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It never fails to amaze me that the some of the nastiest comments that come into this blog are from self-proclaimed good Catholics.  A case in point, in the last week I have had two comments come in from “Ted Conley” (NDHS East Stroudsburg class of 83?).  The first comment I will assume is for me, the second was directed at a person who has commented on posts in the blog before.  I don’t always agree with that individual’s comments but I have put many of them up on this blog.  The text of this “Good Catholic’s” comments go like this:

Yup, “The Church is the Real Victim!” is so unfortunately true. This bottom-dwelling scum drags down the greatness of God and Jesus. Makes me nuts on a regular basis. Always hoping there is a special place in hell preheated and waiting for these soul-stealing a-holes.

and…

{name deleted}, do you sift the web for chances to bash Catholicism? Most all Catholics I’ve ever met are wonderful caring people. Please peddle (sic) your tripe on the heathen websites where you’re surely appreciated.

 

You are a class act, Ted!  I am sure you sit in your pew piously on Sunday morning (or perhaps on Saturday evening because you like sleeping in on Sundays!)  It is your particular level of vitriol that sets you as one of the more stereotypical Catholics who are in denial about what is going on in your church.  Go ahead and drink the Kool-Aid, make excuses for the hierarchy of your church protecting pedophiles, using parishioners’ money to keep their dirty little secrets and vilify the victims of pedophile priests. 

What you seem to miss is that many people like me do not attack your faith or your fellow Catholics, we simply are amazed at the fact that, in spite of overwhelming evidence of wrong doing, you either put your head in the sand or go for character assassination.   The latter being the first sign of a weak argument.

The title of this post is from a hymn written by Peter Scholtes with additional words and music by Carolyn Arends.  The lyrics to the hymn are:  (Hey Ted, sing along!)

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

By our love, by our love

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

By our love, by our love

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

Love is patient, love is kind
Never boasts, not full of pride
Always hopes, always trusts
The evidence of Christ in us

This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full

 

It is ironic that every time I have heard this hymn it reminds me of the hypocrisy of many (not all) Catholics.  Ted is a prime example.  I am sure he is a pillar of his church.  But outside of the church he seems to be a little different based on the words and tone of his acidic comments. (He must be a lawyer!)   I can tell you are a Christian by your love, Ted.  You are a real sweetheart!  

I hope there is a special place in hell for preheated for heathens like me.  I am sure it will be a damn spot cooler than where Ted and his “lovable” Catholics will be heading.  Bring it Ted, be another mindless Catholic automaton! Perhaps it is the lack of “evidence of Christ” in people filled with hate, Ted for instance, that makes people like me cringe at hymns sung by hypocrites.  Is it any wonder that people are leaving the church in droves?

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A fast post this morning on an article that appears in the most current edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.

The article is about the organized coverup of sexual crimes committed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.    I will have more to say about this later.  You should read the article!

I found out about this latest review of the crisis of sexual crimes committed by Roman Catholic Clergy and the coverup of those crimes by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in a blog by Susan Matthews , Catholics4Change.

I have to get to work, more on this later.  You have a reading assignment!

 

 

The SNAP Conference is coming up this weekend in Northern Virginia.  Beginning Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, just south of Washington, D.C., SNAP members from all over the country and perhaps from around the world will come together to listen to speakers, mix and exchange stories and try to draw some comfort and strength from other victims of sexual crimes committed by clergy.

I attended the conference a few years ago when after I went public with my own story of abuse.  The weekend was eye-opening.  There were people in the room who had made great strides towards recovery while others were still on their personal journeys.

At the conference I sought out some of the leaders of SNAP and talked to them about really networking the membership, setting up a blog roll for the people blogging on the topic of sexual crimes committed by clergy and lay employees of religious organizations and finding a way to use social media to bring this group together.  There was lots of enthusiasm, but no action.

