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July 24, 2005

Comments

michigancatholic

This man, ordained or not, is a pig. He should never have been ordained, since he had an immpediment, a child to support.

Samuel J. Howard

And what happened to his habit?

Regina

"Uribe has never attempted to contact his son -- even after the boy sent him an album filled with pictures of himself or tried to interview him for an elementary school journalism project after Pope John Paul II died."
Can you imagine?!? The woman has told her boy that his father is a priest, told him his name and where he lives. This whole thing is not about what is best for the boy. No wonder he has ailments that sometimes have an emotional component.
As for the support, a poor woman had a child fathered by a poor man. The child will be poor. That's just the way it is in family courts across the country. But there are safety nets and why she doesn't avail herself of the excellent health, housing, nutritional and educational assistance most states provide must have to do with her own agenda and not concern for the boy.

David Kubiak

I hope Rod Dreher doesn't see this post -- it will really drive him round the bend. It would seem that our clergy have figured out more than one way to abuse a child.

Laura

But there are safety nets and why she doesn't avail herself of the excellent health, housing, nutritional and educational assistance most states provide

This is sarcasm, right? Right?

I was a foster mother to my daughters before I adopted them, and I got to learn first-hand of all the excellent benefits the state of California has for the indigent. Hah.

Medical exams at the local public hospital's clinic are with residents, a different one each time, so you have to constantly explain everything all over again. (Most doctors won't accept new Medi-Cal patients.)

Dentistry is emergency only (virtually no dentists accept Medi-Cal) at the local dental clinic. From 7:30am-10am, first come, first served. Now that was a lot of fun!

Mental health? Hah! The girls qualified for a limited number of visits with a therapist, who was reimbursed $35 for each visit. Angel that she was, she didn't charge me the difference of a usual $70 visit. After x number of visits, the girls were deemed "cured" and no more money was alloted for them. The therapist offered to continue seeing them for the same $35/visit, which I paid out of pocket.

Not that I needed it or qualified with the girls ( I have a friend who works in county housing), but section 8 housing has a list a mile long, and fewer and fewer units available.

When the girls were finally adopted, I thanked the Lord for the insurance that I have, and that I was able to extricate myself from the Medi-Cal hell I had come to know and loathe.

People, being poor is no fun, and you don't get any kind of "excellent care" anywhere.

Laura

No wonder he has ailments that sometimes have an emotional component.

Oh, it's the mom's fault he has asthma?

Here's a link on asthma and poverty. Or try this one.


What Causes Asthma?
Genetic Background
Indoor Air Contamination
Outdoor Air Pollution

Have you lived with asthma? I have. As someone who spent countless hours in the ER while Grama was being treated for asthma attacks, going into respiratory arrest twice, I find the flippant comment that the mom is somehow guilty of this to be incredibly insulting.

Laura
Dan Crawford

I guess anything goes in the Roman Church these days - if the clergy shortage is that bad that they would ordain this guy, why not allow a married clergy who might at least have some sense of responsibility toward the children they help conceive. No - that would be too reasonable a solution.

On the other hand . . .

Dan Crawford

I forgot to mention that I am very intrigued by the tendency to blame the victims, while it is apparently ok for the clergy to sow their seed, so to speak, whenever and however they want.

Donald R. McClarey

Agreed that the man is a pig and should never have been ordained. Never to have seen the boy tells us all that we need to know about the man's lack of character. The court should have ordered him to find after hours employment to give him the ability to pay for health insurance for the child, although mother should have also been ordered to find employment and do her part in paying for health insurance. Having a married clergy would of course lead to more child support disputes. I have been involved in many, many child support cases and the vast bulk of them involve divorced couples, several where the fathers have been Protestant clergy.

Jim

There is something wrong with the clergy-created theology that doesn't allow for this poor excuse for a father to be instantly laicized.

And as for the bishop who ordained him..........

Richard
Amy,

1. Agreed. 2. Agreed.

If nothing else, I would even look into taking a part-time job in the side to help cover the insurance if I were the unfortunate priest.

CRW

I thought people were only accepted into religious orders if they were free of obligations. It seems to me that the Redemptorists should pick up the tab for medical insurance and for a level of child support commensurate with the income of a professional person.

I can't imagine what excuse "Father" Arturo has for not maintaining a relationship with his son. However, all we know about that relationship is filtered through the boy's mother. The fact that an adult woman would sue the diocese for damages (not just child support) over a consenual affair suggests that she is not simply an innocent victim in this affair. We just don't know the whole story.

Chris

You all,

There's been no increase in child support since 1998?

Gerard E.

Murphy's Law times 100. As in the unfortunate circumstances leading to this courtroom settings. Unfortunate for the woman and her son, that is. The kind of story that could lead someone far, far away from the Church. Unfortunately for this allegedor priest and his more promiscuous brethren, sunlight is a remarkably successful disinfectant.

Septimus

It *is* hard to understand why the Redemptorists allowed this.

It could be whoever allowed it really didn't know, and the story is incorrect on this point; it could be the decision-maker for the Redmeptorists was misled to believe the child was provided for; it could be someone looked the other way, or was incredibly stupid (including morally) on this one.

What a black eye!

Septimus

David Kubiak writes:

"I hope Rod Dreher doesn't see this post -- it will really drive him round the bend. It would seem that our clergy have figured out more than one way to abuse a child."

Please don't impugn all clergy.

I would hope you, and everyone, would appreciate that when a story of this sort appears, lots of clergy, especially Catholic clergy, cringe and lament and pray. I know a priest who offers his every rosary in reparation for the sins clergy; he says, "there is not a day that goes by I do not think about the problem of abuse"; he seriously wonders if he has to avoid being "too friendly" to children, lest damaging suggestions be circulated; when children come to serve Mass, if there is not another adult in the sacristy, he steps out, into the sanctuary, to vest.

Clergy who haven't done wrong are far from the most injured of victims; but they are victims of this, too; and it doesn't help when "faithful Catholics," in their justified outrage over the sins of clergy, impugn ALL their clergy in one sweep.

Nancy

I know these people personally. Not "Father" Arturo, but Stephanie and her son.

The Redemptorists did indeed know about this child. In fact, they induced Stephanie (who was quite young at the time) to sign one of those infamous confidentiality agreements in exchange for the paltry child support she is getting, all this before he was ordained.

Then, at the recent hearing, the attorney for the diocese tried to have the proceedings sealed, on these same grounds, when she figured out that there was a reporter from the LA Times present. You can see how far she got with that argument.

Without addressing the relative fault levels between the priest and Stephanie, one does wonder what the Redemptorists were thinking. I am advised by my good friend the Carmelite Provincial that in order to have a member of an Order ordained, the Provincial has to make certain representations about the good character of the candidate and his freedom from impediments. These representations were false in this case, and known by the Provincial to be false at the time he made them.

All this was 13 years ago. All I can think is that the Reds thought they had shut this woman up, so that they could go on as before. Telling the truth apparently didn't rank high on the value scale, and as for the child, well, we know how concerned men like this are for the welfare of children.

Nancy

Again, you guys, it's not Arturo. He's at best irresponsible. It's the Redemptorists who are the scandal here. Sexual (and other) misbehavior will always be with us. But when those in authority collaborate and systematically cover up events like this, misbehavior multiplies. (Why not?) Every priest who knew about this - and there were at least several - are accomplices.

Todd

Laura, it can't be said enough: you tell 'em.

And to Amy's questions: even if the Redemptorists "can't" provide insurance, they are responsible for non-insured health care costs. Medical insurance is a mechanism for paying, not an excuse for not paying.

And the guy was ordained because he's charming, persuasive, and personable, it would seem. How else does a seminarian convince a woman to have an affair, and how else does one convince a legal court one isn't morally responsible.

