Another Betrayal in Connecticut

The latest revelations that yet another Connecticut Catholic priest has stolen yet another million dollars from his own parishioners to support a flamboyant gay lifestyle in New York City are especially disappointing to those of us who thought Connecticut’s religious leaders had learned a lesson the first time this happened in 2009. Many of us defended our bishops then as Connecticut’s most liberal Democratic legislators attempted to transfer financial control of Connecticut’s Catholic churches from the pastors to parishioners and the State. Then, the two Democratic State legislators proposing the bill claimed to be responding to a case in the affluent town of Darien when Rev. Michael Jude Fay, a Bridgeport diocese pastor, was convicted of stealing more than $1.3 million in parishioner donations to lead a luxurious life with his gay partner.

Now, Rev. Kevin Gray, a pastor from an inner-city Waterbury church in the Hartford Diocese, has been charged with stealing more than $1.4 million from his parishioners to pay for a series of male escorts, New York City hotels, restaurant meals, and clothing. In a police affidavit, Father Gray told the police that he is gay and “has a problem with the Church’s stance on homosexuality.”

While Father Fay spent money from his Darien church on limousines, stays at New York hotels, elaborate meals in New York restaurants, jewelry, clothing, and a Florida condominium for himself and his gay partner, these latest revelations about Father Gray are even more sordid. In a 14-page police affidavit, Father Gray stated that he spent the money on male escorts from Campus Escorts in New York and would have the escorts meet him in hotel rooms he had rented — using parishioners’ money. Since May 2003, $655,936.48 worth of checks from the church funds were cashed by American Express to pay for charges to Gray’s account. These charges included more than $200,000 to restaurants in New York, Boston, and Connecticut, and more than $150,000 in stays at high-end hotels in New York City, Boston, and New Haven. His favorites were the W Hotel and the Waldorf Astoria. The rest of the money was spent on his clothes at Brooks Brothers, Barney’s, and Armani, as well as jewelry stores — including Tiffany.

In the police affidavit, Father Gray claimed that the Church “owed” the money to him because they had transferred him to the “worst” parish in the state. He said he became “bitter” because of this. And, to make him feel better, he wrote several hundred checks worth a total of $1,475,944.67 from his Sacred Heart Church parish account.

 

Responding to all of this, Rev. John P. Gatzak, Director of Communications for the Hartford Archdiocese, said “[w]e are deeply saddened by the events which have recently had such a profound effect on Sacred Heart/Sagrado Corazon parish.” Many of Waterbury’s Catholics are beyond “saddened” at this point.

In their defense, Diocesan spokesmen said that diocesan officials discovered the financial discrepancies this spring. Even though each parish is supposed to have a parish financial council, Sacred Heart did not have such a panel. Pastors are also supposed to issue annual financial reports — but Father Gray did not comply. This is what triggered the diocesan financial review. A bit too late: in the affidavit, Father Gray claims to have been stealing the money since 2003. But no one noticed until now. In an especially bitter remark in the affidavit, Father Gray told the investigating police officer that he knew that the bishop would not even say anything about the financial revelations until after the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal was completed.

It is difficult for Connecticut Catholics in the Hartford Diocese to understand this latest betrayal — especially those of us who have continued to give generously to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal and vigorously defended our Church from the state takeover in 2009. Some of us wrote op-eds for local newspapers and publicly defended our bishops from liberal Catholic groups which used the Fay case as an excuse to call for ’empowering the laity’ and removing the current leadership structure. These groups — already dissenting from Church teachings on reproductive rights, homosexuality, and women’s ordination — have just been given another opportunity to weaken our Church.

Anne Hendershott

By

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).

  • Samuel

    The Road to Hell is paved with the skulls of priests [and bishops].

  • peter wilson

    CT is mired in an intransigent liberalism…and the Church often winks at the illness while professing the orthodox line…but thank God–at least we know the good Father didn’t use the money to pay for his mistress’ abortion!

