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Priest (Fr. Benedict Groeschel) plays down abuse crisis; helps clergy keep jobs
Dallas Morning News | 3/2/2003 | Brooks Egerton

Posted on 03/02/2003 8:54:18 AM PST by sinkspur

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To: sitetest; Polycarp; BlackElk; sandyeggo; saradippity; JMJ333; Aquinasfan; St.Chuck; Siobhan; ...
I've been spending less time here for other reasons than who posts and who does not. But what encourages me to post, when I post, is the friendship and fellowship of Polycarp, BlackElk, sandyeggo, saradippity, JMJ333, Aquinasfan, St.Chuck, Siobhan, Salvation, american colleen, Desdemona, ArrogantBustard, NYer, Notwithstanding, sinkspur, patent, SoothingDave, RobbyS, ThomasMore, and others.

AMEN! I also consider every single one of the people you just listed to be my kindred in faith, along with others who post here. I have also fought with CP, and this poster is full of more hate than the "Jack Chick" posters. While most of them have been mislead about the Catholic Church, CP knows what he is doing. The best thing to do is to pray for CP, for it is the best way to show Christian love, for Christ said to love your enemies. The other thing to remember is these Beatitudes:
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righeousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

(Matthew 5:10-12)

141 posted on 03/03/2003 2:38:23 PM PST by Pyro7480 (+ Vive Jesus! (Live Jesus!) +)
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To: Pyro7480
Also, if I may add to my post above, we may disagree with any of these people at times, but we can be sure, for the most part, that they are not going to unreasonable with us. That is something I can be happy about.
142 posted on 03/03/2003 2:40:34 PM PST by Pyro7480 (+ Vive Jesus! (Live Jesus!) +)
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To: Pyro7480
we may disagree with any of these people at times, but we can be sure, for the most part, that they are not going to unreasonable with us.

Very true, my friend.

143 posted on 03/03/2003 4:08:18 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Polycarp
While I've appreciated many of the fine posts, flags and research you've brought to the forum, the perpetual grandstanding and fisticuffs have grown old.

Try to stay focused. Palpatine's not worthy of your time save in prayer.

If you must post to him (as all of us do from time to time), try and resist the urge to ping the entire list to a a personal catfight.

Honestly, it's just such nonsense -- along with the endless reinventing of the wheel wrangling with the worst of the Catholic bashers -- that turned me off the Religion Forum entirely ... save for the flags I get to substantive and truly edifying articles. Just not worth the time to wade through junk like this.

I really do hope and pray -- for the sake of your blood pressure, much less the time better spent elsewhere or with your family -- that you find the grace to ignore entirely the hissing of the same old serpents.

It's just a matter of picking battles. I, for one, think your energies are sorely needed on far more potentially fruitful projects.

144 posted on 03/03/2003 4:28:51 PM PST by Askel5
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To: Askel5; Polycarp
It's just a matter of picking battles.

Well stated! I used to enjoy the Catholic Forum but I've pretty much abandoned it because EVERYTHING seems to be a battle. There are some members (CatholicGuy, for example) who seem to be out for blood every time they post, seeking heresy under every stone, and then there are the people who make the mistake of responding to them.

I scan the forum every now and then and respond to pings, but I found that all a regular reading of it did was to raise my blood pressure and lower my charity.

The best response to people like CP - or even particularly angry Catholics - is just to ignore them, pray for them, and then have rational discussions with people who are - well, rational.

145 posted on 03/03/2003 6:10:09 PM PST by livius
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To: livius
I scan the forum every now and then and respond to pings, but I found that all a regular reading of it did was to raise my blood pressure and lower my charity.

AMEN to that last part. Everyone could use an added reserve of charity in their affairs on the relgion forum. This requires prayer. I admit, I have been uncharitable on a few occasions (to some of the usual suspects, of course), but I enjoy discussing with the others, who are rational, too.

146 posted on 03/03/2003 6:22:26 PM PST by Pyro7480 (+ Vive Jesus! (Live Jesus!) +)
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To: livius
I've pretty much abandoned it because EVERYTHING seems to be a battle.

While what you say is true about the battle, it wouldn't be so bad if people didn't rise to the bait. Not only that, but, IMO, calling people Satan is counter-productive.

To top it off, everybody seems to be on a hair-trigger. Cabin fever maybe?

That being said, I do still at least read the threads, even if some of the comments are over the top.
147 posted on 03/03/2003 6:39:36 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona; Polycarp; american colleen; sandyeggo; sinkspur; BlackElk; ultima ratio
To top it off, everybody seems to be on a hair-trigger. Cabin fever maybe?

Which is why I have decided neither to post nor lurk on FreeRepublic for Lent. The time I spend here could well be put to better use.

