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For former Pittsburgh prosecutor, the new inquiry into clergy abuse is personal

David Hickton speaks in his office. Photo by Matthew Sobocinski/USA TODAY

PITTSBURGH (USA Today) – The suspicious looks were one thing, but the whispers are what David Hickton remembers from the Sunday mornings two years ago when he would rise from his pew at SS. Simon & Jude to receive Holy Communion.

“I could hear the ‘tsk, tsk, tsk’ while I was going up the aisle,” he says. “Others were muttering, ‘Of all the nerve!'”

Hickton – then the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania known for his landmark indictment in 2014 of Chinese military hackers for stealing trade secrets from state institutions such as U.S. Steel – had just revealed his new target: the Catholic Church.

The former altar boy from working-class Castle Shannon put the full weight of the federal government behind an incendiary theory that the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese should be viewed as an interstate criminal enterprise – akin to the Mafia – based on allegations that for years, up to 50 priests had abused hundreds of children.

The inquiry, which cast him as a traitor to some in his own congregation, was resolved far short of a dramatic courtroom confrontation when the federal government and the diocese agreed last year to create an outside panel to guard child safety.

Hickton’s Sunday morning scorning by fellow churchgoers stands as an ugly example of what federal prosecutors in Philadelphia are likely to encounter as they conduct a broader investigation into alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests throughout Pennsylvania.

After more than a half-dozen state dioceses acknowledged receiving grand jury subpoenas last month as part of the federal inquiry, the powerful U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops confirmed that it, too, was served notice to preserve documents related to alleged rampant abuse. That action signals the government’s review may include the country’s nearly 200 dioceses – the church’s entire U.S. operation.

Federal authorities declined to comment on the basis for their sudden intervention, but they are likely to consider legal actions – including organized crime enforcement measures – that are not bound by “statute of limitation” restrictions that have allowed hundreds of priests to avoid state prosecution for offenses that occurred decades ago.

The Justice Department’s inquiry comes as a wave of abuse allegations have washed over the Catholic Church in Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Guam and the District of Columbia.

None has been more stunning than the charges contained in a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report in August, which concluded that the church shielded more than 300 “predator” priests whose victims numbered more than 1,000.

Among those victims: students at Hickton’s own suburban Catholic grade school – St. Anne – where the Rev. Charles Chatt’s alleged abuse spanned years. It was Chatt, according to the grand jury report, who did nothing when allegations surfaced that a basketball coach was sexually abusing young players, including Hickton’s sixth-grade teammates.

“I guess I didn’t know it at the time, but this was ground zero of the clergy sexual abuse scandal,” Hickton says. Though he was not physically abused himself, he says, he regularly witnessed the agony of teammates after they were violated in the school’s locker room.

‘A real breakthrough’

Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, whose practice has represented thousands of abuse victims, characterizes the Pennsylvania grand jury report as an “earthquake” that has shaken law enforcement into responding.

“For decades, law enforcement has been reluctant to confront the church because it has been so politically powerful. The federal government’s involvement now represents a real breakthrough. We’ve always felt like this is what needed to happen. People need to understand, the peril is real,” he says.

This month, there was much anticipation the church would finally confront its widening scandal on its own terms. Then the Vatican instructed a meeting of U.S. bishops in Baltimore to delay any action until February.

The surprise intervention by the Vatican, which enraged victims and survivors of clergy abuse, focused attention – and expectations – on the new federal investigation.

“The federal government represents the absolute best chance we have to get to the full truth in this crisis from every state in the country,” says Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the largest advocacy group of its kind. “I don’t know if anyone really knows the full scope of the problem and what has to be done, including me. In some ways, the steps the federal government has taken so far may be unprecedented. It gives us hope.”

The driving tour through Hickton’s Castle Shannon neighborhood – once an enclave of coal miners – is, for the most part, a nostalgic romp: a slight climb to the old family home on Orr Drive; past Tony The Barber on Willow Avenue, a favored haunt of comedian Dennis Miller; then on to the Linden Grove dance hall on Route 88, where in the 1960s, guys in leather jackets gathered on weekends to check out the girls or the occasional souped-up Barracuda.

The unimaginable is saved for last.

The interior of St. Anne Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, where the school Hickton attended is attached. Photo by Matthew Sobocinski/USA TODAY

“You see those windows down there?” Hickton asks, pointing to the bottom floor on the backside of St. Anne Catholic School. “That’s where the locker rooms were.”

The dank space, where Hickton’s sixth-grade basketball squad gathered before and after every game, is the place he describes as “a shooting gallery for child predators.”

After every game, the ritual was horrifyingly the same, he says: The coach, overseen by Chatt, would call for a young team member to join him in the shower room. The encounters would vary in length but would almost always end with a visibly distraught child returning to his locker after being fondled and groped by the coach, identified in the grand jury report as “Mr. Giles.”

Some victims shared their experiences at the time, Hickton says. Others stayed mute, their emotions speaking for them.

