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Posts Tagged ‘priest scandal’

Pope Benedict making the Sign of the Cross

 

Over at Catholic Answers, I came across this this link on a forum posting.  The minister at a very large Methodist Church in Texas has a series of sermons about different Christian faith traditions, in very charitable and ecumenical presentations. 

The series started with his appreciation of Roman Catholicism.  I listened to it and was very moved.  Not only would Protestants brothers and sisters benefit from it, but we Catholics as well.  Overall, the pastor gave a very fair presentation.  (A couple of his historical dates seem influenced by his Protestant background, e.g. the date of the establishment of Roman papal authority.)  But his historical overview is generally acceptable.  It’s what he has to say about the things he appreciates in Catholics where this sermon gets going, and surprising.  I’ve never known any Protestant to admire our Purgatory beliefs, for instance.   What else does our Methodist brother appreciate?  Not surprising: our commitment to life issues, our steadfastness against cultural attacks, and our work with the poor.  Oh, and of course, Authority.  Surprising: Sacramentals, liturgy, reverent ritualized prayer, candles, and the Sign of the Cross.  He even tackles the sex abuse scandal.

I got a bit choked up listening to it.

Here is the minister, Dr. Ed Robb, preaching on “Why I appreciate the Roman Catholics“.  (there is a video option as well).  Take time to listen to it; it just may make you appreciate your faith more.

The Woodlands UMC

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The statistics are that there is as much or more abuse amongst Protestant ministers as among Roman Catholic priests.  However, those stories don’t make national news, as most of the priest incidents do.  I (continue to) wonder why. 

Regardless of how they are reported, these are sad stories, like this one in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

BATAVIA TWP. – A former youth minister at a Clermont County church was found shot to death Monday, hours after he pleaded guilty to sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct involving a 15-year-old girl.

Christopher E. Evans, 39, was free on his own recognizance but due back in court Tuesday morning for a new bond hearing because prosecutors had obtained letters he wrote to the victim despite a judge’s order that he have no contact with her.

A sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Slade Road entrance to Harsha Lake at East Fork State Park at 11:15 p.m. Monday discovered a man who apparently killed himself in a truck with a shotgun blast to the face. The truck was registered to Evans, said Lt. Randy McElfresh of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The county coroner’s office confirmed the identity Tuesday after the man’s fingerprints were compared with those on file for Evans, McElfresh said.

The ranger station parking lot in Batavia Township where the body was found is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said John Gillespie, law enforcement manager for East Fork State Park. The area doesn’t usually close at night.

Evans faced up to 50 years in prison at a sentencing scheduled for April before Judge Victor M. Haddad of Common Pleas Court in Batavia. He also faced a fine of up to $100,000.

Evans said little during the Monday hearing at which he pleaded guilty to five counts of each charge. At one point, he bowed his head and wiped tears from his eyes with a handkerchief.

A full-time minister at Saltair Church of Christ on Ohio 222 in Tate Township for more than two years, Evans expressed suicidal thoughts to others after his arrest and had access to weapons, according to court records.

“He is a broken man,” Brother Bob Wickline, senior minister of the church, told The Enquirer after Evans was arrested in December. “He is very, very remorseful.”

Evans faced up to 100 years in prison after being indicted Dec. 16 on 10 counts of each charge. He entered the guilty plea after the prosecution agreed to drop half the charges, which spared the girl from having to testify at a trial.

The judge told Evans on Monday that he would read letters written to the girl by Evans.

“If those letters are real and they say some things that are disturbing to the court, (the prosecutor) may ask me to set a hearing on your bond,” the judge said.
“Here’s what you need to know: You’re going to sink or swim based on what you’ve done and on what you do,” the judge said. “I’m capable of putting you on (probation), and I’m capable of giving you 50 years.”

Evans had been acting as a parent to the girl, the prosecutor told the judge.
She had lived with Evans, his wife and their children on Pitzer Road in Tate Township, Wickline told The Enquirer.

Evans began a sexual relationship with the girl in July. It continued until authorities were notified Dec. 7, Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said.

The nondenominational church was founded in 1948. Its Web site calls it “a down-home country church where folks are still the salt of the Earth.”

The girl was a member of the congregation’s youth group, but there was no indication any abuse took place at the church or during church activities, the sheriff has said.

Evans was youth minister to the congregation of about 400 people from November 2007 until December of last year. He recently moved to the Macon area of Brown County.

Ex-minister facing prison found dead

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I read a very sad story from the New York Times about the cancer-stricken illegitimate child of a Franciscan priest and a married woman.   Not so much sad in the way the reporter wants me to feel sad, but as a Catholic, this entire story is disheartening to me, starting with why I’m reading this in the NYT and not, say, Star Magazine.   

Here are my questions:

  • Where is the woman’s responsibility in this relationship?  She was married and carried on this affair for five years.  She took money from her husband to raise the illegitimate child.  She went on to marry and divorce two more times.  Why is there no questioning of her own culpability?  Why is she painted in hues of injustice?
  • Why are the Franciscans responsible for paying for this child after all these years?  other companies aren’t responsible for the philandering ways of their executives.   I guess it is a form of, I dunno…harassment?
  • If the priest suggested an abortion to the mother on at least one occasion, continued having sexual relations with her and was known to be doing so, why didn’t his bishop remove him?
  • Why is this priest still in pastoral duties?
  • Why don’t we ever read national stories of local peccadilloes by Protestant ministers?
  • In fact, why is this national news at all?  is it a slow day at the old Grey Lady?

I recommend an excellent book, for those of you Catholics who feel slightly embarrassed (or wholly mortified) by the priest abuse scandal, and those Protestants among us who secretly gloat (admit it) whenever a sexual incident among Catholic clergy is reported:  Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis by Philip Jenkins

We have often heard the phrase “pedophile priest” in recent years. Such individuals can exist: Father Geoghan was one, as was the notorious Father James Porter a decade or so back. But as a description of a social problem, the term is wildly misleading. Crucially, Catholic priests and other clergy have nothing like a monopoly on sexual misconduct with minors.

My research of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination – or indeed, than non-clergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported.

Literally every denomination and faith tradition has its share of abuse cases, and some of the worst involve non-Catholics. Every mainline Protestant denomination has had scandals aplenty, as have Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas – and the list goes on. One Canadian Anglican (Episcopal) diocese is currently on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of massive lawsuits caused by decades of systematic abuse, yet the Anglican Church does not demand celibacy of its clergy.

However much this statement contradicts conventional wisdom, the “pedophile priest” is not a Catholic specialty. Yet when did we ever hear about “pedophile pastors”?

Yes, when do we hear that reported…or see it on the front page of largest paper in America?

 

A Mother, a Sick Son and His Father, the Priest

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