Bishop under siege

Bishop under siege

The publisher of D Magazine in Dallas has written an editorial calling for Bishop Charles Grahmann to resign. But it’s not just another editorial. The publisher, Wick Allison, was among a group of Dallas laymen who approached the bishop at the height of a scandal several years and he agreed to resign. He later reneged and now attacks anyone who disagrees with him through the local Catholic newspaper. Here’s how Allison remembers it:

    In 1997, when a Dallas jury ruled against the diocese in the first sexual abuse case, the bishop announced he intended to appeal. That would have been a disaster. I went to the elder Jim Moroney to sound an alarm. He not only agreed with me, but also helped form an ad hoc committee. The committee met with the bishop and presented these facts: 1)  There would be no appeal. 2) The lawyer who had bungled the case by taking it to trial in the first place, Randy Mathis, would be fired. 3) Monsignor Robert Rehkemper, who had publicly blamed the parents of the molested children, would be removed as pastor of All Saints parish. 4) When the dust had settled, the bishop would quietly step down.

    His back to the wall, the bishop seemed to accede. He quashed the appeal,  sent Msgr. Rehkemper to the hinterlands, and appointed Haynes & Boone to negotiate a settlement. The announcement of Bishop Joseph Galante as his co-adjutor seemed to pave the way for the final resolution.

    But the bishop reneged. Once the heat was off, he decided to stay. He has now announced that he plans to hold on to his office four more years, until he reaches mandatory retirement age.

Bishop Grahmann seems to be out of control. He’s ignored reports that a priest in his cathedral has engaged in sexual misconduct, that a priest removed from parish ministry for the same reasons and assigned to charitable work with immigrants is fleecing them, that another priest was a member if the infamous gay-porn priests’ group St. Sebastian’s Angels, allowed Rudy Kos to operate, and so on. At one time he apparently “got it” and offered to resign and he must have made that desire known to the Vatican; coadjutors aren’t assigned at a whim. But he has since changed his mind.

By attacking his critics and telling them that they can’t tell the Church what to do, Bishop Grahmann has confused himself with the Church. He is not the Church, just it’s local sherpherd. The Church is all the people. I do disagree with the call to stop sending funds to the diocese. Diocesan programs are very important and many people depend on them. Once destroyed, it is difficult to build them up again. What people should is appeal to their priests, to Coadjutor Bishop Galante, to the papal nuncio, and to the Vatican to do something about a bishop who now impedes the mission of the Church by his presence. When will Grahmann’s brother bishops get so sick of the cancer in their midst that they will begin telling their erring brethren to shape up or ship out?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli