Skip to comments.Renowned Priest Forgives Those who Accused Him of “Sexual Abuse”
Posted on 08/11/2007 11:28:31 AM PDT by marshmallow
Rome, Aug 7, 2007 / 12:04 pm (CNA).- Popular Italian priest Fr. Pierino Gelmini, 82, said this week he forgives the drug addicts who were expelled from his institution and accused him of sexual abuse as a way to take revenge and demand money from him.
Fr. Gelmini, founder of the Incontro community, which has been a successful drug-rehabilitation center, was recently investigated for sexual abuse after accusations were made against him for the first time in his more than fifty years of priestly service.
He cooperated fully with investigators and revealed that he had been receiving repeated phone calls demanding money in exchange for having the charges dropped. Fr. Gelmini demonstrated to officials that the accusations were coming from a group of young people who had been receiving treatment at his community but were expelled for repeatedly stealing.
When they left, the priest said, they told me: Well make you pay for this. But I have forgiven them because they have suffered much in life. He said he was saddened that the news of the investigation was made public because, though the reports have been retracted he explained, I have been executed by the media.
The Incontro community has 287 centers in various countries, and according to Dr. Alessandro Meluzzi, a close friend of Fr. Gelmini, The young people who live there are the main victims of this scandal, as their rehabilitation has been jeopardized.
Fr. Gelmini told Vatican Radio that despite the accusations, he continues to hold to his lifes motto: Believe in man despite everything, even when this means putting up with accusations. God sees everything. Do you know what the most reliable court is? Your conscience. In fact, even if one was exonerated but his conscience was still not clean, what good would it be? If, on the other hand, I am accused but my conscience is clear, then I would be able to bear everything for love of God, he said.
Fr. Gelmini also revealed that one of his accusers wrote him a letter asking for forgiveness. When the priest refused to give him money, the accuser decided to reinstate the charges. I went to find him where he works and I told him, I have no reason to give you money because you have spoken the truth. He got upset and decided to reinstate the charges. So it is evident that I must accept my cross, he told Vatican Radio.
He said he was sorry that the judges in the case leaked the accusations to the press, but he said he was overwhelmed by the support he has received from residents at his community and from those who have successfully finished the program.
I wont stop because of these accusations, he stated. I will follow the example of Padre Pio, who learned to accept these things.
Matthew 5:11 - 12 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Couldn’t say it better.
Unfortunately quite common when the greedy and the vengeful get into the act.
And it’s happened here in U.S. too. We rightfully hear all about the abusive priests and want that cleaned up, and the bishops who were essentially accomplices. But who is defending those priests who have been unjustly accused? They are really going it alone.
There just isn't the same amount of shame involved in child molestation or homosexual predation any more -- the sort of shame that caused people not to come forward for decades. And this story went public in the early 80s. Anybody who has waited until now to come forward has a high hurdle of suspicion to overcome.
We had a case in Atlanta in the early 90s where the public bus co. (MARTA) suspected that they were getting a lot of false personal injury claims in bus accidents. So they staged a bus wreck in the middle of downtown and filmed the whole thing. About 100 people wound up claiming they had been injured in the "wreck" -- some even climbed on the bus and claimed they were injured. I think they had them all arrested, and PI claims declined for awhile after that . . . .
That’s not what happened here. The judge broke precedent and declared the statute of limitations could be disregarded for window of time, so what is the point of a law if an anti-Christian judge can arbitrarily change it? The courts did everything possible to make the publicity and the cases come out against the Church. Then, the diocese did not challenge ANY accusation, even though a few priests vehemently proclaimed their innocence. One actually, with the support of friends, offering pages and pages of testimony and logistical proof that his accusers were lying and in fact the places and dates they used the priest was elsewhere. The diocese settled all cases, giving on average almost 1 million dollars per claimant, without the accusers having to offer any testimony. The diocese has done nothing to clear the good names of the innocent priests, except put in parentheses next to their names in the final report “claims innocence”.
Sounds like the diocese rolled over and played dead.
Wonder what their motivation in that was?
