Friday, December 6

Mark Cameron draws our attention to a sequel to - gulp - Brideshead Revisited

Phoenix is a mess.

The escalating war of words and legal maneuvering came at the end of what Romley called the "first bite" of his ongoing criminal investigation into the Phoenix Diocese's handling of sex-abuse allegations.That investigation began in May and led to the indictments this week of the Rev. Patrick Colleary and former Valley priest John Maurice Giandelone. Both were accused of sexual misconduct dating to the late 1970s.In both cases, victims families claimed O'Brien urged them to keep silent about their allegations for the good of the church. The families said O'Brien promised to have the priest offenders removed from their parishes.Both those cases occurred shortly before O'Brien became bishop in 1982. And, in both cases, the accused priests were transferred to other parishes, where they molested other children."We have a number of cases that have been reported by different individuals that Father O'Brien did do this regularly," Romley said. "He (told the victims), 'Don't go to civil authorities, we will take care of it.' It is troubling to me that there was a greater concern for the image of the church than the victimization of the children

Indicting a diocese?

Prosecutors have asked for a special meeting of a grand jury Dec. 13 to consider indicting the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester for failing to protect children from abusive priests, the AP has learned.While priests have been convicted on sex abuse charges, no diocese ever has been indicted in the United States.Sources familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an indictment could come as soon as that day. The investigative grand jury in Manchester has been hearing evidence against the church for several months.But an indictment could be averted by a settlement, according to Charles Putnam, a former state prosecutor who said deals are common as investigations near the end.

Martin ("Here I head bobbling") Luther was only the beginning:

Check out Ship Of Fools 12 Days of Kitschmas list of very real, very scary products, from (yes) Bobble-head Jesus to the Name o' Jesus teether.

Be sure to vote for your favorites here!

Be careful

Over the past few days, I've noticed some commentators here and there criticizing the decisions of those releasing the Boston documents to emphasize incidents of priests' misdeeds with women as much as their misdeeds with children or males.

Many have determined, it's obvious, that this Situation is a homosexual thing, and they receive the news of the day in a way that fits in with that framework. From the very beginning, I have stubbornly maintained that while the apparent over-representation of homosexuals in the seminary and the priesthood is a problem, and that the presence in priesthood or seminary of any person who publicly or privately subverts the Church's teaching on sexuality is a problem, this is not the totality of the problem, nor is it even the core. Priests may conceal homosexual activity in their midst, but one of the reasons they are able to do this is that in the parish across town there is a priest who is in a comfortable, long-term relationship with his housekeeper or secretary, and then in the parish in the other part of town there is a priest with an alcohol problem who doesn't want to be sent away for treatment for the third time in five years, and working together - implicitly, of course - these guys, plus the guys on the priests' personnel council (who DO know all about these problems, believe me) and the various laity who work in the rectory and see what's going on - as I said, all of these people implicitly agree to maintain silence to protect their secrets and maintain the status quo.

It's all of a piece. A jagged, lumpy, shadowy piece, but all of a piece, nonetheless.

Domenico's commenting on the Foley case and questioning a) it being made public at all and b) the implied equivalence in the press between this case and the abuse cases.

The whole story is not told, of course, but it seems that the issue is not one relationship,but a consistent problem with maintaining the vow of celibacy - and such a problem that Cardinal Law recommended the guy be consigned to a monastery. That's a recognition, not of a normal struggle with chastity, but of compulsive behavior. I think that is the reason this case is an issue - it's not abuse of a child of a minor (although questions are implied about the first woman's mental state, which makes the "consensual" part of it questionable) - but it's a recognized pattern of compulsive, problematic behavior - not to speak of declaring that the red lights weren't for him and he's the "Savior of Salem." - and for that reason, I think, it's legitimate to consider this case along with the others when looking at how the Archdioces of Boston dealt with priests intent on destructive behavior.

I'm giving up. I just don't have the energy or concentration level to do daily meditations for Advent this year. My husband does, though - so clicking on the wreath to the left will take you to his spot.

Clicking here will take you to the Scipture readings for the day.

You should also check out the quote from St. Augustine he has posted here.

Happy St. Nicholas Day! Click on the icon above for lots o' links to St. Nicholas information.

More weirdness - in Palm Beach, naturally.

