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The Lesson Of Lincoln For Conservatives

Here are some important updates on the Peter Mitchell essay in TAC [1], which has caused such turmoil in the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, which has a national reputation for rock-solid orthodoxy, and punching above its weight in generating priestly vocations.

In a statement about the matter, Lincoln Bishop James Conley conceded that the diocese is aware of past misconduct by the late Monsignor Leonard Kalin, its longtime vocations director. According to Catholic News Agency: [2]

In an Aug. 1 statement, the Diocese of Lincoln said that it “is aware of past reports of conduct contrary to prudence and moral law by Monsignor Leonard Kalin, deceased in 2008.”

“The diocese addressed these allegations of misconduct directly with Msgr. Kalin during his time in priestly ministry,” the statement said, adding that the diocese is not aware that Kalin violated any civil laws.

“The Diocese of Lincoln is also aware of past reports of conduct contrary to prudence and moral law by former Diocese of Lincoln priest Peter Mitchell. The diocese addressed these allegations of misconduct directly with Mitchell during his time of ministry in the Diocese of Lincoln.”

In its statement, the diocese emphasized that it “reports all alleged violations of civil law to the proper authorities, and is committed to addressing all violations of prudence, morality, or civil law by its clergy, employees and volunteers at the time they are reported.”

This is a meaningful step by Bishop Conley. Some defenders of Kalin have said that both Peter Mitchell and I owe an apology for a supposedly groundless attack on Kalin’s reputation. Now, though, the bishop himself has said that Kalin was not spotless.

I have been on the phone since early this morning with a number of people in and connected to the Diocese of Lincoln — more on which below — and I have been told by multiple people with personal experience that towards the end of Kalin’s life, the diocese required that students going to visit him go in pairs, not alone. No explanation was given at the time.

Steve Skojec of the Catholic blog One Peter Five, which co-posted the Mitchell essay, observes [3] that Mitchell, in that essay, confesses that he violated his celibacy vow multiple times, with women. Skojec adds:

Reading the two statements [from Bishop Conley] side by side, one is given the impression of a parity of moral gravity in the sins of these two men. But whereas Kalin stands accused of cultivating a number of sexual encounters and other inappropriate behaviors over a long period of time with men being formed for the priesthood under his leadership, here’s what Mitchell admitted to, having first qualified himself clearly as a heterosexual:

In 2017, I accepted laicization from the priesthood as a consequence of having violated my vow of celibacy as a priest on more than one occasion. I lived an unhealthy life as a priest, and I hurt people. I never intended to become such a person, but I did. What I did was wrong. I deeply regret having hurt people who looked up to me as a spiritual leader, and I take full responsibility for my actions.

I highlighted yesterday, in this post [4], a number of comments from priests and laity who knew Kalin, and who defended his reputation. These are important to keep in mind. If you’ve spent any time covering the abuse scandal, you learn that many people never had the slightest reason to think that someone who certainly committed abuse was doing so. This is what makes sexual abuse so damned destructive: people who say they have no experience of an accused perpetrator’s abusive behavior are often telling the truth — and so are those whose experience is exactly the opposite.

This is not dispositive one way or the other, either about Kalin or anybody else, but experience in these cases teaches that abusers are often master manipulators. It is also important to keep in mind that it is sometimes those who have nothing left to lose who are therefore able to speak out. However, the thing that cost them standing is often the same thing that cost them credibility.

Readers have brought to my attention these Facebook comments by a Catholic layman, now living in Malaysia, who was active in the University of Nebraska Newman Center when Kalin was at the center of student life. This student, defending Peter Mitchell, explains why then-Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz ordered Kalin’s student visitors to go in pairs:

A further comment from this Catholic, who says he’s going to contact Bishop Conley, who was not in the diocese when Kalin was at the Newman Center:

Just before midnight, as Tuesday passed into Wednesday, I approved a comment from a “Liam,” offering a detailed account of a purported 2017 incident with Father Charles Townsend, a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and a protegé of Kalin’s. “Liam” was quite specific about the incident, which — I’m going to generalize here — involved Father Tim Danek, a young assistant priest in Father Townsend’s parish, discovering that the pastor had provided alcohol to an 18-year-old altar server, gotten him drunk, and was behaving inappropriately with him. “Liam” provided specific details, which were scandalous but did not involve actual sex. I approved the comment, appending a note reminding readers that these are only allegations.

Reviewing the comment early this morning, though, I took it down, because “Liam” mentioned that his knowledge of the incident comes through the priestly grapevine. Even with the disclaimer I added, I judged it wrong to leave such explosive allegations online without meaningful corroboration. I spent all day today seeking that out.

I found it.

The most important thing is the response of the Diocese of Lincoln to my request for an interview on the “Liam” allegations. After some hours, I received this from Monsignor Timothy Thorburn, the vicar general of the diocese:

Thank you for providing this anonymous posting to [the priest I initially sent it to, having found his name on the diocese’s website].  The Diocese of Lincoln has shared this anonymous posting in the American Conservative blog to proper law enforcement authorities. Any other inquiries may be directed to Richard Rice or Andrew Pease, Diocesan legal counsel, at [phone number].

I left a phone message with Andrew Pease, requesting an interview. I have yet to hear from him. The news here is that whatever happened between Father Townsend and the unnamed altar server now involves the police, according to the diocese. Note well that this was neither a confirmation nor a denial by the diocese. I await a phone call from Pease for the official response.

A number of sources today have suggested to me that “Liam” is a particular Lincoln priest. I left a phone message with that priest, and made an inquiry through the e-mail address he left on his post, asking him if he is the “Liam” of the post. I have not heard from him.

I also learned today from multiple sources, both clerical and lay, that Father Townsend was put on leave in St. Peter’s parish for months, after the alleged incident witnessed by young Father Danek. According to these sources, parishioners were led to believe that Father Townsend had been sent away for some sort of non-specific treatment. After his treatment, the diocese returned Father Townsend to his parish, where, incredibly, he now supervises the very priest who turned him in to the bishop.

“Liam” alleged that the diocese told Father Tim Danek to stay quiet about the matter. I confirmed that with two sources who know Danek personally. One source, a priest I’ll quote below, spoke with Danek this week, and reports that Danek is exhausted, but still not talking about the case. I texted Father Danek’s personal number to ask if he was willing to talk to me about it. He texted back only one word: “Unavailable.”

One of the two sources who knows Danek personally is Peter Mitchell, the former priest and author of the essay that started this controversy. Danek is a former prize pupil of Mitchell, who calls him “my finest student, and one of the finest men you’d ever want to meet.”

