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Bishop Timlin's legacy: from Caparelli to the SSJ
St. Justin Martyr Society ^ | 07.29.03 | Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond

Posted on 08/01/2003 3:55:03 PM PDT by Coleus

Dear Friends,
For those of you who do not know me, I am a practicing Catholic and the father of eight children.  In late September 2001--months before the sex abuse crisis exploded in Boston in January 2002--I began exposing the sexual and financial misconduct of the Society of St. John, a group of priests under the authority of Bishop James Timlin of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  When Bishop Timlin sought to protect this homosexual cult, I also exposed his efforts to cover up their crimes.  If this newsletter is the first you have received from me, you can find full documentation of the evidence against Bishop Timlin and the Society of St. John at
Many of you are no doubt aware that the Vatican just announced Bishop Timlin's replacement last Friday, July 25, 2003.  Bishop Timlin's twenty-year reign in Scranton is now over.  Thanks be to God.
It is an appropriate time, then, to note the consistent failure of Bishop Timlin to protect his flock against homosexual predator priests.  In the first decade of his career, Bishop Timlin denied all responsibility when Fr. Robert Caparelli, a priest in the Diocese of Scranton, was convicted of sodomizing altar boys. The Fr. Caparelli case is particularly infamous because he was the first priest in the United States diagnosed as being HIV-positive who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing altar boys.  Fr. Caparelli died of AIDS in the Lackawanna Correctional Facility in December 1994.  Although Bishop Timlin, in his earlier capacity as Assistant Chancellor, had known of the serious accusations against Fr. Caparelli as early as 1968, nevertheless Bishop Timlin stonewalled and lied to the parishioners of St. Vincent's where Fr. Caparelli was pastor.  In fact, Bishop Timlin's capacity for deception led one attorney in the Caparelli case to state that "Bishop Timlin is the biggest liar I ever deposed." 
At the close of his second decade in office, it is evident that Bishop Timlin has learned nothing from the Caparelli case.  As I have demonstrated elsewhere, there are striking parallels between Bishop Timlin's handling of this case and that of the Society of St. John.  (See  Bishop Timlin denied responsibility for Fr. Caparelli then, and he now denies responsibility for Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity, Fr. Eric Ensey, and Fr. Marshall Roberts of the Society of St. John.  Bishop Timlin failed to investigate repeated accusations of sexual immorality then, and he has failed to investigate repeated accusations now.  Bishop Timlin lied then, and he is lying now.
What is particularly alarming is the fact that the Society of St. John is much more dangerous than Fr. Caparelli.  As wicked as Fr. Caparelli's deeds were, he did not--by any account--have the style and charisma of Fr. Urrutigoity, who founded a homosexual cult under the guise of traditional Catholicism.  Fr. Caparelli was not clever enough to groom his victims by means of a theory of male friendship that flattered boys and young men into receiving "spiritual direction" in bed with a priest.  Fr. Caparelli did not know how to cultivate the parents of his victims so that they would eagerly offer their boys to him as if he alone could assure their salvation.  And Fr. Caparelli did not know how to persuade Catholic donors to give him millions of dollars for the romantic dream of a Catholic village that he knew to be impossible, yet useful as a lure to ensnare adoring boys convinced by the "smells and bells" of high liturgy--not to mention the luxurious furniture, fine liquor and cigars--that this priest must be heaven-sent.  No, Fr. Caparelli was a less sophisticated sort of monster.  The damage done to souls by Fr. Urrutigoity and his followers will be much greater. 
Bishop Timlin's reign is over, but the predator priests of the Society of St. John remain free to ply their perverse trade.  How many more young souls will be abused, and how many more Catholic donors will be cheated, before the Society, like Fr. Caparelli, is finally stopped?  Only then will we know the even darker legacy of Bishop Timlin.
Pax vobiscum,
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
College of St. Justin Martyr
142 Market Road
Greeley, PA 18425

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholiclist
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1 posted on 08/01/2003 3:55:03 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: Coleus
This letter is suspect. I have no doubt it is genuine--but there is really no such college as Justin Martyr, except on paper. The writer has an ax to grind and he is grinding it. I agree Fr. U. was very bad news; I agree Bishop Timlin was naive and sometimes derelict--but he was not protecting a gay coterie--he was trying to keep scandalous charges from wrecking the economics of a religious enterprise that depended heavily on the good will of traditional donors.
2 posted on 08/01/2003 5:02:41 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
The college is probably in a trailer like those degree mills we get as spam.
Scranton Protest Pic - 2/2/2003  Scranton Protest Pic - 2/2/2003

3 posted on 08/01/2003 5:45:00 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight and gave an innate predisposition for self-preservation and protection)
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To: Coleus
No, I am sorry, you are both incorrect. The college was to be a project spearheaded by Dr. Bond and he set up shop with the Society to begin implementation of the school. In the process, he became suspicious about the Society. Parents were making charges and he saw firsthand young boys being plied with alcohol at the seminary.

