Disappearing rector

Disappearing rector

The controversial rector of the cathedral in Dallas abruptly resigned and took a leave of absence last week. Fr. Ramon Alvarez caused controversy way back in 2002 (see my blog entry), when it was revealed that Bishop Charles Grahmann allowed him to continue in ministry after he found out that Alvarez had fondled a man on the pretext of “blessing him.” The dispute over Alvarez even reportedly led to former coadjutor Bishop Joseph Galante asking the Vatican to move him to another see.

Now Alvarez has abruptly resigned just before he’s supposed to testify in two child-abuse cases. He apparently cited health reasons, but people in the Dallas diocese say the abruptness and silence from the chancery is very strange.

Alvarez could be the poster boy for the web of sexual depravity that ensnares the Church and the priesthood.

One abuse case in which Father Alvarez may have to testify is set for trial May 1. It is a lawsuit in which he and other church employees are accused of ignoring warnings in the 1990s about two child-care workers at Dallas’ St. Pius X Church, where Father Alvarez was pastor. Both workers admitted molesting girls there and were sentenced to prison.

…  Father Alvarez appeared under subpoena before a Dallas County grand jury last year, a month after police seized images of naked young boys from a computer at Father Bagert’s church in Grand Prairie. Police arrested Father Bagert shortly after he returned from a weekend trip with Father Alvarez.

… In 2002, diocesan officials said Father Alvarez admitted “inappropriate contact” with a middle-aged man who sought a blessing from him in 1991. The man said the priest groped and propositioned him. Mary Edlund, the diocese’s chancellor, characterized the encounter as consensual and said Father Alvarez was told to resume counseling, which he’d previously undergone voluntarily, about “boundary issues.” The priest declined to comment then.

Remember! Homosexuality has nothing to do with sex abuse!

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
1 comment
  • What. A. Surprise.

    But it wasn’t “related in any way to inappropriate conduct with a minor.” Thanks, Bronson. That’s good to know. (Nice to see you’re still doing a quality job for Jesus.)

    Fr. Ramon is poster-boy-city. I knew him a little bit and I liked him, but the bishop was all wrong on his case (What. A. Surprise.) b/c Fr. Ramon was one of his favorites—I don’t mean to insinuate anything in saying *that*, just all bishops have favorite young up-and-coming priests, just like any secular manager has favorite underlings, and Fr. Alvarez (and to a much lesser extent Fr. Bagert) just had a knack that appealed to Bp. Grahmann. I guess I shouldn’t add that I totally felt “gaydar” going off around both of them . . . hindsight’s 20/20, right? (Wait! Who said anything about *gaaaaaay*?)

    However, I got married and left Dallas and the chancery almost 2 yrs ago now . . . I had heard about the St. Pius case back then—heck, had to deal with some of the (very nasty) fallout personally on my job—and I’m really surprised it’s taken this long to come up or go away. The diocese really wanted to settle out of court. *That* is gonna be ugly. $50 million? More? Oh, it’s going to be ugly. BTW, people in the chancery expect a nice sinecure for Grahmann b/c he and Papa Ratzi are friends . . . I hope that that’s not the whole truth of the situation (vis-a-vis Ratzinger and Grahmann), or people in Dallas will need to get ready for another letdown. A Cdl-Law-goes-to-Rome-style letdown. At least there will be a new bishop . . . in a few years. (Grahmann’s 75 this summer but “his people” don’t expect rapid action on his resignation, there was a different expectation under the previous papal administration. We’ll see . . .) Though deep down inside a little voice says to me, “better the crappy bishop you know . . .” I mean, at least with Grahmann you know what to expect.

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