by VorJack


In a packed sanctuary that held hundreds, Father Mike, as he was known, stood before the congregation he had led for a dozen years. Reading from a statement, he told them that 19 years ago he had “transgressed the personal boundaries of an adolescent.” (Only later would it emerge that the diocese knew he, in fact, had been accused of sexual misconduct with several other children.) With the diocese’s zero-tolerance policy now in place, he said he was being forced to step down. The tone of his statement made him sound like a martyr—someone who had been kicked out of ministry for a single mistake, a simple boundary violation—nearly two decades ago. As he read his short statement, the parishioners sat in stunned silence. Some women fished in their purses for tissues to wipe away their tears. As Father Mike walked out of the church, the congregation rose and gave him a standing ovation.


When the applause started, my first reaction was disbelief. A standing ovation? Though the language softened the act, I had just heard this priest admit that he had molested a minor. Diocesan officials had kept the information secret from the parishioners of San Francisco Solano, who until now would never have thought twice about leaving their children in the pastor’s charge. As a parent, my response was outrage and disgust. Imagine that a beloved schoolteacher who had taught your children had admitted to once sexually molesting a child but the school district never called the police, kicked him out or bothered to tell the parents. Would you rally around the teacher? Or would you be angry that a predator was left in a position of great trust with easy access to children—without your knowledge? I’d guess that the school superintendent would be forced to resign under pressure from parents—and face criminal charges for aiding and abetting a criminal.
(Losing My Religion. William Lobdell. p. 153-154)


Brady applauded at Armagh mass

The applause that rippled through Armagh’s vast St Patrick’s Cathedral as Dr Séan Brady entered this morning stated in the clearest terms exactly what his parishioners think of their cardinal.

Contained and measured, the spontaneous gesture nevertheless sent out a loud message to those calling for the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to step down.

The majority of the 300-strong congregation applauded him again after his apologetic homily and as he left the magnificent church at the close of St Patrick’s Day mass.

“We didn’t need to clap him,” parishioner Maura McClean said afterwards, “because I think God will applaud him”.

“But that was the reaction of the decent people of Armagh. I think he’s a true genuine person who’s done no wrong.”
(Irish Times)

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  • Custador

    Nothing quite like religion for fanatic loyalty in the face of overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, is there?

    • Jabster

      When the way has been led by the pope with his “I’m only saying I’m really sorry because it’s expected of me but I know that it wasn’t the Churches fault at all” would do you expect? People who are sorry don’t follow their apology with a list of excuses blaming others.

    • MarkD

      Its not religion alone. Many western liberals still view Fidel Castro as a great man. Or Sean Penn and Danny Glover love feast with Hugo Chavez.

      • Matthius

        Which liberals do you know who think Castro is a great man? I’m not aware of many. Yes, he liberated Cuba from the Batistas, but from the get go he didn’t think about doing it particularly democratically (and if he did the US would have called him a commie and launched the bay of pigs anyways).
        I know a lot of people who think Che is a great man, and I used to, but I think that I support his idea of liberating latin america from excess US influence but obviously armed revolution and such isn’t really the way to go.

        • Jabster

          I certainly know a few who may not describe him is a great man but do overlook certain parts of his rule that they wouldn’t do if others acted in the same way. In many ways it seems the same as the reactions to Hugo Chavez i.e. he can do no wrong as he’s standing up to the big, bad old US of A.

          • kat

            maybe they’re dictators and guerilla warriors and they do plenty of bad stuff, but i don’t think che, castro, or chavez ever openly raped children or let friends do so and tried to cover it up. as much of a moral relativist as i can be, this seems like a pretty black and white issue to me: priests raping children = bad. priests covering up for other priests who have raped children = bad. c’mon. seriously. this isn’t politics. it’s children and their safety in the hands of people who are supposedly sworn to uphold a moral code. i don’t think this is even remotely on the same plane as “was che guevara good or bad for latin america?” please.

            • Custador

              Actually one of the most humorous parts of being a mature student is telling all the ultra-socializt dum-dums about Che Guavara’s personal history of torture and murder against women and children. Those posters and t-shirts don’t tend to be on show around me after the first time ;-)

            • Jabster

              “maybe they’re dictators and guerilla warriors and they do plenty of bad stuff, but i don’t think che, castro, or chavez ever openly raped children or let friends do so and tried to cover it up.”