I actually called, and spoke with Bishop Timlin personally about this. Yes, when I asked him, wasn't this horrendous that boys were being plied with liquor, "Oh yes!" he replied. Yes, when I asked him, wasn't this horrendous that they shared the bed with these boys, "Oh yes!" he replied. Wasn't the squandering of raised funds in a way that required, by court order (I believe) an outside accounting procedure to be instituted, "Oh yes!" he replied. Well then in the aggregate, isn't this scandal enough to condemn the society? "Oh no!" he replied. He is a prevaricator, and so are they and I have it first hand from both parties. V's wife.

4 posted on 08/02/2003 1:15:23 PM PDT by ventana
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To: ultima ratio

A Letter From Cate and Arnold Swanson

Dear Friends of the Society of Saint John:

It is three years ago this month when we first visited the Society of Saint John. Our hope was to return to the Traditional Latin Mass. We heard of the Society through a newspaper article, and requested to be a guest at their Sunday Mass.

As we made our way down a path sheltered by tall trees from the light falling snow, we crossed over the stream by way of a wooden bridge, and continued our walk up the hill toward the simple Chapel converted from a stable.

This short walk awakens the spirit, and it continues to breathe new life into us each and every Sunday we attend Mass. If you remain still, the voice of God could be heard through the whisper of its trees; through the rushing waters of its creek, and in the still of its night.

On that Sunday, we only heard the snow crunch beneath our feet, and the sounds of the river greeted us as new participants of this Holy Hill. We did not know at the time that we would be forever changed, and our lives continually blessed through our friendship with Society of Saint John.

That Sunday, and for the weeks which followed, Fr. Eric Ensey officiated at Mass, while the remainder of the Society stayed on in France to study. There was a deep reverence in which he approached the Altar and handled the Divine Host. The Mass instantly inspired us to become a part of the Society’s mission.

Afterwards, a simple brunch was served. Invited guests brought baskets of food. We soon learned that many, as ourselves, thirsted for a better way of life; and for God to be an every day part of that life.

Since that time, we have spent many Sundays with Fr. Ensey, both religiously and socially. We were drawn to his calm and compassion. He is a priest of sincerity and integrity, and we look forward to a long friendship.

Shortly afterwards, we met Father Carlos Urrutigoity. At the time, his English was not very good. We fondly recall laboring through his sermons, looking at each other and questioning; “Who is this priest, and where did he come from?” Nevertheless, it did not take long to discover he was the visionary, the driving force behind the dream for a City of God. His faith in the vision never falters. He believes that God has lead the Society to this Holy Hill, and that Our Lady of Loreto had answered his prayers. There is a natural grace and elegance about him. He is a man of honesty, straightforwardness, and an enormous zest for life. We have worked together on many projects at the Society, and found him abundant in faith and he possesses uncompromising integrity.

When the remainder of the members returned, we found them to be equally as warm and interested in the smallest of concerns. None of the Society members are ever too busy to offer assistance. Every kindness given is embraced by them and is never taken for granted.

In these three years we have been privy to much of the Society’s daily lives. Through God’s good grace, we have assisted in small ways with their mission. We handle the Chapel floral designs, and perform repairs and carpentry work. We have been benefactors to several projects, and assist with holiday dinners. Due to our close and personal involvement, we are in and about the property all hours of the day and most evenings. We seldom announce ourselves, and appointments are only made for meetings. We are around their rooms to repair or retrieve one thing or another. Members are always up and about doing business, and move without concern from room to room. Due to the fact that quarters are extremely tight, most of the members are not afforded much privacy. Computers are placed wherever possible. Fax machines are tucked in corners. Beds are neatly made, but rest on the floor. Priests prefer any additional space for altars to perform their daily private mass. We have never at any time experienced anything other than appropriate behavior by all members of the Society.

Superior General Fr. Urrutigoity’s private chamber is like Grand Central Station. People are always busy and about; both day and night.

