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. Reality

    One more try in the effort to have complete disclosure on this topic: The Boy Scouts of America were recently made to pay $18.3 million to a former scout who was abused by a troop leader years ago. During the trial, there was sufficient evidence to show that the BSA have been covering up this problem for 70 years

    July 25, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • nachooooo libre

      the church has oaid out over 3 BILLION in out of court settlements .... reality- over 10,000 kids ( the ones known ) have been molested by priests .... so crawl back under your rock and support the abuse of children by denial

      July 25, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • Reality

      Allegations of s–exual abuse by clergy have been made in many countries (see Roman Catholic sex abuse cases by country). After the United States, the country with the next highest number of cases is Ireland. A significant number of cases have also been reported in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia.[7]

      In 2001, major lawsuits emerged in the United States and Ireland, alleging that some priests had s–exually abused minors and that their superiors had conspired to conceal and otherwise abet their criminal misconduct.[8] In 2004, the John Jay report tabulated a total of 4,392 priests and deacons in the U.S. against whom allegations of s–exual abuse have been made.

      Although the scandals in the U.S. and Ireland unfolded over approximately the same time period, there are some significant differences between them. In the United States, most of the abusers were parish priests under diocesan control. While there were also a significant number of abuse cases involving parish priests in Ireland, another major scandal involved criminal abuse committed by members of religious orders working in Catholic-run institutions such as orphanages and reform schools. In the United States, the abuse was primarily s–exual in nature and involved mostly boys between the ages of 11 and 17; in Ireland, the allegations involved both physical and s–exual abuse, and children of both s–exes were involved, although a large majority were male.

      In a statement read out by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in September 2009, the Holy See stated "We know now that in the last 50 years somewhere between 1.5% and 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in s–exual abuse cases", adding that this figure was comparable with that of other groups and denominations.[9] Additionally, according to Newsweek magazine, the figure in the Catholic Church is similar to that in the rest of the adult population.[10] In contrast according to the Economist given that 45 of the 850 priests in Malta have been accused of s–exual abuse the problem is "alarmingly widespread".[11]

      July 25, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  2. Reality

    One more try in the effort to have complete disclosure on this topic: The Boy Scouts of America were recently made to pay $18.3 million to a former scout who was abused by a troop leader years ago. During the trial, there was sufficient evidence to show that the BSA have covering up this problem for 70 years,.

    July 25, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • nachooooo libre

      reality.... the BSA's send their ped to jail.... reality- over 10,000 kids ( the ones known ) have been molested by priests .... and the church has oaid out over 3 BILLION in out of court settlements .... so crawl back under your rock and support the abuse of children by denial

      July 25, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  3. Dont Distort

    Wow Peter, what a wonderful 'christian' you are. Calling people overweight, illiterate, and racist; you then throw in redneck protestants for good measure. You CLEARLY show the true color of your religion. You've impressed all of us greatly. I'm sorry you've been duped by your religion to believe that you are doing wonderful for yourself, your family, and the rest of the world, but your hate filled rant only shows the world that you have been taught that anyone who doesn't share your beliefs is obviously 'below' you. Certainly not a godly point of view. Did your jesus call people who did not agree with him vitriolic names?

    You forgot several other things we wouldn't have without catholicism: The Crusades, The jailing of Galileo, The Inquisitions, and the current sexual troubles of the catholic church. I know your apologists and 'experts' spin and distort these historical happenings in order to revise history and make all of you feel better about your intolerant religion, but the facts clearly show that the catholic church has oppressed and been responsible for the deaths of millions of people over the centuries. So be careful when you start pointing fingers about racism, and being negative, the catholic church was an original offender of both of those, anti-semite, anti-muslim, anti-protestant. Is it really any better than any other anti-inclusive organization? I think not.

