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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. Gerry Daley

    ,,,and in the meantime, Bernard Law who routinely transferred abusive priests around Boston and was then "punished" with his very own palace in Rome, runs free. Had he been a supt. of schools, he would be in jail for a very long time.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  2. Bill

    I personally don't blame anyone. Don't judge anyone! Just pray for all! So ha ha ha ho ho ho he he he hey hey hey hum hum hum!!!!!!!!!! Sounds like an angry bunch of folks trying to polk fun a things they hate.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  3. Dolus

    Bankrupting the Catholic Church will never be enough to help the victims of these "priests" -– but it would be a great start.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • 4mercy

      If you bankrupt the catholic church, you will then truly see the suffering that is caused – do you know how much health care they provide through the catholic health system of hospitals & clinics.?....(A HUGE portion of American health care!!!!) Do you know how many homeless and poor are fed, clothed, and housed by catholic charities? Do you know how many elderly people are cared for by catholic volunteers? Do you know how many people around the world are educated in schools financed by catholic missions? You have this delusion that the church does no good for anyone....and you are wrong.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @4mercy
      Agree. But you are assuming that non-Catholics do not do good things for their own reasons. Also to assume that a generous person would stop being generous, if they stopped being Catholic, is an enormous leap. I have a LOT more faith in humanity than you, apparently.

      June 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  4. Dallas

    Aaaaand, Once again, how do we know this is media bias? The John Jay report, for one. It covers a span of 52 years (1950-2002). 4,392 priests were accused, that's 4% of the priests that served in that time frame. It was thought they could be substantiated for 1,872 of those priests (about 2%). For protestants, the most cited surveys state they have a problem around 10%. And to top it off, don't just focus on Catholics. Dr. Gene Abel estimates that between 1% and 5% of our population molest children. Now, compare the stats for catholics (1.7%) to ANY OTHER GROUP NEAR CHILDREN. Then get back to me.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      Who taught this clown -C and -V?

      June 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Joseph

      The problem with "only 4%" of the total number of priests, have been involved is a pretty pathetic "defense" in this horrible and possibly on-going situation! These are supposed to be the ultimate representatives between people and God!, the Ultra Pure in thought and deeds! Perhaps a much better screening of these candidates should have -and should at the present time-be done?

      June 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  5. Bruce

    It's a slow news day. LETS SLAM THE CATHOLICS. This is kind of like what CNN dragged out on Easter Sunday, full page spreads of abuses that were claimed during the 1970s.

    There are over a Million priests feeding the poor, clothing whole families and saving souls. No abuse is acceptable, but statistically, the Catholic church has safer programs for children then any place else.

    This is more media bashing. They won't dare complain about Muslims, or Jews or Aethists or even Wiccans... but Catholics or Christians help fill a slow news day.

    Putzes.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Robert Richardson

      CNN loves bashing Christians. But they are all "Rah, rah" for gay rights to redefine marriage and promonting democrat candidates and Islam.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • HOLY

      Jesus was a hebrew prophet, he never claimed divinity. Christianity has been inspired by paganism. God is only one.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Brian

      Good post.

      Seems that liberals hate the Catholic church the most (because she preaches pure Truth) along white males.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  6. Dallas

    Once again, how do we know this is media bias? The John Jay report, for one. It covers a span of 52 years (1950-2002). 4,392 priests were accused, that's 4% of the priests that served in that time frame. It was thought they could be substantiated for 1,872 of those priests (about 2%). For protestants, the most cited surveys state they have a problem around 10%. And to top it off, don't just focus on Catholics. Dr. Gene Abel estimates that between 1% and 5% of our population molest children. Now, compare the stats for catholics (1.7%) to ANY OTHER GROUP NEAR CHILDREN. Then get back to me.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  7. Jimmy

    Please. Enough of this. Let's all condemn 1.1 billion Catholics for the actions of a handful of priests who forgot what it meant to be a priest. Much of this stuff is being pushed by people trying to make money off the church, by atheists and anti-Catholics who want to destroy the church (and all religion), and by people who care more about grand-standing than they do about any meaningful reform. No one is going to sit around and defend criminal actions, but attacking the church for the actions of a few makes about as much sense as justifying an attack on all Muslims because of the actions of a few.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Steve

      To condemn all priests or all Catholics for the actions of a very few priests is inductive reasoning and an easy and popular position to take in this secular and politically-correct age in which we live. Christ promised that the gates of hell will not stand against the Church. The Church will stand until the end of time. This guy is likely making a mint trying to tear down the Church; he will not succeed (although he will likely make, and is making, a lot of money). I will continue to pray for all our priests and for those who persecute Christ's Church.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Steve and Jimmy: We are not talking about a "handful" of priests, but of thousands. And we only know of cases in which someone was brave enough to stand up and report it. The true number could be far higher than the docu-mented number ot date. And, like lots of Catholic apologists on this blog, you are totally missing the point about the culture of cover up. THAT is what is so distressing. It would be bad enough if thousands of rogue priests were operating undetected. But it's worse. Many, many of them WERE detected and allowed to stay on and were simply transferred to other posts.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • asrael

      And not a hint of a prayer for the victims, Steve...?

