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July 23rd, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Pope defrocks U.S. priest over abuse allegations

Pope Benedict XVI has defrocked an Ohio priest after allegations he sexually abused a child, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown said Friday.

Thomas Crum was removed from active ministry last year "in response to credible accusations of sexual misconduct involving a minor," the diocese said in a written statement.

The Vatican, reeling from allegations in recent years, released tougher rules earlier this month aimed at stopping the abuse of children by its priests.

"The Vatican has notified the Diocese of Youngstown that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the request of Thomas Crum and removed him from the priesthood," the diocese said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex abuse

soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Cindy

    No where in the Bible is the Pope mentioned. The curtain was rent in two so man could come to God through Jesus not a Priest. The Bible says do not add or take away from its words. The Catholics have their own "Bible" supplement. Its just not biblical. Its an old religion but not a bibilcally founded one. A priest cannot absolve me of my sins and no number of Hail Mary's will give me redemption. I must go to the Father through his son Jesus, the One, the Way. The saints the Catholics pray to (help with smoking, travelling, etc. are all man made idols). The Bible says to not worship idols. I pray to Jesus, not his mother Mary. The priests have been molesting children for years and the church is covering it up. They should all be ashamed and judged accordingly.

    July 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Luke

      Cindy,
      Before you start spouting off about the Catholic Bible, you may want to learn its history. The Bible you read today derived from the Catholic Bible, not the other way around. The Catholics did not "add" anything. I have never asked an "idol" or a saint to forgive me or save me, I ask that only of Christ. I have never asked a priest to "absolve" me of my sins, only that he show me the right path to the Lord. Peter created the Catholic Church as Jesus asked him to do. To this day, "Upon that Rock" we do show our faith and love for Jesus. As the Bible has directed us to do.

      July 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • Dont Distort

      Luke,

      The catholic church has told you that their interpretation of scripture means that 'upon this rock' means the catholic church. It's called dogma, not facts. The fact is that you pray to mary, you pray to saints, many catholic holy-days map DIRECTLY to pagan spiritual dates. It's also AMAZING that so many 'christian figures' so closely resemble Mithra figures, hmmm I wonder why that is (actually I know why that is, christianity was 'made' out of several other religions).

      Lastly, men, human beings, with political ambitions were the ones who canonized the bible. They picked and chose those 'books' that supported 'their' view of the world, the ones that gave them power. Uhhhh, until the 'church' decided that common people weren't smart enough to read the bible, that they instead should just believe what the priests told them so they took the bible away from them (you do remember reading about that don't you....or do they not remind you of that in the catholic church?).

      Religion is about control and power, plain and simple, nothing more, nothing less.....

      July 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Don’t Distort,
      Why don’t you give your explanation of ‘upon this rock’?
      Mary is the Mother of God and she is our Mother. Do you honor your Mother? Jesus does and we should imitate Him in ALL things. The Bible: Lk 1:48… “all generations will call me blessed”. Why don’t you?
      Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. It is through her that Jesus is made known to us, He is the Bread of Life. The urn of the Old Covenant held the manna sent down from Heaven.
      She tells us to do what He tells us. She takes our prayers and makes them her own and presents them to her Son, Jesus Christ.
      All members of the Body of Christ are called to help one another through prayer. Saints in Heaven are still part of the Body of Christ because death had no power over them. Our prayers to the saints in heaven, asking for their prayers for us and their intercession with Jesus Christ do not undermine Christ’s role as sole Mediator. In asking saints in heaven to pray for us we follow Paul’s instructions: “I urge that supplications, prayers intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,” for “this is good and pleasing to God our Savior” [1Tim. 2:1-4]

      July 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  2. mytake

    Unfortunately, this problem has its roots in church practices of accepting homosexual males into the priesthood, hence the almost unilateral problem of males being abused by other males. This is not a Catholic problem, rather a homosexual one, that is easily substantiated by research. LIke the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, the Church accepted what were to be CELIBATE homosexual men into the priesthood. Only < than 1 percent of priests have ever abused a child, far less on a percentage basis than coaches, teachers, and ministers of other faiths. The Catholic church has always been the target of attack, much more so than any other group, and have been victimized and demonized. Read "The New AntiCatholicism:The Last Acceptable Prejudice" by Phillip Jenkins for more. You may find out you don't know as much as you think you do. Soundbites make headlines, not truth.