    July 25, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  4. Peter Q. Wolfe

    Cnn.com moderators edited my post again because of their atheist or protestant distorted world view. Mr. Grammar thanks for pointing out the obvious about my post with it's small typos and grammar mistakes. Unlike you, I stay on topic though and don't concern myself with pity details. Do you guys know where the funding of the church comes from? Most of my reading online shows its local dioceses and to my arch diacoses in Mobile, Alabama not to the Vatican so much. We have special contribution voluntary post on Haiti and other places but not demanded of us.
    Look baptist have more divorces, over weight, illiterate, racist (WASP and KKK) and other negative things man. Look at mormons who don't have any biblical information on them. I could name off almost all forms of christian protestantism and point to things to. Maybe look at yourselves with the declining number of intolerant redneck protestants and change yourselves like prenadial care to caring of the homeless and poor among you first before pointing fingers. If it wasn't for french catholics in the American Revolution, you would still be under the yoke of the british monarchy. If it wasn't for the catholicsw people like John F Kennedy, and other people wouldn't have had leggislation like Medicaid, medicare, etc in our government today. Protestants could careless of accountability though. By their logic, the word trinity isn't printed in the Bible, therefore, it doesn't exist. The same could be said for saying "Bible" whicfh isn't biblical whatever that means. Oh, most people are literate around the world including protestants on the Bible so they will go to Hell right? You have to have accountability and an hierarchy to administer it like the catholic church for this purpose to allow it to florish in order to have order. So, I would like to see more URLS on here for false allogation opinions about my holy church.

    July 25, 2010 at 6:27 am |
    • nachooooo libre

      your rant about everyone else really shines well on your holy church..... you say your not concerning yourself with pity details.... that explains your lack of mentioning the 8,000 preists that have been convicted of abuse crime.... or the 3 BILLION the catholic church has paid out in out of court settlements .... you may want to get you head out of the dark, you might suffocate.... and by the way, mary isnt queen of the universe you bunch of pagan followers....

      July 25, 2010 at 7:26 am |
    • keburg

      What are "pity details"?
      What's "prenadial care"?
      What's "florish"?
      When did Lyndon Baines Johnson - the president who implemented medicaid and medicare - convert to catholicism?
      Which protestant churches don't believe in the trinity?
      When will you graduate from high school?

      July 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • Petel2

      No one at CNN edits your posts.Your delusions run deep. The only thing they would do is to remove it if unfit because of fowl language.

      July 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • nachooooo libre

      Where are you from Wolfe Peter ? safe to you are from the northeat with your southern comments and your pro-catholic stance .... lets say,.... how about Mass even Boston .... move back where things much better,.....

      July 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  5. Petel2

    To catholics,
    As long as you protect pedos with your donations, you are destroying those harmed as children. It is the money from your donations that allows your clergy to continue the cover ups by lobbying to stop laws that would expose the pedos, expose the cover ups and deny victims justice. If you are compelled to donate, there are many other organizations that do not lobby to stop pedos from being exposed.
    You are harming victims again. Many victims committed suicide and others mentally ill due to the abuses. What have you done to help? Nothing, but support your religion with posts here and through dollar donations.
    A victim of violent rraaappppessss and sssssoooooddddoommy, once a gang ssssoooddooooommmmyy by 4 ppppriiests,

    July 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  6. Reality

    FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP!!! The RCC is not the only one suffering from these horrors.

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of p-dophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have s-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan since p-dophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

    July 24, 2010 at 3:43 pm |

    I personally do NOT disagree with the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. I do wonder why so many seem to lack the POWER of the Holy Spirit to, as they say, practice what they preach? Perhaps the problem is that one may only practice what one believes? It seems to me that before one may help others enter into the Kingdom of God, one must first enter into it themselves? The Christ warned us of the 'false shepherds.' He also cautions us that 'our virtue must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees? Another of my favorite quotes is, 'few things are holy, few of which are holy men.' It is also written to seek the Truth and in finding it, finding Freedom. The best thing about our deluded brothers and sisters is that we may look at ourselves as in a darkened reflection and allow the Spirit to cleanse us from our own darkness! 'first remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your neighbor.' For as it is apparent, the reason evil exists is to train the Faithful in holiness! The Christ also tells us to leave the Scribes and Pharisees alone as 'the blind lead the blind and they shall both fall into the ditch. The Church relishes in the liturgy as the 'high point' of Christian worship, but does not the Christ remind us, 'if our brother has something against us, we are to leave our gift at the altar and go be reconciled first and then return?' Is it not clear, 'God wants compassion not sacrifice.' How can one 'love the God they do not see and neglect to love those they can see? One thing about the Muslim Faith that I resonate with is the term 'Submission.' To submit to the Divine Will with one's entire being is the one thing necessary!