Danek never told Mitchell directly what he saw Father Townsend do, according to Mitchell. But Mitchell, who was for years a Lincoln priest, says he has been hearing the same story from many priest sources there: that Tim Danek was silenced by the chancery, and is gagged by an order to obey.

Mitchell says that he considers forcing Father Danek to work under a man like Father Townsend is a form of abuse, as is compelling him to stay silent about what he saw last year that led to Townsend’s temporary departure. Mitchell says Danek “needs somebody to speak up for him,” because it’s cruel to compel him to live and serve in these conditions. People don’t understand, Mitchell says, that good priests who have done nothing wrong also suffer when they are compelled to be silent about clerical wrongdoing.

Mitchell writes in an e-mail:

Will any priest of Lincoln speak out publicly against what is happening right in front of your eyes? Will somebody help the priests and people of the Diocese of Lincoln, who, very sadly, have been being misled by silence and abused up to this very day. What Kalin did is not about me having “sour grapes” against a man who is long-deceased. This is about young men and young priests RIGHT NOW who are being abused. I REFUSE TO BE SILENT ABOUT ABUSE THAT IS OCCURRING AS WE SPEAK. That is why I have spoken.

Emphasis in the original.

There’s more. A Nebraska Catholic couple read about Father Townsend in Liam’s comment, and decided to come forward. They went today to the chancery to hand-deliver to Bishop James Conley a written account of the story I’m about to tell here. I have agreed to keep their name out of this account, but they are known to the bishop, who, the husband told me, received them graciously and compassionately today.

Here is the couple’s story:

In 2008, they moved to a town in the Lincoln diocese in which Father Townsend was the pastor of the local parish. He became their priest.

At the end of 2008, the husband joined a gym in town, and started working out in the morning. When he first started doing this, he’d see Father Townsend there. They fell into the habit of talking as they exercised side by side on the treadmill. For a time, the assistant priest of the local parish would work out with them too.

After working out, the husband would shower at the gym, then head to work. The only facility was a communal shower in the men’s locker room.  According to the husband, after Townsend’s assistant priest stopped coming to the gym, Townsend made a point of ending his workout and showering alongside the husband.

“After a couple of weeks of this happening, I started questioning what was going on,” the husband told me. “One day I decided to shower 15 minutes earlier than usual, and sure enough, Father came in.”

Another day, Townsend arrived late for exercise, but when the husband got in the shower, the priest followed him. The husband said this went on even though the rectory was less than a block away. The implication is that it would have been easy for the priest to shower at home instead of in a communal shower at the gym.

Said the husband: “It felt wrong, but I brushed it off.”

Townsend was later transferred to another parish, and the couple forgot about him. But after reading the allegations from “Liam,” the husband and wife decided that they had a duty as Catholics to speak out, both publicly and in writing to Bishop Conley. They were both anxious not to be seen as slandering anybody, or bringing their diocese into disrepute. But they say the custom of staying silent in the face of clergy problems for the sake of keeping up Lincoln’s image is wrong.

“We don’t want this to happen to someone else,” the wife told me.

Said the husband:

The true point of Peter Mitchell’s article is not to condemn Monsignor Kalin. It’s to say that the church has a real problem that it won’t deal with. It’s all about image. They hide under “for the good of the church.” That’s the problem. That’s what needs to come out.

Finally, I also spoke today to a priest I’ll call “Father Gruff.” He is a former Lincoln seminarian, though he serves as a priest in another diocese. Father Gruff is the second source who knows Danek personally, and says he reached out to Danek after immediately after Father Townsend was sent away for treatment. He told me that Danek would not discuss it with him then, other than to say that Townsend had not been sent away for abusing alcohol. Gruff was informed by other priests of the diocese that Danek had been silenced by the chancery.

Said Gruff, of the thriving conservative diocese’s tendency to lock down all talk of clerical problems:

They have a greater moral standard. That’s what makes Lincoln special. They hold up the morals of the church more than anyone else. That’s why they’re being called to task: their hypocrisy. I think this is prevalent wherever you go in the Church: this code of silence. They’re the big dog of moral standards. In a way, this will hurt, but it needs to be out.

Monsignor Kalin was a legend in the Diocese of Lincoln. This 2004 story from the local newspaper, detailing the elderly priest’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease, [5]gives you an idea of how revered he was. Yet Gruff tells a different story about Kalin — a story of a culture of clandestine homoeroticism and cover-up to preserve the conservative image of the diocese and its beloved Monsignor Kalin.

He entered seminary for Lincoln when Kalin was the vocations director — that is, the official who served as gatekeeper for the seminary. He says that Kalin once gave him a long, intimate body hug that made him “uncomfortable.” He tried to wriggle out of it, but Kalin wouldn’t let go.

“I gave him three strong man-slaps on the back, and said ‘God bless you, Monsignor,’ then pulled away. He was visibly angry at me for that,” says Gruff.

Gruff alleges that there was psychological “manipulation going on from day one. When I was first there I was warned by another seminarian that I should not demean homosexuals when talking to the vocations director, which was Kalin at the time.”

When the subject came up with Kalin, Gruff told the monsignor that gays “were children of God, they have a problem, they need God’s love like everybody else, but they’re doing wrong things.”

This seemed to satisfy Kalin in Gruff’s account. But then, four years into seminary, he was sexually propositioned by an older seminarian who was close to Kalin. Gruff glowered at him, and he backed off. The head man was eventually ordained, and remains a priest.

Gruff continues:

After that, Kalin tried to push me out. One of his last acts as vocations director was to make sure I was in a seminary where I was under the authority of this priest [the one who had groped him]. I went straight to Bishop Bruskewitz, and told him what happened. I told him that I wanted to go to a different seminary. The bishop let me go to [a different seminary], but told me to be quiet about it, because everything would be handled.

On the up side, Kalin was retired as vocations director shortly after that, and Gruff saw a real change for the better in the priest who had propositioned him. Once this priest’s closeness with Kalin was broken, he improved.

Gruff said the situation in Lincoln today is personal to him. He was close friends in seminary with a fellow seminarian, who was a “good guy.” This priest fell in with Father Townsend and his circle, and began to go on vacations with them. The priest cut off  Gruff and his other seminary friends.

“This is one reason I’m worried about Tim Danek,” he says.

The pressure on priests to conform to the system is great, says Gruff.

They play the obedience card, but it’s not holy obedience. They’ll cite saints who had to suffer from unjust superiors, and submitted to it in holy obedience. Padre Pio did that, even though the bishop was wrong. He was obedient, but I don’t know that it was holy.

