Philly Trial SHOCKER: Ex-Priest Recants Historic Guilty Plea; Is Msgr. Lynn In Jail Based On a Crime That Never Happened?

Msgr. William Lynn and former priest Edward Avery, Philadelphia

Guilty or innocent? Philadelphia’s Msgr. William J. Lynn and former priest Edward Avery

The conviction of Philadelphia's Msgr. William J. Lynn last June was historic and widely trumpeted by an overheated media, as Lynn became the first member of the Catholic hierarchy to be found guilty in a criminal court for endangering children.

And the sole reason Lynn sits in jail today is because former priest Edward Avery had pleaded guilty to sexually violating a 10-year-old boy in the late 1990s. Prosecutors claimed that Lynn should not have placed Avery into a ministry assignment because the priest had a prior abuse accusation dating back to the 1970s. Had Lynn kept Avery out of public ministry, prosecutors charged, he would not have been able to abuse the 10-year-old.

But in a truly shocking development, Avery took the witness stand today in a Philadelphia courtroom and recanted under oath his guilty plea.

This remarkable turn-around indicates that Msgr. Lynn may likely be sitting in jail based on a crime that never even happened!

A trial under the radar

Today, Avery appeared as a witness in the trial of accused Catholic priest Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero. The alleged 10-year-old victim is now a 24-year-old admitted drug addict and criminal, and he has claimed that the three men – Avery, Engelhardt, and Shero – all sexually assaulted him during the late 1990s when he was a student at St. Jerome's Parish in Philadelphia.

The accuser's claims are quite wild, indeed, and Engelhardt and Shero have vehemently denied the charges against them.

Why the turnaround by Avery?

Yet Edward Avery pleaded guilty to the charge against him last March before going to trial. The obvious question people are asking is, Why?

Avery pleaded guilty because he faced a possible sentence of two decades in prison if found guilty by a jury, and prosecutors offered him a very generous 2 1/2 to 5 years.

Last September we learned that Avery has not only denied that he sexually assaulted the boy but that he has said that he did not even know the accuser.

Avery had already been removed from the priesthood in 2006 for abusing a teen boy back in the 1970s, and it was an incident that had already received widespread media attention in Philadelphia since 2003. Avery knew that the past incident could probably be used as a powerful cudgel against him in a trial.

Avery also likely saw that the judges who were overseeing his case, Judge Cardwell Hughes and Judge Teresa Sarmina, were very heavily biased in favor of the prosecution during the numerous pretrial proceedings.

Eye-opening testimony

Avery delivered some alarming information during his testimony today. As the excellent Ralph Cipriano has reported at the Big Trial blog:

"The rape that Avery pleaded guilty to supposedly happened in a storage closet at St. Jerome's parish after a 6:30 a.m. Mass back in 1999. But Avery said he almost never said Mass at St. Jerome's, because he was employed as the chaplain at Nazareth Hospital. He was at the hospital every day of the week, beginning at 3 a.m., and he stayed on the job until 8 p.m., Avery said.

"This was his routine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Avery testified. At Nazareth Hospital, Avery said Mass every day, and the service was televised, he testified."

This latest development in the Philadelphia saga is truly stunning, indeed. Avery had been called to the stand as a prosecution witness, but in was not long before Judge Ellen Ceisler declared the former priest a hostile witness.

Stay … tuned. And for the best day-to-day coverage of the Philly trial, we again highly recommend Ralph Cipriano's Big Trial blog.


  1. Mary S says:

    Wow, what a fiasco!  I find it reprehensible that an innocent defendent has to plead "guilty" in order to avoid serious time in the big house.  One has only to see what happened to Fr. Gordon MacRae to understand the inequity of this practice.

  2. jim robertson says:

    You know, it looks like a Busby Berkley dance extravaganza. There seems to be more orchestration going on here than in a Wagner opera. He's good. He's bad; he's all confused. He's guilty; yet He's not. When waters are muddied on such a grand scale; there is the appearence of a set up. So necessary, absolutely necessary if the Church as vicrtim theme is to be played out.

    I said this months ago at Ralph Cipriano's blog and or here that if there was a miscarrage of justice by the Philly D.A. to whose benefit would that miscarrige be?? And they made that miscarrige just as big as the falsley accused priest on Irish television or the supposedly repudiated (recanted?) accusation against the Saintly Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago Juxtaposed against SNAP's consistant "Blasting" of the Church and you have the Church as victim  machine rolling  full tilt boogie. La! How jolly.