Boniface McInnes

Todd,

I agree wholeheartedly with Laura's first post (if we are using middle America as the standard, rather than comparing to world-wide standards.)

That said, her second post obviously misunderstood Regina, hopefully unintentionally. She was blaming the emotional component of the boy's medical problems on his father (where the blame squarely lies), not his mother. Re-read Regina's first paragraph, please.

Nancy,

Right on!!! I'd like to think "only in California", but America's Religious are, on the whole, a reflection of America herself. No class, no values, no standards. (There are, obviously, exceptions, but they are few and far between.)

Hopefully the young man (you say he's 13 now?) will learn something positive from all of this, though for the life of me I can't imagine how, without anyone modeling positive behaviour in his life. I agree with whoever said "The preists have found new ways to abuse children."

Regina

Unbelievable. It's appalling that the Redemptorists would let this happen. We hear so much about the responsibility of orders to support their priests. That has to include the responsibility to support their priest's children, especially if they were aware of the child's existence prior to ordination.

Here's the contact info for the Redemptorists Denver Province for anybody else who would like to follow up with them:
Redemptorists - Denver Province
1230 South Parker Road
Denver, Colorado 80231
Phone: 303-370-0035
Fax: 303-370-0036
Email: [email protected]
The Provincial for the Denver Province is Father Thomas Picton: [email protected]

Does anybody know if the priest's health insurance would be covered by the diocese or the order?

P.S.

I'm the other Regina, the one who's been posting here sporadically for the past few years (the "[email protected]" Regina). I just wanted to unequivocally dissociate myself from the Regina above.

"Why she doesn't avail herself of the excellent health, housing, nutritional and educational assistance most states provide"

I don't know what state the other Regina lives in, but I've never seen a state with excellent benefits. And blaming the mother for the boy's problems based on the limited info we have is truly unfair.

marym

What if the mother died, what would the priest's responsibility to his son then?

DJP

It just seems to me that the priest used the Church to avoid taking responibility for his child. Regardless what the law says, he has a moral responibility to care for his son, both financially and emotionally. He should be forced out of the priesthood and forced to face his responibilities.

Nancy

Again, from my Carmelite friend (who went apoplectic when I told him this story), this man should never have been ordained in the first place, and was ordained under false pretenses. (Did the bishop know? Anything is possible, I guess.)

Say a prayer not only for the child, who is an innocent party, but for the parishoners in Whittier, who are similarly innocent. This will probably drive some of them out of the Catholic Church. How many times can you be lied to before you leave?

amy

Nancy, thank you for your informative comment. It's helpful.

Todd, the Redemptorists could certainly purchase a health insurance policy to cover this child. That's what I meant.

Septimus

I dropped a note via email to the Redemptorist provincial, Fr Picton, about the matter. I figured that was a small thing I could do about this.

DarwinCatholic

Say a prayer not only for the child, who is an innocent party, but for the parishoners in Whittier, who are similarly innocent. This will probably drive some of them out of the Catholic Church. How many times can you be lied to before you leave?

Actually, having attended St. Mary's (my dad grew up there) I kind of have to think that if you can lose patience with a parish you've probably already left. St. Mary's is probably the lousiest parish I've attended, across the spectrum: bad liturgy, bad theology, insanely ugly church renovation, and now this. The Redemptorists have run the parish into the ground. When my wife and I were living out in Whittier we only suffered through mass there a couple times before shifting to Francis Xavier in Pico Rivera and St. Benedicts in Montebello.

Devin Rose

Our Catholic faith is in Jesus Christ, in whom we can always trust and who never fails us, not in a specific priest, bishop, or even the pope.

This sad situation was brought on by sin, but God's mercy can forgive people these sins and heal them of it. Only God knows this entire situation and the hearts of those involved. The wheat and the weeds are growing both in Jesus' Church and also within each of us sinful humans. But Jesus is always seeking to uproot these weeds from both. May we be as forgiving and understanding, as we hope for forgiveness and understanding from God and one another.

Rod Dreher

No vile and un-Christian thing that Catholic priests, dioceses or religious orders do to children fazes me anymore. It really doesn't. I have finally come to expect it of them. That is, it's not that I expect that narcissistic self-protection, even at the expense of children, is what Catholic priests and religious do; it's just that when you do have those priests and religious who do, I expect that their superiors -- bishops, etc. -- will find every possible excuse to cover up for them and blame the victim. Because that's what clericalists do. I am to the point where I love and esteem individual priests that I know, fine men who suffer for the sins of their brethren, but the clergy in general, I have no use for. If they would simply raise their voices in a concerted way to speak out against this damnable injustice and corruption, I'd feel differently. But we have not seen that, except in a few noteworthy instances, and those priests who have have paid a price for it. What does the silence of thousands of their brothers say about the moral integrity of the priesthood? I'm not asking to throw a rhetorical bomb; I really want to know what you all think.

And let it be said that when bishops and archbishops have countenanced far worse than this, the Vatican has not moved to hold them accountable. As you know, it angers me that Pope John Paul II found it in his heart to apologize publicly and on many occasions to all kinds of people for the way Churchmen treated their ancestors. But as for the living, breathing victims of his own priests, we got nothing but vague statements about how there is no room for child sex abuse in the Church, while making comfortable rooms in a Roman basilica for an American cardinal driven out of his own archdiocese for his role in the abuse scandal, and other bishops and archbishops who ought to have been keelhauled for what they've done -- I'm thinking of Roger Mahony in specific, but there are others -- allowed to continue on as if nothing had happened. And God knows if these bishops had an ounce of decency or manliness in their character, they would resign and retire to a monastery -- not a plum posting in Rome -- and do penance for their sins.

But they have not and they will not, which leaves the rest of us to wonder what it all means, and what we are supposed to do about it (I know, I know, "offer it up," which is to say be utterly passive and resigned, therefore avoiding our responsibility as Catholic Christian men and women for the affairs of the Church). I notice with particular anger this passage from the story:

In 1994, the archdiocese — headed by then-Archbishop of Portland William Joseph Levada, now a cardinal in the Vatican and advisor to Pope Benedict XVI — filed a motion to have Collopy's suit thrown out.

The archdiocese said it had never directly employed Uribe. It further argued that "no one other than the parents are responsible for support of a minor child" and that the case had statute of limitations problems.

Finally, the archdiocese said the "birth of the plaintiff's child and the resultant expenses … are the result of the plaintiff's own negligence," specifically because she engaged in "unprotected intercourse."

Thus do we have an insight into the character of the new Prefect of the CDF. If only this woman who bore the child of one of his priests would have contracepted, he said, she might not be in this situation. This is sickening stuff -- but of course evidence as to why Levada has risen in the Church hierarchy. He apparently knows what is expected of the successors to the Apostles in today's Catholic Church: protect the Firm at all costs.

Thank God for a free press and open courts.

Nancy

What does the silence of thousands of their brothers say about the moral integrity of the priesthood?

Well, it means they don't have any, of course.

Great post, Rod. You said everything I think, and you said it better.

Paul Pfaffenberger

This story is not unique. Fr Patrick Colleary of my diocese in Phoenix fathered a child in the late 1970's and went on the molest several children and adults, both boys and girls, and adult women.

"When the evaluation was made, church officials knew of six complaints against Colleary, according to the Arizona Republic. Despite this, O'Brien kept Father Colleary in ministry until May 2002," (Beliefnet.com)

Sharon, the child's mother, petitioned the diocese in the 1980's for child support after she lost her job. Colleary denied the child was his. Paternity tests showed otherwise, so the diocese paid until the child was 18.

