Survivors_Lecture by xiangpeng


									                           ELEPHANTS IN THE LIVING ROOM

                                SURVIVORS’ EDUCATIONAL FORUM
                                            SS. SIMON & JUDE
                                             WESTLAND, MI
                                         MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2007

INTRODUCTION                                                                    BISHOP TOM GUMBLETON

I want to welcome Barbara Blaine and Jon Schoonmaker, both survivors of clerical sexual abuse. I want to
thank our speakers, for what they are about to do is very difficult. We will hear from Jon first, then Barbara.

Jon grew up in Toledo, Ohio and attended a Catholic school. He did his college work in Findlay, Ohio
where he received an MS degree in counseling. He works in youth ministry and has led workshops in that

Barbara Blaine I‟ve known since she was a teenager. She worked in the Pax Christi office in Chicago.
Barbara also grew up in Toledo. She attended St. Louis University where she received a B.S. in sociology
and an M.Div. She then received a law degree from DePaul in Chicago. She is well known as the founder
and president of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Both faced difficult situations facing the Church. We are pleased and honored to welcome them.

A TIME TO LISTEN                                                                       JON SCHOONAKER

I stumbled into the criminal sexual behavior of Fr. Joseph Schmelzer, a Catholic priest of the Diocese of
Toledo, when I was sixteen.

Early in life I realized that I had a heart for serving God‟s people and, being Catholic, decided to explore the
possibility of the priesthood. At the time, my adolescence was in full-bloom with the characteristic
awkwardness and confusion. For me, that awkwardness and confusion was compounded by memories of
inappropriate sexual touch by a family member as a small child. I was vulnerable and desperately needed
someone to guide my discernment and bring insight to my struggles. While on a youth retreat, I came to
know Fr. Schmelzer. He was charismatic, affirming and affectionate.

Father Schmelzer entered into my life and became, in his terms, my “spiritual director.” He quickly initiated
meeting times that were personal and intense. He enthusiastically affirmed the direction of the priesthood
for me; he allowed me to voice the painful memories of my childhood for the first time; and he accepted me
even in my awkwardness and confusion. In a short time I came to trust him implicitly. However, slowly and
methodically, he manipulated my deep trust in him and destroyed the boundaries of moral, loving,
appropriate and legal touch.

It retrospect, it is clear that for two years I was sexually desensitized and groomed. In retrospect, it is clear
that I was sexually violated by his frequent, unsolicited touch and overly affectionate contact with me. At
one point I reported Fr. Schmelzer‟s actions to another trusted priest. He assured me that I was in no
danger and that Fr. Schmelzer‟s actions were merely the misguided affections of a lonely man. I continued
to trust.

At the age of eighteen I left for the seminary – a little less awkward, a little more confident – yet, still very
naïve. My experience at St. Meinrad Seminary was devastating. I witnessed blatant homosexual activity
and alcohol abuse on campus. I suffered through one semester and never went back.

Upon my return from the seminary, in late December 1985, I sought the consolation of Fr. Schmelzer. He
invited me to come and spend New Year‟s Eve with him at his rectory in Custar, Ohio. I accepted his
invitation. The early part of the evening was spent in talking; and then he offered me alcohol. I had never
had alcohol before and, after his intense manipulative insistence, I accepted. Later that evening, after my
defenses had been deliberately muted, Fr. Schmelzer raped me.

I immediately cut off all contact with him, stuffed the experience away, and tried to pull my life together. I
still had a heart for serving God‟s people; so, because I was Catholic, I looked to the Church for ministry
options. I discovered a natural gift for youth ministry and quickly established an outstanding reputation in
the diocese. After six years in ministry, I began to see that both ministry and social relationships in my life
were being negatively impacted by poor self-esteem, self-hatred, an inability to trust, a fear of sexual
intimacy, and isolation. At that time Barbara Blaine, the founder of SNAP, began speaking publicly about
her abuse by a priest. As I followed her story, all that I had stuffed away began to emerge.

In 1992 I entered counseling, shared my story with my parents, and made a report to the Diocese of
Toledo. Because we were good Catholics, my parents and I quietly took my complaint to Bishop Hoffman,
who pledged to bring resolution to my situation. After months of meetings and internal investigations, the
Bishop instituted several mandates that he assured me would protect others from Father Schmelzer. My
parents and I trusted Bishop Hoffman. I felt satisfied and moved on with my life.

Over the next ten years I found healing. I married, created a family, recorded two albums of Catholic
music, secured employment as a youth minister in the Diocese of Lansing, and began to expand my youth
ministry reputation at the national level.

And then along came January 2002 and BOSTON.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder began to plague me. All of the emotion baggage that I
thought I had moved beyond returned. The cover-up in Boston made me question if children had been
protected from Father Schmelzer following my complaint ten years earlier. I did some investigating and
could no evidence that Father Schmelzer was held to even one of the mandates issued by Bishop
Hoffman. Because I was a good Catholic I respectfully registered my outrage with Bishop Hoffman, who
could offer no explanation. He suggested that I present my complaint to the Diocesan Review Board that
was formed per the Dallas Charter. After months of stall-and-delay in the formation of this Board, I could
stay silent no longer.

With integrity, I relinquished my anonymity for the sake of protecting children and healing the Body of
Christ. I truly believed that once the Church understood the truth, it would embrace the truth and act with
compassion and justice. I could not have been more wrong!

I was totally unprepared for the re-victimization by the Diocese of Toledo and the Diocese of Lansing that I
would experience because I chose to speak the truth:
 After its formation, I reported my abuse to the Diocesan Lay Review Board. This Board unequivocally
    concluded that Fr. Joesph Schmelzer is “a risk to the Church and society at large,” and they
    recommended his immediate removal and placement in sex offender treatment. However, the Diocese
    of Toledo reported that the findings of the DLRB were inconclusive and placed Fr. Schmelzer on a
    leave of absence. Schmelzer appealed this decision to the Vatican.
 I was forbidden to speak about my story in my church of employment – the home parish of my family. I
    was told that whatever the parishioners needed to know they could read in the newspapers. Vicious
    rumors began and our home church no longer felt like a place of sanctuary.
 The Chancellor of Toledo publicly mischaracterized me on the radio and implied that I was lying about
    my abuse. He has never apologized.
 Members of the church where Schmelzer was serving when he was placed on leave began a campaign
    of attack against me and my credibility. This campaign was led by a lay pastoral leader who was also a
    licensed counselor. I was sent threatening letters; members of the church where I was working were
    sent letters, the Bishop of Lansing was sent letters; and my pastor was sent letters. Members of his
    church even called into the local radio station in my town and called me a liar… the radio station would

    not give me an opportunity to respond. I pleaded with the Diocese of Toledo to intervene; and they
    refused. The State of Ohio did intervene on my behalf and formally reprimanded the lay pastoral
   I filed a civil law suit against the Diocese of Toledo; and the following day, I was forced from my youth
    ministry job and blacklisted from providing freelance ministry in the Diocese of Lansing. Just a week
    ago, I was told by a diocesan employee that I am not welcome to minister in the Diocese of Lansing.
   Priests who stood with me in both Toledo and Lansing have abandoned me. One told me that he
    cannot be associated with me because it would jeopardize his standing with other priests in the
   The Diocese of Toledo offered to settle my civil lawsuit. The non-economic conditions I asked of the
    Diocese were that they would fully implement the recommendations of their DLRB, that the Diocese
    would provide all documents pertaining to my complaint to me, and that the diocese would alert all
    parishes where Schmelzer has served that their children were at risk. The Diocese refused all of these
    conditions and offered me $12,000. to go away. Totally defeated, I took my money and gave it to a
    bunch of teens to go on a mission trip.
   Two days ago, the Vatican denied Schmelzer‟s appeal and he was removed from public ecclesiastical
    ministry. However, the Diocese of Toledo publicity announced that he resigned.

