No priest is safe

From The Catholic League:

No Priest is Safe

November 11, 2013 Bill Donohue comments on our anti-priest culture: Two stories in the news today make it clear that no Catholic priest is safe. Anyone can accuse a priest of molestation, no matter how long ago, and get away with it. Father John P. Paul has stepped down as pastor of Our Lady of Calvary in Philadelphia. He resigned because of the emotional stress he has been under. In all his years as a priest, he has never had an accusation made against him (he was ordained in 1972). But now, out of the blue, he is being charged with abusing two boys in 1968, when he was a seminarian. It’s funny how both of these alleged victims decided to wait 45 years to make their case—in tandem, no less. The police were contacted but the case was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired. But Father Paul is still being investigated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Had Father Paul been Mr. Paul, a public school teacher, and he was accused of violating a minor at the end of the school year last June, the statute of limitations would have expired (accusers have 90 days to file charges against public school teachers). Moreover, no one would be investigating him. But when it comes to Father Paul, even though the alleged abuse happened in the year Rev. Martin Luther King and Sen. Bobby Kennedy were shot, it’s not too late to get him. It’s never too late to get a priest. Last week in Chicago, a 73-year-old priest was shaken down for money by the same two con-artist brothers who had hustled him before. This time the priest said no. “We’ll say you touched us—read the paper—they’ll believe us,” they said. Sadly, it’s true. Thanks to our anti-priest culture, fueled by the likes of Bill Maher, every priest is considered suspect. None are safe. Please keep Father Paul in your prayers

Someone who levels a false accusation, for the sake of money or to harm the Church, deserves to burn in Hell for eternity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Someone who levels a false accusation, for the sake of money or to harm the Church, deserves to burn in Hell for eternity.”

    The biggest AMEN that I can muster!

    I have been blessed to know several priests during my lifetime as good friends. They were the most dedicated, selfless, hard working individuals that I have been privileged to know. If anything like this happened to them, I would be devastated too.

    Everyday, I continue to pray for all our clergy and religious, everywhere. They need our prayers – their cross is a heavy one.

  2. pannw says:

    “Someone who levels a false accusation, for the sake of money or to harm the Church, deserves to burn in Hell for eternity.”

    Well, as it is calumny, which is a mortal sin, they likely will. They definitely deserve it, but God help them see the error before it is too late.

    I have become a fan of Father Gordon MacRae’s blog, TheseStoneWalls. Seeing his story and now this, it is so horrifying that a man, much less a priest of Christ, can have his entire life turned upside down and all but destroyed by such flimsy accusation. One could hardly blame a priest for refusing to be alone with anyone, and yet, they have to be in the Confessional. God help them.

    ” Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.”

  3. Father DiMaria says:

    The bishops, by adopting the draconian measures of the Dallas Charter, have made themselves complicit in this anti-priest campaign. Cardinal Dulles rightly warned the bishops that the Charter threatened the relationship between the bishops and their priests. He was prophetic.

    How profoundly sad for the falsely accused priests, their fellow clerics, family members and friends.
    These innocent priests are ruined, their names are splattered all over the news and they live out their remaining days having felt abandoned by the institution to which they pledged their lives to serve Christ. No priest is safe. The injustice in the church over this issue is heartbreaking because it is rooted in the fear which the hierarchy has of secular authority and opinion.

  4. KAS says:

    Ah, the common practice these days of bearing false witness, calumny, is one of those things that I am SO GLAD is a mortal sin. After all, killing a person’s good name is not something that should be taken lightly.

    Amen! to the burning in hell part.

    As for praying for their salvation, I don’t really want to do it, but I do. I bet Fr. Z and even the priest whose life is being ruined also do it even if they don’t feel like it. Christians who want to please God always get there eventually, praying for the salvation of those who seek to destroy them.

    I feel sorry for Priests who must be so careful never to be alone with anyone for fear of such things– but was that not one of the major reasons that the confessional with the little screen was developed? So priests could hear confessions without being in a position where they could be accused of wrong-doing? My friend who is Orthodox said in her parish that confessions are heard with the priest sitting in plain sight in the center of the church, and persons walk to the center to do confession with everyone else peaking through the windows or hanging out around the edges waiting their turn– and she said it sometimes bothers her that some of the older ladies would hover as if trying to eaves drop but by golly those priests were safe from accusations with so many witnesses. :) Its a good thing.

    I pray for the safety of our priests.