His secretary works long hours, arriving early in the morning and can be found laboring away in the late hours of the night. When the property was overflowed with guests, they slept on floors, couches, and porches, and in any one of the member’s rooms. There was no immoral plan, no secret invitation. The arrangements were simple; If there was space to be found, they flopped for the night. One must remember that all of these boys forged close bonds with these men; they are considered brothers, confidants and life-long friends.

We have witnessed Society members greeted with such enthusiasm and manly embraces from St. Gregory Students; it fills your heart and lifts your spirit. We have watched these same boys kneel for hours on the hard tile floor of the Chapel in respect for the Host, or labor for hours in the hot sun to erect a flagstone patio for a community gathering with our beloved Bishop Timlin.

To read anything differently into a simple display of affection is rubbish. We will not dignify ourselves, Father Urrutigoity, Father Ensey, or any other member of the Society with discussion on the hideous accusations, allegations and sad state of affairs of this disgruntled terminated employee.

Let us just reassure any one who is interested in knowing the truth that Dr. Jeffrey Bond, himself, advised in the Spring of 2001 that he was terminated from the Society due to the fact that they could no longer afford to pay him. However, the Society agreed to continue his salary until September to allow him enough time to seek other employment. How coincidental, his smear campaign did not start until that September.

It is just as coincidental that his persistent harassment of the property owner generated the Society’s eviction from the Saint Joseph House, forging the way for his associate Father Richard Munkelt and his friend Russ Buss to conveniently move in days later.

We are bewildered that Father Munkelt traveled and lived with the Society here and in France; was ordained into the Society in the Spring of 2001, and had never reported episodes of moral misconduct.

Society members are all too busy attending to the day-to-day responsibilities, and attending Mass, lectures, traveling on fund-raisers, and answering emails; to have little time for the "wild life" as fantasized by their accusers.

We have observed the Society’s growth this past year, and as in any organization, we learn from our mistakes. Mistakes are part of the growth process. The Society is no exception. They have learned from their financial errors, and are exercising much caution with expenditures.

We have been invited guests for meals at one time or another for the past three years. The meals are simple, served at appointed hours, eaten in silence, and one member reads to the group aloud. Members assigned to serving and clean up eat after all members are finished.

Meals brought in are just as simple, and provided only to avoid additional strain on overburdened volunteer staff and overworked kitchen appliances.

Dishes are washed by hand, and the tables are set for the next meal. Members enjoy an hour of group social discussion, song, verse, and they are off to Chapel for Compline.

The Society’s vision has always been one of beauty, music and nature. Their dream is to generate a community, which embraces all of the above in relationship with God and the Holy Order of Mass.

Nature has already provided the setting for them. The music can be experienced through their Gregorian Chant. Beauty and refinement was intended for the housing, which would generate culture, art and good taste. It is ironical that Dr. Bond did not object to any of the furnishing when one of the houses was earmarked for his future residence as president of the college, and in which he and his family would enjoy the lovely surroundings.

Anyone who attends Mass, strolls the grounds, interacts with its members, or chats with the faithful will determine for themselves what is fact and what is fiction.

We continue to support our dear friends at the Society, and offer daily prayers for Bishop Timlin during this difficult time, and that God’s Will be done.

Yours in Christ and his beloved Mother,

Cate and Arnold Swanson

5 posted on 08/02/2003 1:24:41 PM PDT by Akron Al
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To: Akron Al
Anyone who attends Mass, strolls the grounds, interacts with its members, or chats with the faithful will determine for themselves what is fact and what is fiction.

Well, the number of laymen who've been buffaloed by these predator clerics is legion, so I'd believe Bond over the syrupy-sweet Swansons.

How about that! A trad ring of wolves! I'd like to know who these lay people are that place such trust in men that they would be snookered by the claim that only THEY can lead young men to God!

One must remember that all of these boys forged close bonds with these men; they are considered brothers, confidants and life-long friends

I'll bet.

6 posted on 08/02/2003 1:39:58 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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To: ultima ratio
I agree Bishop Timlin was naive and sometimes derelict--but he was not protecting a gay coterie--he was trying to keep scandalous charges from wrecking the economics of a religious enterprise that depended heavily on the good will of traditional donors.

Which he did not accomplish: either saving the economics of the school, or protecting the gay coterie. And how "religious" could the school be if it was run by deviants?

It pays to look at clergy these days with as little emotion as possible. Every one of them should have to earn whatever trust is placed in them, not given it because they've got collars around their necks.