  • Melinda MT

    this priest did not agree with the churches teaching on homosexuality?….GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!That’s completely beside the point since he took a vow of celibacy…I get so tried of of this excuse….the Catholic Church is not a democracy…its the body of Christ with priests in the role of Christ Himself…but some folk will use the latest social humbug to excuse themselves from having anything as inconvenient as integrity let alone holiness…sheeeesh!!!! Okay…I know I have a log in my own eye so I’ll be quiet now…but sputter…cough….(attempts to shut up and pray)…..

  • Austin

    We keep hearing “The Church is not a democracy” to justify this scenario where the laity has none, zero participation in the finances of their parish. The pastor does not “own” the parish, the Bishop does not “own” the diocese. It is not their money, their property, etc. The fact that the bishop and pastor was not elected does not, in any way, mean that the laity should have no voice in the finances of the diocese and parish. We, the laity are not stupid children and are getting sick and tired of the medieval mindset of being treated like serfs. Some of the bishops and priests get it, but many do not, and the “Lord of the Manor” attitude is losing traction with much of the laity.

    This priest is a rotten apple, but if there had been laity particupation in the parish finances, he could never have embezzled over a million dollars to finance his “gay blade” lifestyle. God forbid they would ordain a married man, how scandalous!

  • Bill Sr.

    Just like America itself, the Church’s “political” structure or ruling authority as we have seen it for 2000 years seems domed to decay from within when they become obsessed with self serving personal satisfaction choices over self sacrifice for the sake of his flock and humility before Christ the King.

    We can’t serve God and the flesh, it’ one or the other plain and simple.

  • Marchmaine

    The only thing worse than the occasional embezzlement by a priest would the daily wasted funds guaranteed by a Lay committee.

  • Amy

    How does a priest do the above mentioned without anyone noticing his absence from the daily church functions, Mass, sacraments, etc? Was there other priests who filled in the gap while he did his despicable deeds? Please help me out here. I am trying to understand how the church community failed to raise questions as to his lack of being a priest to his church.

    Why do priests even have so much free time to travel (on the most part with their own monies) taking vacations 10-12 times a year? What sort of precedent does that communicate with the hard working families who have little time to even take a week’s vacation, pay the bills, raise kids, etc?

    I’d say more but my words would be considered very judgmental.

    “Jesus, come quickly.”

  • david

    the author is missing fr moynihan from greenwich who also stole more than $1 million to support his gay lifestyle.

  • Tony de New York

    ‘have just been given another opportunity to weaken our Church.’

    Wrong, it is the lack of action from the chancery that has ‘weaken the Church.

  • NYC

    How does a priest do the above mentioned without anyone noticing his absence from the daily church functions, Mass, sacraments, etc? Was there other priests who filled in the gap while he did his despicable deeds? Please help me out here. I am trying to understand how the church community failed to raise questions as to his lack of being a priest to his church.

    Why do priests even have so much free time to travel (on the most part with their own monies) taking vacations 10-12 times a year? What sort of precedent does that communicate with the hard working families who have little time to even take a week’s vacation, pay the bills, raise kids, etc?

    I’d say more but my words would be considered very judgmental.

    “Jesus, come quickly.”

    Hi Amy

    He told his parishioners that he was dying from terminal cancer, and claimed to be receiving treatment in NYC. That’s where he would tell them he went whenever he left town. THey believed him.

  • R.C.

    I seem to recall that Billy Graham, when traveling, always made sure that another trusted man or two were always with him in hotel rooms and the like, and that he was never alone in an area with a woman other than his wife.

    The idea was not merely to avoid temptation, but to prevent there ever being plausible false allegations which could undermine his preaching.

    It seems to me that a similar discipline should perhaps be required of all Catholic clergy until such time as this problem subsides. Mutual accountability, and a reminder that God is not the only one watching one’s every deed, has a salutary effect on one’s spiritual disciplines.

    It is, of course, a tad difficult from a practical point-of-view, inasmuch as the problem of clergy tempted by same-sex-attraction cannot be solved by insisting that any given clergyman always have another man with him. But I suspect that regular changeover in who that man is could prevent such problems most of the time.