‘Roll over and play dead’...very apt description! Now, let me see why would a bishop do that? To stay out of court at all costs, and avoid exposing his own culpability, complicity or even duplicity?
Corruption, clericalism and nepotism were not abandoned in the middle ages. Not all bishops are alike, but in this archdiocese those practices are rampant. Here’s the second-largest seminary in the country, known for its homosexual culture (we pray that is changing, the verdict is still out). Here’s the diocese-owned Oregon Catholic Press spreading its drippy music and heretical literature over the country. Here’s a bishop who takes the unprecedented step of risking every parish in the diocese by declaring bankruptcy before even one settlement was finalized. Here’s the recent participation of several Portland parishes, with the blessing of the bishop, in the gay pride parade. Here’s a Peace and Justice office that promotes events by pro-abortion, ultra-left and social activist organizations. Here are programs for homosexual outreach and global warming lobbying. Here’s a bishop who refuses to speak to his priests, but delegates everything to his vice-chancellor, a outspokenly leftist laywoman who was fired from her previous post. Here’s the Jesuit Western U.S. headquarters, whose Provincial declares his unity with his homosexual brothers. Here’s a sex-ed program, with full-time paid staff, that trains Religious Ed volunteers to teach five-year olds to say “penis” and “vagina”. Here’s a diverse group of lay people so tired of liturgical abuses that go uncorrected by their bishop, that they have started a letter-writing campaign to the Vatican in desperation.
So when you ask what the ‘motivation’ is for the behavior of such a Prince of the Church, I can only speculate...but these are just a few of the factors that cause me to have my doubts it was the most noble or highest of purposes.
Sometimes we don't fully appreciate how orthodox and straight-arrow our diocese is -- but it really is, and here are some of the fruits, posted recently on FR:
If you can get a good bishop in there, things will start to change.
Thanks! That is amazing. Reminds me a bit of Bishop Bruskewitz in Nebraska. We have sort of a mini-Mahony situation here, doing the retirement countdown. I guess the good thing is that so many of these unorthodox bishops are the older ones.
How many years left to go? (Mahony is going to be in for far too long, he can do a lot more damage in 5 years.)
He’s less that five years, but I agree with you, that is a long time. Too long. Part of the problem is how do you get rid of these guys? There was another post on here a few weeks ago with someone explaining why bad bishops can’t be easily ‘fired’ like a manager in a business, how Americans misunderstand the Vatican is not CEO of a corporation, the importance of bishopric integrity over their jurisdictions, etc.
Well, I don’t buy that completely, having lived under the very oppressive atmosphere of bad bishops in a few states, and seen people leave the church finally in frustration, and others being mistaught. Souls are in jeopardy while these guys reign.
I see Pope Benedict trying to correct the problem pastorally. He went to Brazil, the worst country in Latin America for bishops, for example. Many of his statements and writings reiterate the theme of SPIRITUAL or pastoral leadership, the “sanctifying” aspect, not just the “governing”.
Cardinal Bertone’s speech last week to the Knights contained a few very telling lines about the Holy Father being aware of episcopal problems. He emphasized the importance of the laity. I should try to find the quote for you if you didn’t hear it, it was almost a rallying cry.
I’m hoping the Holy Father will appoint some new, really good, vibrant bishops. The vetting process is part of the problem, but maybe this Pope has been watching these problems develop long enough that he will look more thoroughly for the best people, not just follow the ‘old boy network’ process (Terna, etc) that tends to operate on the Peter Principle.
BTW, WITL has a post today saying the appointment in Birmingham is imminent, which is quite important because that bishop controls EWTN Masses to a certain extent - “ad orientem” Masses are forbidden to be televised under the current bishop.
Oh, AmericanMother, I remember you are in the south, but not sure what diocese, is it Charleston, South Carolina? If so, Rocco Palmo is implying that it would be your Bishop who will go to Birmingham (EWTN diocese), Bishop “Baker” (unless his hints refer to Bishop Vasa of the “Baker” diocese, but I guess we can only take his word as speculation at this point.)
We’re in the Archdiocese of Atlanta - Abp. Wilton Gregory. Abp. Donoghue is retired but still serving as Archbishop Emeritus.