Shock: bishop never read letter warning him about predator priest

The more you read about this case, the more it defies credulity.

First, the headline yesterday from the National Catholic Reporter: Diocese warned of priest’s aberrant behavior one year before arrest.


The principal of a Catholic elementary school warned the Kansas City-St. Joseph chancery office that a local priest “fit the profile of a child predator” six months before the diocese took any action to remove him from ministries dealing with children.

Fr. Shawn Ratigan, 45, was arrested May 19 on three counts of possessing child pornography, six months after the diocese took its first action to limit the priest’s involvement with children by moving him to a local home for religious sisters.

The letter, written by Julie Hess, the principal of Saint Patrick School, is dated May 19, 2010 — nearly one year before the arrest. In her letter, Hess pleads with the diocesan vicar general, Msgr. Robert Murphy, to consider a list of incidents teachers observed at the school involving Ratigan that “raised significant red flags.”

NCR confirmed the authenticity of the letter with a source at the school who did not wish to be identified. The diocesan communications director, Rebecca Summers, confirmed by phone that Murphy had received a letter from Hess about a year ago, but said she could not comment further on it. Calls to Murphy this afternoon have not been returned.

“I seek to fulfill my responsibility as school principal in relaying a growing body of parent and teacher concerns regarding Pastor Shawn Ratigan’s perceived inappropriate behavior with children,” writes Hess at the beginning of the letter.

“Parents, staff members, and parishioners are discussing his actions and whether or not he may be a child molester.”

The principal then outlines a series of incidents reported to her by members of the school’s faculty and students’ parents that raised concerns.

They include:

* Ratigan allowing students to “climb on him, grab his leg/s, and reach into his pockets for candy;”
* A report from two teachers that Ratigan “swung a fifth grade girl up over his head, even though she was wearing a uniform skirt.”
* An incident during a school basketball game when a first grade girl had “wrapped both of her hands and arms around [Ratigan’s] and was trying to cuddle up to him.” A few minutes after a teacher moved the girl to a bench behind the priest, the girl “had moved back next to Father in the previous position.”
* Reports from parents of photos on Ratigan’s Facebook page showing “pictures of children sitting in his lap, and tossing a young girl in a 2-piece swimsuit up in the air while swimming.”
* The fact that “Father takes hundreds of pictures of the kids, not just during special events, but on field trips and in their everyday school activities.” Hess continues: “A few parents have mentioned that they think it’s strange and wonder what he does with all the pictures.”

Read the rest — including the discovery of a pair of girl’s panties in a planter at the priest’s house.

Now, today, the astonishing news about how the men in the diocese who were responsible dealt with this matter:

Bishop Robert W. Finn said today he had not seen a year-old letter from a Catholic elementary school principal warning of the aberrant behavior of a local priest who was arrested May 19 for possessing child pornography.

Finn said he only saw the letter from principal Julie Hess yesterday.

Hess delivered the letter to the diocesan vicar general in May 2010 — exactly one year before the arrest of Fr. Shawn Ratigan and seven months before the diocese removed him from his parish.

At a press conference called for 3 p.m. today, Finn said he was given a “brief verbal summary” of the letter by Murphy a year ago, that he had read it in its entirety for the “first time” last night (May 26), and that, “to the best of his knowledge,” no one other than the vicar general had read the letter before yesterday.

Finn said: “Hindsight makes it clear that I should have requested from Msgr. Murphy an actual copy of the report.”

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96 responses to “Shock: bishop never read letter warning him about predator priest”

  1. That is a very, very lame excuse! The bishop “just saw the letter”? That, IMO, sounds like a made up on the moment excuse. The Man doesn’t read his mail—or have someone who might open and preview it!? What the heck does that man do all day? I may not want to know—but it certainly isn’t read his mail.

  2. I missread—the principal sent the letter first to the Vicar General, who apparently did nothing either? The principal certainly did her job, but it seems that no one else did. The priest needs to be sent to jail, like all other criminals!

    Finn said hindsight made it clear he should have requested a copy of the report. Ya think?? Again I ask—what do those robed men do all day?!

  3. Clericalism at it’s finest! With our Catholic ecclesiology concerning the nature and function of the episcopacy, it is only the Holy Father who can change any of this. If he, the Holy Father, and the Congregation for Bishops were as concerned with bishops who endanger children as they are with bishops who only want to talk about the possible ordination of women (Bishop Morris in Australia), bishops such as this would not still be in office. Let us pray ferverently for all involved in this sordid episode, including our Holy Father that the Holy Spirit will guide them into right and just actions.

  4. It’s the usual gatekeeper problem. Gatekeepers are supposed to get rid of the spam, take care of the routine administrative stuff, and kick the important stuff upstairs to the head guy. A bad gatekeeper is worse than useless.

    Every business has a lot of gatekeepers: the mail room, the clerks and secretaries, the boss’ receptionist and staff. The reason the boss’ receptionist makes big money is that he/she trusts him/her to have good judgment.

    Sadly, there seem to be a lot of “chancery rats” in this sort of gatekeeper role, who seem to be more concerned with protecting friends than doing their jobs and using good judgment.

    So yeah, unless Bishop Finn had started grabbing all the mail off the truck, there were plenty of ways he could have not gotten his mail.

  5. By their fruits you shall know them….. GOOGLE Archbishop Finn and you get….. “Tridentine Mass, Opus Dei, “Cappa Magna. If you are too busy with the length of your Red Bridal Train and the correct pronunciation of your dead language as well as deciding how tight to make your cilice, you might just forget who’s raping the children under your care.

  6. First of all, Bp Finn needs a new vicar general immediatley. Whoever this Murphy guy is needs to be retired. A man with that kind of pathetically poor judgment doesn’t need to be any bishop’s right hand man. EVERY letter, note, word of caution, etc… related to the possible abuse of children needs to be addressed personally by the bishop. This is not the kind of thing that ought to be left to the judgment of a “gatekeeper.”

    Principal Hess did the right thing. When it was evident, however, that no action was being taken after some days (maybe weeks, but definately not months), a personal audience with the bishop should have been arranged. Also, I would have passed the letter on to several diocesan officials, including the pastor of the parish connected to the school, the chancellor and the superintendant of Catholic schools. More people in the chain increases the chance that something will be done because it’s likely that at least one of them won’t know this guy personally and feel the urge to protect him. The letter to the vicar general should have been enough. That it clearly wasn’t is a word of caution to everyone who is responsible for the care of our children: You may need to press the point and go over some heads to get done what needs to get done.

    Happily, no evidence has come forward that any child was abused — just pictures and porn so far. We can pray that’s as far as it went. But a full investigation needs to be done.

    I hope and pray that Bp Finn’s experience is taken seriously so the learning curve will be improved for all.

    As for St. Louis Faithful’s comment, it is worse than useless. Rather than debasing the discussion by turning to stereotypes and personal prejudices, why not add something helpful? I suppose Abp Weakland was an old Opus Dei guy, eh? And Shanley in Boston, now there was a champion of the Tridentine Mass. Please!

  7. When I saw this was from what has been coined as “fishwrap” I skipped the details and came right to the comments.

  8. Joe:


    In all honesty, do you think that a journalist of the caliber and integrity of Joe Feuerherd would be editor in chief and publisher of a “fishwrap” paper?

    Furthermore, you would not even take the time to read an article from this newspaper. Perhaps, you do not agree with some of the journalists at NCR, but certainly you could learn from reading other points of view.

    I have been a teacher for quite a few years. If you had been one of my students, I would really consider that I had failed you.

