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Wrongful death claim filed against Philadelphia Archdiocese
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is facing a wrongful death suit
April 7th, 2011
10:54 AM ET

Wrongful death claim filed against Philadelphia Archdiocese

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) – A new wrongful death claim against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali was filed Wednesday on behalf of the family of Daniel Neill, a 36-year-old former St. Mark Parish altar boy who committed suicide in 2009 after reporting he had been sexually abused by a priest.

Neill's suicide and allegations of sexual abuse were included in a recent Philadelphia grand jury report released in February.

The case is just one chapter of a broader legal story for the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The wrongful death lawsuit is the second civil suit filed against the archdiocese and Rigali involving an alleged victim named in the 2011 grand jury report. Three additional civil suits alleging sexual abuse, by parties not named in the grand jury report, also have been filed against the Philadelphia archdiocese since February.

Neill's sister, Michelle Forsyth, and mother, Mary Neill, filed the lawsuit so that children can be better protected, they said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It is simply our desire to perhaps get the Archdiocese officials to recognize their obligations and to do a better job of healing the wounded and protecting the children - instead of being concerned about their reputation. Our family member said more than once, 'I am not looking for anything other than for the Church to believe me,' " the family said in the statement.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia declined to comment on Wednesday's lawsuit, an archdiocese spokesman said.

This year's grand jury report is the city's second report issued regarding priests' alleged sexual abuse in Philadelphia. The first grand jury report came out in 2003. And this is the first time that a Catholic church leader has been charged criminally for an alleged cover-up.

These lawsuits were filed in response to new information released in the 2011 grand jury report that involves Monsignor William Lynn, who is facing criminal charges, accused of endangering the welfare of children and having knowledge about perpetrators.

Lynn served as the secretary for clergy under the former Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn is expected to plead not guilty, according to his attorney, Thomas Bergstrom.

The 2011 report led to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office criminally charging three Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while a former official with the archdiocese was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children, the city's district attorney's office said. All five have also been charged with conspiracy.

The grand jury report says that on October 15, 2007, Neill reported to an archdiocese victim assistance coordinator that Rev. Joseph J. Gallagher had repeatedly fondled him when he was a minor and served as an altar boy at St. Mark Parish in Bristol, Pennsylvania.

According to the grand jury report, Neill told the victim assistance coordinator that during his childhood, Gallagher discussed masturbation during confession; fondled him during outings in the priest's car, at the house of the priest's mother, upstairs in the rectory, in a utility room in the sacristy and in a loft in the church; and that the priest also hit the boy.

According to the grand jury report, on July 24, 2008, Neill was notified that the Archdiocese Review Board could not substantiate his allegation. Neill committed suicide on June 6, 2009. The grand jury report also said that Gallagher, though retired, still regularly assisted at St. Jerome and St. Timothy parishes in Philadelphia as well as St. Thomas Aquinas in Croyden, Pennsylvania.

Attempts by CNN to reach Gallagher have been unsuccessful. In addition, no criminal charges have been brought against Gallagher.

Following the release of the 2011 grand jury report, Cardinal Rigali removed Gallagher from active ministry on February 16.

As of March 7, 23 priests in the Philadelphia area have been placed on administrative leave, including two retired priests placed on leave on March 30.

"I want to be clear: These administrative leaves are interim measures. They are not in any way final determinations or judgments," said Rigali said in a statement on March 8. On March 25, Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes imposed a gag order barring all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Courts • Sex abuse

soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Me

    You people are bananas.

    May 2, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  2. Rich

    Please support victims of clergy abuse and create productive discussion about how we as a society can prevent future children from abuse, inside and outside the walls of the Catholic Church.
    http://www.Victims4Justice.org

    April 16, 2011 at 3:14 am |
  3. EvolvedDNA

    Hi Gerald.. your dislike of atheists , because they do not believe the same as you is contrary to what you appear to talk about. You mention love thy neighbor .. what if that neighbor was an atheist or gay, or muslin, or protestant, or JW... you would have a hard time I bet. I would not as I treat them all as human beings first., and i expect the same thing in return. My neighbors are very Christan, and we get on fine.. I look after their house when they go way and vice a versa. Your stereotype of atheists appears driven by a need to believe that you can only be good with a god.. and also appears to be central, along with a disbelief of evolution, to keeping your faith. It is you who claims moral superiority as you" have faith:, all others fall short..how can i elevate myself, as you claim, by putting you down? Also.. Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates give a huge amount of money to charities. I will not deny that religions are organised, and as such are capable of getting money where it is needed .. and do good work.. I have never denied they do not. however, as an atheist I give to these organisations as well , and many do. Believe me, if we met you would not find me at all the way I am sure you think atheists are we are nice people exactly the same as you nut with different views ..thats all.

    April 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  4. Non-Catholic Dad

    To Catholic Mom,
    To Catholic Mom,

    The Catholic Church left apostolic faith and the message of the gospel behind long ago in favor of its own authority. Yes we should be one and would have been but for the corruption of the Roman church, and that corruption continues today.