See you all after Easter.

148 posted on 03/03/2003 6:48:29 PM PST by Loyalist
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To: saradippity; Polycarp
Since I was pinged on this, I will say that I generally stay out of any religion threads except the most neutral ("Here's some cool information!" "Yeah, that is cool! Thanks!" ) because of the hostility and intemperate language that seem to be much too common among a group of people all calling themselves Christians, of whatever denomination. (Do I get a run-on prize for that sentence?)

I take the directions on this input screen, including "NO personal attacks," seriously, and I find name-calling unbecoming, scandalous, and frankly boring.

We can all be civil. It's perfectly possible to express ourselves strongly without vulgarity or ad hominem attacks. That's why we have the Unabridged Dictionary ... there's a civilized English phrase for every need!

149 posted on 03/03/2003 6:54:43 PM PST by Tax-chick (I'm from Oklahoma, the center of the universe.)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
I am going to point out that in the past few months, the uber Catholics of FR have pretty much destroyed a previously thriving and pleasant Catholic Caucus that had a lot of participants and several non-Catholic defenders.

Only in your deluded, petulant little mind. Any "thriving, pleasant Catholic Caucus" did not include you, in any of your incarnations. You are a constant grouser, a Church-hater, and it is utterly impossible to have a reasonable conversation with you.
150 posted on 03/03/2003 7:24:04 PM PST by Antoninus (In hoc signo, vinces )
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To: Polycarp
I'm really disappointed in sinkspur more than anything.

And, after all you've been through with Adamec and others covering up for abusive priests, I find it opportunistic for you to take shots at me because I publish a story that's not complimentary of somebody you like.

Young men were ruined by abusive priests, Polycarp, many for life.

If Fr. Groeschel was in any way complicit in any of this, he needs to come clean, and not hide behind "blaming the media" for the problems in the Church.

And you've not answered my question: why did Groeschel return known homosexual predators to the priesthood?

151 posted on 03/03/2003 7:56:47 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: B Knotts; Polycarp; Siobhan
Background: Father Benedict Groeschel C.F.R.

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., is the Director of the Office for Spiritual Development of the Archdiocese of New York. He founded and is on the staff of Trinity Retreat, a center for prayer and study for the clergy. John Cardinal O'Connor appointed him promoter of the cause of Canonization of the Servant of God Terence Cardinal Cooke in 1984.

Previously Father Benedict was chaplain of the Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, New York, for fourteen years.

Father Benedict obtained his doctorate in psychology at St. Joseph's Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York.

He has taught at Fordham University, Iona College, and Maryknoll Seminary. He is also chairman of the Good Counsel Homes and the St. Francis House, which provides residence and programs for the homeless young mothers and homeless youth.

In May 1987, along with eight other friars, Fr. Benedict formed the community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal under the patronage of the late Cardinal O'Connor. This community, which follows the Capuchin Tradition, is dedicated to preaching reform and providing care for the homeless in South Bronx.
152 posted on 03/04/2003 12:40:27 AM PST by victim soul
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To: sinkspur
I do not agree with you on everything but do ask the same question,"why did Groeschel return known homosexual predators to the priesthood"?My son's were there .Trust no- one with your kids and hold your money if you are not happy.
153 posted on 03/04/2003 1:01:05 AM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: sinkspur
Some Catholic journalists and bloggers have risen to the defense of Fr. Groeschel; they assail the Dallas Morning News stories that I sent you yesterday and today.

The links, and the relevant quotes, are below, as a counterpoint to the stories that I sent earlier.


First, Michael Dubruiel:
AOL link: Annunciations
Text URL:

Care to Comment?Feedback Father Groeschel
There is a story about Father Groeschel in a certian metro paper today that I will not link. In many ways the story which ignores much of what Father Groeschel says about the clergy scandal and intimates that his reason for his slant on the crisis is because of his own role in working with such priests.

--One priest featured in the story, I know as an a very holy priest who had been living at the retreat house that Father Groeschel runs for "troubled priests" as well as for priests seeking spiritual renewal. This priest whose story I knew has been living a life of complete penitence since his crime. In many ways he has been imprisoned in the retreat house. How anyone can find anything wrong with that is beyond my grasp.

--A reference is made that Father Groeschel lives in a mansion. In fact Father Groeschel lives in the half of the garage of what once was a large house that is now coverted into a retreat house. I've been there, stayed there and in no way is it palatial or to be confused as a "mansion." It is usually overfilled with retreatants and others who are there for a lengthy period.