  9. Rick B. and St. Louis UNFaithful your DISIDENT is clear, u dont care for the victim.

  10. This is not the first of Deacon Kandra’s reports I have had problems with. What purpose it serves escapes me. It is the last report to give me pause- I no longer read him-God Bless us all- Ray

  11. Note to self: Next time include your suspected pedophile reports with the cash for the Bishop’s lenten appeal to make sure they read it.

  12. Bishop Finn says that his number two person read the letter and summarized it for him in May of 2010. In December, Finn says that he learned about disturbing images of a naked girl on Ratigan’s computer, but he still didn’t ask police to investigate until just a few weeks ago.

    “In hindsight, we should have turned the pictures to police in December, we should’ve take the same action in December that we ended up taking in May,” said Finn, who refused to say if he would resign and in fact left the room while reporters were still asking questions.”

    Makes you wonder how many other cases are out their where Bishops are actively trying to suppress evidence from police.

  13. “Let us pray ferverently for all involved in this sordid episode, including our Holy Father that the Holy Spirit will guide them into right and just actions.”

    Was the Holy Father involved in this incident? I must have missed that part.

  14. Also Friday, the chairman of the diocese’s review board — which is charged with advising the bishop on sex abuse allegations — said he had heard nothing of the memo until it was circulated this week. He told The Star that the board only learned of the case against Ratigan last week when the criminal charges were filed.

    “I was flabbergasted,” said Jim Caccamo, who said he has been inundated with calls from angry Catholics.

    To learn that they’ve known this for well over a year and then not tell the Independent Review Board, I must say that it just took my breath away. If our job is to protect the children, didn’t that occur to them? For gosh sakes.”

  15. I don’t know why this would defy credibility. The bishops have a well-established pattern of not paying attention to this stuff and not wanting to know details because then they might actually have to DO something.

    This pattern has persisted long after Dallas. In my diocese of Worcester, MA, there was a priest — who also was head of the diaconate — arrested on a morals charge about six years ago. The bishop was informed but actually said — and I’m not making this up — that he talked to the priest’s lawyer who assured him he was not guilty of anything. Great! Next time you wonder whether a criminal is guilty, ask his lawyer!

  16. Joseph Feuerherd RIP

    Mr. Feuerherd the Editor and Publisher of NCR died this week from cancer. Mr. Feuerherd publicly opposed the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings in whole or part on:

    * Artificial contraception
    * Abortion
    * Sodomy
    * Women Priests

    As Editor of NCR Mr. Feuerherd published articles that were unbelievably uncharitable, and sometimes factual inaccurate, regarding Both JP II and B XVI. Mr. Feuerher’s editorial policy reflected the beliefs of most of our country’s intellectuals, politicians and power brokers. His editorial policy did not reflect the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on faith and morals.

    May he rest in Christ.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  17. “Was the Holy Father involved in this incident? I must have missed that part.”

    RomCath — we should pray that the Holy Father asks Bishop Finn for his resignation. Sooner rather than later.

  18. Something else that is illustrated by this case…

    If any ONE of the things in the letter was really an isolated incident, by itself, and none of the other things had happened, then it wouldn’t have been a big deal. What was significant, as the principal correctly identified, was the PATTERN of behavior. Each individual incident could have had some innocent explanation; it’s only the sum total that strains credulity. (In fact, maybe one or two things on the list WERE innocent.)

    This is why it is important for people to talk to each other, compare notes, go to authority and report stuff. To “connect the dots” so to speak. The problem is that this is very close to the line and it’s a line easy to go over. Because this turns into gossip quite easily, and calumny and detraction are quite serious sins.

  19. A) Let’s not forget the Bishop’s staff also misled police about the content of the child pornography on the priest’s computer. This is not simply a Bishop unaware of what was happening but purposely trying to cover it up.

    “Caccamo (chairman of the diocese’s review board) said he believed the diocese misled the police officer when inquiring about the single image.

    B) Badges, We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges Defense

    “Diocesan spokeswoman Rebecca Summers said the diocese did not violate the policy on notifying its review board

    “The Independent Review Board hears a complaint from a person who says they have been victimized,” Summers said. “We could not determine the identity of the child.””

    So by that logic Fr. Ratigan could continue to keep his child porn as long as Bishop is sure that no child is identifiable. Unbelievable.

  20. What should be done is take abuse reports out of the hands of Bishops totally and let the lay review board handle them all.

    As we have seen in multiple dioceses since the Dallas Charter are continued cover-ups by Bishops (Philadelphia, Boston, Kansas, etc) further damaging the Church.

    What we have yet to see, is any Bishop disciplined for the cover ups.

    They only people to suffer are the children and the congregations who have to repetitively pay the lawsuits by selling parish buildings, property, and schools.

  21. George, you mentioned that no bishop has been disciplined for the cover ups. Heck, some even get sent to Rome and given a job to do! Punishment indeed.

  22. It seems that some people, including the writer of the website, forget that Bishops like everyone else are human beings, and make mistakes. I’m not covering for anyone, except let’s stop the witch hunts. Ms. Hess who wrote the letter a year ago, surely would have followed up w/another or even a phone call directly to the Bishop if she was truly concerned. That apparently didn’t happen. Neither did any of the parents involved who were mentioned as being concerned follow up. They were certainly aware that Fr. Ratigan was still around. So it seems to me that there is enough fault to go around for everyone involved. Don’t simply lay it all at the Bishop’s feet. Many people were involved in letting this go unheeded including as I said the writer of the original letter. When one is actually concerned re something of such import, no one readily gives up after writing 1 letter in a year. People make mistakes. Everyone needs to do better. May God have patience and mercy on us all.

  23. What am I missing?

    The vicar general gets a letter which alleges inapprpriate behavior toward children, but not actual abuse. He tells the bishop, who tells him to talk to the priest. He talks to the priest, and the inappropriate conduct diminishes.

    Seven months later (with no further concern expressed from the school — which could be taken to mean everything’s okay) the priest attempts suicide, at which point the pictures of girls are found, police are consulted and say the picture described to them is not pornographic. Nevertheless the priest, after psychiatric treatment, is removed from ministry involving contact with children.

    Subsequently, the diocese learns that he has been attending functions involving children, and they contact the police, who investigate what’s on his computer and arrest him for possession of child pornography.

    In all of this, there is no allegation of any child being actually sexually abused by the priest. The diocese responded promptly to each incident. And yet people are writing about cover-ups.

  24. George #20 — I live in the archdiocese of Boston, and there have been no cover-ups by the diocese since the adoption of the Dallas Charter so far as I am aware. Possibly you learned — after the charter was adopted — of cover-ups that occurred in earlier years; but if new cover-ups had occurred and been discovered, I think I would have heard about them.

    I think what happens is that stories of past events are taken as new when they are reported, and people say, “The abuse is continuing,” or “The cover-ups are continuing,” when the actual events are from years long past.

  25. Am at a loss of words… These type of scenarios keep repeating over and over, Boston, Ireland, Belgium, Germany; Father Maciel, Father Shanley, Rambert Weakland, Philadeplphia… etcetera, etcetera. Will it ever stop?Billions of dollars in reparations that have all but left many dioceses broke. It just continues, and I don’t think we can blame the media or the press. Something is rotten… will it ever stop?

  26. Rudy — It doesn’t just continue. It is being stopped — as far as humanly possible in an institution made up of human beings — in the US, as far as abuse occurring. What is happening now is mostly ongoing revelation of things in the past. Other countries are finding out about abuses there and taking steps to clean things up. The Vatican took its own measures to give laicization cases to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which wanted to get tough, and the Vatican has just issued follow-up guidelines for all bishops in the world.

  27. naturgesetz:

    “The Vatican took its own measures to give laicization … .”

    And so, these priests are now part of the laity, just like me. Oh my!