I withdrew my support for SNAP after I started seeing a pattern of odd behavior and  an effort by the National Director to stifle any kind of initiative to do new things or come up with a more coherent strategy to lobby for changes in the laws of states that have not extended statutes of limitation to allow for more time to protect the rights of children or vulnerable adults who have been the victims of crimes committed by clergy.

There are some people who have contended that SNAP is controlled by the church while others say it is an organization that funnels clients to attorneys who make a lot of money suing the church.  I think that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.   I also think that the current leadership is rehashing a strategy that is not working.  If you look at the schedule of events for the upcoming conference you do not see any sessions in the main room, or as breakouts, about how to actually network the community through social media or to encourage blogging or other modern methods of harnessing the power of the community.  You don’t see sessions on enabling survivors to work on local and state lawmakers to lobby for changes in existing laws.

You also do not see an open discussion of the organization’s budget, the decision-making process of National Leaders or the selection of board members out of the people who allegedly make up the membership of this organization.

You do see a lot of diverse groups talking about victimization and you will most likely hear a request for donations.  What we have is not activism, it is passive submission to an agenda set by a very few, with those few having a direct financial stake in the agenda.

I would attend a SNAP Conference where the state of the organization to include a detailed discussion of budget and financial issues is encouraged.  I would like to see an organization that would see the election of board members out of the membership in good standing.  I would like to see National Leaders held accountable for their methods, tools and strategies.  If they fail to meet goals agreed to by the membership, it should be the right of the members to demand a change in leadership.

There are many questions that don’t seem to be answered.  There are many who would like to ask questions without fear of retribution from the National Leaders and their more zealous disciples.

I find it ironic that many of the tactics that the Catholic Church has used to control and isolate victims are part of the SNAP leadership strategy to remain firmly in place, collecting a paycheck and controlling a dialogue that is not really theirs to control.

Have a dialogue with all Survivors, encourage a conversation and realize that there is value in differing opinions.  Take time to discuss the business of SNAP and establish procedures that will encourage confidence in those who donate to non-profit organizations that comply with established standards and best practices.  Make this organization a true network and you will see results.

Finally, stop wasting everyone’s time changing the church.  It is never going to happen.  This fight will not be won in the pulpit or the pews, it has to be fought and won in the state legislatures and the courtroom.  I have said it before and will continue to say it.  There will be no profound change in the way the Catholic Church deals with pedophile priests until the church, as an institution,  has to pay a price set by civil society that is so terrible that it has no choice but to change as an institution or perish.  SNAP can be on the leading edge of that change or remain a self licking ice cream cone that does little more than offer a paycheck to a select few who may not really know where to lead the organization.

We will see what happens in northern Virginia over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I do not hold out hope for any new direction!

I am getting tired about writing about this guy. It seems our favorite connoisseur of kiddie porn wearing a Roman Collar is at it again, this time allegedly living in a basement of a house owned by a man named Art Noel in Dover, Pennsylvania. ( I guess that is better than living in a van down by the river.)

I do not understand how anyone can be gullible enough to give this man quarter? How does he continue to act as a priest when he has been ordered to stop? How do people not see through this creep?

It seems that “Father” Tetherow is professing that he is innocent of the charges related to child pornography, despite his guilty plea. Yes, he pled guilty to using a computer in the rectory of St. Anne’s Parish in the Diocese of Scranton for downloading child porn. But the “good father” is saying he pled out because he was set up by the diocese, or the police, or the boogie man. He has also claimed that the other priest in the rectory is guilty of the crime and that he was only protecting the seal of confession for the other priest. So what we have here is either that he is lying to keep his little band of “faithful” paying his bills, buying into his ultra conservative and way out of the mainstream Catholicism or he is breaking the seal of confession by telling people he was protecting the other priest who confessed within the confines of the sacrament of penance. In summary he is either a liar (say it ain’t so) or he is violating his holy orders. Oh yeah, I forgot, he has been ordered to stop presenting himself as a priest and cease any ministry.

He seems just too important to tell the truth, maintain his silence and follow holy orders. He has snowed other schismatic organizations before. Just ask Chairman Dave in York about how this “priest” misrepresents himself in order to advance his personal ambition.