7 posted on 08/02/2003 1:47:32 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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To: Akron Al
"The Society’s vision has always been one of beauty, music and nature. Their dream is to generate a community, which embraces all of the above in relationship with God and the Holy Order of Mass."

I was myself, as a traditionalist, at first attracted to the dream of this Society to build a traditional Catholic community from the ground up. I even supported it, contributing money periodically. But after a short while I began to realize these men were primarily aesthetes uninterested in traditional Catholicism per se. I was especially put off by the elaborate jewel-toned brochures they sent out--far in excess of what seemed appropriate for so penurious an outfit.

Then the scandal broke--which I followed closely. The boys involved--all in their early teens and on retreat at St. John's from a traditionalist prep school--received their "spiritual direction" from Fr. U by sharing his bed. The claim was there were too few beds at the site to supply retreatants, so there were some unorthodox sleeping arrangements. Yeah-sure. There was also some drinking. This is the same Fr. U. that Bishop Fellay warned Bishop Timlin about--as a possible homosexual.

It is not unusual that most of the boys denied anything "happened" since the stigma of engaging in homosexual sex would have been very great among their peers. But one boy did come forward and Bishop Timlin consequently suspended Fr. U. and the other priests involved. But he tried to fight the accusations at the same time, claiming the Society of St. John is legitimate and should be supported. I have no doubt he was motivated by the millions of dollars at stake should the enterprise eventually collapse. As it is, it is hanging on by its finernails.
8 posted on 08/02/2003 1:53:44 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sinkspur
They are not trads. They have already ditched the '62 missal. They were fakes from the beginning--as I warned my family early on. Their interest in the Old Mass was purely aesthetic, without any basis in doctrine.
9 posted on 08/02/2003 1:56:15 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio; Akron Al; ventana; Coleus
Scranton Scandal
Traditional Catholics are not immune to sex scandals.

February 7, 2002 9:15 a.m.

Rod Dreher

Are sex scandals involving Catholic priests the fault of moral and theological liberalism? Some conservative Catholics think so. But an ugly case unfolding now in Pennsylvania involving allegations of homosexual misconduct, alcohol abuse, and financial fraud on the part of a traditionalist religious community suggests otherwise.

In late January, Scranton Bishop James Timlin confirmed to the local media that he had reassigned — but not suspended — the two leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. John, pending the outcome of an investigation into the purported sexual molestation of a young man, who was a minor at the time of the alleged crime. The priests are the Rev. Carlos Urritigoity, the society's superior-general, and his chancellor, the Rev. Eric Ensey. Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty said the move came in the wake of a January 12 "confidential letter" the diocese received from an adult male alleging molestation against one of the two priests, and improper contact with the other.

Jeffrey Bond, who was tapped by the society to run its planned college, but who has turned on the order after discovering what he considers evidence of financial and sexual impropriety, believes Bishop Timlin's actions are too little, too late. And the grassroots-activist group Roman Catholic Faithful has called for the resignation of Timlin, whom it has accused of foot-dragging to protect the order.

"Last summer, I knew we had to separate the college from the Society," Bond says. "First, because they were raising money in our name but not giving it to us, and second, because I found out that Fr. Urritigoity had a problem with sleeping with young men."

He's not using the verb as a euphemism for sex between the priest and others, which he says he cannot prove. Urritigoity, though, has a strange habit of sharing his bed with seminarians and other young men, say Bond and others formerly associated with the Society. Bond and his lawyer provided NRO with two affidavits and a letter from a Franciscan friar, all of whom say they witnessed activities involving alcohol and improper physical intimacy among Society priests and young men — including teenage boys — in their company.

The Society of St. John began as a breakaway group from the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic order founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. When Bishop Timlin canonically established the Society in his diocese in 1997, he gave its members temporary housing in St. Gregory's Academy, an all-male Catholic boarding school sponsored by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Jude Huntz, who was head dorm manager, stated in a sworn affidavit that on several occasions, he saw Society members getting male students drunk. Brother Alexis Bugnolo, a Franciscan friar who overnighted in the Society's quarters in 1999, says in a letter that he is prepared to testify in court that he witnessed during that stay several instances of homosexual activity among students, including one boy who later became a postulant of the Society.

Later that year, Society members relocated into two houses on a vast rural Pennsylvania estate it had purchased for $2.2 million. That did not end the Society's relationship with St. Gregory's boys, though. One former Society postulant, who was with the order for six months in the year 2000, told NRO that 18- and 19-year-old St. Gregory's graduates would visit Urritigoity on weekends, many of them spending the night in the priest's room, which contained only one, single-sized bed.

