Bankruptcy; both cash and morals

On October 18, 2009, the Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy because of sexual abuse claims.  It was a way that the powers-that-be could avoid the rigors, (and perversities), of many trials.  Fast forward to now. How has this effected the priests of today? (I am aware that some people will not give a hoot.)

We have medical insurance, very good medical insurance.  It is a different insurance plan than all of the lay people who work for the diocese have. Their plan is good but not as good as the clergy plan.  Except the clergy plan will not exist soon because we will all have the same, not quite as good as the clergy plan, plan in order to save the diocese money.  Okay, I see how that can be considered a good thing but that is not the point.  And I don’t think I’m being petty, I hope I’m not, although I’m annoyed I’m just using this as an illustration.

The bankruptcy declared in 2009 is effecting priests in 2019.  In the back of my mind I knew the bankruptcy would effect all of us but the reality of it all is a kick in the teeth.   Every year each parish is assessed a “goal” for the annual catholic appeal. By goal I mean that if parishioners don’t  meet the seemingly arbitrary goal, set by the muckety-mucks in charge, with pledges of their own then the parish will be billed for the shortfall.  And that money will come from the Sunday collection.  Either way the people get fleeced.  Where does that collected money really go, and how much is it?

There is also a money grab for the support of retired priests. Since we do not have a retirement home for priests, (we are on our own…I plan to live in a box under an overpass), in this diocese we do get a pension.  So is that where this money goes? How much is collected every year diocesan wide?    How much is distributed, and to what?

I know that the diocese is trying to build up their reserve that dissipated with bankruptcy an all of sexual abuse claim settlements. The irony, at least to me, is that if the sexual abuse had been handled in a godly and timely manner there never would have been a need to declare bankruptcy.

There are people, like me, who didn’t come forward for many years out of fear and shame. There are also people who told their families and they were not believed. There were people who told their families, were believed and then their families confronted the bishop. That is when it should have been handled and not by a priest transfer and/or a signed confidentiality agreement.

Secracy, cover-up, a stated desire not to cause scandal…lies by both omission and comission. Recalling my childhood catechism lessons I do recall who the father of lies really is.  Has he infiltrated the Church?  It sure looks that way. But also from my childhood catechism lessons I know he will not prevail.



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More of the same with Church Sexual abuse

Nothing has changed. The pope has changed nothing with his Motu Proprio. Bishops are charged with being in charge of sexual abuse in their own dioceses. That worked out so well in the past…ask Mr. Theodore McCarrick.

Priorities are askew. Dogs, cats, family members are not aloud to live in rectories…at least in my diocese…technically lovers, (men or woman), are not aloud to live in the rectory either but that seems to be consistently overlooked. (If your lover is your dog or cat, that’s a whole other blog.)

Where do we as a Church go from here? (To hell in a hand basket?) This issue, sexual abuse, isn’t new in the Church.  That doesn’t make it okay. It does make it even sadder for those of us in the Church. What does one say to angry parishioners?  I let them know that I am angry too. I also let them know that we should not be part of the Church because of sinful men but because of a sinless God who we receive body, blood, soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.   Sometimes that seems to be all we have. Luckily that is enough.

So we plow forward.  What choice do we have? God does not change. We need to be in this for God and God alone.


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No More Words; the Church and abuse

I was sent a meme that sums up what it is the Catholic laity would like as well as a majority of clergy.  It says, “we’re not accepting verbal apologies this year, only changed behavior” I for one am tired of apologie after apologie and no change of action from the men who run the Church both universally and on the diocesan level.  

There was a song when I was young sung by the group Berlin titled, “No More Words”, a  song written by John Buckner Crawford.  Some of the lyrics apply. “Remember when the words were new/ they carried a meaning a feeling so new./…No more words (and no more promises)  That is all we are getting from the Church’s talking heads. ENOUGH! We need changed behavior because words and promises have been proven meaningless.

A few resignations and a slew of laicization’s do not help people who were sexually abused by priests or in anyway help the laity who have been thrust into this filth and oftentimes forced to choose sides.