    July 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  3. sue

    The Catholic Priests are not the only religious leaders abusing kids......why not turn and look at other religious orders, like the Episcopalians....

    July 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  4. John

    Firstly, I do condemn any criminal action by anyone, whether a priest or not. Secondly, I find it appalling that people would use the criminal actions of some individuals to generalize against an entire faith followed by 1.1 billion people in the world. I would like to also remind those who generalize, that pedophiles are not exclusive to the Catholic Church as most of us have witnessed reports of teachers and/or elected officials who have committed similar crimes. Therefore, attacking the catholic church will not solve the underlying problem but distract us from finding the solution. There have been many Catholics in the world who has set the example for the rest of us on how to better this world (e.g. Mother Teresa) so I also hope that the next time you have the impulse to bash "catholics" with your comments, you think about them as well

    July 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • LouAz

      You don't see that catholics constantly bash every non-catholic all the time with their holier than thou teachings/dogma do you ? There were a couple of other Indians that did a little good for mankind in that part of the world as well. Ever hear of Gandhi ? How about Siddhārtha Gautama ? Were they cathiolic ? Do you recognize any human doing anything worthwhile that is not someway a part of YOUR catholic church ? Your church is NOT the center of the universe, although for many many many years they tried to tell EVERYONE that they were.

      Do not try to squirm away fromn YOUR catholic pedopriests and that your "church" had known and allowed it for years and years. YOU knew, you know NOW. Your poop knew, all of you knew, and you did NOTHING about it. You still have not done anything about it except tell this Ohio pervert that he can't war his dress (his dress, for cryin' out loud) anymore. You and your "church" have done NOTHING to put him in JAIL. No, you can't wiggle out of this by talking about other pedophiles. You are powerless to right this terrible wrong WITHIN your "church" because you fear for your "souls". That is the part that gets me the most, you all think you are so rightous ! A pox on all of you. YOUR OWN CHILDREN !

      July 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
    • Luke

      LouAz,
      It appears that you have anger directed toward the Catholic Church as a whole because of something that has happened in the past. While I understand your anger, I do not think you understand that it was not the whole of the Catholic Church that committed these crimes, it was men, power hungry men, that actually acted outside of the true teachings of the religion. No man is perfect, they sin and do things that we will never understand why. But the Catholic Church and the beliefs we hold dear do not condone this. We condone the good in those men who have done great things for the world, even those who are not Catholic. Please forgive the Catholic Church and let go of the anger, you will find your life more full-filling if you do. By the way, I find myself to be no more righteous than you or anyone else, I am proud to be a Catholic, but I would never require you to be one nor do I think you will go to hell for not being a Catholic and all of the Catholics (that truly follow the faith) believe the same way.

      July 23, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • LouAz

      Oh, Luke, thank you also for your blessing !
      "all of the Catholics (that truly follow the faith) believe the same way". So you speak for "all of the Catholics" ? I thought you Poop had that job. But since you are in charge, when are YOU GOING TO HELP PUT YOUR PEDOPREIEST IN JAIL ? You can "save" the rest of the world after you finish that task. More holier than anyone else arrogance – truly follow the faith – bull !

      July 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
    • John

      LouAz,
      In no way, I am trying to imply that goodness is exclusive to Catholics. I do agree with you that many non-Catholics have done great things for this world. Likewise, evil is not exclusive to catholics priest therefore my point that instead of complaining about catholicism and bashing "catholics", we should all condemn pedophiles, regardless of who they are or their roles in their communitiies.

      July 23, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • keburg

      "Firstly, I do condemn any criminal action by anyone, whether. . . . "

      I hope you'll post again - when you actually have something to say.

      July 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      LouAz,
      You said…………..
      you fear for your "souls". That is the part that gets me the most, you all think you are so rightous !......................

      Why would we fear for our souls if we are righteous? Who have you been listening to?

      We only know that God is the judge of souls……..mine and yours……………..this does not make us righteous.

      July 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  5. loadtoad

    Well when you die and you are standing in a brilliant light and someone is asking you why you did the things you did and you do not have the answers. That would be God.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • LouAz

      Uh, what language do you think "they" will be talking to me ? Where do the brilliant lights come in ? Did you think of this all by yourself, OR HAVE YOU HEARD IT FROM YOUR PRIEST ? Got to you, didn't they ?