A sworn affidavit provided by the 32-year-old California man, who asked NRO to withhold his name, details several instances in which he claims to have seen young men in compromising positions with Urritigoity, and the Society's priests plying young men with booze. On one occasion, the ex-postulant alleges he saw a man who had been extremely drunk the night before, leaving the 37-year-old Urritigoity's bedroom in the morning.

"None of them ever told me they had had intercourse with him, but it was all very weird," the ex-postulant said. He added that when he shared his concerns about "musical bedrooms" with others in the Society, "I was made to feel that I was the one with the problem."

Meanwhile, the Society was presenting to the public an appealing image of a vibrant new religious community based on the Latin Mass, classical scholarship, and Catholic cultural tradition. Its well-designed website promotes the Society's vision for an ideal Catholic priestly and lay community — including the building of a model traditionalist Catholic village — which brought donations pouring in from sympathetic Catholics.

Behind the scenes, though, the Society was "spending money like a drunken sailor," alleges a prominent Catholic businessman who served on its board of advisers, and who helped the Society raise money.

"I was concerned because they had a certain arrogance and a certain attitude about things," says John Blewett, who is now managing editor of Latin Mass magazine. "They were careless financially, and very haughty about what they could do. That's not the kind of humility and attitude one brings to that kind of endeavor."

Matthew Sawyer, an Illinois businessman and former board member, says he was rebuffed by the Society's leadership when he questioned them about what he describes as their "wild spending sprees," and the possible illegal handling of their finances.

"Then I petitioned Bishop Timlin, and he couldn't have cared less," says Sawyer. "He said that's the way they are."

In public letters to the bishop, who is a favorite of traditionalist Catholics, Bond accuses him of looking the other way as he and others presented evidence of the Society's financial mismanagement and sexual shenanigans. Among his allegations: that Timlin knew, or should have known had he done a background check as required by diocesan guidelines, that Urritigoity was a potential danger to boys at St. Gregory's.

Bond provided NRO with a copy of an undated letter, written in Spanish, purportedly sent by a Society of St. Pius X seminary in Argentina to SSPX counterparts in the United States, warning them that Urritigoity had been caught numerous times engaging in homosexual activity while a seminarian there. Bond came across the document while investigating Urritigoity, and says he e-mailed the information to Timlin on December 8.

"Why did I have to be the one to find this out about Fr. Urritigoity's past?" says Bond. "If Bishop Timlin had bothered to do a background check before he let this guy work with kids, as the diocesan policy says he's supposed to, he would have found it out on his own."

A spokesman at SSPX's American headquarters declined to comment on the letter, calling it "a private communication."

For its part, the Diocese of Scranton issued an angry January 24 statement categorically denying Bond's charges (the official statement, which is not available on the diocesan website, can be found here, along with a short statement by the Society, and responses by Bond. The diocese's statement referred requests for further information to its attorney, but does not identify the lawyer. Calls to the diocese's spokeswoman were unanswered. Nor did the Society answer NRO's request for comment.

The whole mess may soon end up in court. The young man who sent the January 12 letter to Timlin claiming he had been molested by a Society priest is said to be preparing a lawsuit against the Society and the diocese. Bond is also contemplating a lawsuit that would seek to hold the Society and Timlin responsible for the collapse — temporary, he hopes — of the College of St. Justin Martyr.

Meanwhile, both the implosion of the Society and the bishop's actions have left some Catholics feeling angry, betrayed, and alienated from the traditionalist movement.

Sawyer describes the Society's priests as, "Wolves in sheep's clothing. I gave them my all, and they just kicked me in the teeth. They're lawless renegades, and the way they handled their money and property, they've got to be in violation of their 501(c)3 status."

The ex-postulant from California, whose family had donated a large sum of money to the Society, is, like Sawyer, estranged from traditionalist Catholicism.

Blewett, whose Latin Mass magazine is the editorial flagship of the movement, agrees that scandals like this rob good people of their hope, and make them cynical. And the fallout will, unfortunately, affect even good traditionalist orders.

"When these brushes tar, they tar widely," he says.

Bond says until this happened, he believed sexual disorder in the clergy was the fruit of modern liturgy and liberal bishops. Now, he says, he has learned the hard way that personal orthodoxy does not guarantee that a bishop will do the right thing when it comes to governing his diocese, particularly in the matter of protecting kids from potential sexual predators. And he is convinced even a bishop as well-liked by Church conservatives as Timlin must be held publicly accountable.