Thank you. [Applause]

A TIME TO LISTEN                                                                            BARBARA BLAINE
I want to tell you all that I‟m really happy to be with you. I want to thank you for inviting me to come to
speak; and I want to thank you for being here to face and confront such an incredibly painful topic that has
clearly touched the lives of everyone in this room, and I daresay, every Catholic in America. I believe that
your openness and compassion speaks volumes, and I want to sincerely thank you, because I want you to
know that for decades, those of us who were abused by priests had no idea that anyone like you would
care about us. So knowing that so many of you came out today on a cold day, and I‟m sure there‟s millions
of things back at your offices and on your desks and back at your homes that clearly call for your attention.
And so thank you so much for being here and for listening.

Before I begin talking to you, I just want to flag these three things – and I want to point out before anything
that when people talk about the sex abuse scandal as being history, I want to point out to you that it‟s not
history. This is happening right now. These are three instances that happened within the last sixty days.
We‟re talking about current 2007.

First, in January over in Fresno, California there was a civil trial, Father Swearington, was returned to
ministry. He was found guilty by the jury. There was two parts to the questions to the jury: whether or not
the priest actually abused the boy first; and then second, whether or not the church leaders and the
diocese had knowledge that this guy was a predator. So they couldn‟t come to a decision on the second
part as to whether or not the church had knowledge, but they did determine that the boy had been abused
by the priest. But the bishop decided that he knew better than the jury. The bishop sat through a couple of
hours of the trial. The jury sat through seven days of the trial and the jury found him guilty. But the bishop
claims “He‟s not guilty. He‟s innocent. And so he‟s put back into ministry.” And that was just last week.

Now a couple of months ago, just in November, in Los Angeles, there was a lay Catholic teacher from a
prominent Catholic family teaching in the high school, and there were allegations made against him. The
police were doing their investigation. And for six months Cardinal Mahoney and the school principal and
other officials in the archdiocese knew that there were credible allegations against this teacher. But rather
than warn anyone, they left him in ministry. Then, when the priest was arrested, then the parents from the
school were saying, “Why didn‟t you tell us? Didn‟t you know about this?” And the guy from the
archdiocese, Todd Hamburg, the PR person, he comes out and says, “Well, we didn‟t tell, because the
prosecutors asked us not to.” And then, the next day, in the paper there‟s the prosecutors issuing a
statement saying, “That‟s not true. We never told them to keep it quiet. We never asked them to keep this
man in ministry.”

The third one is something that just happened last week. This actually happened in St. Louis, but it‟s got a
connection to Yakima, Washington, because a newspaper writer there, a journalist, wrote a story saying
that this Father Darrell Mitchell had been found with photos of nude children – of boys – and that they were
found on his computer, and that, even in spite of that, he was now working at a parish with a school in St.
Louis. And they checked it out, and sure enough it‟s true. He‟s working at the parish in St. Louis. And
then what‟s so sad is that that‟s the same parish where another predator had been found working just
recently as well.

So when we talk about the scandals as being history, I just want to point out, that it‟s not true. It‟s
happening right now today. And we gotta bring this home. Is Larry Mulligan here? (Larry Mulligan is an
attorney from Muskegon, MI, who is an advocate for survivors.) All right, he couldn‟t be here, but he
handed me this newspaper article that I put up here; [Overhead] but you know, this is Michigan; this is
Grand Rapids. The priest was removed from ministry on January 9 . Do you know when the diocese
found out, and when he admitted that he abused a child? 1993! But he wasn‟t removed until January 9,
2007 and what the bishop is saying is that he was combing through some records and found this admission
in the file so he looked into it and decided he had to remove the priest. I‟m not sure that I believe that, but I
do believe that, given this now, we think all the bishops in Michigan should be combing all their records for
obvious reasons. (Quiet laughter)

So this is me and my family in Toledo, Ohio, St. Pius Easter Sunday. The tradition in the Blaine family is all
the girls get a corsage. So there we are [Overhead} dressed for Mass and heading off to church –
traditional Catholic family. Remember, most of you were alive back then – remember 1961? Do you
remember the excitement; you remember how fun it was to be Catholic. We were beginning the Second
Vatican Council. I was only in kindergarten, going into first grade, but at any rate, it was an exciting time,
and I grew up in that era. And we were proud to be Catholic. Remember, we were coming out of this era
where people felt inferior to be Catholic. But in the environment I grew up in, it was something to be proud
of. And the whole lives of my family evolved and focused on that parish at St. Pius X. Everything we did,
almost in our family life, was rooted in the Church and my parents were extremely involved, as you all were
– from the Holy Name Society, the Altar and Rosary Society and there was a choir for the kids and my dad
coached the boy‟s baseball – back then they didn‟t have girl‟s baseball or softball - remember those days
too? (Laughter)

Anyway, the bottom line is that our lives focused around the Church; and priests were just magical. They
were so close to God – and wasn‟t that the best thing on earth, to be close to Jesus, to be close to God?
And in that era our family became friends with the priests in our parish. We had the Oblates of St. Francis
de Sales at St. Pius; and it was always exciting that the priests came over to our house; and they did that
frequently. And we as kids had mixed feelings about it, because when the priest was coming over, we had
to clean up the house, get out the good china, and those kinds of things. But at the same time – remember
in the late sixties when everyone started having home Masses – and my sisters and I, like many of us in
the family group you saw earlier, we all learned how to play the guitar, and became like central figures in
the folk group in the parish. So music obviously was a big part of our family life; and it was all liturgical
music. It was the only kind of music we knew how to play. And we played that, and it was very exciting for
us and my dad would invite neighbors over when the priest was coming for Mass; and he couldn‟t have
been prouder, you know to invite the neighbors, when the priest is coming to our house and then the girls
could all play the guitar, and have the music for the Mass. It was great!

Now the priest on your right [Overhead] is Father Chet Warren; the priest on the left is Father Kern
Brennen. The priest on the right, Father Chet Warren, is the priest who sexually abused me. The abuse
began – this was my seventh grade photo [Overhead] – this was the age I was when the priest began to
sexually abuse me. I never told anyone; and I didn‟t even have words to tell. All I knew was, that it was
extremely confusing; that it hurt! I can remember, so distinctly, the very first time he abused me. He had
asked me to stay after Mass on a Sunday. I was one of a group of girls that did all the kind of, what would
you call it, well we did the kind of grunt work in the parish. The boys were the altar servers and had all the
glory; but behind the scenes, it was the girls that had to, like … we had to get an iron with the brown paper
bag to clean up the wax that they spilled all over the carpet on the altar. And we cleaned all the vigil lights.