    April 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  5. Continuum

    Most recent report from Washington DC has Catholic Charities collecting money from the poor for medical services that both the state and federal government have already paid them for.

    The love of money and corruption within the Catholic Church seems to be limitless.

    The Bishops will never have enough money for themselves nor will they ever admit their roles in pepetuating and hiding crimes.

    April 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Continuum,
      Catholic Charities does not collect money from the poor unless the poor are donating it to Catholic Charities to help as-sist others even more poor than themselves. The poor are the most charitable of people.

      April 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Continuum

      Catholic Mom - here's' the newspaper link which describes how Catholic Charities is scamming the governmnent and getting paid twice . . . http://www.bradenton.com/2011/04/08/3098719/physician-files-whistleblower.html

      April 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Thank you for the link. I hope everyone reads it.

      April 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Continuum,

      BTW, your alleged report is not a finding…it is just about a disgruntled doctor who came out of retirement to take on a position with Catholic Charities and was fired after 3 years. This is what the doctor had to say about his allegations for filing a lawsuit: "I decided to file this lawsuit to seek justice not only for myself," explained Dr. Briggs, "but for the hundreds of immigrant families who've suffered medical danger as a result of Catholic Charities' unconscionable record of neglect. Hopefully by filing suit and making my allegations public, I will help to ensure that Catholic Charities will finally fix the systemic problems I discovered and provide the type of medical treatment that would warrant the level of trust its patients place in it."

      Now his lawyer says: "Dr. Briggs was harassed, mistreated, and robbed of his career because he refused to overlook the shoddy care that Catholic Charities provided to many of its patients and because he refused to remain silent in the face of the serious patient risks he saw day after day. Dr. Briggs did the right thing. In bringing this lawsuit, we hope and expect that a jury of their peers will send a strong message to Catholic Charities that retaliation is illegal and will not be tolerated."

      [Robbed of his career???...really?]

      I am sure working for Catholic Charities was not as lucrative as the doctor had hope…and way more work than he was used to…having been retired and not used to working so hard…he probably felt like he was a volunteer instead of a salaried person, poor guy! I wouldn’t be surprised if he worked with volunteer nurses and other staff who did the best they could for the poor people without salaries…I wonder what they will have to say about the good doctor…

      April 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  6. Non-Catholic Dad

    To CatholicMom, in other words outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation (except if your invincibly ignorant of the truth which is held by Rome alone)

    April 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Non-Catholic Dad,

      Since it is Jesus Christ’s prayer to the Father ‘that they all be one in Him’ how do you propose He accomplish this but through His Church, the Church that the world loves to hate? Read all of John chapter 17. [It is not long!]

      This is Jesus Christ praying to the Father. It explains much about why Jesus Christ came to be Incarnate and His concern for His disciples …. and those who will ‘hear them’…. ‘And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me’.

      Luke 10:16 He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.

      Jesus Christ was Sent by the Father. He is telling His disciples that those who will not Hear them and despises them [ that is, the Apostles and their successors….there must be successors so that all people in all ages will have the opportunity to Hear them], that these same people who will not hear them, also despises the Father who Sent Jesus.

      How did the Father Send Jesus? With Authority! He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. John 20:21.

      I am sorry, Non-Catholic Dad, if none of this makes any sense to you.

      May holy week have much meaning for you and Happy Easter.

      April 10, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Reality

      CatholicMom,

      On Luke 10:16 from Professor Gerd Ludemann's Book, Jesus After 2000 Years.

      "Jesus did not utter the saying in its present wording, because the transference of the authority of Jesus to the disciples presupposes the situation of the community (cf. on Matt. 18.5). [Jesus, 329] ."

      And with respect to John's Gospel:

      From the same book , p. 416, "Anyone in search of the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John......This verdict is the consensus among New Testament scholars."

      April 10, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  7. Lost

    HeavenSent

    Lost, did you get rid of all your earthly possessions and follow Jesus? Or, are you just bashing the Catholic Church, therefore, left them? I hope that bashing doesn't extend to all the Christian people in that denomination who love and follow Jesus.

    Amen.

    Well, HeavnScent...Am I not allpwed to have opinions and voice them here as all do? No, I am not bashing anything. Just stating thoughts I have and am open to what others have to say.

    Now, let me ask you a question? Where you bashing the Catholic Church, or one of it's members, when you had a debate over reading the bible on your own? I believe it may have been CatholicMom that you thrashed, because she said under another thread, that the bible was not for personal interpetation? Do you recall?

    So before you swing your almighty sword at others, you may want to re-think your own actions. I can remember a few comments you have made regarding the Catholic church, and they were anything short of nice. I did not, however, jump your case, so don't jump on mine.

    What caused your sudden change of heart where the CC is involved? You once had problems with alot of thier beliefs.

    April 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  8. Lost

    *explain

    April 9, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Lost,

      I hope this helps you through some of your questions. So often non-Catholics have learned to take verses out of the Bible and use them out of context…and now it appears they do the same thing with the Catechism!

