July 23rd, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Pope defrocks U.S. priest over abuse allegations

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Lucifer

    The Church is beyond reproach. Only those following the Catholic faith may enter into the kingdom of Heaven. All others are sentenced to eternal damnation.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • Michael

      OMG! This is one of the wackiest message boards I have ever seen. Oh yeah, and don't forget that Harry Potter had a magical wand... as long as we are talking about make believe. Thanks for the laugh.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      The Muslims think they are the only ones who aren't going to hell. Several denominations of Christianity believe they are the only ones "saved". What proof do you have, that you are right?

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

      Yes, there are plenty who think they are saved just because they say some words. Judging souls is God’s judgment to make; it is not for us sinners to do soul judging.

      July 25, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  2. Patti

    That child molesting priest should needs to know that orange is the new black. Replace his priestly garb for a prison jumpsuit.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  3. Brian James

    This is great news. I'm glad to hear they've started outing child molesters. Even better that they decided this on their own, completely separate from our court system. Maybe in the next hundred years they'll consider supporting women who decide to be more than breeders, too.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  4. Sophie

    Americana78 - My full-time job is legally going after pedophiles. I live with this subject every day. That's why I have zero tolerance for "don't cast the first stone" empty words. Pedophiles use the Christian faith to re-offend. Christians themselves may be well-intentioned. But I can assure you that the criminals are not - they see the failthful as an easy mark. All for now.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  5. charles

    Did you Catholic bashers remember to bring your torches and pitchforks to this public forum?

    July 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • LouAz

      Oh, forgot the pitchfork. Thanks for the reminder. Be right back !
      Matches, who brought matches ?

      July 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  6. Johnny

    The Catholic Church is nothing but a greedy corporation. They are all about the money. Organized religion is a total crock. And here you have a pope that is a former Nazi Youth, and Catholics are taught about the "infallibility of the pope." That's the pinnacle of arrogance! Don't question him! He is god's emissary! No human is infallible. And sure, there might be wonderful people working within the church, but that doesn't mean everything the church teaches isn't a load of crap, because it is. The bible was written by man to control uncivilized people 2,000 years ago. There is no god. Get over your fear of death and you won't need all this ridiculous hocus-pocus BS.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • Gloria


      I cannot trust anything that you say. You have a very basic fact of Catholicism wrong. They do not teach that the Pope himself as a person is infallible. If you have even that very basic simple fact wrong, it indicates you are basing a portion of your argument on false information. The rest of your argument is also just your opinion on the origins of the Bible. I have to disregard what you say because it is factually incorrect and nothing but your mere opinion.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Agnostic


      Let me buy you a drink. We won't invite Gloria.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • thedude

      johnny you need a better argument than the same ill-informed hogwash you have read or heard from "progressive thinkers." I appreciate what you are saying but this is the same stuff that is used ad nauseum as a defense of seeking something true and beyond oneself. Don't sell yourself short... look deeper, do your research. What does the Church gain for being all about money? Nothing. Hospitals, schools, cemeteries, charities... that is where the money goes. And you have infallibility way wrong. Look it up.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "They do not teach that the Pope himself as a person is infallible."

      You are right. They teach that the Pope is infallible in matters of faith.

      But I wonder about this. For years and years, unbaptised babies went to purgatory. Then, suddenly it was decided that there was no purgatory and the babies went to heaven.

      Isn't someone wrong? Why did god not tell the Pope the truth in the first place? Just curious, and don't want to argue about it.

      July 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,
      We meet again!!
      The Pope is infallible when teaching about faith AND morals. He himself is not impeccable.

      The gates to Heaven were closed to all when Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. [Original Sin]

      Jesus Christ died on the cross and resurrected so that all might have life-everlasting and thus the gates were once again open.

      Purgatory is still purgatory, a place of purification; venial sins are still sins. [1Cor 3:15]; for no unclean thing can enter Heaven; [Rev.21:27]. Original sin is washed away in Baptism.[ Jesus Christ commission the Apostles to go out and teach and to Baptize].

      There are sins that cannot be forgiven in this age or the next age. [Mt.12:32] [Mortal sins=death to the soul] This means there are sins that cannot be forgiven in this age [the age we are living in] and in the age to come [the age we will live in when we leave this earth.] This means that some sins can be forgiven in the next age.

