Well, it's Wednesday Penance for everyone here. And it's brutal.
I'm going through this report, and it's just 424 pages of horror. Story after unreal story, and even though much if not most of it doesn't come as a surprise, the level of negligence -- or, dare I say it, clericalism -- is stunning. Aside from one priest who conducted himself disgustingly while hearing my confession many years ago, there's part of me which is offering a prayer of thanksgiving to God that, having lived within the daily context of this institution for so many years, I was spared the ravages of what so many of these victims unnecessarily had to suffer, both at the hands of their abusers and from the archdiocese.
Some snips I've come across:
- Father David Sicoli, removed from ministry only a year ago after being shuffled around to several assignments. In 1993, he was overheard telling a 14 year-old with whom he was involved, "You make me feel like a cheap whore." The boy, who wasn't Catholic, was quickly baptized by Sicoli and made head of the parish youth group. When the other priests in the rectory reported his untoward conduct, Sicoli was sent for an evaluation and returned to ministry -- in "one-man parishes" where the observations of other priests would not be present. There were relationships with several boys, one of which was described as "intense and violent." One of the whistle-blowers on Sicoli was a lay minister named Anthony Bozeman, an eminent man and leader among the next generation of Black Catholics who later entered the Philadelphia Seminary and was ordained in 2000. He testified to the Grand Jury and, in the most recent clerical changes, left the archdiocese of Philadelphia to enter the Josephites.
- Father James Bryzski, who is said to have abused "possibly over a hundred victims." A victim wondered whether his parents "had accepted money from Fr. Bryzski in exchange for permission to abuse their son." Another boy testified that Bryzski had abused him "a couple of hundred times." When sent to St. Luke's, Bryzski called several of his victims, inviting them to come and see him. Despite admitting several acts of sexual misconduct to his superiors, silence was ordered and the Chancery decided to "not actively seek further names of persons who may have been involved with Father Bryzski."