We changed the vigil lights; we cleaned the glass things; we did the – what do you call them: the finger
things? the towelettes?, ah! the purificators. And anyway, we did all that; we washed them; we ironed
them; we put them away; and we also got out every Sunday all the stuff for the baptisms, which took place
after the noon Mass on Sundays. And then, one of us always had to stay after; and when the baptisms
were over, we put everything away.

So, on one of those Sundays, Father Warren invited me to have dinner with the priests; and you know of
course, I go running to my mom and my dad and, “Is it okay if I stay? Can I go to dinner with the priests?”
And, you know, my parents think, like, this is wonderful. And I remember my mom‟s big concern was that
she wanted to make sure that I watched my manners at the dinner table. So, you know, we had dinner;
and they had cloth napkins, and its all very fancy; and there‟s, you know, a housekeeper that waits on
everybody. And I‟m sitting at this fancy table; and when it was all over, the other priests left the rectory and
went about whatever they do on Sundays; and we were in the living room watching TV.

And then, Father Warren got up and started closing all the curtains; and he told me all kinds of bizarre
things. He told me how he could tell that I was closer to Jesus than the other kids. He told how he knew
that I had these feelings for him like he had for me – which I didn‟t have a clue what he was talking about.
And then he proceeded to touch me, kiss me under my clothes, taking clothes off – all that kind of thing –
and my response at the time – I was so confused – and my response was, like, just to go numb. I didn‟t
say anything. I was, like, frozen. One thing I remember him saying was to, “Stop shaking, Barbara; I‟m not
going to hurt you.” So I guess I was shaking; but the rest of me was frozen – not moving – and in my mind
though I was like shouting out and screaming, “Stop! No! Don‟t touch me there! Don‟t do that!” But, no
words came out.

And when it was over, he said that he apologized and he told me that it would never happen again. And I
believed him; and I was so confused and frightened, and I felt so guilty; and I felt dirty and ashamed; and
he didn‟t have to tell me, but he did tell me, of course, not to tell anyone; and he had so many reasons as to
why I shouldn‟t tell anyone. But the kind of upbringing that I had come to by that point, I don‟t believe he
had to threatened me, I wouldn‟t have told, I don‟t believe.

So, it wasn‟t until I was on one of those weekend high school retreats as a senior in high school. In our
diocese in Toledo we all went to Carey, Ohio, at the shrine. I don‟t know if any of you have been there, but
anyway, they had these retreats for kids called “Teens Encounter Christ,” the TEC Retreats. You guys
have those up here? So on that retreat – remember: it‟s Vatican II; we just started face to face confessions
– and so on the TEC retreat – you know, it was kind of like the more modern and progressive priests were
there – so, of course, it was expected that the kids would do this face to face thing.

So, mind you, throughout the years when he started to abusing me – it was the summer of ‟69; it went on
until I was a senior which was in early ‟74 – and many times during those years he always made me go to
confession – not to him. Now in Toledo, there is not a Catholic church on every other corner. And in the
kind of family environment that I came from, we as children were monitored pretty closely. We couldn‟t be
gone for a couple of hours at a time without having an explanation as to where we had been. So, here was
me, as this kid, I was so confused and torn, knowing that my mom and dad were these kinds of Catholics –
maybe like many of you, the lay people here, that go to Mass everyday. My dad has since died, but my
mom still does that. So my mom and dad would come to Mass every evening at 5:00; and I always met
then at Mass; and it would be really noticeable if I didn‟t go to communion. But how could I go to
communion, when there had been this sexual thing; so I had to somehow get to confession, and I would
have to lie about where I was, or what I was doing, or why I needed a car, or where I was going off on my
bicycle to the other side of town just to go to confession. So anyway, that had gone on for years.

But on this high school retreat, confession it was a little different in that now I‟m going face to face; and on
that retreat I told the priest, in confession, what Father Warren and I had been doing, assuming it was all
my fault. And so the priest‟s response to me is: “Barbara, Jesus loves you. Jesus can forgive anything.”
Now, I‟m trusting that you see that as a really sick response; and a more appropriate response would have
been: “Barbara, you don‟t have anything to confess. You didn‟t do anything wrong. We‟re going to have to
call your parents; and we‟re going to have to call the police.” That would be the appropriate response. But

the response that I got, as sick as it sounds – telling me that Jesus loved me and that I was forgiven – gave
me enough hint of self-esteem that I could go back to St. Pius, and back home, and tell Father Warren,
“We‟re not doing this anymore. We‟re not going to get to heaven if we continue to do this.” And so that
ended this four and a half years of sexual abuse by the priest.

So eventually I moved on with life. I did what you do, and tried to deny the pain, and the guilt, and the
shame; and I suppose, like John, I wanted to be a minister in the Church. I left Toledo right after high
school, and joined a volunteer program with the Sisters of Mercy, and worked with them in Jamaica. I
entered the Sisters of Mercy – well I only stayed one year in the Sisters of Mercy – but mostly…anyway it
was a great experience for me to really grow up in many ways; but in many ways, I recognized too that
what I was doing was running away from the pain and running ways from this evil in a sense.

But I always kept the secret and never told anyone until the summer of 1985, which was the summer when
the NCR had the first articles, written by Jason Berry, talking about sexual abuse of altar boys. And what
that did was, it triggered for me an onslaught of emotions that I didn‟t understand then, but I know now,
those were symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. So I thought I had made it, you know the little girl
from Toledo, Ohio. I had gotten a job in Chicago working at Pax Christi, and then I had moved into the
Catholic Worker House, and was like working for justice and working for peace, and I thought life was
great. But for no reason, in the middle of the day, I would just start crying, or something would come up in
our house that I should have this much anger, and I „d have this much anger; and it frightened me, and I
didn‟t know what it was about.

So I talked to one of the people that I kind of looked up to at the Catholic Worker house at that time, a
woman named Edwina Gately. Do you all know who she is? So I talked to Edwina, and Edwina‟s, like,
“Barbara, you need to get some treatment and some help;” and she said, “What you‟re describing is,” you
know, “you‟re having Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” She had all this insight, okay? And she‟s telling me,
“You need to face this and confront it;” and, “you‟re an incest survivor.” And I‟m, like, “Edwina, you‟re not
listening to me; it‟s not my dad; it was this priest.” And she then tried to educate me and help me to
understand that the same consequences for the victim are similar, if you were abused by someone in your
family, or someone, like, in the church or the school. The issue is whether it is someone you as a child
have put your trust in.

So anyway, over time I started attending self-help support groups in Chicago for women who had been
abused as children; and most of the women in these support groups were abused by family members or
coaches. No one else in the group had been abused by a priest. So I decided – it was the 80s, self-help
was big – that I‟d start a support group for survivors. So I did that; and the bottom line is that I found other
survivors who had been abused the way I was.

But I also wanted to tell you that what I also did in that summer – it wasn‟t until the fall of 1985 – was, I
mustered all this courage, came home to Toledo, and told my mom and dad about having been abused,
which was monumental for me to muster that kind of courage. I didn‟t know how they were going to
respond; and I can tell you that they were great; and one of my dad‟s first responses was, “We‟ve got to
report this to the bishop.” So we did that; and we reported it to the Provincial and to the Provincial Council
of the Oblates; and the response was basically the same that John had with Bishop Hoffman. We were
with Bishop Hoffman – I guess it would have been a few years earlier, we went there in 1985 – and the
interesting thing is that Bishop Hoffman told me that I was the first one to ever come forward who had said
to have been abused by Father Warren. But also, I was the first one in the whole diocese to have ever
reported sexual abuse by a priest.

