the scrooge chronicles: archdiocese of philadelphia is closing more churches.

St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, Philadelphia, PA

As a child, I lived in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. Our parish church was Old St. Joseph’s on Willings Alley. Old St. Joe’s is one of the oldest churches in Philadelphia. Across 4th street and down from it is Old St. Mary’s. Two churches in the area which are also important are Holy Trinity Church on S. 6th Street and St. Peter Claver at 12th and Lombard Streets.

All of these churches were part of the fabric of my growing up. I did not attend church other than at Old St. Mary’s and Old St. Joseph’s (where our family pew is), but these churches were part of the community and quite frankly the multitude of historic structures we learned about as kids.

Holy Trinity on S. 6th Street had it’s parish absorbed by Old St. Mary’s years ago. It does however, have a small graveyard dating back to the 18th century. Stephen Girard was once buried there as a matter of fact. (His grave was later moved.) Holy Trinity was founded in 1784 by German speaking Catholics. It was the first national parish for Germans and in 1797 they opened an orphanage for children orphaned by the yellow fever epidemic back then. It was the first national parish for any ethnicity in the United States, and was the third parish established in the city of Philadelphia, predating the erection of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Inquirer: St. Peter Claver, Philadelphia’s mother church for Black Catholics, will close for good in January
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the closure of St. Peter Claver, along with three other churches, on Monday.

by Nate File
Updated Dec 13, 2022

A long, emotional fight to protect Philadelphia’s mother church for Black Catholics is coming to its end. On Monday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that St. Peter Claver, the city’s first Black Catholic church, will finally close Jan. 23.

The church was originally dedicated in 1892 and has been a bedrock institution for Philly’s Black Catholic community. It is one of four churches that the archdiocese plans to close next month — the others are Sacred Heart Church in Phoenixville, St. Philip Neri Church in East Greenville, and Holy Trinity Church in Old City.

“In a lot of ways, it’s probably just as important as Mother Bethel A.M.E., because this is the first place that Black Catholics had of their own in the archdiocese and in a city that prides itself on its Catholic heritage,” said Anthea Butler, professor and chair of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

But despite the church’s historical significance, Black Catholics in Philly have felt for a long time that the archdiocese did not adequately support it. They say this conclusion felt inevitable.

St. Peter Claver sits at what used to be the heart of Black Philadelphia at 12th and Lombard Streets. Even aside from its role in a religious sense, the church was a safe, communal gathering space for generations of Philadelphians. “Some of the older people would come in there … some of them would take their shoes off and say, ‘I’m walking on this sacred ground. Because this is where my ancestors came through,’” said Arlene Edmonds, a Black Catholic journalist and author.

Beginning in the mid-20th century, as white flight, urban renewal, and gentrification moved Black Philadelphians to North Philly and West Philly, it became harder for St. Peter Claver to fill its pews. In 1984, the archdiocese closed the church’s parish, and then, a year later, the church was officially “suppressed” by the archdiocese. Together, those actions meant that St. Peter Claver could no longer hold regular Mass or accept new parishioners. It could no longer perform sacraments, like baptisms, marriages, or funerals.

“What it does is strangle a church,” said Adrienne Harris, a third-generation member of St. Peter Claver and the chairperson of the St. Peter Claver archives, in a video made by former parishioners about the church. “That was the archdiocese’s method of strangling the life out of St. Peter Claver.”

~ philadelphia Inquirer 12/13/22

Holy Trinity’s church building was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places as “Trinity Roman Catholic Church” on April 30, 1957, and is part of the Society Hill historic district. The exterior cannot be altered without the approval of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The church was also documented in the Historic American Buildings Survey by the National Park Service. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been killing this church for years, most recently beginning in 2019.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church Philadelphia

Next up we have another church that oozes history of Philadelphia, black Catholics, and the history of this country. St. Peter Claver at 12th and Lombard. The church was named for St. Peter Claver, who was a Spanish Jesuit priest and missionary born in Verdú (Catalonia, Spain) who, due to his life and work, became the patron saint of slaves. St. Peter Claver saw the slaves as fellow Christians, encouraging others to do so as well.