    July 24, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • nachooooo libre

      well Van ole buddy.... read the quran... they submit to their leadres just like catholics do.... however their leaders take the "hate the jews and the friends of the jews" ... way much farther

      July 24, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • CatholicMom

      you stated.....but does not the Christ remind us, 'if our brother has something against us, we are to leave our gift at the altar and go be reconciled first and then return?' Perhaps you are referring to the fact that many may be eating and drinking judgment on himself when he attempts to recieve Communion with mortal sin on his soul....
      "Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Cor. 11:27, 29).

      July 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  8. nachooooo libre

    The vatican didnt do anything... the ped preist was removed from duties LAST YEAR.... the vatican acknowledge he is gone

    July 24, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  9. Peter Q. Wolfe

    Brady and others,

    Luke's mother wouldn't be a priest like his father wouldn't typically be a priest cause to be a priest is to be not only a male but to be concecrated as well. All of the original apostles were men not a single woman was part of the original Twelve. None of them to my knowleedge had spouces either so it sort of makes sense to me about their point of being single. What evidense do you have that women wouldn't rape teenage boys or abuse children physically or emotionally? You might be the sexist one afterall?
    Cinday, I don't know where you get about money to pray for someone in purgatory. This is a misguided attempt of the past wrong teaching not the official stance as far as I know in the church. Look at your logic folks its wrong. Monks and nuns don't get busted and they live concecrated lives as well. The charity works in missionaries, educaion, health, and etc. Remember if your in a hospital like St. Francias and on your hospital surgury table that your doctor could be a catholic person. A person who cares whether or not you will live or not. Moreover, other denominations like baptists, anglicans, mormons and others are guilty as well. Hardly ever hear of that one right? Americans generalize religion like all muslims are terrorist. How would it feel if I say that "All americans are illiterate, gluttonous, over wiehgt, obese driven, etc? It would probably feel kind of bad. Perhaps work with us on dealing with our problem instead of demonizing us soon to be catholis out? Your just making the problem worse that is all. By the way, I denounced protestant crap because of this judgemental behavior and I'm not alone in leaving your protestant bs.

    July 24, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • nachooooo libre

      yes there is guilt among all.... but the catholic church owns the corner on denial.... 8,000 of your beloved priests have been convicted, your beloved church has paid out over 3 billion in out of court settlements .... so i think us protestants have a right to denouce the rc church when it is a replection on Christianity....

      July 24, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • keburg

      "How would it feel if I say that "All americans are illiterate, gluttonous, over wiehgt, obese driven, etc?"

      Well, let's see. I guess it'd feel redundant, inarticulate, confusing, sloppily stated, ill-planned, and poorly executed.

      July 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  10. Cindy

    Exactly CW! When a Catholic dies and goes to Purgatory????? Pray them out – money to the church? I don't get it.......

    July 24, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  11. independent

    I have just returned from Chapel, and you were all in my prayers. All of you.

    July 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  12. independent

    Mock a Catholic and you may provoke a response, maybe not.
    Mock God, and the response may be eternal. You won't be alone, but it won't be lovely.

    July 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  13. Liz

    Does anyone wonder why there are religious wars? Few if any on this post dare to show any respect for different opinions. Its a real shame.

    The Catholic Church has a hierarchy in order to function and to sustain its teaching of scripture and Tradition for 2000 years. The concept is certainly not a new one. Noone believes its all good. Catholics believe the Church is holy, its members are sinners....all of them.

    July 23, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  14. Sande

    The Kingdom of God is within us. Stop blaming religions for the behavior of radical, pedofiles, and murderers. We are all sinners and none can cast a stone at another. Every possible religious group that exists has the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unfortunately, the dirty linen of some religious bodies get aired more than others because of radicals who cannot be contained or controlled, therefore, the entire flock bears the burden because of a few rotten apples. Believe in God not in religion!

    July 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • Cindy

      by "a few bad apples" do you mean child molesters and rapists who get media attention for their crimes? Yea, its newsworthy and the public might want to know in case their child is/was exposed to the freak! That's really not a radical idea, exposing criminals and their crime to protect society..........I think the families of the children traumatized by the freaks might take exception to the "dirty laundry" comment. It's wayyyyy beyond dirty laundry don't you think?