    And of course, this would be in addition to, not a substitute for, proper pastoral formation and a general weeding out of persons tempted by same-sex-attraction from Catholic ministry excepting those who clearly have a history of defeating that temptation rather than succumbing to it.

  • Ryan Haber

    Back in 2003, the pastor for whom I worked during my seminary pastoral year told me, “There will be more of this nonsense; and wait – the money will come out! Sex and money always go together, especially in a corrupt culture. These sex scandals will barely have died out and there will be money scandals. A lot of them will go together too, you’ll see.”

    He was pretty darn savvy. I could see, structurally or metaphysically, how sex and money would go together – except with our pride chastened, we want comforts and control and so forth, and stripped of self-sacrifice and charity, that’s all that sex and money will be used for.

    Now we are seeing it play out. After unearthing the sex-related money scandals, we will find others that aren’t primarily about sex… though now I am thinking sex will probably be tangled up in those, too.

    Except in the case of a genuine small town – we are not talking about predominantly (lapsed) Catholic mill towns in New England – pastors should be pretty dang busy. More so in predominantly (lapsed) Catholic settings. There are souls to saved! If the parishes aren’t growing, we can suspect that the queues to damnation are.

  • eyeswideopen
  • piotr

    meals and clothing. In a police affidavit, Fr. Gray told the police that he is gay and “has a problem with the Church

  • Fr. Gray Bean

    Like the sex abuse scandals this will be talked to death and not musch will change. Why do we Americans always turn everything into a political issue? It all boils down to “who is in charge”? The bottom line is that the Catholic Church is hierarchical and will always be so. Even Vatican II confirmed this.

    The real solution is not more “lay councils” to “run the Church”. The solution is holy priests and bishops! The priest is to be another Christ…he leads “in persona Christi Capitis”. This means sacrifice. Christ washed feet. Christ sacrificed Himself on the Cross. Sacrifice is the heart of the priesthood. This sacrifice only makes sense when the man is striving daily for holiness. Otherwise, it becomes tedious torture. Sacrifice: hence the obedience of the priest, the prayer of the priest, the celibacy of the priest. Married clergy will not serve this problem. Just look at the Anglican Church! Holiness is the asnwer to our problems. Holy, sacrificing priests!

    I wonder if this priest’s parish had regular times for confessions (and not just for an hour on Saturday)? daily Mass at an hour when working people can attend? Regular adoration and benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament? Orthodox preaching? A reverent and faithful celebration of the Holy Sacririce of the Mass? a Catholic devotional life? promotions of vocations? Bible study and catechesis for adults? Somehow, I doubt it. Why? Because these things must come from the priest!

    I am a pastor. I have a lay finance council. Three accountants. Why? Because I am not an accountant. No one ever comes to me for financial advice! I am a priest. I lead by doing the things mentioned above.

    The solution to the Church’s problems involves holy priests…plain and simple.

  • Brandon

    Good post, Father.

    Father Corapi put it very well: “How often do you pray for your priest?”

    Scandals like this are horrible, and it isn’t easy being a priest these days. You have chowderheads like Jay Leno and other people making crude jokes and the media hammering The Church on a regular basis…they take almost a maniacal glee in it.

    That doesn’t excuse the scandal, and it should be addressed, brought into the light and remedied. Father Gray has poked all of us in the eye, and caused harm to his parish, his diocese and The Church as a whole…hopefully he will repent and do penance for his sins (and that includes jail time).

  • Augustine

    I wonder if this scoundrel has a problem with the Church

  • JMV

    Obviously, the CT diocese needs to investigate all priests who have a last name that rhymes with “gay”.

  • Melissa

    What really gets me is the lack of integrity in cases like this… The scandal is not that a priest is struggling with homosexuality, or even that he disagrees with Church teaching — it’s that he doesn’t have the integrity to deal with his problems or just leave the priesthood/his ministry all together. And that he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions, but blames it on “the Church’s teaching.” He stole from his people, he lied repeatedly, he betrayed many. When people live a lie it’s probably the worst scandal of all.

