Two important Catholic priests who shaped my life accused of child sex abuse

This is a public rant, set off by news of another 4 priests from the Buffalo, New York area who sexually abused minors.

At first, you may wonder why I’m posting this on my adoption blog. Well, read this and find out.

Here is my comment left in the Comment Section of the Buffalo News article:

The first published list named Monsignor Joseph Schieder who was Monsignor at St. Andrew’s Church in Kenmore in the 60s. I was in 3rd grade when he came on board. He was a bully who beat up on my class mates. When the news hit in March, I went to the church office, grief stricken. I praised Fr. Dan, who came into St. Andrew’s either in 1969 or 1970. He led our youth group, took us to see Jesus Christ Superstar and rock opera Tommy. He took us out for pizza and on weekend retreats. He brought in representatives from other religions who explained their religions and food and culture. Later on, when I married outside the Catholic Church, I asked him to officiate along with our minister. Ten years later, I asked him for advice on my broken marriage and divorce. With all of that on my mind in March, I asked if I could have his address. I wrote him a note to thank him for all he has done for me, my family. He wrote back.

Now, my shock and horror to see his name on this new list…

I left the Catholic Church in the late 70s for many good reasons. Now, I want nothing to do with this crooked establishment. My grade school years and high school years, and most of my lifetime, are now tainted by the revelation that two priests who shaped my life are sex abusers of children. I wonder: which one of my classmates were their targets?

Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer who has represented 2,000 priest sex abuse survivors nationwide, and who was featured in the movie SPOTLIGHT, should receive an award for going after these men. And so should the lawyers here locally who are handling this. All of these priests belong in jail – and I don’t care how old they are. I’d also like to see exactly what the allegations are and when and what parishes are involved.

The Catholic Church has failed us. This church harbors hate towards many: the nuns twisting boys’ ears in front of us when we were in 2nd grade, treatment of women overall, the “othering” of any group the church deems unworthy (gays, immigrants), is disgusting. The church has a history of mistreating pregnant women particularly, and its disdain of people born as illegitimate bastards (the movie PHILOMENA and the Catholic church in Ireland’s horrendous separation of mothers and their babies, is but one example). The Catholic Church opposes adoptees’ access to our sealed birth certificates (because, don’t-cha know, the Church now must protect the reputation of these “fallen” women who gave birth out of wedlock, yet, the Church doesn’t care about adoptees’ civil and human rights to know the truth of our births. How many priests are actually fathers named on these revoked and sealed birth certificates?). The Catholic Church even had a hand in permanently separating me from my family after the death of my married mother when I was an infant. The priest told my father “the baby needs two parents…” and then my father gave me away to adoption.

I have zero respect for anything Catholic. I will never set foot in a Catholic Church ever again.

And now, a beloved priest who shaped my life has just been publicly accused of child sex abuse. Fantastic. Fr. Dan Palys – I am ashamed of you.

Here is a photo of Monsignor Joseph Scheider: may he rot in hell:

Here is a photo of Dan Palys:




Here is yesterday’s article in the Buffalo News:

Buffalo Diocese puts four more priests on leave over sex abuse claims

Published June 28, 2018

Here is the full article showing photos of the accused priests published March 20, 2018:

The accused priests of Buffalo– photos from the 1983 Diocese Directory


I hate that I was forced to go to Catholic school and church. Just minutes ago, local NPR announced your name, Dan Palys, along with the others released yesterday, is on its way to Rome. You deserve more than a leave from the church. I hope you go to jail.

Oh yes, one more mark against the Catholic Church. If lying is a sin, then why did a priest falsify my baptismal certificate? Oh yeah, I forgot. Because the priest answered the higher authority of the law. He followed the request from my adoptive parents’ attorney who wanted proof that I, as Joan Wheeler, was baptized. So, the parish in which I was baptized followed the letter of the law – not religion – to accommodate my name change via adoption so that my adoptive parents could send me to Catholic School.

