Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To high Heaven

Yesterday's post contained a link to the horrible story out of Minnesota, where a priest known to have "problems" was made a pastor in spite of his record--and who ended up getting arrested for criminal sexual misconduct against children.

Today, Kevin O'Brien helpfully provides a reality check to Catholics (like the Catholic League's Bill Donohue) who are insisting that the diocese did everything possible to protect children from this predator:
Well, there were complaints in the Wehmeyer case, as anyone reading the MPR article will see, but Donohue plays fast and loose with the facts.  This is his M.O.

But he has pointed out that we should say "exactly what should be done" in cases like this.

Well, that may be a hard question, but let me try to answer it.

In this specific case, here are the facts ...

  • The molesting priest had a camper parked permanently on the lot of his parish
  • Little boys were being invited into that camper alone with the priest
  • The priest had been known to cruise gay hangouts looking for anonymous sex
  • The priest had been hitting on teen-aged boys in public places such as bookstores
  • Police had contacted the "Delegate for a Safe Environment" of the archdiocese about the priest, but the delegate had neglected to return their phone calls
  • The archdiocese had a large file on this priest and his troubled sexual behavior
  • The archdiocese knew that the mandated counseling the priest had undergone had been ineffective
  • The "Delegate for a Safe Environment" called a mother in the parish and told her it was HER responsibility to make sure her pastor observed "safe boundaries" with her boys; it was her fault people were complaining about how this man behaved toward her boys in public
  • The Chancellor of Canonical Affairs of the archdiocese insisted that this man not be made pastor of a parish because of his sexual acting out; the archbishop ignored this and apointed him pastor anyway
  • A memo shows that the archdiocese deliberately decided to keep these issues hidden from parishioners and potential victims and their parents
So, Bill Donohue, "exactly what should be done" in this case?
It is absolutely sickening that Donohue, and the Archdiocese itself, are claiming that because all of this priest's known "irregularities" involved his attempts to have sex with adult males they could not possibly have guessed that he would be a risk to younger boys.   Any of his known "irregularities" would have been enough to put him on administrative leave and bar him from working in a parish--if he had been a lay Church employee or volunteer--by the Archdiocese' own Code of Conduct which all church employees and volunteers in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul are required to sign!

I hope that the laity of this archdiocese will make their unhappiness with this situation known.  I'd be protesting at the chancery, at the very least.  This is a clear double-standard, with lay people being held to one standard and ordained priests a totally different one.  And it stinks to high Heaven.


Proteios1 said...

I wonder how much longer we can pretend there is no problem with homosexuality in these cases when this and what is apparently 90% of all molestations are essentially ephebopilia. Seems like a 90% drop could be realized instantaneously if homosexuality is a screening criteria against entering seminary or being a parish priest...or any position interacting with minors

Pat said...

Proteios, homosexuals in other fields don't routinely molest children. I think you're focusing on the wrong thing.

vera said...

Any man (or woman -- though we tend to behave better) in a position of authority over children and young people should have his character closely examined, and refused promotion, or moved into positions of lesser authority, if "irregularities" are noted. It's really not complicated.

The church has been grossly irresponsible, and it will not stop until you Catholics DO SOMETHING. Well? How bad does it have to get? It's already there!!! -- Strike! Hold masses at home, and refuse to give any tithes until this is all cleaned up! Or SOMETHING... sheesh.

L. said...

Amen, Red, and I will remember this post for whenever I hear a fellow progressive say that the conservative wing of the church is silent on abuse.

L. said...

Vera, FYI, Catholics don't "tithe." But my parents were so disgusted with all of the sex scandals that they stopped giving money to the church, and started supporting a local homeless shelter instead.

vera said...

Catholics don't tithe? I remember tithe boxes in the churches of my childhood. And in some countries like Germany, if you were a registered Catholic, they took a portion of your income automatically and gave it to the church.

Again I say, DO SOMETHING that will bring this nasty business down! Consequences!

L. said...

Vera, Catholic churches ask for donations, of course, but it's not technically a "tithe" (a required 10% of gross income, such as Mormons pay). All are welcome at Catholic churches whether they toss cash in the collection plate or not. And Germany has what is essentially a state "church tax."

The history/variations are really quite interesting: said...

I will repeat the comment I posted at Waiting For Godot:

I don't want to carry water for Bill Donohue, but I'm afraid if there is anyone playing loose with the facts, it's Kevin O'Brien.

O'Brien falsely implies that the archdiocese KNEW ahead of time all of the facts he has listed and it knew "Little boys were being invited into that camper alone with the priest."

Grunky's implication is unfair.

As soon as the archdiocese had a complaint about sex abuse with youth, it called the police. Period.

As far as the MPR article, I take exception to the fact that Jennifer Haselberger, former chancellor for canonical affairs for the Archdiocese, is practically heralded as a hero in this episode.

I believe that as an employee of the archdiocese, Haselberger had a moral obligation to call police to report suspected abuse, it seems. If events transpired as she claims, why didn't she make any calls to police??

And now SHE wants to complain about the archdiocese? SHE was part of that very archdiocese about which she is complaining!!

Btw, the Bill Donohue bashing among Catholic blogs is tiresome. He did not "defend the indefensible." The claim is specious.

Tony said...

We are consistently told that there is no link between homosexuality and child abuse.

So when a priest cruises the bars for adult gay sex partners, why would the diocese assume that he has a problem with children?

If a priest was cruising the bars for adult women, would you think that he was a danger to young girls?

By saying the "diocese should have known" are you saying we hold gays to a different standard than straights?