  • heartbroken

    God bless you, Father Gray Bean.

    A good friend of mine was determined to get First Friday Adoration at our children’s school parish. When she asked the priest for it, he told her, “You know, that’s just a devotional.” [smiley=shock] But she persevered and now we have it.

    During the year for priests, my children and I tried to say this each night. We made it most, and I think we need to continue, even though the year is over.

    “O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church: Grant it love and the light of Your Spirit, and give power to the words of Priests so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance and return to You, O Lord.

    Lord, give us holy Priests; You yourself maintain them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares which are continually being set for the soul of Priests.

    May the power of Your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of Priests, for You can do all things.”

    ~~St. Faustina’s Diary #1052

  • Fr. Gray Bean

    This man was not “struggling” with his homosexuality…he was giving free reign to it. Therein lies the problem. I can only assume that Fr. Gray knew what the teaching of the Church was prior to his ordination. I attended a liberal seminary but I was still well aware of the Church’s teaching on morality. Why did he ever choose to be ordained? Homosexuals in the priesthood and the epsicopacy amounts to the giant “pink elephant” in the living room that no one, and I mean no one, in the Catholic Church wants to talk about.

    Since marriage is not an option for homosexuals, can they really make an honest promise of celibacy? Since they cannot marry or procreate what are they sacrificing? For most priests celibacy is a real and important sacrifice and not a smoke screen to hide behind! The difficulty is that many of these “gay priests” are no longer hiding their true nature. Until the Church cleans house this nonsense will never end.

  • Alex

    You know, outside his parish this sort of thing will mean a lot to many peopl whose faith was wavering already, and nothing to those whose faith for whatever reason was strengthening.

  • Edward

    I agree that we should include priests, bishops and the Pope in our daily prayers. But it is not enough. There needs to be a severe punishment. This priest needs to sit behind bars for several years and then laicized when he is out. There is a point when “charity” becomes stupidity and this is the point that we have reached now. About the punishment in the afterlife only God knows, but I have a feeling that it won`t be a pretty sight (and it should not be!). Also this “bishop” is not worth the title that he is bearing (according to St Thomas there is justified form of anger which is close to the virtue of justice and this is my expression of it)

    I also agree that the problem is not the “political structure” of the Church or the “teaching on homosexuality”. NO!
    Truth is, we are all blinded by the modern Zeitgeist. It`s eating our hearts …

    The true problem, as Benedict tirelessly tries to explain, almost daily, is the filth in the Church, the lack of Holiness, the fact that we have lost sight of Jesus Our Lord.

    What we urgently need is a conversion to God, a renewal of our holiness, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, especially the bishops and the priests. Some good old fashioned prayer, fasting and penance.

    I don`t want to hear anything else than that!

  • MRA

    R.C.’s suggestion reminds me that the elderly Jesuit chaplain at my college still followed that rule, once obligatory for Jesuits – probably other orders as well, I suppose. He was never alone with a woman. When Father wanted to drive a bereaved friend of mine to the airport to go home to her dad’s funeral, he had to take two other female students along so he wouldn’t be alone with one at any point. At the time, I thought it was bizarre, but now I see how much sense the old rules like that made.

  • georgie-ann

    and that is a reminder that “Catholic socializing” in groups is a very satisfying way to live one’s life,…the caring/sharing social life is good, (often involving food!), and sometimes the peace and quiet afterwards is even better and more satisfying!,…(-:

  • Alex

    We who live are no more and no less sinful than the ones who came before us. Our times are no more depraved than the past.

    Someone has said prayer is not enough. I agree. But in addition to the threat of punishment — no more than a mere simulacrum really of ultimate judgement, but one that’s not ours — something else must be in place.

    In addition to reviving and speading the old systems and protocols to control temptation among the clergy, I think it would be best if the rest of us expected little saintliness and much humanity from our clerics. Saints are very rare. Pining for them is all too common. Let us be sanguine.

