Read our latest posts in the Benedict XVI - Ratzinger: God's Rottweiler: Benedict XVI has no power 'to heal' victims of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army & has no power to command God-to-become flesh in the Mass http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2009/12/benedict-xvi-has-no-power-to-heal.html
Benedict XVI angers Jewish groups for declaring “Venerable” Pius XII who did nothing during Holocaust… like John Paul II did nothing for clergy abuse http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2009/12/benedict-xvi-angers-jewish-groups-for.html
Cold-blooded Benedict XVI is knocked down at Vatican procession for Christmas Mass, so? he knocked down 12,000 American victims of priest-pedophilia http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2009/12/cold-blooded-benedict-xvi-is-knocked.html
The John Paul II Millstone -- John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army expands into Ireland &John Paul is elevated as "Venerable"... only in the Catholic Church are criminals glorified http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2009/12/john-paul-ii-pedophile-priests-army.html
A John Paul II Pedophile Priest recently died, but the memories of living hell he left behind doesn't die
A former student at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stratford asks her classmates if they suspected anything was wrong with Father Raymond Pcolka
Thursday, December 31, 2009
By Erin Holroyd
Holy Name of Jesus Church, where Raymond Pcolka once lived and worked as a priest
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. — Matthew 18:6
Raymond Pcolka died of a combination of liver failure, cirrhosis and hepatitis C on Nov. 22 at the Glen River Nursing Home in Southbury. He was 70. There was no obituary, no known calling hours. Unless you'd been following developments in the Catholic church sex abuse scandal, you would have no reason to know Pcolka's name. And even some who were following it missed the "news" of his death.
For those of us who knew him, it meant closure; he was no longer out there, somewhere.
The crimes Pcolka perpetrated against children during his 11 years as associate pastor at the Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stratford were unforgivable. According to court papers released last month, he raped them, sodomized them and had them urinate on him as he laughed in bed.
Pcolka was one of the seven pedophile priests at the heart of a massive lawsuit which, in March 2001, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport settled for an undisclosed amount. The Hartford Courant later discovered that now-New York Cardinal Edward Egan, while he was bishop in Bridgeport from 1988 to 2000, allowed several priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working. So did Walter Curtis, who was bishop from 1961 until 1988. In most cases, the bishops moved the priests around from parish to parish.
In Pcolka's case, most of the moving was done in the 10 years after he was ordained. He started at St. Benedict's Church in Stamford, where a complaint was made of him fondling an altar boy, and hopped around to several other Fairfield County churches and Catholic schools until settling at Holy Name of Jesus in 1975.
Three years later, following a troublesome stretch in public school for me and my brother, a family friend convinced my parents to cart us off to the school at Holy Name of Jesus. I had no idea what I was in for.
Early in my Catholic school career, it became clear I was not cut out for such a strict environment. The nuns realized this as well. I was regularly sent to the rectory for punishment. This is where I first had the misfortune of spending time with Raymond Pcolka. He disliked me instantly. Who knew my charm-free demeanor would serve me so well?
Soon after my brother and I were sentenced to Holy Name, my parents divorced. Pcolka informed my mother, during Sunday mass, that she was no longer welcome in church. The abandonment of her husband made her an "unwanted" of the parish. Furious that whatever shred of faith my mother may have had left was ripped away, while she was humiliated in public, I came to hate Raymond Pcolka and avoided him at all cost.
When I recently read of the release of the long-sealed documents surrounding Pcolka's abuse cases, I reached out to my former Holy Name schoolmates to see how they felt.
Much to my surprise, my brother was the first to respond. He recounted a story of his tenth birthday. After serving mass, Pcolka chased him around the sacristy, grabbed him and pulled him over his knee under the guise of birthday spankings. My brother said at some point Pcolka must have thought better of it and let him go. "I can still remember how strong he was."
The other responses ranged from "I pray he burns in hell" to "I'd hoped I'd never hear of him again" to "Why didn't he ever go to jail?" (He was relieved of all priestly duties in 1993, spent some years in a psychiatric facility and was defrocked in 2004.)