      Below is the portion of the Catechism which surrounds #841. People need to realize that this portion of the Catechism also is surrounded by more clarifications and they should be included to understand the WHOLE. It is the same with the Bible…one verse has a relationship with the whole of the Bible.

      If you have further questions after reading this I can comment in my own words if you wish but I think it is pretty self-explanatory. I am in a hurry at the moment and may not be able to respond until tomorrow. But let me respond to your belief that I have said that people outside the Catholic Church are ‘lost’…I have never said anyone is lost…I may have said that I do not want one soul to be lost but have not stated that I know who this might be…I have only said that we cannot judge another’s soul as that is for God to do. So I do not know who’s soul may or may not be lost but HOPE that none are lost.
      Along the lines of judging….we are to judge an action to determine whether or not it is a right or wrong action but we cannot judge whether or not a soul is lost due to their taking a wrong action [even though we determine it is a wrong action for ourselves] because we do not know how God will judge their soul when that time comes.

      Thank you for your patience with me as I know I do not always say what I mean in the most perfect way and can be misunderstood.

      The Church and non-Christians

      839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325
      The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ",328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329

      840 And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

      841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."330

      842 The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:
      All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

      843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

      844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:
      Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

      845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

      April 9, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Lost

      Thanks CatholicMom, I respect you answering this to help me be clear as to its meaning.

      April 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  9. Adeline

    Adeline, So, are you comparing the Catholic church to the White House? My point was, if Jesus was humble and back then told his disciples to sell all they had and follow him, then he must not have been to bog on adorning ones self with the riches and material things of the Earth.
    Sorry, but I am sure a simple altar in a plain building, without all the glitz would serve the same purpose? If you look at the money spent on those things, the Catholic church could certainly help more oppressed people, do you not agree?

    @CatholicMom I have noticed under some threads you keep driving home the point that anyone outside the CC, is lost? I am wondering why that is? I see no where in the bible where Jesus said, if you were not a member of the Catholic Chrurch, then all his promises and things that he said he would do IF you followed him, was null and void?

    Regarding having to HEAR th word by someone SENT......
    "But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, in your hearts, so that you don't need anyone to teach you what is right. For he teaches you all things, and he is the Truth, and no liar…" 1 John 2:27

    The Holy Spirit was SENT and can teach us as the scripture says.

    Didn't the Catholic Church (back when it compiled the bible), send out letters to all the other christian churches, saying they were going to compile a bible and call it Catholic? Some of those religions , that practiced christianity, were not in agreement with this.

    So, there were christian churches, but the Holy See established itself, and took control of them.

    Later in the 2nd century AD, there were more manifestations of Roman authority over other churches. In 189 AD, assertion of the primacy of the Church of Rome may be indicated in Irenaeus of Lyons's Against Heresies (3:3:2): "With [the Church of Rome], because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree... and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just Leader of the church in Jerusalem

    April 9, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • Lost

      Sorry, the above post is from Lost. I accidently typed Adeline in the name field

      April 9, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Lost

      Can any Catholic eplain something to me, regarding this Catechism statment?
      In paragraph #841 the Muslims are eternally saved. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham..."1

      Muslims do not believe Jesus was the son of God, but that he was a prophet.

      To summarize according to the Catechism, anyone who is , Muslim, or has faith in the Creator or seeks God with a sincere heart and uses their conscience to do His will, may achieve salvation. But paragraph 846 states that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation. So, who belongs to the Catholic Church?
      "I am the way and the truth and the life.

      No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
      "Whoever believes in Him (Jesus talking of Himself) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18

      It also states in the bible,

      April 9, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Christian Adeline

      @Lost: People willingly donated to Church and offered their best talent for Christianity as Christianity inspired mankind the best in everything. Christian Church including Roman Catholic Church was not flawless but it has been the best insti-tution on Planet Earth for all time everywhere. Western Civilization thus the whole world got nothing valuable without Christian Church.

      April 9, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Actually, churches were built so the masses could gather together under one roof to stay out of natures elements to hear Jesus' truth, book by book scripture by scripture, then have time after the reading to debate what was heard to strengthen their knowledge of His truth with like minds.

      The rest of what happened with the churches is man made egos and has nothing to do with Jesus' truth, except He warned about all this in His letter to all of us (the Bible).

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  10. Artist

    Catholicmom, I just wanted to clarify something so there is no confusion. I served my country and respect the rights of people to believe as they do. But this doesnt mean I cannot express my views of that. While I think religion serves a great purpose to bring man from acting like apes, I do not think man is ready to move beyond religion in this day an age. Kind of like we are between slumping like and animal and walking upright with intelligence in thought. Our minds havent caught up to our physical aspect yet. So believe it or not I dont want to see religion wiped out just yet while man is still in his teenage years.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • frank

      Sorry, but very many men have not only been ready to, but HAVE moved on from religion. Also, men technically ARE apes. Finally, religion often aids men in behaving worse than any other ape.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Adeline

      Religion-less men are worse than worms.

