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Onetime priest crusades for abuse victims suing Catholic Church
Patrick Wall as a seminarian and junior monk at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota in the late 1980s.
June 19th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Onetime priest crusades for abuse victims suing Catholic Church

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - As a young man studying for the priesthood, Patrick Wall imagined life as a professor and football coach at a Catholic university.

It didn't work out that way. Two decades later, Wall has not only left the Catholic Church, he has become one of its most tireless opponents.

He's an ex-priest, driven from ministry by the feeling that his superiors used him to help cover up sex abuse by other clergymen.

And he's using the training he gained as a priest to work with victims of abuse who want to take the church to court.

Since 1991, Wall says he has consulted on more than 1,000 abuse cases, helping lawyers pick apart defenses mounted by dioceses from Alaska to Australia.

Now a senior consultant at the law firm of Manly and Stewart in Southern California, Wall spoke to CNN on the sidelines of a recent conference for legal and religion scholars at Cardiff Law School in Wales.

In Philadelphia, where four priests and a Catholic school teacher were indicted on sex abuse charges earlier this year, Wall says he is helping the district attorney build an unprecedented criminal case not only against the clergy, but against an archdiocesan official who supervised them. The priests – one of whom is the church official – and the teacher have denied the allegations.

The case is potentially historic. Wall doesn't know of another case where a U.S. prosecutor has gone after an official at the top of the church hierarchy as well as the suspected abusers themselves.

Prosecutors are trying to convict a vicar – the man who supervised the priests in the archdiocese – with child endangerment because they say he allowed suspected abusers to have contact with young people.

The case raises the possibility that a high-ranking church official will end up behind bars.

Wall hopes the threat of prison time will change the way American bishops respond to abuse allegations in a way that civil lawsuits have not.

"In the civil cases, we have taken over $3 billion, but you're not getting a lot of change in the system," he says.

Patrick Wall outside a recent conference in Wales.

There has been more than a decade of intense focus on abuse by priests across the United States and Western Europe, plus lawsuits, investigations, and Vatican statements, including instructions to bishops around the world just last month to come up with an abuse policy.

And even so, Wall says, priests are still abusing children.

"I'm working on stuff that happened in the summer of 2010," he says. "It's the same old sodomy."

A life-changing assignment

Wall was studying to be a priest at Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, when there was a life-changing knock on his door one morning after breakfast.

At his door that day in 1990 was the head of the abbey, Abbot Jerome Theisen, with an assignment, Wall says.

Wall, then 25, was to move into one of the freshman dormitories at the university associated with the abbey. The abbot wanted him to become a faculty resident, a staff position that involved keeping an eye on first-year university students in college housing. He was to make the move immediately, that very morning.

Wall knew why.

"Starting in 1989, we started getting hit with lawsuit after lawsuit" from people alleging that priests had abused them, Wall says. He says the abbot told him that credible abuse accusations had been made against the man Wall was to replace.

Brother Paul Richards, a spokesman for Saint John's Abbey, said that the monastery and university had no record of why Wall was asked to work in the dorm. Abbot Theisen has died, Richards added.

Saint John's Abbey adopted a policy on sexual abuse and exploitation in 1989, it says on its website, saying that made it “among the first institutions to adopt” such a policy.

Wall, for his part, says the abbot's request put him on the road to becoming what the church unofficially calls a "fixer," a person who parachutes in to replace clergy who have to disappear quickly and quietly.

Wall as the temporary administrator at a Maplewood, Minnesota church in 1995.

One of Theisen's successors, Abbot John Klassen, issued an open letter of apology in 2002, saying that "some members" of the monastic community had engaged in "abusive sexual behavior with people in our schools and parishes."

A lawsuit was filed earlier this month against Saint John's by a man who says he was abused in the 1960s by a priest who later served as abbot between Theisen and Klassen. The abbey says it was “shocked” by the charges against the late Abbot Timothy Kelly, who died of cancer last year.

It says it is investigating the claims against Kelly, calling them “the first allegations that Abbot Kelly violated his vows or was an abuser.”

