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Fr. Benedict Groeschel: Response to Brooks Egertonís March 2, 2003 Article n Dallas Morning News
http://www.franciscanfriars.com/ ^ | Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel CFR, Ed. D.

Posted on 03/06/2003 8:29:10 AM PST by Polycarp

Response to Brooks Egerton’s Article of March 2, 2003 in the Dallas Morning News

The headline of this article claiming that I played down the abuse crisis is an absolute untruth. Anyone reading my books or listening to my talks on this subject knows that this is utterly untrue, that it is a smear.

I must respond carefully to the rest of Egerton’s article because of professional confidentiality. I cannot even acknowledge that I spoke to certain people because of their right to privacy.

A few obvious points:

Egerton says that according to me the sexual abuse scandal is “largely the stuff of fiction”. Any honest person reading my book From Scandal to Hope (Our Sunday Visitor Press 2002) will see that this is a complete distortion, an almost incredible denial of what my book is about. I do stand by my statement that the secular media have taken the scandal out of proportion, ignored many charges of abuse of minors and committed by others in professional roles, created the impression that this is only a problem of Catholic clergy. Writers as varied as George Weigel, Philip Jenkins, Andrew Greeley, Richard Neauhaus and Peter Steinfels have all been critical of the media coverage of these scandals.

I agree with the assessment of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals on this issue:

“In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated and that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion.” Cardinal Ratzinger characterizes the media coverage as a planned campaign.

A number of factual distortions should be indicated. Egerton mentions that 85 priests have returned to the active ministry through Trinity Retreat, implying that some of these priests had difficulties with minors. These were priests on leaves of absence, not priests who had been accused of any misbehavior at all.

I have not been the director of Trinity Retreat for ten years. This retreat for priests has never has been referred to before as a mansion. In fact, I don’t even live in the building, I have lived for years in the garage.

I did not decline to be interviewed. I never spoke to Mr. Egerton because I was not at home when he called. After this article I am grateful to God I did not talk to him.

Fr. Richard Brown never assisted in the management of Trinity Retreat. He did typing and recorded reservations for priests coming on retreat. He lived a most prayerful and ascetical life while here and he had done so for many years before as many people have said. He did no pastoral work in the New York Archdiocese, nor did anyone ever request permission for him to do so.

I cannot comment on the allegations of the representative of the Paterson Diocese, except to say that my role is significantly misrepresented. I have requested a formal clarification.

I can say Morgan Kuhl never received any treatment from me and was in fact directly enrolled in a formal treatment program elsewhere. We provided a supervised residence, which the court agreed to continue.

As to the issue of my not having a license: a Doctor of Psychology does not need a license unless he is receiving third part payments for instance from an insurance company or an agency. I never intended to receive any pay doing psychological counseling or spiritual direction, so I never bothered about a license. In fact I have never been paid a cent for my services that Mr. Egerton refers to as “business”. It is not uncommon for professors of psychology not to obtain licenses to practice, because clinical practice is not our principal vocation.

I stand by what I have written in From Scandal to Hope.

Mr. Egerton’s article is a prime example of the hostility, distortion and planned attack on the Catholic Church in the United States by certain segments of the media.

I also wish to acknowledge the support and encouragement of countless numbers of people whom I meet in my preaching travels and who only recognize me as a Catholic priest and religious. People when they warmly greet me they are at least four times more friendly than they were two years ago. The American people have a sense of fair play and many of them, including many clergymen of other denominations have indicated to me that they believe Catholic priests are being victimized by an abuse of the power of the media.

Of course I will keep Mr. Egerton in my prayers for himself and his personal intentions. This is required by the gospel. He’s also done me a favor proving the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. In the Sermon On The Mount, (Matthew 5:11) Jesus reassures us when He says, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is very great in heaven.”


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: benedictgroeschel; catholiclist; diocese; paterson; patersondiocese
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To: sinkspur
But Groeschel worked with priests who abused young people. Because of doctor-patient privilege, we will likely never know just how much bishops relied on his recommendations.

