disturbing to some of our readers, I apologize in advance.
When I was a young lad, I was brought into the church the old-fashioned way, I was forced to attend. While I was usually allowed to look at a picture book or sit and read the bulletin, I was a weekly attendee at every Sunday service. Mom insured that I was always dressed up as if I was going to the Oscar’s immediately afterward. Upon receiving the final blessing and going forth after the procession leaving church I was always told to say hello to the priest (or father) as they call them in the Catholic Church. I always complied and was very impressed with our priest. As a young lad I found it more interesting that this person said Mass every weekend, and always seemed to wear a different robe, and when he spoke everyone listened. Fr. Barry Brunswick always captivated the audience. The highlight of my Sunday as a 5-8-year-old was Fr. Barry saying make sure you go to the social hall and grab a donut; good boys get donuts for free.
Church for me as a young lad was like golf, many attended but few understood. I certainly didn’t, except for the whole “your sins are forgiven go forth” at the end of each Mass. I thought this was like a get out of jail free card, I was happy going to church each Sunday. Fr. Barry was eventually moved, the Catholic Church does this every 6 years or so, and as a result we found a new church to attend as we moved as well. I found out this past week a reason we moved was the priest incoming was transferred from Florida and had child molestation in his background.
As I grew I attended High School at Jesuit High in Carmichael, here in Sacramento County. I loved my time there, even more so I really grew to like my art teacher my freshman year Brother Charles Onorato. I couldn’t draw a stick figure very well, but Brother Onorato challenged me, and I grew better for it. Then everything changed, news of some Catholic Priests abusing young boys came out. I still remember our Pope saying it was a couple rogue priests and the problem was isolated, I believed it. Then one day Brother Onorato was not at class. We were told by the Dean of Students Karl “Hiel” Hanff he was removed due to accusations of him abusing young boys. I was devastated, like anyone would be. I figured Onorato was the least likely to be accused. As of this writing I am unsure if anything happened to him, and if anything did I don’t want to know, it would break my heart.
Hundreds of priests were accused, rounded up, and shipped out, much like the Salem Witch Trials. I thought this was only a few rogue priests Mr. Pope? I questioned my own faith, these same people preaching from the pulpit about morality, and telling me not to lie….lied. They did not practice what they preached. I thought very long and hard about switching faiths, the Catholic Church was no longer for me.
Over time, the tragedy quieted down, and faded from the news, I didn’t leave the church, in fact I mistakenly became more involved. I rose through the ranks after just a few years and became the number 5 in command, I was required to attend a meeting put on by members of Supreme from Connecticut. At this meeting we were told EVERY MEMBER of our group would be required to do online training and get fingerprinted at our own expense and have the results turned over to the local church office to remain a member in good standing. Keep in mind the church office staff are not priests and would have access to anyone’s criminal record check. Several members asked why it was our group being singled out and not the actual priests who had a history of crimes in their past? We were told that issue is in the past and we could have members with child molestation in our ranks. So, we all had to pay for background checks, with our own money by the way. To this day I have not heard of a single member being thrown out due to any criminal past. Just as an addition, the Sacramento Diocese stretches from Sacramento County over to Nevada and all the way north to Oregon, one of the largest by land mass in the Catholic Church. The church is divided up into sub groups called diocese, run by the bishop.
The issue largely went silent and many, myself included were under the impression that the church had cleaned house and a new day was here. We were proven wrong. A bombshell report out of Pennsylvania alleges that over 70 years 300 catholic priests in 6 out of the 8 dioceses sexually abused over 1,000 victims. Even more disturbing is in that same grand jury investigation, priests and bishops urged victims not to report the abuse, and law enforcement not to investigate it. I guess the collar has a separate set of rules from the masses that attend church. Perhaps even more disturbing, the cover up was ordered by the archbishop of Pennsylvania, this person is akin to being Governor of a state, the top law enforcement officer. This report came out on the heels of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington DC resigning after reports surfaced he abused young priests, seminarians, and minors. Seminarians are those who are studying to become priests, apparently McCarrick didn’t discriminate age wise. The cardinals vote to pick the Pope by the way, you can see how powerful they are. Some of those named in this report not only avoided prosecution but they were promoted in the ranks. One of those bishops named is now the archbishop of the Washington DC diocese. One priest named, abused 5 sisters in the same family, including one when she was 18 months old. Luckily for most named in the report the statute of limitations has run out, so they will avoid any penance for their sins. This just in, the diocese has appealed to the 3rd Circuit to keep the names in the report sealed, so much for that whole transparency thing promised 15 years ago.
Now some excerpts from the report…again, these are very disturbing in nature:
“It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; another victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.”
Abortion is a sin that the Catholic Church prays for an end to each week by the way.
“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury wrote. “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.”
The grand jury said that while some accused priests were removed from ministry, the church officials who protected them remained in office or even got promotions. One bishop named in the report as vouching for an abusive priest was Cardinal Donald Wuerl, now the archbishop of Washington. “Until that changes, we think it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal,” the jury wrote.