  5. Priam1184 says:

    May God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ through the intercession of both Jesus Christ and his most holy Mother help these accusers see the evil and the stupidity of their actions and who they were really serving, and guide them to repentance.

  6. Priam1184 says:

    I don’t know Father, reading this post after reading your post about TEOTWAWKI really makes me wonder. This world has been insane for a long time, really since Adam and Eve took a bite of the fruit of that tree, but in our time it just marches on from depravity to depravity on a daily basis with (seemingly) nothing to stop it. It is coming to look more and more like one of these TEOTWAWKI events could be a great act of Divine Mercy to put us back in our place; the enemy of mankind just doesn’t have to work very hard any more, we seem to want to follow every ruse he puts before us and he doesn’t even have to break a sweat. We have way to much time on our hands: “maledicta terra in opere tuo: in laboribus comedes ex ea cunctis diebus vitae tuae. (Gn. iii, 17)” That was another great act of Divine Mercy I think. Unless of course this really is the end, in which case we just have to endure it and look to the horizon…

  7. Imrahil says:

    They definitely deserve it, but God help them see the error before it is too late.


  8. StJude says:

    Before I converted I never noticed all the attacks on the Catholic Church.. especially Priests.
    Amazing how my eyes opened afterwards…
    Its everywhere.. large and small attacks. The enemy hates the Lords rock.

  9. mamajen says:

    Am I misunderstanding something here? A child or young person only has 90 days to accuse a teacher of abuse? That seems extremely short a time period for someone to grapple with abuse and find the courage to seek help, particularly if grooming occurred.

    Like most situations in which the devil is deeply involved, there is no easy answer. Abuse has damaged the Church so much, and we can’t let the real abusers get away with it. I do think a statute of limitations would encourage victims to come forward sooner, weed out the real abusers earlier, and hopefully greatly decrease false accusations. Perhaps a matter of years after a person has reached age 18. Even so, a statute of limitations could not prevent a person from ruining a priest’s reputation and stirring up public pressure to remove a priest from his post. Our bishops would need to grow spines. I think our only real recourse is prayer.

  10. dominic1955 says:

    “Someone who levels a false accusation, for the sake of money or to harm the Church, deserves to burn in Hell for eternity.”

    I think there are precious few sins that are worse than something like that. There are also precious few things that, as far as I’m concerned, completely destroy any respect that such a person may be owed. On this side of eternity, if the legal system was just, such a person should have their lives legally ruined akin to what they did to the person they falsely accused. The very thought of it is beyond disgusting.

    I still say the whole child abuse thing is one of the best ruses the Devil ever tried to destroy the Church. Nothing gets some otherwise apathetic cretin on their high horse of indignation towards the Church than this issue. Any sort of balance or truth go completely out the window. The Church is absolutely wrong about anything and everything because some perverted priests abused children. Its insane.

    “The bishops, by adopting the draconian measures of the Dallas Charter, have made themselves complicit in this anti-priest campaign. Cardinal Dulles rightly warned the bishops that the Charter threatened the relationship between the bishops and their priests. He was prophetic.”

    Yes he was, and Bishop Bruskewitz and I think a couple Eastern Eparchs refused to sign it. Good for them to have the brass to stand up to the idiotic bureaucratic groupthink that the USCCB fosters.

  11. Nan says:

    Imagine how much worse it is in MN, where the statute of limitations has been eliminated going forward and lifted for 3 years looking back at childhood sexual abuse. Cases that had been looked at by law enforcement and the Church are being rehashed. We have nearly 2 1/2 years to go.

  12. Nathan says:

    First, I agree heartily with the posting and the comments made here. This kind of calumny is truly evil.

    I don’t know if it would help at all, but I think there may be reason to believe that God is bringing good out of these repugnant actions. I was startled to read in Mary Eberstadt’s Adam and Eve After the Pill her argument that the targeting of priests and the Church in the sexual abuse of minors (both actual abuse and false accusations) held off, at least for a while, the societal slide into “pedophilia chic.” Because the libertines’ hatred of the Church was stronger even than their desire to completely forward their agenda, they pushed the accusations to the highest levels of media exposure, which presented clear and undeniable evidence of how this behavior harms children. This made, in the view of society, homosexual preying on adolescent boys much less tolerated than it was (in the “cool” places) coming out of the 1960s and 70s.

    But what a cross for our priests to bear! As always, the fact that God, in His mercy, is capable of bringing good out of our evil behavior, does not in any way justify or make right the evil in the first place.