      July 24, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • nachooooo libre

      your right the Kingdom of God in within us.... therefore it should be even more right to bash those who claim they have a handle on their kingdom of pedaphiles .... my God has no part in the catholic heresy

      July 25, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • CatholicMom

      The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God.
      "He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins."
      Colossians 1:13-14
      If He has rescued us from satan and transferred us into the Kingdom......saying we are the Kingdom does not make sense.
      We have the remission of sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church.

      July 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  15. cw

    i have a problem with any religion that requires you to go into a box and confess your sins to some dude in a robe...i'm confused..is he the one you need forgiveness from??? ummm no, that would be Jesus...Anthony is very much correct in his post..The bible states not to honor anyone but GOD and his son..and since when did Jesus have a successor??? are u kidding me??? the Father , the son and the holy spirit...no where in that is a pope...

    July 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • independent

      CW, you have stated a number of problems you have with the Catholic Church. If you are a Catholic, then you might actually have a problem. If you are not, why do you care?

      And, if you really believe that no one, even a Catholic, needs a priest or a pope to confess their sins (more on this another time), let me ask you, have you stood before God, in prayer or conversation, and confessed your sins to him?

      If you don't believe in sin, then why do you have a problem with anything having to do with something in which you don't believe?

      July 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • Brian Z.

      Here we go again! Why do you insist on denying the Supernatural power of the Holy Father? Why do you believe human understanding is the ultimate? The Priest is a vessel for the power of the Holy Spirit, he who gives us absolution! When we confess our sins to a Priest we ARE NOT just talking to some "dude". We are speaking to God through him. "Whatsoever you loose upon earth, shall be loosed in Heaven and whatever you shall bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven." Only God can give us true absolution. Stop offending the Father by comparing your intellect and understanding to his! I pray you find a way to put aside your pride and open your heart to Jesus. Not because "some dude" told you so because you have found in your heart the truth and love him for what he has done so that you may be saved!

      July 24, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  16. Brady

    I've noticed that there are quite a few women on this thread defending the church. Seems pretty clear that the church still in 2010 sees women as distinctly inferior to men. "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. Do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." 1 Timothy 2:11-12

    Anyone females want to explain how you can defend an organization who actively teaches that you should be oppressed?

    July 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • Luke

      Ever asked a Catholic woman if she felt oppressed? I am pretty sure that my mother ruled the household when I was growing up and to this day, my father respects her. You may want to ask the Catholics about that before you just assume.

      July 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • Brady

      Luke, I offered no assumptions, just facts. The church does in fact still actively teach these things and last week outlined specific penalties for allowing women to teach the tenets of Catholicism. I'm glad that your mother and father have a healthy relationship, I wasn't trying to imply that good catholics can't respect women. My point was about the church's clear stance on not letting women become members of the clergy. Had your mom wanted to become a priest she would have been thrown out of the church just for trying, I'm not sure how that could be viewed as anything other than oppression.

      July 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Brian Z.

      Once again we rely on our own faculties to try to understand the word of God. It is man that has decided that women, because of their given role by the Lord, is less loved by the Father. NOT TRUE! The Lord has a role for us all, equally as important to his plan for humanity. I agree, upon reading the word of Saint Paul in particular, applying the standards of this world one can be shocked. HOWEVER, if we try to look through God's eyes, a being with more love, understanding, compassion and knowledge FAR beyond our own, we understand that he DOES NOT HATE anyone. Even those who constantly berate him he loves. All of us through him can be saved and our sins forgiven. You can not comprehend it without having his love inside of you. The human being is just not capable because we are limited. And if women were so unloved by the Father why is the Blessed Virgin Mary so revered as to be called The Queen of Heaven and Earth? She is our Mediatrix. Why was Mary Magdalen so loved by Jesus? Just like in the Garden of Eden when Eve did want to show herself because she was naked. God said, "Who told you you were naked?" It is EXACTLY that which we have done when it comes to women. The Father may have said women are to be a helper to man BUT NO WHERE in holy scripture have I read a woman is less of a human being and second when it comes to the love of God. PLEASE I urge you all to STOP trying to understand Our Father with human eyes and put trust in him. Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be open to you. May God bless and save us all!