Hickton says the abuse became so recurrent during the season nearly 50 years ago that some of his young teammates would start trembling with fear as the last minutes ticked off the game clock.

“It was like Russian roulette: Everybody was looking at each other, worried that they might be next,” he says.

Hickton says he never told his parents about the abuse because “I didn’t know what to say.”

“How does a 10- or 11-year-old kid talk about something like that? I remember worrying that some people might be hurt more if I said something. But I do remember encouraging my parents to come to all of my games. I wanted them there. I guess that was my coping mechanism,” he says.

Although he did not speak out at the time, Hickton says there is “no doubt” Chatt was not only aware of the abuse but engaged in illicit activity of his own.

“Everybody knew,” he says.

‘Nobody to protect us’

Hickton’s account to USA TODAY largely tracks a summary of Chatt’s predatory behavior documented in the files of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Those files were turned over to the Pennsylvania grand jury, which published its findings in August.

Chatt is one of nearly 100 Pittsburgh-area priests identified in the grand jury report, which says his misconduct spanned decades. The report included a record of Chatt being informed of the basketball coach’s shower room encounters with young players.

“The victim went to Chatt, who was principal of the school, to tell him that … Mr. Giles had been fondling the genitals of many boys on the basketball team,” the grand jury report states in its account of an alleged incident in 1970. “The victim advised that Chatt did nothing about the reported incidents.”

Chatt, living near St. Louis, says in a brief interview with USA TODAY that “not all” of the allegations in the grand report are accurate. He declines to elaborate, except to indicate he has no memory of allegations involving the coach being reported to him at the time.

“No victim ever came to me and said they were abused by him,” Chatt says.

Chatt, who is one of 17 priests named in an abuse claim settled by the Pittsburgh diocese in 2007 for $1.25 million, says he does not know how long Giles worked at the school, nor does he recall his full name. Giles could not be located.

An attorney for the diocese did not respond to written questions about the tenures of Chatt and Giles. The school declined to respond to questions about the two men.

About the author

Kevin Johnson

108 Comments

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  • If the bishops had done the right thing in the first place, and they had plenty of chances to do so, the cover-up scandal would never have gotten this far. But they were too busy being the Keepers of the Keys to be the keepers of the Church’s children.
    And now the bishops themselves are going to get reamed (so to speak). Poetic justice, and hopefully some real justice coming from state and federal prosecutors.

  • In the phrase “If the bishops had done the right thing in the first place …”, it should read “If the bishops had not done the right thing in the first place …”.

    Plenty of bishops did the right thing.

    Plenty of dioceses – mine is one – had zero lawsuits and zero non-prosecuted offenders.

    Now, let’s take on the public schools where the problem is MUCH worse.

  • I’d sure love to see that data you’re relying on in saying the problem is much worse in public schools.

    Why do I suspect you’re not gonna provide it?

  • The bishops are also criminals, in several ways: they didn’t protect their congregations (didn’t Jesus have something to say about child abuse?), and they had knowledge of very serious felonies but did NOTHING about them.

    Contrast this with the actions bishops take when dealing with priests who are suspected of stealing money from the church: those priests are turned in immediately.

    I’ve been following this stuff since the Penna report. The cases, many of them old but not all, are coming out of the woodwork.

    And who knows what OTHER crimes by the church and its clergy are gonna be discovered as these probes continue?

    Say goodbye, cardinals. Your days of enormous power are over. Good riddance.

  • It’s been repeated so many times providing it again to ant-religious gadfly is not a fool’s errand I intend to undertake.

  • In other words, you can’t provide it. If you had it, you would.

    As I said above, I was pretty sure you would not be able to provide it.

    Thank you for showing everyone here how seriously we should take your posts.

  • No, I know your style very well, and I have no plans on getting sucked into a circle jerk when I know for a fact the data has been provided in multiple threads in which you have been involved over at least the last year.

    Bug someone else.

  • The Roman Catholic Religious System is rotten to the core. If you were wise, Mr. Hickton, you’d not only be investigating the abuse, you’d be getting out of the organization altogether.

  • I don’t believe there was a law broken if “they didn’t protect their congregations”, which means they are not “also criminals”.

  • No, it is plain old anti-Catholicism.

    One of the facts of life when amongst the bean sprouts and sandals set that run operations like RNS is that things that if they were said about black, Jews, or women that would get them banned for life can be said about Catholics with impunity.

    Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable bastion of hard bigotry.

  • I took a few minutes to scan just the last six months of your posts:

    Jack Chick had nothing on you:

    https://disqus(DOT)com/home/channel/religion/discussion/channel-religion/the_rise_in_political_correctness_and_why_christians_are_to_blame/#comment-3890127771

    Orthodox, Roman Catholic, what’s the difference? Nothing, really. Different cabins on the same sinking ship.