  28. My honest view from the pew: These kinds of incidents make me (and I’m sure other laity too) think that the clergy have it far to cushy. No matter what kind of economy there is, no matter how many homeless and poverty stricken families (growing more and more) there become — the clergy, and in particular bishops, will always have a roof over their head and food on their table here in America. Have they given up depending on God to supply their needs? If so, the next step is to give up on asking God to help them serve their flock — if indeed, any are still thinking along those lines.
    From a layman’s view — this looks entirely like the Clergy and the laity are on two different planets altogether. I fear for the chastisement that is coming upon this nation as a result of an embarassment of riches… resulting in Christ being kicked to the curb.
    Please forgive me if you feel I’m judging, but if I’m thinking it here in the pews… so are others.

  29. I read time and time again about inappropriate behavior in public schools by coaches, teachers, public resource officers (a.k.a. school cop), and so on, but never see anyone condemn the whole public school system as a rogue organization to throw out.

    Oh, this only happens in Catholic education, nowhere else, I forgot. How come you can sue an entire diocese for millions when one person commits a crime, but in the public school system the school superintendent or even the school board isn’t held to the same responsibility for said offender, and the school system as a whole doesn’t get sued for millions. Funny thing, that.

    Funny thing also that I can say I remembered a suppressed memory and in 1968 Mr. Palimpset the phys ed coach used to pat us boys on the bottom whenever we made a good play in basketball or baseball, and now I want to sue Whispering Wind School District for $10M, but get nowhere.

  30. Brenda — Perhaps the reason our clergy will always have a home and food is that most Catholics are unwilling to see them become homeless and hungry. They live in buildings that were built by their predecessors. No doubt there are variations in the quality of the food they eat and the other comforts they have, and perhaps it’s generally at an upper middle class level. Should they reduce their standard of living to slightly above the poverty level? I don’t know. What I do believe is that many Catholics with the means to do so would want to make their bishops’ lives more comfortable than that.

    And I really think you are being unfair to our bishops if you think they are unconcerned about serving their flocks or having God’s help in doing so.

  31. Most of the commenters on this blog look to me like Witch Hunting, Anti-Catholic, Prejudiced, Demonic, Idiotic, Hysterical and Idiotic Observers!

    I am ashamed to have to say that as a former police officer and father of three fantastic adult children the “allegations” in letter include nothing criminal!

    * Ratigan allowing students to “climb on him, grab his leg/s, and reach into his pockets for candy;”
    * A report from two teachers that Ratigan “swung a fifth grade girl up over his head, even though she was wearing a uniform skirt.”
    * An incident during a school basketball game when a first grade girl had “wrapped both of her hands and arms around [Ratigan’s] and was trying to cuddle up to him.” A few minutes after a teacher moved the girl to a bench behind the priest, the girl “had moved back next to Father in the previous position.”
    * Reports from parents of photos on Ratigan’s Facebook page showing “pictures of children sitting in his lap, and tossing a young girl in a 2-piece swimsuit up in the air while swimming.”
    * The fact that “Father takes hundreds of pictures of the kids, not just during special events, but on field trips and in their everyday school activities.” Hess continues: “A few parents have mentioned that they think it’s strange and wonder what he does with all the pictures.”

    It is a shame that he appears to have been one of the relatively rare perverted Priests in a country that reports roughly 65,000 cases of child sexual abuse every single year!!! If you all care so much about abused kids why don’t you pick a fight with the perverts in your oun back yard and quit beating up on the “Bride of Christ” because of the”50″ or so rotten apples a year that happened to fraudently posture themselves as Catholic Priest or Bishops. I for one am sick to death of listening to your distorted whining!

  32. Yes priests are human and sinners, and yes they deserve the befit of the doubt and forgiveness when guilty.

    But, priests are supposed to be holy,
    priests are supposed to be trusted,
    priests have a special position of trust and authority,
    priests represent something pure, true, sacred,
    priests are not just doing a job, theirs is a special calling,
    priests, even if not fair, need to live to a higher standard,
    higher than parents, or teachers or any one else
    because they are acting in the person of Christ (in persona Christi)
    priests should not, must not be held to a lower standard,
    anything else than holiness in their lives is beneath that standard, and that is why not anyone can or should be a priest.

  33. I am a survivor of sexual abuse from the 1970’s. In forty years a lot has changed but one thing remains the same, the church is unable to police itself. If early reports of abuse by my abusers had gone to the police instead of to the bishops office many victims would of been spared from their abuse. My parents, siblings, children, and friends also would of been spared from witnessing my life long struggle with depression, PTSD, and survivors remorse. Many have taken their own lives because of the abuse they have suffered. I often toell people I am a recovering Catholic, my recovery is on hold due to the continuing cover up the Bishop has taken an active role in. Resign Bishop Finn! Who can you trust when you can’t trust priests or their superiors to do the right thing?

    Read more:

  34. Leonard: Those may not be crimimal by some folks standards, but I’d be a lot upset if the priest in my parish was doing any of that with my child! No witch hunt, just facts. Would you want your priest letting your child reach into his pockets,(for candy) or swinging your child (in a dress) up over his head—a 5th grader no less, so not a small child. I would hope not. Criminal by law or not, it wasn’t appropriate behavior for a grown man, much less a priest.

  35. Okay, I’ve had ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!! The Vatican should draft best practices on handling any priests suspected of child abuse for all dioceses world wide and these need to be implimented IMMEDIATELY.

    NO MORE waiting for bishops to get it together. I have absolutely nothing against Bishop Finn however children ALWAYS have to come first, period.

  36. Parents are entrusted (by God) with the responsibility of protecting their own children. They have to be vigilant against all molesters even wolves in sheeps clothing. Blaming the Pope is like blaming the President if your kid is one of the 65k who get abused every year that none of you seem to even talk about let alone care about. I think a man who looks and acts like a Priest who abuses children should suffer all legal punishments for his crimes. He should be defrocked and excommunicated as well. He is no priest. He is not the Church. The same goes for a Bishop, Monsignor Deacon Nun etc. There can be no double agents in the service of Christ. Jesus said to the Apostles whoever recieves you receives me whoever rejects you rejects me. If you knowingly reject or cause others to reject the Church you reject and cause others to reject Christ and you will deserve Hell as a result. The ball is in your court. Chose Life or chose Death. I cannot help you I can only warn you. The choice is yours.

  37. Dear Wounded, I am sorry for your pain but I can honestly say that if you had not been in a somewhat Catholic environment you probably would have be worse off and may never have even known that the abuse you suffered was abnormal. For over 60,000 children in America each year sexual abuse is the norm, but none of you Catholic hating friends want to talk about the facts. They are too busy trying to destroy the Bride of Christ. God loves you and even died on the cross for you. I hope someday you will come to see that your abuser was a seriously flawed imposter and no true Catholic as you should become.

  38. Dear Wounded, I am sorry for your pain but I can honestly say that if you had not been in a somewhat Catholic environment you probably would have been far worse off and may perhaps never even have ever known that the abuse you suffered was abnormal. It is perhaps true that your family failed you. You should try to forgive them. Had they been more vigilant you would have been spared perhaps. For over 60,000 children in America; each year, sexual abuse is the norm, but none of your Catholic hating friends want to talk about the facts. They are too busy trying to destroy the “Bride of Christ” and hastening to their own sad damnation. God loves you and became man and died on the cross for you. This miracle of salvation is recreated in each and every valid Catholic Mass every moment of every day in an unbroken chain around the globe and this keeps Satan and his evil minions at bay. Believe me Satan and his wretched followers do not like this and they will say and do anything to destroy the Catholic Faith. I hope someday you will come to see that your abuser was a seriously flawed imposter and follower of Satan and no true Catholic as you would do well to become.

