January 15, 2016 |
A PHILADELPHIA JUDGE has ruled that documents and other evidence from pretrial proceedings in a lawsuit involving sexual abuse of minors by a Catholic priest will remain public before trial. The two-paragraph ruling by Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein was a setback for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which had asked for an order barring public disclosure of the materials. The church has insisted on confidentiality as a condition for engaging in pretrial discovery with lawyers in suits seeking damages for being sexually molested by priests.
January 11, 2016 |
Brian McDonnell lies in his small, dark room under the crucifix on his wall, praying Hail Marys on his blue plastic rosary beads. Symbols of a church that had forsaken him, but one that he has never abandoned. He worries that he is dying. It is all he thinks about. "I don't know how long I'm going to last," he said the other afternoon. "I just feel like I'm fading quick. I just fall asleep saying Hail Marys. " Brian suffers from schizophrenia, dementia, and depression. The manifestations of his mental illness are inextricably intertwined with the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest as an altar boy at now-closed St. Gregory's in West Philadelphia.
December 31, 2015 |
The Rev. Rick Curry embraced his disability as a gift and used it to empower thousands. When Richard Jerome Curry was born without a right forearm and hand, his mother wept, and his father fled to a bar near the family home in Southwest Philadelphia. The missing limb would define him, people told the boy - he could never be a soldier or a doctor or a priest. The difference did define him, but in no way that his parents or early teachers had imagined. After spending much of his life as a Jesuit brother, Father Curry received a special dispensation from the Vatican to become a priest at age 66. He earned a doctorate.
December 23, 2015 |
A Philadelphia priest who was temporarily removed in the wake of the 2011 investigation into clergy sex abuse, and then reinstated, has again been removed from ministry. The Rev. Steven Harris, most recently the pastor of St. Bridget Church in East Falls, has been put on administrative leave by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. "The archdiocese was made aware of possible concerns regarding his suitability for ministry at this time," said an announcement shared at St. Bridget's weekend Masses and posted on the parish's Facebook page.
December 4, 2015 |
THE TWO DOZEN Catholic priests who showed up at Father Paul Wiedman's funeral Mass yesterday agreed on the best way to describe him: He was a "priest's priest. " "He was truly an amazing priest," said his niece, Denise Every. "He was always there to serve others. He always put others' needs ahead of his own. " The Rev. Paul A. Wiedman, pastor emeritus of Queen of the Universe Parish in Levittown, died Nov. 25 at age 80. He would have turned 81 on Christmas Eve. Even when he was suffering with a fractured shoulder that couldn't be operated on because of cardiac issues, Father Paul, in effect, gave his suffering to God. "He said his suffering was nothing compared to what Jesus suffered on the cross," his niece said.
November 24, 2015 |
IT WAS SAD DUTY for a priest. The Rev. Neil J. McGettigan had the wrenching task of celebrating funeral Masses for seven of his siblings. After presiding at the service for brother Donald in February 1999, having already buried two brothers and a sister, he said to the surviving two brothers and one sister: "Please take care of yourselves. I cannot face another time like this. " But he had to. His remaining four siblings died one after the other, and Neil was the celebrant at their funerals.
November 20, 2015 |
On Wednesday, the Rev. Michael Brady went to his final rest - again. This time with the aid of a backhoe, a crane, and three laborers with shovels. When a venerable Philadelphia church closed in 2013, more than pews and stained glass stayed behind. Also remaining was a low grave on the north side of the building, where the priest was buried in 1929. On Wednesday, trucks pulled onto the lawn of what had been Incarnation of Our Lord Catholic Church, at Fifth Street and Lindley Avenue in Olney.
October 30, 2015
DOUGLAS McKAY got the call from God while sitting on a bar stool at Sam's Bar, 30th and Wharton, Grays Ferry, USA. It wasn't the first call he heard, but it was the final one. After a fight at Sam's that night (he won, he says) he got lost in thought. He wasn't destined to spend his life on a bar stool at Sam's. The next day McKay presented himself to his parish priest at St. Gabriel's, the massive stone Catholic church dominating his Irish, working-class neighborhood. He said he wanted to become a priest.
September 27, 2015 |
Mom was on the phone from Queens with a message for Philly. "Philly should feel so fabulously, wonderfully blessed," Patsy Newall was saying. I know, Mom. "It should be ecstatic and so proud to welcome him with open arms. " You're right, Mom. "Your last column on the pope wasn't strong enough. You weren't as excited as you should be. " OK, Mom. The spirit was really moving through her. She had been driving down Flatbush Avenue, on her way home from the Meat Supreme grocery store, when the man on the radio said the pope's helicopter had just left JFK airport.
September 21, 2015 |
For someone whose very title - Roman Catholic Womanpriest - triggered her excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, Eileen DiFranco has much in common with Pope Francis. "I think he has said just marvelous things about poverty and Catholic social justice," DiFranco said of the pontiff. Their views, however, diverge sharply on the role of women in the church. That is: DiFranco, a retired school nurse who lives in Mount Airy, believes that women can and must be ordained as priests, as she was in 2006 in a ceremony declared invalid by the church.