Skip to comments.[Flashback] Rodimer: Psychologist [Fr. Groeschel] Gave Me Bad Advice
Posted on 09/02/2012 6:19:00 AM PDT by marshmallow
The Diocese of Paterson is now placing some of the blame for an alleged serial abuser on a spiritual counselor who said he was fit to return to ministry.
The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, a prominent New York Franciscan friar and psychologist, treated James T. Hanley, during the 1980s, after Hanley allegedly abused more than 15 boys in a Mendham parish. Groeschel said at the time that Hanley's problem was alcoholism, not a tendency to abuse minors, according to Marianna Thompson, the diocesan spokeswoman.
The diocese removed Hanley from ministry in 1986, 10 months after Mendham parishioner Mark Serrano revealed that the priest abused him when he was a minor. Bishop Frank J. Rodimer then allowed Hanley to serve in an Albany hospital in 1987.
Over the past year, Rodimer has apologized numerous times for his mishandling of the situation. He said he would like to see Hanley in jail. He recognized in a statement that he was wrong to follow the advice given to him at the time.
Now, through his spokeswoman, he has pointedly named the source of that bad advice.
"'I acted upon advice given me at the time, and that advice all stems from Benedict Groeschel,'" Thompson quoted the bishop as saying in a private conversation.
Groeschel could not be reached for comment at his residence or his workplace. He is the director of the Archdiocese of New York's Office of Spiritual Development in Larchmont. He is also a professor of pastoral psychology at St. Joseph's Seminary, and the head of the Trinity Retreat for Clergy, also located in Larchmont. He is nationally renowned as a religious leader and has been called by some "the male Mother Theresa" for his work with poor children in Harlem. He has also counseled hundreds of priests, according to a recent......
He soon apologized for his remarks and according to an article in the WSJ other friars said his remarks were due to a failing mental abilities.
Good as any excuse I suppose.
Thanks for posting the live link.
The media is really after him.
You would think that a long-term member of a religious order would recognize that raping a child is fundamentally a sinful behavior to be repented of, instead of an aberrational behavior to be "treated". Reading that Fr. Groeschel is a psychologist certainly puts his comments into a new light.
Wow,Thanks for the link marshmallow.
The "framing" of homosexuality, as well as pedophilia/pederasty, has traveled an arc from sin to:
--> crime --> sickness --> orientation --> identity --> human right
(Over-simplified and in need of definition, but you see what I'm getting at.)
Many people in and out of the Church have attitudes scattered somewhere along this spectrum. This huge turning away from moral truth has caused incalculable damage.
This is not to say that psychology has nothing whatsoever to offer in terms of understanding healing human mental and emotional ills. But it must never be allowed to supplant or contradict the primary moral judgment.
I'd go further.
If this report is accurate, it's clear that young men (and some women too) were abused precisely because of poor diagnoses and advice provided by Fr. Groeschel. He knows this and his conscience must accuse him.
That being the case, I'd day the strange comments which he made in a recent interview were largely self-serving and aimed at minimizing his own culpability in this scandal.
Recent times have seen a purging of high-profile Catholic talking heads, including Corapi, Euteneuer and Pavone. Fr. Groeschel needs to go join them and take his half-baked psychological theories with him.
I’d day = I’d say
Fr. Corapi and Fr. Eutenauer were guilty of "grave matter" offenses: drug abuse, financial embezzlement, sexual seduction, sacrilege, mutiny against legitimate ecclesiastic authority. But in contrast:
So Fr. Pavone had an administrative clash with his bishop but did not stand accused of crime or moral turpitide. He remains a priest in good standing, and his bishop confirms this.
Yet this is very much in line with what the whole psychology, law enforcement, and criminology professions were doing at that time: taking an unrealitically optimistic, therapeutic approach to sex offenders.
It was a series of diagnostic errors on Groeschel's part ---if what we're assuming is correct --- but it was not moral turpitude on his part: it was even perhaps "best practices" in his profession at that time.
Were his comments in the interview intended to be self-serving? That seems doubtful to me. They did him immediate, grave harm. They sparked intense denunciations of his views, and were directly repudiated by his religious congregation, by NCR, and in short order by himself. And his published comments brought on renewed scrutiny of his role as a psychologist, therapist, and consultant decades ago.
In many ways, Groeschel is well-loved as a holy and Christlike person, and was a man of intelligence as well. I use the past tense, "was," rather equivocally, since after his car accident, his month-long coma, and his strokes, he has gravely damaged capacity and may not be able to process difficult matters, especially ones where he's personally conflicted.
I don't want to pile on. I want the mistakes admitted, the bad practices repudiated, the lessons WIDELY learned, the virtues honored, and the man himself allowed--- in the name of decency and charity--- to retire in peace.