Wall plans to testify in that case, he told CNN.

"In the fall of '92 we had another 13 [abuse] cases come through," Wall says. "They pushed up my ordination" by a few months, Wall says, so he could step into the shoes of another priest who had to vanish.

Understanding the damage

It was after his ordination, Wall says, that he began to understand the trauma that abusive priests were inflicting, not only on their victims but on victims' families and communities.

As a new priest, Wall started hearing confessions of victims' relatives who blamed themselves for the abuse, telling Wall "I should have known, I should have seen the signs."

A heavy-set man who laughs easily, Wall still looks like the linebacker he was in high school and college. He peppers his speech with words like "dude" and casually refers to people who he thinks have done something stupid as "morons."

But relating the confessions of victims' relatives, Wall's cheerful demeanor hardens.

"I'm telling them, 'You haven't committed a sin,'" he says.

Wall, right, with his mom, dad and a diocesan priest in 1989.

Wall says that child abuse isn't like other injury cases, such as car crashes, in which a victim might be 10% at fault. Instead, he says, "100% of the blame is on the perpetrator."

Over the next four years, Wall says that the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis sent him to four more places in Minnesota where priests needed to move out fast.

He learned a lot. Wall says he saw that there was a budget for handling cases of priestly sexual abuse as far back as 1994, eight years before the scandal blew up nationally with revelations about abuse in Boston, Massachusetts. The archdiocese could not immediately confirm that, but spokesman Dennis McGrath said he would not be surprised if it was true, saying the archdiocese had been a leader in helping victims of abuse.

Wall did what the church told him to do for as long as he could, he says, but his doubts continued to grow.

"I followed the party line," he says. "But it's pretty hard to follow the party line when you don't think the party line is moral any more."

The breaking point came in 1997. Wall was in Rome, studying for a master's of divinity degree. His abbot called from Minnesota to tell him he was being posted to the Bahamas.

It was not the dream job it might sound like.

Wall says that the Bahamas was where Saint John's was sending priests it had to keep away from people because of abuse allegations. Richards, the abbey's spokesman, flatly denies the charge.

"I basically was going to be a prison warden," Wall says.

"Without much planning, I said, 'Basta cosi,'" he says, lapsing into Minnesota-accented Italian meaning, "Enough of this." Wall had decided to leave the priesthood.

Patrick Wall at his first mass as a priest in December 1992.

The abbot did not take that well, Wall says, warning that he would never make it in "the real world," that he would not be released from his priestly vows and that the order would bill him for the master's degree it had sponsored for him. The tab for the degree was about $48,000, he says.

Richards denies those allegations. "It has never been the abbey's practice to require payback for education from members of our community who have left," he says, "and it was not the case with Pat Wall."

Wall says the abbot's threats did not change his mind.

"All it did is piss me off even more," he says. "I left without a plan in December 1997."

Insider knowledge

Wall says he went home to Lake City, Minnesota to live with his parents, then bounced from job to job for nearly five years. He got married and had a daughter. He made good money as a salesman in Southern California but says he found the work as intellectually stimulating as "shovelling dirt."

And then, in 2002, the California state legislature did something that would change Wall's life. The state opened a one-year window to allow victims of clergy abuse to sue the church, even if the if the statute of limitations on the case had already expired.

Wall's eyes light up as he discusses the moment.

The law did not specifically target the Catholic Church, Wall says, noting that some rabbis were sued as well. But Catholic organizations were by far the largest group of defendants.

Still, suing a Catholic diocese was no easy task. "The litigation demanded a level of expertise that had never been needed before," Wall says.

Because of his religious training in canon law, as the Catholic Church's rules are known, Wall had that expertise. He knew how and where the church kept records. He knew where money came from and where it went. He spoke Italian and Latin.

In his first case, he testified against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, California, challenging its claim that it did not know the Franciscan friar at the center of abuse allegations.

Wall insisted that the archdiocese and any priest in it would have easy access to church records saying who the Franciscan was and who had jurisdiction over him.

The case settled out of court, Wall says.

