Ex-altar boy who killed himself mourned in church where he was molested

Jul 10, 2016

By Joanna Walters

Brian Gergely’s body lay at his funeral mass just feet from where, in the same church, his revered priest had shattered his innocence and trust by molesting him when he was 10 years old.

“The root of all his problems was what happened to him as a kid,” said John Luther, a friend and former schoolmate of Gergely’s at a Catholic elementary school in the small Pennsylvania town of Ebensburg.

Luther recalled that Gergely, an altar boy, would get pulled out of class and told to go to the church “to help the monsignor”.

That was Father Francis McCaa, who was called a monster by a state grand jury in March. Its report concluded that he was among at least 50 priests in the local Altoona-Johnstown diocese who had systematically raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls for 40 years, while bishops covered it up and the criminal justice system looked the other way. McCaa died in 2007, at 82.

Gergely killed himself earlier this month at 46.


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22 comments on “Ex-altar boy who killed himself mourned in church where he was molested

  • So, the same people at the same “church” sit and mourn where for decades children were molested?
    I am no detective, but I wouldn’t have anything to do with that church or any other.
    Why are parents denying this is happening?



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  • From the article:

    Brian Gergely’s body lay at his funeral mass just feet from where, in the same church, his revered priest had shattered his innocence and trust by molesting him when he was 10 years old.

    His three siblings and parents sobbed at the funeral last Wednesday. In a mostly impersonal service, there were no eulogies, no mention of abuse. The current priest said, simply: “Brian was a just man.”

    What the hell is this family thinking? The only explanation that I could possibly come up with is that they are all deep in delusion as a result of their own childhood severe indoctrination. Their own child has suffered heinous abuse and they continue to frequent the location of that abuse and coddle the very vile pedophiles who perpetrated that crime on their innocent child. Is this family criminally insane? Did they enable these pedophiles? What in the world will it take for these brainwashed delusional people to stand up, grow a spine and walk away from criminal abuse? I’m disgusted.



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  • LaurieB #2
    Jul 11, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    What the hell is this family thinking?

    Perhaps the god-delusions they turn to under stress said, “When grief strikes, run to your usual comfort blanket”! – (“Even if it is full of vermin, it is still YOUR comfort blanket and you know no other!”)



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  • Allan, precisely so. What a racket. It’s sickening and disgraceful. As I commented on another thread which I currently can’t find, I want secular options presented to people of all religions for replacements for these vulture priests and their abusive ways. Humanist celebrants are the perfect choice for those who can’t run their own rituals in a humane fashion.

    In a mostly impersonal service,

    Who the hell wants an “impersonal service”? I’ve been to a fair number of these impersonal services. They are completely ridiculous. My poor old Aunt Betty, a catholic, the poor thiing, died and had one of these fripping impersonal services. I think they mentioned her name once or twice and carried on with their bells and incense waving which by the way drove me out of the church -literally- because I’m an asthmatic and started choking and coughing. My cousins were alarmed and I had to run out the door at that point. But what a disgraceful way to see our Aunt off. The RCC cousins just sat there like comatose zombies through the whole thing. The cousin next to me who also grew up in the Methodist church was just as angry as I was. At one point the fat assed priest droning on said something about – blah blah -Elizabeth will be forgiven for all of her sins by the grace of God blah blah…on and on. This really made us angry. I told my cousin that our “saint” of an Aunt never committed a sin in her whole life. What the hell does this guy know?!!! How dare he insinuate….That’s when I noticed the wheezing starting up. Any-who…

    Need a security blanket? A transitional object? Throw away that vermin infested one and if you can’t stop sucking your thumb and fondling your blankie then at least get a better upscale, upgraded blankie ferchristssakes!



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  • Are you really surprised by this behavior Laurie? Maybe I’m cynical, but I think this is normal, it’s what I expect. What you described as the right thing to do seems to me to be what everyone talks about doing, what they would like to see happen, but what in reality would be the exception.

    –too long in the muck maybe?



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  • Laurie:
    “The only explanation that I could possibly come up with is that they are all deep in delusion as a result of their own childhood severe indoctrination.”

    Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome. The kidnappers and molesters are still supported by the religious and tax exemptions.



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  • Sean_W

    Are you really surprised by this behavior Laurie?

    Well Sean, maybe I’m a little surprised but mostly disgusted. The small surprise comes from the result of my not entering the churches, mosques etc where the deluded sheep congregate for their weekly brainwashing booster shot. I do enter these creepy places when some unimaginative drone chooses to hold their tired old family ritual there. Basically I’m left with the choice of showing up and going along with the whole creepy charade or staying home with a lame excuse. I apologize for my crappy attitude but I suffered a decade and a half of forced attendance at the pathetic Methodist church in my youth and barely escaped the place with half a mind left.

