Fireside Chat: Part 1
With Susan Archibald, Jason Berry, David Clohessy, Tom Doyle, and Richard Sipe
Moderator: Paul Baier, Survivors First, Inc.
Sponsored by
January 25, 2004

Note: This is a transcript of a Fireside Chat that was held on January 25, 2004 at the Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley MA to benefit, The Linkup, and SNAP. This transcript was produced by Cambridge Transcriptions Inc., and has been minimally edited to remove ums, uhs, you knows, and the like. No substantive additions or deletions have been made to the transcript. We have, however, suppressed the last names of audience members who spoke during the question period, because we did not have their permission to identify them in this posted document.

The staff at is grateful to the panelists for their generous participation in this event. The participants are not affiliated with or Survivors First in any way, and their opinions are their own. We honor them for their dedication to the survivor cause.

This event was the first in a series of discussions that we will sponsor on the crisis. Subsequent events will explore important differences of opinion on the causes of the crisis and its possible resolution. One fundamental difference is evident in this transcript. Some concerned Catholics seek bishop accountability within the church, and other activists look to litigation and legislation to make the church more accountable. Another difference among concerned Catholics was less evident in this discussion. Some analysts and activists believe that changes in church governance and in the discipline of celibacy will be necessary to solve the crisis and prevent its recurrence. Other Catholics believe a faithful and disciplined adherence to church teachings is needed. These latter analysts often fault the seminary system and methods of priestly formation, and believe that homosexuality among priests must be included in the conversation. These concerns will be explored in upcoming discussions. takes no position regarding the causes of the crisis and the various remedies, but we are committed to documenting the range of debate, in our timeline and elsewhere on the site. —Terence McKiernan, Co-Director

PAUL BAIER: Great, well welcome, everyone. We will go ahead and get started here in 30 seconds. If you haven’t sat down, please do so. We appreciate people coming from great distances here.

First and foremost, my name’s Paul Baier, welcome. We are taping this event and Belinda has been kind enough to sign the event. We do have a number of deaf survivors who are interested in this event and will be able to participate in the discussion from the videotape, and Belinda’s hard work.

Just a couple of announcements before we get started: restrooms are where? Actually, I don’t know. Who knows where the restrooms are? Restrooms are in the back, okay. Out the door to the right. At a high level the schedule is we’ll have about 30 minutes, a number of open-ended questions for the panelists, and then we will open it up for about an hour discussion on Q&A with the audience. We are hoping to keep this very informal. We have two mics: you can walk down and say your questions and we’ll talk more about that as we get closer.

Today’s event, actually what’s really important is, it is a fireside event, and, here’s the picture of my fireplace. [laughter] So, hopefully our discussion and our friendship will warm it up more than this picture is and I appreciate everyone who’s braved the cold to get here. We have folks from many places who have come. I want to acknowledge them and thank them. I know there’s a group from Minnesota. [applause] Yep. There is a group from Minneapolis, or Minneapolis, Minnesota, there’s a group from Kentucky. [applause] Thank you. There’s a group from Texas. [applause] We have folks from California. [applause] Baltimore, Maryland [applause] Chicago, Illinois, [applause] South Carolina, [applause] New Hampshire, [applause] Connecticut, [applause] Maine, [applause] New York, [applause] New Jersey. [applause] What else am I missing? [cross talk] Massachusetts. [laughter] and Framingham is not another State, but, [laughs]. Yep. [cross talk] New Orleans, Louisiana, and Florida. Thank you very much. [cross talk] Illinois, we said Chicago, Illinois. Rhode Island, thank you, Rhode Island. [applause]

Today’s event is sponsored by; it’s an outgrowth of Survivors First. A little background in there, just if I may, 30 seconds. is a web site and group of people The web site, if you haven’t seen it, is a repository of all the facts and commentary we can find on this crisis. Already today, we’ve got the largest collection of documents in the world with over 14,000 documents. It’s the only place on the Internet you can find all four grand jury reports, translation of the Pope’s 2001 letter, which was in Latin, and commentary both from conservatives and liberals on the event. We hope to also continue, we have all 9,000 documents that were released in the New Hampshire Attorney General report. We are in the process of this year putting up the 40- to 50,000 documents, which came publicly in the Boston civil courts. And, we’ve been working with lawyers and activists around the country to put up every single document that’s been released in a court case, online. We are also in the process of building the service records for every priest who’s abused a child. One of the really important things that needs to be done is to go back to every parish that John Geoghan served in and make sure that victims there, or family members who probably go to church, victims probably don’t go to church, but that they know that there’s help out there from the VRC (Victims’ Rights Committee), from groups like SNAP and the Linkup.

We are also going to continue to collect articles from around the country. We have already seen some fabulous reports which tend to go in newspaper web sites and then after a while the web sites are taken down and all that archive work is going, too. We’ve seen that [happen with] a couple web sites, in Connecticut newspapers. All that stuff we are also going to be putting online. So, it’s a huge archival effort that we hope to continue to build up to a place that is very fact-based. That is not really dealing with necessarily with what the solution of the crisis is, but let’s at least understand where the crisis is today and what the facts are.

Speaking of facts, we got a few announcements before we get started; speaking of facts, well, let’s do the announcements first. A few announcements: we have a couple of authors here, who have recent books. Ah, David France, is David here? David France is over there. He has [applause] a brand new book. Welcome. He has a brand new book, which was reviewed in the New York Times today called Our Fathers. Welcome David, and they can buy the book on Amazon and in major bookstores.

DAVID FRANCE: SNAP is selling it in the lobby.

PAUL BAIER: Oh great, and SNAP is selling in the lobby. Also, one of our panelists, Jason Berry, has a upcoming book called Vows of Silence, which should be out, first, March 2nd, Jason?

JASON BERRY: Since you asked. The books will be shipping from the bookstores the first week of February. The pub date is March 3rd, but you can probably order it through Amazon or your local bookstore during February.

PAUL BAIER: Great, great, so just delighted that we’ve got the great recent authors; other authors here as well, but those two upcoming books. A few other things just, the other reason today is this is fundraising event, so we appreciate you paying the money. Ten percent of everything we raise as an organization goes to SNAP and the Linkup. We believe it’s critical as Catholics and non-victims that we continue the support. One of the main sources of helping survivors is through the victims’ support groups and SNAP and the Linkup, so 10% of what we raise will equally go to SNAP and the Linkup. The money that we raise here will continue to allow us to go from the 15,000 or so documents we have right now, up to what we think is about 2 to 300,000, put a search engine on there. Get some of those depositions pulled out of the courts, and New Mexico and other places, a lot of copy costs and stuff like that. So, we really appreciate any support you can have around that.