      July 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  6. Catholic

    Wow! I am so sorry to read some of the hostility on this website I grew up in an Islamic country and with Catholic Priests and Nuns like Mother Threasa who worked very hard for so many very poor and homeless people the Priest were at times and bare foot with torn robes giving poor people all they had. Which news paper covered this? Bring out the tabolids and judgemental critics. It is very sad that the evil actions of the weak wipe out the great good of the many. We can't change the past being Catholic is a channel to to God. There is not right or wrong religion and humand will interpret in any way they see fit. Some will exploit religion for their own gain while other exploit and prey on the weak – this makes the man bad not the religion or its values. I pray that God bless those those who have not been exposed to great kindness and heal the hurt that prevents you from seeing the value and beauty of having some one you trust watch guide and guard you. God will judge the Priest as he sees fit. As north Americans lets not forget "in God we trust" and we have great values at home because we built north america of values found in the catholic and christian faiths.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • independent

      GTG. Peace.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • LouAz

      Tell it to the North, Central, and South American Indians !
      What a bunch of crap.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • Dont Distort

      You do realize that our country was not founded on christian principles. "In god we trust" was legislated as the national motto in 1956 (just a few years after the founding). It was in reaction to McCarthyism, the fear of the red communists. Seems every 'christian' zealot wants to take a saying that was added by law makers centuries after the founding fathers specifically omitted god from all founding documents (they say creator which is a Deist term) and make it as if that is what the founding fathers said. This country was founded using Deist language, if you did some independent research you would learn that. As long as you keep getting your information from a tainted source (read a christian minister or catholic priest that spins information for their own benefit), you will continue to look ignorant to facts and the truth. In God We Trust has NOTHING to do with our founding. Much like "one nation under god" was ADDED to the Pledge of Allegiance" in 1954.

      Just religion trying to force it's way into everyone's life and then tricking them into thinking it was always that way.

      July 23, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  7. Agnostic

    Too many stupid people irritate me. Looking for that drink. Argue on you oppressed zealots

    Sugi - you're nuts.

    Janie - you're nuts too.

    David Johnson - you seem to have a good head on your shoulders.

    Gloria - aint gonna be buying you a drink anytime soon.

    I must pat ways. Stuff to do. Weekend to get ready for...........

    July 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • independent

      Don't you see it? You shout, you mock, you joke, why? Because it does matter. If there were nothing, if nothing mattered, you could quietly go about your life ignoring those you consider fools. But you don't do that. Because there is something in that nothing.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  8. William

    Catholics are very very good at hiding their heads in the sand. But fortunately there are groups keeping records. And to that point, since 1950 there have been over 10,000 children in the USA that have been raped by Catholics (and a few thousand other religious leaders) and it's just very recently that any of them have faced the law the way any non-priest would. Over 4300 priest have been accused and/or convicted of raping children just in the USA (almost always boys under 14 year old). However, as is now coming to light, the problem is a lot worse in Europe and Russia. The south American countries still have their heads in the sand.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  9. Confused

    Then instead of attacking all Catholics in all of the ranting, attack the men who have committed these crimes, the boy scout leaders, teachers, coaches, next door neighbors as well as the priests, pastors and deacons of whatever church they are part of. I have never supported anyone abusing a child, nor has any other Catholic I know. Does that mean everything we believe is now wrong? I believe that all of you have a chance at heaven, and yes that includes those who may have committed crimes. I am not God, I cannot decide that for him. I follow my beliefs because it makes me a better person and I hope to see heaven one day. I don't know for a fact that it is the one true way, but my heart tells me I am doing the right thing. Let us all hope that the Pope follows through with this, but I wonder if you won't all just find another reason to put the Catholics down.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • LouAz

      Oh, thank you for your blessing. You have no idea what harm the catholic "church" has done to civilization and mankind, and continues to do to children, nor do you want to hear anything about it.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
    • Brady

      Dear Confused,
      I'm not sure how you can say, "Let us all hope that the Pope follows through with this, but I wonder if you won't all just find another reason to put the Catholics down." First of all, the Pope was honoring the pedophile priest's request to be removed from the clergy, and it took him a year to do it. I gotta believe that if the Catholic church was serious about addressing this issue it wouldn't take a year to sever ties with an admitted child molester who wants to leave. The pope/church does not deserve credit for such a delayed/reactionary response to a very serious issue. Secondly, I can't believe that you think people are just using the pedophilia as an excuse to put Catholics down. People are speaking against the Church because of decades of systematic child rape which was then covered up in a very organized fashion. This can't be anything other than a huge deal and saying that people would respond the same if another issue were substituted shows the depths of your confusion. Try using your head along with your heart and you'll figure out why people are so bent out of shape over this.

