Catholic Church Suspends 21 Priests For Allegations of Child Abuse

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has suspended 21 priests for involvement in the sexual abuse of minors. The suspensions come after a grand jury found that 37 priests in the diocese were implicated in such abuse.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, previously insisted that there were no priests “who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.”

Critics are saying that the Church fought to retain the priests and denied allegations of current priests with abuse histories. While on suspension, the priests cannot celebrate Mass publicly, wear collars or hear confessions.

This could open the door for significant civil liability for the Church in Philadelphia. Moreover, the delay in suspending the priests could become a major issue in court. These priests may also now have more of an incentive to implicate the Church in such civil actions.

Source: NY Times

44 thoughts on “Catholic Church Suspends 21 Priests For Allegations of Child Abuse

  1. Speaking as an atheist: What is it that attracts pedophiles to the profession of Priest?

    I assume the primary attraction is that religious parents trust priests without reason; their faith disengages their critical faculties. Also the priest gets to be alone with the children, and the children are inculcated to believe the priest is an important authority that must be obeyed. All those attributes are catnip for con men and other manipulators, of children or adults.

    I would also assume that pedophiles have very little belief in God or punishment, which would be pretty ironic, if the church is largely staffed by people that, in private, just shrug off the faith to pursue their own selfish interests and hedonistic activities using up the lives and fortunes of the poor dumb peasants.

    So there you go, a plot twist the religious never expected:

    It turns out the Church is the Anti-Christ.

  2. Its funny how many preachers have to be hoping there is no God because if there is they are in for a warm apre’ vie. Particularly the super-wealthy ones you see on TV all the time.

    But the RC does seem to have created a culture were this behavior is supported and defended – almost to the point of encouraged.

    I think one reason there are so many pedophiles in the priesthood has to do with domination and control. The position is one with a lot of control and one of the attractions to children is the ability to dominate.

  3. 21 priests in one diocese, with suspicions falling on 37. For those apologists who cling to the belief that this is merely “a distraction,” the numbers do not lie. When we add the centuries it’s been going on, this organization needs to be sued out of its wretched existence. To think that just because we know more about child abuse means it won’t happen in the future is demonstrably dangerous to children.

    Arrest this cardinal today.

  4. frank,

    “I think one reason there are so many pedophiles in the priesthood has to do with domination and control. The position is one with a lot of control and one of the attractions to children is the ability to dominate.”

    I think it another part that comes into play has to do with priests taking a vow of celibacy. And what is the best way to take care of sexual impulses … It’s easier for a priest to prey on a child as opposed to an adult.

    Adults are seen as more reliable in terms of telling the truth; children are known to have vivid imaginations. So, who will people have a tendancy to believe, an adult or a child? Consider this – who has more credibility on the stand, the police officer or a private citizen? Logic has it that people tend to believe the police because they aren’t supposed to lie, being LEO’s. I believe that’s why people are shocked when a cop is charged with planting evidence at a crime scene, or committing perjury on the witness stand. I think the same logic applies to priests.

    Talk about a cult! Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster I’m an athiest …

  5. Blouise,

    Maybe he was just too old for em…..

    I question if they can actually use the dismissal in trial or should a pretrial motion be filed…. Could it be claimed that this was a remedial repair….the termination itself of the priests is not an admission against interest….Oh my, what discovery will be had….. but then again…a Boy in hand is better than a two in the pulpit…

  6. Stamford,
    I agreee with you on the celibacy being part of the reason the Church has these pedophiles in their ranks. This latest disclosure shows that the Catholic Church is still hiding these felons and some Bishops need to go to jail for aiding and abetting these horrific crimes. The only thing that will make them change will be large civil judgments against them. In Rome, money talks.

  7. rafflaw,

    I think the RC should be thoroughly investigated, starting with the Pope, on down the line. How many apologizies by the Pope and other members of the church hierarchy must be issued before this is seen for what it is? A criminal enterprise!

    It is patently obvious that, for as much as the RC would like to have us believe, this is not just the actions of a few – child sexual abuse is spread throughout the church, far and wide. This has been going on far too long. Those who committed such despicable acts, and those who shielded the perpetrators must be held accountable. Now.

  8. There is a persistent and utterly unsupported belief that religious authority figures are morally better than the norm. As far as I can see the only justification for this conviction is the equally unsupported (in fact, I would argue demonstrably false) supposition that religiosity is positively correlated with morality.

  9. Stamford,
    I agree that investigations are needed in order to prosecute the abusers and the higher ups who allowed it to go on and hid the evidence and the culprits.

  10. AY said, “a Boy in hand is better than a two in the pulpit”.

    Isn’t that a quote from Despicable Acts 3:12?

    If so, those po’ ol’ child molesters are just doin’ tha “Lord’s work”.

    However, when it comes to pedophiles, I think Hanover Fiste got it right when said, “He’s nothing but a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm! Hanging’s too good for him! Burning’s too good for him! He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!”

    And the same applies to those in RCC hierarchy who have aided and abetted and continue to aid and abet this horrific crime. The RCC should be rendered effectively penniless by judgments against them. That is if any semblance of justice is to be had.

  11. “Catholic Church Suspends 21 Priests For Allegations of Child Abuse.”
    Why is Fox news not reporting on this issue?
    Perhaps to many at Fox are Catholic? Hummmm????
    Yeah right! Fox has also shut my emails down for reminding them of the real facts!!! They actually hate the real truth!! Bud Crawford

  12. Hurrah! Finally more than just a few isolated individual pedophile priests are indicted. It’s a start.

    That it took criminal indictments to get the Church to act [almost] appropriately and the proportionate number of indictments clearly demonstrates the depth and scope of criminality of the pedophile Church.

    Yet, not one bishop or cardinal has lost so much as the stone out of the ring that the faithful must kneel before and kiss.

    One might argue that the pedophiles are sick individuals without excusing their crimes. But the cardinals and bishops are presumably [mostly] sane men. Their reshuffling of molesters’ assignments and stonewalling of criminal investigations is nothing less than cold calculated criminal evil.

    And people, some in my family, still give money, material support to this criminal pedophile organization.

    We call individuals who contribute money and other forms of material support to over-seas, international terrorists, terrorists too.

    What shall we call the Catholics?

  13. Buddha-

    “Isn’t that a quote from Despicable Acts 3:12?”

    I think that’s found in the Bad Testament right after the Books of Oblivious, Pedophilius, and Pederasticus.

  14. HenMan…Buddha…

    Is that chapter before or hereafter the chapter to Divinity of SniffnHash…

  15. AY,

    I think you have your books confused. We’re talking the Bad Testament. The Book of the Divinity of SniffnHash is from the Really Good Testament, right between the Book of Marley and The Revelations of St. Chong the Lit.

  16. Anonymously Yours
    1, March 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Maybe he was just too old for em…..


    It thought it was a nicely disguised, filthy, sarcastic remark … I figured you’d get it due to the fact that we seem to think a lot alike, which is not necessarily a compliment to either one of us. Don’t you find it amazing that they let us hang out on this blog … maybe we’re just tokens … gotta think about that one.

  17. Well, Blouise that is why Buddha and I are switching roles…He can be the AG and I’ll be the roving ambassador… I am sure I would come to get more out of that role than worrying about people be harassed here in the states….. or is that harass her…Ted got it right before he died I think….

  18. BIL,

    “The Book of Marley”

    Why, I just reread that last night and it was ssssmmmmmmokin’

  19. Oh no….I missed that one too…However…we had a few after school sessions….. Its is amazing what people can come up with…especially in the early 70’s….. On occasion rafflaw…we did experience the Acts of Paul and company while in FUBAR….it was definitely an enlightening book….. Then we soon turned to leaf to SNAFU…. Looking for a higher understanding of the divine purpose…

    Does this bring back haunting memory’s….

  20. Holy fong fong….
    Talk about getting collared…

    The article says the priests can not hear confessions and can’t wear their collars…

    That raises two interesting questions.

    Confessions on Saturdays…
    What are they going to do??? Subcontract to the protestants??
    Hey it’s a thought.

    Do they get to keep their dresses?

    Just curious.

  21. AY,
    I love JC Superstar! The stage performance was much better than the movie, but the songs are fantastic. I don’t recall the Book of Marley mentioned during the show. Maybe it didn’t translate to music very well.

  22. I’d think if it was just the celibacy issue, priests would be taking a lot less risk by frequenting prostitutes (and practicing safe sex). I don’t know how a church works, but pilfering from the collection plate seems pretty feasible to me, and typical prostitutes (male or female) aren’t usually eager to divulge their clientele, because if they go public with one then the rest of their clientele disappears, and they are out of business. Plus the priest could claim that any such revelation was a smear job from some poor soul he was unable to help.

    I think these priests really are just pedophiles by choice. There are 194 dioceses in the USA, if there is an average of 21 pedophiles in each, that is 4074 pedophiles in this country. Only 4053 left to go, folks.

  23. Many people have asked why no Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals, Popes, etc. have been charged with boffing little boys.

    The answer is found in the Bad Testament, Book of Second Gambino: “Thou shalt not wear a wire, neither shalt thou rat out an Underboss, or thou shalt partake of the sacrament of being found in a swampy place with a canary in thy mouth.”

  24. @Tony C.

    “What is it that attracts pedophiles to the profession of Priest?”

    There is no information in the original news article to make a claim they are pedophiles. People often confuse the term “sex with a minor” and pedophilia, which is a distinct mental disorder dealing with the attraction to prepubescent children. Also, one can have sex with a prepubescent child and not be a pedophile because the sex may be about access (and/or control) not attraction. It is the same with sex in prison, where the homosexual population is low.

  25. Ishobo,
    Sex with a minor is illegal no matter what label you put on it. And the Catholic Church is still hiding the crimes and the criminals!

  26. And why does the United States recognize a genocidal, sex-abusing, thieving cult as a sovereign nation? And allow this “nation” to claim immunities and protections to cover up widespread crimes against children? Perhaps the problem is as much with our complicit government as with the RCC.

    The RCC has been discussed here for some time. From 2008, I wrote:

    Is this not the same religious institution that created a modern army of pedophiles, and sought to obscure their crimes? Is this not the same institution that condemns use of condoms as a moral offense, while millions die of AIDS after abstinence miseducation? Is this not the same institution that enslaved girls in the Magdelene Laundries for decades in Ireland? The same institution that would rather see children in orphanages than facilitate adoption to gay parents, all the while plying donations from the poorest across the world… as the media covers what wine is fit to be served the leader of this cult?

  27. @ishobo: I think the pedophile conclusion is fair given the history of these abuses that have come to light in the past; the victims are overwhelmingly young boys.

    Unlike prison, the priest is not restrained from trying to manipulate young women, and the priest is not restrained from ditching the cassock and driving to the next town to pick up a one-night stand bargirl, or to frequent a prostitute. But these three alternative sins aren’t executed (to my knowledge) and that makes me think the problem is gay pedophiles are attracted to the role of priest.

    It may even be an intentional choice of profession for this purpose; the priesthood being one of the few professions I can think of that offers this level of access to young boys. I don’t think the boys are chosen due to restricted access (like prison), I think the profession is chosen by evil men because it offers that access.

    I think a similar thing about the televangelists and mega-church leaders btw. Evil men attracted to the money and power and attention, that either do not care how much harm they do, or have some twisted egomaniacal rationalization to convince themselves that black is white, up is down, harm is help and pain is love.

  28. Anyone who is seriously interested in a peak behind the scenes into the workings of the Catholic heirarchy to protect these pedophile priests should read the deposition of Rembert Weakland, OSB (former Archbishop of Milwaukee who had to resign when it was disclosed he used $250K of church funds to pay off a man who was threatening to expose him as gay):

    It’s a slog to get through. A lot of canon law. Implication that Ratzinger was in on the cover up.

  29. @Deborah: Thanks for the article. This is the problem with baseless faith in a two thousand year old patriarchal system; the whole point of the patriarchies is to subjugate the women and ensure the men in power have women as servants; both sexual and domestic.

    I love the line in the article, “In the context of Africa, celibacy means not getting married, it does not mean the priest does not have children.”


  30. For those of you who are lawyers, I wonder if you know what can be done to end the diplomatic immunity of the Vatican, the Curia, Pope Benedict XVI, and the hierarchy?

    I am a Catholic physician. I have met many who have been sexually abused by priests. It is an outrage how these victims/survivors have been treated by the RCC.

    All roads lead to Pope Benedict XVI as being responsible for continuing the policies of protecting predator priests, moving them to places where they ended up abusing others, and ignoring the victims or threatening them to remain silent.

    In 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger, later known as Pope Benedict, added excommunication as a threat to any Cardinal, Bishop, priest, or lay person who dared to speak of priest sex abuse in the RCC.

    Ratzinger was head of the office in charge of Catholic faith and morals for a total of about 24 years and dealt with cases of priest sex abuse before becoming Pope.

    Please read the new book, THE CASE OF THE POPE, written by Geoffrey Robertson, Queens Counsel, human rights lawyer, and judge at the United Nations. Mr. Robertson addresses the nebulous case of diplomatic immunity, which is claimed by the Vatican, a small piece of land in the city of Rome.

    I think we Americans have been financing the Vatican for years. It is time that we make the Pope and hierarchy accountable for their actions and inactions that have seriously harmed innocent children all around the world.

    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, IL.

  31. Dr McHugh –

    As one who investigates ongoing atrocities of another color, I very much appreciate your referencing Geoffrey Robertson’s book. I found that it is indeed an impressive and damning indictment of the Church’s criminal corruption – a cancer which has metastasized all the way to the top.

  32. What the linked article does not make clear is the list of 35 priests identified by the 2011 Grand Jury which became an issue in 2011, is the same list of priests identified in a 2005 Grand Jury investigation and given to Archbishop Rigali at that time or possibly 2006 when the record was finalized. Rigali was sent in 2003 to be the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

    Also, Associate Monsignor Cistone, who was named as part of the coverup from in at least one instance in the mid 1990’s was promoted by Rigali to Auxiliary Bishop in 2004. He as well as the other named priests should have been removed in 2006 when the Grand Jury report was passed on to Rigali unless he was doing the job Rigali wanted him to do.

  33. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has suspended 21 priests for involvement in the sexual abuse of minors.

    This is not a true statement. most of these priests were suspended for “boundary issues”–whatever that means.

    But why let facts get in the way of a good witch hunt against the church?

    And why ever talk about sex abuse in the government schools were most of it occurs? That might detract from the hysteria against the church.

  34. “That might detract from the hysteria systematic aiding and abetting of pedophilia and the avoidance of prosecutions against employees of the church.”


    That’s better.

    Just because there is a larger sample space in public schools than represented by the RCC in no way detracts from the crimes committed by priests against children. I doubt anybody has run the numbers in a correlative manner because child molestation is an under reported crime, but if I were a betting man I’m willing to bet that the rate of incidence for child molestation in the RCC (combined church organization including schools and churches) is much higher than the rate of incidence in the general population.

    Be an apologist all you want.

    The RCC is and has been engaged in the systematic aiding and abetting of felonies.

    If they weren’t filthy stinking rich? They’d have tanks rolling though the fronts of Catholic churches across the country. Just ask the Branch Davidians if you can find one.

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