  • Nick

    Like the sex abuse scandals this will be talked to death and not musch will change. Why do we Americans always turn everything into a political issue? It all boils down to “who is in charge”? The bottom line is that the Catholic Church is hierarchical and will always be so. Even Vatican II confirmed this.

    The real solution is not more “lay councils” to “run the Church”. The solution is holy priests and bishops! The priest is to be another Christ…he leads “in persona Christi Capitis”. This means sacrifice. Christ washed feet. Christ sacrificed Himself on the Cross. Sacrifice is the heart of the priesthood. This sacrifice only makes sense when the man is striving daily for holiness. Otherwise, it becomes tedious torture. Sacrifice: hence the obedience of the priest, the prayer of the priest, the celibacy of the priest. Married clergy will not serve this problem. Just look at the Anglican Church! Holiness is the asnwer to our problems. Holy, sacrificing priests!

    I wonder if this priest’s parish had regular times for confessions (and not just for an hour on Saturday)? daily Mass at an hour when working people can attend? Regular adoration and benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament? Orthodox preaching? A reverent and faithful celebration of the Holy Sacririce of the Mass? a Catholic devotional life? promotions of vocations? Bible study and catechesis for adults? Somehow, I doubt it. Why? Because these things must come from the priest!

    I am a pastor. I have a lay finance council. Three accountants. Why? Because I am not an accountant. No one ever comes to me for financial advice! I am a priest. I lead by doing the things mentioned above.

    The solution to the Church’s problems involves holy priests…plain and simple.

    Amen!

  • Denis

    You have to understand that, in the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s Priests and Bishops were very busy. They had to silence objections to the Novus Ordo, cleanse the Seminaries of Latin and Thomism, extinguish traditional devotions, modernize Churches, publish and distribute masterpieces like the Gather Hymnal, persecute those dangerous Catholics attached to the Tridentine Mass, protest SDI and the enforcement of immigration law, explain the “seamless garment” to their parishioners…With all of that on their plates, there was no time or energy left to worry about the likes of Father Gray.

  • Kay

    In a previous parish, the lay money counters were discovered to have stolen a great amount of money over several years. So, just having lay people is not the perfect answer, either. Having faithful people of integrity is. When I counted money for a school function, I refused to do anything with it after that until another person looked it over.

  • Austin

    Lay people can certainly engage in financial fraud and theft. I think the key to the Parish finances is a system of checks and balances. You need to have a financial sysem that is open and subject to audit. You cannot have a system where one person can write checks to themselves or for bogus “expenses.” The Bishop needs to keep track of his parishes via an auditor for the diocese.

    The Parish budget should be open for review to the parishoners and they should have a voice in the budget as well. I see posts where people state that if we had “holy priests” then all problems go away and the laity does not need to be involved in parish finances anyway. I disagree. The laity should be involved in parish finances. I keep hearing that “The Church is not a democracy” but this does not mean that the laity should have no voice in anything. Parish finances are not a theological issue and in this area, the laity often has expertise and experience in excess of the pastor. To refuse the laity any voice and to keep parish finances “confidential” is a mistake that leads to these kind of abuses.

  • Mary Kirkpatrick

    There are so many good, holy and wonderful priests who suffer so much, as we all do, when a priest becomes evil and sins and betrays his parish, his community,his church, but mostly his Lord.

    The devil goes after the church to destroy it through weak individuals like them.Priests are such a prime target because when a priest sins it is so devastating because he says Mass, hears confessions, guides parishoners and could be a cause for guiding them incorrectly. We pray that they repent and are redeemed. We pray that they are removed from duty to do no more harm, but we pray for the redemption of their souls.

    Our faith should not depend on any human being.Our faith should depend on God the Father, His son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

    I am so glad this priest has been stopped so that all the good priests can do their jobs with love, and confidence in Jesus Christ who died for those sins. He loved all of us so much, He died for the ones who don’t love him as well as for the ones who do.