    And we are to believe that because a man's in prison he is automaticly a liar? He could very well be a liar I have no idea. If the hierarchy has spent 23 years creating SNAP the cover story for Tom Doyle etc. Pulling a Rieshtag fire would not be beneath their capabilities and wants.  Why this could be the potted Delphinium's 9/11.

  3. Delphin says:

    …and the first thread, that which is the inevitable unraveling of the whole sordid bias against the Church, is pulled.

    For those of you still dazed and confused- look this up in your "Law for Dummies" junior reader;  "Prosecutorial Misconduct"; lest we have to suffer yet another elaborate conspiracy theory that now involves the Philly DAs office (albeit, surely not a bastion of lawfulness, morality and ethics).

    Speaking of dancing the loopy dance- how many unnatural positions you all must continually contort yourselves into the continue your ruse. You must be like GUMBY.



    • jim robertson says:

      You know a lot of people hate athiests including you.  And I say: So What? Enough of the "sordid bias against the Church" nonsense. Who cares if people don't like Catholics? People haven't liked Catholics and Protestants and Muslims for quite a long time now and all those faiths are flourishing. How does Catholics being liked or disliked affect or stop you from practicing and loving your faith? It doesn't. If however, you've been deluded into thinking defending child abusers is somehow protecting the faith. You've gone away from the norm too, too far.

      If an innocent man has been railroaded injustly, free him . But why would any common-sensical prosecutor create such a wacked case??? It looks like a give away to me. A too easily busted fabrication for whose benefit ???? If your case is truely this pathetic, Why would you bring it? May I suggest you all follow the money here. Money in this case meaning benefits. Who benefits and Why? From such a stupid, too easily busted situation?

  4. Lara Lee says:

    Exactly what Mary said in the comments above: "Wow, what a fiasco! I find it reprehensible that an innocent defendent has to plead "guilty" in order to avoid serious time in the big house. One has only to see what happened to Fr. Gordon MacRae to understand the inequity of this practice."

    Don't we show justice as blindfolded? There is something terribly wrong when the legal system shows its obvious bias in the pre-trial hearings.  I've served as a juror – even in a murder one trial – and found the judge to be almost….disconnected….like he didn't care one way or another –  and at the time I was taken aback by his demeanor, but I see now that I'd rather have a judge like that rather than one eager to put a notch on his belt.

  5. Cathe says:

    You see this sham of the justice system and the media circus…how can you not wonder and question all the other past cases of alleged abuses and convictions to date!  It is a disgrace how innocent people, who happen to be priests, are being dragged through hell fire.  Some are eventually cleared but their lives are destroyed and irrepairable.  The stigma of doubt follows them for the rest of their lives. They are shunned by the church and society.  These innocent people are branded and invisible shackles placed on them for the rest of their lives. Where is the justice in this? There are others languishing in jail, innocent but no one cares or wants to help. The accusers walk away, shrugging their shoulders, saying 'oh well', or rubbing their hands together and counting their thirty pieces of silver.  They are not being held accountable for their actions!  This is not acceptable!!  Justice is failing every one of us. This looks like a witch hunt and should be stopped.  Also, shame on the church authorities for not supporting the innocent priests.  Is it better that one be sacrificed for the good of all?  That sounds vaguely familiar when you reflect on the false accusations and subsequent judgment that our dear Lord Jesus experienced which lead to His Passion journey.  Our dear sweet Jesus being falsely accused, persecuted, imprisoned…not once but again and again and suffering horribly through our innocent priests.  

    People, judges, lawyers, media, church authorities…stop this attack on our innocent priests!  And to the church authorities:  if a priest has been exonerated don't persecute him again.  When our church authorities won't look after their own then our church is sick.  I don't mean that the church should cover-up…I mean honest support and help for their priest sons.  Don't desert them in their time of need.  May God be more merciful to you on judgment day than you have shown them.

    Each case of priest abuse should be reopened.  Each one should be reviewed carefully, with open eyes of awareness of the prejudices and miscarriage of justice too frequently practiced up to this point. 

    Let us stop the kangaroo courts, false accusations, presumption that you are guilty until proven innocent, the lying and  plea bargaining and money pay offs, etc., etc.. Take off the veil of prejudice and do what is right and just.  Is there no one trustworthy or honest any more?  Where are these people?  Stop this shameful behaviour and walk a path of truth and honesty and correct the injustice perpetrated against the innocent!

