Monthly Archives: March 2011

Philadelphia Priest Abuse Drama Spotlights Inefficiencies of Review Board

In the aftermath of the priest suspensions related to allegations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the actions or lack thereof regarding the Archdiocesan Review Board have come into greater focus.
The independent review board, hailed as a pillar of the Catholic Church’s reform efforts in Philadelphia, examined the files and allegations of only seven of the 21 priests suspended last week.
In other cases where the review board recommended suspensions for priests, the recommendation was ignored. This is according to Ana Maria Catanzaro, who is head of the 8-person review board.
One of the priests suspended this past week was Monsignor Michael Flood who’d been accused of the sexual abuse of a minor in 1976. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a 16-year old boy told the dean of a Catholic High School that Flood was sexually abusing him. Flood, the boy’s religion teacher at the time, told the school’s dean of 16 distinct instances during which he was abused by the priest.
In spite of this old allegation, Flood was suspended only last Tuesday. To make matters worse, Cardinal Rigali publicly stated in February after the latest Grand Jury Report was released, that there were no Philadelphia priests serving in active ministry who’d been accused of sexual abuse. The Philadelphia Inquirer article that broke the Flood story did not reveal whether Flood’s personnel file was one of the seven that was reviewed by the independent review board.
It doesn’t really matter since Philadelphia Archdiocese officials have no excuse allowing a priest to continue serving in parishes with full access to children, especially after the scandals in Boston in 2002 and the implementation of the Dallas Charter a few years later.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Beyond the Crisis Point

“What has happened in Philadelphia, quite frankly, is embarrassing to us.” The statement sounds understated until the name of the person who said it is revealed. The person who spoke those words is none other than Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans. Aymond spoke those words publicly during an interview with a radio station in New Orleans. It’s rare that one bishop would criticize another bishop. Even the National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters is calling for the removal of Cardinal Justin Rigali. Here’s an excerpt of Winters’ article: ” To be clear, the entire reputation of the entire American hierarchy, and that of the officials in the Vatican, is being weighed in the balance. There is nothing that has been done or said by SNAP, or by victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson, or by any of the Church’s critics that comes even close to the damage to the Church’s reputation inflicted by Cardinal Justin Rigali.”
Oddly enough, the NY Times ran an article today entitled, “Cardinal Draws Praise in Sexual Abuse Scandal”. Perhaps the Gray Lady doesn’t want to pile on at this point. This is much worse than Boston and even Los Angeles, not because of the number of priests accused but because Church officials have been telling anyone and everyone that the problem is fixed and that they get it. Well, it’s clear from Rigali’s inaction, he doesn’t get it. He may never get it until or unless he’s removed. This is bad because there’s no way for the Church to spin this. After all the Review Boards, John Jay studies, two grand juries, the zero tolerance policy adopted at the bishops Dallas meeting, and civil lawsuits, the officials of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia still keep on doing the same thing. It’s sad and beyond the point of crisis.

Philadelphia Archdiocese Suspends 21 Priests

After declaring that his Archdiocese was not harboring any sexually abusive priests, Cardinal Justin Rigali suspended 21 Philly priests connected to priest sexual abuse allegations. According to church insiders, the mass suspension is the largest one-time suspension since the latest wave of priest abuse scandals began rocking the Catholic Church in 2002.
On February 10, 2010, a Philadelphia grand jury condemned the Archdiocese and top officials within the Archdiocese for covering-up allegations of priest abuse and helping predators remain in power. The grand jury report led to the criminal indictment of 4 Philadelphia priests, including Monsignor William Lynn who served as former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua’s point man on sexual abuse.
News of the 21 suspensions will serve to further erode the community’s confidence in the Catholic Church’s ability to police itself. The suspensions, while mandated by Cardinal Rigali, serve as a huge embarrassment given that he had publicly assured parishioners and the community that the Philadelphia church had moved beyond the crisis and had fixed the problem.
In another odd move, the announcement didn’t include the names of the priests suspended or provide details concerning the abuse allegations.

DePuy Orthopaedics CEO Quits

While the news broke late yesterday afternoon, DePuy Orthopaedics announced that its worldwide president of its orthopedics division, David Floyd submitted his resignation last week. According to company sources, the resignation will be effective at the end of the month.
Lorie Gawreluk, a DePuy spokesperson, noted that Floyd had been with the division since 2007 and was leaving to pursue interested outside the company. No other specifics regarding his departure were given. However, given the company’s orthopedic problems with the DePuy ASR XL hip implant device, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Floyd’s departure were related to the failed orthopedic hip implant. Problems with the hip implant have been related to manufacturing defects that cause a high failure rate of 12-13% within the first five years of implantation.

FDA Creates New Webpages to Address Defective Hips

The FDA has created a new section on its website devoted to artificial hips including sections about the potential adverse effects of metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. The new information comes after many months of consumer concern about the DePuy ASR hip recall. DePuy hip lawsuits are mounting as more consumers are becoming aware of adverse effects concerning their hip replacements. Such adverse effects include joint discomfort, joint swelling, tissue necrosis, and metallosis. The FDA devoted a substantial section to metallosis which is essentially metal poisoning resulting from the metal-on-metal hip device releasing chromium and cobalt into the bloodstream. The release of these metals results from the grinding of the metal hip parts against one another. Metallosis is a particularly dangerous condition since it can go undetected and the patient may have little or no symptoms. A special blood test may be administered to determine if the hip implant is causing such a condition.
DePuy hip lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer since the August 2010 recall of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems. The recall was initiated after it was determined that the DePuy ASR hips were failing at an unacceptable rate within the first five years of implantation. The failure rate has been estimated to be around 12-13% of implanted DePuy hips. These hip failures have led to many patients having to undergo painful and difficult revision surgeries.

FDA Suggests Removal of Zinc from Denture Cream

After receiving reports of neurological problems associated with zinc-laden denture cream, the FDA has suggested denture cream manufacturers remove the zinc. Zinc is used as an adhesive ingredient in many popular denture creams such as Poli-Grip and Fixodent.
Initially, GlaxoSmith Kline which makes Poli-Grip and Proctor & Gamble which manufacturers Fixodent, maintained that any zinc-related neurological problems were caused by misuse of the denture cream product. The companies argued that users were using too much cream and excess was causing the zinc poisoning issues. However, the FDA appears to debunk the claim by suggesting companies remove zinc from their denture adhesive products.