St. Peter Claver’s physical church was founded in 1842, but it was someone else’s church first. As in another denomination. It became the first Black Catholic Church in 1892. I remember going by this church so many times. I remember as a little, little girl weddings spilling out onto the street. It was so alive, so vibrant. And much like Holy Trinity, is a church that the Arch Diocese of Philadelphia has been slowly killing it for years. That and gentrification. This church once sat in the midst of an important and historical black community. But when real estate becomes desirable, we all know the drill, right?

There is a wonderful Scribe Precious Places video on this church:

Here are some images I found:

Flash forward to this week’s latest Scrooge news for Christmas season 2022: the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is closing St. Peter Claver, Holy Trinity, and a church known to many on Phoenixville, PA called Sacred Heart Church. That is not a church known to me, it is on Church Street in Phoenixville. See a couple of photos below. I did take photos of this church once, and I just can’t locate them. Also the fourth closure is the original St. Philip Neri in East Greenville, PA. Apparently that hasn’t been used as a church since the 1960s.

Sanatoga Post: Archdiocese To Close Two Area Church Properties
By Joe Zlomek December 13, 2022

PHILADELPHIA PA – Roman Catholic Church buildings in Phoenixville and East Greenville that are either currently unused or no longer considered necessary will be officially closed effective Jan. 23 (2023; Monday) and no longer will be available as places of worship, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday (Dec. 11, 2022). The real estate parcels may later be offered for sale, it indicated.

Affected are the Sacred Heart Church building on Church Street in Phoenixville, and the original St. Philip Neri Church structure on East 6th Street in East Greenville.

The Sacred Heart parish merged with that of St. Ann’s in Phoenixville in 2012, and the combined congregation has since worshiped at the St. Ann’s building on Main Street. Sacred Heart has been unused for “liturgical celebrations” since March 2020 when COVID hit, the archdiocese said. The cost of its continued maintenance and repair could become a drain on parish finances, it added.

The growing St. Philip Neri congregation opened a new church in Pennsburg in 1968, leaving the East Greenville church and other related campus buildings “now empty and unutilized,” the announcement added. Selling those properties would “would help alleviate” parish “financial burdens” by allowing it to pare down existing debt, it stated.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is an institution I have little respect for. I have always struggled with their lack of support towards historic Catholic churches in the region, but as an adult I found their handling of pedophile priests despicable. I still find their handling of abusive priests despicable. I am a Roman Catholic by birth. I was baptized and receive my 1st Holy Communion at Old St. Joseph’s on Willings Alley in Society Hill. I remember most of the masses being said in Latin as a child at Old St. Mary’s on S. 4th Street. We moved to suburbia and my church became St. John Vianney in Gladwyne. Our parish priest when we first moved to suburbia and joined the church there was Father Ignatius Reynolds, and my great Aunt Josie had sung at his ordination mass.

You see, back then, churches were an extended part of many communities and many families. But as I grew into adulthood, while I maintained my faith, my faith in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia waned.

Pedophile priests were the nail in the coffin. First for putting a former, then pedophile and defrocked priest back into my then Haverford neighborhood with no supervision. He eventually was convicted and spent a couple of years in jail. When he lived in my neighborhood he would drive big expensive SUVs with a vanity plate. And then there was that monsignor in Wayne also caught up in that scandal, PA who once upon a time was aghast that I wasn’t planning to do pre-Cana. Catholics are supposed to do this before they wed. It used to be the priest that baptized you and knew your family when you were growing up. Today in my humble opinion, it is just a money maker.

I think pedophile priests and the subsequent fall out are STILL a big problem financially for the Catholic church in this region. I think that the Catholic church in the US is so out of touch with reality is another problem. And I just think the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in general is about their power, not the people who are their extended “flock.” They have had Archbishops and occasional Cardinals heading up the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for decades that have been more about what they could get out of the office they held versus pastoral care and what not. It’s more about the eternal bottom line versus the “flock” entrusted to their care. Yes I know, I am blasphemous and going to hell according to them. I think personally God prefers the truth, but I digress.