    Don’t let a man or men change your faith. It is still the same faith. Even Jesus had a sinner in the first Apostles, in fact a few: Judas who betrayed him for 30 coins, and Peter who denied him three times to the crowd and all those apostles who ran away and did not stay with him at the crucifixion. Judas was so sorry he hung himself, the others returned and became Saints. God can work miracles with us all if we let Him.

    I am glad the man was caught. Let the transformation begin. It is his choice. Pray for him and for others faced with temptation do do evil. Pray for them to bind evil in the name of Jesus Christ and send it to the foot of the LORD to do with as he will and fill their hearts, minds, souls with the angels, saints and Holy Spirit to guide them and protect them.

  • Bill Phelan

    The reason this was allowed to occur is that many dioceses do not perform regular audits of the parishes. The reason? They might find something. The response on the part of the laity to these news items should be: It doesn’t concern me-IT WASN’T MY MONEY.

  • George Roberts

    Maybe it is time to consider a move. The authority of Roman Catholic presthood is questionable. Because protestants broke away from Catholics,they have no claim to proper authority. That leaves the need for Christ to restore his authority–like he did when he was a Jew on earth. Has Jesus restored his church somewhere on earth; if not, when and how?

  • TK

    I guess just a few of us were praying for vocations, and the rest were praying for vacations.

  • Bob Bugle

    As the Chair of the Finance Committee at our Parish, I find it greatly disturbing that basic checks and balances were not followed at Sacred heart Parish in Waterbury CT. To quote the article, “Even though each parish is supposed to have a parish financial council, Sacred Heart did not have such a panel. Pastors are also supposed to issue annual financial reports — but Father Gray did not comply. This is what triggered the diocesan financial review.”

    While credit should be given to the Diocese of Hartford for having the courage to address what is clearly a heiness crime on many levels, it highlights once again the fact that policies and guidelines are only effective if enforced. To quote from Ronald Reagan “Trust, but verify”. I also would like to know what roll was played by the parishioners at Sacred Heart. Did they complain to the diocese about the lack of transparency? If not, why not? If they did complain, what was the diocese’s response?

  • Dennis

    There are more than one priest at our parish and I think that’s true at a lot of parishes. Our priests are gone frequently. I feel certain that they are not doind anything wrong. However, it is VERY possible for priests to have extensive time off their jobs. Unlike those of us who have to work our fingers to the bone just to make ends meet for ourselves and our families.

  • Scriptor Ignotus

    I seem to recall that Billy Graham, when traveling, always made sure that another trusted man or two were always with him in hotel rooms and the like, and that he was never alone in an area with a woman other than his wife.

    The idea was not merely to avoid temptation, but to prevent there ever being plausible false allegations which could undermine his preaching.

    It seems to me that a similar discipline should perhaps be required of all Catholic clergy until such time as this problem subsides.

    This kind of discipline was once and should be again expected from all Catholics, ordained, married or unmarried. However, it is incompatible with co-ed schools, a feminist workplace and teenage “independence,” so don’t expect this tradition to be revived anytime soon no matter how many troubles our indiscretions cause.

    As for the original topic: According to CatholicCulture.org’s article “The Gay Priest Problem,” the Connecticut Catholic Church allegedly reversed its opposition to a sexual orientation anti-discrimination measure in the 1990s because gays threatened to expose a gay bishop. Let’s hope the state’s current bishops are more upright and pray for the mess that has been made.

  • Julianne Wiley

    We keep hearing “The Church is not a democracy” to justify this scenario where the laity has none, zero participation in the finances of their parish.

    I have often heard the phrase “The Church is not a democracy” , but I have NEVER heard in in the context of denying lay participation in Parish Councils and Finance Committees. In fact, most Dioceses require Parish Councils and Finance Committees.

    In this case, the Sacred Heart parish was irresponsible in not having a lay Parish Council and Fnance Committee, and the Hartford Archdiocese was irresponsible in failing to insist upon it, as well in failing to audit to parish finances until it was way, way too late.