--Father does attack the media. And he does. After reading the Dallas piece I would tend to agree with him. What is the purpose of this piece? To question why a priest who has been removed from ministry is living in a retreat house for other priests like himself? Would they rather that he be living in an apartment complex unsupervised? Much is made of Father Groeschel's failures in using pschology to remedy priest who had abused. Guess what he acknowledges this in the book, apologizes for the stupidity of the field of psychology and its past mistakes. He never claims that he was any different than others in the field. So where is the story here?

--Father includes prayers in the book for victims, bishop and perpetrators. He apologizes profusely for those who have been hurt by the church. What he does in Scandal to Hope is calls for reform. How could anyone find fault with that?

-- posted by Michael at Sunday, March 02, 2003

Next, Mark Shea:

AOL link: Catholic and Enjoying It!
Text URL:


"I pretty much agree with him. I think Fr. Groeschel's worst failing has been his tendency toward over-the-top "blame the press" rhetoric. If it weren't for the press, the Scandal would not have come to light. Period. He need to quit talking as though this is primarily the press' fault.

That said, I also hasten to add that if it weren't for the Assyrians, Israel would not have been punished for their sins. This does not, however, transform the Assyrians into saints and they did indeed have their own judgement to face. Israel survived it's judgement. Assyria did not. In short, it's obvious to me that Groeschel is right that the press *is* profoundly hostile to the faith. So it's silly to talk as though one must pick between two truth: the hostility of the press to Catholic Faith vs. the corruption of the Church. Both are true.

As Dom Bettinelli and Mike Dubruiel both showed, the Dallas Morning News' attempted hatchet job was a typical case of that. "Mansion" indeed. The man lives in half a garage. And today's DMN is another example, to my mind. And a worrisome one for what it portends for the Church's doctrine of redemption and mercy. Frs. John Hardon and Groeschel are, in essence, tried and found guilty because they were "willing to help anyone, including abusers, and believed deeply in rehabilitation." Dear Heaven, as pastors and healers, they actually took seriously the mercy of Christ? What further evidence do we need? Off with their heads!

Call me crazy, but from what I can see, these men did the legitimate work of Christian healers in giving the guy his dignity the best they could and finding some way he could live out his vocation in a way that was not a danger to anybody. They were not his bishops. It was not their task to give him his walking papers. It was their task to extend mercy and healing to a miserable sinner. Are we going to press on until we've annihilated the doctrine of redemption entirely? I don't want a Church that coddles abusers or endangers children. But even less do I want a Church where, when I sin gravely (oh, I know *you* haven't, but I have), I have to watch my back because somebody is keen to discover and publicize, not only my sin, but to expose any believer who was kind enough to have mercy on me when everybody else had written me off. I fear we are in danger of becoming a Church of Javerts from Les Miserables ("Financial Scandal engulfs French diocese: Priest admits giving priceless silver candlesticks to known escapee"). Every damn one of us has skeletons in our closets we regret and saintly people who have extended grace to us when we deserved nothing but disdain. In our zeal to find and expose the sinner, are we really doing Christ a favor when we create a climate where a penitent and the people who have tried to help him are treated as the DMN treats Groeschel today?
Sorry, but the more the DMN does this, the less over-the-top Groeschel will sound."

And then, Domenico Bettinelli, who is with Catholic World Report:

AOL link: - Musings from Domenico Bettinelli Jr.
Text URL:

"The Dallas Morning News has unloaded both barrels on Fr. Benedict Groeschel. For those who don’t know, Fr. Groeschel is a Franciscan of very strict observance. His order lives in true Franciscan poverty. He’s a crotchety grandfather sort, but very well-educated with advanced degrees in psychology. He’s also had TV shows on Mother Angelica’s EWTN cable network.

But this is what the News had to say about him.For all his commentary on the crisis, Father Groeschel has revealed few details about his role as a player in it: He has been a key figure for 30 years in the loose-knit nationwide network of therapists who have helped troubled priests keep working.That’s a little deceptive. Yes, he’s a key figure in the network of therapists who treat priests with various ailments, and yes, some therapists kept risky priests in ministry, but although B is a subset of A, A is not equal to B. Not all therapists kept sex-abuse priests in ministry.

The Franciscan friar’s base is a mansion on Long Island Sound, where he runs the Archdiocese of New York’s spiritual development office and Trinity Retreat Center for clergy. There, according to his own written account, he has counseled hundreds of his brethren and “happily, 85 priests have returned to the active ministry.” A “mansion”? It’s a large building owned by the Archdiocese of New York, probably a former mansion donated to the Church by a wealthy and long-dead Catholic. But by pairing it with his title as Franciscan, they make him sound like a hypocrite. As for the 85 priests who have returned to ministry, we don’t know what their ailments were. Maybe most were treated for depression or insomnia or other common mental health ailments. There is nothing to suggest those priests were perverts.