Before we kick off the questions I think, again, just in terms of facts. Just a quick listing of some facts about the year 2003, which we just finished up. In that year, we saw three scavenging grand jury reports come out against the church. There was the New Hampshire one, obviously the Boston one, and the Long Island one. Since the Globe article broke, the major story re-broke here, June or January of 2002, 49 priests have been criminally convicted of felonies in this country. [Applause] Thirty-nine of those priests were convicted last year alone. In 2003, we also saw over 120 million dollars of settlements paid out in Boston and in Louisville alone, and it’s probably close to 150 when you add up some of the smaller Dioceses. In California we saw 800 new civil cases get filed in the calendar last year as part of the one-year retroactive window they get out there. I think one of the key questions we want to talk through today, and we’ll get advice from our panelists, is you know, is this crisis over or not? And I think one of the things we are going to continue to do is listen to the facts, and observe what’s happening in this country, because it’s very clear from my standpoint that this is far from over. And the facts speak for themselves.

We’ve got a fantastic panel today. Let me just briefly introduce everyone. I won’t go in long biographies, but this is, I believe, one of the first times we’ve had this amount of depth and experience together in one place and I need to stop talking so we can start listening to these panelists. Richard Sipe, is from San Diego, he has written a number of books. Father Tom Doyle, a huge advocate for survivors for years. Sue Archibald is the president of the Linkup, , one of the support groups. Jason Berry wrote one of the first books on the topic way back when it broke in Louisiana. And David Clohessy, President of SNAP. [applause] Thank you.

So let’s first -- and I’d like to not keep going up and down the panel, but I’d like to at least have one question rolled down the panel initially, and we’ll start with Richard and go down to David --is Richard, give us an assessment for you know, where is the crisis right now, and is it over, is it just beginning, is it apathy in the media? And, where do you see it going? Hopefully we can kind of build on the answers as we get down to David here.

RICHARD SIPE: I will gladly start. I am going to answer two questions that I’ll ask myself around this. First of all, why would I leave 70° weather [laughter] in California and travel to Boston in the kind of weather you’re having? [applause] I love Boston but there was something that compelled me, and Paul, and invited me. And, I could not refuse that because I knew who would be also around besides Boston. I love your Boston. But, we have here, when people ask me, why did you come to Boston? I came to meet people. Who’d I come to meet? There’s Jason Berry, whose articles were the first articles that broke what’s happened in the survivors. What’s happened in the abuse problem in the United States. There’s Tom Doyle who wrote a critical document along with Michael Peterson, and Ray Mouton [that put all the bishops in this country on alert of what they were neglecting. There’s David Clohessy and well, [cross talk] and Barbara Blaine, who I met years ago in the late ‘80s. They were just people alone. People with a message, and they led the survivors. They pushed and they pleaded. There’s Sue Archibald who’s taken up the cudgel, of then Jean Miller, who founded VOCAL and later the Linkup. To me these are significant people.

Well then Boston becomes doubly significant, because all of the efforts of all of us really- I won’t say that they meant nothing because they didn’t, they are there, and they are important, but the Boston Globe, well first of all, the Phoenix, took this up with my good friend Kristin Lombardi, and then the Boston Globe. And, they made this the story of the year, but who was behind making that story of the year? It was survivors. It was victims who were willing to speak up and to face the great difficulties and all the things. I don’t have to tell survivors what you go through and what the fight that you’ve had, and the disappointments, and the anger, and all the pain and agony. I come to pay tribute to all of you. I pay [applause] tribute; I pay tribute to those groups, Survivors First, Voice of the Faithful, and

There are two words that have come out and they are accountability and transparency. And I’m not sure whether the bishops coined those first or somebody in your troops did. Those are our guidelines. Those are our guidelines in getting documents. I’ve been deeply involved with Tom in California, in fighting not only for the victims of these cases, but, we’ve been fighting for the documents. We have been fighting in negotiations and mediations that are very, very difficult. And, what we want is the documents because we want the facts. Because there is no transparency and there is no accountability without those facts. And, those facts are being buried in Cleveland, in Cincinnati, in Chicago, in Los Angeles, and to some degree, I understand, even here in Boston. We have a right as citizens, and we have a right as members of the Christian and Catholic community to those facts.

Do I think the problem is over? No, I don’t think the problem is over. I think the problem is just beginning, because I’ve said this years ago, that the problem of sexual abuse by clergy of minors is the tip of the iceberg. It is a symbol of a systemic problem that invites secrecy. Invites duplicity. Invites conspiracy. Invites deceit and immorality. And that will unfold. I am convinced that that will unfold little by little, because you have asked the question and answered it. Are there some Catholic priests dedicated to celibacy who are not celibate and who are not celibate in a special way? The answer has been, with proof and with facts, yes. And, although we have to fight through the courts and we have to fight case-by-case proving over and over, and over again, look at the neglect. Look at the deceit. Look at the conspiracy. Look at the conspiracy to conceal and deceive. But, we will do that.

But the question has been asked. Do clergy sometimes break celibacy and are they sexually active when they are advertised to be sexually safe? Once you ask that question, you can’t settle it by saying, “Oh, we have this number of priests and we’ve eliminated them, and yes, they violated children.” Well, what about the priests who violate woman, adult woman? And, they are multiple, and adult woman are very, very hard pressed to come forth with their cases because you know why? It’s your fault. Even more so than when children come forward. What about with adult men? What about bishops who have mistresses? What about cardinals who have mistresses? I am talking from fact. I am not talking speculation. No, why can’t the papers write about this yet? Well, it’s just like the papers couldn’t write about this issue before they got documents.

The self-study that is coming out on February 27th is not an audit. It is as if the IRS comes to you and says, “Look, do an audit of your own taxes, will you, and let me know what it is.” [laughter] The real audits are in the reports of the grand juries. And Tom and I both have sat in on grand juries. We’ve been consultants to grand juries. I was a consultant to the Massachusetts, to Reilly's grand jury. This is where the facts are. You know. Now, I am very convinced of the work that you are doing. I am very convinced of the work that, the accountability that is holding. Paul neglected to tell you that I have a new book out –

PAUL BAIER: Oh, sorry. [laughter] And it’s a good one. I was waiting for the end, Richard.

RICHARD SIPE: I didn’t have a copy of that, Carolyn brought a copy along for me to sign, which I did dearly sign because she is one of my heroes in the movement. [Applause] But Jason Berry’s book from 1993 is out. I want you to know that my first book came out in 1990. [Laughter] I will give him credit for his journalist precedents. But he has a new edition of that out that is on sale here, and his new book is tremendously important and valuable. Just yesterday, or day before, at the Harvard bookstore, I bought David France’s book and I perused it; I haven’t read it yet. And Lee Podles is here from Minnesota, and he’s writing a book [cross talk]-- from Baltimore, excuse me, and that will be out in the fall. My book is available on and it’s really cheap. It’s a lot cheaper than France’s. [laughter] But, [cross talk] I do not think the crisis is over.

