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21 priests put on leave after review of suspected child sexual abuse
Left to right, from top: Edward Avery, James Brennan, Charles Engelhardt, William Lynn and Bernard Shero were charged in connection with sex abuse against minors.
March 8th, 2011
04:12 PM ET

21 priests put on leave after review of suspected child sexual abuse

By the CNN Wire Staff

Philadelphia (CNN) - Twenty-one priests have been placed on administrative leave following a review of suspected child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia, according to a statement from the city's archbishop.

The church investigated 37 priests identified in a grand jury report as remaining in "active ministry with credible allegations of child sexual abuse," according to Cardinal Justin Rigali.

In addition to the 21 announced Tuesday, three other priests have already been placed on administrative leave after the report was released in February, Rigali said.

Five others would have been subject to administrative leave, he added, but one was already on leave and two others are considered "incapacitated" and have not been in active ministry. Two other priests no longer serve in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but the church has "notified the superiors of their religious orders and the bishops of the dioceses where they are residing," he said.

"I want to be clear: These administrative leaves are interim measures," Rigali said in a written statement. "They are not in any way final determinations or judgments."

The cardinal added that he wished "to express again my sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by any members of the church, especially clergy."

"I am truly sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse, as well as to the members of our community who suffer as a result of this great evil and crime," he said.

In February, three Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher were charged with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while a former official with the Philadelphia Archdiocese was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children, the city's district attorney's office said.

CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said the charges against the former church official appeared to be unprecedented and could have national implications.

"This is apparently the first time that a Catholic leader has been charged criminally for the cover-up as opposed to the abuse itself," he said. "It sends a shot across the bow for bishops and other diocesan officials in other parts of the country, who have to wonder now if they've got criminal exposure, too."

Edward Avery, 68, and Charles Engelhardt, 64, were charged with allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish from 1998 to 1999.

Bernard Shero, 48, a teacher in the school, is charged with allegedly assaulting the same boy there in 2000, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference in February.

James Brennan, another priest, is accused of assaulting a different boy, a 14-year-old, in 1996.

Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the secretary for clergy for the then-Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua, was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults, Williams said.

From 1992 until 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children, the district attorney's office said.

The grand jury found that Lynn, 60, endangered children, including the alleged victims of those charged last week, by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to kids.

Avery, Engelhardt and Shero were charged with rape, indecent sexual assault and other criminal counts following the results of the grand jury investigation of clergy sexual abuse, Williams said. The names of the alleged victims, who are now in their 20s, have not been publicly released.

The grand jury believed that more than 30 priests remained in ministry in Pennsylvania despite solid, credible allegations of abuse, according to Williams.

Williams on Tuesday said Rigali's actions "are as commendable as they are unprecedented."

"Going forward, in cases involving allegations of abuse by clergy, my office and the Philadelphia police will investigate, and where appropriate we will charge and prosecute. I intend to use the resources of this office to the greatest extent possible to protect the children of Philadelphia," Williams said in a statement.

"In those cases where allegations are not prosecutable because of the statute of limitations or some other reason, we encourage the Archdiocese to take the necessary and proper steps to protect the children for whom they are responsible, as they have done here."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church

soundoff (896 Responses)
  1. Immaculata

    Bevilacqua has alot of sins to pay for especially to the Gay Community of Philadelphia and thosei infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. There are many priests that are true to their calling....I refuse to allow him to destroy my faith.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Tom

      There is something wrong with your religion.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  2. chris

    There are good priest that bought this to the attention of the higher ups and were basically told to shut up or they would get assigned to the North Pole. This has been going on for as long as the church has been around. I am still Catholic but have a lot less respect for the clergy. When I go to church I do feel resentment to what has happened and its something that I have to deal with. But there are good priest that are being dragged into this that should not be.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • colowww

      Leave the church. I did 30 years ago and have been glad every day that I did. The church lies to poor people around the globe, telling them they will go to hell (mortal sin) if they use birth control. This traps many in a life long cycle of poverty and suffering. This is worse than child abuse. When they deny people access to birth control they are abusing the whole family, community and planet.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > When I go to church I do feel resentment to what has happened and its something that I have to deal with.