    So yes, I’m always surprised to find myself surrounded by the brainwashed sheep with eyes glazed over nodding and mewing and kissing the pastor’s ass when nobody is looking.

    in reality would be the exception.

    This calls for data my friend. I don’t know if there is any out there just off the top of my head, but that’s why it’s very important to demonstrate secular funerals in a very public way. If every atheist in the West read a personal and meaningful eulogy at every funeral we went to in the next decade, those cold and clammy impersonal funerals would be a relic of the bad old churchy days, wouldn’t they?

    I’m aiming at a tipping point.

    Oh, and slight correction. I do enter these old relics of a bygone religious era to make delightful observations on their glorious architecture and to observe how this does in fact influence the truly indoctrinated as a tactic of the clerical hierarchy to whom it serves. I never miss the Sunday morning mass at N.Dame of Paris just for the astounding demonstration of what I described above. Fascinating!



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  • The attitude by some of the family members (and my heart goes out to the them) reminds me of the attitude that many have adopted regarding the problem of terrorists motivated by religious mania. “Just a few bad apples. Things happen. It’s not the religion; it’s something else.”

    (My late brother, when he was about ten, was molested by his piano teacher. No charges were pressed, but the guy was fired. In that case it was the teacher, the individual. The problem of priests who molest kids, however, is endemic and symptomatic of the unnatural repression that religion, Catholicism in particular, necessarily fosters.)



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  • Dan, when I was thirteen and in the Boy Scouts, a leader was suddenly gone and we were not permitted to speak about it or ask questions.
    To this day I wonder what happened…I don’t like to guess.
    I have been listening to my last three girlfriends telling me how they were molested or knew someone who was molested by clergy.
    These are not isolated incidents now. These are commonplace in religion.
    Forgot to mention, I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts when they found out I didn’t go to church.



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  • alf1200 #9
    Jul 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Dan, when I was thirteen and in the Boy Scouts, a leader was suddenly gone and we were not permitted to speak about it or ask questions.

    Forgot to mention, I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts when they found out I didn’t go to church.

    Maybe the Scout leader was a child molester – or maybe he was just an atheist who did not go to church!!

    The god deluded would not want scouts asking questions about either of those!
    After all – to some theists, both cases would be devil worshippers!!! 🙂



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  • The church is doubly guilty. They molested the boy, then made him feel guilty about it. Lot’s of people have sexual adventures as teens or children, and it is just water off a duck’s back. That is because nobody indoctrinated them to feel guilty or to feel irretrievably damaged.

    I remember counselling a female friend who had been molested as a child by her father. She carried on as if the world had ended. I pointed out to her that AT THE TIME, she did not even cry. Her present suffering was primarily caused by her adult beliefs this molestation had irretrievably damaged her. She was convinced her life was ruined forever. Others present focussed on convincing her how evil her father was and how damaging what he had done was . I was heartless in their mind. The way I saw it, the molestation is a done deal. It is time now to get over it and get on with your life.

    I often though my mother was the worst in the world. When I grew up, I learned she barely made the 80% percentile. There is just no point in blaming parents. They delivered you alive to adulthood. That is pretty much all you can expect.



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  • 16
    Cairsley says:

    To LaurieB #4, #7

    I apologize for my crappy attitude …

    Laurie, these are the only words in those two fine posts of yours that I object to! Out of a sense of decency you offer apologies for your crappy attitude, which seems to be similar to the attitude and feeling I find in myself when I recall aspects of life in the Catholic Church, but I assure you no apology for your very clear and sensible expression thereof is at all needed. Disgust and anger are, as you say, the two predominant emotions evoked by contemplation of the Catholic Church’s modus operandi; but I have found that the anger fades after some years, while the disgust remains and springs to the fore every time the stench of that modus operandi comes within sniffing range, and then, depending on what the particular source of the stench might be, anger might also flare again for a moment. I was chuckling as I read your posts, noting how accurate your Methodist and post-Methodist assessments of old Catholic liturgy are, but I know from my own experience how damaging that mind-perverting, soul-warping kind of indoctrination can be to the individual and to the society. We know, of course, that, like the Methodism and Catholicism that you and I respectively experienced, any religious superstition taken seriously in any part of the world has this same ill effect of deluding people, when their genuine wellbeing is founded on a rational appreciation of facts (knowledge and reason). And, yes, solemn mass at Notre-Dame de Paris is quite a show.