      July 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  7. PraiseHorus

    Religion will always manufacture hate. All it does is give humans one more difference in order to hate each other. The stories have all been lifted from past tales. If you think Christ was the first person to be born to a virgin mother, have 12 apostles and be crucified you might want to read up on Horus. Horus was the son of the Falcon Sun God who was born to a virgin mother and was crucified. These aren't the only similarities either. Every wonder why their is no record of Christ between the ages of 12 and 30? Because the story he based on [Horus] didn't have any record of himself between those exact same ages.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
    • Gloria

      Sources please.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  8. Sophie

    Americana & Shanon - Quote all you want. Actions speak louder than words.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Americana78

      @Sophie. You don't know what I do in my every day life or what organization I belong to... how do you know I am not? The better question is... what are YOU doing? Hmmm...

      July 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  9. Americana78

    Hello Sophie:

    @Sophie. YES, the priests should have been criminally prosecuted and hung by their B****! Y What I took offense to was the bashing of the religion as a whole– GOOD people are found within my FAITH...and ANGRY ones too. I am one of them because what happened and is happening should have never been allowed. What, you don't think I know that Church officials covered it up, by sending priests away so they could prey on other kids instead of going to the authorities? Umm..yeah all Catholics know that. So don't judge me, because you don't know me. I already had it, so I didn't need to get anything from you.
    Thank you.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Gottabekidding

    To those who say the de-frocking is a "stepping stone" in the right direction: That's ridiculous. What about zero tolerance instead? No stepping stones. Just zero tolerance. Is that too much to expect from an institution that claims to pursue a moral agenda?

    Other realms of society have zero tolerance for sexual abuse. Yet the Vatican and Catholic Church seem to think it should be phased out over time (i.e., through stepping stones). There is zero tolerance for sexual abuse in schools, in the workplace and in our homes - but why not the Catholic Church?

    The abuser was de-frocked? That's insufficient. He needs to be prosecuted and locked up. Perhaps atone for his sins through hard labor.

    Because it's a total sham,. A complete joke. The so-called "devout" need to wake up from years of brainwashing and re-direct their tithes to worthy charitable organizations.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
    • Gloria

      What is your take on Roman Polanski and the open support for his release that he received in Hollywood? Can you provide further examples on other realms of society that tolerate zero abuse and therefore there is no child abuse in those parts of society?

      July 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You are right Gloria. I have e-mailed the Pope asking that he defrock Polanski immediately!

      Note that the U.S. has convicted him and would put him in jail if they could get custody of him. Not the same thing.

      July 24, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  11. hilarious

    You guys are hilarious, not only do the religious argue about which religion is better than their own but they even argue about practices within a specific religion. That statement should be enough to prove to you religious minded people that, none are real.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      None, are real. But the harm these religions do is very real.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  12. Shannon

    Let yet without sin cast the first stone. Priests don't become pedophiles, pedophiles become priests. I just feel REALLY sorry for those of you on here that are ignorantly bashing the Catholic church and the Pope. We will all answer to God someday whether you do or don't believe it. If you don't believe it, I would still even air on the side of caution "just in case". I'll pray for you guys.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Sophie

      So facile to toss out empty words: Ye who is without sin cast the first stone. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Why don't you put pressure on your church to get rid of criminals?

      July 23, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Americana78

      Thank you Shannon.... my thoughts exactly.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You can't really be religious just in case. There will always be risk. What if you give your soul to Jesus and the Muslims are right? You are at the big barbecue. What if god sees that you are just hedging your bets? He is said to be all knowing. He might be extra mad. And then what if you spend all that time praying, going to church etc. and it turns out you are wrong. Wouldn't you have rather spent that time doing something fun?

      By the way the argument you were sort of making is called: Pascal's Wager. Google it if you want more info.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You said, "Priests don't become pedophiles, pedophiles become priests."

      Which came first, the pedophile or the priest?

      Hmm... chicken or egg?

      July 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  13. Sophie

    Americana78 - Hey, I get it. It's hard to read bad news about your religion. But can you tell that people are ANGRY here? Molestation is a crime, not just "something that happened." It's a crime that scars children. These pedophiles should be prosecuted and thrown in jail when found guilty. Your comments would have more credibility if you advocated punishing criminals. (You sound very defensive and hostile to others who have an opposing view about your church.) To date, so many of these rapists have hid behind the guise of religion - with the help of church officials. Get it now?

    July 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yeah, Americana78 is defensive and hostile to us, just cause we have an opposing view!