Colleary is currently a fugitive, having escaped to Ireland to live with his brother. He in under indictment by Maricopa county and has a federal arrest warrant as well. I have been encouraging the diocese of Phoenix to begin laicization procedures against him; no word thus far.

This is just more anecdotal evidence. Rod, as usual, has spoken the more universal truth in his post above.

Alexandra

I manage a private online support group for women abused by priests. Many members are mothers of children by priests. I would like to say that the supportive comments you've posted on behalf of Stephanie and her son are wonderful, right on target! Under any other circumstance, Uribe would be dubbed a "deadbeat dad" and told to find the ways and means to support his son directly or reimburse the state for any welfare assistance provided to his son or be jailed. Priests should be no more exempt from the consequences of becoming an out of wedlock parent than any lay man.

michigancatholic

I think it's necessary for Catholics to see this. I really do. For so many years, many clergy and sisters have gotten away with outrageous and selfish behavior, and been given a complete pass by laypeople. Deference should not be given to defective behavior!

It must be remembered that holiness is always, always, always accompanied by virtue. Where there is a lack of virtue, there is ALWAYS a lack of holiness. The two cannot be separated according the the Church's own venerable experts in the spiritual life--people of the caliber of John of the Cross and Ignatius Loyola.

So when you see a priest with vile habits or a disobedient attitude, you should know what you are looking at. Keep him AWAY from your kids!

Common sense I would have thought, but maybe not.

michigancatholic

The Redemptorists should be forced by law to pay for their mistake. And they in turn should extract the damages from the priest in question or make him leave the order and pay it himself.

We do not have any obligation as Catholics to pay for this with donations. This is this man's obligation and if he fails to shoulder it, then it's the Redemptorist's problem and they need to take out insurance and start buying groceries for this kid and him mother.

CRW

"they induced Stephanie (who was quite young at the time)"

Stephanie was 25 at the time. Now maybe she is slow and maybe she is mentally-ill, but she was 7 years past the age of consent. No one is claiming that Uribe raped her. They had consenual sex. She agreed to a settlement. The payment was subsequently adjusted

Clearly, the Redemptorists have a responsibility here which they assumed when they accepted Uribe into the order. They could easily afford to double the monthly payment and buy the child an insurance policy.

Alexandra

CRW, It never fails to amaze me that there are people who persist in failing to see that any relationship with clergy (even seminarians) is a breach of fiduciary responsibility and age of the victm, willing or not, is not the issue.

If Stephanie had instead participated in a so-called "consensual affair" with a lay psychotherapist or physician or attorney, at 25, any of those lay professionals could be stripped of their licensing, under professional misconduct laws, becasue a so-called "helping professional" is always liable for any sexual involvement with a client. Likewise, a cleric, in formation or otherwise is morally liable for his sexual misconduct with others.

Noted psychotherapists have also compared the psychological dynamics of a sexual relationship between counseling professionals and their clients (ditto priests and parishioners) to incest. When you also consider that Catholic parishioners refer to priests as "Father" the incestuous overtone implicit in such sexual relationships, is greatly heightened.

That aside, Uribe and the Redemptorists clearly sought to absolve themselves of any future responsibility to the child and his mother by attempting to initially bind Stephanie to a non-disclosure agreement that they knew, at the start, was legally invalid, except in Stephanie's mind. They took full advantage of Stephanie's naiivete and fears -- which is sadly, brutishly typical of the priesthood in their dealings with mothers of priests's children. Under Federal child support statutes, virtually everything the "Reds" tried to bind Stephanie to, was ultimately unenforceable.

Under the same Federal guidelines, a non-custodial parents's medical insurer can also be legally compelled to provide "family" medical benefits to a non-custodial parent's child(ren). Or why I was disappointed with the Oregon court judge's ruling.

Todd

"Todd, the Redemptorists could certainly purchase a health insurance policy to cover this child. That's what I meant."

Oh, I know. I think the excuse that their insurance structure won't cover this is pretty lame. But if the court told the mother to just send all the medical bills to the order, I bet they'd come up with a plan pretty quick.

Patrick Rothwell

It seems to me that it would have been better for everyone concerned all the way around if (a) the Redemptorists order refused to settle and instead fought the mother's non-viable "clergy malpractice" lawsuit (which at the time the Redemptorists would likely have won and even might still today, hopefully) and (b) dumped Uribe from the order forcing him to clean up his own mess. Instead, they decided to engage in a "settlement" which had the effect of compromising the integrity of the Congregation and depriving the mother of reasonable child support. As a result, we now have the worst case scenario.

Legally, I do not believe that the woman had a case either the first time around nor the second time around because, after all, she did settle the initial dispute and courts rarely ever "undo" settlements. Nevertheless, the situation does stink to high heaven, and I think that the Redemptorists have a moral - though perhaps not legal - obligation to pay some reasonable support for this unfortunate boy.

chris K

I believe that in the case of Thomas Merton, he had some kind of inheritance that covered his child and mother...and then later I suppose his earnings from writings could have also gone to their needs. I think he was first refused acceptance to the Franciscans which caused a deep depression, but then later he was accepted by the Trappists, knowing of his past and responsibility. I wonder, though, just how many such situations have existed in all of the various orders or dioceses. Augustine had some sort of relationship with his child...wondering how or if that changed throughout the years...and wondering just who took care of the woman. They were really about as close to a married couple as many legitimate ones. There is naturally most often a much stronger, committed emotional bond formed by the woman in such an experience although Augustine was pretty bonded himself.

I just read an article about 3 formerly married men who became priests in their 60s. Two, at least, had gone through years of their wives' struggle with terminal illnesses. This experience deepened their religious outlooks leading them to the priesthood. But one made the comment that his first responsibility will always have to be to his family.

Donna

Collopy said that any support she received had been under court order and that Uribe had never attempted to contact his son — even after the boy sent him an album filled with photographs of himself or tried to interview him for an elementary school journalism project after Pope John Paul II died.

That is the single saddest paragraph in this whole disgusting story as far as I'm concerned. That boy will be in my prayers.

There's not much I can add to what anybody else has said. This is so appalling.

Donna

Finally, the archdiocese said the "birth of the plaintiff's child and the resultant expenses … are the result of the plaintiff's own negligence," specifically because she engaged in "unprotected intercourse."

I get it. Contraception is wrong - unless you have an affair with a guy who is about to be ordained. Then you have a moral obligation not to forget to take your birth control pills.

Elizabeth

To, too, am a part of an online support group for women, and I know Stephanie and her plight well. I commend her courage in bringing this abomination into the light. I almost fell off my chair when I read that Levada had criticized the mother for negligence, as she had unprotected sex! I thought Catholics were forbidden unprotected sex, or at least that's what they are telling all those people dying from aid's in Africa: Don't use condoms! What hypocricy! I hope the many (and there are many) other women who have children of priests will also come forward. Hold your head high, Stephanie.

Elizabeth

Whitcomb

Department of Silver Linings:

At least he was doing the horizontal waltz with a woman of legal age, as opposed to an altar boy.

Kind of refreshing, as priest scandals go.

Todd

"I believe that in the case of Thomas Merton, he had some kind of inheritance that covered his child and mother ..."

I had heard they died during WWII.

Tom McKinney

This may sound callous, but there is a bright side to this: At least we know THIS priest isn't gay. I mean, all the victims of priestly abuse in the past few years have been pre-pubescent and teenage boys. At least this was a good, old fashioned, heterosexual scandal!

Cait Finnegan

>...As for the support, a poor woman had a child fathered by a poor man. The child will be poor. That's just the way it is in family courts across the country. But there are safety nets and why she doesn't avail herself of the excellent health, housing, nutritional and educational assistance most states provide must have to do with her own agenda and not concern for the boy.<

I hear echos of Scrooge here, when one would hope for the words of Jesus...Suffer the little children...