Who told me that? Fr. Dan Palys. When my then-fiancé and I went to him for pre-marriage counseling, I asked him why a priest would falsify a new baptismal certificate for a child who had already been baptized. Fr. Dan asked me not to blame the priest. He said that the priest was under legal obligation to follow adoption law to provide a baptismal certificate in my new adoptive name. I insisted that the priest lied on an official church document. Well, that little white lie didn’t matter because adoption overrode the truth.

Not that I care about my baptism.

All I care about is that the facts of my personal history are not changed. But the lies that the priest certified as true on a new baptismal certificate for me changed the facts of my religious baptism. Joan Wheeler was never baptized. Doris Sippel was baptized. Yet, the new baptismal certificate said Joan Wheeler was baptized. This false document was to be proof that I, as Joan Wheeler, was sanctioned by god to attend Catholic Church and to receive the sacraments.

Please note: that the priest who baptized me is not the same priest who falsified the new baptismal certificate. You can see both documents here:

My Revoked and Sealed Birth Certificate and its Replacement Issued After Adoption – Proof that New York State Vital Statistics Department Uses False Facts on Official Birth Records

Several points of absurdity here: If I were to follow the Catholic religion exactly, I would be sinning by participating in the sacraments under a name in which god did not recognize me as. In baptism, a child is named and presented to god in a sacred ceremony. A child can be baptized only once, in the eyes of god. So I should have only one baptismal certificate, right?

Moving on. My adoptive parents sent me to the best Catholic grade school and high school in the area, or so they thought. In addition, when my father gave me up to them in adoption, he stipulated that both he and my mother were Catholic. I was baptized at my dying mother’s bedside. My father wanted me to be raised Catholic.

And I was.

Lotta good that did. Now, my grade school years and high school years are tarnished because of two priests who served back to back (maybe they liked it that way) terms of service, one right after the other.

I’m so glad my parents are dead (all 4 of them), so that they won’t have to know about this.

Oh, another thing. When I met my father for the first time, he introduced me to my dead mother through her photos and life on paper. One paper was her high school diploma. Guess who signed it? A new priest by the name of Joseph Scheider. Twenty-some years later, when he presided over my 8th grade graduation, he signed my diploma, too.

He never touched me. Did he touch my mother?

I’ll never know.

Child sex abuse. Two important Catholic priests who shaped my life.

Thank god I am an ethical atheist.

(The above was edited and expanded this morning, July 1, 2018, and again on July 3rd)

Predatory Pedophile Catholic Priests Fathered Children

Much has been written about the now-worldwide phenomenon of predatory pedophile Catholic priests who molested young boys, but it is important to note that priests also molested young girls and older teens. These girls and young women (how many?) were also impregnated by these priests.

A recent NPR audio caught my ear on Tuesday, April 20, 2010’s Morning Edition: “Priest’s Dual Legacy: Transgressions And Money”. The transcript can be found here:

NPR hosts Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne use these statements to introduce the story:


Father Marcial Maciel built the conservative Legion of Christ into a
powerful Catholic order. Over several decades, Maciel raised millions of dollars for the church. Some estimate the order’s assets are worth $20 billion. After Maciel died in 2008, his order revealed that he had fathered a daughter. Others have come forward claiming to be his sons.


There were years of allegations ignored by the Vatican that Father Maciel sexually abused seminarians as young as 12. Our next guest has reported that Father Maciel hid his secret life by buying the protection of key Vatican officials.

The fact that Father Marcial Maciel fathered children does not seem to be an issue; discussion of the money and assets followed. The adult children get an “honorable mention”, but the mothers of these children get NO mention at all. The story focuses on the MONEY but is missing crucial details.

While this story focuses on just one priest, it raises the as-yet-not-publicly-addressed topic of what happened to the children of these predatory priests? What happened to the mothers of these priests’ children?

I’ve recently been told by a friend, Mary L. Foess (Bonding By Blood, Unlimited) that this a major reason why The Catholic Church and its organizations oppose the opening of birth and adoption records to adoptees. This makes sense, but is not addressed by main stream media — not even NPR.

