« A busy day | Main | As Useful as Predicting Hurricanes »

September 16, 2003


Mark Shea

"You have to come to me with this immediately and to me first and to only to me."

The man has claimed full responsibility. Fine. Throw the book at him. May it be the start of his Purgatory and the means of his redemption.

Dale Price

Sure sounds like a guy who ran a man over and only worried about getting his windshield replaced.

I'd say it's enough to make me toss my cookies, but I passed the dry-heave stage of the Scandal about a year ago.


"Must I remind you, young man, that you need to keep your vow of obedience."

Chilling. Absolutely chilling.

Sandra Miesel

I keep saying there are clerics who think the laws of the sate don't apply to them. Here you have a perfect example.


Interesting sub-story: Why did Fr. Ladensack leave the priesthood? The answer might shed some light on our priest shortage.


With all that has happened I still didn't think the clerical attitude was that bad. You know, don't generalize about all priests. But do most of them think this way? I'm really beginning to wonder.

And, "bat phone"? How mature.


So we're taking a quote from a former preist about a bishop out of context and we're supposed to be able to make judgements just form that? What I want to know is what the bishop said next, that he would handle this quietly? That there were procedures he has to follow from teh Vatican? This is not the first time abuses have occured by men who are supposed to keep and protect the faith. All of America knows we are humans, preists are humans too, that doesn not excuse tehir behavior, but what about everyone else abusing children sexually? If preists in the Catholic church are guilty of 1% of all teh sex abuse crimes, is every other aspect of society (other religions churches', teachers, youth leaders etc) only responsible for less than a percent of these kinds of crimes? Yet another case of media picking favorites I think. It's good we clean these guys out, but would it not also be good to try and clean out the other 99%? (my percents are just examples I have no statistics on this does anyone else?)

Glenn Juday

Please folks, for over two decades, DECADES! you could have picked up a copy of the Wanderer (and I sure don't appreciate everything in it) and read well-sourced and documented stories that clearly indicated spiritual depravity of many church leaders, and especially a vicious streak when they got found out - a real sense of impunity because Amchurch was in power and "conservatives" weren't. So don't feign surprise now. I admit it, at first I didn't want to give credibility to stories that I could rationalize away as the fevered imaginings of people whose politics I didn't always like. But they were right AND I WAS WRONG. Again, none of this is a surprise. A mentality that will focus on suppressing Eucharistic Adoration in order to bring about the New Order in the Church is a mentality that would not have much problem suppressing truth, civic responsibility, and finally human decency. May God move all our hearts to recognize our own sins and turn from them, may He have mercy on all the bishop's victims, and may any who has caused scandal come now through their just punishments turn from their evil, renounce their sins, and seek to do what they can to make amends.


Jennifer...the quotes are from sworn depositions, and the general direction of the quotes is completely consistent with other testimony regarding O'Brien's attitude towards these cases.

And don't use "former priest" as a negative. Just don't do it.

Father Wilson

Glenn, you're quite right. These stories have been out there for years.

Paul Likoudis' book, "Amchurch Comes Out," chronicles forty years and more of the growing influence of immorality in the governance of the American Church.

Of course, the first time you read, for example, that the Bishop of Tucson handed over his elementary school kids to a researcher from the University of Arizona for a study that aimed at changing their attitudes towards homosexuality, you don't want to believe it. But it's true. Children in Catholic school classrooms were subjected to this, a program which would have been ILLEGAL in the state's public schools! Eighth graders were learning about anal sex and bestiality.

And this was chronicled in the Wanderer, AND in secular Arizona papers.

The Likoudis book is available for $25.00 through www.rcf.org or www.diocesereport.com.

Fr. Rob Johansen


Unfortunately, I'm sure that there are still priests out there who "think this way".

Fortunately, I don't know any personally. Of the priests (and even a bishop or two) I am friends with, none of them have the "O'Brien Attitude".

If one of my brother priests confided to me that he had committed abuse or similar misconduct, my response to him would be that he had to repent of his crimes, and that with repentance and penance, forgiveness is possible. And then I'd tell him he had to resign his ministry at once, and turn himself in to the police.

I'm reasonably sure that my priest friends would counsel likewise.

Joseph D'Hippolito

The problem, Fr. Johansen, is that you're talking about priests, not bishops. Bishops -- like far too many Catholics -- have been trained to equate the hierarchy with the Church (see Mark Shea's comments on the thread concerning Peggy Noonan's column on "the meeting"). What's good for the hierarchy, therefore, is good for the Church (or so the rationalization goes).

The only explanation for O'Brien's imperious, condescending attitude is that he's a product of a monarchical hierarchy that isolates its bishops from realities that the common man must face, breeds an arrogant attitude of superiority toward all lower clergy and laity and actively discourages all calls for accountability and transparency, whether from liberals or conservatives.

And the only way to resolve this problem is a governing structure that keeps bishops accountable to the clergy and laity in such matters. It's pathetic that devout Catholics are so enamored with hierarchical governance that they can't (or, more than likely, won't) see this.

I'm beginning to believe that truly devout Catholics are truly incorrigible schitzophrenics, capable of living in a dual reality and denying the reality they find unpleasant.


"Your Excellency----It's the Bat-phone"

Bishop: "I have a hunch, old chum, that any minute now we're going to be summoned by the District Attorney......."

Novice: "Holy Freakin' Litigation, Bishop! It's probably a trap!"

Bishop: "We have no time to lose, Boy Wonder---To the Limousine!"

Aquinas Admirer


If you've got a link to a story on why Fr. Ladensack left the priesthood, I'd love to read it.

James Freeman

From the Arizona Republic story:

Ladensack was awarded two Silver Stars, six bronze medals and a Purple Heart in Vietnam, said he received a follow-up phone call a couple days later from William P. Mahoney of Phoenix, a prominent Catholic attorney who served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1962-65.

"Basically, (he) says that Bishop O'Brien is extremely, extremely angry with me," Ladensack said. "Just as a friend, and as a diocesan lawyer, he thinks I should reconsider not going out and talking to the family - that it would be OK if I could convince the family to take back their complaint."

Ladensack said he reminded Mahoney about the Nuremberg trials and said that as a young officer he had been trained to disobey an unlawful order - and he considered the bishop's order unlawful.

Mahoney died in 2000. Ladensack lives in retirement in southern Arizona. He's refused repeated requests to be interviewed by The Republic.


Read the above paragraphs carefully and reflect on what Fr. Ladensack found it necessary to do and upon what he justified his disobedience.

He was right, and the realization of what was going on here should be enough to make you sick to your stomach and knock you to your knees.

No, “I was just following orders” is neither a valid excuse before a war-crimes tribunal nor the Judgment Seat. And to presume otherwise is to fall into the sin of clericalism, that unfortunate Catholic tendency to mistake the vicar for the Christ.

Listen, we are ALL in the position of Fr. Ladensack now. The Catholic faith has a rich tradition of moral theology, and our eternal fate may well rest on applying it wisely before jumping when one of our wolves in shepherd’s vestments says “Frog!”

I am not being anti-Magisterium, here. Instead, I am being pro-common sense, as we find ourselves in “interesting times.”

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)