Here is a good one, on relocation…….brought to us by Cardinal Wuerl named above:
Father Paone was relocated successively to Los Angeles, San Diego and Reno in the following years, with Pittsburgh’s bishops attesting to his fitness as a priest. Among those bishops was Cardinal Wuerl, now the archbishop of Washington. He accepted Father Paone’s resignation from ministry in good standing in 2003, allowing him to collect his pension.
Wuerl even nominated himself for sainthood prior to this report coming out, check this out:
Cardinal Wuerl released a letter to his priests on Monday, saying that while the grand jury report would be “critical of some of my actions, I believe the report also confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the survivors and to prevent future acts of abuse.”
This quote from a person who attempted to commit suicide due to abuse by a priest:
“From her hospital bed, she asked for one thing,” the grand jury wrote in the report, “that we finish our work and tell the world what really happened.”
Some victims were plied with alcohol and groped or molested, the report says. Others were orally, vaginally or anally raped, according to the grand jurors.
“But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.”
Among the more egregious cases, the grand jury reports that:
• In the Greensburg diocese, a priest impregnated a 17-year-old, forged a pastor’s signature on a marriage certificate and divorced the girl months later. According to the grand jury, the priest was allowed to stay in ministry by finding a “benevolent bishop.”
• Another priest in Greensburg groomed middle-school students for sex, according to the grand jury, by telling them that Mary had to “bite off the cord” and “lick” Jesus clean after the Nativity.
• In Harrisburg, a priest abused five sisters from the same family and collected samples of their urine, pubic hair and menstrual blood.
• Also in Harrisburg, a priest raped a 7-year-old girl who was in the hospital after her tonsils were removed, according to the report.
• In Pittsburgh, church officials said that a 15-year-old boy “pursued” and “literally seduced” a priest. A church report later acknowledged that the priest had admitted to “sado-masochistic” activities with several boys.
• In the Allentown diocese, a priest admitted sexually molesting a boy and pleaded for help, according to documents, but was left in ministry for several more years.
• Also in Allentown, a priest who had abused several boys, according to the grand jury, was given a recommendation to work at Disney World.
• In Scranton, a priest who later served prison time for abusing children was found to have been HIV-positive for years.
Tuesday’s news conference began with a short video of three victims who told how they were abused and how it changed their lives.
An 83-Year-Old Man Said He Couldn’t Show Any Affection To His Wife And Children As A Result Of The Abuse he suffered. A woman said the abuse started when she was 18 months old. Another man said, “When you have the priest touching you every day, that’s a hard memory to have. The first erection that you have is at the hands of a priest.”
Church officials followed a “playbook for concealing the truth,” the grand jury said, minimizing the abuse by using words like “inappropriate contact” instead of “rape”; assigning priests untrained in sexual abuse cases to investigate their colleagues; and not informing the community of the real reasons behind removing an accused priest.
“Tell his parishioners that he is on ‘sick leave,’ or suffering from ‘nervous exhaustion.’ Or say nothing at all,” the report said.
He said that the cover-up by senior church officials “stretched in some cases all the way up to the Vatican.”
In summary, it’s once again crisis time at the Catholic Church, and once again they proved they never learned from the past. Churches in Canada and the Midwest are closing at alarming rates, and no one seems to care. A weak-kneed email was sent to all members of the group I belong to saying anyone who has abused someone should be removed from public service……I guess the church feels priests are akin to a government worker. Removed from public service, like teachers who get put in a room and continue to accrue service time and when the time comes enjoy full retirement? The Blog Father and I agree on this; they should be defrocked and removed from the clergy permanently in shame. The cardinals elected a Pope who is nothing more than a weak-kneed social justice warrior who cares more about America accepting more immigrants than policing his own. He would rather look the other way and hope the issue blows over as opposed to taking a stand and saying there will be a worldwide review at every level of the church and no one is safe. However, he won’t do this, because sadly Catholicism has essentially become a multi-level marketing scheme, they care more about bringing in new members than retention or finding true believers. Try it for yourself, put a few dollars in the basket when it comes around and regardless of your views on marriage, abortion, or the death penalty they will accept you. Nebraska and Illinois have pending investigations and Australia apparently has a huge investigation into this…..buckle up folks this is going to get very ugly. Let priests get married you will find a better pool from which to pull from and these issues likely will not be as prevalent…..in the mean time I may be searching for a faith that actually practices what it preaches. I am embarrassed and upset about my own faith. They are led by weak kneed, spineless people who literally turned a blind eye to abuse of children, innocent young children.
Jake the Snake
Disclaimer: any resemblance to this author and some other guy named Jake is purely coincidental; furthermore, Jake is not related to the snake in the account of Adam and Eve.
Pennsylvania grand jury report exposes decades of clerical sex abuse and Church cover-up
Diocese drops Cardinal Wuerl’s name from high school after sex abuse report
Copy of Grand Jury Report 27.5 MB
Complete Grand Jury Report