    • jim robertson says:

      Trot em out Babe. organize a speaking tour of all these abused falsley accused priests. Let the world hear their story. Let's see them and hear them, speak their horror. Truth is everything.

    • anonymous says:

      This piece was beautifully written.

      Thank you.

  6. Joisy Goil says:

    When will the day come when ALL Americans receive fair justice? It seems there is always some group who are being railroaded. Now it is Catholic priests. Who's next?  Listen up people! Anyone who thinks this can't happen to them – watch out!  Our liberties are being taken from us left and right.  Everyone who thinks of him/herself as an American should be on their feet demanding justice.

    What kind of society is this where people are condemned on mere heresay?  Not to mention heresay that carries a  potential pay off for the alleged  victim down trhe road.

  7. Publion says:

    First, let me say that former-Fr. Avery should have been read the Riot Act for ever being in the same bed or ‘over-nighting’ with anybody in the first place. And he should have received counseling (perhaps he did; I don’t have that information) for being so driven by emotional (it seems, more than overtly sexual) needs as to rely on youth for companionship and affective and physical contact. The far more robust regimen of the Dallas reforms should spackle up Ordinaries as to their handling of such cases and allegations.


    Had the Archdiocese of Philadelphia instantly tossed him out, he might not have gotten any counseling at all (if, indeed, he was sent to counseling). But it is interesting to wonder just how much ‘opportunity’ factored in here: were he quickly removed from ministry and/or defrocked (if defrocking would have been canonically applicable in his case – I’m not an expert on this) he might have simply gone on to live with his emotional issues or he might have gone out and found new ways to fill the gaps in his life.


    But again, we have a trial here where the issues are ‘historical’ and not ‘current’. And as Mr. Cipriano pointed out, there is no demonstrable evidence in the case, only the statements of accusation and denial made by the respective Parties.


    I still have questions about why the Philadelphia DA is taking the time and energy and public funds to pursue this case. There are certainly enough political elements floating around to provoke some thought in that regard. Nor is the case being prosecuted by Mr. Blessington, the State AG Office attorney seconded to the Philadelphia DA’s office, who so vividly took center stage in the Lynn trial last year.


    Anyhoo, now Avery has openly recanted his Plea. It is certainly plausible to construe this as merely a tactic: admit guilt, serve (reduced) time, and then claim afterwards that you didn’t do it.


    But it is also not the only explanation. It is also possible that Avery is trying to recover from the strategic bind into which prosecutors so often put defendants: you are facing umpty-umpty years in prison if you are found guilty of all the charges we have decided to bring against you – or on the other hand you could take this Plea we are offering you (with a much lesser sentence in prison) and just take your medicine and do your time. The situation here aptly calls for the prosecution to intone Clint Eastwood’s iconic phrase: “Do you feel lucky today?” Going by the number of ‘convictions’ achieved by accepting a Plea, most defendants don’t feel lucky.


    This tactic can only be intensified in a case where a Stampede has been created in the public opinion and where substantial Derangement has been introduced into jurisprudence, largely to the detriment of the Accused. This, as I have said before, is the problem that is built-into the strategy of whipping up a Stampede and its Derangements in the first place: it fundamentally and ultimately undermines the credibility – perhaps even the legitimacy – of criminal trial process and jurisprudence.


    Thus also the wistful but determined insistence by Stampede-supporters that ‘only guilty people plead guilty’: that’s not actually the case, especially when the Offer That Can’t Be Refused is made to an accused and especially if the accused is advised by counsel whose job is to get his/her client through with the least amount of legal sanction.


    All of this Plea-maneuvering is part and parcel of how criminal charges are processed now in this country; plus the added factors of Stampede and Derangement so clearly operative in the Abuse Matter and in sex-offense law generally. (See below for my comments and link to an article in The New Yorker magazine from a week or so ago.)


    I don’t make any claims here about what motivates Avery at this point. But it is certainly not beyond the bounds of reasonable possibility that Avery was entangled in the dynamics I have outlined above. It is even possible, as was suggested either by Mr. Cipriano or a commenter on his (useful and informative) site, that prosecutors might have gone after Avery with the long-term strategic objective of strengthening the case they planned to bring against Lynn. Prosecutors do not simply sit around – like proverbial old-time firemen at the engine-house – playing canasta until the alarm-bell rings and their heroic horses start pawing the floor; they are very capable of being not only strategic but ‘proactive’, and taking a long view.