I just want to add one more thing. I have donated 60 books to Paul or Anne or somebody will have those available and the $20.00 that you spend for that book will all go there, there’s no other cost, for it will all go to [applause]

And, it ain’t over yet. Read my book and you’ll know that. [cross talk] It’s called Celibacy in Crisis. Not a very attractive title, but you know, it does affect it all.

PAUL BAIER: Yeah, and a thousand pardons, Richard, for forgetting that. Thank you. Tom.

TOM DOYLE: Good afternoon, my name is Tom and I am a recovering Catholic. [laughter] [applause] I’m here for a couple of reasons. One is I needed a spiritual transfusion to be with the people that I love the most and I am getting it, and I continue to get it this afternoon. When I was lost in the woods a couple of years ago looking for the church that I thought I’d been connected with, I found it in Boston in July of 2002. [applause] I say that not to blow smoke at you but to admit self-disclosure. I get more out of this than I give. It gives me the spiritual life that I need because mine, I think, was taken away along with that of the survivors, many, many years ago.

Dick told you a little bit about what he’s been doing over the past couple of years, and I suspect, I’d like to do the same if that is okay -- to let you know that we have not been asleep at the switch. I haven’t got any books coming out yet. I have written a couple of articles. One, I wrote an article for Fordham Law Journal, and if you’ve never written an article for a law journal, don’t. They [laughter] drive you crazy. I started with 130 footnotes and they added another 300 to come out to 438. Anyway, most of what I’ve done has been in two areas. I was living in Germany, as many of you may know, until this past fall when I transferred to North Carolina. I’m still in the Air Force; I’m at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. But much of what I do is involved in the court processes around not only the United States, but around the world. I have been involved in situations in Ireland, England, Scotland, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia -- where the problem obviously, contrary to the deluded thinking of some of the people in the Vatican, is not our fault. It’s not the materialist, you know, sex-obsessed Americans who are causing this to happen, or the press who are sensationalizing it. It is all over the world, and slowly but surely, the wonderful thing that I see happening that you all started here, is that chronologically adult Catholics are becoming adult in their religion. They’re maturing, coming out of the infancy [applause] coming out of the infancy where we have been held, for not only decades but centuries by the power-addicted hierarchs, moving out of that.

I still remember many years ago when I was living in California with my late father doing my doctoral research in Berkeley and he and I went out to lunch one day, and I’d gone to church with him. And, we were at lunch, ah, brunch, in a nice restaurant where he lived, near San Francisco, and he said to me, “ You’re a priest, tell me something.” He was, unlike myself, rather straightforward and blunt sometimes. [laughter] He said, “Look I got a doctorate, I’m a big shot executive, he said, “Why is it when I go to church these dodos talk to me like I’m four years old?” [laughter] [applause] Exact quote. And, that’s, you know there’s more depth to that question, and it’s something that I’ve learned so much from. And I think that’s what I see wonderful happening. Is there hope? Yeah, there is hope because you all are here, and you all are grownup. Not in just your regular life, but in the other life, your spiritual life.

The other thing I’ve been involved in is a lot of court cases as an expert witness and consultant. The hot-areas right now are in California, I think, in Kentucky, in the southwest, and in Canada. The Canadians have had a problem as bad as or worse, per capita than the United States, but they are just coming out of the stupor that they’ve been in as well up there. And, similarly in some of the other countries. Ireland, I think is a wonderful case-in-point. I was over there while I was in Germany about three or four times, and all of this, you know, the sexual abuse stuff, has been a catalyst that’s exposing something that’s far deeper. And that’s the incredible imbalance and pathology in this thing we call Church, where a miniscule bunch of people are trying to control the thing and use it to feed their own addiction to power. And, all of sudden, you know, when we are redefining orthodoxy, and we are redefining assent, dissent, and that’s vital. Many of us have been told we are dissenters; we’re not orthodox; we are not loyal. We are. You are. And, we’re orthodox and loyal to the real core to what this is all about and that’s Jesus Christ. [applause] I learned this the hard way from my own difficult experience, as some of you know, when I came through a nightmare in my own life. When we talk about orthodoxy, the people that are yakking and screaming about orthodoxy, they don’t know what the hell they are talking about in plain English. It’s all about being loyal and orthodox to the teaching of Christ who reached out to the most unfortunate and marginalized and made them feel important, because they were. [applause] So I’ve been going to court, doing a little writing, some research. And, I spend a lot of time talking with victims and survivors one way, or the other, almost every day of the week. To me, that is the most important thing I can do. And it’s difficult at times, I won’t deny it. It’s trying, it’s frustrating, but it’s the most important thing I can do.

Now, Paul asked one question, where is it all going? Where are we at? I believe, I look at, I will say I totally agree with everything Dick said, and I would frame my own response in this way: I think the process that has started is part of a process in evolution, a life of the institutional Catholic Church, which is probably the largest, most influential, and important single social institution in the world. Now, but it’s messed up. I think what’s happened, and it’s started in our country with this sexual abuse business, and the cover-up, which is the major issue. The major issue is not the bunch of sick priests, few thousand throughout the world. That’s an issue. The real issue is the cover-up, the lying, the misuse, and abuse of power to the detriment of the victims. Sacrificing them for the power of the leadership. That is the problem and that’s started to be recognized.

So, I think where the process is now, all these reports that they are funding out of the bishops’ conference are simply keeping the issue on the table. Those are fancy PR ploys to try to regain the power that they will never get back. But, what it is doing also, it’s causing a refinement and maturation process to happen about how this is all dealt with. Historically these issues, this kind of a nightmare has happened before in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, several times throughout its history, starting from the third or fourth century. The difference today I think is this: first off ,the key players are the laity and they are not the laity who are sort of bumbling upon, that is trying to figure out how to do it. They’re educated, they’re sophisticated, they’re dedicated, and they are making a difference. Secondly, I think the maturation process is happening and it’s going to continue to happen because in our country and in the other common law countries, and it’s starting in the civil law countries in Europe, Spain, the Mediterranean countries, but especially in the common law countries, the civil secular legal process is finally realizing that there’s something drastically wrong with this huge institution. It’s hurting society. And, they’re cooperating and working with some rough spots, and some bounces, as you all know, they’re cooperating and working with the aggrieved, the hurting. The victims, their survivors, and their supporters, and their families. That’s a major, major breakthrough.

