About Patrick J. Wall

Patrick Wall, a world-renowned expert on the Catholic Clergy Abuse Crisis, has been working on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse since 2002. A former Roman Catholic Priest and Benedictine Monk, Wall has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s of divinity degree from Saint John’s University in Minnesota. Wall has also pursued graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, the Gregorian University and Cardiff University in Canon Law. He is now an advocate at Jeff Anderson and Associates in St. Paul, MN. You can read his latest biography here.

While a practicing priest in Minnesota, Wall served as a faculty resident, member of the seminary sexual abuse response team, associate pastor, parochial administrator, defender of the bond, advocate, tribunal judge, high school instructor, member of the archdiocesan finance council, and member of the Canon Law Society of America. In these capacities, he became intimately familiar with the day-to-day operations of a parish, tribunal, religious order, and archdiocese. After working as a “fixer” in the church, dealing with the aftermath of sexual abusive priests in parishes and schools, Wall left the priesthood, finding that the only way that abuse survivors would get the help and healing they needed was outside of the church hierarchy.

Now married and a father, Wall has consulted on more than 200 cases of clergy abuse in the United States and has become a leading advocate and expert on the causes and cover-up involved in the world-wide crisis. He is an author of “Sex, Priests and Secret Codes,” a leading book on the 2000-year history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and has been profiled in numerous national magazines, newspapers and radio and television shows.

In 2013, he moved back to St. Paul, to devote his career to the victims from his home state.

You can email Patrick at PatrickJWall@andersonadvocates.com.

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26 responses to “About Patrick J. Wall

  1. diverpaul

    Nice site Pat. The information is good and real.

    • Just listened to you on “This American Life.” I realize the program was taped a number of years ago, but with all the new allegations of priest abuse in Europe plus the Pope’s meager statement this week, I felt compelled to share my thoughts. “The Church” has no idea how blessed it is to have you doing the legal work that you are doing on behalf of the people who have been victimized by the personnel and the system of the Catholic Church. You are truly doing God’s work. Thank you.

      • rodgermary

        Just like liri62, I listened to you on “This American Life” and agree totally with her above reply. I want to add my, Thank you! I am spreading the word and want to learn more.

  2. gramof5

    Thanks for your candor.

  3. stardroid

    Mr. Wall

    That’s a real racket you got yourself into aiding lawyers obtaining millions of dollars in damages for trumped up cases on behalf of miscreants and malcontents most who appear to be anti-Christian homosexuals who are out to make a buck.

    This certainly reflects very poorly on your supposed sprituality and moral compass given the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the church on your training and education.

    You need to be honest with yourself. You took the job helping the supposedly abused for the large money judgements you would share and because nobody would hire you for any ethical job.

    And you do a lousy job rationalizing the piety of your highly lucrative job advising lawyers how to extract the maximum possible from local churches who engage primarily in public charity. You Mr. Wall are a complete disgrace.

    Your law firm better hope you never turn on them to write a tell all about the sexual abuse racket.

    Sincerely,

    A Ethical Attorney

    PS. Let’s see if you have the honesty to publish this email as you represent.

    • Dear “Ethical”,

      Had you known even one person who has dealt with abuse from clergyman, and then the utter denial and abandonment of the church that educates, employs, and protects said abusers, you might be thinking differently. Having worked closely alongside those who were abused, those who were abusers, and those in the church who were charged with addressing the whole mess, I can honestly say that the corporation of the Catholic Church is more interested in protecting its assets than its souls.

      We absolutely need individuals like Patrick Wall to at least level the playing field and make things a fair fight between the victims and those with power. Just as we use all legal means available to dig up the facts on the Madoffs, Lays, and Skillings to expose and prosecute them for unethical corporate practices, so should we do and suppport the same in this case. When an individual works to hold accountable — at great personal and professional cost — a mega-conglomerate wolf in sheep’s clothing, we should all line up in support of that individual. After all, that’s pretty much the example that Jesus sets for us, eh?

      I suggest that you watch the following program on PBS’s Frontline. It’s about how a brother of a victim of abuse tried to get some answers from the Archdioces of Boston. Talk about unethical!