    There is, by the way, a comment to yesterday’s article by Mr. Cipriano in which a SNAP official (or somebody posting as such) throws fuel on the fire of Avery’s being a “perjurer” as well as a child-molester. I thought that was somewhat humorous, given the contortions and evasions deployed by SNAP’s highest official when facing Deposition under oath last year.


    I had mentioned an article from The New Yorker (link at the end of this comment). It deals with an interesting conundrum created for persons found guilty of sex-offenses, and the manner of it is on this wise: they are placed into a prison system where they are at-risk from ‘inmate vigilantes’; they are then offered the chance of transfer to a secure for-profit counseling facility; to participate in the program (and earn extra points from the facility’s evaluators) they are required to confess to their crimes; they are also encouraged to tell the stories of all their other prior (and un-charged) crimes, sexual and otherwise; in many cases they make up further ‘confessions’ in order to achieve a higher status and points toward release; unbeknownst to them, the staff are compiling these stories to create even larger and more vivid ‘numbers’ of offenses committed by the patient-inmates; and these numbers and stories are then used to create Studies which the Center then uses to approach media and legislators looking for even more status and funding and authority. And, but of course, on the basis of all the astronomical numbers and stories, a further groundswell is generated against ever releasing any of the patients at all.


    This is what happens when you create a public and officially-supported Stampede, and subordinate truth and actuality to the objectives (however ostensibly well-intentioned) of that Stampede. It is also the classic Pentagon ‘self-licking ice cream cone’, although in attack-mode: i.e. it is deployed against anybody who gets entangled in the (already Stampeded and Deranged) sexual-crimes legal process.


    (How did this matter turn out? I’ll leave it to the reader to consult the article.)


  8. Tony dixon says:

    American "justice"- from here it looks like a contradiction in terms!

  9. Jack Gordon says:

    To all those who bring Gordon MacCrae to us as an example of innocence: Not so fast. In that case there is ample evidence of guilt, the reason the man is still in prison. Because he said he didn't do it is still not enough to free a convicted felon. 

  10. Now that David Pierre has brought up the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae, there is much more to be said that is very relevant to the Philadelphia story.  One of the more interesting takes on what has happened in Philadelphia was written by this same wrongly imprisoned priest who was subjected to a very similiar coerced post-trial plea bargain.  He made a good case for how the Church must take some responsibility for the mess in Philadelphia.  When priests are falsely accused, or justly accused, the one-size-fits-all policy of most bishops and dioceses since the Dallas Charter is to immediately get as much distance as possible from the accused and withdraw all support.  These priests are left to fund a defense with the meager salaries they earned as diocesan priests which often are under $20,000 per year.  They are left in the hands of public defenders, or Catholic lawyers of good conscience who take their cases without adequate funding to investigate and litigate.  The result is that the lawyers don't litigate.  They negotiate with prosecutors for plea deals.  These deals work great for the guilty as they moderate the sentence to be served.  They do not work at all for the innocent, like Fr. MacRae who was not at all inclined to take the deal when it was first offered.  The innocent sometime have a nettlesome habit of denying guilt.  MacRae was sentenced to more than 30 times the amount of time offered in a plea deal.  He has a unique perspective on the "Trophy Justice" that took place in Philadelphia.  Here is the link:

  11. Publion says:

    I want to thank ‘Ryan A. MacDonald’ for his hugely useful link to Fr. MacRae’s  ‘These Stone Walls’ immediately above.


    Fr. MacRae adds the very interesting point that when Avery accepted the Plea Bargain, he specifically told the judge that he was doing so only for the purpose of avoiding a long prison sentence.


    We also notice that there was a condition contained within the prosecution’s Plea Agreement: he had to participate in a prosecution of Lynn for committing conspiracy to endanger a child. (Although, in the event, that did not pan out.)


    It could be said that when dealing with mobsters and monsters prosecutors have to resort to such skullduggery in order to uphold the law. But what we are seeing in these Philadelphia trials is something else: the power of the State has been and is being used to create – not prosecute – cases. (And weirdly stitched-together Frankenstein-type cases they are, as well.)


    The ‘logic’ justifying all this – we see all too often – is that it is necessary to create the case in order to get at the priest; yet the priest is presumed to be guilty (thus justifying the creation of the case) rather than presumed-innocent (which is what the trial is supposed to establish). You are using as justification what is supposed to be proved.


    It’s a lethally circular argument.