All the News has done is reinforce Fr. Groeschel’s thesis that the Scandal is an anti-Catholic fiction created largely by the media. For myself, I think Fr. Groeschel underestimates the magnitude of the Scandal—not in numbers of actual sex-abuse priests, but in the damage done by erring bishops—although he’s dead on in saying that many in the media have approached the work of exposing the hyposcrisy and cover up with way too much glee.

Even then, the News article overstates Fr. Groeschel’s objections.In the world according to Father Benedict Groeschel, the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal is largely the stuff of fiction. Reporters “doing the work of Satan” are driven to lie, the New York priest says, because they hate the church’s moral teachings.Yes, the media hates the Church’s moral teachings; they certainly don’t embrace them. And he never said that most reports of abuse are fiction, just that the media overemphasizes the cases that do exist, casting aspersions on the vast majority of good priests.

Father Groeschel’s 2002 book warned that Catholics would still face a crisis after “the media monster ... slither[s] away to attack other victims.” He prescribed a return to conservative moral teachings, saying that nothing would restore confidence in church leadership “better than a firm stance against pornography, extramarital sex, abortion, euthanasia and the general moral decline of the United States. ... Tough topics like contraception and autoeroticism need to be consistently and publicly addressed."I don’t disagree with any of that. The cause of sexual sin and crime among the priesthood is sexual sin and crime in society. You can help everyone by bringing about a return to the Gospel.

He said that the news media fail to mention that most priests aren’t pedophiles, that cover-ups occur in other denominations, and that abusers “are among the most penitent people I’ve ever met in my whole life."Perhaps they are the most penitent people. He’s not saying that they should be patted on the head and sent on their way.

As for the charges that Fr. Groeschel referred three priests for reassignment, only one of the cases raises a red flag (Picardi) and even that one looks ambiguous as far as the friar is concerned.

Posted by: Domenico Bettinelli on Mar 03, 03 | 10:26 am | Profile"
154 posted on 03/04/2003 5:45:33 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Askel5
the perpetual grandstanding and fisticuffs have grown old.

Timely reminder and rebuke. Thank you.

I'll be giving up FR for Lent again, it appears. Out of necessity.

155 posted on 03/04/2003 5:54:31 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Desdemona
I am tempted to note that satan is as satan does, but I will acknowledge that palpy's satan-inspired vitriol has occasionally brought out the worst in me.

I hate it when he lures me to stoop to his own satanic level.

(Yes, it is satanic since it is of the devil.)
156 posted on 03/04/2003 7:39:10 AM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: sandyeggo
I will continue to say that gay/lesbian organizations have a long track record in finding new and creative ways to publicly disparage Church teaching

Like, for example, calling Fr. Mychal (?) the NYC FD chaplain, a homosexual AFTER he was DEAD???

157 posted on 03/04/2003 9:01:04 AM PST by ninenot
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To: saradippity
I know Catholic Guy [was] banned

Really? He's still on my ping list and I never got a "doesn't live here anymore" message.

He was a bit lefty in his interpretations, but quite knowledgable.

What happened?

158 posted on 03/04/2003 9:06:41 AM PST by ninenot
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To: sinkspur
Well, after reading the article, it is apparent that Fr.G. may have made a couple of mistakes--although the article is written in a rather obfuscatory fashion (as you probably noted, yourself.)

Now if FrG treated 100 people and 3 are recidivists despite his opinion that they were 'fixed,' that's not bad. I believe that AA expects 80% recidivism, as a comparison.

It is certainly the case that the press has had a feeding frenzy on the topic of abuse, and it is certainly the case that much of the brouhaha is in reference to crimes committed over 10 years ago--and up to 40 years ago. Some of the "crimes" are still allegations.

OTOH, it's ALSO interesting that Bp. Rodimer was perfectly happy to blame FrG for one of Rodimer's problems. Just exactly WHO is the Diocesan Bishop? Who is geographically closest to the priest? Who SHOULD be getting reports from the faithful and other priests who live with the problem?

Methinks Rodimer is passing the buck.

And HERE is the real problem. Bishops pass the buck (as you have tirelessly noted.) They are wrong to do so, and they are (in at least a few cases) culpable.

Given what we all know about this mess, seems to me that FrG is a VERY minor player, compared to people like Grohmann and Weakland (to name only two.)

(BTW, did you know that Rudy Kos was acquainted with the Milwaukee seminary as well??)
159 posted on 03/04/2003 9:29:07 AM PST by ninenot
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To: ninenot
CatholicGuy had"bad day." :-/

He went on a rather nasty anti-Bush tirade.

I didn't really think that alone warranted being banned, but it was pretty bad.

160 posted on 03/04/2003 10:47:58 AM PST by B Knotts
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