The Diocese of Orange declined to comment for this article, as did the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which is the defendant in several cases currently involving Wall’s firm, Manly and Stewart.

Jeffrey Lena, a lawyer who represents the Vatican in the United States, also declined to comment.

But Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota-based lawyer who specializes in suing the Catholic Church on behalf of abuse victims and filed the suit against Saint John's Abbey, is full of praise for Wall.

Anderson calls Wall “an extraordinary researcher, academic and hands-on voice of experience from the inside.”

He praises the former priest's “courage,” and says he is a “powerful, insightful source of information based on his own personal experience and his study of the phenomenon” of abuse.

An old problem

Wall argues that the problem of abuse by priests is far older than anyone in the church admits publicly.

The earliest church records concerning sexual misconduct by priests come from the Council of Elvira, he says. That synod took place in what is now Spain in the year 309.

There was a treatment center for abusive priests in Hartford, Connecticut, as far back as 1822, Wall says, and the Vatican issued instructions to American bishops on how to judge and punish accusations of criminal acts by priests as far back as 1883.

Wall provided his translation of the 1883 instructions to CNN. They do not refer to any specific crimes, but refer to “abuses” and “evils.” They set out how to investigate, judge and punish crimes by priests, laying out rules such as the examination of witnesses in private, and the opportunity for the accused to know the charges and to respond and appeal.

The Philadelphia district attorney's office declined to comment on assistance it is receiving from Wall, saying it was prevented by court order from discussing the case with the media.

But Wall says that years of seeing how the Catholic Church handles abuse cases have convinced him that the church will not solve the problem itself.

He says he's not impressed by new instructions from Rome last month giving bishops around the world a year to come up with procedures for handling allegations of abuse.

"It's a Circular Letter," he says, using the official church term for the document. "That means it's for the circular file. Bishops are going to throw it away."

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops revised its 2002 charter around dealing with sex abuse allegations to reflect the Vatican's new standards.

Wall believes the Catholic Church will survive this scandal.

"It's going to fix itself," he says.

"The institution is going to become radically smaller" as people abandon the church, he predicts. "The loss of membership, the problems in the criminal courts, the statements from the pope - these are all good."

Perpetrators need "access, power and money" in order to commit crimes and get away with them, Wall argues. A smaller, weaker Catholic Church won't be able to provide those things, making it less of a haven for abusers, he says, which will lead to a cleansed institution.

In the meantime, Wall says, the church should give up trying to handle abusers internally and let the law step in.

He recommends that the church "completely get out" of child protection, hand over all its files to civil law enforcement, and make bishops sign a legal oath every year that there are no perpetrators in the ministry - which would open them to criminal prosecution if they are found to have lied.

"Otherwise," he says, "I'll be prosecuting priest sex abuse cases for the rest of my life."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Sex abuse

soundoff (745 Responses)
  1. Habib

    Want to know why Islam terrorist want your baby die > http://www.faithfreedom.org/

    August 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  2. Catholic Servant

    I don't understand why people think Priests cannot make mistakes. They are people making decisions like you and me. The greatest gift from God is Him knowing we are not perfect; and that is why He forgives us. How do you know if Mr. Wall went to confession and asked for forgiveness on decisions he has made in the past? Your statement is judgemental because you don't know what is between Mr. Wall and God. The fact is He is trying to make a difference. God, Have mercy on those that judge as they also do not know what they do in the imperfect decisions.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  3. magdaleine

    What has happened in our church with those priests is a sin, and terrible, and I pray for all those who have been affected. But it is not because of our religion. There are evil people everywhere. There is much to amend, but the media makes a dramatic story out of it because priests take a vow of celibacy. You don't hear about Protestant ministers in the news with the same crimes (and there are). The Catholic church has been around since the beginning of religion and will continue to be here. It is not the religion or the tradition of the Church, but man himself, who sins.

    August 20, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  4. John


    _

    August 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  5. WhySoSerious

    My question is, what would happen if we tried to arrest the Pope? Could a nation even do such a thing on legal grounds, supposing he had some hand in protecting child molestors?