    God inspired and preserves His word. The Roman Catholic church alters and misrepresents it. I should be grateful to idolatrous Babylon? I look forward to witnessing its destruction!! It’s only a matter of time…

    https://disqus(DOT)com/home/channel/religion/discussion/channel-religion/the_rise_in_political_correctness_and_why_christians_are_to_blame/#comment-3890161721

    Roman Catholics are not Christians. That’s not name calling; that’s the truth.

    https://disqus(DOT)com/home/channel/graceandtruth/discussion/channel-graceandtruth/the_simple_gospel/#comment-3972206609

    “That’s the gospel [1 Cor. 15:3,4], the death, burial and resurrection and believing it is what brings salvation” says edwinrad.

    If that’s true, edwinrad, then Mormons and Roman Catholics are Christians, too.

    https://disqus(DOT)com/home/discussion/thedailywire/walsh_francis/#comment-4063014183

    This issue is only the tip of the iceberg. The entire Roman Catholic Religious Organization, aka spiritual Babylon, is wicked through and through.

    https://disqus(DOT)com/home/discussion/thedailywire/walsh_francis/#comment-4063589488

    What is life eternal? The Lord Jesus Christ tells us in John 17: to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

    Based on what the LDS and Roman Catholic religious organizations teach about the LORD God, no, they don’t know Him.

    https://disqus(DOT)com/home/discussion/thedailywire/walsh_this_is_war/#comment-4066959793

    Blame Satan if you will, Mr. Walsh, but those men were manifesting what resides in their dark, depraved hearts.

    I would add…likewise for the bloodless sacrifice of the Roman Catholic Mass.

  • I stand by every word I’ve posted (hence my account is public for all to see).

    Perhaps you’d also care to read through some of my recommendations and search the scriptures to test their content? Or are you afraid to find out your hope is in refuge of lies?

  • Has mark connelly been posting here for the last year? Somehow i doubt it. But someone else has been. Im sure the evidence exists, and will be posted soon.
    Then you will surely see the truth of the matter, and bob’s your uncle, as they say in england.

  • And based on your words posted your bona fides as an anti-Catholic are established.

    I am not interested in engaging bigots who proof text themselves into hatred, approval of chattel slavery, or any other misuse of the Sacred Scriptures.

  • As you wish. I would recommend you at least read the Scriptures for yourself. Perhaps the Lord would be pleased to give you repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth.

  • It is disturbing that people would criticize him as he is in Church. They are definitely misguided Catholics! He is fighting for what is right…

  • I suppose there probably are *some* cases–but my guess is very few. I can recall hearing a very few cases, mostly involving gym-related stuff, and older kids. If there were a lot of such cases, I think we would all be able to recall at least one, and find it by searching.

    Clearly teachers don’t have the same kind of authority or influence over kids as clergy do, and it is probably not nearly as easy to transfer offending teachers from 1 school to another. And if a teacher at a school had a strong suspicion about a fellow teacher, there are far fewer reasons or influences on the teacher to keep silent.

  • I am extremely familiar with Scriptures.

    You misuse them to advance non-Christian hatred against at least three religious denominations, one of which is the largest Christian denomination in the world.

    I have no truck with bigots, none at all.

  • There is a problem in the schools. I would be surprised if there weren’t. I do seem to remember reading about it, the general topic, from some OTHER source, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. In fact, I have definitely read about probably a half dozen teachers in the past year or so. But whether it measures up to the clerical problem is another question.

    500 educators were arrested in 2015, according to one source. That sounds like a lot, until you factor in that there are literally millions of students, tens of thousands of schools. But of course, none of that is remotely of interest to Whataboutism, becuase the goal of whataboutism is to deflect, not to learn, and certainly, not to care about the actual problem.

  • Being anti catholic for the sake of being anti catholic really has no place here, either at RNS or in a discussion about child abuse. Evangelicals of any stripe have their own issues, as a simple google of “youth pastor sexual molestation” will show in spades. In fact, it has no more place than attacking someone else for being anti catholic simply because they find something worth criticizing in the Catholic Church, especially when it comes to institutionally protected pedophilia.

    Both are simply ways of deflecting attention from a problem in the name of scoring points for the hyper evangelical or the hyper catholic side, and both are equally unattractive. Both positions are opposites sides of the same coin of hard core religious bigotry, which always dresses up in its finest Sunday-go-to-meeting drag in order to pretend that it is something other than what it so clearly is.

    May I suggest a pox on both your houses?

  • I have no idea what you’re referring to, but I think if there were really a lot of public school teachers abusing kids, it would be big news. I read or scan WaPo, WSJ and NYT every day and cannot recall seeing any stories of this nature. I think if there really were a lot of abuse, newspapers would play it up big, since it would appeal to readers; and certainly konservatives would play it up, since they hate public schools.

  • We might also ask how many school systems claim to be God’s chosen vehicle for the salvation of man’s immortal soul. Big claims come with big responsibilities.