Children have rights to parents, and to the love of parents, and the care parents are bound to give. The fact that some parents ignore those rights do not make it OK.

Priests ((even those vowed to religious poverty) are given all the care they need to live good healthy lives (even of "Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience"), In the real world this is considered VALUE, and if his order takes his paycheck, or stipend, or his work efforts, then his order should pay. If he is not a religious, he needs to get an extra job, and NOT put the demand on the bishop (i.e. the collection plates). Of course, if the bishop hides a priest (that is in another parish, or even another land), then I think that would be called aiding and abbetting.

For the laity to defend such a priest, while placing the burden only upon the mother is clericalism at its worst! In that mindset, the priest truly gets to do ANYTHING he wants, and it's OK.

This is about the child, and it also about the Church. What kind of priests does the Church really want to be the hands and feet and voice of Christ in its service?

Sonetka

The "unprotected sex" thing is just weird. Maybe he meant "sex outside of marriage" which of course is wrong but that would apply to the father, as well. And the "both parents are poor" argument doesn't hold up - the guy wasn't a religious *yet*. If I had a baby and then decided to palm its care off entirely on a relative/the father/the state because I had decided I was going to be a nun or an impoverished missionary somewhere, that wouldn't wash with anyone I know - at least, I hope it wouldn't. You can't claim immunity because of something you were *planning* to do - that's awfully close to whole argument that women need abortions because otherwise they won't be able to follow up on their educational opportunities. If the guy had already been ordained when the affair happened, that would be a slightly more tangled situation, but at that point there was still time to leave. Obviously we're only getting the mother's perspective here, but he sounds like a bad deal regardless.

One question - does insurance usually cover children who were fathered out of marriage? I know it can be, or was, very difficult to get social security benefits for a child whose father was dead and had never been married to the child's mother.

Cait Finnegan

>Clergy who haven't done wrong are far from the most injured of victims; but they are victims of this, too; and it doesn't help when "faithful Catholics," in their justified outrage over the sins of clergy, impugn ALL their clergy in one sweep.<
Posted by: Septimus at July 24, 2005 09:15 AM

THIS is so true! I think it is time for the good clergy, the honest ones, to come forward and demand a cleansing of the clergy! As long as they remain silent as a group, they seem to others either to be guilty by association or by apathy. Yet I know this is not so! To hide, or suffer in silence is not the answer right now. Good priests and bishops need to demand a cleansing if they are to be trusted themselves! At present, there is this black wall..much like the famed "blue wall" in other professions. Such walls do harm to good priests and good bishops, and to the Church generally.

One need not condemn a priest who sins, simply call him on it. It is one of the spiritual works of mercy to do so! If he cannot life celibacy, then he needs to helped if he wishes to remain a priest. A man with a sickness tempting him toward children might be trained for chaplaincy with adult women (cloistered convents) and thus serve the Church still. A priest who cannot handle being around adult women could be trained as a chaplain for monastic mens' orders.

There are options for those who truly want to be good.

Married clergy would not heal the problems of sick clergy, but would certainly increase the number of priests, and offer a larger population of healthy priests.

Weakness will always be a part of humanity, but it can be helped.

Jimmy Huck

And the talk is that the Church is on the verge of prohibiting even celibate gay men from becoming priests. Craziness.

Forget the Redemptorists, what about the Bishop who ordained Uribe and the Church organ responsible for approving the ordination.

HA

If Stephanie had instead participated in a so-called "consensual affair" with a lay psychotherapist or physician or attorney, at 25, any of those lay professionals could be stripped of their licensing… because a so-called "helping professional" is always liable for any sexual involvement with a client.

Good point, but I'm not sure that the patient/client legal protocols would apply to a woman having an affair with a seminarian outside a parish setting.

That being said, her complicity, to whatever degree, doesn't absolve the priest or the Redemptorists from their responsibility of doing the right thing. Consider a situation where the mother can be shown to be a ne'er-do-well -- not that this is in any way the case here. If anything, her deficiencies would make it *more* exigent (if that were possible) for the priest to step up to the plate and be a proper father.

Sandra Miesel

When St. Augustine sent away his concubine at St. Monica's insistence, she disappears from history. There's no indication that he made any financial provision for her but perhaps she had family to take her back. He retained custody of his son Adeodatus until the boy died at age 18.

Septimus

The issue of the original affair isn't "nothing," but by itself, it's not the main thing. The issue is the issue, if you will pardon the pun: the child and doing what is right for that child.

I'm likely to be attacked or ignored on this point, but when I read the section about the archdiocese's legal defense -- and the part about how the woman should have used contraception -- I really winced on that one. (I suppose the argument could be construed to mean not that she should have contracepted more effectively, but not fornicated at all, but even so...ugh.)

OK, ding the archdiocese for a clunky argument, but still, if the facts are as stated, the diocese doesn't appear to be the villain here; the priest himself, and the Order, are the ones culpable.

Donna

I'm sorry, but I don't experience any relief because this was a hetrosexual scandal involving two consenting adults.

In 1991, Collopy said, she met Uribe — then a 33-year-old seminarian working for the Redemptorists at a Portland parish — when he agreed to go to her home and serve Communion to her girlfriend, who had a brain tumor.

Now, I certainly do not let Collopy off the hook on this one - yes, she's adult and yes, she should have known better. But she was 25 (and I know from my own experience how clueless one can be at 25) and she was grieving for a friend with a brain tumor. A priest ministering to the sick has the duty and the obligation to console and comfort the sick one's family and friends - not to ask them out on dates.

She sinned and so did he. Only the two of them know what happened - whether she put the moves on him or he seduced her or if a warm hug escalated without either of them planning on anything else happening. (That last scenario would be more plausible if they hadn't dated for 7 months.) Whatever happened, I hold him far more responsible, not because of any feminist annimus towards men, but because I simply expect more of a priest.

Yeah, after all the scandals and dirt of the last few years, I still do. Maybe I'm naive.

Anna

Excuse me for being so European, but did y'all ever think about working for universal health insurance for all residents of the U.S?

Rod Dreher

Cait: A man with a sickness tempting him toward children might be trained for chaplaincy with adult women (cloistered convents) and thus serve the Church still.

And why is it that the cloistered sisters should have to be served by a priest who would really rather be out bonking altar boys? Why is it so hard to say, "Fella, if you want sex with children, you ipso facto do not have a calling to serve God as a priest"?

Lynn

The priest's first responsibility is to his son. He can get a part-time job to support them, if the Redemptorists don't. It is cruel for him to refuse to communicate with his, child, who has reached out to him. Why was he ordained, under the circumstances?

How hypocritical it is that he is in a position to give "spiritual" counsel: to trusting families, parents, and children.

Off to Mass!

Patrick Rothwell

"I'm likely to be attacked or ignored on this point, but when I read the section about the archdiocese's legal defense -- and the part about how the woman should have used contraception -- I really winced on that one. (I suppose the argument could be construed to mean not that she should have contracepted more effectively, but not fornicated at all, but even so...ugh.)

OK, ding the archdiocese for a clunky argument, but still, if the facts are as stated, the diocese doesn't appear to be the villain here; the priest himself, and the Order, are the ones culpable."

I winced reading this defense too, but it doesn't seemt that the Archdiocese was responsible - morally or legally - for what occured. As for the legal defense - well - I would like to learn more what that was about, but the Archdiocese is entitled to assert every legal defense available to it, and if that was one of the legal defenses - and it was a viable one, then I think they are entitled to assert it. If it gives some people stomach aches, recall that one of St. Thomas More's defenses against the charge of treason was that his refusal to take the Oath was simply silence, and that his silence mustd be - under the law - construed as meaning that he in fact assented to the contents of the Oath. I view the Archdiocese's defense in a similar light.