A Lake Worth-area couple are suing the Diocese of Palm Beach, claiming that priests harassed, humiliated and fired them because they reported their conduct, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.Myles and Brenda Decker, who worked for Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in West Palm Beach for 10 years, also accuse the Revs. Joseph Kuczborski and Jimmy Hababag of detaining Brenda Decker against her wishes during a Feb. 25 meeting.

"These two priests held a 60-year-old mother and grandmother against her will and forced her to yell and scream for help ... before she was permitted to leave the office," attorney J. Michael Burman wrote in the suit, which was filed in Palm Beach County Court.They are seeking unspecified damages from the diocese, the parish and the two priests.
The Deckers claim their problems began in June 2001, shortly after Kuczborski was appointed interim administrator of Mary Immaculate. Hababag was assigned to the church at the same time, according to the suit.Brenda Decker, who has worked as a secretary and bookkeeper for the Catholic church in Colorado since 1973, differed with Kuczborski over how priests would be reimbursed for certain costs, Burman wrote in the suit. Kuczborski thought the continuing education reimbursement account was "the pastor's call" and -- as the temporary parish administrator -- he had all the rights of the pastor, Burman wrote. But Decker maintained the money should be used for educational expenses such as seminars and tuition.In one meeting, the two disagreed about what items were reimbursable and Decker got up to leave the room after Kuczborski became angry and his tone and demeanor turned aggressive, according to the suit.

Canadian Bishop leaving

A Roman Catholic bishop has asked to be discharged from his duties to be with the woman he loves. "I'm in love ... with a woman," Rev. Raymond Dumais, Bishop Emeritus of Gaspe, Que., said this week on Radio-Canada, the CBC's French-language counterpart. "I don't feel I'm living in sin. I feel I'm living something special," said the 52-year-old, who lives with his partner in Bic, Que., about 540 km northeast of Montreal. A priest since 1976, Dumais was 43 when he was ordained as bishop for Gaspe, overseeing a diocese of 63 parishes and just more than 94,500 Catholics. After taking leave on several occasions, he retired from active duty in July 2001.

From the WSJ: John Miller on the Catholicity in the Lord of the Rings.

Read this comment from Fr. Stanley. It's really all you need to read today.

(It's #21)

You've read about Fr. Foley, the subject of yesterday's revelations. The only good thing about that situation is that it does seem clear that diocesan officials saw the guy as a problem and struggled about what to do with him. In the Boston Herald's article, there's a description of various press encounters with Foley yesterday:

In an interview with New England Cable News yesterday, Foley at first denied his secret past - including fathering at least one other child by a second woman.``I'm just stunned,'' he said. ``This is absolutely whole cloth. I mean, I have an outstanding record with the archdiocese. There has never been the slightest hint of impropriety in my conduct.'' Asked whether he has children, he said: ``Absolutely not, and I don't think I care to say anything further.''But when confronted shortly afterward by a Boston Globe reporter brandishing Foley's own incriminating files, Foley called the issue ``a private matter'' and would not comment further. He refused a Herald request for an interview, retreating to a Danvers apartment.

I found the Herald's account to be the most careful and thorough.

And remember, this guy started his first affair soon after his ordination in 1960. Remember this guy is heterosexual. Just remember.

By the way, in the December 15 issue of Our Sunday Visitor, columnist David Carlin has a good column concerning Nancy Pelosi, a piece that also gathers in former Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy, and could have, but didn't throw in Tom Daschle as well, all Catholics of A Certain Age, given their Catholic educations in the supposedly Golden Age of the 1950's, when all was well, and solid and everyone knew what Catholic meant - and it certainly didn't mean supporting abortion. Carlin quite reasonably asks - was this Golden Age really so Golden, if it could produce a generation thick with Catholic pro-abortion politicos? He writes:

It certainly looked healthy on the outside, but inside a cancer was eating away. What was this cancer? If we could identify it, we would go a long way toward understanding how to restore American Catholicism to real health."

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this, because it really is an intriguing question.


Boston priests reeling from revelations.

I have no doubt that the sordid details coming forth are a shock to many priests - no one priest, I imagine, knows everything about all of the other priests, especially in a see the size of Boston. But I am unimpressed by the tone of this story, implying that the very notion of this sordid kind of activity existing among priests is a total surprise to the priests of the Archdiocese. That's highly unlikely.


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