  • I was referring to actual news reports I have seen in the San Francisco Chronicle, and occasionally, here and there, on various websites. I think it’s a problem wherever adults have contacts with children. As I have mentioned a number of times, for decades the Boy Scouts had a sexual abuse problem with their certifiably heterosexual scoutmasters.

    The Boy Scouts compare in a lot of particulars with the Roman Catholic Church in this matter, especially in covering up the molestation and reassigning the offenders, as well as the certifiable heterosexuality of the molesters.. I doubt that the same kinds of problems exist with the public school situation, though I am sure SOMEBODY will be able to find an example or two of it.

    There is the further problem, which I have addressed elsewhere, but the public-school teachers are not pretenting that they are appointed by God as the guardians of morality, and are the next best thing to God himself, nor are they making public promises and vows to god about it. There is no 1000 years of documented abuse, either.

    But as I said, the real problem is finding somewhere to compare the statistics.

  • I have a problem with the characterization of 500 educators. There are several teachers who are/have served as teachers for a number of decades in my family. Except for a rare case or 2 nationally, I have never considered a problem with teachers abusing children. Could you please provide your source.

  • The term ” anti-catholic ” is used here quite often to cast doubt on the validity of criticism of the RCC.

    With me – being “anti-catholic ” falls into the same category as being ” anti organized crime “.

    Just look at the current and historical crimes of the RCC for the past 1500 yrs.

    There’s a lot to be ” anti ” about….

  • ” I’ve been following this stuff since the Penna report. ”

    I’ve been following ” this stuff ” for half-a-century. The only difference now is people are no longer fearful of the eternal punishment foisted upon us as children and are speaking out.

    The abuse of children by the clergy and hierarchy has been going on since first recorded in the 4th century CE. That’s when the bishops in Spain tried to pass a canonical law to get the clergy and hierarchy to stop the child abuse.

    We see how successful that was.

  • “The federal government represents the absolute best chance we have to get to the full truth…” Very Unlikely. I’ll translate this to what I think Mr. Hiner is really saying: “Maybe RICO can be used, since it has no statute of limitations, where we are dealing with allegations of abuse that is over 30 years old.”

  • I agree with everything you say. The problems with clergy sex abuse are reflected in various iterations of canon law.

    The true underlying problem here is the attitude of the church towards sex. The church clearly has a problem with sexual activity–of all types; this is reflected in the historical record.

    I suppose problems related to sexual abuse will never be completely eliminated in any field or organization–given human nature–but at least in terms of religious activities, it will be greatly lessened by a frank acknowledgement of sexual behavior.

    But that, of course, will NEVER take place, given the nonsense in the bible (and Quran, and I suppose other religious texts) about sex.

  • If anyone thought the ongoing, growing, worldwide sexual abuse scandals of pedophile priests, corruptions within the Curia and other clerical and institutional abuses shaking the roman catholic church [and others] would disappear because of a affable sounding pope and the soft PR and populist spin coming out of the Vatican they were sadly mistaken. Yet however abominable this institutional and individual betrayal may be, it will look a mere trifle compared to the perfect storm that appears to be on the way.

    The question has become this: could two millennia of scholastic exegesis, tradition and the faith of a billion people be wholly in error? No more than a theological illusion and counterfeit! And no longer just a rhetorical question for mud slinging between atheist and religious, re-examining the origins of the ‘church’ is under way, and we are on the threshold of discovering that answer. And the ‘church’ as we know it could face extinction!

  • I understand the issue quite well. I’ve been watching that issue for the past 45 years, and especially for the last five on These Very Pages, as a certain class of Christian attacks other Christians for not being the right sort of Christian. Just because you want to pretend that it’s all about the Clear Word o’ God does not make it so, any more than it makes it not about the various forms of religious bigotry.

    In fact, the No True Scotsman fallacy is soon to be re-labeled the No True Christian fallacy.

  • Connelly/Arnzen can always be counted on to defend the indefensible and to accuse anyone who disagrees with his nonsense of being “abti-Catholic.”

  • No you don’t so I’ll boil it down for you: Roman Catholicism is NOT true Christianity because, in reality, it is about the “Word o’ God” which is the only standard of Truth.

  • The comment I made on these questions seems to have disappeared, but Disqus was acting very wonky yesterday, and that might account for it. I don’t know exactly what I googled yesterday, which would bring up the exact citation. It was an NPR article. That’s all I can tell you. I wish I had included the source, but I was on my phone.

    In response to your query, I just now googled “sexual abuse public schools”. That particular article didn’t show up, but a host of others did. It is clear there is an issue. Whether it is an issue to the extent that the whataboutist defenders of the RCC love to claim it is, is another story. Moreover, a lot of the articles seem to deal with sexual assaults in general, not just molestation by teachers. The article I read dealt just with the latter. It’s important to distinguish between molestation by teachers and staff, and assault or abuse by other students.

    I want to be clear. I am most definitely NOT engaging in that whataboutist deflection of RCC responsibility for centuries of abuse. There are absolutely no excuses for it; if anyone touched my nephews or nieces or god children, I would be happy to acquaint their genitalia with my rusty, dull fish scaling knife.