    August 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Tope

      Well, Mr Raseed, the point is that we are not so acostomed to true reflection. We live in a society that looks down on any true interiority. What you said is very true but unfortunately not many can read between lines. the whole human history is filed with the interplay of man's weakness and God's mercy (or rather between man freedom and God's Omnipotence) . As a freind once told me that Jacob was a cheat, Peter had a temper, David had illicit affairs, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah moody, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead..God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!.. So the priest are not perfect men.

      August 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      @Tope - Well put man.

      August 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  6. Rasheed

    It is true that human weakness is part of God's plan in the whole context of reality, the misdeeds of King David with Uriar's wife was counted on by God to bring Salvation to the waiting world in Jesus Christ. In Marriage as in Preisthood the power of God shines through our weaknesses. But to delibrately set oneself against the Truth is to condemn oneself. My dear Fr Wall you can "enjoy" all there the money, and popularity you want, but remember that the Catholic Church has survived far worse conspiracies. My only concern is your plans when breathe your last!

    August 19, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Ted Gemberling

      Thanks for your comments, Rasheed and Tope. There is much in what you say. However, I do think Wall is probably correct that a weakening of the Catholic Church in terms of numbers and power will help it. Have you ever noticed that the popes didn't even begin to talk much about social justice until they lost their territory? I think the papal encyclicals related to social justice and also things like infallibility came after Italy became a nation and all but a tiny bit of land was stripped from papal control. Before that, they were always about nothing but maintaining their own power. So losing worldly power is good for the church.

      I realize the infallibility pronouncement in 1870 doesn't fit the pattern I'm describing on the face of it. But it seems the papacy didn't claim that until it could be a "purely doctrinal" thing, unrelated to any worldly political conflicts. In the Middle Ages when they didn't claim infallibility, they had a lot more power. They didn't claim infallibility until 1870 because in many respects it was obvious they weren't infallible. And even biblically it was questionable, since Peter was obviously fallible.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Ted Gemberling
      The infallibility is limited and not open ended. The Pope and the Magisterium cannot contradict or change any of the teachings of Jesus Christ. There power is focused on the rites, traditions and teachings of the church I believe. That is a very important distinction that many people are confused about.

      August 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  7. felix

    may God brngs out d turth,,,

    August 19, 2011 at 4:50 am |
  8. Kim

    I believe he put the welfare of the victims first, to work with the families and children-to help them believe that they did nothing wrong, as a mother of a molested child-I can tell you the choice to to murder the perpetrator or be there and rescure and help my child heal seems similar to me...save the child not indulge your rage. when you can take no more, then you indulge your rage. we all make the best decisions we can at the time..

    August 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  9. Someone

    I don't understand why there are generalizations about a whole faith, when only a select few can be blamed. Abuse rates are higher among teachers, preachers of other religions, and other various groups. Yet, why do people pin out the Catholic Church? Simply put, money. We are taught to be kind to Muslims as we can't generalize them as being extremists, yet the whole Church has suffered the repudiation of many because of only a select few individuals. Well, oh well, the Church is still strong, thousands among thousands of youth are in Spain right now, and there are more than a billion members. Long live Christ, king of all ages!!

    August 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Someone,
      While what you state may be true, I do believe that we need to hold our priest to a higher standard than a teacher and other groups. Otherwise we marginalize their vocation. I don't expect my priest to be perfect but I do expect his character to be properly formed in seminary and I do expect him to be properly supervised by his bishop. Those who turned the other way brought this scandal on and we must seek forgiveness, repent and reform the church in order to restore it's greatness.

      August 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Just.Me

    A church should be a place to worship God together with other believers. Adults and children alike should feel safe inside a church like it was home, yet Catholics have cast a shadow of disillusionment on nearly every organization of faith; even though Catholicism is nothing like what evangilicals believe. It should not be like this.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  11. Blithe Spirit

    Mr. Wall says in one sentence "..... the church will not solve the problem itself." Then, five short paragraphs later states, "It's going to fix itself." So which one is it???