DECEMBER 13, 2022Archdiocese of Philadelphia to close 4 Catholic churches in city, suburbs
The relegation of the buildings is part of the Pastoral Planning Initiative to merge parishes

Four Catholic churches in the Philadelphia area, including two in the city, will close their doors in the new year as part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s latest plan to relegate buildings and merge parishes.

The churches – Holy Trinity Church in Society Hill, The Saint Peter Claver Church building in South Philly, Sacred Heart Church in Phoenixville, Chester County and the original Saint Philip Neri Church in East Greenville, Montgomery County – are slated to close by Jan. 23. 

Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez has approved the relegation of all four buildings to profane but not sordid use, a formal designation that means the buildings will no longer be Roman Catholic churches. The future of each building will be determined by its respective parish.

The Holy Trinity Church building was the third Roman Catholic Church built in Philadelphia and the first national parish in the country. In July 2009, Holy Trinity Parish merged with Old Saint Mary Parish. At the time, the Holy Trinity church building became a worship site of the newly formed Old Saint Mary Parish and was used for an occasional celebration of Mass.

The building’s exterior is historically designated and cannot be altered without the approval of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. 

Saint Peter Claver Church, long considered the mother church for Black Catholics in Philadelphia, has not been a parish church since 1985 and has not been an active worship site since 2014. After Saint Peter Claver Parish closed in 1985, the building became the Saint Peter Claver Center for Evangelization. At the time of the church’s closure, Mass was being offered on a monthly basis and was attended by fewer than 15 people, the archdiocese said.

The building has been historically designated since April 1984, protecting its exterior from alterations without approval from the historical commission. The cost of repairs to the church and rectory buildings would exceed $1.3 million, the archdiocese said.

It is expected that the sale of the Saint Peter Claver Church properties would generate funds to support ongoing ministry to Black Catholics through the Office of Black Catholics, the archdiocese said. Many of the sacred items inside the church already have been moved to active parishes that currently serve Black Catholics.

I do not know pretty much anything about St. Philip Neri in East Greenville, but it is another church the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has slowly been killing off. They closed their parish school in 2012, and the church that was there in the 1960s. It is a teeny weeny borough in Montgomery County. The only thing I ever knew about that place is it was the home for Knoll which makes furniture, and is still there today. But it’s so tiny, I can’t find a photo of the old church, sadly.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been doing this for years. They seemingly have little desire in preserving churches. Especially historic and ethnically linked churches. It is literally criminal that they are NOT preserving St. Peter Claver (and if you believe they will give proceeds of any real estate sales to helping Black Catholics in Philadelphia, y’all are skippy in my humble opinion.) St. Peter Claver, like Holy Trinity is is deemed and certified historic.

They will sell off all of these churches to the highest bidder eventually, it’s all about the money and the homogenous modern churches they build today that have little charm and history and lack a feeling of faith and community. That is why I have never joined a Catholic church in Chester County. I have either found too many of their parishioners practitioners of ugly and judgmental political agendas personally, or the churches themselves. You know like Saints Peter and Paul on Booth Road in West Chester. They lost me once they started planting their ugly anti abortion signs. The two churches I find the least objectionable, are just a little too far for me: St. Agnes in West Chester Borough which has the heritage, history, and actual faith that made me like church once upon a time and Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church in Chester Springs, which for a new church doesn’t feel terrible. Also Saints Philip and James in Exton gets an honorable mention, but they did have that priest who was killing Canadian geese.

And for this news of these churches closing coming out at Christmas? It doesn’t get more Scrooge than that.

history at risk: 5030 horseshoe pike. caln public hearing december 13th, 2018.


It starts with someone sending me a public notice.  And once again, I am down the rabbit hole of Chester County history at risk.