      April 9, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus teaches spiritual truth about life and the hereafter. Too many humans stay on the carnal level of thinking/believing, writing and actions. Never to comprehend the damage done to their, as well as others' souls until they get older, much wounded and in need of His solace.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Heavensent. You have no evidence for "Souls" .. that is just a catholic invention along with sin. Do you use a GPS ( God Position System) before you decide whether to talk to people? Atheists and Christians, Buddhists, Hindus,, Muslims all live, die, are happy, or miserable. are smart, dumb,indifferent,love dogs, love cats,. The precept that unless god is in your life you cannot be happy, or are flawed, is a position you have to take in order to keep your belief. I imagine that in your life you have met people who are very happy.. as I am, and have been my entire life. It is possible
      those people are atheists, but may not tell you as they either do not to be preached at. I am happy because life makes sense to me as it does not require any divine ent-ity. I am happy top talk to any religious folks, and get along with them. To continue to call people the ancient "carnal" is childish in the extreme.

      April 9, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  11. CatholicMom

    Catholics read the Bible, Frederica, and are conscience of what it says about God’s Word….it says we are to hear it…and we are to hear it from someone sent. [This is how Jesus Christ sent the Apostles out into the world…with His command and with His authority.]
    All of us, whether we read the Bible, or not, or do not hear it from someone sent, still have a conscience placed in our being by God by which we know him and his law of love. So Bible-literate Christians are not the only ‘safe’ people, as you suggest. However, it could be an immense struggle to go it alone, without the Church [Tradition], the Bible and the Magisterium, as the Bible describes for us.
    The Bible did not ‘exist’ as you put it, until the Church put the Holy Scriptures under one cover and named these Scriptures the Bible, the Word of God. For almost 400 years after Jesus Christ’s resurrection the people did not have the Bible…they were not lost but lived by conscience and Tradition of the Apostles. Now this Tradition lives on side-by-side with the Bible--each confirming the other…and of course, we still have our conscience! All gifts, needless to say!
    I would not say that those who cannot read or do not read are lost human beings as you suggest. When people hear the Word of God and heed what they hear they will receive the grace needed to persevere in it…it could compel them to read the Bible!

    April 8, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Catholic mom. If god existed at all he would not want his words to be disseminated by a any elitist group who feel they a the sole proprietors of salvation. He would most likely use a humble person, not some gold encrusted money wasting operation that most churches are today. Sounds like the church compiled the "scriptures" to ensure it gave them a leg up... what would they have left out?

      April 8, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Evolved DNA,

      You put much faith in man’s abilities to keep an inst!tution going for 2000 years…why is the Catholic Church the only Christian religion that has maintained this much history? I propose that the Holy Spirit is doing just as He promised!

      I would be wary if I were you…in trying to tear down the Catholic Church you may find yourself fighting against God Himself!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Artist

      Catholicmom, forgive my chuckle as you embelish your myth and supersti tions. Careful mommy, time is no validation of one's delusion.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Thoth

      The religion of the Ancient Egyptians lasted over three thousand years, so by CatholicMom's standards, it is 50% truer than Christianity. It will take christianity over a millenium to catch up. Hindu dates back 3100-3800 years and is still going strong, so it is better than christianity by a lot. And it is still going strong, so those Catholics won't catch up.

      Yes, time is relevant to how legitimate a religion is. So when Jesus first preached and it was new, it was totally false, but the years have made it legitimate.

      Or maybe the logical extreme of CatholicMom's argument isn't so logical.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Then there is the following prayer which puts things into proper perspective:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      April 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Artist and Thot,

      Many people place man at a higher plateau in knowledge as we learn more and more about our universe through science , and yet our predecessors knew enough to not throw out their religion just because their knowledge grew in scientific matters.
      You mentioned that Hinduism is older; but it is not growing like Christianity….wouldn’t you think that the more man knows about the universe the closer to the Truth he becomes? Yes! That is why Christianity is at the top of the list for religions of the world. So not only is Christianity the faith that Jesus Christ founded but it is the one that He continues to guide and guard. For how old Hinduism is…shouldn’t it be growing instead of dwindling if it were the one guided and guarded by Jesus Christ?
      Or maybe you like to say you belong to the family of humans who are all becoming more and more delusional….except for you! It would be funny if it weren’t such an important part of life….not one soul should be kept from hearing the Word of God. After that…each to his own choices in life.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Thoth

      "No religious affiliation" is growing much faster than Christianity, so it must be better than Christianity.

      April 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Artist

      Catholicmom, wishful thinking helps us get past the what if's and maybe's.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Catholic mom.. the reason that your church keeps going is that most are born into it, and know no different. I would think that was your path.. fear of being chastised and outcast would be all it takes as a young mind is molded to believe. It would be a far different world with in the religious sphere if a child had a choice and was free to make his.her own mind up at the age of majority. The Muslims have a similar recruitment plan and you cannot leave.. under threat of death, no wonder they claim to have the fastest growing religion...

      April 8, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus' teaches spiritual truth about life and the hereafter. Whether humans get this concept or not is the issue you should be discussing.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • gerald

      Evolved, it would seem too that you know what it is like to live in France without ever being there. You don't have a clue about Catholicism.