  39. I agree with Leonard, while we must strive for 0 tolerance on the issue of child abuse, satan is using the paranoia of the moment to further divide our Church. Witch hunt is a very appropriate analogy for the current state of affairs right now. And mark my words, no Priest or Bishop is immune to the possible accusation of being a child abuser. Guilty until proven innocent.

    Saint Micheal the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our safeguard against the wickedness
    and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly Pray;
    And do Thou, o Prince of the Heavenly Host- By
    the Power of God- cast into hell satan,
    and all the evil spirits who wander the world
    seeking the ruin of Souls. Amen

  40. @ Leonard you wrote: “I am ashamed to have to say that as a former police officer and father of three fantastic adult children the “allegations” in letter include nothing criminal!”

    1) I highly doubt that you are retired police officer. A LEO would know that the possession of child pornography is a crime.

    In fact, the priest has been charged with three felonies for the child porn. Not only did the priest possess the kiddy porn, he produced it according to the police as they have identified several minor girls from the parish in the photos.

    Yet you defend him as doing nothing illegal. Shame on you.

    Here is the probable cause statement. Read it.

    2) Do two wrongs make a right? How does shifting attention to other cases of child abuse fix the problem in our church? It does not. Calling Catholics would want this evil out of the Chuch ‘demons’ is hilarious and illogical.

  41. George — You need to understand what you read and quote before you respond. What you quote Leonard as saying is that “the allegations in letter include nothing criminal.” Look at that again; “the allegations in letter.” One more time: “in letter.”

    Now go back and reread what is in the letter from the school principal to the vicar general. You will find no mention of child pornography. This means that the diocese had no allegation of child pornography in May 2010. There was no allegation of child pornography until the priest was arrested.

  42. Too many people pay no attention to the sequence of events, and too many people pay no attention to the degree of gravity of various offenses. I, for one, would consider raping boys to be worse than swinging a girl over one’s head, or even possessing child pornography. Yet someone posted a comment mentioning Paul Shanley, as if what this priest did is comparable to what Shanley did. And to think that the diocese was made aware of child pornography by the letter is unfair to the bishop and vicar general.

    Note to Deacon Greg: I tried to post a comment which included both this and my previous one on this thread, and I got an error message saying that the complete comment looked “sp*mmy” and telling me to try again. This has happened once before. Can you explain this nonsense?

  43. @ naturgesetz

    Did you read the ‘letter’?

    The letter said “parents, staff members and parishioners are discussing (Ratigan’s) actions and whether or not he may be a child molester.”

    In the letter, the principal said that a Brownie troop went to Ratigan’s home to plant flowers and an adult chaperone found a pair of girl’s panties inside one of the planters.

    Did you read the probable cause link I posted? Because the allegations go beyond what the poster mentioned.

    Members of the parish were complaining that the priest was photographing small children and wanted to know what he was doing with the photos.

    Bishop Robert Finn publicly admitted he was aware that child porn was on the priest’s computer but did not alert the police for months.

    “In hindsight, we should have turned the pictures over to the police,” Finn said Friday.

    These were not just allegations but cold hard clues of illegal behavior that was covered up.

    Keep defending the priest if you wish, I find the whole situation disgusting.

  44. @ naturgesetz

    “Now go back and reread what is in the letter from the school principal to the vicar general. You will find no mention of child pornography. This means that the diocese had no allegation of child pornography in May 2010. There was no allegation of child pornography until the priest was arrested.”

    Either purposely, or through disinformation, you have mischaracterized the time line of events.

    Bishop Finn admits that he was aware of the child porn images on the priests computer in December 2010 not in May 2011 when the priest was arrested as you wrote above.

    The proof is in black and white.

    “In mid December of 2010, I was told that a personal computer belonging to Fr. Shawn Ratigan was found to have many images of female children,” Bishop Robert Finn said in a statement. “Most of these were images of children at public or parish events. I was told that there were also some small number of images that were much more disturbing, images of an unclothed child who was not identifiable because her face was not visible.”

    Bishop Finn’s own statement – Check
    Date? Mid December 2010 – Check
    How does the Bishop describe the images? “unclothed child” Check

  45. Diocesan leaders gathered as Finn addressed reporters at the Catholic Center when he commented on the regret that things could have been done differently in the past.

    “As bishop, I owe it to people to say things must change,” Finn said. “I must also acknowledge my own failings. Yesterday, I read for the first time a memorandum prepared in 2010 by our principal at St. Patrick’s School.”

    The letter written in May from St. Patrick’s Principal Julie Hess to the diocese outlines four-and-a-half pages of complaints from parents, questioning Ratigan’s behavior with children. It was a letter Finn said he didn’t get until Thursday night.

    “When I read the memo last night, I was flabbergasted at the multitude of inappropriate behaviors that Julie had reported,” Finn said.

    When questioned about why the diocese only described one picture found on Ratigan’s computer in December over the phone to police and why the diocese waited until last week to turn them all in, Finn did not produce a response.

    “Other than what I said, I can’t respond to that further because I don’t know,” Finn said.

  46. A) As to whether the inaction of the diocese showed that decision makers in the chancery were not following their mandated training to identify potential warning signs for sex abuse, Finn replied: “I think that’s a question we have to ask ourselves. If that was the case and why.”

    B) Suicide Note left in December 2010 Admits Abusing Children. Bishop’s Response? Nothing. No call to police.

    “Finn did tell FOX 4 that he should have reported to police in December about Ratigan’s suicide attempt at his Independence apartment, and his suicide note that expresses sorrow for any harm he caused children.”

  47. George — You have supplied detail that was not in the original post. So the bishop was aware of the photos in December. That further information pushes the awareness back from May 2011 to December 2010. Still, there were no actual allegations of child abuse in the May 2010 letter.

  48. I mean, no allegation that on some occasion he engaged in sexual activity with a specific child.

  49. @ naturgesetz

    “Still, there were no actual allegations of child abuse in the May 2010 letter”

    Other than 4 pages of parents and teachers calling Fr. Ratigan a child molester as detailed in the letter.

    Why are you spending so much time defending a pedophile?

    The longer we tolerate priests like Fr. Shawn Ratigan and his enablers like Bishop Finn, the more damage is done to Christ’s ministry both financially and spiritually by turning Catholics away from the Church.

    I think I will start staying away from this blog from now on, I just can’t imagine a place where child abuse is excused away and any one who is critical of it is considered a ‘demon’.

  50. George you twisted my words. Why don’t you read what I said. I said nothing in the letter to the Bishop defined a criminal action. I also said said Pedophile Priests should be defrocted, excommunicated and punished to the full extent of the law. The most charitable thing I can say to you is “get off of what ever you are on” and try to read what I actually said.

  51. George I also think your obsession with a few rotten apples who we all agree are agents of Satan and not true Catholics is unfortunate. Why don’t you spend a little time addressing the 65,000 cases of pedopheilia that occur in America every year that do not involve the Catholic Church in any way? Why are you fixated on 50 or so unfortunate men who posture themselves as priests “each year” in the US who should never have been ordained and who will be weeded out of the Catholic Priesthood? I can’t help but feel that your ilk has no other intention but to deface the good name of Holy Mother Church. God help you. You are obviously not a demon. At least I hope not.

  52. PS. George
    I was a good Police Officer. Your accusation that I was not when you do not know me is the absolute height of ignorance and rudeness. You should learn some manners!