Now the kind of Catholic that I am, I believed him; my mom and dad believed him. He promised that Father
Warren would not be permitted to be around children, and that he would be monitored, that he would get
help and treatment. And it wasn‟t long after that that they had transferred Father Warren; and he was
working at St. Vincent‟s Medical Center, the big Catholic Hospital in downtown Toledo; and he was the
chaplain at the hospital. Well, I‟ve since learned that hospital chaplaincy is a common place to send
predators, because there‟s this misguided belief that they‟ll be monitored, because there are so many
technicians and nurses that come into the patients rooms. At any rate, that was the response that I

received from the Church. And even in the process at some point, because I had met Bishop Gumbleton,
and he even joined in and tried to help me to intercede with Bishop Hoffman at certain points along the
way. He was extremely supportive and helpful to me and to my family. However, I don‟t know that it
succeeded in moving Bishop Hoffman in any way.

I can tell you that in 1991 I got a phone call over in Chicago, and I was living at the Catholic Worker – and if
you know Catholic Worker‟s you know we have no resources – and so I hear Dad‟s been taken to the
emergency room; they think he had a stroke. And so all I wanted to do was like find a way to get to Toledo
and go be with my Dad. And so, I scrounged around and made phone calls, and found someone who
would lend a car for a couple of days, and then I drove off to Toledo not knowing the whole way: “Is dad
going to be dead or alive when I get there?” So in all that emotion, I arrive at the hospital, and my dad‟s
sitting up in the bed, and so I was relieved, and so we were talking for a few minutes, and then he said that
he wanted to make sure that Father Warren didn‟t come down and try to visit him, which Chet Warren
would do.

So I called the head of – I‟m standing next to my dad‟s bed, and I‟m using the phone in the hospital room –
and I called the Chaplain‟s office and I asked to talk to the director; and, you know, they tell me who the
Director is, and they put me through to her. So now I‟m talking to this nun, and I said, you know “Sister, will
you keep Father Warren away from my family. Keep him away from my dad.” And so the nun said, “Well
sure, but can you tell me why?” So I said, “Yeah, I‟m the one.” She said, “You‟re the one what?” And I
said, “Sister, I‟m the one who reported him for the sexual abuse.” And she said, “I don‟t know what you‟re
talking about.” And I said, “But Sister, Bishop Hoffman said that you‟re monitoring Father Warren to make
sure he doesn‟t abuse any more kids.” And she said, “Bishop Hoffman‟s never told me any of this.” And
she said priests here are not monitored by anybody. They do what they want. “I run the chaplain program,
but the priests are completely independent here.” So my dad is hearing me talking to this, so I think that
this innocence for me was shattered that day; and when we realized that we had been duped, he wasn‟t
being monitored at all.

And what happened not long after that – and by the way, the next day, or that same day, we got news that
my dad was diagnosed and had six months live; and that‟s just about how long he lived – and he died in
November. And then in January, the Toledo Blade did a story about me, and told about how I had started
this support group, SNAP, and that I had actually been over in Washington confronting the bishops over
there. Back in the early 90s we naively thought that the reason that the bishops were treating us so terribly
is, because they just didn‟t know any better. So we thought we would go tell them what our experience
was, and we would educate them, and then they would do things right. So we were naïve back then. But
anyway, we went to Washington. So this reporter writes a story, and it comes out in the Toledo Blade on a
Sunday in January 1992.

So that day – my mom still lives in that same house back in Toledo in St. Pius parish - my mom‟s at home,
and the phone starts ringing and probably, I bet, there were at least seven to ten women called my mom‟s
house that day to report that they too had been abused by Chet Warren. But the real clincher was this: one
of those girls who called was Christine; and Christine said she had reported Father Warren back in 1973.
And then one of the girls was Shelly – her maiden name was Travik – and she was a couple of years older
than me – she was in my brother Jim‟s class – and she said, “Well Barbara, I‟m the one that reported it that
made him leave St. Pius. After I reported it, they made him move up to Michigan.” You know, he used to
work in your diocese, by the way, over there in Taylor, Michigan, at St. Paschal‟s. But at any rate, the thing
is that that day we found out that that had also been a lie. Other girls had been reporting him as early as

Now he wasn‟t removed from ministry until 1992; and at that point he was removed from ministry in
September of 1992; and the reason was because on – well I would … this is why I think they did it; you can
draw your own conclusions – but I called them on a Friday and I told them that I had been invited to be on
the Ophrah Show; (Laughter and Clapping) and I told them, you know, I‟m taking that invitation and I‟m
telling. So I called the bishop; I called the Provincial; and I called the Risk Management at the hospital.
So, sometime over that weekend, he was removed from ministry in 1992, even though they knew he was
sexually abusing girls as early as 1969.

So one of the things that happened in SNAP is that we, as survivors, starting find each other. And there
wasn‟t an internet back then – you all remember those days; actually you all remember when we didn‟t
even have color TVs, right? (Laughter) (Overhead) So the bottom line is that the mission of SNAP is to do
two things: help survivors heal; and help prevent future abuse. (Overhead) And this is just a group of some
of us, of some of the survivors of sexual abuse by priests, who have joined SNAP. These are childhood
photos at the age we were when the priests abused us.

One of the things that happened in one of our early meetings was, we were all sitting around and sharing
our stories and in an environment where it was extremely painful and embarrassing, and people were so
nervous to come into the room, so fearful and somehow in the midst of that, you know, when people were
crying; and we were sharing these horrific stories; and at one point this one woman, her name is Terry, she
started laughing. Now Terry, if you‟ve ever imagined the flower child from San Francisco, this is Terry,
okay? So Terry is this flower child from San Francisco; and she starts laughing; and so, you know, we‟re
all bewildered. “Well, what‟s so funny?” And Terry, with tongues of wisdom, says, “Don‟t you get it? We
can‟t all be the first one.” (Laugher) And so many of us in that room had all been told, we were the first
ones to have ever come forward.

And our organization grew very slowly. We were all a completely volunteer organization; and when every
time there was a story about a priest being arrested or being removed, it would initiate a slew of phone
calls to us. Whenever we got some media attention, more people heard about us; or we were on one of
those talk shows, more victims contacted us. We would hook people up. For example, one survivor calls
me and tells me, “I was abused in confession.” So a couple of months later, I‟m talking to another guy in
another state and he tells me, “The first time I was abused, it was in confession”. So my response was,
like, to drop my jaw and go, “Oh my God! You‟re kidding. Someone else had that happen to them,” as
though, you know, it was earth shaking. We were just shocked: two of us had been abused in confession.
So, of course, we had to hook the two up together; and we did that, but over time, we began to recognize
the patterns; and we began to see that we were much bigger; and that the problems were probably very
similar between predators.

But in 2002 what happened is that our normal way of doing business didn‟t work anymore. There were so
many phone calls from new survivors, family members, the horrific stories that they told just forced us to –
we just had this explosion. And I‟m sure you all had the experience here in Detroit, because the victims
were coming forward, new priests were being exposed and removed; so this was just happening all over
the country; and it was nonstop; we could no longer keep up with the phone calls on our lunch breaks and
in the evening until June, when the bishops meeting happened.