      July 24, 2010 at 10:28 am |
    • keburg

      "The human being is just not capable because we are limited. And if women were so unloved by the Father why is the Blessed Virgin Mary so revered as to be called The Queen of Heaven and Earth? She is our Mediatrix."

      You writing reveals your ignorance of the New Testament. Mary is revered because the catholic church chose to revere her. And it has proven especially self-serving to get its followers to revere her - especially in third world countries where it can point to Mary and say, 'See. Mary had it rough, too. But God loved her and she accepted her fate.' That's a lot easier than acknowledging the injustices done to the impoverished or challenging the social and political structures that KEEP them impoverished.
      Also, Mary is no one's mediatrix. Jesus made clear that there was no need for - and in fact no one should use - a mediator other than Jesus himself. Jesus is the only mediator. Or at least that's what Jesus said.

      July 25, 2010 at 8:55 am |
    • CatholicMom

      The Bible says: Mary said, ‘all generations will call me blessed’. Why don’t you?

      Mary is not a mediator between us and God, she takes our prayers and makes them her own and presents them to her son, Jesus Christ.
      All Mary has ever asked us to do is LISTEN to her son and DO as He tells you. Even when Jesus wasn’t ready to start His ministry he listened to His Mother. Jesus honored His Mother and we emulate Jesus as He is the Perfect Example of how to treat Mary. After all Mary is the Mother of God, and she is our Mother , too. Do you honor your Mother?

      Mary is Mediatrix because it is through her that we received our Savior, Jesus Christ. If she had said NO instead of YES we would not have Jesus Incarnate, the Savior of the world. To follow her example, we should say to our Father, ‘do with me as you will’.
      Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, her womb containing Jesus, the bread of Life come down from Heaven [John 6:41] In the Ark of the Old Covenant, the urn was filled with manna from the wilderness….the miraculous bread come down from Heaven.
      Gen 2:20: "The man called his wife's name Eve because she was the mother of all living."
      And so the Second Eve became the mother of all who live in Christ…..this is MARY!
      I hope your heart has warmed a little towards Mary after contemplating these things…..

      July 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  17. Brian Z.

    I think it is disgraceful the hatred we show toward each other. We should pray for the unity of the church and the emergence of the truth about God. Instead we call each other cults and illegitimate. Jesus who is the foundation of the church walked this earth and preached peace and unity and he suffered greatly knowing many of us "just don't get it". He suffered for ALL of us. I honestly don't know how he did it. He had to have been God to be capable of love so great to not walk off that cross and cast us all into the abyss. Only God, the one true God is capable of such love because the only thing mankind has proven in our existence is that WE ARE NOT. Whether you think he was God in the flesh or not, I do, for ANYONE to do that for such a hate filled and sinful world then and now, was an amazing human being. Instead of casting stones why don't we simply admire someone for such love and kindness. Then, do our own research. Put our pride aside and LISTEN with an open heart and mind. It seems to me there is a belief in a higher being but instead of bringing God into our own lives we just want to drive him out of others. I pray for us all. This world is just lost and soon, I believe, the Father will come and I pray his mercy is still as great as it was when he walked the earth the first time. May God have mercy on us all!

    July 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • independent

      Amen Brian.
      While there may be many was up the mountain, it is hard to ignore the mountain. That is why some are so frustrated. How to account for that mountain. 🙂

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

      Sorry..."many ways"

      July 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  18. midwest

    To all my fellow 'believers' on this board trying mightily to defend the Church I would ask that you stop. It appears as though your words 'are falling upon deaf ears' And so I ask of you in your daily life........Preach the Gospel at all Times, and When Neccessary Use Words.

    July 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  19. mytake

    Cindy- do you know where the Bible came from? The canon was established by the Catholic church. Do a little research; it's all there, and not too hard to find. Also, what were the beliefs and practices of the Earlt Church from the first century on? Looks just like the Church now... read "The Faith of the Early Fathers". History is pretty clear.

    July 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  20. john

    the catholic church is just a breeding ground for phedefiles, there is about always news stories about catholic priests molesting kids, i'm not saying it's just catholic priests, but those stories always seem to come up alot

    July 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.