  53. All I can respond to is what I have read here on this blog.
    I can not say anyone is nether right or wrong because I was not there. I believe in the HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH not because what you say but what the Church teaches. I have been part of this Church for more than 60 years and believe in Her. I was touched by a priest, more than once at the age of 16. As of today I would still take Communion from him, if he was still here with us. I believe God has or will deal with him in His own way and it is not for me to say how. I am not a good bible reader but I hire from it every Sunday. I think the verse I want is ROM 12: 15-21 and 13: 1-4. vengeance is mine

  54. love my church, you mentioned that you were “touched” more than once by a priest at 16? And yet you say you would still receive communion from him? You must be one of a select few and most unusual. How is it that you would still have anything to do with him? He was committing a crime, IMO. But it is your body, thus you obviously had the choice of what was allowed to be done to it and by whom. Personally, I’d let God take care of it AFTER I reported it to the authories. You mentioned you are over 60 years, so I guess you weren’t allowed to complain—he was a priest and therefore could do no wrong? Of course, 60 plus years ago, his superior probably would have done nothing in order to protect the church. Sad.

  55. pagansister

    Only God can do no wrong.
    And as I believe, the Church needs no one to protect Her.
    At 16 what was there to complain about. I didn’t even know what life was. My complaint was I wanted the same as every other 16 year old. (I want my drivers lic.).

  56. pagansister

    Look at the people Jesus associated with. One even handed him over for death.
    My body belongs to the Lord. I am to take care of it as long as I have the means. Ponder on the word means.
    If I know something is wrong I try my best to stay away from it or from whom.
    A priest is a priest and has the power given him from God till his death. But he is still a man that can sin. Can I for give sin?
    No but I have to forgive some one that sinned against me.
    I don’t think that is sad.

    AM I stick en up for this priest. I can’t say yes or no it is all hear say. Do I say that being a molester is wrong? Yes

  57. Pagansister,

    Have you ever met a good Priest? Do you think that perhaps your words are hurtful to good Priests? Why are you obsessed with hating the Church over what a very small number of very bad men (they do not deserve to be called Priests) have done. 65,000 people molest children in the USA every year. You do not rage against any other American Institution over these crimes. It is only Holy Mother Church and her Priests that you can think about. Why is that? Why don’t you rail against the societal conditions that cause 65,000 innocents to suffer sexual abuse every year. Why can you only see the 50 or so caused by “so called” Catholic clergymen each year. Why is it only hateful and worthy of your attention if it is Catholic? Are you a bigot?

  58. Frist, Leonard, I do not “hate” the church. If I did I wouldn’t have spent 10 years in a Catholic setting as a teacher. Believe me, it wasn’t for the paycheck.

    Why do I and others talk about the men (aka priests) in the RCC who apparently continue (only some) to molest children? Because this is what the article is about. If it was about other institutions that have the same problem, then they would be the focus of my comments. Does that make sense? If we were discussing the Methodist church, or Rabbi’s or 7th Day Adventists etc, then I would be focusing my comments on their perps.

    To answer your question, have I met a “good Priest”? Yes, 2 out of 3, the 3rd who was, quite honestly, a horrible representation of what a priest stands for. (no alligations of misconduct or anything, he just was an arrogant man and full of “it”.) Those were the 3 that were the parish priests of the church the school was associated with, during my 10 years. Would I let my child be alone with any of them? nope.

    AS to my words being “hurtful” to “good priest”? If they have nothing to be ashamed of, then they shouldn’t be hurt. IMO anyhow.

  59. Pagansister,

    Have you ever met a man who is safe to have around children. I have raised 3 children who turned out great and I have four grandchildren and two more on the way.

    My kids and my grandkids after them all hung on my arms and legs, sat in my lap, fell asleep in my arms, pulled my glasses off, rough housed with me and we are all doing just fine.

    Why don’t you and all of your hypervigilant manhating friends go take a hike and leave us well adjusted, happy normal people alone to muddle along in our normal affectionate ways. Do you have any children or grandchildren. Why don’t you get a life!

  60. Pagansister,

    I have just googled another person who goes by your same “handle” who claims to be a mother and to be married but also claims to be a committed Coven member since birth. If you and she are in fact the same person I can fully understand your invincible ignorance regarding the Catholic Faith and your antipathy towards Catholic Priests.

  61. Leonard: I am not the person you “googled”. What site was the other person on? If I am correct, sites such as this and B’net don’t allow the same “handles” to be used, since one has to register to comment on the sites. I also came to my beliefs much later in life. Not a member of a coven either.

    Happy to kinow that you have kids and grandkids, and they do what you mentioned. You are their grandfather, and should be trusted, not the priest in a parish ( I assume). IMO, a parish priest shouldn’t be having a child’s underwear in his bushes, or having children do what the above priest was observed doing, or having inappropriate pictures of children on his computer. He isn’t family. (usually not everyone’s Uncle, and we assume not their father or grandfather—but?) .
    I have, FYI, met many men I have trusted in my life.

    As for your offer for me to get a life? Thanks, but I already have one—an incredibly good one, 46 years of marriage, 2 grown children and a grandchild. Your concern is touching.
    Have a good day. :o)

  62. Pagansister,

    I am certain you can use google as well as anyone. Just type pagansister in the search box and you will find your alter.

    You say you have a life and who am I to question that. I still do not understand why a Priest can not be a friend to children in your world. Yes there are some bad men that wear a collar but your analysis of the situation seems quite hysterical to me and totally without merit.

    Have a good day as well!

  63. “love my church, you mentioned that you were “touched” more than once by a priest at 16? And yet you say you would still receive communion from him? You must be one of a select few and most unusual”

    Well Pagan, I guess those “select few” are called Christians, real Christians not just in name only. At least they believe the words of Jesus: “forgive us our trepasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us”. Jesus even forgave those who were nailing him to a cross–“they don’t know what they are doing”.
    Perhaps those pedophiles, be they priests or anyone else, really are sick. Do they know what they are doing? Should they be in jail or a mental hospital? I am sure it is hard for you to believe how someone could forgive another who has hurt them, but John Paul II even went to the prison to forgive his would-be assasin.
    The God you don’t believe in is far bigger than our human understanding. Jesus asks us to imitate His mercy.

  64. A priest can be a friend to children—just not have them climb all over him, reach into his pockets etc. His hands do not belong on them (such as liftiing the 5th grade girl over his head! Most 5th graders are not small children (at least not in my experience). In my experience many 5th girls are already starting puberty. As to my reactions to this priest? Hysterical? That is funny. Without merit? The example above is proof of “merit”. I happen to agree with the parents who were worried, and as it turns out, they had good reason to be. Do I consider all priests bad? Of course not. Is the RCC a bad place? Of course not. It has many good points. Unfortunately some priests who had no self control have stained this particular organization/church. Is it the only religious organization with problems in it’s representatives? Of course not—the RCC just happens to be the target of choice due to the continuing uncovering of those poor representatives.

  65. RomCath: Having never had the misfortunate experience of being molested as a child or an adult, I cannot totally relate to the feelings of those who have. However, I do have 2 close family members who were victims , one of a father and step-father’s abuse(mentally and sexually) and one whose husband abused her. Do they forgive? That would be “no”. Have they moved on? Yes, but it never leaves them, and they have been scarred by it. If I had had their experiences would I forgive and forget? Nope. Forgiveness is for those that deserve it—those that betray the trust of a child, no matter who they are, or as “sick” as they might be, do not deserve “forgivness”. Jail or mental hospital then jail—that’s fine. Also, those that have finally come out and gone to the church with the accusations and have had the church compensate them fiancially for their mistreatment—have they forgiven those priests? I’d like to know how many do. Some never got over the priests actions. As for John Paul and his visit to the man who tried to kill him—no disrespect–but that was his job—he had to be an example for what the church teaches. And he probably did forgive him. That’s fine. I’m not that “good”.