Were any of you at the bishop‟s meeting in Dallas? How many of you saw it on TV? Did anybody watch
CNN? They were carrying it live? You didn‟t watch it? Okay. (Overhead) So those of us who were
survivors, we arrived in Dallas for the bishops meeting; and we were just shocked at the headlines of the
Dallas Morning News. I don‟t know if you understood or could imagine this. But the bishops were all
arriving in town; and these are the headlines: that the Dallas Morning News had done an investigation of all
194 dioceses and they found that in two-thirds – two-thirds of the dioceses – the bishops had knowingly
transferred predator priests.

What I want to suggest to you is that the response that the bishops provided in June 2002 – and I don‟t
believe that it‟s changed – I want to liken it to a train wreak. So you can imagine what happens when a
train speeding down the tracks; and, you know, there‟s an accident, a derailment; the train splinters, there‟s
cars all over; some are on their side; there‟s metal; there‟s smoldering; there‟s smoke coming off; there are
people outside the train; there are people inside the train; some are trapped; some are bleeding; you don‟t
know who‟s dead or who‟s alive. You don‟t know if something is going to explode; there‟s a ton of fear and
confusion. And my proposal to you is that the response of the bishops to this train wreck is: “We‟ve got to
fix warning lights on tracks. We‟ve got to make sure that a train wreck like this never happens in the
future.” That‟s the response of the bishops and the hierarchy in the Catholic Church; and it‟s still the
response up until today. No one from the Bishops‟ Conference is suggesting we call 911. Let‟s get the
paramedics out here. Let‟s go into the train. Let‟s find out who‟s in there who‟s still hurting. Is there

anyone trapped in there? Let‟s help them. Call their mother, or their wife, or their husband. I mean, there
is absolutely no compassion for the situation, or a true response, that would be effective to help victims to
heal. In fact, we want to make sure that we get better signals, that we fix the switches.

So what we have from the Bishops‟ Charter is – this is was their adoption at that meeting in June of 2002 –
they committed them selves to a new policy. (Overhead) They called it the “Charter for the Protection of
Children;” and they established their blue ribbon Lay Review Board. Remember, Governor Frank Keating
was the head of that board; remember that? The commitments that they made were to:
      Zero tolerance
      Openness and transparency
      A commitment to cooperate with law enforcement, as well as
      A commitment to no more secret settlements.

One of the things that we heard from so many victims – and maybe you saw this in the news – but so many
victims had been quietly paid off. People like John and I weren‟t paid money, but we were kind of given
some assurances and told that it wouldn‟t happen anymore. But the secret settlements were almost like
blood money to the victims. “Here you take this money, and promise you won‟t tell anybody.” And far too
many victims had taken that, and signed off, and believed when the bishops said, “Oh, it‟s better for your
son if you do it this way,” instead of reporting it to the police. So I‟m asking the real obvious question, you
know, Bishop Gregory spoke out and said, “We‟ve turned the page and it‟s history now. We‟ve
implemented all the changes; and in fact the Catholic Church is the safest institution in the country.”

I want to propose to you that none of the above is true and here‟s just one little example. In the diocese of
Scranton, Pennsylvania, one of the things that there‟s three different ways to actually report the abuse of –
where you can kind of get a sense of how prevalent is this abuse in our country, in our diocese – so one of
the things that the bishops, did they hired these people from the John Jay Criminal College of Law – I don‟t
know their exact title, but it‟s called the John Jay College over in New York City. They‟re a reputable group,
and they did this, what the bishops call, a study; but we want to point out to you, it was nothing merely than
a self-survey. The bishops themselves chose and decided what information they would give to the John
Jay College; and then, John Jay crunched the numbers, and did their statistical analysis.

So here‟s a typical example, and we have the facts now. So in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the John Jay
Report indicated that the diocese admitted that twenty-five predator priests had worked in their diocese
between 1950 and 2002. Now how many of you have heard of the website
Okay, so for everybody who hasn‟t heard of it, I‟m going to suggest to you, and I‟m going to suggest it later
as well, a website that you should check everyday is But this has become a
database of facts of what people are reporting. It‟s run by a group of volunteers from Boston; and one of
the things that they have done is, they have been scanning newspaper reports and court documents to
determine how many priests have abused kids. So they have a whole set of numbers for every single
diocese. You can go and find yours in there as well. Now, most of the time, you will not find what we have
here in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Most of the time what you have is that the number reported to the John Jay is much smaller than the
number you find on And there‟s all kinds of reasons and excuses that the
Bishops‟ Conference gives for that from saying that: We only reported the diocesan priests, not the
religious too. Well that abuse happened before he became a priest; he was only a seminarian, so we didn‟t
count him.” Or they have all kinds of reasons, but at any rate, so this is a little unusual, but if you go to the
Bishops‟ Accountability website, they report only 14. So that‟s how many they have found through the
court documents and through newspapers.

And I want to propose to you that in states where the statues of limitations favor victims, more so than
others – I‟m not saying that right – anyway, Pennsylvania‟s one of the worse states in the country for
allowing victims to expose their perpetrators or to have their day in court. So very few have gotten there.
However, what happened is that there was a civil lawsuit brought in Scranton, Pennsylvania recently and
the diocese was required to turn over documents. And some of the things that were subpoenaed were the

documents of the Lay Review Board of the diocese. So when they turned over their documents to the
plaintiffs‟ attorneys, what the plaintiffs‟ attorneys found is that between 1995 and 2002, the Lay Review
Board had reviewed 44 cases of priests abusing children. And so, when I say to you that the numbers from
John Jay are skewed, this gives you a little hint as to why.

The other thing, I was talking to Richard Sipe, and he‟s told me that he knows for a fact that in the diocese
of San Diego, where the John Jay numbers were about 60 predators, that the bishop just open-handedly
went through the list and determined that he knew that at least 20 of the men who had been accused were
not true allegations. They couldn‟t have abused. So, therefore, those 20 weren‟t included in that number.
And my suspicion is that that‟s pretty prevalent. So here‟s what we do know about the numbers, is that
since 1950, there were over 5,000 predator priests that had been acknowledged. We know that over 900
were removed since June of 2002. By the John Jay Society Results, they indicate that there were over
11,000 victims. Now, I‟m going to propose to you that is so, so low, and for many reasons. But the other
thing that I want to point out to you is, that those statistics tell us that less than 2% of the predator priests
have ever served a day in jail.

I‟m going to wind down here in a second but I just want to propose to you that in spite of those numbers,
how many bishops have suffered any consequence for their behavior in transferring these predator priests?
(Overhead of Cardinal Law) Well, we got Cardinal Law, right? So he was removed from his position as the
head of the Archdiocese of Boston; but as we know, he ended up getting a big promotion, right?

(Overhead of Bishop Gumbleton) So, the only bishop in the United States who has suffered any
consequences because of the sex abuse scandal is our bishop, Tom Gumbleton. And why did he suffer
consequences? Because he spoke the truth; the truth that he knew from his own personal experience; and
he also stood on the side of victims, and advocated that victims be given the opportunity to bring their
cases to the civil courts. And I want to suggest to you that you consider joining him in those efforts, and
join the Michigan citizens who are here, who are trying to organize to change the laws of Michigan that
would permit the exposure of the truth. And we believe, and you will hear more about it, be given the
opportunity to learn about the only way to do that is to open up the chance in the civil courts for victims to
bring their claims.

