Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Abuse Survivors Versus the Catholic Diocese of Peoria

See Journal Star article today.

My comment regarding the article:

People in this forum are angry because they do not think Bishop Jenky is responding to them. No one likes to be ignored especially by people who are in positions that we grew up trusting.

The Catholic Church is not a democracy and doesn't claim to be. The internet, with sites like this, allows reasonable and unreasonable people to make comments that could not have been made in any forum in years gone by. When a lady's kid was abused in the 60's or 70's where could she turn?

When Church leaders do not want to listen to us face-to-face, it is good we have this alternative (the internet) to state our ideas. I think documenting accurate information is better than not documenting anything. The internet makes this possible after other communication channels have broken down.

The common thread of the comments and discussion here is that the Catholic Diocese of Peoria is not responding in an appropriate way to serious concerns.

The following anecdotes of mine support SNAP and Voice of the Faithful. My experience with the Catholic Diocese of Peoria is very similar to yours.... it just regards a different subject.

A few years ago I thought that OSF-SFMC in Peoria was doing egregious things on several fronts. Their abandonment of Haitian children needing heart surgery was high on the list.

I met with Diocesan Attorney Patricia Gibson and Vicar General Monsignor Steven Rohlfs multiple times during an eight month period and they agreed. I decided to file for a petition for a Catholic Tribunal Court against OSF. Both Monsignor Rohlfs and Attorney Gibson helped me write the petition. The Tribunal Court does not ask for money. It seeks the truth based on Catholic Canon Law.

However, when it came time for me to present this document to OSF, both Monsignor Rohlfs and Attorney Gibson told me that they would come out in the media against Haitian Hearts if I filed this petition. Thus, they used Haitian kids as hostages to try and protect OSF from a Tribunal Court.

I finally was granted a meeting with Bishop Jenky in his office in the Chancery. The Diocese had Patricia Gibson present at the meeting. I told Bishop Jenky that I wanted to petition for a Tribunal Court against OSF. He was obviously very perturbed by this and told me that he had heard this for the first time the day before our meeting. He was quite angry....probably at Monsignor Rohlfs and Attorney Gibson for putting him in this position.

Bishop Jenky told me that he would not rule against OSF because it is a "1.6 billion dollar industry". Patricia Gibson sat there and agreed. Both individuals seemed very afraid of the power and money of OSF.

Thus the search for the truth from a Tribunal Court was not going to happen in Peoria because Bishop Jenky would not allow it to happen.

And to make sure I understood, Bishop Jenky told me that I would need to go to confession to him for killing 18 Haitian kids if I filed for a Tribunal Court. I asked him to repeat this threat, which he did, and I wrote it down. Attorney Gibson looked shocked.

I left the meeting with Bishop Jenky totally stunned. Nothing OSF did at that point surprised me but prior to my meeting with Bishop Jenky, I held the Catholic Diocese to a higher standard of moral behavior.

So, SNAP and Voice of the Faithful, there is a common denominator. I think many others out there have stories too but have been shut down when they attempted to tell it. And nihilism will stop people from trying.

Whether the Church leaders will change or not is not known. All we can do is tell the truth.

John A. Carroll, M.D.

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