Alexandra

Clunky arguments notwithstanding, I find it telling that the Archdiocese didn't think it necessary to add that Uribe was fornicating or engaged in "unprotected sex" as well, when his son was conceived.

Also, I was frankly appalled to read the tired old "well, at least it wasn't gay sex or pedophilia" comeback. Is that really relevant? I am not alone in ability to attest to the fact that heterosexual abuse of females by priests is actualy more prevelant and causes as much damage as male-on-male sexual abuse. Furthermore, priests who father children and then abandon them are simply engaged in yet another form of child abuse, through neglect.

Donald R. McClarey

"Excuse me for being so European, but did y'all ever think about working for universal health insurance for all residents of the U.S?"

Considering the sorry state of socialized medicine in virtually every nation on Earth that has adopted it, no.

Donna

Anna: Save it for another thread. Universal healthcare is not the topic.

I agree with George Weigel and my own Archbishop Dolan (who is cleaning up the mess left by Weakland): these scandals come from a crisis of fidelity. As Weigel says "Priests who believe themselves to be what the Catholic Church teaches they are - living icons of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ - simply do not behave the way sexual predators behave."


I don't think the answer to priests not honoring their vows is to drop the vows. Enforcing the ones we have now - and teaching the Church's rationale for them, not just to lay Catholics, but to members of the clergy - sure would be nice.

Admittedly, I haven't been back in the church that long, but I can't ever remember hearing a homily on the importance of chastity in my life. (So much for nonCatholics who think that's all we EVER hear about.) Has anybody else here ever heard one?

julie

Excuse me for being so European, but did y'all ever think about working for universal health insurance for all residents of the U.S?

We can only dream, but the problem here is that the folks with power (or good jobs) HAVE acess to good health care and insurance so it is not a priority for them.
And OMG! you might not be able to pick your Doctor. Well take it from someone who can not go to the Doctor, I could care less about being able to "pick" my Doctor, I'd just like to have acess to one.

mark j

I am not alone in ability to attest to the fact that heterosexual abuse of females by priests is actualy more prevelant and causes as much damage as male-on-male sexual abuse.

How exactly would you substantiate that statement, specifically the claim that abuse of females is more prevalent than abuse of males? Is there some sort of study or data available? That is definitely not the conclusion of the John Jay report (which admittedly only covered minor victims, not adults).

Donna

(Breaking my own rule and going OT)

Julie: I work for a nonprofit Catholic healthcare system that doesn't turn anyone away - a large number of our patients are uninsured. I know we're not the only ones in the entire US. There are also free clinics, etc. Since you have Internet access, you should be able to find someplace to go, even if it's not terribly convenient. People without insurance have more resources than they often realize.

Alexandra

Mark J,

AW Richard Sipe, former Benedictine monk, psychologist and widely noted authority on clergy abuse has stated that abuse of women by priests is more prevalent. Also, check out the work of Dr. Thomas Plante, noted clergy abuse authority, Santa Clara University, California. The "proof" is out there; the John Jay Report only covered child clergy abuse stats.

Rod Dreher

As Weigel says "Priests who believe themselves to be what the Catholic Church teaches they are - living icons of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ - simply do not behave the way sexual predators behave."

And the priests who have never sexually abused anyone, nor been tempted to -- and I would say that's the great majority of priests -- but who have stayed silent as their brother priests have done just that, and their bishops have been exposed as aiders and abetters of this behavior, what do they think a priest is? Is it the task of a priest to speak truth and defend the defenseless, or is it the task of the priest to keep everyone calm and distracted so nobody notices what kind of hellacious mess the Church's leadership class has gotten us into?

Donna

Rod, I completely agree with you on this.

Regina

"[B]ut the clergy in general, I have no use for."

That line struck me as one of the saddest in the various comments above. (And that's saying a lot, given the appalling wretchedness of this story.) I'm not blaming Rod; I know that he's not alone in this sentiment. It's just a little scary to watch the fall-out in this regard, and to think about what it means for our unity as a Church.

On a different note, I am truly fed up with ecclesial bureaucracies that can't tell the difference between a legal and a moral obligation. I don't care whether the Church has a legal obligation to this child or not. We have a moral obligation, and that should be enough.

chris K

Todd, I've read where the child of Merton, a little girl, was said to have died during the German bombing of London. I don't think there's much written about this since, according to TM's friends, around a third of Seven Story Mountain was cut. Now that there is just about everything written by him out there - probably including his grocery lists - there may be more info. I don't know about the woman, but I thought I read that there was some kind of provision made at the time of his entrance into the monastery.

One wonders if Abraham had not ordered the maid with child away, would there be the "in family" hatred demonstrated through wars by those who still feel a bit treated like the illegitimates and in need of healing of that family tree.

Alexandra

Regina:

"I don't care whether the Church has a legal obligation to this child or not. We have a moral obligation, and that should be enough."

Well said! "It takes a village, to rear a child." No child of a priest should be reared in the shadow of his or her father's vocation. It should never come down to a choice of denying any child the support of the church in order to retain their father as a Father.

chris K

Rod, are you saying or implying that all of these good priests are involved in somehow hiding their brother priests who are guilty and they all just know about everything one another does? I know of some of these "good priests" even in positions of assigning personnel according to the directives given them who NEVER knew a thing about the few who were later accused and found guilty. They just did their jobs as assigned...like most all of us. I know that in my own neighborhood block folks up the street know nothing about the terminal illnesses that those down the block suffer with. Others who are closer to them do. These priests say that they tend to have a few good friends they associate with and act as sounding boards when needed, and they just don't have the occasion to know what goes on with others they have nothing in common with or whom they feel are a bit odd or different from them. It's only natural.

Nancy

We're sort of back where we were a few days ago, with the priest who was arrested for groping an undercover police officer.

Do we have any standards, as a community, for who we will accept as a spiritual leader, and if so, what are they? Is all this behavior OK so long as someone somewhere can get the guy off in a court of law?

Rod, I couldn't agree more with what you have to say about the silence of the good priests.

Of course if we accept this man as a priest we are obligated to support his child. I think we should toss him out, actually. Not so much for fathering the child (though I hardly agree with that) as for thereafter refusing to take any responsibility for him. This isn't exactly a shining light of an example.