"I've gotten my share of people telling me to be quiet about this, and I keep telling them that you can't say we have to avoid scandal, and let people get harmed," says Bond. "Your duty is to stop the evil and let God take care of the rest. The scandal is caused by the actions of these people, and what you're doing is trying to stop it."

10 posted on 08/02/2003 2:01:33 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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To: Akron Al
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Scranton Scandal-A Follow-up
The bishop speaks.

February 15, 2002 9:20 a.m.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece is a follow-up to "Scranton Scandal," which appeared in NRO on Feb. 7, 2002.

he Roman Catholic bishop of Scranton, Pa., says a campaign against him and the Society of St. John, a conservative religious order based in his diocese, is being waged by a "very determined, very vengeful, and very talented" ex-Society employee who was hired to head a fledgling college under Society sponsorship.

But Bishop James Timlin stopped just short of accusing Dr. Jeffrey Bond of paying him back for refusing to allow the separation of the school from the Society.

"This public campaign began after I refused to give [Dr. Jeffrey Bond] permission to have the college. What his motivations are I cannot say," says Timlin. "I thought we were friends until that happened. He turned on me immediately."

Fr. Dominic O'Connor, a Society priest, echoed the bishop's comment, telling NRO that he finds it odd that Bond only began complaining about alleged sexual improprieties after the bishop, on October 15, 2001, officially turned down Bond's request for the college's independence.

Yet Bond has long maintained he sent an e-mail to Society priests on September 27 — nearly three weeks before the official break — asking them to denounce Urritigoity's alleged bedroom practices.

In a wide-ranging interview, Timlin addressed several allegations made against him and the Society by Bond and others once affiliated with the 19-member religious order. Last Thursday, NRO reported on a scandal involving allegations of sexual and financial impropriety against priests of the Society. Critics also faulted Timlin for what they consider to be his protection of the Society.

In Timlin's version of events, Bond and Fr. Richard Munkelt, an ex-Society priest, approached him last summer to ask if they could separate the College of St. Justin Martyr — which was then, as now, still on the drawing board — from the Society over "liturgical differences." According to the bishop, Bond and Munkelt wanted to use a 1962 Latin rite mass at the college, and not a more modern liturgy preferred by the Society.

"I was trying to be the go-between here and try to make things amicable," Timlin says. "I said [the separation is] all right with me as long as it's all right with the Society. It's their baby. For you to run with it sounds like a hostile takeover."

Bond denies that questions of liturgy ever entered the dispute, and says he sought the separation because the Society wouldn't give the college proper funding, and because he was becoming convinced there were homosexual problems among some Society priests that would compromise the college's mission.

Timlin says Bond then began making accusations that Fr. Carlos Urritigoity, the superior-general of the Society, was sharing his bed with teenage boys — though not necessarily engaging in sexual relations with them.

"When I heard that this was going on, I called the whole bunch of them [Society priests] in and ordered them to stop it," Timlin says. "They denied any wrongdoing, and said they did things like that only when they were crowded. They denied any immoral activity. I told them that they had to understand that in this climate, this is outrageous. You have to avoid even the appearance of evil."

The bishop says the priests were "very obedient" and promised to stop. He insists that there is no evidence that anything "immoral" — by which he means homogenital activity — happened between Urritigoity and the teenage boys. Timlin says he told James Bendell, a lawyer representing Bond, that Urritigoity "may have slept with boys, but that's not a sin. I agreed with [Bendell] that it didn't look right, and it should stop."

Bond still maintains the bishop is being naïve at best, saying that, "People should know their bishop doesn't think there's anything immoral about a boy of 15 or 16 sleeping in bed with a priest in his private chambers."

Timlin says he also dressed the Society priests down over reports that they had served alcohol to minors. According to the bishop, the priests only did so at meals and receptions, and did not get boys falling-down drunk, as some critics have alleged. The bishop said the Society priests told him they didn't realize social drinking of that sort was against the law, and would stop.

In 1999, Timlin learned that a priest-in-training at Urritigoity's previous home, a Society of St. Pius X seminary, had formally accused Urritigoity of having made an unwanted sexual advance on him. Timlin says he sent a fact-finding team to the seminary at once, and they returned with evidence they then presented to an independent review board. The case against Urritigoity, the board decided, amounted to the accused priest's word against his accuser's, and was therefore deemed inconclusive.

"They unanimously recommended that there wasn't anything proven here," Timlin says. "On the basis of that, we put that to rest."