    August 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  12. Mike

    Thank God for Patrick Wall.

    We can see from this thorough and thoughtful reporting that Wallis true man of God , showing both compassion and hard-working dedication to doing doing right in the world.

    All in sharp contrast to the thousands of vicious child abusers masquerading as spiritual teachers in the Catholic church - and still having the gall to abuse the political process trying to impose archaic ideas (no contraception !! the Pope is is infallible !!) on all the rest of us.

    No more Cardinal-propagandists and Cardinal-politicians !! ... and above all, end the child abuse and the cover ups, and end them now.

    August 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  13. What problem?

    The problem is that the Catholic Church not only created the ideal environment for any child molester (free room & board, meals, education, but most of all...unlimited access to children). More importantly, these "priests" fully know that when they do get caught, there is no concern for the victims, so no jail time. The only concern to the church is avoiding embarrassment, so they keep it quiet and transfer them to another parish. I agree with Wall, they should just let the law step in so these so-called "priests" can be arrested like any other child molester.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  14. andreina

    THIS POOR MAN(MR. WALL) AND MANY ODERS HAVE PUT THEIR FAITH IN HUMANS, NOT IN JESUS "THAT IS MAN AND GOD" THE ONLY MAN THAT HAS NOT SIN, IF WE PUT OUR FAITH IN ANY ODER MAN, THEN, WE CAN BE CONFUSED BECAUSE SURELY HE WILL COMIT SIN AND THEN WHAT? I THINK WE SHALL SEE AND JUGE ONLY OUR SELFS, GOD WILL JUGE THE OTHERS.

    August 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  15. Across12

    Why do you think I never stepped in a church? Since I was a child I remember I was seeing something ugly and terrifying on every single church I was passing by. I can't even explain it but something inside was telling me not to get even close to it. I was looking at other people including my family paying respect and fear to it and I was thinking what in the world is wrong with all these people. My entire life has been so smooth and spared of sorrow and hardship and I truly believe that my choice and way of thinking has been brought about all my success. I still believe if it is a God out there he deems the church as the most shameful and dirtiest activity mankind ever indulged into it.

    August 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Semper Fidelis

      @ Paul – Are you intellectually challenged? If ALL innocent priests and ALL Catholics had KNOWN about it there wouldn't have BEEN a cover-up. You nasty man.

      That's just as ridiculous as me saying that , because I don't like your post I should go out and kick everyone called Paul because he might be Gay [I know a man called Paul who is gay , you see!]

      I prefer informed comment, not hysterical guesswork.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  16. Paul

    Any preacher (no matter what the faith)...should not be allowed to retain their job.
    Unless its proven they have changed.

    Example: Jim Baker, who was obviosuly worshiping $$ and not god (unlike Tammy), who has since reformed.

    Its obvious that the Cathalocis care more about protecitng their system or clergy, than their faith.

    I cant respect any catheloic be them preacher or congregation.
    Any congreation that doesnt kick their preacher in the butt, is getting what they deserve.

    August 4, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  17. john

    It's a shame that Mr.Wall copped out by quitting on his faith because of the evils that he saw.If he were true..he should have stayed and fought within and for the church..not attack it.If you see a car accident..do you pull the driver out and beat him for crashing the car?St.Francis of Assisi sets the example...when the church was full of corruption during his time he answered Gods call to fix it..he did not quit and attack it..sadly it appears the Mr.Wall has followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther..another who put himself over serving God.The church shall never fall..though many of it's members will..but the church shall always prevail and survive as Jesus promised.Mr. Wall you kick at steel walls with feet of clay.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • John Adams

      Good points ! It is said that this man never had faith and was never capable of distinguishing Catholicism from some clergy !