      July 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  10. Keith Long

    I have no quarrel with the Catholic church or the many good priests. It is no better and no worse than any other organized religion. My problem is with the pedophile priests and the bishops who covered up for them. The pedophile priests should all be in prison as the common criminals they are. The covering bishops should join them for aiding and abetting their crimes.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  11. Confused

    I have read so many of the comments in this blog string and am so confused. How is my choosing to love Jesus, show tolerance toward others and their beliefs, choose to not: steal, commit adultery, kill, dis-honor my parents, covet.... affect and bring down the rest of the world??? I choose to be a Catholic everyday for those reasons, not because of a priest or a pope. The Catholic Church in the beginning and today has taught us to love Jesus and the rest of mankind regardless of whether they think the same as us. Go to a Catholic Church if you question the intent, otherwise, do not tell me that I am ruining the world.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • LouAz

      You are not ruining the world. You support pedopriest in your church that are ruining the lives of children. What don't you understand about this ? Your silence and feint denial is your consent.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Amanda

      I don't have any problem with Catholics like you. I have a problem with Catholics who try to force their beleifs on others. The problem with this forum is that SOME Catholics leave comments about how everyone else is going to Hell blah, blah, blah. The non-believers take that as a personal attack and spout back something anit-Catholic. Before you know it, it's one hate filled comment after another. I'm not saying it's right, but that's usually how these things escalate. Also, the fact that this entire article is about the Pope "cracking down" on pedophiles doesn't help. Surely, you (even as a Catholic) must agree that it's totally insane that pedophiles are allowed to "resign" instead of being ex-communicated or jailed.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Confused

      Amanda,
      Thank you. I agree that these guys should be in jail and this makes it easier for them to go to jail. This priest will no longer have the church to support him. It takes alot for the Catholic Church to ex-communicate anyone, because we believe that everyone can be forgiven, that is for God to decide, not us. You will be asked to not participate in Communion at the church until you repent for your sins and the repentance may include going to jail and serving time in this case.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • independent

      Don't be confused.

      I pointed out to this group the other day. They are crying out of frustration. They lash-out because they inately sense that there is more to life than born, live, suffer and die, but they can't convince themselves enough to believe. Surely, if what they say were true, they would quietly while away their years because argueing about it is meaningless. However, they sense that meaning, but doubt; so, they prod and provoke to generate 1) either a temporal response which satisfies them temporarily, or 2) hope beyond hope that "if there were a god", God will show them the error of their approach.

      Those who will see, will see. Do not be confused.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
    • Confused

      independent,
      It is people like you that keep me in my faith, in the face of adversity you have nothing negative to say of those who do not agree or have chosen to attack your beliefs.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • Amanda

      Confused,

      See............. religious and non-religious people CAN get along. Who knew? Now if we could just show everyone else..........
      P.S. See Independent's comment for exaclty what I was talking about. This is the kind of thing that angers people. Some schmuck on here telling me that deep down I really believe! Like I don't know what I believe. Sheesh.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  12. William

    When will politicians and law enforcement join forces and put a stop to these butt-raping Catholics (and all other religious butt-rapers). Why are these pieces of shit given a free pass to rape children? When will it stop? Maybe we need get mid-evil on these guys and burn a few at the stake. Let's start with the Pope.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  13. fiztero

    Im sorry for the victims!