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/handofgod/?utm_campaign=homepage&utm_medium=bigimage&utm_source=bigimage

      I wish you the best as you learn more about what you are actually talking, especially as it relates to real human beings.

    • mj789

      Dear Stardroid:

      Of course Mr. Wall was going to publish your reply. To begin with, he truly believes that “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” as Louis Brandeis once said… and that includes shining sunlight on himself.

      But secondly, the attitude that your message conveys confirms that the decisions he has made were the right ones: the decision to stop being the Church’s “cleaner;” the decision to leave the priesthood; the decision to help victims of clerical sexual abuse find peace and, possibly, justice; and finally, the decision to leave the Church because — as your message so aptly demonstrates — it is irredeemably corrupt… “corrupt,” because of the hierarchy, but “irredeemably corrupt” because of the willful blindness of people like you.

    • Are you kidding me “A Ethical Attorney” (which is actually poor grammar because it should read “An Ethical Attorney”)?

      I am a Catholic who has been through the Catholic school system. How can you knock what Pat Wall is doing? He is doing the right thing by exposing these priests because our Catholic leaders have not failed to do what is right. The Catholic Church would never have had not to pay anyone out if they simply would have done the right thing in the first place. Now, because they did not do the right thing, they are paying for it in many ways. If losing money makes this abuse stop, then so be it.

      Light exposes darkness, and Pat Wall and many others are exposing darkness. Just because they are leaders of faith, does not make them infallible. The Catholic church will be forever suffer because our leaders behavior and it will take true brave followers of Jesus Christ to restore our reputation and trust.

      My mother used to work with Pat Wall and he is a good man.

  4. dumpster605

    Mr. Wall,

    I heard Ira Glass’ 2003 piece about you replayed yesterday. This is not a happy story, but yet it is one of valor and dedication.

    Regards

  5. lapsedcat

    Mr. Wall ~

    I heard your story on TAL this weekend and want to honor you for staying true to your heart.

    Best wishes

  6. mommaterry

    Mr. Wall,
    My husband and I heard your story on NPR as well. We were blown away – everything you said hit home. His brother is a priest who’s been to Southdown for “sexual addiction” – he’s had numerous affairs, internet sex, on viagra – I could go on and on. His brother’s best friend is also a priest and molested my husband’s younger brother. We’ve corresponded with Bishops, a Vicar General, a Chancellor, the Diocese’s private detective, lawyers, legislators, etc. We’ve received harassing phone calls, indignant letters – you name it. We’ve have Tribunals swear my husband’s brother doesn’t have the mentality to be put back into a parish – and guess what – he is a chaplain at a VA and a parish priest. We’ve learned of “sin’s of the faithful”, the whole ball of wax. The Catholic church is doing no more today that it was years ago. They are just doing a better job of hiding it and putting on a good front. Your interview was validating but heartbreaking as well. I’ve struggled with my faith life over this and it was good to know it’s okay to move on from the Catholic church.
    Regards,
    T.

  7. fwilliam

    It could not have been easy for you to stand up to the RC church. Thank you for your courage and integrity. I find it abhorant in light of the continuing spate of allegations that the Vatican is making every effort to “shoot the messengers.” Just as disturbing are their attempts to deflect blame for their actions. In spite of what the hierarchy says, a person’s sexual orientation is not the issue, their behavior is. This is true for priests, bishops, cardinals and, yes, even the Pope.

  8. mghtmck

    This comment is meant for the supposedly ethical attorney.

    I am a lapsed catholic, though still have fond memories and close ties to the church. about 9 years ago, in Morris County NJ the story of a major offender in our diocese emerged. when i read some of the testimony, it turned out that my cousin, a priest who had died by that time, and another priest who did the funeral mass for my mother were named as among those who likely knew of Fr. Hanley’s abuses. the abuses were well known by many.

    Mr. Wall does not have a racket. he was and is doing good.

