I really like Captain Michael Skiendzielewski's comment in response to the article by Kieran Tapsell on the strange disconnect between Pope Francis's words and actions re: sex abuse that I discussed in a previous posting today. I like it so much that I'm going to share it with you in its entirety:
It becomes more difficult with each passing day here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to remain civil and respectful in one’s comments regarding the local RCC leadership, their statements, conduct and decision-making, past and present, relative to the abuse, destruction and devastation visited on child and young adult clergy abuse victims. Deliberate and deceitful obfuscation and hypocrisy……..Chaput asks "what more do they want us to do?"
He's a learned, mature and educated man and he most assuredly "knows" what must be done to protect our children now and in the future. He also "knows" what must be done in Harrisburg to give past victims a voice, legal access and redress (ALL CHILD VICTIMS here in the Commonwealth of PA, regardless of the venue of the alleged abuse…..public or private, religious or secular, in the home or in the community). It doesn't work, it doesn't sell, and it is unconvincing when a man such as Charles Chaput feigns ignorance on what steps needed to be taken to address the protection of ALL of our children.
He has NO RIGHT to stand in the way of the protection of other children in the Commonwealth of PA even if he wishes to defend his institution, leadership and its finances from legitimate legal action from victims and families that have suffered so terribly. Get out of Harrisburg, get out of Marsico’s office and LET THE PEOPLE have an opportunity to hear what the legislative proposals are about and what they can do for our children. How dare you, your leadership or anyone else, elected in Harrisburg or elsewhere, subvert and/or hijack our system of representative democracy.
The last several clergy abuse matters under YOUR watch, Archbishop Chaput, are clearly demonstrative of your style of leadership relative to the dangers to children in archdiocesan facilities throughout the region. Very little information re the allegations, risks in place in parishes for extended periods before notification of parents and families, and little if any information (facts, details, outcomes) regarding the disposition of the cases. What more can be done? Such a statement cannot be from ignorance, that we know. I believe it is from arrogance and a smugness that says "how dare the parishioners here in Philadelphia question my conduct, decision-making and actions in these issues?"
It is always appropriate to end a presentation on a positive note and theme. I want to "thank you" Archbishop Chaput for allowing many, many people in the region and beyond, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to come to know and love the special, unique, faithful, prayerful and compassionate nature of two very remarkable catholic women in this area. You know who they are; if not, then it is your loss that you do not know the depth, sincerity and beauty of their commitment to the Catholic faith. Yes, Archbishop, I am referring to Margie Winters and Andrea Vettori. I have read several of the statements and letters offered in the media by these two genuine Catholic women since the Waldron Mercy issue in the summertime. I just can’t remember reading any finer expressions of one's Catholic faith, commitment, sensitivity, caring and compassion for those in our community, especially the children. Ms. Vettori’s letter to Pope Francis should be read by every parishioner in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, exemplifying how her faith and love of Our Lord literally fills her life and the work she does.
Archbishop Chaput, unless you have not noticed yet, you are no longer in Denver. Citizens in the Delaware Valley, Catholic and non-Catholic, will never rest until all of our children are protected in the best way possible from the risks and dangers of sexual predation as well as the highest level of legal access and redress for those who should be victimized by such evil and criminal acts. Quite simply, either join us in these efforts or please, or just get out of the way and stop using PARISHIONERS’ contributions and donations to fight against the protection of ALL the children of the Commonwealth of PA.
Michael SkiendzielewskiCaptain (retired)Philadelphia Police Dept.
One would like to hope that Archbishop Chaput might see Captain Skiendzielewski's stellar commentary. Unfortunately, I think that His Excellency is at the current him-nod in Rome.
Discussing Catholic families and how to make them strong . . . .
The photo of a sailor using a megaphone at a U.S. Naval Training Camp in Seattle in 1947 is from the National Archives (Webster & Stevens, NARA 533698), and has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for sharing online.