In e-mails and telephone conversations, Bond has said the bishop ought to have informed St. Gregory's Academy, an all-male boarding school where Society priests were functioning as chaplains, of the accusations against Urritigoity (the bishop tells NRO he cannot remember if he did or did not do this). Bond further says that the bishop, with an "inconclusive" judgment from his advisers, should have erred on the side of caution and removed Urritigoity from a ministry in which he had close contact with youth.

Bond has also criticized the bishop for not performing background checks on the Society's priests before allowing them to live and function as chaplains in the boys' school — something that diocesan policy requires of all priests who have close contact with children.

Timlin responds that no background checks were performed because "it never seemed to be indicated. We still don't think it's necessary."

Yet last month, the bishop suspended Urritigoity and his deputy, Fr. Eric Ensey, pending the outcome of an investigation into formal allegations of sexual molestation made by a father on behalf of his son, a former St. Gregory's Academy student.

Both the bishop and the Society's O'Connor lament that graduates of St. Gregory's who have had contact with Urritigoity find their moral integrity, and the Society's, in question.

"I've gotten all kinds of letters from students who were there, who praised [Society priests] to the skies for giving them a manly faith, because of the way they were treated there," Timlin says.

Adds O'Connor: "There's a certain amount of anger developing not only among the Society of St. John, but among alumni of St. Gregory's Academy, that someone would make these suggestions about young men who are not only not homosexual, but who are actually very virile."

Alan Hicks, the headmaster at St. Gregory's, which is controlled by another priestly order, denied that any priest of the Society, while living at the school, shared a bed with teenage boys at the academy. He provided an October 24th letter from Bond in which Bond said there was no evidence that Urritigoity slept with boys of the Academy, and attested to Hicks's prudence.

"That's what I believed at the time happened," Bond replies today. "I thought St. Gregory's was a victim. I now believe Alan Hicks was negligent."

Bond says a former St. Gregory's dorm father admitted to Hicks that he had shared a bed with Urritigoity. When asked by NRO about this allegation, Hicks replied, "I'm not going to comment on that."

Timlin admitted that Urritigoity had been sent for evaluation for homosexual tendencies once before, and was cleared by a psychologist. And the bishop angrily denies Bond's claim that he told lawyer Bendell that he would give Bond a college if Bond would cease his criticism. Says a fiery Timlin: "That is absolutely untrue. There's not a shred of truth in that at all."

Both the bishop and Society priest O'Connor questioned the character and credibility of those making accusations of sexual impropriety against the Society. The bishop said the young man whose formal complaint sparked the January suspension of Urritigoity and Ensey was a "problem child" at St. Gregory's student.

Says O'Connor: "As alumni of St. Gregory's will testify, he was constantly making up stories at the Academy. Two years after the [molestation] incident he alleges occurred, he applied to join the Society" — which doesn't make sense, the priest reasons, if a Society priest had truly harmed the boy.

O'Connor calls "unstable" an ex-postulant who claims to have witnessed on several occasions teenage boys being served alcohol to the point of drunkenness by Society priests, and leaving Urritigoity's room in the morning in their underwear. He characterizes the man as self-centered and resentful, and says the 32-year-old left the Society after several unhappy months for "health reasons."

According to the California man, who asked NRO to withhold his name, he quit the Society because he couldn't stand seeing Urritigoity behaving in what he regarded as a sexually predatory fashion toward teenagers.

"It doesn't surprise me that they would start a disinformation campaign against anybody who accuses them," Bond tells NRO. "I remember before I met Matt Sawyer"-an early donor and adviser to the Society, who pulled out over what he considered its financial irresponsibility — "they were calling him mentally unbalanced. Their willingness to defame people is amazing."

Turning to the allegations of financial misconduct against the Society, Timlin strongly denies that he was unresponsive to complaints made by Catholic laymen advising the Society. The men previously told NRO that they had explicitly warned Timlin that the Society was spending money lavishly and unwisely. Timlin says today that indeed there were serious problems with the Society's finances, but that he moved responsibly to force the priests to clean up their act.

"These are young men, inexperienced in these matters," Timlin says, of the Society. "And I know they have very good taste. They may have been outlandish in their spending, but we've taken steps long ago to correct that. ...Their finances have been under control for some years."

O'Connor says the criticism from the ex-advisers comes because they resented Urritigoity's not taking their recommendations for how best to run the Society. And he denies that luxurious furniture was a foolish purchase.

