Tom Kreitzberg Speaks for Me…

Tom Kreitzberg Speaks for Me… June 20, 2013

…regarding the preposterous claim that there was nothing the Diocese of San Diego could do for an abused woman and her four children besides kick mom out of her job and ban the kids from the school system for the crime of being abused:

There are no Knights of Columbus councils in San Diego? No Catholics in the Archdiocese willing to underwrite the cost of a security guard? No way for the Archdiocese to work with her, make sure she and her children are safe, comfort them, if it comes to it help her to find another job? No way to demonstrate that anyone in the Church actually gives a shit what happens to her?

If the “only option” really is to fire her by letter, and expel the children, then to hell with Catholic parochial schools in this country.

Better to close all the schools than kick someone in need out of the community.

But sure, I can see how it might be illegal in San Diego for private schools to have volunteers — or vigilantes, as [some] call them — on their property. And yeah, now that you mention it, how likely is it that the thought of asking benefactors to help out with a particular expense would ever cross a bishop’s mind?

And that take-a-hike termination letter sent in April, I guess we’re supposed to assume it wasn’t forged. Or maybe Tom Beecher and Bonnie Espinosa were too busy helping Carie Charlesworth find a job to mention that they were helping her find a job in the letter they sent her saying she would be out of a job. And when they wrote that they “have conferred with counsel,” that’s probably just how Southern Californians refer to conferring with the bishop.

And maybe she hasn’t been to Mass since she was put on leave in January because she’s been too busy being helped by the diocese.

Who will dare to blame her for walking away from Christian love like that?  This is, in the exact sense the Church means it, a despicable scandal. Christ has been re-crucified five times by this cowardly response to a woman and her children in desperate need.  May God give her the grace to forgive, but may he above all give the diocese and the school system the grace to repent.  Shameful.

Not that Bp. Brom can’t find financial and legal resources when necessary:

He is one of about a dozen U.S. bishops who have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent years. Catholic leaders in Minnesota, where Bishop Brom once headed the Diocese of Duluth, have paid a settlement to a former seminarian who alleged that he was coerced into sex. A spokeswoman for the bishop recently told The Boston Globe that “minimal insurance” money was paid to the accuser, who agreed to retract his claim. Two archbishops who helped negotiate the deal in the mid-1990s said the man received roughly $100,000. The man alleged that in the 1980s, Bishop Brom and other high-ranking clergymen pressured him and other young men to have sex at a seminary in Winona, Minn. Bishop Brom has denied any sexual misconduct and has said that an investigation disproved what the former seminarian “thought he remembered.” In San Diego after Bishop Brom took over, questions arose about how his top aides handled the 1993 case of the Rev. Emmanuel Omemaga, who was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl after her grandfather’s funeral, tying her to a bed and photographing her in bondage. The diocese has said it suspended the priest when it first learned of the accusation, then let him go home to the Philippines on vacation. Police, meanwhile, began investigating and asked a priest who was one of the bishop’s aides to alert them immediately upon Father Omemaga’s return. “He agreed to do so” but instead waited five days, according to a police report. At that point, according to the report, the aide left a message saying that he had told the wanted man to call police and to consult an attorney. Father Omemaga vanished and remains the target of an arrest warrant. The aide has said he did everything he could do to bring his fellow priest to justice.

These are the times when I have to remember that I am a Catholic because of Jesus Christ and not because of any man.

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  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Have these creatures slept through every class in moral theology? Dante filled Hell with bishops and the occasional Pope. At least we haven’t had any obviously corrupt Popes in a long time, but otherwise, times never change. This creature and his whole curia need to be suspended a divinis, or at least told to go discover a missionary vocation in Uzbekistan (that is how Pope Pius XI, in particular, would have dealt with it).

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Wow. What a profound embarrassment for the Church. This is absolutely horrid. Hey, you Knights of Columbus in San Diego. Time you remember what being a Knight means.
    What can WE do to help? Anyone know?

    • Adolfo

      Being a KoC means getting good insurance, making pot luck dinners for various fundraisers, and frying fish on Fridays during Lent. Oh, and occasionally getting to bring a sword into church.

      • Sadly, that is all too often the case.

  • Rachel

    This is just more fodder for anti-Catholics again. Some people complain that the government has too many programs to help the poor, etc and that it would be best if the churches and other private charities would step in but then this happens. Grant, I hope this is an isolated case but it paints all of us in a terrible light: ie. we hate women (especially if they are single or abused) and we only want the “right” sort to work within our dioceses and if one messes up then they must be kicked out. I am appalled by the complete lack of charity on the part of the San Diego diocese. We are supposed to help our fellow man, especially when they are in trouble, not kick them out. 🙁

  • Andy

    And Bishops wonder why folks have trouble believing them and supporting them. It seems as if those in charge care only about their futures in the church and have lost sight of the needs of the laity.
    The lack of compassion, caring, and subsidarity and solidarity in this situation is beyond mind-blowing.

    • Rachel

      This is what I was talking about the other day. Granted, not every bishop is this way but we have more than enough that only care about their own futures. I also find the other parents reactions to be sick too. Are we Christians in this country or not? We are supposed to stand up for the oppressed, the marginalized, and the abused. I understand now why we will probably need to contract (ie. become a smaller Church), lose our schools, hospitals, etc because we have not shown Christ’s love to others. That goes for all of us, including myself at times. I constantly hear laments on how godless this country is but it began with the lack of love on the part of Christians. This is just another example of it.