    Jesus has a lot of fine ideas, many new thoughts for that time. That too is fine. Not many folks can live up to that example. I freely admit I don’t.

  66. Pagansister,

    If you have read any of my submissions on this article that were not addressed specifically to you, you would realize that most Catholics believe that a non-Priest who abuses childeren is a Judas, a double agent also working for Satan whose sins may (upon true change and repentance) be forgiven and forgotten by God but should never be forgotten by the Church leadership. I believe that you have an unfortunate tendancy to “preach to the choir.”

    I personally believe that non-Priests who betray the trust of their spouse the Church should be defrocted, excommunicated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I also as an American believe that you are innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Civil or Cannon Law. I also believe that if Parents do the job God gave them to do there would be no opportunities for child abuse ever! Lacidasical non-spiritual, parenting and the intense guilt that properly goes along with it; I believe, causes Priests to be scapegoated.

    I raised my kids amid many dangers beyond my control by “forewarning and thus forearming,” them againsts the dangers and by imploring the protection of the the Angels and Saints through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. It worked great even though sadly we had a broken home and I only had liberal visitation. It seemed that things were done and said to villify me during those years and so I can see that the unjust villification of even one good Priest is a great evil. Yes children must be protected. However as a former Police officer I can assure you that any neighborhood that is not “hardened against crime through education and cooperation,” will be victimized sooner or later. Any child that is not hardened against the sin in the world and sadly even in the all too Human Church is much more likely to be victimized. It is far worse however outside of the Church. The devil does not want you to realize that fact, and he unfortunately; I believe, has done a real number on you as he did on me, in my youth.

    Sadly many “phony” Church leaders have been complicit in these evils. The Church in America I believe has been co-opted by the progressive Liberal Elite and is divided between true believers and cafeteria Catholics who will “fall for almost anything.” Pope Benedict XVI is trying hard to root out the evils caused by the world wide infiltration of the “smoke of the Devil into the Church” fortold by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917.

    Sadly, Pagansister, it appears that you have only been exposed to “Cool-Aid” Catholicism and naturally you have “vomited it out.” I sincerely hope that Jesus at the final Judgement does not “vomit you and me both out” for not recognizing and properly honoring his “Bride” in this life here on earth (and the opportunity to be his adopted children for eternity) that is the gift of Our Father in Heaven through the Passion and Death of His Only Begotten Son, for which we owe Him all our filial love, gratitude and devotion. Those who have intentionally hidden the Truth from you deserve to burn in Hell for eternity in my humble unathoritative opinion. Those who failed to show it to you throught ignorance and weakness deserve perhaps only a few hundred thousand years in Purgatory. God Love You.

  67. Leonard: I know you are sincere in hoping I find the Church. I was raised in a Christian faith, by loving parents. All my family (sisters, cousins aunts, uncles etc., but not my children & husband) are devout Christians. However, I did not find what I was being taught to be my truth. As to Satan, or the Devil or whatever you want to call an opposition force to the Church, I don’t believe in that as a real creation. I’m over 60 and I have not called myself a Christian for more years than I want to remember. I have no problem with Christians, Muslims, Jews, or any of the hundreds of faiths/beliefs on this planet. The extremists in religions, who cause harm to others by their words/actions, however, I do not like. But religions/faith makes people happy—just as my beliefs make me happy. I have said this before—-IMO, there is no single church/faith/belief that is THE one. My beliefs come from many other faiths—I take what I find true for me and incorporate it into my life. Weird to some, but that’s the way it is. My children have made up their minds as to what they believe—–life is precious & most certainly good.

    As to my being exposed to “Cool-Aid” Catholicism. I disagree. I saw what I consider the best in the RC school, for 10 years. Those 10 years ended my 24 year career as a teacher. Nothing but good memories from that experience. I had never taught in a Catholic school before that—all had been public.

    May the “bad” priests get what they deserve from whatever source, and may the Church continue to find and remove those who would harm the innocents. Hopefully there will be less and less incidents until there are none. That would be the ideal.

  68. Pagansister,

    Truth is absolute not relative. God will never force you to believe and take away your free will. He is a loving Father but he is also just and will deal harshly with those who spurn His Love and shirk obedience to His Will. God is Just and all evildoers will be punished if not in this life then certainly in the next. If I were you I would hope for Mercy not Justice.

  69. Honestly, Leonard, I’m not worrying about something I don’t happen to believe in, such as life after death & answering to a divine being. If there is something after the energy leaves my physical body, I’ll find out then. Not everyone agrees on Truth and what it is exactly. You have yours, I have mine. Energy is eternal—some may call it spirit or soul—I prefer energy. In my world, my parents energy is still around, and together—their earthly bodies are 6 ft. under. My mother-in-law, who was cremated, and her energy is still about in this vast universe too. A person’s energy leaves at death to return to the universe. My belief that helps sustain me in handling the deaths of loved ones. Loved ones are remembered by those they leave behind, thus never forgotten. Others prefer to think that they have gone to heaven (or hell, depending on the person :o) ) All this to say—priests who molest a child most certainly will pay in the end—their energy will return to the universe—which will then evaporate due to their conduct. Good energy lasts, bad doesn’t. They too will be remembered—but not with love, IMO.

    Take care.

  70. Pagansister,

    My Faith is based on solid verifiable historical facts and a vast wealth of human tradition. Your Faith seems to entirely ignore human history and tradition and accepts unverified intuitive assumptions about psychic energy and requires making huge leaps of faith regarding the benevolence of the Universe. You definitely are a risk taker. Well it has been interesting hearing your views.

    You take care also.

  71. Leonard, you claim solid verifiable historical facts—and human tradition. Those facts wouldn’t happen to come from the Bible would they? The book written by human beings years after Jesus died? Memoires from folks fade as years go by. The stories in the Bible are just that, IMO, some fantastic stories I must admit, with good things, beautifully written and not so good things—-rape, murder, wars, joy, disappointment, multiple wives, adultry, miracles etc. The Bible was written to push an agenda (at least the NT). The OT? Interesting history of the Jews. None really verifiable IMO. Such is life. You are happy in your world, and I know that you are sincere in what you write and wished for me. I’m happy where I am as you obviously are where you are now, and that is excellent. You feel I’m a risk taker—I disagree and have no fear of the future.

    As to the molesting priests—whatever divine being one believes in, HE or She will handle them after their time on this earth is done—meanwhile human law should take care of them now.

    I only wish you the best. :o)

  72. Pagansister,

    Many of the facts are in the Bible but they are authenticated in archeological evidence and secular records as well. As archeology advance more and more Biblical stories have be authencated scientifically. Did you happen to know that the Pope appoints the Academy of Sciences? Did you know that practically every great European University was originally started by Catholics with the help of the Church?

    Did you happen to know Pagansister that Gospels in the New
    Testament came from over two separate and essentially identical handwritten texts. Keep in mind that this was done by people who were being persecuted by the Jews and the Romans and Pagans all over the world. It was done by people who didn’t have word processors or laptops or email. Why would they have done that only to be fed to lions in the colliseum. Did you know that modern historians consider a hstorical fact from the time of Christ to be “verified” if two separate written documents can be found to corroborate the event. The life of Christ has over two thousand such documents. Take your head out of the sand Pagansister. The Divine conspiracy of love is for real. The good news is the bad news is wrong!

  73. Pagansister,
    –OK let’s try that again–something was amiss last try–
    Many of the facts are in the Bible but they are also authenticated in archeological evidence and secular records as well. As archeology advances more and more Biblical stories have been authencated scientifically. Did you happen to know that the Pope appoints the Academy of Sciences? Did you know that practically every great European University was originally started by Catholics with the help of the Church?

