"Keep Your Mouth Shut"
When the Rev. James Gigliotti told church officials in the early 1980s that a Northeast Philadelphia priest was molesting boys, he remembers receiving a stern warning.
"This comes from the highest authority: You're to keep your mouth shut," Gigliotti said an assistant chancellor told him.
The Philadelphia Archdiocese quickly removed the accused priest, the Rev. James J. Brzyski, from his parish in the Fox Chase section.
But the archdiocese did not tell parishioners the reason. Nor did it report Brzyski to police.
With his conduct a secret, Brzyski remained a welcome guest in parishioners' homes. A former altar boy said this meant Brzyski kept abusing him - for years....
Charges or not, even if the story's two decades old, this is the really damning stuff. Given that it's my hometown, it's terribly heart-breaking, too.
Why did no one call the police about Brzyski 20 years ago?
The answer is complicated.
"We were just so disturbed to find out that this creature was out there among young boys, and we kind of felt guilty," said the mother of one Brzyski accuser. "We should have gone to the police back then, and it would have stopped. Being good Catholics, we didn't do that."
See what happens when laissez-faire clericalism is the law of the land?