              That wasn’t the question … it was do people/liberals overlook the actions of the likes of Castro, to which the answer from me is yes they can. I didn’t at any point suggest that there was some sort of moral equivalance.

  • Len

    So I guess what the congregation is saying is that they are in favour of child molestation (or worse).

  • DDM

    If I were at the first event and I heard people clapping I don’t think I would be responsible for my own actions afterwards. Disgusting.

    • DDM

      Now that I’ve read further into it, I wouldn’t be in control of my own actions after the second one too.

      • GeekGirl

        Agreed. This makes me so ill.

  • Friedrich

    When does his Castration happen & then when does his Trial begin?

  • nazani14

    Catholics are not the only ones acting this way.
    I have to wonder if there aren’t Hindu and Islamic, etc. religious leaders and teachers doing exactly the same thing.
    My attitude has always been – never trust anyone who seems just a little too willing to spend lots of time with children. This is based on my time as a teacher and as a parent. If you’re fully engaged in teaching or doing sports or other activities with kids, you’re tired and happy to see them leave. You don’t offer to tutor, drive home, let them spend time at your home or workplace, etc. Predators rarely just attack a child, there’s usually a ‘grooming period.’

    • Len

      I just had a quick look at the link – it’s scary. But why isn’t a bigger fuss being made?

      The link is to a website for Baptists in the US – what about elsewhere and for other denominations or other religions?

      • nazani14

        Indeed, why not a bigger fuss? Why isn’t this on the front page along with the Catholic scandals? Part of the answer may be that the Baptist church is organized differently than the Catholic church, allowing each case to be reported as a strictly local event. I do hope that other brave people in other countries and other religions will start their own crusades to expose pedophiles.

    • Question-I-Thority

      This is anecdotal but interesting. My parents are retired Foursquare (pentecostal) ministers so I grew up in that environment. During my childhood the church I was in had at one time a pyromaniac childrens minister and at another time a child molesting youth pastor (he was convicted and sent to prison). And the churches my dad pastored were generally small so they often didn’t have staff.

      • nazani14

        It would be interesting to know if these individuals had been associated with other churches.

  • cypressgreen

    Sadly, I think a combination of factors come into play here.
    1) There’s more than one born ever day.
    2) People don’t like to admit they are / may be wrong about something so large and serious. Even on little things they don’t .
    3) This is all happening within an organization that promotes faith, a belief without proof, and encourages one to idolize the leaders.
    4) This is all happening within an organization that constantly preaches the necessity for forgiveness. After all, if god could forgive Hitler (sorry to drag him in), certainly they *should* forgive their idolized leader for his ‘little’ mistake. Right?
    5) People are comfortable in the church, have friends there,. People generally don’t like change, so are likely to stay.
    6) The serial murderer on TV always has neighbors on camera saying, “But he was such a nice, quiet guy!” People like to believe evil lives at least several miles away. (And if they get a new house across town, evil moves out! LOL) It can be world shaking when your sense of the security of you world is shown to unfounded.

    I plan to discuss this all more at length with my catholic sister, and while I don’t doubt she believes all the credible charges, I DO doubt she’ll leave the church.
    Why? Because she’s comfortable there, and in her mind she can probably disconnect her home parish from the evils of the institution. Most American catholics don’t pay attention to the pope anyway.
    I have kept her up to date with these stories (my brother-in-law is totally on my side) and recently suggested thru email that it’s time for her to find a new church.

    • Matthius

      I hope she does.
      I used to think that about my old church, because I did and and still do really appreciate the intelligence and humor and everything else about the two priests I grew up with, and though our former bishop was accused of molestation, my priests mostly dealt with adults while student leaders handled the kids (liberal campus church).
      However, I don’t think that my one church excuses catholicism, and I think, morally, if those priests love their work they should leave and join a less molester-friendly institution.

      • Twin-Skies


        I received a similar reply from a friend of mine with the Jesuit order. While he deals with high school kids at the local school (Jesuit-run), it’s restricted mostly to helping plan recollections and giving speeches on dealing with adolescence.

