Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Day of Reassignments

Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika announced in this week's East Tennessee Catholic that over the next seven days, a great many Catholics in the Diocese of Knoxville are going to find out that they are going to get a new pastor-and that means that their current one will be reassigned, most of them effective August 1st:

By the time you receive this newspaper in the mail, you may have heard about various new assignments for our priests. The appointments will be covered in detail in the June 7 edition of The East Tennessee Catholic. Some of you may wonder how I am able to make new assignments, given the fact that I have been here only a short time. Let me explain. Shortly after my arrival as bishop I sent a questionnaire to all my brother priests, requesting information about their life as a priest, what they enjoy, and what they consider their greatest challenges. I also asked whether they were happy in their current assignments, whether they had a strong desire to accept a new challenge, and whether they would be open to a possible move if the need were evident.

After prayerful reflection on this information, I sought the advice of my vicar general, Monsignor Xavier Mankel, and the diocesan College of Consultors. Again I prayed and reflected upon the assignment changes and had the opportunity to meet with each priest to make my proposal. For the most part, the new assignments will be effective Aug. 1.

In fairness, my own pastor, Father Patrick Garrity (St. Patrick, Morristown) is not among the reassigned. However, we have long known that the reason for this is Father Pat's Mother, who has long been ill with cancer and who lives in the rectory with Father Pat. Bishop Kurtz was loathe to move Father Pat because he knew that Father was responsible as his mother's guardian. Some in the parish have said-including our pastor himself-that he would have long been gone were it not for his mother, and we have been very blessed to have her continue to be with us as well as Father Pat.

Like many of the priests on the Bishop's list of assignments, however, we know that Father Pat's day to leave will come, and probably sooner rather than later. As Bishop Stika points out, many parishioners will protest that their beloved pastor is leaving, and that they are going to get someone new with whom the community is not familiar. Every once in a while, Catholics need to be reminded who is in charge, however, and it is ultimately the Holy Spirit-acting through the authority of the bishops, the successors of the Apostles. We often forget that the Church is truly universal, it is not confined to our little sphere in Knoxville or Chattanooga or Morristown or Crossville or Pigeon Forge. The place where we worship is only a part of the Church, it is not the whole Church, and the needs of the entire diocese and the universal Church should always be considered first, not only by the Bishop, but also by all of us in as unselfish a manner as we can possibly bear.

I urge the Catholics of the Diocese of Knoxville to accept the coming changes with grace and dignity, and by turning your parishes over in prayer to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Church.

Labels: ,


At Sunday, May 24, 2009 8:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catholic Church shamed by Irish abuse report

DUBLIN – After a nine-year investigation, a commission published a damning report Wednesday on decades of rapes, humiliation and beatings at Catholic Church-run reform schools for Ireland's castaway children.

The 2,600-page report painted the most detailed and damning portrait yet of church-administered abuse in a country grown weary of revelations about child molestation by priests.

The investigation of the tax-supported schools uncovered previously secret Vatican records that demonstrated church knowledge of pedophiles in their ranks all the way back to the 1930s.

Wednesday's five-volume report on the probe — which was resisted by Catholic religious orders — concluded that church officials shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.

"A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded.

Victims of the abuse, who are now in their 50s to 80s, lobbied long and hard for an official investigation. They say that for all its incredible detail, the report doesn't nail down what really matters — the names of their abusers.

"I do genuinely believe that it would have been a further step towards our healing if our abusers had been named and shamed," said Christine Buckley, 62, who spent the first 18 years of her life in a Dublin orphanage where children were forced to manufacture rosaries — and were humiliated, beaten and raped whether they achieved their quota or not.

The Catholic religious orders that ran more than 50 workhouse-style reform schools from the late 19th century until the mid-1990s offered public words of apology, shame and regret Wednesday. But when questioned, their leaders indicated they would continue to protect the identities of clergy accused of abuse — men and women who were never reported to police, and were instead permitted to change jobs and keep harming children.

The Christian Brothers, which ran several boys' institutions deemed to have harbored serial child molesters and sadists on their staff, insisted it had cooperated fully with the probe. The order successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report. No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.

The Christian Brothers' leader in Ireland, Brother Kevin Mullan, said the organization had been right to keep names secret because "perhaps we had doubts about some of the allegations."

"But on the other hand, I'd have to say that at this stage, we have no interest in protecting people who were perpetrators of abuse," Mullan said, vowing to "cooperate fully with any investigation or any civil authority seeking to explore those matters."

Buckley, who said she was abused at an orphanage run by the Sisters of Mercy, which ran several refuges for girls where the report documented chronic brutality, said the religious orders for years branded the victims as money-seeking liars — and were incapable of admitting their guilt today.

She criticized Mullan for suggesting that "today, having read the report, he doesn't mind if the abusers are named and shamed. Isn't that a little bit late for us?"

At Sunday, May 24, 2009 8:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

"In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine. ... Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body," the report said. "Personal and family denigration was widespread."

Ireland's myriad religious orders, much like their mother church, have been devastated by 15 years of scandals involving past cover-ups of abusers in their ranks.

The Christian Brothers have withdrawn from running several schools that still bear their name and the order has had few recruits in Ireland in the past two decades. Other orders are down to a handful of members, and their bases are closer to nursing homes than active missions.

"Most of these orders will literally die out in Ireland within the next generation or so," said Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin. "Many of them are already in wind-up mode. They lack the confidence even to seek new vocations (recruits), due to the stigma associated with their members' shocking, scandalous behavior."

The Irish government, which in 1999 apologized for its role in permitting decades of abuse and established the commission to nail down the full truth of the matter, has tried to use money to bring closure to the victims.

A government-appointed panel has paid 12,000 survivors of the schools, orphanages and other church-run residences an average of $90,000 each — on condition they surrender their right to sue either the church or state. About 2,000 more claims are pending. Irish Catholic leaders cut a controversial deal with the government in 2001 that capped the church's contribution at $175 million — a fraction of the final cost.

Some victims emphasized, even as they began thumbing through the report, that nothing — not even criminal convictions of their long-ago tormentors — will ever put right their psychological wounds and make their nightmares go away.

Tom Sweeney, who spent five years in two Christian Brothers-run institutions where he was placed for truancy, says he suffered sexual abuse and beatings. He also has bitter memories about more everyday humiliations — such as being forced to wrap his urine-stained sheets around his neck and parade in front of other children when he'd wet his bed.

"It's something you'll never forget, the way you lived in these industrial schools," he said.

At Sunday, May 24, 2009 8:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you urge the Catholics of Knoxville - or anywhere else - to accept the ass-raping, boy fucking priests of the Catholic Church? The ones that the Vatican had full knowledge of, yet chose to do nothing about? Is that what you urge the Catholics of Knoxville to accept?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Locations of visitors to this page
Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits
Create your own visitor map