    And it is circling a very dangerous drain. Down which all sorts of rights and protections are dribbling … for everybody.

  12. Lynda says:

    Perhaps the scandalous trial and conviction of Fr McRae influenced his decision to plead guilty. There may be mitigating circumstances for pleading guilty when actually innocent but there is no excuse. It is seriously morally wrong to state that you are guilty of such a serious offence when you are not. It is a sin against truth and justice and charity, and causes terrible scandal and harm to souls and a Catholic priest would be particularly responsible in this regard. I hope the truth will soon be known. 

  13. Fitasafiddle says:

    The pedophile priests seem to have difficulty keeping their stories straight.

    • Hegesippus says:

      Caused by a very bent legal system, regarding the gulf between pleading guilty and being found guilty!

  14. Publion has it exactly. There are many reasons why somebody could be coerced into a plea deal. In the case of Father MacRae, absolutely everything was taken from him. He had no assets whatsoever to defend against an additional trial. Without adequate means to defend against the case in his first trial, his lawyer left the trial before it was even over. Prosecutors offered zero prison time in exchange for making the rest of the case go away, and MacRae was left with no other recourse. It was extortion, pure and simple. The same extortion took place in the case of Avery. According to the Wall Street Journal recently, 97% of U.S. criminal cases end in plea deals. According to Innocence Project Attorney Barry Scheck, 25% of his DNA exonerations were cases that ended in plea deals. There is a lot more to this aspect of the MacRae case. Frankly, Jack Gordon does not know what he is talking about. I have never seen any evidence of MacRae's guilt, nor have I heard of any. There is more to this, and it's available in a recent article of mine at this link:


  15. Delphin says:

    If you had ONLY one contributor here with real-life experience in the criminal justice system (judge, prosecutor, defender, law enforcement), you would learn (for the few of you who seem to be unaware), with confidence, that the system doesn't actually work for the poor, or innocents. The plea bargain is the most corrupt concept and process to ever plague our legal institution. Prosecution is a pure numbers game- it has absolutely nothing to do with guilt or innocence (which is never considered in the legal context, incidentally). Prosecutors (at every level of government) want to notch as many convictions into their belts as will elevate them politically, or launch them into the high end of the private sector (either way- it's a money game). The majority of prosecutors do not believe it is their job to determine guilt, they believe it their duty to secure the conviction, by any means. Their practice of law is a bastardization of the artform.

    Defense attorneys, by and large – exempting the too- few true believers, want to spend as little money (even if it is yours) and effort as possible, while avoiding obvious blunders that could end their careers. And, even the highest end attorneys (a wee-bit out of the range for priests) can not match the endless resources of the government.

    These are facts.

    Now, take the ever-unpopular Catholic priest (don't even try to claim no bias exists- the hard evidence to the contrary is overwhelming), mix him in with a healthy dose of claims of kiddie abuse, add a pinch of political and idealogical (MEDIA) vitriole, stir slighty, and pour the mixture over a sizzling bed of legal system coals – and what you get a rich Catholic Flambe'.

    We didn't wind up with "Innocence Projects" because the system, and it's executors are not flawed (either innocently or purposefully). If we have a small percentage of unholy types wearing Catholic vestments (and we do), we certainly have a greater percentage of similalry sordid types wearing three-piece suits and robes.

    How "quaint" to act as though you can't fathom why or how any sinners of this fallen world could ever operate (or even infiltrate) our legal system to do their dirty deeds. People don't leave their biases outside of the workplace.

  16. Rick says:

    Priests go to jail while public school teachers in New York get office space. When  will this double-standard end?

    John Stossel has presented good journalism on the NY public school teacher abuse cover up.

  17. jim robertson says:

    Is the entire system of justice flawed? I can believe so. Even though I spent the largest portion of my life avoiding the law. Because in my earliy years being gay and commiting gay acts was illegal. (And I was always the "good" kid so jail? no thank you) I also smoked grass also illegal. I've still had to go to jail for my handcuffing to the Cardinal's throne incedent..

    I say this because if the system is flawed against "victims" if they are priests, according to you; then why could it not be flawed re: corruption of some court officer? A court officer who   did something that appears to be stupid; and criminal and completely un necessary. Again keep asking yourself who benefits? Why and how do they benefit? Do you think real victims want real innocent priests prosecuted????? Please think again. We want justice for everyone: innocent priests and harmed victims of priests. Need we be in opposition here? Why?