      April 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Gerald.. what has that to do with my comment? I claim that most believers are born in to their religion, and have little chance of changing due to the pressures to conform. Have you looked at other religions with a view to change ? Are you certain yours has all the " truths" Catholics are no different.. you are born catholic so you are counted as a member, as are the muslims. I still claim that if you allowed a child born to Catholic or Muslim parents to make their own mind up with out repercussions the out come would be different. You have no clue as to human nature. PS I have been to France..

      April 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  12. Lost

    I guess God doesn't like me because I am not Catholic. I left the Catholic church, because when I was there, I saw too much money being wasted on altars, churches with fancy glass windows, gold chalices, etc. Not to mention when I looked into the church,, and checked out the Vatican, I could not believe the gold coach used to transport the pope's of old, the Vatican itself, is huge, and houses paintings worth millions of dollars! The CC came off my list of churches to join. How can one justify this?

    http://www.castle.ckrumlov.cz/docs/en/zamek_3nadvori_kocar.xml Take a look

    I thought Jesus said sell all you have an follow me?

    April 8, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Adeline

      Lost, why don't tell White House to sell everything for the poor in USA? They are public servants. And unless you have sold everything you have for the poor, you can't tell a thing to Vatican. Europe gained wealth by simply showing what Catholics had created and built for centuries. Hypocrites. Bad decen-dants. You guys should pay taxes to Catholic Church. She didn't receive a thing she deserves but always gives everything to rescue others and serves to bones.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Lost,

      I am sorry you feel lost….

      Please, do not feel that the Church is too covered in gold, jewels, and painting. This is Jesus Christ’s Church…the Catholic Church. The Vatican is where we find the Chair of Peter, which was established in Peter by Jesus himself.

      There is nothing too grand for the glory of God…and if you had heard…the very first Tabernacle for Jesus Christ was Mary! God Himself perfected her from her conception because He could not enter a tainted vessel…as we all are tainted with Original Sin. He saved her from this.

      The whole of the Vatican represents the Church of our faith which Christ founded. He promises to guide and guard His Church from evil until the end of time. It is our visible means of acknowledging what Christ founded. It is all for His glory.

      Remember when Jesus rebuked the men who chastised the woman for using precious oils on Him because they said the oil should be sold and the money used for the poor? If we shower Jesus Christ through His holy place the best that we can do, it is for Him!….it should not cause you anguish like those men but realize that this is just ONE of the ways we can make Jesus Christ visible to the rest of the world. This is His House! The House of God.

      Each of us has a house that we call our castle, be it ever so humble but it is where we are ‘king’. This House of God is where God is King.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Lost, did you get rid of all your earthly possessions and follow Jesus? Or, are you just bashing the Catholic Church, therefore, left them? I hope that bashing doesn't extend to all the Christian people in that denomination who love and follow Jesus.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • gerald

      And Judas complained of the expensive oil being used to anoint Jesus feet in John 12 as well. It showed his heart. He left too.

      April 10, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  13. Frederica

    If you read the Bible and look at the world, it becomes impossible to be silent on anyone's crime or to commit suicide. You get tremendous strength and a sense of purpose in life. One needs to ask God(Holy Spirit) for understanding His Word.

    April 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • No

      No.

      April 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Jerry Harrimon

      When I read the Bible, it became impossible to remain conscious. One needs to ask God(Holy Spirit) why he is such an incredibly dull writer.

      April 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • joey

      You would think they could have at least made Heaven sound appealing in some way, instead of the most bland and lifeless place imaginable.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Frederica

      Jerry and Joey, you have no clue because you either did not or could not read.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • God

      If it sounds boring to you, think of how it is for me! I have spent thousands of years surrounded by millions of sycophanty people like Frederica and HeavenSent, all doing nothing other than brown-nosing me endlessly and repeating the same old cliches over and over. And if I ever hear another rendition of "Kumbayah", my motto will be Apocalypse Now!

      To my followers, I am going to be out of the office for a few centuries. I have created a new private heaven, and the only people invited are Charlie Sheen and a bevy of smoking hotties; we're gonna have a huge rock of crack and viagra, and it's gonna be heaven.

      Oh yeah, all my old books, the Bible and the Koran and the Book of Mormon, I am putting them out to pasture and upgrading. Charlie will be writing my new book. Let's face it, his way with words is just so much more fun to read than any of my previous ghost writers were able to accomplish.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Frederica the bible was used as a reason to commit many crimes through out history, and still is .The anguish suffered by those people persecuted by the churches, including your pagan inspired church, caused many to commit suicide. Many Gay people have either been killed by religious intolerance or killed themselves because of torment. Is that what you mean by a sense of purpose in life.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, humans abused everything including the Bible. The Bible was the only thing to exist to bring love, justice and civility to all nations. And the Bible-literate Christians are the only safe people for all the groups you mention, no one else.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Frederica

      Gay people commit suicide because their sinful lifestyle is too much for any human being. It's a bottomless hallowness.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • BG

      @ Frederica

      Well, maybe not "bottomless."