What are ordinary Catholics supposed to do in all this? For one, pray the rosary, daily. Prayer is the best way to build the spiritual strength to persevere without losing faith. Also, do not despair of the priesthood.

“It’s hard to trust anybody, but there are a lot of good guys who got through, like me,” he says. “We did get through. But it’s hard to know who those guys are. It really is. But there are good guys.”

How can you find trustworthy priests? Look for those who are on the margins:

That’s not an absolute, but it’s a good general rule that the more a priest has been favored by the system, the less trustworthy he is. If there’s a priest who has been favored in his diocese, has a resistance to Marian piety, and doesn’t come from a solidly prayerful Catholic family, watch out. These red flags point to the priests who can corrupt.  When looking for a good priest, look for simplicity and a spirit of poverty.  I think a spirit of poverty is a very rare thing these days.

I will post more when I receive a response from the Diocese of Lincoln’s lawyers.

I’ll end with this. The Catholic writer Ron Belgau, who leads the “Spiritual Friendship” movement of gay Christians who live celibately, in obedience to Scripture, notes on Facebook [5] that the Diocese of Lincoln was the only diocese in the US to refuse to participate in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ auditing program for the sexual abuse of minors [UPDATE: They relented, and started doing it in 2015 [6].]. He adds:

Exactly so. Conservative Catholics are right to point out the role of secretive, sexually active gay cliques within the Church, and how they advance dysfunction and abuse. This is something that the mainstream media refuses to examine — even after the Cardinal McCarrick revelations (though one hopes that responsible reporters are at long last working on it). But it’s too easy for conservatives to pick out the sizable specks in the eyes of politically correct journalists, while ignoring the log in our own eyes: our blindness to the faults of our own tribe, whose goodness has to be unquestionable.

This is the emerging lesson of Lincoln. It’s not just a lesson for that diocese. Since the McCarrick news broke last month, I’ve been exchanging e-mails with conservative Catholic priests all over the US, who complain that they are sick and tired of bishops who demand priestly silence in the face of the sexual corruption they tolerate.

It’s not just a Catholic lesson, either. It didn’t involve abuse of any kind, but I made the same mistake in Orthodoxy, allowing the clear and undeniable malice of the Other Side blind me to the real faults in the bishop I went to foolish lengths to defend. The Southern Baptist scandal earlier this summer over pastor Paige Patterson’s treatment of sex abuse victims uncovered a powerful culture of self-imposed blindness by allies of a powerful conservative within the denomination.

This is a hard lesson to learn — but we’ve got to do it.

UPDATE: A priest e-mails:

The thing that sticks out to me is the statement from Conley.  He confirms that Kalin was a problem of some kind but then throws Mitchell under the bus for making it public.  While it is true that Mitchell violated his vows and was laicized, for Conley to include that in his statement is an obvious attempt to embarrass and degrade him for making this information public.  It’s absolutely shameful because it says to all priests who have been victimized by other priests or bishops in authority, “Don’t come forward or we will humiliate you!”  It is altogether likely that part of Mitchell’s problems as a priest stem from his formation at the hands of Kalin, but even if they don’t, they are irrelevant to the fact that he is bringing them forward.  This is another example of why priests don’t speak out and why all victims of abuse don’t speak out.

99 Comments (Open | Close)

99 Comments To "The Lesson Of Lincoln For Conservatives"

#1 Comment By SL Hansen On August 3, 2018 @ 10:55 am

Please, folks, I hope you will all be praying for the leadership, clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Lincoln. I live here (St. Mary parish, downtown Lincoln), and the news is beyond devastating. We need your prayers desperately, as does the Church as a whole.

Mr. Dreher, I do want to offer a bit more insight on Steve Skojec’ complaint, “Reading the two statements [from Bishop Conley] side by side, one is given the impression of a parity of moral gravity in the sins of these two men. But whereas Kalin stands accused of cultivating a number of sexual encounters and other inappropriate behaviors over a long period of time with men being formed for the priesthood under his leadership, here’s what Mitchell admitted to…”

You can check with Pete Mitchell yourself, but he was Dean of Men and instructor at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska, during at least one of these occasions. So he, too, was instrumental in the formation of young men for the priesthood during his struggles with sexual sin. There is some equity between the two cases.

Also, I believe the Parkinson’s issue should be more of this conversation, in light of the fact that a good portion of people who suffer from this disease develop impulse control disorders, which can include gambling, excessive spending, and hypersexuality. [SOURCE: [7] ]

In other words, because of the disease, they say or do things they ordinarily never would say or do. I cannot say for certain that this was the case with Msgr. Kalin, since I didn’t really know him (just spoke with him once after his retirement), but it would certainly explain why people like Mike Dalton (commenter above) and Wan Wei Hsein (whose tragic story is recounted in your post) are reporting two completely different and opposite experiences while each man is sincerely telling the truth.

I’m signing in with the name most people in the diocese know me by, as I was a freelance reporter for the Southern Nebraska Register for about 11 years, but my actual first name is SheriLynne.

#2 Comment By English Catholic in Texas On August 3, 2018 @ 11:02 am

Rod, this is a genuine question which I don’t intend to be disrespectful, as I am an admirer of your work (particularly your books). You write,

“As I said here the other day, I received Catholicism like a sword to be wielded against the world, but Orthodoxy as a ragged beggar given a warm coat on a cold winter’s day. God had to let me be broken of my pride and arrogance in order to rebuild me.“


“I’m just allergic to “thank God we’re not like those sinners over there” talk, because I used to nurture that within myself as a Catholic, and it burned me.“

I have to say that reading this blog, perhaps 90% of the posts are along the lines of “look at this ridiculous and/or immoral thing that the secular world/liberal Christians have done now.” I realize that part of the dynamic here is that you need to find things to post about every day, and there’s lots of this out there on the internet, but still, I think you may not have overcome religious pride as much as you think. As a small ‘o’ orthodox Christian reader of this blog, I confess that the main emotions that most of your posts provoke in me are self-righteousness and pride, as the blog (even if unintentionally) gives a sense of “we live so much better than this corrupt world”.

I don’t mean to doubt the genuine beauty and profundity of your spiritual journey (I loved “How Dante…”), but I do think it is dangerous to have a narrative about oneself along the lines of “I used to be proud and now I am humble”. We all suffer from pride, but this pride can manifest itself in diverse and subtle ways (including a compulsive need to judge and distinguish oneself from others, which I find both in this blog and in myself!).

On the other hand, I think this particular post does an excellent job in conservative/orthodox self-criticism. I would like to see more like it!