      No, it's something you need to stop supporting. If you don't like boys getting dinkled in the bum and you know that your church is supporting these events by covering it up and making new victims, perhaps you SHOULDN'T attend their church.

      Perhaps you should have the morals to say "This is wrong, I'm leaving and I'm not coming back till you expouse the values that you claim to have."

      March 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Something

      "But there are good priest that are being dragged into this that should not be."

      Perhaps... but knowing how their good-ol' boys club operates, I greatly suspect that most of them knew what was going on with their peers, and said nothing.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • gerald

      Bobinator, your type of thinking is the type that caused hitler to kill 6million Jews. When you broad brush a group it's easy to justify about anything. You broad brush priests and bishops it seems. If they were all child abusers and coviering it up, you might have a point. But the percentages are known to be much less than a majority.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Hohoho

      gerald, beware! There may come a time when we have a way of finding every single child abuser. Maybe you are one. Maybe you're not. But when we find all the hidden ones, you can bet the numbers will be very very high.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • gerald

      Hoho, maybe your one to. Fact is there are 38 million who have been abused in society. So yes the numbers will be very high. Society is sick. You people focus on the priesthood. Your teachers coaches, uncles, cousins, brother , and even fathers are doing it at higher rates than the priesthood as a matter of fact.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  3. SadieSadie

    I pray these victims can now get some justice. As a survivor of se-xual abuse I know that it is harder to get over when you know and trust the abuser.
    These men face the judgements of man today but one day they will face the judgement of God.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  4. Lily

    What's been so surprising to me as this scandal has unfolded over the years is the sheer number of victims & priests involved. I was never alone with a member of the clergy as a child, and it seems to me like there aren't really a lot of opportunities for children to be alone with priests. But apparently it happens a lot. Where are the parents? The parents are as responsible for these crimes as the priests themselves.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Ken

      All I have heard of these crimes have been news reports. I have never known of ANY priests, deacons or anyone directly connected to the Church who have committed these atrocities. Either in my church or any other church that I am aware of.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Teo

      Blame the parents when a pedophile molests a child?? Wow, that is stunningly stupid. I went to a Catholic school, yet I was never molested by a priest. Ok, smacked by a nun, but never inappropriately touched by a priest. There were plenty of opportunities for Catholic priests to spend time alone with children. I am certain the bad guys befriended the families and the victims in order to gain their trust. Only sick people would blame the victims.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  5. Oh, I See.

    Another "End of the World" article,
    The GOP catering to evangelicals,
    A sinning politician,
    Atheists hating God,
    fundamentalist Mormon polygamy,
    mourning Pakistani Christians,
    Christian heresy,
    Targeting anti-Muslim rhetoric,
    Misrepresented Muslims
    Pedo Catholic Priests

    Just another day in the Compromised News Network's blog editorial room...

    March 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  6. GSA

    Not sure which is hated more right now in America, Catholic priests or Muslim terrorists?

    March 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ken

      You are wrong to try to blame ALL priests for the crimes of a few. Most of the priests devote their lives to serving others and don't deserve to be cast in the same lot as those monsters who acually committed these crimes. Put the blame where it belongs, but don't blame those that didn't do these acts.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Mike

      I'm leaning toward priests on this one as the most hated. Rightfully deserved.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  7. LisaDe

    These 21 priests need an exorcism performed, wonder if they can get Anthony Hopkins to do it for them.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  8. humblepie

    Gen 2:18 "The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    I think that it's time for this to aply to our Catholic friends that desire to be Priest.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      1st Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians chapter 7

      [32] But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. [33] But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. [34] And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband. [35] And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • ScottK

      “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.” Gen. 19:34-35

      Jeez, I guess you can make just about anything alright if you use the right scripture.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • humblepie

      There's just one problem: Adam had perfect communion with God in the Garden of Eden and still God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18) Everything else about Eden was said to be "good" by God. Everything, that is, except a man. Alone.