      But, like my lord Jesus, I will turn the other cheek.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Americana78

      At David, not defensive and hostile, just allergic to ignorance and open hostility to people who attack others because of their faith.... thank you.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Americana78

      Hello Sophie:
      YES, the priests should have been criminally prosecuted and hung by their B****! Y What I took offense to was the bashing of the religion as a whole– GOOD people are found within my FAITH...and ANGRY ones too. I am one of them because what happened and is happening should have never been allowed. What, you don't think I know that Church officials covered it up, by sending priests away so they could prey on other kids instead of going to the authorities? Umm..yeah all Catholics know that. So don't judge me, because you don't know me. I already had it, so I didn't need to get anything from you.
      Thank you.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  14. Dhulfiqar

    Are all catholics pedophiles? Like all Muslims are terrorists?

    July 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  15. Kool Aid

    Once again a religious organization has proven that it puts itself above those whom is is charged to protect.

    Religion is nothing more than politics in a dress. It appeals to the insecure and the ill informed.

    There are always going to be people who will drink the kool aid regardless of the evidence. Whether it be in Guiana, Saudi Arabia, Rome, or any other organization that seeks to elevate its "leaders" above the level of mere men. Religion is an exercise in self proclaimed righteousness, but only for the leadership of such organizations. That is religion's ultimately fatal flaw.

    July 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • hilarious

      on point Kool Aid!

      July 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  16. GOD

    It's me, boys and girls!This is an absolutely ridiculous blog string. Watch out for the next lightening bolt. It's gonna be a BIG ONE!

    July 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • Agnostic

      I grew up friends with a "good" catholic family. Friends of old now. Lost touch many years ago. They always said how me and mine would be much better people if we were catholic and went to church. Their old man in finishing up a 20 year stint in prison for molesting his adopted daughter. So much for values. I aint bashing catholics, but I do hold the mafia in higher esteem. No women, no kids. They thought they were better because they were catholic and went to church. People make choices. True. People sometimes make really bad choices. Even truer. Organized religion aint much different than the mob. My moral barometer is in check. Evidently some people breathing air on this planet can not say the same. I was baptized Lutheran, but have not been an active church goer in many years. The fear of bursting into flames walking through the door ya know. Been to a few weddings and survived so I guess church won't kill me, but I seriously have a problem with organized religion - all of it. And thanks for the reply GOD.......I'll keep an eye out for the bolt. Make it a doozy.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • keburg

      How disappointing. I was hoping God could at least spell.

      July 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  17. Troy

    I am convinced that it has come to the point where the government must step in. Stepping in means dictating to the Catholic Church what they will change: Prient can get married, Women can be priest and the rule of law applies to priests. If the Catholic Church isn't willing to make these changes the US Catholic Church at that time should break from the Vatican, much like Henry the XIII did. The Catholic Church should be treated like any predatory institution, I think the more than proved they can't control themselves.

    July 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • keburg

      How absurd. The government doesn't need to "step in" and order changes in the Catholic church. And since when have priests not been subject to the law? The issue is not whether they are subject; they are and have always been. The issue is that the church has hidden the priests' crimes so 'the law' didn't know the priests were criminals.

      July 24, 2010 at 8:15 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Don't you think that the deformation of the 1500's would suggest not going that route again?

      July 26, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  18. Americana78

    Umm... no one is excommunicated for marrying outside the religion. Thank you.

    July 23, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • keburg

      "Umm... no one is excommunicated for marrying outside the religion. Thank you."

      You're right. They finally did away with that arrogant, misguided, unbiblical rule. One down, 3,497 to go. 🙂
      (I realize it's a bit redundant to talk about catholicism and 'unbiblical' in the same sentence.)

      July 24, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  19. jstmyview

    Based on the "Vatican" actions, it’s ok to be gay as long as you are raping little boys. Otherwise it's unacceptable and will not be tolerated!

    For years the Vatican has been running its fingers thru piles of gold coins and just busting out laughing while their pedophile priests were abusing kids. They knew it and now that they got caught with their pants on da ground, it's all about damage control and protect the $$$$$$$$$$$. Any questions?

    July 23, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Americana78

      Umm... based on your babble that you call your statement? No.

      July 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      No questions. That's pretty much the way it is.

      July 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  20. pfft...

    Why can't they just say "fired?"

    July 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Gottabekidding

      Yes. Beautifully succinct "Fired" (and maybe barred forever from re-employment)

      July 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
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About this blog

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.