  • Irksome1

    Makes one want to reassess that “Jesus is greater than religion” thing from last year.

  • Dan F.

    Contact info for the officers of that KofC chapter here:

    I emailed all of them a link to this post along with my own thoughts (copied you Mark).

  • Dave

    To look at it as charitably as possible, they have tunnel vision and are interested in saving the school…this demand came from the parents. The parents are, somewhat understandably, irrationally panicky about anything involving a school and an angry man. But still, it’s just horrific. Some of our bishops and priests are still working with the “administrator” mentality.

    • LSpinelli

      Note that this happened just five or six weeks after Newtown. Still, victimizing this poor woman twice wasn’t the answer. My answer would have been to throw that violent asshole ex in the slammer for life. He had a record of applications for and actual ROs going back 20+ years.

      When it comes to abusers like this one, one strike and you’re gone.

  • JohnMcG

    It’s easy to blame the bishops, but I think we have to look in the mirror.

    We should be a Church where it would be obvious that we would step up to support a family like this. But is it? If the leadership asked the parish for this level of support, could they count on it? Or would we grumble about how she shouldn’t have gotten involved with him in the first place, why should the school be a police state for this family, how inconvenient this is for everyone, etc.

    The bishops and leadership are a reflection of us. In an environment where, of course, we’re all willing to step up and help, this option would be unthinkable. But we’re all busy looking after our own, so this can seem like the most prudent course of action.

    • Lizzie

      Yes. It’s very easy to blame the bishop in this situation. Why? Because the Bishop is so suppose to shepherd his flock and not follow the sheep around acquiescing to their unChristian desire to throw the baggage out. This Bishop’s behavior is utterly shameful and looking in my own mirror at my own sins doesn’t in any way mitigate his.

      • JohnMcG

        ” looking in my own mirror at my own sins doesn’t in any way mitigate his.”

        But it’s more likely to bring results than raging against the bishops.

  • catholicchristian

    This is the same diocese where they’re so concerned about pastoral needs that they will not even consider men over the age of 50 for the permanent diaconate program.

    From the minions of Mahoney, Oh Lord deliver us.

  • entonces_99

    Where is the link to Tom Kreitzberg on this subject? The first link appears to be to another CAEI post.

    • capaxdei

      “capaxdei” is the name displayed by Tom Kreitzberg’s Discus account.

  • NurseBob

    I think prudence recommends that we recognize that we simply don’t have all of the details on this matter to make the kinds of judgments people are making in this combox, much less to resign the bishop and school administrators to the non-human status of “creatures.”

    Stories like this appear all of the time in the news: the media decides who is the victim and who is the oppressor (large institutions like the Church and corporations preferred), and reveal facts discriminatingly to get people to think along those lines. Like willing dupes, we fall for it every time, filling the airwaves and com boxes with condemnations and self-righteous declarations, if only to make sure all know that we stand on the right side of this issue.

    Forgive me for not joining the feeding frenzy. I don’t know the details. I don’t know the major players. I don’t know what motives, concerns, or many factors contributed to the final decision.

    This is a classic moral dilemma, a conflict between two goods: the goods of the woman’s job and her children’s education against the good of protecting the children and faculty of the school. Usually, in such dilemmas, one good is sacrificed for the sake of the other good. In this case, the school administrators, presumably with the consent of the bishop, decided that protecting the children and faculty of the school was the primary good. Why? What ALL went into that decision? We don’t know. Likely, we’ll never know. The woman who was fired is free to talk to any and all. The diocese, quite rightly, feels constrained in commenting on internal matters.

    For all of these reasons, I will reserve judgment and pray for all those involved, happy that the woman has found another job, remorseful that she has committed what St. Francis de Sales called “spiritual suicide,” and hopeful that the Church in San Diego, and everywhere, can learn from this tragic situation to bring greater light into the darkness of domestic violence.

  • capaxdei

    It’s great that she has a job lined up for the coming year. May she and her children flourish, and if she hasn’t already, may she be reconciled to the Church.

    But this isn’t as story about continuity of income, any more than the Parable of the Good Shepherd is a story about health care expenses. This is a story about Catholics, at both the parish and the diocesan levels, failing to be Christian.

    (Some (like NurseBob) claim we don’t know enough to know that this is a story about Catholics failing to be Christian. I claim what we do know is inconsistent with any reasonable conclusion to the contrary.)

    It’s a story all the more frustrating, for me at least, because it is not in the least surprising. Catholics in the United States do not act like disciples of Jesus and children of their heavenly Father; they act like everyone else in the United States, like panicked parents and liability-hounded bureaucrats.

    But then, Catholics aren’t *told* to act like disciples of Jesus and children of their heavenly Father. I don’t know if that’s because Catholic priests don’t think the laity can or will do it, or because they don’t know the laity are supposed to do it. Maybe the priests weren’t told, either.

    • capaxdei

      You have data that shows the school and parish supported Carie Charlesworth and her children, leaving them in no doubt that they were loved members of the community? You have data that shows that parents didn’t organize to ensure that she never returned to the school? You have data that shows the diocese treated her like a sister in need, and not just an employee? You have data that shows that she didn’t stop going to Mass? You have data that shows that she misspoke when she said, “Everything I thought I had, I don’t?”

      • capaxdei

        If you think the fact that she was offered a job by someone in Los Angeles who saw the news story about her being dumped by the Catholic community of San Diego supports the scenario that she was supported by the Catholic community of San Diego, I don’t suppose I’ll talk you out of it.