      April 8, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • rh

      That's funny, everything I ever learned said that suicide is a sin, so who's the bigger sinner?

      April 8, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Life is a test from God. Love and follow Jesus' truth and your spirit lives, on earth as it is in Heaven to reside with Him for eternity. 2nd choice with your free will, love and follow satan's lies and your spirit dies while living on earth, go to paradise, still hate Jesus, Day of the Lord, and you get your wish, perish into the eternal flames, no eternity for you.

      Suicide is not enduring to the end of God's test. Life is for us to learn lessons, whatever those lessons are that God's wants us to learn. They may not be what we expect, but they are what God wants us to learn to strengthen our souls so that we can dwell with Him for eternity.

      P.S. folks, there is no gender in paradise.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Arvin Huac

      Why would an omniscient god want to run a test when he is already omniscient and knows the outcome, especially since he made people as they are and placed them in situations where the reactions would guarantee their behavior? That's like endlessly testing if two and two are still four. Face it, if god exists as the Christians, Muslims and Jews perceive him, then everything is determined and there is no free will, just the illusion of it because god keeps hiding.

      If there is a loving god, he/she would make himself known so that everyone could enjoy the benefits and god could get the worship everyone seems to thinks he is so desperate for. A loving god would not make it a trick question, with hell for most people who get it wrong. Only a cruel god would do something like that.

      God makes no sense, and really just cannot exist. This 'test' stuff is just another way to terrorize people into conforming.

      April 10, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  14. Frederica

    Every Catholic needs to read the Bible. Abuse of any kind anywhere by anyone will never cease to exist unless every person on earth educates himself with the wholesome Biblical teaching authentically. Feeding on God's Word truly and successfully combats every and any kind of human evil.

    April 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Secular Heathen

      Unless it's using the sword to spread the word of Christ. Just remember god said don't beat your slave to death, though it is ok to have slaves just they can't work on the sabbath and you can beat them as long as they don't die.

      April 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Frederica

      Secular Heathen, Sabbath was given so that everyone including animals can have the needed rest, and the Bible differenciated manslaughter, 1st and 2nd degree murder. Slaves in OT had better days than American employees nowadays!

      April 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      God.. I think that Heavensent and Frederica are right.. there is a hell and we are in now with the Christians who didn't make it either.. that is our punishment... am I right?? if I am can I get a VIP pass to your " Gnu heaven" PS if this is hell it is a lot colder than we were lead to believe.. I still have snow on the ground... whats that all about? Turn it up a notch for us please....

      April 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, Christians would love to have you in Heaven to be together always as you wish it so badly. Just give up your own folly against God. There is nothing you can lose except for your unwillingness to admit God's truth.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Thank you Frederica. I was hoping someone would incorporate slaves with workers of today that have brow beating big egoed + bosses.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  15. Guest

    In 1962, a 9 year old girl's body was discovered on a stair landing leading to the choir loft at St. Marks Church in Bristol Pa. She had also been ra-ped. One of the prime suspects was one of the parish priests. The case was never solved. Google Carol Ann Dougherty

    April 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  16. Pjm

    The abuse by any authority figure is truly an evil act. Agencies and organizations didn't know how to respond at first, because until the women's movement, it wasn't spoken about. I am satisfied with the responses in the last couple years and appreciate the role of the media. I am an active Catholic, and find the assertion that religion itself is evil and should be done away with incredibly superficial and ignorant of the role in the lives of the faithful that religion holds.

    April 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  17. Jason D. Firestone

    Beca,
    Bringing about a state of justice with respect to a complex and tragic situation is never quick or simple. The Wild West, the Black Hats and the White Hats are concoctions of American TV and movies. and an ignorant childish fantasy. Of course abuse is absolutely wrong and quick firm steps must be taken to absolutely stop it immediately and keep children safe. (I wonder why we don't talk more about some of the successful programs in this country which have been 100% effective in stopping this sort of evil.) How about an article about THAT CNN ? Some have worked very well, some have not. What's the difference ?

    Have a friend, a very smart MD, who has saved countless lives, and was educated at a C. university which has been in the news lately for a few abusive priests, (don't get me wrong, one is way too many). If you were having a heart attack at went into Cedars Sinai, and he saved your life, would you wish those good monks had not run the place that educated him. I doubt that. (But I don't speak for others.) I do think there are elements of gerald's posting with which I agree.

    Hope it's as beautiful where you live as it is here today.

    April 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  18. BECA

    WISHING CHARLES BRONSON WAS WORKING FOR THE DISTRIC ATTORNY'S OFFICE. JUSTICE – QUICK AND SIMPLE.

    April 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  19. JohnR

    The wrong person committed suicide.

    April 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      That comment wasn't called for. No one should have to feel so much pain that they irrationally believe there is no way out than to end their life. If anyone comes across someone talking about suicide, run to the nearest phone and call for help. Whether it be the police, clergy, therapists, parents/friends etc. Just make the call.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  20. Reality

    And still more "vomit-inducing" acts of ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the elimination of all religions as we know them. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

    April 7, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Hal G.