Thank you so much for listening. (Applause)

Rick Hogan
My name is Rick Hogan and I live in Troy. I was a first born in an Irish Catholic family and my parents
thought what a great idea to have their first born become a priest. We had a Capuchin priest who helped
out at our home parish and I ended up attending St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin. It‟s a
high school that‟s run by the Capuchins of the St. Joseph province and their headquarters are right here in
Detroit. It was while I was at St. Lawrence Seminary that I was sexually abused by Capuchin priests and
brothers and had the realization that my first sexual relationship was with the Capuchin priests. My first
sexual experience was with a Capuchin priest. For four years I was sexually abused by him and his
cohorts. For the four years that I attended, we were sexually abused, we were physically abused, we were
psychologically abused, we were tortured and we were beaten. It was unbelievable what the Capuchins
could get away with and continue to get away with. Many of the stories that we hear are about diocesan
priests and people often talk about how the diocese don‟t do anything. Well, you know, the diocese have
done a hell of a lot more than the Capuchins and a lot of religious orders have done for victims of sexual

My journey from that high school seminary led me to Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and then to St.
John‟s Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, where I receive my Masters of Divinity. On November 26, 1986 I
was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Detroit. I served for five years and ended up in Guest House,
a treatment center for priests and religious who suffer from alcoholism and other addictions. And while I

was there at Guest House, it was the first time I ever told anybody what happened to me. While I was
there, somebody counseling another priest who was there said, “You don‟t have to be a priest.” And a light
went off in my head. I never felt like I had the choice. I always felt like I was put on this road.

So I left; I took a leave of absence from the priesthood. I was truly caught off guard by the lack of support
that I received from men who one day before my announcement of sexually abuse history had been my
brother priests. Since then, I don‟t think anyone except for Larry (Fr. Larry Ventline) has had the courage
to reach out to me. I want to thank – what I wrote here is that I am proud of the courage that John and
Barbara have shown today – and I would like to thank all of you for showing the courage to come forward
and listen to us tell our stories about the horror that we went through; and I think rather than just hear us, I
hope that you will listen to us, because listening is so much more active than just hearing.

Patrick Antos
I‟m a survivor named Pat. Satan rides with me now. It was the early 1970‟s when being an innocent kid
was really being an innocent kid. The Brady Bunch Show was on Friday night, prime time. And Rick and
Lucy and the I Love Lucy Show slept in separate beds. There was no porno. Internet and sex wasn‟t
talked about and was considered sacred ground. A Farrah Faucet poster, with her in a one piece bathing
suit, hung on my bedroom wall. Being raised with good morals and values – I was in the school choir, the
Cub Scouts, the Boy Scouts, also high school football player, and even on the high school ski team. Boy
those were the days!. I was even an altar boy for our local church in town.

That is when Satan found me in the last place one would expect him to show up, a Roman Catholic church
in a small town in the middle of nowhere. He wore black slacks and a black shirt with a white collar; and he
had a way about him that scared this kid to death. Ever since meeting Satan, he rides with me everywhere
I go now. He‟s sitting next to me right now in my twelve by seven foot prison cell laughing at me and telling
me to go ahead and tell the world he‟s real. He doesn‟t care; he actually likes the publicity. I can‟t shake
him off me anymore since giving up my beliefs in the Catholic Church. He‟s been there all along, from the
time his hand went down my pants and he rubbed up against me, to make me into a hard core drug addict
and a drunk, and turning me into a hardened criminal. He‟s been there every time I‟ve thought about taking
my own life with open arms and a sinister smile. Satan rides with me now. God forgive me. Thank you.

Loraine Johnston
Thank you everyone for attending. I am a survivor of abuse by a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. It
began in 1956 when I was 10 years old. We had a priest who was newly ordained who befriended our
family. We were a very, very poor family; and he bought bikes, clothes, money, vacations. And being that
we were so poor – I had two sisters and three brothers – and he took a special liking to me, almost an
obsession, which continued for years and years.

And I kind of put him in the back of my mind. And when I married, I married an abusive alcoholic; and after
fifteen years and had two children, I divorced him. And this still preyed on my mind about this relationship
that we had had for so long. And one day, what really brought it to my mind, I met a friend from school that
I hadn‟t seen in a long time; and one of the first things she said to me was, “Whatever happened to that
priest? We were always worried about what you and he were doing.” And immediately I was shocked, I
was just embarrassed, I was surprised and I didn‟t really answer her; and that really brought it to surface.
And then I realized how I really put all of that in the back of my mind. So, since then I have gone for some

I did report in May of 2002; and in October of 2002, he showed up at my mother‟s funeral; and he had the
Mass, the whole service; and I was in shock, because I was under the impression that once they were
reported – and I found out that I was not the only one who reported him – that he wasn‟t suppose to be
doing any public things for the Church. And then, a month after the funeral, he was on temporary leave;
and as of last year, he has been officially removed. And his church had a big rally for him and with all of
the newspapers; and it was really very, very traumatic.

But anyway I‟m still working at it and I‟m now working as a volunteer speaker for survivors of domestic
violence; and I work for a shelter that takes in women and children, and just want you to know that it‟s an

excellent thing that everyone is doing here. And it just so interesting how people react to – I know even
people in my family when they found out was not, “How are you?” The first question was, “Why did you
wait so long?”

So I do appreciate the fact that people are showing up; and I really think that the Church needs to get in
touch with reality, and get off the high horse. They are not above the law; and more needs to be done; and
I think that we can do it individually by just paying attention to what‟s really going on; and don‟t be afraid if
you have suspicions or questions or concerns; tell somebody. Find out what someone else thinks,
because it is very difficult as a victim sometimes to come forward yourself, as I certainly learned. But it
needs to be done; and the more its out in the open, and the more people are educated, the easier its going
to be; and hopefully we can eliminate the problem. Thank you. (Applause)

Unknown speaker
I just wanted to mention that a couple of weeks ago, there was a very excellent program on Frontline, a
PBS broadcast, on abuse and how the hierarchy handled it. And I thought if anyone had not seen it, if it
was ever offered again, it is an excellent program developed in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Barbara Blaine
You might also try to notice that one of the nominations for an Academy Award is the film called, “Deliver
Us from Evil.” And it was released in just a small number of theaters across the country. But if you have
the chance, it‟s an amazing film, and it really tells the story.

I would also ask you to consider for reading the following three books:
     One is called “Sin, Shame and Secrets,” by David Yonke. It tells the story – it‟s a true story – of the
        abuse and cover-up, and what led to the conviction of a priest for murdering a nun in Toledo. I‟m
        assuming that you‟ve heard about that. It was on Court TV last summer.
     You might also be interested in reading, “God vs. the Gavel.” It‟s by Marci Hamilton, a law
        professor from New York, who actually did a clerkship under Sandra Day O‟Connor, and was the
        ghost writer of the case that‟s become basically the telling case on church/state relations and the
        separation of church and state.
     This book was written by Jason Berry and Jerry Renner. It‟s called, “Vows of Silence.”

