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St. Raymond pastor on leave after 'boundary violation' with teen, archdiocese says
Original post made
on Jun 2, 2011
Father William Myers, pastor of St. Raymond Catholic Church in Menlo Park, is on leave following an incident with a 17-year-old boy, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of San Francisco on Tuesday (May 31).
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Thursday, June 2, 2011, 9:50 AM
Posted by Ronna Devincenzi
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm
As a Cradle Catholic, I agree with "Resident". We do need to be realistic. So frankly, right now I blame us pew people for the ongoing crisis in our church due to sexual abuse of teenage boys & the sexual exploitation of adults (both men & women) by celibate clergymen.
Experts say the exploitation of women makes the abuse of minors pale, by comparison, and there have been so many instances of other men coerced into inappropriate behavior by priests (& bishops- remember Santa Rosa?) there's a term for it: "The Lavendar Mafia". Are most Catholic pew people aware of this? Information is plentiful.
So we Catholic pew people are the largest group of clergy abuse enablers, worldwide. It's mostly when it hits our own neighborhoods that it gets our attention. So at least in the Bay Area, it's either time to collectively wake up, or we need to just accept that we cannot trust our clergy. None of them. Sad because many are good.
When I was a child, the problem was alcoholic priests and those with anger control issues. It's ALWAYS been something big enough to be on our radar screen, IF we are paying attention. It's just been getting bigger, and bigger, and now, it involves sex.
Pew people have been paying the bills, asleep at the wheel for long enough. We have been cow-towing to the hierarchy, allowing men in the Vatican that really do not know what side is up, to lead us, without even *questioning* their proclamations. Why?
The best remedy is something Catholics refuse, and yes, I mean REFUSE, to do: To go to Scripture and see how our church is to be structured, then demand that our leaders implement what WILL work.
How come we are not listening to people that have been trying to get our attention for years, beginning with (are you seated?) St. Peter Damian, when he complained to the Pope of His Day about what we face now? His pope ignored him too, so JPII and Pope Benedict are just following suit. (Reference: The Book of Gomorrah, by St. Peter Damian)
Studies showed in the years after a big scandal involving clergy sex abuse, pew people step to the collection plate, empty their wallets, and vocations rise dramatically, with young men wanting to come to the RC church's rescue. So Peter Damian's pope, JPII and Benedict are in on the routine. When the dust settles, donations pour in.
I must commend Archbishop George Niederauer of San Franciso, for acting so quickly to bring a resolution to this. In the PADN article, Barbara Elordi's name was mentioned - a savvy lady whose advice is best heeded. It was reported that Bishop Justice went himself to the parish to speak to the congregation, and he will be presiding at their Masses, until this is resolved. That took courage and shows wisdom. Niederauer, Justice and Elordi are on top of this.
When I was a member of a lay organization that formed in 2002, after the Boston news broke, I met a lot of clergy abuse survivors. One thing I learned about priests with sexual issues is they can be heroes to some people, compassionate and caring and wonderful; but on the other side, when the truth of how they live comes out, it can be shocking.
I attended the memorial of an abuser at the request of his survivor, and while the man was revered by many that day, what went unmentioned was his unidentified son sitting among the mourners, & the fact that in his younger days, he was having inappropriate sexual relationships with 4 women, simultaneously. Pew people: wake up. Or time to stop complaining. This will not resolve itself.
Posted by Ronna Devincenzi
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2011 at 11:43 am
@ Resident - Once again, I agree with you. Specific qualifications for *men* in ordained ministry, per the Bible, are that they're best married with children.
Only since the year 1139AD has the Magesterium for the Latin Rite in Rome called for priests to be celibate using Matthew 19 (Jesus' quote) and the verse you mentioned written by Paul, as the reason.
It was the influence of the early Gnostic converts to Christianity that deemed the spirit, "good" and the flesh, "bad", ignoring the Holy Spirit-inspired "Song of Solomon's" teachings about marriage and all the SPECIFIC verses about qualifications for men in ordained ministry.
The institutional church has fought over this for years, since the first council of Elvira in Spain, where celibacy was first implemented there.
Please allow me to point out that Paul was writing to pew people in the verse you mentioned. At that time, he thought the world was going to end soon. He was most certainly *not* referring to those in ordained ministry. This is the importance of reading Scripture IN CONTEXT, and looking at *who* is being addressed.
Qualifications for men in ordained ministry are found in Paul's letters to Timothy & Titus, given to them when Timothy was organizing a church in Ephesus and Titus was doing the same in Crete.