      Remember this is GOD, not Paul.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  9. Willie12345

    Infection. It's an infection. Say what you will, there needs to be a culling within the Catholic Church of these abusers / monsters.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • gerald

      agreed

      March 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  10. Reality

    The bigger picture:(this scenario gets closer every week with these "vomit topics")

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  11. rayy

    "committed by any members of the church, especially clergy."–isn't that kind of an attempt to deflect blame? The issue here is priests abusing children and the church covering up for them, and their hardball lawyers further abusing the victims.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  12. iduna

    They sure like their little boys. Lets face it, the Catholic Church is the face of the devil. Priests are evil and the church should be outlawed.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • gerald

      Are you a protestant. What Church do you go to. The fact is the incidnents of this are as high in your protestant churches. It just doesn't get as much attention because of Church structure which doesn't allow for lucrative settlements, so lawyers don't pursue them as much. If you don't believe me do a search on phil jenkins and check his research. He's a protestant by the way. I'll bet you can find pastors in your very own denomination if you go to reformation dot com.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • typical

      it seems gerald is a victim of one of these guys and been a pew kneeler , hopefully they are padded

      March 8, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Father Probe

      They give you little lace pillows for your knees and let you wear a dress. That makes it easier to do and quicker. See? That didn't take long. That wasn't so bad, was it? Bless you my child.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  13. allli

    Is so so sad that men who claim to be leaders and teachers of God's worl
    Could go so low to this shameful act and yet they are placed on leave by the so call CC head!
    Is so shameful. A religion that allows this is not of christ. I feel sorry for those who still call themselves CC.
    Gosh! I cnt believe this!

    March 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Alex

      I wonder if these priests realize that they will rot in hell for doing this? I gurantee they all think they have a special place in heaven reserved for them. They are in for a rude awakening.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • gerald

      Sounds like your protestant. What Church do you go to. The fact is the incidnents of this are as high in your protestant churches. It just doesn't get as much attention because of Church structure which doesn't allow for lucrative settlements, so lawyers don't pursue them as much. If you don't believe me do a search on phil jenkins and check his research. He's a protestant by the way. I'll bet you can find pastors in your very own denomination if you go to reformation dot com.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Adam

      Alex, some of these guys probably do not even believe in god. Its just a job to them.

      Gerald, you keep saying that, but you haven't cited any sources. You better be careful or Fox might come along and offer you a job.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • gerald

      Adam, how are you at google. See my latest posts above. You can certainly check it out youself. It's pretty simple to get statistics.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Sally

      Hey gerald, you remember how glad you were when they used lube? Well, they can use condoms now, too. Joy all around.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • gerald

      Sally get back under your rock dear.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  14. jake jeckel

    In this day in age, if any parent actually takes their child or children into a catholic church they are retarded and should be declared unfit to be parents. I swear pedophiles are seeing the priesthood as the job of their dreams, especially since the vatican keeps priests names secret but will at the drop of the dime release victims names.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • John Doe

      Hey, jackal, this stuff happened decades ago. They don't let these characters in the seminary these days.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • gerald

      Ya and any parent who lets their kid in a school door or on a sports team is retarded as well, since the chances of their child being molested is as great or greater in these activities. Don't let them go anywhere with an uncle or cousin either. No the fact is that you have allowed yourself to be prejudiced toward priests because of these stories rather than remaining rational. The fact is there is a smaller percentage of priests committing these crimes than the general public.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Ya and any parent who lets their kid in a school door or on a sports team is retarded as well, since the chances of their child being molested is as great or greater in these activities.

      Cite your references that you use to make this conclusion. Of course, anyone who knows anything about studies know that you cannot place a number on events like these because only the "people who are caught" are counted. By your reasoning, the mafia would commit less crimes then others because they're never caught.

      Try thinking.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • gerald

      Bobiator,

      When are you going to learn to use google rather than living in ignorance and prejudice.