Finally, I think what we have seen happening is a gradual reduction and destruction of the denial that has been one of the biggest enemies. The denial about the fact that we are living in an era, and in a church, and in society that is afflicted by a deadly disease called clericalism. And that clericalism is a main part of why this disaster has happened. And the denial is being reduced. If every week one or two lay people wake up and smell the coffee, it’s successful. Because that is one or two more. And, if one or two priests have the courage to at least start to question with some of their buddies and break out of the fear in which they live, because of what the dictators can do to them, if one or two of them wake up, and start to question, that’s a breaking through of some of the denial levels. So, I think that’s successful. [applause]

We can listen to some of the hierarchs say well it’s, there’ve always been problems like this. There’ve always been priests and clerics who violated the celibacy. Fine, no more. Because they’ve always been and they’ve not recognized it, so we’re making them recognize it, spiritual rape, and pillage and that’s what it is. That’s what it is. It’s bad enough when your body gets killed, but when the soul goes with it, that’s really bad. And, we’re supposed to be all about giving life to souls, and we’re not doing it. So, you are making them, you’re holding their feet to the fire -- accountability, that’s where it’s at. That’s where the life is. Thank you. [applause]

PAUL BAIER: Thank you, Tom. Sue.

SUE ARCHIBALD: Thanks very much. As Tom mentioned that’s he’s a recovering Catholic, I’d have to come up with something for myself so I guess I could say that I’m on strike. [laughter] And, I’m not quite sure when the strike is going to end, but I do hope it ends someday.

Being here today is a real honor for me for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is to have the great support that’s coming out of the people in Boston. To show that this is an important issue and there’s a lot of caring and momentum behind that. But, I must also recognize the fact that I came into my position about 18-months ago, and I very much recognize that my coming in and working on these issues in a leadership position is much like re-enforcing the troops that have been battling in the trenches for year after year. And, I really feel as though it’s an honor to be coming in and helping with our organization and my own personal effort, to people like Tom and Richard, and Jason, and David, who really, we all owe a very deep debt of gratitude for the amount of personal sacrifice and the endurance of the struggle that they’ve carried on since the beginning. [applause]

You may not tell from my accent, but I am from Kentucky. In fact, I live in Peewee Valley, Kentucky. [laughter] There is such a place. Living near Louisville has been a very educational experience for me. As I’ve been there for over a year, I’ve discovered a city of about 200,000 Catholics and probably, you know, 350 or more cases of abuse that has occurred, you know, in the last 50 years or so. For a city of that size, it’s been amazing. Along with recognizing the vast numbers of abuse cases, it’s been very humbling to recognize the amount of harm that’s been done to the individuals who suffered the abuse. And as we’ve started to work forward with seeking changes and assessing policies, it’s become very apparent that there is a tremendous amount of damage out there that yet needs to be healed. In some ways, we are working on accountability. Bishop after bishop around this country has pledged their determination to reach out with compassion and healing to those who’ve been harmed. To this date, those have been words and not actions. One of the most apparent elements of this crisis is time after time we hear when there’s been a priest who’s been accused, that priest is sent off to a treatment center. Sent off to a place for recovery and renewal. Yet, for every survivor there is not such a place in the country. So, the Linkup group, which we are, headquartered in Kentucky, we’ve made it our pledge to actually establish such a facility: a national facility for survivors of clergy abuse, to tend to the wounds that are still so deep in the US. [applause] We are hoping that this can be a starting point of recovery and healing, and achieving peace and happiness in the lives of survivors. But we also hope that this can be a beginning for the church to start acting out upon the principles, which the Catholic faith is founded upon. It’s about time to return to the standards that the Catholic faith is suppose to represent.

Which leads me to the second, or actually, the question of the day, which is what is the status of the crisis? Where are we headed? And, I have to say that to me, crisis is the wrong word. Crisis indicates something that comes and goes, yeah, a short-term problem. When you hear the word crisis you always imagine the day that you’ll look back and say “Yeah, that was a year of crisis, that’s over,” and reflect upon that. What we see happening is more of an era. It’s an era of change. An era of awakening. An era where people are starting to say, “We deserve more.” Catholics are saying, “We deserve more.” When words like leadership, transparency, and accountability are not just words that apply to the society that we live in, but very much to the church that we belong to. It’s become important to say that our leaders, our religious leaders, should set the standards for society, not mark the lowest bar. [applause]

And, finally, I would say that there is a common thread with all of us here today and that is the fact that we care. It’s also been era where people not only say, “Well, that is important,” but they are willing to get up and do something about it. And, that’s what’s going to lead us forward, and that’s what’s going to bring us to eventual solutions. So, I thank you for caring, and I thank you very much for taking action and believing that together, the church will become once again the church of the people, and our religious leaders will be there to serve and not to be served. Thanks. [applause]

JASON BERRY: I’m rather humbled to be here ,I must say, and that doesn’t fit with my basic personality. [laughter] I would, I would assess the situation in the following fashion: the crisis that has indeed turned into an era began in the English-speaking countries that have a base in the common law, Ireland, Australia, North America, and certainly the United Kingdom, , Great Britain. It was out of the legal process in these countries that scores of attorneys were able to get the documents demonstrating the tremendous widespread systemic abuse that so many survivors went through People like David and Sue, and many of you here today.

The body of information that has built up over the last 15 years or so, I would say reached critical mass certainly in January of 2002, with the epic reporting of the Globe and the media chain reaction that ensued therefrom still ongoing. The seminaries in Ireland are barren. The number of seminarians in the Unites States has dropped almost 90% in the last generation. Certainly we know that the number of priests continue to decline. The bishops are beleaguered, battered by the media, caught between a restive laity that rightfully has questions for which no stream of coherent answers has yet forth come.

And, then there is Rome; I spent quite some time at the Vatican toward the end of 2002, doing research for the book that is coming out. And since everyone else is doing advertisements for themselves, I will only say briefly that Vows of Silence, subtitled The Abuse of Power and the Papacy Of John Paul II, which I wrote with my colleague, Jerry Renner[former Religion Editor and Correspondent at the Hartford Courant, tells the story of two men. It is in part the biography of Tom Doyle, and treats the American scandal from the origins in Louisiana that I first chronicled in the newspaper articles and later my first book, and carries it through the events of 2002. That story inter-cut with the saga of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado; I imagine many of you have not heard of him. He is the head of a religious order called The Legion of Christ, also called the The Legionairies of Christ. He has been accused by nine men, two Spaniards, and seven Mexicans, of having systematically abused them when they were seminarians in Spain and in Rome many years ago. The first document that went to Pope John Paul about Father Maciel goes back to the very beginning of his papacy. Pope John Paul II, God bless him, has yet to acknowledge that the allegations exist. And so, the book, in a sense, surrounds the system of justice within the Vatican. If you will, the narrative tells the story of one priest who has heroically stood to tell truth to power and a very different priest whose life, I think one might fairly say, is a mirror of the tremendous moral decay in the Vatican today.