[NFR: Look, I am not “proud to be humble”. Most people who know me personally would not think of humility as one of my outstanding attributes. My humility, such as it is, comes in the form of rejecting the religious triumphalism that I used to embrace, and embody. I have not become a universalist, not at all, but I was humiliated, badly, by abuse scandal’s first phase, and I hope I learned from it about how to be a better Christian. That said, I’m not going to stop pointing out the absurdity and destructiveness of this or that aspect of post-Christian, liberal modernity, even as I also criticize the mistakes we conservatives make, and our sacred cows. — RD]

#3 Comment By Joe M On August 3, 2018 @ 11:02 am

“the awesome responsibility that comes with presiding over the Sacraments.”

That spirit hinted at there may be part of the problem, IMHO. It is not that awesome of a responsibility in the sense that it primarily belongs to *God*, not man. But in Roman Catholicism, priests are so venerated, so thought to be special, they are an elite class that comes to think of itself as superior and exceptional.

I have heard several priests say they did not sign “just to serve,” or even preach the Gospel, that “laymen can do that.” But priests, they say, have the power to serve the sacraments and hear confession. So suddenly they are swami or jedi knights. Their celibacy only makes them feel that much more set apart and sacrificial. And set them up to go awry, especially if they also have sexual issues. Which of course so many do, having been set apart by age 20.

Suddenly it’s not hard to see why liberal Catholicism can seem like a Young Democrats convention, and conservative Catholicism can seem like a cult.

#4 Comment By James Kabala On August 3, 2018 @ 11:11 am

I just wanted to throw this out there – is it possible that Fr. Kalin might have suffered from some kind of dementia as well as Parkinson’s? It doesn’t seem likely that that would bring up homosexual tendencies that were not already there, and it can’t excuse anyone who covered up these events, but I thought the possibility should be raised.

#5 Comment By Old West On August 3, 2018 @ 11:19 am

“I never saw/experienced anything” as a defense shows a complete ignorance of the psychology involved.

Abusers and manipulators have serious personality disorders going back deep into childhood. They usually have a pretty unerring sense of who is dangerous to them — i.e. those who are not easily manipulated. They behave scrupulously around those people. They also have a keen nose for vulnerability and weakness in others–even in those who outwardly seem very together.

A man with narcissistic and/or anti social personality disorder (the most common pattern in abusive and manipulative types) has been doing this at an instinctive (and dare I say animal) level all of his life. He will run circles around those who are trying to make sense of things rationally.

The absence of a normally functioning conscience is key, since normal people are flummoxed by the absence of signs of guilt or shame when that person is accused (or while doing the abusing) followed by dramatic expressions of something that looks like shame and repentance when the person is finally caught red-handed and when sophistries and lying will finally no longer work.

#6 Comment By Jon in Maine On August 3, 2018 @ 11:42 am

Hound of Ulster says “This shows what I have been saying all along…that the celibacy requirement for Catholic clergy draws to the priesthood men who not suited for the awesome responsibility that comes with presiding over the Sacraments.”

Since the Catholic Church has had a celibacy requirement for the last 1000 years or so, why then is it only now that we are seeing these kinds of issues? This is a tired argument that won’t wash.

#7 Comment By Leslie Fain On August 3, 2018 @ 11:43 am

By the way, the preacher who had sex with a married church member following marriage counseling was also married. When I was church of Christ, when I heard stories about preachers and elders engaged in sexual activity (it wasn’t all the time. The majority were good Christian people, I believe), the men were always married (you have to be to be an elder or Deacon) and usually it was the church secretary. I knew a prominent elder who openly slept around and everyone knew it, yet there he was distributing the Lord’s Supper every week.

My point is if you think getting rid of priestly celibacy is going to solve much, it won’t.

#8 Comment By Leslie Fain On August 3, 2018 @ 11:54 am

St. Hansen, aka Sherilynne,

I really appreciate your post and wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. Actually, I wondered about the Parkinson’s too. That could account for why some who knew him at one period of time could swear up and down he’d never act in such a way, but someone else in his later years could witness something altogether different. I’m not saying it is definitely the case, but I think it’s an issue worth exploring, and could *possibly* explain Bp. Bruskewitz’s response.

[NFR: Maybe. But also be aware that sexual abusers are often total masters of manipulation. I would guess that Kalin always did this, but perhaps in his later years, lost the ability to judge with whom he could get away with it. — RD]

#9 Comment By sjay On August 3, 2018 @ 12:03 pm

As many have already said, thank you, Rod for doing this. This can’t help but strike at the heart of any sincere believer. “But where would we go, you have the words of eternal life?”

#10 Comment By Leslie Fain On August 3, 2018 @ 12:13 pm


Yes, he may have been a total sociopath. It sounds like McCarrick is, or has seared his conscience along the way. However, I didn’t know anything about Parkinson’s and found the link St. Hansen shared below very interesting. It may not be what was going on with Kaelin, but it’s a topic I’d explore.

And no, I’m not writing this because he was supposedly conservative. I’ve met conservative priests I don’t care much for, and a couple of liberalish ones I’ve been pretty fond of.


#11 Comment By Bernie On August 3, 2018 @ 12:19 pm

Elijah, I’ be known Rod his entire life. I strongly sense a change in him to a crusading anti-Catholicism. He will dismiss this as untrue, but I don’t know if he’s conscious of it. On the Mitchell post, I suspect he took Mitchell’s word for it without backup evidence, which he frantically sought to get after the fact in the face of numerous comments questioning Mitcell’s allegations. He hasn’ denied it. The Lincoln Diocese had better brace for a steady crusade against it. It now seems this is Rod’s obsession. Any good thing can be overdone and end up hurting more souls than it helps.