Hmmmm...I suspect it's more of the seal of the confessional variety, but was he actually involved in the cover-up? Did he actually recommend that abusers be returned to active ministry with children?

Until those two questions can be answered one way or the other, there's no story here.

None of this is going to go public until all parties have passed away.
21 posted on 03/06/2003 12:16:39 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: sinkspur
Don't you believe he should have revealed that he belonged to that organization? Doesn't that organization have an agenda? Would anyone accept an article written on the issue by member of church hierarchy, while not revealing that he was?
22 posted on 03/06/2003 12:18:16 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: sinkspur
The Church is a target in regards to sexual abuse because the bishops' first concern was themselves, and not the victims.

Yes, except for one little thing. Thus far, the only cardinal to resign or even give a hint of resigning is the only one in a major problem diocese who also happened not to be liberal and did not lean toward modernism and dissent. Law has a conscience. It seems that the others don't.

That being said, this is still bad journalism.
23 posted on 03/06/2003 12:21:08 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: sinkspur
There are Catholics on this forum who, like Ratzinger and Groeschel, do everything they can to blame outside forces (the media, permissive society, Vatican II) for the actions of very sinful men. That's their "agenda."

If you care about what's true than you'll retract this statement. In the above article Fr. Groeschel does not blame those forces for the actions of the sinful men. He blames them for distorting the facts and using them against the Church. There is a big difference. If you're honest, you'll correct the statement.

24 posted on 03/06/2003 12:22:50 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: sinkspur
What's important is what is true.

If you care about what's true, don't the distortions in this article? Do you really want to find out what really happened with Fr. Groeschel, because you seem like you just want to blame him and not look into it. I guess he's guilty by accusation. On other topics, you would be suspicious of the media, but you can't question anything about Catholics?

Basically do you believe there is any difference etween anti-Catholic and anti-molestation?

25 posted on 03/06/2003 12:28:19 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: sinkspur
The entire Church?
26 posted on 03/06/2003 12:29:50 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
He blames them for distorting the facts and using them against the Church.

The media has "distorted" nothing. They report the facts. If these facts are used against the Church, then it's the Church's fault.

If bishops hadn't covered all this nonsense up in 1984 when the scandal was gaining critical mass, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Stop blaming the media when the Church gave them the ammunition.

27 posted on 03/06/2003 12:33:24 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: nickcarraway
Basically do you believe there is any difference etween anti-Catholic and anti-molestation?

I don't understand the question.

28 posted on 03/06/2003 12:37:04 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: nickcarraway
Don't you believe he should have revealed that he belonged to that organization?

What organizations do you belong to so I can know your agenda.

29 posted on 03/06/2003 12:38:40 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
The media has "distorted" nothing. They report the facts.

Oh, please. Get real. When writing copy for any news medium the primary concern is the hook followed by space - be it time or actual column inches. Words are cut (translation: details) based on the available space. There are details left out every day. Journalism is not term paper writing where there is a topic sentence and then supporting sentences woith development. Stories are written with space editing in mind. A whole lot of detail which gives a much better picture of the whole situation was left out of the original story.

Just remember: mundane details don't sell papers. Splashy headlines do. Changing minds is next to impossible once they are set. The sensationalistic headlines did their job. The Church and the hierarchy are now guilty until proven innocent.
30 posted on 03/06/2003 12:44:12 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: sinkspur
It's a very simple question. Do you believe there is any difference etween anti-Catholic and anti-molestation?
31 posted on 03/06/2003 12:44:22 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: sinkspur
The media has "distorted" nothing.

That about sums it up. You believe the media has never made a mistake. They are infallible to you. So much for your talk about caring for what is true.

32 posted on 03/06/2003 12:45:40 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: sinkspur
You aren't sticking to the main thrust of this article and the one it refutes. You are dragging the whole mess into this dust-up between Fr. G. and Mr. E. in order to deflect attention from your original statements in the two other threads you posted regarding Fr. Groeschel.