      One study. There are others:
      To support her contention, Shakeshaft compared the priest abuse data with data collected in a national survey for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000. Extrapolating data from the latter, she estimated roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sxal abuse by a school employee from a single decade—1991-2000. That compares with about five decades of cases of abusive priests.

      Such figures led her to contend "the physical sal abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."

      March 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Bobiator, when are you going to learn to use google rather than living in ignorance and prejudice?

      When will you learn to critically analyze and think? Tell me how they measured all the pedophiles that they weren't aware of, that is to say, not caught.

      Perhaps you should try thinking about what's presented to you instead of just accepting it and posting it like a knob. But then again, if you were to do that, you wouldn't be a christian now would you?

      March 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • gerald

      Bobinator once again posts nonsense without anything backing it up. The priesthood has been under greater scrutiny and so I have little reason to doubt that a greater percentage of offenders have been exposed than other groups I mentioned. But you won't admit that because of your prejudice.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  15. Boonedoggle

    Another 21 pedophile priests? Why hasn't the Catholic Church been prosected under RICO statute?
    Clearly the Catholic Church is/has been populated by more criminals than the Mafia, wher RICO has been successfully applied.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • gerald

      While I wish the number were 0, 21 is not a large percentage of the priests as you imply in your post. Further in comparison to other groups such as teachers, coaches, etc. The percentage of offenders is lower.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Ken

      The RICO statue? Come on, you watch too much crime TV to come up with blabber like that.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Something

      gerald,

      Your church is NOT perfect, without wrinkle or stain or any such thing, as they have so arrogantly claimed. What else have they lied to us about?

      This is not just about a bunch of sinner-priests - it is about the hierarchy - to the very top - the rule-makers who tell you how to run your life... the ones in whose truth you have trusted.

      It is very probable that without the recent public, secular exposing of these abuses, lies and cover-ups, the church would have continued with its dirty secrets.

      If this doesn't shake you down to your very foundations, you are burying you head in the sand.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Luke

      gerald

      That is an absolutely false statement about percentages, but nevertheless not the real problem here anyway. The issue is that the RCC claims to be a moral authority for one-billion human lives (and actively recruiting for more), and routinely covers up the crimes of pedophiles, the lowest of the low, while enabling the act itself. This goes way beyond even the outer limits of hypocrisy, and into uncharted territory. And those that defend its action are certainly no better consciously.

      March 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • gerald

      Something,

      Why can't you people use google. Pretty easy to get child abuse statistics. Just check child sxul abuse statistics. You will get facts like there have been 38 milloin cases. 1 in three girls and 1 in six boys have been abused. It's epidemic in this society and what is going on in the priesthood reflects what is going on in society but the rates are in fact LESS than general society. Clearly you don't know any numbers because you just give me handwaving back. If you are protestant you can also do a search for phil jenkins and get his research on your churches. Its not that great either.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • gerald

      Luke, you don't know what you are talking about and haven't research anything. Where have I said I defend child abusers or the ones who sheltered them. If this Bishop did he belongs in jail. But neither will I allow prejudice and bigotry to go uncontested on these boards by those who point fingers yet refuse to look at their own groups and organizations and society in general where these crimes are epidemic. Read my post above, get an education and then come back and we will discuss intelligently rather than out of inuendo and rant.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Something

      gerald,

      Please reread my post. I said not one word about statistics.

      Your church has lied and has failed you.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Something

      gerald,

      "...those who point fingers yet refuse to look at their own groups and organizations and society in general where these crimes are epidemic."

      As those victims come forward, civil law will be visited upon them also.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • gerald

      Something, the Church DOES NOT claim it's priests are without sin. If it did then there would be no need for confession, which is recommended by our pope that priests go weekly. Further you do this broad brush claim. Yet the great majority of priests and bishops are good men, doing their best to serve Christ. Prejudice is what tells you otherwise. That is clear. Lastly, this does not shake my foundation because my foundation is Christ. If men fail he does not and his Church does not even though the men who run it are weak. The theology has not changed in spite of the sins. Child abuse is condemned though there are wolves among the sheep but again the percentage of wolves is small compared to the sheep.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Sally

      gerald – So what is it like? I've heard there's an extra thrill from doing something forbidden. Does it hurt?