[NFR: And yet, my inbox has a steady stream of e-mails from Catholic priests who are thanking me for the things I write, saying that the things I’ve been writing shine a light on things they’ve been seeing for years, but feel powerless to talk about. I just spent 45 minutes on a difficult phone call with a priest who has been made to suffer greatly because he got crossways the lavender mafia in his diocese. I don’t know that I can help him at all. Maybe it just helps for him to talk. But this stuff is real, even if it troubles you to know about it, Bernie. People aligned with you, two days ago on this blog, were trashing Peter Mitchell, and me for publishing him. But because of what Peter Mitchell wrote, more people in Lincoln, or having been part of Lincoln, are coming forward. More will come forward. You ought to be thanking God for this, as painful as it is for you. I have no doubt that if I were writing this about McCarrick, or some liberal diocese, you would be thrilled. Hey, I would a thousand million times rather be writing it about people like McCarrick and his tribe, and dioceses where they are triumphant. But that’s not the story that came to me at the beginning of the week. Shame on me if I only care when some liberal’s ox is being gored, but choose to look away when conservatives may be guilty. I have lived for 16 years watching the mainstream media refuse to write about the sexually active gay networks in the priesthood, and how they abuse people sexually, spiritually, and emotionally. I thought for a brief second that the McCarrick story, and #MeToo, would wake them up, and compel them to get over their ideologically-induced indifference to a big story. That’s not going to happen, I’m afraid. But I’ll be damned — I mean that literally — if I surrender to the same disregard for the truth, for justice, and for mercy to priests and lay people who suffer because others prefer peace of mind to facing reality. — RD]

#12 Comment By English Catholic in Texas On August 3, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

“My humility, such as it is, comes in the form of rejecting the religious triumphalism that I used to embrace, and embody.”

Have you considered that you may simply have jettisoned religious triumphalism for social conservative triumphalism (which the material in this post, alongside many other things, shows is often misplaced)? I used to like you blog much more before the Trump era, when your indignation seemed to me often well directed. But now that we have a narcissistic pagan for a President who is tearing up protections for the poor, looting the state for the rich, gearing up for a new war in the Middle East, inciting racial hatred etc, you post occasional criticisms of him, while continuing to direct your ire mainly at “SJW”s in the universities etc. At least these people, for all their many faults, stand directly against the incipient fascism of the Trump movement. Over the last couple of years I have come to feel that the constant self-righteous indignation against liberals that you whip up on this blog is in fact part of the problem; it encourages a mindset of “well at least Trump is appointing conservative judges who will protect religious liberty, so damn the poor, the minorities, those who will suffer in a foreign war etc”. You don’t explicitly argue this but the tenor of your blog points in this direction. An orthodox Christian should care about the common good as well as the rights of Christians!

[NFR: You may be right; I could not possibly comment. — RD]

#13 Comment By grumpy realist On August 3, 2018 @ 12:35 pm

I thought it wasn’t Parkinson’s disease but the medications that are commonly prescribed that have been linked to gambling behavior, etc.

And just because it’s “a habit” doesn’t mean that you don’t have a responsibility to make sure it’s under control and to do something about it. Charles Cahill in his book on habits covers the case of a woman who turned into a gambler, lost a considerable amount of money, tried to keep away from the casinos, failed, and finally argued in court that she wasn’t responsible because the gambling was a habit and the casinos continued sending her invites and perks to get her back into the casinos. The jury wasn’t very sympathetic to her argument.

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 3, 2018 @ 12:37 pm

Since the Catholic Church has had a celibacy requirement for the last 1000 years or so, why then is it only now that we are seeing these kinds of issues?

Because until recently, nobody talked, except for lurid Protestant propaganda, which was probably magnified from kernels of truth, and easy to ignore as hostile hack jobs.

I have to say that reading this blog, perhaps 90% of the posts are along the lines of “look at this ridiculous and/or immoral thing that the secular world/liberal Christians have done now.”

And he does a great job of it. The secular world and the liberals, including liberal Christians, have really lost sight of the humility behind the First Amendment: not that We Know What Is True, but even voting majorities are incompetent to weigh in on which is the True Faith, so we will NOT have laws about it, and try to avoid social favorites too.

Its commonplace among insurance agents drumming up new business that ‘you don’t talk politics, you don’t talk religion, and you don’t sleep with the other guy’s wife.’ Can you imagine one of these young infantile disorders refusing to sell insurance policies to someone who shot off some off-color tweets twenty years earlier?

#15 Comment By Rusty On August 3, 2018 @ 12:59 pm

Since the Catholic Church has had a celibacy requirement for the last 1000 years or so, why then is it only now that we are seeing these kinds of issues?

1. So, what eternal truth changed 100 years ago, requiring celibacy?
2. What makes you so certain that these issues weren’t just hidden for 1000 years, as they remained until very recently?

#16 Comment By CatherineNY On August 3, 2018 @ 1:06 pm

@Ed, thank you for the Frank Sheed quote. We need more Frank Sheeds in the Church.

@Leslie Fain writes: “At EWTN, there have been priests who had affairs with widows and divorcees after offer spiritual counsel or even after giving absolution.” Wait, what have I missed? How do you know this?

#17 Comment By Dermot On August 3, 2018 @ 1:07 pm

If I understand correctly, you have Mitchell who was kicked out of the priesthood for being a lousy priest, and this new guy who is admittedly gay. Now, you may be completely right that conservative seminaries are potentially as bad as liberal ones. Entirely possible. But also remember that the gay mafia will use this scandal to falsely accuse good bishops and priests. Do not go on first reports. Wait until all the evidence is in.

[NFR: Where on earth do you think the evidence is going to come from? The only reason we know what we know about Lincoln today is because Peter Mitchell said what he said, and inspired others to come forward. You are trying to preserve your own peace of mind by trashing the messengers. There is no indication at all that Wan has been unfaithful in his sexual life. Mitchell owned up to his own failings. The Diocese of Lincoln, and other dioceses all over, are filled with good priests who say nothing — some because they are under orders to be silent, others because they know that the bishop will crush them if they tell the truth, and still others because they labor under the illusion that keeping things quiet is “for the good of the church.” The ones who tell the truth are those who are not afraid of losing everything, or who have nothing to lose. That doesn’t make them accurate, but it does mean that they deserve a hell of a lot more respect than you’re willing to give them. — RD]

#18 Comment By JonF On August 3, 2018 @ 1:12 pm

Re: Since the Catholic Church has had a celibacy requirement for the last 1000 years or so, why then is it only now that we are seeing these kinds of issues?

These problems have always existed. The pederastic or lecherous prelate was a well-known type back in the Middle Ages. We are hearing about all this now because of of the #Me Too fad which is exposing a great deal of raunchiness all over society.

#19 Comment By Elijah On August 3, 2018 @ 1:53 pm

“Any good thing can be overdone and end up hurting more souls than it helps.”

Bernie, you may – may – be right about this, but it seems pretty clear to me that we’re nowhere near that point. I think that suggesting Rod is some kind of anti-Catholic crusader because he’s commenting on the lies and cover-ups that are clearly going on in the Church is not just silly, but insulting.

I’m not Catholic, and couldn’t care less what happens to these nasty priests and prelates, but I do care deeply to the damage done to the Catholic Church as a herald of Jesus Christ, same as I care when a Protestant cleric or church gets caught bending.