Theresa 'Tess' Engelhardt

Given the fact that this seminarian was in a position of spiritual authority and that Stephanie was grieving the imminent loss of a friend, was that initial relationship of Pastor to the sick and her friend an equal one based of maturity, even though both were adults?
If she is vulnerable at 25yr old, he in a position of moral and spiritual authority, isn't he responsible to still uphold the line of professionalism and not continue a relationship? Although not licensed, I think this cleric should be held by the same standard as any professional. I am a licensed professional and crossing the line is NEVER considered OK.
This being said, if Stephanie is a postpartum single Mom trying to figure out this mess, isn't signing off on a one time Church ordered settlement done with some duress? Is a this valid and done deal never to be renegotiated especially when the child has a chronic disease process? Who amongst us knows what the future will bring and what our child's needs will be present when we have a screaming crying child in our arms? How are we to know as a first time mom what the costs will be and what the health care costs will be and the impact of a chronic disease process on our future? I think not one of us would have know what to do or would've been able to find a lawyer brave enough to take our case.
If the Redemptorist Order can pay for their secretary, cook, receptionist, bookkeeper and housekeeper to have insurance for their family, then the Order does have the ability to renegotiate a health provision for this child. If the father lives in a well to do suburban rectory complete with housekeeper , cook, free car and luxurious rent free housing in a private suburban house in a nice neighborhood, this certainly doesn't scream poverty to me. The actual worth of this lifestyle and ability for this man to make an earnest living as a civilian should be considered when working within the child support guidelines for that county. Why should anyone, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu or Moslem or not, be asked to pay more taxes and more for their own health care when the church encourages it's own clergy to renege on the basic financial responsibility of it own children? Isn't what Stephanie is asking more about this subject, in that she does not want to take from the regular citizen in health expenses as she has already accessed the system for health care for her son? Isn't she saying that his health care costs could and should be managed by them as parents with her son's Dad by providing insurance just like any other? She had a job that pain insurance and was laid off. Why is it only her responsibility to provide 24/7 for this child and insurance also? As she is looking for gainful employment, what's it to him to just step up to the plate and be a man? It is a known fact that children who live in the urban environment are more predisposed to asthma and the long term complications of the disease. As a Mom of a chronically ill child, it usually falls upon the parents to share the burden of childcare and time away from the job to care for the child. What is it about the roman collar that this Father Arturo Uribe of now Whittier California, (soon to be Chicago) wears that makes him exempt of all of his financial and moral responsibilities?
What's with this bishop saying the fault was hers in not using contraception! What a farce! I cringed. Isn't he saying, "You should've both been more careful and not gotten 'us' into this situation and much less talked about it?! Years ago these kids were product for the local Catholic Social Agency as adoptees after the Moms were intimidated by the social and real embarrassment of 'her' sin. Isn't what's really happening is that the Church doesn't want to deal with the everyday issues of 'when a cleric violates his/her role as professional and uses / abuse another?
I think it crass to think that 'well this was at least heterosexual' and 'the horizontal dance'. You are just adding to the social attitude of clericalism and perpetuating fear and intimidation upon women and children who would come forward. Face it, the studies and literature is out there, read Richard Sipe, Andrew Greeley, David Rice and learn about the amount of clerical sexual misconduct that goes on. The intimidation and the shirking of responsibility. Learn about the priests being moved from one place to another and father multiple children or abusing one women after another. Intimidation and coercion cannot go unchecked in clerical relationships when women come to cleric be they male or female for personal spiritual counseling. Adults in vulnerable positions of grieving, being abuse victims or incest victims are just as vulnerable to clerics as children. The laws and the social shame and fears are just as real. The sacrifice made to protect their children and marriages and families are just as painful and heart wrenching.
Having been a stupid and naive 19yr old myself once I too was in a 'secret' relationship for 15 years, he was a 24 yr old seminarian then, we became parents of a son who is now 14 1/2. His dad was a diocesean priest and this kind of clerical intimidation worked on me for a long time until it came down to just this fact, the rights of the child.
I too know of Stephanie and her son through support networks online and in real life. I stood by my responsibility in the relationship and have, like Stephanie, been a dedicated parent, both Mom and Dad roles to the best of my ability. What gives any cleric the right to expect to be absolved from the responsibilities of biological parenthood when he took his pants off on his own too? It is arrogant to think that an Order or a congregation who donates monies for 'worthy' causes at the Churches discretion, should have to pay for his 'indescretions'.
This guy needs to get a second job and learn how to live with some honor. This young son of 13yr old probably has more integrity and honor from being raised by his Mom and people of good will than his Dad ever will being a priest. The fact that this Father Uribe can look himself in the mirror everyday and say mass and be Mr.Hispanic Youth minister is a sorry joke on the good clerics and the good people of the Church. It is high time the good clerics and the good Catholics wise up and speak out about these guys that are corrupt. The Father Uribe's and their bishops and Provincials.
I kept silent for years because I was protecting my son from social ridicule. I sued his father while he was a priest in domestic court for 50% of the cost of raising our son and receive a wage attached court ordered child support based on the guidelines. I refused the silence agreement, the reverse annuity and thousands of dollars that would've come from the well meaning parishioners. Once it became public about the parent of my child I was no longer allowed to teach in the Catholic church or be a eucharistic minister, His father, Father Bob, was still encouraged to continue being a priest and simply moved from one parish assignment to another. He was offered to have his name changed and to be moved out of the country. And so much more.
Don't fool yourselves that this is a one time incident, this kind of stuff is happening all over the country. As I have learned over the years, this has happened for centuries, and continues to happen as I write. There are pregnancies and young infants right now that are being denied the bonding opportunity of being with their biological father while their Dad is playing at being Father every Sunday.
This is all about a man and a woman's responsibility to their son. Seems like she's doing her job, what about Father Arturo?

Donna

Rod, are you saying or implying that all of these good priests are involved in somehow hiding their brother priests who are guilty and they all just know about everything one another does?

Rod can surely speak for himself, but I took him to mean priests speaking out about these scandals after they became known. My sister told me her priest (a man I remember from childhood, when he was at our family parish - a good man and a very eloquent speaker) made the scandals the main topic of many of his sermons when this was all breaking in 2002. He didn't mince words about the Church's failures. He sharply criticized Weakland while Weakland was still archbishop here - while other priests were running around making excuses for him and simply telling their flocks that they were terribly unChristian if they didn't immediately forgive the misappropriation of $450,000 in diocese funds - money from their collection baskets - which ended up lining the pockets of a male hustler. And she told me this man's Masses were packed during that time. People read the newspaper stories and saw the news, but they wanted to hear a priest publicly say, directly to them, "This was wrong, this was evil and I apologize to you for this betrayal of trust." That priest, by his actions, probably kept many people in the church by simply talking honestly to them.

How many priests did that, though? I really don't know.

chris K

but they wanted to hear a priest publicly say, directly to them, "This was wrong, this was evil and I apologize to you for this betrayal of trust." That priest, by his actions, probably kept many people in the church by simply talking honestly to them.

How many priests did that, though? I really don't know.

Donna, we too had that experience at our parish through a weekend assistant who kept up the talk about the church's failures in all of its aspects. People felt that he was definitely on their side, not leaving them to wonder if anyone in the Church was going to apologize to them. He did on behalf of the rest. And he fit this in very nicely with his VERY heterodox and dissenting homilies. But he was "good" I suppose in the area of out discussion here. He caught the attention of his particular "school" of fish and then reeled them in. He is no longer there for above reasons, but his "faithful" still think he was the best thing since chocolate. So, what are ya gonna do????

Septimus

The pastor at my parish -- whom I know very well -- several times addressed the problem, including apologizing, at his previous assignment. He just arrived here.

Donna

Theresa "Tess": Thank you for your post. It sounds like you are doing your best to be both a good mother and father to your son.

As for these "priests", well, even the ones who get away scot-free in this life will have to reckon with the next one. I have a lot of work to do myself before I can hope to even catch a glimmer of the Kingdom of Heaven; but I would not like to be in the shoes of a priest who has betrayed his vows and shrinked his responsibilities. I don't think those who aid and abet them are going to get a free pass either. God is Just (which is both a comforting and a terrifying thought).

sj

"As for the legal defense - well - I would like to learn more what that was about, but the Archdiocese is entitled to assert every legal defense available to it, and if that was one of the legal defenses - and it was a viable one, then I think they are entitled to assert it."

I would disagree -- the Archdiocese has to be a witness for the moral truths of Catholicism -- one of which is that the use of oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy is gravely wrong. It may not turn and around and argue that someone "should" have used birth control in order to avoid whatever legal responsibility it may have.

Donna

And he fit this in very nicely with his VERY heterodox and dissenting homilies.

I'll bet. As Weigel notes, the liberal clergy can't seem to grasp that the culture of dissent and heterodoxy caused the problem in the first place.

Still, better to address it (even if he had to do his ideological spin job on it) than not to say anything at all.