      That would be nice, but unfortunately there is no atrocity or outrage big enough to convince religious people that their religion is evil and does more harm than good. The truly disgusting pedophilia scandal, and the church's reaction to it, has not had any significant impact on the number of Catholics. Similarly, the numerous terrorist atrocities have not lessened the number of Muslims either. Indeed, in both cases, the faithful simple became more radicalized in their beliefs. They did not start doubting.

      The real problem is human nature. Most people are simply incapable of independant critical thinking. They are conformists who never question their beliefs. As Mencken once said, "Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon."

      He also said "Sunday: A day given over by Americans to wishing that they themselves were dead and in Heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in Hell."

      April 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • gerald

      Ah the bigot gallery speaks again.

      Religion does more harm than good? Seems you are not measuring the good. Only looking at the bad. Do you have any idea how much housing, food, clothes, hospital beds, schools, etc. are provided by the CC? Why don't you look in to it and then look in to how much of these things are provided by atheists? Oh I suppose you could point to russia who's government fed and clothed everyone. But that is only because they employed everyone at pittance wages with no freedom. Ya atheism rocked in russia all right. And they killed tens of millions of Christians. That's the only way UnRealities eradication of religion will happen.

      April 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • gerald

      but I'm an even bigger bigot and I lie about atheism too.

      April 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Gerald..using words like bigot does not detract from the fact that the CC has major problems, these are self inflicted due to poor management. As with most, if not all religious organisations they feel they have a special position with in society that allows them to gloss over these indiscretions, they have found out they no longer do. There are countless organisations that do good work, the CC among them of course,but that has nothing to do with the atrocious behavior they are currently exhibiting. If this was happening in any other organisation, the penalties would be much harder and swifter.

      April 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bus2

      @gerald

      That is correct; religion indeed does more harm than good. You think a little volunteer work is enough to erase all the atrocities committed by your church? Besides, if you want to reduce religion to social work, there's a religious group in Afghanistan that provides counseling and mediation services for people in rural areas, as well as free treatment for people struggling with drug addiction. It sounds like you'd fit right in; they're called the Taliban if you want to look them up.

      And don't even pretend like xtians are superior when it comes to giving of themselves. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates (both atheist) have given literally BILLIONS of dollars to charity; and they're doing it truly altruistic reasons, not just so they can convert someone who's down on their luck.

      It must be tough being raised as a xtian and being told your whole life that you're the good guys and atheists are the bad guys, when in reality it's the other way around.

      April 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Hal G.,

      We realize that some people in the Church have committed this terrible sin but I have never considered leaving the Church because of someone’s sin…and I don’t think anyone has left because they saw me waiting in line to go to confession either. Catholics understand that we are sinners in need of the Church’s Sacraments.

      Yes, when sinners from within the Church commit these sins it causes outrage from within the Church as well as outside the Church. The Church is working at cleaning these people out and setting up stringent entrance requirements for seminarians so that no new priests will be ordained who are pedophiles.

      So my independent critical thinking is this: Jesus Christ founded His Church for His people so when we fall into sin we have His inst!tuted Sacraments to bring us back to the relationship we had with Him at our Baptism; to leave the Church in search of something ‘man made’ because of someone’s sin would just mean that I would go somewhere else where there are people and people the world over sin!

      I already know that the Bible tells me that the Church is the pillar and foundation of Truth; Jesus Christ set up His Church that way…in fact He set it up for our benefit! Where else can you find all 7 Sacraments that Jesus Christ inst!tuted? No where! If there is an ecclesial community that lays claim to all 7 Sacraments and if it is not the Catholic Church…then they would be lacking in some other area…No Apostolic succession, so no authority…or a Bible that was rewritten by a man so he could divorce his wife.

      No, there is no reason to leave the Catholic Church!

      April 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Catholic mom.. with so many "sinners" in the Catholic church by the sound of it, it would be crazy perhaps to shut it down.. at least the rest of society knows where they are. Sin is purely a catholic issue and a great tool to keep you harnessed to it, as your comments suggest Who is vetting these new priests? an outside agency? as proof is usually not a requirement of faith, how do you know it will work. What about those still in the system, hidden from view by religious privilege. Your comments lack the passion to to solve the real issue, and and are just applying paint to a rusty foundation . If as you believe, the church is the pillar of truth.. then i would suggest you do not stand beneath the roof it supports.

      April 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Hal G.

      Your "independant critical thinking" is the Catholic Church's verbatim propaganda. I have a tape recorder that applies the same level of "independant critical thinking."

      But thanks for proving my point.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • rh

      Just get rid of the tax breaks for religious affiliates and funding of religious community groups, and they will all go away.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Artist

      Way to go catholics, keeps supporting the church and its leadership. GAG

      April 8, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Hal G, why don't you get off your pulpit hiding behind your words and scream LET CHAOS RULE because you don't want anyone to realize that you are against society and it's all about YOU, YOU, YOU when you want it, any time you want it, whenever until the day you stop sucking up oxygen.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • gerald

      Evolved,

      This is funny. You say sin is a Catholic thing. So your answer is to deny sin exists. Well gee then molesting children is not sin. I am sure there are many child rapists who think just like you do about God and sin.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • chief

      deflecting the topic doesnt change the facts about kids being molested by some priests

      April 10, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • gerald

      Chiefy,

      We all know priests molested children. I am glad the ones in Phily are being held accountable as much as possible. Wish they were all in jail. But there are other topics to discuss and your not controlling the conversation because this is america and we're all allowed free speach here. Your viewpoint isn't the only one and while you make good points at times much of the time you are irrationalional.