      June 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  8. abd

    hahahahahhahahahah, and people don't llike islam, look at yorself first...hahahhahahahahahhahah let me keep laughing

    June 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Dallas

      Yeah, I guess you're right. We can't accuse Muslims. They think it's legal to, you know, MARRY children.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • abd

      TO Dallas; hahahhahaha, you can say we marry children, which is not true, BUT marrying a child is better than abusing a child, and your sister I bet she will loose her virginity when she is 12, and guess what, without marriage, becasue marriage at this age is illegal but loosing virginity is absolutely legel, and make sure to keep candoms with her..hahahhaha

      June 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  9. Dallas

    Once again, how do we know this is media bias? The John Jay report, for one. It covers a span of 52 years (1950-2002). 4,392 priests were accused, that's 4% of the priests that served in that time frame. It was thought they could be substantiated for 1,872 of those priests (about 2%). For protestants, the most cited surveys state they have a problem around 10%. And to top it off, don't just focus on Catholics. Dr. Gene Abel estimates that between 1% and 5% of our population molest children. Now, compare the stats for catholics (1.7%) to ANY OTHER GROUP NEAR CHILDREN. Then get back to me.

    June 19, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • John Richardson

      The John Jay study appears to have relied strictly on data from the church itself. Also, of 11,000 or so cases of abuse reported, 3300 were never investigated simply because the alleged perpetrator died. Those cases were treated as though the never occurred. That right there is more than enough to tell you that a truly independent study is needed.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  10. Bill

    Can't blame a whole religion for a mistake by a few fallen priests. Thats just like saying all blacks are criminals when one commits a crime. I'm stayin! The church thrives cause of it's people.Go Jesus!!!!

    June 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • John Richardson

      The issue isn't just the priests, but also the hierarchy that enabled and protected them.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • abd

      so now you can't blame religion for mistake of few, but when it comes to islam you do, hahahhahahahahah, we laugh at you, any of you is virgin ??

      June 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  11. natasha

    Most all religion have change what is writing in the Bible to fit what they want, the Catholic religion did it with celibacy so no one family would gain power. Satan has been use organized religion from the start to confuse people so they don't find the one true religion. Why do you there is so many. Go back to a real Bible like old king James. One people died to get out to public one with gods name in it Exodus 3:15,6:3 Genesis 22:14 in the new English Bible.king James version has it Exodus 6:2,psalm 83:18,there a lot more place with gods name in it in the Bible God gave use his name to use in prayer I use it and am close to God for it. Plus God did not in the Bible have hell its not in there look it up gods loving God hell made up to make you stay in line.hell is translations it reads the grave. Hebrew word is she'ohl' Greek equivalent hai'des, also ge'en-na, ecclesiastics. 9:5,10"the living are conscious that they will die but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all. PS.146:4"his spirit goes out,he goes back to his ground in that day his thoughts do perish. Ezek18:4" the soul that is sinning it itself will die. So how many other things have they lie about look at Bible read it pray to God use his name he had it written in the Bible for a reason. God has his people Out there and we are no part of this world.

    June 19, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Dallas

      OK, I'll bite. You accuse the Catholic church of "changing" the Bible? They're the ones who PUT IT TOGETHER AS WE KNOW IT, sweetie. Besides, it was the protestants who REMOVED BOOKS. Just like good old King James. And good old Henry VIII, who literally added and changed verses. Just like Martin Luther who started the proddy mess, and he only became a monk because he swore to Mary he would if she would help him survive a normal, everyday THUNDERSTORM. How about you read actual history instead of reading one book and acting like you get it? Thanks.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Natasha,
      If it were not for the Catholic Church, you would not have a Bible. The Old Testament was not thrown out, the New Testament along with the OT make up the Bible…. The New Testament lies hidden in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.

      http://youtu.be/3sxt4KK_UD4 a video about the thief on the cross, in light of heaven, hell, paradise

      June 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @CM
      Ever been to a synagogue ? They have these texts that are remarkably similar to your OT. Hmm.

      June 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bucky Ball,
      No, but I know the OT Scriptures are Jewish.