    In Christ,

  13. Of my fourteen years a priest (twenty-five years a friar in September), with twelve of those years spent in a second-level school (12-18 year olds) one of the hardest things to bear is the thought of a false allegation. I had one made against me (made privately to the daughter of a friend of mine) and unfortunately I was unable to get the evidence I needed to act against the person. I immediately told my superior and my vice-principal and even though they were supportive there was still that doubt about one’s innocence especially from my own side! There have been so many cases and it has been so traumatic for victims, for their families, for the faithful, for clergy, for diocesan and religious authorities that now the response is automatically heavy-handed and the mud from an allegation really sticks. In my case I was blessed. I know of others though who sit in limbo.

    I don’t know whether the statute of limitations in Ireland (twenty-five years) still holds for abuse cases. We certainly don’t have a ninety day limit for teachers! I do know that like all other priests I will, while I live, have that fear that any moment I could be accused of abusing someone. I hold on to my diaries which I hope will provide an account of my activities that will disprove any allegation. I hope that those years working with young people (and the years that lie ahead in my new post) will be a testimony that I would never do such a thing as abuse another human being. On any battlefield one expects to get shot at but not by the very people one fights for!

  14. Pingback: No priest is safe | Fr. Z’s Blog | therasberrypalace

  15. James Joseph says:

    St. Peter Damian tells us it has always been a problem; deviant clergy and thieves.

    I do have my doubts however. I doubt that every last priest is a deviant when it seems every last priest I know has been accused of something: from gambling, to drinking, to being a man. Never mind the heinous allegations that I have seen.

  16. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Someone who levels a false accusation, for the sake of money or to harm the Church, deserves to burn in Hell for eternity.”

    Well, sure, but that can be said about a litany of mortal sins, no?

  17. gracie says:

    Dr. Peters,

    “Well, sure, but that can be said about a litany of mortal sins, no?”

    Is it really a good idea to put gravel in the wound? If my husband were mugged would you say, “Well, gracie, a lot of people were mugged today, no?” You do know that Fr. Z has bulls’ eyes painted all over his back? This situation calls for empathy.

    As far as praying for people like the accusers, I do it exactly ONCE while at the same time asking God to protect priests from them.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    The Alter Christus will now suffer like Christ, who was also unjustly condemned….time for holiness. God bless all priests and seminarians.

  19. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    no, gracie, i would not say that. nor did i say something like that above.

  20. Cincinnati Priest says:

    The real tragedy here is that this is not some unavoidable evil which priests should just have to endure. It is a direct result of the egregiously imprudent decision of the U.S. bishops at their conference in Dallas, where they freely and knowingly decided to create standards which essentially

    a) treat priests as guilty until proven innocent
    b) deny them a right to face their accuser …
    c) … thus enabling frivolous false accusations because there is no “cost” in doing so.
    d) and provide no real restoration of the priest’s reputation once he has been cleared. [The reality is, the vaguely worded and ambiguous statements they issue in such cases — carefully crafted by lawyers, with no apology to the falsely accused, do almost nothing to undo the emotional devastation and permanently ruined reputation of the falsely accused priest.]

    We should be praying not only for the conversion of these false accusers, but the conversion of our bishops who have been (and so far remain) too cowardly to treat their own priest sons with justice.

    The just solution would be to enforce the same standards for priests as others who work with youth (teachers, Scout leaders, etc.)

    Unfortunately, from statements I have read by Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput so far (whom I otherwise greatly admire) he seems to be one of the many bishops who just doesn’t seem concerned about changing this by revising the Dallas Accord.

    The late Avery Cardinal Dulles was one of the few who argued for just treatment of priests at that conference, God rest his soul.

  21. momandant says:

    I cannot tell you if the accusations against Fr. John Paul are true or not. I can tell you that I attended Bishop McDevitt HS in the 1980s when he was a teacher at that school. It was an open secret that Fr. John Paul “dated” the students. That is, he would tell a girl that he was taking a group out, then pick her up, telling her parents she was the first to be picked up, and after she got into the car to go get the next student, tell the girl she was the only one going out with him. He would then take her out to dinner, try to get her to drink, and so on from there. This did not just happen once, it happened to 3 girls I knew personally. He may not have been committing any crimes, he may not have been breaking any vows, but it was really creepy behavior. Word eventually got around to just stay away from him. No parent would turn him in because that is not what religiously observant parents did in those days. And where there is smoke, there is fire. So before you assume that anyone coming forward with an accusation of improper behavior is just in it for the money, know that there is a LOT of truth in plain site.

Comments are closed.