This is a public hearing to be held in Caln Township on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the Caln Township Municipal Building located at 253 Municipal Drive, Thorndale, Pennsylvania 19372.  Now I aslo found this notice of this meeting on PA Public Notices , but I’ll be damned if I can find it on Caln Township’s actual website so either it’s just another bad municipal website that looks kind of sort of pretty but doesn’t function easily, or it’s not there. (But I digress)

This notice which looks like it is for some kind of extra special zoning overlay (you know those things municipalities do to appease developers and special interests? And hey you do not have to like my opinion, but it’s not my first rodeo with zoning overlays and I am entitled to how I feel) for 5030 Horseshoe Pike.

That is when I really went like Alice down the rabbit hole.

Super historic. Known as the “Lloyd Farm”, “Valley Brook Farm” has a fire I would call mysterious a few years ago.  Seriously.  Here is the screen capture from the Downingtown Area Historical Society May 2014:


Then I hit Google and oh the things I found including this amazing history compiled by someone named Edward G. Lendrat on the West Chester University Old Caln Historical Society Collection. Caln Township has this buried on their website.

Pretty crazy historic, and I understand there was a fire, but a zoning overlay like this is all Caln Township can think is right for this property??? I am told the developer who has bought the “Lloyd Farm” is proposing 5 story apartment buildings, and commercial where there is NO zoning for it? Hence the need for an extra special zoning overlay at Christmas?  And this Public Hearing which takes place Dec. 13th. is it for discussion? Then the Commissioners will vote at their next meeting and NO CHANCE to change it will exist after that?

WTF Caln Township Commissioners? Have you no sense of place? No sense of history and what is appropriate?  How many freaking apartment buildings and mish mosh retail and more does Chester County need popping up like crappy weeds? Is this how you celebrate 150 years of history in your municipality? WOW.

(I will note TWO Commissioners are up in 2019 – Jennifer Breton and George Chambers. Residents should replace them if as President and Vice President of the Board this is what they think is fab. Just my opinion of course, but sometimes to change goverment you have to change the faces of who governs you.)

And oh the history….


So if I read the history of the property correctly, it dates back to the late 1600s and a Penn Land Grant? And by 1996 it was owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? (Now I make no secret of my disdain of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and their pedophile priest problems of recent past. Sorry, I digress again…)

Ironically something I wasn’t looking for with regard to this property but seemed to have stumbled upon is a 2015 pipeline easement between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Columbia Gas. So umm, high density development being proposed and a pipeline? NICE.

pipeline easement

Yowza and here is the deed of transfer I guess?  Dated April, 2018?  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia made over $4.5 cool million on this? NICE.  That will settle a bunch of pedophile priest lawsuits, right?

So who is Wild Meadows LLC out of Delaware?  (You can search for Delaware entities HERE.)

But back to this very cool history.  It is intriguing enough I found it on Twitter:


Here is what it looked like on LoopNet:

horseshoe pike on loopnet

Also discovered this place on imgur with these two images from 2015:

It also appears archivally on reddit. Some comments were fascinating.


“Have you been here? I went to Lloyd dog park and found this when I walked up through the field. I really wonder what the story is on this place. Someone at the dog park thought the property is currently owned by a church.”


“This was known as the Lloyd House. It has since been torn down.”


Now I have never been on this property. I have no idea what is stll standing on the property or not. If you have photos, please feel free to send them in a message via this blog’s Facebook page.

Do I have the answers as to what to do with this property? Sadly, no.  Don’t know that area well enough.  But if there is a pipeline easement, maybe the developer should go light on the development?

Again, how many cram plan developments does one county need? Who is driving this?

Historians and residents might wish to go to this meeting.  Remember residents, zoning can affect more than one spot, correct?

Chester County, we can’t just keep sitting idly by as chuck after chunk of land gets carved up.  Once open space is gone, it’s gone.  Once history is gone, it’s gone.

Here’s hoping the residents of Caln and their municipal neighbors have some Christmas Chutzpah (I know is that like a mixed metaphor or what?) and slow this freight train down.

So much to learn here and I will close with I am marveling at how Caln Township knows the history of this property and they think this is a good idea.

It’s stupid.  But I can only express my views as a resident of Chester County.  It’s up to the residents of Caln to turn it up and turn out on December 13th.

Tick tock, there is not much time.