      April 10, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Gerald..Molesting children is a criminal and disgusting act ..sin is a word you use as an affront to your god and holds nothing for the victim....it has nothing to do with the acts against the child. As I claim, sin is a catholic invention and exists solely with in that organisation, it has no meaning out side in the real world.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • gerald

      But evolved, child molestation for you is only bad because you think it and agree with a majority of society. Even atheists at one time I am sure agreed that homsx was bad. Someday maybe those of us who think child molestation is hideous won't be in the majority. Maybe the man-boy-love gay organization will grow to a majority some day and make it legal. There is no basis for this not to happen in your sinless world.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Gerald.. .Society is more than capable of knowing right from wrong and enforcing it with out the input from any supernatural being than you give it credit for. I have no idea if atheists think that Ho-mo-S-e-x is "wrong" or right...it is less common than hetro but does that make it wrong? and why? I also see no reason that the man/boy.love or-ganization would become anymore acceptable in the future than it does today..i find it repulsive and i am sure many,many others do. I am no different from you except that you think that guidance comes from a sky being, I do not. I have trust in human beings... sin is an invention of the CC and appears to have no impact even on the insiders with in your church as you have been finding out.

      April 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • elva tapia

      sorry I accidently push the wrong key with reading info been ask.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • gerald

      Evolved,

      So little you know. We Catholics admit we are sinners. You do things that are wrong too. You however seem to proud to admit it. We do not in any way claim perfection in this life. You are full of misconceptions and they cloud your thinking. You are so sure of society yet not that long ago Germany slaughtered 6 milloin Jews and three million Catholics and hundreds of thousands of others. Hitler didn't do this by himself. Now were they fully capable of doing what is moral. Roman Society allowed for teenage boys to accompany soldiers for s-x. I guess they knew right from wrong as well. This society is no better than those societies and this gradual slide in morality will end the same.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Gerald..Belief in any deity would not have changed anything..the CC did outrageous things to those who did not conform or spoke out against the pope, wars have been waged in many an gods name... the bible its self is very violent book..horrors exist of course, and continue every day. Priests still like little boys.. Your lack of trust in society is based on your belief that with out god you cannot be good,, which is nonsense. There are people who are capable of horrible acts in every generation, and in every fold of history, religious and non religious. you have a need to keep confessing "sins" as it assists your passage into the heaven you think exists.. i am good because i love life and my fellow humans beings and not for any reward in the afterlife..

      April 13, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • gerald

      You are not good. That is the rub. However you limit me to one reason for confessing my sins. Seems like you have a need to put me down in order to elevate yourself. Christianity of course emphasizes love of neighbor. I am glad you emphasize that principle. The main reason I confess my sins is that I am better able to love my neighbor and the evidence in my life when I compare it to when I was not confessing regularly tells me that it has helped me better love my neighbor. Of course I believe the end result is that there is a heaven for those who strive for these things. But this is not either or logic here as you present it in order to show yourself better than Christians. I would bet any amount of money that if your life came under public examination there would be things in it that are less than loving but of course you likely won't be put under such scrutiny. Some of these things I bet you wouldn't even know you were doing or that they were offending and hurting others. You seem to have alot of pride in your "goodness" but you are a fallible human like the rest of us.

      ou have a need to keep confessing "sins" as it assists your passage into the heaven you think exists.. i am good because i love life and my fellow humans beings and not for any reward in the afterlife..

      April 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • gerald

      I quite seriously disagree with your assessment that belief in a diety has not changed anything. Your assessment is flawed and looks at only the conflict. Your expectations are flawed in thinking that the Christians and Jews should have sat back and been slaughtered because of the commandment that you misunderstand. You don't see the good. I certainly don't know of any atheist organizations that came anywhere close to what Mother Teresa accomplished, walking out of her convent with nothing to build over 500 schools and hospitals. Name me ONE atheist who has come close. And I could name 20 other Catholics who would beat ANY atheist you could put forth. Dorthy Day, Mary Joe Copelane, John Bosco, etc. etc. Give me ONE atheist whose care love for humanity produced such great amounts of charity. There is not an atheist who would fall in the top 1000.....even 10000. And Mother Teresa truly loved if you read her writings. But you judge by the bottom of the barell and compare the best atheists to these and elevate yourself as more loving. Sad.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • True Believer

      I remember being told I was not a good Christian for reporting a parish priest. Burn the church to the ground for it is an abomination in God's eyes. Those who look to the Vatican for God's love will only find his disdain when He returns.

      April 27, 2011 at 5:43 am |

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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.