And the reason I suggest these three books is I know you all read a lot. But these tell you the behind the
scenes. In fact, none of the conviction of the murdered nun would have happened but the fact that a little
girl was being sexually abused by Fr. Robinson, that he committed the murder. That was in 1980. In 2002
and 2003, the bishops were saying, “If you‟ve been hurt, come forward.” So she came forward, and she is
actually a nun today in Toledo. And she told what happened to her to the same Review Board as Jon
Schoonmaker. One thing led to another, but the information finally got to the prosecutors. One of the
prosecutors took the written statement by this nun, Jane Doe, and recognized the exact ritual abuse. I
know this sounds bizarre. Isn‟t it bizarre? But it‟s true. It‟s so pathetic, but it‟s true. The bottom line is that
she described the ritual that had happened to her as a little girl by Fr. Robinson; and it was the exact same
ritual that they had found at the murder scene in 1980. So, that‟s what led them to open up that cold case,
and eventually led to the investigations and the whole conviction.

So, just so you know, the cover-up – and if you think it doesn‟t happen in Michigan, or in Detroit, please
open your eyes. You just don‟t know. Anyway, thank you.

Unknown speaker
To say what I‟m going to say. I‟ve been going to recovery groups, not recently, but one of the groups was
Sexaholics Anonymous, or there was another one similar. The people I met there were priests, some
brothers. I don‟t want to take away from anything that was said here, but I‟ve also been at tables where I
heard, I think, the devil, or whatever. I didn‟t think of them as the devil; I thought of them as, like, “Oh my
God!” Some of these bad guys are really in trouble with themselves. And I‟m not asking that we should not
do what we are doing here, but I would not want to be some of these guys that we know … in pursuing
justice and health and love; and all that these very perpetrators are the beloved of God too. And I‟m not
excusing them, but I‟ve seen them, and I„ve seem how upset they are, how hard life is for them. Some of

them, I‟m not saying all of them, but the ones I met. It‟s not easy, you know. I guess I‟m saying in pursing
what needs to be done. I can‟t believe the people I‟ve heard today. It‟s just fantastic to be here. It really is.
I‟m so glad I came. On the other hand, don‟t forget that the people that are guilty of these things are
wrecks themselves. I can just go on and on, but I‟ve met them; I‟ve met some, and they‟re unhappy

Barbara Blaine
I need to respond. And I want to make clear that I‟m not suggesting that these guys should be hung or
hanged or crucified, or anything like that. But first of all – and I acknowledge that they have pain – but I
think that adults have to be responsible for their behavior, regardless of how much it hurts. And the
predators should be held accountable, but also the people who have enabled and supported those

Someone mentioned that there is a systemic problem here; and clearly, there is; but, I think, it is the
bishops in their power and authority who have left these priests in ministry knowing their history, without
helping them to get some treatment, or without calling the police and reporting when they knew. You can
tell me all you want about how the bishops didn‟t know any better; but we all knew back in the 60s, back in
the 50s, back in the 70s, in the 80s it was illegal. We all knew that we should be calling the police to report
sex abuse, even if we didn‟t understand a lot of other implications.

The bottom line is that if we want the cycle of abuse to end, it has to stop with us; and it cannot stop until
it‟s exposed. As long as predators are allowed to secretly operate, they pose a risk, regardless of how well
intentioned they may be. Chet Warren may be well intentioned. He promised every time he hurt me that it
wouldn‟t happen again; but it did. But the thing is: he needs to be stopped; and people need to be warned,
so that the neighbors and the employers of these men need to know their history, so that they can protect
other kids.

I guarantee you, Rita and Walt Blaine, my parents, wouldn‟t have allowed me to be around that priest had
someone just told them, “He messes with the girls.” The other priests knew it; the bishop knew it; the
provincial knew it. No one told the parents. What I‟m suggesting to you is that the Catholic Church leaders
have a moral responsibility; and the Catholics in the pews have a civic and moral duty to report what they
know to police and stop these men, because they don‟t stop on their own. For those that are in treatment,
God bless them. They need it, and they deserve it, but we still cannot leave other kids at risk in the

Rev. Gerry Bechard
The comment is that in many cases we wind up as priests getting painted with one big brush; and so the
priesthood that I entered versus the priesthood of 2002 is very, very different; and so I‟m cognizant of that.
I told somebody last week the scariest thing I could do at Halloween is to answer the door in my collar.
(Laughter) And it sounds funny in a way but it‟s not and I‟m conscious of that constantly. And I‟m
consciously constant of that, and I expect just about every other priest is too, to one degree or another. I
grieve for – well the other thing is the parish where I grew up, there were like four different priests who have
wound up being removed because of abuse. Most of whom I knew; and you look back and say that
something was very, very wrong, even if it‟s only a handful; and they can impact so many parishes.

So I look at the priests, the ones who were painted with a broad brush. I look at the parishes that grieve
because of the loss of their priest. I look at the parents of the victims and the victims. Nobody gets out of
this unscathed, nobody gets out of it easy. But my question is: “Where do you guys come from?” And in
formation, if we are shutting off somebody‟s sexuality at the time that it is supposed to be formed, if that is a
factor, then the Church has to be accountable. And if it is a factor then we are simply in the process of
creating more. And if it is a factor and if it affects practically every diocese in the United States, except
Nebraska, (Laughter) then I cannot believe that it is not affecting every diocese in the world, then it has
been going on for a thousand years. And if that‟s the case, then the numbers of victims are beyond
imagination. And we aren‟t asking the one question: “Where are they coming from; and are we helping to
create them?” And if we are, it‟s got to stop immediately.

Denise Smith
My name is Denise Smith. Just a quick comment. I was sexually abused when I was five, just one time;
and I‟ve dealt with that issue. It certainly wasn‟t about I wanted him; it was about a power thing. I would
say to Jon and to Barbara that I am a gay woman. I had a personal struggle with that. My struggle was a
walk in the park compared to yours. And I want to thank you both and everyone else out here who was
confronted with this issue. As a Catholic, I am so sorry that you had to go through this.

Unknown speaker
First a comment and then a question to Bishop Gumbleton, who is probably the only person in the room
who could answer this question. My comment is the media, and to a certain extent the Church, has tried to
explain this sexual abuse problem by saying that we live in a licentious, sexually explicit world today, as
manifested by Playboy magazine in the 50s, and James Bond movies in the 60s, and minis-skirts in the
70s, etc., etc. Bishop, I did some calculations on your age, and the time that you were molested, and came
up with the fact that you were molested in the 40s, prior to Playboy magazine and mini-skirts, etc., etc.

And the question is: how long has this been happening in the Church? Was it prevalent in the 40s as much
as the 50s and 60s? in the 30s, 20s, centuries, millennia? At least we can deal perhaps with the 40s and
30s, as I am sure, Bishop, you heard a lot of stories as you were coming up through the ranks.

Alan Knight
Bishop, if I may ask this. As a bishop, what is the dynamic within you that you can stand up and confront
other bishops, if you‟re an isolated individual like that? I find that very interesting – your commitment to
justice. That is interesting. It‟s important, and you‟re able to do that. We respect you for it. I wonder how
you can do it.

Bishop Tom Gumbleton
When the question is about priests, there is a variety of reasons, it seems to me, why it happened; and it
really wasn‟t caused by the so-called sexual revolution you were talking about.