    • Hegesippus says:

      Why do you squirm through all your posts, Jim, holding on to the biased starting point that, 'as he's a priest, he's probably guilty'?

      Do you do this for all 'minorities' or do you retain it only for Catholic priests?

    • Cathy says:

      Jim, in regards to who benefits, do not forget that these cases not only deal with prosecution, but also deal in financial settlements.  Here, we get into a situation where the accuser escapes both the possibility of being charged with perjury, or being prosecuted for it.  This bothered me, as well, with the long ago "settled" case in regards to Michael Jackson being accused.  If the sexual abuse of a child is a state crime, how can the state exonerate its responsibility in the face of financial settlement of such a charge – weren't children, if he was guilty, still at risk?  If Mr. Jackson was innocent of the charge, he had a right to his good name and reputation in face of the accusation and the state would be responsible for handling the accuser as a perjuror.  I think it is important, in recognizing both the plea bargain and the settlement as part of the reality of the priest falsely accused.  A man who faces no repercussions in making a false accusation, and stands to benefit financially from the accusation, cannot be absent from the question of who benefits.  Justice cannot be beneficial to anyone when it becomes a gaming situation where a man with nothing to lose can simply throw an accusation towards another for financial gain.


    • jim robertson says:

      Heg and Cathy see the real story read the released documents We, the Los Angeles victims contracted for as part of our settlement here. The church and it's insurors are getting off cheap or they wouldn't settle. And they know they are getting off cheap.

  18. Delphin says:

    We are not in opposition so long as we're honest. Victims come in all shades and bring their own biases, as well. Being a victim does not automatically purify one.

    If you ask the same question ("who benefits") of the conspiracy regarding the accusations against the Church ("permitting and even encouraging the abuses, and then the expansive coverup going all the way up to the Vatican"), you lose that argument – unless the Church has been infiltrated by radicalized homosexuals intent on bringing the institution down. While it is sometimes tempting to travel this road, it is as an outrageous conspiracy claim as are those being thrown at the Church.

    Homosexuals have an ingrained bias against the Catholic Church. How they manage that bias determines if they are radicalized, or not. No one, naturally, wants to hear that what they desire as their lifestyle as expressed through their emotional passion is forbidden (and worse – leading to eternal damnation). Once you have scrubbed real vs. fake (gay axe-grinding, mercenary) victims, the jackpot test could be applied – which is to remove any financial or political gains for both victims and their attorneys. That would remove the "who benefits" question for the accusors.

    Now, you've got your level playing field. And, do you know what you've got so far as a "crisis" in the Church?  NOTHING.

    The legal system is terribly flawed, particularly when it is being used by its power elite as an idealogical weapon. The victims of this system are society's "outcasts and undesirables" – those whom are currently identified for persecution by the common culture. Todays culture, as driven by the MEDIA, is demonizing Catholics (what greater symbol of Catholicism than a priest?), wealthy caucasians (who can still buy their way out of prison-time, but at a huge cost) and poor minorities (strictly depending upon locale). The last group introduces a particularly unique anomoly to the cultures ideaologically driven agenda since in the open it embraces the poor minority (pure PC), but in reality it despises and fears it (the greatest leftist elitist hypocrisy).

    So, no, I don't think real victims want innocents persecuted or prosecuted. My contention is that there are too few real victims being heard because of the "greater good" ideaology of the antiCatholic radicals. The real victims have been revictimized by their own (as will sharks eat their own offspring), not by the Church. And, this is where we will never agree.

  19. Publion says:

    In his comment of January 19 at 8:33 PM, JR makes a good point: if genuine victims are simply seeking the prosecution of genuine victimizers, then what is the problem?


    I agree with that.


    The difficulties arise – and have arisen – when public-opinion was whipped up into a Stampede in order to lubricate the whole procedure. Nor am I saying the individual and genuine victims planned this Stampede or carried it out. Rather, other special-interests saw the chance to turn the issue into a Mother Of All Issues, upon which their own objectives and agendas might be floated and carried-forward like heavy flotsam on a flood-tide.