I would say if you have historical questions to seek out the Downingtown Area Historical Society and  the Old Caln Historical Society.

Thanks for meandering with me.

unnecessary at christmas

This is where I don’t understand the Catholic Church. And I am Catholic. It is Christmas time and this is what is chosen to go on display instead of Christmas decorations or a nativity scene.

Yes I know, they did it to prove a point to make an impact, but doing it at Christmas is somehow offensive.

I am not getting into the pro-life versus pro-choice debate here, all I’m saying is it’s Christmas so why can’t we reflect the season instead of this? When did being a Catholic meant it was an angry God? Churches do this so often at this point that I don’t know if it’s doing anything other than just turning people off to Catholicism.

I find all these little crosses and the sign offensive. Why always that? I mean if you’re going to take a stand how about taking a stand about all the people dying from drug overdoses? Or all of the people dying because of the violence in this country? Or suffering because of poverty?

Why does it always have to be this argument? And why does this argument have to be on display around Christmas?

I hope this church shows some Christmas spirit soon and gets back to the meaning of the season.


a new dawn: defrocked priest heads to jail on child molestation charges

Father Touchy Feely goes to jail today.  I hate to say I was glad to hear this but I was.  I am glad that Edward V. Avery is off the streets. Finally.  Even if it will only be for a couple of years or so.

Why do I care?  This man lived in my old neighborhood for years and years.  On a street named Berkley Road in Lower Merion Township which has always had lots of kids and small children growing up there.  He until recently owned an apartment building he inherited from his late mother Rachel Avery called the Berkley Arms.  A fabulous early 20th century building with large apartments, that throughout the years has also on occasion been home to families with small children.

For years we all watched and waited.  Avery was named in September 2005 in a Grand Jury Report just a couple of days after his mother died.   In 2006 Avery was defrocked by the Vatican.  Yet in this neighborhood full of young children he remained.  He lived across from a narrow street from a Lower Merion School District bus stop.

No one watched him, no one that we knew of monitored him.  He was as a former priest not yet convicted outside the realm of Megan’s Law websites, so if you did not know, you did not know.

I will say that although I thought his little old mother was adorable, he and his brother Kenneth (who died in 2008 and I loved how they referred to Edward Avery in his obituary as Reverend Doctor although he was a Reverend of nothing at this point) always creeped me out.  There was nothing I could ever put my finger on, it was female intuition I guess.

I first became aware of Edward Avery’s presence many many years ago (about 15 years I think)  because he drove at the time a high-end sedan like a  caddy and  I think it was then  followed by a high-end SUV with vanity plates that said “FREVA” (eventually the vanity plates went away and were replaced with first regular PA plates then FL plates) – that stood I always assumed for Father Edward V. Avery.  Being raised a Catholic I found that flashy display somewhat distasteful since all you hear about from jump as a child are how nuns and priests have these vows of poverty and whatnot.   I also wondered about God’s plan when this man was outed in Grand Jury reports and then inherited a very tasty real estate portfolio.   How does God let a man charged with hurting children become in essence a millionaire?  How did the Archdiocese of Philadelphia just put this guy back into a residential neighborhood filled with kids?

In late October 2009 while at a political event for a local candidate from my old neighborhood, Avery approached me.  Why me I will never know, because we weren’t buddies.  He was always filed as be polite and keep on moving whenever I saw him.   He sat there with a beer in his hand and told me how he was being targeted blah, blah, blah.  There I sat with camera in hand not knowing what to do.  It was horribly uncomfortable to listen to someone you did not believe for one hot moment with empathy.  I remember saying to him his choice of venue to discuss his current events with neighbors and locals was inappropriate at best, and if he was innocent, the truth would will out.  Ick.

So when he was charged anew in Philadelphia in February 2011, if I saw him on the street, I turned and moved the other way.  And wondered what would happen this time.

Here is an article from March 13, 2011 from the Inquirer that also appears on

‘Smiling Padre’: His path to court

Case may be a guide in Phila. prosecution.