In the early 1970s, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, as it was called then, paid for a large
study – over ½ million dollars at that time, which would be many more dollars now – to get a picture – a
psychological, a sociological picture – of the Catholic priesthood in the United States. And that study was
very revealing. It indicated that there was a least 8% of priests who were severely mal-developed – that
they were psychologically, emotionally sick: psychotic – and many of them would have been pedophiles.
And only 8% at the other end who were considered well developed persons. In between, you had 12-13%
who were developing – were beginning to grow up. 65-66% were underdeveloped persons – emotionally,
psychologically, psycho-sexually. They were adolescents; and they had not really matured in any way.

Now that was in 1971 that that study was brought out in front of the bishops. And it certainly indicated that
there could be many, many problems. If you have 8% of the priests who are very mal-developed in a
variety of ways, you are bound to have a lot of problems; and especially if those priests are never dealt with
in a very helpful way – they‟re just moved from one place to another, to another. The problems just keep
going with them. And so, many of these problems turned out to be sexual abuse problems that confront
the Church.

With the underdeveloped priests, their problems would be, perhaps, somewhat different – maybe not quite
psychologically sick people – but they were like teenagers; chronologically, they were adults – 30-35 years
old – but they didn‟t know how to interact with other adults on an adult level. So they would become
involved with children very easily.

But the fact is, the bishops knew all about this in 1971. When that study was presented to the bishops,
Cardinal Krol, who was the president of the Conference, thanked the two presenters, who were Fr. Eugene
Kennedy and Fr. Andrew Greeley; he just said, “Thank you very much, Fathers,” and that was it. Nothing
ever happened with the study; nothing was ever done.

The problem was right there in front of us in 1971, before it all broke out into the open a few years later.
And that continues to be the problem as far as I‟m concerned. The bishops refuse to deal with these very
deep problems – what Barbara was saying are systemic problems that we have. They are concerned with
keeping what in the Church they call the bella figura – the beautiful image. Keep the image and not deal
with the reality. Well, as long as we are only protecting the image, we‟re going to continue to have all kinds
of kids abused and hurt. And we‟ll have priests who won‟t be taken care of – like the gentleman over there.
Yes, that‟s also a huge failure on the part of the bishops.

My main reason, to answer the other question, for speaking out was I knew survivors, like Barbara; and I
wanted to do something to help them. And I felt that no matter what it cost, they needed to be heard by the
bishops. But the bishops, even now, refuse to listen.

When Barbara or anybody from SNAP goes to a bishops‟ meeting, they are treated like scum; “Get away
from us!” I‟ve been at a bishops‟ meeting where I‟ve seen this happen. And these are the people the
bishops are supposedly called to serve. They‟ve been hurt deeply by the Church; and instead of serving
them, reaching out and trying to allow them to be healed, they‟re pushed away, which many of the
survivors have told us today. The second hurt is, in some ways, worse than the first. They‟ve suffered the
abuse; and then they‟re abused again by the hierarchy. And I have very strong convictions, and I‟m sure
you share it, that this is very wrong.

So, we have to speak out against that and try to make things happen in a way that the leaders of the
Church will begin to be the servant leader, serving the most vulnerable among us, the way they should.
And all of us do have a responsibility, as you‟ve heard a number of times today, to try to make that happen,
to try to change our Church, and change it systemically, but change it in every way we can so that survivors
are treated with some love and given a chance to be healed most deeply, as they need it. And then we
need to change the system in some way – and there are no easy answers to this – but that we ordain as
priests only those we are confident that they are reasonably mature people, and that they are people
capable of interacting on an adult level; in other words, we ordain developed persons.

Until we really dig deeply into the problem, listen more to the survivors, and try to understand more what
happened, why it happened, how it happened, I don‟t think we‟re going to change the system in order to
prevent this from going on in the future. And it‟s absolutely wrong for the bishops, that they have said a
number of times – Barbara quoted Bishop Gregory before – but Bishop Skalstad has said it and others that,
It‟s over; its behind us.” It isn‟t. It‟s right there in front of us; and we‟re not dealing with it. And until we do,
it‟s going to continue to be a problem.

So all of us who love the Church – and that‟s the reason I spoke out too, because I do love the Church; I
care about the Catholic Church; I want it to be the body of Christ, as it is suppose to be. So, all of us who
have the same concern for the Church, who love the Church, we need to do what we can to bring about the
changes that will stop what‟s going on, and bring healing to those who have suffered so much already.

CLOSING PRAYER                                                                                   M ARY BLACK
When I arrived in Detroit for my volunteer year of service,
I didn‟t recall reading in my job description
That the answers to these questions just might be awaiting me
So then what does God look like?
What is the nature and substance of God?
In my most sincere attempt let me share my answers with you.

To my surprise God is less than two feet tall and has the beginning of an “Afro.”
And yes, God is a woman.

Well, God is actually a little girl by the name of Dodja.

And God waddles – a quick waddle, but God definitely waddles.
She loves to smile; and she loves your unbroken attention.
But that‟s what God looks like on Wednesday afternoons.

On Monday mornings, God is in his seventies.
And God likes to laugh.
He has gentle eyes and a passion for all peoples sharing in peace.

God sleeps on a map and lives in his office.
God gives the homily every Sunday.
God is unwaveringly committed to his inner-city church, and the Detroit Tigers baseball team.

God looks you in the eye.
God is the foster-mother.
And God takes care of children constantly, unceasingly, with a limitless love.

And God has two housemates.
And God teaches all day,
And then comes home to care for kids so lovingly, as if this were the first part of her day.

And God is retired too.
But God gets up early to teach me how to change a diaper,
Or new ways to entertain a baby.

God runs around the corner with gorgeous deep brown eyes.
God is sixteen months old.
God likes to hide in the corners.

God likes to open his short chubby arms and trust you.
God likes to fall asleep on your shoulder at mass.
And God really likes meat, and grapes cut in half.

God is from Temperance, Michigan.
And God speaks so incredibly fast, but with such passion.
God cares for you in such thoughtful ways.

God knows I like chocolate sticks; and she puts them out when I come to visit.
God is the kindest boss I ever had.
God is a former teacher, who teaches by modeling.

And God believes in me.
God has no legs
And sits in a wheel chair at the corner of Michigan and Junction Avenues each evening.

God knocks on the window to ask for money.
God is inviting.
God is love.

God is a doctor, and he works at the free clinic.
God runs the clinic too.
And God sits in the waiting room at the clinic.

God likes to watch the Lion King at least once a day.
And God has to take an afternoon nap.

God melts my heart.

God likes to blow bubbles.
God hangs onto my neck
And asks me to stay with him.

God is everywhere in Detroit.
She is there when I wake up.
He is there when I go to work.

God walks up the street to the soup kitchen every day.
And God sits on the stoop next door every night.

God is loud and vivacious and passionate.
God is gentle, holy and profound.

God sees me.
God makes me laugh.
God makes me think.

God challenges me.
God makes me cry.
God is Hispanic, and African-American, and Bohemian, and Polish, and Chaldean, and Asian.

God is balding.
God has wavy hair.
God is an artist.

God wears glasses.
God lives in the projects behind our house.
God even looks at me in the mirror some days.

And I see God, and I touch god and I hear God,
And I cry for God, and I love God, and I live with God,
And I fight for God and I change God‟s diaper.

And hey! I wasn‟t so wrong in the first grade after all.
God does have a white beard – sometimes.
And that‟s what I learned by being at St. Leo‟s.
                                                                by Laura Collins

                                                                                   Transcribed by
                                                                                   Bev Parker


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