We have a hard enough time in this culture talking about Jesus Christ. Trying to pretend that if we shut up about a scandal it will go away is precisely what caused the Church to suffer so grievously the first time around.

#20 Comment By Liam On August 3, 2018 @ 2:15 pm


If I may be so bold as to say: is it possible (notice, I didn’t say desirable) for you to take at least the weekend off from posting and approving comments? It’s one thing for victims to be emailing you directly, but to sustain this, periodic reversing of the order of work and prayer/family might be in necessary order. I wish there were a way for comments boxes to be closed (with a message: “Comment function is suspended until [N time] to provide Your Working Boy and his family some needed rest”).

#21 Comment By Ted On August 3, 2018 @ 2:31 pm

English Catholic in Texas: Those poor minorities! You know, like Sarah Jeong.

#22 Comment By Leslie Fain On August 3, 2018 @ 2:36 pm

“@Leslie Fain writes: “At EWTN, there have been priests who had affairs with widows and divorcees after offer spiritual counsel or even after giving absolution.” Wait, what have I missed? How do you know this?”

CatherineNY: Sorry, this is actually really old news. The first instance happened when Mother Angelica was alive & well. I think they allowed face to face confessions at that time, and a priest developed a relationship with a divorcee & from what I
understand Mother Angelica quickly got rid of face to face confession after that. (I think the priest left the priesthood)

The other instance was just a few years ago. A priest was giving spiritual direction to a widow & got involved with her and left the priesthood.

I’m from Alabama, and heard the first story from my Godmother who goes to the OLAM & EWTN. She was mainly telling me the story because she was impressed with how quick Mother Angelica reacted. The other was discussed on Catholic blogs a few years ago.

#23 Comment By Bernie On August 3, 2018 @ 2:56 pm

Rod, I’m no more saddened when either a conservative or liberal is found to be abusing his position. It’s your increasing obsession with this topic that impresses me. At this rate the Rod Dreher blog will consist of 90% clerical abuse posts. If that’s to be the purpose of the blog and your life’s mission, so be it.

[NFR: Mmm-hmm. — RD]

#24 Comment By Sykes Five On August 3, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

I agree with Rusty and JonF above that we have no particular reason to believe that sexual disorder hasn’t been a regular occurrence in the Church for centuries. It was certainly a literary trope, and there were rules that were supposed to arrest it.

The structure of the Catholic clergy makes it susceptible to hosting a subculture that includes homosexual activity.

Historically, the Church taught and society agreed that homosexual activity is wrong. All sex was supposed to be between men and women, preferably within marriage. But the clergy were not supposed to marry at all, thus not have sex. The clergy was set up as a lifelong career.

Two things are practically inevitable. The first is that men who don’t want to be married to women will find the clergy a bit more attractive than men who do want to be married to women will. The second is that clerics who find themselves unable to live in sexual continence will find as the most convenient and willing partners other clerics in the same position.

The same structure also predisposes subinstitutions to control by members of that subculture. Once that occurs, at the level of say a diocese, religious house, order, etc., then how does the spiral ever get reversed?

What is different now is that we are talking about it. Another difference is that we are inclined to discuss homosexuality as an inborn characteristic of some individuals. Previously we were inclined to see homosexual acts as signs of immaturity or responses to sexual opportunity.

I am not sure what to do. The reasons for celibacy are good ones. There must be better ways to implement it.

#25 Comment By JMM On August 3, 2018 @ 8:20 pm

Bernie said: “Rod, I’m no more saddened when either a conservative or liberal is found to be abusing his position. It’s your increasing obsession with this topic that impresses me. At this rate the Rod Dreher blog will consist of 90% clerical abuse posts. If that’s to be the purpose of the blog and your life’s mission, so be it.”

Actually Bernie, this is one of the most important stories of our time and as far as I can tell no one else but RD is covering it with the depth it deserves. And, speaking personally, as a Catholic long confused and troubled by my clergy, I find these stories incredibly healing and liberating.

#26 Comment By William Tighe On August 3, 2018 @ 9:07 pm

What JMM just wrote.

#27 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 3, 2018 @ 9:45 pm

One could say, “Thank God, I’m not a Catholic,” without being either triumphal or engaging in schadenfreude.

The truth of the matter is, what’s been revealed as routine would have completely destroyed some of us.

#28 Comment By cka2nd On August 3, 2018 @ 10:27 pm

Ping Lin says: “‘The problem comes down to whom do you choose to believe. Mere accusation is never proof, no matter how many people join in the party.’

“This was repeated ad nauseum about Bill Cosby, at least in the early days. It wasn’t compelling then, and it isn’t compelling now.’

I have five words for you: Day-care sex-abuse hysteria

#29 Comment By cka2nd On August 3, 2018 @ 10:45 pm

Sean Peters says: “What if Lincoln still is one of the ‘better’ dioceses? Can one imagine how bad places like Albany are?”

Which Albany and what is wrong with it?

#30 Comment By cka2nd On August 3, 2018 @ 10:45 pm

Real fine work you are doing, Rod.

Be well, and take care of yourself.

#31 Comment By Lee Penn On August 3, 2018 @ 11:16 pm

I am Russian Catholic, as I have been since 1995. I am grateful for Rod’s work in this awful topic; we Catholic laity need all the help we can get. Carry on!

#32 Comment By Erin Manning On August 3, 2018 @ 11:55 pm

Rod’s doing fine work on this, Bernie et al. (On the death penalty thing, not so much, but bless his heart, if a Yankee can say that.) 😉

Seriously, though, I find this story completely credible because of the echoes of the Maciel stories that came out of the Legion of Christ: the vast majority who only saw the good side, the inner circle of party boys, the guilt trip put on the victims (e.g., “Do you want the Enemies of the Church to Win???), even the health excuse for the behavior (for those who don’t know, Maciel told some of the boys and young seminarians that he had a health problem that required him to pleasure himself along with them and that he had special permission from the Church to do so).

Expose it all to the light. Let the cockroaches run where they will, but do not let any of them escape.

#33 Comment By Bernie On August 4, 2018 @ 9:38 am

“Expose it all to the light. Let the cockroaches run where they will, but do not let any of them escape.”

Yes, Erin, I agree – clean out the cockroaches; anyone who loves God and the Church wants to see this happen. People of integrity can differ, however, as to the best means to accomplish this, especially as it impacts the faith of many people. My problem lies not in exposing the evil, which I’m all for, but in its generating such disillusionment among the faithful that they lose their faith and go over to a life of cynicism without God in their lives. It’s a tricky business and perhaps its not possible to keep them with the exposure of so much filth. There have been comments on this blog from people who have lost all religious belief because, by their own admission, the constant reading of these posts about the immorality of some ecclesial leaders has resulted in a tipping point for them. This is my concern, as well as exposing and remedying the grave immorality among the clergy.

