Priorities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Monsignor William Lynn

Last year, I wrote about the case of Monsignor William Lynn, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was charged with endangering children by knowingly allowing paedophile priests to continue in their activities and not reporting them to civil authorities. This is the first case where a member of the Catholic hierarchy who was not a direct molester has been charged.

A witness in the trial demonstrates exactly where the support of the church lies.

Sister Joan Scary said she lost her job as director of education at St. Gabriel’s in the rural Montgomery County town of Stowe, near Pottstown, after she complained to then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua about the Rev. Edward DePaoli shortly after his arrival in 1995. She said she was concerned about mail DePaoli began to receive, including computer disks from Denmark and magazines containing “deplorable” content, none of which included DePaoli’s clerical title or indicated that his address was a rectory.

DePaoli was already a convicted paedophile when he was transferred to Philadelphia.

DePaoli had been convicted of pornography charges in 1986

Edward DePaolI

when an assistant pastor at Holy Martyrs parish in Oreland, Montgomery County. He possessed magazines, films and videotapes of underage boys.

He received a one-year suspended sentence, was sent to counseling and placed in restricted ministry, barred from administering sacraments or saying Mass in public.

However, it was not Scary’s notification of DePaoli’s continued acquisition of child pornography that led to him being defrocked.

The archdiocese discovered in 2002 he had celebrated Mass and performed other public duties and dismissed him. Farrell said his case was referred to the Vatican, which has removed him from the priesthood.

This was 10 years after Sr Scary expressed her concerns to the Archbishop.

She testified she was warned by the church’s pastor to keep any concerns about DePaoli to herself “or I could pack my bags and leave.”

That’s exactly what happened after she anonymously mailed one of DePaoli’s magazines to Bevilacqua, she testified, with a handwritten note asking whether the cardinal thought that it was appropriate material for a priest. She was fired by the Rev. James Gormley, the pastor, in May 1996 after seven years at St. Gabriel’s.

To recap, possession of child pornography was a relatively minor offensive in the church. Reporting it is a firing offence, and saying Mass when under suspension  requires defrocking.

Just another example in the continuing saga of a totally morally bankrupt organization.

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