    This has nothing to do with the axiom that “the Church is not a democracy.” The church’s legitimate liberty involves its right to structure itself internally, govern itself by its own just laws, and the duty to enforce these laws.

    It’s the lack of internal enforcement for which the Bishops are accountable— the lack of supervision, oversigt, and discipline— which has corrupted large swaths of the Church is such a repugnant and hideous manner, and this for my entire adult lifetime

  • Julianne Wiley

    You are right on target when you spotlight the nexus between sex and money.

    I remember reading that Medieval homilists typically grouped three evils — sodomy, luxury, and usury — in their moral preaching.

    (Does the Church still do that? I mean, “moral preaching”?)

    And as my working-class father said upon viewing some more-than-comfortable clerical digs: “If this is poverty, I’d like to see the chastity!”

  • Austin

    You bring up a valid point: much of the lack of any voice on the part of the laity is due to the outright passivity of the laity. The refusal in some cases to get involved. The idea that the mission of the laity is to just attend Mass, and do nothing else. Nothing at all. Yes, in many cases, this is true.
    In a previous parish of mine, I remember it was virtually impossible to get people to run for parish council. Once, a man was elected to the Parish Council against his will, and he served because he was afraid not to.

    The Pastor would complain that the laymen expected him to do literally everything and he was tired of carrying everyone. Perhaps a lot of pastors would welcome help from the laity. Of course, the rub comes, when the parishioners want to do something that the Pastor does not want to do. In any event, the passivity of the laity is much to blame for these episodes, such as in Connecticut, thus yes, the laity is partly to blame for these unfortunate scenarios.

    So far as the “poverty, chastity and obedience” business goes, in defense of the priests, taking a vow of poverty means that they cannot own property, such as real estate, automobiles, etc. It does not mean that they have to live in squalor. I certainly don’t begrudge a priest a decent room in the rectory, a couple of beers in the evening after having to deal with obnoxious laymen such as myself, and an occassional vacation.
    No male escorts however, that’s not negotiable.

  • georgie-ann

    i can’t imagine that any pastor doing crooked things would be encouraging laity to get involved with oversight procedures,…and if the priest discourages these things, it’s very hard to get around him as a roadblock,…his position is quite powerful and influential in this way,…

    one conniving priest vs. 50 lackadaisical parishoners is “no contest,”…the priest wins,…

  • Robert-Paul LeMay

    What has befuddled me from day one about all of this is how these people make it through seminary/ Having had friends who departed from Dunwoodie during the Spellman years (yeah, that Spellman, friend of J. Edgar Hoover) because, as they told it, there were times when the place seemed gayer than Greenwich Village, maybe I’ve answered my own questions. We better get over the pedophile business(a minimal number of these guys come under that label) and stop being afraid of being politically incorrect and recognise what we are dealing with. gay men with a taste for young men; physically men because they have gone through puberty, who are incapable of remaining celibate. If you have a problem with this then maybe you’d be happier in another faith group, but for the sake of the salvation of the institutional church we better get rid of them as well as the scraming harridans who are yelling for married and female clergy. I suppose then we’ll have to deal with the lesbian issue. For the record I am a gay, white male who luckily was never approaced by a priest or religious brother in all my adolescent years. God bless and reward all the good religious, men & women, who directed me towards the Lord as guide of my life.

  • Remy

    A few years ago we witnessed a parish priest push an unsuitable boy into the seminary. Several parishioners knew of the boy’s troubles, which were many. One man spoke confidentially about his concerns to another priest of the parish, and was blithely told that “God can perform miracles.”

    The vocation securing priest bragged about “our seminarian” at Masses and church committee meetings. The boy’s “vocation” looked good on his resume, and a priest friend of his said that he was surely now headed up the ecclesiastical ladder.

    Funds were raised for the young man to go to Rome. The seminarian openly bragged about how much more freedom he had in seminary, as opposed to living at home. He also spoke openly about dating and getting drunk in Rome, but it was a way for him to obtain his college degree. He was eventually so out of control that he was kicked out of a liberal seminary, and now leads an openly gay lifestyle. But the warning signs about his instability and unsuitability for the Priesthood were clear to many from the very beginning.

