Welcome to the Blessed Sacrament parish virtual town hall.

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament church is using the tool IdeaScale to facilitate engagement with our parish and school community in light of the sex abuse crises in the Church. This website serves as a virtual town hall* for our parish community and a platform to have our collective voices be heard by our Church leaders.

Parish leadership invites Blessed Sacrament parishioners and school parents to use this platform to submit their ideas, comments or questions on the Church crisis. You can also vote to agree with or disagree with the entries of other community members. The purpose of this virtual town hall is to gather information and sentiment on this critical topic among our community members. This way our parish leaders can better address them through actions and communications within our parish's control. The virtual town hall is open until November 1st.

How to participate:

• Create an IdeaScale account. This only requires an email address.

• We encourage transparency in this community. Please note that the name and username registered to your account will be posted with your submissions unless you choose the option to submit an idea anonymously. Email addresses will be visible to site administrators**, but not in association with ideas posted anonymously.

• Click the Submit New Idea button at the top of the navigation sidebar.

• Please use respectful language in your submission, otherwise the moderator may delete your entry.

• You will have the option to add tags to the idea, comment, or question. These tags represent key themes that emerged from the live parish town hall on September 16th. These tags help people search comments related to their interests.

• If you would like to see all ideas, comments or questions created with a specific tag, you can click on the word or phrase via the tag cloud in the navigation sidebar area under "What we're discussing". (The order of tags in the tag cloud is randomly generated by IdeaScale, it does not imply priority.) Click the Ideas link at the top of the page to see all ideas.

• You can vote, but not comment on other entries. To vote on an entry, look to the right of the idea title/description and simply click the up arrow to agree or down arrow to disagree.

Next Steps:

After November 1st, a team of lay parishioners and parish staff will analyze the information gathered in this website and prioritize the issues to address in parish actions and communications. The information collected also will be shared with the Archdiocese and the Bishops Conference.

*Please note that a summary of the Sept. 16th live town hall is accessible by clicking the link in the footer of this page.

**Administrators and moderators of this site include parish volunteers. Contact blessedsacramentmoderator@gmail.com for assistance on this website. All other requests should be directed to parish staff emails.

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

There Must Be Reform

Thank you for this opportunity. We appreciate it and are praying with you for our Church. Please know that the below is what we originally intended to submit with some additions inspired by comments previously submitted by others. To start, we are not Catholic out of obligation or tradition. We choose to live our faith because we believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and His saving power. Even ...more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@petermharrington600)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

The Church Must Empower Women

The Church must find ways to empower women and empower lay people in general. In terms of women, in the past, American religious women, e.g. Elizabeth Seton, Katherine Drexel, etc., successfully founded hospitals, schools, colleges, and other institutions, in part because they were able to act independently of the bishops. American Church history resounds with tales of powerful and arrogant diocesan bishops who, despite ...more »

Voting

8 votes
8 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@maryanneskane)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Structural Change Is Needed to Include Laity in Decision-making

i reviewed comments submitted by Jim Zogby and Dave Byers, and i agree wholeheartedly with their analyses of the problem and their proposed solutions. It is time to make the changes needed in decision-making at the Archdiocesan level to include lay voices. Such changes should be formal ones to provide important information to the Archdiocese and to provide lay members with a meaningful role in decisions. Such changes ...more »

Voting

9 votes
9 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@jbk560)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Stand on Principle, not Principal

I sent an e-mail to Father Alec on August 19 regarding this issue, which follows. But I have, just now, faithfully read and considered 44 well-articulated and well-meaning contributions from my fellow petitioners, whom I thank. I have offered my ratification, refutation or abstinence with careful consideration and am in awe of the breadth of this discourse. But the thoughts I penned to Fr. Alec still stand apart, perhaps ...more »

Voting

5 votes
5 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@jameszogby)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

The church is bleeding

One hard truth we must face is that the church is bleeding. Even before the revelations from PA and our own archdiocese, young people have been abandoning the church or becoming Catholics-in-name-only. They have been turned off by the churches inflexibility, it's obsession with issues of sex, the marginalization of women, & rejection of gay Catholics. The current crisis has only served to accelerate this. Some have ...more »