Let’s at least agree that people of integrity can have this concern. Some will say its not the reporting of scandal but the scandal itself which leads to the loss of faith. Of course, this is true, but I sincerely believe part of this issue is how the message is delivered as well. Once again, people of integrity will have valid disagreements on this, which I respect.

[NFR: You know what feeds cynicism? The fact that this crap has been going on among the clerical caste — especially the bishops — for a very long time, and not even the catastrophe that began in 2002 changed things **for the bishops**. I don’t want anybody to lose their faith over this, and have been working behind the scenes to help one Catholic hang on — this, based on the wisdom of my own experience. But I am deeply convinced that the ABSOLUTE WRONG WAY to handle this is to tell the people who are telling you things that are true, but that upset you, that they need to stop talking about it because it might upset the horses. You want people to stop being scandalized and lose their faith? Then act to force the bishops to take this seriously. People who read this blog probably don’t know how respected you are in your community. Long before I met you, my other referred to you as “a saint.” You being you, I imagine that embarrasses you, but it really is true, at least in the way people in the community see you. You have authority by virtue of your humble faithfulness. Use it! Talk to the people in your parish, convince them of the urgency of the situation, and lead them toward action, for the sake of souls. You are correct to be worried about people losing their faith, but you are very wrong indeed to blame the messenger, instead of the wrongdoers, and the bishops who have, by their own moral cowardice, enabled them. I spent an hour this morning on the phone with an experienced priest who is deeply frustrated with all this, because it’s been going on for a long time. One thing he told me is that even the good bishops, the ones who understand the problem, are paralyzed, because they cannot bring themselves to act in ways that would mar the perfect image the Catholic Church has in the public’s eye. Or that’s what they tell themselves. Meanwhile, everybody is starting to see these bishops as upholding a crumbling façade. They are insensitive to how the Church they lead looks. Pointing out that the emperors have no vestments is not a sin. It is the first step toward dealing with reality. — RD]

#34 Comment By JonF On August 4, 2018 @ 9:48 am

Re: Maciel told some of the boys and young seminarians that he had a health problem that required him to pleasure himself along with them and that he had special permission from the Church to do so

That clunk you all just heard was my jaw hitting the ground.
File under: You can’t make this stuff up.

#35 Comment By Bernie On August 4, 2018 @ 1:06 pm

Rod, in response to your last comment to me, I never said I judged your conscience for handling the scandal the way you have. Partly it’s a result of your past deep woundedness and the frustration you experienced in getting the story out in the early 2,000s. Each of us is accountable to God for how we handle church matters. I’ve done more than I’ll ever share in this forum to help reform the Church, resulting in great personal suffering. However, you paint far too good a picture of me in your comment, which given the fact I’ve just gone toe-to-toe with you over this issue, speaks highly of your charity, and I’m grateful we can end this exchange (and I will end it) on such a note. God bless you.

#36 Comment By TS On August 4, 2018 @ 3:49 pm

Rod, as a member of the layity with personal connections to both Peter Mitchell and Bishop Conley and many of the other priests involved it is difficult to know, especially with these latest revelations regarding Fr. Towndsend, who to trust and believe is telling the whole truth on this. I would appreciate hearing more from you that this is not a personal crusade or vendetta (even in part) of yours because of the things you suffered in your past. I am not trying to “shoot the messenger”, I am just very confused at this point on who we can trust for the honest truth that isn’t clouded by personal agendas. Maybe that’s impossible to expect.

[NFR: Let the facts speak for themselves. My motivation for writing these things should not matter. I left the Catholic Church formally 12 years ago. In my work since then, I have tried to affirm and build up what is good in Catholicism. In “The Benedict Option,” I hold out a small monastery in Norcia as a light for the entire Christian world, because of their fidelity and piety. If I had a chip on my shoulder about Catholicism, I wouldn’t have written that book, and I wouldn’t have written many things on my blog over the past seven years here in praise of goodness and holiness within the Catholic Church, when I have seen it. It is fair of you to question my motives, but I would caution you to think real hard about whether that’s not a way to avoid having to contend with the facts, painful as they are. I’ve had an angry e-mail from one Lincoln Catholic saying that Wan, the exchange student who said publicly, and in detail, how he was sexually molested by Monsignor Kalin, should not be believed because he (Wan) is a homosexual, as Wan admits. This is a despicable attempt to blame the messenger for a message that is painful to bear. Don’t be that person, TS. — RD]

#37 Comment By TS On August 4, 2018 @ 4:40 pm

Rod, that is all I am seeking — facts and truth no matter how painful. Again, not trying to blame the messenger, just asking for full disclosure from all parties regarding any conflicts of interest.

#38 Comment By Stephen Golay On August 4, 2018 @ 7:31 pm


My wife and I left Orthodoxy for Catholicism as you were making the opposite trek. Followed your commentary as we crossed paths. Any regrets? Some.

We left, mostly, to distance ourselves from an all-consuming scandal involving a large “convert” parish in Northern California.There were sexual undertones but the problem was other; one smothered under a cloak of well-honed manipulation and control cultivated long before they were received in the Orthodox Church.

Reflecting on it, this extensive parish of twelve priests (with several ‘daughter’ parishes and a self-made monetary) acted very much like an unhealthy Catholic diocese! A history not worth rehashing, this was a fully functioning community brought into the Orthodox Church without being properly vetted or formed.

Now being Catholic for as long as you have been Orthodox I have become more experienced – and, hopefully, somewhat wiser.

Have observed the Orthodox have a more open and healthy relation with their hierarchy than Catholics. The Orthodox,in general, are fearless in keeping their bishops in line and duty-bound to their ‘peterine’ office. Though known, at times, to be rude in their confrontation, the Orthodox remain – this was observed by my wife when we entered the Catholic Church – quite awestruck with their office. (Maybe being in awe encourages rude boldness.)

That Orthodoxy is not ‘institution-ridden’ cultivates – how shall it be put – a more healthy culture. Fewer nooks & crannies for misdeeds to hide and fester.

Same goes for the difference between the Orthodox and Catholic priesthood, and its formation. A celibate priesthood requires more institutional oversight and support. Because it is, in some sense, artificial – for not being fully monastic – this makes the Catholic priesthood (and its formation) vulnerable to parasitical occupation by alien subcultures, such as homosexuality.