        The way he sees it, he’d rather stick to helping run the local school and outreaches as professionally as possible, and he does hope the priests responsible get jailed, and kicked out.

  • Fearglic

    The common response from mass goers that I get when church members wrongdoing of anykind is mentioned is that there are individual bad apples. That we must be forgiving. That the greater good of catholicism should prevail. It saddens me. Occassionally I get older people who ate regular confession and Mass goers admit that it’s the priest that should neconfessing to
    them. Not vice versa. That heartens me. Unfortunately the mass flock are self- blinkered and totally brain washed into accepting the hiearchy’s word on anything. Hypocrites they may me. I admit I fear them. Although I am increasingly encouraged by the growing realisation that they fear us more as their fairytale world is exposed.

    • cypressgreen

      “Occasionally I get older people who ate regular confession and Mass goers…”

      They are taking that christ-cannibalism thing just a little too far!!!!!

    • Revyloution

      I enjoyed the movie Grand Torino by Clint Eastwood, but it missed the mark on religion. They started to insult the Catholic Church, but backed off towards the end.

      The first few conversations between the 20 something priest and Eastwood were sharp, thoughtfully and quite funny. By the end of the movie, it was more of the cheesy cliche with the priest having some source of infinite wisdom just because he has a black shirt with a funny collar.

  • Fearglic

    Please escuse the typo errors. The iPhone isn’t ideal for this.

    • cypressgreen

      he he, you made me laugh! Thanks! You are escused!

    • Revyloution

      What is the iPhone ideal for?

      Palm Pre with physical keyboard and spell check FOR THE WIN~!

      >Runs off manically laughing

  • Cletus

    Something is deeply and dreadfully wrong with these people.

  • Thegoodman

    These types of stories amaze me. I understand that church goers are easily influenced and by nature not skeptical, but come on.

    “I’ve been committing a crime for years. I tried to hide it but I got caught. Now I am publicly apologizing because I am being forced to do so by my employer. That being said, I am truley, really, really, really sorry. I promise I am. I am a man and I struggle with demons like everyone (albeit, i acted on my impulses and have ruined countless children’s lives and robbed them of their innocence) and now I must face god. JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED.”
    *que applause sign

    WTF kind of moron would applaud one of these assholes. Next time a priest has a confessional sunday, I want to stand next to him with a huge sign and an arrow that points at him saying “<— Pedophile". Its unreal how easily influenced the congregation is into forgetting how horrendous of a person he is.

    I volunteer to be standing on the church stoop when he exits the building. As he turns to wave good bye to his revenue source, I will surprise him with a punch to the side of the face. The congregation will gasp but quickly remember that he is a pedophile. I'll yell "God made me do it!" as I run off down the street.

    • cypressgreen

      Would that be:
      >Runs off manically laughing?

      • Revyloution

        Look two posts up Cypressgreen, I think you were channeling me.

  • Revyloution

    I think everyone is missing the point. These people aren’t applauding the priest, they are applauding themselves. They are applauding their deep faith, how nothing can shake it. They are feverishly cheering, because the noise drowns out their own doubts. Anyone who might have sat stone faced and angry already left the church, and they aren’t coming back.

    Lobdell’s example of the school is off the mark. School is mandatory, everyone is told their children must attend. People don’t have the kind of faith and love for their school that they do for their church. If a school is failing, people will throw the administrators, the teachers and even the janitors under the bus faster than you can say “The bond didn’t pass”.

  • Custador

    Here’s the latest show-stopper from the Vatican.

    Apparently complaining about the church’s history of raping children is equivalent to anti-semitism. What planet do these fuckers live on? Seriously?

    • Paul

      One that is only 6000 years old….
      Arguably the oddest part was this turn around:

      “Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, of the American Jewish Committee, called Father Cantalamessa’s comments ‘an unfortunate use of language’.”

      Apparently Cantalamessa is only guilty of a slip of the tongue… He also said the letter was from a “Jewish friend.” So either he decided to protect his friend’s name from backlash, implying he knew the implication of his words; or fabricated the letter in attempt to win sympathy.

      • Custador

        I’m going to have to guess here, but I’ll take “lying out of his arse” for ten points, please!

  • Roger

    I just cannot wrap my head around the banality of all this.

  • JohnMWhite

    I feel ill reading that.