"They would say to buy an expensive dining-room table was imprudent," says O'Connor. "We have, on the other hand, a benefactor of ours who says the opposite, that what attracted him to the Society was the image of stability we projected."

Though no lawsuits have been filed against either the Diocese of Scranton or the Society of St. John, Timlin is not hopeful that any of these matters will stay out of court.

"There might be a settlement here," he says. "I'd like to bring it to some conclusion, but the lawyers claim there's nothing [to the accusations] at this point. I don't want a lawsuit, but I don't see how we can settle matters without going to court."

O'Connor says the Society still has faithful donors, and that it will weather this crisis and continue with its plans. He believes that Bond is slandering Urritigoity and Society priests, but says no defamation lawsuit will be filed against Bond, owing to expense and the public scandal that would arise from forcing St. Gregory's alumni to testify.

Says Bond: "I've been on the phone with boys from St. Gregory's who say they slept alone with Father U. in his quarters, because that's how he gave spiritual direction. If all the boys say they got their manly faith from these guys, how could it harm them to give depositions? The reason [the Society] won't sue is that we could then put Timlin, Urritigoity, and others under deposition."




11 posted on 08/02/2003 2:01:51 PM PDT by Akron Al
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To: ultima ratio; sinkspur; ventana; Coleus
#11 provides dreher's more balanced follow up.
12 posted on 08/02/2003 2:03:32 PM PDT by Akron Al
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To: Akron Al
I've gotten all kinds of letters from students who were there, who praised [Society priests] to the skies for giving them a manly faith, because of the way they were treated there," Timlin says.

What, exactly, is a "manly faith"?

Timlin was hoodwinked and couldn't bring himself to admit it to Dreher. And, notice, Dreher didn't formulate an opinion. He just presented Timlin's and the SSJ's side of the story.

Which is fishy as hell.

13 posted on 08/02/2003 2:08:47 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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To: sinkspur; ventana
"And how "religious" could the school be if it was run by deviants?"

Your ignorance about this case almost equals your malice toward traditionalism. The minors involved were on retreat at with the Society of St. John. They came from a Catholic prep school nearby and were not attending school at St. John's on-paper-only college. Yes, there had been drinking. Yes, the boys admitted sharing a bed with Fr. U. But they told Timlin nothing happened--and he believed them. The explanation was that there were inadequate accommodations on the site--which actually was true.

Add to this the fact that the so-called "President" of Justin Martyr had his own credibility problem. Having accepted a position and moved his family to a non-existant college, he was furious at how he had been deceived by the order--so he had a sharp ax to grind. In any case, to place Timlin in the same category of Law and Mahony and some others would be wrong. He was not covering anything up--he removed the priests involved. But he properly wanted to limit the scandal. Can't blame him for that--there were millions of dollars at stake.
14 posted on 08/02/2003 2:11:30 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sinkspur
The Society of St. John began as a breakaway group from the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic order founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

There was no breakaway group.

Urritigoity was booted out of the SSPX and the Society warned Timlin of Urritigoity. It's disgusting to see how Dreher is trying to associate the scandal with SSPX.

15 posted on 08/02/2003 2:16:11 PM PDT by Land of the Irish
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To: ultima ratio
But he properly wanted to limit the scandal. Can't blame him for that--there were millions of dollars at stake.

Isn't there always, especially once the victims begin turning on the wolves?

In an attempt to limit scandal, the scandal is always much worse.

When it comes to cockroach-like behavior, even the ultra-orthodox try to keep the light of day away from improper behavior by clergy. Remember Eldon Curtiss and his shielding of a priest who had viewed child porn on a school computer in Omaha?

16 posted on 08/02/2003 2:16:48 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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To: Land of the Irish
It's disgusting to see how Dreher is trying to associate the scandal with SSPX.

Better keep Williamson's weirdness under wraps, then, or the SSPX will look like a travelling circus.

17 posted on 08/02/2003 2:18:34 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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To: Akron Al; sinkspur
I agree, this is a nuanced report. It is also true that the Society of St. John does not use the '62 missal and can therefore not be considered traditional--something Sinkspur needs to make note of.
18 posted on 08/02/2003 2:24:53 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sinkspur
For your information, while Timlin supports the Indult, he is a Novus Ordo bishop.
19 posted on 08/02/2003 2:27:45 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
Why are you so defensive? I'm for exposing sexual predators wherever they are, and for coming down hard on those who protect them.
20 posted on 08/02/2003 2:33:29 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!" George C. Scott as "PATTON.")
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