    But no good purpose is served by ignoring sexual molestation, not ever. As a gay man, I have been listening to these bogus claims about the danger gay men pose to children my entire life. I’m sick to death of it. All it has ever accomplished, apart from demonizing innocent people for the sins of the majority, is to keep the child molestation problem and its actual dynamics in the closet, which simply perpetuates the problem.

    I hope this answers your question. If it doesn’t, or if I am not entirely clear, please ask me.

  • Of course the clergy sexual abuse and coverup scandals are worldwide and of very long duration. Spanish scholar Pepe Rodriguez has published two books on this, totaling over 800 pages — The Sex Life of the Clergy (La vida sexual del clero, 1995) and Pederasty in the Catholic Church: Sexual Crimes of the Clergy against Minors, A Drama Silenced and Covered up by the Bishops (Pederastia en la iglesia: delitos sexuales del clero contra menores, un drama silenciado y encubierto por los obispos, 2003). Both are available from Amazon, but only in Spanish. Rodriguez found that in Spain 60% of priests are sexually active, 25% have “touched” (Spanish term) minors of either sex, and 7% have “committed serious sexual,abuses with minors.” Of course the statistics vary from country to country, And the new Polish blockbuster film Kler (Clergy) also deals with the abuse mess. — Edd Doerr

  • What Connelly/Arnzen conveniently overlooks is that most Catholics disagree with the Vatican and bishops on such matters as contraception, abortion, clerical celibacy, married priests, ordaining women, the need for sending kids to church-run schools, weekly mass attendance, etc.

  • I certainly understand that the only people hyper evangelicals and hyper Catholics despise more than each other are gay people and atheists. So I, being both, am highly irrelevant to your world view and your charming way of practicing your faith.

    I can remember very clearly back in the 70s people like Tim LaHaye writing extended tracts about the red whore of Babylon, and they weren’t referring to their family members. I remember, also from the 70s, F. Bailey Smith, then president of the Southern Baptist convention, declaring with the same certainty about truth and goodness that you display: “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.“ I understand that you have totally different interpretations of the word of God, and both of you insist that you are the only correct ones, with about the same amount of evidence.. I understand that when you’re not busy attacking each other, you’re busy attacking everyone else.

    My point is that you shouldn’t be doing it here on the pages of religion news.

    Here’s George Macdonald on that very subject.

    George MacDonald

    A furious battle was raging around me. Wild cries and roars of rage, shock of onset, struggle prolonged, all mingled with words articulate, surged in my ears. Curses and credos, snarls and sneers, laughter and mockery, sacred names and howls of hate, came huddling in chaotic interpenetration. […] The holiest words went with the most hating blow. Lie-distorted truths flew hurtling in the wind of javelins and bones. Every moment some one would turn against his comrades, and fight more wildly than before, The Truth! The Truth! still his cry. One I noted who wheeled ever in a circle, and smote on all sides. Wearied out, a pair would sit for a minute side by side, then rise and renew the fierce combat. None stopped to comfort the fallen, or stepped wide to spare him.

  • I don’t hate Catholics, gay people, atheists, or anyone else. I can see why you would think that, though. The Truth, while it offends the natural man, is true whether it’s believed or not. It’s not mine to convince anyone. Only to declare it.

  • I’m glad to hear that it isn’t hate for you. However, not all bigotry is hate. So much of it is the ever present, always assumed, and completely unwarranted faith in a wholly imaginary superiority as a religious person, a Christian, a heterosexual, a moral person, and a human being. You might want to check out that as well. I’ve encountered way too many Christians of a certain sort explaining patiently how they really don’t hate me, but the feelings that they exhibit or not all that far removed from hate or despite. It just makes them feel good about the the things they say.

    Whether that is you, I have no idea. Well, I do have an idea, but I’m not going to argue the point with you. Have a nice day

  • Anti-popery is a credible biblical stance against the anti-christ /beast system. This is the reason for the protest against Rome which has existed since it’s inception. Those who are blind or deaf cannot see the truth as they do not love the truth so God sends them strong delusion so they will believe lies [2 Thess2:10-12.] Only Jesus makes the blind to see and the deaf to hear, the dead to live. It is not bigotry to be against evil or the anti-christ but very biblical. Catholicism is a pagan resurrection of Babylonian religion for the most part and that is why we warn about it. I grew up very Catholic so I know that “religion” well. I recommend to get out.

  • Christians follow the word of God because He tells us the way it is…He made it all and knows the way it is. It is all as He says, no matter what anyone else may think. But He has graciously told us the way and given His own as a sacrifice for us to be redeemed from the evil world and consequences of sin. He gives us the Holy Spirit which testifies to the truth of what I just said…and others who have not the spirit are confounded because of their own lack and sin.

  • So, how do we tell whether it is the evangelical-damning Catholics or the catholic damning evangelicals who are wrong?