I grew up in New Orleans in the 1950s when segregation was the law. I grew up in a very happy home. A Catholic home. I remember as a child riding the streetcars with my grandmother and the signs that said “Colored only beyond this point.” White people in the front, black people in the back. I went through Jesuit High School during the 1960s and there were two overarching messages that rather converged during that period of my life. I graduated in 1967. The first of course, was the Second Vatican Council. I had a very wonderful experience with the priests who taught me at that school; the nuns who taught me earlier. And the message that they stressed was that an institution nearly 2000 years old can change. The other formative experience of those years was the civil rights movement. I watched the society I lived in implode every night on television. I got out of Georgetown in 1971, having marched in demonstrations against the Vietnam War. And I went to Mississippi and worked for a black candidate for my first job. It was really my last job. Ah, [laughter] if only my father were alive to hear that, he’d chuckle. I worked for Charles Evers, when he ran for Governor of Mississippi, and I happened to meet a young monsignor who was the Vicar General of the Diocese -- he was the editor of the newspaper--Bernie Law.

And I have to tell you all this very brief story: we went out to dinner one night and we went to an Italian restaurant where he was known and which he wanted me to experience, and we got kicked out because my hair was too long. [laughter] And, so, he was very embarrassed about all of this, you know, this Harvard graduate, and I must say we got along well, you know. And so we went to another restaurant, and then we went up after the dinner, we went out and had a drink with Bishop Brunini, of the Jackson diocese. He also was a graduate of Georgetown, and his cabin was on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Those of you who remember James Meredith trying to get into the University of Mississippi and Ross Barnett the Governor is standing there saying, “Which of you is James Meredith?” There is now this huge reservoir named for him. Anyway, so here we are ,three sons of the Church, a generation apart, sitting there, you know, having a drink late at night. Very cordial. And, as we are driving back, , Law and I, he in the big car that the bishop had – the bishop of course was ,you know, back at his home -- and so we pulled into the parking lot where my little beat-up Volkswagen was and I thanked him. And he turned around and said “Did you like the bishop?” And I said, “Yes I did.” And then he said, “Did you think the bishop was cool?” And I thought, this guy wants to be a bishop, and [laughing] I said, “Yes, yes, Monsignor, I, I, think he was cool.” And he said, “Just call me Bernie.” So, that’s my Law story. It had nothing to do with his institutional demise.

My bias, my passion, what I am about as a man, as a Catholic, as a human being, and as a narrative writer, has always been on the side of human rights and political freedom. And, I find it wretchedly appalling that this Pope now so ill, now dying, a good man, a pious man, should be so blind on this issue. I find it breathtaking that a Pope who has stood so courageously in championing the cause of human rights and in countries around the world struggling under the dictatorship, the boot of people like Pinochet when he was in Chile and other parts of the world, should at the same time be so unable to see the terrible decay that has taken place in the priesthood. The most important thing, the first pivotal step to change the Church, everyone has an agenda, everyone has a plan, I have a suggestion: Until the survivors’ community has met with the new Pope and established a true and enduring dialogue, all of the media coverage will not make a great difference. And, I know that all of you are here today because in your hearts, like me, you yearn for the certitude of the faith in which we were raised. I think my faith began to change, I still go to Mass, I struggled to find liturgies, but I don’t want them to take away from me that which, and that who, I am. I don’t want them to rip out of my life the spirituality that I know I cannot find in another church.

It began to change for me in 1985 when I read the first deposition of Bishop Frey in Baton Rouge, excuse me, in Lafayette. He of course was the bishop who recycled Father Gauthe, about whom most of you I assume have heard. And, I was not interested in writing an article, at that time having no idea how hard it would be to find somebody to publish it, um, I was not interested in writing an article just because a priest molested kids. I could accept as an intellectual proposition that a priest as a human being could be sick enough to do this, but this is not a mirror on the priesthood. When I read that deposition, I realized that this was a political story. It was a story about the abuse of power. I kept thinking about Watergate, still fairly near in memory, and the more I dug and the more I got other documents, and then as I began talking to so many priests in the Lafayette diocese, this is about 120 miles from where I live, Cajun country, about 120 priests in the diocese and then it became clear to me, as they told me stories of other priests that they knew. And then I began to find documents connecting the dots much in the way so many other reporters have done since then. The struggle for me in those years as I worked on that book, is seven years. And as I wrote articles and in the, before, what Paul Simon calls the Age of Miracle and Wonder, Lasers in the Jungle, before the Internet, I kept trading documents with reporters and with lawyers. And I kept getting depositions in and I kept reading these depositions from different parts of the country, realizing that this was a massive sexual underground. And it was the concealment strategies and the tortured language of these bishops trying to explain to lawyers why they had moved these men. That kept telling me this is deeper, it’s deeper. There is something out there that I still don’t know.

We just celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, certainly one of the great prophets of our age and our era. Dr. King often said that true peace is the presence of justice. And he also used a phrase from Tillich that we must be about love and calculation. And I would argue that the sexual segregation of the Catholic church, the all-male caste that governs us, the utter lack of accountability within that system in which all power ensues to that male unmarried power structure, is roughly analogous to what black people in the south were struggling against more than generation ago. I am sure there are eminent historians who will take shots at this theory, but I am utterly convinced that until we change the system of sexual segregation that shunts woman to the side and marginalizes children, and asks of those of us in the pews to believe in a structure. I’m not talking about faith. I’m not talking about the trinity. I’m not talking about the creed. Gary Wells is brilliant in his book. Why I Am a Catholic, and talking about what the true church at core is about. My issue is not with faith. I am secure in my faith. My issue is with the men who govern this church. And I don’t. [applause]

One final point, in the years that I worked on that first book, I suffered a tremendous struggle of faith. I did not want to leave the church, and yet time and again I would go into Mass and I would just look at the altar and I would think, who is this? I began to know the secrets of people long before the media did, and it was not easy. The two people I read in those years were St. Paul and Camus. You know Camus in Sisyphus defines the absurd as the unreasonable silence that lies between human suffering and the world. And I must confess that the idea of pushing that stone up the hill and coming on down was very much with me during those years. It was a bit lonely as a journalist trying to, trying to find all these answers and then trying to find a publisher. They were all afraid of getting sued. Doubleday finally came through, , in 1992. St. Paul says in Corinthians, “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have behaved in the world.” And to me this whole crisis can be summed up in two words: moral behavior. We do have the right as citizens in a democracy, but more so, as men and women and children who have been defined by church fathers, the Vatican too, as people of God, we have the responsibility as people of God to engage the power structure of this Church in a dialogue about their moral behavior with a bottom line insistence on the fundamental primacy of truth. What is wrong with the priesthood? You can find any priest that you know who will tell you about the problems. Tom Doyle has written eloquently in one of his essays on religious duress.