March 13, 2011|By John P. Martin, Inquirer Staff Writer

In 1995, a few hundred people packed a Northeast Philadelphia banquet hall to mark a milestone for the Rev. Edward Avery: a quarter-century in the priesthood.

By then, Avery had cultivated a near-celebrity profile as an outspoken advocate for Asian immigrants and as an exuberant part-time disc jockey.

The Smiling Padre, he was called.

At his celebration, Avery took to the piano and belted out an Irish tune. “He was beaming,” a former parishioner recalled.

Few knew the underside of Avery’s record. Two years earlier, he had been plucked from his parish and secretly sent to an inpatient program for sexually abusive priests….

Now 68 and defrocked, Avery is one of four current or former priests due in court Monday for the first time since their arrests last month on abuse or related charges. The hearing comes less than a week after the archdiocese suspended 21 priests pending a review of old allegations against them, and follows a grand jury report that blasted the archdiocese’s efforts to expel abusers and aid victims.

If true, the allegations against Avery starkly illustrate how church officials may have ignored warning signs and concealed a possible child predator from parishioners, then scrambled to remove him amid the national furor over abusive priests…..Avery did not answer requests for an interview left at his Haverford apartment. His attorney, Michael Wallace, also did not respond to calls. An archdiocesan spokeswoman said it would have no comment about Avery or the grand jury’s depiction of him.

Avery made his only public remarks about his removal in 2003 when he told The Inquirer that his life and career had been unfairly ruined because of a misunderstanding one night decades earlier.

“I am totally devastated,” he said…..The grand jury report suggests the allegation that led to Avery’s removal was more serious than he has said.

It happened in 1992, when Avery was pastor at St. Therese of the Child Jesus in the Northeast and enjoyed a reputation as a popular and energetic priest.

For a decade, he had been a vocal advocate for the burgeoning Hmong immigrant community in Philadelphia. He helped a family of Hmong orphans settle in a house close to his rectory. He became legal guardian of the two youngest siblings, records show, and called all of them his adopted children.

Avery also flourished as a record-spinning cleric who entertained at bars, parties, and school dances.

“It’s been very beneficial to my priesthood,” he told the Philadelphia Daily News about his DJ business in 1984. “I’ve been able to give a lot of counseling and that type of thing because of it. Parents see me and send their kids to me. They see I’m approachable.”

In a letter in September 1992, a 29-year-old medical student accused Avery of having molested him when he was an altar boy at St. Philip Neri in Pennsburg in the late 1970s…..Archdiocesan officials sent Avery to the Anodos Center at St. John Vianney in Downingtown, a treatment center for clergy sex offenders.

After four days of evaluation, doctors found Avery’s account of his interaction with the young man “vague and inconsistent” and recommended inpatient treatment, the grand jury report says.

Ten months later, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua acted on the request…..Avery remained in Downingtown for six months in 1993. At one point, his accuser was invited to confront him at the hospital. Lynn’s handwritten notes indicated Avery had been “angry” and “in denial” but “got into shame” when he faced his accuser, the grand jury report says.

At the same time, the cardinal’s ranking assistant, Msgr. Edward P. Cullen, allegedly directed Lynn to inform St. Therese parishioners that Avery had left for health reasons…..Avery was discharged from the treatment center that fall with recommendations for “a ministry excluding adolescents and with a population other than vulnerable minorities.” Doctors also said he should attend Alcoholics Anonymous and limit his contact with the Hmong to an administrative or pastoral capacity, according to the grand jury report.

Bevilacqua assigned Avery to work at Nazareth Hospital and live at St. Jerome’s. In a letter to the pastor there, Lynn said Avery should help out “as much as he was able” but made no mention of his treatment or the allegation, the grand jury report says…..Doctors also prescribed an aftercare team to monitor Avery and regularly chart his progress. That team, composed of Lynn and two other priests, allegedly did not meet for more than a year after Avery’s discharge. One of the priests “denied even knowing he was on such a team,” the grand jury found….In December 2003, Bevilacqua’s successor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, declared the accusation credible and removed Avery from ministry. In a letter petitioning the Vatican to defrock Avery, Rigali said he was “morally certain” the allegations were true.