Mary adds:

The main reason which I believe is responsible for lobbies for adoption agency, owned by Catholic Church organizations, ones which keep blocking the release of original birth certificates to persons formerly adopted as children, is this: Once the mother is found by this adult who was adopted,  she will then tell her adult ‘child’ who his/her father is. This may lead straight to the priest. There are adoption agencies funded by Catholic church sources; they have powerful lobbies. The Associations for Lawyers, too, block these bills, too, by opposing them when they speak in committee meetings (public hearings). Some birthdads, too, are ‘married men’ who had an affair with these birth mothers.

The Catholic Church’s opposition to unsealing birth and adoption records to adoptees is based upon the unspoken and unacknowledged problem that many, possibly thousands, of priests are indeed fathers — and not just “men of the cloth” religious fathers. The Church wants to keep under wraps the identities of priests who sired out-of-wedlock babies.

For the girls and young women involved, the cover-up means that they remained silent for decades because they conceived outside of marriage. The shame of conceiving through the rape of a priest is even more horrifying. These girls and young women were, of course, forced into relinquishing their illegitimate children, sentencing both the mothers and their adopted-out offspring into lifetimes of shame, degradation and guilt.

But that shame, guilt and degradation doesn’t belong on the young mothers and their children. Let’s put the shame and blame where it belongs: on the not-married fathers — priests — who, not only molested children, but broke their vows of celibacy, destroyed trust, mocked their vocational priesthood and took away the innocence of thousands of children, and their own children.

A very long time ago, I watched the romantic movie series The Thornbirds, about a priest and his love for a woman. Romantic and melancholy, this story tugged at my heart. That was when I was much younger than what I am now. Now, decades later, the thought turns my stomach. Not because I don’t think priests ought to be married, but because if marriage were allowed, perhaps some of the sexual problems of priests might be solved.

We have real-live adoptees who want their birth certificates unsealed, who want their adoption records unsealed, and who want to know who is responsible for giving them life. Because the Catholic lobby is so strongly opposed to opening these records, these adoptees will never know the truth. Correction, these specific adoptees — and millions of other adoptees not produced by predatory pedophile priests — are forced to live life not knowing the truth of their births because protecting the identities of these flaky fathers is more important than fessing-up, telling the truth, admitting to the sins committed and going about the business of rectifying the wrongs. Opening birth and adoption records would help millions of adoptees answer their questions of personal identity, but the Catholic Church says no.

Perhaps the reason the world has not heard about this issue is because The Catholic Church cannot cope with more public scrutiny.

I want to know why more Senior Mothers, and perhaps younger women who were impregnated by priests, do not step forward. The shame is not on you, the shame belongs on the perpetrator. Your adult children need you to step forward and step up to the plate to rally with adoptees to open birth and adoption records. Let’s start naming names of the priests who first committed the rapes, and then causing pregnancies, and who then forced the relinquishment of thousands of their own children.

Father Marcial Maciel of the conservative Legion of Christ is not the only priest to have fathered out-of-celibacy and out-of-wedlock illegitimate children. Who are the others?


~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

~ ~ ~

By coincidence, the following was sent via Adoption News Service about the fight for open records in New Jersey where adoptees are being held back by the Catholic Conference:

At adoption standoff’s center

Regarding Contributing Editor James Ahearn’s “Battle to open adoption records” (Opinion, Page O-2, April 18):

The true battle is the adoption community (to include birth mothers) against the Catholic Church.

Ahearn has written on priestly abuses in the past, so it is especially frustrating that he did not make the connection that the church wants secrecy in adoption to protect clerics who are, well, fathers.

Ahearn goes on to say that there are Democrats and Republicans on each side. Really? That’s funny. In the state Senate, only one Democrat voted against the bill to give adult adoptees access to their birth certificates and family medical histories of their birth parents.

The adoption community longs for a brave editor or reporter who might think it a bit funny that the Catholic Church is advocating for secrecy over transparency.

Peter W. Franklin

Haskell, April 19

The writer is associated with the Web site