Once again, Tetherow is trying to open a school. And his “flock” seems to be going along. The reader of this blog that alerted me to the latest misadventure of the basement dwelling convicted priest has sought assistance from the Diocese of Scranton and local media to expose this potential predator. But no allies are to be had.

If you live in the Dover, Pennsylvania area, be aware of this wolf wearing a roman collar. Remember, Evil may come dressed to confuse you and to deceptively earn your trust. Do you really want this man to have access to your children?

The only thing that evil needs to prosper is for good people to do nothing. In Dover, nothing is being done. I wonder how this will all end? I wonder who will have to sacrifice the innocence of a child to this monster before the community realizes the true danger in the basement.

My prior posts on Tetherow include:
The friend of my enemy is my enemy…“Father” Gabriel Tetherow – “Ultimate Service Provider!”
Letters, we get letters…A Few Last Thoughts on the Chairman of Sts. Peter and Paul Mission’s Hateful Letters and Articles
AngelQueen.org
Father Gabriel, Former “Mr. Oregon”?
Another York Cult Member Writes In…
More information on Father Tetherow and his troubles at St Ann’s can be found at:

Scranton Times-Tribune article from February 12, 2005

Star-Ledger article from March 18,2005
Scranton Times-Tribune article from March 18, 2005

After a long day working on a project, I came home to find an email in my personal account announcing a press event on 1 March to discuss the Pennsylvania Child Victim Act Legislation that will be introduced in Harrisburg by State Representatives Louise Williams Bishop (isn’t that an ironic last name?) and Mike McGeehan.

While I am trying not to get my hopes up, if this legislation is successful and finds a way to become law, I and many others would be able to seek something we have been denied by the Catholic Church, the truth! (I bet the boys on Wyoming Avenue thought I was looking for a payday!) I want someone to actually tell me the truth, answer my questions and be up front and honest. Shocking, my demands have always been so unreasonable! (Do I need to tell you to adjust your computer sarcasm setting, again?)

Here is the text of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse press release:

FACSA ACTION ALERT

WHAT: Press Conference to discuss PA Child Victim Act Legislation
WHERE: The Harrisburg Capitol Building Rotunda, Harrisburg PA
WHEN: Tues. March 1, 2011 at !0 AM
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Any one interested in supporting legislation that will hold the criminals who commit child sex abuse accountable.

FURTHER DETAILS: State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop and Mike McGeehan, D-Phila., will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 1 at the state Capitol Rotunda to discuss legislation introduced (H.B. 832) and (H.B. 853 ).
The purpose of the news conference is to discuss Rep. Bishop’s legislation that would abolish the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse and to discuss Rep. McGeehan’s legislation to reopen a two year window to bring civil suit for victims of childhood abuse whose statute of limitations have expired.

Attending the news conference Tuesday will be Bishop, McGeehan, Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, SnDdeN – (NSA) National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Tammy Lerner (FACSA) The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, Sherry Sensenig, (PROP) Parents Reaching Out to Parents, Marita Green (VOTF-GP) Voice of the Faithful of Greater Philadelphia, Joy Wuenschel, SNAP-Philadelphia Survivor Network of Those Abused by Priests, Pam Erdely, (SNAP) Pittsburgh.

State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop D-Philadelphia Mike McGeehan D-Philadelphia

Our mailing address is:
The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse
740 Cornerstone Lane
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Our telephone:
(215) 870-0680

End Text for FACSA.

If you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I ask for your active support. Call your Representative and Senator in Harrisburg and demand that your legislature do the right thing to protect children and to afford the opportunity for justice to those who have been long denied that justice.

While I was off in California on an assignment for work, some dedicated people were working hard on seeing that legislation in the Virginia State Assembly to expand the statute of limitation for survivors to find justice. HB 1476 Sexual abuse; limitations period, was passed unanimously in the State Assembly and had only limited opposition in the Senate. The text of the bill can be read here.