      March 9, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • ScottK

      @gerald – "confession, which is recommended by our pope that priests go weekly." OK, so priests are not perfect as you say, but what if the pope were to fondle young visitor... would this still apply? "Papal infallibility is the dogma in Roman Catholic theology that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error" – Catholic Encyclopedia.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:29 am |
    • Magic

      ScottK,

      Not to speak for @gerald, but I'm pretty sure he'll come back with something like - the pope is only infallible in matters of divine revelation regarding faith.

      It does not really matter, however - infallibility is a magic power that the Church has bestowed on itself, trumped up in the 11th century and confirmed in 1870. It means zero.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • Magic

      p.s. I just noticed that I wrote that the dogma of infallibility was 'confirmed' in 1870 - that sort of sounds like I meant that it was 'proven' or something. Perhaps I should have used the word 'inst.ituted'.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • gerald

      Scott your question and Majic's chides are ignorance. Infalablity has nothing to do with whether a pope is capable of sin. Now if he said child molestation or homsx (which most of this is) were okay you would have a point. But you don't.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Luke

      gerald

      Glad to see that you believe the higher ups belong in jail, but you ignore the fact that those that claim to be of the highest moral character and authority over others are also pedophiles that cover up crimes. Cleary you can see that they are lying about other things as well, right?

      March 9, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • gerald

      Luke,

      Love the way you broad brush. Just like hitler did in Germany, justifying the slaughter of ALL Jews if he could because of some inuendo about some. Accusations need names and proof behind them or they are nothing more than inuendo. The way for those who are prejudiced to spout their hatred and venom toward a class or group of people. Yes SOME Bishops and priests have lied and covered this up. Which ones? You tell me since you seem to have all the facts and details.? Innocent until proven guilty however is still the law of this land.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • gerald

      By the way Luke, I'll be there are things you have done in your life you aren't too proud of. Maybe got a girl or two pg. Maybe sent them in for an abortion. Doudtful you would want them exposed to the light? Why don't you just tell us all you have done right here Luke or are you covering things up?

      March 9, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Luke

      gerald

      You are not addressing my question Gerald. How can an organization that claims to be a moral athourity for the entire globe actively emply pedophiles, cover up the crimes and ask to be self policed. If the same thing happened at a day care organization or old folks home, the organization would be torn down and shuttered. Again, you are not addressing this fact. I said nothing about broad brushing or accusations. Calm the F down.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • A REAL American

      The Catholic Church _IS_ the Mafia.
      Duh!

      March 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • gerald

      I'm am quite calm lukey. That moral principles aren't followed by EVERYBODY does not mean they are not moral and should not be promoted by an organization. Policemen molest children and commit crimes against every law they are sworn to uphold. So should we stop having police? It's silly you see. No you don't see because you are silly.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Luke

      gerald

      This isn;'t high school. There's no reason to attempt to attack me in attempt to distract others from the actual debate. I have nothing to hide, nor have I done anything you've implied. Even if I have, it is not on target for this discussion.

      Police men are not a moral authority. They uphold the law. And when the break the law, they are dealt with like every other civilian. The police force is not torn down, that's nonesense. However, the RCC's full functionality is built apon morality and teaching morality. Yet, the people they deploy to teach morality are no better than the the common population. Therefore, the teachings are null and void. There's no way around this argument, Gerald. And do try to be more kind when speaking to others and not get so emotional. It takes away from your argument. Most of all, there's no reason for personal attacks. It only makes you look like an internet tough guy – a wimp with a sharp tongue sitting behind a keyboard. Stick to the topic. I'd love to hear your opinion, but you sound like an angry low-life when you attack me for no reason.

      March 10, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  16. No Religion

    One victim was 14? Fourteen? Why aren't the parents of these kids telling them "Hey, don't let anyone stick their penis in your butt today!" or "Hey, you're old enough to remember to wipe, where your house key is and know how to get online, so you should know that your teacher's penis doesn't belong in your mouth." The parents are as guilty of the crimes as the priest! They sent their kids to a Catholic school!