If I knew the answer to this conundrum I certainly would share it.  Throwing money at victims does not work. That action neglects the laity in the pews.  Laicizing clerics does not help the laity or the abused. Theodore Cardinal McCarrick is now Mr. McCarrick…big deal.  And now because this filth has gone on for so long both the laity, who are victims of this filth, and the actual people who have been molested have not been served well by the Church.

We have a pontiff who is big on the mercy of God and on surprises of/by the Holy Spirit, so surprise us and like the meme says, “we’re not accepting verbal apologies this year, only changed behavior” 

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In the Church forgiveness doesn’t mean that there are no consequences

Okay, I know I’ve written about this before but with all that’s going on in the Church I really feel the need to say this again…which part of celibacy don’t these priests get? I am aware of what the Church teaches about sexual relations outside of a Catholic marriage. Are they aware of the teaching? The gall of these priests to act on their sexual desires when they too know the teaching is beyond my understanding. No sexual genital relations with another person means no sexual genital relations period.  It is not easy but it is not impossible.  A sexual relationship with another man or with a woman is a sacrifice a cleric makes at their deaconate ordination.

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, is a book that never should have been written because clerics should NOT be having sex. That it is a subject that warrants a book is a scandal.  Again I have to ask; which part of celibacy don’t these priests get?  Human weakness is one thing and it can be forgiven both by God and an by an imperfect institution. But living a double life, having a lover or lovers, flies in the face of what these clerics claim to believe.  Of course that can be forgiven by God if the behavior is repented of, it can even be forgiven by an imperfect institution but forgiveness doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for the sinful behavior that is admitted to or proven. My head spins.

Children, mostly boys, mostly 17 or under but post puberty, are the victims of these priests with no self-control. We also hear of the grooming of these same victims, so the priest is guilty of premeditated sexual abuse.  What kind of evil is involved when a priest chooses someone and then takes the time to ‘groom’ them knowing it is supposed to lead to some kind of sexual encounter with the chosen child? Unbelievable!

The answer is easy…prayer, supernatural faith, following and teachings and Church Doctrine of the faith.  These help mere mortals, sinful men, to keep evil at bay.  Less we forget we are all sinful.

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After the sex summit


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Is Mr. McCarrick’s case a signal of the things that need to come?

I don’t know if this will make any sense because there are so many things racing around in my head.  Looking at McCarrick being de-frocked two things are in my mind, first is that he is the sacrificial lamb so that the bishops and the Vatican can point and say, ‘Look we did something.”  My cynicism is showing.  The other part of me, the delusional part, prays that this really was a first step in the Church’s attempt to do the right thing.

Tomorrow begins the Vatican Sex Summit. Who knows how that will turn out? We will see if the McCarrick thing was real and true or just a show…an 88 year old man who is the very visible sacrificial lamb.

God help us.

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Rev. Steve Marinucci, a rotten apple while at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Did it continue?

This week a friend of mine who happened to be in the seminary when I was in the seminary for a second time sent me a link to a story about one of the priests who was on the formation board at that time.  Steve Mari,nucci, age 71, is now off the job in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has denied the accusation of molestation. Since a priest can retire at the age of 70 I am assuming he is retired and just helping out at a parish.  This priest was involved in causing considerable havoc in the lives of many seminarians, mine included. He was deceitful. He was incompetent. He was petty. He was just an all around jerk to have to deal with.

My reply to the e-mail I received was; He is innocent until proven guilty.  That said he was in a position to judge those men seeking ordination…WOW!  My next thought was that if he is truly innocent but acted in the same ways in a parish that he acted at the seminary then he pissed-off a lot of people.

I did have one recurring fantasy about this priest, one that I am not proud of, it consisted of a policeman coming to me telling me that he had been murdered. My response, (less than Christian), was, ‘Good!’ There  would be a myriad of suspects because of the things he was guilty of while at the seminary…all the people he was responsible for hurting, for all of the vocations his behavior harmed.

Is it beyond the realm of possibility that he is guilty of molestation? No, it is not.  But what he is definitely guilty of was being an awful priest and an awful example for the men at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary back in the 90’s..

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