An article in the Washington Examiner details the passage of the bill in the Virginia State Assembly in Richmond. The bill gives survivors 20 years to file a civil action. The only public opposition to the bill came from the Catholic Church (Go Figure?!)

My thanks go out to Becky Ianni of Northern Virginia. Becky is the SNAP leader for Virginia who worked tirelessly to line up speakers and help move this legislation through.

The bill is now on the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell to sign, amend or veto. McDonnell, who is a Catholic himself, has not indicated which way he will go on the legislation currently before him. Jeff Caruso, the executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, has not indicated what the Catholic Church plans to do in order to persuade the Governor to veto the legislation. The Catholic Church, currently one of the largest institutional protector of rapists who target children, is sure to continue working to preserve its corporate policy of fighting legislation that would help to protect children and vulnerable adults in order to maintain their own wealth and status.

Send a note to Governor McDonnell and urge him to sign this legislation to allow victims an opportunity to seek justice and reveal the truth about those who protect child molesters and rapists. Email the Governor and tell him you want him to sign the legislation!

A few weeks ago I posted that I had been invited to attend a taping of an Oprah Winfrey Show with hundreds of other male survivors of sexual abuse as children.  The show was taped on the 20th of October and will be airing sometime in November.

I did not attend because of a very important training session I needed to attend to begin a 10 month program at work that will take me all over the world.  While I did not attend, Tim Fischer did.   Tim writes a blog that he calls “The Altered Boy”.  I would recommend that you read his blog post on his Oprah experience.

As for me, I am currently in New England concluding my training.  I am off to Lexington and Concord to walk the battlefields, with the Schoolhouse Rock song ringing in my ears.

I hope to have an update on my Blog Roll Project when I get back to Virginia over the weekend.

Not a lot of time to write today.  I am off on a mission for work and the hours are grueling.    I am only on long enough to send you the link for an article on Go Lackawanna, a website based in Northeast Pennsylvania for which I was interviewed.

Four.  That is the number of victims of Father Robert Gibson to which the Diocese of Scranton has stipulated. Four.

I don’t get it.  I cannot believe that the Diocese of Scranton continues to stubbornly stick to that number.  I have corresponded with survivors, family members of survivors, classmates of survivors, as well as friends.  I have spoken to officials at Notre Dame High School.  The number grows a little higher every time I get an indication that someone is looking for Gibson on Google.  Sometimes an email arrives a few days later, sometimes a comment appears.  The number I have is Fourteen.  Of course, I have names to go with the digits.  That is still a very low number.  Given the number of parishes, schools and camps he had access to and the number of years in his predatory prime, this man probably had victims that numbered in the hundreds.  He probably tried to groom or isolate more than that.  This man was prolific in his criminal sexual behavior against minors.  Against children!

Four?  I think not!  And the Diocese of Scranton knows it.  Someone in the diocese has access to his “secret” files.  Someone can go in and get a feel for how many complaints were submitted.  I bet the vast, overwhelming  majority of those were covered up.  Someone knows about the settlements and the confidentiality agreements that had everything to do with protecting the Bishop and the Diocese and nothing to do with protecting children, searching for victims and getting Gibson out of ministry and into the hands of the criminal justice system.  I know of one, the survivor told me himself.

Someone in the Diocese of Scranton has the names of other victims.  The Victim’s Assistance Coordinator gave me a name of another victim along with his contact information. (Not the one I alluded to in the previous paragraph.)

I have responded to emails, phone calls and blog comments from classmates of mine, from classmates of my siblings, from siblings of other potential survivors and from parents of Gibson’s other targets.

The magic number is not FOUR.  The Bishop of Scranton needs to come clean, now.  Not only on Robert Gibson, but on at least TWENTY-FIVE identified Catholic Priests and lay officials of the diocese that have credible allegations of criminal sexual assault on boys, girls and vulnerable adults.  Former Bishops have covered up and moved these monsters around the diocese allowing them access to fresh pools of potential victims.  The Bishops, only concerned with keeping allegations quiet and victims isolated, showed a reckless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of children in the diocese by moving Gibson and other monsters just like him from parish to parish.  And when the heat was too much, they moved Gibson to Missouri.  They put him in a Catholic “safe house”.  He is still there in Missouri, outside of the jurisdiction that could have tried him for the rapes and sexual assaults he committed over his career.