  • You Calvinist heretics are all walking cliches. The only truth you self-worshipping egomaniacs have in your man-made system comes from the Catholic Church. All of your theological particulars are steeped in Nestorianism, which is to say, damnable heresy.

  • Then you stand against the very words of the protestant deformers themselves.

    Neither Luther nor Calvin declared that ‘Roman Catholics are not Christians’. Indeed, they explicitly refuted the notion. Calvin famously hosted several Catholic theologians in his home, not to ‘convert’ them, but to state their shared faith together.

    Sadly, once Calvin sided with the Nestorian apostate Ulrich Zwingli over and against the more orthodox Lutherans, he himself lost any claim to being a genuine Christian.

    You only consider Catholics to be false Christians because you, as a heretic, need something to distinguish your man-made cult from the other 35,000 protestant ‘denominations’ who also claim to know who is and isn’t a true bible-believer.

  • Still upvoting yourself, I see, since no one else is stupid enough to do so.
    It doesn’t matter whether or not individual Catholics agree with dogmatic truths or not; they’re still dogmatic truths.
    The Catholic Church is not like heretical protestant sects who, when they encounter a Biblical truth they don’t like, simply start another denomination that re-interprets that part of the Bible in whatever way that suits them.

  • The ‘protest’ against the Church founded by Jesus Christ – the Roman Catholic Church – has not existed since its exception, unless you admit your theological brethren are Gnostics, Nestorians, Arians, Modalists, etc.
    Your particular man-made heresies began in earnest 500 years ago. Protestantism has no historical basis beyond that, and it has no Biblical foundation at all.

  • Which is to say – you determine whether or not something is the testimony of the Holy Spirit based on whether or not YOU believe it, which is the basis of all heresy.

  • And you can always be counted on to do what no one else is stupid enough to do – up vote an ignorant edddoerr comment.

  • “Anti-popery” if it means “I choose not to be Catholic” is acceptable except for the use of the compound word “anti-popery”, which draws from the very worst of the 16th century bigotry, carried on largely at Guy Fawkes events and in Appalachia and the rural Deep South.

    Catholicism – to any reasonably intelligent person – is hardly “a pagan resurrection of Babylonian religion”, and that sort of rot depends on sophistry and comic books, e.g.:

    https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0071/0071_01.asp

    No, you do not know “that ‘religion’ very well”.

    I recommend you take off the white sheet, put out the burning cross, and walk away from bigotry.

  • Truth from the idolatrous Roman Catholic Religious Organization? Sadly, no, the RCC may talk about a Jesus but not the Christ of Holy Writ. The RCC denies Christ by many of its doctrines, traditions, and practices.

  • LOL! The Protestant Reformation dealt a serious blow to the papacy and exposed them to the world. People still know who and what this organization is. It is history, factual history. The bigots are the liars who claim papacy is honorable! The bible says differently.

  • I have studied this very much and am quite convinced by historical fact of my very educated opinion of the Catholic Church. ….not to mention I was raised in that church so know it’s heresies well. You can deny all you want but truth is truth.

  • Easy….bible is the truth and all must match up to bible truth or it is a lie. The RCC is the subject of Revelation 17 and 18.

  • That is backwards and totally upside down! LOL Jesus did not establish the Catholic Church except in the RCC’s own mind. Protestantism is all biblical and founded upon the bible alone! The RCC is the opposite, bible and traditions of man….and the pope, which is found NO WHERE in the bible. The RCC is the subject of the Revelation17 and 18….read it. It is about the anti-christ papacy.

  • Whatever, I am glad to be out of that church. God warns people to leave that church in Revelation 18:4. You have been studying lies then because the truth is on our side, the Protestant Reformation decimated the power of the papacy, thanks be to God Almighty!!

  • Basic decency. The man is trying to save his church. These negative people who are mean to him are immoral. Their actions reveal they are fine with priests abusing children. Decent moral people do not support that.

  • Also, not that it matters, I was catholic for the first 20 years of my life. Catholic school, daily communicant. Very knowledgeable about Catholicism.

  • It depends on what years were the first twenty years of your life.

    One priest of my acquaintance did not find out that Catholics believed that the bread and wine became the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ until college, when a priest at the Newman Center gave a sermon at Corpus Christi.

    Being Catholic and knowing Catholicism are two different things.

  • Since you apparently use the word “moral” to mean “what I think is right”, your comment can be boiled down to “I know what I like”.

    Fair enough.

  • Wow that is shocking for that priest. I was both a Catholic and knew Catholicism. Fighting for children and against sexual abuse is very much part of being Catholic and Catholicism.

  • I wonder what kind of catechism you learned….I would have thought that you would have learned that priests abusing children was immoral. I would have thought that you would have learned that people condemning someone for fighting against those priests and bishops who protect them are immoral for bringing that judgment against him while in Church – a sanctified place where sin should not enter.

  • I know I do not like priests abusing young men and women and boys and girls. You apparently do not think that is immoral. Good to know!!