    Did you happen to know Pagansister that Gospels in the New
    Testament came from over TWO THOUSAND separate and essentially identical handwritten texts. Keep in mind that this was done by people who were being persecuted by the Jews and the Romans and the Pagans all over the world. It was done by people who didn’t have word processors or laptops or email. Why would they have done that only to be fed to lions in the colliseum. Did you know that modern historians consider a hstorical fact from the time of Christ to be “verified” if two separate written documents can be found to corroborate the event. The life of Christ has over two thousand such documents. Take your head out of the sand Pagansister. The Divine conspiracy of love is for real. The good news is the bad news is wrong!

  74. Leonard: Impressive “facts”. Jesus certainly thought out of the box, and was a great prophet—one of many who have faiths founded on their teachings. As to being “divine”? That IMO is debatable.

  75. Pagansister,

    Did you know the average life expectancy in the Roman Empire in the time of Christ was about 18 years of age. Such was the glorious state of the Pagan world with it’s addiction to blood sport, slavery and debauchery. What is the average life expectancy in Christendom today? Did you know that all of the original 12 apostles gave up everything and died a martyr’s death? Why would a bunch of Jewish fishermen and a doctor or two; who incidentally ran away and hid during and after the crucifiction of Jesus, all of a sudden change and do what they did if they had not actually seen and experienced the Resurrection, the Assention, the Discent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday and the resurrection and Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven. Why did all of the martyrs shed their blood so willingly? Why did Pagan Rome decline and the Roman Catholic Church survive? Why was the Temple of the Old Covenant destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem lost. Yet against all odds Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has steadily continued to transform the entire world and the values of all humanity. I believe that the gates of Hell will never prevail against Her. What other Faith has done more to dignify the weak and the downtrodden IE, women, children, the infirm, the aged. Yes Catholics as individuals sin. But the Church never says, oh that’s ok that’s not a sin. No the Church says it’s a sin and you have to repent and confess and change or you will go to hell. I think that is the way the author of the Universe intended. You can worship things or creatures below the creator and remain a pagan. Or you can worship God the Creator of all creatures IE, including the Universe.

  76. Leonard:
    My calling myself a Pagan is my way of saying I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ. Am not to sure there is a God either. Again, my posting name. Many people choose to call those who don’t find believe in a divine Jesus as pagans, or non-Christians. Heathen was used to describe the Native American’s and tribes who worshipped differently. IMO, that was just plain arrogant. (another topic). Of course there are many religions that don’t consider Jesus divine or special except perhaps as a teacher-prophet, and some of those religions are older than Christianity. They are called by who they are—Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc., not pagan. Of course many Christians think they have THE religion, all others are not legitimate. Oh well. Those other non-Christian religions are, IMO, just as valid and real as the Catholic church is. All have good ideas and not so good ideas.

    But this topic is about the slow response to a priest who was reported to not be behaving in a proper manner with the children. He is finally out of the reach of children. That is good and he should be a great candidate for that hell you speak of.

    No one can really answer your question of why all those folks did what they did? Who the heck knows? People get caught up in things and sometimes just don’t think. Just think, if it weren’t for the Jews, there might not have been a Catholic church? Jesus was killed for his teachings. That makes sense considering the punishment of choice by the government then was hanging the “bad guy” on a cross. I have a huge problem with the rest of the story.

    Having said all that—-I have no problem with those who do believe.

  77. One other thing, Leonard. I don’t “worship” anyone or thing. I don’t expect anyone or thing to do their magic for me to make things better. I do honor many things, but not worship. There is a difference.

  78. Pagansister,

    You are simply an agnostic or perhaps an atheist. A pagan or polytheist is simply one who does not worship a Supreme being but something less than that. I think you may worship yourself or perhaps humanity. In either case you are being illogical because all things and beings had to come into being or be created by some prior cause. Man the greatest achievement of evolution certainly did not and could not create himself and therefor logically owes gratiftude to (the Supreme Being or Uncreated Spirit or Trinitarian God) revealed to a spiritually blind humanity by Jesus Christ; This God who created mankind and everything we dependson for our existence. You simply fail to grasp that you and humanity are not in control and God is in control. Someday “when the lights really go out,” you will learn that God is in control and you are not. As the old saying of soldiers goes, “There are no Athiests in foxholes.” Modern man in the industialized world is not tested the way the ancients were for his survival on a day to day basis. He has grown arrogant and has forgotten his dependence on God. Only when the system breaks down as in a world war or a Tornado or a Tsunami does modern man consider just how powerless and pitiful he really is compared to the Author of the Universe.

  79. Bishop Finn should go to JAIL for reckless child endangerment and aiding and abetting a known pedophile, along with Vicar Murphy and anyone else that knew.

    Catholics are much too soft on child rape. Law enforcement has to take over and throw the Bishop and all other complicit managers in jail.

    Imagine if this happened at a Chucky Cheese Restaurant. An employee had child porn pictures that he took of children inside Chucky Cheese. Management hid the pictures and allowed the employee further access to small children. Customers would boycott and have every manager thrown in jail, all the way up to the CEO.

    We can’t expect the Catholic church to rise to the standards of Chucky Cheese, but they should at least have to follow the basic laws of humanity and the laws of the land.

  80. Leonard: Good Grief! I do not worship myself, that’s a ridiculous statement . Do I worship humanity? That is just as ridiculous. I’ll accept agnostic—not a problem. As for the statemet of No atheists in fox holes? If following one’s beliefs happens to be a Pagan faith, then that could be true, just depends. Fortunately Wiccan’s, Pagans can now have their symbol, a Pentagram, on their headstone in Arlington. I do wear a pentacle, along with a couple of other symbols, one representating my ancestory, Celtic knot and one representating long life, Ankh. Used to wear a cross—stopped in college and gave it to one of my systers. That covers my bases. :o)

    Evolution is a wonderful thing. As to a creator? Like I said, debatable. Yes, we have different challenges in life than our ancestors, but with men (and women) like the ones who built Stonehenge (my sacred place) and other fantastic things like the pyramids, means that the ancestors were pretty darn smart. They handled things dealing with Mother Nature as best they could just like we do now. IMO, that’s not different. Man (and woman) are smart enough to know that in most cases we can’t do much about the weather—-but at least we predict some of it now, unlike the ancestors. BTW, do you think God causes all the tornados, hurricanes etc? Just wondered.

    Patrick O’Malley: Agree a lot with you last paragraph.

  81. Patrick,

    Did you know that 65,000 substantiated cases of sexual child abuse were reported in USA last year alone. The John Jay study found under 2,000 cases of substantiated sexual child abuse case among American Catholic Clergy over the past 52 years. I have stated in three or more previous comments that men who call themselves Roman Catholic Priest who commit sexual acts on children should be defrocted, excommunicated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I believe about 99.99% of American Catholics would agree with me on that. To say that all men who call themselves Catholic Priests in the USA or even any more than a tiny percentage of them are child abusers; as many hystrical voices in the media and the Anti-Catholic Mob, imply is simply a grossly distorted exaggeration. The problem is much larger at “Chucky Cheese” figuratively speaking. If you really care about abused children why don’t concentrate on society at large 65,000 is a much bigger number than 40. Would you agree with that?

  82. Pagansister,

    I think God causes everthing to be in existence including the laws of nature and that God allows nature to take it’s natural course. The exceptions to that rule are called miracles. I’ll bet that you have never studied the scientific and other research that goes into authenticating officially recognized miracles or the canonization of saints.