    Years ago Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that if unsuitable men were taken into Catholic seminaries, unsuitable Priests would result. Yes, God does work miracles, but He does not abridge free will. The Vocation Directors and their various staff people must be “wise as serpents and simple as doves” to protect our Church.

  • I don’t want to say

    How does a priest do the above mentioned without anyone noticing his absence from the daily church functions, Mass, sacraments, etc? Was there other priests who filled in the gap while he did his despicable deeds? Please help me out here. I am trying to understand how the church community failed to raise questions as to his lack of being a priest to his church.

    Why do priests even have so much free time to travel (on the most part with their own monies) taking vacations 10-12 times a year? What sort of precedent does that communicate with the hard working families who have little time to even take a week’s vacation, pay the bills, raise kids, etc?

    I’d say more but my words would be considered very judgmental.

    “Jesus, come quickly.”

    Hi Amy

    He told his parishioners that he was dying from terminal cancer, and claimed to be receiving treatment in NYC. That’s where he would tell them he went whenever he left town. THey believed him.

    Amy – NYC is being nice, but the real issue is that he had us all dupped, especially his poor secretary who really had all of us in the parish belieivng that he was dying of cancer. Not once did Fr. Gray ever tell us personally that he was dying of cancer,although later on he would have us believe that he was going for radiation. Everytime we went into the parish office and asked for Fr. Gray we would be told by his staff that he was in NYC getting radiation and chemo for his colon cancer. Everytime we would question why things weren’t done at the church, you know the things that pastors are supposed to do, we were told by his secretary that his cancer had flaired up or that he was very sickly. We are were believing this up until we had found out differently. We really believed that when he left on April 15 that he left without saying goodbye because he was about to die and did not want the parish to be upset about his oncoming death. This man looked frail and sickly. He wore the simpliest clothes and appeared to live the simpliest lifestle. There was absolutely nothing we saw that would give us any impression that he was living a double life. We really felt that we were in the presence of a living saint and it is for that reason why so many of us are struggling with this scandal. Our personal experiences of Fr. Gray and what the police is reporting are so extreme that it will take years for us to come to terms with his double life.

    Please pray for us and for Fr. Gray.

  • Fr. Ed

    What a terrible tragedy for the people of the diocese and of the parish. My prayers are for you, and for a renewal of holiness in the priesthood. It’s ironic; I am a pastor, and I NEVER charge a personal expense to the parish. And I also have to be here in he parish to say mass every morning at 6:30. I have no assistant pastor, but I am blessed with a resident priest who is a hospital chaplain who helps out whenever needed.

    Sadly, I have found that many priests are unavailable after hours to give the Last Rites to the dying. I was once called to anoint a dying man at a hospital miles away from my parish. As I drove to the hospital, I passed at least a dozen Catholic churches. Apparently they don’t answer the phone after hours.

    Too many priests see their vocation as a 9 to 5 job. Too many are more concerned with their personal comfort than with the bringing of souls to Jesus Christ. This has been a problem in the Church since the beginning. What we need is strong bishops who will ride herd on their priests.

    Please pray for priests, that the erring men will come back to Jesus, and the faithful ones will know the Lord’s mercy and love and bring that to their people.

    Fr. Ed

  • Don L

    “Father Corapi put it very well: “How often do you pray for your priest?”

    Any Catholic worth his salt knows this stuff is a matter of loss of faith -it has infested the Church at all levels, Rome, Cardinals, Bishops (USCCB) and the local parish priest, leaving, in many cases, the guardianship of the faith with the laity(and the Holy Spirit.)

    Daily prayers (and discerment coupled with admonishment) are needed, both, for those priests whose faith is endangered(scandalizing the community) and perhaps even more so for those faithful priests who inherit the task of bearing this “one more cross” as they themselves struggle with perseverance in the face of all this “sin”(remember that archaic word?)

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