According to the grand jury report, the church offered Avery $87,000 if he agreed to leave the priesthood. It’s not clear whether he took the money or whether he collects a pension or other benefits.

Avery still lives in the 85-year-old, sand-colored apartment building, the Berkley Arms, that his family has owned for a half-century. State records indicate he registered a business called Avery Solar at that address, but it’s unclear what the business is or whether it still exists…..Avery’s mother, Rachel, died in 2005, and named him sole heir to her estate, valued at $1.1 million, public records show. Most of that reflects the value of the Berkley Road apartment building, just steps from the Haverford train station and the tony boutiques of Haverford Square.

He sold his North Wildwood home in 1999. Two years ago, Avery bought a two-bedroom beachside condo in Ormond Beach, Fla., public records show.

I couldn’t believe when the news broke on March 22, 2012 that he was pleading guilty to sexually molesting an altar boy.  Huh, so there we have it, then?  Do innocent men please guilty of sexually abusing kids?  Wow.

When the news broke of Avery’s confession I was once again deeply troubled and angered by the shepherds of my religious Faith: the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  With every day it becomes apparent they have just shifted these sick and morally depraved individuals around various communities with really no one watching them and even fewer people knowing what it is that ails them.

How is that living and acting God’s word?  I still don’t understand.  It also brings to mind a conversation I had with a very sour Monsignor at St. Catherine of Siena in Wayne a few years back during of all things a viewing before a funeral.  At the time, I was planning a move to Wayne and that would have been my new parish.  This guy was all up in my face about getting married in “The Church.”  I don’t know what the guy’s name was, but in March 2011, that parish had a priest removed on suspected abuse charges – The Rev. Monsignor John Close (1969), pastor, St. Katharine of Siena Church, Wayne section of Radnor .  Once again it made me think about the irony of the Catholic Church being worried about my immortal soul, yet for how long in the greater Philadelphia area did they move pedophile priests around like some sort of twisted shell game?

(A good website tracking all this and more if you are interested is )

I was happy when NBC10’s Tim Furlong reported on Avery going to jail this morning:

By NBC10 Philadelphia – Tim Furlong

Former priest Edward Avery will head to prison Monday after pleading guilty on a child molestation charge. NBC10’s Tim Furlong reports that Avery could be behind bars for five years

So what about this Anodos Center at St. John Vianney in Downingtown?  On their website they say:

Opening in 1946, Saint John Vianney Center is the oldest running behavioral health facility in North America for clergy and religious. We are an internationally-renowned behavioral health organization. Saint John Vianney Center is a faith-centered community that specializes in the treatment of behavioral health issues that are unique to Catholic clergy and consecrated religious, as well as the clergy of other major Christian denominations. Our research-based, multi-disciplinary approach, focuses on recovery, reconciliation and a return to ministry.

It doesn’t seem to me like they are meeting their mission, does it?  And who watches over them and their residents?  Does it have a quasi-open campus?  If so, who watches over these people in Chester County? After all (again on their website): 

Our in-patient services pride themselves on the comprehensive care and rich quality of  daily life experienced at Saint John Vianney Center; to that end our facility includes:

  • ….Walking trail on the periphery of the hospital campus
  • Proximity to a variety of restaurants and shopping nearby

So obviously, we can’t trust the Archdiocese of Philadelphia when it comes to pedophile priests, so how do you trust this center where a lot of these suspected and proven problem priests have been sent?

I am still a Catholic, but I am deeply troubled by my Church and  how they test our Faith.  How can we in this week before Easter believe in our Faith and keep our Faith in the midst of an Archdiocese which is supposed to lead all of us as the Vatican’s emissaries?  This is a Church that has let all Catholics down, and I just don’t see them doing enough of anything to either make it up to all of us or to even say they are sorry.

Will I personally join the ranks of lapsed Catholics all across this area?  That remains to be seen.  I think it all depends on the accountability of the Catholic Church today and going forward.  Right now I am not impressed.  Right now I am disgusted.