Catholic World News

Psychiatrists question Philadelphia investigation, defend priests

April 12, 2011

Richard Fitzgibbons (a psychiatric counselor and consultant to the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy) and his partner Peter Kleponis raise a series of serious questions about the recent grand-jury report on priestly abuse in Philadelphia, and the archdiocesan response.

  • Why were 21 priests suspended in the wake of the report, when the archdiocese had already investigated them and found the evidence of wrongdoing unpersuasive?
  • Why were investigations not conducted in confidence, but the priests were exposed to public contempt--so that their reputations can never be fully repaired, even if a 2nd investigation finds them innocent?
  • Why is a "repressed memory" accepted as credible evidence of abuse?
  • Why did the archdiocese make no attempt to distinguish between priests who molested young people and those guilty of "boundary violations," which may be inappropriate behavior but is not abusive or criminal?
  • Why is there so little attention paid to the likelihood of false accusations?


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Apr. 13, 2011 12:33 PM ET USA

    Well, extremeCatholic, that sounds a lot like the redemptive work of Christ. It is a particularly tough time for priests. We should keep them in our prayers and show them our love and esteem.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Apr. 13, 2011 12:23 AM ET USA

    Why? Because, to put it plainly, the public has no sympathy left for priests, guilty or innocent. Everyone has convinced themselves that so many predator priests escaped justice, that some injustice applied to innocent priests somehow balances the scales.