      June 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ CatholicMom

      MATTHEW 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Jesus endorses the mass murder, r ape, slavery, torture and incest written about in the Old Testament.

      June 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  12. Will

    Seriously...? This church is beyond unbelivable with their constant persecution of gay and lesbians while they continue to run amouck internally with a pope who is compliant to the whole mess and pretends he is not...totally imaginable that the church would find itself so disrespected in all segments of society. Catholics have become a joke, made their church a joke, and are still trying to deny people in this country their legal rights as citizens. Pathetic.

    June 19, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Dallas

      I don't know if you realize this, but the Church doesn't make laws in the U.S. It isn't just the Catholic church who is against this, it's the entirety of orthodox christian belief, orthodox Jewish belief, orthodox Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and pretty much any one on planet earth save for a VERY small population.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Kevin J

      While any abuse case should be strongly prosecuted and pursued, the Catholic Church is in fact long over this crisis. And even at its height, the incidences of such abuse in the Catholic Church were orders of magnitude, yes, below what is happening in public education systems today.

      See the book, copiously footnoted, by David Pierre...
      "Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church"

      June 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      http://youtu.be/K0sILSapUUc the Church and Ho-mo-s3xuals

      June 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • 4mercy

      I haven't seen anyone in the catholic church persecute gays – they do persecute the sin of h o m o s e x u a l s e x and try to set those people afflicted with this burden to find the m o r a l path in life. If they are persecuting the people, then they need to seek God more devoutly. Our whole society should be doing that, actually.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Dwight Guy

    This is such an OLD story. NPR did a piece on him years ago. @Kevin, he's not an idiot. He's responsible for priests being in jail. Do you research before you criticize.

    June 19, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  14. Daly

    Between 1990 and the year 2000 there where 290,000 abuse cases in US public schools. Abusers will always attempt to get into positions of power (like teachers or priest). Ask yourself this question: "Is it easier to become a priest (8 years of college) or a school teacher (4 years of college)? "

    June 19, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • fimeilleur

      Ask yourself the next question... which of the two inst itutions makes it easier for the offender to offend again? Teachers lose their jobs and go to jail... priests... not so much...

      June 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • hazmatsuits

      Ask yourself this:

      If a pedophile doesn't want attention drawn to his lack of relationships with adults, what better job is there than one that requires you to stay single?

      June 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      hazmatsuits,

      Ask protestant ministers why their wives divorced them…most of them answer…I did not have enough time to split between two families….my wife and children…and my many parishioners.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Stats please, where are your stats ?
      There are many physician's and busy attorney's wives who say the same thing.
      How many Protestant couples in the ministry have successful marriages ?

      June 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  15. T.Guerra

    Hmmmm...this is only in America...what about Latin America?...I personally know of one priest in Panama who had abused for decades several little boys, including relatives of mine . Thank God he is very ill, if not dead, to keep doing the abuse..

    June 19, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  16. Pirate

    Long live the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    June 19, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • fimeilleur

      May you be touched by his noodly appendages.

      Ramen.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • DC

      May His Sauce be with you.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • firemarshall blackbeard bill

      Errr may the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless the world so those priests who worship the wrong god stop touching children. Ramen

      June 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Austinite

      Ramen!

      June 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  17. Common Sense

    While it is probably true that Catholics do not suffer more child molestation overall, it is quite obvious why more occurs by "priests". Most other religions allow their leaders to be married and have their own children. A bunch of single guys with almost unlimited power, what do you expect?

    June 19, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Lainey

      The argument to allow priests to marry doesn't make any sense, child molesters are attracted to children, not adults. Most child molesters begin committing these crimes while they themselves are teenagers. I can understand how in the "old days" a pedophile would want to become a priest..families were all too willing to let them into their homes and become part of the family..thinking they were some pretty special Catholics and never realizing they were only being used to get at the prey..nobody ever suspected the priest.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  18. Pirate

    If all atheists left the USA it would lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences but less than 1% of the prison population.
    I say we send out all the religious freaks who believe in fairy tales!

    June 19, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  19. Freethinker

    A principal, teacher, and priest were running from a burning school. The teacher yelled, "What about the kids!?!?" The principal screamed, "Screw the kids!!!" The priest questioned "Do you think we have time??"

    June 19, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Pirate

      LMAO – why are the posts missing the "Like" button/link?

      June 19, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  20. Daryl

    interesting post, Dave. Would you be able to post a link to the article, your coment is based upon.

    Dave
    quote – "It's only a matter of time before the United Nations will use their military powers to very violently destroy religion across the globe. Their plan is already in place. " Their plan – the UN, I would like to read about it. Thanks

    June 19, 2011 at 11:37 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.