Yet Another Hideous Spectacle

Yet Another Hideous Spectacle September 24, 2013

of bureaucratic butt-covering, incompetence, and failure to deal with an obviously predatory priest.

It will be interesting to see if the civil authority puts more than the priest in jail.  I’m all for jailing whoever the civil authority finds  guilty of criminal acts, up to and including the bishop if the evidence is there.  I’m mortally sick of these ghastly stories.  God help the kids and their families hurt by this man and the people who failed to protect them.

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  • TomM

    There are so many priests and bishops with dangerous sexual problems that bishops are extremely reluctant to intervene out of fear that their ranks would be devastated. I am afraid that the Church is headed for a second wavbe of scandals.

    • jaybird1951

      “There are so many priests and bishops with dangerous sexual problems…”
      You are obviously privy to more information than I. Please cite your sources for this blanket assertion.

      • Lee Penn

        Read books by Richard Sipe, Thomas Doyle, and Donald Cozzens. They have documented that priests here and overseas tend to honor their celibacy/chastity vows in the breach. As I recall, at least 25% are practicing homosexuals, and another 25% are “active” heterosexuals. Some fraction of these people engage in abuse: sex with minors, sex with parishioners, or sex with those in whom they are pastoral relationship.

        Sipe, Doyle, and Cozzens are liberal dissenters … but they stand for abuse victims in a way that many putatively orthodox bishops do not. For a conservative Catholic’s comprehensive view of the Scandal and its scope, read Lee Podles’ Sacrilege.

        There is plenty of proof out there for the claim that “there are so many priests and bishops with dangerous sexual problems … ”


  • Stevie

    Lock ’em up indeed. What were the warning signs, though? Trying to solicit gay sex from adult men? Clearly this should’ve been a sign to the vicar that the man should be taken out of ministry, but isn’t it ironic when liberals call something like that a “warning sign” that the man might abuse children? I thought it was terribly offensive to suggest a connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, that although almost all of those who sexually abuse children are men, the victims are not overwhelmingly female.

    • Andy

      In many, most cases abuse is about “sexual gratification” through the use of power – it is not about homosexuality or heterosexuality. The fact that many of the cases involved boys would seem to be due to proximity or availability or vulnerability.
      My issue is when does this stop – when will bishops say enough and respond forcefully? Is it any wonder that the bishops have lost the laity when they speak of moral issues?

    • DJ Wambeke

      What were the warning signs, though? Trying to solicit gay sex from adult men?… I thought it was terribly offensive to suggest a connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.

      Well, I think that, more or less, is the argument of the then Vicar-General. That the only warning signs were a particular addiction he had (which, though a sign of immaturity, violated no laws), and that there was no way to infer any further proclivities from that alone.

      Even if that argument holds water (at least legally), it still doesn’t address the moral failures involved in keeping him in ministry. His addictive behavior almost certainly preceded his ordination. I knew him a little when he was in the seminary and he gave me the heebie-jeebies then, in part because I kept bumping into him in one of those spots known for those kinds of anonymous “encounters”. (They’re in the woods adjacent to a popular running trail. I was training for marathon; he was always just, um, hanging around.) Hindsight is 20/20 but clearly he was ordained while in an immature state and I find it hard to believe his spiritual advisor or someone closer to his formation wouldn’t have known what was going on. That, and his continued issues after ordination documented in this article, should have provided ample opportunity to get him out of ministry before things got worse. No one in the grip of addiction (of any sort) is in a position to shepherd a flock.

      • Except that even after this guy propositioned a couple of young men in a store and that incident was reported and in his file he was made a pastor. A pastor! The info in his file said he had violated the archdiocesan code of conduct on multiple occasions, and his background check was missing, but no big deal–make him a pastor, put him in charge of a whole church.

        As someone who wouldn’t be able to sing in the parish choir as a volunteer with even one credible allegation of this kind against me (as it should be!) I find this totally appalling. One standard for the laity, and a different one for clergy, who can’t be presumed to be a problem even when, quite clearly, they are–and on multiple occasions.

        That’s what’s got me so steamed about this: the constant parade of hypocrisy from the chanceries of America. Make all the lay employees and volunteers jump through hoop after hoop to prove we’re safe around children–and we, most of us, HAVE children!–but ignore a whole platoon of red flags and warning signs if the person in question is called “Father.” Enough is enough. As I said elsewhere, if I lived in this archdiocese I’d be protesting outside the chancery, even if I were completely alone in doing so.

        • Andy

          I so agree – to work at our parish festival near the “kids area” the volunteers are screened and go through training from the diocese. The level of hypocrisy is what is killing the church.

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    But it wasn’t obvious the Priest was a “preditor” just a bisexual lech. It wasn’t till he touched a woman without her consent was there a complain of predatory behavior. Then a woman came to the church complaining her young teenage boys where molested. The Priest told her to call the police & the diocese called the police.

    So I don’t see the butt covering here just bitching.

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    I absolutely endorce any policy that has a One Strike & your are out if it involves assault, sexual harrassment of adults or any type of sexual involvment with children.
    But should One Strike and you are out apply to any Priest who sins sexually?

    • capaxdei

      Bisexual leches should not be priests of Jesus Christ. Nor should men who say of bisexual leches, “This sort of behavior would not show up in the workplace.”

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~

        So you advocate zero tolerance for any sexual indiscression by any priest at any time?
        OTOH who was in charge of this Priest’s formation & gave the green light for it to go threw?
        Was Bishop Nienstedt responsible for making him a priest or cleaning up the mess after?
        Obviously it must be one strike in regards to any type of sexual involvement with a minor & or assult or sexual harrasment of an adult.

        • capaxdei

          I think we can distinguish between “any sexual indiscretion at any time” and “bisexual lechery.”

          I also think we can distinguish between “fit to be a priest of Jesus Christ” and “not altogether certainly more likely to molest children than any other sexually troubled unmarried man.”

  • B.E. Ward

    I know Rod Dreher doesn’t hold much sway among a lot of Catholics on this issue because of his ‘defection’, but I’m with him on this: What the whiskey tango foxtrot is going on? Pardon my french, but it’s been this long since the scandals started breaking and this sort of diocesan conduct is still occurring?

  • Paul H

    I have heard many good things about Archbishop Nienstedt, so I found this article particularly discouraging. Of course, I haven’t heard the archbishop’s side of the story, and he is far from the only person in diocesan leadership who is made to look quite bad in this article. And I know that his predecessor had more of a liberal reputation. Still, this is especially disappointing to read about an archdiocese that I thought had great leadership.

  • FrMichael

    As usual, it will take law enforcement and law suits to get bishops and chancery rats to do the right thing. Sad but predictable.

    • CatholicJames##Scott+~

      According to the report when the woman brought the matter of underage boys being molested to another Priest he encouraged her to call the police as did the Diocesean authorities.
      The statement that they “knew” about the Priest before is misleading. He made suggestive comments to a 19 year old male & 20 year old male. Neither of whom complained, this priest was guilty of drunk driving and crusing gay bars.
      That is immoral behavior but those are not previous cases of child molesting.
      So I ask again is it one strike for all Priests in regards to any type of misconduct?