  • I am rather betting you do not know Catholicism, but I have lost interest in your opinions and don’t wish to pursue the topic.

  • “I would have thought that you would have learned that priests abusing children was immoral.” is an inane (one your favorite words) comment.

    The fact that Judas was an Apostle should speak to “Church – a sanctified place where sin should not enter”, but I rather guess you haven’t thought it through to any extent.

  • Simple. Lookat what those Catholics profess and then what they do and support/don’t support. If there is a disconnect they defend, they are misguided. But why are you making such a big deal about his statement? Where you one of those ‘tsking’?

  • How is my comment inane? The fact that you think the churchgoers are acting morally is what is inane.
    Your second paragraph makes absolutely no sense.

  • What “Catholics” profess and do and don’t support may not be congruent with what the Catholic Church teaches.

  • Would you be one of the people tsking this prosecutor? That is, would you be someone who professes to follow Catholic teachings and then act in a completely opposite way like these people? I figure that is what you are getting at with your comment essentially.

  • Interesting – your comments suggest you would most likely be among them…I mean you support them!

  • Re: “Chatt, living near St. Louis, says in a brief interview with USA TODAY that “not all” of the allegations in the grand report are accurate.” 

    This is an interesting way of confirming that at least “some” of the allegations are accurate. 

  • Finally 🙂 Interestingly…you have been the one trolling me! And, we can only assume from your comments and unwillingness to condemn the people in the Church who are against this prosecutor that you are pro-child-abusing priests. That is shameful.

    I have not blocked you but have definitely reported you and flagged most of your offensive comments (not only those to me, of which only a handful are threatening or spam, but many of your other comments are so disgusting they deserved reporting. Nothing usually comes of that but maybe one day there will be a moderator here or something).

  • Re: “Anti-popery is a credible biblical stance against the anti-christ /beast system.” 

    There can’t really be any “anti-christ/beast system” still around, because there is no “anti-christ/beast.” Not any longer, anyway. 

    You see, “the Beast” of Revelation (who, interestingly enough, is never once called an “anti-christ”) is long dead. He was, in fact, the Roman emperor Nero. We know this because in early manuscripts, “the number of ‘the Beast'” is mostly 666 but in a few variants is 616. This “coincidence” matters! In the case of Nero, his name and title (Nero Caesar) in Greek, changed into Hebrew letters, then rendered mathematically, becomes 666, whereas starting with his name in Latin returns 616. There aren’t any other famous names from the 1st century that can be rendered as both 616 or 666 in this way. 

    As for “the Anti-Christ,” as I said, nowhere in the Bible is “the Beast” in Revelation said to be an “anti-christ.” What’s more, “the anti-christ” isn’t even a singular figure! This term is found four times, total, in two of the Johannine epistles. One of them (1 Jn 2:18) has it in the plural, and asserts they’re already present (here it is, in English and the original Greek): 

    “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (NASB) 

    παιδια εσχατη ωρα εστιν και καθως ηκουσατε οτι αντιχριστος ερχεται και νυν αντιχριστοι πολλοι γεγονασιν οθεν γινωσκομεν οτι εσχατη ωρα εστιν (W-H) 

    So the “anti-christ” was not some individual who was to come at some point in the future; there were more than one, and they were already living and working at the time the Johannine epistles were written! Any “anti-christs” living at that time (i.e. the last decade or so of the 1st century) must, by definition, be long dead by now — nearly as dead as the Emperor Nero. 

  • Add that this is your opinion because this opinion of yours is certainly not held by any of those of the Protestant Reformation who were protesting the anti-christ papacy, the seat of Satan, as it tortured, slaughtered millions of Christians and taught false doctrine to millions and sent them on the broad road to destruction. Your opinion does not take into account 2 Thess. 2 either. You are correct that there is not just an anti-christ, there is the seat, office, of the papacy and each ‘one” who sits there is the anti-christ. It isn’t finished because the prophecies have not been fulfilled , only some of them. The anti-christ, instead of Christ, the Vicar of Christ, the son of perdition…all describe the same person, the one who sits in that seat of power…just like a King of a nation is the King but all who sit in that seat are the king in turn. The prophecies are historical and many have been fulfilled in history and many still to come, like the vials of Revelation…..#6.

  • Re: “Add that this is your opinion …” 

    Nope, that cannot be “added” at all, because what I typed happens NOT to be my personal “opinion.” It is, instead, the conclusion of many Biblical scholars, going back the better part of a century and a half — and it’s backed by the facts that I took the time to lay out for you. 

    Re: “… is certainly not held by any of those of the Protestant Reformation …” 

    Who really cares? Protestants by definition have a grudge against Catholics and the Papacy, and thus can hardly be viewed as objective about the subject. Their beliefs can easily be dismissed as inherently and inextricably “biased.” 