    And such a Stampede is established, then all sorts of official people who should know and act better are induced to go along: police and prosecutors whose twitching career-whiskers now tell them just what sort of ‘cases’ – and based on whatever quality of ‘evidence’ – will attract the approval of their political bosses and of the electorate and will simultaneously attract more funding (and the afore-mentioned career-enhancing opportunities). Other official sorts may simply fear to stand in front of the Stampede, even if they know the whole thing is essentially a derangement enveloped in a dust-cloud of emotionality and ill-informed ‘outrage’. Legislators chip in with laws designed to clear away ‘obstructions’ (such as ‘due process’ and defendant-rights and the laws of evidence) so that the ‘emergency’ and the ‘outrage’ can be more easily gotten-to – which is the equivalent of drilling through or knocking-down the watertight bulkheads to make it easier to get rid of a (supposed) rat infestation aboard the ship.


    At this point – I will go further to say – it’s probably valid to wonder about even the prosecutions and convictions and guilty-Pleas and Plea-Bargains that have taken place (the civil settlements made by Dioceses over the heads of their accused priests don’t even count as evidence of the guilt of those accused priests). Father MacRae’s case stands out here as one of the few where further post-‘conviction’ public examination and discussion has been carried out – and clearly that examination yields more than enough documented information to raise well-grounded reasonable doubt as to the credibility and validity of the entire trial process and its outcome.


    Readers of TMR who are also following Ralph Cipriano’s reports on this most recent ‘second’ Philadelphia trial (and perhaps some also followed the first trial last year, with all of Mr. Cipriano’s articles and the comments) will notice that there is far more doubt about the very basis of the trial itself now – even among commenters who in the first trial were overtly and consistently (one might perhaps say ‘stubbornly’) pro-prosecution. And there are far fewer of the genuinely whacky anti-Catholic and anti-religion commenters than there were for last year’s trial.


    So – I would say – let genuine victims seek what they can against genuine victimizers. But this Stampede has to end – and its already-established jurisprudential derangements have to be eliminated – because when Stampedes become the primary vehicle of jurisprudence (and politics) then nobody is going to win and everybody is going to lose. Big-time.

    • jim robertson says:

      Why would "homosexuals" have an "ingrained" bias?  Were we born with it, the bias; yet "chose' homosexuality and "eternal damnation" like you "chose" heterosexuality and eternal grooviness? What age exactly did you decide in favor of heterosexuality vs homosexual damnation? Was there a family party or something to commererate that choice? Are there snap shots?

  20. Aman says:

    Thanks again Publicon for calling it right.

  21. Keith says:

    For anyone who would ask why a prosecutor would be guilty of misconduct, I offer two words:


    Mike Nifong


    I don't know the facts of this case, but I do know that many judges, trial lawyers and prosecutors see much to be gained from prosecuting the Catholic Church. The Church is the only institution that both stubbornly stands for something in spite of the desires of the wider culture (and thus remains a thorn of guilt in the side of that culture) and doesn't chop of the heads of those whom it labels "infidels."

    • jim robertson says:

      The Church may not "Chop off heads" this century but can we forget it was the Church that burned Joan of Arc and other so called "heretics": Gnostic's; Albegensians; Protestants. et all.:. the Church's own brand of "infidel" in other centuries.. Religious fanatics come in all faiths and all offer the same kill "em" for God "rational".

  22. Delphin says:

    What we all know to be true about the current persecution of our Church is sadly only the tip of the iceberg.

    • jim robertson says:

      What "tip of the iceberg? Are people armed to attack the Church somewhere in Rome, Brooklyn where? Let's call the cops. Has there been a war we haven't seen? Are priests; churches and Catholics being killed blown up under water someplace?

      Persecution! What persecution?  People dislike hypocricy. Your hierarchs pretend they have the moral line to follow yet they behaved so badly toward YOU. Endangering YOU; YOUR children; and YOUR grandchildren. And you think the same people who did the coverup are now the ones protecting you and yours???? Amazing!

  23. Delphin says:

    Oh, for God's sake, J-Rob, read a newspaper or a book (or review Publion's posts), already.

    Whenever the Catholic bashers are faced with facts about media and justice system corruption (even if you choose to believe it hasn't infected the current prosecution of the Church), they immediately rewrite history - two millenia's worth. Ho-hum (yawn)-

    You are the Al Sharpton of your religious-baiting coalition.

  24. jim robertson says:

    I must be getting a birthday present.(Sunday. thank you.  all gifts gratefully accepted) A racist rant from Delp Showing her true self.( I like the good Rev) and the release of Cardinal Mahoney's incriminating documents. Is mus be my lucky day. Every thing comes to those who wait.

    Now to business. Pub the letters and memo's how about it? Believe me now or is this the zietqiest again? But No imaginary anything; no "stampedes" anywhere just real letters revealing real horror. Really created by your hierarchs.