So, we’re all agreed that we want to change it and I think the question from here is how we do it? I look forward to meeting all of you. Thank you. [applause]

DAVID CLOHESSY: Well, like the other people on the panel I am honored, I am absolutely honored to be here today, and like Tom and like Sue, I come to Boston to get my batteries recharged as well, because the courage that so many of you in this room have shown over the last two years literally gives me goose bumps, and I know survivors all across the country are grateful to the people in this room and the people who aren’t in this room, but who’ve played such a key role in beginning to expose this problem on a nationwide level.

Like the other panelists, I’m obviously not convinced that the problem is over, and let me get real specific as to why. Two simple reasons: because of what we are seeing now in terms of bishops’ behaviors and in terms of what we aren’t seeing now. One of the benefits of going last is that I made a list of seven priests very quickly; this is the evidence of course that the crisis is not over. Father John Calicott in Chicago admitted sexual misconduct with two teenage boys, was removed twice by two different bishops, and has been revealed in the last couple of days to have been teaching religious education and sex education at the very parish from which he was forbidden to serve. Monsignor Ryan in Connecticut admitted to molesting a teenage girl; the diocese admitted that there were two others they paid a six-figure settlement. He is the pastor now of suburban parish. Bishop Lori says it was an incident, it was twenty-five years ago, no offenses since then, he has been in treatment, haven’t we heard this before? Father Alex Anderson in St. Louis, facing two allegations of sexual abuse, two public allegations, two court documents, and yet still serving in a big suburban parish as the pastor of that parish. And the archdiocese and officials find both of these young men, who have never met one another, not credible. Father Powers in Kentucky, a civil lawsuit was settled against him, his victim, Karen [Welby], took her own life. He serves right now in a parish. Father Poole, also in Kentucky, again a six-figure, a six-figure civil settlement, coupled with not one, but two criminal convictions for indecent exposure, and he has just been restored by the Bishop of Lexington. Father Walter Fernando in California, facing not only a civil lawsuit, as Paul said some hundreds of California Priests are, but also a target of a criminal investigation that has been written about in the Los Angeles Times, still the pastor. And finally, here I will leave you on a positive note, Father John Leonard in Richmond Virginia, multiple accusations, multiple civil lawsuits, plead guilty last week. Was accused of molesting, three counts of child sexual abuse, pled down to two counts; pled guilty on two counts of assault on a child. Was still pastor and three days after his plea agreement, voluntarily stepped down. So, I think it’s very clear unfortunately that the crisis is far from over.

Now let me tell you about what I think, and let me take a slightly different direction here: if it’s not over, how do we know when it’s over? I certainly don’t claim to know that answer, but I can tell you what I would consider some of the signs. If you see headlines like these, not in one diocese but in many, many dioceses across the country, this will be how we know the crisis is beginning to end if we see headlines like these: a headline that says “Bishop Dupré Fires Diocesan Defense Lawyer- [Applause] Wants a More Conciliatory Approach.” Other than Sean O’Malley can anybody in the room think of a single bishop in the country who has fired his defense lawyer in the last two years? Or last ten years? Okay. Second headline: “Bishop Riley Fires Longtime Diocesan PR Man --Wants Genuine Openness and Transparency.” I mean, I don’t mean to be flippant but is there anybody in here who can say that they know of a bishop who fired the person who has worked diligently for years to help keep these secrets out of the public limelight? We haven’t seen it. Or how about: “Bishop Lori to Send Abusive Priests to New Treatment Center. Considers Old Treatment Centers to Be Discredited and Failed.”

Is there a bishop anywhere who has publicly said, “Hey, we really have learned from our mistakes and we are not going to send these guys to the same old tired bunch of psychologists whom we trust.” Or how about this headline, you know, “Bishop Sean O’Malley Does Go to Every Parish Where Known Molester Has Served.” We haven’t seen that, have we? Not anywhere. We’ve not seen a bishop go into these parishes and say Father Paul Shanley who was here, or Father John Geoghan was here and you have, you as Catholics have two duties: number one, a Christian duty, you have a Christian duty to ask everyone who attended school here during those years, or who worked for this parish during those years, or who lived across the street from the rectory during those years and say, “Did Father Geoghan do something to one of your kids?” And, number two, you have a civic duty, you have civic duty, if you experienced, or witnessed, or suspected sexual abuse. You’ve got a civic duty to call law enforcement. We’ve not seen that, not anywhere.

Well here’s a headline that is near and dear to my heart: “Bishop to Join Survivors at State Capitol Pushing for Legislative Reform.” [applause] I can, I can think of few scenarios that would be more heartening to me than to see a bishop look into our camera and say, “You know, I know a lot about theology and the Bible and church history, but I am not an investigator and I am not a forensics expert, and I am not a detective. And, in the future, I want the independent professionals of law enforcement to handle these issues, not me. [applause] And to, to help make that happen I’m going to push for an extension or a re-appeal of the statute of limitations to give victims an opportunity [applause] to give victims an opportunity to use the American justice system to expose and remove their perpetrators.” Um, or this headline: “Father Miller Is Fired. Cardinal George Warns Other Priests Not to Cover-Up.”

Let me go back to Tom’s comment: it’s not about the bad apples in the barrel. It’s not about the individual perpetrators. This Calicott situation in Chicago, the reason that he’s been teaching sex education, and religious education, the reason he is at the parish from which he was removed twice, virtually everyday, according to the Chicago Sun Times, the reason he spends three or four nights a week in that rectory, according to the Chicago Tribune, is because the pastor, Father Miller, doesn’t believe in zero tolerance and has invited Father Calicott back and still considers Father Calicott in effect the pastor. Now today’s Chicago papers reports that Cardinal George in his infinite wisdom has determined that Father Calicott has violated the charter. But, there is no mention of Father Miller. And, I think we will know that the crisis has begun to end and that real change is happening when we see Cardinal George on TV tonight saying “I have removed Father Miller, the pastor, the man who should have known better, and I have yanked his health insurance. I have yanked his pension.” [applause] And, I don’t mean to sound mean spirited or vindictive, but, I would love to hear the Cardinal say, “And let Father Miller sue me to the highest civil court in the land and the highest Vatican court, and maybe he’ll win I don’t care. But, I am going to send a very clear signal that in my diocese, you know, there is something that is almost as bad as molesting a child and that is enabling a molester.” [applause] Because, let’s face it there none among us, there’s no one among us who believes that any kind of punitive approach will fundamentally deter a compulsive sex offender from hurting kids. But, presumably, diocesan leadership, and presumably good priests, non-abusive priests, I have to believe in my heart of hearts, will be deterred from remaining silent. If they see one of the brother priests like Father Miller in Chicago, out on the street for such a flagrant violation of what bishops have promised us time and time again.