  9. osfania

    This is all well and good, but how does money funneling into the coffers of lawyers (40%???) help abuse victims? You won’t bankrupt the Catholic Church. The drive to expose is very noble and will no doubt have the correct effect over time and I applaud it. The leaching lawyers who are getting rich over it is entirely another story. It’s the same old story with “trial” lawyers – find the biggest pot of gold and latch on with every fiber of their being.

  10. francesca07

    i just read an article in our famous newspaper “the Clinic” about your work. All that you said there make completed sense to me. I apreciatte that people like you exist. Now in my country, Chile, there is so much cases of abuse for priests against children…i really want to thank you for your work.

    i hope someday you come here and can people here.

    (sorry bout my english is not veru good, but i can not let this opportunity of let you know my admiraton to you)

  11. paulypaul1234

    Just heard your interview on BBC Radio 4.
    It was great to hear someone speak out who was actually involved in the Catholic cover-up.
    I’m still annoyed at how little of the evidence is making it’s way out into broadcast media, so was refreshing to hear you speak.
    Keep up the good work.

  12. allanhayes

    Patrick,
    This morning I heard your contribution to BBC Saturday Live, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00sknjj
    at 30 mins in.
    The honest humanity of it was inspirational and encourages me in my conviction that we can all work together with respect and and goodwill in spite of the self-interest of institutions.
    This is vitally important.
    I have just been appointed Chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Leicester, one of the few non-religious such in the country – I am president of Leicester Secular Society (founded 18510), trustee of the British Humanist Association and of the Sea of Faith Network (the latter’s annual conference, on Religion and Social Justice, is in Leicester 27-29 July).
    Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK
    I hope to use this new appointment to bring people together.
    It would be wonderful if you could help with a visit to take part in a discussion.

  13. gorseinonboy

    Hi there,

    I would like to acknowledge your contribution to the programme Saturday Live.

    I have been shocked over the last few years as I have found out more about abuse in the Roman Catholic Church and disappointed about the lack of an appropriate response from the hierarchy of the institution.

    Your full description of the role of “fixer” has explained fully why the Church is so reluctant to use secular authorities in abuse cases. Your piece on the programme was a revelation.

    So thank you for clarifying the position and for the continuing work you are carrying out.

    Vernon Goddard.

  14. Sir, may almighty God have mercy on your eternal soul. Please God you will repent for the calumny spread on this blog.

  15. I am glad you are standing up for what is right. I am sad how others wish to deny the truth and attack you. I am also sad that Vatican II was able to win and get you to leave the priesthood altogether. God works in mysterious ways…
    I saw you on a youTube video and I looked you up and found you here. I wanted to let you know that the True Church exists and it is in its humble dignity that I was able to find it. What you were looking for within the NewChurch, was never to be found within it.
    You are married with a family now, I would like for you to at least visit because I think you would appreciate what they have to offer. If not, well at least you gave it a shot. I think it would be wonderful for your family and you will find many things good within it.
    I do not wish to give my personal information out on the page, I realize there are those who will attack me due to their arrogant pride and erroneous misconceptions.
    I have been through an amazing journey so far, and I wish to share that with you.
    Who knows, I might start a blog now that I have an account on here, but the time is not right for me yet.
    BVM.pray4us@writeme.com
    God Bless.

  16. It’s amazing how some people still imagine that the GOOD priests are the ones who STAY, the ones who either molest children THEMSELVES, or who look the other way when their peers do the molesting!
    Why has it taken DECADES for this evil to be uncovered? And not by ANY of the thousands of so-called “men of God” who claim to be God’s chosen personal representatives on earth, but by the “Godless” secular media and the courts?
    Patrick Wall, you are one of the GOOD priests, the kind who LEAVE the priesthood when they learn what a corrupt institution that it has been not just in recent years, but FOR CENTURIES.
    See http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/
    As for the phony critic of Wall, who calls himself “A Ethical Attorney”, if you didn’t pass English in college, I would think you would at least be smart enough to have someone who DID check your writing to prevent your making a fool of yourself in public!