    March 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • rayy

      c'mon, you are blaming the victims here. Pedophiles groom their victims, building trust–it's a process–it's difficult to guard against it.

      "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

      March 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Ellen

      You are just a sick individual.. blaming a child and a victim...

      March 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Tom

      Land of the opinionated and home of the extreme!

      March 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • seriously?

      blaming the kids, you must be a pedophile and that is how you justify it. "well they didnt tell me no"

      you are part of the problem

      March 9, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Ryan

      In that case, so are the parents of many more than 21 children who sent their kids to a public school to be abused after hours or during lunch by a teacher. Maybe we should close down public schools too, using this logic, right?

      March 9, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  17. abby

    21 priests? 21? what is the CC doing? running a business for pedophiles? Outrageous! Shameful!
    The CC stopped being relevant a long time ago; now it seems to be a haven for pedophiles.

    March 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • gerald

      The percentage of child molesters in the Catholic Church is actually lower than society in general. Policemen, teachers, coaches, etc. While I wish the number were 0, 21 is a small percentage of the priests in the area in question.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > The percentage of child molesters in the Catholic Church is actually lower than society in general.

      There is no study that proves this for a fact. You're pulling this out of your butt.

      > While I wish the number were 0, 21 is a small percentage of the priests in the area in question.

      21 isn't the number of offenders. 21 is the number of the potential offenders caught. How many got away due to the cover up?

      March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Jake

      The Bobinator
      > The percentage of child molesters in the Catholic Church is actually lower than society in general.

      >>There is no study that proves this for a fact. You're pulling this out of your butt.

      Actually, Bobinator, there is. Maybe you should read it.

      http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/churchstudy/main.asp

      That said, one of these 21 was from my home parish. I never liked the guy and am glad to see that he's gone.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • gerald

      Bobinator,

      Do you know how to use google? Apparently not. If you do however do a simple search. Enter "child sxl abuse statistics" get an education and then come back here with something intelligent to say based on knowledge rather than ignorance. I didn't post something that can't be backed up.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • open for business

      that must be quite the scene in philly, wonder how they fine time to do anything else

      brings new meaning to glory glory hallelujah hole

      March 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Apocalypse

      21...is the exact date of my arrival.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Do you know how to use google? Apparently not. If you do however do a simple search. Enter "child sxl abuse statistics" get an education and then come back here with something intelligent to say based on knowledge rather than ignorance. I didn't post something that can't be backed up.

      Do you know how to think? Tell me how they get an accurate metric of offenders given that they don't know about the people who weren't caught.

      That's what we call point and match.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • gerald

      Bobinobody,

      The ones who weren't caught come through all walks of life. There is good reason to believe that a greater percentage of the priests who have done this have been caught because of the attention it has gotten. You do alot of handwaving and think you have made points. My guess is you might have a high school diploma. Certainly have never taken a logic or statistics class. Your arguments are so lame and lacking detail and suppport.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  18. Brian, Detroit, MI

    Burn them! Burn them all!!!

    March 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • GateKeeper

      Are you a protestant? Do revel togerald

      GateKeeper,

      much.

      @Gerald....Actually, no Gerald, I am a Catholic. A disgusted Catholic. One who is sick and tired of these criminals that are left off the hook, and covered up by our church!
      I love what Jesus Christ ordained, and his church, but we are not exactly been pillars of faith, nor without spot, wrinkle, or stain, either. There is a person who keeps saying we are the church that Jesus spoke of, and granted. But, who has brought the "whoa" to scandalize our church?
      Or, assuming you are Catholic (?), are you one who looks the other way? To say that its only a "small percentage" of priests that get caught in these shameful acts, is absurd.
      Do you condone this, too? Does making a comparision of how many others commit these atrocities, make the Catholic Church "ok" by comparison?
      Do you personally know anyone that was abused by a priest? Because I do. The person was suffering for most of his life, because of it. Even when it comes out, the pain of it never goes completely away!