And finally, of course, the crisis will end, or I think it, or will at least feel like the beginning of the end has happened, when Ann Webb, and Bill Gately, and Barbara Blaine, and the rest of us, stop getting these calls. These heartbreaking telephone calls that still come in literally every single day. You know, there’s a misconception out there, of course, that now it’s easy for victims to come forward. It’s never, never, easy. There’s a misconception now that the truth is finally told. I can’t tell you how many times people have said, “Wow, you must feel great because now the truth is finally being told” and I shake my head and I say “No, a teeny portion of that truth is finally, finally being told.” But until, the climate, until victims do stop calling in absolute desperation, and isolation, choked with tears, obviously the crisis from our point of view, will not be over. Thank you. [applause]

PAUL BAIER: We are going to move to Q&A in one minute. Just to highlight a point David talked about: the number, the estimated number of victims is a number; it is important. Andrew Greeley a few years ago estimated about 100,000. I think there are some estimates that are saying it’s maybe closer to 2 or 300,000. But, even at the 100, 000 number, less than maybe 5 or 10,000 of these survivors have ever been to a SNAP or Linkup victim support group. You know, so using a 100,000, that’s, 90,000 victims, 90,000 survivors who , haven’t yet been told, , by another survivor who understands, has empathy, that there’s other people that know and understand. So, the search and rescue efforts that Mark Serrano [and SNAP and others are leading are incredibly important. The efforts focus on the first steps for these survivors of getting mental health --of coming forward and dealing with some of their inner demons -- is tremendously important and it’s one of the reasons we have to continue to help SNAP and. the Linkup.

What I’d like to do is two other things; there is a walking hero in the audience that, I apologize, I failed to introduce, and that is Barbara Blaine. [applause] Barbara, where are you? Barbara started SNAP fifteen, twenty years ago and has been an absolute diehard advocate for all of them. One other person I want to recognize is Lynne Pollino, who helped organize today and has an army of volunteers, let’s thank them. Lynne, [applause] with forty to fifty volunteers and I won’t get everyone’s name right if I did, so thanks all the volunteers.

We are going to move right into Q&A, just to keep us on time here. We have two microphones here. If I could ask you to do couple of things, to state your name, at least your first name, we are transcribing this event to put it on the Internet. There’s a lot of people that are interested in the question and the dialogue. I’d like to also ask you to address your questions to a specific panelist, and to keep it short and brief so we can be respectful of our colleagues who also have questions here. So if you would like to start making your way down here, I’ll- you have questions, great.

MALE: I guess I’d like Richard Sipe to answer this question; I heard on the panel discussion about the discussion about the celibate men who govern the church, the secrecy, the duplicity. I wondered if, and you all can comment on this, whether you think that the church’s very teaching on issues of gender and sexuality, i.e. the intrinsic evil, the objective disorder of gay people of masturbation and contraception, has had any bearing on how this crisis is playing out?

RICHARD SIPE: In my estimation that has everything to do with this crisis. I have said many times and I have written, and I think I explicated in this book as well as I can, that the church’s teaching on sexuality is not credible. That it’s based on a false conception of the nature of human sexuality. And I compare it to the response to Galileo, I call the church’s teaching on sexuality pre-Copernican and that the Bible is no more a textbook on cosmology than it is a textbook on human sexuality. And I do feel that this is at the core at this crisis. I think that this is one of the reasons why it will unfold and unfold and unfold ‘til people ask and get some satisfactorily rational answers , to all the questions that you mentioned, that are not rationally addressed and I think, even spiritually addressed in the church’s teaching as it stands.

PAUL BAIER: Thank you. We’ll go back and forth. State your first name at least, or full name if you will. Welcome.

GARY: My name is Gary [deleted], I will give you my last name too.

PAUL BAIER: Thanks, Gary.

GARY: And I want to address this to Father Doyle but a challenge to the, this whole panel here. When this problem first broke out I wrote a few articles from some newspapers but in July of 2002 and I think somebody else mentioned July of 2002 and they got involved in – Father Doyle, I wrote an article that was in two parts. The first part had to do with sexual abuse and the root causes. And the second part was even more important and that had to do with the culture of the hierarchy of the church. Probably started the year 2 – 300 but come to full bloom around the 1500 or 1600 when the hierarchy of the church took on the culture of royalty and the palace court. They took on, and that’s an important theme I’ve been pounding away at ever since then. And, I want to say that nothing is going to change. I don’t say this is a pessimistic way but in a prophetic way. Nothing is going to really change in the Church. I am not talking about the faith, I am talking about the hierarchy, I am talking about the structure, the culture of the Church, until the royalty and the culture of the palace court is eliminated. I don’t want to send the bishops into hermitages and the priests to be called Jack Jones, but that’s got to change and I want, and I challenge this panel and these people here to continue to use that phrase over and over and over. The culture of royalty and the palace court must come to an end. [applause] and I thank you.

TOM DOYLE: Speaking for myself I do a fair amount of writing of depositions and affidavits and some articles and legal for court cases, and I am repeatedly ask to explain the governmental structure of the Roman Catholic Church. In my own mind and in my own efforts to try to explain this whole thing, precisely the way you have so well articulated, the issue I see, a major issue -- and it’s hard to say the major issue, that’s, you’re shooting yourself right way -- is precisely that -- I use the word repeatedly -- that the governmental structure is monarchical. Theoretically, it’s hierarchical because all the power rested in individuals but as of the third century it became monarchical because they transcended that spiritual bridge and went over to the other side and became monarchs and little princes. Who’s the most important person in the monarchy? The King. And I believe as you do, and it’s refreshing and encouraging to hear you say what you said. This is one of the core issues and the monarchical palace court mythology exists in a symbiotic sick relationship with the virus of clericalism. That the monarchs all the way down the line and their little princes, the priests and bishops are special, better, because God wants it that way. God doesn’t want it that way. God didn’t create clerics. He didn’t create a monarchy. He sent Jesus Christ down here to go out and hang out with the real people. The political science of the Catholic church is bizarre, I would say, and they have totally neglected the political science of Jesus Christ. Where he talks about the last going first and the first going last. All we talk about is giving over the keys to the kingdom, but I think that scripturally that is grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted. I applaud what you said. I agree with you, sir, and I want you to know that in my own work, I use that analogy, it’s not an analogy, it’s real, I use that real description repeatedly in court, in articles, when I am speaking with people, always. And the more I say it, I mean I believe it, I think it has to come across and we have to deal with monarchy that way. We are the only culture left that has a functioning monarchy. [applause] This is the 21st century, this is not the 16th century, it’s not 1898. You know, all this business of walking around, “Your Excellency,” “Your Eminence,” “Your Grace,” and all this nonsense, it’s, you know, it’s like a bunch of guys that belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism. [laughter] Forgetting where they really are.