I think Fr. G. has addressed and answered each "charge" leveled against him by the DMN/BEdgerton, has he not?

What is your problem?

33 posted on 03/06/2003 12:52:44 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Polycarp
I am very glad Fr. Groeschel spoke out. He absolutely had to, however, this issue has become quite the political hot potato. It's not over.

Now get back on the wagon;-)

35 posted on 03/06/2003 1:09:20 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: american colleen
I think Fr. G. has addressed and answered each "charge" leveled against him by the DMN/BEdgerton, has he not?

No. Did he tell Mark Serrano to leave Fr. Hanley alone? Did he scold him for coming forward with accusations of abuse?

Nothing about that here.

The bigger picture is how much did Groeschel know and how many of these abusers was he involved with?

That will come out in a courtroom.

36 posted on 03/06/2003 1:19:07 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: nickcarraway
You believe the media has never made a mistake.

A ridiculous overstatement.

The media is largely relaying what it gets from depositions and the previously-sealed folders on these abusive priests.

The media makes lots of mistakes. But you don't like all this messy stuff about the Church becoming public, do you? It's embarrassing, and it should be. But not to you.

Those who should be embarrassed are the bishops and those who helped them cover-up (psychologists, lawyers, doctors, and some family members whose acceptance of payoffs facilitated further abuse. And, of course, the abusive priests themselves).

But, let's get it all out. Sunlight is a great disinfectant.

37 posted on 03/06/2003 1:25:10 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
No. Did he tell Mark Serrano to leave Fr. Hanley alone? Did he scold him for coming forward with accusations of abuse?

Nothing about that here.

I had nothing to do with the reappointment of James Hanley to another parish after he was removed from Mendham as a result of serious accusations of abuse of minors. In fact, I had never heard of the case. I became involved when Hanley came on retreat after he was removed a second time from a new assignment because his picture appeared in the diocesan paper with a group of altar boys. I totally agreed with the Serano family, who apparently acquiesced to his reassignment, that this was a serious violation of a provision that had been given to them, namely, that Hanley not work with minors. No additional charges of misconduct were made as far as I know from Hanley’s second assignment. I strongly suggested that he not be assigned to any parish duties and that he be supervised closely. Hanley at this time was an active AA member and was very remorseful.

I was never involved with such a case before and I was startled by the degree of anger and hurt Hanley’s sinful behavior had generated. Since that time I have worked with a number of victims and I accept their anger as appropriate and say so in my book, From Scandal to Hope (OSV 2002).

The bigger picture is how much did Groeschel know and how many of these abusers was he involved with?

Are you just impugning Fr. G. on your own information or does this have anything to do with the DMN article you posted? You could ask this same exact question of many? most? priests in almost any of the affected dioceses. Stick to the facts as Fr. G. has done. He cannot answer your personal charges against him unless you maybe post your own vanity thread here and ping him or write to him with your question.

That will come out in a courtroom.

Let it all hang out! The sooner the better. I don't believe there is one Catholic out there who disagrees with that.

38 posted on 03/06/2003 1:34:41 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: american colleen
The quotation from Fr. Groeschel's letter does not refute Serrano's contention that Groeschel questioned why Serrano was hurting Hanley further by bringing charges forward because Hanley was "a sick man." If Serrano is right, Groeschel was more concerned about the priest than about him.
39 posted on 03/06/2003 1:55:23 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
The quotation from Fr. Groeschel's letter does not refute Serrano's contention that Groeschel questioned why Serrano was hurting Hanley further by bringing charges forward because Hanley was "a sick man." If Serrano is right, Groeschel was more concerned about the priest than about him.

"I was never involved with such a case before and I was startled by the degree of anger and hurt Hanley’s sinful behavior had generated. Since that time I have worked with a number of victims and I accept their anger as appropriate and say so in my book, From Scandal to Hope."

40 posted on 03/06/2003 2:03:06 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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