In addition, that everyday Orthodoxy is *informed/interpenetrated* by monasticism,in ways Catholicism (at present) is not, contributes to Orthodoxy’s keen sense of rejecting unhealthy subcultures. Likewise, the Catholic *institutional* phenomenon of religious orders – absent in Orthodox for good reason – too easily become thresholds for . . .(will leave it at that).

#39 Comment By GregR On August 4, 2018 @ 7:45 pm


I am not a Catholic, or even a christian. But I grew up with a great deal of reverence for Catholic priests. Anyone who would take their vows and choose to live a life of service deserved in my eyes at least a bit or respect for their willingness to sacrifice for the rest of mankind.

Sure that sense of reverence was cracked due to the 2002 scandal, and sadly has ever since been tarnished. Not because of the scandal itself but because of the unwillingness of the church to repent for its own actions in allowing it to occur.

No reasonable person could assume that an organization as large and sprawling as the Catholic Church won’t have, from time to time, an evil priest, or two. It is simply incredible to to think that an organization of tens of thousands of men won’t have at least a few that commit evil deeds. The great shame of the Catholic Church, and the bishops and Cardinals is in how the Church responds to finding out about those evil acts.

A health organization should take immediate steps to eliminate the risk of future harm, turn the perpetrators over to civil authorities, and make amends to those hurt. Had the Catholic Church ever done this there would have been no scandal, just a recognition that not even every priest is perfect.

Instead the church closed ranks and insulated the evil from view. Instead of turning over the perpetrator to civil authority they moved them around the country, ensuring justice could never be done. Instead of making amends to the victims the Church forced them to sue, then engaged in financial hijinks to shield the money from victims.

It is the actions of the church, not the individually fallen priest that have led people to loose their faith. No one leaves the church because Father Sean is a drunk, or even an abuser. They have left because the institution has failed to hold them accountable.

#40 Comment By Leslie Fain On August 4, 2018 @ 8:08 pm

Rod & Bernie,

I’m glad the two of your disagreement and were so gracious to each other in the process.

#41 Comment By Bernie On August 4, 2018 @ 10:09 pm

GregR, thanks for your basic explanation to me of the reality of things in the Catholic Church. 🙂

#42 Comment By GregR On August 4, 2018 @ 11:18 pm


I by no means claim to be an expert on the Catholic laeity and if my comment came across as though I was holding myself out as such I apologize. That was absolutely not my intent.

But I know quite a number of Catholics who have left for atheism and had quite a few conversations with them about their withdraw from the church. Chief among them was my mother who spent her career as a doctor specializing in treating child abuse, and quite literally wrote the book on diagnosing child sexual abuse, who left the church as fall out when she refused an Arch-Bishop’s order to silence over a priests abuse.

I now have a huge number of Catholic and ex-Catholic friends who have all suffered from the abuse scandals. And a mother in law who goes to mass at least twice a week, or did until two weeks ago. Universal amongst them is their anger, not at what happened but at the failure of the leadership to take real action.

#43 Comment By padre On August 5, 2018 @ 10:44 am

Please may the Holy Spirit guide and direct you and others to uproot the wickedness wherever it is found, no matter how high up it ventures. May Jesus, Mary and Joseph, be our refuge and help…

#44 Comment By SPM On August 5, 2018 @ 7:18 pm

Let me echo a point in this post. In the discussion of McCarrick and the “cliques” it is always said that priests are afraid because it will hurt their careers. However, 90% of the priests I know are perfectly happy to be in a parish and to be forgotten by their diocese. Banish me? Please!

I know some good priests who work at the chancery, but every single one of them would love to be given a remote, rural parish and to be a simple pastor. “Moving up the ranks of the Church” should be viewed with great suspicion.

#45 Comment By Lllurker On August 6, 2018 @ 4:55 pm

“Actually Bernie, this is one of the most important stories of our time and as far as I can tell no one else but RD is covering it with the depth it deserves.”

Agreed. And really who else could possibly be better to report on this? Those of us who have followed Rod’s blog all know of his history with this subject and the toll it has already taken on him.

I’ve got to hand it to a guy who actually changed his religion because of the psychological damage absorbed from covering this story a decade ago, yet who nonetheless once again takes up the good fight when the ugliness resurfaces.

[NFR: You’re very kind, but for me, it’s basically that I cannot STAND bullies, and I especially cannot stand bullies within the church. Christians in the West are facing a time of crisis unlike any since the fall of Rome. That’s what Pope Benedict XVI said. We cannot afford corruption. We cannot afford this at all. I deeply hate writing these stories. I want the churches to be *good*. I want them to be places of safety for the weak, of healing for the broken, of justice, and of upbuilding. The corruption of the best is the worst. I was up till 2 am last night, unable to get to sleep after that excruciating phone call with Stan Schulte. There’s nothing like listening to a grown man sob, and still express fear that his Church is going to hate him, and his family is going to reject him, and that people will think bad things about his uncle, his molester, and not see that his uncle needs help. I heard the voice of that scared little boy who sat up all night in the rectory, staring at his uncle the priest, to make sure that Uncle didn’t try to molest him again, or attack his little brother. — RD]

#46 Comment By Mia On August 6, 2018 @ 10:20 pm

“I agree with Rusty and JonF above that we have no particular reason to believe that sexual disorder hasn’t been a regular occurrence in the Church for centuries. It was certainly a literary trope, and there were rules that were supposed to arrest it.”

It also has been a literary trope surrounding other faiths with a similar celibate, monastic structure, ie. Buddhism. It seems to go with this sort of same-sex lifestyle regardless of the actual details of the beliefs supporting it.

#47 Comment By Mark Andrews On August 7, 2018 @ 4:24 pm

Dear RD – Read your long response beginning “No, because I don’t believe….” Props for this whole response, sir. You and I are probably miles apart on most issues, but I’d like write something as honest, heartfelt & humble as this some day. Very well said!

#48 Comment By Concerned Airman On August 8, 2018 @ 3:34 pm

Someone needs to look into a diocesan priest kicked out of the Army National Guard for having sex with a subordinate male airman. And ask why that priest is still serving a parish.

#49 Comment By Antigone On August 8, 2018 @ 5:46 pm

Rod, thank you for your reporting on this issue. The Church will never be renewed in fidelity if the truth remains hidden. Also, I for one, am so grateful you didn’t take Francis’ death penalty bait. That was nothing but a ploy to distract us from this issue, because so many of his closest collaborators would be implicated in this mess if there were proper investigative reporting done by the media. So, from this particular Catholic who has been worried sick over the Church for many months now and praying for Her to be cleansed from top to bottom: Thank you.