One friend, classmate and former altar boy — who we'll call James — sent me an interesting e-mail outlining what we now recognize as the manipulations of a master. "He was cool, different, not like the stodgy priests and nuns we were accustomed to," wrote James. "There was something about him, at least to me, that you wanted him to like you. If he didn't, he wouldn't have been such a successful abuser."
James explained that the altar boys had a pecking order determined by Pcolka's affection. Some of the boys he was indifferent to, some he liked and the coolest and luckiest accompanied Pcolka to his cabin in New Hampshire and on day trips.
"After a few years of grooming, this sense of being his pal and confidant, he would shun you," wrote James. This left James feeling confused, that maybe he had done something wrong. He didn't like being treated with the same indifference as the non-cool kids. "It makes me sad to think of our friends who were fatherless, who looked at him as a father. What choice did they have?"
Eventually James quit the altar boys. Pcolka approached him. "He told me he was upset and assured me that it wasn't me, it was him. He told me that I was special, different and the last thing he said, I can still hear it, as I walked out of the sacristy, was that he loved me. In retrospect, it surely seems fucked up that an adult would have such a conversation with a 12-year-old."
James got off unharmed. Many of our friends did not.
My own experiences with Pcolka ended abruptly. After school one afternoon, a friend and I came upon Pcolka and a student — one who was then privy to Pcolka's special treatment, and who would later sue for abuse — unloading apples from the trunk of his car. As we passed by, Pcolka asked if we thought we were too good to speak to our parish priest.
My friend responded, "No, Father."
Pcokla then asked me if I thought I was too good for him.
I said, "No."
He said, "No, what?"
I said, "No, I don't."
He became enraged and grabbed me by both arms and shook me. He said I was an ungrateful, blasphemous child. Just as this occurred, another parish priest threw the door open and insisted I be released. I ran home.
The following Monday, I was told he expected an apology and sent to the rectory. I could hear thumping and voices from the room. I knocked and the room behind the door fell silent. After a moment the door opened a crack. "What do you want?" Pcolka yelled at me. I explained myself, and as I did, a classmate of mine squeezed out of the small opening and ran. I can close my eyes and see the look on his face as he ran by. Shame and gratitude.
We stood there in silence. I had no idea what had just happened. Pcolka was white as a sheet and shut the door in my face. Later I overheard him tell my principal that I was never to be sent to him again, that the principal was responsible for the discipline of the kids and if she couldn't handle it she could be replaced.
I consider myself lucky, as do James and my brother. In a place we were to be taught to be good Christians, we learned mostly of evil.
I think I can speak for my classmates he did not abuse to the ones he did, and say we are sorry. We are sorry something so horrific and cruel happened and we didn't know. We are sorry that a church designed to protect and inspire you robbed you of protection and inspiration. We are hopeful that you have found peace in your lives. We have not forgotten what you have endured, and we respect the courage you exhibited by putting the abuse to an end. For that, we owe you a debt of gratitude.
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I don't know of a single survivor of childhood sexual victimization by Roman Catholic clergy who, upon learning of the death of the ordained/anointed priest, brother, nun, or bishop, etc. who so brutally harmed them, did not send away for the perverted clergy's death certificate. I certainly did. Why? I HAD To Know That The MONSTER Was Really, Truly Dead.
Posted by Victoria Martin on 12.29.09 at 11.22
I recall that the Irish pastor from Galway, a successor to a deceased serially abusive Irish American pastor, when asked about that priest stated "Me mother told me never to speak ill of the dead."
Thank God that some people have the courage to speak the truth, more courage than many of the clergy it seems.
Posted by Greg Bullough on 12.29.09 at 12.38
There's an old standup joke depicting Bette Davis speaking about Joan Crawford that would certainly fit here. Paraphrasing: "You should only speak good about the dead.....Pervert Child Molesting Priests.....They're Dead.....Good!!!!"
Posted by Julia Anderson on 12.29.09 at 14.04