It's crystal clear - ordained men are best married. Check out Paul's mention in 1 Corinthians 9:5 too. "Do not Barnabas and I have the right to marry a believing woman, as do Cephas (Peter) and the rest of the apostles?"
Heads up: Catholic apologists, like Scott Hahn, will go to the mat with you that what Paul meant is the apostles took along "sister women" to do chores for them, like the laundry, and prepare meals. Catholic pew people that believe that bunk would drink the Kool-Aid, if it were offered. It's beyond funny. And so untrue. No wonder the RCC has a reputation for being mysogenistic.
As for what Jesus said in Matthew 19, the church can as easily call for mandatory castration for priests upon ordination instead of celibacy. Jesus spoke of "those that are rendered eunachs for the sake of the kingdom", in the same conversation w/ the apostles. If we take Jesus' words *out of context*, I'd vote for that error, instead of celibacy.
Origen, a Church Father that was never declared a saint because he veered from official church teaching sometimes, took Matthew 19 so seriously, he had himself castrated, even though most of his peers, and the official magesterium at the time, instructed him not to do that.
Warning: Pope Benedict has been pushing Origen a lot lately, giving him credibility. So frankly, if castration upon ordination were mandated instead of celibacy, it would be a real sacrifice, and it would end a lot of Roman Catholic Church problems. But it is not what God asks of anyone.
If mandated celibacy was what is intended in Scripture, it should be working better. Instead, we have over 1,000 years of failure. This is not to say that there are not many good priests. There are. And it's not to say that there are not a FEW good bishops. There are.
But do they have power? No. And they're the minority, not the norm.
Do you remember what happened at St. Catherines in Burlingame several years ago? A wonderful priest - Fr. John Conley, if memory serves, a late vocation and a former prosecuting attorney - walked in on his pastor "wrestling" on the ground with a teenage boy in a darkened room. He immediately reported it to ARCHBISHOP LEVADA, when the cardinal was still in SF, and guess who got in trouble? Fr. Conley. No parish would have him. It was outrageous.
Well, Fr. Conley sued and WON. From what I understand, what made him happiest is ARCHBISHOP LEVADA HAD TO PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE for his part in the fiasco. I'd say Fr. Conley is a great priest. Thank God he's still able to wear his collar, serve Mass, and function as a priest. He was the whistleblower. Pew people: wake up.
Even the church itself gives this statistic for how many homosexual men are in the priesthood (priests AND bishops) = 22-45% are identified as having homosexual inclinations. It may be as many as 50% (statistic is from Santa Clara University professor & author, Dr. Thomas Plante).
This, while in any given population, the figure is between 3 - 5%. Now even if the priesthood is on the low side, at 22%, why so many? Is it a sacrifice for a homosexual man to not marry a woman, and to forgo having a family? Think about it.
Please note a homosexual inclination in an of itself is NOT a cause for the abuse of children, or even the abuse of teenage boys.
A homosexual man is able to keep his behavior in check as is a heterosexual man, given he is in the Word of God, and accountable to others that are also in the Word.
If only we pew people would dust off our Bibles, read & heed what the specific instructions for MEN in ordained ministry are, it would be so easy. But as I mentioned in my earlier post, we pew people REFUSE to listen to God's word. So -- we suffer. And as in the case of Delaware, we will soon pay, and big-time. I mean $$$$$. Maybe that will get our attention.
No single man (of God) should be having sex with *anyone*- another man, a woman, a teen, or a child. It is exploitation. It is abuse. Clergymen are in a position of trust. And just like with a psychologist, there should be SEVERE consequences for abusing the trust. Pew people have been put on notice, world-wide, that there IS a problem. We ought not be shocked by this ever again.
JPII ignored what was happening to nuns by priests in Africa, although their mother superior spoke with him directly, and he outright refused to allow even an investigation into the dozens of accusations made about his friend (and Vatican cash-cow) Fr. Marcial Maciel, and yet he is on the fast-track to sainthood, due to public demand. HOUSTON: We have a problem.
St. Patrick in the 5th century was the grandson of a Catholic priest and the son of a Catholic deacon. He did okay. He converted nearly all of Ireland. He knew the Gospel, and he could preach and teach.
He knew how to shepherd the faithful = a key responsibilty of a bishop even today, and the reason for the staff they're given.