    • The important thing to bring up is that the devil has been trying to infiltrate and destroy the Church since the beginning. (Communists and Masons) Whether to deny the Divinity of Christ, or to form their “own” take on Jesus’ Divine doctrines. Now we can see that those of Vatican II have finally:
      “In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.” (Leo XIII, 1888).

      People on the outside may delight in the changes or the destruction of the Church altogether. We have to understand that that is due to human desire and lack of submission to Jesus. Jesus created His Church and Her doctrines. These are unchanging due to their Divine origin. Her doctrines, therefore, need no reform.

      We must be aware of the devils’ ability to deceive and mislead us. From any angle. Certain Popes knew this, others wish to silence history. People will argue that the pope is infallible, but they forget why.
      The Pope cannot teach error, however if a Pope with his power willfully does so HE CEASES TO BE POPE through Divine Law BECAUSE—A Pope CANNOT teach error!

      No person will ever override God’s power. Satan and the devils may only trick us into believing this so that souls may perish for all eternity. Satan hates God and is jealous of those who may have the chance of His Eternal Glory. The gods of the Gentiles were devils, (Ps.101:37; Bar. 4:7).
      Sin entered the world through to Satan’s jealousy (Wis. 2:24). Satan and other evil spirits (devils) were angels that chose evil and were therefore cast out of Heaven due to their sin of pride. (Look at Matthew 25:41) Satan’s empire (this world) was destroyed by Christ, (Matt.8:16; Luke 10:18, 11:22; Col. 1:13; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb 2:14) and he and his devils are always fighting to get it back.

      Pray that the Holy Spirit may enlighten us all. That is all for now.

  17. Pingback: The perpetrator had a child’s eyes and face | Survivors Voice Europe

  18. Good morning, all.
    A beautiful spring morning and I will spend it cleaning brush, planting, and remembering as I continue to write my story of abuse by an Irish Christian Brother at Bergen Catholic High School in the early 1960s. I might have let this story go in 2009 when I went back there seeking an explanation, an admission that it did indeed happen to me and many others boys, and to offer my forgiveness. But that is not unfortunately what happened. There was no admission of what occurred; I was blithely, cadgily told, “Those were different times. We make sure nothing like that can ever happen now.” That was no apology; that would have inferred guilt, and some well-paid attorney apparently coached my hosts not to tread that ground. I proferred no forgiveness as that is meaningless without a corresponding expression of guilt and an apology. What I am left with now is a letter from the present principal who states that nothing ever happened. Is he therefore calling me a liar? Is he stating that what happened to me never happened? (Please Google: bergencatholicabuse.com)
    Now I realize that I am part of a much, much larger history. There are devils and saints in the vast catalogue of characters and it is sometimes difficult to discern one from the other. I am no saint, that’s certain, but on at least one otherwise beautiful afternoon in Oradell, NJ., Brother JP Seibert became the horrifying, excruciating demon that has haunted me for the past almost five decades. Perhaps in the interim he has become a better man. Perhaps if I met him he’d offer me an apology. Hopefully I would accept that apology and this would all be over and done, for me.
    But I doubt it.
    Thom Schwarz Bergen Catholic High School ’66

  19. norsegirl

    Pat, I met you and your lovely wife last night at the screening of Mea Maxima Culpa. I enjoyed speaking with you so much and wanted to let you know again, that you are a true champion to all survivors, myself included. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I will be following your blog with great interest~ Katrina Hagen-Swanson

  20. Patrick, it has been many years since I worked with you in Stillwater. I was the Youth Minister during your time there. Like so many many I really enjoyed having you serve as pastor there. I really felt your compassion for the people and always knew there was more to your story than you could let on. I was sad when you left but I am glad to see you have brought your passion and ministry to another level by helping those who need a strong faith filled man in their lives. I have followed your work and I am proud to say, if only for a short time, that we had the chance to serve together. All the best and keep fighting the good fight. Our Catholic Faith needs folks like yourself to help those abused know the difference between God’s true love and the idea of sick love from a man claiming to represent God in what he was doing to kids. This is a key to the healing process for those that were victimized. May God’s blessings continue to shine through you and your work.

    Rich Junghans

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