    Re: “… who were protesting the anti-christ papacy …” 

    I just explained to you that there is no “anti-christ papacy,” because “anti-christs” are in the past, as the author of the Johannine epistles made clear. Or, are you suggesting he was wrong when he said there were “anti-christs” in his own time? 

    Re: “Your opinion does not take into account 2 Thess. 2 either.” 

    Why would it? It’s not relevant to what I said. 

    Re: “You are correct that there is not just an anti-christ, there is the seat, office, of the papacy and each ‘one” who sits there is the anti-christ.” 

    All of which is extra-Biblical Christian legend, not a speck of it borne out by any Bible texts. 

    Re: “The anti-christ, instead of Christ, the Vicar of Christ, the son of perdition…all describe the same person, the one who sits in that seat of power.” 

    As I explained originally, there is no “‘the’ anti-christ,” because the Bible explicitly states there were, in the late 1st century, more than one of them! What part of the words of 1 Jn 2:18, which I quoted both in English and in Greek, did you not comprehend? 

    Re: “The prophecies are historical and many have been fulfilled in history and many still to come, like the vials of Revelation…..#6.” 

    The Bible contains no “prophecies” (aka predictions of future events) at all, because it has no credibility in this regard! Even some explicit predictions that it makes, not only have failed to come true, but at this point no longer ever have any chance of coming true. All “Biblical prophecy” is a big, fat, honking lie. All of it. All the time. Period, End of discussion. 

  • Re: “Jesus did not establish the Catholic Church except in the RCC’s own mind.” 

    Actually, any “church” that Jesus directly established, had ceased to exist by the end of the 2nd century. Christendom had developed well past anything resembling what he described, by that time. 

  • Re: “Sadly, once Calvin sided with the Nestorian apostate Ulrich Zwingli over and against the more orthodox Lutherans, he himself lost any claim to being a genuine Christian.” 

    As an aside, I’ll just point out this illustrates the pernicious nature of sectarianism. One would think that Zwingli, Calvin, and Luther/Melanchthon ought to have been unified by their opposition to the Papacy. And I suppose at some point, they were … but that simply wasn’t enough for any of them. They just couldn’t manage to hang together, and succumbed to compulsions to build their own churches/sects at the expense of the rest. 

    So it is, and so it always will be, with any effort to promote any kind of exclusivist religion. Human nature doesn’t allow things to work any other way. 

  • There was a remnant who remained faithful as history points out… the Wadenses being one group that held to the faith. I think Revelation 7 throws light on this as God sealed a number to remain His servants. People argue about the interpretation here but what I learned is the 144,000 carried through the Dark Ages or the period of 1260 years when there was only darkness with the papacy ruling. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

  • Re: “There was a remnant who remained faithful as history points out… the Wadenses being one group that held to the faith.” 

    The Waldensian movement began in the late 12th century. They were not a “remnant” who magically remained true to Jesus up through then. Their history is known and is documented; this is incontrovertible. 

    Re: “I think Revelation 7 throws light on this as God sealed a number to remain His servants.” 

    The book of Revelation doesn’t “throw light” on anything that happened after the 1st century CE. 

    Re: “People argue about the interpretation here but what I learned is the 144,000 carried through the Dark Ages …” 

    As I said, the Waldenses appeared in the 12th century. They also didn’t (as far as anyone knows) ever number exactly 144,000. 

    Re: “… or the period of 1260 years when there was only darkness with the papacy ruling. “ 

    Which 1,260 years, exactly, are you talking about? I’m happy to discuss this, since I have a degree in medieval history, but I’m not clear to what you refer. For that matter, I’m not certain YOU are clear as to what you refer. 

  • Sorry heretic, it was reading the Word of God that freed me from the demonism of Luther, Calvin and all the other apostates. Your hatred of Christ and His Church clearly demonstrate that your eyes have been blinded. Nothing I say can help you, as Christ Himself made His final proclamation on your kind (Matt 12:28-31).

  • Typical response from a Calvinist heretic – you don’t think like me, so you lack understanding. 500 years on, and we’re all still waiting for a Calvinist who demonstrates the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It ain’t you, babe.

  • I’ve read it thousands of times, thank God. Only those whose eyes have been blinded (i.e. protestant heretics) are ignorant enough to see the papacy in those words. Also, I thought you prots always used those passages to warn about the ‘one-world gummint’ that the U.N. was setting in place. Can’t you keep your false interpretations straight?

  • Considering that there are as many different ‘Christ’s’ in protestantism as there are differing Bible interpretations among them (tens upon tens of thousands at a minimum), one can only respond to your ignorance by saying ‘pot, meet kettle’.

  • Thankfully the U.S. Department of Justice is getting involved. This is such good news for victims who have been sexually abused by priests. It gives hope that there is a chance for justice.

    The secrets need to be exposed and dealt with so that those who enable and cover up child sex crimes can be held accountable. As long as church officials can keep their crimes and cover ups secret, nothing will change and kids are still not safe within this system.

    Judy Jones, SNAP “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” 636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com

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