    I think the Wiccan Religion along with other Pagan religions came into conflict with Catholic Rulers who often acted ruthlessly to supress these Religions. The world was a harsh and ignorant place during the Dark Age. The First Holy Roman Emporer Charlemaigne did not even learn to read until he was in his 40’s. Back then Kings only knew how to kill enemies efficiently. The Church had a hard time preaching the message of Christ back then. Unfortunately it is not much easier today. I know you believe that we Catholics want to supress your religion. Actually I believe if you had a heirarchy the Vatican would be open to dialogue with you.

    Just because we would debate with you on many issues it does not mean we would suppress or persecute you. One issue we would disagree with you on is that there is no Devil. We probably could invite you in on some exorcisms just to prove our point.

  83. Leonard,
    You are correct, I have never studied the science and research that goes into recognizing miracles or the making of a saint.

    The Catholic rulers, like many religions, were indeed harsh and ruthless to the Wiccan and other Pagan religions. It is really a shame that some religions found it necessary to use force against those that believed something different. Agreed, the world was ignorant of a lot of things in the Dark Ages. You say that the Church had a hard time preaching the message then. Yes, but I would certainly think it would be at least a little safer today? As to the Catholics trying to surpress my religion today? I do not feel surpressed.

    I’d love to see/hear a dialogue between the Pope and a high ranking Pagan Priestess/Priest. That would be really interesting.

    As to the Devil, Satan or whatever name an evil force is called—personally I think that was a creation by Christianity to hold over folks as a threat to insure “good behavior”. Perhaps not so much in the RCC, but there has been a lot of fire and brimstone preaching over the centuries.

  84. Pagansister,

    You seem to want to blame everything unpleasant on Christians. The name Satan originated with the ancient Jews. The name meant “the accuser.” You should read the book of Job. You will see that Satan was given permission to torment Job. Also the serpent in the book of Genesis was the devil or Satan. Satan is also believed in by Islam.
    Along the same lines I believe Hindu’s believe in Devils. The demonic was not invented by Christians. There is a whole branch of Theology devoted to Angelology. Devils are fallen Angels. I think you would find it interesting.

  85. OK, Leonard: The Devil isn’t just in Christianity—-that means many religions need some one or thing to blame bad things on or to hold over folks to encourage the behavior the religion thinks is proper.
    Have a good rest of the evening and a great day tomorrow!

  86. Leonard, thanks for the information about Angelology. Does sound like it would be interesting to check out!

  87. Pagansister,

    Actually I think there is alot of evidence in the demonic in modern times. Take the Holocaust by the “sorry no offense intended against you or Wiccan” pagan Natzi Party. Take the Russia’s Gulags, the slaughter of Moa Tse Tung etc. Take the slaughter of innocents by Planned Parenthood via abortion. If you cannot see the demonic at work in these phenomenon perhaps the great accuser and “Father of Lies” has decieved you. By the way isn’t the Pentagram a safe haven from Satan when he is called upon? Or is that just an old wives tale? I believe that Satan is real.

    As a secular police officer in my youth I saw many occult symbols in crime scene photographs. The Police Departments and Academies were definitely not run by Christians in fact many Police Officers belong to Anti-Catholic naturalistic pagan societies. I was at the time somewhat like you an agnostic and also a naive fallen away Catholic. I was never a Wiccan. I do believe that the Devil wants us not to believe in him because we are more vulnerable that way. In war the element of surprise is an important strategic advantage. I believe that the Devil is irrevocable hatred because I; as an ordinary man, can still go to Heaven and he, Lucifer, the angel of light cannot because of his irrevocable free decision to reject God’s plan of salvation.

  88. Leonard:
    To answer your Pentagram question. I have no idea it if protects against Satan or not.

    Up until Medieval times the 5 points of the upright Pentagram represented the 5 wounds of Christ on the cross. It was the symbol of Christ the Savior. The Church eventually chose the cross as a symbol of Christianity. A 5 pointed star was also the star that was supposed to have been the one over Bethleham at the birth of Jesus. With that history I suppose one could say it could be protective.

    A Pentacle (as you probably know) is a 5 pointed star with one point pointed up, and surrounded by a circle. The circle represents the circle of life—the 5 points are (at the top) spirit, then the elements— air, water, earth, & fire.

    In the 20th century Satanists inverted the pentacle and adopted it as their own—however it is most commonly used with the a goat head in a pentagram.

    The inverted pentacle has been used in the past, and not considered an evil symbol. In fact, the United States Medal of Honor has the inverted pentacle included in it.

    I agree there has been a lot of evil, if you will, in the past—probably since the beginning of time. That evil continues today in many countries. You mentioned many above—all examples of horrible human beings doing horrible things to other human beings. IMO, the priests who preyed/prey on children represent evil. Now to blame that on a satan? Human’s are in charge of their own actions—-

    I know you think I have fallen for some deception from the Satan you believe in. I am responsible for my own actions and beliefs. I have no fear of punishment in some sort of “afterlife”. I will find out I guess, but I hope not for a long time. I have too much to do right now. :o)

  89. Pagansister,

    As a Catholic I attribute sins to: the World, the Flesh and the Devil. I can’t say what causes a particular individual to sin. I can’t always identify what causes me to sin. That is why I go to confession and do penance and seek God’s mercy. According to Bishop Finn’s post on New Advent today; as it turns out, along with the priest who has been now arrested another was removed from active ministry. These were the first two such priests removed from active Ministry in that Diocese in the Past twenty years. And yes of course they are personally responsible for their sin. Bishop Finn has also assummed responsibility for poor comunication and poor procedures. If the truth be told the Seminary that admitted these men, and whoever ordained them to the Priesthood bears responsibility as well and perhaps others in the Church heirarchy. It is a big organization. It is a sad day for the whole Diocese of Kansas but as Bishop Finn mentions in his post all of the good work of the Diocese still goes on. I really do not understand why everyone gets so worked up over two “non-priest rejects” when the USA has 65,000 cases of child sex abuse every year and everybody practically ignores and is OK with that!

    PS: Thanks for the info on Wiccan. I do think that Wiccan has a lot to offer believers in terms of a good earthly life. I still believe the Catholic Church offers a similarly rich (perhaps more regulated by the demands of family and the sanctity of Matrimony) earthly life and infinitely more in terms of eternal life.

  90. Leonard:
    Glad to hear the news of the other priest being removed. You wonder why folks get upset about 2 “non-priest” rejects and not over other cases of child abuse. My thought or opinion (and I have mentioned this before I think) is that people place perhaps more trust in a man (or in some cases a woman) who represents the church—and when that trust is broken, then it is harder to take than say that of a representative of another organization. And in the past few years the RCC has been the main target due to all the people who have come forward with their stories—not just in the USA but all over the world —the church has had “evil” priests in all parts of the world. And it makes headlines. As I have also said before—the RCC isn’t the only one whose representatives have mistreated children —no religion is immune to such behavior—unfortunately. Parents, no matter what faith they belong to have to be aware and cautious—-wish it were not so. However I tend to disagree with you that no one cares when other cases come out and ignores it. If it is in the news, I find it hard to believe no one cares. Families have also have the “uncle” and in too many cases the father who mistreated a child. As you indicated, no one can say what causes a particular person to sin. No one is perfect, absolutely no one. We all have our faults.

  91. Pagansister,

    Christ did not come to heal the righteous. He came to call sinners to healing and repentence. The Church is made up of sinners. If there were no sinners in the Church, there would be no Church.

  92. Thanks for the dialogue, Leonard. I think we have covered just about everything that we can on this article, and even left it a few times. If the RCC hadn’t popped up, then I guess we might all be Jewish like Jesus was (or Muslim or Hindu, etc.—-all valid religions.
    Take care. See you either here again(?) or on another article.

  93. Yes! Again they swept it under the rug as Benedict did for manyyears. He will never be my Pope. The College of Cardinals did not do their job. They shouldnever have elected him.

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