    July 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  14. Agnostic

    Matt,

    Come for drink with Johnny and me. We still won't invite Gloria.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  15. janie

    With all these comments, has anyone bothered to check what the federal government, school districts, state government, and city government have implemented to protect the children. What are the statistics? All I know, to protect the children, all it takes "he/she touched me inappropriately" and that person is automatically "guilty until proven innocent". Where's the people law that says "innocent until proven guilty"? What about the elderly? Most ofabuse training is geared to protect the children, what about our parents? Did anyone bother to ask "Did the priests confess?". If so, then the priest who heard the confession cannot, and I repeat, cannot tell another person. People use the confessional to tell their sins, and the priest who hears them cannot tell under the penalty of mortal sin. So, in this case, whose law is higher – God's law or people (civil) law?

    July 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Agnostic

      Janie,

      So you condone this behavior? Regardless of who told what to who, it is a crime. You saying it's OK? If a child or (anyone vulnerable) is treated wrongly, it must be made public. Agree?

      It is not god's law or civil law. It is simply what is right and what is wrong. Do you have a distinction between the two?

      If there is a finger in the cookie jar..............

      July 23, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • Amanda

      Civic law is always higher........it's called separation of church and state. No one is saying you can't choose to be Catholic (or religious period). But the laws we live by cannot be determined by ANY religion. Why, you ask..........because NOT EVERYONE IS THE SAME RELIGION. Imagine if our government made us live by laws based on Islam. You wouldn't be able to show your ankles in public........seems unfair, right?

      July 23, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  16. Matt

    If the Church was an actual corporation, I'm pretty sure they'd be shut down by now. Yes, they have pretty buildings, neato costumes, and a scary story (Leviticus) but honestly.... Catholicism was responsible for the Inquisition, the Crusades, and multiple other insane endeavors in history.... and now molestation. To the Catholic faithful: you support mass murder, a Nazi youth Pope, and continue to perpetuate the silly notion that there is an invisible man in the sky that will only punish you when you die. L2USE THE INTERNET!

    July 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  17. SJS52987

    I am a Catholic who hasn't been to church in almost 15 years because of the way the church has handled these instances of abuse. I say let the defrocking train keep on rollin'!!!!!!

    July 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      How is it you call yourself Catholic but have not set foot inside the Church for 15 years?

      July 26, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  18. JohnnyOh2323

    Does Defrocked mean castrated?

    July 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  19. Sugi

    To all the non-believers and hypocrites, repent, for only Catholics are elgible for entry to Heaven. Will see most of you hate-filled people at the Pearly Gates being sent to Hell! I don't imagine you'll be so sacreligious when St. Peter gives you the "thumbs down"!

    July 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • Agnostic

      Sugi,

      Not sure how to put this delicately -- YOU'RE NUTS!!!! Only the Catholics? Please believe that there are many people who are non believers and perhaps hypocrites - in you loose definition, but we will find our way and when we get there, save us a seat.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • David Johnson

      See, this is whats so funny about Christianity. There are thousands of different denominations. Each claims to be the one true faith. The one god loves. Each can show you passages from a "holy book" that shows they are the chosen ones. LOL

      You can't all be right, but you can all be wrong. I'm betting wrong.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • SJS52987

      Sugi,

      You give Catholics everywhere a bad name. That kind of mentality is best reserved for those wacky churches where they handle poisonous snakes, speak in tongues and protest things like Comic-Con. Christ wants us to be loving, compassionate and charitable, not tell people of different faiths that they're going to hell. A Roman Catholic who is trying to be good does so by setting a good example for others, not by threatening them with damnation.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Douglas

      Sugi. You tell us non-believers we are haters, well the truth be told if your looking for haters you need not look any further than organized religion. There has been more blood shed in the name of religion, not to mention the hatred that continues today for gay's and lesbians who did nothing more than be born into this world as they are. Organized religion is shameful.

      July 23, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Sugi,
      you are not Catholic! A Catholic who condemns someone to hell really is not Catholic in any way. Judging souls is God's job.

      July 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      All have an equal chance to repent of their sins as Cathoics do.

      July 26, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  20. LouAz

    Let's check the score:
    Children 0
    Pedopriest 1,000,000 and counting
    To this moment the cathlic corporation and the catholic poop have not turned in or given over a single one of their members to any muni, state, or federal authority for anything. All they have done is some administrative paper shuffling within their own "membership" lists. Took him out of this coluum and put him in this coluum.
    The "membership" of this corporation, in spite of the anger of a certain Americana78 expressed throught out this "blog", has to this minute been POWERLESS to do any thing except say, "Yes, Father" and put some more money in the collection plate.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.