      You need to get your head out of the sand. You seem like one that would look the other way, for fear of bringing scorn to the church. Just remember, its the ones who commits the crimes that are respnsible for this. However, we are just as guilty if we don't condemn this by doing something about it. Looking the other way, is not what I have in mind, either.

      To stand up for the church that God founded, is not to condone its sins that are being committed. If so, we better get those stones ready that will be tied around our necks.

      Here is a reminder:

      “Do you see this little one?” He asked. “Anybody who can become like a child, trusting and humble, that person will become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever takes care of a child and teaches him or her about me, has also welcomed Me but anyone who hurts child, or teach him or her not to trust in me will be in terrible trouble. It would be better for them if a huge stone were tied around their neck and someone threw them into the water!”

      March 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • gerald

      Gatekeeper – Where did I say I approve of any of this. Does it make it right that protestants do it? Nope, never said that either did Eye, but it's the old plank syndrome and finger pointing that so often happens. Do I have my head in the sand? What makes you think that. I fully acknowledge that these CRIMES have happened and condemn any priest who has tone them and not fully repented. But it is a FACT that society is rife with these types of sin. 38 million cases of child abuse have occured in the time frame of the priest scandal.How many by priests? 10,000 accusations of which as far as I know there have been about 6000 convictions. You don't seem to have any stats, just assumptions and venom toward me. The CC IS CHRIST's Church but your expectations seem to be that it should be sin free. No, the Church is a hospital for sinners more than a hotel for saints. We were told there would be wolves among the sheep as well. But the gates of hell shall not prevail.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Sally

      gerald – thanks for coming out.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:14 am |
  19. GateKeeper

    The article says:
    CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said the charges against the former church official appeared to be unprecedented and could have national implications.

    "This is apparently the first time that a Catholic leader has been charged criminally for the cover-up as opposed to the abuse itself," he said. "It sends a shot across the bow for bishops and other diocesan officials in other parts of the country, who have to wonder now if they've got criminal exposure, too."

    I sure hope so! I feel so sorry for all the little children that were victims of these sick minds. Its about time they get persecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    As one Catholic poster here says...Whoooa to the one who brings scandal to the Catholic Church, without spot, stain or wrinkle.
    Well, looks like she found who that is. Look no futher within the walls of the Roamn Catholic Church. The truth will prevail!

    March 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • gerald

      GateKeeper,

      Are you a protestant? Do revel to much.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  20. Anglican

    May God have mercy on us. This is so sad, but I am happy this evil has been uncovered.

    March 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Tom

      I honestly don't think this sect of Christianity will survive much further. It appears to have imploded.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > May God have mercy on us. This is so sad, but I am happy this evil has been uncovered.

      Yes, it has been uncovered despite the best efforts of the church. The proof of this? The fact that 21 are suspended all at the same time. You'd figure that they'd be spread out a bit. Isn't that interesting?

      March 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • colowww

      The evil has been going on for generations. The church lies to poor people around the globe, telling them they will go to hell (mortal sin) if they use birth control. This traps many in a life long cycle of poverty and suffering. This is worse than child abuse. When they deny people access to birth control they are abusing the whole family, community and planet.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • gerald

      Tom,

      Imploded? Really? Shows how little you know. There are nearly 1 billion Catholics. I go to Church on Sunday and see about as many people as I did 10 years ago. The fact is that we as Catholics realize that we are all sinners. The Church is a hospital for sinners more than a hotel for saints. No it is not imploding and there have been scandals in the Church before. There were reforms then just as reforms are being put in to place now. There were only 6 NEW accusations in 2009 for instance of abuse in the US. No, Jesus said "the gates of hell shall not prevail". He also said their would be wolves among the sheep and so we know these things will happen but Catholicism will not go away.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Magic

      gerald,

      "Jesus said "the gates of hell shall not prevail". He also said their would be wolves among the sheep..."

      No, Matthew (or someone writing under that name) said those things, attributing them to Jesus. There is no evidence that Jesus (whoever he was) said them.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:54 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.