Posted by Ronna Devincenzi
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm
Resident- thank you for your candid post. What you wrote is so common, and in every country of the world, priests having sexual relationships is called a "lapse". A lapse between a priest and a woman can be a one night stand (if he is sexually confused, wanting to know more about his feelings) or an 8- year relationship, often with many, many pew people knowing about it, keeping his secret.
I know a former priest in San Jose who had his rectory phone number forwarded to the home which he shared with his wife and two little sons in the '70's. His A-list of parish friends knew about it, and it lasted until his boys grew older. Then he left the priesthood, and married the mother of his sons. That marriage remains intact today, & he now has grandchildren. That priest did the right thing.
But most do not. They do not have to.
As for no one being hurt, there is a video out that, if memory serves, is called "The Gilmore Girls". It is the story of two young women, probably in their 20's today -the documentary was made when they were both teens, a few years ago.
Their father was a priest in the Oakland area, and when the bishop at that time found out about the priests two toddler daughters, he gave Fr. Daddy (another well known term) the choice to marry the woman and be a father to his daughters or the diocese offered to move the priests family out of the area, allowing him to remain in ministry, because, the bishop said, "Charismatic priests are so hard to come by."
Of course, like an indulged child, the priest chose to remain in ministry. But what got Fr. Gilmore removed was when he had another child out of wedlock, with another woman.
When news of sex scandals in Boston broke in 2002, I had friends visiting Italy at the time. This couple told me parishioners in Italy couldn't understand why Americans were so upset by priests having sex, because over there, the joke is, "In every village, there's a child that's the spitting image of the parish priest."
They laugh about it. No wonder one could shoot a canon off in churches all over Europe, and not hit anyone. Churches there are empty. It's Third World Countries, where Catholic numbers are up.
Experts say if figures could be determined about the numbers of clergymen (priests AND bishops) that had sexual relations with women,
it will make the abuse of children & teenage boys pale, by comparison.
"The Gilmore Girls" want to become attorneys, helping other children that have been harmed by clergy (dead-beat fathers) that are allowed to live two lives.
The saddest part is we pew people are helping keep these men emotional children. One common complaint from survivors is, "It's all about him." The all-male mentality among our clerical elite results in a form of narcissism that's almost inbred, yet, they are put on pedastals, rewarded & applauded for it.
Not to say there are not some that are indeed living celibate lives, priests and bishops. Celibacy is a valid state. But it ought never be mandated. Mandating it is a recipe for disaster. Now, with Internet, TV news, etc., it's amazing we pew people continue to accept it, knowing how much devastation it has caused. When I read articles such as this one, I brace myself first. It's so pathetic.
It does no-one any good, and it is doing GREAT harm.
While I have only happy memories of being a life-time Roman Catholic, I know how many suvivors feel when they say they cannot bring themselves to walk into a Catholic church anymore. Ever since I went to the memorial of the priest that fathered a son that few people knew about, and who was having a relationship w/ 3 other women at the same time (for a total of 4!).
The still active priest that gave the eulogy, and that knew all about the deceased past, said of him, "He was such a wonderful priest! We need more like him!" I remembered thinking, "My word! We HAVE more like him." And ever since that day, when I think or hear of that parish in San Francisco where I attended the memorial, it literally gives me chills. It's pathetic.
Some good news - based on how much I've followed this issue, globally, and for the past 10 years, I truly believe that Archbishop Niederauer is well-intended, and I believe he is trustworthy to handle this situation well. I may have to eat my words. But from what I've seen of him, I trust him. He is a 100% improvement over Cardinal Levada. Since Jesus started His church with 12 good men, maybe with Archbishop George and a few others, there's hope for us still. But Catholic pew people will have to wake up. We all have an opportunity with the USCCB bishops meetings later in June. United we stand. Divided we fall. If pew people can send a message that our church must be brought to health, and it won't happen trying the same old things that didn't work for 1000 years, but with new people. I think most men go into the priesthood with good intentions. But we all change and (hopefully) grow. A 27 year old man promising never to marry may be different at age 47, and when they leave the priesthood, say goodbye to the "brother-priest" mentality. You're lucky if you get a "Don't let the door hit you on the way out, traitor." And that's when they marry a woman.
Do an internet search on the nun that told JPII her nuns were being used for sex by priests in Africa. I read it in the San Jose Merc a few years ago. That story would make any compassionate person cry. Even an Agnostic or an Atheist with a sense of decency and awareness of others would say: STOP THIS INSANITY. But the Vatican ignored it.
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