Lynn Re-Jailed! Will Pope Now Apologize? Will Chile-Like Protests Mar Pope’s Philly Visit?

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Msgr. William Lynn, former top priest personnel aide for a dozen years to the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Cardinals Justin Rigali and Anthony Bevilacqua and the first Catholic Church top official convicted in the clergy sex-abuse scandal, was ordered returned to prison by Teresa Sarmina, a judge educated at the Jesuit’s Georgetown Law and at Notre Dame’s St. Mary’s. “Well, I think things are back where they were when I sentenced Msgr. Lynn,” Sarmina said. “The same reasons I stated then exist.” “Somebody call for a sheriff,” the judge added, before leaving the bench.

Too bad no one earlier called the sheriff on Lynn’s cardinal bosses. Both cardinals managed to avoid prosecution for their aide’s misdeeds done apparently on their behalf. Bevilacqua died soon after giving a two day video deposition (that is still being kept secret, it appears) in the Lynn criminal case, and Rigali left town in a hurry, by “retiring” after Lynn’s indictment. He may now be seen in good form with Pope Francis attending Vatican ceremonies along with his former pal, the infamous Boston Cardinal Bernard Law. The pope likely knew Bevilacqua from their Vatican committee work and appears to be personally acquainted with Rigali. Apparently failing to supervise priest predators of children is not an impediment to being honored at the Vatican.

Lynn was convicted following a landmark 13-week trial in 2012 over his failed role in supervising priests accused of sexually abusing children. By my rough estimate, almost 25% of then active Philly priests had had sexual abuse complaints in their files reportedly secretly maintained by Lynn for his two cardinals — that is until some of Lynn’s reports were shredded, it appears. Portions of these files were also reportedly kept from the Archdiocese’s child protection committee.

Given the Archdiocese’s pervasive cover up mentality, who knows how many other Catholic parents’ complaints were not reported out of futility? In 2011, well regarded US Catholic Church historian, David J. O’Brien, reportedly told the NY Times that “The situation in Philadelphia is ‘Boston reborn.’ ” O’Brien was right then and appears still to be right. Cardinals Rigali and Law have a lot in common to discuss in Rome, no?

Why is Pope Francis honoring the disgraced Philly Archdiocese’s leaders? Have the US elections next year anything to do with the pope’s plans? Philly’s current Archbishop Chaput seems more focused on pre-US presidential election directed crusades against gay marriage and Obamacare contraception insurance than on the full implications for defenseless Philly children of Lynn’s conviction for child endangerment.

Indeed, why is Pope Francis honoring with his first US visit a local church hierarchy with such a sordid history? The pope should instead publicly apologize to Philly Catholics and also make Chaput apologize to Philly Catholics and tell him to release the Bevilacqua video deposition. And the pope should at a minimum publicly chastise Rigali instead of honoring him with Vatican invitations. Please see my relevant remarks, What Do We Now Know About The Real Goal Of Pope Francis?

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