PAUL BAIER: Great, next question.

ED: My name is Ed [last name deleted] from Nashua. Along the same line, I look at the hierarchy and I look at the bishops. They will not listen. They are to me a stumbling block., a concrete block and it is impossible to go through them or around them. I want to remove them, and therefore, I am looking for some advice from the panel. How can we remove bishops from office who are so obstructional in what we are trying to do?

TOM DOYLE: Cut the money off. [applause]

PAUL BAIER: That was clear. Next one.

MARY ANN: My name is Mary Ann [last name deleted] and I traveled down from Darien, Connecticut, and I do have laryngitis, but this is a very special place to be today.

PAUL BAIER: You said, Mary Ann?

MARY ANN: Mary Ann.

PAUL BAIER: Mary Ann, I will repeat your question if I need to for everyone.

MARY ANN: I actually have two questions. One is, I think Father Doyle mentioned in an article I got off the Internet from Bishops Accountability, that there are two bishops who have actually apologized in their diocese to victims. Is that true, and I [would] love to know who they are.

TOM DOYLE: That’s a statement that I got out of the self-report that was published a couple of weeks ago, erroneously called the audit, [laughter] which was effort number-one in creating more delusional thinking. They admitted, they said in there that there were two bishops out of the 400 and some in the US of A that had actually spent time with victims and survivors. One was a bishop in South Dakota, and the other was a bishop in I think they mentioned Cleveland.


TOM DOYLE: Covington. Covington, that is somewhere in Kentucky. [laughter] It is, I mean, I am saying that because I am not exactly sure where it is, it’s in Kentucky. That’s pathetic. That is, you know when, when Dave was going down the list, the headlines he’d like to see, what I’d like to see is the regular occurrence of me or you calling the chancery office and say. “I need to talk to the bishop.” “Well, he’s not here.” “Where is he?” “Well, he is out visiting the victims somewhere, he’s out there all time, we never can find him. And he shows up to sign papers once or twice a week.” Then we’ll know we made it. [applause]

PAUL BAIER: If I may, and just to keep it somewhat balanced, we do have a bishop who has invited a SNAP member to [be part of the] review board, right? So, that’s,--


PAUL BAIER: That’s Bootkoski.

DAVID CLOHESSY: Right, Bishop Bootkoski in Metuchen, New Jersey has a SNAP member on his review board and had done a number of things right, and we have a list of things, steps he’s taken on our web site,

PAUL BAIER: So I think there are a few things that need to be applauded and that may be one of them. Yeah, go ahead Sue. We’ll get your second one then.

SUE ARCHIBALD: And I’ll add one quick one too. We started our fundraising campaign with the bishops to, you know, follow their responsibility and fund this facility for survivors, and there was one bishop that pulled out his personal checkbook and wrote a check and that’s a good thing too. That was Bishop Foys in Covington. [applause]

MARY ANN: Bishop what? Foys? What is the Bishop’s name?


MARY ANN: Oh, Foys. Great. My second question has to do, well, I have another headline I’d like to contribute. I am waiting soon, I hope, for the headline that says: Bishops are ordered by Bishop Gregory or the Vatican, or whoever, to hold the ritual washing of the feet, liturgy that we accustomed to seeing on good, holy Saturday, in their cathedrals, of the victims of priestly abuse. [applause] My question is addressed to Father Doyle, when you spoke of the spiritual rape, my great passion and interest here is in the spirituality of victims -- and I’ve not had the opportunity to speak with victims, I would love that opportunity,-- how, can they restore, what happens to their faith and their relationship with Jesus Christ when it’s scary to enter a church and see one of these men behind the altar, and how that can be addressed, and restored to the personal relationship with Jesus Christ so their lives are spiritually creative and open again?

TOM DOYLE: I am just going to give a very brief capsule and then I am going to defer that to people who have actually been through the process. I’ve experienced that and having many, many victims share with me the anger, the feeling of abandonment, the feeling of betrayal that it wasn’t just the Church symbolizes the spiritual reality that’s out there. And the feeling of loss that the spiritual, the other world has been taken away from them. What I often would say when they’ll ask me, I’ll say, well you know, I feel robbed myself. It’s very easy to be nonchalant about this and speak about it, but it’s a very personal, very strong subject with me. What I had to do to regain my own spirit, to find the spirituality, and I won’t go into the whole thing, is to simply say, I had to find really real the fact of Christ in the midst of my life. And I had to change, as we say in the military, my target sets. I, like Jason, still believe, I have faith. I don’t have faith in the structures, they don’t work anymore. Put them in a museum, close the door. Give somebody a video about it. I have faith however in the church as you, as people. That’s where my faith comes from, that there is a Christ, the spirit really is with us. I just want to simply say before I defer I don’t want to sound a 100% negative about bishops. There are some guys really trying, Bootkoski is one of them in Metuchen. And, you know, they are like us. Many of them [are] on the road, in the process of becoming – I am in the process of becoming a Christian. I am learning. I think a lot of them are as well. While we hammer the hell out of them sometimes, on the other hand I think it’s absolutely essential to say to those who are trying and are becoming aware and learning and waking up, as has happened to me “Ah, great, right on, you are going to find incredible peace and serenity on the other side.” [cross talk]

PAUL BAIER: Are you going to talk about this issue, this is a real important issue.

DAVID CLOHESSY: I’ll just say that in our organization, we estimate that, and it’s just an estimate, but we estimate that , roughly 40% of our SNAP members do consider themselves, you know, religious. The majority of them are Catholic, but even among that 40%, of course, there’s been a long, long period of sort of spiritual estrangement before they felt comfortable coming back to church. But, it is an issue that really, really, needs a lot more exploration.

PAUL BAIER: We can definitely help. One thing that I say a lot and that I’ve learned over the last two years is that, as a non-victim, as a Catholic, I have, and we have, a kindergarten education in sexual abuse and the survivors have a triple PhD. And one of the things that they have taught me over the time is that it is very logical why many survivors who’ve been raped by priests never want to go back into a Church or deal with it. So, one of the things you’ll see today is, because we have survivors here, this isn’t a religious event, we won’t be doing prayers here. We don’t have religious things, so as to, at least make it comfortable for the survivors on their healing path who have chosen not , to be part of a organized faith. I do think there’s some survivors, I’ve learned, and keep me honest, that do want to go back to church and have spirituality and there’s some that don’t want anything to do with it at all. And we respect both those wishes. Next question.

[Click here for Part 2 of the transcript.]


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