Septimus

sj:

In fairness, if you go back and read the LA Times story, it doesn't say the Archdiocese said the woman should have used contraceptives; it said she bore responsibility for having "unprotected sex"; which could be understood -- and intended -- to mean the same thing; however, it could also be understood -- and intended -- to mean, she shouldn't have had sex at all. Although, it is a misleading way to say it (i.e., including the "unprotected").

Also, I didn't see where the LA Times identified the source of that quote; presumably, some court filing. And the quote has an ellipsis in it. So, I suppose it is *possible* the LA Times might have got it wrong; they might also neglected to tell us if the lawyer who made that argument was ever rebuked by the archbishop for doing so.

In short, it may be as bad as it seems; or not.

Celine

Donna says that "the liberal clergy can't seem to grasp that the culture of dissent and heterodoxy caused the problem in the first place." It caused PART of the problem. Conservatives/traditionalists, however, cannot seem to grasp that clericalism and efforts to defend the supposedly pristine image of the Church (esp., the clergy) at all costs in order to avoid "scandal" or provide ammunition to the secular or Protestant "enemy" has a much, much longer pedigree. As someone else in this blogstream commented, this sort of thing has been going on for centuries because of this, not because of liberal dissent.

Septimus

Celine said:

"As someone else in this blogstream commented, this sort of thing has been going on for centuries because of this, not because of liberal dissent."

Fair point, Celine, but don't forget Original Sin.

Peleton

"This will probably drive some of them out of the Catholic Church. How many times can you be lied to before you leave?"
This is a danger among the uncatechized who think Catholicism is about communal meals and handshakes.
If your faith depends on the virtuous behavior of others, it isn't very deep and it isn't faith in Jesus Christ - whose handpicked Apostles denied him, ran out on him and sold him for 30 pieces of silver but whose message was nevertheless true.
We've had misbehaving popes, bad bishops and bad priests; fortunately, we understand fallen human nature is where we start.
As for contraception, I think the point was that the man had been told that she couldn't get pregnant, was lied to, and maybe was being lied to again.
As for "shirking", wasn't the priest doing exactly what a court of law demanded of him?
None of the above is meant to justify anyone's behavior but to put it in a context a bit different from "yes, he's a pig" and "Telling the truth apparently didn't rank high on the value scale" and "men like this" etc.

Donna

Celine: Yes, I know priests have done this sort of thing for centuries. And I don't lay everything at the feet of liberal clergy. But the "culture of dissent" certainly plays a very big role in this. I think that what happened is the worst of the liberal culture (blatant contempt for the Church's teaching masquerading as "the spirit of Vatican II) got mixed up with the conservative urge to cover up and not "cause scandal" and created one big stinking mess.

Weakland flouted the authority of Rome at every turn and took pride in doing so. But when he found himself in trouble - we were suddenly all supposed to respect his authority and standing.

As for contraception, I think the point was that the man had been told that she couldn't get pregnant, was lied to, and maybe was being lied to again.

I didn't see any indication of that in the article. Besides, that begs the question: what is a soon-to-be-ordained man doing in bed with a woman anyway? Look, I don't expect priests to be perfect. I don't expect that none of them will ever, under any circumstances, break their vows of celibacy. But this isn't the story of a priest who at a moment of weakness, maybe under the influence of alcohol, met a woman and slipped. This is someone who had a 7 month long affair which broke up, not because he felt guilty, but because she got pregnant.

You're awfully quick to assume the woman was lying about birth control. Well, couldn't it also be possible that he lied to her - told her that he was rethinking the priesthood because of her, when he fully intended to be ordained? One scenario is as likely as the other.

As for "shirking", wasn't the priest doing exactly what a court of law demanded of him?

Again, what is legal is not always moral, and the Church should know this. Abortion is perfectly legal - is it right?


Susan F. Peterson

"Unprotected sex" means, without contraception. Thats the way the term is used. It is the way medical providers ask a woman if she could be pregnant: "Have you had unprotected sex since you last had your period?" The diocese or the Redemptorists just let their lawyer use any defense he thought appropriate-after all he's the lawyer, that's his job. Well some things a diocese or religious order shouldn't let their lawyers say on their behalf; one is the above, another is that the parents of an abused child were to blame for not watching him better, as was said in Boston.

I think it is probably the case that this priest has not been in contact with his son because the Redemptorists told him that having no contact with his ex-girlfriend or their son was a condition for his becoming and remaining a priest. I can't say how angry this makes me. Having things "look good" so the folks in the pews wouldn't know their priest had had an affair, was more important to them than what this would do to a child.

I knew a young man whose father was an Episcopalian monk.(There are Episcopalian religious orders, a few anyway.) The man had been an alcoholic,his wife left him, then he got his life together with the help of God, and he chose to become a monk. But the young man was one of the angriest young men I have ever known. He hated any mention of religion. He was out to screw any girl he could, mostly I think to express rebellion against his father's having chosen celibacy. He expressed disgust over seeing his father in his religious habit. Now, this man isn't to blame the way the priest in question is, and he wasn't rejecting his son...he just wasn't living the family life of a normal father...yet this young man was so angry. Can you imagine how this priest's son will feel about God and the church? How can he go about preaching and hearing confessions and devoting his life to helping people get to heaven, while he has condemned his son to hating the church and probably even to thinking he hates God? Isn't the soul of his son of any concern to him? Wasn't the soul of this child of any concern to the Redemptorists? I think they should have told him to marry the woman and be a father to his child. He hadn't made any other vows yet, after all.

The woman in an affair with a priest is usually regarded by his superiors as something akin to whiskey or heroin, a *thing* to be scrupulously avoided in the future. Whatever effect the situation might have had upon her is not of any concern to them. An adult woman shares some of the blame for the situation, more or less depending on a lot of factors...age difference, was the priest in a pastoral or counseling relationship with her, etc etc. But a child who might come of such a relationship is not to blame at all. But here the child fell under the whiskey/heroin category also. There seems to be a lack of sensitivity to the reality and personhood of people outside of the clerical world. Of course this isn't universal and some can have their consciences jogged by having these attitudes pointed out to them...but apparently many are impervious!

And what is this about Tess, above? She, though she has repented and is fulfilling her obligations to her child, may not teach or be a eucharistic minister (ahem, an extraordinary minister of holy communion) --yet the father of the child can be a priest????¿????????????????
Two people have sex, stop, go to confession and are forgiven...the man can be a priest, the woman can't teach Sunday school or help give out communion? His sin disappeared but hers clings to her forever? And that is because she got pregnant and had a child and everyone can tell that, but he can hide from it? Man, I think if I were she I would picket his parish. In fact, if she wants someone to walk with her and carry a sign, I volunteer!
But of course, she has her son to think of and this would focus the wrong kind of attention on him. Well, Tess, thank you for telling your story, having the guts to do so using your name. I'd be glad to receive communion from you any day.
Susan F.Peterson

Septimus

I wrote an email to the provincial, and he wrote back, saying that Fr. Uribe wrote a reply to the L.A. Times, that was not published; and that the order is committed to negotiating with the mother to provide above and beyond what the law requires.

Susan F. Peterson

Where did Peleton get the idea that she lied to him and said she couldn't get pregnant? He may have read this somewhere, in which case he should say so, but it wasn't anywhere in the article linked to. Without any basis it is really a horrible thing to say. And, really, people should never have sex without considering that a child may result. People can even be told by doctors that it is impossible for them to get pregnant or to impregnate a woman, and be surprised to find out that this was not true.
Susan Peterson

Regina

"She, though she has repented and is fulfilling her obligations to her child, may not teach or be a eucharistic minister."