      August 2, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • SemperFidelis

      Good post John.
      It's also a shame that he knew what was happening for 8 years before he decided to act. How many children might have been saved if he had acted before?
      He says he KNEW before he was ordained that he was replacing offending priests. He KNEW his ordination was brought forward so he could cover for an alleged offender BUT he gave his reason for leaving the priesthood as he "THOUGHT" he was being used by his superiors to cover up?????? What – he knew for 8 years, then suddenly had a thought? --I don't think so.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • mmmiller

      He had no choice but to leave a battle from the outside. If he had stayed, he would have been subject to supression by his "employer" and would have been labeled a "disgruntled priest". Can the office worker fix the mega-corporation he works for? Nope.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Semper Fidelis

      @ MMMiller – So you can accept his covering up what he knew for 8 years because he might upset people within the church and his life would have been uncomfortable, yes?
      Then what's the difference between him and the Hierarchy who thought they were saving the church from disgrace??????

      Sorry, but Wall was a card carrying adult, he knew these abominations were taking place and he put himself first!

      Now he's making money out of those tragic victims. How many could he have saved in 8 years. if as you say, he put himself first?

      August 17, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  18. Anthony

    How sad to see a man of God fall away and turn against his church. It's stupid how the Catholic Church is the only one being demonized in the media when other Christian denominations are guilty of so much more and to such a worse degree.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  19. The Truth

    Everyone is being too harsh. This is how they choose to serve "god."
    I mean, wouldn't "god" stop the boy touching if it were wrong?
    When you compare molestation to the other evils for which the catholic church is responsible, it really isn't that bad...

    July 28, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • OnLooker

      Religious or not, man will always commit evil acts.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • SemperFidelis

      God gave all men/women unconditional free will and 10 Commandments [on which civil laws are based]. If you break the law – you don't ask "Why didn't the police stop me?" You'd be laughed out of court.

      If you blame God – you are letting the perpetrators off the hook since they and they alone are responsible for their evil actions.That is irrational and disrespectful to a merciful God.

      Most of us Catholics accept that in the past Catholics behaved much the same way as most other ruling groups in history. The Church is not made up of Saints but most of us try to keep the Faith as best we can. The Faith does not, and will not change; unfortuately people do.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  20. Shannen

    Mr. Wall is a Hero for the victims. Thank you Mr. Wall. A mother.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • SemperFidelis

      I respect your post Shannen but Wall is a tarnished hero to me. He knew before and after his ordination exactly what was going on and did nothing for 8 Years!
      Had he acted sooner who knows how many children he could have saved? Just a thought.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • mmmiller

      to SemperFi- at least he acted. Do you dismiss him because he waited until he was fed-up? Maybe he had faith that things would change. They didn't, they got worse, he left.....but he didn't hide.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • KeninTexas

      I suspect Wall has an ax to grind with the Church and this is a convenient way of doing it. With the added bonus of being a paid consultant in the process. Grind your ax and get paid at the same time. Sounds like he found himself a profitable new profession.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Catholic Servant

      I'm sad that the Catholic Church lost Father Wall because we need more Priest that can speak out when a crime is committed within the Church. I believe God puts us all in places to be successful in helping others. Father Wall could never do this job as a Priest, but as Mr. Patrick Wall, Prosecutor against abuse children....GOD BLESS YOU!! Mr. Wall....God's judgement will be harsh for all involved that does wrong. The more you know...the more you will be held responsible for... you are on the front line...may God be with you in all you do.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Semper Fidelis

      @mmmiller – I am very perturbed that, knowing how horrendous the crime is, he might have saved a lot of children in those SEVEN years. While he waited till he was "fed up" what exactly did he think was going to happen to the victims? Don't you think it was too little too late?
      I also worry that he said he KNEW before and after his ordination that he was covering for abusers; but after 7 years he only THOUGHT he was being used by his superiors! Come on!
      I don't judge him but I do and will question his methods and motives.

      August 16, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Catholic Servant

      I don't understand why people think Priests cannot make mistakes. They are people making decisions like you and me. The greatest gift from God is Him knowing we are not perfect; and that is why He forgives us. How do you know if Mr. Wall went to confession and asked for forgiveness on decisions he has made in the past? Your statement is judgemental because you don't know what is between Mr. Wall and God. The fact is He is trying to make a difference. God, Have mercy on those that judge as they also do not know what they do in the imperfect decisions.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:36 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.