Voting

9 votes
9 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@jameszogby)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

What we do at Blessed Sacrament can have an outsized impact

Some parishioners, though deeply troubled by this crisis in the church, have expressed a feeling of powerlessness saying "it's bigger than anything we can solve here at Blessed Sacrament " or "the problems in the church won't change." The challenge is great, but we shouldn't underestimate our capacity to to impact the broader church. Blessed Sacrament is an influential parish at the heart of an important diocese. What ...more »

Voting

13 votes
13 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@dbyers4)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Background: The USCCB and the Sex Abuse Crisis in the 1990s

I copy below an article I just submitted for publication. It is based on the minutes of USCCB plenary meetings in the years leading up to adoption of the 2002 Charter on the Protection of Children and Young People. The article analyses the bishops' unsuccessful efforts to deal with the then-emerging crisis, and suggests a way of dealing with the somewhat different situation the Church faces today. A BRIDGEABLE GULF? ...more »

Voting

7 votes
7 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@fraas0)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Part 2 Ideas to reclaim our baptismal identity--see previous

Short term: Cardinal Wuerl must leave the archdiocese now. He cannot have any say in picking his successor.Medium term: 1 Return the female theologians to seminaries who were forced out under Pope John Paul II. 2, Do not isolate seminarians from family life.3Petition the current commission on restoring the female diaconate to finish its work, and ordain women deacons 4The USCCB should require that all dioceses open their ...more »

Voting

13 votes
13 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@fraas0)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

A plan to reclaim our baptismal identity--Part I

Part I As Christians, we are called by our baptism to be priest, prophet and king. As laypeople, and especially as women, we have been denied this right, this call. We need to throw open the doors of the church once more--Vatican II is all but forgotten in the daily life of the church. Bishops are abusing their power as shepherds of the church--they are not protecting--they are enabling. The power structure as it stands ...more »

Voting

10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@jeanettepablo)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Is this the church that Jesus created?

In 1992, I was on a team representing the survivors of abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston Archdiocese where Cardinal Bernard Law knew of the abuse and sheltered these priests who sexually abused children and teens over decades. We sought a change to the statute of limitations for child sexual assault that, generally speaking, at the time was five years after the crime was committed. I learned a lot from working with ...more »

Voting

10 votes
11 up votes
1 down votes
Ideate
(@murrayerceg)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Demand more Lay Leadership and Power

Beginning with our parish, provide more lay leadership at every level. Ultimately, if the power dynamic in the Church were right-sided, lay leaders should have a say in who is elevated in the church. Currently Archbishop Wuerl will play an out-sized role in naming his successor and that makes no sense.

Voting

10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@murrayerceg)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Protect our children

A school parent and former FBI agent with expertise in child abuse raised at the townhall that the VIRTUS training required by the school is inadequate. Her VIRTUS trainer, for example, directed the group to contact the parish and not the police if they suspect abuse. What are we doing to ensure that our parish is implementing best practices when it comes to protecting our children from abuse?

Voting

10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate
(@golf4fun)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Transparency, accountability and forgiveness

To move the Church forward it is time that all cases of child abuse be exposed so that the victims of these crimes and the perpetrators can reconcile no matter how difficult this may be. It is possible that years ago the religious committed these terrible and unforgivable offenses against children but didn't fully understand that this was a mental disorder and a crime rather than assuming it was a mortal sin. If this ...more »

Voting

2 votes
4 up votes
2 down votes
Ideate
(@cbk53wbk)

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Clericalism and Elitism in the Church

To correct clericalism and elitism in the Church, which according to Pope Francis, is at the heart of the abuse perpetrated by the Catholic clergy (including the behavior of the Bishops), there is a need to change rules and organizations that were established to deal with a vastly different time in history. In that regard, Google: "Is New Life Ahead in the Church?" by Sister Ilia Delio.

Voting

10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes
Ideate