That's not canon law, is it? It sounds like an individual parish reaction -- or possibly overreaction. (Not that I'm justifying it, just trying to figure out where it's coming from.) My understanding is that so long as she's in full communion with the church there's nothing to stop her from taking on lay ministerial roles.

Patrick Rothwell

"sj:

In fairness, if you go back and read the LA Times story, it doesn't say the Archdiocese said the woman should have used contraceptives; it said she bore responsibility for having "unprotected sex"; which could be understood -- and intended -- to mean the same thing; however, it could also be understood -- and intended -- to mean, she shouldn't have had sex at all. Although, it is a misleading way to say it (i.e., including the "unprotected").

Also, I didn't see where the LA Times identified the source of that quote; presumably, some court filing. And the quote has an ellipsis in it. So, I suppose it is *possible* the LA Times might have got it wrong; they might also neglected to tell us if the lawyer who made that argument was ever rebuked by the archbishop for doing so.

In short, it may be as bad as it seems; or not."

I would like to read the actual motion to see what was argued for context. However, there is a (possible) legitimate argument here. It may be a variant of "assumption of the risk" or "contributory negligence" or "comparative negligence" doctrines, something that I haven't thought about since my bar exam. She herself used birth control to prevent pregnancy, yet she didn't take her pills consistently. So, the argument might go, she is the one that is, from a legal and factual standpoint, the negligent party, so she either shouldn't prevail in this situation or her recovery should be much less. It's a stretch, and I don't know whether court would buy it. A judge might very well have the gut reaction, like others here, that the diocese has some nerve arguing this when it doesn't support contraception itself. And it's usually not a good idea to raise an argument that will alienate the judge. Nevertheless, I maintain that the diocese is entitled to raise a legal defense like this. Whether it is prudent raise it is another matter, because many people would draw the conclusions that sj - and by implication, the LA Times does.

Colleen

Tom McKinney and I think Whitcomb,
I'm glad it wasn't a homosexual scandal as well, but only because a teen or a child wasn't physically and mentally damaged before the kid knew what hit him. I hope this priest's son fares ok in life.

I would submit however, that this priest is 'intrinsically disordered' in his mind because of what he has done and what he has failed to do. He has not stepped up to the plate and accounted for the responsibility he has towards his son.

Quite possibly he has confessed and repented of his sin but his subsequent actions have been a sin in the 'failed to do' department and that is disordered.

michigancatholic

Actually, Todd, Merton fathered a child in London before WWII. That woman and child died there.

But there was another affair here in the US with a nurse, after his vows as a Cistercian. She is referred to as "M" and Patrick Hart wrote some small amount about her.

Rick

A couple of thoughts:

1. I thought the law did not recognize settlement agreements in which a mother gives up or limits future child support?

A child has a presumptive right to guideline child support - and a mother doesn't have the power to waive that right for her children.

2. Why do our courts recognize a "vow of poverty" as a grounds to dispense from providing guideline support?

It seems obvious to me that Uribe should have been attributed a salary commensurate with his education, and assessed guideline child support accordingly.

If he failed to pay, he should face the same penalty as any other noncustodial parent who defaults on child support obligations: Jail.

3. Arguing that the Redemptorists are "morally obliged" to provide above any legal award is a losing strategy, imo.

Instead, we should insist that religious vows or ordination do not dispense from the legal obligation to provide reasonable child support.

According priests or religious a special status in these matters is not fair to their children. And it's not fair to other noncustodial parents.

michigancatholic

My main problem with this is the impediment to religious life. This man was not free to enter the Redemptorists. Sorry but there's better fish in the sea. The religious orders and seminaries have to stop accepting any idiot who shows up and says he wants to be ordained. We're simply not that desperate.

Lee Penn

Patrick, you said, "I maintain that the diocese is entitled to raise a legal defense like this." On what basis?

I can see how a for-profit corporation has such a right ... the board has a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholders' profits.

But the RCC claims to be the Body of Christ on earth, not a for-profit business. If the Hierarchy represents Christ, they would recognize moral obligations, even where these are beyond the letter of the law. Such would be the acts of a virtuous, kindly, generous, and charitable body ... acts of natural virtue that do not rise to the supernatural level of Christ, who died for us undeserving sinners while we were buried in sin.

But if the RCC has the "right" to use legal defenses of this kind, then it is showing in practice that the Hierarchy prefers Mammon to Christ.

Lee

Cait Finnegan

>... At least this was a good, old fashioned, heterosexual scandal!
Posted by: Tom McKinney at July 24, 2005 03:17 PM<

Yes!! And with that same good old fashioned macho attitude toward women and children! As one of our moral teachers and leaders, one might hope a priest would WANT to help his son! How does he get through Fathers Day???

To me the scandal is not so much that this is a priest's child, but that this priest could care less about his own child!

Dead beat dad laws demand that dads get a job to pay for their kids. RC laws make no such demands. Nor it seems to some courts when it comes to RC men who are ordained. THAT is the real scandal, imo.

The problem with many of these cases is that women are often young and easily intimidated in the court when the Church can afford several attorneys to her one attorney (often legal aid or on contingency agreement). The idea IS to intimidate the woman, rather than care for the child. It works, at least until the woman is mature enough to know that raising a child entails more than what she agreed to. Silence agreements are to tie her hands and protect the priest, never is the child a concern.

Women frequently do not know their rights or their child's rights until they learn from the experiences of other women who have had this same problem.

Another sad scandal is that women may begin working with an attorney only to discover that the attorney has "suddenly" changed his or her perspective, and no longer works for her welfare.

Peggy

I don't think that orders of priests or dioceses should be adjusting themselves to situations such as this: to accomodate illegitimate children by the members of the order. The priest should be laicized toute du suite and be forced to provide support by some other means. The Redemptorists certainly bear responsibility for knowingly permitting this ordination, but they should not get some new insurance program to accomodate illegitimate children. What a terrible precedence this will set. Katy bar the door!

Septimus

Lee:

From what is reported, the diocese -- though sued -- was not responsible: the priest belonged to the Redemptorists, he was not diocesan; it wasn't the diocese that ordained him, knowing he fathered a child; and it is the order that assumes financial responsibility for him, due to the vow of poverty, not the diocese.

If you are sued, by someone with a legitimate grievance, but one which you did not cause, are you not entitled to legal defenses? Or will you simply concede, because you are a good Christian who helps his neighbor?

Cait

Cait: A man with a sickness tempting him toward children might be trained<
Rod Dreher :And why is it that the cloistered sisters should have to be served by a priest who would really rather be out bonking altar boys? Why is it so hard to say, "Fella, if you want sex with children, you ipso facto do not have a calling to serve God as a priest"?<

I would never say anyone MUST be served. I was saying that if a man truly repents, and yet is sick, I believe we as Church can help him. Pedophelia can't be healed, but ephebophelia can be healed. Those who are ephebophiles can mature. Pedophiles have a sickness that is not about maturity. Pedophiles can repent of their actions, and seek a safe place to serve where their illness is not allowed to overcome them.

I'm talking about Charity here, not about encouraging more abuse OR excusing any previous abuse--ever. Some pedophiles would rather not have their sickness! I think there is a way we can as Church not simply toss sick priests out upon the world--especially if they want help, and want to be good priests.

I know this is not answering the civil requirement for justice either. I'm just speaking of situations where such civil justice is met, and then a priest is still a priest forever--how to help those who really want help.

Cait

michigancatholic

Lee, priests can't do whatever the hell they wish and get away with it. At times, they've believed this. Some of them still do. They need to be shown perhaps that it ain't so.

ajb

This man was ordained because he was straight as an arrow.

You see, we hetero's can do whatever we want with whomever we want.

Now, if he'd only harbored a single impure thought about another guy (even without acting on it) . . .

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