Just as a recap from a post I did in October 2008, Robert Gibson’s history of assignments:

1959-65 Scranton, PA St. Paul, 1510 Penn Ave. Priests: John J. Vaughan(Vicar Forane, Dean), Joseph F. Ryan, Joseph R. Doggett(’59), Francis A. Conlan(’60-62), Robert J. Gibson

School: 7 Sisters of the I.H.M. 1 lay teacher 484 pupils High school: 10 Sisters of the I.H.M. 280 pupils
Mission: St. Clare’s School: Sisters of the I.H.M. 7 Lay teacher 1 2215 Washington Ave. 401 pupils.
1966-67 directory not available (

1968-1970 Stroudsburg, PA St. Matthew’s, 200 Brodhead Ave. Priests: Thomas J. Cawley,Robert J. Gibson, John J. Bendik

St Matthews School: 7 Sisters I.H.M. 2 lay teachers 311 pupils Missions: St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg; St. John’s, Bushkill; St. Mark’s, Delaware Water Gap

1971-1974 Stroudsburg, PA St. Luke’s, 906 Main St. Priests: Francis G. Barrett, Robert J. Gibson In residence: John J. Bendik Mission: St. Mark’s, Delaware Water Gap.

St Matthews School, East Stroudsburg, Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School.

1975-82 Brodheadsville, PA Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Priest: Robert J. Gibson
Mission: Jonas, Holy Family.

School:  Still associated with St. Matthew’s and Notre Dame

1983 Conyngham, PA St. John Bosco Priest: Robert J. Gibson

1984-95 Canadensis, PA St. Bernadette Church Priest: Robert J. Gibson
Mission: Promised Land, Our Lady of Fatima

1996 -1997 Kingston, PA St. Ignatius, 339 N. Maple Ave. Priests: F. Allan Conlan, Glenn E. McGreary, Joseph B. Wilson In res., Robert J. Gibson Chapel—St. Ann’s

1998-2008 Unassigned or leave of absence.  In the case of Fr. Gibson, he was sequestered in the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri and now is reported to be in a hospital in the Ditmer area.  The report is from the Diocese.  I do not put much stock in the word of the Diocesan spokespeople, they seem to be accomplished liars.

The latest contact was from a family member of a probable victim of Gibson.  He came after me on the timeline.  I can’t help but feel a little responsible. I didn’t stop him.  I didn’t kill him when I had the opportunity. I didn’t turn him in, he had me completely terrorized.  I know intellectually that it was not my fault.  But the voice in my head hasn’t processed that yet.

Postscript: My middle son is one of the most brilliant minds I have ever known (from his mom’s end of the gene pool).  He was counting on his hands as my oldest son’s “love interest” was quizing him on the classic movies he should be familiar with as a modern, well healed male in the 21st century.  He was counting off the movies he had seen from her extensive list in binary (his world seems to spin on a slightly different axis, and that makes him a force of nature).

When he got to 4 I started laughing.  If you are as smart as he, you know what finger “4” is on when counting in Binary.  That knowledge in hand, so to speak, I would like to offer something to the Diocese of Sranton.  I got your “four” right here.

I am sorting through a lot of comments, a lot of emails and a lot of phone calls?  (How did my number get so widely distributed?)

Bottom line.  I am not wandering off the reservation from the topic at hand.  If you want to weave the birth control and abortion discussions into this conversations, I will not be going there and the comments will not be here.   

I am doing this to stay on topic. 

If you have a blog on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church and it does not appear in my left rail navigation (<<<<<  look over there and then scroll down just a bit).  Send me a link and I will put it up.

Copyright

This site is copyrighted by my statement.
Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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