    Decade after decade year in year out the victim lottery was played by the people you finicially supported and still support.  Your just lucky you weren't one of the chosen in that lottery. Pull persecution and stampede's out of those letters. I dare you.

  25. Delphin says:

    Ah- the challenge has been thrown down- Publion is now suppossed to expend valuable resources (mainly, his/her large brain) to disprove essentially nothing. The LA Times, not exactly a well-balanced bastion of ethics, has revealed, yet, another bit of "who knows what" to titilate the hungry antiCatholic masses, and now the Churchs defenders and supporters are suppossed to unravel the dribble.

    I am not shocked that a fan of the "good Rev. Al", aka tax cheat, race hustler, purgeror, liar, and all around career criminal would be exhibiting such sheer joy and happiness at the horror of the latest revelation that more victims of homosexuals may exist. A normal person might be troubled by such news, as are all faithful Catholics.

    When you consider all the victims of deviant homosexuals throughout the ages, it really does boggle the healthy mind to consider that the only instituion throughout the ages to protect and defend their lives and offer them the love and forgiveness of God is the Catholic Church.

    How true that you usually bite the hand that feeds you-

  26. Julie says:

    Delphin, Thank you. Very well put.

  27. Publion says:

    It is a day of various inspirations.


    The first thought that occurs to me is that medication is no good unless you take it on a regular basis.


    The second is the value of grammar (kicked far too far to the curb in the past half-century): especially in English, a word can have several entirely different meanings if the grammar markers aren’t there to indicate the communicative intentions of the speaker/writer.


    I had breezed through a recent comment in which “Pub” appeared with no such markers and figured that it was short for ‘publish’. Then I went back and realized that ‘publish’ didn’t make any sense in the sentence in which it was used (although there is also mention of “letters and memos”). But then, not-making-sense isn’t necessarily an unusual characteristic in certain bits of material that winds up in comments on this site.


    But then I gave the LA Times site a look and there are the first bits from the LA document-dump. I imagine that DP/TMR is working up an article on that and I don’t want to jump the gun and start us all down that time-traveling trip back to Reagan’s first and second administrations until DP has put up an article on it. Suffice it to say that I have every confidence that most of the readership will bear in mind JR”s “dare” – because after my review (conducted in the wee hours earlier today) of the material on the LA Times site  I very much will take him up on that challenge.


    Also, I have to say that I can’t find anything “racist” in any comments on this current TMR article. But then, grammar isn’t the only thing missing; accurate use of words is another valuable habit to get into. It’s sort of akin to driving a car: ‘reverse’ and ‘drive’ aren’t printed on the gear-shift selector just for yuks and to drive up the purchase price – if you just shift the gear-selector according to your own inspirations, ignoring the ‘words’, you may find that the auto doesn’t do what you want it to do, and instead goes and does something else altogether. What rational person could be surprised? Even if they find themselves on the freeway shaking to a very unsmooth stop, with bits of the transmission laying themselves out sequentially in the rear-view mirror. But then … some drivers will still manage to feel surprised. And outraged at the injustice of it all. And at the universal  conspiracy to make them look like they haven’t quite mastered the art of driving the car.


    Looking forward to DP’s article on the LA documents, and we’ll get down to business. Also, I think that this will be the week that the second Philly trial winds up. Over on his “bigtrial” site Ralph Cipriano mentioned that the judge is formally on record as wanting the thing wrapped up as soon as possible, and late last week she told defense and prosecution that she wants them both ready to deliver closing remarks this Friday (the defense thus has just a few days this week to present its case and allow for cross by the prosecution). No such thing as a normal trial in these abuse matters. One can only wonder why in this case.


    Let us press on, remaining acutely aware that wisdom does not come with chronological age and ticking off birthdays, but only with an ageing process that includes a lot of hard ‘self-work’, as the therapists like to put it. Only in that way does ‘ageing’ also become ‘maturing’.

    • jim robertson says:

      Say what? Reading your last post i feel like I was on a wild goose chase. I read and it made no sense. You never said what words I got wrong but sorry other things are more important than addressing hate filled and obfuscating people.

      Pub. Maybe you can find the turn off valve on Delphinium. Her venom belies Jesus in every way.

  28. Johanna says:

    It is wonderful to read both sides of this important issue–for a change!

  29. says:

    Thank you for your comments, everyone!

    I will be shutting down this thread.



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