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  • 17
    Cairsley says:

    To Roedy #15

    Yes, Roedy, the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman etc. Church is doubly guilty, even triply guilty. First, it indoctrinates children (initially through their parents and family virtually from birth and later through the community and schools) in delusional notions, including some about sin and sex; second, its bishops and priests rule by supernatural authority, overriding secular (natural) authority — as though such a theological conceit were grounds for the exercise of any authority in a well-run society; and third, in using its supposed supernatural authority in dealing with paedophile priests, its bishops have thought it more important to safeguard the sacred dignity of the priests in question than to minister to the violated children’s needs for justice and healing, thereby allowing paedophilia to become a long-entrenched disorder in a delusionally revered, superfluous institution. When one thinks for any time about this, it becomes difficult to distinguish between disgust and anger in the emotion that naturally arises in one’s soul; but one is left in no doubt that this institution, whose doctrines and theological conceit make possible such disorders and such arrogant incompetence, would benefit the world only by its absence.



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  • Why do people follow a religion?

    For the most selfish reason known to living people, buying insurance to make sure that after they die that they have accrued enough points to get into the best accommodation in the next world. Selfless is not a term that I would use for anyone following a religion.



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  • Cairsley

    I assure you no apology for your very clear and sensible expression thereof is at all needed.

    Ahh, finally, redemption is mine.

    ~Gazes off into the distance with an angelic expression~
    😉

    like the Methodism and Catholicism that you and I respectively experienced, any religious superstition taken seriously in any part of the world has this same ill effect of deluding people, when their genuine wellbeing is founded on a rational appreciation of facts (knowledge and reason).

    As one with an ethics based worldview, I am stunned at the overwhelming size of the victim class caused by this level of indoctrination. My mind can’t take it in.

    I know from my own experience how damaging that mind-perverting, soul-warping kind of indoctrination can be to the individual and to the society.

    You know Cairsley, I realize that I don’t give enough credit to our “Catholic” atheists for what they’ve been through. I watch my RCC friends struggle every day with the effects of their childhood brainwashing that they can’t throw off and this is a shocking reminder as to the strength of that mind virus. I never struggled half as hard as I now think you must have to break away from the church. I venture to say that the Methodists don’t sink their hooks into us as deeply as the RCC does. All I had to do was harass my parents enough that they gave up on forcing me to go to church and Sunday school and youth group etc when I was around 16. But it sounds like you were in a lot deeper than I was and I feel very badly that you must have suffered very much to extract yourself from an organization that works so hard at keeping it’s flock in a monkey grip from the day you enter this life until the day you depart from it.

    All deconversions are not the same. I had it easy and I should not be complaining after hearing about many horror stories of abuse and anguish by our fellow atheists who just wanted to be left alone to follow their own path in this life. Here’s hoping your psychological scars don’t run too deep. This website has helped me much in the past years. Sometimes bitterness gets the best of me and I lash out but the mods mop up the worst of it. 😀



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  • 20
    Cairsley says:

    To LaurieB #20

    Sometimes bitterness gets the best of me and I lash out but the mods mop up the worst of it.

    Ah, yes, I too have occasionally sinned likewise, and sometimes the moderators (bless them) have been kind enough to remove the evidence.



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  • There of course examples of institutional religious abuse, slowly coming to light, years after events!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-36784814

    Girls at a church-run children’s home were routinely drugged, locked up and physically, emotionally and sexually abused, a review has found.

    Hundreds of girls were sent to Kendall house in Gravesend in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, before it closed in 1986.

    The independent review set up by the Bishop of Rochester said the home was a place where cruelty was normalised.

    The Church of England has apologised to girls who were heavily sedated and placed in straitjackets.

    In a report the inquiry team said: “The findings are harrowing.”

    The home was “a place where control, containment and sometimes cruelty were normalised.”

    The review found girls as young as 11 were “routinely and often without any initial medical assessment, given antidepressants, sedatives and anti-psychotic medication”.

    Drugs were administered in dosages exceeding usual prescribed adult levels to control girls’ behaviour, placing them in a constant stupor, and restricting their ability to communicate, the report said.

    The review found: “The effects of the drugs also increased their vulnerability to emotional, physical and in a smaller number of cases, sexual abuse”.

    On at least two occasions girls were placed in straitjackets and others were threatened with transfer to a local mental health hospital, the report said.

    Bishop Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding for the Church of England said: “The appalling standards of care and treatment should never have been allowed.

    “On behalf of the national church I apologise unreservedly to all the former residents whose lives were and continue to be affected by their damaging experiences at Kendal House.”

    In 2009, Teresa Cooper told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was given major tranquilisers, anti-depressants and drugs to counteract side-effects while in the children’s home.

    The programme found 10 ex-residents at Kendall House had gone on to have children with birth defects after being forcibly given cocktails of drugs, including tranquilisers, during the 1970s and 80s.

    In 2010, Ms Cooper agreed an out-of-court settlement with the Church of England, which did not accept liability.



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